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July 17 2010

(SPOILER) Georges Jeanty talks Buffy Season 8 (and 9). It's an extended interview taken from the recent SFX Vampire Special Magazine. There's some insights into what it was like drawing the Twilight character and symbol and Georges drops some hints about the finale.

Angel will weep? Well that's a little out of character for mr broody-pants!!
I have a feeling that there may not be a lead artist for S9, the way there was one for S8. The time commitment is grueling... and while doing it, it limits the artist's ability to do other projects.
Since it sounds like S9 may more than likely shape up to resemble Grant Morrison's "Batman and Robin" books, they may follow the same mode for the artists; one artist per short arc.

ETA: I think the quote was "Angels will weep". So, I'm guessing he meant the celestial beings, not tall, dark and forehead.

[ edited by wenxina on 2010-07-17 16:17 ]

[ edited by wenxina on 2010-07-17 18:30 ]
Ah, thanks for the correction, I should have worn my glasses! I feel like Giles in 'Nightmares' now...AGH!!
the celestial beings

Cordelia? She will cry in Heaven?
We find out how important Angel and Buffy are to each other on a *cosmic* level.

Unless the answer is 'not', color me disappointed in Joss.

So frustrating. I've spent the last week or so frantically defending season 8 against its critics and then Jeanty comes out with this crap. The story he keeps describing is such a lame cliche. I put down my pen and swear to fight no more forever.

(With forever lasting as long as Mr. I-believe-in-soul-mates Jeanty doesn't get Jossed).
On a cosmic level, isn't it the end of the world every time Buffy and Angel are together?
Just so long as it isn't an unironic They Are Destiny/One True Soul Mate Love deal. But Jeanty is so painfully unironic -- unless he's so deeply ironic we don't even hear the irony.

[ edited by Maggie on 2010-07-17 17:45 ]
I'd rather we played the ball here and not the man. If you have a problem with the whole Buffy/Angel cosmic level thing* then that's fine, but I don't want to see posters having a go at the interviewee.

*Though I think Georges was referring to the Twilight arc rather than the finale arc.
We find out how important Angel and Buffy are to each other on a *cosmic* level.

Unless the answer is 'not', color me disappointed in Joss.


"Hopefully not at all" was my instant reaction as well. I dislike the basic concept so much, that I don't have any faith that even Joss can turn it around.

(To be clear though, it is just the "cosmic level" nonsense that I'm objecting to.)
“Everything comes to a head. We will find out what the Twilight symbol means and just how important Buffy and Angel are to each other on a cosmic level.”


Oh lord, I thought we were moving away from this "cosmic level" crap with the solicitation's line of "indiscrimate" love. Give us a break!

Heh, I see the same line struck Maggie as frustrating.


The end of season eight could set the stage for Buffy season nine…




Ha! I love the uncertainty of this line. Shouldn't the end of season 8 most definitely set the stage for Buffy season nine? I'd like to think so.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-07-17 18:11 ]
I gotta admit, even as a HUGE Angel fan, this cosmic thing is silly! We've already been told that Angel and Spike are her two greatest loves, we don't need a Dawson's Creek thing going on. Just let the boys back to their comics and let Buffy back to hers. I'm tired of this.
I know this is petty, but I don't like the artwork. The characters all look like they are 12 years old. Shouldn't Buffy be a grown woman by now??
Maybe he meant how important they are to one another on a COMIC level and there was a spelling error in the transcript ;-)
I've only read the first 20 issues of season 8 but a friend spoiled the Twilight reveal for me and I have since read enough reactions to it to worry me. How much of what Angel did as Twilight was of his free will? He's done morally questionable things in the past but this is on an entirely different level. Do you think Joss can explain what Angel's done in a way that isn't a cop out but that also doesn't ruin the very nature of his character or is this a "Boyd situation"? Does anyone have another take on this that will help set my mind at ease?

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2010-07-17 19:03 ]
Barry, the only thing you can do is read it for yourself. I liked it, thought it was funny, but now they're just pushing it, kinda like Angel and Cordy at the end of Season 3. Hopefully we'll get some reasonable answers, but up to now it hasn't been addressed other than Willow saying some stuff and being weirdly happy about Spike's arrival...I still don't get that! Thought she hated him?
I have to admit, when they take these long breaks, it is hard for me to keep my enthusiasm up. Oh yeah, wait, there's a Buffy comic series going on, what was happening again? ... Having a comic only once a month is bad enough. This is terrible -- it is going to be a while before I get back into the swing of things. Ironically, in the meantime, I've been watching some of the TV shows.
You're not on your own luvspike, I don't like the artwork either for the same reasons even though Jeanty seems like a very pleasant chap.

As for the rest. Oh dear lord, it just gets worse and worse...
I like the sketch they provided for Twilight. He's dark, but not necessarily evil. Maybe even a Dick Tracey crime fighter.

Experiencing all the other art we've witnessed on both Buffy & Angel, I like Jeanty's the best. So they look young, but they don't look like girls. More like young women... maybe a little animae, but I like that. I think it's a nice contrast to the youth that's been stolen from them and adds shock to the horrifying decisions they have to make.
Maggie, you're forgetting that many people love the Buffy/Angel romance on a cosmic level. Georges' words are music to my ears. I am ecstatic!
Riker, I agree with you everytime, but the resentment toward the last arc and all this has me wanting them all single for life! It's like Spike once was one of my favourite characters before he got a soul and the big deal that was made out of that made him the least favourite character for me! I preferred the potentials! So I think when the next arc hits, if Buffy and Angel get some beautiful reunion I'm staying away from this place and basking in it, so long as it fits!
I don't think it's so much resentment for Buffy/Angel getting together as a couple, but more the utterly cracktastic, and out and out stupid manner in which they did so. I mean issue 35! *shudder* What were they thinking. :0

And poor old Angel, It's like AtS had never happened.
I dunno, lots of people(not here) liked it, so did I. But it just feels tired now. I don't think I ever want a crossover again after all the disagreements that followed the last one. Actually I do, I just don't want backlash, I'll let you know if I ever find such a utopia...
Is anyone else getting the feeling that Jeanty doesn't want to be the artist for Season 9? In all of the interviews, he usually says, "I'd love to be involved with season 9 in some capacity." He's been doing it for four years (?) now, so I guess it's understandable that he might want to focus on something else, I guess. But if he doesn't return as a regular, it'll be sad. I really like his work.
My impression of the comic is that it's mediocre but those interviews always make it sound even worse. I'll sit those last few issues out, but they keep convincing me that S9 is nothing I want to read.
Riker, I know that there are some people who like the Buffy/Angel cosmic romance crap. For myself, I think it's crap. It'd be crap no matter what two names you slotted before the cosmic romance stuff. The reason I've always liked BtVS is because it had some great ironic distance on The Tragic Romance story.

I don't mean this to be playing the man, but rather his ideas: Jeanty always sounds like he's read the surface stuff as straight up and sincere. That's a fine way to read and some people like it. But if that's *all* we get, then I think Joss deserves every criticism about cliche'd awfulness that he gets. I won't defend a work that could only appeal to folks who believe in soul mates destined eternally and cosmically important blah de blah. That's the opposite of everything that drew me to Whedon's work in the first place.
This whole Angel/Buffy thing is very frustrating...how is it that Spike worked so hard to be with Buffy for so long while Angel was in Los Angles totally apart from her, only to show up at the end and win the girl? What happens with Spike then? Is he supposed to sit in a corner and cheer on the happy couple?Doesn't seem very fair to Spike. I know I sound bitter and I am. Oh well, no matter what happens I have my own story ending in my mind and no one is going to tell me different...it is my own personal canon and I'm happy there.
Angel's reasons for leaving were spectacularly obvious! Joyce spoke them aloud for us all in The Prom. Buffy still loved him, but wasn't sure about Spike when Angel came back. When Spike was burning up she realised she loved him too. So it's fair enough that she'd kiss and make up with Angel in End of Days and Chosen. Also after her mother's funeral it was clear that she was gonna want him whenever he was around and they HAD to be apart. She asked him to stay "forever" which could never work. It makes more than enough sense. If you're referring to season 8 then there's two very strong camps on either side of the sense argument.

[ edited by BlueSkies on 2010-07-17 22:24 ]
Reading the comments on the interview, the author says the interview was done before #34, and that's likely what Jeanty meant with the cosmic crap.

That's a relief. #34/#35 have plenty of room for readers like me who don't believe in Destined True Love. And the fact we got the cosmic boom out of the way before the final arc was all good.

So I'm back to a better frame of mind. Mostly.
I'm a little insulted that you call it "crap". I enjoy Buffy and Angel for the romance, and it's nice that it seems we're, at long last, finally NOT getting some ironic twist. Couples splitting up or one half of the couple dying is cliched and overplayed.

Frankly, I'm excited to finally be getting what I want.
If we were seeing a straight-up Buffy and Angel romance, there'd be a lot less criticism. You'd still have comments like luvspike's above, but what most of us have a problem with is the whole the-universe-made-me-do-it thing and the cosmic significance and predetermination. And that Angel was the bad guy five seconds earlier. It may not be ironic, but it is very messed up. I couldn't even classify what we've seen as "romance".
If it was made before 34/35 it seems that it really refers to the thing bizarro brainfried Angel tells Buffy when he glowhypnols her.

How anyone can call that romance with a straight face is beyond me though. It even retcons the original romance into some meaningless spell thing.

Can't say I like that any better than the slayer myth retcon. I think Buffy and Angel grew appart from each other, but to make it so that not even their original romance originated in their own free will, is just creepy. I hope that'll turn out to be just lies Twilight is spouting.
NotaViking,

"Destined to be together" IS romance. I am a hardcore soap opera fan, and that's how it always plays out on my stories.
It's romance for those whose taste they match. To me, it's the opposite of romance. Romance (and life in general) is about choice, about people making things work despite obstacles because they choose to be together. I'm a big believer in free will, and I never invest in the couples that are "destined" for each other. They actively repulse me. Not my cuppa.

Which might explain why I'm not a soap opera fan.
The Destiny angle between Buffy and Angel has been in play since the episode "The wish", in which we see that even in alternate dimensions, Buffy is Angel's "destiny". It explains how they are able to share dreams, sense each others presense and such. I also like this development and appreciate the direction in the comics.
I have never viewed destiny as being without choice, this story wasn't written that way. For example, just because Buffy was destined to be the slayer, she didn't have to stick around, she had opportunities to walk away. She stays out of choice, not lack of free will. '
The same could be said of Faith, her destiny of becoming a slayer didn't prevent her from turning rogue early on and teaming up with The Mayor. Free will and choice were always in play despite the destiny.
Destiny may bring someone certain gifts, introduce certain people, etc.. but what those folks do with those gifts and the realtionships that form is choice. That's my take on it. For me, loving this type of mythical romance, it's literally like having the best of two worlds. You get the destiny wrapped up in free will. Joss gets another A from me for being able to pull something like that off in the first place. It's brilliant.
wow, Cheryl, that was really well put, I almost lost faith til that comment! Beautiful! And it makes sense! Thank merciful Zeus there's sense to be made here!!!
"Destined to be together" is make believe. One of my favorite bits of dialogue from BtVS comes at the end of Lie to Me:

GILES: You mean life?

BUFFY: Yeah. Does it get easy?

GILES: What do you want me to say?

BUFFY: Lie to me.

GILES: Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.

BUFFY: Liar.

I had expected #34/#35 to be traumatic because I'm staunchly anti-"destiny"/soul mate as 'romance' -- but I found it all quite satisfying. Angel offered Buffy the make believe place that bends to their wills and said it was their destiny and she basically said frak this. I love that she chose to go back to real life where things are messy, hard, and true. I love that she didn't even hesitate.

If Angel and Buffy want to have a real relationship in the real world where people actually do try to overcome obstacles to be together and where they participate in each others lives, through the ups and downs and don't insist on gauzy lenses through which to see each other, that's great. They've never done a bit of that, but if they'd like to start trying now, more power to them. But 'destiny' as a total substitute for anything an actual real relationship is about? I leave that to the Harlequin crowd.
"Destined to be together" is make believe.

It's a comic called Buffy The Vampire Slayer..
gossi you lie!

[ edited by Kaan on 2010-07-18 01:45 ]
Snerk, snerk. Stories are truer or less true to the human condition. See, e.g. Lie to Me for commentary on this point.

(Oh, wait, a story about vampires can't possibly have anything real to say about the human condition! BtVS is not about a girl coming of age, or anything like that.)

[ edited by Maggie on 2010-07-18 01:49 ]
That was a lovely post,Cheryl.
I wasn't saying it doesn't have anything to say about the human condition, of course - Buffy is all about our strength and how that makes us great (and terrible) (and sometimes terribly great). Some people believe they are destined for things, though. Also a part of the human condition.
I do believe it was stated that their cosmic IMPORTANCE to each other will be made clear, not their cosmic romantic destiny.

I feel like I just shouldn't open any season 8-related threads anymore, because I'm constantly blown away by how much criticism everyone has for it/its ideas/etc. I think the comic's great and I love the direction where BtVS is going.
My view of BtVS and Angel, prior to season eight, was that absolutely nothing that had happened was predetermined. Nothing was for certain. No-one had a set destiny. I don't believe that it was destiny that Buffy and Faith became slayers, that's just what happened.

Now, with shows like these, with all the mythology and the occasional prophecies, there could well be a few cases where they put forward the destiny angle before. But people tend to ignore what they don't like, so I may have just overlooked these or I have a different interpretation.

So season eight for me, is completely changing the way that this fictional world works. And it's changing it in a way that makes it so much less than it was before.
NotaViking, what about the prophetic dreams concerning Buffy's sister? Or the fact that a Slayer can have prophetic dreams in the first place?
Some people believe they are destined for things, though.


That would be fine, but the comic seems to be saying that some people actually are destined for things. Which is completely different.


I do believe it was stated that their cosmic IMPORTANCE to each other will be made clear, not their cosmic romantic destiny.


Well that was the subject of the initial critical comments. The idea that Buffy and Angel have any cosmic importance at all, is awful to some of us.

It's fine to like the comics, just as it's fine to dislike them. But if the comment section was only for positive comments, they would be meaningless.


NotaViking, what about the prophetic dreams concerning Buffy's sister? Or the fact that a Slayer can have prophetic dreams in the first place?


Yep, that's a good point and the sort of thing I was referring to. With it being 3am, I'll have to sleep on that one.
Gossi, you do know you snarked instead of offering an actual reply, right? I didn't read you as saying anything.

Is destiny part of real life? I don't know. Is true love the cosmos is centered on us we are meant to be together and make sonic booms our love is so powerful even though for the past several years we have repeatedly chosen to live apart and have neither of us made the *slightest* effort to remove the obstacle that supposedly keeps us apart part of real life? No. It's make believe. It's the fantasy that there's a magical person out there for you who will love you perfectly. Bad things might happen to you as a couple, but between you there is nothing to work at. I think Lie to Me is commentary about those sorts of fantasies. They're lies we tell ourselves when the pain of actual life is too much. It's what we want, and not what we need. And if it turns out that Joss aspires to telling such drivel in any unironic voice, ala Stephanie Meyers my desire to spend a lot of time writing in defense of season 8 will go to exactly zero.

Happily this is all based on an old interview and we've already seen the cosmic importance of Buffy and Angel to each other. And that was done in a way that keeps an anti-destiny person like myself quite happy. Apparently it keeps the fantasy-romance crowd happy as well. That would be classic Joss.
NotaViking, I feel you,and I think you speak for a lot of people, who are maybe now just having to come to terms with all the icky destiny stuff we maybe didn't want to think too hard about before. It's all very hokey to think that maybe Buffy was always destined to change the world, get a final reward, etc. because it makes the Buffyverse just that much more magical, theistic and different to those of us who liked that Buffy's world has as little answers as ours does. But ever since Angel came back to the dead in season 3, destiny really has always been bubbling underneath the surface--the shows just always found excellent ways to stump it down, or zig and zag (legitimacy of First Evil, or Jasmine, or any other puppet master that came along was always questionable in the end) and they never really had to face answers, just brush up against them. I mean, was it really always destiny that had Connor kill Sahjan at the end? Was it simply self-fulfilling? What about the Shanshu? Fairy tale or true reward from benevolent being? Season 5 of Angel and Season 7 of Buffy (with the scythe and Guardians and "God--is there word on that, by the way? Does he exist?") I think especially flirted with maybe finally attacking some of these questions. Both shows ended ambiguously, but I think I'm enjoying that the comics are picking these threads up. What is the Universe's endgame? Has it always been Twilight and why? Are there really Good and Evil? I'm excited for the last arc to see how this plays out, I think it could be really meaningful in the end.

[ edited by narky on 2010-07-18 03:14 ]
It's the fantasy that there's a magical person out there for you who will love you perfectly

Of course it is, but as humans we're obsessed with fantasy. We write poems and songs about that perfect person. And sometimes comics. If ya ain't got fantasy about something, you ain't breathin'.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-07-18 03:14 ]
I agree with cheryl, very well put. I thought the choices made at the end of the Twilight arc were interesting callbacks to the characters' history, but ratcheted up to a new level of world-ending context. The context I'm still unsure of, but I did like the implication that Buffy's romances with Angel and Spike are part of it.
I agree with everything you say, narky.

Edit: It's interesting, narky, that you point out you guys feel the Buffyverse always had the same few answers that ours does. It really comes down to the viewer, I guess. In my case, I'm perfectly fine with the comics' insistence of cosmic knowledge and "destiny" because I happen to believe in these things in "our world." I guess that has something to do with it.

Eye of the beholder much?

[ edited by Waterkeeper511 on 2010-07-18 03:54 ]
Cosmic is simply wrong- Buffy has always worked on a human level.
But why are people even making the distinction between "cosmic" and "human"?
Very well put cheryl. I have always loved how destiny and free will played a part in the Buffyverse. And I'm happy that's continuing in the comics.
"We find out how important Angel and Buffy are to each other on a *cosmic* level."

Heh. So after the last preview pages I was feeling cautiously optimistic.
Then another interview comes out in which the interviewed person seems hell bent on keeping any Spuffy fans from buying the comic! Is our money dirty or something?

As an atheist I don't believe in pre-determination, soulmates, destiny or any of that crap. We live in the world as it happens to be. "No fate but what we make" and all that. This whole story line irritates me because I don't respect it in so many ways, not just for the grotesque space fucking but for its very concept of pre-determination!
Except as cheryl so eloquently pointed out above, the idea of a vague cosmic plan does not preclude the ability for our characters to have free will, as demonstrated at the end of issue 35. So on a story level, they're not saying everything is fated and planned 100% at all.

Meanwhile, if it just comes down to not liking when entertainment incorporates elements from belief structures that aren't yours, well, then a whole lotta Buffy isn't gonna be palatable to a whole lotta people.

[ edited by Jobo on 2010-07-18 06:15 ]
Xane, I'm a Spuffy fan, and I'm definitely going to be buying these last few issues. I love season 8 and I enjoy Spuffy. When it comes down to it, the people behind Buffy aren't pandering to one group of fans over another. It's for all of us.

Like I said before, the line reads as "important" on a cosmic level. Not romantically important. Just important. My friends are important to me. So is my phone.

Not even gonna get into the "grotesque" space-fucking. I suppose you also took an issue when Angel promised those three mystical ladies sexual favors in return for lifting the sanctuary spell over Caritas? But it's fine if you didn't see anything, right?

And Jobo raises an excellent point. You're an atheist, so you don't believe in pre-determination, soul-mates, destiny, or demons, hell-dimensions, VAMPIRES, gods, magic, werewolves, etc. I hope you've been this vocal throughout your entire time watching Buffy. =)
Xane The interview was taken before #34 was out as the interviewer confirmed in the comments to the article. So the *cosmic* level Jeanty was referring to = space fracking.

Still waiting for the meaning of the Twilight symbol and the weeping angels (Cordelia maybe?)
Heh, appropriate to this thread that the quote on the front page for me just now was from the Season 7 premiere, "Lessons", with the First-Evil-as-various-season-villains [though specifically The Master in this case, as it wound all the way back from Seasons 6 to 1, and then its Buffy doppleganger form] winding up its rant in front of crazy-Spike, "Not the bang, not the word...the true beginning".

Wonder what it meant with that. I know it finishes up with something like, "It's about power" (and I dunno what The First meant by that, except maybe that its power came through the fear-through-suicide-convincing-and-Turok-Han-vamp-intimidating it was able to accomplish, but it was some decent foreshadowing given how Buffy shared the slayer power in the finale), but what was "the true beginning" in the Buffyverse if not The Big Bang or The Word [of God?] ? Is The First claiming that it was the "true [original?] beginning" ? I stand by my hope (and admittedly unfounded interpretation) that The First Evil was just a lot of talk and that, in the end, it was just one of the oldest (or at least longest surviving) demons or evil Higher Beings/Powers (given its noncorporeal form, kinda like how Jasmine had to possess Cordy and make her give birth to attain her own physical body, and also maybe supported by its bizarre quasi-possession/power-up of Caleb when it went into him, if you squint real hard). It was just too lame to personify the essence/originator of evil like that into one Satan-like entity after 6 previous seasons (plus Angel's five) of not nailing things down like that. There was no one personification of good offered up to us, so...? It was better when people (and demons) were just flawed (or morality- and often choice-free base animals, in many of the demons' cases) and could be good or evil on their own without fairy tale elements like Satan and God, so it works more with the internal consistency of the show if The First is just puffing itself up, making that name for itself.

Far as fantasy elements go in a show like Buffy, everyone has a personal level of tolerance for what they'll buy into (personally, anything so long as the writers execute it well and it's consistent with the internal rules of the 'verse that've already been established, or at least subverts them or retcons them in a clever and convincing fashion) and what they prefer to see. I don't at all mind the presence of a heaven-like state after death, nor hell dimensions (nice that they diversified on "Hell" right near the beginning of Buffy Season 3, after Angel was sent there. I appreciate that the mythology was not created to be specifically Christian or of any other real world denomination). I'm not sure about the potential predestination of Buffy/Angel, it hasn't been explained/explored well enough for me to judge the recent reveal (and at this point could be lies anyway) and some folks offered the valid point that the universe could've done some nudging, but that Buffy and Angel still had free will in the end (just like it--or whatever force drives the haphazard choosing of potential slayers--chose Buffy, Kendra, and Faith, but didn't make them act a certain way once gifted/cursed with the mantle of slayer).

It's also a big leap to assume that the universe (if this whole cosmic thing is indeed gonna be confirmed/set in stone for the Buffyverse) in any way "cared" about the romantic side of the Buffy/Angel union. If it "wanted"/"needed"/"was compelled" to nudge or force them together for whatever its purposes were (creating Twilight, I guess), it likely didn't give a fig about their feelings so long as they coupled. But this is just my theorizing and, if true, I wonder if Joss and company will tackle the crazyness of the universe mindraping people or if the universe gets to do whatever it wants without anyone challenging/being able to challenge it.

Okay, yeah, anthopomorphizing the universe is incredibly stupid, at least for the Buffyverse.


There's gonna be increasingly heated debates on this divide as showrunners continue to choose to incorporate religion and predestination into sci-fi and fantasy and those of us who've decided we don't often like it find it revealed to be at the heart of a show's mythology or internal logic way late into the game (love surprises in my fiction, but not usually this kind) or, worse offender, the "explanation"/resolution of the series finale of a show (I won't spoil Lost here and thanks to everyone who's been great about giving warnings when Battlestar Galactica comes up--I'm a little more optimistic about that one's conclusion given that it sounds like there's a little more room for interpretation plus that the show doesn't almost entirely ignore the rest of its pre- myteries/arc wrap-ups like Lost's did).

[ edited by Kris on 2010-07-18 06:53 ]
Of course it is, but as humans we're obsessed with fantasy. We write poems and songs about that perfect person. And sometimes comics. If ya ain't got fantasy about something, you ain't breathin'.

There's no shortage of fantasy out there. Lie to Me is a great exploration of it. Calls fantasy out for the dangerous cheat that it is, while acknowledging that we're still going to ask the storytellers to lie to us. Part of growing up is learning to stop asking people to lie to us and to start dealing. #35 echoes the theme. Buffy and Angel get to a place where everything bends to their will (which is what fantasy does). Angel (or whoever that character is) wanted to buy in, but Buffy wasn't even tempted. She chose life, messy, painful and true. That's the vision I'm rooting for. If Whedon decides to sell out and sell lies to make the masses happy, I'll be disappointed. We've got Stephanie Meyer for that. So I'm hoping that Spike, who always represents making things more complicated than a simplistic black-white comforting fairy tale, really can put an end to all that Twilight crap.
Cheryl, I couldn't agree more. If there's one thing the relationship between Buffy/Angel has shown is that they *choose* to be together, it's actually outside forces that keep them apart.

As TPTB once infamously said to Buffy, "we never saw you coming" - that can ONLY mean they never saw the romantic relationship coming since they are the ones who BROUGHT Angel to Buffy. Buffy and Angel were never predestined to fall in love. That's what makes their connection so lovely. They loved each other just because they *did*. And in season 8, they chose to be together because they finally *could* - because they missed each other, because they have never really been *able* to be together. Turns out they still can't because *of course* Buffy would not let her friends and the world perish so she can selfishly have Angel and a paradise lost. That too is choice. And Angel chose to follow her - the power of love and all that.

Destiny can put you on a certain path but only you choose which fork in that road to take. Buffy was destined to die in Prophesy girl and she DID, but that didn't mean that was the end of the story. Destiny and free will go hand in hand with the Buffyverse.

I too am loving the direction of the comics and Jeanty's interviews always bring a smile to my face.
what about the prophetic dreams concerning Buffy's sister? Or the fact that a Slayer can have prophetic dreams in the first place?

The weather forecast yesterday said "scattered showers". Well, showers were indeed scattered. I guess the rain must have been predestined to happen.
If Whedon decides to sell out and sell lies to make the masses happy, I'll be disappointed.

Hmmm, who exactly are these "masses" that Joss is meant to be selling out to?


So I'm hoping that Spike, who always represents making things more complicated than a simplistic black-white comforting fairy tale, really can put an end to all that Twilight crap.

What part of S8 has been "a simplistic black-white comforting fairy tale"?

And I'm hoping with Spike showing up that he'll start to make things less complicated than what they are now.
Kaan....don't you know, Joss is always selling out to someone if he makes folks happy. ;-)

And I think Spike will be making things less complicated based on the blurb for solicitation #37. Which makes me very happy. *g*
I wish I had the willpower to not read these comments by the professionals anymore. The only person who I ever really enjoy reading remarks from is Joss. (After that, maybe Jane Espenson, though I more enjoy just listening to her talk about writing in general.) Of course, Joss is the one who doesn't want to talk about the story (i.e. the pick it apart song), but wants the story to speak for itself. So the one person I actually want to hear talk about the work? Doesn't like to say much. And all the people who are chattering about the work? Shatter my confidence in the work.

The professionals for Season 8 always manage to say the exact wrong thing that diminishes the depth of meaning I'd been reading in the work and makes me wonder if they didn't realize that depth themselves or they're talking down to the audience. Either way, I'm frustrated. Maybe it's just that Joss is better with words--he can express the complex dynamics of the story without stripping it of its polysemic nature.
Yeah, I really hope folks aren't going to start in on Joss here, on his very own board. Please.
He'd wipe the floor with SM, imo.

Emmie! Joss is THE greatest!

ETA...Enjoyment of PTB interviews might connect to enjoyment of the material but I certainly stand in agreement with the desire to hear Joss speak out on the topic above all others. That's a given.

[ edited by cheryl on 2010-07-18 09:02 ]
It's all a matter of perception I suppose, what people want to see, what they hope the story is vs what it really is and what those involved in the comics believe it is. For me, every interview given has reinforced something *great* in terms of the storytelling. I don't need the words of course, but they are nice. They don't make it worse for me, they are actually enriching the experience. Just like the Q&A's. Really a case of tomato, tomahto I suspect.
Emmie I totally agree with you here. Every time another interview goes up more 'daftness' seems to pour out of it and makes think WTF?

I wish they'd just stop until this last arc is finished and just let the story stand on it's own shaky feet. *g*
No-one has to read these interviews...
I know everybody’s already come to the consensus that Jeanty was referring to the “destiny sex” in Issue #34 but is it possible that when he says Buffy and Angel are important to each other on a “cosmic level” he isn’t even meaning that in a shippy way? The two of them can be important to each other on a cosmic level that has very little to do with shipping. We’ve already been told that Buffy’s considered extraordinary for sharing her power in Chosen and the PTB have always had a particular interest in Angel so it may be their roles that make them important to each other, not necessarily their feelings.

In regards to destiny and all that jazz, I think we all have to be a little honest here and say S8 isn’t the first time the story has validated that it exists in the Buffyverse. Connor was destined thanks to Jasmine, Connor was destined to kill Sahjan and he did, Buffy was destined to die at the hands of The Master and she did both in PG and The Wish, Buffy was dreaming of her death in The Gift way back in S3 which made it seem to me like it was inevitable etc. This isn’t the first time destiny has been inevitable in the Buffyverse and so far there’s still room Buffy can work around it. She kinda already did when she refused to stay in Twilight anyway...

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 09:54 ]
Kaan No, you're right nobody has too, but every time I think It's safe do do so along comes more silliness. *g* Doh!
Safe to do so? I have no idea what that means. Just because someone says something that you don't want them to, doesn't make it silliness.
It depends on what they're saying though, doesn't it.

Also as someone said above threads like this are for both positive and negative takes on what's being discussed. Last time I looked it's not just for those who think season 8 is the best thing since sliced bread. *g*

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-07-18 10:37 ]
Vamps - exactly! Destiny has ALWAYS existed in the Buffyverse, right from the first season. That doesn't mean it's the whole story.

As for whether or not the interviews are silly, I wouldn't say it's based on what's being said as much as it's based on whether people LIKE what's being said. If they don't like it or agree with it, it's easy to label it as silly. But you can't please everyone all the time.
No, looking at the above, that you can't....
What's being said is the more superficial layer of meaning of a very dense piece of text. For those of us who want the layers of meaning and irony, playing it straight is boring and disappointing. It lacks complexity, ambiguity and finesse. So no, I really don't think those who are happy with what's being said understand why others aren't happy. What makes you happy isn't the exact opposite of what makes a person unhappy. That's not how it works.
There's a massive difference between "I disagree with Jeanty/Whedon/Meltzer/etc saying this, because of this reason" and "I'm sick of reading interviews where the creators come across as silly or stupid". It's a dangerously thin line between being dissatisfied with a product and just insulting the creators, whether deliberately or maliciously or not; and unfortunately post-Twilight there seems to be far too much of the latter and not enough of the former.




Buffy was destined to die at the hands of The Master and she did both in PG and The Wish


I never caught that before. Thanks for pointing it out.

[ edited by Sunfire to fix HTML on 2010-07-18 14:58 ]
Angel was destined to kill his son. And he did.

Also, I agree about the interviews thing. People suggest the creators of these works are stupid; they're not. Georges isn't. He's very clued onto the work, and he's a thoroughly nice guy. They're just saying things about the story peeps don't agree with. People aren't as outraged with Joss because he doesn't do as many interviews about the material. And I can see why he doesn't. Same with Allie nowadays.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-07-18 11:36 ]
What's being said is the more superficial layer of meaning of a very dense piece of text.

Meaning, as with all art, is subjective. What one finds superficial another finds sublime. If someone doesn't wish to discuss all the the layers about a piece of work, that doesn't mean they don't think about those things. Or that what they decide to say is silly.
Where one person finds the straight layer of destined love sublime, the other person needs the added layer of the destined love being undercut with irony and countermessages. That is the difference in layers of meaning. I'm not talking about opposing interpretations of meaning. But layers. There's a more straight reading of the surface appearance of the text, then there's the more irony-tinged reading. Jeanty's comments play the straight reading. Allie's tends to hold more nuance in interpretation (as well as a more biting humor that people often misunderstand). And Joss' tends to hold the most balanced nuance simply because he can phrase words to make them mean ten different things all at once (just as he can write a scene that references a character's history, relationship dynamic, psychology, humor, emotion--all within a few lines). Joss has a PhD in polysemic and published works to back up the cred. That's the difference. The words and the diversity of meaning, the ambiguity amidst the clarity.

That's the difference I'm talking about. And what I think Maggie and Sue and others are saying.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-07-18 11:53 ]
Thank you Gossi and Kaan! Just cause some of us LIKE what's being said and LIKE what's going on doesn't mean we're (or Jeanty, Scott Allie, Joss, etc) shallow, that we don't believe there are deeper levels or that we prefer a shallow/surface-y interpretation. It's more like those that don't like it prefer different layers than what is being given to them.

I personally find the comics DO have complexity and ambiguity - and I like it just fine. So again, it's all about perception and what people want vs what they are getting that's at issue.
As I said I'm sure Jeanty a really lovely guy, but as a rep of DH his words seem to hold more 'power' then the spouting's of your average fan. So when anyone working on this product says something fans are always going to leap on it. for good or for bad. I'm amazed some don't seem to get that.

Also If folks conduct interviews in the public arena I feel we're more then entitled to comment on it If we don't happen to like what they appear to be saying and how that's coming across to a section of the fandom that aren't shippers or who wanted something a tad more complex out of the storyline. :)

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-07-18 12:18 ]
It's not about disagreeing with what is being said, or not liking the current story arc. It's about the fact that because the interviewee isn't saying whatever you want, whether it's about your favourite character or the different layers your seeing in the text, then whatever they are saying is somewhat stupid or silly or that they just don't get Buffy.

Oh and FYI, I'm not a shipper ;)
But I'm entitled to an opinion about whats being said. If I think these type of interviews don't help sell the series (and in fact sometimes paint it in a poor light) then I'm entitled to say that. You see. :)
I think the main argument was a result of using words like 'silly' and 'stupid' and 'crap' which seem to be more of an attack on the person rather than the material or the marketing. Perhaps a change of vocabulary may encourage more of a discussion than an argument? See i think we all get that he's focusing on material that mightn't interest some, but if he spent the time talking about Spike's return or whatever ye wanted more of on a plot based level, then more would be disinterested in that aspect. It's a no win situation. Personally, I want more Files/Gaith attention! Or why Willow is Spike's #1 fan?
Remember when these interviews that were teased as having big hints actually contained at least minor hints? There's nothing here. I was honestly stunned when I saw there had been 85 comments, and then understood when I realized that they mostly had little to do with speculating about the interview. Why? Because there were no hints. Nothing in the area of "hints" that we hadn't heard before.

I'm just sublimely ambivalent toward knowing what Buffy and Angel mean to each other, metaphysically or personally, anymore. The more time has gone by the more I realized that I was shoved forcefully straight out of their story when Buffy couldn't manage to be angry for more than (literally) about 90 seconds despite a level of manipulation, abuse, and provincial I-know-what's-best-for-you-more-than-you-do condescension that Edward Cullen could never have achieved even if given an additional five novels. What does it matter "how cosmically important" the characters are to each other when their interaction no longer has any relatable emotional reality whatsoever? I had the fortune/misfortune of rereading some Season 8 while the song "I Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem (feat. Rihanna) was on and was amazed just how perfectly that summed up where Season 8 took Buffy and Angel's relationship -- he did stand there and watch her burn, he did stand there and hear her cry*, and according to 8.33/8.34... she loved it.

*Well, he stood there for a bit, but then he didn't like the sound, so he drove her skull through a crypt. It's all because he loves you baby!

I am almost nervous about getting 8.36 -- because I realize that while 8.35 was good, it was good because I cared about all the other stuff I saw. I cared about Xander, Willow, Faith, Dawn, Andrew, even Amy, even Warren, and was happy to see Spike show up -- and I cared about Buffy again... tentatively... when she (politely) told Angel where he could stick this Twilight dimension thing. But I'm nervous that when I'm asked again to care about Buffy on a page-to-page basis, or Angel again AT ALL, that they'll keep slogging along in this direction of assigning some loving and understanding to Angel's "I hit because I love" campaign. Worse, they'll say that it's all better/all okay/never was cruel, or sadistic, or at the very least selfish and condescending, because the Universe wanted it that way.
For me, it's this notion some fans seem to have that those who don't like it don't like it because it's not complex. This has the effect of ALSO implying that those who DO like it prefer simplistic story lines and this is simply untrue.

Plenty of people who like it see a great DEAL of complexity and depth in the stories and in the characters. One pov is not loftier, more intellectual or deeper than any other. Why can't people just recognize that some like it and some don't WITHOUT implying that people who don't like it are superior and wanted something more than surface level "silliness" and that those who are happy with the story are therefore more easily satisfied because they DON'T want complex/deep/layered, etc, etc, etc, fill in the blank with your choice of psuedo-intellectual (but actually insulting) term.
KIngOfCretins, while alot of what you said is very true, Buffy being okay with the odd bit of rough love and being spoken down to feeds into her character in Season 6 & 7, so I guess it's not much of a stretch to think that after a brawl with a killer she'd jump his bones when he tells her how wrong she's been.
Stick the word 'different' in there instead If anyone feels personally slighted. :)

"so I guess it's not much of a stretch to think that after a brawl with a killer she'd jump his bones when he tells her how wrong she's been."

Say what?? Seriously? :0

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-07-18 13:41 ]
I actually think that YOUR view of events and Buffy and Angel's interactions is the simplistic one, KoC, but okay...

Sadly, Angel is not the only person who has kept information away from Buffy, this is a staple of nearly every character in this comic/show.

"so I guess it's not much of a stretch to think that after a brawl with a killer she'd jump his bones when he tells her how wrong she's been."

Say what?? Seriously? :0


I would assume this is a reference to the Buffy/Spike affair in season 6. Spike told Buffy often how wrong she was, she jumped his bones anyway, often after a knock-down, drag out brawl, he was an unrepentant killer, etc....

Difference is, the text is telling us Angel is NOT a killer, he's not telling Buffy she's wrong just that there are consequences to the "pure act" she performed, etc...

It's things like this that people seem to forget or gloss over when discussing B/A in the comics.

[ edited by lmblack21 on 2010-07-18 13:49 ]
Oh I know, Imblack21, i was just referencing that for KoC when he said how he wasn't down with her actions in his perspective where he believes Angel to be the mass murderer we were all led to believe he was. those feelings towards Buffy s8 are my feelings towards her s6 and partly 7! I was just pointing to both sides of the fence. But thanks for clarifying! :)

[ edited by BlueSkies on 2010-07-18 13:50 ]
Oh no, I totally understood you - I was responding to Sueworld as she seemed confused by your statement.

I was with you all the way. ;-)
Okay cool, this is so confusing!! haha!! I'm taking a nap! And when I wake up Joss will have sorted all this out for us and everyone will post happily ever after!
"I would assume this is a reference to the Buffy/Spike affair in season 6. Spike told Buffy often how wrong she was, she jumped his bones anyway, often after a knock-down, drag out brawl, he was an unrepentant killer, etc...."

Thing is Spike just hadn't been (for all Buffy knew about Twilight at that point) responsible for murdering hundreds of Slayers to say nothing of various Army personnel shortly before and then go onto participate in an act that would end up destroying the entire world in an incredibly stupid manner. *g*

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-07-18 13:57 ]
He killed 2 of them and had many a time tried to kill her, in fact I believe that when he started fighting with her he may have wanted to kill her, maybe to stop being in love with her and regrow a pair of fangs?! And she didn't know that having sex with Angel would bring about the end of the world. That's just one of those nasty side effects of unsafe sex!

Kinda like how Buffy and Spike brought about the end of that old house, except on a more epic and dramatic space age scale!

[ edited by BlueSkies on 2010-07-18 14:03 ]
Is there such a thing as safe sex in Buffy World?

P.S. Poor house! What did you ever do to deserve to be demolished by sexy times?

[ edited by project bitsy on 2010-07-18 14:04 ]
Apparently not! Kids these days...
Worse, they'll say that it's all better/all okay/never was cruel, or sadistic, or at the very least selfish and condescending, because the Universe wanted it that way.

Not exactly. They could say it was still all of those things but that Angel was being possessed or influenced by another force so you have to cut him some slack. We wouldn't blame Xander for anything he did in The Pack, or Willow for coming at Xander with the axe in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered etc. The story can still not condone any of Angel's behaviour and salvage his character at the same time. I might be wrong but I suspect that's where we're heading after some hints in 'Twilight' and the preview page for Issue #36. It seems like something else is pulling the strings behind this whole thing.

Personally, that's what I'm hoping for most because Angel was not written well at all in Issue #34/35 and this would explain a lot of that. I’d rather a possessed!Angel than an OOC!Angel with no explanation for his odd behaviour. And at least that will tie into this tragic (IMO) idea that he’s always being used as a puppet (PTB, Senior Partners, the robots in Lineage, Twilight etc) which will make me feel sorry for him. What I can foresee happening though is that some fans will be very resistant to such a storyline and will still blame Angel for everything regardless, which is probably going to result in a lot of arguments and friction. I hope I’m wrong but I’m already starting to feel it now when people even bring up the idea.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 14:06 ]
Oh dear, Angel or not, all she knew before jumping him that he was Twilight. The enemy she'd been engaged on fighting/running from for several issues.

"Kinda like how Buffy and Spike brought about the end of that old house, except on a more epic and dramatic space age scale!"

Only on a more embarrassing/silly level. Sorry I thought the space f*ck* was the lowest point in the entire verse. Scarily crap.

"And she didn't know that having sex with Angel would bring about the end of the world. That's just one of those nasty side effects of unsafe sex!"

*hoots* I imagine you're not being serious here. *g*

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-07-18 14:07 ]
No I wasn't, unless anyone has almost brought about the end of the world through unsafe sex and that's why condoms were invented? Cause that'd be the best story ever for the grandkids! Or actually maybe not!
But the thing with Buffy is she seems to be kinda grey when thinking who's evil and rating their evilness. She had been engaged in fighting with Spike for a very long time and when he attacked her he was full on evil vampire Spike. Riley was part of a bad govt agency, he could have been a double agent with them and double crossing her but she threw caution to the wind and believed him regardless. Angel had amost ended the world before and when he came back from hell she forgave him and had naughty dreams with/about him. She's seems to like her evil like she likes her men...evil! That was Pangs right?
BlueSkies -- leaving aside that Angel (both souled and unsouled) had long since been a mass-murderer, I don't really consider "Twilight is evil" a premise that's up for agreement or disagreement anymore than the sum of 2 and 2. Even if the absolute least in Season 8 that he is textually responsible for is all that he's done, it's still worse than pretty much anything Angel has *ever* done with a soul and probably in the 75th percentile of things he did as Angelus.

What's out there and apparently (depressingly) subject to a lot of disagreement is whether or not it's best to just stand back while they apply Handwavium to his actions. But even the Handwavium -- as in, the best excuse/justification they tried to give -- turns Angel into an archetypal "I hurt you because I care" abuser. Seriously, what's the real subtext to a plot in which he's *literally* saying that he wanted Buffy to suffer so that she'd turn into something better? Isn't that the fundamental narcissism of an abuser? How'd that joke from "Billy" go? "What do you say to a woman with two black eyes? Nothing she hasn't already been told twice." How do you do to force the super-powered ascension of a Slayer with two blown up homes and dozens or hundreds of casualties from a world-wide campaign against her? Angel loved her so much and wanted her to be the super-powered crafter of a new reality (with him) so much, of course he had to decide what's best for her and, rather than stand by her, win or lose, sneak an opportunity to bend her will to his own through manipulation from the other side.

Angel's role as Twilight, taken at its most benign, is still basically straight out of Vonnegut's "Mother Night", where an American spy works as a wildly popular Nazi propagandist. "Everything that made me proud to be a Nazi, came not from Hitler, but from you". "Be careful what it is you pretend to be. In the end, you are what you pretend to be". Has anyone ever stopped to think how likely it is that having a focal point, a leader, a symbol, probably made it even *easier* for forces to align against the Slayers?

If, after all that, the only answer we're going to get is "well, it's what the Universe wanted, so therefore Angel is Still A Hero!", they can keep it.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2010-07-18 14:17 ]
Riley wasn't the same as Spike. Riley was a straight up honest old fashioned farm boy, who thought he was doing his bit for an honorable cause. He only realized later how awful the Initiative were.

""Has anyone ever stopped to think how likely it is that having a focal point, a leader, a symbol, probably made it even *easier* for forces to align against the Slayers?

Good point. I wonder If that angle has even crossed Whedons mind.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-07-18 14:20 ]
Oh Riley sure was a sweet old fashioned good guy, but at the time when everyone was dodgey about the initiative did anyone else think, hmm maybe it's an act? Was I alone in that? Probably cause like a minute later we all realised he was as nice as he seemed!
I thought we were accepting the idea that Angel was being played or as some said above that he was possessed and not of free will when doing those horribly murderous things like horrible murder? I mean yeah he's absolutely Charles Manson with the army version of the family here doing his bidding and I'm not for one second absolving him, but kinda waiting for some absolution. Also, my main point was that evil or otherwise, Buffy isn't the best person for judging. See all previous relationships. Actually remember when they thought Wood was evil but she went on the date anyway cause she may have been into his "wicked energy"? Buffy having sex with a killer is not out of bounds, but whatever was up with Angel seems to have ended when Buffy brought them back to reality. So maybe in Sept we can find something to forgive him.
I see Godwin's Law is in full effect...
Oh dear, Angel or not, all she knew before jumping him that he was Twilight. The enemy she'd been engaged on fighting/running from for several issues.

And she knew that Spike was an unrepentant murderer that she'd fought with for YEARS as well as someone who had killed 2 slayers, called it the best day of his life AND talked about wanting to be around for Buffy's end. Not really seeing a huge distinction here EXCEPT that Angel didn't kill anyone.

Only on a more embarrassing/silly level. Sorry I thought the space f*ck* was the lowest point in the entire verse. Scarily crap.

That's just your pov though. I thought season 6 and even 7 had much worse going on, much lower places they delved to. Buffy and Angel having space sex was at least based on mutual feelings of tenderness, passion, wanting to be together and missing each other.
I think the point people might be trying to make though is that if the universe is controlling Angel and using him as its puppet (ala the hyena possession on Xander or the love spell on Joyce/Willow/Buffy etc) it’d be unfair to still blame him for everything. Looking back on past issues there’s possible hints that Angel’s erratic behaviour may stem from some sort of possession. In A Beautiful Sunset he says that he “came here to talk” but ends up smashing Buffy’s face into the ground, in Twilight he rams Faith’s face into the title but then is genuinely shocked that he hurt her etc. It’s as if he almost got a split personality or something is fu%$ng with his mind and impairing his judgement. The feeling I’m getting (but of course I need this to be textually confirmed) is that the “universe” is effecting Angel mentally and perhaps amplifying any emotions/feelings he had. Just like how the Hyena possession amplified and twisted Xander’s lust for Buffy and almost had him rape her in the classroom.

Other hints;

- We know for a fact Twilight has these capabilities because it did this to Buffy in Issue #34 -- "She should be staking him right now, she did once before, but this time something isn't letting her"

- Giles starts to say it's "not as simple" as calling Angel a murder because "when you're an agent of Twilight -" but is interrupted

- In the preview page for Issue #36 we see that this force is whispering to Angel through everyone and everything. It's unclear yet if it's actually making him crazy or just persuading him (which are two very different things and I acknowledge that) but it could certainly suggest he's being mystically manipulated.

If that's the case then Angel is a victim of Twilight. You can't blame him if something handed him a mystical roofie and forced him to do these things. I still think we're going to find out that "the beast has a boss" and there's an actual being pulling the strings. I like the suggestion Ethan's really behind this but don’t know how likely that is. Once upon a time he was my Number 1 pick for Twilight.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 15:15 ]
I'll take space sex over "weird, viney, schtup until we croak because little orphan poltergeists made us do it" sex any day.
I'll take space sex over "weird, viney, schtup until we croak because little orphan poltergeists made us do it" sex any day.

Oh Lord yes, me too! *g*

And vamps, I agree, there is more to the story and the blurb for the #37 solicitation suggests that Spike knows what the "more" is - and it ain't Angel.

[ edited by lmblack21 on 2010-07-18 14:33 ]
You know I had totally forgotten about Xander's attempted rape on Buffy. Now when I think back to Seeing Red and his reaction to Spike (Both were filled with deamony badness and kinda evil) it just adds to my list of Xander hypocrisies!
Ahem, back on topic, Ethan would actually be a let down for me I think. I mean he's really incompetent, more so than Spike! But if they gave a nice idea that maybe while locked up and maybe dead then he somehow got smarter!? I dunno but Ethan as he was just grinds my teeth.
Project bitsy, that was a really great way of describing that episode...eugh!
8.35 does only one of two things, with regard to "The Universe is Controlling Angel" --

1) debunks it. He makes a pretty much instantaneous, effortless decision to go "oh well" and follow Buffy back. The Universe's personal avatar of destiny shaping can just go "meh" at actually closing the deal, but has no free will when it comes to the terror and abuse, then?

2) makes the people writing this season look grossly, grossly incompetent at their job, to miss the obvious contradiction there. I mean, that's way worse than forgetting Warren died.

How can one fail to distinguish between Buffy jumping Twilight and Buffy jumping Spike? Let's leave alone for the moment her emotional state. How about the fact that the "all she knew" with Spike was, for however bad it was, was not even remotely similar to an "all she knew" where the object was literally her most feared/hated figure in the entire world at that point. Jumping Twilight is not like jumping Spike. Jumping Twilight is like if halfway through their fight in "End of Days", Caleb had taken off a rubber mask and turned out to be Angel, and Buffy jumping him then.
"That's just your pov though. I thought season 6 and even 7 had much worse going on, much lower places they delved to. Buffy and Angel having space sex was at least based on mutual feelings of tenderness, passion, wanting to be together and missing each other."

And nudity of a grandiose scale almost unheard of in sane circles. *g*

Utterly ridiculous and infantile on so, so many levels. Sorry but that's how it came across to me,
You know I had totally forgotten about Xander's attempted rape on Buffy. Now when I think back to Seeing Red and his reaction to Spike (Both were filled with deamony badness and kinda evil) it just adds to my list of Xander hypocrisies!

Huh!? When Xander tried to rape Buffy he was possessed by a demonic hyena spirit. He’s not responsible for anything he did when he was possessed because he had no control over his actions. Just like you wouldn’t blame Willow for trying to kill Xander and Cordy with an axe when she was under Amy’s love spell. Spike wasn't possessed by anything during the AR so it's not remotely the same thing at all.

1) debunks it. He makes a pretty much instantaneous, effortless decision to go "oh well" and follow Buffy back. The Universe's personal avatar of destiny shaping can just go "meh" at actually closing the deal, but has no free will when it comes to the terror and abuse, then?

2) makes the people writing this season look grossly, grossly incompetent at their job, to miss the obvious contradiction there. I mean, that's way worse than forgetting Warren died.


But you're assuming here that Angel is no longer under Twilight's influence which might not necessarily be the case. For all we know he’s still being manipulated by Twilight and it could have him turn on Buffy at any moment. Since we have a betrayal that’s supposed to be coming up it’s totally possible...

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 14:39 ]
Nudity was a problem? I must have got the pg13 version cause I didn't see any...
Well i dunno, i mean possessed Xander was bad, but he remembers and wrote it off with a "oops can't remember" and never really made amends. That kinda gets me. Spike is a demon but even as a demon with a soul he felt bad. Now I'm not the great defender of Spike(just check my postings!) but I see them both very much in the wrong here. But that's way off topic. Sorry for bringing it up!

[ edited by BlueSkies on 2010-07-18 14:39 ]
I still don't feel comfortable judging much of the Twilight arc until we've read "Last Gleaming" - I think there's a lot more to the story that we'll be given that will explain some of the more perplexing stuff (read: stuff that fans have been going batshit crazy about). YMMV of course but I really believe we've only been given half the story so far.
Utterly ridiculous and infantile on so, so many levels. Sorry but that's how it came across to me,

That's cool, it's not for everyone, though I do find it ironice to talk about all the nudity and still call it "infantile". ;-)

And King, you're right - B/A sex in the comics is NOT like B/S in season 6. But it's SO FAR FROM being Buffy/Caleb as to be ridiculous.

Buffy/Angel have mutual feelings of love, tenderness, missing each other and longing for each other that makes it very different from both B/S and the absurd notion of Buffy/Caleb.

Buffy is not suicidal as she was when she boffed Spike - another difference. And there is no shame or embarrassment afterward either.

Angel is not a killer, he's not soulless and that makes it different.

But when people try to say comic Buffy banged a murderer who beat her, abused her, told her she was wrong and said HE was the answer to her problems, it's NO WONDER people cough and say, "hello, season 6". Fortunately, that is NOT what happened, as far as I can tell so yes, Buffy jumping Angel is NOT like Buffy jumping Spike.
This notion that destiny has just now been introduced into BTVS and ATS is false. The entire Universe is set upon things of the like. The notion of destiny ruling over free will and choice is even more false.

Prophesy alone indicates a destiny and wasn't Buffy the prophecy girl? The Prophecy said that Buffy would die and she did but she didn't STAY dead.

Whitsler, a messenger of the PTB took Angel to Buffy (his destiny) but still didn't see them falling in love (Free choice)
There are so many examples of destiny and a higher being intervening, (Snow in amends) and the characters excercising their own will over that of destiny, this is not a knew concept at all. It's been a driving factor from the beginning.
Well i dunno, i mean possessed Xander was bad, but he remembers and wrote it off with a "oops can't remember" and never really made amends. That kinda gets me. Spike is a demon but even as a demon with a soul he felt bad. Now I'm not the great defender of Spike(just check my postings!) but I see them both very much in the wrong here. But that's way off topic. Sorry for bringing it up!

But why should Xander feel bad? I mean in a sense, yes, I'm sure he did feel bad reliving those memories. But since he had no control over what he was doing and they all understood that this hyena spirit had possessed him, they all realise he was not responsible for whatever it made him do. Just like Oz may feel guilty if he had hurt anymore on a full moon but rationally they all understand that once the transformation takes over he had no control over his actions. The only creature that needs to make an amends in The Pack is the hyena spirit.

As I said, if you blame Xander for what happened in The Pack than you also have to say Willow should be held responsible for attacking her friends in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. Which isn't really fair when neither character wanted to be possessed and were under the influence of a spell. And Willow never said sorry for doing that, if I recall she was actually pissed off because “she loved Xander even before he evoked the great roofie spirit.” Which I’m not saying is wrong by the way, I totally understand why she would be pissed off with Xander and I don’t think she should say sorry for anything she did in that episode because she was clearly under the influence. You’d also have to blame Joyce for nearly burning Buffy at the stake, Wood for attacking Buffy in Storyteller, Cordy for stealing in the Shroud of Rhamon etc. The list is endless!

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 14:50 ]
"That's cool, it's not for everyone, though I do find it ironice to talk about all the nudity and still call it "infantile". ;-)"

Thats because of the Twee/coy way in which is was depicted. Just so awful.

"Buffy is not suicidal as she was when she boffed Spike - another difference. "

Oh god she should have been. At least then she'd have a decent excuse for her ill thought out actions.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-07-18 14:51 ]
It is, but a simple accepting of what he did would have changed everything. Willow was too ashamed to talk to Xander, Oz was in bits(in an Oz way) when he thought he killed people and Joyce felt guilty for the burning too. It was his "no memory" white wash that just bothered me. Say sorry!! It's simple!! Can't remember Wood's reaction but i'm sure at some point he apologised, it kinda seems like something he'd do!

And destiny is part of the Buffyverse, The vampire with a soul prophecy was a huge part of an episode called Destiny!! I know it abused the idea of destiny and exposed Angel's lack of self belief and worthiness, but nonetheless Spike whole heartedly thought he had a destiny. Granted in that episode the notion of destiny is ambiguous, but it's put out there!
Agreed! Destiny has been a part of the Buffyverse since BtVS S1 in Never Kill A Boy On The First Date. The Anointed One was supposed to rise and he did. He also was supposed to lead Buffy to the Master (check) and Buffy was supposed to die from the Master (check, twice). My understanding of the verse is not that destiny doesn't exist as it clearly does, but that "prophecies can be tricky creatures" and that things can still happen in totally unexpected ways. Whistler says Angel was meant to stop Acathla – which he did – only it happened like nobody ever thought it would. Just like Xander ended up bringing her back to life in Prophecy Girl which was never meant to happen but did because Buffy “never did what she was supposed to do” (i.e have friends).

I don't think the Twilight arc was executed all that well and I think Meltzer was a poor choice to write it as he can't do exposition. However, one thing I won't criticise it for is bringing up the concept of destiny and making Buffy and Angel succumb to it. That's happened again and again in both shows and this arc was no different. Especially in how Buffy reacted after the destiny sex which is where we can now expect the unexpected. That's classic Buffy/BtVS.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 15:14 ]
So many comments, so little time. A few random thoughts.

The idea that Twilight is crap is text. See the end of #35. And yes, I think it's supposed to resonate with Destiny!Love and a rejection of the sort of sensibility that likes Meyer's Twilight.

Destiny: When destiny appears in the show it subverts the way it appears in Destiny is Romance stories. The destiny never plays the way it's supposed to. Buffy is supposed to die at the hands of the Master. Except she doesn't stay dead. etc. etc. Which brings me to my next reply:

Now that it is clear that we've already seen Angel and Buffy's cosmic importance to each other, I'm quite mollified. I think a lot of the discussion is at cross purposes. #34/#35 did exactly what the show has always done -- somehow pleased the Destiny!Love crowd while giving plenty of material for people like me who think that Joss doesn't believe in that stuff at all. Buffy and Angel may be destined! for one another, but in addition to entirely destroying the world -- it required that Angel get turned into a puppet (ala Vampmogs) or that Buffy become an anti-feminist icon by hopping into the arms of the guy who just said he put her through hell because he wanted to manipulate her into becoming what she became (ala King). Through all that Destiny!Love!Sex, not a syllable of destiny!love (or really much of any kind of love) issues from Buffy's mouth. She converts Angel's wondering if she has any idea how much he missed her into kama sutra, and only came back to the idea of missing him as an afterthought when she'd effortlessly decided to leave Destiny!Love!Land and go back to the painful real world. I could go on. I thought it was a very nice shredding of the Destiny!Love reading of Bangel, and as ever Joss did it in a way that made the Destiny!Love fans feel serviced by the story.

So that's a long-winded way of saying that from my POV, most everything I wrote is moot. Jeanty said this all back in April some time. He hadn't seen all the scripts. Before he saw the rest of the scripts he was singing this Destiny!Love song because that is how he honestly sees it -- just like lots of you. If I'd relied on his reports I would have thought Joss was doing something other than what was done. Moreover, since he's seen the rest of the scripts he's changed his tune in ways that are more reassuring to an anti-Destiny!Love fan like myself. We're moving on to the next chapter.

[ edited by Maggie on 2010-07-18 15:06 ]
I think the problem, Imblack21, is that those of us who don't like the current direction, cannot see what depth and complexity those who are enjoying it, are seeing. When people say that they are enjoying the romance between Buffy and Angel, I can only see that as a surface reading of what's going on. When you look beyond that, all I'm getting are things that I find ridiculously flawed.

I do really like that we can have this type of discussion here. I could pretty much respond to every comment that been written since I last posted, but I'll just have to summarise.

To an extent we are all imposing our real world views on the story and that's not surprising. Your default position when watching a show is what you believe in real life. For example, unless told otherwise, I assume that ghosts don't exist. However, anyone who's an atheist has already accepted that the Buffyverse fundamentally doesn't hold to their views. My problem isn't with another difference to the real world, it's with what I see as a huge change to how the Buffyverse works.

As to the examples of destiny that have been given, I would interpret them differently. Just because someone writes something in a book and then it happens, that does not mean that it was predestined to happen. When one of the PTB influence something, that's just what they're doing, it's not destiny. The shows usually gave room for different readings. To go back to Buffy's prophetic dreams, I see them as warnings and as visions of what could potentially happen. Not what is set in stone. After all, if say Xander was in one of them, is he invincible until he takes part in that event? If not then it is not predestined. It would struggle to buy into any story with predetermination, because it's so easy to pick holes in it.

The idea that destiny and free will can co-exist is pretty popular here, but I'm baffled by it. I really don't get how that would work and that's what I always need. I need to understand how a fictional world works, but that can absolutely be in a way that is in total contradiction of how I think the real world works. As long as it has internal logic.

Take the idea of slayers being destined to be slayers, but it's up to them what they do after this point. If destiny isn't controlling the point of death of slayers, how can it be choosing who will be the next one? If a slayer survives ten years then the next slayer will be different than if she'd survived ten minutes.

Destiny and predetermination are very problematic ideas and I'd always look for a different interpretation. The problem with doing that for season eight is you'd have to assume that most of the characters are talking nonsense. The universe controlling everything explanation is hard to get around.
Just because someone writes something in a book and then it happens, that does not mean that it was predestined to happen.

"There are two things that I don't believe in: coincidence and leprechauns!" :)

Giles' books in S1 pinpointed the exact day the Anointed One would rise, that he would lead Buffy to the Master and that she would die. All of these things came true so I can't really believe that it was all just coincidental and not predestined. It doesn't mean there can't still be surprises (Xander reviving her) but everything that was destined to happen did come to pass. I can relate to your understanding of Buffy's dreams a little more but even then I'm not so sure because the dream she shared with Faith said the exact number of days until she died -- "counting down from 730" -- which makes her sacrifice seem predestined as well.

My theory of the Buffyverse is not that *everything* is predestined but that certain events are. Which explains why Angel was predestined to close Acathla and his blood was the key but "no one saw Buffy coming." This way we're still left with wiggle room where people can act entirely of their own free will and change how things are expected to happen. For example, Buffy was destined to die in PG and no matter what anyone did it would come to pass but it never said anything about someone intervening and bringing her back afterwards.

This is why, for me, S8 has introduced nothing I don't think I've already seen before in the verse. The universe caused Buffy and Angel to have sex and they did. However, it was only that act that was destined to happen and now afterwards Buffy has said "to hell with what the universe wants" and refused to stay in the Twilight dimension. Just like she did die in Prophecy Girl but refusing to succumb to a slayer’s life meant she had a friend to bring her back. I think it'd be incorrect to say destiny does or does not exist because it's a bit of both.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 15:35 ]
Vampmogs that bit at the end really reminded me of Whistler's speech in Becoming, where he said all this badness is gonna happen, can't help that. I mean his speech essentially confirmed that some stuff IS predestined, but as you and he said, it's what you do after that counts. Textually your comment(and my agreement!) is totally supported by Joss, and anyone who believed that destiny and free will can co exist are right there! But for the nay-sayers, Angel season 5 smacks us in the face with his negative attitude and signing away his 'destiny' that he didn't believe in any way. Oh Joss, how you pander to our every whim!
But wait! Thought! Ahem, if destiny is predestined, can he sign it away? Or is there another loop-hole like Xander reviving him? (disturbing image!)

[ edited by BlueSkies on 2010-07-18 15:40 ]
It's funny. I don't really see any "destiny" being played out in S8. None more than in previous seasons. Did Giles or Willow talk about destiny? I can't remember. But even if they did, I'm not sure I trust or accept anything they say as being right or true. I think that is one interpretation that fans have picked up and are running with, either in a derogatory or appreciative way, depending on which side of the fence your sitting. And it's usually only referred to when speaking about one or two issues out of the nearly 40 we've seen so far.

I've never understood that 730 line. What was that you said mogs, number of days? Oh 2 years. Now I get it! Thanks. Bed time for me. I'll be excited to see how this thread reads in the morning!
Kaan, it was the exact number of days until the events of 'The Gift'.
Heh.

"It's what you do afterwards that counts"

It's kind of embarrassing that it took me 320 words to try and say what Joss already said in just 7...

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 15:52 ]
Don't worry, it's what you do afterwards that counts, vampmogs.
It's been a little too long since I watched the early seasons, so I'll have to concede to you, vampmogs, on the details. However, once a prophecy is written down, the trouble is that people will read it, believe in it and then act to make sure that it comes true.

"Counting down from 730". Typical prophecy - tells you that something will happen, but doesn't say what! It only seems prophetic after the event in question. Fair point though.


For example, Buffy was destined to die in PG and no matter what anyone did it would come to pass but it never said anything about someone intervening and bringing her back afterwards.


This is the sort of thing that I have a real problem with. It's saying that Buffy had no free will to avoid this moment. She literally could not walk away. For me Buffy chose to face this moment and that's why it's so great.

[ edited by NotaViking on 2010-07-18 15:59 ]
It amazes me, the lengths to which people will go to pursue shipper arguments, in the guise of everything from discussions about destiny vs. free will to is it complex/is it superficial to does it compare to S6, on a forum that doesn't allow shipper arguments.
Once again, I'm so glad that I don't take comics seriously. Which is to say they don't work for *me*, on any level, nothing derogatory toward those who enjoy them.

I still find it interesting to follow from a distance, and these threads can be really hilarious. And I have to say that I'm looking forward to seeing how the final issues play out, for no other reason than Joss being Joss, it's bound to knock some of the current insufferable smugness out of the "anything's OK as long as it's B/A 4eva" crowd. ;)
Whistler's speech has pretty much nothing to do with destiny, as far as I can tell. He's asserting a truth about existence -- essentially, that sh*t happens, and it's what you do when sh*t happens that defines you -- and it's no more prophetic than it's telepathic to cold-read someone as having a family member who shares an initial with you.

I pretty much find no basis either within the first 144 episodes and 32 issues of "Buffy" to suggest that, either in story, ANY two people having sex would ever be something that "destiny" would take an interest in, let alone on a metatextual basis that it's the kind of cop out, because-we-say-so relationship development the writing team would ever indulge. In story, the Buffyverse has never had so intimate (ahem) a relationship with destiny that fatalism of that high a level would be believable. This isn't Stephen King's "ka", and it's not predestination, and it's not a causality-looping time travel saga. The only plot in the Buffyverse that really played with destiny at all in a fatalistic way was "Angel" Season 4 -- but notice that the destiny-figure there was ultimately thwarted in favor of free will. Every other time I can think of "destiny" really being relevant, it is abjectly subverted left and right. The Master reveals to Buffy that the prophecy about her was basically hype; if she hadn't come, she wouldn't have died. It was always her choice. And when he tries to rely on it in disbelief when she's back, we get "I flunked the written". Likewise, what's the thing we know about Whistler's Angel "destiny"? That it was mythtaken -- thwarted without even knowing about it by Buffy. The "prophecy" about Connor killing Angel was bunk. It goes on and on. If Season 8 is taking the position that the Buffyverse is a place of immutable, relentless destiny and the people in it are just twigs on that mighty river, it is the first time the "Buffy" side of the franchise has taken that position.
This is the sort of thing that I have a real problem with. It's saying that Buffy had no free will to avoid this moment. She literally could not walk away. For me Buffy chose to face this moment and that's why it's so great.

My understanding of it is that she would have died no matter what but she kind of chose her path getting there. As in, she could have fled but somehow she'd have ended up down in that sewer anyway. Or she could have chosen to go down there like a hero and try and "take him with her." Even Buffy had accepted that she was going to die which is why I kind of find her so amazing in that ep because her only desire was that she could finish him off too.

When I view it like that I still find her heroic but I can understand if it doesn't work for everybody.

Shey,

I'm not going to speak for anyone else but I will say that *I* am not talking about destiny vs free will as a guise for shipping so I'm a little miffed you'd insinuate that. I’m talking about it because I was reading the thread and this particular part of the discussion interested me.

And all you've done by bringing up shipping and taking digs at shipper groups is bring the discussion back to shipping when it had since moved on, which is ironic...
It's funny. I don't really see any "destiny" being played out in S8.


It's basically all in Giles' explanation in #34. Stuff like "If the universe is smart enough to create vampires and slayers to balance each other out, isn't it possible that, well, that universe is also smart enough to have a far bigger plan for them?"

I don't see the plans of the PTB as being destiny, but when the universe is controlling things, then it's a different ball game. I mean the universe created vampires and slayers? WTF? Buffy might have turned it down in the end, but the idea that the universe was controlling things up until then is what I dislike so much. Perhaps we've got a bit side-tracked by talking about destiny - it's really the whole universe thing that's the issue and that is where the conversation started.
I think "Prophecy Girl" said almost the exact opposite. Unlike the "ka" of Stephen King's books, for comparison, where at various points it is textually acknowledged that if something is destined, circumstances will contrive to force you back no matter what you want to do, in "Prophecy Girl", the Master seems to be pretty plain about it --

"You heard the prophecy that I was about to break free and you came to stop me. But prophecies are tricky creatures. They don't tell you everything. (whispers) You're the one that sets me free! If you hadn't come, I couldn't go. Think about that!"

How much more clearly can you say it than that? If Buffy had just staked the little punk and gone back to her day, the Master, by his own admission, would have been stuck down there.
But isn't the kind of twisty brain f#$k of it all? That the prophecy did happen because it's a tricky creature? I still interpreted that as the Master basically saying that it still will happen, just never the way you'd expect it to. And what about the omens (the earthquake, a baby born with its eyes facing inwards, a cat giving birth to a litter of snakes) that were all written in the codex as well?

The books also pinpointed the exact date the Anointed One would rise in Never Kill A Boy On The First Date. And of course there's the prophecy that Connor would kill Sahjhan which also happened, even when he tried re-writing the prophecy -- "the father will kill the son" -- to save his own ass.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 16:30 ]
He says "if you hadn't come, I couldn't go". That's a pretty straightforward proposition. That she didn't know what her role would be informed her decision to come down there, true, but even the Master -- never anyone more loving the prophecies -- considered the true, cruel irony being that she chooses to come. It's why he is talking at all, to hurt her with that last truth.

As for the Anointed One... meh. The Harvest was ostensibly prophesied, too, Luke was babbling about it. There has never been in the history of genre television of a supernatural bent a story setting more bent on demonstrating how UN-destined destiny is than the "Buffyverse". Until two issues ago, that is.
KoC's answering the specifics really well, but prophecies fall down in general terms too, when you take them as fact. If a prophecy says Bob will kill Mike, then Mike cannot die in any other fashion. He can try to shoot himself, he can jump of cliffs, swim underwater for hours, etc. He's invincible, except at the hands of Bob. I really can't deal with that sort of scenario.

[ edited by NotaViking on 2010-07-18 16:33 ]
Fans of "The Hitchhiker's Guide" novels have been here before, BTW, in exactly the fashion described by NotaViking. (spoilers for "Hitchhiker's books")

But that's exactly the type of stuff that is played for camp value by Douglas Adams and has otherwise been completely eschewed in the Buffyverse. Again, until two issues ago.

What frustrates me is trying to figure out whether the complete loref*ck that goes into making all of this destined is there merely to shield the characterf*ck of insta-villain-sex... in SPACE! from criticism, or if the latter exists to demonstrate the former. The problem is, since they are both monumentally crappy ideas, so it's not like either answer is better than the other.
But prophecies don't seem to work like that. In my interpretation, if a prophecy says that Bob will kill Mike, then Mike will CHOOSE not to kill himself, with or without the knowledge that Bob will kill him -- just like how Angel was given the opportunity to save Fred, but chose not to, fulfilling the prophecy that Illyria would be resurrected. It's both destiny and free will working hand-in-hand, and I love it.
My problem is that even if you interpret the Master as saying that Buffy only died because she chose to go down there the Codex still predicted the omens foreshadowing her death...

- Cat giving birth to a litter of snakes
- The earthquake warning the Master his imprisonment was in its final days
- A girl being born with her eyes facing inward
- Lakes beginning to boil

That all happened and you can’t chalk all of that up to coincidence or these things happening because someone chose for them to happen. Therefore destiny must exist in the Buffyverse in some way.

And, yup, Waterkeeper511 that’s how I interpret it too. The destiny made Buffy die because she read it prophesied which eventually led to her choosing to go down there. It was free will and destiny working hand in hand. That’s how I’ve always interpreted the Master’s words when he says that they’re “tricky creatures.” They manipulate and coerce you into making them come true which doesn’t nullify them at all because they know it’ll work. He doesn't say they're bull he says they're "tricky." In other words... it'll happen in ways you'll never see coming but it will happen.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 16:44 ]
Buffy was always a very special tv project that managed to sell to the masses as well as to the critics.

Before I saw it my impression of it from promo pictures was very bad. Essentially I believed it to be something like Twilight or Charmed, only when I saw it I got that it was so much more complex and interesting, even if it did use lame soap opera tropes to amass an audience. That was the beauty of it. You could ignore all the complexity and see Buffy and Angel as an early Bella and Edward, or you could completely ignore the soapopera and go with all the brilliance hidden under the surface and actually watch those soap opera stereotypes be subverted.

I'm always inclined to read a similar complexity into S8 but so often now it ended up dissappointing and just as trashy and mainstream as it looks on the surface. A small part of me is still hoping for an end that'll set things right again and infuse this story with a meaning, but these interviews always make me think, no, that's really just that. S8 is not really Buffy, it's just one of those trashy looking promo shots drawn out.
Well, this thread kinda exploded overnight. Why does it really matter if something is really predestined, or not? We all make choices everyday, and just because we find out later that it was preordained by some higher power doesn't really change anything. What's important is that in the moment, we seemingly made a choice, and the choice reflected/still reflects on us. Buffy "chose" to stab Angel through the chest, sending him to a hell dimension, a decision that she's still living with, and referenced as late as "Chosen". Universe be damned, she seemingly made that choice then. Same thing as when she chose to sacrifice herself to save Dawn, or even the vow she made that she would dispatch anyone who tried to kill Dawn should the portals open. Same thing with the choice she made going down to meet the Master, even though she knew she would die at his hands.

I think it kinda goes back to Angel's little quote about (I'm paraphrasing here) how if nothing we do matters (predestination could fall here), then all that matters is what we do.

The degree of predestination is iffy anyway. On one hand, we have the theory that Buffy and Angel were always meant to be together. But then you also have the statement that it was by virtue of the choices she made, that Buffy proved that she was the One to the universe. Meaning, that there's some seriously contradictory prose right there in #34.
Waterkeeper511, the issue with that, to me, is that it isn't free will, it's just destiny. If you're destined to do something, then you aren't choosing. You're being forced to choose one option by destiny or the universe. There is an illusion of free will, but in reality there's none.

[ edited by NotaViking on 2010-07-18 17:26 ]
The degree of predestination is iffy anyway. On one hand, we have the theory that Buffy and Angel were always meant to be together. But then you also have the statement that it was by virtue of the choices she made, that Buffy proved that she was the One to the universe. Meaning, that there's some seriously contradictory prose right there in #34.

Good point! Buffy wasn't predestined from birth for this to happen. It was only when the universe saw her breaking all the rules that it decided she was something extraordinary and gave her this "reward" to survive the Twilight.
I don't really think it takes ignoring the text to see Buffy as Bella and Angel as Edward anymore, is the problem -- I think it takes a reading of 8.33/8.34/8.35 that is objectively detached from just assuming "Buffy" is always different/better than "Twilight". The whole plot of becoming Twilight, why he did it and the methods he chose... Edward Cullen looks like Oz in comparison, on the scale of well-adjusted love interest.

About the only argument that *could* save Angel at this point would be the equally contradictory idea that in ALL of this he has been under the direct control of an outside force.
If you're destined to do something, then you aren't choosing.

Destiny's not the same thing as fate. Stories where destiny is in play don't necessarily need to be fatalistic. Buffy has a destiny but has always been an active participant and has a strong tendency to push back against fate in unexpected ways.
Predetermination, then. When we're talking about free will vs destiny then that's what I mean. Otherwise what is destiny - a vague suggestion?

Anyway the definition of destiny is:

1. The inevitable or necessary fate to which a particular person or thing is destined; one's lot.
2. A predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control.
3. The power or agency thought to predetermine events.

[ edited by NotaViking on 2010-07-18 17:10 ]
King, I think that he's mind controlled by some outside force is pretty much established by the preview page now (where we see him driven mad with voices) but even if that saves his character on the long haul, it doesn't save the story from being just plain bad, boring and without an interesting message.

Buffy seems to have lost it's complexity, it's barely able to retain the basic characterisation (in case of poor Angel not even that). It's an unworthy ending for a brilliant franchise.
King of Cretins wrote: "The more time has gone by the more I realized that I was shoved forcefully straight out of their story when Buffy couldn't manage to be angry for more than (literally) about 90 seconds despite a level of manipulation, abuse, and provincial I-know-what's-best-for-you-more-than-you-do condescension that Edward Cullen could never have achieved even if given an additional five novels."

Exactly. Also made me laugh!

The crux of the problem with the story is that even if Angel was completely manipulated into being Twilight the whole time, (and I hope he was) it doesn't appear that Buffy was manipulated when she decided to instantly forgive him for everything.

And the problem I have with this interview is that it makes me dread the comic instead of looking forward to it. It just seems pointless all around to say things that make a large number of fans not want to buy or read.
It just seems pointless all around to say things that make a large number of fans not want to buy or read.

Yes, but at the same time it seems pointless and masochistic for fans who always disagree with Jeanty to continue reading his interviews and then complain about whatever he says. It's pretty clear by now that Jeanty will give his honest opinion to any question you ask him and not the company line. After 3 years ya'll have a pretty good if you agree with him or not and if his comments make you enjoy the comics more or less. It seems like we go through this every time a new interview comes out and I don't understand why people continue to subject themselves to his interviews if they find his opinions so infuriating.

It could easily be avoided by not reading his interviews all together, rather than expecting him to censor himself and/or be dishonest about how he feels. If his interviews make you dread the comics rather than enjoy them and if you honestly don’t want to feel that way then only you have the power to change that.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 18:06 ]
Vampmogs, that's because after three years no one has any idea what this comic is even supposed to be about. So they hope on insights of one of it's creators.
And they continue to make the comic look as poor as possible. It's not Jeanty's opinions people have a problem with it's the comic itself and it's lameness that is underscored by every new interview saying "No, honest to god, there's nothing complex, ironic or intelligent about this comic".

The interviews only destroy the illusion that there is something more to it. Maybe even for the better. At least people know, it's not really a merchandise product that belongs in every collection.
Because Vampmogs, we live in hope. I am not a casual fan, I am die-hard, have been from the beginning. I still watch a bit of Buffy every day. I buy so much merchandise it's ridiculous. I keep hoping. I can't help it. Just as I can't help being disappointed. And really, disappointed is not a strong enough word.
"It's not Jeanty's opinions people have a problem with it's the comic itself and it's lameness that is underscored by every new interview saying "No, honest to god, there's nothing complex, ironic or intelligent about this comic".

The interviews only destroy the illusion that there is something more to it. Maybe even for the better. At least people know, it's not really a merchandise product that belongs in every collection."

Hear, hear. My thoughts exactly.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-07-18 18:34 ]
I disagree that it's not Jeanty's opinions that people have a problem with. I could go back to any number of threads on here from the Slayalive Q/As and find people pissed off at him for expressing his shipping preferences. If that doesn't count as one of his opinions I don't know what does. Shipping is based entirely on opinions, personal preferences, personal tastes etc and people have been very vocal in saying he should not be expressing his because it will anger other fans. And the way he interprets romance (talked about at length at the start of this thread) is his opinion too, what else could it be?

Jeanty doesn't even write the story and until recently hadn't even read all the scripts. The way people take his interpretations as gospel has never made a lot of sense to me. It is one man's interpretation of the text and the man isn’t even a writer. I mean that with no disrespect to him but he has no input in creating the story other than how it’s laid out on the page. And whilst that's certainly an important job it has little to do with the layers or themes Joss may be putting into his scripts.

There have been a number of comments here along the lines of "they should stop putting out these interviews because they affect my enjoyment of the story.” For a start it’s kind of a selfish statement to make since the people saying it obviously aren't thinking about all the other fans that don’t get angry over the interviews and would still like to read them? If you don’t like them you can just not read them and both parties win. But if you take them away then all those who enjoy them have absolutely nothing. And most of all nobody sits us all down and forces us to read them against our will so it’s actually illogical to say they need to stop producing interviews as if that’s the only solution to appease those who hate reading them. It’s not but the same people keep reading them anyway as if they have no agency over what they look at on the net.

What I'm basically saying is that it's one thing to read and interview and then express why you disagree with what he says. But it's another to read and interview and then complain that you had to read it at all when... you didn't. You never have. You chose to and only you can change that.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-18 19:22 ]
Maybe because we can? There's no 'fandom police' out there telling us what we can or cannot do, surely?

IMO If a online interview is stuck out there for all to see then we can comment as we see fit.

As I said earlier on I'm sure all DH reps are very well meaning, but sometimes what they say does seem a trifle 'odd'. :)

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-07-18 19:05 ]
The addition of the belts on Twilight's costume was a good choice since it provided a much needed waistline; those pants are riding pretty high in the featured sketch! Always appreciative seeing and reading about Jeanty's early sketches and designs of the comic. I liked that he referred to his work on Season 8 as a collaborative effort as that's how I viewed the television show - different people putting forth their best efforts and individual talents to bring the audience a quality program.
Kingofcretins wrote:

The more time has gone by the more I realized that I was shoved forcefully straight out of their story when Buffy couldn't manage to be angry for more than (literally) about 90 seconds despite a level of manipulation, abuse, and provincial I-know-what's-best-for-you-more-than-you-do condescension that Edward Cullen could never have achieved even if given an additional five novels.


This should be on a t-shirt. This is exactly what happened to me as I was reading #33 and, yes, was forcefully shoved straight out of the story. Either Buffy forgave Angel for being exponentially prefixey worse than Edward Cullen--no, not even forgave, but found his patronizing manipulations and abuse romantic--or she lost control of herself and the Universe was steering (oh hai, dub con!). And no, the lead-up to her falling into despair was not done clearly enough to explain her mindset--she'd just come off of laughing and giggling for kicks for most of #32. For her to suddenly dive into a suicidal depression--nope. And especially not when she felt such strong support from her friends. Season 6 had Buffy's actions well-characterized and her mindset understandable. And the comparison of Spike to Twangel doesn't fit as KoC ably defined it--it's more like Caleb pulling off his mask to become Angel in End of Days. We still expect Buffy to kiss him sweetly and then frak him into outerspace then? God, I hope not.


Changeling wrote:

That's because after three years no one has any idea what this comic is even supposed to be about. So they hope on insights of one of it's creators.
And they continue to make the comic look as poor as possible. It's not Jeanty's opinions people have a problem with it's the comic itself and it's lameness that is underscored by every new interview saying "No, honest to god, there's nothing complex, ironic or intelligent about this comic".

The interviews only destroy the illusion that there is something more to it. Maybe even for the better. At least people know, it's not really a merchandise product that belongs in every collection.


This deserves quoting again because it is TRUTH. It's because I keep hoping for some insight and the interviews fail to deliver it. Like I said above, I wish I had the willpower to not read these remarks, but I keep hoping there'll be something to hold onto, that clarifies the mindf*ck turn the story has taken and it doesn't happen.

And seriously, are we (the thread) really judging fans for being unhappy with these interviews? Nice to know that it's the fans' fault for having problems with the story and the way it's being marketed. Because the fans are the ones in control of that.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-07-18 20:09 ]
To be fair, Buffy's giggling stopped cold at the end of #32, when she was hit with the reality of what happened to her slayers and what she took to be the fact of the connection between that and her powers. Those powers, in turn, had been working for her as a distraction from her epic defeat. That temporary respite horribly deflated like that reads to me like a last straw.

That said, I want more explanation for why she hopped Angel. I have to work at an explanation, and that's such a crucial move in the story. It needed to be brought home much more solidly than it was.

King Your analogy about what if Caleb were suddenly revealed to actually be Angel is a powerful one. I don't see how they could possibly have sold a big sexfest at that moment if all Caleb-revealed-to-actually-be-Angel said was that he hadn't really killed anybody and that he'd been doing everything else he did just to focus Buffy's energies.

I don't know what else to say. Allie says they worked hard on the sequence of emotions there. I'm thinking part of what they missed in their calculation is the segment of the fandom that already thinks ME has cheated by routinely holding Angel less accountable for his actions than other non-designated-hero-Champion characters in the 'verse. Maybe they expected Angel's explanation to carry more weight with fans than it did.
This was a great interview. I'm really looking forward to this book hitting the shelves again in the near future, under Joss's pen!
I think what I need most out of the final arc, is to understand what the hell is going on with Angel. The easiest explanation is that he's been possessed the whole time, but then what exactly is the point of the story? If it really has been Angel, then I just don't understand how anyone could think that the Angel we've seen previously could act like this.

I always thought Twilight was an interesting character because it seemed like despite his actions, he could actually have a valid point of view. That he was saving the world from the imbalance created by the slayers. A the-ends-justify-the-means type of guy. Unfortunately now that the end game of his plan has been shown to be both despicable and ridiculous by the nonsense that Angel spouts in #34, I've lost all interest in that character. I just hope Angel can be saved out of the wreckage.
Maggie, when I compare it to the lack of affect for Buffy in Season 6, I think it's clear Buffy's not in a suicidal depression here. And for her to go from such spirited carefree behavior to #33/34 requires more clear evolution of her emotional journey. We see Buffy dissolve into tears, then we see her stand up determinedly as Xander bolsters her. This Buffy is not alone. She's got Xander at her side as her best friend. She's got a whole mess of friends standing by her. We've seen Buffy at her lowest before--after killing Angel, after being torn from heaven--and I feel that she hadn't hit that wall. If only she'd been shown as becoming more and more brittle like in Season 7, but Buffy's been portrayed as remarkably upbeat throughout the season (moments of hardship, but still dealing)--it's more like her emotional affect from early Season 7 than from the middle period around Get It Done and leading up to her emotional lows in Empty Places/Touched.

I think what you call her "epic defeat" in Retreat is the problem actually. It didn't feel epic on an emotional level for her. There was anger, but where was the horrible defeat? It never reached a point that I thought Buffy was on the brink of despair, of breaking.

Not only had Buffy been shown with strong enough moments of happiness (however brief, they offer a respite to a beleaguered mind), but she had strong emotional and moral support from her friends. Yes, the burden was great. But its weight had not been portrayed as impossible for her. I think this is more the flub coming from Retreat through Twilight. The gravity of the deaths wasn't really shown besides the unnamed soldier in Turbulence (and how gratifying that Joss realized we needed some gravity, but it was gravity at a distance still) and what's more, her personal connection to the Slayers who died hadn't been well developed. It's less developed than it was in Season 7 when Buffy dreamed of the Potentials dying--at least then she was dreaming and experiencing their deaths in her own psyche. Or from having to bury Chloe in her backyard. We needed another moment of Buffy having to face the loss of one of her Slayers like she did when she cut Aiko down in Tokyo. Something to drive home the personal loss and how the Slayers deaths was affecting her--instead we have Meltzer relating the deaths to Buffy through Willow. What we needed was Buffy confronting those deaths firsthand, not getting a memo from her friend. Here, the sense of tragedy isn't close enough to explicate why it's hitting so hard, and so it doesn't seem to be hitting all that hard.

As you say, Maggie, "it needed to be brought home much more solidly than it was" and because it wasn't, the pivotal characterization choice of her 'surrender' to Twangel didn't play clearly and didn't make sense in the moment. So it's problematic because of a) the insufficient set-up of Buffy's emotional despair and b) the inadequate justification of Angel's actions.

What's more, the way it's played off as 'romantic' with Buffy gazing at Angel and clasping him to her as they rise up and 'romantically' kiss doesn't read as her giving into despair, but taking a time-out to have a romantic rendezvous. The emotional disconnect is extreme.

Maybe they expected Angel's explanation to carry more weight with fans than it did.


I think this might hold some truth to it. I remember asking Allie back when the Q&A's were going on and it seemed a bit like we were meant to take Angel's word at face value.
Please do hear what I'm saying, Emmie. I'm agreeing with you that the execution on this point, when read as charitably as I know how, doesn't bring it home. The rest is me doing the charitable reading -- saying to myself "OK, that doesn't work in any immediate emotional way, but can I at least try to figure out what they thought they were going for". However ineffectual it was, surely we have to agree that the writers had some story in their own mind about why Buffy did what she did. If your aim is to keep showing the many ways it doesn't work, we are at cross purposes, because my aim is just to figure out what they wanted to do (however badly it might have been executed). I'm on a salvage expedition; you want to explain why the ship went down. And I wonder if that's not the essential difference between us. I long ago felt the ship had gone down in terms of working emotionally. But I still think it's worth hunting for what Joss was trying to do. That could still be interesting. I, at least, continue to enjoy thinking about it.

If I could find a plausible story, then this whole episode could get filed as something like Spike's soul quest -- which was putzed for different (we want a plot twist!) reasons. That's a key moment in the story for me, but I didn't get the emotional part of the story because they were actually lying (outright telling Marsters he was after a chip and not a soul) about Spike's state of mind. So I just have a gap in the story, where I insert my own sense of what Spike was about and carry on, even though the flow of the story itself is really interrupted by the lie.

Just so here, if the overall story ends up making sense to me, and delivers in other ways that I care about, I'll just have an elision in the story here which just says, this is what they were trying to do even though the pictures and words don't convey the meaning.

My own reading does not account for Buffy's apparent complacency in Twilight Land about what happened. As I said, I do hope we get more explanation. It's possible that I won't be able to add it up in any way I can figure out and answer the basic question of what story they are even trying to tell here. Because I think they had to be aiming for something, I think it's too soon to throw up my hands and declare that it's really totally gibberish. So I'm trying to figure it out. If after Last Gleaming I still can't narrate the story, then I give up.

[ edited by Maggie on 2010-07-18 21:01 ]
"Maybe they expected Angel's explanation to carry more weight with fans than it did."

Yes, that's exactly one of the situations I was talking of. You read that and as a long time watcher of the show with all it's twists and turns you know "no way, that explanation is far too stupid, something's fishy here", but then the interviews come and hammer how they actually meant that to be taken seriously.

No fault of Jeanty's that the story really is that lame, just sad to hear.
Two points.

1. I think that part of the reason these interviews, whether by Jeanty or Allie, or whomever, are viewed as saying little is that they are part of a medium that we have come to from TV. On TV, there was no advance printing of material used to sell the next episode, save for the short promo for the next week. Here, this is part of the game, but the problem is, whedonesque is not your typical fandom and expects to learn information and discuss it- but that is not the purpose of these interviews. They exist for no more reason than to generate sales. Not intelligent discussion; that comes secondary.
2. I made a short quip above that cosmic does not work, in my estimation, in a show that focuses on the human element. And I think this needs explanation. I think this is why I could never get into Angel the show- because it had things like TPTB, the Oracles, etc. that seemed to imply that there were beings above the ones we really cared about, who could pull strings, allow for no final win, etc. They could rewrite history, in fact, and did at times. It became, for me, harder to care about the characters in Angel. In Buffy, the focus was always on the characters- Buffy, Willow, Giles, Xander, etc. And their real-world concerns, as metaphor for larger issues. Buffy was about the people- this comic, like Angel, seems more about the FORCES that exist in the world- and I can't care about the FORCES. The comic seems a loss to me, not even a valiant attempt to move Buffy forward but an attempt to squeeze a human-focused comic into the medium of a superhero comic with its attendant tropes and expectations.
I think the problem, Imblack21, is that those of us who don't like the current direction, cannot see what depth and complexity those who are enjoying it, are seeing.

And this is fair enough. I absolutely can see that those who don't LIKE the current direction simply can't see the depth and complexity - because they DON'T LIKE IT. That is true of any story arc. I didn't see growth, maturity or complexity in season 6 at all and yet many did. That is a fair assessment.

But I also recognize that for all the people snarking about B/A shippers, about the B/A portion of the comics, about the pro B/A comments from involved parties, that part of the reason for their OWN anger, disappointment, bitterness etc is ALSO due to them being a shipper - just for another ship. There are some who might like to pretend this is not the case but it doesn't ring true.

And for every storyline that Buffy has had since at least season 6 (maybe longer than that but I've only been an online fan since the end of season 5), there have been people saying Buffy is acting out of character, that the feminist icon that is Buffy has been shattered, that B/A is teh suck! (heh), that the storyline makes no sense, has no depth, isn't organic, etc, etc, ad infinitum. What it REALLY all boils down to is "does this work for me or does it not". And it's clear that for some it DOES and for others it does not. That is the ONLY truth. Everything else is subjective.

[ edited by lmblack21 on 2010-07-18 22:37 ]
Maggie, I wasn't disagreeing with you! I know we do that far too often, but I wasn't intending to be contentious. I was more elaborating on what points you had made, then sharing my own viewpoint to somehow meet in the middle. Your post before my last one touched upon my somewhat careless mention of the "laughing" Buffy in #32. And I wanted to explain the context for why I think the "laughing" matters still and how it relates in the overall context of your own statement of Buffy's emotional journey needing to be better executed and how I saw it not working. I think the simple fact that Buffy was able to laugh, grin and joke around so easily showed that the death surrounding her still wasn't really touching her. Her joie de vivre comes off as almost callous considering the circumstances and while she does get upset and cry, she's immediately uplifted by Xander, and it's kinda undercut by the fact that he just gave her a Superman speech. Like all she needed was a peptalk and she's back to being determined--also, how her upset was based in a bit of narcissism in her fear of becoming a vampire--it was less about the Slayers' deaths and more about her own angst. So it read like she only needed to be told it wasn't her fault and she was over it. I think that's an overall weakness of the season--we keep talking about Buffy's strong connection to the Slayers, but it hasn't been in evidence much ever since Wolves at the Gate. I'm struggling to even remember a scene where Buffy interacts with one of the new Slayers in a significant way since then and coming up blank--why are we expected to think they're important to her if she's still just pulling away from then, but not even getting the brittle side-effects of S7 and the cost required for that distance? Without the brittle affect, it makes it appear it's all too easy for Buffy to distance herself from these women and not care.

"Connection. Why can't I feel it?" Can she even feel it? When she's sorry for the Slayers deaths, is it about the Slayers or about what she's becoming? Shouldn't it be more clearly both? I'm more clear on her fear about what she's becoming, but I'm less clear about how much she actually cares: mostly, I tell myself this is Buffy and thus she must care about them as individuals. But that's more about who I know the character to be and less what Season 8 has been showing me lately.

If only the death had touched her in a more significant and visceral way, if that point had truly been driven home, I think it would have made more sense how she'd give in to despair at having the rug pulled out from under her with Twilight's unmasking. Then, if her giving in to Twangel had been played with less romantic rose-colored glasses, if there'd been some clearer line when she switched to giving into the fantasy of escape... I can intellectually understand that evolution of emotion, but I don't think it was pulled off. (Once again, I wish we'd had another writer for this arc.)

As always, whenever I go into detail about how it doesn't work (e.g. Buffy should've directly confronted the Slayers dying in Twilight, not had it related to her secondhand via Willow), it's so that I can better envision what they were trying to do so that it does work in my head at the very least. Just like with Spike's soulquest. So if that helps, please read my detailed critique as constructive criticism. It's my tweaking the story so that it works better in my head at the very least, and maybe for others, too. Being able to identify what's wrong is about isolating it and understanding it.



I edit too much. I blame this on no one commenting after me.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-07-18 23:38 ]
@Emmie: In #31, I think the stronger case can be made for Buffy feeling sorry, and sick and tired of being surrounded by death, then it can for her feeling sorry for herself, and what she's become. In "Turbulence", it's not yet clear what she's become. She's just mastered (sorta) flying and landing. While she doesn't know what it is she's become yet, the immediate death and suffering around her affects her. She dwells. And Xander tells her to snap out of it. That she didn't cause the massacre. And before Xander, it was Riley. At this point, Buffy's not feeling lousy about her new powers yet, but rather the fact that there are tons of dead bodies littering Tibet, and more dying as time goes on.

As for the slightly callous experimenting of powers, it's not written unintentionally, nor is it left unremarked. Dawn mentions it, and it's becoming quite apparent that Dawn is becoming the voice of the audience, especially in "Twilight". But there is a reason for what seems like a callous turn from Buffy. She's just realized that her powers make her more than a match for 3 rampaging goddesses. That this may be the very thing she needs to fight Twilight. The same thing can be said about when Buffy was hellbent on finding the item hidden in the vineyard in S7. Or the events that followed her finding it.
Was it callous, or even narcissistic for Buffy to be considering her love life when there are dead Potentials everywhere? Perhaps. But that's where the human element lies, and that's how we respond to the world. We don't respond merely to "issues", but also the effect those issues have on us.

Buffy's fear that she may be becoming like a vampire, gaining strength from death is not just her fretting about what she's become. It's also a reflection of how she feels about becoming the effect of all the death. It's visceral, especially for a Slayer. Furthermore, her indulging in guilt the way some of us would like to see it would be largely self-indulgent. Because in the grand scheme of things, where is she going to draw the blame to herself from? Especially the Slayers who were scattered all over the world. They weren't depowered. They weren't defenseless as a result of a judgment call from her. Should she blame herself for empowering girls everywhere? And even if she did for a moment blame herself, where does that get us? An episode of Willow telling Buffy to snap out of it is fine, but in a narrative medium that's rather tight on space, I think we got enough from "Turbulence". "The Weight of the World" also makes sense because it's the season where Buffy's feeling overwhelmed by having to be an adult for the first time. And she felt a moment of resignation. And then she felt guilt for even giving up for a moment. S8 is a different story. She's been a grown up for a while now. And we all throw our hands up in the air every now and then and proclaim that we give up, only to turn around, and go at the problem with even more zeal.

As for not feeling the connection with the rest of the Slayers, I find it rather cruel, but still ironic that she now feels a deeper connection to her Slayers (she states that she feels all 206 girls, which does kinda lend credibility to the idea that Willow may not have been entirely off-base in her theory), but it's in the most macabre manner possible.

Your need for seeing the evolution of emotion is understandable. But there is also the matter of the emotions you wanted to see being absent, and the entire thing therefore not working for you. For some people, they saw the emotions that they thought would be appropriate, and the entire thing tracks for them. You're trying to see how what she did was her giving in to despair. That itself reveals your bias. Your endpoint has to be despair. What if it wasn't despair?

I'm done wishing that "Twilight" and "Retreat" had been handled by different writers. I think those concerns have been properly addressed by me, and I'm moved on. Twilight was always going to be Angel. What he did, why he did them, was never going to change. Those things were a large part of the S8 plot. Sure, there may not have been space frakking, but that's not even a quibble on my list. But how Buffy responded to Angel, that was not just Brad Meltzer. Joss, Brad, and Scott talked about it at length, meaning that Joss was just as complicit as anyone else. And should another writer had written the arc, they probably would have had to have a similar discussion about the major story beats. Still probably needed to get to Twilight, and then have the discussion about Twilight.
But there is also the matter of the emotions you wanted to see being absent, and the entire thing therefore not working for you. For some people, they saw the emotions that they thought would be appropriate, and the entire thing tracks for them. You're trying to see how what she did was her giving in to despair. That itself reveals your bias. Your endpoint has to be despair. What if it wasn't despair?

THIS. So much of this. This is, I think, the real problem. People went into the story expecting, wanting, hoping for and maybe even initially seeing what they WANTED to see, what they NEEDED and what they EXPECTED. And when it deviates from that, it causes a disconnect and becomes something they don't like, don't see as being good on any level, etc, etc. Our own biases absolutely affect the overall enjoyment and whether or not something is working or not. Perfectly said.

[ edited by lmblack21 on 2010-07-19 00:55 ]
Well for me personally I just expected to see good writing and something that felt like a natural extension of the Buffyverse. So far haven't seen anything of the kind.

But all power to those who think It's marvelous. :)

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-07-19 01:32 ]
Ditto. While I am as hard a- wait for it, saje and gossi- a reader response guy as there is, it seems odd to say that only some of us went into it expecting, hoping, wanting and seeing what we wanted. Fact is, all of us did, even those of us who claim to have gone into wanting nothing more than for Joss to tell the story he wants. We all had wants, expectations, and so on. For some, it was met; for others, it has not been met, and the reasons why cannot be easily summarized. I could give you the litany of why I think this failed- I could start with how Willow has been marginalized and how her internal life is not very much in play (to me), and how Kennedy has no real role, etc. But, hey, I won't. :-) I just find this whole series distressing.
I did not say that only some of us went in with certain expectations. All I said was that some of us were satisfied with what we got, and others, not so much. But that quite a lot of the negative or positive reaction is kinda based on whether or not those expectations were met. I consider myself a middle-ground person on the last two arcs. I see the potential in storytelling, and I see how I personally think the story should've been executed. And I see the good in some bits, but I also see the bad. However, I feel inclined to emphasize the good at times, when encountering overwhelming negativity because I feel compelled to bring the status quo to how I personally feel, which I guess, is what everyone else is kinda doing too. I don't think S8 is flawless. There are a few great issues, but there are also a few clunkers. But the same can be said about just any season. But while I haven't gotten "marvelous", what I've seen so far is a natural extension of the Buffyverse, execution issues aside.
Soo, I went to sleep hoping... but I see that overnight nothing has changed and the Buffy fandom is still as fractured as ever. Fun times ahead. Group hug, people?
Emmie, I guess the reason I can't do the "it should have been done this way to be better" line of thought is that I don't know what Joss was trying to do. I want to figure that out first, and then make my judgments. Take the question of Buffy's behavior, and whether it makes sense. Maybe it tracked the way I suggested, in which case maybe some of your suggestions would help. But maybe the story works some other way, that once we see it will make sense of Buffy's reactions and so on.

@Wenxina -- Emmie focusing on despair is her focusing on the one response that might make sense of Buffy jumping on Angel. It's possible that Buffy jumped for Lucinda's reason: they just love each other and we're supposed to think Angel's story makes sense, or that Buffy would want to jump him whether or not his story makes sense or however it is that she adds it up. But for a lot of us, it's puzzling why Buffy would accept Angel's "but honey, I just had to get you super mad at me so you could become a goddess" line.

To be clear there are multiple Big problems with Angel's story:

1. Can we square what we saw with some notion of a 'best effort' to minimize death? I can't. Angel could have warned Buffy about the incoming missle. In my world, coordinating disparate forces makes them more effective not less. And textually, Retreat looked like those coordinated forces were damned effective. We can throw in things like battering Satsu and putting her in the hospital, or breaking a tile with Faith's head. Angel's either not as well-intentioned as he says; or he's not very effective at doing what he says he was doing; or the writers did a bad job of making it clear that he really was doing the best that could be done.

2. On what planet do we want the feminist icon to be completely OK with her honey going behind her back to do her job for her? It's Buffy's army. She's their general. And Angel felt the need to put on a mask and do all this song and dance without her knowledge to help save her slayers for her? Really bad feminist message there if we're supposed to sit back and go "yay Angel, thank goodness you kept Buffy completely in the dark through a miserable year so you could do her job for her."

3. Angel also says that he wanted to push her into becoming what she's become. Yet another violation of feminist sensibility. We're to celebrate a guy attacking a woman so that he could manipulate her into becoming what he wants her to become?

For people who have those questions, and similar ones, it becomes very hard to see what Buffy was thinking when she hopped on Angel. You can go the 'it's just true love' route, but the price you pay is validating the anti-feminism inherent in the story Angel sold Buffy on. People have a right to be angry if Joss really wanted to tell a story about true love so badly that he didn't care if his feminist icon reacted to being manipulated and undermined by boinking the manipulator to outer space.

Or we can look around for other reasons why Buffy might have jumped on Angel. Glowhypnol is one thing people have pointed to. #35 makes that a harder argument to sustain. While Buffy isn't tempted to stay in fantasyville with her honey, she's quite happy about the sex, and doesn't seem to be bothered by the offensiveness of what Angel tried to sell her.

So maybe Buffy hopped on Angel out of despair. There have been some good elaborate explanations of how that might have happened. The season *has* been about showing Buffy beaten down as low as she could possibly go. The last arc was called Retreat, after all. Does Buffy just get to a place where she says screw it, I don't care, just let me get lost in teh sex. Or can I just pretend I'm back in high school and let Angel be my protective sugar daddy again? Or whatever.

Anyway, that's the line of thoughts that provokes the question. The easy answer about 'she just loves him' raises really big problems... hence the impulse to figure out what else might be going on. At present I don't see any easy obvious way to add it up that makes Buffy's motivations make sense AND not have Joss send some really vile messages about what men are licensed to do "on behalf" of their wimmin folk.
I'm going to straddle the great middle, because I honestly think that if one arrived at 8.31, 8.32 without feeling like they were in a natural continuation of the Buffyverse, the problem was in the chair, not in the comic. I don't think the incredible -- or rather non-credible -- departures started until that effing mask came off. Or at least around the time the glowing started and the obviously trite every-maladjust-has-his-reasons monologue started to prevail upon Buffy.

I was being very precise when I compared 8.33 to a hypothetical "End of Days" in which Caleb pulled off his rubber mask and turned out to be Angel, gave some vague and completely insufficient explanation to say that he's really on her side and all that vineyard, eye-plucking stuff was just meant to keep *worse* stuff from happening and to motivate her, and her deciding after 90 seconds to bump crotches. Because, people, Buffy had no rational reason to think anything but every terrible thing in the world about Twilight when she tackled him out of his headquarters. And she wasn't given any actual rational reason to *still* not think it after the non-explanation. We're to believe, then, that seeing Angel's beautiful face is explanation enough on its own. That's. Not. Who. Buffy. Is. Not for Angel, not for anyone. She didn't give him that much credit when she spotted him talking to Drusilla! Here, he's giving tissue thin denials for Twilight -- who basically is tantamount to a supernatural Hitler in the Buffyverse -- and she's just... cool with it. Immediately.
Dana said: "In Buffy, the focus was always on the characters- Buffy, Willow, Giles, Xander, etc. And their real-world concerns, as metaphor for larger issues. Buffy was about the people- this comic, like Angel, seems more about the FORCES that exist in the world- and I can't care about the FORCES. The comic seems a loss to me, not even a valiant attempt to move Buffy forward but an attempt to squeeze a human-focused comic into the medium of a superhero comic with its attendant tropes and expectations"

Dana this part of your post really resonated with me. Whether there were vampires, demons, werewolves, the story was about people. People that I cared about and identified with very much.

[ edited by Xane on 2010-07-19 02:53 ]
@Maggie: I realize what Emmie was saying, and all I was proposing is that her particular bias makes it hard for her to accept certain things that others have no issues accepting. Not that it's wrong or anything. My point was that our biases can make or break a storyline. That's all.

As for Angel's actions, from the preview page of #36 that we've seen so far, we're told that Angel couldn't have told Buffy anything. That he had to be the sole focus of her anger in order for her to ascend.

As for the question about where is the feminist icon is with the female character being manipulated... well, it's not much different from previous seasons in which Buffy struggles under some kind of patriarchal influence before saying "Screw it!" and changes the order of thing. She may be pushed along by Angel, yes, but the feminist icon is also the one who told Twilight where to shove it in order to do things her own way. In "Checkpoint", Buffy was clearly being pushed around, until she finally realized that no one had any actual power over her. And that's what happened in "Twilight". She may have been manipulated and toyed with, but once she decided on a course of action, no one could've changed her mind. Basically what we have here is Buffy telling the universe to screw it, which is pretty much in line with what she's done so far, albeit on a larger scale.
I'm looking forward to the end of S8. It'll be nice to have a complete story to talk about, instead of babbling pointlessly about individual chapters of a thing whose full shape hasn't yet been revealed. Yeah, that'll be nice.
Xi, care to elaborate on what you mean exactly by particular bias? While it's impossible to attempt an impartial view, bias is inescapable for everyone, yet I think there's also some clear logic about the contradictions that's led to my "issues" with the story's execution. As Maggie has ably explained above.

I'm a bit sensitive to your calling out my particular bias because there's been a lot of veiled comments about shipper bias already in this thread. To which I'll say that my thoughts align very closely with King's and our bias in that one area? Diametrically opposed.

What if a person's bias is simply having a story that emotionally resonates and does so with clarity and an inherent logic? As Maggie and King have already summed up, the logic? Doesn't fit. And there's reason for why we think this way. So if you're just saying that everyone has a personal bias, well, that seems to be just an echoing of what Dana said above about reader response. And it doesn't really further the conversation because since everyone has a bias, all that really matters is the reasoning that is offered in the discussion--we're all on equal footing as we're all interpreting from our own perspectives. And while my bias might mean I'm looking for different things in a story, it doesn't necessarily mean my logic is invalidated by my bias. The reasoning for my arguments is naturally informed by bias, but it isn't ruled by bias. In this regard, since we all come equipped with bias, it's best to discuss the logic and reasoning, rather than saying my bias is to blame. I could just as easily say your bias is to blame for liking it, but that would sound backwards, wouldn't it? Backwards and unreasonable.

it's not much different from previous seasons in which Buffy struggles under some kind of patriarchal influence before saying "Screw it!"


I must've missed the deleted scene where she made out with Quentin after he withheld vital information about Glory from her. Or when she asked Caleb to go steady after he violently attacked her and put a dear friend in the hospital (Xander = Satsu). Or when she was upset with Angel for lying ot her about Drusilla in Lie to Me. Or any other example of patriarchal influence that she eventually surrendered to and said "screw it!" ;-)

The thing is, even when it was Angel exerting the patriarchal influence, Buffy didn't misconstrue what was getting her down as "romantic" before. The source of her defeatist attitude is fixated on Angel at this point. Deliberately so--he made himself the target. I said a few months ago how it'd be like Buffy finding it attractive when Angel ordered her to get out of his city when she came to LA in Sanctuary.

I don't have problems so much with Buffy's conclusion of saying "screw it!" to the Twilight dimension. I'd been predicting that would happen in the arc actually. As you say, that's what Buffy always does. It's what she's known for doing. BtVS remains formulaic in this regard. But the problem comes from the faulty execution in emotional build-up to her surrender and the conflation of her murderous resentment of Angel's perfidities and suddenly finding them romantic and sexy.
Yes, Angel was told not to tell her. But Buffy does not know this,which is what's relevant for the problem I outlined. All Buffy knew is what Angel told her and she still hopped on the guy who as far as she knew had deliberately kept her in the dark to push her to become something.

Buffy has (happily) told the universe to screw itself. The problem is she hasn't told Angel to screw himself -- and he's the one who took credit for pushing her to become what she'd become. The feminist icon is perfectly happy for Her Man Squeeze to totally manipulate her. And decide for himself without consulting her that the best that could be done was let 206 of her slayers get killed. She may stand up to institutions, but not to Angel. It's OK for him to be an arrogant, bastard because of their relationship? Women should let their husbands and lovers have total control over everything?

This isn't about not getting the reactions one expects. It's about being completely perplexed about what the reaction is. Has Joss just gone completely tone deaf about what Angel was saying? Is he doing a commentary on how Buffy is totally willing to be the passive object of Angel's manipulation because of her desperate need to connect? Is there some other explanation besides "she wuvs him" to explain the bizarre behavior of boinking the guy who just told her that he was manipulating her and taking it upon himself to do her job for her -- both without consulting her? The ultimate explanation of why Buffy did what she did matters a lot for judging whether Joss is doing right by his feminist icon.

@Waxbanks -- Word!

[ edited by Maggie on 2010-07-19 04:23 ]
Round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows. We have come full circle once again from disliking the interview content to disliking the comic content.

Bias is a bit like destiny in that it might take you certain places or to certain people but what you do when you get there and how you behave is your choice.
Yeah, waxbanks. At least the end is in sight. Almost there.

Here's a question: when Season 9 comes around, will people be buying it as it's released or will you wait for it to be finished?
I'll buy it as it comes out.
I'm thinking I'll go the trades route for season 9, only because individual issues are getting too expensive, especially in Australia and where I live, it can cost me more than $10 for each--depending on if I buy any other comics at the same time.

Remember when it was on t.v. for free? Ah, the memories.
@Emmie: I'm sorry you're particularly sensitive towards the term "bias", but as you should know, I don't ship. And yes, I understand what you're saying that bias is inescapable. I'm just saying that your particular bias, which I outlined pretty clearly by stating your precepts (i.e. that is had to be despair that drove Buffy into Angel's arms), makes it so that you may not be able to see things that others see.
Nothing wrong with that. It is after all something that everyone must decide for themselves. However, that said, there is no one way to view it.
I know your shipping bias, but I'm not accusing you of that right now. That would be uncalled for. There's more than one way to look at bias, other than the shipping bias. There's the feminist bias, for one. All I'm saying is that because of your set of precepts, you may miss what others see. And the same can be said about me, and just about anyone else. So it wasn't meant as a personal jab at you. I wasn't calling out the logic of your arguments, rather the precepts. If you start at a different point than someone else, regardless of logic, you'll more than likely wind up in a different place.

And hey, while people were freaking out about #34, I already called Buffy saying "screw it" to the universe, so yes, it's formulaic in that regard.
"Here's a question: when Season 9 comes around, will people be buying it as it's released or will you wait for it to be finished?"

Unless Joss pulls something spectacular out of his... Bag of tricks, I doubt I'll buy Season 9 at all! I might be enticed if Chen continues to do the covers, but at this moment my faith in the story being even decent is waning quickly....
Round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows.

LOL! Pretty much, yeah. Second verse, same as the first. ;-)

Shey,

I'm not going to speak for anyone else but I will say that *I* am not talking about destiny vs free will as a guise for shipping so I'm a little miffed you'd insinuate that. I’m talking about it because I was reading the thread and this particular part of the discussion interested me.
vampmogs | July 18, 16:13 CET


Apologies, vampmogs. I should have been more clear - I wasn't insinuating that everyone commenting was using everything in this arc as an analogy for shipping issues - just that a number of people are.
In fact it's obvious, reading the extensive comments, that a lot of B/A shippers and just fans of both Buffy and Angel as individual characters, are really unhappy about the way this was handled.
As I would be, if I were in that camp.

Sorry - "A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend". ;)
Looks up. Yeah this is what happens when the comics don't come out on schedule. Damn you hiatus *shakes fist*.
Round and round we go. I do think comparisons with Buffy supersexing Angel to her hypothetically making out with a Caleb or a Quentin are flawed. If either of those individuals had pulled off a mask and claimed it wasn’t them wot dun it Buffy would have had no prior reason to think them trustworthy. Her relationship with Angel is complex but (like many readers who have difficulty accepting he would have done what we thought Twilight did) she does believe that he’s a good man. When Spike confessed to killing all those people in Sleeper (and the evidence he had was overwhelming) she was ready to believe that it was something playing him rather than assume she’d been wrong to think he could change. Angel plays an even better game by shifting the responsibility for his actions not to some ill-defined something but to Buffy herself. She started the backlash, she made governments hate Slayers by the simple act of giving them power. Since we’d already been shown Buffy come up with that interpretation twice and only be shifted from it by a combination of super-pep talks and having Twilight as a big bad to fight, I’d say it was good writing to make the third time the charm. Especially as a) having Twilight be revealed as Angel (ie in Buffy’s view a good person not a Big Bad person) complicates the one simple “something to hit” solution she thought she had out of existence and b) the content of Xander’s pep talk is also invalidated (he told her there was a reason she had superpowers and Angel tells her it’s nothing to do with saving her girls).

I also felt that both Retreat and the earlier issues of the Twilight arc established Buffy’s emotional fragility with respect to her girls being slaughtered subtly but well. People seem to have a problem believing that Buffy cares about such things both within and from without the text. Dawn accuses her of not caring when Joyce died. Viewers of GiD always seem to focus on the “everybody sucks but me” speech and not the burying Chole alone in the backyard scene that precedes it. Buffy puts up her usual good show of focussing on what needs to be done in Retreat but the mask does slip at key points. For example when she’s so desperate to get an answer to what’s in the Bon scrolls that she gets very violent with an apparently dying Bay; her expression when she responds to the realisation that the Goddesses are killing indiscriminately with “we brought death” and her desperate pleading to Riley to give them some information that could turn the battle around. If that and the image of her and all the others left for dead in the snow is insufficient, there’s the point in #33 when she tells Xander that 206 girls have been killed. It’s a precise number. She’s been keeping count.

I don’t read her decision at the end of #33 as “screw the world” so much as “screw trying to save the world when everything I do just brings more destruction.” She forgives Angel for whatever his part in it was, not when he’s telling her how he had to push her (as all her father figures have from Giles onwards) but when he’s telling her he’s terrified. She responds to his weakness, she always has.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2010-07-19 09:25 ]

[ edited by hayes62 on 2010-07-19 12:36 ]
Oh wow, that was a great post. Thank you.
Fans are too hard on not only Angel but Buffy too, much of the time. This post did my Buffy loving heart some good, when I didn't even know I needed it.
The thing with Buffy is that Angel also feeds into the one thing she’s craved from the start of a season. Connection. Remember that the topic of Buffy's disconnection from her slayers first crops up in A Beautiful Sunset which, non coincidentally, is the first time she meets Twangel as well. Angel offers Buffy the one thing she wants the most and to make matters worse, the glow is telling her that he speaks the truth. As much as she tries to fight it she admits to herself that deep down she feels it.

Buffy may not be suicidally depressed in Twilight but I do think people are underestimating just how broken and defeated she is. Humanity has turned on her and hunted her down, 206 of her girls are dead, she just admitted feelings for Xander but he's in love with her sister and the final blow was when Angel took of the mask. So, yeah, she's pretty fragile in Issue #33 and as Hayes points out Angel plays on one of Buffy's most well known traits which is that she blames herself for everything. If you tell Buffy that it’s her fault governments were lining up to wipe her out she’s going to believe you, especially when she’s already been questioning if they are “really the bad guys” (Retreat Issue #26) throughout the comics. Way back in Issue #11 one of Angel's goals was to "strip her of her moral certainty" and it was working.

I think Buffy jumping Angel makes sense given all that, especially when throughout her entire fight the glow is taking over her and making her feel that they belong together. People forget that it's not only Angel's words that are convincing her but that, even when she doesn't want to admit it, "she knows he's right" because her body is literally telling her it's true. And that was happening way back in Turbulence when her opening monologue was all about how natural her powers feel and her confusion over it feeling “so right”.

I think people downplay what exactly happened in Issue #33. Let’s not forget that Buffy tried to KILL Angel with the tree trunk so she was obviously infuriated with him. It’s not until she starts feeling the glow and Angel starts talking about connection that she starts to breakdown. Given all their history and what Angel means to her it's kind of huge that Buffy tried dusting him (she couldn't in S3) and it's important not to forget that.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-19 11:02 ]
Reading that makes me want to jump head first back into trying to figure out what all the clues mean for the story but if there is one thing I know for sure, we will never see Joss coming. It's kinda fun to try but I have yet to see one fan, ever, come up with the real deal. I'm kinda happy that we can't. Keeps it so exciting when you never know what to expect.

I do want to comment on the glow part, if I remember correctly, Brad M, in an interview, answered that Buffy and Angel know exactly what each of them want and the other wants. I got the impression that the glow wasn't a controlling force. I wish I had that saved for reference. In any event, interesting concept.
Yeah, I read that somewhere as well. If so makes her actions with 'Twangel' even more disturbing imo.
Okay I don't have time today to get involved(Although I'm not saying "let's keep arguing and not find a common ground", cause that's counter-productive!) I just wanna thank hayes62...thanks for remaking Buffy for me and after the bashing she just took you really helped me remember why I care about that character so much!!

Btw(before I get swamped with work) I take the "knowing what each other wants" as knowing each others intentions, thus knowing Angel's were infact good and that he is on her side, therefore go forth and make with the sex!
If either of those individuals had pulled off a mask and claimed it wasn’t them wot dun it Buffy would have had no prior reason to think them trustworthy.


Hayes, you are fundamentally missing the point -- if Caleb had revealed himself to be Angel, Buffy would have immediately had the EXACT SAME basis to trust him that she does Twilight, because he's Angel. It would be a choice between her preconceived notions of Angel and her observed conclusions about Caleb's actions, just as it was between her preconceived notions of Angel and her observed conclusions about Twilight. The point of the example is to demonstrate how unreasonable it is that "mmmmmm... Aaaaangel" wins out so quickly and with no credible explanation. I mean, it's too much to ask that she at least be as wary and standoffish as Fred carrying a machine gun around with her on her tour of Wolfram & Hart? That it take Angel longer than, say, a quarter hour to actually get her to believe a word out of his mouth?

When Spike confessed to killing all those people in Sleeper (and the evidence he had was overwhelming) she was ready to believe that it was something playing him rather than assume she’d been wrong to think he could change.


In "Sleeper", she looked pretty much ready to finish him, regrettably or not, until she was given a clue that she rationally connected to the idea that he was being controlled. His description in "Sleeper" matched what had just happened to others in the previous episode, giving it some sort of independent verification. She had Angel's say so and nothing else at all.

Way back in Issue #11 one of Angel's goals was to "strip her of her moral certainty" and it was working.


Because, this is what people who love you and should be trusted do. I'm only hitting you because I love you, baby!

I think people downplay what exactly happened in Issue #33. Let’s not forget that Buffy tried to KILL Angel with the tree trunk so she was obviously infuriated with him. It’s not until she starts feeling the glow and Angel starts talking about connection that she starts to breakdown. Given all their history and what Angel means to her it's kind of huge that Buffy tried dusting him (she couldn't in S3) and it's important not to forget that.


It's outweighed by the fact that she's still f@#%ing Twilight's brains out within about 2 minutes of learning his identity. If she was in full control of her actions and decisions, it was, hands down, the most pathetic and/or desperate, least admirable thing Buffy has ever done in her entire existence as a character. If she not in control, if this was this compelled reaction to the glow and so on, than the best case scenario here is that the Universe itself (and, well, frankly, Brad Meltzer and Joss Whedon) gave her a trip to the dentist.
There is no explanation of Bangel sex in this comic that is coherent to the characters we know. There may be a reason, but in terms of who they are as people, nothing. And I do not ship Buffy, so do not care, in general terms, who she sleeps with since she is an adult. I care in terms of the story, which is why Batsu made little sense to me, but that's a different discussion.
I thought Batsu(is that what we're actually calling it?) made perfect sense; Buffy was lonely, she was in love with her. It's kinda her MO since the later seasons. Back to work, damn you all for keeping me interested!
Because, this is what people who love you and should be trusted do. I'm only hitting you because I love you, baby!

Mm, I don't see the relevance. I wasn't condoning Angel's behaviour or saying it was right, just explaining that he's laid seeds of doubt in Buffy's head all season. Which makes her more vulnerable to believing she is to blame, especially when it's so common for her to do so anyway. The point of my post wasn’t to defend Angel and I honestly don’t get how you could read it that way, I was merely trying to articulate how I think we had solid build up to this moment throughout the first 33 issues.


It's outweighed by the fact that she's still f@#%ing Twilight's brains out within about 2 minutes of learning his identity. If she was in full control of her actions and decisions, it was, hands down, the most pathetic and/or desperate, least admirable thing Buffy has ever done in her entire existence as a character. If she not in control, if this was this compelled reaction to the glow and so on, than the best case scenario here is that the Universe itself (and, well, frankly, Brad Meltzer and Joss Whedon) gave her a trip to the dentist.

I just want it to be acknowledged and factored into how the whole thing went down. My point was more that it clues us into why she behaves the way she does. At the beginning of the fight she was livid with Angel and tried to kill him which is huge for her character. It’s not until he starts speaking about connection (and the glow starts around her) that she begins to drop her defences. I think that’s significant and shows pretty clearly that it’s the idea of connection that appeals to Buffy to most which, as I said in my other post, has been pretty solidly built-up throughout the season. It's no coincidence that Joss explored it most in the exact same issue Angel first confronts Buffy and she just so happened to be talking about her love life...

As to whether or not it's the most "pathetic and/or desperate thing she's ever done" I guess that's for the individual to decide. You seem to strongly dislike her for it whereas I just feel a bit sorry for her. I'm not denying it's not her proudest moment, I sorta think that's the whole point. It does after all lead to the beginning of an apocalypse and we know from the solicitations it’s going to test the limits of her friendships which it should. But Buffy clearly feels so disconnected these days that it’s sort of become her Achilles heel and that makes me sad for my girl. I can relate, a little.

I also think that when a powerful glow is backing up everything the guy is saying (that they are connected) that I'm gonna cut her a little slack for buying into it all. I don't actually blame her fully for the sex because I think after she "gave in" both she and Angel were kinda used as puppets, which Willow more or less says anyway -- "She should be staking him right now, she did once before, but something isn't letting her" Again, not pretty but I don’t suspect it’s supposed to be anymore than it was when Buffy and Riley were used as sex batteries in Where the Wild Things Are. This act has brought on the end of the world so of course it’s not going to be a positive moment for anyone involved.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-19 14:07 ]
Is it just me, or does this entire thread read like it was copied and pasted from every other Season 8 thread...? Right down to identical comments from the usual two or three suspects.
And that's relevant how exactly? Is there a list somewhere I should know about. *g*

Aaaaand this is the 200 comment. :)

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-07-19 14:17 ]
It's relevant because I noticed it and felt like commenting on it, and as relevant as anything you've had to say so far. That's really all you need to know, now innit?
I do wonder if Joss is so focused on the story he is not seeing the "bring your own subtext?" Because this comes so close to removing Buffy's agency.

I did not like Buffy sleeping with Satsu because it was pretty meaningless sex and it was between an "officer" and a subordinate. Had Buffy been male and slept with Satsu, I think there would have been a larger outcry; it was lost here in the novelty of Buffy and lesbian sex.
"It's relevant because I noticed it and felt like commenting on it, and as relevant as anything you've had to say so far. That's really all you need to know, now innit? "

Play the ball, not the bowler hon. I think I've made my own fair share of relevant comments to the topic at hand. :)
I did not like Buffy sleeping with Satsu because it was pretty meaningless sex and it was between an "officer" and a subordinate. Had Buffy been male and slept with Satsu, I think there would have been a larger outcry; it was lost here in the novelty of Buffy and lesbian sex.

Well, Xander was male and technically had that officer/subordinate relationship with Renee and nobody really seemed to mind. They didn't have sex but they were certainly going down that path and they did kiss in WatG.

I don't think Buffy/Satsu was meaningless at all, especially in light of Issue #34. It kind of demonstrated the lengths she would go to find that connection with someone, even if meant exploring a whole new territory she'd never considered before. B/S had a lot to do with Buffy trying to have that relationship with a slayer Xander said she doesn’t get to have. IMO it also has to do with pushing Xander away from her (and into the arms of Renee) because she thinks he’d get hurt. Which is why in her dream during Issue #2 she says “she’ll be gentle this time” but knocks Xander’s head off. Think back to how Buffy warned Satsu she was “in terrible danger” for loving her but then how Satsu survives the “power point presentation” after Twilight’s attack.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-19 14:53 ]
I just want to repeat King's correction of Hayes because she wasn't the first to misread him. He's NOT saying "what if Buffy had jumped Caleb". He's saying "what if Caleb pulled off a mask and revealed himself to really be the actual Angel who Buffy has always loved. Would it have played *at all* if she'd tried to kill him, listen to him say he'd done it for her own good, that he was terrified she'd reject him, and then have her jump him for a major sex fest. That's exactly what happens here.

Vamps, YES, Buffy was initially really angry. King's complaint (and my worry) is that she let it go so quickly. My real worry is that in #35 when the urgency of the sex was over, she still wasn't angry about the manipulation and deceit and condescension of Angel's actions, not to mention the implausibility of the claim that the best that could be done was let 206 slayers and countless humans get slaughtered.

#35 undermines the Glow defense. It's not completely off the table because Buffy is immediately worried about her friends, and that is Buffy. But her last word to Angel before they go back to battle is one of affection. She really did miss him -- the guy who manipulated and deceived and condescended during the most miserable year of her life so she could become what he wanted her to become.

We'll see where this goes. If the matter is left as written, with the story moving on to other subjects -- will it bother any of the defenders even in the slightest that Joss is effectively saying that Buffy -- a role model for women -- so loves and pities her man that she let herself be treated in such a fashion without objection. Indeed, rewarded him with being boinked to another dimension. If my guy says he needs me it's OK if he beat me up to try to get some spark into me? If he says he's terrified, it's OK if he went behind my back at work to do my job for me in the way he say fit?

Is the story OK if it turns out that we never hear another syllable calling any of this into question? I'm really curious. And if your answer is that this makes sense, what would Angel have had to done to make it really objectionable for Buffy to get naked with him so quickly? Or does Angel just have a lifetime free pass to treat Buffy however he wants in the expectation that if he gives her puppy dog eyes and an I'm terrified she'll give him the boink of his life.
Does #35 really undermine the "glow defense", or strengthen in? Coz they're both glow free in #35. In fact, the glow is gone in the last segment of #34... right when Buffy's beginning to ask some pertinent questions.
And Xander does not make it right, either, though he never had sex with Renee. Two wrongs do not make a right, of course.

I don't really care so much about Buffy's lack of connection; this is not new for her, though it might be growing. It does not justify her doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons. Satsu was a means to an end, nothing more; there was no love involved, and as a result, no real connection, not in the way I view having sex with someone (well, really, my wife).
@King of Cretins
My point is that Buffy doesn’t have the luxury that readers of the comics do of being able to dismiss Angel’s completely out of character actions as bad writing. Fred was going round with a machine gun because she trusted W&H to be untrustworthy not Angel. The only new *information* Buffy had in Sleeper was Spike babbling about seeing himself singing, and seeing herself sing formed no part of what Willow told Buffy about (but Buffy did not herself experience). What convinced her to look come up with an alternative explanation was Spike acting like souled Spike (guilt ridden, and crazy talking) and not the guy who wanted to kill her when they met. If Caleb turned out to be Angel and she had good reason to think he wasn’t Angelus I’m pretty sure the only logical conclusion she might have come to was that he’d been possessed in some way by the First.

However, the situation differs in significant ways from that in S8. She’d seen Caleb personally kill potentials and permanently maim Xander. She hasn’t seen Twilight kill anyone. The First is the very definition of a straight up, moustache twirling black hat. The human side of the Twilight alliance not so much. The first had mindless minions. Twilight is an uneasy conglomeration of demon and human interests any of whom might be secretly working against the others. She knows Angel just cut ties with Warren n’ Amy/General not!Zod. When Twilight!Angel says he hasn’t killed anyone and he was doing all he could to play all the anti-Slayer sides off against each other it has credibility in a way no such statement Caleb!Angel might have made could have. The main flaw in his version of events (as far as Buffy knows and she knows much less than we do) isn’t what he did do but what he didn’t do – Maggie’s point about him not communicating with her, for example. But when Buffy challenges Angel on this he shifts the argument to her guilt, her changing the world and bringing destruction along with it and once she gets trapped in that line of thought what Angel did is irrelevant to her. The bottom line is that it was all her fault.
Dana5140,

And Xander does not make it right, either, though he never had sex with Renee. Two wrongs do not make a right, of course.

I wasn't trying to say that because Xander did it too it means it’s ok. I was just pointing out that I disagree if Buffy had been a man fans would have reacted very differently, Xander's male and they didn't.

Maggie,

It's too early for me to make a personal call on that as I'm stuck in limbo at the moment. Everything I've read (from the solicitations to why they did the Issue #35 variant cover etc) is making me think Buffy will face consequences for giving Angel a free pass like she did. I’m almost certain it’s going to be a major plot point in Last Gleaming and since I’ve felt for years now that we were heading for some kind of split in the group, this just feels like the piece of the puzzle I’ve been looking for. Of course I could be wrong but my head is so filled with it right now I’m finding it difficult to picture the story taking another direction. Which isn’t to say it won’t but right now it’s actually hard for me to imagine it not shaping up like that. So it’s even harder to decide how I’d honestly feel if Buffy’s never called on it. I'll cross that bridge when and if we come to it.

But in regards to Buffy just shagging Angel totally of his own accord, I still don't think that's what happened. I still think Buffy just gave in and let the glow overtake her and that was her moment of defeat. After that Willow says something isn't letting her stop, Buffy looks positively evil in one panel, neither of them notice the chaos they're causing around them and Buffy seems to "snap out of it" once they enter the Twilight dimension. The impression I got is that she was almost in a zombie like state during the sex. Just like how in Where the Wild Things Are on some level they were aware of what they were doing but something was influencing them and refusing to let them quit. In that episode it got to the point they barley heard the chaos outside and when they did they were compelled not to do anything about it. In that ep Buffy said "she had no control over herself" and I think that’s basically what happened here too. So I'm unconvinced she actually initiated the sex and something else didn't make her do it. I still think her true moment of weakness was when she stopped fighting and "let go. Let go of what she thinks she understood and let her body tell her the truth.."

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-19 16:50 ]
Cosmic rohypnol?
Basically, yeah. In S4 the poltergeists made Buffy/Riley do it, in Ats S5 Lorne accidentally made Angel/Eve do it, in S8 the universe made Buffy/Angel do it. So I gotta cut Buffy some slack when it’s *textual* that something was impairing her judgement.

I think the writers have managed to make her still at least partially responsible though because, IMO, she stopped fighting and allowed the glow to take over. This would'a never happened if she didn't find Angel's offer so tempting, even if she had no idea what the consequences would be.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-19 17:15 ]
There is so much that's disturbing to me about your comment, vampmogs. Not because of what you're saying or how it reflects on you (you're just taking what's there in the text, and I can't fault you for that at all) but because of what it says about the text and the writers.

The idea of using questionable consent like it was used with Buffy/Riley and Angel/Eve--for laughs or to kick back at the network--is completely abhorrent to me. All it does is perpetuate rape culture in which consent isn't a serious issue at all, but merely a plot device to accomplish something else. The possibility that the writers might be using it again and aren't going to follow up with the consequences, the possibility that they expect us just to take it in stride, pisses me off so much at Joss and the other writers.

I'm hoping that something will happen before the end of the season that salvages both Buffy's status as a feminist icon and Joss's claim to be a feminist as well...but I'm not holding my breath. I want it to happen very, very badly...but I just don't know if it will.

[ETA] Basically what I'm saying is that the idea of using questionable consent in this way (AGAIN) makes me so angry that it kicks me right out of the text--I'm not angry at Buffy; I'm angry at the writers for doing this to her again--and I suspect I'll continue to feel this way unless the writers really pull off something crazy-awesome.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-07-19 17:39 ]
I think calling this sort of thing rape is jumping the gun a little. On the way home right now so I'll expand on this later, but i just wanted to say rape is a really serious act and throwing it around is like calling the comic sex fest porn; it's not! Dictionary definition may apply for the latter, but rape is a different case and I don't think that any example you have given is definitive of a rape case. As I said, I'll expand in a bit.
I didn't say it was rape. I said it involved questionable consent that perpetuates rape culture.
I'm going to jump in here and just respond to a few points:

1) I think that Buffy/Satsu wasn't meaningless sex. It's about connection, it's about Buffy's believe that she can only connect to people as physically strong as her. It's about not being alone, when there's a person Buffy is attracted to (she is attracted to Satsu--mentioning that she has great hair and smells good is a key point).

It's also about using someone who loves her. It's a nicer, somewhat friendlier version of what happens in season six. Buffy's repeating some of her Spike/Buffy patterns, in a less obviously destructive way. I don't buy arguments that what Buffy does is pure evil, but there is a power imbalance and Buffy, at least somewhat, gets off on it. (She finds it sexy when Satsu calls her ma'am.) While Xander is in principle Renee's superior there are a lot of ways in which he and Renee were much more emotionally honest with each other, took things much more slowly, were open (and not secretive) about their feelings. Renee is not at all afraid to speak up to Xander, by the time they actually begin to get together. Satsu only talks back to Buffy after they've slept together. I think X/R is there to show, specifically, how a real "relationship of equals" within a hierarchical power structure can happen, in order to contrast with Buffy/Satsu.

I like the story. You know why? Because it's complex. Satsu gives full consent for what happens. Buffy's not a monster. Buffy does have real feelings for Satsu. But she's also using her. Satsu is letting herself be used. I resist readings that portray the relationship as unambiguously good or bad.

2) Hayes62's basic point about Buffy & Angel, as of 33, is an important one: Buffy has very little information to go on as to what Twilight did. The one problem with this argument is more Doylian than Watsonian: there was effort made to show that Buffy was trying to get information on Twilight (via Riley) and Riley certainly had information that would disprove Angel's story at least in broad strokes--i.e. Angel's willingness to kill the "Spike? Spike" guy. The fact that Buffy deployed Riley and apparently didn't get full information from him seems silly, even under the circumstances in which she recovered Riley. On the whole though I agree that, for Buffy, she isn't in the position we are to say what Angel did. She hasn't seen what he's done wrong. Angel punched out Satsu but Satsu healed; this isn't the same as killing Molly and poking out Xander's eye in front of her face.

This means that I don't think Buffy's choice at the end of 33 is out of character. It is still the wrong choice though by any reasonable metric. She shouldn't just buy Angel's line. That she did doesn't strike me as necessarily a problem with the text. I don't think that Buffy has to be perfect, or even has to function properly, for the story to work. But it has to be text that Buffy shouldn't (I'm talking about "ought to," not "will") just accept whatever Angel says, when critical thinking says that what he says doesn't make sense. If the point is to say, No, Angel really was good all along, then, well, I throw my hands up because I don't buy it and I think that does send a very unhealthy message about our feminist hero blindly accepting what her ex-boyfriend says. This is a flaw that she should overcome, and a major one, and I don't like the idea of it being presented in a positive light, at the end of the day. But the day is not quite over. Twilight's last gleaming is coming.

3) Consent issues: Are a problem. I'm on wait-and-see mode.

OK, that's all for now.
Lirazel,

There is so much that's disturbing to me about your comment, vampmogs. Not because of what you're saying or how it reflects on you (you're just taking what's there in the text, and I can't fault you for that at all) but because of what it says about the text and the writers.

The idea of using questionable consent like it was used with Buffy/Riley and Angel/Eve--for laughs or to kick back at the network--is completely abhorrent to me. All it does is perpetuate rape culture in which consent isn't a serious issue at all, but merely a plot device to accomplish something else. The possibility that the writers might be using it again and aren't going to follow up with the consequences, the possibility that they expect us just to take it in stride, pisses me off so much at Joss and the other writers.

I'm hoping that something will happen before the end of the season that salvages both Buffy's status as a feminist icon and Joss's claim to be a feminist as well...but I'm not holding my breath. I want it to happen very, very badly...but I just don't know if it will.

[ETA] Basically what I'm saying is that the idea of using questionable consent in this way (AGAIN) makes me so angry that it kicks me right out of the text--I'm not angry at Buffy; I'm angry at the writers for doing this to her again--and I suspect I'll continue to feel this way unless the writers really pull off something crazy-awesome.


I will be honest here. I’ve re-watched both WTWTR and Life of the Party countless times and I laugh every time they make a joke out of it. I had never thought about it more until all the discussions on Issue #34 started and, yes, it is disturbing.

But if you don't mind me asking, why do you think Buffy needs salvaged as a feminist icon now when we agree that the same thing happened to her back in S4? The episode ended with a joke, it was never brought up again, and Buffy and Riley didn’t even get to save themselves in that episode. Or am I presuming too much and you do actually believe her status needed salvaged after that episode too? And if so how do you believe she was [salvaged] when the subject was never addressed? This isn’t an attack so please don’t take it as such, I’m just genuinely curious as to why Issue #34 is different for you. From my POV it’s practically exactly the same thing only this time the story hasn’t ended yet so we could still, hopefully, have the story deal with it in an appropriate manner. Rather than sweep it under the rug like the writers did back in S4.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-19 18:10 ]
BlueSkies, there's no doubt "rape is a really serious" crime, but that's not what Lirazel is saying. She's talking about the dubious consent issues that BtVS often uses carelessly as a plot point without any conscientious follow-up. And because we live in a Rape Culture, the careless use of dubious consent perpetuates that culture that says things like "she's asking for it". The corollary between what's happening in Season 8 and Rape Culture is disturbing to a sickening to degree.

If you'd like to better understand what is meant by Rape Culture, I'll direct you to this collection of links to sources in the media that pertains to rape (Warning: Trigger!). There is no commentary of the links, merely a collection that paints a dire picture of the world we live in where women do not receive justice when raped, get blamed for being raped, and are victimized by the justice system after they've been violated.

Lirazel is most definitely aware that "rape is a very serious" crime. She's not saying this lightly. She also doesn't need a dictionary case of "rape", thank you. The problem here is that she said "Rape Culture" and you read it as "rape". You're not understanding what she's saying (and that's okay because I don't understand it when my dad talks about his PhD in physics, but it's also important to acknowledge that I don't understand what he's talking about), which is why I'm pointing you towards a way to educate yourself on the definition of what she's talking about. In order to engage in discussion on this topic, people need to understand the lingo.


This message sponsored by Feminism 101.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-07-19 18:16 ]
I definitely didn't take that as an attack, vampmogs. I'll try to explain more clearly. There are two different things going on here, for me:

1. Outside of the text, there is Joss and the other writers' decision to use questionable consent as a plot point (AGAIN). This makes me mad at Joss and calls into question his claiming (which I've always had mixed feelings about) of the feminist label.

2. Within the text, Buffy's decision. For me, it isn't so much the actual sex (though, yeah, I have issues with it, just as I have with some of her other sexual decisions in the past, but definitely not enough to affect her feminist icon status), it's her taking in stride (after just a few moments of being angry) Angel's I Did It For Your Own Good! explanation, which Maggie outlined masterfully above (brilliant, brilliant comment, Maggie!).

If A) she doesn't take him to task for that in coming volumes or B) it isn't proven that from the very beginning of the Twilight personae, he was under the complete control of the glowhypnol, then yeah, that would affect my appreciation for Buffy as a feminist icon. Because Buffy has never been the type to accept the whole "Don't worry, little lady. I'm a big, strong man, and I was just doing what's best for you!" argument, and yeah, that argument is pretty anti-feminist.

Those are the two issues I have. The first issue is present in WtWTA (and yes, it infuriates me in that context as well), but the second is definitely not present with Riley. I was basically expressing my skepticism that Joss could pull off an ending that addresses both of those issues in a way I find satisfactory. Not saying it's impossible, just that, based on his past work, it's unlikely that he will. Does that make sense?

Emmie, I know I tell you this so much you must get sick of hearing it, but: you're the best! Let's do pancakes!

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-07-19 19:01 ]
Thanks for your condescending attitude Emmie, I took feminist courses in college, didn't much care for it then, still don't. I'm aware of rape culture and questionable consent on a personal level, like many other women are so just be more sensitive when making those comments. In reference to using the word 'act' instead of 'crime' I meant it in the way that it is not always treated as a crime, regardless the act is perpetrated. And here is where I stop addressing you...back to the comment I promised Lizarel;

Now, in regards to using terms of rape and consent, when I saw those referenced episodes it struck me more as drunk sex. I understand that that in and of itself encompasses your argument, however, both parties being under the influence can create a much more complicated issue than taking advantage of one where both are driven by said influence resulting in sexual activity. I do agree that this in no way is something to be endorsed, the behaviour is definitely up for debate, but as of yet in most court cases(if they even make it that far,99% of 'mutual drunk sex' isn't viewed by either participant as a crime thus never brought to court) there have been no convictions in my wee country! Doesn't make it right, but the law never really is. Anyway my apologies for jumping on the word 'rape', it just doesn't sit well with me in this situation.
Vampmogs, I'm going to dive in and tackle some of your queries, if you don't mind.

Rape Culture:

Rape culture is a term used within women's studies and feminism, describing a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence.

Within the paradigm, acts of sexism are commonly employed to validate and rationalize normative misogynistic practices; for instance, sexist jokes may be told to foster disrespect for women and an accompanying disregard for their well-being, which ultimately make their rape and abuse seem "acceptable". Examples of behaviors said to typify rape culture include victim blaming, trivializing prison rape, and sexual objectification.


The last statement is particularly relevant to the way dubious consent is presented with humor in BtVS. In Where the Wild Things Are, Buffy and Riley are both mystically ruffied into having orgiastic sex. It's played off as a joke at the end. It's trivialized in an episode that treats very seriously the subject of children's abuse. See, kids being abused is serious, but an individuals right to consent to sexual intercourse is a joke.

But okay, that's only one episode. And BtVS is a funny show, so let's all have a laugh. Not everything needs to be treated seriously and shows are limited in what they can explore in-depth. Okay. Except dubious consent is trivialized again and again and again and again. It is in the greater context that this becomes a problem, that BtVS uses the violation of consent as one of its favorite jokes, and this pattern fires like a gunshot in the Rape Culture we live in.

Now, Where the Wild Things Are is not the same as what happened in Twilight. First, Buffy and Riley are on 100% equal footing--the spell affects them at the same time and in the same way. In Season 8, Angel is affected by the Universe, but to what extent his judgment is compromised remains unclear, but it is clear that Angel then turns around and "push"es Buffy into a situation where her ability to consent is compromised. The interaction between Angel and Buffy is unbalanced. And because it's framed in the way that a man is manipulating a woman into losing her ability to consent, and this occurs in the context of the Rape Culture we live in, this becomes a feminist issue on more levels than what occured in Where the Wild Things Are. Second, Buffy has reason to not only be outraged by her ability to consent being compromised, but by Angel willfully conspiring to transform her against her will. To "push" her into becoming an ubermensche. Yet besides trying to kill him for being evil, then quietly accusing him of not knowing her anymore, Buffy does not exhibit outrage that is specific to these issues. She has rage over her 206 "girls" being killed and being put through hell for the past year, but the specific ways in which what Angel's done to Buffy that violate her autonomy and how he pushes her into losing her moral center and ability to consent? These are violations that correlate to serious feminist issues.

The Problem: these issues are raised, but then used to force the plot along, and haven't been seriously addressed; there is a huge context in the series where such issues of consent are trivilizied and breezed over.

Now there is an open question as to whether the ways Buffy's bodily autonomy, ability to consent, and moral certainty have been violated. And this is further compounded by the fact that the focus of this violation is a former lover who then becomes her lover again. This then raises the issue of women being subjected to abuse from significant others (i.e. spousal abuse and the literal Bad Boyfriend).

For women who look to Buffy's character in the light of a feminist icon, the silence on this issue is deafening. It is not on the same level as the trivialized violation of consent of both Buffy and Riley in Where the Wild Things Are. This is about Angel the Boyfriend being used to attack Buffy's character, specifically attacking her in ways that damage her credibility as a feminist icon. For her to not express outrage on the ways she's been violated then reads as complacency and even tacit acceptance of these violations of feminist issues.

Yes, the story is not finished. But the way Buffy so easily forgave Angel without expressing outrage on these specific points reads as her not feeling outrage against him. She's forgiven the Bad Boyfriend for abusing her (and yes, I realize we in the audience know that Angel himself is not in complete control, but Buffy doesn't know that). And while you say you expect Buffy to receive castigation for how easily she forgives Angel, the problem then becomes that she herself doesn't have enough self-respect to object to her own violation. When the Scoobies judge Buffy for not being angry with what was done to her and what Angel has done, to me, it will then read as blaming the victim for not defending herself, for 'sleeping with the enemy' and not seriously questioning his abusive nature. You see, she "loves" him and so what he's done to her doesn't compare to how much she really did "miss" him, she missed him so much that it's all right that he's been used to abuse her, so long as he's back. His presence is all that matters, not what he does to her.

There are so many levels of violation here and ways that Buffy fits into the trope of Battered Wife, Rape Victim, and Apologist. Her lack of outrage on her own behalf regarding these specific issues is what's damaging her as a feminist icon. Buffy had the feminist cred when she was outraged at Giles for drugging her in Helpless, was outraged specifically for the violation, but then forgave him. In Season 8? The outrage has not been issued and the forgiveness comes all too easily.


I could go on, but I imagine that's enough TL;DR for everyone.


ETA: BlueSkies, I find it ironic that you're offended by my offering you the definition of what Lirazel was specifically referencing since you felt the need to go look up the definition of "rape" and come debate the finer points. If you know what the definition is, then do please realize we all already know what the definition is and do not need a "condescending" lecture on so basic a term. Since you felt the need to take the discussion to the Merriam-Webster's level, I naturally inferred you were confused on what Lirazel was actually discussing (since you replied in an off-topic manner) as no one present needed the proffered defintion of "rape" (already very much aware, thank you), nor was the actual act of "rape" even a point of discussion since Lirazel was talking about metaphor and context. If you're already so well-informed by your many feminist courses in college, then I suppose you just misapplied your knowledge when you misunderstood Lirazel's point regarding metaphor and context, instead thinking she was talking about rape literally. And thank you, I've worked long and hard to get this pompous. ;-)

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-07-19 19:09 ]
I never defined it, I actually said that the dictionary is applicable for porn, not rape. That was the point. I don't use online dictionaries. I studied this for long enough. Don't bother replying, I'm off this thread.
Even bringing up the definition of rape is missing the point, though. Literal rape =/= metaphor and Rape Culture.

Ta, then!
And thank you, I've worked long and hard to get this pompous. ;-)

And it shows. Seriously, take the condescension down a couple notches, you are browbeating people over a touchy subject.
Sunfire, respectfully, it was insulting to offer schooling Lirazel on the definition of "rape" to begin with when she wasn't misapplying the term, nor even directly discussing it. I understand my tone became didactic, but the escalation in condescension took two to tango. But I duly acknowledge I fell prey to the lure of reactionary debate.
So going back to Jeanty's interview...He said that Joss specifically did not want the comic to have a photorealistic style, yet it's been my observation that most internet fans seem to prefer Jo Chen's more realistic likenesses over the pop art Jeanty style. If Season 9 were more photorealistic, would current subscribers continue buying? I remember a one shot issue of Angel: After the Fall that was more representational, but fans did not like the artwork.
Well I liked Franco's work myself. More then Jeantys I have to say, mainly beacuse it doesn't suffer from the 'balloon animal head syndrome'.
Emmie, if I felt it was a two-way street I would have warned both of you. I'll add that this isn't the first time I've watched other posters bow out in response to your tone. My warning stands. If you want to talk about it more, email me.
As I see it, the extent to which the events of Twilight #33-#35 involve dubious consent depends on how readers interpret the effect of the glow and how much credence they give Giles and Willow's commentary on what's happening. Whatever the glow represents it envelops Buffy and Angel equally and the commentary refers either to both Buffy and Angel being under some kind of influence or just Angel. So while there may well be consent issues, they don't exactly fall into the purely anti-feminist pattern of male forcing female. They also may not exclusively concern consent to sexual activity. If Giles is right about Angel, Twilight's influence over him also caused him to (at best) stand by while hundreds died. On Dollhouse being made a killer was always treated very seriously, being imprinted with a client's sexual fantasy rather less so. We've yet to see how it's going to play out in the comics.
Hayes, I think you're being a little disingenuous. For one thing, I'm not asking Buffy to judge Angel through my eyes with audience knowledge. BUFFY had all the requisite knowledge to take a very, very arm's length position toward Angel until he had explained himself better... or at all. I expected her to act as an ethical person who considers that people's actions have some bearing on their character and not get on Angel's jock when she had no rational or intelligent basis to think anything other than that he was dangerous, possibly evil, possibly insane.

You are definitely over-parsing what she knew in "Sleeper" when she heard Spike talking about someone being there talking to him. You seriously think that's so unique and different that she would form *no* connection *at all* between that and what had happened to Willow and, in fact, to herself? Well, it doesn't matter -- she textually does in fact make that exact connection. She says "something's playing us". She recognizes that whatever has happened to Spike is bigger than just Spike, and it's bigger than just Spike's say so. She has more than just his word to take for it that what's going is not his fault.

In Angel's case, she literally has nothing other than his say so that he's doing anything other than complete and utter evil as Twilight (and, I should note, *still doesn't*, since she missed the exposition, and frankly, even if she'd been there for the exposition, I personally still feel we, as an audience, don't).

I don't want to get into too much of an aside about Rape Culture, but I generally agree that yes, there is a serious consent issue if Buffy is under an influence in 8.33/8.34, and a serious personality issue if she is not. I'm hesitant to jump into it as a question of perpetuating a rape culture, though, because, well -- all human/vampire relationships necessarily do this if dubious consent is a component. I mean Buffy/Spike, Buffy/Angel, Sookie/Bill, Edward/Bella, all of them. You've got people with preternatural sexual allure, predatory traits that enable them to hunt, and in some cases superpowers specifically tailored to give them an emotional advantage and ply their partner.

On a "Dollhouse" note, I know this came up at the time, but more thought has only made it more impossible to morally distinguish between Angel/Twilight's reasoning and his behavior in Season 8 and Alpha's in Season 1 of "Dollhouse".
The shoddy treatment of dubious consent was always a sore spot on Buffy. They made a higher power the rapist and made two people the victims (Buffy/Riley, Angel/Eve, Angel/Buffy) putting it as if in such a case the experience would not be traumatic.

Which is like Lizrael said a way to rape culture. Wow, see how funny it is when people have sex against their will!
I think the apotheosis of the issue we have been discussing cannot be seen in Buffy or in the comic; it is in Dollhouse. Dollhouse seems the end point of a thread in Joss' work that began in Buffy and which has evolved ever since. But this seems of a kind to me; the issue of consent has bothered since long ago, in many discussions similar to this one. Because my recent training is as a bioethicist, it may be that I am highly sensitive; in fact, my most recent paper was on reporting of consent in chiropractic research. So I take the issue seriously and do not feel that because this is a comic it is somehow less important or diminished. The worry is that since it is not in discussion, it becomes seen as the norm, when it is not- this also can perpetuate a rape culture. For myself, I no longer see a way in which Joss can write himself out the corner he has put himself into.
With all due respect, KingofCretins, if dubious consent is an issue, perpetuation of rape culture is also an issue, regardless of whether the couple involved are human/human, human/vampire or vampire/vampire.

For example, dubious consent was an issue between Angel and Darla in season 2 of Ats. And dubious consent was an issue between Bill and Lorena in a recent episode of True Blood.
Menome, I was differentiating merely on the point that I consider Buffy and Angel being involved *at all* a perpetuation of said culture, so I'm not raising that an an objection unique to her saddle-up in 8.33/8.34. I consider human/vampire as a per se consent issue (in pretty much any mythology, vampires can and do exude supernatural influence over humans, up to and including the Buffyverse where there is plenty of textual evidence even then that vampires are preternaturally seductive when they wish to be). If we were talking about Xander and Dawn, then I would take the dubious consent of glowhypnol as perpetuation of a rape culture, but in the case of Angel and Buffy, I'm really looking at the dubious consent on its own merits and not part of a larger cultural trend.
So, setting aside anything that happened in 8.33/8.34, you're saying that it's dubious consent between Buffy and Angel because Angel is a vampire?
Someone's being disengenous here. With Spike the idea that "someone might be playing us" because he was claiming to hear voices again is only rational if she can confidently eliminate the alternatives that he's lying or babbling. That confidence is based on her assessment of his character, sincerity and sanity. The same type of assessment applies in Angel's case.

All Buffy has seen of Twilight with her own eyes is what happened in A Beautiful Sunset when he slayed a building but caused no permanent physical harm to any living being. Whatever Riley was able to find out it didn't include being able to warn her about Warren and Amy's rocket attack or that the military were using magic to track Slayers. Buffy has somehow to explain how the Angel she knew would become the monster Twilight would be were he in full control of the anti-Slayer forces. Taking all she knows of his character into account isn't relying on nothing other than his say so unless you believe character is a storytelling irrelevancy and it makes sense that anyone can just randomly turn into a pyschopath in fetish gear at any time. Moreover, the one piece of information the people actually glowing the glow have to give each other about what it implies is that it's a connection. A connection that might well give Buffy the impression that she has even more of a direct line on Angel's sincerity/sanity than she did with Spike.
If we're going to take the premise of perfect consent seriously, then yes. And her and Spike, and Bella and Edward, and Sookie and Bill, and whoever and whoever on Vampire Diaries, all in, the whole gamut. I'm agreeing with everything anybody has said about the dubious consent that *may* be the case in 8.33/8.34 (I unfortunately can't rule out the possibly that that's just how low Buffy's standards were at the time), but I'm balking at making it a special and unique situation for the pervasiveness of rape culture when, if we're going to be exacting about it, a human/vampire relationship of any kind already demonstrates.

Hayes -- in Spike's case, she can inform her decision to believe Spike because she has independent information that makes believing him credible. If he's lying about hearing voices, he sure picked a convenient coincidence of a lie, she might have thought to herself. With Angel, you've still got *absolutely nothing* but his say so that he was really the good guy in all of this. She doesn't even have more than his say so that there were other forces allying against her before he decided to take charge. His claims have no independent weight whatsoever.

I'm not sure how to respond to your... heavily bleached description of the events of "A Beautiful Sunset", when the truth of that issue is that he nearly killed Satsu in as casual and off-hand a manner as he nearly caved in Faith's head, and he pounded Buffy herself so thoroughly that accepted impending death at his hands as something she couldn't do anything about (what do you think "church me" really means? She's being defiant in the face of certain death, period). He left the two of them pretty much broken emotionally and physically and comforting each other in a hospital bed, and he did all of that on purpose. And that's if you consider "A Beautiful Sunset" to be the limit of her knowledge. I suppose we could assume that Giles and Faith never explained that Genevieve was an assassin that Twilight had set upon her, but we, as the audience, know that's the truth.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2010-07-19 20:37 ]

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2010-07-19 20:39 ]
That confidence is based on her assessment of his character, sincerity and sanity. The same type of assessment applies in Angel's case.


How is that the same, though? Buffy was about to kill Spike until she intuited that he was being controlled. With Angel, she doesn't divine that he's being controlled, she just apparently thinks he's right.

Actually, the confrontation between Buffy and Angel in #33 is the opposite of Buffy and Spike's confrontation in Sleeper.

In Sleeper, Buffy becomes convinced it is really Spike commiting atrocities and gears up to kill him, only to figure out that he's being manipulated at the last second. She doesn't give him credit that he isn't due--she spends most of the episode thinking that yes, he has reverted to his soulless evil self, only realizing "there's something here... there's something playing with us... all of us" because of her experience in Conversations with Dead People.

In #33, Buffy starts off under the assumption it's not Angel because no way could her souled ex-bf be doing this. She instead reaches the conclusion that it is really him and, what's worse, he's right and she's wrong. Cue kissy face.

For Sleeper, I see Buffy applying her insight and logic. For #33, I see her abandoning the same.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-07-19 20:43 ]
King, I do think the cited eps and parts of the comics do stand out and you can't really put every human/vampire pairing into the same boat.

Spike can't even do thrall and usually it was shown on the show when a vampire used it and there is no indication the early Angel used it either. Bill can do thrall but it doesn't work on Sookie. (You're not going to hear me argue for Bella and Edward, she's his Renfield.) So I think the cases where actual mind manipulation was in play (those three, plus Willow/Tara in Tabula Rasa) do warrant extra scruteny that the interspecies relationships don't.

[ edited by Changeling on 2010-07-19 20:43 ]
I'm not talking about thrall -- I'm talking about the vampire itself, mythologically, as a creature of preternatural sexual allure. Thrall -- or Edward's mind-reading, or Harris' vampires array of abilities -- are all just mechanisms of that which the vampire is an inherent expression of. Don't believe me that the entire premise is an example of rape culture? Great. Show me all the iconic relationships of a female vampire and human male.

Emmie, brilliantly well said about the contrast between Buffy's use of reason in 8.33 and in 7.08.

EDIT: uncapitalized "Thrall" -- too much WoW.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2010-07-19 21:07 ]
In Sleeper, Buffy becomes convinced it is really Spike commiting atrocities and gears up to kill him, only to figure out that he's being manipulated at the last second. She doesn't give him credit that he isn't due--she spends most of the episode thinking that yes, he has reverted to his soulless evil self, only realizing "there's something here... there's something playing with us... all of us" because of her experience in Conversatios with Dead People.

Buffy's only experience in CWDP was with a perfectly normal touchable stakeable vampire who told her Spike had sired him. Despite that, and before she gets to hear about Willow's meeting with First!Cassie, she refuses to believe Spike could be killing again because "He's changed" and she can feel it. That's an assessment based on solely on character and demeanor that drives her to look for alternative explanations however flimsy the factual evidence throughout the episode. My reading of the final not-staking scene is that it's Spike's willingness to accept death by Slayer as much as his babbling about someone singing that convinces her. Angel is a good deal more coherent but again the moment when she decides either to believe him (or at least to believe he's sincere) comes when he's telling her he's terrified because she and she alone has the power to decide what she wants - whether she wants to be "happy."
I couldn't disagree more forcefully -- to my eye, Spike's willingness to take the staking does not prevail at all on Buffy's intention to go through with it, whether she feels resigned on the subject or not. She balks with her own question -- "who said?", and it's at that point that she received the information she needs to make a connection with everything else that's going on.

I... I can't really believe that you'd expect -- or that you in Buffy's situation -- would honestly think the application of logic and reason would infer no connection between the events of "Conversations with Dead People" and with Spike's sudden killing spree and his insistence that something is talking to him. After all, let's keep in mind that Buffy already knows that something is going on with Spike and had for several episodes, she explicitly mentions that being in the basement is killing him. At the time, she assumed it was the normal crazy, but you don't think *all* of these things would align in her mind at that point?

In Angel's case, his coherence is besides the point -- what should matter is that, in sharp contrast to Season 7, Buffy has absolutely nothing outside Angel's own words upon which to give credence to his explanation. She has no independent knowledge of forces aligning against her; indeed, all she knows of such forces are that *he* is behind them, so really him saying she's wrong about that is as compelling as the great Shaggy song "It Wasn't Me".
Show me all the iconic relationships of a female vampire and human male.


Let the Right One In

:D

Though I agree with you that vampirism certainly could be a metaphor for rape culture.

*wanders off to ponder*
Yeah, I'll go on waiting for the iconic ones, and also the plural ;)
Show me all the iconic relationships of a female vampire and human male.


Let the Right One In


"I'm not a girl." ;)

[ edited by beergood on 2010-07-19 21:20 ]
I can't really believe that you'd expect -- or that you in Buffy's situation -- would honestly think the application of logic and reason would infer no connection between the events of "Conversations with Dead People" and with Spike's sudden killing spree and his insistence that something is talking to him.

I would infer a possible connection but not one with sufficient supporting evidence (if I'm not allowed to take character into account) to discount the alternatives that Spike was playing her or just murderously insane. Had it been Holden or some other random vamp using the same lines do you think she wouldn't/shouldn't have staked him?

Buffy has no independent evidence for Twilight OR governments OR demons being in charge of the Slayer attacks. She hasn't seen the ordering of them just the outcomes.
Well, let's step back and also compare the decision Buffy was actually making. You seem to basically be saying that it is equally reasonable for Buffy, possessing what information she had in "Sleeper", to not kill Spike as it was for Buffy, possessing what information she had in 8.33, to have sex with Angel. Are you really wanting to hitch your wagon to these as examples-in-kind of responsible, cogent decision-making by Buffy?

And Buffy absolutely has evidence of Twilight's responsibility for her people's problems. Everywhere she turns, people proclaim it. Gen. Voll did. The Swell did (as undoubtedly reported to her). Unless Giles and Faith are grossly irresponsible, she knew that Twilight was who put Roden up to training Genevieve to kill her. Twilight is the *only* person there is evidence for being behind most of what happens in Season 8.
KoC...THE HUNGER!! Just look at the broken down yet still androgynously attractive Bowie after Denevue had her way with him. Not sure why you wanted female vamps, but here's one.
Let the Right One In is definitely the best vampire film in...well, a really, really long time. I feel comfortable saying it's iconic--or will be. But I hear you on the plural.

Touche, beergood. ;D
I wanted examples of female vampires and male humans because, if my premise is wrong, and vampires/vampirism aren't implicitly, innately metaphors for sexual dominance and thereby an extension of rape culture, one should find a pretty even balance in the pop culture of iconic vampire/human mythology with no regard to gender. "The Hunger" and "Let the Right One In" are relatively obscure and barely a drip in the ocean compared to the weight of pretty much all other vampire mythology from Dracula on where the male vampire has been the dark, sexual figure that beguiles women into submission.
KoC
Well now I'm confused. I thought your theory of vampirism was that if you didn't stake them you were bound to have sex with them not being able to resist the thrall (you being female or David Bowie). Sometimes I wonder if people here have ever had sex. As I recall it doesn't always solely involve responsible cogent decision-making.

Twilight is a person. No it's a place. No it's an event. No it's an organisation. Which of the above were Voll/Roden/The Swell referring to and did any of them get their information first hand?
Oh okay, could have just read your previous message instead of skimming, but thanks for the recap. wow, I'm coming up blank for the famous femme-vamps in a leading role. Well there's Selene in Underworld, but that's not really big. Ehm, mostly that stuff is indie or foreign, or foreign indie. But good luck on your search!

Twilight is a person. No it's a place. No it's an event. No it's an organisation. Which of the above were Voll/Roden/The Swell referring to and did any of them get their information first hand?


When Buffy meets Twilight in A Beautiful Sunset, she calls him Twilight. As do the military besseching an audience with Twilight in NFFY. Twilight/Angel is then the physical embodiment of the event, the person who will bring forth Twilight. He's the figurehead for Twilight. It's spokesperson. He symbolizes it and furthers its development. The line between the man and the event are deliberately blurred so as to become nearly indistinct.

The requirement of firsthand knowledge accounts isn't really relevant to how Buffy perceives who is responsible. She attributes everything to Twilight/Angel, the man. And as I understand this exchange, what's central to the debate is her POV in #33/34 when she decides to hitch a ride on the glowtrain, not the debate of relative truth.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-07-19 22:01 ]
You Suck by Christopher Moore :)

If you speak generally there is a rape metaphore about vampirism. But if you keep it to the Buffyverse, there is no supernatural attraction to vampires. Buffy slays tons of them without feeling attracted in any way.
Well now I'm confused. I thought your theory of vampirism was that if you didn't stake them you were bound to have sex with them not being able to resist the thrall (you being female or David Bowie).


Um... not in any currently established language, grammar, or syntax on Earth, no.

Sometimes I wonder if people here have ever had sex.


You stay classy, San Diego.

As I recall it doesn't always solely involve responsible cogent decision-making.


Didn't have to solely involve it to involve it *at all*. Believe it or not, people are capable of still being moral and ethical creatures even when sexual atraction and sexual desire are part of their state of mind.

I'm much more patient with this level of Twilight whitewashing than I usually am, but I'll make very clear where I am on this subject. Twilight is as evil a figure -- the man, the movement -- as has ever been introduced in the Buffyverse. That's judging him entirely by his actions and even taking those actions on the terms by which he chose to explain them. That didn't change for me when it turned out to be Angel, it was going to be true no matter who took off that mask, because it's just... true. I've said since 8.09 when it was revealed that there was this masked villain who had sent a warlock to corrupt a Slayer into becoming an assassin to kill Buffy. Nothing that has happened since made this person any less of a monster and a thug.

So trying to make absurd distinctions that suggest that anybody being victimized by that coward would be sitting there trying to parse out "did the general mean a dimension, a movement, or the guy who called himself by the name Twilight?" and, in Buffy's case, wouldn't even manage to be mad or suspicious enough to withhold sex for longer than two minutes isn't really going to be all that convincing to me.
Show me all the iconic relationships of a female vampire and human male.


Darla and Lindsey.
LTROI is as iconic as it gets, no question, no matter what sex is involved. Though you need to read the book to really understand.
To follow Simon's incredibly obvious choice that for some reason we all overlooked, ahem, Vamp Buffy and Xander *scurries away*
Guys... it was a rhetorical question in the first place, because there are NO examples that measure up to even *one* of a Bella/Edward, Buffy/Spike, Buffy/Angel, Sookie/Bill, Dracula/Mina type examples of cultural vampire obsession. Certainly not, of all things, Darla and Lindsey. Really?

And, with respect to the I'm sure very entertaining "Let the Right One In", let's be a little bit discriminating about the word "iconic". To be iconic, one assumes, there must at least be an icon -- you don't have to have watched a single episode of "Buffy" or read or seen any of the "Twilight" franchise to know exactly who I'm talking about when I say those characters names. I have serious doubts that anybody who hasn't read or seen "Let the Right One In" could name any of the involved characters, let alone would recognize them as examples of iconic vampire romanticism.

As for vampire sexuality in the Buffyverse, I actually do think you can make an argument for vampires having that preternatural sexual allure. Sure, they poke holes in it with the occasional schlubby vampire, but there are plenty of other examples where vampires can hold a victim's gaze almost like a cobra, can make them lower their defenses, can charm them into obedience. It's a completely voluntary distinction to say that Spike could lure what's-her-name in "School Hard" or Angelus could lure Theresa in "Phases" only because they are stud muffins and not because they are vampires. That they are vampires are inseparable elements of their appeal in the first place. Go back to all the swooning things Buffy said about Angel in Season 1, about the dark and the mysterious -- well, y'know what, he is these things because he's a vampire.
The requirement of firsthand knowledge accounts isn't really relevant to how Buffy perceives who is responsible. She attributes everything to Twilight/Angel, the man.

Buffy doesn't see Twilight talking to the military but the idea of him as a Big Bad stirring up hatred and running the show helps her fight him/them/it. Another Caleb, another Glory, "something to hit." Finding out that Twilight is Angel is difficult for her to reconcile with Twilight as the Big Bad once she's found out (to her satisfaction) that he isn't Angelus and appears to be sane, appears to be Angel-like. Cryptic talk,earnestness, admissions of vulnerability - that's the Angel she remembers. She needs an alternative to the Big Bad model that causes less cognitive dissonance and Angel does supply a fairly coherent alternative explanation for why the world hates Slayers and what he was attempting to do about it. Not one that puts him a very non-patriachical light but by the time that comes up I think she's more focussed on her own failings.
Jessica and Hoyt on True Blood is probably the most equal, consenting, and manipulation-free vamp/human relationship I've seen yet (sorry, just wanted to throw one more girl-vamp/human-dude example into the mix). This (and another one that comes to mind is Christopher Pike's Sita from his Last Vampire series, but I imagine folks who like vamps and read a lot vamp fiction--I kinda don't, far as classic movie monsters go--can name dozens of examples, and Sita was as predatory as it got).

Your iconic-vampires-might-equal-rape-culture idea doesn't hold for Bill and Sookie. She was attracted to him in the bar, in the first episode, because she saw someone unique (and handsome) and because as a telepath it was a relief to finally not be able to read someone's mind. He can't glamour her. You could maybe make a case by spinning off on how possessive he gets with her and how old fashioned he can sometimes behave, but that has more to do with the fact that Bill is a man out of time than just the fact of being a vampire.

I get where you're coming from, just think it sucks that we might actually be discussing saddling vampirism/the vamp mythology/vamps-as-iconic-literary-figures with the responsibility of being automatic contributors to Rape Culture. I get analyzing the effect and influences vampires as a cultural phenomenon have had on some societies, but I don't think I'll be seeing the vampires in Buffy through a lens of "okay now let me see if I get a feel for Rape Culture on re-watch this time". Which is cool, mileage varying and all that. If it's been true of classic vamp stories, I think it's lessening, because in the past 20 years, from what I've seen (like I said, don't like vamps and generally don't go seeking out stories about them specifically, but they're kind of everywhere), there isn't a whole lot of controlling going on by males of their human female interests, they don't often have the ability to glamour or simply attract by virtue of sparkling or a supernatural pull anymore (hopefully that's declining due to being an exceedingly lame ability, plus yeah, it makes consent of the woman--or young dude--questionable or non-existant).

Strongly disagree that vamps in the Buffyverse have any kind of attraction-pull that's due to simply their nature of being a vampire. In a roundabout way, their longevity (and a non-aging-to-the-point-of-senility mind) allows them to study people longer and master the art of social interaction and, if they're so inclined, manipulation (and most would be inclined, being evil in the Buffyverse), but anyone in real life can do that as well (well, they can try), just not with the benefit(?) of having 100+ years to figure it out. You're reading into the Buffyverse vamps just to force a connection to the other popular/iconic franchises' potential contribution to the subject at hand, but doing so with unfounded ideas of the principles of how vampirism in the Buffyverse works.

The Master might've had some kind of bizarre magical abilities (or Buffy was just frozen in fear down there in his lair? Need "Prophecy Girl" re-watch) and Dracula's a pretty huge exception in the Buffyverse as well (but ah, they explained it away as Gypsy magic, didn't they ? Not a benefit of his vampirism. Hmm, why didn't more vamps learn magic, they would've been more of a threat. Vamp-witches. I know, "Wolves at the Gate" covered that. Plus Angelus and Spike and whoever else all dabbled in magic or obtaining superpowered artifacts at one time or another). But those two are exceptions and I'd hardly say anyone was physcially attracted to The Master (Darla, maybe, but it seemed more likely she was just loyal and/or in love with his power and looking forward to his end goal of hell-on-Earth).

[ edited by Kris on 2010-07-19 23:31 ]
In regards to Buffy's judgment of Angel's character... I may have lost the timeline relating S8 to AtS5, but we were led to believe in the latter that Buffy didn't trust Angel since he joined W&H. If that holds, shouldn't she have been MORE suspicious of Angel and his motives once he revealed he was Twilight - not less?
"The Master might've had some kind of bizarre magical abilities..."

Hypnosis, according to Buffy, but he is also her father; a manifestation of a father’s rejection of her – speaking of reading things into the vampires of the show. It has some pull over her.

And that is also what bugs me about these discussions. You should take away the metaphors first to get free from criticising the surface stuff, which although fun is not very meaningful.
I'm confused why, in this mini-discussion of feminism and the comics, the focus of criticism has been the presentation of Buffy's "decision" to have sex with Angel. The real problem from a feminist standpoint, one which I believe made all of the other issues inevitable, is the decision to make Angel Twilight in the first place. I'll explain.

First, it's important to note that feminism ain't about "women versus men." Men, just like women, are moral agents capable of forming their own attitudes about gender equality and the moral status of women. Likewise, many women can be quite anti-feminist (many American religious conservatives or women who inform on other women to the Saudi or Iranian morality police, for example). The feminist struggle isn't just about how women choose to respond to the "immutable fact" of patriarchy, but also whether men choose to participate in or perpetuate gender oppression. This resistance can come in any number of forms, but it's hard to deny that men accepting women as equals and acting on that belief is central to the feminist struggle.

If we accept that premise, and the claim that culture shapes our beliefs about gender, then it follows that having male feminist icons in popular culture - that is, male characters who clearly resist gender norms/stereotypes/oppression - is exceedingly important to the struggle for gender equality. To place it the current context, it's not just the fact that Buffy is a strong woman that makes BtVS a feminist show; it's also the way that male characters react to her that sharpen the show's feminist message. Sometimes, this means creating symbols of male oppression (like the werewolf hunter in "Phases" or Season 2 Angelus) for Buffy to overcome, but in other cases it means creating sympathetic male characters who act like male feminists.

There isn't a single character who comes close to fitting this bill as well as Angel does. Angel's quite clearly a very powerful man with a strong heterosexual sex drive (if you don't believe me on the second point, I can go through examples), but he also displays some traits that are taken in regressive accounts of gender and sexuality to be "feminine" or "gay." Angel loves clothes, is strongly implied to have had sex with at least one other man, and is practically defined by his emotional sensitivity.

Most importantly, for our purposes, Angel treats female characters no differently on the basis of gender. He demonstrates time and time again his commitment to the cause of gender equality ("She" and "Billy" might be the clearest example, but there are others), and he's perfectly unabashed to admit when a woman is smarter or stronger than he is (the clearest example of this is his argument with Buffy about Faith, where he talks quite openly about how Buffy is stronger than he is). When he does treat women badly in contexts that look like they might be suspect on this front (e.g., leaving Buffy and Nina "for their own good), this is an extension of a general character flaw rather than a gendered issue - he does things to everyone "for their own good," not just women. Feminist heroes don't have to be perfect people to be feminists.

In other words, men, especially those who identify as straight or bisexual, are hard pressed to find a better role model for a strong feminist man than Angel in the Buffyverse and, I'd argue, in almost all of contemporary popular culture. This makes a great deal of sense given the rest of Angel's characterization: as I've argued before, Angel takes morality and moral thinking more seriously than anyone else in the Buffyverse, and his distinctive moral code is one that takes all people to be moral equals. It's hard not to be a feminist when you have those views.

If this argument holds, then the comic's clearest misstep from a feminist standpoint was making the show's greatest male feminist icon into someone who could be seen as an abusive boyfriend in the first place.* If Angel really was Angel, and wasn't being entirely controlled by Twilight (a likely development which I'll discuss briefly at the end), and he did all the things that Twilight did out of his own free will, then the character is compromised. All of the traits that made him so identifiably feminist on TV have been thrown out the window in the black-hat, mustache-twirling depictions we've seen of Twilight. The character has ceased acting anything like the character that we got to know for 8 years. That's not only bad characterization (I talk more about that in the post I linked to above), but also subversion of the idea that men can be both powerful men and reliable allies in the feminist fight. That's really, really bad for feminists, who consistently challenge the idea that in order to be a "strong man" one must act violently and oppressively towards women.

By compromising Angel, it also compromised Buffy's character as well. Given Angel and Buffy's history, any reintroduction of Angel to her plot would have to involve dealing with their relationship. Further, given how clear it's been made throughout both shows that Buffy's attraction to/love for Angel has never really gone away,** there would have to be some nod towards that attraction in order to maintain stable characterization. The space sex was one way to take that (probably not my preferred one), but by no means the only one - it could have been something as simple as the kiss in "Chosen." Something had to be said about the Buffy/Angel relationship, and it wouldn't make any sense given past history for it to be one sided repudiation from either character. There had to be some kind of sexual encounter.

And that's why focusing on Buffy's decision to have sex with Angel as the flaw from a feminist point of view is misplaced. Any sexual encounter between the two, assuming that Angel was freely choosing to act as Twilight, would reek of a woman returning to an abusive man. Since the fact of attraction between the characters is established, there had to be some kind of sexual encounter between the two. Previously, since a lot of what made their relationship work was Angel's feminism, sex between those two struck me as entirely consistent with feminist values (contra KoC, I think it's absurd to say that all vampire male/human female relationships are power imbalanced given that in this case the woman is physically more powerful than the man and the initiator of sex when they have it on both BtVS and AtS). Turning Angel into an assaulter all of a sudden made pursuing that relationship perverse. And yet, for reasons others have elaborated on this thread, it would have been implausible for Buffy to reject Angel just for being Twilight.

Bottom line: Feminist sin 1 (the B/A sexual encounter after his reveal as Twilight) was an inevitable consequence of the previous depictions of their relationship and Feminist sin 2 (turning a previously feminist male role model into a cartoon villain). Thus, the move most deserving of criticism is 2, as it was both the cause of 1 and a horrible move from a feminist point of view in its own right.

The only way that this can be salvaged, I think, is by having both characters have been compelled to be acting like this. It saves Angel's status as a feminist hero, and explains why they would be so quick to have sex. There's a lot in the text to suggest this, and since the glowy force is basically an open-ended and undefined MacGuffin, the writers can say things like "it targeted Angel first, so he did horrible things" and "Buffy was affected more powerfully when he took off the mask, but it started to wear off after they were in Twilight for a little." Or something like that.

Now, I think that move is shitty plotting, but the alternative 1. makes no sense given Angel and Buffy's past actions and 2. damages messages that BtVS has been trying to convey since its inception. What this means, then, is that the major arc of the comics - Angel is Twilight - either destroys a major part of the show's message or is just a shitty plot. Either way, there's no reason to believe that it measures up to the high standard set by the TV shows.


*Don't tell me this was already done in S2 - the soul/not soul distinction is shown to make people so fundamentally different that turning Angel into Angelus and having the latter fight Buffy doesn't tell us anything about the former's character or moral status.

**This is not intended to convey any position about Spike or Buffy's feelings for him, so don't take it in a shipper sort of way. I don't intend anything in this post to indicate support for one ship or another, but rather to show why Angel is a feminist hero, and how the comics have gone wrong by subverting that depiction.


NOTE: THIS IS LONG, AND I WROTE IT QUICKLY AND DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO PROOFREAD. I APOLOGIZE FOR TYPOS AND BAD GRAMMAR AND RUN-ON SENTENCES.

[ edited by goingtowork on 2010-07-19 23:59 ]
I fail to see how their cosmic sex is an "inevitable consequence" of their past relationship. This simply makes no sense to me. Yes, they had a past relationship, and even once actually had sex. So what? Why does that imply she will jump into bed with him many years later after he was revealed as the source of terrible events and actions?
Wow, that was alot of reading, great great post! Really enjoyed it and it brought to light alot of ideas about Angel that I hadn't thought of before. I kinda hope you help out in the final arc, you seem to have a good grasp on the character.
So...the fact that Angel is a pouf makes their cosmic sexcapades understandable? Damn... let's go back to the Angel-locks-the-W&H-laywers-in-a-winecellar-with-Darla-and-Dru-to-be-killed Angel. He wasn't such a pouf!
Re Dana: Almost every time those two get put together on either of their shows, something sexual or otherwise indicative of the emotional connection as partners that the two have happens. Either they have some physical connection ("Chosen"), an emotional exchange that suggests a relationship-type connection (the Buffy S5 episode after Joyce dies), or both ("I Will Remember You,"). And that's just post-Sunnydale, as their S3 relationship is the clearest example of how they tend to get involved when put together. The sole exception is when Buffy visits to come collect faith, but that happens after a backdrop of them fighting for quite some time. Even then, they fight like people who are dating fight. It's like Spike says in "Lover's Walk:"

You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends.


The point here is that consistently, throughout their relationship, there has always been some sort of sexual or sexually-tinged emotional exchange between Buffy and Angel every time they meet each other after being separated. Given that they are attracted to each other in this fashion, it would be inconsistent to leave it out this time because Angel was Twilight. So it's not the space sex that's inevitable, but rather some kind of sexual-type thing, and all of those would seem perverse if Angel was acting freely as Twilight. My argument is tied not to the specifics of the space sex, but rather to the way their relationship has always been portrayed.

Re BlueSkies: Thanks so much!

Re Baxter: Way to miss the entire point of the post, and reassert the gender norms the character is intended to undermine to boot. Nice one, buddy.

[ edited by goingtowork on 2010-07-20 00:20 ]
I have to strongly disagree. So far as I can tell, they had one sexual encounter, period, and it did not end too well. Anything post that event might involve longing, desire, etc., but is not sexual. And it surely should not be since it has been some time since they last saw each other, much has happened, and Buffy is more mature and certainly more intelligent. I do not really accept this explanation, with respect.
Re: goingtowork: my post had to do with multiple other 'notes' in this thread, but if paranoia works for ya 'buddy' go for it.
Ok, it's clearly not true that they only have sexual encounters once. I think what's done on-screen in Chosen is pretty clearly a sexual encounter, but even if you think that the only sexual encounters that matter are ones that involve straight-up intercourse, then "I Will Remember You" after Angel turns human still stands as an example of what I'm talking about.

But even if you don't buy that, I've got two other points in support of the position I take in the first post. First it isn't the physical acts that would make a post-Twilight Buffy/Angel reunion perverse. Instead, the problem is that she displays an emotional quasi-sexual connection to a violent and abusive ex-boyfriend. Call it "longing" or "desire," maybe, but it's undeniable that she would still have such feelings given their past history, and it's also undeniable that it would be pretty fucked up from a feminist perspective to show Buffy having those sorts of feelings for Twilight. It's the inevitability of the emotional connection, not the physical acts that are merely manifestations of that connection, that's problematic.

Second, even if that's not true, and it would be perfectly consistent with previous characterization for Buffy to flat-out reject any sexual connection to Angel just because he is Twilight, that's still bad from a feminist perspective. It sends the message that even those men who are most clearly identifiable as feminists (assuming my account of Angel's character is correct) are dangerous and can turn on women at any moment. In essence, it makes all heterosexual relationships seem suspect from a feminist standpoint. That's really, really bad, given the overwhelming majority of women want some kind of sexual relationship with men. Implying that those relationships can never be fully equal is to give up on a really important feminist end, namely making heterosexual relationships equal partnerships rather than power struggles. Thus, even if I'm wrong about the inevitability thesis, the alternative move is also bad from a feminist standpoint, and the claim that making Angel=Twilight makes anti-feminism inevitable still stands.

re Baxter: whoops, my bad. I've thought it's worked for me in the past, but I'm starting to think my enemies might be able to take advantage of it.

[ edited by goingtowork on 2010-07-20 00:38 ]

[ edited by goingtowork on 2010-07-20 00:39 ]
sueworld, I agree Franco's characterization had more of a human quality than Jeanty's, and the world of After the Fall kept the work from becoming too pedestrian. In Angel's comic, the fantastical is breaking through the "real world" and the artwork is surreal with the feel of underground art; Buffy's team is having a different experience - it is they who are traveling to fantastical worlds. So given that, the pop art seems appropriate. If Season 9 has the Scoobies back home in Sunnydale, perhaps a style closer to Urru's may be fitting.
Perhaps an appreciation of the potential differences between sexual encounters and emotional connections/intimacy would be helpful in this discourse of yours. I personally have several relationships in which the two are distinct. I suspect this is also true of both Angel and Buffy.

[ edited by baxter on 2010-07-20 00:42 ]
I was going to ask people to maintain the respectful tone of this thread and keep personal comments out of it; but it's bit late for that. This thread, as is the case more often than not with discussions here about S8, contains numerous intemperate and unnecessary personal asides, about the comic's creators and site members both. If this subject is going to continue to be a lightning rod for unpleasantness, unfortunately, comments may have to be restricted in future. Cheers.
Sorry for adding to that SNT. I apologize for my contribution toward diminishing the level of discourse.
Wow, that's a lot of commenting since I left...gotta catch up.

KingofCretins-Here's a short list off the top of my head:
Near Dark - Mae/Caleb

Once Bitten - The Countess/Mark

The Lost Boys - Star/Michael

Fright Night 2 - Regine/Charley

Vamp - Katrina/Keith

Jessica/Hoyt (True Blood) and Darla/Lindsey, of course.
Goingtowork - REALLY loved your posts. It's so nice to see a defense of Angel as a VERY feminist role model. I agree with that very much and it's nice to see it put out there.
Wow, goingtowork, I really enjoyed reading your analysis on Angel. I never really thought of it that way. Thanks!
Since we started discussing Angel's character, I thought it'd be nice to share this published article by Prof. Allison McCracken: "Angel's Body".

The article goes into detail about how Angel's passive role on Buffy served to highlight Buffy's strength (and how when he loses his soul, he reverts to a more hypermasculine, heteronormative role to challenge her own strength). How he was the eye candy and the bodily object of torment. But it gets very interesting whene it continues through Angel's role on AtS and how he continues to subvert gender roles with the queer reading of his character and what he represents (think of how all the men on AtS seem to acknowledge Angel's appeal--Doyle says, "Maybe there's a little attraction" to Cordy; or how Angel has the taste of a "gay man").

The article isn't fully online, unfortunately, but what pages are available are very thought provoking and paint an interesting picture of Angel's character and his role in both BtVS and AtS.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-07-20 02:10 ]
Menome, and it is your position as a student of popular culture that the cumulative cultural significance of these relationships is akin to that of Buffy/Angel, Buffy/Spike, Bella/Edward, Bill/Sookie (I still must include this, because it's intrinsic in the vampiric nature -- the things about him that appeal to her, right down to not being able to read his mind, are because he's a vampire. Being a vampire = preternatural advantage in selecting a mate = dubious consent)?

I'd say that the cumulative cultural significance of those pairings you mentioned is less than any one of those I've mentioned taken on its own. And at least a couple are memorable precisely because they subvert the trope of the worldly, dark, broody male figure being irresistably enticing to a young woman of "normal" ethical make-up -- Jessica/Hoyt for example. "Once Bitten" is another -- I mean, really, when the short list of female vampire/male human romance includes a camp comedy film...

A case from the Buffyverse that I think only reinforces my point? Darla/Angel and Drusilla/Spike. Here, you have the mysterious, dominant female presence and the human male. But what happens? Rather than any sort of demonstrable relationship between the powerful female and the weaker male, the male is *immediately* elevated to the same stature as the female. Because it cuts against the grain of what the vampire *is* in pretty much every mythology its found -- the dark and powerful male seducer, the sexually dominant figure. What use would the female vampire then have for the human male?

I realize I'm into sacred cow country here -- I'm on a forum of mostly feminist, mostly human/vampire romance fans of one school or another saying that human/vampire romance in its archetypal form is an extension of the rape culture identified in feminist social theory. The impertinence is not lost on me.

As to Buffy's thought process with Angel -- can anyone at all disagree with the premise that is necessarily dysfunctional on *some* level for Buffy to have jumped on Angel within literally just moments of learning he was Twilight and hearing his cock-and-bull explanation for it? That it would have been much more believably sane and/or ethical for Buffy to have wanted *more* answers before even *caring* about his emo monologue about how scared he is? I know many do see it as dysfunctional but not as bad story-telling, but to you I'd say -- there is no sign yet that the storyteller sees it as dysfunctional, so it should be troubling even to you.
Wouldn't there then be "dubious consent" on Angel and Bill Compton's side of things as well ? Buffy is a slayer, has prophetic dreams and superstrength (and quicker healing than the average human). It could be argued that she's not human. Sookie is telepathic, apparently at least slightly telekinetic (two examples in the 2.5 seasons on TV so far, book fans probably know more), and we don't know exactly what subspecies of weirdness she belongs to yet. So then, don't they possibly have an advantage and a supernatural otherness about them that maybe makes these men (regardless of whether they're vampires) fall in love with them and call consent into question ? How then would they fit into your grouping of the Twilight crowd, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and others ?

Except I don't agree with that at all. At least in terms of Buffy, True Blood, and any other fantasy or sci-fi series where relationships like these are written, if both characters are more-than-human, isn't it conceivable that, since they're on equal footing (or at least on different levels than that of the average person), they can be seen as having made informed and "equal" consent, especially if they're aware of their partner's qualities and choose to be with them anyway (in spite of, because of, who cares).

I guess I just don't really get the issue with the advantage thing. Is a hot woman who attracts a less attractive (by the average person's judgement, quality of appearance being somewhat subjective) male compromising his ability to consent just because, like a vampire, she has what some may regard as an "unfair advantage" ?

Is the only kind of informed/"proper" consent that's possible in fantasy/sci-fi storytelling limited to human/human ?

Sorry if I'm way off and we're having two different discussions here.

Far as Buffy/Twangel, yes to all that given what we know so far, but my jury's final verdict is still out until we have the complete picture, so it's not very interesting to me to harp on the crazyness from issue #33/34 (and we've/you guys have talked it to death in other threads already). At the end of the season, definitely.
Eli is iconic in the sense that s/he represents pure vampire, and not cultural doppleganger. Eli is not interested in Oskar for any sexual reason whatsoever; Eli is presexual in that sense. But as a representation of vampire qua vampire, Eli is as close as it gets. That's what I mean by iconic here.

I find it interesting that I don't agree with the points made by goingtowork even though I end up agreeing with the conclusion! Though there is one point which merits comment: "In essence, it makes all heterosexual relationships seem suspect from a feminist standpoint." This is precisely the point the late Andrea Dworkin was making, not that I agreed with her. But in the end, what this really does for me is make me question Joss Whedon's standing as a feminist writer or icon; I am not sure he deserves this any more, and I am not sure he worries about it per se- witness his comments about Dollhouse and feminism. This is not ad hominem, but it means I need to reconsider my perspective on Joss going forward; perhaps the resolution to all of this sturm and drang will make sense, be canonically consistent, and resonate emotionally. I just don't see how.
it is your position as a student of popular culture that the cumulative cultural significance of these relationships is akin to that of Buffy/Angel, Buffy/Spike, Bella/Edward, Bill/Sookie


No, it's not; but only because I cannot think of one single female vampire/human male couple that's as famed as those you point out.

Being a vampire = preternatural advantage in selecting a mate = dubious consent


In the case of Buffy, I don't think that reasoning is sound because she herself is preternatural and so is Sookie.

What use would the female vampire then have for the human male?


I notice you dismissed Darla/Lindsey again. She not only did not turn him but very obviously found uses for him.

Emmie-Thanks for that link; I don't think I've seen that before.
Lirazel, there's been about 60 replies since I've been here so sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. Thank you for responding to me and explaining why you see it differently this time around. I'll really have to see how Last Gleaming shapes up before deciding what I think about this. I do think its possible Buffy's judgment is supposed to be a little shaky here, especially in S8 where she's made quite a lot of mistakes.

KingofCretins

I know many do see it as dysfunctional but not as bad story-telling, but to you I'd say -- there is no sign yet that the storyteller sees it as dysfunctional, so it should be troubling even to you.

Mm, but I think we do have signs so that's why it doesn't bother me as much. Firstly, the fact that this sex causes an apocalypse kind of shows it’s not meant to be a healthy development. There'd be something quite conflicting if Joss was trying to say "the sex is totally positive but, oh, it's also causing the end of the world!" That’d be jarring and wouldn’t make much sense so I think the fact their sexfest causes the world’s entire destruction should tell you that it was never intended to be taken as a positive development in the story.

More so, Jeanty has confirmed that his variant cover for Issue #35 (the one with Buffy’s friends ostracising her) actually foreshadows what happens in Last Gleaming. The solicitation for Issue #36 also says that “the limits of their friendship will be tested” over what Buffy did. So Buffy isn’t going to get away scott free for her bad decision here, even if Issue #35 really didn’t covey that all that well outside of Satsu’s anger and Willow’s snark. I think once the battle has settled down for a moment and the characters get to breathe again that we’ll see how they really feel about it. So therefore I think Joss knows very well that this isn’t meant to be all sunshine and roses or I don’t think he’d waste his time writing her friends turning on her over what she did :)
Menome --

No, it's not; but only because I cannot think of one single female vampire/human male couple that's as famed as those you point out.


This is almost entirely my point -- that that lack is not an accident, it's representative of just how the vampire mythology first and foremost fills a space of male sexual dominance in genre fiction.

Buffy's, or Sookie's, superpowered ability aren't really relevant to the point I'm making. In fact... isn't it odd that both of these women's supernatural aspects are typically their competitive disadvantage in dating? Vampires have no such limitation -- all that comes with being a vampire tends to make them sexier, more appealing, more irresistable.

I dismiss Darla/Lindsey for a reason I didn't figure I"d have to get into -- exactly when was this a romance? Exactly when was there a realistic sense that Darla was even remotely invested in Lindsey, outside of the decision not to kill him (which, she pretty convincingly explained away later) at the Manners wine-tasting? I'm not sure how a guy desperately chasing after a completely indifferent female vampire is supposed to upset my premise that vampires are pretty much a vehicle for male sexual dominance.

Vampmogs, you say it would be a contradiction, but I think that's exactly what Joss has done -- say that they sex is great and the world-changing effects are just unfortunate. For one thing, look at the fatalistic attitude all the observers take; as though the ONLY non-negotiable, unchangeable event involved is Buffy and Angel keeping it in their pants. For another, look at how they fail to have even the slightest conflict or suspicion or tension of any kind after the sex ended. It's literally as if him being Twilight never happened for Buffy -- it's only an issue for the others as far as we're shown. So it isn't very reassuring when Jeanty, for instance, talks about the conflict between Buffy and her friends over it, because the only conclusion I can really take from that at this point is that they intend to tell us that the Scoobies are the ones who are wrong to be mad at her.
No problem, vampmogs. There is, of course, the possibility that he'll pull off something before the end of the season that'll blow me away. I guess the question comes down to how much you trust him as a storyteller. Though BtVS is my all-time favorite show and I'm a big fan of a lot of aspects of his work, he's let me down--very, very hard--in many ways, quite a few involving his treatment of gender issues, so I remain pretty skeptical. But for someone who hasn't felt let down in the past, of course it makes sense to have more hope and faith in him. And I guess we'll see! Though of course there will probably be people who are both satisfied and dissatisfied when we reach the end and no firm consensus will be reached as to whether he succeed or not. Such is life.
But I just don’t find that likely when throughout S8 Buffy has been portrayed as wrong over a whole range of things. I don’t think Joss likes to ever say “Character A is wrong and Character B is right” but I certainly think he invited us to take Fray’s side in ToYL when Buffy wanted to sacrifice the innocents ...“Something’s ‘skew with that girl.” And Willow scolded her for the bank robbery in Anywhere But Here and wouldn’t let her forget it in Issue #16. That robbery was “the first domino” and even Buffy admits that’s partially to blame for people being frightened and hostile towards the slayers. Part of Buffy’s arc in S8 is about how she’s been forced to compromise some of her morals and how the power may have corrupted her. She's been a very flawed character this season and I don't feel Whedon has been afraid to paint her in an unflattering light. So I honestly find the scenario where her friends are portrayed as in the wrong for being angry at her to be the most unlikely one of all.

I could be wrong but it goes against all my instincts on where I think the story is heading. Ever since the betrayal panel in Issue #10 I've assumed that whoever does it will be sympathetic to the audience, perhaps even justified. For years now I thought we were heading for some kind of Buffy VS Scoobies split (particularly with Buffy and Willow since there's been tension bubbling under the surface) which is why the #35 variant came as no surprise. I’m not trying to toot my own horn just that along with Twilight’s identity, these are the two things I’ve felt will happen in my gut for a long time. I understand why that probably won’t convince you and there’s no reason it should, I’m just trying to explain why I view it so differently.
You’re probably right Lirazel, I think that it does come down to how much faith we have in him as a storyteller. I mean, I don’t think everything in BtVS has been handled perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I have to come appreciate S6 a lot more but I still resent how Buffy was used to service a male character’s story for most of the season, and S7 is just an epic fail for me these days. But overall I do still greatly enjoy most of Whedon’s work and have faith that I can at least always count on his scripts to entertain/move/challenge me. I’ve loved every single issue of S8 Joss has written and just reading the preview page for Issue #36 made me feel better about the story, so I do have that confidence in Joss to make things better. If you don't I can understand that because it's purely a subjective thing and if I had a really sore spot in his work I'd probably be more sceptical too.
Emmie, that McCracken article is fantastic. I think she gets a few things wrong - her claim that Angel "deserves" the punishment he gets misses a lot of the development of the Angel/Angelus distinction, her conclusion about Angel abandoning its gender subversiveness can't sustain scrutiny given Angel's arc in Season 5, and a few details about Angel's history are wrong - but the overall argument is quite compelling. Thanks for sharing!

Especially after reading that piece, I'm more certain than I was before that you're mistaken, KingofCretins, in making sweeping generalizations about the cultural significance of male vampire/female human relationships. Sure, there are some cases (*cough* Twilight *cough*) that fit your description, but it fails to accurately describe the key case for your point: the Buffy/Angel relationship.

For reasons I suggest in my post and that McCracken explains far better than I could have, Buffy/Angel just ain't the sort of traditionally heteronormative one that the notion of vampire-as-predator requires. The textual evidence compiled in her article on this point is overwhelming, and largely related to the way that Angel is characterized as a male feminist/queer hero (I think "male feminist" is more precise, but queer gets some senses of what Angel's about that "male feminist" doesn't, so I'll use them both somewhat interchangeably). I would rethink the idea that Angel and Buffy's relationship is one characterized by some kind of male-dominated unequal consent when the show hammers into our heads, over and over again, 1. that Buffy is stronger and a better fighter than Angel, 2. that he is consistently respectful of her privacy and pacing in the sexual relationship (his turning around when she changes even minutes before they're about to have sex, for example), and 3. she is always depicted as the agent initiating sexual activity.

As for the argument that Buffy's preference for vampires indicates that they have a competitive advantage of some kind that implies imbalanced capacities for consent, I'm not sure I quite understand. Buffy prefers vampires, it seems, in part because the way she lives her life puts normal people close to her in danger and in part because normal people bore her. There's nothing non-consensual about only dating people who fit with your lifestyle. Consider the following parallel case, and how your argument would work in those situations:

Supermodels have to travel a lot ("live dangerously") and like expensive clothes ("are bored by normal people"). Only wealthy people (people who aren't boring) with flexible schedules (people who can survive Buffy's lifestyle) fit that bill. Ergo, any relationship between supermodels and the wealthy is characterized by unequal consent because only the wealthy can satisfy the conditions under which supermodels can enjoy a relationship.


This obviously isn't intended to be a real characterization of the sex lives of supermodels, but instead just to illustrate why your argument leads to somewhat bizarre and implausible conclusions. Just because vampires have what Buffy wants doesn't mean that any relationship between Buffy and a vampire is unequal. Further, since Buffy is quite clearly the dominant partner in both of her relationships with vampires (an understatement in the case of Spike), and how feminist/queer the depiction of Angel is, I can't see much of an argument for how the vampire male/female human relationships in BtVS are symbols of rape culture. It might make sense with other movies/shows, but given how intentionally subversive BtVS and AtS are of both horror/vampire cliches and gender norms, it's just not the sort of thing you're describing.



On an unrelated note, I really appreciate the compliments lmblack21 and slayer, the. I put off a fair amount of work to write that post today, and am just now dealing with the consequences, so it's nice to know that I wasn't totally wasting my time.

[ edited by goingtowork on 2010-07-20 05:30 ]

[ edited by goingtowork on 2010-07-20 05:30 ]
KoC-exactly when was this a romance?

I suppose that's a matter of viewer perception. I choose to see the pairing as a romance, no matter how intricate and/or one-sided it may have been. (much the same as you may see Buffy/Xander.)

On the other hand, you could possibly make a case for your pov if you look at the Lindsey/Darla/Angel triangle.
goingtowork, I also enjoyed reading your post. Very nicely done.
vampmogs, it's interesting how different peoples' past views of things shape their current views. I'm the exact opposite of you on all counts you just listed: I thought S6 was a lowpoint (though still good, because it was Buffy), loved S7 (it's either 3rd or 4th best in my book), have hated basically every major development in S8, and as such have no confidence that all of the issues raised in various comments are going to be resolved in the last arc. I have hope, but no confidence.
I have hope, but no confidence.

Very well-put, as was your earlier posts.
goingtowork,

Yup, it sure explains why we all come to these threads with such different ideas about the text!

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with S6 for many years now but I think I’m finally starting to enjoy it, even if I still resent certain things about. I’ve come to really appreciate her arc recently and can even relate but I still don’t like the feeling I get that her relationship with Spike was more to service his character than hers. Not totally, no, but I definitely get the impression that it was more about him than her. *ESPECIALLY* in the AR scene. I don’t like that because this show is supposed to be about a young woman’s journey and to make it about her boyfriend is problematic to say the least. On the other hand I find myself even enjoying Buffy/Spike in S6 which anyone who’s familiar with me knows is a miracle in itself! And overall I think of S6 far more fondly these days than I do negatively.

S7 is just a big *blah* for me. I think the thing I dislike most about it is that the writers totally failed to work on all the intrinsic relationships that had developed within the group. How does Willow and Xander feel about Buffy getting closer to Spike? How do they feel about what Giles did in LMPTM? Does Buffy really like Kennedy? Did Dawn/Spike ever repair their relationship? The list is endless... There was a time where I could tell you how every single character felt about Buffy/Angel, or Xander/Cordelia, or their different relationships with Dawn etc. So the writers dropped the ball big time in S7 for me and I actually feel the comics do a far better job in that regard.

S8's Anywhere But Here did more to tell me how Buffy feels about Kennedy and what that means for Buffy/Willow’s friendship than S7 did in 22 episodes. I knew how Willow and Xander felt about Buffy’s fling with Satsu or how Buffy feels about Xander/Dawn. I feel they’ve done a great job developing Buffy/Xander and Buffy/Willow as well. I only think they’ve dropped the ball when it comes to Xander/Willow who’ve had way too little interaction, but other than that I’m more than satisfied. And whilst Buffy is by far my favourite character (both in the Buffyverse and in fiction) I've been craving a real "Buffy goes Dark" storyline so it's not surprising her arc in the comics appeals to me.

Ok so I rambled a lot but, yeah, I'm quite satisfied with S8. Especially with Whedon's contributions to the season so I am pretty optimistic I'll enjoy Last Gleaming. I can understand though that if you've hated all of the major developments that you wouldn't be. It’s still kinda wacky that we all have one thing in common -- That we love BtVS – but the reasons we love it can just be so, so different.

PS. And can I just say that as a huge Angel fan I've really enjoyed your posts on his character. Ats get criticised for being a very “macho” show but I always feel his character doesn’t get enough credit for subverting a lot of those typically male traits he’s “supposed” to have. I’d also like to add that he’s also a really creative guy who’s into sketching, reading and the ballet which you usually wouldn’t find in your straight-up-action hero. And whilst he gets criticised a lot for being condescending or traditional in his relationship with Buffy there is something to say in the way he wears his heart on his sleeve and how the writers were never afraid to show him crying.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-20 06:19 ]
That's fascinating, vampmogs: I looked at it from totally different angles, starting from themes and moving to characters rather than focusing on relationships.

I dislike S6 because I think it totally drops the ball thematically. Usually, there's an interesting message or theme connected to the Season's Big Bad, one that colors and shapes the proceedings in all the rest of the seasons. Angelus and the Mayor are the clearest examples (hence why those are my two favorite seasons), but the First, Glory, and the Master all do it too. Adam would have had he been more developed and shown up earlier, but that was kind of a fail. S6 just lacks a real Big Bad entirely - the idea that "life is the big bad" is a cop-out, a message that has been implicit in the show since the opening metaphor of "high school as hell." As such, the writers were just treading thematic water - without a new overarching theme to play off of, the show ends up saying very little of interest, and taking characters to places/having them do things just for the hell of it, in order to generate the sort of drama usually created by real plot developments. In essence, it let the soap opera take over from the social commentary, to the show's detriment.

S7, I thought, really played well with the themes of crisis, leadership, loss, ending and their interconnection - a tone set by the nature of the enemy they were confronting, and the show's own impending demise. As such, plot developments and character interactions flourished - people did things for believable reasons (no Dawn being a klepto or Xander leaving Anya at the alter) that fit with what was going on around them. Characters didn't have to create their own drama - they reacted well to what happened.

S8, I think, was just overambitious. Buffy was great when its core characters were taking on these huge threats, when it was their world imperiled and shaped by evil. This microcosmic approach to the world gets lost in the intended epic grandeur of S8, and as such the show's emotional heart is torn out. I could go into examples, but I'm really tired. Suffice to say that when you add in time-travel (a concept which I think ruins everything it touches given its inherent incoherence), a worldwide war over magic, and the newly animate universe's plan for destiny/the big end/a new world, the characters themselves tend to get lost. Since the characters are the means by which major themes are explored, well..you see where I'm going with this.

Of course, I'm overgeneralizing - I did like Buffy's reaction to being brought back from the grave in S6, and like everyone else, I thought the potentials were really annoying. Because I love Buffy so much, I liked every season, and I don't want my tone to suggest otherwise: I'm just being strident to get my points across better. However, I really do hate S8, but even then I can find some good: they retconned "The Girl in Question," which gets my vote for worst Angel episode ever (it hurts more because S5 was the best).

Anyway, this exchange is really neat - I love to why other people who appreciate Buffy as much as I do have totally different ways of appreciating it. It's a real testament to the show's complexity that it can be enjoyed equally from so many different angles, for so many diverse reasons.

PS: Thanks so much, and good points! Grr at people who think AtS is too macho. So missing the point.

[ edited by goingtowork on 2010-07-20 06:40 ]
So much has happened on this thread since I posted this morning!

Hayes vs. King: The Spike/Angel contrast -- I haven't read every post carefully, so someone might have already said this -- but I think you are both missing the most obvious contrast, which is that when Buffy refrained from staking Spike when she intuited something was up with him, she tied him to a chair to make sure he wasn't a threat to anyone and she certainly didn't boink him to the next dimension.

I don't want to just dismiss Hayes's argument, especially the part about the impact Angel's news that it was really all her fault would have on Buffy. But I disagree that she'd have confined her thoughts about Angel to what she'd personally seen. She's spent a YEAR assuming Twilight was the enemy responsible for everything going wrong. ALL of that fell a way in two minutes on Angel's say-so. I do find that implausible. I could see Buffy backing off and wanting to hear more. But going to the big boink? She sure didn't do that in season 4 when she hived down to LA to yell at Angel about Faith. And Angel wasn't doing anything very terrible then. Nor did she listen to his excuses and soften up and boink him. On the contrary, she just stayed mad. Backing up to IWRY, it's worth noting that she hived down to LA to yell at Angel about the stalking. No yelling here, though, about his confession that he's taken that paternalism to a whole other level and sustained it for a year.

The last thing that still gives me pause on your argument is that even if we do just look at Beautiful Sunset, we not only have Angel putting Satsu in a hospital and banging Buffy up pretty badly (hello domestic violence), we also have him hitting Caleb-like notes about "just like a girl". We were clearly supposed to see Caleb as a possibility in that scene -- and if that's Buffy's personal encounter with Twangel, then she really is boinking someone she had seen in that very dark Caleb-like light for a year. Yours is the explanation I'd most like to sign up with, but these are the reasons I'm not fully sold.

Goingtowork: I think season 4 gives us two examples of Buffy objecting to Angel's behavior. She does go on to get with him in IWRY, but his behavior wasn't anywhere near as terrible as it was in season 8, and she still bothered to yell at him and stalk off before getting back with him. He'd try to explain and she kept expressing her anger. It's therefore just not the case that the mere fact of having Angel as Twilight set up the problem. The Buffy from the show had no problem standing up to Angel when he'd behaved offensively. She doesn't HAVE to have sex with him every time she sees him. She didn't even think about it in Sanctuary. So we're left with the problem of why this Buffy would give Angel a far more intense sexual encounter than they've ever had, minutes after him telling her he's behaved far worse than he ever had.

I don't see B/A as a feminist anything. I know some people do, and you make some good points. But you overlook the elements that lead to the reading of B/A as anti-feminst. First what we have is a very young girl and a very adult man, which is strike one. (Him getting turned on by a lollipop-sucking Lolita is really squicky). Her obviously relying on him for male protection/father figure issues is strike two. Him making major decisions on her behalf is strike three. (Yes, Angel does this to everyone; the issue is that SHE rolls with it). Your points on Angel as a feminist male are not at all invalid. I'm just saying that the overall picture is much muddier than the one you present. There are good elements, but the bad elements I just outlined are all present as well.
***
General comment: I've really liked this thread. Lots of interesting discussion. Last Gleaming has a lot of work to do. I'm with goingtowork and menomegirl on the having hope but not much confidence.

[ edited by Maggie on 2010-07-20 07:14 ]
goingtowork, I can sympathise with your feelings that S8 has been overambitious. On some level I believe this to be true but on the other hand I can see why Joss went the direction that he did. At the edge of the crater in Chosen Willow says that they “changed the world” and she wasn’t exaggerating. So I can understand why Joss felt he had to global to properly explore the ramifications of the spell. But you’re right that it was too big (the season only begins to falter, IMO, after 8.21) and you risk loosing the heart of the piece when you do that. I think it’s pretty telling that the best issues, IMO, have all been small character studies (Anywhere But here, A Beautiful Sunset, Turbulence, even Always Darkest etc) rather than the ones that focus on extravagant battles like in Retreat. My feeling is that Buffy works best when you focus on a very intimate storyline, which is probably why the Angelus storyline in S2 resonates so well.

Another problem is that the “Vampires in Public” storyline really hasn’t been handled well at all. True Blood does a much better job with this than S8 so it’s regrettable that they went so big but stumbled badly in the execution. I think I get what Joss was going for (I liked the protests in the Issue #36) but I wonder if it was necessary? The one thing I think S8 did do well was setting up why the public would be weary of the slayers so I think outing vampires on top of that just seemed unnecessary and messes up a perfectly good story.

I have grown tired of all the globe trotting but I’m beginning to wonder if that is intentional. I loved the castle and thought it was going to be our new permanent residence (like the library or the Magic Box) and I was really disappointed when it was destroyed and the characters no longer had a familiar home. But since Last Gleaming was originally going to be called “Sunnydale” and Buffy longed to go home in After These Messages I do really wonder if this isn’t all about “The Long Way Home.” Maybe we’re meant to miss Sunnydale? Joss always said you need to make the audience feel what the character is feeling and like Buffy, I miss Sunnydale too. I’ll think more on that when I get to read the last arc for myself.

And I just want to reiterate what both you and Maggie have said as I’ve really enjoyed reading this thread too. We’ve almost reached 300 posts and it feels like everybody has talked about everything under the sun. It’s certainly been interesting!
Sigh, I shouldn't get into this (especially in a season eight thread), but, what can I say? I guess I will:

goingtowork: I dislike S6 because I think it totally drops the ball thematically. Usually, there's an interesting message or theme connected to the Season's Big Bad, one that colors and shapes the proceedings in all the rest of the seasons. Angelus and the Mayor are the clearest examples (hence why those are my two favorite seasons), but the First, Glory, and the Master all do it too. Adam would have had he been more developed and shown up earlier, but that was kind of a fail. S6 just lacks a real Big Bad entirely - the idea that "life is the big bad" is a cop-out, a message that has been implicit in the show since the opening metaphor of "high school as hell." As such, the writers were just treading thematic water - without a new overarching theme to play off of, the show ends up saying very little of interest, and taking characters to places/having them do things just for the hell of it, in order to generate the sort of drama usually created by real plot developments. In essence, it let the soap opera take over from the social commentary, to the show's detriment.

Or, the season is about what happens when there is no external driving conflict, or an ostensibly pathetic one (the Trio). The season is structured around Buffy's return from what she thought was heaven to find the Earth as hell, not because there's anything awful on the Earth but because there is no unifying thematic purpose. She fought a God and now she has to come back and fight shark monsters, fast food customers, nerds from high school who refuse to grow up, and her own libido, while the rest of her friends' self-characterization as heroes gets beaten down by addictions, failed weddings, petty larceny and the failure of love to rescue mutually abusive relationships.

The difference between "Life is a Big Bad" and "high school is hell" is that high school is capital-H Hell, it feels like the world is ending and emotions are alawys boiling over from hormones and the pressure-cooker of high school and initial forays into love and romance. In season six, life is hell because of the (to borrow a phrase from The Body) negative space. The season metanarrates on previous years, particularly season two, and we see that Buffy once again falls into a vampire's arms but this time there is no reassuring narrative about epic destiny romance; it's just (at least, so Buffy thinks at the time) bodies and an effort to feel. Willow's first spell for good (the ensoulment) leads inexorably to an extended hissy fit (take that, daddy! I mean, Giles!) wherein she tries to destroy the world because it's so damn depressing and because all her avenues for finding purpose (Tara is dead, Buffy wishes she were, magic doesn't make her special or powerful but it just makes her another kind of loser) are cut off from her. Xander's initial Big Lie ("kick his ass") sets off a pattern of self-and-other deception that culminates in a season-long attempt to make good on an engagement that was ill-advise and was, indeed, spurred on by the spectre of an Apocalypse. Spike's view of himself as the perfect, ideal lover comes crashing down when his fundamental inability to grasp human emotions and morality leads to the attempted rape (shot cinema verite!) on the bathroom floor. I don't buy that any of them were out of character, or actions "just for the sake of it", and I think that every character's actions in season six help illuminate the lies implicit in previous seasons, that these crazy kids were capital-H Heroes and would be forever.

The whole season is about the breakdown of the show's traditional narrative and the characters' self-image along with it. And maybe you've been fortunate enough not to have that happen in your life, but many young adults have (c.f.: me), and it really, really sucks, and season six is one of the only things I've ever seen that portrays it. So, yeah, I don't think it's just soap opera but it has a thematic unity that even many of its fans tend to skip over. Mundane has meaning too, even if it's the lack of meaning itself that's key.

Anyway. What Maggie said on the problems with Angel/Buffy as a feminist concept--it's too simple to say that Angel/Buffy is all bad or whatever, but it has some serious issues and ones that I think are emphasized by the text. And I agree generally that season eight has been overambitious, and that sometime after Time of Your Life the season kind of lost its way, though there are several good issues (some of Predators and Prey, some of Retreat, Turbulence, the Willow one-off, even early Twilight).
Ha! Yet again, WilliamTheB, I started reading your comment and instantly knew who'd written it! I love it when I can do that.

I completely agree with you, of course, seeing as S6 is my favorite season. :D And I'm with you and Maggie on not really reading Angel/Buffy as feminist. Especially because I think Angel the series ended up being extremely, extremely anti-feminist.

I honestly don't think, vampmogs, that Buffy's story is supposed to serve anyone else's--except the AR. I agree with you there that that's definitely what's going on, and it absolutely infuriates me. I adore Spike and find his story in S6 fascinating, but I never, ever want Buffy's story to serve his. Ever. But her story in S6 really makes absolute sense to me and it was the season that made me love her. Perhaps it's because I've had my own struggles with clinical depression and see so much of myself in Buffy that season, whereas I'd never related to her before (love for her little sister aside). I suppose if her specific story of "trying to tread water but drowning anyway" doesn't really resonate for you (as it does for me), that it makes sense that you don't see Buffy's story as standing on its own.

But it works for me, and masterfully. Spike is death. Literally. When she doesn't want to be alive again, of course she's going to be drawn to him, especially since he's the only person in her life who isn't putting pressure on her to be okay all the time. (Not that he doesn't end up putting a different kind of pressure on her, but it's not that kind.) On the other hand, Spike's always been so vivid, with a definite joie de vivre, so full of life and emotions: he just brims with them. And by the very vividness of his personality, he forces people to react to him in one way or another. Of course there's nothing healthy about their relationship that season, but it's so realistic to me: it's destructive, suicidal behavior married to grasping at absolutely anything that can make her feel. It's her flirtation with death paired up with her last gasp for life. I think it's genius. :D

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-07-20 13:24 ]
Lizarel, that was a really moving comment, especially the last paragraph! I guess the strength of Spike's personality was the breaking point for some people(well just me, but i want to make it sound bigger!) like marmite; you love it or you hate it! But i guess I just couldn't connect with anyone that season(except the nerds, cause you know, I secretly love jonathon!). I think a mix of Buffy's depression, Spike's "go on living" attitude and the Scoobies get over it and drink/drugs/magic/leave your loved ones at the alter lifestyle just was not the comfort that I wanted from that season. The other seasons had comfort, a place to rest in(usually Giles!) but this was so empty that there didn't seem to be an escape. Although Angel's dark season 2 parts still had the others fighting but Buffy's was too hard for some(aka me!).
Thank you! That's very kind!

Yeah, if you want some comfort, I can absolutely see why it wouldn't work for you. On the other hand, what I needed was to see someone I admire (in this case, Buffy) struggle with clinical depression and emerge from it--not unscathed, but healing. There's very, very little of that in pop culture. So the lack of comfort doesn't bother me. Well, sometimes it does, but those are the times I just pop in S4 or something. ;D S6 is what I needed, though I can understand why it wouldn't be for others. As a matter of fact, I have an entire community of fans who also relate to Buffy during S6 and most of whom have also dealt with depression. So right now, while I'm struggling with it, I have a support group of sorts that's united by our mutual love of Buffy and our common experience. It's been very good for me. S6 has been a sort of gift for me, honestly.
It's not that I don't think the story makes sense for Buffy and like you I'm relating to it a lot lately which is why I think I've come to appreciate S6 so much more. It’s just that I can’t shake the feeling it was more for his arc than it was hers. I dunno, maybe fandom has coloured my POV a little as there’s definitely a significant number of fans who are far more invested in Spike during this than Buffy. Or maybe it’s the fact that it all leads up to that scene in the bathroom and as we both agree, she certainly was used as a tool to progress his arc in the ugliest way possible during that scene. Whatever it is it just gives me the impression that whilst it may make sense for Buffy and it is partially about her it really serviced his character more. I’m just uncomfortable with that a little and don’t know why I feel that way but I wish I didn’t. It could also have to do with how S7 follows up with the AR because again it seems more pivotal for Spike and getting him to his sacrifice in Chosen than it was for Buffy’s story that season.

Hm, I guess I have mixed feelings on it. As I said, I've actually come to enjoy B/S in S6 (the only season I really do) but this feeling always nags me when I rewatch it. I do admire Buffy's arc that year though and can definitely relate.
Perhaps it's also because his arc is more...dramatic? It's much more black-and-white than hers, what with the absolute low of the AR and then the BIG REVEAL of the soul quest. Buffy's is definitely more subtle, more shades of grey, more one-step-forward-two-steps-back. She makes progress, then she regresses. It can be exhausting to watch, but yeah, that's what depression feels like. So it's less of a clear arc than Spike's, by necessity.

Or I could be wrong. Just a thought. :D At any rate, S6 and 7 are the two seasons when I'm more in Buffy's headspace than Spike's. I relate to Spike to a ridiculous degree, so the fact that I relate to her more during those last two seasons definitely tells me that her arc there works for me.
@vampmogs: As I see it S6 is Buffy’s show (as always) but not everything in it is about her. Tara’s shooting or Xander leaving Anya at the altar are big moments in other people’s stories but background noise in Buffy’s. From Buffy’s point of view the bathroom scene is the rape she resisted not the rape Spike attempted. She stopped him. She says so. It’s a minor beat in her narrative, a coda to her breaking up with him and admitting that she used him at the end of AYW but I don’t see it as her arc being made subservient to his, more that at this point their stories are running out of phase with each other.

@Maggie: In comparing Sleeper with Twilight#33 I was focussing solely on the decisions Buffy made to trust Spike/Angel. What she did next was different for a number of reasons including them asking different things of her. Spike said “Help me” Angel said “Want me” (or possibly “Eat me”). It’s an interesting flaw, or maybe it’s a strength, that she never can refuse these broken heroes when they put themselves at her mercy. In Spike’s case it was clearer what might be going on, what her choices were. She took a risk but went into it eyes open. With Twilight it seemed to me as if nothing made much sense except that it was all her fault and if it were Angel’s fault too at least they deserved each other. Close your eyes (just like in the Chen cover) and jump.
But Buffy didn't trust Spike in Sleeper. She decided not to kill him and to give him a chance. That's not the same thing as trusting him. Angel, OTOH, she apparently trusts entirely -- in his explanation about his own actions, in his account of her role in what's going on, and so on. And she exercises zero caution against the possibility that he'd repeat his performance in Beautiful Sunset when she boinks him to outer space.

On season 6: I love William the B's reactions to season 6. My own were that it was the most daring season of television I'd ever scene. It was daring to make the heroes the villains. The nerds are mirrors for the scoobies: Warren=Buffy (leader); Jonathan=Willow(magic); Andrew=Xander (demon magnet). The Scoobies were the source of Scoobie problems. (Worth remembering in light of the line "You can't kill what's inside you.")

Like Lirazel, I think Buffy's story was only in service of Spike's in the AR -- because I don't think the real Buffy would ever have begged. She'd have put him through the wall immediately, not 45 seconds later. But other than that? It was all about Buffy. We explore her death wish, the toll of being a hero, the dark side of the Scoobie dynamic where they are using her to be their protective hero, her issues with vampire lovers (Spike as text, Angel as subtext), and her issues with Faith(subtext).

In a thread where we are talking about the wrongness of Buffy boinking the boyfriend who had battered her in #11 and who had stalked and terrorized her all year long, it's worth recalling that in season 6, Buffy battered her boyfriend. I have an ambivalent relationship with that last point. But when I first watched the show I thought it was a brilliant dagger to the heart of protagonist privilege.

The season is an exclamation point on the assault on comforting narrative that Lie to Me so brilliantly laid out. In other words, I think it was supposed to be not comforting. I can see why people who wanted comfort weren't going to like it. I don't think you were supposed to. (Give them what they need, and not what they want. Or in a longer Joss quote: "Ultimately, stories come from violence, they come from sex. They come from death. They come from the dark places that everybody has to go to. . . . If you raise a kid to think everything is sunshine and flowers, they’re going to get into the real world and die.”)

[ edited by Maggie on 2010-07-20 15:43 ]

[ edited by Maggie on 2010-07-20 15:43 ]
This has got to be the most vocal and interesting thread I've seen here in awhile. Lots of thought-provoking good points from everyone. I've quite enjoyed reading them all.
I sort of feel this- the AR takes away from a far worse event, Tara's death. I am not trying to compare the two, nor to diminish the significance of the AR, but that happens in the same episode, and every time I read about SR, the AR gets more play. Tara died here. That's not reversible (in a world where death nearly always is in some fashion!). The AR still allows for Spike to grow and for Buffy to come to care for him- though, there is the fact that she comes to love her near rapist, yet another message I cannot really find appealing. Tara's death served a single purpose, to allow writers to place Willow into the position they did; it was "meaningless" in the larger sense and was lost in the other happenings. In fact, I do believe that no character on Buffy has been treated as poorly as she was- first, she was an appendage and then she was a plot device. And then she was gone, never to return in any form whatsoever. For these reasons and others, I loath S6 beyond the telling, but will not take up space again decrying why.
But Buffy didn't trust Spike in Sleeper. She decided not to kill him and to give him a chance. That's not the same thing as trusting him. Angel, OTOH, she apparently trusts entirely -- in his explanation about his own actions, in his account of her role in what's going on, and so on. And she exercises zero caution against the possibility that he'd repeat his performance in Beautiful Sunset when she boinks him to outer space.
She (Buffy) puts her trust in Spike’s being sincere, which seems pretty similar to trusting Angel not to pull a Beautiful Sunset on her (although even if he did she has superpowers too now so he can’t hurt her). Angel’s explanation of his actions seems in character. Maybe it wasn’t the best way to achieve his stated aim of getting fewer people killed but Buffy has a lot of experience herself with making less than ideal calls on that count and Angel being dumb and not sharing still seems more likely than Angel being the straight-up genocidal villain they thought Twilight was. I don’t think Buffy’s being any more credulous here than the fang gang were in Not Fade Away. As to what’s happening to them Angel doesn’t give much by way of explanation, he asks her to listen to her all singing, all-flushing, all glowing body and tags on a bunch of what ifs. So it would seem that part of the reason for trusting him is than what he says about the connection is something she can feel. Whether that’s reliable is another matter but trusting her feelings is something that Buffy is prone to and it has worked to her advantage in desperate situations before.

I don't think the real Buffy would ever have begged. She'd have put him through the wall immediately, not 45 seconds later.
For the first 45 seconds he seemed more desperate and fumbling than a real threat. It’s not even clear if *he* knows what he wants. Then it changes, he switches from desperation to aggression with “I’m going to make you feel it” and it's that which seems to trigger the full Slayer response.
Dana said:
"The AR still allows for Spike to grow and for Buffy to come to care for him- though, there is the fact that she comes to love her near rapist, yet another message I cannot really find appealing."

Fair point on the attempted rape (does it really deserve its own acronym, or is it just that folks don't like typing "attempted rape"?) in "Seeing Red" overshadowing Tara's death when it comes to discussions about the ep (personally I think of Tara's death first and sometimes forget that they even happened within the same ep). Death is definitely the more severe/awful thing to have happen to someone, not to undermine rape in the least.

Not that I'm any huge fan of most of the Buffy/Spike material in Season 7, but what's the difference between Buffy continuing to love and be with Angel after the unsouled version of him attempted to kill her friends and mother (and succeeded in torturing Giles and killing Jenny) and then years later continuing to be friends with and then finding some comfort with a souled Spike after the version of him that attempted to rape her was abolished ? Both tried to do and did succeed in doing some horrible things to Buffy, but both were different versions than what she eventually ended up with (even if they were the same bodies).

There's no message for you to be uncomfortable with there. I don't believe Joss and Mutant Enemy even accidentally put forth the message that Buffy came to love her near-rapist. The personality that did that was destroyed the second he decided to ensoul himself and essentially commit vamp-demon suicide. The man Buffy grew to know in Season 7 was someone different, someone with the memories of human William and vampire Spike (and knowledge of all the atrocities he'd committed over a century+, but none of the responsibility for his vamp-self's actions, IMO--though undoubtedly he inherited some of the human/souled guilt over those actions, same as we saw with Angel), but essentially a unique and separate individual in his own right.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-07-20 21:28 ]
Thanks Lirazel and I love your comments. And yes, yes to Buffy boinking Death in this season. The thing I didn't cover in my comment is that there actually are a lot of sophisticated metaphors going on in the season, in addition to the obvious trappings of the metaphors breaking down. It's why it's so hard to discuss the year--it's not nearly as simple as "the show still uses good metaphors all the time" and "the show abandons metaphor"--it does both and I love how that plays into the characters' own confusion.

Vampmongs: I understand your concern that Buffy/Spike is more about his story than hers. I don't really buy this, but even many people who are big fans of the show see it more through his eyes than hers. But basically, through most of season six we see what Buffy sees, not what Spike sees; in the middle eps of the season Spike is seen alone (or not with Buffy) only a handful of times (the door-crypt scene in Dead Things is a good example). I think Spike's comments in Normal Again reflect this--he's basically complaining that his actions make much more sense in Buffy's emotional journey than his own (which is, I think, an oversimplification too).

I also think that Spike's season-ending sacrifice in Chosen is actually about Buffy as well as him; Spike is Buffy's project, the vampire redeemed (or on the path to redemption, if you'd rather) because of Buffy's influence, and, in season seven, her faith in him.

Maggie: I agree with this. But I also think that the Trio's roles blend in a bit more with the heroes' than you say. Jonathan is the one who, in "Normal Again," is going "Jack Torrence" from being isolated from the outside world, and so he's the parallel to Buffy (who later has her own Shining-esque freakout) there. Warren is similarly paralleled to Willow frequently. I think that Warren/Jonathan flip in terms of who they're paralleling of Buffy/Willow, because who the genuinely powerful Scooby changes throughout the season. (And basically, whenever Buffy or Willow are at their worst that year, it's probably a parallel to Warren. *g*)

I also think that in addition to being about Angel and Faith in subtext, her fling with Spike is also partly about Giles. (The Dead Things balcony scene famously mirrors the Bronze balcony scene in Welcome to the Hellmouth.) It's probably about Hank, too.

In a thread where we are talking about the wrongness of Buffy boinking the boyfriend who had battered her in #11 and who had stalked and terrorized her all year long, it's worth recalling that in season 6, Buffy battered her boyfriend. I have an ambivalent relationship with that last point. But when I first watched the show I thought it was a brilliant dagger to the heart of protagonist privilege.

Oh wow. I hadn't thought of that. Wow wow wow. Add Dead Things to the episodes that Joss' issues have referenced. A good part of the reason I expect the final arc to rock is the way Joss' issues in particular have shown a very careful attention to the characters' past (which a lot of people will disagree with, I know). It plays them out mostly in subtext though.

My attitude towards Buffy/Spike is largely that both are fairly terrible to the other, but both for understandable reasons (so I don't really kowtow to the "Buffy is purely abusive to poor, victim Spike") but certainly that season puts an end to the idea that the hero can't be abusive. (Again, also done with Willow, and to a lesser extent Xander's emotional abuse, and Anya's trying to kill Xander....)

and then:

The season is an exclamation point on the assault on comforting narrative that Lie to Me so brilliantly laid out. In other words, I think it was supposed to be not comforting. I can see why people who wanted comfort weren't going to like it. I don't think you were supposed to. (Give them what they need, and not what they want. Or in a longer Joss quote: "Ultimately, stories come from violence, they come from sex. They come from death. They come from the dark places that everybody has to go to. . . . If you raise a kid to think everything is sunshine and flowers, they’re going to get into the real world and die.”)

Oh wow. Very good. Obviously there are more problems with this season than a lack of a comforting narrative. But this is one of the key sources of criticism from the season and I think you've given a great argument as to why the season goes against it.

On the AR: I think aspects of it are really terrible (a commercial break!?), but I actually do buy Buffy not kicking Spike off immediately. The reason is that I think she secretly, perhaps even subconsciously wants to be proven wrong about him--she wants him to stop by himself and prove that he is a man and not a monster. A part of Buffy wants to believe that Spike is a monster, because that's what makes it okay to treat him badly; but another part of her has real feelings for him and I think that part wants to believe that he's not a monster. I understand and mostly agree with the objections to the meta level of it--that it victimizes Buffy and shouldn't--but fundamentally Buffy's inability to kick Spike off right away strikes me as following from her character. This is problematic for many reasons, but I think the key element for me is that her reaction to Spike in season seven is one of betrayal--she let Spike in, and he turned out to be a monster. She let him in emotionally. It's the betrayal that stings more than the mere fact that Spike was evuulll.

Also what hayes said.

Dana: Well, I'm not going to change your mind and I respect what you're saying. I do think that Tara's death served a greater thematic purpose though. For one thing, it's a revisitation of the end of season five, wherein Buffy can't live in this world if "these are the choices, if everything gets stripped away." The death is one of complete mundane real-world problems--like some other examples of the season--she dies by a shooting. And ultimately life, in great part, involves dealing with the randomness of death; the Scoobies' inability to let Buffy rest in peace continued it. Tara's death is the one that is not solvable and marks the Scoobies' acceptance of death (specifically Willow's, but not just Willow's). And since Tara was the most mature of the Scoobies involved in Buffy's resurrection--and indeed, the one who, of the four of them, should have known better, morally ("It is wrong," she says), that she pays the karmic price seems appropriate to me. So I don't think her death was pure plot machinery; it means a lot to me on a lot of thematic levels and moves me greatly as well (oh God, that scene with Dawn and Tara's body).

I think Tara wasn't treated as badly as you say; I think she got much more development as an independent character than Oz did, before Wild at Heart anyway. But I can certainly sympathize that, as a big Tara fan, you would see it that way.

Hayes, I wanted to say that I like your comments in this thread but am curious: how much of your written defence is of Buffy's being in character and how much of it is Buffy doing the "right thing"? I ultimately think that there are lots of reasons why Buffy would buy into his story on the spur of the moment, when she's already in despair and Angel pushes several of her buttons. But in afterglow in 35 she doesn't seem to think that Angel's explanation doesn't make sense, now that she's had an opportunity to get out of immediate depair-or-frakking headspace. The general idea that Buffy would take a permanent stance to accept Angel's explanation, and not to ask for further clarification of exactly why he thought that, e.g., battering Satsu was okay, is a bit of a big question mark to me, even if I can accept this temporarily.

The distinction between what constitutes temporary and what constitutes permanent is of course ambiguous, especially in a comic where there are months between issues that take place within a few minutes/hours of each other.
I have to agree with Maggie that having Buffy beg just felt very contrived and very wrong. Whilst it was obviously a traumatic experience for her it’s always felt very uncharacteristic to have Buffy pleading with her attacker to “please don’t.” It just felt like a huge betrayal to come up with the back injury so they could make her the victim like that. On top of that I think it was an incredibly poor decision to cut to a freakin’ commercial break in the middle of an attempted rape. I mean, what is that supposed to say... “Stay tuned to see if Buffy does get raped!?”

I want to believe that it wasn't intentional to use a rape scene to keep viewers hooked but it's kind of hard not to when surely a lot of planning went into structuring the episode. By S6 they knew when the act needed to end and what a commercial break is designed to do. So I really think that was a bad decision, to say the least.

WilliamTheB, I really think fandom has just coloured my view a little. Which actually isn't fair to the show but as you say, a lot of hardcore fans view it more through Spike's eyes than Buffy’s so I do question if they could have written it differently. At the end of the day everybody’s gonna identify with the character they relate to the most and of course they’re entitled to but I just find it a little depressing because of what the show stood for. I’m uneasy with the idea that six seasons in and people’s attention starts shifting to the boyfriend rather than the girl. We had so few shows on the air that gave us such a wonderful female protagonist and I just wish we could have made it to the end without such a significant number of fans preferring to identify with a male character instead. I’m aware that many identify with the character precisely because he subverts so many gender roles but I still am uneasy about it.

Saying all that I’m sure those fans who don’t relate to Buffy the most will probably tell me to stick it and they can identify with whoever the hell they want to... and they’d be right. There’s no rule that people have to identify with Buffy the most, I just personally wish it didn’t happen and wonder if the writing contributed to it. I'll also happily admit my own bias as I've never really identified with Spike so that’s probably got something to do with it. Looking at it objectively, you’re right that Spike rarely has a scene in S6 unless Buffy’s in it and the relationship most certainly does make sense to her arc. These days I do appreciate many things about it that season so I'm very conflicted.

Eek! I've probably ruffled some feathers there but I tried my best to be respectful. I'd be more than willing to hear other people's perspectives on it if they got different ideas.

I do have to disagree with you and Maggie when it comes to Buffy's behaviour in S6 resembling Twangel's in S8. I’ll concede that it does but IMO only barley. Whilst it's true that Buffy does batter her boyfriend that season it's also true that, at times, he blatantly provoked her and smacked around her too (Smashed) or egged her on (Dead Things). Buffy didn’t go looking to pick a fight with Twangel in A Beautiful Sunset or invite him to lay it all on her when he was feeling blue. Twangel’s also big on the manipulation which was more Spike’s way of interacting that season whereas Buffy was brutally honest about using him etc. It doesn’t make her behaviour OK but again, I’m not seeing any real strong parallels there. Or am I so not getting what you both meant by this?

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-20 22:35 ]
Loads of reading to be done. Okay back to Lizarel, thank you for sharing that, it really gave me a new perspective on season 6 and the writing of it, especially if it can create that kind of connection for you. Late season 2 is my homie(Oh Giles, ahem). I feel like rewatching s 6 now with new eyes(except Dead Things and SR, no eyes please!).
Previous to this, I defo would have agreed(and still kinda do, old dog, new tricks, you know how it is!) with the person(probably Vampmogs, I always seem to agree with you!) who said that Buffy only served Spike in that season. Spike is a tricky character. I hated that he closed the Hellmouth. I wanted it to be Buffy alone for my ego and my own selfish reasons. I felt her role as hero was compromised by both that and her desire to stay with him. She had an army of girls that she now forced into this world and she seemed selfish in that moment, not like someone who was ready to face the consequences of changing the world. Although the speed at which she took off afterward kinda led me to believe she was just paying lip service to the guy! And I guess I see where someone(WilliamTheB maybe?) said that Spike was her project that she redeemed so it was the joint effort of Buffy, Angel and Spike that did the trick, cudos! Go Team! But I was hurt, bruised ego(and that never heals!).
Btw, what exactly is cudos? and where did fraking come from? Are these Americanisms? I'm foreign!
Okay so Tara and AR; well, I always thought that they in fact were separate episodes, I mean we defo couldn't be sure that she was dead until the start of the next episode when Willow got told. I guess that's maybe just me, I like to separate my mental whites(that metaphor doesn't make an ounce of sense!). I dont' remember there being a break when I saw it. Yay foreign tv!!
But the bit where Buffy may have subconsciously wanted Spike to stop himself, I thought she was just caught off guard and was baffled by what was happening after all they had been through that he was now forcing himself on her(like at the end of Lovers Walk where he said he was gonna torture Dru til she loved him again), violence and aggression were his idea of romance I suppose. And I can't ever forgive him for that. Sorry!
@William the B:
With respect to Buffy's reaction to Angel in Twilight, I think it's in character and says things about where the character is that help me connect with her both intellectually and emotionally. As to whether it was the right thing to do, I think it was a mistake (I did describe her weakness for Angel's weakness as a flaw) and will be disappointed if she never shows any sign of being unhappy with what Angel did or, if it turns out he's being manipulated or possessed in some way, pretty bloody furious with the manipulator. Buffy raging against the Universe would be cool even if the Universe turns out to be the new name for some tiny, tiny man behind the curtain. However, I object rather viscerally to the idea that choosing to have sex with Angel was immoral because, to me, that harks back to the days when a woman's virtue was simply a function of who she slept with.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2010-07-20 22:51 ]
Vampmongs: I do really understand that. It's sort of like Dana's comment about being upset that the AR overshadows Tara's death in fandom. I think that fan reactions to the shows are sometimes problematic, which is why I try (though I often fail! :) ) to stick close to what I get out of the show, and try to incorporate things that other fans say more in terms of what the show is trying to do. It's tough though.

Hayes: I tried to avoid professing judgements on Buffy for hopping on Angel as being immoral in my previous post (sorry if that didn't get across). I meant more what you say--that it's probably a mistake in judgment and worth discussing as such. I do like very much Buffy sticking it to The Universe (or whatever it is).
Vamps, To be clear, Spike did a lot of awful things in season 6. But if it had been Spiketta and not Spike, a lot of your excuses for Buffy just wouldn't work. It doesn't matter if a woman annoys a man, or slaps him around, or asks for it. None of that is acceptable as an excuse for that man to turn around and turn the woman's face into hamburger with his fists. Imagine Biff doing that to Spiketta and ask how that would have played. Anyway, that was Buffy's awful moment in season 6. Spike certainly had his awful moment. As William the B said, they were terrible to each other.

As for the parallel, of course Twangel is *much* further down the road. Buffy just had that one lapse, and while I don't think she does anywhere near the redemption work a guy who did what she did would have to do, she was horrified by what she'd done. Twangel shows no signs of being upset at what he's become. That makes it double interesting that she doesn't react. It killed her when she did it, but she's got no problem when Angel does it Much Worse? It's part of why I'm needing more on this part of the story to think I know what's going on with Buffy.

Spike closing the hellmouth -- that's all about Buffy. She's the light that made him want to be a better man. Her forgiveness of him is crucial to his journey and was a big deal coming from her because she finds forgiveness hard to do. I also think it's a cool gender inversion. Spike's role is passive (wearing the amulet); Buffy's is actve. They are so intertwined at that point it's hard to know where one starts and the other stops (she's got the scythe because of his emotional support, for example). But their dance was about whether they'd fall on his side of the fence or hers. They fell on hers. Buffy's victory. (And what I love best about it is that it answers Buffy's failure with Angel -- at least the failure she percieves there. Here she inspired the vampire to get the soul and use it to end an apocalypse. There she inspired the vampire to lose the soul and start an apocalypse.)

[ edited by Maggie on 2010-07-20 23:02 ]
It got across {g} I was just trying to cover all possible interpretations of not "the right thing" for completeness. I'm a completist.
Maggie I see your point, and someone mentioned something like that above, but on a shallow level I'm just pissed that it physically wasn't her victory, that she needed him.
And for the beating, well it was known that Spike was into S&M, I mean Buffy made a quip in s5 Crush I think that beating him up is like 3rd base or something. This adds an interesting(by interesting I mean disturbing) new level to his 'wanting' it.
I'm gonna stay out of the Angel evil or is he debate now cause everyone has convinced me on BOTH sides, I'm more confused than when I read it! (it actually made a weird kind of sense to me then!)
"There's no message for you to be uncomfortable with there. I don't believe Joss and Mutant Enemy even accidentally put forth the message that Buffy came to love her near-rapist."

Respectfully, there is. I see it; therefore, it's there. And so far as I can see, Buffy did come to love her near rapist, for that is what Spike is, and that is what she did. I understand that you are viewing this in the context of the story, but I am viewing it in the context of our culture.
Maggie: Well, I’ve always thought there's something really wrong with how society accepts women slapping their partners around and it being treat as acceptable. I’d imagine it’s one of the biggest reasons domestic abuse towards men rarely gets reported. But obviously I agree with you that it’s no excuse for the man to turn around and beat his wife or girlfriend into a bloody pulp. I think you've misunderstood why I brought it up though (partially my fault) as I wasn't saying it to excuse Buffy, just to explain why I think it's so different to how Twangel has behaved in S8.

I do think Spike's at least partially to blame for the incident in Dead Things because he did stand in front of Buffy and goad her into beating him -- "That's my girl, lay it all on me." It may not cut Buffy any slack but it does make him very foolish and (understandably) messed up to invite that kind of pain onto himself. Whereas, in S8 Buffy does no such thing and she isn’t involved in a mutually abusive relationship with Twilight nor seeks him out for a fight the way Spike did in Smashed. She may have started the hostility against the slayers with her bank robbery but there's no reasonable argument that she in anyway provoked Twangel’s assault on her in the cemetery. So I see Twilight as far, far worse. You acknowledge that Buffy’s nowhere near as bad but the parallels are just too tenuous for me to think his behaviour is supposed to mirror Buffy’s in S6 or reflect on her in any real way. Yes they relate in the sense that they both have battered their partners but the context is just so different for me that I don't understand what you and WilliamTheB think its meant to say about her character? You obviously think its intentionally meant to mirror how she treat Spike but what I'm unclear on is, if so, what message do you think Joss is trying to send in S8?

Just for the record: Looking back on my post I can understand if you'd think I was trying to draw connections between Spike/Twangel over my comments that they both manipulated Buffy. I don't know if you did take it that way but just to be clear I only did that to try and show why I think Buffy's so different. I'm not trying to argue that Twilight reflects on Spike in any real way. I guess he does in that way but I find it as tenuous and thin as the Buffy!S6/Twangel parallels.

Dana: Wouldn’t you say though that in a story like Buffy the Vampire Slayer its nigh impossible for the story to always send out positive messages when viewing it in greater context? The series does say a lot of positive things but it has its own internal logic it needs to follow as well. In S3 Buffy fell back in love (or never really even fell out of love) with her near murderer. It only makes sense that she treats Spike in a similar way when he too got his soul and you take into account what that means in the mythology of the series. I just feel that with a show like BtVS, which is bound to deal with some rather dark things, it’s pretty much impossible to always stay true the story AND send out positive messages when viewing it culturally. In the context of the story being able to forgive Spike and acknowledge his remorse and the changes he made is a positive development and the storyline’s taken out of context when you just say “she fell in love with her near rapist.” I feel it only becomes problematic if you're not watching the series and understanding the circumstances of why she was able to forgive him. Being able to forgive your attempted rapist in the Buffyverse isn't necessarily the same thing as being able to forgive him the real world and surely the writers have a duty to their story/characterisation before anything else? Am I making any sense?

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-21 00:06 ]
Except that Buffy didn't inspire Angel to lose his soul at all. That would imply that Angel had a choice in the matter, which he did not. Angel was first, unaware that experiencing a moment of contentment and perfect happiness was even an option, considering how tormented he was, having the memories of Angelus's deeds in his head.
Secondly, Angel didn't know about the loophole, that it even existed. Notice that Angel never pursues having that moment of happiness with Buffy again, unless he knows his soul is safe,which has only happend twice. In IWRY and now, in the comics.
The comparrison doesn't work. It is also faulty to always make this all about Angel opposed to Spike. Buffy is responsible for "inspiring" all kinds of things in all kinds of characters and to reduce her influence (loving, forgiving goodness) as to apply only to Angel and Spike as a way to elevate one above the other, makes it about something other than the original claim, that it is about Buffy's "power of inspiration".
Cheryl, "inspire" isn't the right word to use, perhaps, re: Angel. But there certainly is a parallel if you want to see it that way, if not a perfect one, and I don't think that parallel is unintentional (not that intention matters. The author is dead!). The_royal_anna puts it this way:


Buffy talks a lot in Season 7 about the fact that Spike has a soul. Of course it matters to her. It is everything to her, because she is the one who lost Angel his soul. That is who she is. That is what she is worth. She is the destruction of what is good and the end of hope, and she can save the world a thousand times but that will still hang over her. Until now. Because suddenly this is how much she is worth – she is worth a soul. She is worth a vampire going out and getting a soul for her, all for her, and yes, it matters to her. She is the Slayer and she can do anything and everything but she cannot earn back that soul, that damn soul that was lost at her hands and regained only for her to destroy it again, sending it to straight to Hell. But this time, this vampire takes it out of her hands. She cannot earn back that soul but he can. And what Buffy is only just starting to understand is what he can do for her is as much hers as what she can do for herself, that this gift of a soul is part of who he is, and who she is, and who they are.


It's a parallel I find very meaningful and beautiful. It's not about elevating anyone at all or the competition of Spike versus Angel. It's about Buffy's story coming full circle. Since I'm looking at it from Buffy's perspective, it works for me. First there was a vampire who lost a soul for love of her. Now there's a vampire who gained one for love of her. I think it's cool.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-07-21 00:19 ]
Great point, cheryl. I'd take it a step further, though: it's inconsistent to say that Buffy "inspired" unsouled Spike to be a better person and at the same time absolve Spike of responsibility for trying to rape Buffy. The reason's pretty simple: if unsouled Spike is capable of moral motivation (being inspired to be a "good person" for real reasons), then he was capable of recognizing rape is wrong and not doing it. If unsouled Spike is incapable of being able to act in order to do the right thing, then he is by definition unable to be inspired by anyone to act morally for "the right reasons," because that's what not having a soul is.

I'm inclined to accept that second position: just as we don't hold Angel responsible for Angelus, souled Spike ain't responsible for the actions of unsouled Spike. But if that's true, then we have to ascribe Spike's motivation for getting a soul to something like uncontrollable lust for Buffy. We know, from Angelus' dialogue about Angel's music taste in AtS, that unsouled vampires experience what they're souled counterparts do, so unsouled Spike is most likely looking for the best way to experience any connection with Buffy. I think that's the most consistent way to think about it based on the moral psychology of vampires that we get over the course of the show.

I do suppose there's a decent argument that Spike is a unique case, and that there's a fair amount of evidence that unsouled Spike experiences things much more like a human than any other unsouled vampire. That might be true. If it is, though, then the distinction between unsouled and souled Spike is quite unclear, and it becomes much harder not to hold souled Spike accountable for the attempted rape. The fact that this tension exists in the character - that sometimes Spike seems a lot like a normal vampire and then sometimes he seems totally unique - makes him really, really interesting. Plus, he's hilarious.

One minor quibble, cheryl, is that Angel does try to lose his soul once, albeit with Darla rather than Buffy. I'm not sure if that affects your argument - I'd have to think on it more - but it is worth noting.

There's a lot more I want to talk about, especially vis-a-vis S6 and Angel/feminism. People here have written the best defenses of S6 that I've seen, and I'm both really impressed and grateful to have read them - they've really enriched my understanding of the season. However, I'm still unconvinced that it succeeds in doing many of the ambitious things that some comments have assigned to it. I especially want to take issue with Maggie's contention that it fulfills the promise set up in "Lie to Me," in large part because I'm really glad that she(?) also thinks that it's a crucial episode for understanding the show. I thought I was alone thinking that, as it never shows up on top 10 lists. I actually thinks S6 undermines LTM's picture of moral life in an imperfect world, to the point where S6 ends up presenting an almost entirely incoherent picture of moral life.

But that post will have to wait till later. Until then, keep talking, y'all - this has been great!
The reason's pretty simple: if unsouled Spike is capable of moral motivation (being inspired to be a "good person" for real reasons)

But who says that he did it to be "a good person"? I definitely don't think that he went out and got a soul to be a good person. I think he did it because he hit a point where he didn't know who he was anymore. He was trying to be "good" so that Buffy would love him, but he had no way of knowing what goodness was. Still, he tried because he thought it would win her regard. And he failed. Abysmally. Remember, earlier in the season, he said, "I don't hurt you [Buffy]," and that was a worldview statement for him. When he does hurt her, he can't figure out what's going on. He just violated his own personal code. Who is he? Can't be a man, can't be a vampire. What's he going to do next? It's desperation and confusion (not even guilt, maybe--that comes after he gets the soul) that drives him to go on his soul quest.

But yeah, his ultimate motivation for everything in S5/6 was his love of Buffy. Did he love her the way someone with a soul could love? No, he didn't. He was incapable of something purely good and selfless. But it was more than lust (aka just libido). I remember someone once saying (here on whedonesque, I believe) that perhaps what happens when someone becomes a vampire is they lose any sense of conscience and of proportion and become driven by the biggest desires they had while human, being willing to do anything to attain those desires. It's clear that William desperately wants someone to love him, to see him (he says as much--"All I ask is that you try to see me"). I don't think that changes after he dies--we see him wanting his mother by his side, taking care of Dru, bonding with Dawn, and then being willing to sacrifice his own life for Buffy. Is his motivation primarily a selfish one of "LOVE ME LOVE ME LOVE ME SEE ME?" Yeah, I think so. But I don't think you can reduce it to mere lust. There was something more there.

Of course, that's just talking on a Watsonian level. On a Holmsian level, the fact is that the writers didn't even try to be consistent about what a soul is and how its presence or absence affects a vampire. Which isn't surprising: one of Joss's real weaknesses is worldbuilding, under which umbrella maintaining consistency re: the soul would fall. Joss is interested in the big emotional moment and the character arcs (he's said as much) and he's more than willing to sacrifice continuity, believability, and any sort of sense-making to do what he wants to do. And yup, that's what he did with the whole concept of souls. Again and again and again. He was like, "Oh, the soul is gonna be a metaphor for this this week!" And "I think I'll do this with the soul now!"

Which drives me crazy because I crave continuity. But it is what it is, and sometimes Joss's fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants tendency is what results in the most greatness (for instance, even if it makes no sense--and it doesn't--according to the "laws" of the Buffyverse, such as they are, I wouldn't trade Spike's arc for anything).
Huh, interesting. I'm not actually sure there's all that much daylight between the position you've taken and mine in terms of what we think Spike is feeling - I'm just far more hesitant to say that what Spike feels can be meaningfully described as "love." A necessary condition* of loving someone, I think, is caring for them qua them - that is, not seeing them as an extension of oneself, but rather caring about their welfare and emotional state for reasons other than how it affects you (namely, because you feel genuinely empathy). If you only feel bad when your partner is unhappy because it makes your life or attainment of your goals more difficult (even if those goals are recognition by others), the you don't love that partner. Since I think vampires, by virtue of what not having a soul means, can't think of others in this fashion, unsouled vampires can't ever really love.

I also disagree on Joss' worldbuilding ability - I actually think it's one of his strengths. Souls being handled differently in different cases indicates that vampires, like people, are different. Some things stay the same - they lose their consciences and ability to act morally - but others are really different. Like Angel said about Vamp Willow, unsouled vampires develop unique characteristics as a result of what the person they came from is like. That manifests differently in different characters, which I think makes perfect sense, as different people have quite different personalities, goals, and capacities for relationships. Spike is certainly an extreme case - he's way more human than any other unsouled vampire - but still inside the absolute confines of what it means to not have a soul.

*I'll say necessary, but not sufficient. I'm not nearly informed enough on the philosophy of love to claim that I've got a full account, but only that I've identified one condition required to describe an emotional state as love.

[ edited by goingtowork on 2010-07-21 01:02 ]

[ edited by goingtowork on 2010-07-21 01:04 ]
No, I agree with you on a real-world level about definitions of love, definitely. But I think it's different in the Buffyverse, because I absolutely can't say that I think all Spike's feeling towards Buffy is lust. I don't see that on the screen (blame James Marsters, I guess), even if that's what makes sense according to the "laws" of the Buffyverse. It doesn't match up with what my eyes (and ears) are telling me. Pure lust doesn't account for Dawn, doesn't account for being willing to sacrifice himself in "The Gift," and more than that, it doesn't account for the looks on his face when he looks at Buffy. It's not love in the pure definition of the word (the one to which I'd hold humans accountable), but it's as close as a vampire can get. And it's definitely something more than lust, to me.

Maybe we need to invent a new term, because all of the ones I'm considering are lacking in some way.

Well, my issues with worldbuilding definitely aren't limited to the soul issue. I have...lots and lots of them, that I definitely won't get into here. But I do think that a lack of continuity and consistency has both its advantages and disadvantages within Joss's work.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-07-21 01:31 ]
It's not love in the pure definition of the word (the one to which I'd hold humans accountable)


There are many humans who fail to realize such a pure definition. In a way, it makes Spike more human. This ideal of love as selfless is something humans fall short of far too often. And when they fail to meet our ideal, and through a more twisted affection, corrupt and abuse, we demonize them. So what then of the demon who can love better than the human monsters?
Word, Lizarel. Spike loved, and loved selflessly, without a soul. It was canon that he was willing to give up his life for Buffy and Dawn repeatedly in S5. So, I fail to see how one can question this. And I remain confused why Buffy was so willing to accept Angel/Twilight's explanations so easily since last we knew she was uncertain (at the very least) of being able to trust him (in AtS5).
Good point, Emmie. I especially love the question you raised. No easy answer, huh?

Also, I kind of love this thread.
"Wouldn’t you say though that in a story like Buffy the Vampire Slayer its nigh impossible for the story to always send out positive messages when viewing it in greater context? The series does say a lot of positive things but it has its own internal logic it needs to follow as well."

I've never held that the story has to send out positive messages when viewed in context. What I am saying is that messages get sent nonetheless. Killing Tara was just a plot development, according to Joss; it could just as well been Oz. But a message was sent as a result, whether Joss meant to send it or not, and of course he says he never meant to send that message. Does. Not. Matter. We are only capable of viewing a story through our own unique set of lens; no author could ever anticipate all possible interpretations of his or her work, though certainly some interpretations should be expected and acknowledged. Not to rag on the sore issue for me, but not expecting the response they got after killing Tara is either disingenuous or stupid; you mean to tell me that no one anticipated the outcry? Of course, that might actually be true since they amped up the emotional response by reconciling W and T and putting Amber Benson's name in the credits- (a real world imposition on the fictional one, if you will). So they knew it would hurt; they just did not know how much it would hurt, nor what this would mean to some viewers.

One can follow logic all you want, but there is a real world in which a fictional one exists. You cannot have the one without the other, and often the real one sort of gets shunted to the side.
And I remain confused why Buffy was so willing to accept Angel/Twilight's explanations so easily since last we knew she was uncertain (at the very least) of being able to trust him (in AtS5).

I guess the thing is, we don't know for sure how honest Andrew was being in "Damage." He was lying to Angel about The Immortal, and Buffy doesn't seem to know what he's talking about in "Predators and Prey" when Andrew mentions that he's met Angel. We have big unreliable narrator flags around Andrew all the time. Hopefully in the final arc we'll get an answer to whether Andrew accurately represented Buffy's position on season five.

goingtowork: I can't speak for Maggie, but I think that the Lie to Me reference is more about the way that episode plays with storytelling--Ford is obsessed with movie versions of vampirism, Buffy asks Giles to lie to her, the way we in the audience do--than the theme you identify. In this sense, it really delivers on Lie to Me's theme--we in the audience, and the characters, are given increasingly few comforting lies or stories, like the ones Buffy asks Giles to give, and indeed Giles is absent. I am actually curious--could you elaborate on Lie to Me's presentation of "moral life in an imperfect world"? At any rate, I see season six as being centrally about the impossibility of simple moral solutions in an imperfect world; the characters don't really hit their emotional rock bottoms until late in the season and so, for the most part, aren't actually concerned with behaving morally. Finding the proper moral life itself is, I think, left to season seven, but I find a season focusing on the characters realizing, slowly and painfully, that their current moral frameworks are incomplete is worthwhile and holds a lot of thematic interest.

As far as Spike and how much moral accountability we should hold him to for his soulless period: Spike himself holds himself accountable for the AR, later in "Seeing Red," where he asks: "What did I do? Why didn't I do it?" I tend to see his season six arc as trying to be good for selfish reasons, but selfish reasons are not all bad; he is attracted, I think genuinely, to Buffy's goodness, even though he is not himself good. The problem is that his moral compass is external--it's Buffy, and what Buffy would want him to do. And Buffy in season five is so very, very good (surface-wise at least) that Spike, by the end of season five and over the summer between five and six, is actually as good as one could imagine; and once Buffy comes back she's no longer as good and Spike starts to fall. (This is not to say that the bad things Spike does are Buffy's fault.) That Buffy's goodness could inspire Spike doesn't suddenly make him a moral person; I think Spike's story makes most sense as a slow progression, where Seeing Red is more or less at the height of Spike's internal confusion. And with great difficulty, he chooses to be a man and not a monster.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-07-21 02:43 ]
YES. Once again, WilliamTheB, you verbalize things for me that I felt but could quite articulate. That last paragraph, especially the bit about Buffy being his external moral compass that inspires but doesn't make him moral, is exactly how I feel.

I'm also with you on S6 and "Lie to Me." It's also, on a meta level, Joss and the other writers saying, "We're not going to lie to the audience anymore." The lie is that heroes are always stalwart and true: the reality that we see in S6 is that even heroes stumble, that they can hit rock bottom, that they don't always act heroic. This isn't a John Wayne movie; it's life: messy, painful, and sometimes it's just about living. The hardest thing in this world is to live in it, after all (that line, to me, always summed up to me why S6 was the necessary follow-up to S5).

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-07-21 02:49 ]
A few responses:

I absolutely can't say that I think all Spike's feeling towards Buffy is lust. I don't see that on the screen (blame James Marsters, I guess), even if that's what makes sense according to the "laws" of the Buffyverse.


This, I think, is the crux of the argument. And at the outset, I should note somewhere that I think I've been wrong, and you've ben right about: "lust" was an imprecise term and probably inadequate. What I should have said was something more like "possesive obsession." Spike wanted Buffy to be [i]his[/i], so much so that it became the overriding goal in his life. He was willing to risk everything to attain it, in the same way that stalkers are willing to risk great personal harm or sometimes even death (see John Hinckley risking the death penalty to get Jodie Foster's attention by shooting Reagan). What mattered is that he could make even part of her his. In that sense, the attempted rape isn't an aberration - it's a culmination of everything unsouled Spike felt about Buffy. When he says "I'll make you love me," he's expressing what he's been trying to do all along.

This interpretation is entirely consistent with all of Spike's actions, and the way Marsters portrays Spike's feelings (which I think was masterful). Spike wanted to possess Buffy; being unable to was so painful, it was a fate worse than death. That ain't love, it's obesession, and what inclines me towards this interpretation is the internal consistency thing. The textual and acting evidence could be interpreted either way, but applying the rules about how every other unsouled vampire has acted in the show to this case is a tiebreaker towards the obsession theory.

Pure lust doesn't account for Dawn, doesn't account for being willing to sacrifice himself in "The Gift"


Surely we don't want to commit to the theory that anyone willing to die for something, or even another person, loves that thing or person selflessly. People fight and die for money all the time - that's certainly not selfless love. People sacrifice themselves for strangers because they believe it's the right thing to do. Soldiers sacrifice their own lives because it's their job - I have tremendous respect for people in the military, so this isn't meant as a slight, but not everyone fighting a war is motivated solely or even mostly by love for country or fellow soldier (they might have joined to pay for college, for example). In none of those cases is willingness to sacrifice oneself sufficient to say that one selflessly loves that which one is sacrificing oneself for. This could be merely an extension of the obsession I mentioned above.

There are many humans who fail to realize such a pure definition. In a way, it makes Spike more human. This ideal of love as selfless is something humans fall short of far too often. And when they fail to meet our ideal, and through a more twisted affection, corrupt and abuse, we demonize them. So what then of the demon who can love better than the human monsters?


This is a neat argument, but it's a little bit off given that I said selflessness was a necessary, not sufficient, condition for real love. Of course real people in love don't always act perfectly selflessly - that's a point that the Buffyverse is quite clear on (Willow messing with Tara's mind, for example). However, I'd argue that for them to have ever meaningfully loved the other person in the first place, they need to have done so selflessly. They don't always have to act on it all the time, just merely be capable of feeling it. People in love can have other feelings, and their selfishness can swamp their selflessness. That doesn't mean they're not in really in love, and hence it's not a refutation of the idea that selfless sentiment is a necessary condition for love to point it out.

Unsouled vampires, by contrast, can't even satisfy this baseline condition. They can feel an obsession that mimics it, but that's not love, because it's not meaningful empathy or selfless sentiment. It doesn't make sense to say they can love given the rules we've been given, and it also doesn't need to be resorted to given that alternate theories can explain all of the behavior in question.

[ edited by goingtowork on 2010-07-21 02:50 ]
I can agree with you that obsession is certainly present and powerful, but I think it's accompanied by genuinely liking Buffy, as well as attraction, affection, a real sense of connection, and even understanding (not total understanding, obviously: he's never going to understand her morality. But he does get her personality very well). All of those things are combined, so to me it's not as simple as obsession, even though, again, that's very present. I think you could even say that this melange of feelings is the foundation for the very real love that he feels for her post-soul: finally the obsessive need to possess is stripped away, and selflessness takes its place alongside the other feelings that were already there. And then he can love. In that way, the feelings that he felt towards her pre-soul were important steps towards loving her in that selfless way. He just needed to stop trying to shove that one piece into the hole, realize it was from a different puzzle all together, and finally go out and get the true missing piece.

I'm reminded of C.S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, where one of the central themes is the difference between that-which-we-call-love that's really a need to possess and real love, which is selfless. That's something Spike could relate to, I think.

I also think that being willing to die for Buffy and Dawn does show at least a little bit of selflessness. Spike likes this world. He doesn't want to die. I think he has real, true affection for both Buffy and Dawn. He might not be being selfless then, if you want to be strict about it, but I don't think his actions are selfishly motivated there, either. Just as he decided to save the world in S2 because he liked all the things that are in it, he was willing to die for Buffy and Dawn in S5 and after because he likes having them in the world so much. He doesn't want to live in a world without them. Which is, I guess, a little bit selfish, but I think it's a very human kind of selfishness, not more of his demonic selfishness (such as wanting to possess Buffy).
One minor quibble, cheryl, is that Angel does try to lose his soul once, albeit with Darla rather than Buffy. I'm not sure if that affects your argument - I'd have to think on it more - but it is worth noting.


Given the context of the argument in question, that would equate to Angel seeking to lose his soul BECAUSE he doesn't have Buffy to inspire him to keep it, lol. Which is just as false as the original claim.

Seriously though, the characters are responsible for their own actions, Buffy may have been a huge driving factor in setting some of the characters on the road to fighting the good fight but she can't do it for them. It's that choice regardless of destiny that we keep coming back to.
I agree with your conclusion that the viewer must make a choice where the character of Spike is concerned, logic doesn't allow us to hold both notions simultaneously, despite learning in season two that he reeks of humanity, just like Dru. Spike was either capable of distinguishing the difference between right and wrong or he was not capable. I tend to view it the same way you do and argree that Spike is a bird of a different color than unsouled Spike.

Love in the Universe seems pretty straight forward to me as well. Unsouled creatures, such as vampires, are not capable of experiencing or delivering love on a human level. Jealousy and affection is how it was defined back in season 2, as The Judge "read" the emotions that were "reeking in both Spike and Dru.
The notion of an unsouled vampire loving "better" than a human monster is a false analogy. One does not relate to the other at all. That type of thinking assigns significance from one party, based on the behavior of another. Every creature should be held up or put down, based on their own merit, not the lack of merit in someone or something else. IMHO
I disagree with you on the obsession thing goingtowork. I have known stalkers, and it's all about them, the person they obsess about, their wants and needs, don't matter at all.
I didn't see that in Spike. I believe he genuinely cared for not only Buffy but Dawn as well. I believe Vampires in the Buffyverse are capable of love, we saw it with Spike, Dru, James, Elizabeth, Darla. Hell Darla even seemed to care for the Master. I think perhaps the exception was Angelus.

The fact that Spike stayed in Dawn's life after Buffy's death means something. He certainly wasn't expecting to win points with Buffy.

[ edited by Xane on 2010-07-21 04:00 ]
If someone who didn't know the rules of 'the verse were asked to watch Spike's behavior from Intervention through OMWF, I doubt any of them would say that it's an obviously obsessive, self-centered love. As Emmie says, asking Spike to exhibit the most perfect of loves for it to count as love is already an unfair standard, since very few humans manage it. But he hits highs in his love that are quite pure. Standing up to Glory because he didn't want Buffy hurt. Being willing to die for her in The Gift. Keeping up the fight after she was gone. Being the one who was most present to her in a real way when she got back. You just have to do a major contortion to try to see that as inadequate love.

I think the story about why the soul matters (and I do think it matters) is just more complicated than formulas about imperfect love. I'm very much with William the B on this -- Spike not having his own moral compass is a big, big problem. But I don't see any intelligibility at all to a statement that reads "the guy who underwent torture with the expectation of being killed so that the woman he loves wouldn't suffer the hurt of losing her sister was thereby exhibiting a sick twisted obsessive love." If that's the standard, who could possibly exhibit a love that's better than sick, twisted and obsessive?

The contortion people make on this is interesting though: the label says X, the actions say Y, and people will work very, very hard to say that Y is actually evidence of X.

ETA: My choice of words on the Angel question was sloppy. I meant what the Royal Anna said far more eloquently. Loving Buffy caused Angel to lose his soul. Loving Buffy caused Spike to fight for his soul. Reversing that story was huge for Buffy.

[ edited by Maggie on 2010-07-21 04:47 ]
What a fascinating read through this thread.

Re: Twangel. How would have been at the end of Becoming 2, Angelus would pull a Twilight on Buffy "I did it all for you to hate me, but look the glow from Acatla dimension - it's a new reality where we could recreate the world as we like it, we can be happy together forever". Do you think S2 Buffy would have bought that?
I disagree with you on the obsession thing goingtowork. I have known stalkers, and it's all about them, the person they obsess about, their wants and needs, don't matter at all.

I think it'd be a mistake to say obsession wasn't a part of it. It may not be the sum of all he felt for her but Spike definitely had obsessive qualities. After all, he built a shrine of her down in his cave and stole photos and items of clothing that belonged to her. In episodes like Family we start a scene with Spike just fixated on Buffy’s sweater. I believe vampires can love in their own unhealthy way but I think obsession is certainly part of that.

Dana: I guess my feeling on Willow/Tara is that a lot of the criticisms lobbied at the writers were undeserved and out of line. I’ve seen people accuse Joss of being homophobic for killing Tara which is such a slap in the face to the guy who even made that relationship happen in the first place. I get that people were upset and that W/T meant a lot to them but unfortunately much of it was lost in a sea of irrational statements that only made it hard for me to take the complaints all that seriously. Sad thing is that it was probably only the minority who were coming out with these things but as per usual they’re the ones who shout the loudest.

Sure, you can take practically ANY reading from a text if you really want to but sometimes I wonder why people bother? In the case of calling the writers homophobic I just find it such a pointless statement to make when you only have to look at how much love and care they put into that relationship to know it’s just not the case. My own feelings on Tara is that it would have been WORSE if they had left her alive because of her sexuality because I think the whole point is to show that gay people (and their relationships) should be treated exactly like the rest of us. And in the Jossverse that means the relationship is probably going to end badly and a character will die... I think it’d defeat the whole purpose if you started making separate rules for the homosexual characters when, ideally, they needn’t be treat different at all.
I couldn't agree more with Maggie's analysis. Any objective reading of at least some of Spike's actions (as she enumerated) indicate love and not obsessive-stalker-guy. No question that some others fit more with that latter interpretation but, as also pointed out, human love was pretty messy at times (like Willow messing with Tara's memories and Xander's frequent put-downs of Anya). And, as Xane pointed out, there are other instances of apparent love (both romantic and otherwise) amongst vampires. After all, the heroes are not always stalwart and true and the bad guys don't always wear black hats. That is one of the many reasons this was a show worth watching.
Goingtowork I am loving your posts more and more every time I read them. Couldn't agree more with your analysis of Spike in season 6. Really glad I've been able to read this thread with your thoughts.
Gotta jump in here, since it's evolved into including season 6 (my favorite).

I haven't read quite all the comments, but I have to agree with the view that Joss is actually very good at "world building". Because the world is messy and complicated and positive and negative and beautiful and horrifying, and people's lives don't always evolve with continuity.
People change. Sometimes slowly, sometimes repidly. Sometimes with a steady, unwavering continuity, sometimes in ways that shock those closest to them and make you wonder "how could I have ever believed that I actually knew this person".

I've been over this argument so many times, but I'll revisit it once more. For everyone who believes it was "wrong", or at least out of character, for Buffy to forgive Spike for things he did before he had a soul, then on any rational, objective level, you must believe that it was also wrong for her to forgive Angel for all the things he did, without a soul. There simply is no rational justification for having it one way but not the other. (I'm not including the Twangle kerfuffle in this, as that's yet to be resolved, in the story).

I also have to say, once again, that I absolutely believe that Tara's death was 100% justified. Tara was a minor character compared to Willow, and using her death to set Willow on the next, invertible leg of her journey, was brilliant and courageous story telling.
Of course it was painful. Everything in season 6 was about pain and loss and how people deal with the consequences of their actions (a lot of the latter would unfold in season 7).

I Can't say whether or not that's something they've continued to build on, I don't follow the comic that closely, since I don't relate to or have any real connection with the medium in which the story is now being told).

And I find it incomprehensible that anyone would think that Tara's death had anything to do with her being a lesbian, or with she and Willow's relationship being a gay relationship. Calling the writers of the first (and arguably, most profound) openly lesbian relationship on network TV, homophobic, is something I will never comprehend, much less agree with.

As vampmogs said ........

I think it’d defeat the whole purpose if you started making separate rules for the homosexual characters when, ideally, they needn’t be treat different at all.


I would make the same argument for why Buffy has always been a feminist work .... if the goal of feminism is total gender equality, then women are allowed to fuck up just as much as men, with the same (not greater) consequences.
Women aren't held to a higher standard than men, that smacks of reverse sexism.

And therein lies the beauty of season 7, (setting aside some problems with execution), that so much of it is about forgiveness, and redemption. It's not just about Buffy forgiving Spike, it's about them forgiving each other, and themselves. And Anya forgiving Xander, and Faith and Buffy forgiving each other and Faith forgiving herself. And Willow gradually forgiving and finally redeeming herself.

OK, I have other stuff to say but this is too long already. going back to read more comments.
If someone who didn't know the rules of 'the verse were asked to watch Spike's behavior from Intervention through OMWF, I doubt any of them would say that it's an obviously obsessive, self-centered love.

Intervention would include him building the Buffybot. I'd want to see how it ended. Even in OMWF he's conflicted between saving her and killing her, loving her and hating her for entrapping him. Spike does some wonderful things for love. Interestingly he's at his best, most apparently selfless, when he's at his most beaten down either physically (by Glory) or emotionally (by Buffy's death). He does enjoy life but has always been quite careless about preserving it whether chasing after Slayers or wishing Dru had cut his head off to show she cared.

I think the thing about season 6 is that it isn't just the myth of the stalwart hero that it calls into question. There are other lies we tell ourselves like the one about a man being redeemed by the love of a good woman. In S6 love is never enough. Giles loves Buffy but can't bear to stay with her. Xander loves Anya but not enough to quell his fears of turning into his parents. Willow loves Tara but, like so many junkies, not so much that she won't steal (her memories), lie or cheat to ensure her next fix. Spike loves Buffy but not enough to accept that she doesn't feel the same way or to let her go. "Live," he sings "so one of us is living." I don't think the rape attempt in SR is an aberration, I think it's the logical outcome of his having human feelings but not human restraints. William wouldn't have done it.
Intervention would include him building the Buffybot.I'd want to see how it ended

It ended with same Buffybot he couldn't look at in Bargaining.
hayes62, so what are the human restraints that kept Willow from killing Warren and what are those that kept Buffy from beating Spike within an inch of his unlife and leaving him to die in an alley? I agree with your analysis that 'love isn't enough' in all the instances you cited, just not with the interpretation of Spike's failings as being different from those with pulses (and souls).
Love was it all it took for Xander to save the world in Grave ;)
@ anca: I meant where the relationship with Buffy ended not with the bot

@baxter: Willow killed Warren in a somewhat altered state of mind but I would say the main difference between her and Buffy's reactions to their transgressions came afterwards when they were able to recognise what they'd done as monstrous and inhuman and recoil from it where Spike was reduced to an existential crisis over why he *didn't* do it, why couldn't he be a monster? Drusilla has a line in Crush about vampires being able to love well but not wisely. Spike, I think, lacks wisdom. He lacks a certain level of understanding, which isn't sufficient in and of itself to stop people doing bad things but does allow them to recognise that what they did might have been wrong (although even then they might rationalise it into being right).

@vampmogs: It did. It was a wise love based on knowing all the Willows and it doesn't happen until the very end, as Buffy finally emerges from her metaphorical grave, the old season dies and the new one begins.
hayes62, I think Spike's going off to get a soul shows he has a pretty well-established level of understanding - at least as much as Willow's subsequent distress at her actions and Buffy's lack of ever showing any remorse for hers (let alone any 'recoil' in horror). Spike's existential crisis in his crypt immediately after was no doubt part of it, but his actions speak way louder than words to me.

[ edited by baxter on 2010-07-21 12:16 ]
I actually don’t disagree with anything you’re saying Hayes, I just thought it was worth mentioning. People seem to be asking here what makes humans and vampires so different (or at least our heroic humans) and I think the answer is most obvious in Dead Things. When Buffy thinks she’s killed Katrina she goes into a meltdown with the guilt but to Spike, it’s “just another body.” One dead girl doesn’t tip the scales, right?

Obviously there are humans (take Warren for example) who are just like that but for a soulless vampire it's all there is.

Baxter, when you say Buffy shows no remorse what are you referring to exactly? How she treated Spike in general? Because I think it's quite clear she's remorseful over it and owns up to her behaviour in COWD. She used him that season and it was killing her.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-21 12:35 ]
Buffy seemed pretty remorseful confessing to Tara. "It's wrong, I'm wrong" (for using and abusing Spike) sounds like fairly explicit self-disgust to me. Months later she tells Holden she behaved like a monster so it wasn't a momentary thing. Spike went to get a soul without (as he admits more than once) having any idea of what that would mean or feel like. He understood that he couldn't continue as he had been, that he was lacking something either as a man or as monster and chose man but I don't think that implies he understood what it meant to be one.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2010-07-21 13:34 ]
Ah, folks, here is the classic diversion- that Joss killed Tara because she was gay, that he is homophobic. Yes, some people felt that. But others, many more others, did not- they felt that a character they identified with, that represented them in ways that most people could not understand, had been taken from them solely as a plot device. The pain they felt was not metaphoric; it was real. And ME should have known. In fact, they did know- they lied to people- old history here. I won't rehash it. And it was not about the homosexuality; it is about the choices writers make and the effects their writing has. That's a large topic. I cannot defend every decision Joss makes. But hey, Steve DeKnight telling people that Tara was going nowhere when he knew they were killing her off- what do you make of that? Putting Amber Benson in the credits? All of this was done to do just what many of you seem to appreciate- ramp up the emotional response from viewers- that is, to hurt them. Well, here they succeeded. Beyond their wildest dreams, really.

Old news. Let's return to Spike. :-)
Ah, I see much of Buffy's apparent remorse (at least in the short-term if not after long sober reflection once Spike has come back with a soul) as being 'wrong' for actually letting him touch her. To Tara: how could I let him DO those things to me ; not how could I do those things to him. As to Katrina, who knows what Spike actually felt about the dead girl; what we do know is that he was desperate to convince Buffy that she shouldn't throw her life away (as he saw it).

As none of us are actually in the heads of the characters in question, we will likely continue to see shades that are consistent with our own biases. I think there are fair arguments all around but since we've all had the chance to put out our perspectives and the likelihood of 'opinion altering' is as strong as a liberal at a TeaParty meeting, I'll take advantage of the fact that it's time to go to work to leave off the discussion ;-)

However, I will echo comments above that it is truly interesting to see/appreciate others' perspectives on this show and characters.
My problem with W/T in season 6 wasn't so much Tara's death as it was Tara taking back an abusive Willow (who IMO raped Tara, using mind alteration to move Tara from refusing sex to having sex) who had only acknowledged a substance abuse problem, not the deeper problems of completely disregarding Tara's personal integrity.

On Spike: I definitely think he needed the soul. As I said, lack of moral compass, which showed in countless ways in season 6. What I deny is the massive contortions required to say that Spike was incapable of anything but a twisted selfish love. That's not something you could use to describe his behavior from Intervention (and I mean by this starting point his suffering torture by Glory, the moment he did something 'real') to OMWF (pretty much from the beginning, when he starts to realize that something sexual with Buffy might actually happen). The *acts* between those times just can't be characterized as selfish or even obsessive. His soullessness might drag him down from those heights. But he achieved them, and that's more than many if not most humans can say. Twangel looks at Buffy's friends suffering and says they survived without Buffy before. Spike stays with Buffy's friends when she's gone and helps them fight.

Spike's need of a soul is that he doesn't register human suffering the way other humans do; he can be dedicated to protecting Dawn, but still look at demons rampaging and say it looks like fun; he can sit at Buffy's birthday party and joke about eating her guests; and when he does have a sexual connection with Buffy he does get obsessed. He can sacrifice himself for her when she's suffering from external causes; but he never can see that their sexual relationship is hurting her. And when she hurts him (which is a lot) he generally hurts her back. I'm not saying he's a paragon of virtue. Just objecting people to really distorting the positive side of Spike's pre-soul record in order to maintain some preconceived idea of what soullessness entails. Spike's a complicated guy.

He understood that he couldn't continue as he had been, that he was lacking something either as a man or as monster and chose man but I don't think that implies he understood what it meant to be one.

That's true of most human undertakings. Did you know what it meant to be a mother when you undertook to become one? I've never been a mother, but I've made many life altering decisions that lived out much differently than I expected when I made the decision. We intuit a direction and move there, only later finding out what it really means. I actually think Spike is a good exemplar of the moral theory (virtue theory) that is premised on us aiming at becoming something when we don't have any idea what it means to be what we want to become.
I didn't know what being a mother would be like (and I'm still learning) but I wouldn't describe my getting pregnant as a moral/maternal act or as one indicating any understanding of same, which was what I was arguing against. We probably differ irreconcilably on the details of Spike's motivations for getting a soul. I didn't and don't read it as Spike aiming to become something (good) but as him trying to be other than what he'd become (in his own words nothing) and (also in his own words) to be loved, to be worthy of love. In typically conflicted fashion to both punish Buffy (give the bitch what's coming to her) and reward her (give her what she deserves). Either way what she needs, according to his soulless understanding of it, remains all about him.
Congratulations hayes, had no idea! Good Luck!
On the Spike front, selfish/not-selfish, I gotta say that even when he was ensouled he held onto certain selfish/obsessive aspects of his demon days that I found caused damage to his 'new' character. I think the episode 'First Date' initially showed him in this new light where he was all understanding and what not, but a second later he couldn't get to interrupt her date quickly enough. It showed a superficial progression, but nothing real. I mean there were definite improvements to his character, but his understanding of suffering was all about his own, never empathising or even really trying to understand anyone else, except his damaging relationship with Buffy, because he was a part of it. And he was so quick to beat Faith(my favourite redeemed character, now there's a parallel; vampire redeems slayer, while slayer redeems vampire, nicely played Joss!) up when he found out Buffy was overruled(so it turns out she was right, but that's beside the point). Although I can't quite remember, after Dawn threatened him how was their relationship? It never really stuck out to me after that exchange.

Sorry, my reason for questioning that Spike/Dawn issue was just a refresher seeing as there was discussion of his interaction with her while soulless.

[ edited by BlueSkies on 2010-07-21 15:24 ]
Baxter wrote:
"Ah, I see much of Buffy's apparent remorse (at least in the short-term if not after long sober reflection once Spike has come back with a soul) as being 'wrong' for actually letting him touch her. To Tara: how could I let him DO those things to me ; not how could I do those things to him. As to Katrina, who knows what Spike actually felt about the dead girl; what we do know is that he was desperate to convince Buffy that she shouldn't throw her life away (as he saw it)."
I completely agree with this Baxter. I don't think Buffy ever felt remorse for her relationship with Spike, or for using him. I think she felt shame, which is different. I think her shame had more to do with her sexuality, and with her friends' opinions of her rather than how the relationship might be affecting Spike. I don't think that concerned her one bit.
I don't even think she ever felt any guilt about the alley beating or leaving him in it. I saw no evidence. Her crying in Tara's lap was all about herself in my opinion. Completely self-centered.
For everyone who believes it was "wrong", or at least out of character, for Buffy to forgive Spike for things he did before he had a soul, then on any rational, objective level, you must believe that it was also wrong for her to forgive Angel for all the things he did, without a soul. There simply is no rational justification for having it one way but not the other.

I like the way you put that, Shey. I agree 100%.

Would it be okay if I quoted you on today's Herald?
Re: the scene with Tara in Dead Things: If Buffy had no guilt about using Spike, why did she get upset specifically after Tara pointed out that it's okay (qua Tara) if Buffy didn't love Spike, and say "Using him? HOW IS THAT OKAY?" and beg Tara not to forgive her? You can construct a scenario whereby Buffy feels bad only because it's not okay to use a vampire, but I think it's a stetch. That Buffy also feels bad for letting Spike "do those things to her" doesn't negate the guilt she has about using him, either. It's a complicated situation and I resist readings that simplify it.

On the Spike front, selfish/not-selfish, I gotta say that even when he was ensouled he held onto certain selfish/obsessive aspects of his demon days that I found caused damage to his 'new' character. I think the episode 'First Date' initially showed him in this new light where he was all understanding and what not, but a second later he couldn't get to interrupt her date quickly enough. It showed a superficial progression, but nothing real.

I think I missed the part where Spike set Xander up to be captured by his demon-date and bled so that Spike would have an opportunity to interrupt Buffy's date. Spike doesn't seem to take any pleasure in interrupting Buffy's date, and he does it to save Xander's life. When the standard for human characters is things like Wesley spending most of season four trying to break up Fred and Gunn, or Angel's pettiness re: Spike&Buffy, or Cordy&Groo, I don't buy that Spike's behaviour here at all shows that he hasn't progressed from thinking it's okay to kill people.

OTOH, I haven't seen the Touched scene with Faith in a long while so I'll suspend judgment on that.

Good point on Angel:Faith :: Buffy:Spike parallels though.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-07-21 21:15 ]
Blueskies, I love Faith and always have, in a love to hate her type way, but I have to admit that *I* kinda loved Spike for defending Buffy in that instance. Might have been wrong but Buffy deserved some defense.

Faith and Spike are as similar in nature as Buffy and Angel. When the writers teased in season 7 with a potential hook up between S/F, the chemistry between the actors was pretty intense. I wonder if Spike ever knew that the gal that rocked his boat years ago was none other than Faith, wearing Buffy's body. I want to think that I remember a conversation about it... It was a cool full circle moment, imo.
I wonder if Spike ever knew that the gal that rocked his boat years ago was none other than Faith, wearing Buffy's body. I want to think that I remember a conversation about it... It was a cool full circle moment, imo.

Oh yes, he knew - he and Faith had a little flirty banter over it in the basement. *g*
FAITH LOVE!! It's my favourite part of the fandom! Can we just all take a second to bask in her awesomeness?

And moment taken! I think she and Spike may have worked for about a minute, someone mentioned on another thread that I don't remember about the Faith spin off to have Spike as her sidekick in ghost form, but let's face it Faith is a lone wolf in her wolf pack of one. When you think about it there's not much that they'd like about each other if one weren't corporeal(I mean they couldn't have sex) seeing as Spike was still occupied with thoughts of Buffy when he came back (although when he got the flesh and blood he was preoccupied with getting Harmony's pants off!) So they kinda lost that sexy chemistry when they trashed each others face.

Oh the thing about first date was when Willow (before they knew there was danger or that Buffy left her phone at home) mentioned Xander's text and Spike was jumping to the cavalry getting work, but Willow noticed and then said she's ring her. It was that knowing look she threw at him that gave me the "oh he's dying to break up the date" vibe. I didn't mean he was trying the whole time to interject.

Just a thought, Faith and Angel would have had really dark haired and dark eyed kids, if only...

[ edited by BlueSkies on 2010-07-22 00:41 ]
FAITH LOVE!! It's my favourite part of the fandom! Can we just all take a second to bask in her awesomeness?


Hell yeah! I love me some Faith!!!!!

I think she and Spike may have worked for about a minute, someone mentioned on another thread that I don't remember about the Faith spin off to have Spike as her sidekick in ghost form, but let's face it Faith is a lone wolf in her wolf pack of one. When you think about it there's not much that they'd like about each other if one weren't corporeal(I mean they couldn't have sex) seeing as Spike was still occupied with thoughts of Buffy when he came back (although when he got the flesh and blood he was preoccupied with getting Harmony's pants off!)

I disagree, I think it would have worked really well. They are similar in so many ways that it would have caused natural conflict but it would have helped them too - sometimes the best thing for you is having a mirror held up in front of you. AND, where they differ, they could have helped each other as well. That chemistry was still there and I've no doubt it would have been played up - we know Spike has a thing for the slayers after all. ;-)
"we know Spike has a thing for the slayers after all. ;-) " Well apparently it's hereditary, remember how Conor was looking at OUR(yes the people of this thread officially OWN Faith!) Faith? With his handsome yet androgynous eyes? And Angel defo had a bit of a slayer crush going on there for a bit, let's not lie to ourselves! :p
But yeah I guess it would have been entertaining to see them and how the writers played them off each other. Damn it Eliza! Oh how you hurt me!!
BlueSkies-When you say 'defo', I'm assuming you mean 'definitely'. Could you please spell the whole word out? :)
Oh yes, he knew - he and Faith had a little flirty banter over it in the basement. *g*



Yes! That's what I thought but I couldn't remember if I read that in fanfic or saw it live.
While it's true that ED had chemistry with about everyone on the series, Nick especially comes to mind, it would have been interesting to see ED and JM really get to sizzle onscreen. What I imagined was Spike bringing out a softer side of Faith, something few have ever seen.
They are so much alike, in many respects, that the level of understanding between them would have probably been pretty easy and free flowing.
They both feel like the outsider with a larger than life older sibling, if you will. Whether or not Faith and Spike ever have a romantic relationship, I think they could grow to be great friends. If only Faith would stop throwing Buffy out of her house and Spike, in turn, would stop trying to kill her. THEN it could work. *g*
Her crying in Tara's lap was all about herself in my opinion. Completely self-centered.

I completely agree with WilliamTheB on this. How could “What using him? What’s ok about that!?” be read as a totally self-centred comment or as evidence that Buffy doesn’t feel badly about how she’s treating him? In As You Were she clearly states that she’s “using him and it’s killing her” so it was obviously eating her up inside. And in Conversations With Dead People she also states that she “behaved like a monster” so she blatantly acknowledges that she acted badly. I also interpreted much of her moddycoddling of him in S7 to be largely about her guilt over S6.

If your expect her to ever say "I'm sorry for everything I did to you in S6" you're probably never going to get it, in words at least, she more than showed it in her actions. But then Spike never apologised for the balcony scene, or taunting her about coming back wrong, or threatening to out her in Normal Again etc. I assume most people take his getting a soul as kind of a blanket apology for all of his bad behaviour that year. That's fine by me but if so, Buffy's acknowledgement that she behaved like a monster and her subsequent nurturing of Spike in S7 can be read much the same way.

BlueSkies, yeah Spike was pretty eager to rush off and interrupt Buffy’s date but you can hardly expect him to magically shut off all his feelings for her. WilliamTheB is still right that if Xander hadn’t been danger he wouldn’t have done so. Remember that Angel left Sunnydale because he thought his being there was unfair to her but he still came back and got jealous of Riley and then later Spike. I don’t think it means Spike hasn’t evolved at all, it simply means he’s “human” (in a manner of speaking) and that he can’t flick his feelings off like a light switch. Heck, even Riley said that even though he's married Buffy's still "the first woman he ever loved" and "still a hottie." These feelings linger and we're all a slave to our passions ;)

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-22 05:42 ]
If your expect her to ever say "I'm sorry for everything I did to you in S6" you're probably never going to get it, in words at least, she more than showed it in her actions. But then Spike never apologised for the balcony scene, or taunting her about coming back wrong, or threatening to out in Normal Again etc. I assume most people take his getting a soul as kind of a blanket apology for all of his bad behaviour that year. That's fine by me but if so, Buffy's acknowledgement that she behaved like a monster and her subsequent nurturing of Spike in S7 can be read much the same way.

Yes I think this is very true vampmongs. Buffy apologizes for using Spike, but not for beating him up; Spike apologizes for the AR, but not for taunting her about coming back wrong. Why? Because I think both apologies are supposed to be blanket apologies, along with Buffy putting her trust in and defending SPike and Spike's going for his soul. Broadly, you can see this in the other characters as well--Willow doesn't apologize for wiping Tara's mind, but she does show tremendous guilt over flaying a man alive. And so on. Season six brought the characters to a bad place, and season seven had a really had task ahead of it to buy that back while telling its own story. For me, I wish in the case of almost every character that there were more--but I think it's pretty clear to me that each character had his or her regrets, and made an effort to make amends.
Would it be okay if I quoted you on today's Herald?
menomegirl | July 21, 17:24 CET


Not sure what "Today's Herald" is, but quote away. :) This is a basic premise I've been pushing for years, every time someone tries making the point that what souless Spike did was "unforgivable", while conveniently forgetting everything Angel did as Angelus. It's just basic logic, IMO, that you can't have it both ways.
I agree with you, Shey. But the theory I have is that the reason people find it harder is because Buffy was engaged in a relationship with soulless Spike and/or they feel more betrayed by him because he claimed to love her when he did it. So the situation is more blurred and therefore people find it harder to move past it.

Just to reiterate, I definitely agree with you and I think it's only fair you judge both vamps the same. I also think from a characterisation standpoint it makes most sense for Buffy to forgive Spike because she places a *huge* emphasis on the soul. I'm just trying to explain my theory behind it because I used to find the AR unforgivable too and then I realised this was probably why. So I wonder if it could be the same for a lot of people?
Vampmogs you totally voiced my opinion there. It is a complicated issue between Angelus/Angel and Spike, but the soulless relationship changes it. Buffy and Angelus hated eachother, evil Spike and Buffy slept with each other. He claimed to love her, then he tried to rape her. Its a very different issue. Now murder is another issue, forgive Angel, forgive Spike, that's perfectly fine!
It's interesting to me that Willow rapes Tara, but very few people have a problem with Tara going back to her, though Willow, to my mind, never expresses that she knows just how awful her treatment of Tara actually was. It's even worse circumstances than Buffy and Spike because I think both of them would recognize that their relationship was twisted, but Willow and Tara's was ostensibly about love on both sides.

I don't know whether the double standard is about gender--our cultural definition of rape is something a man does to a woman (with fairly good reason--that's true in the overwhelming number of cases involving adults)--or if it's the fact that Spike's treatment of Buffy in SR seems more violent than Willow's use of what is clearly a date-rape drug metaphor, manipulating Tara's mind (we have every reason to think that Tara wouldn't have slept with Willow if she had all of her memories back) instead of her body to have sex and power over her.

Regardless, they're exactly the same to me, except that Willow actually succeeded where Spike failed (or, where Buffy stopped him).

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-07-22 14:21 ]
It's probably the fact that it is a date-rape metaphor so it doesn't hit people quite as much. The AR scene is just so violent, traumatic and real that it’s going to stick in people’s minds more than Willow’s mindrape of Tara. I do believe that Willow raped Tara's mind but the storyline is more... obscure, so it doesn't register with people the way a sexual assault does. The same way I doubt many people would ever call Faith a rapist even though she did rape Riley and, IMO, technically Buffy as well.

Just quickly: I was never under the impression that Willow and Tara did have sex at the end of All the Way. We see them turn off the lights, get into bed and snuggle but then they shut their eyes so I've always presumed they just went to sleep.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-22 14:46 ]
Shey-Yesterday's Herald.

I agree with your logic. And thank you. :)
Well, that and we live in rape culture that doesn't acknowledge just how awful other forms of rape--beyond the type we see attempted in "Seeing Red"--can be.

It's a date-rape drug metaphor, but it's flat-out date rape, literally, period, no metaphor there. We have every reason to believe that if Tara had had the full information about Willow that she would have still been angry and definitely not slept with her. She couldn't give reasonable consent with her mind altered, and that is the definition of rape.

But yes, people never blame Faith for raping Riley (and Buffy) or attempting to rape Xander.

I wasn't talking about "All the Way," I don't think--I was referring to "Once More With Feeling," where Tara's mind has been manipulated in the previous episode (and we're reminded of this when we see the plant several times) and where they clearly do have sex.

[edited so as not to be triggering. my apologies.]

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-07-22 15:07 ]
Well, that and we live in rape culture that doesn't acknowledge just how awful other forms of rape--beyond the type we see attempted in "Seeing Red"--can be.

Yes, most certainly.

There's also the fact that it was never called "rape" in the show (same with what Faith did in Who Are You) so it's possible many fans haven’t even considered that it is. I think a lot of people need to be told these things and if the writers don’t that fans will remain oblivious to it. And I don't mean that in a condescending or insulting way, I think I must have watched the show for years before realising that it was. I still remember the first time I ever saw someone say that Faith raped Buffy and my immediate reaction was to go "What!? No She didn't!" until I realised oh yeah, she did.

Heck, I think if you had told Willow at the time that it was rape she would have been flabbergasted. I don’t even think she comprehended just how bad her actions were.

It's a date-rape drug metaphor, but it's flat-out date rape, literally, period, no metaphor there. We have every reason to believe that if Tara had had the full information about Willow that she would have still been angry and definitely not slept with her. She couldn't give reasonable consent with her mind altered, and that is the definition of rape.

I expressed myself poorly here. What I mean is that I suspect the rape doesn't register with people because it’s tied into the magic storyline which isn’t as “real” as the scene in the AR.

I wasn't talking about "All the Way," I don't think--I was referring to "Once More With Feeling," where Tara's mind has been manipulated in the previous episode (and we're reminded of this when we see the plant several times) and where they clearly do have sex.

Oops, I thought you were referring to when they get into bed together just after Willow casts the spell. My apologises.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-22 15:28 ]
William the B and Vampmogs I actually appreciate your interpretation of the Tara's lap scene. I would like to believe that Buffy felt a little something about Spike's feelings. So do you believe she felt any guilt about beating and leaving him in the alley or just that she was using him?

I even interpret the "it's killing me" line as way more about how the whole thing affects her. I think Spike interprets it that way too, as that is what really hits home for him. His attitude changes when she says that. I like your version better though.
I think a lot of people need to be told these things and if the writers don’t that fans will remain oblivious to it.

Yeah, you're definitely right, but I would think of this as also symptomatic of rape culture--it was all very clear to me, but that's because I came in to watching the show as a feminist who is very aware of these issues. If I'd watched it before my education in such things, perhaps I would have missed it, too. Which I think says sad things about our culture.

Honestly, I find the "Under Your Spell" sequence in OMWF to be one of the most disturbing things I've seen on any of Joss's shows. Which I think is the point, but I also think most people miss it. It's ostensibly all romantic and sweet, but when you think about what she's saying and what's really going on....And I think it's all the more disturbing to me because of its insidiousness--in "Seeing Red," the wrongness is right there in your face, you can't miss it.

On the other hand, I do think it's possible that even Joss doesn't realize how disturbing it is because the reunion between Willow and Tara in "Seeing Red" is supposed to be all happy, when really while watching it I was absolutely horrified that Tara went back to her without them ever working out that issue. Horrific.

I expressed myself poorly here. What I mean is that I suspect the rape doesn't register with people because it’s tied into the magic storyline which isn’t as “real” as the scene in the AR.

Oh, okay. I thought you meant that the rape was metaphorical. We agree. :D

No need to apologize.
Vamps, it does help to see the mindset of the folks who won't forgive the AR. But I do still think it's illogical, and it's born of other prejudices. The AR itself is already very complicated. Buffy would normally have sent Spike to the wall immediately, and Spike would have expected to be sent to the wall immediately if he was really crossing a line. He had been drinking heavily and was emotionally incredibly wired up. The minute he does hit the wall, he's aghast at what he was doing. His ultimate response was to do something that of itself represents a willingness to completely change so that something like that won't happen again. Would it be totally wrong for a woman to forgive a man with all of those circumstances in place? Do we want to live in a world where there are things that cannot be forgiven no matter how completely you regret it and no matter how much you are willing to do to make amends?

To be honest, I'm pretty sure that a lot of the folks who think Spike can't be forgiven would have a different answer if someone else [cough*Angel*cough] was the one who was drunk and out of his mind and who failed to register that Buffy was saying no and then was immediately sorry when he realized and went off to do something dramatic to make it better. Heck, a lot of those people are perfectly happy to have Buffy instantaneously forgive and bang Angel after he put Satsu in the hospital, battered Buffy, and who by all appearances has been leading the army that just defeated Buffy, etc. None of which Angel (so far as Buffy knows) did while emotionally out of control, nor which Angel has even apologized for, let alone make a major league act of repentance for.

And that's all without taking into account the idea that the soul makes a person different, and that if Angel is to be 100% forgiven for whatever Angelus did, one might think that Spike ought to be forgiven for what he did without a soul. That's not even counting the difference in how the souls were acquired. As Coalition Girl snarked (paraphrasing) the logic of the don't forgive Spike folks runs thus: Angel had a soul forced on him and is therefore actually two people and totally not responsible for what Angelus did, while Spike sought out his soul and is therefore still an evil attempted rapist.
Xane: I think she felt guilty about the whole thing. In Conversations With Dead People she said she behaved like a monster, period. She wasn't specifically referring to just using him but the way she acted throughout that relationship. So yup, I'd imagine that definitely includes the alley beating too! :)

I don’t think people fully appreciate just how unwell Buffy was at the time and sometimes I think that her resilience is a bit of a double-edged sword. She’s a little trooper in S6 but make no mistake, Buffy was very sick. My sister suffered from severe depression and speaking as someone who had to watch her deteriorate both physically and mentally I can say that I have a great deal of sympathy for Buffy in S6. My sister would lash out at her family and lost all her friends and there’d be times I’d hate her for it and just wish she’d “get over it” but the truth is that this is a sickness. Don’t forget that Buffy self-harmed herself (Gone) or was suicidal for at least half of the season. It does not excuse her bad behaviour but it does give it a context in which people can, hopefully, sympathise with her and show her some compassion. I know people hate that she left Spike in the alleyway but she just had a total mental breakdown so she’s not thinking too clearly here. I guess I identify a lot with Buffy that season because of my family issues but I just can't not feel terrible for her when I imagine how she's feeling on the inside.

I did actually re-watch Dead Things today and I believe you can see Buffy’s sorry for it in that very scene. After she hits him she looks at what she’s done and lets out a whimper/cry and leaps off him. She was distraught and disgusted over what had just happened.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-07-22 16:25 ]
Thanks so much for that comment, vampmogs. As someone who's currently struggling with depression (though not on an as extreme and self-destructive a level as Buffy), it always breaks my heart when people can't see how sick she is. I never feel as much for Buffy as I do in S6. She's drowning but desperately trying to stay afloat. I just want people to have some compassion towards her!

Maggie: you're sexy when you're snarky! ;D
I’d call myself a feminist but I don’t believe that the only reason people query describing what Willow did as rape is because of the insidiousness of rape culture. The disconnect comes more from difficulty with the idea that Willow’s motive for doing the spell was simply to stop Tara from withholding sex. The more obvious intention and the immediate effect was to stop Tara from criticisng Willow’s overuse of magic, to stop her from being angry with her and ultimately to prevent her from leaving. To sex or not to sex seemed a secondary issue, the betrayal went deeper than that. Had Willow not done the spell “Under your spell” may never have gone to completion but calling the whole thing rape implies that completion was the only problem with what Willow did. If Tara had had a headache that day would that have meant things were OK?

The original spell is so specific in its effects that to me it’s always seemed to me more similar to a lie than a rohypnoling. If one partner in a relationship lies to the other and that lie keeps them from bailing does that lie become rape? If Riley had told Buffy about the vampire he was seeing would she still have been having tender celebratory sex with him at the beginning of Into the Woods? Was that therefore rape? If Spike had told Buffy he was the Doctor would she have stayed and had sex with him in As You Were? Was that therefore rape? This is not to say that what Spike or Riley or Willow did was acceptable or even equivalent. I think Tara was correct to call Willow's spell a violation. Rape is a particular form of violation but in this case I think making it so specific almost trivialises Willow’s act. It turns it into a soap opera and distracts attention from the more invidious evil of it.

@ Maggie: I would forgive Spike even though I don't think he mistook what Buffy didn't want and I think his motives for getting the soul were very mixed. Once he had it he understood what he'd done and never once even thought to blame Buffy for misleading him or demand anything further from her.
calling the whole thing rape implies that completion was the only problem with what Willow did. If Tara had had a headache that day would that have meant things were OK?

It doesn’t imply that at all, and to say that it does, to me, implies a fundamental misunderstanding of what rape is. Rape is never just about sex. It's about power. It’s always symptomatic of larger problems involving power, respect, and personhood, as is clearly also the case with Willow. Willow wanted to have power over Tara--instead of working through their issues, she merely took away Tara's memory, her true and justified feelings, and her ability to be informed about the situation. In essence, she disrespected her enough to take away her personhood, her free will. While using that power, she had sex with Tara. That's rape.

I'm not going to argue about that further, as it will only raise my heartrate. So I'm going to bow out of this specific discussion.

[eta] Not to mention that manipulating someone's memory is not the same as telling a lie.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2010-07-22 18:06 ]
Exactly so. A lie doesn't remove a person's ability to judge for themselves if the information is a lie. A lie is an attempt to control, but it is an attempt that many people can discern as a lie and reject the false truth. Or at least have the opportunity to discern and judge. Willow's spell is 100% effective in ways a lie can never be--there can be no rejection of it because Tara is no longer in control of her own mind. Willow's spell is a direct violation where a lie is a deception that a person must choose to buy into. Willow's spell violates the ability to choose--it's not Tara self-constructing the way she sees the world by accepting a lie from Willow, but Willow constructing Tara's worldview without Tara's involvement at all.
Lirazel: On the subject of Willow & Tara & "Seeing Red" (warning peeps: post may get disturbing)

On the other hand, I do think it's possible that even Joss doesn't realize how disturbing it is because the reunion between Willow and Tara in "Seeing Red" is supposed to be all happy, when really while watching it I was absolutely horrified that Tara went back to her without them ever working out that issue. Horrific.

Authorial intent is tricky, but there are cues. The episode opens with a high-angle shot (kind of Hitchcockian) of Willow and Tara in bed. It's the same type of high-angle shot that's used later in the AR scene between Spike and Buffy, but that is cold, clinical whites as opposed to the warm reds in Willow & Tara's bedroom. Later, we get a third instance at the episode's end as Tara and Willow look outside to see Xander and Buffy's reconcilation, which is about to be interrupted with another sudden burst of violence. The show doesn't do Hitchcockian angles, or rather, it doesn't do them three times, in very distinct ways, in one episode, for no reason. The common thread of these three is that they're sites of real-world violation, attack. Willow and Tara's sex in SR is completely consensual but the spectre of their past (which Tara wanted to skip over) and their future (where Willow defiles Tara's memory by going for revenge, which Tara would emphatically not want Willow to do) hangs over the scene. The red is warm and meant to comfort us but is a little too warm. Blood soaked.

Willow & Tara are the friendly face on Spike & Buffy in this episode. They're the last vestige of optimism that our characters can just make their problems go away with a poof. Of course it's happy. Tara and Willow really love each other. Dawn has her nuclear family restored. And it's horrific. Willow says "I've got some evil plans of my own" as she goes down on Tara. She says that she forgot who good it could be "without the magic" and I don't think the line is meant just to make us think of her visit to Rack's place. Whether you see what Willow did to Tara as rape or as a strong form of lie or violation as hayes does (and yes, I side on the date rape side) it's still a violation of Tara's trust and notably of her judgment in Willow. And when Tara dies, Willow goes berserk and defiles her memory, and that's the violation that season seven necessarily focuses on, and those are the amends Willow has to make.

So yeah. Willow & Tara in Seeing Red are coded as wrong-but-appealing throughout the episode. And the intro to Willow's rampage is the exclamation mark on that. The self-loathing as she taunts Warren for what he did to his girlfriend, for having killed her (which Willow, of course, feels subconsciously she's done to Tara--not because she's gay but because she's been abusive) furthers this, and this act of murder is, as (I think?) Monty Python put it, a bit of extroverted suicide for the guilt she feels and hasn't been able to articulate, a prelude to her binge which she thinks very well can end nowhere but her own death. Because as long as Tara was alive, she could find a way to make things okay, even if she didn't have the words to understand this, or the courage to face up to how terrible what she had done was.

-----------

More generally, as with Buffy and the alley beating, M.E. was in a bind: how dark can they make their heroes without losing the goodwill they've made by having them in the first place? Willow and Tara was many positive things and the message of their relationship's failure was meant to be that positive relationships can become abusive, just as the message with Buffy and Spike that abusive relationships can contain good. But it's a very complex set of messages and one that's really hard to negotiate. Obviously by going there in the first place they lost some viewers, and understandably--Buffy The Feminist Icon, and Willow and Tara the Exemplar of Lesbians on TV, were something that couldn't quite handle all the blows season six dealt them, which is why I think season seven still backed off a bit in making them admit to their full relationship dues. But I think the show did what it could with a complex set of emotions and extra-show requirements.

Xane: yes she felt terrible after the alley beating. But I see it on her face, and that's how I know. It's possible to read

BUFFY: "I using you. I can't love you. I'm just being weak, and selfish--"
SPIKE: "Really not complaining here."
BUFFY: "And it's killing me."

As being selfish. Certainly the reason Buffy can't love Spike is at least partly about him being an evuuul creature of the night. But her motives are complex. The reason she says that it's killing her to be with him is not to make him feel bad, but to convince him of the truth in her claim. Spike says, flatly, that he's not complaining: that he'll continue to suffer however much abuse Buffy dishes out. Buffy has to be the strong one here. And that's about conscience. The only time she feels anything is with Spike, as she said, and she's giving that up because she knows that it's wrong to use him and hurt him. AND, yes, she knows it's wrong to sleep with someone who is still, ultimately, incapable of having his own moral compass. That the latter paints her in a less flattering light to some people doesn't diminish the other points. It's complicated. Buffy's complicated.

As I implied above, I do wish that Buffy had owned up to the alley beating more. I think that the writers backed off on it because of a bit of fear of acknowledging how far they'd pushed their feminist hero. I think that hurts the story. I don't think it ruins it. But others see it that way. Basically, I believe that Buffy knows she hurt him. I believe that Willow knows she hurt Tara, too. I think in both cases it took a long time (and well into season seven) to find a way to understand that the bad things they do are a part of them. But I think they made it.

ETA: Actually, yeah, sorry. I think I'll withdraw my question. There's a parallel to the Willow/Tara situation that I am curious what people think of. But I don't want to derail the conversation, so I might just save it for a different time.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-07-22 19:07 ]
I absolutely love your reading of the authorial intent behind "Seeing Red." Thanks so much for sharing!
:) I remember being struck by the opening shot on a rewatching one day, and recognizing the opening (and near-closing) shots as being similar to the one opening the AR. The rest sort of fell into place.

I think I'm finally getting the magic addiction thing, too. Willow was doing the worst of anyone in the Scooby gang, so she's the one who had to give up her illusions the latest. It wasn't a cop-out (well, it may also have been that), but, more importantly, it was necessary as a delaying tactic. It's a shame that it ends up sending the wrong messages about Willow's responsibility, but, well, so it goes....

ETA: Sigh. I might also retract *this* question. Sorry peeps. (did anyone read my post in the interim? sorry)

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-07-22 19:55 ]
Willow's spell is 100% effective in ways a lie can never be

Except that it isn't 100% effective. Tara does figure out what Willow did while Buffy still doesn't know Xander was lying to her about Willow saying "Kick his ass." Rape is about power (but not every abuse of power is a rape). Lying is about power, about taking away a persons ability to be informed about the situation, manipulating the outcome and causing the victim to do things they would never have chosen to had they known the truth. There is no real life exact equivalent to what Willow did but to me a lie comes closest. It's strange when you think about it how forgiving we are of lies in the abstract (less so when someone lies to you). They seem so innocuous. like little pink flowers glowing in a witch's hand.
William the B -- your posts are fantastic. Always. Thanks.

Hayes, I'm not sure how far it is from real life -- brain washing and all that. One thinks if the techniques aren't already present it's not hard to imagine that they will be eventually. But for our purposes it seems that post-Dollhouse there's no way to look at what Willow did as merely lying. Also, I just don't see how a metaphor for it as lying works. What lie do you tell that makes someone forget how they felt -- as opposed to change their mind about how they feel? There seems to be a deeper violation in the former than in the later.
In the form shown on Dollhouse I think designer memories are about as likely as the kind of 'cloning' you see in Schwarzeneggar movies. I suspect that brains just don't work the way writers hope they do.

When Tara finds out what Willow did, her feelings are just as strong they were the first time around, with added anger at Willow for withholding. It seemed pretty directly analogous to how someone feels when they uncover a lie. It also works better for me in terms of the overall s6 story where the big bad isn't a God or a supervillain but the mundanity of coping with young adulthood. I actually like the way Willow's story is grounded in boring old drug abuse. Magic as a metaphor makes it believable that Willow would be tempted and not just say no. Lying and cheating and stealing to protect her habit all of a piece. Raping not so much but the allusion gets across how it feels to be lied to in that context.
WilliantheB, thanks for that brilliant comment on the visual cues in Seeing Red. I know that DeKnight wrote it, but your comment sent me looking for who directed. The credit goes to Michael Gershman, not one of the "core" ME team of writers/directors.
Which makes me wonder if this was one of those eps where Joss stepped in and did some uncredited directing. Because if you're going to look at the visuals in this ep through the lens of authorial intent, you're basically talking about either Joss or DeKnight.
And I would say mainly Joss, because this is such a game changing ep.
I've actually wondered about this in the past, because Joss has a distinctive style behind the camera, had the habit of stepping in and doing some of the directing for key eps, and is IMO masterful with his use of lighting, and definitely seems fond of odd angles.

As for the deeper meanings regarding the characters and their relationships at this point in the series, you say....
"It's complicated. Buffy's complicated."

Well, yes. Isn't that why we're still discussing it? Isn't that why we love it? (Speaking for those of us who are me, it definitely is).
Lirazel, Maggie, Shey: Thanks!

Shey: Michael Gerswhin only directed a few episodes, but he was also the show's cinematographer, so is an old hand. Plus, the episodes he directed tended to be major: Passion, Consequences, Intervention? Yeah. (Sort of like Nick Marck, who did FFL and CWDP among others, that way.) Writers are on set for their episodes, so I think any visual cues are possible to read as coming from the writer. And I think Joss probably had a hand in it as well. Ultimately it's anyone's guess. I think the whole thing reads as "deliberate" to me, though I can't say whose choice it would be.

On the mindrape/lie debate: I think hayes brings up some very good points. I do disagree, though, that it's impossible to imagine Willow being able to justify rape to herself, whereas it's easy to imagine herself justifying lying to herself. People justify rape to themselves all the time. And especially, if you want to take the magic=drugs reading, date rape. That said, I do agree that it's not quite a one-to-one metaphor, and since your argument is not "What Willow did isn't as bad as rape" but "What Willow did is terrible, but not fitting under the definition as rape" I think it's a pretty reasonable take.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-07-23 20:58 ]

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