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Weredog
20-01-08, 05:35 PM
Okay, so I'm stemming this from the Zeppo awards where Willow's addiction to magic was not only nominated for worst story arc, but won! Now I'm not saying this was the series' spine, but I thought it was a great storyline. There are very few moments in the show where the characters reveal their addictive personalities. The only other one I can think of is Buffy's sexual relationship with Spike. So I don't think I can buy the "Oh, but we had seen this before" ala vampire with a soul.

So I'm just curious, what was wrong with Willow's arc in the sixth season? Was it the fact that it was Willow herself? Was it because the show should've never touched this subject? Was it Alyson Hannigan's performance?
I really don't understand the fans' distaste with this arc. Thoughts?:s

KingofCretins
20-01-08, 05:39 PM
It was two basic things -- first, the idea of magic as an addiction completely retconned magic in the Buffyverse. Second, it was just this really anvilicious, after-school special feeling way to go with it.

Weredog
20-01-08, 06:17 PM
It was two basic things -- first, the idea of magic as an addiction completely retconned magic in the Buffyverse.
I don't see how it did. Magic was used as a metaphor for power and sex. It was never established to be a single particular thing. Why couldn't it be a substance that one could find solitude in?


Second, it was just this really anvilicious, after-school special feeling way to go with it.

Are you saying they never should have touched on the subject of substance abuse?

Nina
20-01-08, 06:21 PM
I agree with what KoC said, but my biggest problem with the Willow storyline was the fact that they made it an addiction when there was the possibility for a great arc about Willow and her power hunger.

Willow had always trouble with rules, Willow wanted to be important and she wants to have power. It's in her character since season 1. The hacking of computers, she stood on guard for the smokers, she said many times that Oz played in a band because that was important to her, her fear that Tara wouldn't like geeky Willow etc.
When Willow brought Buffy back, it was not just to save Buffy from hell (we saw in season 4 of Ats that it's easy to check if somebody is in hell or heaven.), it was to do great things ... to do something what was never done before. She wanted to bring Buffy back to show her greatness ...
She could do what Jasmine did in Ats season 4, which would make so much more sense as what we've got.

Besides, the Darth!Willow was bad acted and her lines were cheesy.

Weredog
20-01-08, 06:29 PM
Willow's addiction was her hunger for power. It wasn't the pretty colours that spells make, it was what she was able to do with the power that none of the other Scoobies were able to do, including Tara. She used her powers when she not needed to, like in "Smashed" when she hacked in the police files by a spell on the computer to make things faster because, hey, she can do it. Buffy wouldn't have been able to, Xander wouldn't have been able to -- nobody but Willow.
You are totally correct that Willow's addiction was her desire for power. She admits it to Buffy in "Two to Go".
So what was wrong with it again?

KingofCretins
20-01-08, 06:33 PM
True... Willow's arc, literally from back in Season 2, was about her almost pathological *need* for... more. More knowledge, more power, more ability. The stuff she dreamt in "Restless" touched on it. It was her singular insecurity. And it was rolling along great until 6.10 "Wrecked", at which point... that storyline was abruptly overturned in favor of the idea that Willow didn't have a *personality* issue to overcome, she had an addiction to overcome. Just really unfortunate. They could have played a much stronger story arc with Willow's continued descent, on her own, into something legitimately dark. And Joss could still have brought her back from it. The addiction storyline was a shortcut both going in and getting out.

And, no, they didn't *need* a substance abuse storyline. It's not being produced by the Department of Health :)

Nina
20-01-08, 06:46 PM
Willow's addiction was her hunger for power. It wasn't the pretty colours that spells make, it was what she was able to do with the power that none of the other Scoobies were able to do, including Tara. She used her powers when she not needed to, like in "Smashed" when she hacked in the police files by a spell on the computer to make things faster because, hey, she can do it. Buffy wouldn't have been able to, Xander wouldn't have been able to -- nobody but Willow.
You are totally correct that Willow's addiction was her desire for power. She admits it to Buffy in "Two to Go".
So what was wrong with it again?


People who are addicted can't help it ... not really. The addiction was a weak excuse for her behavior. Magic isn't addictive, power is. Willow was addicted to power, but they blamed the magic.

Many people used magic in the series; Tara, Jenny, Giles, Wesley, Angel, Spike ... they all used magic ... and not one of those people were addicted to magic.

The Magic addiction was a retcon for Willow's power addiction. Why? Because they were probably scared that the fans wouldn't like a power hungry evil Willow without a excuse for her behavior. Fans like Angelus and don't hate Angel because Angelus doesn't have a soul. The soul is the Angel's excuse for the behavior of Angelus. And the Magic addiction bacame the excuse for Willow. The writers didn't had the guts to make Willow power hungry without an excuse. And that's my problem, they took away a great story. Willow who would make herself a god like Jasmine would be fantastic.

IMO

edit:
KoC said it different, but much better.

Weredog
20-01-08, 06:50 PM
True... Willow's arc, literally from back in Season 2, was about her almost pathological *need* for... more. More knowledge, more power, more ability. The stuff she dreamt in "Restless" touched on it. It was her singular insecurity. And it was rolling along great until 6.10 "Wrecked", at which point... that storyline was abruptly overturned in favor of the idea that Willow didn't have a *personality* issue to overcome, she had an addiction to overcome. Just really unfortunate.

Hein? You just said that Willow always had pathological need for more. Isn't that another word for an unhealthy addiction?


And, no, they didn't *need* a substance abuse storyline. It's not being produced by the Department of Health :)

:lol: Well, that could go for any metaphorical story the show presented. You could say that Buffy and Angelus' relationship was produced by the Abused Women Shelter or that Faith's delinquency was produced by the Youth Detention Center.


People who are addicted can't help it ... not really. The addiction was a weak excuse for her behavior. Magic isn't addictive, power is. Willow was addicted to power, but they blamed the magic.
The magic is Willow's power. She doesn't have any other source of power. Willow tells Buffy in "Wrecked" that without magic, what is she? She's a nobody because without power, her say in things isn't valid.

Because Willow has -- and I'll quote KingofCretins -- a pathological need for more power, Willow will evidently have a pathological need for more magic. Angelus had a pathological need to torture Buffy emotionally. Why? Because it gave him the power.


Many people used magic in the series; Tara, Jenny, Giles, Wesley, Angel, Spike ... they all used magic ... and not one of those people were addicted to magic.

That's right. And a lot of people out there drink but not all of them are alcoholics. :)

KingofCretins
20-01-08, 07:07 PM
As a matter of fact, they don't mean really even *similar* things. An addiction and a personality flaw are not the same thing. Megalomania is not an addiction. Alcoholism is not the same as ambition. Ambition was Willow's flaw.

Addiction has certain consistent elements; withdrawal, enabling, etc. That stuff was all dumped in our lap with no narrative foundation *during* "Wrecked".

Prior to that, Willow just had an ego -- she thought she could literally fix everything if she just had one more trick up her sleeve. Goes all the way back to doing the Ritual of Restoration, in fact. "Lover's Walk", "Dopplegangland", "Wild At Heart", and "Something Blue" are all episodes, more than 2 years before "Wrecked", that established that Willow looked at doing magic as a way for her to solve other people's problems, not just her own. And it wasn't something she had to do to feel alive or anything consistent with an addiction. It was just arrogance.

stormwreath
20-01-08, 07:08 PM
Willow's problem wasn't magic addiction, and it never was. That was a soft excuse that the Scoobies seized on and Willow went along with. It made it easier for them to forgive their friend because "the magic made her do it"; and it offered an apparently easy way to fix things - "stop using magic" rather than "sort out your underlying personality problems".

It didn't work, because Willow's real problem wasn't magic addiction, and it wasn't even 'hunger for power'. It was insecurity - the belief that she was worthless unless she could find something special to offer the group, to make herself their equal in her own eyes, to make herself worthy of being Tara's lover and Buffy's friend. That insecurity drove her to seek out more and more magical power, leading to her crash in 'Wrecked'...

But left unrecognised, it also led to her deciding that with Tara dead she had nothing left to live for, that she may as well not exist ("Willow doesn't live here anymore", "I'm not coming back")... and it led to all her stored-up resentment and jealousy and anger at Buffy, Dawn and Giles spilling out with almost lethal results.

I see Willow's abuse of magic for personal physical pleasure in 'Smashed' and 'Wrecked' as a side story. Yes, it was a drug analogy... Willow discovered that turning to magic to help her overcome her life problems could have unforeseen consequences. But that certainly wasn't the climax of 'the Willow arc'... 'Wrecked was only episode 10, and I seem to remember Willow and her issues playing quite a major part in the season 6 finale. :p

KingofCretins
20-01-08, 07:17 PM
I covered the insecurity as the basis for her hunger for power :) If she's not the hacker, and the witch, and the academic, and the sexually liberated free spirit (I'm not saying she is only a lesbian because she's insecure, but rather that she throws out attention-seeking phrases like "hello? gay now!" because she's insecure in general), then she's not really anything. And having and losing Tara is a part of that.

It's also the reason she's so ferociously defensive against Giles, against Tara, against anyone else that can find a flaw in the things she does to cope with her insecurity.

It's the 'addiction' that's the spurious aspect to Willow's arc.

Weredog
20-01-08, 07:25 PM
As a matter of fact, they don't mean really even *similar* things. An addiction and a personality flaw are not the same thing.

Yes, they are the same thing. It's called an addictive personality. It's a compulsive behaviour. Willow clearly has one, even prior to season 6.


Megalomania is not an addiction. Alcoholism is not the same as ambition. Ambition was Willow's flaw.

Well, I suppose this is where we stand on separate teams. I don't see Willow's flaw to be ambitious. I see her flaw to be addictive, like Nina mentioned, Willow was power hungry.


Addiction has certain consistent elements; withdrawal, enabling, etc. That stuff was all dumped in our lap with no narrative foundation *during* "Wrecked".

No narrative foundation? They had founded that narration (:p) most evidently in all 10 episode prior to it.


Prior to that, Willow just had an ego -- she thought she could literally fix everything if she just had one more trick up her sleeve. Goes all the way back to doing the Ritual of Restoration, in fact. "Lover's Walk", "Dopplegangland", "Wild At Heart", and "Something Blue" are all episodes, more than 2 years before "Wrecked", that established that Willow looked at doing magic as a way for her to solve other people's problems, not just her own. And it wasn't something she had to do to feel alive or anything consistent with an addiction. It was just arrogance.

Exactly, Willow always believed that casting spells could solve her problems and the problems of others appropriately. You gave an excellent list of episodes where she does so. This carries right to "Tabula Rasa" where she casted a spell on Tara (for her own benefit) and Buffy (for Buffy's benefit) because, like you said, it solved problems. Willow's downfall was that she never knew where the line that she couldn't cross was, that which Giles and Tara clearly saw.


It didn't work, because Willow's real problem wasn't magic addiction, and it wasn't even 'hunger for power'. It was insecurity - the belief that she was worthless unless she could find something special to offer the group, to make herself their equal in her own eyes, to make herself worthy of being Tara's lover and Buffy's friend. That insecurity drove her to seek out more and more magical power, leading to her crash in 'Wrecked'...

:2party: That's right, thank you! Willow admits in "Wrecked" the insecurity she has when she doesn't have magic:

WILLOW: If you could be ... you know, plain old Willow or super Willow, who would you be? I guess you don't actually have an option on the whole super thing.
BUFFY: Will, there's nothing wrong with you. You don't need magic to be special.
WILLOW: Don't I? I mean, Buffy, who was I? Just ... some girl. Tara didn't even know that girl.

Pandora's_Box
20-01-08, 08:13 PM
Magic was used as a metaphor for power and sex.
Personnaly, in Smashed/Wrecked I also saw magic as a metaphor for drugs, not power and sex.
It's kinda obvious, Rack as the dealer, the costumers looking like junkies, Amy stealing "weed/kitchen herbs" in Willow's bedroom...
I really enjoyed those episodes by the way, really deep and dark and the "I need help" really chiling!
And come on, isn't Rack just great!

Weredog
20-01-08, 08:22 PM
Personnaly, in Smashed/Wrecked I also saw magic as a metaphor for drugs, not power and sex.
It's kinda obvious, Rack as the dealer, the costumers looking like junkies, Amy stealing "weed/kitchen herbs" in Willow's bedroom...
I really enjoyed those episodes by the way, really deep and dark and the "I need help" really chiling!
And come on, isn't Rack just great!

Oh, yes, I agree. In season 6, the writers predominantly played Willow's addiction to magic as a drug to further convey the message that Willow had an addictive personality. I was replying to KingofCretin's comment about how this negated the use of magic in the series to which I said it didn't. Since after all, magic takes the guise of other multiple metaphors like power and sex.

KingofCretins
20-01-08, 08:31 PM
Give me *one* concrete example of *any* other person in the Buffyverse using magic in a way that paralleled substance abuse prior to "Smashed", and I'll listen.

Pandora's_Box
20-01-08, 08:48 PM
Well...Amy!

KingofCretins
20-01-08, 08:54 PM
That's why I said "prior to 'Smashed'" -- it was bussed in for her just like it was for Willow.

Bittersweettwit
20-01-08, 09:15 PM
Hi guys! I hope you don't mind me joining this conversation :)


That's why I said "prior to 'Smashed'" -- it was bussed in for her just like it was for Willow.

Your right the magic is an addiction storyline was brought in for Amy season 6, but I think the reason for this is not to fit the Willow storyline, but to relate to the changes in the character of Amy. I think that Amy's addiction to magic began after her return from rat status. We know from small actions on the part of Amy that the experience changed her for example she tends to have a craving for cheesy things and even sometimes finds herself making movements as a rat.

We know that she has just missed three years of her life. Everything is different and out of place for her... Magic is the one thing that has remained the same for her and the one thing that has a sense of familiarity to her.

Then we have the issue of Amy and Willow. During Season 2 and 3 the two of them were on par magically, if anything Amy was more powerful than her. Then Amy comes back with a stronger need to use magic to make herself safe, powerful and who happens to hold more power than her. Oh yes Willow the geeky little girl who was only introduced to the concept thanks to her. So Amy decides to stay by Willow the only other magic user she knows because she along with the magics are the two things that feel familar to her. Then what happens Willow rejects her and leaves her to defend for her.

In my opinion pretty concrete reasons for Amy gaining a new found addiction to magic.

redrevo
20-01-08, 10:13 PM
It's true that Willow was somewhat "addicted" to the power, the feeling of being special. She did feel like she had to do more, to be useful, to be worth as much as Buffy - insecurity did lie at the heart of her problem. It was, in a sense, an addiction.

But power addiction is an entirely different thing from drug addiction. Power-hungry people don't go and *submit* themselves to a "dealer" - that negates the whole concept. They go out and find the power, and they manipulate people with it. I think it would have been more realistic if Willow had gone off on her own (or with Amy), getting to know people and then messing with their minds like Warren did in Dead Things. The "drug addiction" metaphor was very After School Special and conflated two very different things.

stormwreath
20-01-08, 10:21 PM
Give me *one* concrete example of *any* other person in the Buffyverse using magic in a way that paralleled substance abuse prior to "Smashed", and I'll listen.Certainly. Here you go: :)

GILES: Studying history at Oxford and of course the occult by night. I hated it. The boring grind of school, the pressure of my "destiny". So I dropped out. I went to London, fell in with the worst crowd that would have me. We practiced magicks. Small stuff, for pleasure or gain. And then Ethan and I discovered something a little bigger.

BUFFY: Eyghon.

GILES: Yes. We put one of us into a deep sleep and the others would summon him. It was an extraordinary high. God, we were fools.

BUFFY: You couldn't control it.

GILES: One of us, Randall, he lost control. Eyghon took him whole. We tried to exorcise the demon from Randall, but it killed him. We killed him.

We've seen plenty of spells that give their caster a euphoric rush - Tara and Willow in 'Who Are You?' is the classic example... and it's not unbelievable that a Willow who's already having boundary issues and is wildly over-compensating might start using them just for her own pleasure.
:wine:

I do think they could have played the drugs storyline in mid-S6 better - just like they could with the Spike soul storyline - but I've never understood the outright bitter hatred of it that so many people seem to have. I suspect it's something to do with having had to watch these mysterious 'after-school specials' that so many American posters compare S6 with, and fortunately I've never experienced... ;)

stormwreath
20-01-08, 10:32 PM
But power addiction is an entirely different thing from drug addiction. Power-hungry people don't go and *submit* themselves to a "dealer" - that negates the whole concept.Exactly. Which is why I completely disagree that Willow had a 'power addiction'. She was always the last person to want power over others: she wanted everybody to be friendly and everything to be nice. She actively avoided the spotlight, due to that insecurity thing I've been talking about.

But while Willow might lack confidence in her interpersonal relationships, she's always been completely sure of her own abilities. To the extent of taking decisions on other people's behalf - like Tara and the forget spell - not because she enjoys the power, but because she thinks it's the best thing to do, and so doesn't bother discussing it first. Why argue about something forever when you can just do it? Willow's very intelligent, and she's used to being right all the time. In S6, she discovered that sometimes, this can be a fatal flaw.

Hence, also, why she doesn't consider herself to be 'submitting' to Rack. She's a powerful witch, and in her mind she can handle whatever he's got, and she's using him. Again, in 'Wrecked' she discovers that she's not as perfect as she thought. (Which only feeds her insecurity...)

Weredog
20-01-08, 11:05 PM
Give me *one* concrete example of *any* other person in the Buffyverse using magic in a way that paralleled substance abuse prior to "Smashed", and I'll listen.

To the extent of Willow's arc? None, aside from the odd standalone episode here and there that had minor metaphors of it. And that's what I said in my original post, this was something the series hardly ever dealt with. Amongst all of the other dramatic issues, such as murder, natural deaths, adoptions, and abusive boyfriends, I don't understand why suddenly substance abuse appears like an after school special.
So how does the fact that we had never seen substance abuse before (to the grandeur in Willow's arc) make it a poor metaphor?

vampmogs
21-01-08, 02:06 AM
I prefer the idea of Willow being power hungry more than anything else, we have seen glimpses of it. However, in saying that I'm not sure the magical addiction metaphor surfaced only when Willow got addicted in season six.

I always got the impression that was kind of what Giles was getting into in the 'Ripper' days when he talks about getting off on the rush and it being a great high for them. Whilst he didn't get addicted the magic they used still could be seen as a metaphor for drugs, especially when you think of a group of lazy teenagers experimenting.

stormwreath
21-01-08, 11:52 AM
I always got the impression that was kind of what Giles was getting into in the 'Ripper' days I refer the honourable poster to my quotation of Giles' dialogue in 'The Dark Age' on the previous page. :)

A drugs metaphor was exactly what they were doing there, and it was a pretty blatant one. Giles dropped out of university, got involved with a rough crowd doing dangerous drugs^W magic and getting high on it - until one of them took an overdose and died.

Tigger96
21-01-08, 03:06 PM
Personally, I really liked the arc of Willow. I won't say I enjoyed all of it, some of it was too realistic for me, but that has more to do with my family issues than anything else. Frankly, from my point of view, I believe that the addiction arc was well done and, I believe, had been building for a couple of years.

First of all, what is the underlying factor for most addicts? Don't they turn to alcohol, drugs, gambling, (insert something not so innocuous), smoking etc. because they don't like who they are? They want to fit in? They are hiding or running away from something, most likely themselves?

Yes, Willow's addiction was power. But, her access to that power was magick.

Willow has always been insecure and has always felt a need to be able to contribute to the group -- we've established this already. Once she discovered magick, her smarts alone weren't good enough. She now had the ability to contribute in such a way that even Buffy couldn't offer, and Buffy was the Slayer. And she soon had access to more powers than Giles, which would then make her indispensible to the group. Well, as Buffy gets stronger and becomes a better Slayer, Willow's gotta keep up and become a better, more proficient witch. I mean, come on, they continously made cracks at her abilities up until S5. She was still a fledgling witch.

True, in the beginning, Willow used her magick to help others. She started out small...don't they all? But she soon began to use that power to help herself, to fit things to her liking, as Tara says. (Something Blue is the first that comes to mind as being completely selfishly based.) To fit things to the way she thinks they should be. As Anya says, someone such as Willow is more suceptible to the allure of real power...those who've never had it will go for broke once they get a taste of it. They aren't able to see when enough is enough. Something that was once so far beyond them is now just within their grasp. Oz also approached this when he said that he worries about her getting hurt. (Another drug analogy -- "I'll know when I've reached my limit." I believe another would be way back toward the beginning, when she & Buffy are talking at the end of 'Dead Man's Party': B: "Does it scare you?" W: "It has." And Giles has always been concerned w/ Willow's amount of dabbling, considering his own experiences.) Okay, back to the subject at hand...

But Willow really jumped over the line when she brought Buffy back from the grave. This, I believe, was the beginning of the end. This is where she really started to show her cockiness and stopped consulting the others. She could do it, and in her mind it would fix the situation, so she just does it. You can see very clearly in 'Bargaining' how deeply it affects her to kill the fawn. I think that is about the last shred of the true Willow we see. From here she begins to spiral out of control and let the magicks take over. The very next episode she takes complete control of the spell she and Tara are doing together.

Willow is attuned with the magickal forces and can bend those forces to her will. This power courses through her veins. She does not have the ability to make it through a day w/o magick, thus an addiction is realized. Tara leaves and, out of depression, Willow goes on a magick-binge w/ Amy, the only other magickally-attuned person around. The next day she is coerced to a 'dealer' of sorts, and I agree with stormwreath in that Willow believes she is using him. Then, in 'Wrecked', everything falls to hell, again. I don't believe that Willow's demise was as sudden as some seem to think. It was all very gradual and something you could see coming for a long time, if you knew the signs to look for. But, like Buffy, we don't want to believe this about a person we love, so we ignore the signs and make excuses.

Then, once Tara is killed, Willow has absolutely no reason for being anymore. She could live w/o the magick, as long as she had Tara, someone who loved her and would support her through thick and thin. But w/o her, what's the point of going on? So she gets a big dose, and, yeah, gets all cocky again, and her true feelings about her abilities vs. the Slayer's come out. Please tell me that we don't think she's had those feelings or thoughts prior to 'Wrecked'. Here's the big bad Slayer, brought back from the Grave by the powerful Wicca and unable to deal. Three little nerds are ruining her life. I know it's not the Willow we all know and love, but doesn't everyone have brief moments of thoughts along that nature? And addictions will bring out the ugly side of people

Okay, I'm pretty sure I'm beginning to ramble, so I'm gonna close here. But, IMO, the addiction arc was well done, well thought out, and I believe was building for a couple years, at least.

stormwreath
21-01-08, 08:14 PM
Personally, I really liked the arc of Willow.Excellent summary, and I pretty much agree with all of it. Well, except for one small bit: :)

her true feelings about her abilities vs. the Slayer's come out. Please tell me that we don't think she's had those feelings or thoughts prior to 'Wrecked'.Actually, I do. I think she's always had them... but only in the sense that all of us, even the nicest and kindest people, have little niggling resentments and bitternesses stored away. Normally we hide them, or perhaps vent occasionally to our friends, and get on with life. It's no big deal.

But in late S6 Willow's despair and self-hatred and the malign influence of the magick all combine to make her petty resentments boil up and magnify themselves - and take her over. It's scary, precisely because Willow isn't really an evil person; she's no worse than you or I would be in a similar situation.

Maggie
21-01-08, 09:41 PM
I do think they could have played the drugs storyline in mid-S6 better - just like they could with the Spike soul storyline - but I've never understood the outright bitter hatred of it that so many people seem to have. I suspect it's something to do with having had to watch these mysterious 'after-school specials' that so many American posters compare S6 with, and fortunately I've never experienced... ;)


Sorry for popping in late, and am probably just repeating what others have said. Even if we grant that a pleasure-component was there, and maybe even became a significant component of Willow's problem with magic, the magic-as-drugs story line read like a total cop-out on the real problem, which all related to her personality as King said. Addicts are responsible for being addicts, but then we dismiss their subsequent bad behavior as due to the fact that they weren't in control any more. And Willow's bad deeds to that point were totally NOT done while under the influence. They were deliberate choices, that had a well-established solid base in her personality. And they were, frankly, quite horrifying. Her disregard for Tara's autonomy was chilling. And she did it TWICE. Then they swap in the drug-addiction metaphor, and Tara's condition for taking Willow back is NOT that Willow admit that she overrode Tara's autonomy twice, but rather that Willow has finally gotten control of her over-reliance on magic. It dodged the issue entirely. I love Tara, and I think it was fairly criminal that they would have her taking back a lover who has not acknowledged, much less repented for having tried to take away her free will.

The arc also incenses me because the had been setting up dark Willow for years. It had been a beautiful, careful development. And then they smoosh on this magic-addiction thing in a way that allows her to be 'cured' without ever having come to terms with the issues they had carefully set up. Am still waiting to see if this will be fixed in the comics, but am not so optimistic that it will be.

Bubblecat
21-01-08, 09:51 PM
To me the storyline suffered, because as soon as there was an element of pleasure in the power of the magic she was feeling then it automatically became very similar to what we see when someone on hard drugs.

This meant that there had to be a decision and discussion about the similarity which really meant that it became too much of a analogy imho. I've always seen the real issue of control of knowledge and the power it can give to be the actual discussion surrounding Willow's issues, not the addiction to magic.

stormwreath
21-01-08, 10:49 PM
The arc also incenses me because the had been setting up dark Willow for years. It had been a beautiful, careful development. And then they smoosh on this magic-addiction thing in a way that allows her to be 'cured' without ever having come to terms with the issues they had carefully set up.I disagree, because I don't believe that Willow's arc ended in 'Gone'.

She and her friends thought that the cure was "give up magic", sure. They were wrong. All of Willow's underlying personality issues - lack of self-esteem; deeply hidden resentment at being 'the sidekick'; a vengeful streak that was cute when she took revenge on Cordelia in 'The Harvest', but less so when she skinned Warren alive; and an arrogant belief that she can fix things for everyone - re-emerged in full force during the finale. It was those things, not so-called magic addiction, that were driving her then.

And in season 7 she was forced to come to terms with that: she'd believed herself to be a fundamentally good person who, by definition, couldn't do anything evil; and she'd had total self-confidence in her ability to always get things right and fix anything. Both of those were proven wrong in season 6, and she took most of season 7 to process the lessons and move on.

Maggie
21-01-08, 11:24 PM
I disagree, because I don't believe that Willow's arc ended in 'Gone'.

She and her friends thought that the cure was "give up magic", sure. They were wrong. All of Willow's underlying personality issues - lack of self-esteem; deeply hidden resentment at being 'the sidekick'; a vengeful streak that was cute when she took revenge on Cordelia in 'The Harvest', but less so when she skinned Warren alive; and an arrogant belief that she can fix things for everyone - re-emerged in full force during the finale. It was those things, not so-called magic addiction, that were driving her then.

I agree that it continued past 'Gone'. That's why I made of point about Tara's reconciliation with Willow in Seeing Red. The one that we were supposed to be happy about (setting up her tragic demise), despite the fact that to that point, Willow had certainly not acknowledged that there was something terribly wrong with her desire to take away her lover's free will.

Agree that they hit some of the other issues in the final. But it was still undercut by the magic addiction theme. Which re-emerged in some of the dialogue in season 7 (e.g. Lessons). Feel free to point me to the places where the season 7 coming to terms had to do with her personality problems, apart from the 'magic' issue. I should add that I'm skeptical that something as basic to Willow's personality as her unwillingness to suffer (and her control issues, and her insecurity, etc. etc. etc.) would have just gone away so that we can credibly have a perfectly healthy person by the end of season 7.

Willow's complexity was one of my favorite things, and they waved a magic wand (pun intended) and she was all better. And what's frustrating is that in the Joss verse, characters' epiphanies never just make underlying problems go away. How many times has Angel had to revisit his issues? Or Buffy? Not sure why Willow didn't get the same courtesy. We never just get to get rid of basic personality traits. We just get to learn better ways of coping with them. Not seeing that in Willow.

Weredog
22-01-08, 12:56 AM
I agree that it continued past 'Gone'. That's why I made of point about Tara's reconciliation with Willow in Seeing Red. The one that we were supposed to be happy about (setting up her tragic demise), despite the fact that to that point, Willow had certainly not acknowledged that there was something terribly wrong with her desire to take away her lover's free will.

Willow does acknowledge her fault for casting spells on Tara in "Wrecked":

WILLOW: The magic, I thought I had it under control, and then ... I didn't.
BUFFY: Because of Tara?
WILLOW: No. It started before she left. It's why she left.

Willow attempts to rekindle with Tara by convincing her that she no longer needs to rely on magic to be emotionally secure ("Dead Things") and Tara appreciates it, but realizes that it'll take a bit more to convince her.
But finally, Tara tells her that despite how much Willow still has to prove to her, she wants to skip all that:

TARA: I'm sorry, it's just... You know, it takes time. You can't just ... have coffee and expect--
WILLOW: I know.
TARA: There's just so much to work through. Trust has to be built again, on both sides ...You have to learn if ... if we're even the same people we were, if you can fit in each other's lives.

I'm not sure what more the writers could've done.


Feel free to point me to the places where the season 7 coming to terms had to do with her personality problems, apart from the 'magic' issue.

You want an episode in season 7 where Willow dealt with her insecurity? "Same Time, Same Place" explores this idea. Willow was worried that her friends would not welcome her home, and her magic (again) took course and falsely solved this insecurity. Anya had to convince her that they there for her. This destroyed the curse.

Maggie
22-01-08, 01:45 AM
Willow does acknowledge her fault for casting spells on Tara in "Wrecked":

WILLOW: The magic, I thought I had it under control, and then ... I didn't.
BUFFY: Because of Tara?
WILLOW: No. It started before she left. It's why she left.

This is exactly what I have a problem with. She says that her *magic* was the problem. Tara left, on this account, because Willow couldn't control her use of magic. It doesn't address the fact that the way Willow chose to use her magic was to negate her free will.


Willow attempts to rekindle with Tara by convincing her that she no longer needs to rely on magic to be emotionally secure ("Dead Things") and Tara appreciates it, but realizes that it'll take a bit more to convince her.

And again, how about Willow saying that she needs to be emotionally secure enough to not try to take over her lover's mind? It's still about her reliance on magic, and not on the fact that she used the magic to negate Tara's free will. TWICE.



But finally, Tara tells her that despite how much Willow still has to prove to her, she wants to skip all that:

I'm not sure what more the writers could've done.

They could have held Willow accountable for overriding Tara's will. Tara and Willow had sex when Tara's memory of their fight had been wiped out. It was a gross violation of her personal integrity. And Willow never apologized for it. She apologized for relying too much on magic; not for the particular uses to which she put that magic -- uses which show that she's not thinking of her partner as a partner. It was different in kind from decorating the house with a snap of her fingers -- but that distinction was never addressed.

Tigger96
22-01-08, 03:07 AM
Actually, I do. I think she's always had them... but only in the sense that all of us, even the nicest and kindest people, have little niggling resentments and bitternesses stored away. Normally we hide them, or perhaps vent occasionally to our friends, and get on with life. It's no big deal.
I apologize, I actually worded this incorrectly. I meant the opposite of what came out. So, allow me to correct my comment: I’m sure we all realize Willow has, at one time or another, had these thoughts/feelings toward Buffy prior to 'Wrecked'. They are clearly visible in S4 at times. (Thanks for clarifying.)


Even if we grant that a pleasure-component was there, and maybe even became a significant component of Willow's problem with magic, the magic-as-drugs story line read like a total cop-out on the real problem, which all related to her personality as King said. Addicts are responsible for being addicts, but then we dismiss their subsequent bad behavior as due to the fact that they weren't in control any more.

Of course addicts are responsible for being addicts. They are the only one's making the decisions of how to deal with their problems. We, as family, lovers, friends, can sometimes see the bad decisions being made and foresee the probable outcome. (That is not always the case at first, though, ie. Buffy) When it comes to Willow, I don’t see this as a pleasure component, at least not completely. Her way of dealing with her problems has always been to hide behind her powers. Unlike Buffy, who wishes to be as normal as possible despite her powers, Willow needs these powers to feel like she is someone of worth. She has been doing this from the moment she discovered magick. But, w/o the magick, her behavior would not have been nearly as extreme as it became.


And Willow's bad deeds to that point were totally NOT done while under the influence. They were deliberate choices, that had a well-established solid base in her personality. And they were, frankly, quite horrifying. Her disregard for Tara's autonomy was chilling. And she did it TWICE. Then they swap in the drug-addiction metaphor, and Tara's condition for taking Willow back is NOT that Willow admit that she overrode Tara's autonomy twice, but rather that Willow has finally gotten control of her over-reliance on magic. It dodged the issue entirely. I love Tara, and I think it was fairly criminal that they would have her taking back a lover who has not acknowledged, much less repented for having tried to take away her free will.

Willow uses her magick to help 'make things better.' She said as much to Tara, that she didn't realize the implications of messing w/ Tara's mind, but that she just wanted them not to fight. I think Tara got the point across quite clearly when mentioning Glory and by leaving. Tara could clearly see that Willow’s problem was much larger than magick (as is the case w/ most addicts), but she also realized that those other problems are what tempt Willow to use magick for the wrong reasons. If Willow had never gotten involved in magick, she would have been forced to find other ways to deal w/ these every-day life issues. However, since she had the ability, she used the easy way out. (Very common of an addict) But, the over-use of magick is the first thing that Willow has to overcome, before she can even begin to work on the other issues that tempt her to magick in the first place. And once Willow was free of that hold, Tara was not only willing, but wanted, to be there to help w/ the other steps. We need that support from the ones we love when trying to overcome such a problem. There’s only so far you can go on your own. I, too, love Tara, but I can understand where she's coming from.

It’s true, most of the gang thought that Willow overcoming magick would ‘fix’ the problem. So did Willow. They were proven wrong, though, and were forced to realize that this was not the only issue. There is often a misconception, when first dealing w/ an addiction, as to what the true, underlying reasons for the addiction are. That’s what the training in England was all about. Not just controlling the power w/in herself, but dealing w/ life w/o the use of magick and finding other ways to handle those life issues. Her continuous struggle was shown in S7. As mentioned previously, Same Time, Same Place is the best, most thorough example. However, there are other little mentions throughout the season that show her struggle and force her to deal w/ issues w/o magick.


The arc also incenses me because the had been setting up dark Willow for years. It had been a beautiful, careful development. And then they smoosh on this magic-addiction thing in a way that allows her to be 'cured' without ever having come to terms with the issues they had carefully set up. Am still waiting to see if this will be fixed in the comics, but am not so optimistic that it will be.

True, the set-up had been carefully structured, but I believe it was always meant to be an addiction arc. Just think of the instances that have been mentioned before:
Beer Bad – W: I’ll know when I’ve reached my limit
Oz to Willow: I worry about you. I know what it’s like to have a power inside me I can’t control.
Dark Ages – G: It was a great high.
Who Are You – the extremely charged scene w/ Willow & Tara
Tough Love – T: It frightens me how powerful you’re becoming.

Willow uses magick to hide from who she really is, to fix things to her liking, to be accepted/found worthy – all classic signs of an addict. If you have never been closely affected by an addiction and the process that happens, it may be very hard to see that this is where Willow was headed all along, thus the addiction theme seems like a cop-out for the writers. I, on the other hand, fully believe that Willow’s addiction was planned from the beginning.

buffyholic
22-01-08, 01:05 PM
For me, Willow uses magicks for her own benefits. We can tell by "Tabula Rasa" where at the end she uses magicks in order for Tara to forget all about the fight and be all happy together. She doesn´t want to go through a fight or even the pain, so she uses magicks to make her comfortable, like in "Something Blue" when she makes a spell to have her will done. She only cares about the easy parts and when something is wrong, she uses a spell to forget, to make everything easy again, no matter how it cost other people´s lives. And she always plays the victim, other people are always wrong. And of course, she wants the magicks because it makes into someone powerful, someone other people respect.

ykickamoocow
24-01-08, 03:39 PM
All this metaphor crap which Buffy fans were bombarded with in season 6 is one of the main reasons i hate the season. Before season 6 the show had metahpor's but they werent so obvious. The writers kepted trying to drill these metaphors done our throats like we were 10 years old. Some of the stuff Joss came up with in this season was complete crap. The way he talks in interviews you get the impression that after finishing high school all people go into a spiral of depression where they sleep with people they hate and get addicted to drugs which is complete crap. I have lots of friends who are in their early 20's and none of them are drug addicts and none of them have sex with people they hate.

Tigger96
25-01-08, 03:16 AM
All this metaphor crap which Buffy fans were bombarded with in season 6 is one of the main reasons i hate the season. Before season 6 the show had metahpor's but they werent so obvious. The writers kepted trying to drill these metaphors done our throats like we were 10 years old. Some of the stuff Joss came up with in this season was complete crap. The way he talks in interviews you get the impression that after finishing high school all people go into a spiral of depression where they sleep with people they hate and get addicted to drugs which is complete crap. I have lots of friends who are in their early 20's and none of them are drug addicts and none of them have sex with people they hate.

If that is what you get from the season and Joss' interviews, then I think you greatly misunderstood both the message of the season and Joss. You say that the metaphors were shoved down our throats, but your comments seem to say that you believe Joss was attempting to be literal. You contradict yourself.

First of all, Joss has never indicated that he thought all young adults would have the same experience or spiral into depression. (Xander?) However, the time immediately following high school or college is very often a time of searching for a 20-something. Many don’t know what they want out of life or where they are headed. They are entering the real world and, as the season indicates, Life is the big bad. Life is a struggle, I’m sure we all can relate. This time of searching for who you are is sometimes a dark time. And we all know that a lot of the series is grounded in Joss’ life…maybe he went through some of these same experiences and felt the things our friends on BtVS did.

I think it’s fair to say that no one has been through what Buffy was put through in that first episode: being ripped from Heaven and peace and rest and dragged back into a world full of pain and fighting and strife. She did not know how to cope and she didn’t handle it well. She went through a dark, depressive state. That is where the abusive relationship comes in. There are many 20-somethings that can relate to that. No, they don’t necessarily have sex with someone they hate, but they often do many things they aren’t proud of. If you hate yourself, you will do things that are unhealthy and punishing. They will do many things that are “out of character” for them.

Willow’s addiction was another metaphor, but not just for drugs. People get addicted to any number of things, and that addiction affects their life and the lives of those around them in a profound way. As has been mentioned before in this thread, Dark Willow had been building for years and, I believe, the addiction has always been a part of that. Looking back through the years you can see indications of this. This storyline was in no way meant to infer that all young people would go through an addiction, but some do.

We never want to see characters we care about go through such times. I feel this is the reason some people dislike the season so much. But BtVS was always meant to mirror life in one sense or another. The difference between S6 and the others is that the covers were pulled back and what we see is very raw and shocking and in-your-face. It focused on the many difficult aspects of life. I’m not saying that S6 is my favorite season…it’s not. And there are some episodes I have a hard time watching. But the season was very well done and very realistic. If you and your friends have never experienced any of the dark feelings or hard issues and decisions our characters do, then I consider you very blessed. I don’t personally know anyone who hasn’t felt at least a little of the some of the things the Scoobies do. I know that I can relate to some very specific issues the season covers; I can relate to some of the feelings shown. Life is hard, raw, shocking, and in-your-face.

Rosely
25-01-08, 09:32 AM
I think it’s fair to say that no one has been through what Buffy was put through in that first episode: being ripped from Heaven and peace and rest and dragged back into a world full of pain and fighting and strife. She did not know how to cope and she didn’t handle it well. She went through a dark, depressive state. That is where the abusive relationship comes in. There are many 20-somethings that can relate to that. No, they don’t necessarily have sex with someone they hate, but they often do many things they aren’t proud of. If you hate yourself, you will do things that are unhealthy and punishing. They will do many things that are “out of character” for them.

It was also a way for Buffy to feel anything. She was numb and indeed depressed when she was pulled out of heaven, she fought with the reasons of her own existence and all that made her numb. Sleeping with Spike made her feel something, anything, even if it was hate, it was to feel. Cause feeling something is better then feeling nothing.
I don't think she actually hated Spike at that moment, not any more. She hated herself, for sleeping with the person that she should hate.

It's something in extremes, but I do think that there were people who could relate to the emptiness inside her and her desperation to fill it up one way or the other.

But... getting off topic :o

buffyholic
25-01-08, 05:25 PM
Tigger, I completely agree with you. Dark Willow was something that was brewing for two or three seasons already, this isn´t something out of the blue. Just remember Something Blue where she wants everthing to be done her way, so that way she couldn´t suffer like that. And I also agree with you on the season. The message was that sometimes a lot of teens are confused and don´t know what they want. I agree that Willow´s addiction might have been poorly executed but the idea was there, but Buffy´s arc is excellent. Willow and Buffy don´t see each other´s problems because both are dealing with temptation and lust. And that, for me gives me a lot to think about. It´s truly fascinating. The Willow thing might not be well done, but that is not a reason to discard the season and say it was crap. This season provokes me a lot of thought and it´s truly fascinating. To support Buffy´s arc, I suggest you rewatch Dead Things, at least, ykickamoocow. It´s really fascinating and I love the fact that they bring her back to life and she is depressed and is forced to deal with the real life throughout the entire season. They messed everything up and making everything right is not that easy.

Cinderela
26-01-08, 08:35 AM
Sorry for popping in late, and am probably just repeating what others have said. Even if we grant that a pleasure-component was there, and maybe even became a significant component of Willow's problem with magic, the magic-as-drugs story line read like a total cop-out on the real problem, which all related to her personality as King said.

And I am popping in really late on this and am kind of surprised that I seem to have a *unique* view on this. I had been watching with great interest and anticipation this "setting up" of Dark Willow going all the way back to S2 (Becoming).

But it's my idea that the "fatal flaw" of her personality isn't so much insecurity or a lust for power, but an intense need for control. She has always exhibited a tremendous need to CONTROL the world around her, to arrange things to the way SHE thinks they should be. Granted, for the most part, she is sincere in her desire to help her friends, but that doesn't change the fact that she wants to arrange things the way SHE wants them.

Reference - "resolve face" in Becoming, insisting only *she* is the right person to try the "restore Angel's soul* spell, moving through S3 with Lover's Walk, Gingerbread (enter Amy the Rat), The Zeppo, Doppelgangland, Choices - on through S4 with Something Blue, A New Man, Out of My Mind, Triangle, Tough Love, Spiral, The Weight of The World.....well you get the idea. Will has always tried to CONTROL the outcome to HER satisfaction and it does not seem to occur to her that HER outcome wouldn't be the one everyone else would want. Power is only the way to the ultimate goal - CONTROL. If she has POWER, she can have what she REALLY wants - CONTROL.


The arc also incenses me because the had been setting up dark Willow for years. It had been a beautiful, careful development. And then they smoosh on this magic-addiction thing in a way that allows her to be 'cured' without ever having come to terms with the issues they had carefully set up. Am still waiting to see if this will be fixed in the comics, but am not so optimistic that it will be.

Exactly! That is what I was saying above. They turned this beautiful, thoughtful, years-in-the-making process into an ugly, out of nowhere "drug addiction". And, as if we were so dense that we didn't get it before, they had to smack us in the face with it in Two To Go "Willow's a junkie!"

And it's not like crappy decisions/bad actions have not been forgiven in the past, by everyone. (Buffy tried to KILL them and was forgiven!) With no lame "I can't control it" addiction excuse. Almost ANYTHING can be addicting to someone!

I am not so optimistic that we will see this addressed in the comic, either.

But that's why so many Willow lovers HATE the addiction arc, but LOVE S6!

stormwreath
26-01-08, 12:50 PM
But it's my idea that the "fatal flaw" of her personality isn't so much insecurity or a lust for power, but an intense need for control.Ah, but I'd argue that her need for control is a direct consequence of her insecurity. :p She's used to things going wrong, people ignoring her, people leaving her, people writing her off as "just Willow". Magic seems to offer her a way to change that, to fix her problems, to make the world make sense again.

Just saying she has a 'need for control' makes her sound like an insane puppetmaster making other people dance to her every whim, while ignoring the reasons why she wants to get into control. Sure, we've seen her doing the puppetmaster thing unintentionally in 'Something Blue' but she was horrified at herself afterwards; and in 'Smashed', the Bronze scene was a sign of how far Willow had fallen and been corrupted. (I think here she was mostly acting out in an attempt to impress Amy, and also deliberately doing something she knew Tara would strongly disapprove of out of resentment). Finally, she cast the forget spell on Tara because she hated the arguments and Tara's accusations and wanted things to be right between them again: she was genuinely shocked and horrified when Tara said she felt violated and disempowered.

There's also the fact that Willow, as I said before, is used to being right. She may be insecure about her social skills, but not about her intellect. So when there's a crisis, she trusts the one thing she knows she can rely on... her own brain. That means doing things her way without bothering to explain or justify what she's doing, because it would take too long. (Remember, her lifelong best friend is Xander... :D )

kana
27-01-08, 04:59 AM
I think someone actually mentioned the parallel with Warren which is a little scary. Both people who were picked on in high school who used their intellect and skill to overcompensate and control events around them. What freaked me out looking back at Season 5 is how Willow was the one who identified with Warren.

But I suppose like it was said, Willow's personality is what informed her addiction. You can almost get addicted to anything and it was Willow's attitude toward magic that informed the consequences to it and with magic, it seems mindset and attitude is important as is anything that involves a lot of power. Tara seems to respect the natural balance of nature and how magic atunes with that. This is something Willow learned later I guess.

Cinderela
27-01-08, 03:40 PM
Ah, but I'd argue that her need for control is a direct consequence of her insecurity. :p She's used to things going wrong, people ignoring her, people leaving her, people writing her off as "just Willow". Magic seems to offer her a way to change that, to fix her problems, to make the world make sense again.

I'd agree that's why she took up magic to begin with. But we haven't seen the kind of insecurity you described since early S2. As she grew into herself and her self image as a Wicca, the indecision that goes with hyper insecurity has naturally gone away. Super-achievers like Willow want things to be RIGHT. Magic was a way to control her world - as much as any part of life is able to be controlled.


Just saying she has a 'need for control' makes her sound like an insane puppetmaster making other people dance to her every whim, while ignoring the reasons why she wants to get into control. Sure, we've seen her doing the puppetmaster thing unintentionally in 'Something Blue' but she was horrified at herself afterwards; and in 'Smashed', the Bronze scene was a sign of how far Willow had fallen and been corrupted. (I think here she was mostly acting out in an attempt to impress Amy, and also deliberately doing something she knew Tara would strongly disapprove of out of resentment). Finally, she cast the forget spell on Tara because she hated the arguments and Tara's accusations and wanted things to be right between them again: she was genuinely shocked and horrified when Tara said she felt violated and disempowered.

Oh, no, I didn't mean that's she's an insane puppetmaster at all. The REASONS she manipulates circumstances via magic (or in any other way) is the EXACT cause of the problem. And your examples are the perfect ones - she was horrified that the RESULT of the spells wasn't what she intended, which was for everything to be "fine". that her motivation and intent were sincere and honorable is what makes everything even worse. She was horrified at the end result, NOT that she attempted to manipulate the circumstances to HER VIEW of what right should be.


There's also the fact that Willow, as I said before, is used to being right. She may be insecure about her social skills, but not about her intellect. So when there's a crisis, she trusts the one thing she knows she can rely on... her own brain. That means doing things her way without bothering to explain or justify what she's doing, because it would take too long. (Remember, her lifelong best friend is Xander... :D )

Or because she thinks everyone would agree with her, because she's almost always right. And your assumptions about Will's reaction in a crisis are spot on. But, I still believe CONTROL is at the bottom of the issue, not insecurity. I do have a *unique* point of view because I'm Willow's mother - figuratively, of course. My own daughter mirrors Willow in every way (well, not the most powerful Wicca in the western world! :roll:). But I recognized from an early age a deep seeded need to make things "right" and a willingness to do whatever it took to make them right. And the same kind of out of control craziness when something happened that could not be made RIGHT, despite all insane efforts. Acceptance that there are things beyond control is a quantum leap forward in the maturing process.

And these are all the reasons I HATE the "junkie" story line of S6. I had so been looking forward to all the years of Willow's character development having to deal with these issues of hers.....then they do a TOTAL cop-out and went with the "junkie" arc....it seemed cheap and out of place....so very beneath Willow.

buffyholic
28-01-08, 02:35 PM
I feel that she uses magic also to cover her insecurity. She says it herself to Buffy in "Smashed" that Tara never knew the Willow of before and if she did, she might not have loved her. She feels that, without the magics, she is nobody and nobody will love her and respect her like they do.

my 100th post. I´m so happy!:2party: