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May 25 2012

Joss Whedon and the Apocalypse. Interesting essay on how Whedon's characters deal with the potential end of the world. Includes spoilers for The Cabin In The Woods.

"She is willing to die herself, but if saving the world means having to kill her lover or sister, then maybe the world isnít worth saving, she concludes by season 5". Well, actually, in season 2, she DOES kill her lover to save the world, and as much as it pains her, there is never a point after where she suggests she would do differently. In season 5, she won't kill Dawn, because she's vowed to protect her (and made that promise to her mother), although in Season 7's "Lies My Parents Told Me", she admits to Giles that she would, knowing what she knows now, sacrifice Dawn if it were necessary to save the world. Buffy has made it her mission to save the world, no matter the cost.

And then we turn the table. The choice Marty and Dana make in "Cabin" reminds me of Angel's 4th season and Angel's argument against Jasmine, that if people must be sacrificed for a better world, the cost is too high. Even if this saves more people than it destroys. This is also like Mal's (paraphrased) "Me and mine gotta lay down and die so you can live in your better world?" Granted, Jasmine's altered world and The Alliance's secret-protecty world aren't the same as "saving the world", but, same general notion.

I think Joss tackles both perspectives in his work. But it's important that he uses apocalypses. The stakes couldn't be greater, so the challenges are that monumental and the hero's rise to overcome them is that significant.

Also, on the Cabin note, although I LOVED the ending, I have to recognize The Editing Room's hilarious parody of that decision:

KRISTEN CONNOLLY

Youíd rather sacrifice everyone on earth, knowing that 99.999% of them arenít even aware of this conspiracy, while you know about it and are making literally the most selfish decision humanly possible, which ironically actually makes you extremely deserving of death?

FRAN KRANZ

UhÖ

KRISTEN CONNOLLY

A handful of teenagers every year, compared to the alternative, is nothing. More people die from falling in the fucking bathroom. Iím shooting you, you selfish dick.


(I wrote the above essay). I would argue that the case of Angel is unique, because he isn't exactly an innocent. If Angel thinks he is supposed to suffer for his crimes as Angelus, then who are we (as the audience) to argue? If Buffy had had to kill Angel before he killed Ms. Calendar, then the stakes would have been different.
In the "this is how many apocalypses for us now?" conversation between Buffy and Giles, she says, "I sacrificed Angel to save the world. I loved him so much. But I knew I was right. I don't have that any more. I don't understand."
I read that as Buffy suggesting she couldn't make that choice again (at least at that particular moment in time).
I just read about Wastelanders, and hopefully we'll get more juicy apocalyptic moments!
I removed the spoiler tag since Cabin's been out a little while now. But added a note so people in areas where it isn't released yet know to avoid.
Your Spoiler Warning is a SPOILER UNTO ITSELF!!!
I didn't know The Editing Room had done Cabin!

/goes/
Very interesting (no, as in I found it very interesting, no irony) essay.

Long may Joss wrassle with apocalypsii, and the decisions made in them. If he was sure about the answer he wouldn't keep writing about it.

I'm thinking that's a GOOD thing.
I found this piece interesting, regarding Buffy.

As she accepts her destiny towards the end of the series, she becomes more superhero than human and admits that she is willing to sacrifice people she loves to protect the world.

This arc is picked up in Season 8, quite deliberately, and is being laid bare in the current comics season, though, given recent events, it is difficult to say to what extent Buffy is, herself, reconsidering her own position in (and of) the world. If nothing else, what we know so far, I think, can be taken to imply that at least those around her imagine that Buffy has not given up on having a 'fully human' life.

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