View Full Version : Fridge logic puzzles

22-01-19, 05:50 PM
Why is there a fawn in/around Sunnydale in the fall? That’s mating season, not birthing season. (City folks, see here: http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/whitetaileddeer.htm.) Does Willow summon it from another dimension? Out of the past? Have none of the writers ever stepped off the asphalt?

Theoretically, Buffy might use a crossbow with a low draw weight, because she’s a confident shot and it doesn’t take that much pressure to pierce the hart from just the right angle. But that would be kind of stupid, considering that even Slayers sometimes miss the heart. Dead or not, a vampire suffering from massive hydraulic shock is going to be much easier pickings than one who “just” has an arrow stuck in some vestigial organ. There’s no good reason that any of the superpowered characters shouldn’t be using a draw weight of at least ~150 pounds. (Human archers use that weight for sport (https://www.fieldandstream.com/beginners-guide-to-hunting-with-crossbow). Heck, you can buy that draw weight on Amazon.) Considering that Buffy has super-strength, and you draw a crossbow with a crank (https://www.livestrong.com/article/347674-the-wood-used-for-archery-bows/), I’d say the biggest limiting factor on the draw weight is her bow’s materials/construction.

All of which means that, when Spike sees Doc on Glory’s tower, an appropriate distance weapon is at hand. It’s not that tough a shot: Medieval wooden & sinew crossbows (https://www.popsci.com/how-to-build-medieval-crossbow#page-2) were effective at approximately 150 yards, and still pretty dangerous at 300 yards, although you might not want to take a 300-yard shot at an enemy standing that close to your love interest’s sister. (Steel Renaissance crossbows had a much longer range, and modern, carbon-fiber crossbows are even more awesome, but nobody seems to have clued Buffy in on that.)* While we don’t see Spike using a crossbow often, he does use them on occasion, for example, in “All the Way.” Combine his knowledge of the weapon with his vampire strength and senses, and Doc should be comfortably within his range.

Granted, we don’t know what Doc’s weaknesses are, and he is very strong, somewhere between Spike and the Slayer in that regard. However, I still suspect that a hit strong enough to reliably puncture chain mail would knock him off balance, if nothing else. We don’t know where Spike should aim for maximum lethality, but really, he only needs to make it impossible for Doc to reach Dawn. The bone-crunching, organ-rupturing force of a medieval crossbow bolt, wielded by a super-strong vampire, ought to do the trick. While it’s true that Spike is a less-than-stellar long-term planner, he’s usually good at improvising, and he has the Scoobies to put a crossbow in his hands if it doesn’t occur to him.

This isn’t even getting into the most obvious missing weapon, which is Anya’s gun. We know she has one, because we see her with it in “The Replacement,” and Riley mentions it. (Making the Iowa farmboy, out of all the characters, show surprise that a woman who lived alone carries a pistol for protection is one of the writers’ more cringeworthy goofs. One day, maybe, I’ll write a post of shame dealing with the writers’ comically bad understanding of life outside deep blue states.) Yet she shows up to fight Glory’s minions with… a baseball bat. Made of wood. Great planning, Ahn.

Speaking of crossbows, how are the non-superhuman characters able to use them effectively in the first place? It’s true that crossbows are easier to train with than most upright bows, so it’s plausible that, assuming moderately above-average athleticism, enough excuses to spend time practicing, and ready coaching from Buffy or Giles, Willow and Xander develop decent aim in as little as a month. I’m not sure what draw weight the crank would let them use, but I can buy that they’d become a genuine threat to vampires within a year or so.

Still, I wonder how everyone else picks up archery right away. When does Cordelia practice? Oz? Thank goodness Buffy arms some of her classmates with flamethrowers in “Graduation Day, Part 2,” because the idea of Jonathan as a natural-born archer would just be more than I could handle. (Although, since they already know he has a high-powered rifle, it would make sense to sneak that onto the school grounds for him to use. I mean, it may not be legal, but then neither is rigging the entire building with bombs, and it might be enough to keep snake!Wilkins from eating students within Jonathan’s range.)

*This doesn't mean that you'd want to try it in situations where you'd feel really badly about not scoring a clean kill, that is, one leading to immediate death. The modern hunting community frowns on showing off with long shots (in the field, not at the range), since there's an unacceptable risk of the animal fleeing only to die painfully later. However, in battle, medieval crossbowmen just wanted to put their enemies out of the game any way they could, and they were very good at it.