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View Full Version : Apologies & Thank-you's in the Buffyverse + Hypothetical Situations



SpuffyGlitz
07-04-18, 03:01 PM
This is a two-part thread focused on two subjects:

Part One is examples of unsaid apologies/ thank-you's that I feel were needed but were never said or addressed in the Buffyverse. For instance:

- At some point in S7, Giles, Willow, Dawn, Xander & Anya could've apologised for their betrayal in S7?
- Buffy could have (at some point in S7) expressed gratitude to Willow for bringing her back? Not necessary, but would've been nice.
- Anya and Buffy could have had some softer moments/scenes of apology and thanks before they killed off Anya's character in Chosen.
- At some point, Buffy could've apologised to Spike for the way she beat him up in Dead Things. It's never addressed by her, which makes me sad.

Part Two: I'm setting up a bunch of (unlikely) hypothetical situations in Buffy to theorise character motivation & gain insight into characters' inner feelings.

1.) What would Angel have sung in OMWF if he'd been around?
2.) What would have happened if Xander had actually married Anya? Would they have lived happily ever after?
3.) What would have happened if Drusilla had managed to kill Buffy in S3? How would Spike react?
4.) If Maggie Walsh hadn't died, how would S4 have ended, plot wise?
5.) If Riley's wife Sam was sired by a vampire and turned evil, would he have staked her?

You don't have to answer all, but if you have a hunch about any of them, pls share. I can't think of anymore hypothetical situations or unsaid thanks and sorry's now, but feel free to add to this/ post your own :)

EDIT: I should add - what I mean by sorry or thank you - I don't mean literally in those words. Any acknowledgement with remorse - like if Buffy said to Spike in Older and Far Away "I feel bad about beating you the way I did. I'm not proud of it." or something.

a thing of evil
07-04-18, 03:39 PM
I don't think any thank-you's/apologies were needed. They're family, it would feel out of place.

Priceless
07-04-18, 03:48 PM
I've always felt that Spike deserved a thank you in Family. He helped fight the demons, which I understand they didn't see, so couldn't thank him for. But he punched Tara to help her and suffered pain from the chip. No-one said thank you to him, or even smiled their thanks. It was just brushed over, yet it was the vital proof Tara needed to prove she wasn't a demon.

Stoney
07-04-18, 03:48 PM
I don't know, I think sometimes sorry or outright thank yous aren't needed or are just inadequate. How someone treats someone else going forward says a great deal about how they feel about their past behaviour and that of the other person. I would say stabbing Faith and beating Spike were things Buffy did that weren't okay but how she treats Spike in S7 and how she gives Faith another chance said a great deal. I could make an argument for both of these needing acknowledging and have certainly said in the past that I'd like to get a sense of remorse for them both. But how they move forward isn't just about what she has done but also what they did to her too. It's a bit like Buffy sharing her strength with Willow in STSP, there is a mutual acceptance and a general feeling of moving forward together. So I think when it comes to the ongoing relationship showing their dynamic progressing in a positive way deals with things that are unsaid. I'd rather have seen a hint of regret or such than heard an open sorry, if that makes sense, but how they continue shows enough maybe.

So I suppose I don't have a wish list on things where the characters move forward positively together. I'm trying to think of something that happened that I felt was just not dealt with at all. Hmmmm. I'll get back to you on that. :p

--
EDIT: possibly the issues between Giles and Buffy didn't ever feel dealt with so much as brushed past. :noidea:

SpuffyGlitz
07-04-18, 03:51 PM
@a thing of evil -- I so agree, they're family and literal sorries and thanks feels out of place/ formal.

But some things did kind of bother me...like Buffy after Dead Things in the next episode on her birthday - Spike still has the bruises but she never mentions it. They just seem to resume flirting as if it never happened. And Riley in AYW- if Buffy goes all out to apologise, it would have made sense for him to do so, it feels like he's put on an undeserved pedestal.

I don't think the rest are particularly necessary, but the Empty Places boycott was sort of never adequately addressed when Buffy 'regains' leadership, other than a Potential saying something indirectly.

Priceless
07-04-18, 03:51 PM
As for Angel's song in OMWF, well it would have to deal with guilt, because that's Angel's main personality trait. He would sing about how being with Buffy was perfect and how he's thought he'd never get that again, and he'd feel a sense of loss about that, but also a sense of pride in the woman Buffy had become. To be honest, I'm glad we didn't have to hear that :)

TriBel
07-04-18, 03:58 PM
What would Angel have sung in OMWF if he'd been around?

"Mandy" - and it would have been crap! :D

Priceless
07-04-18, 04:45 PM
I'm pleased that Xander and Anya never married. Xander was only 21/22 years old, that's far too young imo. Although he had a rich life and had seen a lot, he was still quite immature and had a lot of growing up to do. I think Anya was right when she said he'd only proposed because he thought they were going to die, and I never thought he really wanted to spend the rest of his life with Anya as she was. So if they had married, I would expect them to have been separated within a few years.

If Sam had become a vampire, would Riley have staked her? Without a doubt. I imagine when they joined their 'team' they all signed disclaimers to that effect. I imagine as a couple they discussed all possible outcomes of what it meant to be demon hunters, and agreed that they would stake each other if the need arose. I actually wonder if Riley would take it as a moment of pride that he had the strength and love to carry out Sam's wishes, and not allow a stranger to do the deed.

flow
07-04-18, 08:27 PM
- At some point in S7, Giles, Willow, Dawn, Xander & Anya could've apologised for their betrayal in S7?


I don`t think, there was enough time. There are only three episodes left, in which Buffy finds the scythe, splits Caleb in two, deals with Angel, needs to figure out, what to do with a mystic amulet, asks Willow, to turn all the Potentials in Slayers and goes into the final battle. If there were apologies, I think. they would have happend after the final battle in the hellmouth.



- Buffy could have (at some point in S7) expressed gratitude to Willow for bringing her back? Not necessary, but would've been nice.

Willow`s resurrection spell was still wrong. It caused the anomaly, that allowed the First Evil to rise and the spells dark magic corrupted Willow. Without the resurrection spell, there would have been no Dark Willow, imho. That is why I feel, gratitude from Buffy`s side would have been misplaced.



- Anya and Buffy could have had some softer moments/scenes of apology and thanks before they killed off Anya's character in Chosen.

Anya and Buffy never got along well. It would have been awkward, to have a last minute BFF moment, just to kill Anya off afterwards.



- At some point, Buffy could've apologised to Spike for the way she beat him up in Dead Things. It's never addressed by her, which makes me sad.

Spike does never apologise for the AR. It is adressed and he says, that he has no words for it and that he has changed and wants to help, but he never says "I apologize" or "Forgive me". Nevertheless, Buffy does forgive him and I always assumed, that he forgave her the same way for beating him up and leaving him severly injured in the alley.

flow

Stoney
07-04-18, 10:33 PM
I'm pleased that Xander and Anya never married. Xander was only 21/22 years old, that's far too young imo. Although he had a rich life and had seen a lot, he was still quite immature and had a lot of growing up to do. I think Anya was right when she said he'd only proposed because he thought they were going to die, and I never thought he really wanted to spend the rest of his life with Anya as she was. So if they had married, I would expect them to have been separated within a few years.

I have to say I'm pretty sure my husband didn't propose because he thought we were going to die young. Although maybe he's just never admitted it in all these years. :p Xander wasn't ready for sure, but it was because he hadn't dealt with some issues that he had which related rather than because he was too young I think.


Spike does never apologise for the AR. It is adressed and he says, that he has no words for it and that he has changed and wants to help, but he never says "I apologize" or "Forgive me". Nevertheless, Buffy does forgive him and I always assumed, that he forgave her the same way for beating him up and leaving him severly injured in the alley.

flow I can't remember Spike specifically saying sorry, but after Buffy tells him not to say sorry in Beneath You he says he 'cant say sorry', 'can't use forgive me' and he's saying by that, that an apology wouldn't cut it, wouldn't be enough to put it right (which is clear acknowledgment of fault, of having done wrong itself I think). Buffy later in the church of course learns he got his soul and why. After this and then after the killings of Sleeper, in Never Leave me she talks of seeing his penance and believing in him. So she clearly sees his actions/choices as expressions of repentance and this of course comes from seeing wrongdoing and wanting to change. As you say she does forgive him. This is the problem often with focussing on the words sorry or thank you too specifically. Sometimes things are bigger and more complicated or using those words would seem to almost undermine the seriousness of what happened or seem to make the chance/hope of moving on from things too expected of the forgiver and/or too easy. :noidea:

flow
07-04-18, 11:10 PM
Yes, I agree. To say, "I don`t have words for it" is rather appropiate, I think, because there are actually no words for it, Especially not "sorry". That is something, my six year old can say, when he has spilled the milk once again (he doesn`t say it, but that is a completely different story....).

These are the words, he uses, taken from the transcript of Beneath You:


BUFFY
I don't have the words.

SPIKE
Neither do I. I can't say sorry. Can't use forgive me. All I can say is: Buffy, I've changed.

Again, i think, this is very appropiate. As I am writing this now, I actually feel sad, thinking back to discussions in other places, where these exact words were used, to bash Spike as putting the blame for the AR on Buffy and not even apologising to her.....

I believe, that the same happened to Buffy, reagrding her guilt and shame about alley scene in Dead Things. She never says "sorry", to Spike, at least not on screen, but her actions in season 7, when she stands up for Spike, belives in him, helps him to get rid of the chip, helps him to get out of the basement and so on, show her own repentance and how she has changed. That is why I think a formal apology is not necessary in this case.

flow

TriBel
08-04-18, 01:11 AM
In S6, it's important to Buffy she holds on to the idea Spike's an evil thing, irrespective of the sex and whether or not she believes it to be true. A vase is a thing. You can regret breaking a vase but you wouldn't apologize to it - an apology would decimate the subject-object relationship. As for Spike apologizing for the AR: would there be any point: can a thing apologize? Could she accept it? Accepting it would validate his status as a subject, not only capable of expressing remorse but also capable of experiencing it. Without the latter the word's empty.

As flow says - how can you apologize for an AR using the same word used to express regret over spilled milk? The scene and what's said mobilizes two important themes in S7 - the paucity and inadequacy of language, and actions speaking louder than words.

SpuffyGlitz
08-04-18, 01:44 AM
Absolutely, great points by all. I think Spike's response after the AR was perfect - he's aware that words are inadequate, he doesn't want to waste her time with them. By saying "Neither do I. Can't say sorry. Can't use forgive me. All I can say is: Buffy, I've changed-" he acknowledges the enormity of his wrongdoing and his actions back it up. So it's clearly acknowledged by the writing.

After Dead Things, I know Buffy feels some guilt (in the dream, & later crying in front of Tara that there's something wrong with her), but when Spike arrives, they just go back to status-quo flirting as if that night never happened. That's what slightly bothers me. Spike shows jealousy over Richie, and Buffy warns him "Hey, passive aggressive guy! Want to dial it down a notch?" to which he sarcastically asks "What are you gonna do - beat me up again?" This moment is a little heartrending. He loves her (in his own soulless way) and tried to prevent her from turning herself in. And he gets brutally beaten up for it. Spike says this with his usual swagger, but I feel this would be the perfect cue for Buffy to look guilty for a second. She doesn't even have to say anything! - in fact, words would be paltry - but if she just lowered her eyes, looking momentarily caught off guard, that would have been enough for me (and for Spike to see, and for the viewer to see that Buffy's heart is in the right place.) Does that make sense?

EDIT: Tribel, I think sustaining a 'subject-object' relation between them in S6 is probably the main reason the writers do it this way, it makes a lot of sense with the vase analogy.

Skippcomet
08-04-18, 08:27 AM
To be brutally honest, I think the overwhelming majority of people who express disappointment that this character didn't express guilt for something or apologize to that character for something are doing so not because the story needed it to happen or because the character was objectively required to do so, but are doing, whether they're aware of it or not, for their own, selfish reasons, usually a desire for catharsis for themselves over things they find frustrating. And it gets compounded because, again to be brutally honest, the writers have no obligation to the audience's feelings, especially for the audience's desire for catharsis.

flow
08-04-18, 09:10 AM
You know, after having been on another board for almost a year, were I was told over and over again, that the writers betrayed the viewers, reading your post is like a catharsis to me. Thank you.

flow

Silver1
08-04-18, 09:14 AM
Yeah, but look what board that was though. :roll: Filled with hate for anyone who didn't share their hive mind.

Skippcomet
08-04-18, 12:35 PM
Yikes, I don't even want to know about this other site, do I?

It's not like I think the author has absolutely no obligation the audience of his or her work, especially if that audience is one that has been cultivated over a period of time. I'd even argue the obligations to the audience can and will differ depending on the medium and the kind of writing being done. What a writer or writers of a long running TV show is obliged to the audience can differ wildly from what the writers of a new show, a mystery novel, or an essayist or columnist is obliged, for instance.

But I think that one of the dangers of fandom is the fannish audience's tendency to not just emotionally invest in the characters, but to over-invest in them. Something I've noticed when it comes to Buffy-verse shipping is that people who ship ABC with DEF, given enough time, will eventually end up investing in or favoring ABC much, much more than they do DEF, no matter how much they might say they love both. So when DEF appears to have done something viewed as "bad" to ABC, the fannish audience tends to not just sympathize with ABC but to over-empathize with ABC, sometimes to the point that they react as though what DEF did was almost done to them. And then the reaction, and desire to see what happens next, becomes about their feelings. Or even if no ship is involved, and one character or group is viewed as being unfair or mean to another character; no larger context is needed, no extenuating circumstances matter, so long as the audience maintains that the offending parties owe them an onscreen apology, with or without deep remorse and self-flaggelation.

And if the writer(s) won't make that happen...well, after all, they owe the audience. Or so they think.

Silver1
08-04-18, 12:39 PM
I don't care about naming and shaming, It's called Buffy boards. The cr*hole of fandom imo.

Priceless
08-04-18, 01:20 PM
I don't care about naming and shaming, It's called Buffy boards. The cr*hole of fandom imo.

I shouldn't, but I love you for this post :heart:

SpuffyGlitz
08-04-18, 02:13 PM
But I think that one of the dangers of fandom is the fannish audience's tendency to not just emotionally invest in the characters, but to over-invest in them. Something I've noticed when it comes to Buffy-verse shipping is that people who ship ABC with DEF, given enough time, will eventually end up investing in or favoring ABC much, much more than they do DEF, no matter how much they might say they love both. So when DEF appears to have done something viewed as "bad" to ABC, the fannish audience tends to not just sympathize with ABC but to over-empathize with ABC, sometimes to the point that they react as though what DEF did was almost done to them. And then the reaction, and desire to see what happens next, becomes about their feelings. Or even if no ship is involved, and one character or group is viewed as being unfair or mean to another character; no larger context is needed, no extenuating circumstances matter, so long as the audience maintains that the offending parties owe them an onscreen apology, with or without deep remorse and self-flaggelation.

I completely agree this is true and I've seen it does happen often! My purpose in this thread, though, is not to critique the writing or character development (I think the way it was done was beautiful as is), nor to focus on ships. Nor do I feel I'm "owed" it in anyway at the cost of good storytelling. That's why I've been really careful to say "I feel" instead of "the writers ought to have". Anyone can talk about how they feel in a speculative way. It's when fandom starts pushing those feelings as the ultimate and only truth or reality that it becomes suffocating/illogical, and I've certainly witnessed that. This thread was more a space to air some 'what-if's' and 'I feel's about the Buffyverse - which I sometimes like doing. I do this to death with novels I read too - I needed to discuss Angel Clare's equation with Tess in Tess of the D'Urbervilles for a week after finishing it, even though I wasn't all that invested in the characters personally. But I think emotional investment in characters is going to be inevitable when watching a show as great as Buffy - not just for shipping reasons but because, I could be wrong but I think we all (mostly) to some extent identify with Buffy or other characters.

bespangled
09-04-18, 04:59 AM
I think thank yous and apologies are more important with those you are close to, including families. Blow-ups are emotional, and miscommunication is reinforced because of that. Buffy returned after Empty Places because that's where she was needed, and there was a nice amount of interaction with everyone afterwards because they had a job to get done. But in that sort of situation the rejection is internalized, and once he crisis is over the wedge begins to grow. She knows now that Giles is wiling to throw her under the bus big time if she doesn't do things his way. She knows that the people who realize all the pain she has gone through because of the legacy must agree to some degree with Anya saying that Buffy was just lucky because she was called as the slayer. Right here I can see why Buffy has shut herself off from these people as time went on.

While Buffy has reconciled with being alive, I don't see where she owes anyone thanks for ripping her out of heaven. If I compare what Buffy did for Xander and Willow in season 6 with what they did to help her, it's pretty clear Buffy was the only one who took action to help the others. I'm not comfortable ignoring this scene as bad writing - that sort of turns into the make-your-own-show buffet bar. Any action, any scene, any character can be dismissed as bad writing. What we end up with is an audience that edits the show to the point where there are no commonalities - and obviously this leads to problems

My view - and I am not a comic reader (no money) is that Buffy will remember what was said to her, and while it's brushed under the rug she will grow apart from her friends. If there is no apology, and no acknowledgement then there really is no healing from something that huge.

debbicles
09-04-18, 02:07 PM
"Mandy" - and it would have been crap! :D
Speaking as a Barry Manilow fan myself, that may well be the only meeting point I have with Angel!!! :)
But if singing is involved, surely the appropriate comparison should be with Spike and unsouled Angel? And it's hard to imagine unsouled Angel wanting to sing about anything.
Anyway, on topic, I don't really have a thing about characters saying I'm sorry, either. Actions speak louder than words for me, too, and one example that springs to my mind to indicate that Spike and Buffy have put SR behind them was in Killer in Me, when she casually mentions that it's great to have her bathroom back.
The one situation I can think of again off the top of my head is that Willow to my mind has never shown any awareness or remorse about the actions that led to Tara leaving, or even her murder of Warren. If she does show guilt about him, as opposed to revulsion over what/who he was, I haven't spotted it so far.

I'm sure I'll think of other things!!!

- - - Updated - - -

The other element is: to whom is the apology being offered? I suppose you could say that in some cases one character makes what they consider to be amends to another whom they have wronged, or so they believe, but we as the viewers find it difficult if not impossible to feel that is enough.
I don't know. I'll have to give this more thought, as forgiveness is a complicated thing.

bespangled
10-04-18, 12:50 AM
"Mandy" - and it would have been crap! :D

Well you came and you gave without taking
But I sent you away, oh Buffy
And you kissed me and stopped me from shaking
And I need you today, oh Buffy