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November 12 2002

(SPOILER) Wildfeed is up for "Conversations With Dead People". DO NOT READ THIS WILD FEED IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED----that is all.

I wonder if this is the episode that Tara was to have appeared in, before the contract negotiations with Amber Benson and ME failed.
Yes it is, she was to have had the role Cassie has now.
I think it works better without Benson, actually. Seems appropriate somehow that the SS can't morph into Tara.
Too bad. It really should have been Tara, me thinks. Cassie's performance just didn't make that much sense. And although I thought this was a very excellent episode, I did kinda miss Xander and Anya...

[added later:] Hey ZachsMind! Just missed your comment, there. Why would it be appropriate for the SS to not be able to morph into Tara? I was waiting for some excuse that would explain why Cassie showed up instead of Tara, and it just works that way wasn't really satisfying.

[ edited by low on 2002-11-13 02:07 ]
CAUTION: Spoilage for Conversations With Dead People since I just saw it...

I like to believe that there was more to Tara than we were told. Maybe she really was the spawn of a demon. Maybe she was the spawn of something else. Maybe Tara was really, honestly, potently, sweet and pure. Maybe that's why she died, because it appears this First Evil thing doesn't want to keep good alive because the good's what gets in its way. I KNOW she wasn't killed directly by The First Evil, but Warren was going overboard with the evil and maybe he was indirectly influenced by this first Evil thing. Maybe this entity subtly affects anyone who is tainted by evil. It's why Andrew kills Jonathan. He wanted to get Buffy. He wanted to do the 'right' thing and so the First Evil got him out of the way. It's why Cassie tells Willow NOT to use her power - to be afraid of it. It's why Dawn is told to not trust Buffy. Divide and conquer. It's about the power after all and keeping the good guys from working together, that divides the power.

Watch this episode again closely. The First Evil, posing as Cassie, allegedly telling Willow what Tara is telling her. That's convincing to Willow cuz Willow doesn't know Cassie and doesn't know when this "Cassie" is acting contrary to her character. However, when Cassie starts saying things allegedly coming out of Tara's mouth that just don't gibe, Willow just barely catches it. Had The First Evil tried to be Tara, Willow would have known instantly it was an impostor.

I don't think Tara's the kinda soul that something evil could fake being. So even though it's a political reason why Amber Benson won't be back, I think ultimately now, it works for the show. Willow can't have that door opened again. It'd be like Donkey Kong just giving the girl to Mario after the first level of the game.
Ohmigod. I can't even digest that. That was incredible. That was way too big for me to deal with. Where did that episode come from? That was twisted, macabre, and devastating. Wow.
SPOILER ALERT

I'm probably in the minority, but I was totally bummed by the ending. What is going to happen to my big Spike/Buffy moment now?? Does everyone think that Spike is able to bite because since he is technically dead, the "First Evil" as somebody tagged it, is able to possess him?
A mechanical question of sorts:

Any idea why we were treated to both an episode title card and a timestamp this time? I felt for a moment like I was watching The West Wing! (Reminds me of 7.2 "Beneath You," whose introductory sequence had me wondering if I had my Alias videotape in by mistake.)
Deb:

First off -- no pun intended -- "the First Evil" isn't something someone tagged. It's from the episode "Amends" (Buffy 3x10), in which the First Evil haunted Angel in an attempt to either make Angel evil despite his soul or, failing that, have him kill himself. We don't know *for certain* that this Big Bad is the First Evil, but after tonight's episode, there's really no reason to doubt it. (Cassie-Who's-Not-Cassie's comment about being done with "balancing the scales" is reminiscient of, if memory serves, language used by the First Evil in "Amends.") If we *are* dealing with the First Evil, then there's a good symmetry to it: the First Evil haunts Angel, a souled vampire, and then we first see it in Season 7 haunting Spike, another vampire with a soul. (Not to mention that the First Evil wanted Angel turned or dead so as to rob the world of an important player in the Apocalyse, and now it looks like there's gonna be an apocalypse sooner rather than later down in L.A. -- so the First Evil's reappearance would make double sense.)

I discussed tonight's episode with a few people afterward, and we decided there's too many possibilities to narrow it down on the Spike situation. What's going to happen? Can't know, because we don't know what's *already* happened with him. One possibility is that he's Multiple Personality Guy -- that unlike Angel, who's Demon/Human sides fight it out constantly, Spike actually shifts from one to the other. Who knows? We'll have to wait and see. But I have the feeling that next week's episode will shed some much-needed light on this development.
dsandler:

Short answer: no idea. But at first I assumed it was simply for emphasis. I don't see how there could be any other explanation for the title card. As for the timestamp, it's possible that time may be a factor in the rest of the season -- as in, there's not much left of it. Apocalypse and all that. I liked it, though, when it flashed 8:01, because I looked down at my VCR clock and it also read 8:01. I thought, "Hey, I guess my clock's right!"
I think it worked better without Amber Benson. Somehow the ´she´s there but she´s not really there´ vibe was even harder on Willow and that girl who plays Cassie (Azura something?) ... well, I like her better as an actress than Amber Benson (sorry folks!). Her scenes with Willow were the creepiest of the lot, I think, it was so subtle, the shift from benevolent to evil. I was impressed with MT´s work too, and SMG seemed to be putting it in too, though that sequence was my least favourite. Never could stand that Buff. And what a relief to have no Buffy/Spike interaction for a change.

What a fucking great episode. Angel and Firefly were fab too. Life is good.

Maybe they did the date and time thing to emphasise it was all happening at the same time? I.e. Morphy is omnipresent.

Also... sniff... Jonathan...
***Possibly Spoilerific Input on "Conversations w/Dead People"***

JMHO, I think the time stamp was to emphasize that this was all taking place at the same time. Someone (the First Evil) is certainly trying to drive a wedge between the Scoobies. Reminded me of "The Yoko Factor" and Spike finding a way to prey on the insecurities to the gang to separate them.

Personally, I don't believe what 'Dead Joyce' told Dawn---I think 'Dead Joyce' was an evil-manifestatation. Why? She was bathed in white light and dressed in white, as a sympathetic way for Dawn to see her and it was just to obviously angelic looking, so, in the Joss-verse she must be e-vile. *smirk* What if the 'thumping' sound was the true spirit of Joyce, trying to stave off the evil manifestation of Joyce???

The whole Willow/Cassie/Tara thing was well done. Good cover, if it was one of the episodes Amber was supposed to have done. Made creepier by the use of Cassie. That whole mouth thing---gah!JMHO.

Now, on to Buffy. How perfect is it that she opened up about all her insecurities? How perfect that she found a bit of trust with this Vampire/Psychiatrist/Former Classmate that she could open up about Spike (A whisper in a dead man's ear, that doesn't make it real)and then the coup de grace made by the Vamp that Spike sired him. Tailspin Buffy???? Much???

As usual, nothing is as it seems, and the scenes for next week's Buffy are NOT all that they seem. JMHO, again, but I would speculate that if Spike were evil again, the first person he'd go for would be Buffy. He's just not patient enough to wait (see 'School Hard') for the boss Evil to make his move. Perhaps he's another manifestation of evil? Like 'Cassie' and 'Dead Joyce'?

Oh, and poor Jonathan----my favorite nerd. Um nemesis. :(

ps: my imagination of did Warren kind of cover quickly when he said there is no other hope??? I'm just thinking, Faith as it were---

pss: the comedic bits were hilarious, the scary bits were scary---this was classic BtVS.
Great great episode. Best one in a long time.
I don't think "The First Evil" or "FBYID" (From Beneath You It Devours) as some online fans are referring to it elsewhere on the 'Net, is exactly omnipresent. Back in Amends, it could only affect Angel. No one else could see it. It was bugging Spike for several episodes and appears to have made headway with him. It's able to get under Willow's skin, cuz like Spike, Willow's fighting an evil within. Likewise, Andrew's tainted with the dark side and he's an easy mark cuz he's so weak-willed. Notice that Johnathan didn't see Warren until just before Andrew killed him. Maybe this 'First Evil' is gaining strength as it successfully takes out the wills of characters like Spike & Andrew, but is weakened when characters like Willow stand up to it.

We only *know* it appeared to Willow and Andrew. We assume that fauxCassie sat with Willow the entire hour while fauxWarren faded in and out before Andrew. It seemed not as strong with Andrew as with Willow, as if the FBYID thing was focusing most of its attention on Willow to try and convince her to stop using magic and commit suicide. Willow's will is stronger than Andrew's, so if this is the same entity affecting both Willow & Andrew simultaneously, it didn't seem strong enough to stretch itself to both of those locales, much less any others.

It didn't seem to be in the scene with Buffy. If THE evil in question was affecting Webster (the vamp w/Buffy), it was in a much more subtle way. Evil seemed to just be affecting Webster in the usual, indirect way that evil affects all vamps. Dawn *might* have been fighting FBYID and Dead Joyce *might* have been a manifestation of FBYID, but to be honest the way Joyce appeared just simply isn't that shapeshifting creature's M.O. y'know? And what it said sounds on the surface to be an attempt to put a wedge between the Scoobies, but it seemed to also have a ring of truth. To be honest, it could go either way.

"Things are coming, Dawn, things are on their way. Listen, I love you and i love Buffy, but she won't be there for you. When it's bad, Buffy won't choose you. She'll be against you."

We've been seeing this from the second or third episode of the season. Buffy disses Dawn at every opportunity. Dawn tries to help or do the right thing and at best, Buffy ignores her. So it's not a lie. Buffy is not choosing Dawnie NOW so why would she count on Dawn when the crap hits the proverbial fan? This may not be a wedge, but a legitimate caution warning that any mother would want to give her daughter. I mean, if Joyce were alive, she'd have already brought Buffy's sour behavior towards Dawn into sharp relief. I hate to say it, but I think that DeadJoyce is legit. Which means Dawn & Buffy are gonna have a major catfight later this season. Suh-weet!
I guess I think FBYID was also manifesting as Joyce. Buffy isn't going to pick Dawn? C'mon, didn't she just die to save her at the end of last season? That would be a really hard one to swallow. I'm obviously gonna have to dig out that taped episode of Amends. If this thing is the First Evil, why did it get Spike if it couldn't possess Angel? Maybe because Spike is still in his major torment stage, since the soul is so new to him? That's the only reason that makes sense, since Spike was a better person than Angel before they both became fangy. And not as bad even when a vamp--at least Spike was still able to love, first Dru, then Buffy.
So, I'm thinking the Scoobies, and Buffy in particular, are gonna have to save Spike from "it"? Especially now that he has his soul and is all save-worthy.
And like I posted on another list, what's up with Buffy letting Spike put the double-pronged moves on her in the previews?
Deb
And like I posted on another list, what's up with Buffy letting Spike put the double-pronged moves on her in the previews?
Deb, I think it's a tweak at the B/S 'shippers---If I had to guess, I would say that "it's a trap"! Or maybe Spike is dreaming? Didn't he say that he dreamed of killing her??? Oh well, next week might tell---
In the past, and as Cassie and Warren, the First Evil hasn't ever shown any aptitude as a poltergeist. It certainly hasn't been able to bite people. This points to Spike and Joyce being themselves, however little some may want to believe it.
Well I may be in denial-land, but there's no doubt in my mind that Spike is not acting evil of his own impetus...something, obviously not his soul,is driving him to bite, probably the same something that was talking to him in episode one of this season. Is it the First Evil?--beats me. I guess we'll find out someday (knowing JW, probably not until episode 20 or so :)
Me thinks that Joss may have thrown a red herring or two around this season ;)
Well, fauxCassie was rather convincing to Willow in CWDP. Had she confronted Willow immediately after her DarkWillow romp at the end of season six, Willow may have taken fauxCassie up on the offer of Indigo Girls By Candlelight. However, Giles smartly got Willow out of the environment long enough for her to build her will power back up, and she was strong enough now to see through fauxCassie's disguise.

However, Spike is SO not in a place of self-confidence right now, and it is very plausible that The Thing Which Devours Soul Food could get under Spike's skin and make him predatory.

I concur with Tim. The From Beneath You It Devours Ice Cream creature has shown no indications of poltergeist activity. It can't directly affect physical reality, which is why it must convince the weak-minded like Andrew & Spike to do its dirty work for it. So whatever Dawn was up against when fighting for Joyce, it couldn't have been Desde abajo te devora. [From down it devours to you]
Ahhh--I think I mis-interpreted Tim's inital comment. I totally think it was actually Spike performing those nefarious deeds,not a poltergeist, but I think he is being controlled mentally/physically somehow by FBYID. The whole Joyce thing I found weird. As someone suggested, perhaps the Poltergeist activity was the REAL Joyce trying to keep the evil Joyce manifestation away from Dawn. Since the wall did read "Mothers Milk Runs Red Tonight" and all. But who knows? There are so many possibilities that my head is spinning. I just hope the end result is a B/S hook-up! :)

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