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Priceless
29-01-18, 11:40 AM
I've never really understood what Tara meant when she told Buffy that bringing her back had left a deep molecular suntan. Buffy is still human, but had changed enough to fool Spike's chip. Was this ever explained in the show? Was this just a contrivance to allow Spike to be able to hit Buffy, or did it have some deeper level of meaning?

KingofCretins
29-01-18, 01:53 PM
I've never really understood what Tara meant when she told Buffy that bringing her back had left a deep molecular suntan. Buffy is still human, but had changed enough to fool Spike's chip. Was this ever explained in the show? Was this just a contrivance to allow Spike to be able to hit Buffy, or did it have some deeper level of meaning?

It was a contrivance to allow Spike to hit Buffy (and to low-key gaslight her about how dark and tainted she was). In a broader sense it was also just to make a red herring out of speculations about her return to life and what it might have signified. Buffy's resurrection and her tale of woe raised a lot of questions about the cosmology that they probably intended from day one to sidestep entirely, and that was the last step in handwaving them all into the sunset.

Silver1
29-01-18, 02:47 PM
Yeah, just a thin excuse to shove the plot along. :lol:

TriBel
29-01-18, 06:41 PM
I've never really understood what Tara meant when she told Buffy that bringing her back had left a deep molecular suntan. Buffy is still human, but had changed enough to fool Spike's chip. Was this ever explained in the show? Was this just a contrivance to allow Spike to be able to hit Buffy, or did it have some deeper level of meaning?

Personally, I don’t think it’s a contrivance as such.

I presumed it to be an actual change and that Tara gives her an ambiguous answer that implies it’s neither good nor bad but natural. However, Spike’s chip registers it as evil because representatives of a patriarchal institution programmed the chip. I tie it in to her new awareness of her sexual desires – a sexuality she fears will earn her the label “monstrous feminine” because her desires are the antitheses of what society believes a “good woman” should have.

It need not be the result of the resurrection – perhaps it’s always been latent. Some genetic changes aren’t detectable and don’t manifest themselves until later in life. Buffy’s lived longer than most Slayers. Perhaps if her predecessors had lived much beyond puberty “darkness” would have manifested in them. She says the chip muzzles Spike – could we say the chip also muzzles Buffy by cutting her off from her innate needs/wants and denying her a choice in how or what she desires?

Also, I’ve been thinking about Help. There are parallels. Both Cassie and Buffy go to someone for help for something that’s “killing” them. That someone is a mother figure. We know that both have emerging sexual desires. Cassie dies ostensibly because she has a genetic disorder and they put it down to fate. Imagine if she’d been privy to the truth of her own body, had known her own history; had not been used by men after money and power. The outcome might have been different.

Similarly, Buffy's history was kept from her (lost or deliberately suppressed): hidden away in a place dedicated to the mother and guarded by men. This lack of knowledge about her own darkness enabled patriarchy to use her in its best interests (to my mind until 7 she’s complicit in her own oppression and the oppression of others). In short, while it’s not addressed at the level of story I’d argue the parallels are enough to allow it to be resolved at the level of discourse.

Priceless
29-01-18, 07:03 PM
I love the idea that the chip actually stops Spike from giving Buffy what she needs, and it muzzles both of them. The suntan is obviously a reference to Buffy's darkness, and the breakdown with Tara is about how difficult she's finding it to accept her darkness/suntan. Tara offers her the chance to admit she has feelings for Spike, she says Spike loves her and he has done good, but Buffy still isn't strong enough to break away from all she's been taught by the Watchers Council. I also think her history with Angel and Riley also play a part in her being unable to accept how she feels.

I can definitely see the similarities between Buffy and Cassie and how knowledge about themselves and their histories would have helped them make different choices. Cassie doesn't get the chance to change, but as you say Buffy finally turns away from the patriarchy and those holding her back in S7 and chooses another way.

KingofCretins
29-01-18, 11:11 PM
I love the idea that the chip actually stops Spike from giving Buffy what she needs, and it muzzles both of them. The suntan is obviously a reference to Buffy's darkness, and the breakdown with Tara is about how difficult she's finding it to accept her darkness/suntan. Tara offers her the chance to admit she has feelings for Spike, she says Spike loves her and he has done good, but Buffy still isn't strong enough to break away from all she's been taught by the Watchers Council. I also think her history with Angel and Riley also play a part in her being unable to accept how she feels.

I can definitely see the similarities between Buffy and Cassie and how knowledge about themselves and their histories would have helped them make different choices. Cassie doesn't get the chance to change, but as you say Buffy finally turns away from the patriarchy and those holding her back in S7 and chooses another way.

if Tara had been fibbing to make her feel better about the "Darkness" truth of it, she'd have immediately walked back or ameliorated it when she saw that the truth of not being especially or newly 'darkened' but nonetheless going to capital-P-places with Spike was making Buffy feel worse and not better. Here, like "Older and Far Away", is a case where the face value explanation we get in the episode is the most complete and reasonable one. Buffy wasn't any metaphysically different, certainly not spiritually or morally, upon her resurrection, she was just chip-proof and nothing more. All Spike's talk about her being newly dark and altered was Spike politicking and nothing more.

Stoney
30-01-18, 11:44 AM
I always took what Tara says to be like TriBel suggests, that dying and being resurrected did create a literal change in her ("Well, I said that there was nothing wrong with you, but ... you are different. Shifting you out of ... f-f-from where you were ... funneling your essence back into your body ... i-it, it altered you on a basic molecular level."). But Tara is telling her that it isn't a change that is deep ("it's all just surfacey physical stuff"), she isn't intrinsically bad in a way that Spike's chip is picking up. The suggestion seems to be that just the truth of having died and then being resurrected was an action that had a physical affect, like a scar or suntan. I suppose being resurrected is removed enough from the natural order of things that it could make a difference to the chip, but I don't think it's because the chip is registering Buffy as 'evil'. This then brings us to consideration of how the chip works.

I think there's a fair argument that Spike's perceptions play a major part in how the chip functions. It must really, the chip can't see for itself who/what Spike is attacking or aiming a gun at. I'm pretty sure this is something we've discussed at varying points in the rewatch (like Family). When Spike faced her on the steps in The Gift she was above him and he felt she was out of reach, he was separate from her and she wouldn't ever accept him fully. But when she comes back down the steps in After Life Spike felt he was closer to Buffy, he put weight on the shared experiences he now had with her and a deepened connection she had to the dark through death/resurrection. The way she turned to him and then went on to start their physical relationship may well have strengthened/solidified thoughts he had about her being changed from her experiences. If he genuinely believed she had gone through some degree of a literal change, that can have affected how the chip would respond to his contact with her anyway (regardless of why/how the suntan could be picked up on somehow or not).

Priceless
30-01-18, 12:32 PM
Spikes chip doesn't distinguish good from evil, but human from demon. Spike can now hit Buffy not because his chip says she is evil, but because she is a little more demon. Which may be just how Spike perceives her, or the chip may be seeing the 'suntan' as a darkness that is more demon than human

TimeTravellingBunny
30-01-18, 02:00 PM
Spikes chip doesn't distinguish good from evil, but human from demon. Spike can now hit Buffy not because his chip says she is evil, but because she is a little more demon. Which may be just how Spike perceives her, or the chip may be seeing the 'suntan' as a darkness that is more demon than human

Yeah, if the chip registered "evil", it should be registering the evil of a lot of humans! I don't think Maggie Walsh would have been in favor of putting a chip on a vampire that would essentially recognize and signal her true nature, not to mention allow her captive vampire to kill her if he got close to her... :lol:

flow
11-02-18, 06:00 PM
As we find out in season 7, the slayer`s strength and superpowers basically come from the essence of a demon, that has been put into the first slayer by the Shadowman/aka the Watchers.

There is no doubt, that Buffy is still human and has a human soul. But there has been the essence of a demon inside her even before the resurrection. The chip had worked on her back then. It had not detected the demon, because the demon was too far in the background.

I think of it being similar to a souled vampire. The demon is still there, but the soul is in control. Although, I think, that the demon in a souled vampire would probably still be more in the front compared to the demon essence in a slayer. Even a souled vampire can still vamp out. But it is in both cases a bit like a balance of powers. The soul being the one power and the demon essence the other.

So maybe, Buffy`s death and resurrection just led to a tiny shift in that balance. Not enough, to let the demon take over control. But enough, to let it come a bit more to the front. Just a tiny bit. Not being noticeable by Buffy herself or her friends.

But enough, to push her from being off the chip`s radar to being under it.

I think, that falls into a line with Tara`s example of a suntan. You stay one hour in the sun and nobody notices any change of your skin colour, although the cells of your skin still have been affected slightly. You stay two hours in the sun and have a nice tan. You stay three hours in the sund and get a heavy sunburn.

Buffy stayed one hour in the sun and no one notices any difference and there isn`t a significant difference at all. The demon essence has just been shifted a tiny little bit and the chip doesn`t work on her anymore.


flow