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May 20 2015

(SPOILER) Discuss Buffy Season 10 #15. It's the second part of the "Relationship Status: Complicated" arc.

anvil (n.): a heavy iron block with a smooth face, frequently of steel, on which metals, usually heated until soft, are hammered into desired shapes.

This season is inarguably better than Season 9, and probably better than Season 8, but does Gage have to be so heavy-handed with his dramatic moments and emotional speeches? It's as if he thinks the readers are simpletons.

Last page was best page.
I agree more subtlety would be good. And as much as I am enjoying seeing Buffy/Spike work out a relationship together it needs balancing with more than just a touch of Xander/Dawn. The balance doesn't feel right and when aspects like love/trust/family just keep getting repeated mentions it leaves me sure more could be included alongside the Spuffy/Spike developments, even though I appreciate space is limited. Having said all that, it is still enjoyable enough a read.
It was a great issue, lots of character development. The Buffy/Spike relationship is pretty interesting, especially the gamble Buffy made in this issue.

One issue I had with the art was the scythe: I'm pretty sure it was never as long as Spike was tall. It's got to be half of Buffy's height, tops, but Rebecca seems to have installed some extensible mechanism in the scythe in this issue.

Other than that, great issue, great tease for next month's crossover.
I'm still not clear on if Spike loves Buffy or not. I think we need another few issues just to be absolutely sure that we understood it right. LOL.

Last spuffy scene was copied from "Surprise".

[ edited by soul on 2015-05-21 07:10 ]
He does, but maybe not as much as Connor loves Angel. ;)
Connor was present just in four issues, instead this thing "Spike loves Buffy" I fear will go on throughout season.
Doubtful. I'm betting it'll be over as soon as Angel shows up.
I'd rank the last 3 seasons:

S8>S10>S9

Strip away the Twilight stuff and season 8 was actually VERY strong...but people only focus on the negative.

The Xander/Dawn stuff is so ridiculous. I'm actually hoping to see Dawn killed off at this point. She seems like a useless character right now and I still think Dawn's current story line makes NO sense and with Spike and Buffy using the power of love to overcome everything lately, it's sad and pathetic to see Xander unable to rekindle ANY of the feelings Dawn had for him. I don't like this story line AT ALL. It just feels like a very forced, artificial way to break them up.

The Spike/Buffy stuff is being written well...it's just that, I don't really care. I was never team Spuffy. That said though, they are building this thing up in a way that it feels like it has legs i.e. Spike could actually end up being the ONE for her. We'll see. I'm fine if that's the way they go. I think there's probably someone better out there for Angel than Buffy, possibly a certain other slayer....

I like this new villain. I kind of would like to see a smackdown between him and Illyria...

Fun seeing Giles and Willow as a magic wielding tag team. REALLY love the fact that this new villain is a magic user. Adds a nice extra dimension to him beyond just being a bigger, stronger vampire.

The big question now, what's Angel's motivation for "snapping out it" if this new big bad takes control of him. He's not enjoying the kind of strong relationship with Buffy Spike is right now.

Also, Angelus has been presented as a separate personality within Angel. Do the BOTH of them try and fight this guy's control?
I'm really surprised to see you write that, Angelus isn't separate within Angel. Only Orpheus really played that line. All the rest of the time I think the writing fairly reflects that he is one and the same person, but with clear boundaries in what difference the soul makes to how he behaves. But that doesn't mean different personalities where they would fight Archaeus separately, there isn't a literal split. The demon is a part of him whether he is souled or not, it just isn't the driving influencer when the soul is in place. They even went over it again recently during S9 alongside Willow that Angel's dark side is very much a part of him. There is definite distinction for both vamps unsouled/souled because it does make an important difference, but they are still the same person. There is certainly personality coherence across from Liam to Angel, whether he is souled or unsouled, we just see the different ways those traits present themselves, how he acts on them.

I'm not convinced by the magic use this season. It feels too easy, although it is good to see that Willow can be over-powered. I agree it would be interesting to see Illyria in the fight although I'm sure she is going to stay in A&F, especially now Fred is back.

[ edited by Stoney on 2015-05-24 09:40 ]
The story line involving the demon that possessed the soul of Giles made it very clear that Angel and Angelus are separate.
I honestly thought that was a major plot device in many story lines; why Angel was not responsible for Angelus' many evil acts in either show and why he was sometimes presented as if unable to recall them when the soul was returned. Literally, it wasn't him. Of course if true it never made sense to me why Angel needed redemption but I assumed may have been atonement for his original human life and initial acceptance of the 'demon' that enabled such horror to occur.
Well, they recently re-emphasized that a vampire is a combination of the demon inhabiting the body and the worst parts of its former inhabitant's soul. So with that in mind, Angel and Angelus HAVE to be two separate entities. Angel with a soul is Liam. Angelus is a demon, with all of Liam's memories.

In battling the demon that owned Giles' soul, Angel indicated he was able to resist his control because him, Angelus AND the soul of Giles were ALL resisting the demon's control.

This would also mean that both William (who Spike originally was) and Spike (his demon persona who tried to get a soul) fell in love with Buffy, which is very interesting.
Since Angel seems to be the only vampire with a total personality change without a soul (though Twilight, so maybe not), I've always thought he could use the help of a good psychiatrist.
Here are my few brief thoughts about Buffy #15,Part II of "Relationship Status:Complicated."

I actually got the issue on Friday but had limited computer time during the holiday weekend and so I had to wait until today to post a few thoughts.Overall thoughts are very mixed.I liked the Xander and Dawn stuff and think the Archaeus plot is interesting.But that's sort of it.Oh and I thought the little phone exchange between Spike and Angel was funny.But yeah that's really it for me.
The story line involving the demon that possessed the soul of Giles made it very clear that Angel and Angelus are separate.

Ah I don't agree at all Giles told him being in his head forced him to watch the schizophrenic mix of delight and guilt. That clearly talks about Angel's two reactions, not of different people's, but of one person's mixed reactions to his own acts. The demon side of Angel is part of him and it does give him his need for blood and his demonic desires and present him with drives etc to battle with against his soul (live alongside, the dirty secret Spike just referred to and what I believe he was meaning re: Eyghon, but very much the internal sides to himself he deals with) but it doesn't literally separate them within him, it is a part of him in a literal sense, not distinct and separate. His whole arc falls apart and loses any logic if he is split into two different people and his guilt becomes strange and bizarre.

Angel with a soul appreciates beauty/art and is intelligent and able to use his analytical skills to be a hero/investigator. Angel without his soul makes art out of destruction and enjoys analysing what builds people up so that he can tear them down. The same personality warped by the demon. But the different ingredients make one coherent being, not separate pieces in one body.

Gage saying 'often' the darkest elements of the human is a really sweepingly wide statement and way too simplistic. The demon warps positive emotions too or Spike wouldn't have kept his focus on love, it was just made obsessive. Angel wouldn't have kept his appreciation of art without his soul and even wept at the ballet whilst soulless. Simplifying them by separating the demon that is part of them or reducing the human contribution just makes their stories so much less.

The writing repeatedly shows how they are a complex mix in themselves but one being. They are meaningfully distinct when souled from who they are when soulless and the need to try and make that point seems to sometimes cause confusion that it is going further and saying it is a more literal split than it is imo. But they do always refer to what 'they did' and who 'they were' unsouled. There would be no point in showing us the flashbacks if they weren't all one person's story, souled or not, there would be no guilt or redemption. If they were literally someone else unsouled then they would say such and not keep talking as if the soul makes a difference but they are still the same person, that it was still them.

[ edited by Stoney on 2015-05-26 22:39 ]
I don't buy they are the same being. I did once, but not anymore. Why did Angel remember nothing when he got his soul back in season 2? Because he wasn't there when Angelus was running the show. Drusilla even says in Angel season 2 that he is not Angelus. It's a separate being trapped within Angel, which Angelus pointed out when Faith was in Angel's mind in Angel season 4. Angel is the man, Angelus is the demon. They both inhabit the same space, but when there is a soul in place, the demon loses control. It becomes trapped but still present, hence the urges Spike and Angel regularly struggle with. And why this new villain can exert control over them. He's controlling the demon

But when it comes to all things Buffy, there are so many contradicting facts in the canon that discussions like this are kind of pointless. We all see things the way we want to see them.

Angel having guilt despite not being responsible for Angelus' actions DOES make sense. It's simply a trope we see in a lot of fiction. People who were mind controlled for example, still feeling responsible for their actions if they're heroic characters. It's that whole self sacrificing, take responsibility for everything that is so common in do gooders.
I do think the demon is a separate part of them, I think that is true, but it is still a part of their complex/complete inner mix. They struggle with the demonic urges because it is a physical and literal part of their makeup. They don't stop craving blood with their soul, their soul suppresses the dominance of following those desires but their personality is sound across all states souled or unsouled it is just expressed in different ways by the soul being a part of the mix as well or not. Parts, not separate entities.

Angel was dazed when he got his soul back in S2 and they wanted to play being able to do a romantic goodbye so they needed him fuddled for a moment. He was feral when he came back in S3 but he went with a soul and came back with one. What you physically go through can affect how you act. I doubt Spike was up to doing long multiplication just after the demon gave him his soul back either. It seemed damn painful and I'm sure would have had him dazed and affected whilst he adjusted. But Spike and Angel do talk about it being them unsouled. Dru talking about it not being 'him' doesn't need a literal separation to be in place when his soul being in the mix as well explains what distinction she meant. Angel and Spike are still vampires even when they are souled with the demon still an integral and influencing part. The demon is as continuous as their personalities, a constant part of their inner mix, the soul is an addition. They are still one complete being at every stage, just + or - a soul. Which, whilst it makes a big difference, is still adding something, not creating a separate distinct person.

Orpheus was about a fight for control but that doesn't physically separate him, it's the inner battle that Angel deals with and as it is all shown within a dreamscape the literal separation and fight and the underscoring of the differences in him when souled/unsouled are an inner reality for him. But that doesn't create a literal separation, he is still one complete being. I think it was in an interview in 2010 Joss said Angel had fought against his soul and that showed never more clearly than in his attempt in S2 when hitting rock bottom to lose it. The inner battle at times is difficult for him and in Eternity Wes tells him that he doesn't envy him because of the fine line he walks. Why didn't Angel object to that comment if it wasn't all him? The gypsy curse could be argued to be punishing 'Angelus' by imprisoning him to watch 'Angel' doing good deeds, but why then have the happiness clause which only affects Angel and punishes Angel by denying him happiness or it releases Angelus again? Really the complexity of the character comes with his inner struggle and whether he is souled or unsouled he is one complete being. Sure with a demon in the mix with the human personality and sometimes a soul too. The soul is a distinction that affects his behaviour and his ability to choose. The choice element, distinction in having a soul by gaining those moral boundaries, is going by what he directly told Faith in Enemies. She states a concern about being a cold-blooded killer like him (a statement that again received no rejection) – “I didn't have a choice. But you do.” Not ‘Angelus’ didn’t have a choice. Angel sees himself as the cold-blooded killer of his own past. The soul doesn’t create a literally separate ‘him’, as I say that just makes it massively incoherent and illogical.

It really does make their stories nonsense if it isn't them and just so much weaker. The demonic aspect of them can be a separately influencing factor, like the soul can be a separately influencing factor, without it being a separate part in a way that creates another person. Fool for Love was informative for Spike in a way that it is with his soul or without his soul because he is the same personality. Otherwise why show it? The coherence and continuity of character is needed for there to be any weight to what they have done and what they will do in their overall arcs and the personality continuity is there throughout.

[ edited by Stoney on 2015-05-27 11:00 ]
Got my issue today and, yay, people are still commenting. 1. There is no way that Buffy retains that hairstyle while fighting.

2. I'm rewatching Season 7 and, as others have mentioned, this feels like the continued evolution of the Spuffy relationship.

3. I wish the PTB would either make Dawn an important member of the gang or else kill her off. Xander's military and construction knowledge pays off from time to time, but it seems like Dawn has learned little in her time with the Scoobies. She isn't even depicted on the cover.

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