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January 19 2011

(SPOILER) For the discussion of Buffy #40. Season 8 comes to an end.

God bless Diamond for getting their deliveries to the UK on a Tuesday. Anyhow details now follow

Willow and Kennedy are now over.
Simone shot the general.
Giles left everything to Faith but one very special book went to Buffy.
Buffy is having nightmares.
Forewarning from Spike.
Some damn fine scenes with Willow, Xander and Faith.
Interesting tie-in with Not Fade Away.
And a letter from Joss, it's all good.
Whats the letter from Joss say, Simon?
Why are willow and kennedy over? What happened in those damn fine scenes? What was the forewarning? What was the tie in with not fade away? what's the book Giles left Buffy? SIMON!! You've left me with so many more questions!!
Forewarning? About what?

What's in the letter?
Joss' letter is about how season 9 will be different, the intent for season 8 and thanks to Dark Horse and IDW.

Willow and Kennedy are over because Kennedy wanted power. And it's obvious that Willow is still in love with Tara. The damn fine scenes contained some damn fine lines. The nightmares are about Giles and Angel. The book was the first ever book Giles showed Buffy. Spike warns Buffy that someone is coming for her. The tie-in is that the last line of season 8 is the last line of Angel season 5.
Oh and no more new Slayers. And did we know Giles' middle name is Edmund?
Let's go to work. Does Buffy say it to the scoobies or just to herself? Can't Spike be a little more specific about who or what is coming for her?
Thanks, Simon.

What did Joss said about the intent of S8? (pretty please)
Wow, Giles left everything to Faith? Faith would be so touched, but what about Willow and Xander and Dawn?
won't be able to pick up for a few days..sounds amazing though!

i'd just like to say i've enjoyed season 8 and want to thank joss for making it happen and continuting the "Buffy" legacy.

cant wait for season 9!
Willow and Kennedy are now over.
You just made my year!!!!
Looking forward to read this issue now!
Thanks so much Simon!! You big tease! can't wait to get this, next week!
Yeah, Diamond getting shipping to the UK on Wednesday is pretty sweet. Go them. Still will only rarely change my comic book Thursday ritual though.

ALSO: Willow and Kennedy: INTERNETS PREPARE TO EXPLODE.
I love that Giles left everything to Faith. That's just... Yeah. Too bad they never explored their partnership more in the series, cause it seemed a beautiful thang...

Also, Edmund? Me likee.

Can Giles come back as a voice in Buffy's head in S9, pretty please with sugar on top?
Let's go to work. Does Buffy say it to the scoobies or just to herself?


She says it to herself.

Can't Spike be a little more specific about who or what is coming for her?


No. As he says "I haven't actually got to that bit yet." It could be Simone as on the second last page we see a panel of her, with pics of people she has killed and Buffy too. But there is a face covered in blood and wearing red shades also on the second last page that I don't recognise so he could be the season 9 big bad?

What did Joss said about the intent of S8? (pretty please)



Reconciling the optimistic, empowering message of Chosen with the dystopian, Slayerless vision of Fray's future. And the consequences of Buffy and Willow's empowering spell. It looks like Season 9 will be a back to basics (and Joss says he completely changed his plan for it).

Wow, Giles left everything to Faith?


Yes, Faith has a theory it's because Giles thinks Buffy is stronger than Faith and she [Faith] needed more help. The panels with the book are quite powerful.

There's also a lot of pissed Slayers and Wiccans out there.

This is a very good issue and I think it will please those who wanted to see Buffy interact more with the rest of the core characters. Something that Joss acknowledges in his letter.

I realized along the way that the things I loved best were the things you loved best: the peeps. The down-to-earth recognizable people. And Mecha-Dawn. (She has a tail!)

Simon, "Giles thinks Buffy is stronger than Buffy"? Did you mean Faith, or could you elaborate on that?
Yeah, i think he meant Giles thinks Buffy is stronger then Faith.
What is Xander up to?
Yes I meant Buffy is stronger than Faith, I'll edit that.
This sounds amazing. :D
Thanks ever for posting the quick summary - sounds like a great issue, I am so excited and what a great idea it was for them to bring out the last issue for Buffy's Birthday -

I want to take this time to say Thank You to all the great people here at Whedonesque for all the work you all do to keep the Whedonverse alive for all the fans - May 2011 be another great year for your site and all your members.
I'm so glad it's over. Rest in peace, disappointing comic series!
I read this Tuesday and with all of my spare time wrote up a more in-depth summary with some thoughts. I wasn't allowed to buy the issue, so I had to write from my recollection, but here it is if anyone's interested:

The story begins and Buffy is working in a coffee shop in San Francisco, doing a quick summary of where her life is now. I think does a good job of establishing the tone of the issue. It then transitions into the first meeting between Buffy and someone that she knows. What initially strikes me is that the art is not at the level that I wish that it was. Maybe that's me, maybe it's the artist or the inker or that it was rushed for the deadline or maybe it's something else, but it begins with Buffy speaking to Kennedy and it took me more than a minute to recognize Kennedy (of course, how many times have they conversed by themselves this Season?). I just wasn't expecting that. Kennedy is angry, but for a very unexpected reason. Willow recently broke up with her. We see Willow meeting Buffy in San Francisco. They talk of a few things, Willow says that she ended it before Kennedy could have, because she was sure that Kennedy would have, now that Willow no longer has her magic. Willow attention is turned toward contemplating the loss of magic, and how that affects her and the rest of the world. She doesn't fight with Buffy, there's definitely not the sense that what happened means that "they'll never speak again" or it's going to "tear anyone apart" or anything of that nature. But it's clearly affecting her, she's thoughtful and perhaps more reserved.

We see The General and get an idea of how the military views the new situation as well as how he views it, right before he is unexpectedly shot in the face. We have a brief glimpse of Giles' funeral and we hear of his will. I wish that we had seen his friends speaking at his funeral, I was hoping that his life and memory could have had more time devoted to it, but this is only one issue and so his will is more pertinent. He left nearly everything, from his home to his money, to Faith. Buffy obviously has conflicted thoughts on this and she goes to visit Faith, who explains that she doesn't know why Giles did what he did, but she guesses that it was because Giles might have thought that Faith needed it more. That Buffy, no matter what she might go through, would have the strength to survive on her own. Buffy was left a book and Faith tells Buffy that she is THE vampire slayer now. Staying with Faith is Angel, but he seems to be in a state of deep shock. His eyes are open but his mind doesn't seem to be there. As a fan of AtS, I hate to see that, though pragmatically I have to admit that there was no way for them to thoroughly cover his role in S8 quickly, even if they had wanted to do so. I'm sure that they'll spend time on him in S9.

We hear that Harmony is no longer popular and that neither is Buffy. But Harmony will be appearing on Dancing with the Stars (and that show actually is mentioned again later). The remaining Slayers blame Buffy for ending the magic and don't even want to be called Slayers anymore. Spike comes to visit Buffy and they have some witty banter/ Buffy makes it clear that Spike is not allowed into the apartment she's staying at. We see that Buffy is sleeping on the couch in Xander & Dawn's apartment. She keeps having the same dream and Dawn is supportive of her. Xander doesn't get many lines, but Dawn has a few. Jokes are made, and there are comments about some of Dawn's transformations through the Season. Later on we see Buffy, as she's trying to sleep on the couch, suffer through Dawn's cries. Dawn is in the other room moaning loudly to Xander about their love making, but then we see that Dawn is by the door, and by herself, as she's clearly pulling a prank on Buffy. But Buffy doesn't know that, and so she goes out on patrol instead.

She is confronted by three women who no longer call themselves Slayers (I'm sure that we've seen them before, but I haven't re-read the Season in awhile, sorry). She tells them that she doesn't want to fight, but the talk becomes heated and finally they attack her. She fends them off, and tells them that while she doesn't want to fight them, she will defend herself if they continue to come after her. She leaves and as this is all happening, Buffy becomes more confident and assured. She has made mistakes, but she will get past them. She will continue to strive, and as she prowls the night, she sights a vampire. For me, the ending seemed clear. Whatever else has happened, her name is Buffy and she slays vampires.

There are several pages of letters and a crossword puzzle. But before that, there was a full page letter from Joss. Personally, I enjoyed that most of all. I don't feel that I could begin to do an adequate job of summing up what he said, but I think that it was clear and honest and insightful, and I was very glad that he addressed that which he did.

By the time that the story ended then I thought that it struck a very confident and optimistic tone. Still a lot of problems to look at, relationships to examine, conversations that might be had. This Season had it's struggles, perhaps some because of the medium, and perhaps some for other reasons. But I do very much like the tone that it ended on. I felt that as the story went along it was as confident and assured of itself as it's been yet, and for one of the few times this Season, I wished that I could have gone on reading, and immediately seen what happens next.
Staying with Faith is Angel, but he seems to be in a state of deep shock. His eyes are open but his mind doesn't seem to be there. As a fan of AtS, I hate to see that, though pragmatically I have to admit that there was no way for them to thoroughly cover his role in S8 quickly, even if they had wanted to do so. I'm sure that they'll spend time on him in S9.


I think it ties in well with AtS because of the Angel/Faith redemption relationship. Though they could have wiped the blood off his face.
It will be some time before my copy arrives and I sign off on the series, but one comment from Risch22 is not clear: "...Faith tells Buffy that she is THE vampire slayer now"

Do you mean that Faith tells Buffy that Buffy is THE Slayer now or that Faith tells her that she, Faith, is The Slayer now? What does "she" mean here? Thanks!

I am less interested in the actual story than in Joss' comments, truth to tell. But end of Willenedy? That's interesting.
Faith: "You're the only Slayer. You always were."
Buffy: "Then I really did fail."
Sorry that it wasn't clearer Dana5140. Thanks to Simon for the quote.
Any clear comment about the "she betrayed herself"? Cause i might be dimm, but i cant really see that in issue 39...
"I think it ties in well with AtS because of the Angel/Faith redemption relationship. Though they could have wiped the blood off his face."

Yeah, I very much agree that it was meant to be a reversal of their roles in AtS. I did wonder about the stains on his face too. The best guess that I can come up with is that it was left as a visual shorthand for how badly off he is. I think that they could have just put that in the dialogue though.

[ edited by Risch22 on 2011-01-19 13:44 ]
The best guess that I can come up with is that it was left as a visual shorthand for badly off he is.


Yes or maybe he doesn't want the blood washed off because he wants to punish himself. I think the guy that I couldn't identify in the second last page is Roden (going by the two neck chains). I'm going to have re-read that particular arc to see if that panel was there.
"Buffy makes it clear that Spike is not allowed into the apartment she's staying at."

What's that all about? Is it said in a jokey manner or is she serious? Kind of seems like a slap in the face that Spike isn't allowed in. I get that it's Xander and Dawn's place, but even those two shouldn't have a problem with Spike considering he helped save their asses/the world again.
Boy is it weird seeing this discussion up first thing in the morning. I never say this but, really, well done Diamond. About time.

I wrote a thing. It's an analysis ... of sorts.
Thanks, Risch22 for that thorough summary of what happens. With the comics coming out first in the UK, I guess my insomnia finally has a payoff!
"Yes or maybe he doesn't want the blood washed off because he wants to punish himself."

That could be it too, though I figured that that interpretation was less likely because he was sitting up with the vacant look. If he was conscious and punishing himself then I would have guessed that he would have been more downcast. He could have his head down, possibly his face in his hands, he might have been lying on the floor. Something along those lines.

"I think the guy that I couldn't identify in the second last page is Roden (going by the two neck chains). I'm going to have re-read that particular arc to see if that panel was there."

Unfortunately, I can't say that I recall.
"What's that all about? Is it said in a jokey manner or is she serious? Kind of seems like a slap in the face that Spike isn't allowed in. I get that it's Xander and Dawn's place, but even those two shouldn't have a problem with Spike considering he helped save their asses/the world again."

I wasn't entirely sure if she was joking or serious and wondered about it too. It was said and then they cut to the next scene. Might have been half and half.

I can see her wanting not to deal with him right then because after everything that she just did with Angel, she may very much want to lay off any romance for awhile. They seemed civil before then, but that's as much as I was able to glean from that dialogue.
Thanks for the early spoilers guys.I'll have my copy later today.
Thanks to Risch22 for more info, I really like that Faith and Angel are paired up and Giles left her his stuff, she finally got what she never had in season 3 "you get the watcher, the mom, the scoobies and what do I get? Jack squat!" well now she has the remains of the watcher, and Angel(apparently broken and in utter bits, but still) so that's nice that she's now once again redeeming him.
But the blood thing sounds rough. At least he didn't lick it off, Spike did that with his own blood once, ewww.
Sleeping on the couch? Oh now that sucks majorly! But i am intrigued about the spike thing. Although there is the case of Xander never liking him anyway so I can understand that.
Although there is the case of Xander never liking him anyway so I can understand that.

I don't think that's an issue since S7. Actually, Dawn showed more dislike toward Spike than Xander did after Him. I can't judge before reading the issue, but I think if Buffy doesn't want Spike in it's because Buffy doesn't want Spike in, not because of Xander or Dawn.
I wasn't entirely sure if she was joking or serious and wondered about it too.


It may be debated heatedly all over the place but I read the Buffy/Spike scenes as her actually still having feelings for him. He did upset her unintentionally and that got to her. Others may interpet it differently.
Simon, how did Spike unintentionally upset Buffy? Is it because he shed light on there being new baddies that will be gunning for her?
It's kind of strange that Angel is staying in the house of the guy he killed, but Spike isn't allowed in the apartment.
Simon, how did Spike unintentionally upset Buffy? Is it because he shed light on there being new baddies that will be gunning for her?


Do you remember those teaser panels that came out and one of them was Buffy and Spike on the stairwell outside the building?

http://www.darkhorse.com/Blog/211/buffy-season-8-40-preview

Well Buffy starts crying after that and says "got it". Spike asks her "what's wrong with you?" as Buffy climbs back to the apartment with her replying "Nothing! Good talk! Come again!". And then there's quite an amusing panel after that with a bit of friendly Buffy/Spike banter. And then Spike's ship heads off with Buffy saying "Alone. Every night".
Xane you and me both. How utterly useless. :(

Do we get any explanation at all as to why all the world's powers are suddenly NOT hunting Slayers and loving vampires anymore? Or are we meant to helpfully fill in the gaps for Whedon as we've had to do so many times during this comics run?
Yes we get an explanation.
Thanks Simon, that sounds great. Yeah i think that's exactly how it comes over. It feels kind of sad that both characters believe that the other has moved on and neither are willing to make that first step, yet. But this isn't the time for that, that's why we have season 9, this isn't the end, this is merely the beginning.
IDK if I like it, but then I haven't liked much of the comics. Something about the leaving everything to Faith just isn't right, but I can't place it.

Wasn't it Twilight that got Giles, not Angel per say?
The running party line maintains that Angel is responsible for the bad choices that led to him becoming Twilight. In that sense, I guess his possession story's a bit more poignant than Cordelia's in Angel S4 or Spike's in Buffy S7.

The Spike/Buffy scene sounds sweet; I'm really looking forward to it. Also looking forward to the Buffy/Faith scene, if only to hear what they have to say about Giles. All in all, sounds like a better issue than we've gotten in a long time.
Wasn't it Twilight that got Giles, not Angel per say?

It doesn't matter. Buffy will always remember Angel's face,hands,voice when he snapped Giles's neck. That image is forever imprinted in her mind. And while he was not directly responsible for Giles's death, he was indirectly responsible.

The running party line maintains that Angel is responsible for the bad choices that led to him becoming Twilight. In that sense, I guess his possession story's a bit more poignant than Cordelia's in Angel S4 or Spike's in Buffy S7.
Exactly. It is the same except that Cordelia and Spike were truelly 100% innocent, Angel was not, far from it.
I disagree. Cordelia was just as responsible for Jasmine as Angel is for Twilight. They both made choices based on direction from a "higer power" (the ptb through skip/whistler). If Angel killed Giles then Cordy killed Lilah.
Perhaps, difference being Cordelia was unaware that there would be casualties. Angel agreed to the plan and knew there would be massive amounts of deaths and that he would have to terrorize Buffy and the scoobs and he still agreed. Cordelia knew of no such thing. And most importantly Cordelia payed for her mistakes with her life while Angel gets to live and make amends yet again.
I don't recall any of Cordy's choices involving rockets launched at slayers, people battered and in hospitals and so on. Ergo, one is not like the other. Angel did hospitalize Satsu. He did stand there and authorize a missile which killed folks. He did order his troops to not be taken out of harm's way. He did order a guy to be executed for giving him a bad graph. etc. etc. It was the original deal. Does this involve killing people? Yup. And he signs on.
And most importantly Cordelia payed for her mistakes with her life while Angel gets to live and make amends yet again.

I agree with you that Angel/Cordy are in no way comparable, and that Angel has done horrendous things, but I am so moved that Faith has agreed to take him in. At the time, Faith's crimes seemed pretty god awful when Angel took her in and everybody had written her off as a lost cause but he didn't give up on her. I find it incredibly poignant that Faith is now doing the same for him and I think Jeanty is right, she’s remarkable.
An analogy, Maggie:

I don't recall any of Cordy's choices involving mass casualty warfare, unprecedented restriction on civil liberties,and so on. Ergo, one is not like the other. Lincoln did authorize the use of total warfare against the South. He allow Grant to wage a war of attrition against Lee that was directly premised on ordering hundreds of thousands of Union to be killed just so the Confederates would be lose more proportionally. He did refuse to free the slaves in the border states. He did suspend habeas corpus. etc. etc. It was the original deal. Does this involve killing people? Yup. And he signs on.


Oftentimes the right decision involves doing things that you know will get thousands of people killed - ESPECIALLY in war. It's a sad truth about the world. Do we hold Lincoln personally responsible for every civilian killed during the Civil War? Or do we blame the soldiers who actually killed them? Do we think that puts him in a special category of evil? If not, why is Angel different?
I can't argue with that Vampmogs, Faith is amazing. I think Giles's trust in her was well placed. Out of this whole horrid ordeal she seems to have grown the most.
Yeah, I have to say that, as much as I love Buffy/Giles, I'm really moved that Giles left everything to Faith. She deserves some kind of reward after how much she's grown and I love that he gave her his house after he found her living in pretty terrible conditions during Issue #6. It’s a really moving way to bring some kind of closure to their relationship. I also think it's meaningful that Faith is sheltering Angel in Giles's house because that's what Faith/Giles were all about this season. I think he’d approve, even after what happened in Issue #39. It’s like she’s honouring him and I love that.
Vampmogs, I agree with you about Faith going to Angel. A lot of us have been speculating she'd do that. I'm all about forgiveness. It's whitewashing that I rail against.

Goingtowork, Abraham Lincoln was the elected leader of a country in charge of making those tough decisions. Fault him or not, it's not the same as the guy who listens to a talking dog and takes it on himself to do all those things. But if you're looking for the relevant comparison, Angel himself supplied it. The last guy who killed people because a talking dog told him to was the Son of Sam.

[ edited by Maggie on 2011-01-19 16:36 ]
Vampmogs, I agree with you about Faith going to Angel. A lot of us have been speculating she'd do that. I'm all about forgiveness. It's whitewashing that I rail against.

Couldn't have said it better myself. I agree with you 100% :)

[ edited by vampmogs on 2011-01-19 16:39 ]
I haven't read it yet but I find it kind of depressing that Giles leaves *everything* to Faith with the idea (admittedly, from Faith) that Buffy is stronger and thus, doesn't need the same kind of help that Faith does.

Buffy is always supposed to be the strong one - once in a while, it would be nice to see Buffy get some real help and for characters that are perceived to need help be forced to find that strength on their own, ala Buffy. I mean, how do people think Buffy got so strong? By being the one who HAD to make the kind of decisions and choices she's made.

I get the idea that Faith now has something she lacked in season 3 and I like it for that reason, but it could have been something *shared* - like Buffy shared her power - instead of Buffy getting the "slayer" handbook and Faith getting a cushier life. Especially with Buffy once again being "THE slayer", the only one, again. I guess she never will get the chance to do anything ELSE with her life because Faith and all the other slayers (who don't want to be called slayers anymore, apparently and inexplicably) can choose to do other things. Basically, Buffy gets screwed again. *sigh*

I don't find that very optimistic, despite the people who've read it believing it to be an optimistic message. Maybe that will change after I've read it and I know it's soon to judge it without having read it but....ugh.

Angel being catatonic is sad, but I love the Faith/Angel connection and it leaves open any future Buffy/Angel interaction which pleases me since I wasn't sure what would happen on either front. And Angel's story sounds pretty meaty for the next comic run.

The Buffy and Spike scene sounds funny and I like that too. Spike with his ship will obviously still be a huge part of his story in season 9, which sounds like a good time - snarky, funny Spike is always good.

Still, can't say I'm sorry to see it end.
"Willow and Kennedy are now over."

If this was just to satisfy the haters, now I'm disappointed with the comic. On the other hand, if it's just one more chapter in the story, I'm good with it.
It doesn't matter. Buffy will always remember Angel's face,hands,voice when he snapped Giles's neck. That image is forever imprinted in her mind. And while he was not directly responsible for Giles's death, he was indirectly responsible.


I keep coming back to Passion: in that episode, Joss has Angel snap Jenny's neck in game-face, because he doesn't want Buffy to be kissing the face of Jenny's murderer in the future. In Last Gleaming, Angel snaps Giles's neck in his regular, human face. Buffy did end up forgiving Spike for Seeing Red, but he had to change, he had to get his soul back for that to happen. What's Angel gonna do? I wonder.
I keep coming back to Passion: in that episode, Joss has Angel snap Jenny's neck in game-face, because he doesn't want Buffy to be kissing the face of Jenny's murderer in the future. In Last Gleaming, Angel snaps Giles's neck in his regular, human face. Buffy did end up forgiving Spike for Seeing Red, but he had to change, he had to get his soul back for that to happen. What's Angel gonna do? I wonder.


The remarkable thing about Buffy is her ability to forgive HUGE offenses. And considering that she believes herself to be largely at fault as well will no doubt factor in. Not to mention, the fact that Angel was possessed by Twilight (which she knows is the entity that killed Giles), and that he didn't even realize it, was a deliberate parallel to "Becoming II". Angel may have been in human face, but it was a glowing green face - it wasn't Angel who killed Giles.

That is not to say that Angel didn't make mistakes - huge ones even - but Buffy herself believes that she has as well. I don't pretend to know what Angel's role will be for season 9 or to Buffy, but I have no doubt that this is a connection that will never be "over".
What's Angel gonna do? I wonder.


He'll either have his version of The Weight of the World or walk across America. Hopefully the former. I wonder what Illyria will say to Faith when she sees him.
Angel may have been in human face, but it was a glowing green face - it wasn't Angel who killed Giles.

But, according to Allie, the writers still consider him responsible because he agreed to Twilight in the first place. So it really depends on whether or not they plan to reflect that through Buffy’s character or not. I'm sure I read at least one summary of this issue that stated Buffy can't even look at him and another said she has a bit of internal monologue where she considers sleeping with him a form of betrayal to her friends, her slayers, and the world. I’m not saying she’ll never forgive him but it sounds to me like she very much holds him responsible for what happened. And Allie has said that Angel won't be appearing much in BtVS next season so that doesn't bode well for him, either.

By the sounds of it, it’s gonna be a good while before Buffy can stomach to have much contact with him again given what he did, and also what she did when around him, in S8. I'm also going to guess that Angel doesn't particularly want to face her right now either.

[ edited by vampmogs on 2011-01-19 16:59 ]
And considering that she believes herself to be largely at fault as well will no doubt factor in.


This is true. Maybe I shouldn't have asked what Angel's gonna do for Buffy to forgive him, but what he's gonna do for the audience to forgive him.

I don't pretend to know what Angel's role will be for season 9 or to Buffy, but I have no doubt that this is a connection that will never be "over".


I have no doubt you're right. *grumblegrumble* Joss likes milking his AngelBuffySpike triangle. :P

[ edited by Enisy on 2011-01-19 16:58 ]
I'm thinking that maybe Faith will co-star in Angel's series. She'll probably also follow through on her original plan which was helping problem slayers with Giles, she's now strong enough to do that solo i think.

I keep coming back to Passion: in that episode, Joss has Angel snap Jenny's neck in game-face, because he doesn't want Buffy to be kissing the face of Jenny's murderer in the future. In Last Gleaming, Angel snaps Giles's neck in his regular, human face. Buffy did end up forgiving Spike for Seeing Red, but he had to change, he had to get his soul back for that to happen. What's Angel gonna do? I wonder.
I said it before but if Angel had killed Joyce in season 2 then i don't think that Buffy would have ever forgiven him. That is essentially what happend now right in front of her, Angel killed a beloved parent-figure of hers.
Seeing Red as bad as it was didn't even come close to this and unlike that Angel doesn't have his lack of soul as an excuse. And it only hurt Buffy, Angel's actions have killed,hurt countless of people. There's no comparison.
I do think that Buffy will by the end of season 9 work alongside Angel again as co-whitehats. All joining up and fighting the threat together. Faith will probably have to smooth things over with the main-group in giving him a chance. But i doubt Buffy will ever give him the one-day-i'm-a-cookie-speech again. That image is never going to go away, just like when Buffy found her mother dead on the couch.
Good point, Simon: does this mean we can expect Faith to begin in Angel's book in Season 9?
Maggie, I think you're reading a bit too much into a flippant remark. Talking dogs in real life are not the same as talking dogs in a world with Loan Shark demons or statues that can suck people into hell.

This, of course, relates to the main point as well. In a world where magic is real, decentralizing world-ending power outside states (it's like globalization wrapped up in worldwide nuclear proliferation on steroids), you can't leave decisions to elected officials. Was Buffy, for example, supposed to phone the President about the vineyard and wait for further instructions? How about her attack on the Hellmouth at the end of that season? Both of those sure as hell got people killed - and Buffy knew that it would going in (not to the extent that it did in the vineyard, but that's not really relevant here).

A persuasive critique of Angel's actions would require 1. clear evidence that he made the wrong choice and 2. clear evidence that he should have known, based on the information he plausibly had access to, that he was making the wrong choice when he started this whole thing. The evidence suggests 1. is true (but it's not open and shut - we still have no idea what the counterfactual scenario would look like), but I haven't seen one thing the entire season that suggests 2. So I think that unless you can show that Angel should have known, in advance, what his actions would cause, it's not fair to hold him responsible for his possession and its subsequent consequences.
This is true. Maybe I shouldn't have asked what Angel's gonna do for Buffy to forgive him, but what he's gonna do for the audience to forgive him.


And that, for me, is the tougher question. I am not even sure I'll be reading season 9 because the characters in season 8 (and especially Angel) made no sense to me. I kept waiting till the end for answers to questions like (Connor? The Fang Gang? Why?) and didn't get them. If the characters make no sense, the story doesn't and the story/plot all on it's OWN had enough problems - still don't get the whole sentient universe who needed Buffy and Angel to come into existence and yet Twilight was already around and talking to Angel, etc, etc. (And really, that's only ONE issue among many.)


I have no doubt you're right. *grumblegrumblepout* Joss likes milking his Angel/Buffy/Spike triangle. :P


Until he finds a pairing that everyone can love universally, yes, although I think season 8 went pretty far to convince both sides of the futility of shipping either couple, frankly. *g*
goingtowork: In general, I think the season was meant to expose one of the murkier aspects of Angel's personality: how he's got it in him to choose the big picture over the "casualties" that bring it into fruition (see Not Fade Away), and how that could backfire on him someday. I think we're meant to sympathize with Riley in the Commitment Through Distance, Virtue through Sin one-shot, when, in the last panel, Angel is given the choice between "the girl or the world" and Riley only utters Buffy's name.

Luc: Pity there was no follow-up to that Skinless Warren/Buffy wedding panel. I think that could have caught on.
FYI, I've opened up a new Q&A session with Jeanty over at SlayAlive. If you'd like to ask a question (or more), check it out HERE.
A Q&A with Scott Allie will be opened too, so keep your eyes peeled for it.
Enisy, eew. But it may be the only way that Buffy will be able to look at Angel again: Angel wearing a mask.
Joke! Sorry about that, anca! XD

[ edited by Enisy on 2011-01-19 17:38 ]
But, according to Allie, the writers still consider him responsible because he agreed to Twilight in the first place. So it really depends on whether or not they plan to reflect that through Buffy’s character or not.


Yes, hence, me saying he's made huge mistakes. But Buffy also believes SHE has made "huge mistakes" that include betraying her calling, her friends, the wiccan community, herself, the earth. Pretty huge responsibility she is taking on for herself as well. So I've no doubt that she has to come to terms with it for herself as well as Angel and come back from it herself (just like Angel) and learn to forgive herself AND Angel. It's a theme. Buffy and Angel parallel very much here.

I'm sure I read at least one summary of this issue that stated Buffy can't even look at him and another said she has a bit of internal monologue where she considers sleeping with him a form of betrayal to her friends, her slayers, and the world.


I've no doubt that's true. But interpretations on WHY are important and rather subjective. There are a lot of reasons to have problems looking at him, which just proves that there is more story there. And I've also read interpretations where she believes she slept with TWILIGHT, which indicates - as issue 39 does - a clear separation of Angel and Twilight for Buffy. She considered sleeping with Spike a betrayal of all things she's supposed to be for as well and yet the end of season 7 is a different story. Joss loves to deconstruct characters and relationships because it's dramatic but part of the drama is the rebuilding and I have no reason to think a rebuilding of Buffy, Angel and the Buffy/Angel relationship are somehow exceptions to that idea.


I’m not saying she’ll never forgive him but it sounds to me like she very much holds him responsible for what happened.


I've no doubt she'll hold him AND herself responsible for a very long time. Drama is inherent in this story, they will milk it as they always do.

Of course, I also disagree that Cordy's possession by Jasmine isn't *very much* like Angel's by Twilight since she also made *huge* mistakes and choices that led to her possession, so...


And Allie has said that Angel won't be appearing much in BtVS next season so that doesn't bode well for him, either.


Well, Angel didn't show up unmasked till the very end of season 8 and Joss and company ALSO said that Angel would only be "minimally used" in season 8 and we see how that turned out. Not to mention, in Joss' letter, he's also said that his ideas for season 9 are different now so I think nothing is set in stone. But I do think there is quite a lot of potential for drama, story and angst for Buffy, Angel and B/A and Joss (and Scott Allie) seem to believe that is how you show love to the story and characters. So I stand by my points. But it's nice to see you vamps. *g*

By the sounds of it, it’s gonna be a good while before Buffy can stomach to have much contact with him again given what he did, and also what she did when around him, in S8. I'm also going to guess that Angel doesn't particularly want to face her right now either.


That might very well be true - but then I never said it would happen quickly. ;-) Just that it will happen. Joss always comes back to these characters and this relationship, so I have precedent for thinking this is no exception. And from all indications, Angel isn't yet ready to face *anything*, let alone Buffy...

goingtowork: In general, I think the season was meant to expose one of the murkier aspects of Angel's personality: how he's got it in him to choose the big picture over the "casualties" that bring it into fruition (see Not Fade Away), and how that could backfire on him someday.


I don't disagree, but the problem is that Joss has done this before - season 7 of Buffy was about her having to be the "general" and making the decisions without regard to the casualties. Difference is that Joss always lets Buffy come back from that edge (mostly) and gives her a way to do that (usually with a deus ex machina). With Angel, he's always the one stuck with two - and only two - equally crappy choices. At some point, that just gets old.

Luc: Pity there was no follow-up to that Skinless Warren/Buffy wedding panel. I think that could have caught on.


Nah, cause Warren shouldn't have existed after his death and skinning AND being used as a vehicle for The First, so the outcry would be canon foul! We shall have to dig deeper I fear...

[ edited by lmblack21 on 2011-01-19 17:57 ]
I don't disagree, but the problem is that Joss has done this before - season 7 of Buffy was about her having to be the "general" and making the decisions without regard to the casualties. Difference is that Joss always lets Buffy come back from that edge (mostly) and gives her a way to do that (usually with a deus ex machina). With Angel, he's always the one stuck with two - and only two - equally crappy choices. At some point, that just gets old.


Can't argue with that. Reading your post, it also struck me (again) how much of this arc was a retelling of Buffy Season 2 -- Buffy sleeping with Angel, holding herself responsible for the consequences (the death of a loved one among them), feeling herself unworthy of forgiveness. The main difference here -- in Season 8 -- is that Buffy does actually shoulder some of the blame. (Or, well... maybe. Possibly. Depending on whether Joss or Allie will ever come clean about the effects of the glow. :P) I don't know if I can hold her possible for the apocalypse, because she couldn't have known that in hindsight, but she is responsible for sleeping with Twilight, AKA the guy who killed her girls and victimized her for a year.

[ edited by Enisy on 2011-01-19 18:02 ]
I don't think Joss can go back to the B/A relationship. How can you possibly get an audience to root for hearts and flowers for the couple that caused so much damage and destruction? And I don't see why he'd want to go back to it -- it's now saddled with Angel having battered and manipulated Buffy into becoming what he wants. That's a dark subtext that's now freighted with the couple. I'm just not seeing it.

Buffy thinks her betrayal was in boinking Twilight. That doesn't work as an argument that she's separating the two entities -- because #34 was all about Angel and Buffy. Twilight is the kitty that took over afterwards. Her referring to Angel in #34 as Twilight means that she's NOT separating Twilight from Angel. That, along with the point that she can't even stand to look at him would suggest that she's not ever going to be in lurve with him again. I'm sure they'll interact and their relationship will 'evolve'. But I think true love is over.
I think this is exactly what Joss is going to do, actually - go back to B/A relationship again. Otherwise there would have been no point in 'deconstructing ' Angel and repeating the S2 plot. Milking the triangle requires the triangle to be there. LOL. And there is no other candidate for the third point of it. And the promise of milking it is there if not spelled out clearly - in both 40 ( which I have read by now) and Joss' interview. I do not particularly like the idea btw, but I cannot see how else the angst generated in S8 will translate into S9.

To quote from the article on Avengers ('What to expect when expecting Joss Whedon's Avengers') - and this is the one particular part that amused me most :

5. There will be a horrific and gut-churning death in Act 3
Whedon is legendary (and rightfully stereotyped) for his pulled-the-rug-out character deaths. He's especially notorious for killing people just as they've consummated their love. As he said in his own blog post about a theoretical new Firefly: "People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don't like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy."

Which is exactly what was done to Angel in S8. :) This kind of angst cannot simply be wasted - therefore I predict the return of B/A in full scale angst mode, eventually. Not right away , obviously

[ edited by dorotea on 2011-01-19 18:16 ]
It is not a repeat of season2. Post season2 Buffy got blinders on. It was even touched upon this season in how she blames only herself for the whole Angel-fiasco. The flashback issue shows that she believes everything was so much easier and better back then. Not so much anymore, Buffy will put the rightful blame at Angel's feet. Being blind in regards to Angel cost her too much. She knows of her own mistakes and will deal with them but finally through her eyes Angel is no longer the perfect innocent goldenboy champion that resides on a pedestal.
So many people hurt or dead makes it clear that this was always a cursed love, not true love.

Exactly Maggie, i think there's even more chance of Faith/Angel happening then B/A.
The only person that comes to his aide now is Faith, Faith will help him and i think it's very likely that Angel will realize this once he gets better. The person that sticks beside you in your darkest hour is the one.

[ edited by Vergil on 2011-01-19 18:26 ]
And the Scott Allie Q&A is now up. Go HERE.
V.,

And the whole concept of you liking Faith rehabilitating Angel means that you personally believe Angel can be rehabilitated - otherwise why bother - which means you think the character is not ruined and the only thing that you do not want is B/A. Because Faith connection to Giles was equally strong this season, but you still think Faith-Angel is OK and Faith should forgive ( but obviously not Buffy.) Interesting logic. From my perspective Faith taking care of Angel is a perfect setting for even more angst generation - because historically Faith was the one who has driven Buffy to the peaks of jealousy - and now we have even more reasons for the tension between the two Slayers to be brought back. So, there might be even more triangles to milk - and milked they will be.

[ edited by dorotea on 2011-01-19 18:33 ]
Well, just read it. I liked it! In a... conflicting sort of way. But at the end of the day (or issue) confused though I may be about what I just read, I am really excited for season 9. And... isn't that kind of what it's all about?
I don't think Joss can go back to the B/A relationship. How can you possibly get an audience to root for hearts and flowers for the couple that caused so much damage and destruction? And I don't see why he'd want to go back to it -- it's now saddled with Angel having battered and manipulated Buffy into becoming what he wants. That's a dark subtext that's now freighted with the couple. I'm just not seeing it.


That's exactly what people said - ad nauseum - about the B/S relationship after season 6 and yet. The point is that you have to *work* at making the relationship a good one again - that is where the story lies, potentially. And Joss doesn't do "hearts and flowers" for any relationship. That's boring. The whole reason TO tear something down is to rebuild it and it's a simple fact that Joss always comes back to B/A in one way or another. To think this is the absolute end is to disregard where the drama lies and in history itself, but I get why you disagree.

Her referring to Angel in #34 as Twilight means that she's NOT separating Twilight from Angel.


Disagree again. She quite clearly separates them - that is made clear in issue 39 - and if you saw the original script that Buffyfest has on their blog you can see it even more clearly which indicates that, in this regard at least, the writers' intent is to show Buffy recognizing a clear delineation in Angel and Twilight.

Or put more simply:

Which is exactly what was done to Angel in S8. :) This kind of angst cannot simply be wasted - therefore I predict the return of B/A in full scale angst mode, eventually. Not right away , obviously


What she said. *g*

[ edited by lmblack21 on 2011-01-19 18:36 ]
Did I mention that I think 40 was the lowest point of the arc? Anticlimactic and perfectly pointless, except as a setting to S9 - which I am totally not excited about. Because I really don't see the point. Especially now that they are thinking about dumping the FDW plot and going with something new. Meaning the whole aspect of S8 plot is going to be retconed . Honestly, Willow was the character whose plot disappointed me most in the whole LG arc - but issue 40 was the last straw.

[ edited by dorotea on 2011-01-19 18:38 ]
Yeah there's a pain in the back of my neck that screams "hmmmmm shipping conflicts ahoy". If we could get back to discussing the issue then that would be lovely, this thread isn't an excuse to trot the usual pleasantries about why the other side won't work.
ETA: Should probably post this in the interview thread.

[ edited by Enisy on 2011-01-19 19:04 ]
Simon,

Shipping conflicts is what Joss is cultivating and rearing carefully by keeping the 'triangles' going in full swing. How can you honestly expect these conflicts not to spill out into the discussion if that's what is built into the story - quite deliberately? I say as far as nobody personally insulting anybody the shipping should be considered OK.
dorotea - if you have a problem with what I say and the rules here, do email me about it. It's not open for discussion here.
Sorry Simon, I get carried away at the prospect of more story in that direction. Will stop that here now.

Joss Whedon: (on Giles's death) But I did tell Tony it was going to happen before it did. At first he said, "Oooh," a little worried. Then I said, "Angel's gonna kill you." He said, all excited, "Oooh! That's great!" [Laughs]


I'm still not sure why this is supposed to be a great story plot point. As far as I can tell his death is meaningless, meant to literally be the thing standing between Buffy and Angel. Meh.

I've always been fascinated by Giles's dynamic with Buffy's vampire boyfriends. He'd already gotten burned once, and now it seems like it was Buffy's turn to be. Here's hoping the revised relationship dynamics will be handled well.


Well isn't that optimistic of you. *g*

[ edited by lmblack21 on 2011-01-19 19:08 ]
You know what I mean. :P

And yeah, it's not as meaningful as it could have been, but there's dramatic irony in it, and I kind of dig that.

I wonder if Giles's death is meant to replace the curse as the thing standing between Angel and Buffy? Will the curse persist through the advent of a magic-less age? Just speculating.

(ETA: This post doesn't violate the "no 'shipping" rule, does it? I mean, I'm not even Team Angel.)

[ edited by Enisy on 2011-01-19 19:30 ]
You know what I mean! :P


*g* I do, I just enjoy the banter. ;-)

And yeah, it's not as meaningful as it could have been, but there's dramatic irony in it, and I kind of dig that.


I guess I just don't see the drama or the irony. If Angel had - with full sensibilities and not via possession, killed Giles, thus doing what Angelus teased but never did, I could see it as at least ironic. As it stands, it feels like a retread of season 2 as you mentioned. It's not Angel who killed Giles. It's Twilight possessed Angel who - just like in season 2 - has no immediate memory of having done it. Season 2 told the story much better, imo.

And the drama is lacking for a couple of reasons for me. 1) The (once again) season long estrangement of Buffy/Giles with only the minimal bonding, ala "Chosen" and the core four moment and 2) Lack of Faith's immediate reaction and witnessing of his death since SHE was the one closest to him in season 8.

I've no doubt if the actors were acting the parts, I'd cry buckets simply cause SMG crying and heartbroken (and real Giles dead) would get to me, but within this context and this comic form, it just left me feeling nothing.

I wonder if Giles's death is meant to replace the curse as the thing standing between Angel and Buffy? Will the curse persist through the advent of a magic-less age? Just speculating.

(ETA: This post doesn't violate the "no 'shipping" rule, does it? I mean, I'm not even Team Angel.)


This is my belief/reaction. Hence my feeling that his death is meaningless, insofar as his own story goes. And Simon, if that does violate no shipping, I shall edit.

[ edited by lmblack21 on 2011-01-19 19:20 ]
lmblack21-I've read your comments several times and it seems to me as if you're saying Buffy's ability to separate Angel from Angelus (and possibly Angel from Twilight) in her own mind is a good thing.

I just had to stop lurking and respond. Because, in my opinion, it's not a good thing. It's a glaring flaw for the character and a dangerous one at that.
lmblack21-I've read your comments several times and it seems to me as if you're saying Buffy's ability to separate Angel from Angelus (and possibly Angel from Twilight) in her own mind is a good thing.

I just had to stop lurking and respond. Because, in my opinion, it's not a good thing. It's a glaring flaw for the character and a dangerous one at that.


There's a difference in seeing Angel's flaws that LED to him being possessed by Twilight and separating Twilight possessed Angel from non-possessed Angel.

To me, being able to understand that characters who are taken over (ala Xander in The Pack, Spike by The First in season 7) IS a good trait - it's what makes Buffy such a forgiving person. That she understands that the acts committed while being possessed are not coming from the person but the possessor.

That does not mean I expect her to forget the choices Angel made that LED UP to his possession or to not hold him accountable for those actions.

But it is a fact that once Angel realized he was WRONG, he was trying to fight for the good fight and was actively fighting AGAINST Twilight who took possession of him against his will. So yes, I see a big difference there and I'm happy to view Buffy as doing the same.

[ edited by lmblack21 on 2011-01-19 19:39 ]
Luc: The possession storyline is weak, as you say, but there is something about the act itself that gets to me -- Angel's face, Angel's hands snapping Giles's neck, when Giles had criticised and disapproved of Buffy's vampire boyfriends, time and time again. I would have called it ironic even if it were Spike.

And I should have probably used the term "cosmic irony" rather than "dramatic irony" if I wanted to be pedantic, which I did. :P
Buffy did cheer up "Go Angel" when he smashed Master's head, so I think she no longer separates Angel from Twilight.
Luc: The possession storyline is weak, as you say, but there is something about the act itself that gets to me -- Angel's face, Angel's hands snapping Giles's neck, when Giles had criticised and disapproved of Buffy's vampire boyfriends, time and time again. I would have called it ironic even if it were Spike.


Ah, gotcha. I wish I could be as generous. Alas.... ;-)

And I should have probably used the term "cosmic irony" rather than "dramatic irony" if I wanted to be pedantic, which I did. :P


Nah, I think you're charming, not pedantic.
This is the best issue of Season 8. Mostly because I'm pleased that my predictions were on the mark, but also because there were so many great character moments.

Xander and Dawn are going through with the plan! They're living together and they're happy and adorable and they're there for Buffy. I needed that so bad. The panel with Buffy and Dawn sitting on the couch, while perhaps not the best art, had me lingering on it for a long time. Here are three relationships, at least, that can endure anything.

Can I quote a few of my favorite lines here? Is that cool? Here we go:


"I know you need me to tell you it's not your fault, it's gonna be okay. I know..you thought you had to do it. But the world is less. It doesn't even know it yet, but it's lost its heart."

"Is that worse than being destroyed?"

"Not yet. Eventually, I think it will be."


Helloooo, Frayverse...


"Come on, I'm rooting for Kennedy here! That deserves special consideration. And possibly a plaque."


Check it out, Buffy's the character who's acting as the voice of the readership! Usually it's Andrew or someone...(Hey wait, where's Andrew? Actually, never mind, I don't really care.)


"You want some of this?"

"I work at a coffee shop. I can't even stand the smell. And yes please."


Raise your hand if you can relate.


"Please. Everybody knows I was the Scrappy-Doo of that gang."


Incidentally, if you look up "Scrappy-Doo" on TVtropes.org...


"You get horses?"


Please oh please let us see Faith and Angel on horseback in Season 9.


"Your 'everybody into the pool' empowerment trick brought down the First, but it also put a lot of girls through the meat-grinder."


Faith's wisdom is greatly underrated.


"I live on a dirigible run by insects and you're still particularly weird."


Nothing to say about this; I just enjoyed it. Spike's bugs didn't desert him yet, huh?


"Auhh! Xander, don't stop-- Nnnaaaaright there--"


She had me fooled there. Seriously, how can anyone not love this girl?


"Yeah, you really shouldn't let them banter till they've trained."


There's a reason Buffy's always going to be capital-The Slayer.


"I know because that's how betrayal works. It sends ripples of hurt. Ones right next to you...ones you can't even see. Sometimes I'm not even sure which part was the betrayal. Everyone's got their version...(I'm pretty sure it was boinking Twilight, but still...)...I just know it all comes back. And then some. The trouble with changing the world is...you don't. Not all at once. You just inch it forward, a bit at a time, and watch it slip back, like the Greek guy with the rock. And you hope that when you're done, you've moved it up a little, changed it just enough. You hope."


There are so many levels to this that I want to reread the entire series and look back on this quote between every single issue. The images chosen to accompany it were so poignant - Willow's been in love with Aluwyn this whole time, poor girl, and remember that faerie? Truly representing the ones you can't even see.

At the same time you can hear Joss talking about the process of writing the comic, and his own trouble with changing his world. There's also the full impact of Buffy fully understanding that she did betray herself - I know there's been a lot of criticism about this as the theme of the season, but I feel it resonating and I'm extremely impressed with the way it's shown in her character.

She's right, of course. You don't make a grand gesture and just like that, the world is better for it and you're off the hook. (Has she had this talk with Spike yet, I wonder?) But that doesn't mean you give up trying, either, and here she is, proving it by using what power she has to save an innocent life. That's our girl. No wonder she's smiling.


"Let's go to work."


Weak in the knees, here.
For me the irony lies in Dark Willow stating 200 years into the future that 'the most important men in both your lives are lurks' - meaning the vampiric boyfriends ( at least originally at the planning of S8) were there to stay - which is exactly makes Giles death meaningless - unless all of the Wilow's arc in the future is to be retconed - which makes the entire setup and preamble of S8 a joke - and Gile's death is relegated to a plot device and Joss' admittance that he could not fit the character into comic format properly. Oh joy.

On the side note, the best thing the S8 and issue 40 did for me in particular is made me understand and accept SMG decision not to renew her contract and quit the show after S7.

[ edited by dorotea on 2011-01-19 19:55 ]
I interpreted Giles leaving everything to Faith to be because she's carrying on the mission they started together, not because she's weak. Faith and Buffy would interpret his will in ways to hurt them both, though.
Right now, a few things are clear to me, if no one else. If there is even going to be Future Dark Willow, then magic has to return or there is no way Willow lives for an additional 200 years. So we know that going in to S9. We basically know that, according to Joss himself, he wishes to finally reconcile Fray with Buffy; there is no Angel in Fray and so we have to assume that somewhere between now and then Angel goes geshtorben (that's Yiddish for "dead"). It is also clear that if Joss has changed his direction as to where he wishes S9 to go, it is almost certainly at least in part due to comments and criticisms directed at this S8; this S8 in many ways damages the message that Joss put out about female empowerment and there are significant other problems in this story as well. The main problem, as others have noted, is that the tale lacked focus on character, and even Joss admits this in his EW interview and from comments made by others related to his page in this comic. I find much of this distressing, really. I am not a Buffy shipper, but I felt that a lot of this series was written to rile up the shipper wars, to no real purpose except maybe to create buzz to sell books. In the world of the story, I do not know where you go anymore with Angel- he was involved in truly heinous events, and no matter whether he was in complete control or not, I cannot see how someone could reconcile with that and forgive it. How can you forgive someone for killing hundreds of your friends? Hell, how do you sleep with that person? That's where I think the story became so important that the subtext no longer mattered; in some ways, perhaps Joss got too smart for his own good and failed to really think through how the involved would read the tale. He wanted to tell a story, but I consider this a grand failure. Joss is so perceptive most of the time; did he not see that you could read the tale as Buffy sleeping with an abusive male? He hurts her and she screws him? And perhaps not even in control of herself? Lordie. I think the decision to decrease the scale is wise beyond the telling; the story needs to focus on the characters, because that is who we invest in. It was good to see Xander and Dawn achieve some happiness, but we all know that won't stand. As to Willow breaking it off with Kennedy, if it is because she is afraid Kennedy won't love her any more because she no longer has magic, that will end up not being true anyway. Because we know Willow will go looking for the magic anyhow. And Kennedy has not had her say, it appears. Anyway. These are my thoughts and opinions for now.
My reactions, such as they are:

1. Willow/Buffy scene. There is a lot going on in their conversation. As we might have expected, Willow's not happy about having lost her power. She seems to have projected that on to Kennedy, preemptively breaking up with Kennedy before Kennedy can dump her for not being powerful. But it turns out that more importantly, Willow is in love with Saga Vasuki. That would make two loves that Willow has lost on account of Buffy. There's no open hostility from Willow, but an awful lot of issues are there ready to bubble up, in an interesting mash of mixed motives. Willow has a 'high' ground reason for disliking what Buffy did -- the world without magic has lost it's heart. That's a forecast of the dystopia we see in Fray. She has the immediate personal ground of not liking being powerless herself. And finally, she's got personal love issues in play.

There's a tired air about her, in the way she talks to Buffy. It's hard to describe. Buffy makes a cute witticism about her cheering for Kennedy, and Willow replies "You...you're never not you, are you?" That to me reads as distancing. Saying outloud something she'd think about Buffy, but not necessarily liking that Buffy is never not Buffy.

There's also another reference to Buffy/Willow, with Buffy assuming that Willow's reference to 'someone else' (Saga Vasuki) is a reference to her. Willow immediately corrects it, but it's interesting that the question has bubbled along pretty much since WatG.

2. Dawn is being supportive in a sisterly way. She sees that Buffy is stuck and is prodding her gently to get going. Buffy is a leader, she can't just not be a leader. Dawn doing loud sex noises to bug Buffy is a clever and sisterly way of getting Buffy off the couch and back to slaying. It's what Buffy needs, and Dawn does it in a way that also gets a dig in about Xander, maintaining her claim on him. I love the subtlety of how that all plays out.

3. Speaking of insightful ways of dealing with Buffy in a way that is helpful without her realizing it, Giles' will is stunningly wise. It's perhaps my favorite thing in this issue. He's left everything to Faith. Buffy is devastated by that. But what Giles is up to is quietly saying that what got Buffy off track was all the power and money. So he's cut her off from that. What he leaves her is the one thing necessary. And (not coincidentally) it's the one thing Dawn is pushing her towards. He leaves her with the slaying (represented by the first book he gave her). That's where Buffy will find her way. It's such an elegant switch on where things were in NFFY. Faith was poor but on mission. So Giles gives her the resources to live well. Buffy was rich and off mission. So Giles gives her the resource to plug back into her mission. It's so beautiful the way he loves them both and sees what they need. It made me tear up in a way that his death scene in #39 did not.

Sidebar: Jeanty captures SMG's hurt/crying expression very well in the panel of her reaction to Giles' will.

4. Faith's read on it is just off target the way Faith would make it off target. She reads it as Giles expressing greater faith in Buffy's strength. It's exactly the reverse, of course. Faith uses that explanation because for her the alternative is that Giles loves her more. That's not it either. As I said, it's that Giles loves them both very much and is giving them both what they need.

5. I love that Faith is the one who is going to help Angel. It's a call back to Angel's best moment (in my book) which was his willingness to take Faith in when she was a pariah. We get one panel of Angel looking appropriately horrified/shell-shocked. That's a good start for his story.

6. Where Buffy is at. She's trying to deal. She's got the waitressing job. Although she's camping at Xander and Dawn's apartment, she's not in a heap of self-pity/guilt. She knows she messed up and she's letting the world react to that, pretty much accepting the blame, and trying to go forward. It goes a long way towards making me feel better about her. Buffy knows there will be repercussions. The panels documenting that include Willow, and the fairy from the Chain, and Simone with her hit list, and a new guy who we'll meet next season apparently. Bufy says that there are many things she's done that could be called betrayal. She identifies the space sex as the main way she betrayed the world, but she's not limiting it to that. And despite all her failures, she instinctively does what Giles and Dawn wanted her to do. She goes out to slay. She wasn't able to change the world, but she's going to keep trying. Her "let's go to work" is much more powerful and optimistic than Angel's was in NFA. That difference is worth pondering.

***
The Buffy/Spike scene. It works just fine for me. He's the one who has her back, whatever that might be worth. He's the one who can see and understand why she made the mistakes she made. They have their banter back and forth. They can't make a move towards each other. Buffy can't hop into another relationship right now. Certainly not with a vampire. That's probably why he's not invited in. Spike takes it on the chin for Angel's sins yet again. But Spike seems to get that, or at any rate is able to joke about it. Spike for his part has his own gig. As he flies off in his bug ship, Buffy voices over about being alone. Every night. It doesn't have to set up for season 9 Spuffy, but it sure as heck keeps the door open.

I'll ponder over the next few weeks how I feel about the season now that all is said and done. But this issue affected me much more than I expected based on the early descriptions. It's richer than any summary could convey. The last panel has Buffy swooping down. It's a reminder of the opening panel, but with so much different. She's alone now. She's back to being armed with nothing but a pointy stick. But now it looks like she might have some idea about what the hell she's doing.

There's something in that closing panel that I love a lot -- something it captures about the whole season. There are a lot of criticisms to be made. But I am moved by the end.

(And am very excited about season 9).
Amazing analysis, Maggie. Sometimes your reviews affect me more than the actual issues do. ♥
The funniest issue in a long time, as well as the saddest. Loved the callbacks to the start, and to Welcome To The Hellmouth, even if Giles bringing out the Vampyr book will make me sad now.

Ah, Rupert Edmund Giles, still surprising us.

An ending of sorts, with a continuation path clearly on the way. Not as "ending-y" an ending as Graduation Day or Chosen, but hey.
I took Willow's reference to "being in love with someone she'll never see again" to mean Tara. I would, of course. I'm a Willow and Tara fanboy. After reflecting on the way Joss thinks, I realize he probably meant Saga Vasuki. This is logical given the storyline.

I think the Aluwyn idea is not that compelling. I'm a hopeless romantic for loving relationships like what Willow and Tara had. I'm definitely not a cynic in the love department. I believe in the "soulmates" concept. Perhaps it's because I married my high-school sweetheart and we're still together after 30 years, which is atypical in this modern day of disposable relationships and one-night stands.

I could be wrong. Maybe Joss has chosen to toss his heart in with the W&T fanatics. I doubt it. Sexy-snake-lady is probably what he's driving for. If that's so, I don't doubt we'll see Aluwyn again, as she'll probably work her way into our realm to antagonize Willow in some way. Maybe Aluwyn is what turns Willow dark.

[ edited by quantumac on 2011-01-19 21:04 ]
3. Speaking of insightful ways of dealing with Buffy in a way that is helpful without her realizing it, Giles' will is stunningly wise. It's perhaps my favorite thing in this issue. He's left everything to Faith. Buffy is devastated by that. But what Giles is up to is quietly saying that what got Buffy off track was all the power and money. So he's cut her off from that. What he leaves her is the one thing necessary. And (not coincidentally) it's the one thing Dawn is pushing her towards. He leaves her with the slaying (represented by the first book he gave her). That's where Buffy will find her way. It's such an elegant switch on where things were in NFFY. Faith was poor but on mission. So Giles gives her the resources to live well. Buffy was rich and off mission. So Giles gives her the resource to plug back into her mission. It's so beautiful the way he loves them both and sees what they need. It made me tear up in a way that his death scene in #39 did not.


That's a lovely and generous view of it and I like it very much. I'd like to believe it's so because it resonates so well, but it still feels sad to me. Buffy was the one left in charge of this group of slayers and while the argument/case can be made that she should be because it was her decision to empower all the girls, she's always the one who has to go back to the *same mission*. She is the slayer who has to kill instead of the slayer who gets to connect to and help other slayers. Faith has always had that choice in a way Buffy never does and I'm saddened to see her still - even AFTER the empowering spell - be THE ONE. We saw in season 7 a weary, beyond tired of it all Buffy who didn't want to be THE ONE.

I was hoping for more for Buffy than just Giles (who should know better) pointing her back towards her same mission while giving others resources to do something else. I was hoping that someone else would step up and do that "every night, alone", fighting vamps and saving the innocents so that Buffy could breathe, rest, possibly even (*gasp*) try a new path.

I mean, like I said, he could have split it between them. Give Faith the monetary resources so she can make her own way, give Buffy the house - instead Buffy is homeless (living with Xander and Dawn) and working as a waitress while Faith never has to work and has a home AND Buffy is the lone slayer fighting against the forces of darkness. It's depressing to me.

Sadly, for me, it's one more indication of why the continuation is just not for me. I was happy with the idea of deciding for myself what Buffy did next and I have been left unsatisfied with what Joss feels is/was next.

Oh well.

[ edited by lmblack21 on 2011-01-19 21:10 ]
Joss got everything just right in this issue, as I expected he would. As he acknowledges in his letter, it is all about "the peeps," the "everyday trials." This issue marks the beginning of a return to that simpler, character-focused world. I'm relieved, even though there's nothing to do now but live with the mistakes and at times nightmarishly bad choices made in this flawed season. In the issue, it seems that everyone has a gripe with Buffy and the way she handled things. "They judge. And they carp, and debate," as Spike says. Might there be a parallel here with the reception to the latter half of S8? Joss, like his Slayer, seems eager and determined to reclaim what was lost along the way in this "endless season."

Let's hope he can. I think he will.
he could have split it between them. Give Faith the monetary resources so she can make her own way, give Buffy the house - instead Buffy is homeless (living with Xander and Dawn) and working as a waitress while Faith never has to work and has a home


I think that Giles has written his will back in times when Buffy had her castle and everything - while Faith was homeless.

[ edited by Moscow Watcher on 2011-01-19 21:20 ]
Very insightful, Maggie. I particularly liked what you said about Giles leaving Faith and Buffy what they need.

Personally, I think Spike and Buffy are far more interesting together when they are not in a relationship. The give and take in this issue was brilliant, what with everything that was happening beneath the surface.

If anyone is interested, they can read my thoughts on the issue here.
dorotea: I have no problem with you criticizing the comic, or Joss Whedon, or Scott Allie, or whoever else. But I have to say I am consistently offended by the tone of your posts. I love reading the comments section on Whedonesque, but feel quite uncomfortable when I get to your comments. Is there a way to tone down the rhetoric a bit?
Thoughts, copy/pasted from my blog:
Because I’m nice, they’ll be under a cut cuz, ya know, spoilers and all:
*Excellent: Buffy working in the coffee shop, and serving a gay couple. “Lotta cute guys, too. Cute guys who are into other cute guys, but it’s still nice after living in girltown all that time.”
*Sad: Willow breaking up with Kennedy. I like that the reason is two fold though. 1-Kennedy loved the power, though she’ll never admit it. And 2-Willow’s in love with Saga Vasuki. I think that’s a nifty little piece and can’t wait to see how it plays out next season.
*Good: Buffy and Willow aren’t perfectly fine right now. Willow understands, but she’s still pissed. Good. I’d’ve been annoyed if it was just “Oh, it’s fine that you stripped away all the magic I liked so much.”
*Cute: Xander’s got a good job and he and Dawn are living together.
*Also good: Dawn still exists in the world. Plus, she and Buffy are close.
*Saw it ahead of time: The general getting killed by Simone. *Cool. Nice to see she’s still around and, of course, not pleased with things. Buffy’s on her hit-list which’ll be interesting.
*Gut wrenching: Giles left everything, save a few items, to Faith, not Buffy (also, bonus, Faith’s last name is finally said in-verse). I teared up. Buffy’s reaction is painful.
*Silver lining, and what makes it ok: Giles leaves Buffy the “Vampyr” book from back in the first episode. Faith remarks that it’s because A-Faith probably needed the help (money, place, etc) more than Buffy and B-Buffy got the book because she’s the ‘real’ slayer. It made me ok with how Giles handled his will.
*Also painfully sad, but wonderful: Faith is the only one willing and able to help Angel now…who looks like he’s basically catatonic after the events in the Hellmouth. Buffy can’t even look at him (thank god).
*Loved: Spike’s pseudo-pep talk to Buffy. It read exactly as if Marsters were voicing it, and it was exactly what Spike would say. Loved the “I live in a dirigible run by insects and you’re still particularly weird.”
*Hilarity ensued: Buffy sleeping on Dawn/Xander’s couch hearing Dawn’s reactions during the ‘throws of passion’ through the wall, freaking out and leaving to patrol. Hilarious part being that Xander’s just getting out of the shower, and Dawn’s just messing with Buffy.
*Excellent!: The entire confrontation of Buffy vs the three other slayers-who-don’t-call-themselves-slayers-anymore-because-they-hate-Buffy. It called back really nicely to issue two where Buffy’s training with three of her slayers, and beats all three. Here, she repeats the act when they actually attack her (after saying she wasn’t going to fight them). After she’s done, she threatens them beautifully.
*Second to last page: Willow looked up an image of Saga Vasuki while Buffy’s over-text talks of the effects of betrayal (the betrayal being Buffy betraying herself and the slayers seemingly). We see one of the faeries from issue five again (cute). Simone’s hit list, two down with Buffy left. A guy with red glasses that I feel like I should recognize , but I don’t and I want to know who the hell he is damn it! (Oo, interview (linked below) says he’s new and we shouldn’t recognize him. Phew. Still, obviously evil though and he looks awesome.) Joss: “He’s a new guy. I can’t tell you about him. But you are not wrong to say you don’t remember him, because he has not appeared yet. He has yet to come.”
*Between this and the final page, Buffy talks about how the world can’t change all at once, but you just have to inch it bit by bit. It’s a very lovely piece really.
*Final page: Buffy saves a girl from a vampire. While saying a line that was just perfect: “Let’s go to work.” A-the line was perfect for her pouncing at a vamp to dust it. B-it calls back to BOTH of the current Angel finales (Not Fade Away, and issue 17 of After the Fall). “Let’s go to work” being Angel’s final line in NFA, and just the overall image at the end of 17/40 with Angel/Buffy giving their mission statement basically, and doing what they do best.
*Joss wrote a letter for the end of the issue explaining his feelings about season 8s goods and bads, which I appreciate. It takes a lot to admit where you fucked up.
*What I particularly liked about the letter is that Whedon, again, says that season 8’s biggest challenge was reconciling a series finale with thousands of activated slayers, with the Fray comic which had one (err, half a) slayer. As he puts it ”But the challenge of reconciling the optimistic, empowering message of the final episode with the dystopian, Slayerless vision of Fray’s future gave Season 8 a genuine weight. There is never progress without hateful, reactionary blowback. That’s never been more apparent than in today’s political scene in America. The mission was to deal with the consequences of Buffy and Willow’s empowering spell (the good and the terrible), steer toward a possible Fray future without undoing all the good Buffy had done (the girls still have their power), and tee us up for a very different season 9.” He goes on to say that he completely changed his idea for Season 9 because he wanted to pull things back to the characters.
*From an interview with Joss about the issue, and Season 8 in general: “Not that anybody who’s a Buffy fan should be that shocked that you did this at this point, but Joss, you killed Giles."
"Yeah, I did. I did. I have several reasons for that, some of which I can’t reveal because ripples from that event are going to be a part of both [the Buffy ”Season 9” comic and the new Angelcomic]. Part of it was really just feeling that Giles’ place in the comic book did not sit the way it did in the show. To have this paternal, expositional guy there — it wasn’t really something that played in the comics the way it did when Tony Head [i.e. actor Anthony Stewart Head] does it. I wanted to make all this matter and have something that would send emotional ripples through all the characters. Also, I’m a prick. But I did tell Tony it was going to happen before it did. At first he said, “Oooh,” a little worried. Then I said, “Angel’s gonna kill you.” He said, all excited, “Oooh! That’s great!” [Laughs]”"
^ I lol’d. “Also, I’m a prick” and ASH’s reactions were priceless.

Season 8’s been a bumpy ride. It hasn’t been perfect, and even Joss himself admits that, but I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly, despite it’s problems (serious and otherwise). This issue alone made it entirely worth the ride though, and if this is the type of thing we’re going to be seeing for season 9 (which it is, according to Joss) then it’s going to be absolutely wonderful. I can’t wait for the end of Summer.

Happy Birthday Buffy Summers. ^.^
As to Aluwyn, why would Willow love her? What have we seen to really indicate that? What resonance is there in that?
Oh! Could the mysterious figure be Ripper?
The evil looking guy with the sunglasses and blood splotches? Joss said in the interview it's someone new.
Indeed and we've never seen a young Ripper before.
Oh! Could the mysterious figure be Ripper?


As in, dead Giles' Ripper? Hummina, wha now?
Angel is "gestorben" for me.
5x5,

I never insulted anybody as far as I can see - especially and definitely not Scott Allie whom I happen to admire , actually. With Joss I have issues, and the issues are purely plot and story related - which is what we are discussing here - as I happen to think that good story should not rely solely on emotional wreckage done to the audience but also have a solid plot. I am sorry I could not like issue 40 or the entire LG arc - I truly wish I was able to disregard the things that don't make sense to me and just enjoy the dialog and the epic-ness and such. Unfortunately all I can see at the moment is retcons and character mutilation/destruction done solely to shock and to advance the plot towards the desired goal set in advance - and then even that goal being changed to satisfy something else. The way Buffy the story is moving (for me) is that it is following rather bleak and hopeless path of the Dollhouse series with final message being somewhat of what is written on the gates of Dante's Inferno - about leaving hope behind forever. And the creator making jokes about it - which he has every right to do, by the way.
I have my copy now and really liked the issue.
Could the mysterious figure be Ripper?


You mean there will be another time-travel arc in season 9?
Wow, I'm really late to this party, huh? I'm just gonna dive in then and here's my token apology for the wall o' text coming atcha.

Damn, y'all. I loved it. There's a bleak edge to the story when you consider "Chosen", and I have thoughts I might post about that later on, but here's my review of the final issue of Season 8, which is full of wonderful character interaction and sets up Season 9 so beautifully that I can already tell the hiatus is gonna be pure torture.

The final issue of Season 8 is a Buffy issue, through and through. It opens with Buffy working as a waitress. Bleak, right? Buffy doesn't think so. She's working an honest living and approaching her life with a can-do spirit. Whatever money she stole from her bank robbing heists appears to be gone. And I have to wonder if she didn't wash her hands of all of it and that's why she's working in the service industry—a place where you're hired quick and you earn money fast (though not a lot). I bet Buffy could siphoned off a few hundred K and opened her own dojo to teach martial arts or something like that, but instead she's starting fresh and waiting tables is what she's qualified to do.

Who knows what she'll do next? I like the idea of her taking college courses for adults continuing their education (a more flexible schedule and she'd hopefully be moving towards a more steady future). But that's for later. Today, she's working, she's putting her best foot forward, and that best foot's getting kicked out from under her by an angry young woman who feels Buffy betrayed their cause. But you can't keep a good Slayer down and Buffy manages to catch and balance her tray of drinks on her foot with a triumphant, “Ha!” She's sad the girl attacked her, as anyone would be after they'd been physically attacked and publicly, but she seems to carry a hint of resignation. This girl's angry, blames Buffy, and the girl's not all wrong.

Kennedy has little sympathy for Buffy's plight. She believes Willow could've beaten the invading demons back (I personally don't agree, and even if Willow could've won, I imagine the world—and the people living in it—would've been torn apart in the process), and that Buffy's to blame for the loss of magic. Buffy defends her decision, then resigns herself to the fact that people are gonna blame her no matter what she says, and decides to move on to talking about Kennedy moving out. Of course, she's got it all wrong—Kennedy's not the one leaving Willow, Willow's the one who dumped Kennedy. The art for this scene is moving and I was definitely feeling sympathy for Kennedy's upset. She's harsh and tells it like she sees it, but she's genuinely hurt and I was moved to see Buffy recognize this pain and try to comfort Kennedy (a person she's never really got along with).

Next scene opens with Buffy and Willow sitting in the grass watching the sun set beyond the Golden Gate bridge. End of an era, both of magic and of Willow's relationship with Kennedy. I think Willow's projecting her insecurities when she says Willow was only into her because she wanted to be with “a superhero”; not exactly fair to Kennedy to believe she's that shallow. But then Willow reveals the real reason for the break-up: she has feelings for Aluwyn (Saga Vasuki) and she's mourning this loss as she'll never see her again. (And I'm torn on being critical here, but I feel the need to comment on the art. For all the lovely art throughout this issue (and there's some panels that are so perfect I want to frame them), there's one panel of Buffy that made me cringe. When Buffy says “preemptive break”, she looks like a hobgoblin. I hate to say it, but I think it's my least favorite rendition of her character in all of Season 8. Ouch.)

Willow doesn't seem interested in blaming Buffy for the loss of magic, which is mature, but she does recognize that Buffy made a choice and changed the world in a way they hadn't predicted or planned together. They both changed the world together in “Chosen” when they empowered the Potentials, but when Buffy destroyed the Seed she made a choice without Willow's input and expressly against her wishes. And there will be consequences. “The world is less” and I've come to think of this as a commentary on the direction we're headed in real life. Pollution, threats of nuclear holocost, oil spills, stripping the Earth of its natural resources—humanity devours and does little to offset the cost done to the natural world for which we inhabit. Magic is gone, Mother Earth's soul has been shattered, and the world has lost its ability to heal itself. It's a dark future on the horizon. “Is [this future] worse than being destroyed?” Willow says, “Not yet. But eventually it will be.”

For all that Willow has reason to be angry with Buffy, instead they talk and end up watching the sun set as they hold hands. Their friendship is stronger than betrayal. And isn't that the hope for our future? That we as people can live in harmony and in peace? It starts with one person being kind and forgiving to another.

Buffy's still being plagued by nightmares, only these are memories. They don't disappear when Dawn “poke, poke”s her awake because they're “true”. Dawn and Xander have settled into that domestic dream they'd talked about in Issue 37, an nice apartment while he's working a job and Dawn's back in school. Meanwhile, Buffy's playing the third wheel, crashing on their couch while she gets her life in order; Xander's still her “hero”, too, “but different” from how he's Dawn's hero. Dawn is wonderful in this scene, encouraging Buffy and reminding her that she's “not alone”, which prompts an “I love you too” from Buffy. Dawn's the one offering Buffy support during this tough time. Dawn's got her life in order, a boyfriend and an education in the making. She's helping Buffy get back on her feet which is a lovely inversion of their relationship. Dawn's grown up and she no longer needs to be rescued. Instead, she gets to help rescue Buffy in the way her sister most needs: love and support.

The General's appearance is brief and heartbreaking. His phone conversation with his wife is cut off when Simone appears as the elevator doors open and shoots him in the head. The art calls back to Ethan's death at another General's hand in “The Long Way Home”. The set up for Season 9 is clear. The world is now full of superpowered girls and some of them are royally pissed off. Simone's set herself up as an assassin, taking out the players lined up against her. Buffy's next on her list.

Giles is buried (with roses on his casket which others have noted is a disturbing callback to “Passion”) and his will is read: he's left all his worldly belongings to Faith Lehane. The panel of Buffy crying is heartbreaking (and I teared up while reading this). She takes it as a rejection, but Faith counters that everyone knows Buffy's the “number one son” and that Giles left everything to Faith because she's weak. I think Faith's projecting here with Giles, just like Willow did with Kennedy. It seems to me that Giles had two things to give to the two people he loved and was closest to. To Faith, he left his home, his possessions and all his worldly goods, to show Faith that he did love her and that she was worth much (and it's especially poignant considering Faith's rough upbringing for her to be treated as the heiress to Rupert Giles estate). To Buffy, he left the Vampyr book which he slammed down in front of her upon their first meeting.

While it might have been touching for Buffy to have received some more personal gift to remember Giles by, I can't help but think that Giles bequeathed to her that which he held most dear, that which he'd sacrificed his life and, even his morality, for: the mission to protect “this sorry world.” Though he may have doubted her ability to kill Angel to save the world, both in Season 2 and again in Season 8, it seems clear that he believed in her and wished her to carry on their mission even after his death. They shared a sacred bond. If Faith inherited the estate from Rupert Giles, then Buffy inherited the title and the honor of upholding the ancient tradition. Faith's right in a way when she says Giles thought Buffy “was stronger” than she was, but I think it's more that Giles thought Buffy was strong. Period. His gift shows that he has faith in her and that he entrusts his life's work in her hands. It's a beautiful scene, touching and quite simply perfect. Buffy has her mission and so too does Faith: she's determined to help Angel, to help him find the path.

Spike arrives with a tap on the window and makes a fuss about not being invited inside. Note her words: “Not my house, Blondie-Bear.” See, it's not her house. It's Xander's and Dawn's. Buffy doesn't have the right to invite people inside when she's a guest herself and only sleeping on the couch. In fact, could Buffy even invite Spike inside? Buffy's essentially having an extended sleepover. Willow couldn't invite people inside Buffy's home even though she slept over nights during high school. I think it's simply true that Buffy feels she doesn't have the right to invite Spike inside and what's more, she doesn't think of the apartment as her home so metaphysically speaking, she might not even be able to invite him inside.

Spike meanwhile shows his support and the snark between the two is on fire. If Kennedy provided the point of view that Willow could've beat back the invading demons and saved the world, Spike presents the point of view that Buffy did what was necessary to save the world. She faced impossible odds and she “pulled her people through.” Spike's still got the faith and, in my opinion, he's seeing the practical reality of the situation (and his hilarious bad taste in television never fails to make me laugh—Spike watching “Dancing with the Stars”—of course he'd be watching that and no doubt yelling at the judges).

I think Spike's faith in Buffy was something Buffy couldn't easily accept, which is why she bursts into tears. Pretty much everyone is either blaming Buffy (the Slayers, Kennedy, even Buffy herself) or saying what she did has doomed the world (Willow), so it's hard for Buffy to accept someone's support without bursting into tears (perhaps it feels too much like being forgiven; "please don't forgive me"). She's not out in the cold though. Dawn's keeping a roof over her head and giving her support, Giles has reaffirmed his belief in her mission, and Spike's ultimately affirming her choices and actions (sure, she ****ed up, but he seems to think that ****ing up was in the cards given the impossible circumstances and that what matters is that she pulled through in the end; he loves how she tries).

The next scene has Dawn making faux sex noises to chase Buffy off the couch and out of the apartment, meanwhile Xander's just getting out of the shower and wondering, “Did you say something?” It's an incredibly comical scene and it manages to once again show how Dawn's looking out for Buffy by inspiring her to keep moving forward. The panel of Buffy eyeing her city from the rooftop is a favorite of mine. She's on the prowl, looking to fight that evil, and she gets walloped by a rock to the head. Three Former Slayers (I'm calling them “former” because while they still have the power, they've refuted the name) have arrived to gang up on Buffy and get payback for Buffy's betrayal.

(To paraphrase) For betraying the cause, for cutting off the line of Slayers, destroying the Wiccan community, tainting the Earth, and letting all her friends down—yeah, Buffy realizes she ****ed up. She's not going to fight it or the Former Slayers. There's a brilliant line where one F.S. Makes a lame insult (though not as bad as “scared hair”, sorry, Spike) and Buffy retorts, “Yeah, you really shouldn't let them banter till they're trained.” Less-than-scary banter aside, the Former Slayers attack Buffy, three against one, and Buffy lays them low, immediately calling back to “The Long Way Home” when Buffy was training Satsu, Leah and Rowena (speaking of, where is the Elite Three?). Buffy ends with a warning that if the Former Slayers attack her again, she will fight them. She doesn't relish “tak[ing] out [her] own girls” but she's not going to let them play out their “thug” fantasies and beat her to a pulp. There'll be more consequences for her betrayal: Willow's shown researching Aluwyn which no doubt signals that she's going to try to bring magic back, the fairy from “The Chain” is shown flying free from a sewer grate which gives the sense that she's lost her home down below, Simone's gunning for Buffy on her assassination spree, an unknown man covered in blood is shown looking menacing—it all shows that there's more obstacles to come.

Buffy tried to change the world and the world pushed back. You keep trying, though, and you “hope” that you've pushed that boulder a little bit up the hill. This seems to be the true example of the balance Giles spoke of in “Twilight”. Change comes quickly, so it seems, but then it also comes so slowly. Progress can feel like moving at a snail's pace, one step forward, two steps back. But you keep trying, Buffy keeps trying.

The point's driven home again and again that Buffy's alone in this fight. She's lost her Watcher, there's “no more gang”, Faith's busy helping Angel and other girls, all the former Slayers still have their powers but they've abandoned the title of 'Slayer—it's just Buffy now (with her cub reporter, Spike, hovering in his ship and ready for the assist). Her status has taken a hit: she's no longer the leader of an army (it's been disbursed) and she's working for tips (but it's an honest living) while she's figures out her life. One thing is clear, though, she's got a mission. The issue closes with her rescuing a girl being attacked by a vampire in an alley, rescuing an innocent's life, something she lost track of with the weight of Slayer General and the Big Picture knocking her askew (think back to how she was willing to sacrifice people for the Big Picture in ToYL). She says, “Let's go to work,” which echoes Angel's words in “Not Fade Away”, but this final scene is still all Buffy's. The girl being attacked in the alley—that horror image was the inspiration for the creative birth of Buffy Summers.

The art does Buffy justice on the final page. She's flying through the air, stake in hand, blood on her temple and a determined look on her face. She's out in the night, fighting the good fight. She's Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

[ edited by Emmie on 2011-01-19 22:36 ]
Luc, I enjoyed your reply to my thoughts about Buffy/Giles. It's nice to disagree on neutral territory! I see your point about it being sad that Buffy stays on mission. But I think the point is that Buffy is the mission. It's not a duty. It's who she is. Like Kendra told her way back in season 2. I think that's Giles' insight and his final gift to her. She got focused on results and forgot that she just is the one who hangs out in cemetaries (or rooftops). He's brought her back to the best of herself -- the source of her real strength.

Faith's strength is different. And Giles played into that as well. Faith is the one who can be present to Angel at a time when noone else can deal with him. She knows what it is to be lost. So Giles has given her the wherewithall to help others who are lost.

Sorry -- I'm just having a big Giles' love thing at the moment. It just really makes me feel in my heart how very big his love for Buffy was -- for all their ups and downs, he still wants the best for her. (And maybe that's the difference in how we see it. I see him as giving her slaying back to her as a gift -- you see it as a duty imposed).

I understand why you (and many others) feel alienated from the story. But I'm really excited about season 9. After all the craziness of the army and all the other weirdness, it seems like everyone is getting real -- getting back to who they are.
Having taken a "wait and see" approach, I've held this back until the very end. Season 8 had some moments I liked, moments in which the characters connected with one another and with me, and that felt good. But beyond those moments, in the bigger picture, Season 8 dissolved into an awful, meandering, incoherent mess. Even with rereading, I still find parts of it indecipherable. What are these characters' intentions? What are their motives? What the hell is that lion-bird thingy? I don't know. One of the hallmarks of the excellent storytelling on the TV show was that the big bad and the season story arc, including its primary theme, could be summed up in a sentence. There is no sentence I can come up with to sum up those things in Season 8. Here's the closest I can get: It's the worst aspects of my least favorite season of Angel (Season 4) with a mountain of stuff piled on top. While I can't pinpoint exactly where this train went off the rails or even if it was on the rails to begin with, I do know this: it's possible to be "epic" and comprehensive and still be coherent so that readers can comprehend. I'm an editor for a magazine; I've seen it happen. That Rupert Giles was sacrificed in service to this clustercuss of characters and tangled, dropped plot threads actually made me a bit angry -- real anger, which I immediately felt embarrassed about because, come on, it's only a comic book. But I realize now that my emotional response to the frustration of reading this season is a measure of the years of investment I have in these characters and their world. I'm past that reaction now. From here, the question is: Do I pretend that these comics never happened? I haven't decided. I'm leaning toward giving Season 9 a chance when it comes around. Perhaps I'm naive or a glutton for punishment, but I'd like to think that, even now, there's hope for redemption.
Luc, I enjoyed your reply to my thoughts about Buffy/Giles. It's nice to disagree on neutral territory!


What do you know, it can be done! *g* Although I'm not sure that I disagree with your interpretation as much as find that to be as sad as Faith's, in a different way. I can totally see it being Giles thought process.

I see your point about it being sad that Buffy stays on mission. But I think the point is that Buffy is the mission. It's not a duty. It's who she is. Like Kendra told her way back in season 2. I think that's Giles' insight and his final gift to her. She got focused on results and forgot that she just is the one who hangs out in cemetaries (or rooftops). He's brought her back to the best of herself -- the source of her real strength.


I guess this is what makes me sad though. That the sum of what Buffy is is "the mission". It has been what has defined her but I'd like to see her move beyond that to see what ELSE she can be. She's young, she doesn't have to be just "the mission" (and I'm getting the same sad vibe as when Riley's friends pointed out that he was just the mission's boyfriend). Buffy is MORE than just a mission. Or she should be, imo. It pains me, as someone who loves her so much to see her ONLY have that when others get to choose a different path. I dunno, chalk it up to ennui for the moment I guess. I'm tired.

Faith's strength is different. And Giles played into that as well. Faith is the one who can be present to Angel at a time when noone else can deal with him. She knows what it is to be lost. So Giles has given her the wherewithall to help others who are lost.


I have no quibble with this at all. I love Faith, I love Faith and Angel interactions and I feel that she is the most perfect person (outside of maybe Spike) to be there for Angel. But it's also true that she got to choose this rather than being chosen. I guess I always feel worse for those who don't have the choice as opposed to those who have more than one choice and make it.

Sorry -- I'm just having a big Giles' love thing at the moment. It just really makes me feel in my heart how very big his love for Buffy was -- for all their ups and downs, he still wants the best for her. (And maybe that's the difference in how we see it. I see him as giving her slaying back to her as a gift -- you see it as a duty imposed).


You never have to apologize for Giles love! I *heart* him in huge, epic ways. And I absolutely believe he loves Buffy to pieces and loves Faith as well. My problem with Giles (which has been ongoing since season 6 when he left her to deal with suicidal depression) is that we aren't *seeing* that love - not the way we used to. Not since season 5. So that is no doubt coloring my perception and sadness of what he did in his will. I don't think Buffy feels it either and it's through Buffy's pov that I am feeling this way. Because I get why she feels this way, why it feels like a rejection to her after seasons 6-8.

I understand why you (and many others) feel alienated from the story. But I'm really excited about season 9. After all the craziness of the army and all the other weirdness, it seems like everyone is getting real -- getting back to who they are.


I like the premise of getting back to the characters and the smaller world but not sure I like the method they chose to get there. Season 8 has not inspired excitement in me for season 9. But it's good that it has for some. Maybe the break will help with that.
Ah, I actually realized what upset me the most about issue 40 - it is that same 'getting back to who they are' point. Because you can't, simple as that. You cannot enter the same river twice - and you cannot go back to 'who you are' - that is a girl in an alley slaying a straggler vamp - after being a general of an army. It will feel different and it will feel demeaning if only once you start to think in 'global' categories you cannot go back to thinking in 'local' ones does not matter how hard you try. But since audience 'likes Buffy when she is an underdog' it will sell some comics, true.

On the positive note I actually like the premise of Faith being the one to take care of Angel a lot - that was the bright spot in the entire arc for me. But. I cannot forgive what Joss said about making Mal shoot a puppy for the sake of proving that he hates peoples. It rubs me the wrong way. People do like happy endings because real life is no fairy tale. Not at all. Not to most anyway. Cathartic positive emotions are craved not as a drug but as something that helps to move along. Deliberately causing hurt for the sake of excitement strikes me as antithesis to what Buffy's story used to be - long time ago.
But. I cannot forgive what Joss said about making Mal shoot a puppy for the sake of proving that he hates peoples. It rubs me the wrong way. People do like happy endings because real life is no fairy tale. Not at all. Not to most anyway. Cathartic positive emotions are craved not as a drug but as something that helps to move along. Deliberately causing hurt for the sake of excitement strikes me as antithesis to what Buffy's story used to be - long time ago.


And this, too, is sadly a big part of my problem. I see a story with very little real hope. I get that others see a ton of hope, but I see a bleak, depressing story. Without hope what point is there to the story? If Angel always struggles for redemption that he will never be able to find because he always makes stupid choices, where is the hope? If Buffy and Angel (or any character) love and lose - and lose BIG - every time, where is the hope that that will ever change? Why would Angel or Buffy even expect it to? I can't imagine that the audience will continue to expect things to change. And that's exhausting.

I dunno, I should probably just stop talking about it for a while. lol
If the Giles' gift to Buffy is a message to get back to that simpler mission that it was in early seasons, then I hope it is also an apology to that "big picture" crap he was telling to her later. Giles is/was one of my most favourite characters, but I don't really understand him in seasons 6-8. Buffy tried so hard to please him time and time again, only getting punished for that with more mistrust.

A funny thing with the "Vampyre" book is that it was only shown in the scene when Buffy refused to be the slayer. So maybe this is a hint that Buffy should quit and try to find another calling in her life :)

And I agree with Imblack21, it is getting way too depressing for me in the world Joss is creating. What's the point of trying, if whatever you do, you get blamed and punished for that?

[ edited by Lince on 2011-01-19 23:12 ]

[ edited by Lince on 2011-01-19 23:18 ]
Well, I just got home from work and read the issue and the first thing on my mind is what a refreshing change this was. It feels like one of the very few times that Buffy was totally "Buffy" in this comic. I have to admit to having been worried about if anybody around could even do Buffy anymore but once again we see that it is Joss himself who delivers. I am stoked! I am excited. I am hopeful. I am a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and I am a Joss Whedon as Buffy the vampire slayer fan.

Things that grabbed my interest aside from all the wonderful Buffy moments...
I want to see more, more, more of Angel. I want to see how Faith tries to help him and if it will be similar to how he helped her. I want to see Angel standing up again, back on his feet.

I want to know who Willow dumped Kennedy over...at first glance it appears to be the snake lady and while I have seen speculation that it could be Tara, and while that would be cool, I have a secret hope for OZ.

I want to know why Spike isn't allowed in Buffy's place and why she is out of sorts with him. I really really hope they keep this version of Spike around as THIS is a Spike that I like.

I want to know who is coming after Buffy now. I want to know if there is something in the book from Giles that will provide a way for his return. I want to know the circumstances that will bring Buffy and Angel back together and I also want to see the conversation of their parting, regardless of how painful.

I want to see more of this "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as identified in this issue as THIS is the Buffy that I dearly love.

Where this issue didn't answer the multitude of questions left hanging in the air, concerning portals, Twilight symbols, dream scapes, different timelines, bug ships, etc...it did something that I never expected this late in the game. It brought out Buffy, the one that I have been waiting to see.

ETA...I almost forgot one part. If the ending scene was not the biggest call out to Angel and NFA, I don't know what is. It seems as if Joss may be speaking through not only Buffy but Angel too. Which is just too cool.

[ edited by cheryl on 2011-01-19 23:20 ]
you cannot go back to 'who you are' - that is a girl in an alley slaying a straggler vamp - after being a general of an army. It will feel different and it will feel demeaning if only once you start to think in 'global' categories you cannot go back to thinking in 'local' ones does not matter how hard you try.


Why not? I think the whole point of Buffy's arc in season 8 was to show that she's not cut to be a Big Boss.

Buffy undergoes a trial by power - and fails. She makes terrible mistakes because she lets her heart make decisions for her. Because she's not a general by nature. She's a soldier. She's *manus*, a hand. She can lead into a fight but she can't lead into a war. It doesn't paint her neither negatively nor positively - it's just a fact. Buffy, Faith, Spike - they're not generals. Angel, Giles, Wesley are. In the end, all of them are screwed - but that's Jossverse.

I have the impression that season 8's arc was supposed to be season 7's arc (on a smaller scale), if it hadn't been last TV season. Apparently, Joss is fascinated with power and its temptations. AtS explored these problems in depth in later seasons. BtVS season 7 started with Joss-penned "Lessons" in which TheFirst in Buffy's guise utters "It's about power" after parading through looks of memorable villains from previous seasons. The episode was clearly setting up Buffy's Big Fall... except you can't end the show with your protagonist at its worst so the idea was scrapped as soon as SMG refused to commit to another season.

In season 9 Buffy returns to her roots, both impoverished and enriched by the experience. Now she knows that being a general is not her call.
Y'know, as I read this and realize that this audience- the one most likely to love all things Joss- is not unified in their thoughts on this series. I fall on the negative side. But even Joss realizes it: "Not you guys—us. We've learned what you like, what you don't, how this TV show translated to the world of comics, and how it didn't quite. We've lost a few fans along the way and, hopefully, gained a few."

I agree with Dorotea on the reasons why this does not work for me, and I agree with Imblack22 when (s)he (?) says "I see a story with very little real hope." We know how this is going to end: the loss of magic, the loss of the Slayer for long periods of time, and the only way that does not happen is a huge retcon that dismisses all that happened in Fray. I personally would love that, but it ain't gonna happen. I see no hope for Angel, who if he were smart would simply end his own life since he brings pain wherever he goes, and seems set to always do so. I am not sure that if he did, the snow would begin in California again. I cannot see Buffy entering a relation with him again; she cannot be that stupid. These characters have been damaged beyond recognition now, so how do we return focus to them, when they are not who we understood them to be?
MW,

I was not talking about 'having power' but about being able to process information differently because of having all that new experience and knowledge. Simple as that - you are not the same person at your twenties as you are in your teens. Same goes about understanding the effect things make on the global scale - once you are able to understand the need for sacrifice you can never go back to being an idealist hero. I am talking of robbing banks and sacrificing people in Fray future for the sake of saving the world. If you think she can pretend that never happen - I don't. And being a 'soldier' after being demoted from 'general' because she failed... well... 'very positive' message that brings up. That last 'lets get to work' made me twitch actually. Because Angel said it at the moment of gravest danger - fully expecting to die and leading the team. Buffy says it grimly and alone - and I fully got the vibe of her grabbing her waitress outfit and tray after that. And honestly, I cannot see how Buffy was 'corrupted by power' in the first place - none of her so-called 'betrayals' were done for the sake of personal benefit - which is what I define as corruption. Sorry, missed me here, Mr. W.
cheryl wrote:
I want to know who Willow dumped Kennedy over...at first glance it appears to be the snake lady and while I have seen speculation that it could be Tara, and while that would be cool, I have a secret hope for OZ.

I suppose Oz would work, but he'd have to endure an operation or two. Snip, snip, perhaps some hormone treatments. Wholla, presenting Ozellen.

Seriously though, Willow is a lesbian. As she said to Anya once, "Hello! Gay now!" Realistically, I see her as still in love with Tara.

Yet in Joss's world, Willow has forgotten all about the love of her life, because how can Tara compare to an adolescent fantasy? Joss will go for sexy-snake-lady. It's just the way of Joss. May the Flying Spaghetti Monster bless him.
dorothea


This is simply not true - people do in fact degress all the time, changing their political, societal and ideological outlook well, not exactly like underwear, but still a lot over the course of a single life, sometimes taking a radically opposing stand than they had before - and switching back, again.

"The wishes of a person is his/her heaven".

(Other than this, i do get a lot of the dissatisfaction of parts of the readership.)
Read the issue. Loved it. Easily among my top three favourite Season 8 stories (and all of them are penned by Joss).

I agree with Maggie's interpretation of Giles's will; I think I would have reached the same conclusions as her even if I hadn't read her review a priori. His love for the girls is the emotional crescendo to the play-by-play catastrophe of Last Gleaming; the whole issue is, really.

I love the role reversal between Angel and Faith. I hope she'll be crashing in his title next season; they're a bit lacking in female characters since Cordelia, Fred and Lilah died.

Oh! The Spike/Buffy scene really warmed my heart. I haven't smiled so wide all day. As I believe Joss has said before, you really feel the history between them -- the weight of it, the shape -- whenever they're in a scene together. They'll interact more in Season 9, right? They should.

Also: Dawn is awesome.

I could say a lot more. Almost every single line and almost every single panel here is meta-worthy. But the crux of it is this: Joss has made the best of a very loose, unbridled season. In the space of one issue, the themes are less scattered and the plot holes are less holey and I'm in love with Buffy again.

Finally, gotta give credit to Mr. Jeanty. I'm not among his biggest fans, but his art got me all weebly and emotional in this issue.

ETA: It was pretty obvious to me that Willow's referenced "love" is Aluwyn. Whose picture was she looking at in her last panel of the season? Whose name was she screaming one issue ago? Obvious.

[ edited by Enisy on 2011-01-20 00:09 ]
I resent the idea that just because Willow has fallen in love with someone else, she has "forgotten" Tara. I guarantee that Willow will NEVER forget Tara, but I also accept that it is possible for someone to move on. In fact, it's healthy. I would be worried about Willow if she was unable to move on from Tara's death, and I'm sure Tara would be worried about her too. The fact is, people do move on when loved ones die, and it has nothing to do with how much they loved that person.

To be fair though, I really don't understand why Willow is in love with Saga Vasuki. I don't think we know the character nearly well enough to be able to decide one way or another about it.
once you are able to understand the need for sacrifice you can never go back to being an idealist hero


I think Buffy stopped being an idealist long ago.

I am talking of robbing banks and sacrificing people in Fray future for the sake of saving the world. If you think she can pretend that never happen - I don't.


I don't think it's about her pretending that it never happened. I think it's about her realising that she shouldn't make such kind of decisions. That it's against her nature.

It demands a certain type of personality to plan a war and its casualties. Angel can do it. Giles could do it. And it doesn't paint them neither in positive nor in negative light. A society needs such kind of people - people who protect it.

But Buffy isn't that kind of personality. She cares too much. She'd be happier working as a waitress than being an all-powerful superhero who has to sacrifice people to save the world.

And being a 'soldier' after being demoted from 'general' because she failed... well... 'very positive' message that brings up.


I don't see it as "demoted". Rather as "finding herself".

That last 'lets get to work' made me twitch actually. Because Angel said it at the moment of gravest danger - fully expecting to die and leading the team. Buffy says it grimly and alone - and I fully got the vibe of her grabbing her waitress outfit and tray after that.


I loved the callback to NFA. For Angel, "work" is a big-scale battle, slaying a dragon and all that jazz.

For Buffy it's her everyday patrolling. Woman's work is never done. :)
This entry probably get bumped off the front page soon so I've linked to it from the sidebar on the right hand side.
So I read the issue. I loved it.

Dawn making sex noises to get Buffy out of the house is wonderful. So, so funny. And also a big sign of her emerging confidence, including in her sexuality. She wants Buffy to get out of the house in part because she wants her and Xander to have a place to themselves. But I think, too, she wants Buffy to find her way again. Buffy living with (off?) her sister is not going to be as confident, as together as a Buffy who makes her way entirely herself. (All that said, I don’t want Dawnie to be too harsh on Buffy. She’s having fun, but the opening shout-out to Doublemeat Palace is a reminder of the difficulty Buffy went through in providing living for Dawn. It’s not unfair that Dawn should do something to help Buffy back.) Xander doesn’t have any big moments, but the stability of the Xander/Dawn + Buffy structure speaks well for him. And he’s back to work!

Giles’ will, leaving everything to Faith and nothing to B but the Vampyr book from Welcome to the Hellmouth, like Dawn’s gentle nudges to get her own place, hopes to push Buffy back onto her own feet by withholding a bed for her to lie on. (Sorry about the tortured metaphor.) It’s sad that Buffy and Giles didn’t get a real chance to reconnect fully before his death, though they at least had a moment together in the Hellmouth to reconcile a bit. Buffy will probably never understand what Giles went through; Faith doesn’t entirely, either, and she was with him the whole time. Naturally Buffy and Faith, as is their wont, both envy what the other have. But there’s a neat reversal in Faith being the one to have the big place to live and Buffy the dingy little apartment. It’s been suggested on Whedonesque that the will was almost certainly written while Buffy had her big castle; I think this is true. But I’m not sure if Giles would have changed the will, regardless. As Angel told Buffy in A Beautiful Sunset, Giles’ first gift to Buffy was his last.

That Faith is helping Angel now, in a neat reversal of Sanctuary, is something that a lot of people have theorized. That’s probably because it just makes a great story. Angel sitting alone, staring forward, desperately unhappy: this is Angel. It’s heartbreaking. What’s astonishing, too, is that Faith is probably the person besides Buffy who is the most deeply affected by Giles’ death. So yeah, talk about forgiveness: Faith knows something about it.

Willow’s breaking up with Kennedy took me aback. My heart breaks for Kennedy, though in most ways I think she’ll be better off without Will. I had heard that the two were over, but I expected that Kennedy would find out about SV. No dice. That Willow thinks she loves Aluwyn (or at least obsesses over her—the word love isn’t used) is heavily implied by Willow’s line about the woman she’ll never meet again, though the line also could refer to Tara. Really I think it’s to both, and that ambiguity is, I think, deliberate: Tara and Aluwyn fulfill some of the same need for Willow, a magical guide and a quasi-mother/caretaker figure. She chose Aluwyn instead of Tara in the one-shot, and symbolically replaced Tara at that moment. Her reasons for rejecting Tara as a guide were good—her reasons were about what was best for Tara, and not for herself. But the need for Tara is still there, and I think some of Willow’s conflation of sex and love and magic and simple need to be admired/wanted got displaced onto Aluwyn. I’m not sure if I can quite justify why I think this works, in spite of the dearth of Willow/Aluwyn scenes in the season. But there’s so much…awe, in the way Willow regards SV, as if she is wonder, dark and light, creativity (she is the trickster, after all) at once. Aluwyn is magic. And she’s gone off from Willow forever. Willow is speaking of herself when she says that losing magic is the Earth losing its heart.

Buffy was powerful by birthright; she was heroic in how she used her power. Exposure to Buffy made Willow want to be powerful, for the shot at being a hero as well. Her method was magic. In a sense, Willow was the first girl that Buffy empowered (albeit indirectly), the everywoman who took Buffy’s example to heart. She was nearly destroyed by the power in season six, because power, if misapplied, is dangerous and deadly. Willow’s close association with the possibility of empowerment is part of why she’s the one to perform the slayer spell in Chosen: in a sense she gave the slayers the same chance to be powerful in a way associated with Buffy that she got. So her losing her powers at the same time that the slayer line was cut down, soon to finish, resonates. More broadly, the setting in San Francisco, a place where traditionally oppressed subcultures have the opportunity to be free and powerful, hints at what losing magic loses. Like the panels in Retreat where Satsu, Willow and Kennedy (lesbians, a minority culture) hated the loss of power most, the issue reminds us that the loss of magic means the loss of a chance at pursuing power independently. The loss of magic means Willow can’t destroy the world again, and nor can Twilight and nor can dozens of other things. But there is real loss. And the loss of magic means that guns become the real power in the world once again, and so do believers in the gun over magic, Simone and the General, live and die by the gun respectively. We see the fairy from The Chain sad—is her race going to die out? It’s a new world.

And Buffy knows about that loss. Oh Buffy, Buffy. She acknowledges specifically that fucking Twilight/Angel was the big mistake she made, which she hasn’t done quite so explicitly before. She sometimes chafes at being criticized deeply. But she expects there will be consequences. She tries to help Willow and cheer her up, even going as far as to try to get her back together with Kennedy. But no luck. Her having an everyday job is both (thanks to Pointy from Whedonesque for pointing this out) a reference to Rhonda the Immortal Waitress, Joss’ original original conception of the vampire slayer character, and to Anne, Buffy’s retreat following Becoming. Her retreat takes other forms; she continues to shut Spike out, a little bit rudely, for what has to be a dozen reasons that need unpacking—guilt about not contacting him, repression about her feelings for him, bad associations from her reconnection with Angel. I love how she says “Why did we ever break up?” as if they didn’t break up because he, oh, died. So as in Anne, she’s on the run a little bit. But only a little bit: she’s already out patrolling when she utters her Anne refrain that she’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and knocks the three not-slayers out with the same ease (and moves!) with which she took out the girls she trained in The Long Way Home. As Willow says, she never stops being Buffy, and while Willow says it with a hint of sadness the line itself has some element of triumph, as well.

Chosen was a necessary (to protect against the First) radical change of the world. Not Fade Away was a darker attempt at one. Magic and demons almost beg for a revolution, the possibility of having the power to remake the world over. Insofar as season eight was a continuation of both series’ stories (obviously more centrally BtVS’ than AtS’), it maybe had to respond to the dark side of affecting radical changes, of changing huge swaths of people’s lives, even for good reason. Buffy’s attempt to change the world failed to be the good thing she had hoped, and Angel’s failed even more so; their attempts to change the world somehow, for reasons that make sense to me thematically of not literally, led to them nearly destroying the world entire in favour of a new one. Now Buffy is a little Back to the Beginning, changing the world incrementally, one vamp at a time, and keeping her soul in the process. I brought up Not Fade Away, because of course Buffy appropriates that episode’s final line as her last. But Buffy, here, right now, removes some of the delusions of grandeur that Angel and his clan had right before they sent Los Angeles to hell. All that is left is the light, the impulse to continue the fight even if there’s no guarantee that it’ll end, and with, in Buffy’s case, the knowledge that the future won’t be what you hoped.

Let’s go to work.

For Buffy it's her everyday patrolling. Woman's work is never done.


Jeez, maybe I have a men-like mentality, you know. But this offended me to my deepest feminist roots - which I don't actually have. I graduated from Moscow phys-tech - and you are the only person here who would probably get what this means, so I mention this so you get 'me'. Women can be as good strategists as men - and once you get to 'understand how to' you never forget. And I actually think Buffy was not as bad as a leader as some men I know.
dorotea, I don't think Moscow Watcher was insinuating that women are horrible strategists or even that Buffy was a bad leader. Just that Buffy herself was at her best when it was just her vs. the monsters, without the messy armies and things.
I graduated from Moscow phys-tech


That's great - maybe I could use some references to Russian culture in my arguments if we'll go on arguing.

Women can be as good strategists as men


Agree wholeheartedly.

and once you get to 'understand how to' you never forget.


Sure - but you can also understand that you don't like to be a strategist if you have to decide who lives and who dies.

I haven't read the issue yet, by, judging by reviews, Buffy doesn't grieve for being demoted. She is okay with not having enormous responsibility for hundreds of girls. She relishes her dexterity when she catches a tray with her foot. She enjoys the physicality of her current work.

And I actually think Buffy was not as bad as a leader as some men I know.


Agree. Still, it feels to me that she's a reluctant leader. Angel is a natural-born leader. He likes being a leader. Buffy feel leadership as a burden. And I understand her very well. Maybe because I'm not a leader myself, I hate being responsible for other people. :)
This Aluwyn thing- what is the status of gods in this new magicless universe? Did Willow lose access to SV? Are gods, like, banished, or is there some way for Willow to make contact? I know it seems she cannot, but somewhere down the road that magic is coming back...

Why, btw, would Willow "love" SV? I am not sure I understand this.
Angel (and Giles and Wesley who, curiously, are all men) may be a natural leader in the sense of wanting to be one and believing he can be but if S8 did anything it showed why he shouldn't allowed to indulge his delusions. Dawn calls Buffy a born leader. She's a reluctant one but maybe those are the best kind (Faith did pretty well for the short time she could bear it). Things didn't turn out so well this season but as Spike pointed out it could have been a lot worse and how much of the badness was a function of the forces she was up against? It was Buffy vs the universe and the universe didn't win, she held it to at least a draw.
I'm going to go back and read everyone's comments... but I just want to say that I loved this issue! Seriously, I laughed my @ss off. I'm now up for rereading the whole thing (without the endless waiting a month or more between issues) because I think it was all much funnier than I had given it credit for being on first reading.

Okay, I mourn Giles, but I kinda love him leaving all the $ to Faith, and the book of Vampyr's to Buffy! lol
Her retreat takes other forms; she continues to shut Spike out, a little bit rudely, for what has to be a dozen reasons that need unpacking—guilt about not contacting him, repression about her feelings for him, bad associations from her reconnection with Angel. I love how she says “Why did we ever break up?” as if they didn’t break up because he, oh, died.


Don't want to get into a shipping thing, but I don't think she shut Spike out. She was friendly with him as he was to her. And I'm not sure why she would have guilt about not contacting him (nor is there any indication of that) - after all, he didn't contact her either and the onus was really on him. Nor do I think she is repressing feelings - they've had that closure (Chosen) and are in a comfortable place with each other now. Where that leads in season 9 remains to be seen, but that line "why did we ever break up" was about season 6 - when she DID break up with him. They weren't together romantically (and I'm not arguing whether or not their interactions were romantic, just that they were not a couple, which was acknowledged by both of them) in season 7, so there was no break-up due to death.

[ edited by lmblack21 on 2011-01-20 02:20 ]
@Embers - You're brave, I did the same thing - it took me the best part of two hours. There are some long-ass comments in here ;)
Buffy #40

First off: FANTASTIC. Getting back to the character stuff and all the information that Joss managed to get into one comic is great.

One major disappointment: We didn’t get an idea of when the influence started and how strong it was. Spike does say that: “[You were] attacked—controlled—by forces no one comprehends.” But is that really the answer? Buffy was “controlled” since the influence started and therefore isn’t really responsible for her actions?



Buffy for some reason is a coffee waitress at some independent bookstore/coffee shop. Instead of at least being a waitress in a nice restaurant. She became one 2 months after 8.39.

____________

BUFFY AND WILLOW SCENES

Willow broke up with Kennedy and tells Buffy it’s because Kennedy was only with her because Willow had power. Willow seems to have been trying to guilt Buffy about ending magic and Buffy counters that it’s what needed to be done to save the world. Willow dismisses/brushes off that reasoning.

Buffy catches herself, but she says to Willow “And don’t take my mista—my actions out on Kennedy! Or Yourself.” Is Buffy talking about having sex with Angel, breaking the Seed, or both?


Is Willow talking about Tara or Snake Lady when she says: “The fact is… There’s someone else. I didn’t realize it—or I kidded myself—for a long time.” “It’s someone I’ll never see again.” It seems more likely its Snake Lady since Willow is later shown looking at a picture of her in a book.


Willow is still moping about not having magic and also doesn’t seem to want to help Buffy out. Willow also implies that even though there are probably still hundreds of Slayers in the world, they are no longer part of Buffy’s organization. No mention on how they are getting along financially. Maybe Buffy liquidated all the assets and gave them severance packages.

______________

BUFFY AND DAWN SCENES

Buffy is living in Xander’s and Dawn’s apartment. She sleeps on the couch.

Buffy is having nightmares of Giles’ death and maybe about Angel and Spike having sex. Interesting that Buffy seems to have told Dawn about her having the latter.

Dawn is going to school: Who’s paying for it? Xander? Buffy? Both?

Dawn has left the fight and Xander has as well.

Harmony’s show was cancelled, but she’s doing "Dancing With the Stars". Meaning, of course, that she wasn’t killed off.


Dawn’s pretty condescending and superior towards Buffy. She threatens to kick Buffy out. We also learn that even though Xander could build them, he didn’t make soundproof walls and therefore Buffy is treated to the sounds of her best friend and sister having sex. Dawn actually was pretending to be having sex with Xander. Maybe they didn’t have sex when Buffy was there. And nice touch that Dawn was implying that Xander was about to do an)l sex with her and Dawn was up for it.

______________

GENERAL VOLL

Interesting that the US Government is maybe not happy that Buffy no longer has her Slayer organization and that most Slayers are no longer being ‘Slayers’. (Maybe Riley Finn convinces them that Buffy’s organization would have continued to be a positive force in the world.)

Simone kills General Voll.

_____________

BUFFY AND FAITH SCENES

Giles have his entire inheritance save the "Vampr" book that we saw in “Welcome to the Hellmouth” (1.01) to Faith Lehane. Now, Buffy is currently living in Xander and Dawn’s apartment, doesn’t seem to have a college degree yet, and unless she’s getting money from Hank still is pretty much broke. Having said that Giles knows that Faith has no financial support and that Buffy may at least get an inheritance when Hank dies.

Giles essentially through his will tells Faith that she’s the heir and to live a life of comfort and tells Buffy that Buffy’s the Slayer and to go slay until you die a premature death.

Faith tells Buffy that Buffy’s the one Slayer and always has been.


Angel is staying with Faith. He still has the blood on his face. So, I guess we can assume that Angel wasn’t killed because Faith quickly got to him and threatened everyone to back off.

____________

BUFFY AND SPIKE SCENES

Buffy calls Spike “Blondie Bear”. Spike’s told her before not to call him that.

Spike watches "Dancing With the Stars"? Seriously?

Pretty much the beginning part of the scene reminds of Buffy and Angel in Season 1 and parts of 2. Spike is telling Buffy about possible dangers to her. He’s right outside her window.

Apparently Spike’s the only one who’s been helping Buffy.

Buffy to Spike: “Why did we ever break up?” What does this mean? Did they get together after 8.39? The last time they ‘broke up’ was in “As You Were” (6.15).

Spike still lives on his flying spaceship. Apparently either the US Military doesn’t know about it, doesn’t care, or is cool about it.

It’s interesting that Buffy’s method of going back instead shows off her butt to Spike. Also nice is that Joss calls back to Buffy being a bit of a klutz. Or maybe that was Spike’s influence.


Buffy’s lonely again and she pretty much shoos Spike away.

_________

Buffy’s was getting ‘punked’ by Slayers in San Fran. And it’s shown that Buffy can easily take out three Slayers attacking her.

Buffy identifies herself as being “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.

Buffy then threatens the Slayers there saying: “You come after me again—You so much as look at me funny… then I will fight you.

This calls back to Spike to Buffy threatening Wood’s life or anyone else’s that he thinks may be a danger to him.

Buffy says “And as bad as it feels to take out my own girls… I know there’s more coming—and not just ‘cause Spike’s playing cub reporter. I know because that’s how betrayal works.” Is Buffy saying that she’s actually killing other Slayers who are a threat to her?

_____________

Willow it seems to want to be able to get back with Snake Lady. Maybe she’ll try to restore magic on Earth thus leading to the "Fray" future and her being Future-DarkWillow.

The underground fairies don’t seem to be happy.

Simone has a hit list and Buffy’s next. The first pic I don’t recognize. The second is probably Voll.

_____

It seems that Buffy is pretty much the ONLY one in the world killing vampires.

Ending line: “Let’s go to work.” Angel’s in “Not Fade Away” (A 5.22) “Let’s get to work.”
So am I really the only one bothered by Giles' killer living in his house? Do you all think Giles would be okay with this?
Just wondering.
Buffy to Spike: “Why did we ever break up?” What does this mean? Did they get together after 8.39? The last time they ‘broke up’ was in “As You Were” (6.15).


"As You Were" is what she was referring to, I'm pretty sure.
Alright; this has been bugging me for quite a while now. In the first arc, General Voll was depicted as an old man with no mustache and gray hair. In this arc, though, he has been depicted as being much younger, having brown hair and a thick black mustache. He also has a completely different face. What gives? Did I miss something? Does this really bug anyone else?
Jeanty messed up. Here's the quote (from a SlayAlive Q&A):

AndrewCrossett: Do you know why General Voll (from Long Way Home) disappeared, and this new nameless General took his place? He seems to sound quite a bit like Voll when he talks.
Georges Jeanty: Yeah. That was my bad. I had no idea that those two guys were one and the same. Major blunder on my part! Sorry. He just disappeared forever and when he resurfaced I thought he was someone else.

As Emmie pointed out to me, this really messes up the continuity, since General Voll ends up dying the same way he killed Ethan. Would be nice if they fixed it. (Of course, it would have been nicer if it hadn't slipped by the artist as well as the editor in the first place.)

[ edited by Enisy on 2011-01-20 02:57 ]
So am I really the only one bothered by Giles' killer living in his house? Do you all think Giles would be okay with this?
Just wondering.


In my opinion, Faith is honouring Giles by housing Angel there. They made a pact to quit the bloodshed and help rehabilitate people who have made mistakes. By sheltering Angel in Giles's old house Faith is staying true to her word and honouring the mission they made together. I think it’s what Giles would have wanted, honestly.
Vergil said:

...I think there's even more chance of Faith/Angel happening then B/A.


To quote Mona: "Now that's hot."

;)
great issue! leaves me looking forward to S9!!!
still a few things throughout the series that remain questions, like dark willow being alive and wanting buffy to kill her because its "who kills you that matters" will that have relevance to S9 or did it have to do with giles? im still not sure..
opinions??
In my opinion, Faith is honouring Giles by housing Angel there. They made a pact to quit the bloodshed and help rehabilitate people who have made mistakes. By sheltering Angel in Giles's old house Faith is staying true to her word and honouring the mission they made together. I think it’s what Giles would have wanted, honestly.


I agree, on all counts.
"Is Willow talking about Tara or Snake Lady when she says: “The fact is… There’s someone else. I didn’t realize it—or I kidded myself—for a long time.” “It’s someone I’ll never see again.” It seems more likely its Snake Lady since Willow is later shown looking at a picture of her in a book."

I am still not getting it. Why is Willow so "in love" with Saga Vasuki? For what reason? What would Willow have kidded herself about? That she loved Kennedy? None of this makes much sense to me but it seems lost in the larger story.
I think Faith simply wants to help Angel out because he helped her out before. I don't think Giles is much of a factor, if at all.
Indeed and we've never seen a young Ripper before.

+1 for logic, -infinity for me liking the idea.

I don't think Buffy has proven she is not leadership material, or that she's been demoted. She has simply won (for some values of win) a war on devastating terms and yes, she is receiving harsh judgment from the world at large right now. It's amazing that she appears to be doing so well after the fact. She's screwed up in some ways and that's something she'll have to live with, but Spike is right-- she was uniquely able to save them all.

I took Willow's remark to mean Tara. On re-read, I see how it could mean Saga Vasuki. But that just doesn't feel right in the context of the scene where Willow says it.

Also, I have read the comic! Is this just a quaint old custom of mine, reading something before arguing about it on the internet?
Oh god, I really loved it!
This is what I hope Season 9 will be (well, without faeries and spaceships :P)

[ edited by Angel TheVampire on 2011-01-20 03:58 ]
Was Giles' house that he gave to Faith the house Fray eventually lives in in her comic?
@archon: Only if that flat was in NYC.
Poor Spike - fight to get your soul back, burn to save the world, come back again in the face of space-frakking to deliver the relevant info/help to save the world again, and get dismissed and shut out (no invite for you, Blondie Bear). Even though he manages to rise above it all, best to find some other 'verse to inhabit, methinks. Otherwise, happy for Faith to have reached the pinnacle of female empowerment by becoming an heiress. Maybe she can buy Angel some redemption since I suspect the PTB won't help to grease the wheels this time.
The comics have never felt like the Buffyverse for me, but this issue came closest. Now then, reactions to stuff:

Willow/Kennedy is over! I cheered. I have always loathed Kennedy deeply (and the relationship more so). However, Willow dumping her still wasn't much of a "good for her" moment for me, because I just don't care about S8 Willow. I mean, the stuff she was doing with Aluwyn made *me* feel bad for *Kennedy*. I wasn't the least bit sorry for Willow when she lost her powers, and I'm still not. (Also, I agree with the camp saying she was talking about Aluwyn with that "someone I'll never see again" stuff. Not that I like it. In fact, ew.)

Dawn and Xander have a Cookie Monster cookie jar. Dawn and Xander have a *Cookie Monster* cookie jar. Hee! (Also, Buffy and Dawn curled up on the couch in their pajamas makes me happy. And Buffy's have Eeyore on them!)

I *hurt* for Angel. But I was cheering again when things started pointed pretty seriously towards Faith helping him in S9. (I'm with Kairos. I want to see the two of them horseback riding at some point.)

Spike watches Dancing with the Stars. *snerk*

Giles has a middle name! Does that mean Liam can have a last name? Ever? No? *sigh of resignation*

I was stunned that Giles left everything to Faith. But whoever said upthread that he probably wrote that will back when Faith was homeless and Buffy had a castle has a point. I *love* that what he did leave Buffy was the Vampyr book.

It's Joss, so of course the general dude wouldn't get shot until just after he hung up from a nice conversation with his wife. The wife we didn't even know he had until now.

"Let's get to work." I don't have words for how much I love that Buffy's last line of the season was the same as Angel's last line of his series.

I really really love the way Buffy looks in all of the panels during the patrolling scene at the end. I've never been much of a fan of Jeanty's art, but *that* is *Buffy*. The last panel might well be my favorite of the entire season.

Simon, I'm all for your theory that sinister sunglasses guy is Ripper. I mean, if he is, the way it's framed by the narration is just awesome. "I just know it all comes back. And then some."
I liked this comic. I feel that it deserves more than that, but others are saying plenty. I do feel compelled to chime in, however, to say that I really really think Willow is talking about Aluwyn. I was shocked that anyone would interpret it differently- I think it's deliberately phrased to include a nod to her feelings for Tara, but I didn't feel any doubt about who was meant.

I'm glad Faith will be working with Angel- it makes sense. And I agree that this is really lousy for Buffy- I too feel that she is being forced into this role that, while she may be moving forward, is really a step back for her. Just season 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 all over again, everything falls to her whether she likes it or not, while others get choices, only now she barely even has help. I think it's really sad.

I always really like what you have to say Emmie- this month is no exception. Many others also have excellent analyses though.

ETA- Is this the first actual canonical reference to Faith's last name being Lehane or is it just me? And as long as I'm being nerdy- did anyone else notice that Dawn still has Hoopy the bear? Buffy has it on the couch with her while Dawn's making sex noises.

[ edited by aphasia on 2011-01-20 05:14 ]
Anyone noticed Hoopy the bear? He made two appearances, first in the panel with Buffy and Dawn on the couch, and the second time when Buffy "overhears" Dawn faking the nasty with Xander.
ha! Great minds...
@aphasia: True dat.
oh, and- does anyone else find it alarming that SA says they are considering a crossover with some other comic universe? I really don't know about that. Maybe he was kidding? But really, Buffy meets Batman as canon in a verse where they discuss that stuff as fictional? The mind boggles, in a bad way. Even when I don't like what they're doing, I'm not one of those I'm Never Reading The Comics Again folks- I will. Why not? But that might actually be something I couldn't bear to see...
That panel of Dawn and Buffy on the couch is probably my favourite from all of S8. Georges nailed it.
I really really like the one where Buffy is holding the book, saying, "then I really did fail"
great issue! great, great issue. so that glasses guy and Simone are going to be involved in season nine. interesting! Xander had like 2 lines but what are you going to do.
ah, it's over, i can finally breath and relax. can't wait for season nine
@aphasia agreed. i really don't want crossovers with comics outside the buffyverse.

[ edited by Nathan on 2011-01-20 05:51 ]
So Buffy's last line make anyone think she's on the Angel approved track to redmeption? Blocking out loved ones(Spike and Angel), having her own version of Cordy and Doyle(Xander and Dawn) and a paying job and can we slot Willow in as Faith, you know the one who may or may not swerve to the side of evil? Saving the world one life at a time.
But the thing is she feels like she apparently needs forgiveness, like Spike offering it to her and she just won't have it(like begging Tara not to be okay with her banging Spike back in the day). So is season 9 gonna be about Buffy getting her soul back?
Ah, I actually realized what upset me the most about issue 40 - it is that same 'getting back to who they are' point. Because you can't, simple as that. You cannot enter the same river twice - and you cannot go back to 'who you are' - that is a girl in an alley slaying a straggler vamp - after being a general of an army. It will feel different and it will feel demeaning if only once you start to think in 'global' categories you cannot go back to thinking in 'local' ones does not matter how hard you try. But since audience 'likes Buffy when she is an underdog' it will sell some comics, true.


dorotea, I heartily disagree, both in this comic and in real life. Well, OK, I agree that after grand or life-changing events a person will have changed, to some extent. But the person does not really change. A person who has gone through something vast and terrifying can reclaim themselves.

I site myself as an example. If you've not been an addict or an alcoholic, then this may not make sense. But the events in Buffy S8 seem entirely comparable to what I and others have gone through in our struggles. And with support, one can emerge the same energetic, successful, optimistic person.

No, Buffy is not an alkie (or however you spell that). But she has endured trauma. And so has Willow (addict metaphors galore). We have seen them recover time and time again. Are they changed each time? Of COURSE they are. That is how they grow.

Buffy's been different each season. That does not mean she is no longer Buffy. Willow was a shy, apparently straight geek, and by Season 4, was a pretty bad-ass wicca lesbian. But she was still Willow. Big events and traumas shape us but do not really change who we are.
Thanks, aphasia. :)
I just read my issue and I loved it! I thought it was funny especially when willow and Buffy are talking and Willow is telling her there is someone else as she puts her hand on Buffy's face and Buffy is like uuuhh and Willow is like it's not you dumb ass made me laugh.
Also with Dawn and Buffy and how Dawn refers to herself of the scrappy doo of the group was funny. I think Joss was on his A game with his writing and characters especially Dawn who to me latlely hasn't really sounded like herself.
I especially like the Faith and Buffy scene it shows you how far Fairh has come and I can't wait to see where she goes in season 9.
Lastly the scene where the slayers try to take on Buffy I could totally hear SMG saying " I'm buffy the vampire slayer" was a nice call back to season 3. Best issue by far hope this level of writing carries over to season 9.
My #40 Review:


Buffy/Kennedy: Kennedy's anger is understandable, she holds Buffy the blame for breaking her and Willow up. If Willow was still powerful, Kennedy wouldn't have been dumped. Buffy's support to Kennedy is touching. She proves once again what a great person she is. Kennedy has always been hostile to her, especially in this scene where she blames her for all the crap they'd gone through, and Buffy brushes on her shoulder and tries to make her feel better.

Buffy/Willow: Willow broke up with Kennedy because "she didn't really love her". That's the real reason and something I've known since S7. I have no doubt that Kennedy's feelings for Willow are more than just lusting after her powers, Kennedy's tears when she reveals that Willow was the one who dumped her proves this, Kennedy staying with Willow even though she knew that Willow still thinks of Tara proves this, Kennedy doing whatever Willow asks her without a question not only proves that she loves her, but proves that she blindly trusts her. Like Tara used to.

Willow believes that Kennedy is only attracted to her because of her magic. And that's not true. It's what Willow thinks. It's not a fact. Besides, Willow dumped her for Snake Lady, which proves again that she was never in love with her. I'm surprised at Buffy is making a big deal out of rooting for Kennedy, she's always approved of her, like in #10.

As for Willow blaming Buffy, obviously she does. She's trying hard not to show it, but she can't. I love the way Jeanty drew Willow's expression in every panel, her expression describes how she really feels more than her words do. I'm gonna really miss Jeanty, he draws expressions the best out of all the artists I've seen.

Buffy/Dawn: Dawn confesses that she's never been a real member in the Scooby gang, or at least a wanted member, which is in a way true and not true. In S7, Dawn took Willow's old role as a researcher and computer nerd, she was a watcher junior and she translated foreign books. Then she left for college and came back as a giant, and she was able to save her friends through her transformations. She went back to being Research Girl after she came to her normal size. But Dawn can have a future, she's a normal girl, and so she put herself before the fight. Especially since there isn't any fight anymore, just vampires Buffy can dust easily on her own.

Dawn taking Buffy in and giving her pep talks is a reverse to their old dynamic: Buffy being the one taking care of Dawn and putting a roof over her head.

Dawn pretending to have sex is the boost Buffy needed to get up and be the Slayer. Dawn knows what Buffy wants more than anyone else and she helps her get it with tough (disturbing) love. Actually, Dawn has done this before in S7 –even though I don't think anyone would agree with me- when she asked Buffy to leave the house, that was done out of tough love to make Buffy see things clearly. Dawn's tears that time showed how hard it was on her, but she knew at the moment that Buffy needed it.

Buffy/Xander: I'm not gonna pretend to be all cool about Xander not getting a scene with Buffy like every other character did in the final issue of S8. Especially since he was her closest friend all season. I wanna quote Sarah Michael Geller but I can't find the quote, about Xander not getting his well-deserved screen time in Chosen. BUT this isn't the very last chapter of the story, like Chosen used to be, and there will be another season. So, Xander will hopefully get a storyline next season.

Also, Buffy and Dawn consider him their hero. So, aww.

About Xander working again in construction, I thought what with having a one eye he can only do desk work. But I'm not familiar with the rules of employment in construction, so if anyone has information on this, fill me in.

Buffy/Faith: Buffy is crushed that Giles left everything to Faith - Jeanty did a perfect job with Buffy's expression at the news - and everybody else seems to be upset about this. Xander was casting Faith hate looks, I don't know if it's because Giles left him nothing or he was doing it on Buffy's behalf. Faith herself is so surprised.

However, Giles seemed to have left Buffy, Xander, Willow and Dawn something. Because in his will, he said that he's leaving everything "save those listed above" to Faith.

Giles does love Buffy, but she's not his daughter anymore. She's a fellow fighter, someone above him, she's a protector, "The Slayer". Faith now is the girl Buffy used to be, she needs Giles like Buffy used to, and she needs his money, flat, farm and horses more than anybody else, moreover she needs love more than any of them. And Giles gave her that.

Faith taking Angel in shows a lot of forgiveness, because no one wants anything to do with him and Buffy can't look at him. Faith is the ideal choice to help Angel. She's returning the favor.


Buffy/Spike: Buffy can't invite Spike because she doesn't have the authority to do so. It's not her apartment. Only Xander and Dawn can invite him, and they are not there. They probably don't know he visits Buffy occasionally. Spike seems to have taken Angel's old role in S1 and S2. He's the one bringing bad info and warning Buffy about something he doesn't know. Buffy has issues with Spike that aren't solved yet, which will make for an interesting Spuffy story for next season.

I don’t like Spike's "no one watches your back but me" argument, because obviously Xander and Dawn still do. They're giving her a place to stay and they're not blaming her for ruining the world like everyone else does. Actually, they seem to love this new world, they fit in it so perfectly. Faith also doesn't seem to blame Buffy and is very supportive and understanding of Buffy's pain over Giles.

Perhaps what Spike meant is that he's the only one helping her in slayer-like activities and preventing apocalypses, which is true at this point because Xander and Dawn chose to have a normal life and Faith chose to help Angel get back on his feet.
I loved, loved, loved this issue. I'm going to try to do a re-read of the series month. I can't wait for season 9.
Question: was Faith's last name actually mentioned in this issue?
5x5,

I agree that after grand or life-changing events a person will have changed, to some extent. But the person does not really change. A person who has gone through something vast and terrifying can reclaim themselves.

See, we are actually close here in our respective positions - without realizing it. My major point actually was that Buffy was not broken in the first place - at least not to the point where she needs to reclaim herself. I saw the changes that happened to her in a different light entirely.

I site myself as an example. If you've not been an addict or an alcoholic, then this may not make sense. But the events in Buffy S8 seem entirely comparable to what I and others have gone through in our struggles. And with support, one can emerge the same energetic, successful, optimistic person.

I really wish to express my support and understanding - I never been through experience like that though, so it is hard to merge the respective PoV's.


No, Buffy is not an alkie (or however you spell that). But she has endured trauma. And so has Willow (addict metaphors galore). We have seen them recover time and time again. Are they changed each time? Of COURSE they are. That is how they grow.

But see, this is exactly were we differ as I don't see what happened to Buffy in S8 as anything close to what for example happened to her in S6. That was the trauma and it she had to go through the recovery and rebuild herself. My major argument with other readers here on S8 was that she did not really need to consider her experience as a leader in S8 as a major failure that has to be stepped over and 'overcome' or forgotten. My argument actually was that acquiring 'global thinking' is a process of personal growth and maturity rather than degradation - and that's what I was arguing against/ or for here all along. You mind changes - it matures as you read more, acquire more knowledge and experience. That is what I meant by saying 'you cannot enter the same river twice'. The water flows, you know. So does human mind.

And I don't think that you can/should go back to your younger less mature self and consider it 'going back to who you are'. That was my actual argument here. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
Dorkenheimer wrote:
In the bigger picture, Season 8 dissolved into an awful, meandering, incoherent mess. Even with rereading, I still find parts of it indecipherable...(...) But I realize now that my emotional response to the frustration of reading this season is a measure of the years of investment I have in these characters.

Imblack wrote:
Sadly, for me, it's one more indication of why the continuation is just not for me. I was happy with the idea of deciding for myself what Buffy did next and I have been left unsatisfied with what Joss feels is/was next.
Dorotea wrote:
Unfortunately all I can see at the moment is retcons and character mutilation/destruction done solely to shock and to advance the plot towards the desired goal set in advance - and then even that goal being changed to satisfy something else.

I can add:
What can I say? S8 has just ended. Rest in peace. Forever.
Seriously, I'm glad this mess is over. Unfortunately all its damages are written in stone and what has been done can't be undone.
I am very angry with Joss for his treatment of Angel's character. It was unfair for him, his show, his own comics and for the people, like me, who love AtS more than BtVS . Even more unfair if you think he has been put in a mess -s8- he doesn't even belong to. I can't forgive Joss for all this.
I'm really late to the conversation, but I just finished reading it. I really enjoyed Faith's role in this. She is my favorite character from Buffy's side of the verse(as oppossed to Angel's side where my fave character is probably Angel himself or Illyria). The fact that she is taking care of Angel and received almost everything in Gile's will just reaffirms how important she is, even though she's never really been one of the Scoobies. She may not be Buffy, but I think Giles saw something special in her and you can even go as far back as season 7 and see that. I love how there is always friction between her and Buffy. Even when they are trying to get along, there is still always a certain uneasiness to their relationship. I honestly believe that deep down inside some part of Faith still wants to be "The Slayer", even though she acknowledges Buffy as such. Of course, I think the book Buffy got from Giles will have greater importance in seaon 9 maybe?

I didn't like the Buffy and Spike moment, but this is mostly due to me not really liking their relationship. All my respect to the Spuffy fans, they are entitled to their opinion. However, I feel like Spike just isn't Spike when he's around Buffy. He's much less confrontational, honest and blunt with her than he is with other characters. I always feel like Buffy in on a pedastal in his mind. Like she can do no wrong. Spike will defend Buffy's actions ALWAYS, no matter how crazy, foolish or wrong they may be. I don't like that, because he is the complete opposite of that with other characters. Spike will be the FIRST person to get in anyone's face about something he doesn't agree with.

LOVED Kennedy getting dumped, I never liked her. Willow's reasoning for breaking it off really illustrates just WHY I never liked Kennedy. She is obsessed with power and control. She wants to be the best. She wants to be in charge. To me, that's all Kennedy is as a character

I laughed at Dawn messing with Buffy with the fake sex talk. LOL. Nice. I'm a bit worried about Angel. Honestly, how much can a person take? After all the angst he ALREADY had, how is this not completely breaking him?

Oh well, guess I will find out when his Darkhorse book comes out. Seson 8 had its misseps, but I still enjoyed it overall as I have every Buffy season, flaws and all. I am looking forward to season 9
Dorotea and 5x5, sorry for butting in, but I just saw something and wanted to weigh in. I think that maybe your(dorotea) idea on Buffy being brought back to the "local" instead of the "global" is right, but to me she lost nothing. It's like she knows now that it's the smaller changes that make the bigger difference on the global scale. She hasn't lost anything, she is just changing her strategic position. Like going from an army of graduates in S3 to secret id girl in S4, she is the army and the best person that she can put her trust in as the other slayers couldn't handle the changes. The world wasn't ready to be saved so she'll do it more subtley until it is, but she won't stop trying.
What do you mean, the world wasn't ready to be saved?
It wasn't willing to accept the slayers as their heroes, instead they preferred the evil Harmony show and put vamps on a pedastal. Although killing useless celebrities may have helped her image. I mean if they let her loose on Jersey Shore and Buffy swooped in to save the day then I could totally buy the whole "Harmony is a better hero than Buffy" attitude. But the way that the army and all the public baclash hit them(well the robbery and Simone probably didn't help) was indicative of the human race's need to self destruct before realising it's on a downward spiral.
Buffy/Spike: Buffy can't invite Spike because she doesn't have the authority to do so. It's not her apartment. Only Xander and Dawn can invite him, and they are not there. They probably don't know he visits Buffy occasionally.


The question then becomes, WHY don't Xander and Dawn know that Spike has been visiting? It's made clear that he has visited before, likely several times, it's odd to think that Dawn and Xander were just always gone every time Spike stopped by. And if they were there, why did they not issue an invite? If they aren't aware Spike is stopping by (which seems unlikely to me, since there is no reason this time for Buffy to hide her association with him), why isn't she telling them? Why doesn't she ask (or why don't Dawn and Xander offer) an invite to Spike? It strikes me as Buffy herself being just comfortable enough with the reestablished contact that she doesn't try for more. She tells him twice that he's not invited in, the second time seemed rather unnecessary - especially the way she did it - unless she's reinforcing it for a reason. She calls him Blondie Bear, apparently to Spike's repeated requests that she not do that, and she avoids opening up to him about why she's upset. Again, my opinion only, she is trying to establish boundaries in their relationship, which is understandable.
I think that maybe your(dorotea) idea on Buffy being brought back to the "local" instead of the "global" is right, but to me she lost nothing. It's like she knows now that it's the smaller changes that make the bigger difference on the global scale. She hasn't lost anything, she is just changing her strategic position. Like going from an army of graduates in S3 to secret id girl in S4, she is the army and the best person that she can put her trust in as the other slayers couldn't handle the changes. The world wasn't ready to be saved so she'll do it more subtley until it is, but she won't stop trying.

Hello there , BlueSkies,

On one hand I agree with you - the world is actually 'never' ready. The last thing the world wants is global revolutionary ( and catastrophic) changes of any kind - humans are conservative bunch. On the other, I keep remembering that issue (After These Messages ) - with Buffy battling and slaying increasingly tougher demons - more tentacles , more teeth , etc - and wondering if it ever was that tough. Does it mean that with elimination of the threat of Twilight all that went away somehow? She did not manage to make a dent - with her entire army. Now she is supposed to make a difference all alone ? Or die trying? See, the balance was not rolled back to square one - the Slayers are still there and she is no longer a goddess. Her brave lonely chasing a few straggler vamps around town of SF means so little on this scale... Even Scoobies are gone. I am not sure how this will fit into S9 - but I cannot see it being all about Buffy chasing individual vamps in dark alleys anymore. This sounds kinda lame. And we already have indicators that "Big Bads' of all sorts are coming after her - meaning her 'mission' in reality is a bogus as the real challenge will lie someplace else. And while I admire symbolism like 'lonely Slayer in a dark alley nursing pouty heart' it simply does not fit into the new reality of the verse anymore - however romantic this sounds.

And yes, I still dislike them using Angel's line from NFA out of context here. Unless Buffy means this as humble acknowledgment of the fact that there is all she can do - all alone - at the moment. S8 was all about disconnect everybody from everybody - and season finale issue brought this to a crescendo. It is a very dark note - IMHO - which gives the whole phrase a dark desperate undertone, unlike it was when Angel said it.

[ edited by dorotea on 2011-01-21 02:07 ]
Does it not seem like poetic justice in a way? Willow yanks Buffy out of heaven in season 6. She took away the greatest happiness Buffy has ever known and now, look what Buffy took from Willow? I think they are destined to be enemies. TWICE now we have seen them fight eachother in the course of the series

I love the way Faith has matured this season, as a person AND as a fighter(she nearly killed Buffy at one point). I feel like she could fill Buffy's shoes one day, but that may not be her calling. Buffy has lost sight of a lot of important things that Faith seems to have learned(like the importance of human life, Buffy wanted to stand by and watch some innocents get killed by vamps in the Fray crossover and it was really TOO easy for her to kill Willow in that future timeline). I find myself liking Faith so much better than Buffy lately.
I assumed Spike is just not ever going to be invited into Xander and Dawn's apartment, whatever Buffy's feelings about him are. It's their place, and neither of them trusts him a bit.
Sorry for the delay dorotea, I know you've been waiting and sitting by your computer for my inane retort, and not to disappoint HERE IT IS! :p
Okay, opened with a joke and now to frustrate, I'm gonna start by working backwards.
I really greatly approved of the use of that line. In a reply way above here somewhere(too lazy to find, so I'll paraphrase)I said that it seemed as if Buffy was now slipping in the Angel season 1 territory of going from having a team(the scoobies and Buffy in season 3 with the army of graduates) to solo work on a more personal level. Doyle was the one to tell him to reconnect with the people because he couldn't fight the big bads without caring for those he was saving. Buffy(as Arkham258 just mentioned, thanks for that!) lost sight of the reasons for the mission, essentially losing her soul like Angel BTVS season 2.
I tihnk her "demotion" as someone(maybe you) called it, from leader of legions to solo slayer was her way of reconciling the arrogance and hubris she exuded and for the stealing and thinking that the few were worth sacrificing for the majority. Seeing as she's saving the one person at the end is sorta the opposite of what Angel was doing by bringing the apocalypse in NFA. I'm not sure he even remembered what the job was anymore. I want to side with him and say that leading all his people into war was the right decision, but I'm just not sure.
In relation to the evil gunning for Buffy and she remaining in SF, well that's a genius wee strategy she's got there. No longer running after them like S8(we all saw how well that worked out!). She's letting them come to her, but it'll be on her new home ground now. She has a base, not a castle, a base. She has grounding and she has cause. I think the newly rehumanised Buffy is capable of thinking globally and acting locally(I was dying to type that! Now I'm cringing!).
But i do see what you're saying and in fact do agree with you to an extent and can completely see your point, so my ramblings are kinda muddled. But "Let's go to work" is a great line to end anything on! I hope they use it at the end of every season! :) I'm not entirely sure if I'm joking about that...
Sunfire, I was just thinking, maybe he is technically invited and she only reiterated the "you're not invited" line to make him feel unwelcome. Of course I could be(and probably am) completely wrong, but it would align with the theories of pushing him away and reminding herself that he's not invited into her life.
But see, this is exactly were we differ as I don't see what happened to Buffy in S8 as anything close to what for example happened to her in S6. That was the trauma and it she had to go through the recovery and rebuild herself. My major argument with other readers here on S8 was that she did not really need to consider her experience as a leader in S8 as a major failure that has to be stepped over and 'overcome' or forgotten. My argument actually was that acquiring 'global thinking' is a process of personal growth and maturity rather than degradation - and that's what I was arguing against/ or for here all along. You mind changes - it matures as you read more, acquire more knowledge and experience. That is what I meant by saying 'you cannot enter the same river twice'. The water flows, you know. So does human mind.

And I don't think that you can/should go back to your younger less mature self and consider it 'going back to who you are'. That was my actual argument here. Sorry for the misunderstanding.


: That last post of yours really did help me to better understand and appreciate your criticisms (especially the part quoted above). I think that I partially agree with the first part about Buffy not thinking of herself as a failure as a leader. In my point of view, she was always doubting herself (ie, after Satsu was beaten by Angel, or at the end of Retreat, or when she thought her Superman powers came from the dead girls). BUT, to your point, she nevertheless pressed on as the leader. She had her friends, especially the Xan-Man, to convince her she was the one to lead, if anyone. She believed in her goals and her girls, even while she doubted many of her decisions on a deep level.

Honestly, how many army commanders in history have had Buffy's level of self-reflection to fundamentally question their tactics and actions? She was ALWAYS thinking about the Big Picture, as well as her slayers (whose lives she jeopardized due to the Scythe Spell).

As for "global thinking" being a matter of personal growth...Well, true to some extent, I think. I am loathe to use a cliche here, but "think globally, act locally." I would site the often disastrous outcomes of more countries than I could name in imposing their sense of self on other nations. Think Vietnam, Afghanistan (through Soviet and US invasion)...I know Buffy had good intentions, but I think her journey as a General was meant to parallel that of the general dude in S8; don't try to mastermind a New World Order. The trouble with changing the world... Buffy has always been most effective as a force of Good when working on a local scale. I am terribly pleased that this season has taught her that.
Oh, and was Faith's/Giles's flat the one we see in ToyL? The one where Buffy is looking at the books but can't find any reference to the slayer army? From memory, the flats look exactly the same.

And oh! The scene where Buff takes down the 3 angry slayers. Did that remind anyone of issue 2 where she fought Rowena, Satsu, and Leah? I swear that those scenes were mirrored on purpose.
No question that was a deliberate bookend to Buffy fighting her Alpha Team in "The Long Way Home". What I love about it is, even though it's obviously not the same situation, she's still technically teaching. I also loved that they crystallized just how much Buffy's work did contribute to the Slayers, that the superpowers are not all or even most of the package. She decimated them and, as she pointed out, she wasn't really "fighting" them... yet.

Speaking of which, it's a shame if we're done with the Alpha Team characters.
I think Spike's lack of invitation is a pointed choice by Buffy. I just don't think it's any kind of rejection. He's stopping by frequently; he's snarking back about the invite not treating it like it's anything epic; etc. There's a lot going on between those two. Neither knows if the other has feelings -- though we in the audience know that Buffy does. Buffy's not about to let in any kind of romantic interest given what just went so catastrophically wrong. So I think she's a mix of wanting to get some sign from Spike that he's into her (hence the edgy joking about invites, the repeat on Blondie bear, and the direct reference to the fact that they had a relationship once) and not wanting to let him in. It's interesting. They don't have to go Spuffy next season, but the set-up is all there.

On the topic of local/global, my two cents is that you can't change the world in one big fell swoop. In Joss's world, if you aim for utopia, you get rievers, so I take him as having the same POV. What matters is fighting even when you can't change things. Anne was a hero for helping the next kid even if overall she could never win. That's where Buffy is now. I think her "let's go to work" has a much different meaning than it did when Angel said it. I found it a very affecting end to the season.
i will reread the whole series soon.
my thought about this issue are really not about
this issue.......but that we could have gotten here in
20 issues. mebbee i'll find great stuff i missed
on the way back.
Here's my review:

I have the impression that season 8's arc was initially supposed to be season 7's arc (on a smaller scale), if it wasn't the last season. Apparently, Joss is fascinated with power and its temptations. AtS explored these problems in depth in later seasons. BtVS season 7 started with Joss-penned "Lessons" in which The First in Buffy's guise says "it's about power" after parading through looks of memorable villains from previous seasons. The episode was clearly setting up Buffy's Big Fall... except you can't end the show with your protagonist at its worst -- and the idea was scrapped as soon as SMG refused to commit to another season.

So, the "it's about power" idea had been developed in season 8 - and the result is fascinating, if a bit too controversial. Buffy undergoes a trial by power - and fails it. She makes terrible mistakes because she lets her heart make decisions for her. Because she's not a general by nature. She's a soldier. She is *manus*, a hand. She can lead into a fight but she can't lead into a war. It doesn't paint her neither negatively nor positively - it's just a fact. It takes a certain type of personality to sacrifice people for the greater good and to plan casualties in advance. Any society needs such people to survive. Buffy, Faith, Spike aren't generals. Angel, Giles, Wesley are.

In the end, all of them are screwed by power and by historical processes. Because in Jossverse once you start making deals with your conscience, you can't stop. Evil engulfs you, and your fall is inevitable.

Season 8 may beat season 7 by the number of the loose ends. Joss says in his letter that he changed his plans for season 9 in the middle of season 8 (according to Allie, it happened around #28), and it shows. It's still unclear if Angel has saved the world at a terrible price or he has almost ended it because of his gullibility. What circumstances forced Buffy to rob a bank? Why has she created a semi-military organization in the first place? How much of space-frak was her free will and how much glowhypnol's influence?

But, apparently Joss thinks it's not important. The big picture doesn't interest him as much as characters' journeys. Or maybe it's his way to provide as much controversy as possible.

So, after all the trials we're back to the beginning in character dynamics: Buffy is an outsider; Willow is a nerdy girl who's good with computers; Xander is their loyal friend; Spike will most likely take Giles' role. The excesses of season 8 are over; we're back to lean and mean storytelling Joss excels at.

The issue itself is very good. The dialogues are stellar and Jeanty's art is expressive and full of nuances. One of my favorite details is the calendar with a Golden Gate picture next to the window with a grim urbanistic view. They live in San-Francisco and see its landmark on a picture. Very typical for people with 9 to 5 job.

Jeanty nails Buffy's facial expressions; his Buffy is older and wiser, but she's still the Buffy we know.

The issue has many subtle references to the former events of the show. Buffy dealing with three attacking not-slayers is very similar to the scene of the training in the first arc. Simone - a new agent of chaos - shoots general in the head the way he shot Ethan Rayne while roses on Giles' coffin are sad callback to "Passion".

Giles leaving all his possessions to Faith has caused a controversy - but, to me it's a perfect ending of Giles and Faith's story. It's apparent that Giles has written his will when Buffy still had her castle and Faith was homeless. Faith becoming a rich heiress bookends nicely her face-off with Gigi in NFFY and, on larger scale, her underdog situation in previous seasons. Faith inherits Giles' flat and estate, but Buffy inherits the title of The Slayer (since the other slayers don't want to be called slayers.)

Dawn pretending having wild animal sex with Xander to drive Buffy off the couch is comedy gold. I may have a one-track mind, but I immediately imagined a scene in season 6 when Buffy invited Spike in Casa Summers; they woke up Dawn with their shenanigans, and here's her little revenge.

The biggest surprise is Willow's breaking up with Kennedy somewhere off camera. Why didn't Joss show us how it happened? Probably he wanted to leave it open to interpretation - it's hard to say if Kennedy was really planning to leave Willow, or it happened because Willow has plans to bring back Saga Vasuki and doesn't want Kennedy to be around. Or because she doesn't want to get her hurt.

Xander/Dawn happy family life makes me uneasy - I caught myself on the thought that the payback for their bliss will most likely be horrific. But - who knows? - maybe Joss will keep them happy for a while to make Buffy more miserable.

Faith helping Angel to redeem himself is a great move; there is a great potential in their interaction. I can't wait to see them in season 9.

Speaking of season 9, I'm very curious about Joss' plans. We know that he has "completely changed his plan for season 9" around #28 - i.e., the arc about slayers trying to renounce their power and live a peacefull life in a Buddhist monastery. In issue #40 we see Simone starting her personal vendetta on Buffy; maybe season 9 will be dealing with the remains of the slayers who become dangerous for humanity.

On the penultimate page we see a fairy from the underground kingdom in The Chain. So, magic still exists there. I wonder it the fairy's appearance signifies that there will be more of her story in season 9. As fas as I remember, fairies lay eggs in human ears; knowing Joss love for subversion, I won't be surprised it fairies will be depicted as distant cousins of Alien Queen.

We also see a mysterious man in red sunglasses. The most interesting theory so far is that it's a young Giles - Ripper. As bizarre as it sounds, it's a very Jossian idea. Do you remember Giles and Spike on the swings in "Restless"? If Spike can turn into a Buffy's new unofficial watcher, then Giles turning into a sexy obnoxious punk would be an awesome way to keep the balance. [Okay, I admit, sometimes I have weird fantasies].


It's interesting how season 8 has managed to piss off both shipping factions. On one hand, Buffy admits that "boinking Twilight" was a betrayal and she "can't even look at Angel"; OTOH, Spike "is not invited" into the apartment where she lives.

Jossverse is ultimately about redemption, and it means that eventually Buffy will forgive Angel. Apocalypses are dime a dozen in Jossverse and Bangel is the signature couple of the franchize. (Willow tried to end the world too, and was redeemed practically immediately.) That said, judging by #40, next season will be very Spuffy-friendly. I have the impression that writers will never leave Spike out of the equation and keep the triangle going forever.

So, after all the fuss we're back to the standard status quo: Buffy has feelings for both Spike and Angel, but can't be with neither of them. She can't be with Angel because of Giles' death (another plot device since the curse doesn't exist in this new magic-less universe) and she can't be with Spike because he believes that she only loves Angel, and she's too burdened by her guilt to dissuade him.

So, it's up to every shipper to decide if the glass is half-full or half-empty.

I like that Joss sets up Spike as Giles-cum-Angel of season 1. In #40 he is not the exposition guy he was in #36-37, but a pretty guy in white shirt who patrols Buffy's window, with fire escape playing the role of their traditional backporch.

The biggest problem with any Spuffy development in season 9 is that it's very hard to invent a good torture for them. How to evoke a lot of pain and misery from two people who are frighteningly close to becoming a Dawn/Xander redux? Because in my mind they are. We were explicitly told that Buffy still has romantic feelings for Spike (she daydreams about Spuffy sex in a Joss-penned scene in #37). Since Buffy is the protagonist, Spike is and will always be all.about.Buffy - at least, on BtVS. There is no major outside obstacles (like a curse) and no big character-driven barriers. He doesn't feel beneath her anymore: he's a local Han Solo while she's in disgrace. Their UST is practically palpable. Spike parks his ship on Buffy roof again and again, tries to just be there for her. She teases him about Harmory (jealous much?), throws in very telling non-sequiturs ('why did we ever break up?") and becomes a terrible klutz the moment the situation begs Spike to hug and comfort her. She's having regular Spangel nightmares. She feels unworthy - but, of course, Spike thinks differently. They only need to make a small step toward each other.

It's a paradize for ficwriters, but it's too tame for Jossverse. To make Spuffy ship dramatically viable, Joss has work to hard to find a radical new way to make our favorite blondes utterly miserable and heartbroken because of their feelings.

But I believe in Joss' sadistic genius. He'll find a way to make Spuffy angstastic again.
Finally got to the comic shop last night (took me a frikkin' hour to get across town because of all the idiots who can't drive in a smidgen of snow -- but I digress...) and read this issue.

Dawn/Xander: Yay! Good for the two of them. Dawn has a wicked sense of humor, and willing (eager, actually) to go to hilariously inappropriate lengths to get Buff off her duff... and off the couch and out of her funk.

Willow/Kennedy: Boo! Willow's wrong - Kennedy was crushing on her before she ever knew just how powerful Willow really was. And ever since Willow's near crash-and-burn in "The Killer In Me", it's been pretty clear that Kennedy was really in love with her. Willow's own insecurities about herself just keep biting her in the ass. She and Buffy have a lot in common...
I assumed Spike is just not ever going to be invited into Xander and Dawn's apartment, whatever Buffy's feelings about him are. It's their place, and neither of them trusts him a bit.


Considering what just happened to Giles, I can totally see Xander not wanting any vampires in his house.

So in addition to Buffy not feeling it's her right to invite a vampire into a house not hers (and it might literally not be her right metaphysically speaking), I also think she's not ready to invite him in as Maggie describes, but she's also doing it to provoke him.

[ edited by Emmie on 2011-01-21 18:39 ]
rowan- yes! About Kennedy not getting together with Willow because she had power- thank you! I'm glad to see someone acknowledge that! She thought magic was a bunch of hooey when she started picking up on her, and I think Willow knows that (somewhere deep inside). I think Willow can't bear, after having so much power, being in a relationship where she is the weak one-maybe she would never have been able to. Tara took care of her, but Willow was always the dominant one, the decision maker- you could argue that Tara actually had the final say, but I think in a more subtle way, letting Willow have her way most of the time. I imagine life between Willow and Kennedy was always a power struggle in a way, even of K didn't see it that way, I think W did on some level.

I don't think Buffy has the ability to invite Spike in. But yes, I think that may be convenient for her, to have that barrier- with her own place I don't think it would even occur to her to keep him out, not because I think she's in love with him but just cause he's an ally and friend. But this gives her space.

I don't think the new character is Ripper- I don't think Joss would refer to him as "someone we haven't seen before", and while it's not unheard of for characters to get brought back, I think you can tell which deaths are final, and Giles' was one...

"Glow-hypnol"!!- LOL! Hadn't seen that before- hilarious!

[ edited by aphasia on 2011-01-21 21:48 ]
Emmie, I'm glad you said that. I've been amazed at how many people I've seen react as though it's the most unbelievable thing ever that Xander or Dawn wouldn't just be like "oh, hell, bro, don't have to ask, just come on in".

Also agree that Buffy doesn't mind being able to tweak Spike a bit on the subject. I actually hope they don't let him in for a while. Plotwise, this would be the first time that Buffy is not the primary arbiter of if a vampire is invited, and which one. This would be the perfect reversal of "Lover's Walk", for instance, when she invites Angel in to the complete confusion of her mother. Now, she's completely helpless on the subject. It would be a nice touch, even if people would probably complain at Xander and Dawn being stubborn on not letting him in.
I don't believe for a second that Xander or Dawn wouldn't invite Spike in if he were to ask. And if there are some people that are wary of Spike on account of what Angel did then those people are really un-trustworthy,blind and not worth knowing. Spike doesn't deserve any blame for Angel's mistakes, far from it he did more then his share in being responsible for saving the world.
I think it's also possible that Spike is only there for Buffy and has no interest in seeing/talking to Xander or Dawn.

For Buffy i think this is just an easy way to keep Spike at bay. She has all these feelings for him and from her point of view it looks like Spike's moved on. She also doesn't want to hear that she did the right thing or have someone supporting her. When Buffy wallows in self-pity, she does it like a champ.

[ edited by Vergil on 2011-01-21 21:08 ]
I don't think Buffy thinks that Spike has moved on- maybe I'm way off but I think she takes for granted that if someone once had feelings for her they always will, like she did with Xander. Or the way she never questioned that Angel would still want her the most, even though they were pretty seriously estranged AND he was dating other people (or, Nina, at least). I think she'd be pretty shocked and devastated if he (Spike) did (move on). Which is why she doesn't feel there's any hurry to act on feelings she may have- she can take time and dither and whatever, but he'll still be there when she's ready. Not the most admirable trait, but in character, as I see her.

Maybe that's where the Spuffy angst for S9 will lie- maybe he actually will move on. But that's kind of a replay of the S8 Xander story, so maybe not. Plus OOC for Spike. I agree that it seems odd that things are so set up for those 2 to actually just date and have it be fun- that doesn't seem likely! Maybe he'll get sucked into a fight in a galaxy far far- um, a hell dimension. Sorry. It's the Han Solo/Fabio outfit...
Buffy hasn't gotten any proof that Spike is still into her. We only saw from her side that her feelings for Spike are still very strong. And her attitude concerning Spike since he's appeared(even before that) has been anything but confidant that Spike is still into her. In issue 40 we even learn that she's also still having the nightmare of Spike and Angel being into eachother instead of her, which is the nightmare we saw in Always Darkest. And we also know that Buffy at the moment can't stand the sight of Angel so that only leaves Spike. Another good example from this issue is how at her workplace she get's tripped and she does an amazing save with her slayer-reflexes. Compared to how much of a klutz she is around Spike and actually trips doing a simple movement. I think Buffy will just play it real carefully since the last two times she gave into her feelings she(and the world) got hurt bad. First she got rejected by Xander and second when she give into Angel, their having sex kick-started the end of the world. I don't think anybody wants to relive those moments. And as long as Spike doesn't give a sign that he still loves her, i don't see her opening up.

I don't think they'll rush into it in season 9. They will take their time but eventually i can see them both coming clean about their feelings. And i have no doubt that Spike is still in love with her, she is the one(his words), there aint no getting over that.
Willow's own insecurities about herself just keep biting her in the ass. She and Buffy have a lot in common...

Truth! So much truth. That was a dumping for all the wrong reasons, none of them Kennedy's actual feelings for Willow. As sad as it made me it was nice to see Willow's insecurities come to the fore since they seem to ultimately drive so much of what she's done for years now. As long as she's got power, no one seems to see all the more dangerous stuff underneath it that she hides so well.

My (quite possibly wrong) read on the vampire invitation thing is that Buffy can't invite him in. But I do agree that whatever the cause of the barrier, Buffy is totally using it in that scene to keep some emotional distance between herself and Spike. He's being very perceptive and supportive right there and she just can't deal with that. I reminded me of the scene in "Touched" a lot.
"(Willow tried to end the world too, and was redeemed practically immediately.)"

There is a deeply arguable point.

:-)

Seriously, though.
vergil- I couldn't agree more that her clumsiness is a sign of her feelings, since we know she is anything but, and saw it just earlier in the issue... You make good points re:her insecurities, and I suppose the whole thing with Xander might have changed her tendency to take things for granted. But I do think (not that you're saying otherwise) that there is more than her doubts about Spike's feelings keeping her from starting something with him. Maybe even more than her fears of what might happen (to the world, etc...) Hopefully, in my book, she's also questioning the wisdom of just going back to what's comfortable and easy. If she were to start something with Spike in S9 (which I see as super unlikely, personally, but hypothetically) I would hope it would be with the serious intention of making it something new and not just slipping back into letting him prop her up when the chips are down. Look what happened when she tried that with Angel just now!

I agree that they will probably both come clean about their feelings in S9, but I doubt it will be at the same time, or in a way that works out.

Tangent but I'll try to be brief- I watched the original series for the first time at a time in my life that was... hard. I was really in a bad place. And I immediately became totally obsessed, started watching them again and again (no I didn't see them when they were on TV, this was a couple years later). At the time I felt that the connection to this fictional fantasy world was one of the things keeping me afloat and helping me through it all (insert normal again reference), but eventually I had to stop watching them because I realized that in fact, the show is just effing depressing!! I love it to death, comix and all, but my god! It is rare for something good to happen! I cherish the moments here and there but sometimes I do wish they weren't so few and far between. Perils of actually caring too much about the poor fictional characters I guess. Anyway. Maybe Buffy and Spike will have a lovely happy relationship in S9 and Faith will make Angel feel all better and they'll start a wonderful new agency to help the helpless and everything will be fine. (I, for one, would actually keep reading for all this). But I doubt it.
Dana5140:
"(Willow tried to end the world too, and was redeemed practically immediately.)"

There is a deeply arguable point.


Yeah, I don't think even Willow would try to claim that. At best, I'd say she considers herself a work in progress.
While I'm very interested in seeing how Faith and Angel's story will develop like everyone else is, I am still very curious about this relationship between Buffy and Faith. The inheritance added a whole new dimension to the tension that already existed betweenthem. Roles have reversed in a way. Giles has just exited Buffy's life for good. However, Giles is a big part of Faith's life still. She's living in his house, everything he had belongs to her now. Is anyone else fascinated by how Faith's life always seems to mirror Buffy's?

She slept with Buffy's boyfriend in season 4. She replaced Buffy as leader of the scoobies and the slayer potentials in season 7 and she developed this close relationship with Giles, which seemed to replace the similar relationship he once had with Buffy. Also, as Buffy has moved more and more away from who she is in steason 8(and arguably even season 7)Faith seems to be becoming more and more what Buffy SHOULD be.

Notice that while seasons 7 and 8 have given us this new "general" Buffy, who can apparently rob a bank or watch innocents get killed by vamps for some greater good, Faith has come off as the "better" slayer in my eyes. She's been helping and showing the most concern for all of the activated slayers out there while Buffy has just been turning them into soldiers for the cause. Even Fray was surprised by Buffy's lack of concern for others in that scene with the vampire attack.

Buffy has been getting too big pictur-ish, like Angel, and it's only towards the end of season 8 that she seems to have started moving away from that. Buffy has been losing herself for two seasons I think, while Faith has been finding herself. It's interesting to see Faith help Angel work through his guilt and angst. This is yet another role that Buffy once had that we see Faith in now.

I absolutely love how Buffy and Faith's live always seem to run parrallel. Buffy has always had an inner fear of Faith taking everything that Buffy has and her reaction to finding out that Giles left everything to Faith reminds me of a line of Buffy's from Angel season 1 when she says, "See, Faith wins again". Faith, on the other hand, can't shake this inferiority complex she has with regards to Buffy, and while she has tried to not care about how she ranks in comparison to Buffy, issue 40 shows that she still cares. She DESPERATELY wants to be Buffy's equal. I like the role reversal now too. Buffy is like a pariah now. Remember Faith's line in season 7 where she says, "am I the good slayer now? Is she the bad slayer?". In a way, Buffy HAS become the bad slayer. Just look at the negative reactions so many people gave her in this issue

Faith and Buffy are like eachother's shadow. I love the cover art for the No Future for You trade paperback as it shows this uneasy connection between them. I thought it was interesting hearing Faith tell Buffy that she's the real slayer, because it's a lie really. Faith was the last one called, but she humbly lets Buffy take that mantle, partially because she wanted to make Buffy feel better, and partially because Faith's inferiority complex doesn't allow her to think she could really be THE slayer, but deep down inside she wishes she could be. Personally, I feel like Faith has been acting more and more like the real slayer for two seasons now. I think there is going to come a moment in season 9 where Faith gets a chance to really step up, like Xander did in the finale for season 6. She'll have her moment of glory and maybe succeed in both dropping her inferiority complex and also getting Buffy's respect. I'd like to see that.
Oh I've no doubt that Buffy is using that non-invite as an emotional barrier/distance to Spike. But I don't believe it's because of any romantic feelings or unresolved issues since there has been no indication of that at all. Rather, I think time has passed, closure was had and they are at a comfortable place now. And it's enough. She doesn't need there to be more, he has given no indication that he wants more either, though I've no doubt that a deepening Buffy and Spike friendship will happen when he chances by on his visits in season 9.
I consider Buffy and Spike to have closure since Touched in season 7. To me their relationship moved past that of romantic to being close and supportive. Yes they have very strong feelings, but the fact that romantic entanglements are not what they need from each other. Spike, as someone said above, will always back Buffy up even when she's wrong. Willow told Buffy, in the nicest way possible, that what she did with the seed was wrong and she was impetuous. That's the truth. Spike won't tell Buffy that kind of truth because he won't want to believe it, he wants to believe in her. To me that's the boundary that she's putting up by not inviting him in and not accepting his speech of encouragement. Dawn gave her the strength/disgust she needed in the end to pick herself up and be Buffy the Vampire Slayer again.

Arkham258, there is nothing you said that I can't agree with on the Buffy Faith relationship. I've always loved Faith and thought she was grossly underused. Since her recovery in Angel she's collected the motivations that Buffy once had. But where Buffy only suffered loss, Faith gained more and more. In a way they have been like parasites for each others lives since the body switch, or even earlier since Bad Girls when for a moment they were acting like one unified and amplified version of Fuffy. They became one in fighting spirit and dancing. Since then they've both spiraled until now. Now they both have their missions and their own identities but only because they once again began fighting themselves and their insecurities instead of each other.
I asked Scott Allie in the Q&A on Slayalive (which has now finished) how many issues there will be to Buffy and Angel's on-going series. He said we would get 25 issues for each series. I was expecting somewhere between 20 to 30. so this makes me incredibly happy!!!!!!! i heard it would be less then season eight, but this amount really doesn't bother me. apparently it's going to be shorter but more complex. Hazaar! More to do with Buffy and the gang. Season nine come quicker please!
When the issue opened with the Buffy waitress scene in SF, it was so nice. I felt almost as if I was watching my favorite television program, long gone. It's the first time since the comic began that I felt that welcome anticipatory feeling...."Oh, this is gonna be great!" I'm so looking forward to the new season, with the change in focus.
I consider Buffy and Spike to have closure since Touched in season 7. To me their relationship moved past that of romantic to being close and supportive. Yes they have very strong feelings, but the fact that romantic entanglements are not what they need from each other. Spike, as someone said above, will always back Buffy up even when she's wrong. Willow told Buffy, in the nicest way possible, that what she did with the seed was wrong and she was impetuous. That's the truth. Spike won't tell Buffy that kind of truth because he won't want to believe it, he wants to believe in her. To me that's the boundary that she's putting up by not inviting him in and not accepting his speech of encouragement. Dawn gave her the strength/disgust she needed in the end to pick herself up and be Buffy the Vampire Slayer again.


Absolutely agree and you said it much better. Spike seems to have put Buffy on a pedestal since season 7 and while it's certainly nice to see him defend her, it's also not what she needs. She doesn't need blind loyalty, she needs what she got from Dawn, from Faith, from Willow. And it was nice to see them all be honest with her in a way that was still loving and supportive and not full of blame and anger.
Absolutely agree and you said it much better. Spike seems to have put Buffy on a pedestal since season 7 and while it's certainly nice to see him defend her, it's also not what she needs. She doesn't need blind loyalty, she needs what she got from Dawn, from Faith, from Willow. And it was nice to see them all be honest with her in a way that was still loving and supportive and not full of blame and anger.

There was no closure in Touched. While everyone was getting physical, Spike and Buffy moved their relationship to a whole new level of intimacy that they had not experienced before. Also don't understand how it's closure since a few episodes after that Buffy tells Spike that she loves him. Spike died and saved the world, there was no closure. Buffy even mentioned of perhaps exploring their relationship after the battle.
And nothing in season 8 suggests that Buffy's feelings have dissapeared, she seems to only be hiding them.
No Spike is right and it's not blind loyality. He knows that she has made mistakes and will continue to do so but that doesn't detract that she is the most heroic person he knows. Just as Buffy was the only one to believe in Spike and that he could be a good man, putting her faith and trust in him when no one else did.
And there wasn't just one mistake that only Buffy did that made the climax of season 8 happen. It was the domino-effect that was already started in season 6 when Willow brought Buffy back. Everyone has their list of mistakes and no one is innocent in this.

Dana5140
"(Willow tried to end the world too, and was redeemed practically immediately.)"

There is a deeply arguable point.

She was in the team of good guys again since the very first episode of season7.

[ edited by Moscow Watcher on 2011-01-25 21:13 ]
I'm really not liking the does-she-or-doesn't-she-love-Spike direction this discussion keeps drifting into. If we could keep to discussion about the issue that would be lovely.
@BlueSkies
We seem to agree on some things, which is awesome. I also feel like Faith has been somewhat underused, but I think Joss would have done some awesome stuff with her if Eliza had agreed to the Faith spinoff. Just the interactions between her and Spike alone would have been memorable I think. I love Eliza though and I respect whatever choices she makes in her life. Still, I wish I could jump into a Tardis and travel to another universe where she did that show instead of Tru Calling LOL. That universe probably would not have Dollhouse though, so I am grateful we got that.

As you pointed out with Bad Girls, Buffy and Faith on the same page is a VERY powerful force(not to mention fun:) I don't think anything would be able to stand up to them quite honestly. We've seen just how tough they are individually throughout season 8, and let's not forget they've both faced and defeated Angelus on their own. Even with all those other girls activated, Buffy and Faith were always in a league of their own. The two of them seem to have a knack for combat that far excedes the other slayers and they are both very resourceful(Faith managed to outsmart Angelus TWICE in Angel season 4)

I am always quite fascinated by these types of relationships, where a protaganist comes face to face with his or her alter ego. For Buffy, it's Faith. For Angel, it's Spike. For Xena, it was Callisto(who was my favorite character on that show and I LOVE Hudson Leick). There is just something really fun about making the main character of your story have to, in a sense, fight themselves and in the case of Angel/Spike and Buffy/Faith, also deal with the sudden reality of you no longer being unique and special anymore. My apologies to the mods if I have gone a bit off topic, I'm just a big Faith fanboy LOL

[ edited by Arkham258 on 2011-01-23 03:55 ]
I don't think Spike puts Buffy on a pedestal. His admiration of Buffy mirrors my own (minus the romantic feelings).

No, she's not perfect, yes, she makes mistakes. But all in all she's an amazing woman and I love her dearly.

What he says to her on the fire escape is pretty much the pep talk I would have given her.

She knows she screwed up and doesn't need any more criticism because no one can be as harsh on her as she is on herself.
Arkham258, great post. I,too love the "alter ego" relationships, (and I LOVE Xena and Callisto too, BTW). I really hope that we see some of that between Buffy/Faith and Angel/Spike in season 9.

Reddygirl - I agree wholeheartedly. Buffy always is her own harshest critic, I find, and I really feel like she needed the Spike pep talk.
Bit late in this thread's life for a long post about the issue, but I really liked it. With the S8 plot out of the way (other than its consequences) the characters come back to the fore. Add to that Joss' writing and it was a pleasure to read.

Glad to see that Joss understands some of the problems with S8 and has consequently changed his plans for S9. Despite my strong dislike of the second half of S8, this issue and that column has convinced me to give S9 a go. But there's more to fix than just having a greater focus on character and a more realistic story.

The blatant mistakes need to be cut out (Warren, Monroe, Voll, etc). No more leaking of spoilers, especially really, really crucial ones. And most important of all - the story and character motivations need to make sense. There's too much in S8 that either wasn't explained or was explained in such a nonsensical way, that no explanation might have been preferable.

What will always frustrate me about S8 is that there was a great story in there somewhere. But it didn't involve universes or possession or vampires being popular or space-frakking. Just Angel in disguise as the bad guy doing evil acts for the greater good and coming into conflict with Buffy.
Moscow Watcher:
In season 7 only two episodes focused on Willow's issues - "Same Time Same Place" and "The Killer In Me". Plus, there were a couple of scenes where she doubts in her abilities. That's all.

Willow had doubts about not only her abilities but herself in general in very nearly every scene in which she appeared, right up to the Slayer spell in "Chosen". That's considerably more than just "a couple of scenes".
Bought this issue last Wednesday, but didn't catch up on the month's worth of January Whedonesque threads and posts until just now.

NotaViking said:
"What will always frustrate me about S8 is that there was a great story in there somewhere. But it didn't involve universes or possession or vampires being popular or space-frakking. Just Angel in disguise as the bad guy doing evil acts for the greater good and coming into conflict with Buffy."

Agreed. Definitely wish they'd skipped the vampires-come-out storyline (though I suppose, in addition to accidentally coinciding the word "Twilight" with that other popular vamp franchise & taking a few shots at it, vamps in the public eye helped Buffy latch onto another popular vamp-featuring series, True Blood, and maybe made it more relevant to what's happening in the real world with pop culture and vampires currently) and possession is overdone, but maybe the conscious universe thing could've been executed differently and justified. I wouldn't trade the space-frakking for anything, seeing parts of fandoms' heads explode over that was worth the $2.99 that month.

I loved this issue. It doesn't "redeem" (who else is tired of that word in relation to the Buffyverse and Angel?) or fix what flaws were present in Season 8, but it has me firmly on board for Season 9 (guys, please support me in attempting to go trade paperback/collection-format only. It's gonna be hard, but I have a feeling it'll pay off as a reading experience in the long run. Unless the interconnectivity of the various Season 9 books means that the series'll actually read better witnessed month-to-month). It was a joy to read after the uneven second half of Season 8 (besides a few great character scenes) and especially finding myself mostly let down by the "Last Gleaming" arc after convincing myself that it'd all tie together comfortably and make more sense in the end (fine, we have to read Season 9 to understand Angel's motivations/thought process, fine. That's lame, but short of dropping the franchise, what else is a Buffyverse fan to do?)

quantumac, don't get your bashing of Joss re: your perception of his apparent love of seedy elements (weird snakey love on Willow's part) and if I didn't know better I detected a bit of distaste over Joss' atheistic point of view with your Flying Spaghetti Monster jab. In terms of relationships, think Joss has always presented a nice balance of idealistic vs. lustful abandon (or take out that "vs.", because the two don't have to be in competition. Anyone who's ever had a successful, decently long-lasting relationship in addition to/followed by/preceded by some hot one-offs can attest that it's alllll good, all fun and/or deep and meaningful life experience). Folks who're a bit lost as to why Willow would be mourning the loss of connection to Aluwyn/Saga Vasuki have a point, apparently some of this getting-to-know-you happened off-screen/off-page, but I'm cool with a bit of fill-in-the-blanks for this thread of Season 8 and I'm comfortable with Willow moving on from Tara after a time (though it's cool that it can be interpreted as Willow pining for Tara as well...unless you're a reader who hates the undefined, as I sometimes do in these cases).

Re: a whole lotta folks' interpretation that there's no hope (or not enough of it) in this franchise's message anymore. That's all this franchise ever ends on (given its multiple endings) are notes of hopefulness, of never giving up. Why would you want it any rosier ? The good guys never completely win. The world's never the way we want it to be. In the end, we all die, so we always technically lose and life is kinda bleak and hopeless from that perspective (except for the fact that we're alive in the first place, against the odds of all the other folks that could've been born instead of us, and that's pretty awesome and celebration-worthy. Hence birthdays). We try [to enjoy our lives, to maybe improve the lives of others/"nudge the world forward", some of us] and we persevere best we can, and if we're lucky we thrive until we each meet our ends--that's all you can hope for and that's all you're realistically gonna get. If you believe in an afterlife/gods, then your viewpoint will differ from mine on account of that imaginary safety net, but that's not mine or Joss' problem. You're not owed any coddling nor swaddling in the comfy blanket of it'll-all>-be-all-right. 'Cause only some of it will be. Joss laid it out in the script by having Buffy reference Sisyphus.

[ edited by Kris on 2011-01-24 09:48 ]
I really enjoyed this issue. I like things to be wrapped up and i feel joss did that well with ending the infinte slayers and how to face people after the angel/twilight stuff. Did i just miss it or can someone let me know How/when/what the hell is with spike and the bugs?? What happened to Andrew? And if Faith was a slayer before the big Buffy spell why would she loose her slayeness too? or did she?

And can i just say...HOW AWESOME IS THE JO CHEN COVER!
@treenie all of the slayers are STILL slayers, they still have their powers and everything. You must be confused because the slayers don't actual call themselves slayers anymore. go and read #37 like Scott keeps telling everyone, i don't know how many times he can say it.
A thought just occurred to me.

If this means the end of magic, what does that mean for Oz and other werewolves? Vampires still exist, but Werewolves are only wolves half the time; they undergo a magical transformation. Will that transformation happen without magic, or are they more or less human now?

I wonder if we will see Oz and his family in season 9.
If this means the end of magic, what does that mean for Oz and other werewolves? Vampires still exist, but Werewolves are only wolves half the time; they undergo a magical transformation.


I think transforming into a werewolf is akin to a vampire putting on vamp-face. If vamps can still vamp out, I don't see why werewolves can't get hairy and clawsy.

And I am very late to this thread! But I just read it. It is a great issue, maybe the best of the season. The final panel is perfect. I want a poster of it on my wall.

I'm unclear on whether Willow was referring to Tara or Snake Woman when she said "there's someone else". It would be a whole lot more resonant if she meant Tara, and I hope that's what she meant. But if she meant Snake Lady, that opens up plot possibilities in Season 9. I still hope she meant Tara, though.

The scene with Spike was pretty straightforward; I don't see how there's any ambiguity to it. She can't invite him in, it's not her house. Then, as she's leaving, she banters, "You still can't come in!" It's textbook Buffy/Spike banter and some great lines to boot. That's all.
I'm sure she primarily meant Saga Vasuki, but as Scott Allie said, the ambiguity is nice. She could mean both.
Huh, late to the party again.

Really enjoyed the issue. Can't be bothered to say much cus no-one else is likely to read this anymore. I must admit I did skip a whole lot of the discussion, so so tired of the Angel vs Spike talk.

I was pretty shocked when people started suggesting that Willow was referring to Saga Vasuki though. They had an intense relationship for sure, but I doubt it was ever love. I mean Willow picks her as a guide because she's the trickster right, can't be trusted? And then we see Willow kneeling before her like a disciple. And at the end a quick panicked interaction where SV is evidently sad to lose Willow and the world.

Likewise Willow is obviously grieving for the loss of magic and SV is a part of that, but to suggest they are in love because Willow was looking wistfully at a picture of SV, a representation of all that she has lost, does not suggest love to me. And they may have had sex, but that does not mean they loved each other.

In the Willow one shot when she rejects Tara as a guide she says Tara was her "journey's end", like part of Willow was just done with the world. I kind of took that to reflect a sentiment similar to the one we see in the Willow/Buffy interaction panels this episode. She's only loved one person that much her entire life and it's Tara. Willow was trying to kid herself with Kennedy that this wasn't the case but now she seems to realise it is.

I really will be completely surprised and disappointed if Joss or Scott come out and say Willow is referring to SV in that panel. I mean what, Buffy can have this much angst and continuing issues/feelings for loves of her life Spike and Angel but Willow should just forget about it?
Rowan Hawthorn

Willow had doubts about not only her abilities but herself in general in very nearly every scene in which she appeared, right up to the Slayer spell in "Chosen". That's considerably more than just "a couple of scenes".


My original point was that she was accepted back into the Scooby gang immediately. She was considered redeemed and became one of the good guys again. Similarly, Angel will be redeemed pretty soon, I think.
That might have been your "original point", but I was responding to the points made in the post I replied to.
Rowan - point taken. I clarified my response to Dana5140 you were referring to.
digupherbones, I hope Willow is past the "I can only love one person" phase. I mean, as you pointed out Buffy, but she moved on and dated more than just the two vampires, also, there was a chance that she could be involved with them again. Willow has no further opportunity and at the age of 25/26 I hope that they do offer her another chance at love, she deserves and needs it. Perhaps she was referring to the magic being the thing she loved the most. It was what brought her to Tara and tore them apart, it's what she believes Kennedy was attracted to and it's how she met SV. But I do really hope they don't close the door on her ability to have a relationship with someone other than Tara.

Anyone think she may still not be over Xander?!
Anyone think she may still not be over Xander?!

Apparently, Joss enjoys revisiting relationships from earlier seasons. If he could squeeze from Willow/Xander as much angst and controversy as he squeezed from Buffy/Angel, he may go there.
Well we can't have Xander happy in a relationship and it would crush Dawn and bring some major drama to their relationship with Buffy. But then we have to imagine the backlash that it would cause by having such an iconic lesbian fictional character go back to being kinda straight again. So I guess not.
But then we have to imagine the backlash that it would cause by having such an iconic lesbian fictional character go back to being kinda straight again. So I guess not.


Joss could balance it by introducing Andrew/Spike or Andrew/Xander romance. Or starting a Buffy/Faith affair. Or both... (just kidding!)
haha!! you know, Spike already had that thing with Angel, so I guess Andrew has a chance, although being annoying and infinitely less cool than Angel goes against him. Xander did say he wanted Willow to gay him up after his date with Demon Ashanti, who knows!?
Buffy/Faith, well that's been done, just take a look at youtube! Perhaps revisiting Satsu, except with Faith this time, you know how she likes to check on Buffy's significant others and make sure they're up to par!
(not sure if I am kidding...)
Speaking of being late to the party, I finally finished my review early this morning (past midnight). If anyone's interested, it can be found HERE.
Thanks, good on you for going to the trouble to do that. And how did you get those unlettered pages

[ edited by Nathan on 2011-01-27 21:42 ]
Georges was kind enough to send me a few (5, I think) unlettered pages, on the condition that I shared them with NO ONE. Since I was working on an interview with him (answers pending), it was helpful to get an idea of what was going on, since crafting a bunch of questions by oneself is occasionally daunting, when trying to digest a fresh issue.
But they were of course, unlettered, and while colored, weren't finalized, as I noticed some coloring differences in those pages versus the printed version.
But as I said, even without words, the scenes read loud and clear. And that's my measure of good comic art. If it tells the story without letters, then someone's doing something right.
Georges was surprised that I deduced many of the plot points correctly, though... which I chalk up to modesty on his part. :)
What pages were they? anyway you could upload them?
They were pages 2, 5, 6, 9, and 15. I'll check with Georges, but I think uploading them now should be fine. They'll be on the #40 thread over at SlayAlive, if I get the green light.
wexina, beautiful and insightful review. Thanks for all your hard work.

ETA: Actually, thank you to everyone here who has put so much time and effort into your summaries and reviews. I've enjoyed them all.

[ edited by BreathesStory on 2011-01-28 17:32 ]
@BreathesStory: Thank you. Suffice to say, I found #40 really thought provoking, and I'm extremely intrigued to see where we're going next.
Ironically, I just got back from SF and read my copy. Loved it.

To answer an earlier question about whether a one-eyed man can work in construction: U.S. laws are supposed to prohibit discrimination based on disability (or perceived disability). If a one-eyed Xander can fight demons, I'm guessing he can install drywall.

One way of analyzing Season 8 is to see it as a second-wave-feminist view of the third wave. If anyone still reading is interested, I can elaborate.
Georges gave me the green light to share the unlettered preview pages. They can be viewed HERE, within the spoiler tags.
thanks! I heard he just did a cover for Angel. god this wait is excruciating.
Suzie, that is a great question, one I've been thinking about myself.

I'm a second-wave feminist and my initial determination is that 8 has been third wave. But I'm in the process of rereading them and I could change my mind.
Reddy, the more I think about it, the less sure I am. But I will say Joss isn't on the side of disempowering women, as some have questioned (at least, rhetorically). Getting rid of magic doesn't really leave women powerless. A combat-trained woman, like Riley's wife, can still do some serious damage. To me, it's odd that the great majority of slayers seem to have given up. They could still do great things if they worked together, and if they trained others to fight with them. Similarly, collective action brings Wiccans more power, at least in the Whedonverse. Without magic, they could still use techniques to focus their strength and increase their creativity and problem-solving, for example.

All of this reminded me of the way that academic feminism, from the mid-80s on, began questioning whether the category of "woman" makes sense. That, and heightened interest in difference, has made collective action harder.

Prominent third-wavers have defined feminism as a struggle against all injustice, with gender one of many factors. As opposed to some of us holdouts who say: We oppose injustice, too, but we want one movement that analyzes injustice in regard to gender, just as environmentalists want to preserve the environment, even though they also may work against other problems in the world, for example.

Another push-back against the second wave was the idea that these "imperialist feminists" were culturally insensitive and tried to impose their values on people from other cultures. Thus, you've got the public in S8 worried about the poor vampires. Of course, these are complex issues, but Joss seems to come down on the side of: Some stuff is just wrong.

What are your thoughts?
My thoughts:

The issue concludes with Buffy saying that she hopes that big greek rock has been pushed up just a little, the world changed just enough. Which I thought was a reasonable description of the state of feminism too. The (insert country of choice) hasn’t become the lesbian separatist or egalitarian paradise some dreamed of back in the day but things are still better than they were. The world hasn’t moved on to quite the better place Buffy hoped for in A Beautiful Sunset but it’s still better than it was before Chosen. There’s still more than one Girl in all the world with the power and the skills and the new generation has reached a place of healthy dissatisfaction with its predecessors that does remind me of third wave/second wave animosities. Buffy empowered the current generation of not!Slayers by magic. With the magic gone (although with it most of the demons) they’ll have to find their own way to empower those that follow them, be their own heroes and with time maybe come to appreciate what Buffy and Willow did back in the day.
As a second-wave feminist myself who went door-to-door when I was 15 passing out pamphlets in favor of the ERA have to I never dreamed of lesbian or separatist paradise!

Ironically, I think we won the war but lost a lot of important battles. Despite one of the Founding Mother's of NOW Betty Friedan's many words about how feminism always benefits men because it would free them also, a lot of anti-feminists were able to define what a feminist means and their definition was of a manhating kook who despised motherhood and marriage. So now a whole generation of women who believe in everything we worked so hard for are afraid to call themselves feminists. Most Americans celebrate and honor the work of Civil Rights' leaders, as we should, but little attention is paid to the Suffragettes and the later movement that made so many options available to women that they previously didn't have.

I do think the way the Slayers are seen as the enemy in 8 is Joss showing how female empowerment is still feared. A lot of liberal male news commentators could barely hide their contempt of Hillary Clinton in 2008; it wasn't because they disagreed with her politics but due to the fact that as progressive as they thought they were, giving a woman the title of the most powerful person in the world still bothered them.

Suzie, the pushing of values on other cultures is a very interesting subject. I myself had no trouble at working towards all women in the world having equal rights with the men in their respective countries. I had no problem with throwing my support to overthrowing Apartheid in S Africa and growing up in Mississippi I fully supported the Civil Rights movement. I have no trouble with protests against America in other countries.

I'll just come out and say it: I have very little respect for any culture that does not allow all of its citizens equal rights.

In the Sisterhood of the Slayers, I think there was a big nod to 70s 2nd-wavers.

ETA that it was Buffy who talked Angel into leaving Twilight, though she was still under the influence of the Glow. I'd love to ask Joss is that the image of the woman leading the man out of the False Eden was intional.

[ edited by Reddygirl on 2011-01-30 19:40 ]
Reddy, very interesting, and I completely agree about Hillary. I wish I knew who Joss supported in the primary, but I also was afraid of being disappointed.
Okay! So now that we have all the info. What were the 3 X's in Buffy's dream in The Long Way Home???
Pretty sure they stood for "30" (XXX is the roman numeral for it), which was the number on Ethan's cell.
Is this gonna be on the front page til season 9? Any chance we can reinvigorate the discussion?
So why was Buffy dreaming about Ethan's cell number?
I think he planted it in her mind. So she could find him.
Sorry i think for now this thread is almost dead.

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