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View Full Version : Was It Okay For Buffy to be Violent Against Ted After He Hit Her?



MikeB
22-01-13, 11:19 AM
* Buffy knocking Ted down the stairs was done in self-defense. Ted turned out to be abusive and he had hit her. Also, he proved a threat to her Slayer existence.

Buffy has no visible indications of Ted having hit her, so she couldn’t prove ‘self-defense’ to the police or a courtroom. So, she’d have to take matters ‘into her own hand’ because of this.

Ted being abusive with Buffy would indicate that he could be abusive with Joyce if Joyce had ever upset him.

And Buffy at this point felt she had to maintain her secret identity. Ted would have perhaps told Joyce about Buffy’s Slayer supplies and therefore they’d perhaps be taken away from Buffy. Buffy needs her supplies to perform her Slayer duties.

Stoney
22-01-13, 12:03 PM
Yes it was OK, but she thought he was human and she took it too far, which she herself felt/knew.

Jack Shaftoe
22-01-13, 05:38 PM
You have phrased the question in a way that makes the poll pointless. It was okay for Buffy to use force, it was not okay to use excessive force which she clearly did, although I am not sure if it was lousy direction or the intended effect. When you are much stronger than the person who has attacked you and you don't want to kill them, you don't kick them down the stairs, period.

Emmie
22-01-13, 10:12 PM
* Buffy knocking Ted down the stairs was done in self-defense. Ted turned out to be abusive and he had hit her.

It was more than hitting. Ted tried to strangle her. I think the fight escalated in violence because Buffy genuinely felt she was fighting for her life. A human being able to punch her and strangle her requires a lot of strength -- I think she upped her moves in reaction to that.

And perhaps got carried away, but he didn't die from her hitting him too hard. He died from falling down the stairs. I don't think she delivered any direct killing blows that matched the pure aggression of Ted trying to strangle her from behind while she'd been knocked down on the floor.

KingofCretins
22-01-13, 10:47 PM
It was more than hitting. Ted tried to strangle her. I think the fight escalated in violence because Buffy genuinely felt she was fighting for her life. A human being able to punch her and strangle her requires a lot of strength -- I think she upped her moves in reaction to that.

And perhaps got carried away, but he didn't die from her hitting him too hard. He died from falling down the stairs. I don't think she delivered any direct killing blows that matched the pure aggression of Ted trying to strangle her from behind while she'd been knocked down on the floor.

I just cued this up on Hulu, and I actually think recent discussion has been waaaay to critical of Buffy's actions here.

I'll go action by action --

1. Buffy puts her hand on Ted's forearm to prevent him leaving her room. She is, at this point, committing a battery, but not one for which Ted is justified in...

2. Ted open-hand clouts Buffy's left cheek with his right hand. The force of the impact is such that she hits the wall next to her door.

3. A very gratified and eager Buffy, upon recovering, punches Ted closed-fist in his face, which sends him back against her door.

Now, here, right exactly here, is where the game changes and I think people start being too hard on Buffy. After that punch, she makes no aggressive move. In fact, her facial expression is one that suggests that she thinks perhaps she's made her point, since she kind of cocks her eyebrow in anticipation, like "gonna give me back the diary now bro?" There is no disproportionate pummeling or Slayer-powered piling on here.

Only when 4. Ted renews and initiates further conflict -- a right backhand/backfist (can't tell) that knocks Buffy first against the foot of her bed and then to the floor. NOT a lovetap. She is the Slayer, here, and having already decided to punch him it's implausible she's trying to play a part of waifdom.

5. Ted grabs her around her neck/traps with both hands from behind to haul her to her feet.

6. Here, Buffy goes right into any decent self-defense course; kicks the in-step of his leg, back elbows up to his nose to get him release her.

7. Sidekick through door into hallway.
8. High kick/knee strike (can't tell for lighting) sends him down the hall.
9. What looks like an axe kick.

That last is what sends Ted down the stairs. But it is important to note an axe kick is not a "send you in this perpendicular direction" attack, it's just what it is. It would be different if she had gone like spinning back kick, facing the stairs, and he caught air. She kicked him where he was and he lost his balance. There is no demonstrable intent that he fall, and that she struck him only in a quick combination would hold up as self-defense pretty much anywhere.

Buffy acts guilty about it because Buffy is the sort, frankly, but she has nothing to apologize for. She didn't do anything that she couldn't have done with superpowers (which, I gotta say, is somewhat testified to by the fact that the scene was filmed without benefit of superpowers) and she didn't do anything she didn't have every legal right to do.

She, nor anybody else, has a duty to stop hitting someone, in self-defense, that still has a reasonable ability to keep coming at you. We aren't talking about her beating on a prone and submissive Spike in the alley, Ted still has his vertical base and had already proven willing to keep attacking her. It's not done until he is out cold or has completely given up to the point where a reasonable person would think the danger has passed.

Stoney
22-01-13, 11:57 PM
Your point that he has shown willing to keep attacking is probably a good one which I hadn't previously considered and yes, until he is knocked out or otherwise incapacitated, it is fair for her to assume that he will keep the fight going. I can see that. But she is the slayer and her punches/kicks are slayer punches/kicks. Her feelings towards Ted had her happy to have the opportunity to knock him around and she knows because of that that she could have been trying to incapacitate him rather than enjoying opening a hefty can of whoopass. I believe that is why she feels bad and knows she went too far/didn't handle it correctly.

Gemini9857
23-01-13, 02:31 AM
I'm going with maybe. Buffy has to remember that she's a Slayer and will inflict more injury on people than a normal person. She does have super-strength so she does need to careful about using it on people. For the most part it was self-defense but I think it is possible that she might have gone overboard since she did believe that he was human at the time.

vampmogs
23-01-13, 05:30 AM
I have mixed feelings on this.

On the one hand, Ted struck Buffy first and when he placed his hands around her neck she had every right to defend herself. She may be the Slayer but she's also a young girl who has just been abused by her mother's new boyfriend and, frankly, I get great satisfaction out of seeing her kick his ass. But Buffy doesn't deny that she was wanting this to happen ("I was so hoping you'd do that") and in this very episode she has a history of lashing out in violence over her feelings about Ted. Earlier, she "beats a vampire to a bloody pulp" which Giles notes isn't what she usually does and then after the argument at the dinner table with Ted/Joyce, Buffy goes back to the park hoping to unleash a little rage ("Here vampires, here vampires") but there's no vampires to satisfy her. So what frame of mind was she in when she returned to her room and found Ted there? I think the episode certainly raises that question and Buffy herself admits to hitting him more than was probably necessary.

There are clear similarities between Buffy/Faith here that will be explored in greater detail next season.

That said, I don't think she intended to kick him down the stairs. I think she went into somewhat of a blind rage and and was perhaps more careless than she should have been. She intended to give him a good kick but I don't think she actually intended for him to fall like that.

Emmie
23-01-13, 11:33 PM
I agree with Vampmogs' points about Buffy. And I'll simply add that in these discussing this scene, it's important to note the severity and ultimate intent of Ted's aggression, as well as the shooting script stating that Ted hits Buffy as hard as a "Terminator".

My post above was more to dissuade framing Ted as your average Joe human who Buffy got to unleash her Slayer powers on.

If anything, I think he demonstrated extreme strength and murderous intent. If Buffy were using Slayer strength when she punched him (which it kinda looks like), it's the same strength she probably used to knock out Giles in Prophecy Girl.

I think throughout the fight, Ted's ability to meet Buffy's attack equally and withstand her strikes and even overpower her -- well, it changes once Joyce appears on scene.

Perhaps controversially, I think once Joyce showed up, Ted was partly throwing the fight as much as Buffy was getting back into a groove.

It's a really complex scene, to be sure.

vampmogs
24-01-13, 04:39 AM
I think throughout the fight, Ted's ability to meet Buffy's attack equally and withstand her strikes and even overpower her -- well, it changes once Joyce appears on scene.

Perhaps controversially, I think once Joyce showed up, Ted was partly throwing the fight as much as Buffy was getting back into a groove.

I've wondered the same thing. When Ted reappears later, Buffy's attacks don't seem to be as effective and he ends up getting the edge over her. Now, maybe we can boil this down simply to Buffy being caught by surprise the second time around as opposed to being enraged during their first fight, but I have wondered if Ted would fight back in front of Joyce. It's hard to say if he was deliberately holding back or if she simply caught him by surprise. Perhaps it's a bit of both.

Artea
24-01-13, 03:11 PM
I'm usually a big defender of the early MOTW episodes, but 'Ted' has some gaping flaws. It does seem like Ted used preternatural strength on Buffy, which begs the question - why didn't she mention that when Willow, Xander and Giles were questioning her on whether she really killed a human? Once again, Whedon prioritizes the 'gotcha!' (Ted being a robot) over logical characterization.

If Ted wasn't using super strength, I really don't think that Buffy would lose her cool completely like that, when she had been faced with much greater injustices in the past. By contrast, look how coolly she slams that guy's head into the steering wheel in 'Go Fish'.


That said, I don't think she intended to kick him down the stairs. I think she went into somewhat of a blind rage and and was perhaps more careless than she should have been. She intended to give him a good kick but I don't think she actually intended for him to fall like that.You are still responsible if the fatality is very much foreseeable. Ted was standing on the edge of the stairs - it doesn't exactly take rocket science to figure out a kick would send him rolling down those stairs.

KingofCretins
24-01-13, 03:29 PM
I'm usually a big defender of the early MOTW episodes, but 'Ted' has some gaping flaws. It does seem like Ted used preternatural strength on Buffy, which begs the question - why didn't she mention that when Willow, Xander and Giles were questioning her on whether she really killed a human? Once again, Whedon prioritizes the 'gotcha!' (Ted being a robot) over logical characterization.

If Ted wasn't using super strength, I really don't think that Buffy would lose her cool completely like that, when she had been faced with much greater injustices in the past. By contrast, look how coolly she slams that guy's head into the steering wheel in 'Go Fish'.

You are still responsible if the fatality is very much foreseeable. Ted was standing on the edge of the stairs - it doesn't exactly take rocket science to figure out a kick would send him rolling down those stairs.

If foreseeable, and not otherwise privileged. Self-defense still governs here. In some of the more forgiving fighting game engines, Buffy would have still been earning combo points right up until Ted went down the stairs. He was still vertical and there was no reason to believe the danger had passed. Not only is her self-defense flawless if she wasn't the Slayer, even as the Slayer, he had twice dealt a blow that knocked her off balance, including once all the way to the floor.

Buffy didn't "lose her cool". It's just a myth that's taken hold I think, it doesn't hold up to review of the episode. There is one and only one shot that can fairly be described as Buffy just getting in a Slayer-juiced "free shot", and that's the first time... and even then, she's hitting him *back*. But she doesn't move in to continue, she was making a point. He escalates it, he gets her by her neck, and she defends herself in a controlled manner. 5 strikes to deter/disable an attacker (it might look like six, but I think one is an editing error when they cut to Joyce in the door).

The biggest mistake people make with this episode is just assuming that Buffy is being reasonable not in her use of force, but in her subsequent self-assessment of her use of force. It's Buffy, of course she's harder on herself than she objectively deserves.

Artea
24-01-13, 04:41 PM
The biggest mistake people make with this episode is just assuming that Buffy is being reasonable not in her use of force, but in her subsequent self-assessment of her use of force. It's Buffy, of course she's harder on herself than she objectively deserves.Sure, but beating yourself up over something you feel guilty about is different from being mistaken about the facts - whether Ted was using super strength or not falls in the latter category.

MikeB
20-02-13, 07:36 AM
* Buffy being a Slayer is cancelled out by Ted being strong enough to knock her around, choke her, etc.




Jack Shaftoe

Self-defense can be taken to the point of incapacitating the other person.

Buffy didn’t even strike Ted until after Ted struck her. Ted had been going through her room, clearly didn’t like Buffy, and had struck Buffy. I don’t think Buffy intended to kill him.



Emmie

I forgot that he tried to strangle Buffy; in that case, self-defense can be taken to the point of killing the other person; therefore, it’s fine even if she did intend to kill Ted.