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Thread: Xander's Lie in Becoming

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    I already posted my thoughts in the Mark Watches thread but I'll break them down here too;

    I believe Xander's primary motivation was to save the world. He didn't believe that Buffy would fight with all her gusto if she knew Willow was working on cursing Angel again. So in the heat of the moment (I agree it wasn’t planned) he lied because he thought he had too. He wasn’t motivated by his hatred of Angel, or out of jealousy, and he does indeed look guilty about it as Buffy walks away.

    But Xander’s personal feelings are in the mix. He’s not one who can block them out completely and I do believe, as evident by how he handles similar situations later on, that it was his extreme dislike of Angel that made this lie possible. When faced with a very similar situation in Selfless he’s incapable of seeing the big picture because he cares for her. Likewise, there’s absolutely no indication whatsoever that Xander ever contemplated killing Willow and seemed quite prepared to have her kill him before he’d ever attempt to do so. So whilst his dislike of Angel may not have been what motivated him it most certainly did make the choice easier for him. They spend a great deal of S2 establishing how much Xander loathed the guy (even before he lost his soul) and not only had him promise Angelus that he’d be there when he died, but they wrote him as not wanting to even try and re-curse him only one episode earlier. To say his personal feelings weren’t in the mix would be far too generous and far too rose-coloured.

    I've never held the lie against Xander. I do think it had some really unfortunate consequences for the characters, in particular Buffy/Willow's relationship and how Buffy felt about her friends in general, but most of that is unforeseeable. It's not something I actually expect somebody to consider in the heat of the moment when his lie wasn't premeditated. Personally, if I were to be angry at Xander about anything it would be his terribly insensitive and moronic comment that “most girls don’t jump the greyhound over boy troubles.” Trivialising the severely traumatic situation with Angelus as “boy troubles” is far more reprehensible to me than his lie in S2 ever was.
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  3. #22
    Library Researcher dina's Avatar
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    I think it's one of the main reasons Buffy doesn't return to her friends after sacrificing Angel
    That, thank you for reminding it to me. With all those posts I've forgotten what I wanted to say when writing about Giles being safe in the next room and Buffy saving him at the end.

    If Xander hadn't lied about it Buffy wouldn't have had to kill Angel. Or better she would have known that there was a possibility that she would have to kill him. On the contrary, she fights Angelus, and when she's ready to kill him, surprise! Angel comes back and the pain is unbearable. So in Buffy's eyes Willow tells her to kick his ass while at the same time she performs the curse and gives him back his soul. And Buffy must send Angel to hell instead of soulless Angelus. Add the fact that her mother told her to not come back, and she feels isolated from everyone. And she runs away, feeling alone and betrayed by everyone.


    Seems to you are the only one who has expressed that view so far, if it's so common why would that be the case? You can't possibly convince that the die hard Bangel shippers for instance would have given a damn if Xander told a lie or just omitted to tell the truth.
    Seems to me that you've only saw me expressing that opinion because I have seen others as well. And as for the hardcore Bangels, those probably believe that
    Spoiler:
    Buffy is elephant pregnant to Angel's child
    so I really don't take them under consideration when I talk general about the fandom. I only take under consideration the sane Bangels.

    Why not? If anything it seems more likely for Joss to change things in the last minute when he is a director rather than when someone else is. And in any event, the shooting script only point to what was intended to be shown, so even if Joss actually intended for the scene to come off as Xander having decided already that he was going to lie, I couldn't care less if what I see on my screen tells me the opposite.
    Which still you haven't told me what is that you saw that proves the opposite.
    Xander and Buffy are walking.
    Xander sees the sword and says that's new for her.
    Buffy says it's a gift for Angel.
    She still walks.
    Camera only on Xander.
    Xander stops walking.
    Turns on Buffy.
    Tells her that Willow told him to tell her something.
    He hesitates.
    Camera on Buffy.
    Buffy still waiting to hear what is Willow's message.
    No word from Xander.
    Buffy finally asks, "what did Willow say?"
    Camera on Xander.
    He has his mouth wide open.
    He says that Willow told him to tell her to kick his ass.
    Buffy continues walking.
    Xander still seems confused and full of hesitation and guilt.
    Follows her.
    End of scene.

    You're right, there is a change in attitude and in voice. But not in Buffy. Buffy is determined all the way. The change in attitude and in voice and in way of acting is in Xander. Look at the way he talks to her when he first finds her and look at the way the scene ends.

    And Dawn is not even real. Buffy's love for Dawn is no more real than her love for Jonathan, R.J. Brooks and Xander in 'Superstar', 'Him' and 'B, B & B' respectively.
    Buffy's love for Dawn was real. The monks implanted the memories, the love for her sister grew inside her. The monks didn't implant love for Dawn.

    whereas Dawn is merely a ball of energy that was disguised as a girl a few months ago.
    Not disguised, became a human. Huge difference. Became her sister. Was made out of Buffy's blood.

    It was easily one of the most decisive and adult decisions any of the Scoobies ever made in the run of the series up to this point.
    That's your opinion. Don't generalize it. Because Buffy was ready to face and kill Angel. That wasn't an adult decision, that was not believing in Buffy that he had to lie to her to prove his point.

    If they ever do decide to revisit it I hope it's only for Xander to say he did the right thing and would do it again.
    Like @Vampmogs said, they kind of revisited it already. Only the second time he was ready to die in order to stop Willow. And he was ready to die in order to stop Buffy from killing Anya. And when he actually had the chance to talk about it the 4th time, he said nothing. Talking about double standards here, this character has plenty when it comes to something he loves and cherishes. That's just Xander's nature.
    Last edited by dina; 02-02-12 at 01:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dina View Post
    Like @Vampmogs said, they kind of revisited it already. Only the second time he was ready to die in order to stop Willow. And he was ready to die in order to stop Buffy from killing Anya. And when he actually had the chance to talk about it the 4th time, he said nothing. Talking about double standards here, this character has plenty when it comes to something he loves and cherishes. That's just Xander's nature.
    Can you say: big fat logical fallacy? You are bashing Xander for thinking of the big picture in 'Becoming' and you are also bashing him for not thinking of the big picture in a different situation. This whole argument is nonsensical. No, scratch that: this whole argument is downright idiotic. It's like complaining about Faith killing people while simultaneously complaining about her decision to turn herself into jail. If you disliked Xander for the lie, you should be praising his character development and his conduct re: Willow and Anya in the later seasons. You aren't, which means you're contradicting your own argument. Which means your argument is complete and utter nonsense.

    Buffy's love for Dawn was real. The monks implanted the memories, the love for her sister grew inside her. The monks didn't implant love for Dawn.
    So? Buffy's worship of Jonathan in 'Superstar' was also based on fake memories. For example, she believed he starred in 'The Matrix', which obviously wasn't the case.

    Not disguised, became a human. Huge difference. Became her sister. Was made out of Buffy's blood.
    The fact still remains - she was an object. An object that everyone was forced to love because they received fake memories. In 'Gingerbread' a demon takes the guise of two children to manipulate people into doing his bidding - does that mean the Scoobies should have left that demon alone?
    Last edited by Artea; 02-02-12 at 01:45 AM.



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    Quote Originally Posted by dina View Post
    That, thank you for reminding it to me. With all those posts I've forgotten what I wanted to say when writing about Giles being safe in the next room and Buffy saving him at the end.
    The idea that "Giles was safe in the next room" would be absurd enough to ignore if I didn't have to ask... what it matters?

    I mean, it should go without saying, and absolutely WOULD go without saying in a real world armed rescue situation that the hostages aren't "safe in the next room" while the fighting, shooting, and stabbing are going on. You get them out of the picture as fast as safely possible, because otherwise, they are just there to be used as human shields or there to be slaughtered gratuitously for a distraction or psychological ploy. It's a complete joke to think that Buffy would or should have even considered not taking Xander along to get Giles out once she had him with her, because that was the smartest and most tactical thing to do, period. "Safe in the next room", heh.

    But... why does this even come up? What is the purpose? To establish Xander served no other purpose in being there? Because that doesn't work either -- he had as just as much reason to be there as Buffy herself did, even if he doesn't have her skills and resources, because he lives in the world too, he was in just as much danger, and if Buffy had been shot in the back by that cop when she escaped than sure as hell Xander and/or Oz and/or Cordy and/or Willow would have marched on that mansion to try to save their world.

    If Xander hadn't lied about it Buffy wouldn't have had to kill Angel. Or better she would have known that there was a possibility that she would have to kill him. On the contrary, she fights Angelus, and when she's ready to kill him, surprise! Angel comes back and the pain is unbearable. So in Buffy's eyes Willow tells her to kick his ass while at the same time she performs the curse and gives him back his soul. And Buffy must send Angel to hell instead of soulless Angelus. Add the fact that her mother told her to not come back, and she feels isolated from everyone. And she runs away, feeling alone and betrayed by everyone.
    Buffy proved in "Becoming, Part I" she couldn't actually beat Angel when she was fighting in "curse-stall mode". You are not recognizing that which should be obvious -- she won the fight because she was fighting to kill him. It is frankly naive to act like that fight would have unfolded blow for blow in the same way if Buffy's real motivation was to stall long enough for Willow to curse him, instead of to defeat and kill him.

    Which, by the way, she was supposed to wait how long? 15 minutes? A half hour? Until Willow told Cordy to drive over there and tell Buffy it hadn't worked? The stalling for the curse plan would have been sheer idiocy, since Buffy would have had absolutely no way to know if she should keep waiting or move on to trying to kill him.

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    Can you say: big fat logical fallacy? You are bashing Xander for thinking of the big picture in 'Becoming' and you are also bashing him for not thinking of the big picture in a different situation. This whole argument is nonsensical. No, scratch that: this whole argument is downright idiotic. It's like complaining about Faith killing people while simultaneously complaining about her decision to turn herself into jail. If you disliked Xander for the lie, you should be praising his character development and his conduct re: Willow and Anya in the later seasons. You aren't, which means you're contradicting your own argument. Which means your argument is complete and utter nonsense.
    First of all I'm asking you to take it easy with the insults and the throwing epithets at me because next time I won't hesitate to report your post instead of replying. Do you have something to add with arguments? I'm all ears. Being rude at me for the second time will only make me go to the first mod available.

    So? Buffy's worship of Jonathan in 'Superstar' was also based on fake memories. For example, she believed he starred in 'The Matrix', which obviously wasn't the case.
    And her worship started fading the minute she realized there was something wrong. On the other hand her love for Dawn has never faded once she learnt that she wasn't her real sister. Meaning that the monks only implanted the memories, not the love.

    The fact still remains - she was an object.
    Was is past tense. Now she's human. Present tense.

    An object that everyone was forced to love because they received fake memories.
    You contradicted yourself by bringing Jonathan's example. People had fake memories about him and whatever they felt about him faded once they learned the truth. Which didn't happen in Dawn's case. And I believe you understand that BtVS is a show full of metaphors about real life. And Dawn represents the adoption here. So don't tell me that the love that people felt for her wasn't real, because Whedon certainly wasn't planning to tell us that adopted children have only fake love. On the other hand if you believe that, there's nothing I can do about it.

    The idea that "Giles was safe in the next room" would be absurd enough to ignore if I didn't have to ask... what it matters?

    I mean, it should go without saying, and absolutely WOULD go without saying in a real world armed rescue situation that the hostages aren't "safe in the next room" while the fighting, shooting, and stabbing are going on. You get them out of the picture as fast as safely possible, because otherwise, they are just there to be used as human shields or there to be slaughtered gratuitously for a distraction or psychological ploy. It's a complete joke to think that Buffy would or should have even considered not taking Xander along to get Giles out once she had him with her, because that was the smartest and most tactical thing to do, period. "Safe in the next room", heh.

    But... why does this even come up? What is the purpose? To establish Xander served no other purpose in being there? Because that doesn't work either -- he had as just as much reason to be there as Buffy herself did, even if he doesn't have her skills and resources, because he lives in the world too, he was in just as much danger, and if Buffy had been shot in the back by that cop when she escaped than sure as hell Xander and/or Oz and/or Cordy and/or Willow would have marched on that mansion to try to save their world.
    The only reason I mentioned that wasn't to say that Xander was wrong to help Buffy and Giles. The only reason I said it is because at the end Xander caused more damage than being helpful. So because of his lie or better his lie was the final cut in Buffy's heart that drove her to runaway. And not only that, but he has the nerve to judge her the very next time he sees her in S3E02 telling her that "you can't just bury stuff Buffy it will come right back to get you" and criticize her of acting stupid and immature.

    Buffy proved in "Becoming, Part I" she couldn't actually beat Angel when she was fighting in "curse-stall mode".
    She was buying time, at the beginning. And then she grabs mister pointy and tells him to finish it. And then Angel informs her that he wasn't after her and she runs back to the library to help. If Angel hadn't said anything, she would have finished everything with him right there.

    You are not recognizing that which should be obvious -- she won the fight because she was fighting to kill him. It is frankly naive to act like that fight would have unfolded blow for blow in the same way if Buffy's real motivation was to stall long enough for Willow to curse him, instead of to defeat and kill him.

    Which, by the way, she was supposed to wait how long? 15 minutes? A half hour? Until Willow told Cordy to drive over there and tell Buffy it hadn't worked? The stalling for the curse plan would have been sheer idiocy, since Buffy would have had absolutely no way to know if she should keep waiting or move on to trying to kill him.
    And again you're forgetting my original argument that everything would have worked exactly the same at her fighting Angel even if Xander hadn't said anything. She would still have fought Angel with her only purpose to kill him. Xander's lie only worked to maximize her later depression. Because she thought that Willow told her to kick his ass and at the same time she was trying to curse him. Something that she was still very angry at 5 years later when she mentioned it again. And surprise, Xander didn't have the courage to admit the truth not even then. Every development he has on the subject is right after that episode wehn he had to defend Anya against Buffy. Up until then he was just an hypocrite. All those years.

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    If Xander hadn't lied about it Buffy wouldn't have had to kill Angel.
    Yeah, because she would have used her teleport abilities to stop Angel from pulling that sword. Oh, wait, she doesn't have such abilities. And of course, the whole thing could have easily failed anyway since Spike wasn't on the plan and instead of pummelling Angel he could have just staked him. That would have been kind of cool, IMO. Anyway, the point is Buffy had all the reasons in the world to try to stop Angel from pulling the sword ASAP, lie or no lie, as for all she knew Acathla might have sent the world to hell in one minute, leaving her no time to fight Angel.

    And Buffy must send Angel to hell instead of soulless Angelus.
    Why are you blaming Xander for that instead of Willow or bad luck? Seriously, I would love to hear how if Xander had told the truth Buffy would have defeated Angel faster and would have been easier for her to send him to hell.

    You're right, there is a change in attitude and in voice. But not in Buffy. Buffy is determined all the way. The change in attitude and in voice and in way of acting is in Xander. Look at the way he talks to her when he first finds her and look at the way the scene ends.
    So? Even if you are right and Xander did misread Buffy this still shows he changed his mind and wasn't planning a lie with his Machiavellian ingenuity all along. The very fact that Buffy stops walking, never mind they are in a rush to save the world points to me that yes, she was quite interested in what Willow might have to say and Xander recognized that.

    Like @Vampmogs said, they kind of revisited it already. Only the second time he was ready to die in order to stop Willow.
    Apples and oranges much? It's not like Xander had the means to kill Willow and refused.

    People had fake memories about him and whatever they felt about him faded once they learned the truth.
    No, it faded after the spell was broken.

    Something that she was still very angry at 5 years later when she mentioned it again.
    If Buffy believes Willow would say "kick his ass " then try the spell anyway and never apologize for that then Buffy is a moron and her being extremely close to Willow in S3-4 makes no sense whatsoever. Personally I ignore the silly continuity porn in Selfless, everything makes total sense if you assume that Buffy did like me and didn't even remember what Xander had said after all the shocks of that day. Or, gasp, she knew that Xander did it and understood why.

    If Angel hadn't said anything, she would have finished everything with him right there.
    You mean like she did in Go, Fish? Oh, wait, she didn't even bother chasing him.

    So don't tell me that the love that people felt for her wasn't real, because Whedon certainly wasn't planning to tell us that adopted children have only fake love.
    He kind of screwed the adoption metaphor with the Summers blood nonsense, me thinks.
    Xander: "Willow, you are the best human ever! I adore you! Well, that's the cookies talking, but you rock!"

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    Library Researcher dina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Shaftoe View Post
    Yeah, because she would have used her teleport abilities to stop Angel from pulling that sword. Oh, wait, she doesn't have such abilities. And of course, the whole thing could have easily failed anyway since Spike wasn't on the plan and instead of pummelling Angel he could have just staked him. That would have been kind of cool, IMO. Anyway, the point is Buffy had all the reasons in the world to try to stop Angel from pulling the sword ASAP, lie or no lie, as for all she knew Acathla might have sent the world to hell in one minute, leaving her no time to fight Angel.



    Why are you blaming Xander for that instead of Willow or bad luck? Seriously, I would love to hear how if Xander had told the truth Buffy would have defeated Angel faster and would have been easier for her to send him to hell.
    Yeah, read again my posts, you misunderstood what I said. Was talking hypothetically there. Never said that if Buffy had known the truth it would have been easier for him to send him to hell. I meant the way that that fact made her feel later and drove her to run away from home, that would have been easier.



    So? Even if you are right and Xander did misread Buffy this still shows he changed his mind and wasn't planning a lie with his Machiavellian ingenuity all along. The very fact that Buffy stops walking, never mind they are in a rush to save the world points to me that yes, she was quite interested in what Willow might have to say and Xander recognized that.
    Xander stops walking. Turns on Buffy. The camera is on him. Xander stops Buffy from walking to tell her what Willow said. And then he decides to lie about it. That's the way that the scene was directed. Camera on Xander, he's the one that stops and stops Buffy.


    Apples and oranges much? It's not like Xander had the means to kill Willow and refused.
    Had every mean to let Buffy kill Anya though, but instead he was ready to die in order to protect Anya from Buffy.
    No, it faded after the spell was broken.
    No, they were still able to remember things even after the spell was broken. But the love for Jonathan had already started fading away. Everybody still loves Dawn even when they learn the truth about her.

    You mean like she did in Go, Fish? Oh, wait, she didn't even bother chasing him.
    She wasn't ready yet at that point.

    He kind of screwed the adoption metaphor with the Summers blood nonsense, me thinks.
    Well he had to justify Buffy's sacrifice after all, probably that's the best he found

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    The lie did have a significant fallout, IMO. I think it's pretty clear from Selfless that Buffy harboured resentment towards both Xander and Willow because of that line. If Willow had really said it, which Buffy believed she had, it would display an amazing insensitivity towards her friend and would prove without question that she had completely misread Buffy's feelings on the situation. Buffy was left feeling like her friend didn't get it at all and, as she says in Dead Man's Party, "wouldn't understand" the pain she was going through. I most certainly consider it one of the main reasons Buffy ran away and couldn't bring herself to approach the gang when she stood outside the high school. I also think it's the reason Buffy was so closed off from Willow upon her return and I feel for Willow greatly because she had no way of knowing why.

    When she throws that line back in Xander's face in S7 I think it's evident that it had a profound impact on her. After all those years she never forgot. And, yes, I agree 100% with all those who have commented on how angry she seemed when she finally brought it up. The fact she says "both of you" when claiming they "cheered her on" to kill Angel is evidence enough that she never knew it was a lie. Which means that for all these years it has hurt her and bubbled under the surface.

    As I've said, since Xander didn't plan on lying I don't really hold this against him. It's not reasonable to expect someone to foresee all these consequences when they say something in the heat of the moment. Though it's a reminder of how powerful words can be and how just one sentence can have a lasting impact on someone far more than it was ever intended. To be honest, I think Xander barley remembered that he had even said it which is why when Buffy snaps at him after he says "if you knew how I felt..." it's such a dramatic moment. "Do you even remember that?", indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by dina View Post
    Xander stops walking. Turns on Buffy. The camera is on him. Xander stops Buffy from walking to tell her what Willow said. And then he decides to lie about it. That's the way that the scene was directed. Camera on Xander, he's the one that stops and stops Buffy.
    I think what people are saying is that when Xander says "Willow said to tell you..." that for a moment, when Buffy says "tell me what?", she looks hopeful. I honestly don't know. The camera doesn’t really focus on Buffy’s expression there and I think it could be interpreted multiple ways. I do think it's absolutely clear from that scene though that Xander intended on relaying Willow's message to Buffy and it was halfway through doing it when he changed his mind. He most certainly didn’t plan on lying to her all along as if that were true it would have been far easier to just not mention Willow at all.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 02-02-12 at 05:56 AM.
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    The lie did have a significant fallout, IMO. I think it's pretty clear from Selfless that Buffy harboured resentment towards both Xander and Willow because of that line.
    That's why I describe it as retcon. A writer can't just drop such a bomb four years later. If they want me to believe Buffy showed resentment towards Willow and Xander, they had to actually show it in S3. If Buffy really thinks Willow lied to her like that, her being far more hostile to Xander than to Willow in DMP and Revelations makes no sense whatsoever. I suspect Drew Goddard just wanted to show off how much he knew the earlier episodes (sort of like Christos Gage who seems to be indulging in a lot of continuity porn in A&F), so he had to bring up "The Lie". It's a textbook example of telling rather than showing. Needing to clarify an important plot point four seasons later usually means you didn't do a good job the first time around...or you want to retcon something.

    I also think it's the reason Buffy was so closed off from Willow upon her return and I feel for Willow greatly because she had no way of knowing why.
    Buffy is so closed off that Willow stands her up in DMP, rather than vice versa and they are back to being extremely close at the end of the episode and remain so until Dawn appears.

    If Willow had really said it, which Buffy believed she had, it would display an amazing insensitivity towards her friend and would prove without question that she had completely misread Buffy's feelings on the situation.
    Why would Buffy believe Willow had actually instructed Xander to say "Kick his ass"? First, if she didn't want to give Buffy false hopes, she didn't need to instruct Xander to say anything. Second, Willow is Bangel shipper number one. Third, Willow is a terrible liar and prone to self-flagellation, you would think that it would have seemed a little odd to Buffy that Willow shows no guilt whatsoever when the subject of Angel comes up except for a bit in Faith, Hope and Trick and there Buffy seems very sincere in accepting Willow's apology. If Buffy remembered Xander's words (I think everything until Selfless makes perfect sense if we go with the interpretation that she forgot that incident) and still thought that Willow lied to her, rather than Xander, well I would say she really doesn't know Willow or Xander very well.

    I most certainly consider it one of the main reasons Buffy ran away and couldn't bring herself to approach the gang when she stood outside the high school.
    I don't. I think Buffy felt guilty for the injuries Willow, Xander and Giles had sustained and felt she shouldn't expect them to feel bad that Angel's gone. Also, she just wanted to be alone for a while. I see no resentment in her towards Willow or Xander or anyone else.

    Had every mean to let Buffy kill Anya though, but instead he was ready to die in order to protect Anya from Buffy.
    I can't help but notice that I never defended Selfless. I hate Selfless. Xander's "When our friends go all crazy and start killing people, we help them." line epitomises the complete moral bankruptcy of the show at this point, IMO. And Selfless being a bad rip-off of Becoming epitomises the creative bankruptcy.

    Everybody still loves Dawn even when they learn the truth about her.
    But would they love her so strongly if the memories were totally gone? I doubt it.

    She wasn't ready yet at that point.
    She claims she is ready in Killed By Death. Why should Xander trust her claims in Becoming any more than he did in say Go, Fish? He can't exactly take a chance as the fate of the world depends on Buffy's resolve.
    Last edited by Jack Shaftoe; 02-02-12 at 06:01 AM.
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    Well, "do you even remember that" was in reference to something that happened after the lie, and would have pretty much happened anyway even in the best case scenario, and that Xander didn't even find about for months. She was admonishing him for not remembering how much it hurt her to kill Angel because he was accusing her of being tone deaf to his feelings about Anya. She was not referring, with those words, to the lie, she wasn't admonishing them for having "cheered her on" toward killing Angel, just for not having remembered that that's what she had to do.

    But, again, nothing to apologize for. To me, it's incidental whether he set out to lie to Buffy or not with regard to holding it against him -- I can't hold against him because it was the right thing to do. Not an okay thing to do, but the affirmatively right thing to do, superior than other choices. As if to say, if he had looked Willow right in her Resolve Face and said "you do what you want, but I'm going after Buffy and I'm going to make sure she sees this through", that he'd have been making the right decision.

    Could he have said something about it afterward? Sure. Must he have? I don't know. Would it have helped her? Would it have any ministrative value, benefited Buffy at all to know? Or is the idea that he should have told her because Buffy and Willow both might have hated him and that is an end unto itself for some in the audience?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Shaftoe View Post
    That's why I describe it as retcon. A writer can't just drop such a bomb four years later. If they want me to believe Buffy showed resentment towards Willow and Xander, they had to actually show it in S3.
    I believe they did show it. As I've already stated, I think it's the reason for Buffy saying that Willow "wouldn't understand" which, IMO, is said with a hint of anger and resentment. When she says that line it always plays to me as if she's thinking about the lie and "Willow's message." I also think it’s one of the reasons Buffy remains somewhat estranged from the group for the first half of S3 and why she keeps Angel’s return a secret.

    If Buffy really thinks Willow lied to her like that, her being far more hostile to Xander than to Willow in DMP and Revelations makes no sense whatsoever.
    She's being more hostile to Xander because he's being the most hostile to her. Willow wasn't the one who "couldn't stick to annoying her on her own behalf." Willow was the one who wanted to use "I statements" and ensure this "wasn't about blame." It makes total sense that Buffy would direct most of her anger towards the person who's getting in her face.

    I suspect Drew Goddard just wanted to show off how much he knew the earlier episodes (sort of like Christos Gage who seems to be indulging in a lot of continuity porn in A&F), so he had to bring up "The Lie". It's a textbook example of telling rather than showing. Needing to clarify an important plot point four seasons later usually means you didn't do a good job the first time around...or you want to retcon something.
    That's all well and good but it's irrelevant whether or not one considers this a "retcon" or just the writer "showing off" etc. Canon is canon. In canon, Buffy very plainly states "both of you" when bringing up the lie. I don't understand how else one is meant to interpret that unless they think Buffy just felt like unfairly attacking Willow for something she knows she never said and who was sitting there and not even fighting with her.

    Buffy is so closed off that Willow stands her up in DMP, rather than vice versa and they are back to being extremely close at the end of the episode and remain so until Dawn appears.
    If by extremely close you mean keeping secrets from each other (the affair, Angel's return etc), Willow being taken by Faith and leaving Buffy feeling unwanted, and the gang remarking how Buffy has been distant and spending more time by herself lately, then I guess so. Personally, I don't feel they became really close again until much later in the season when more time had passed. Even their "playful" insults at the end of Dead Man's Party reads to me as uncomfortably hostile.

    Why would Buffy believe Willow had actually instructed Xander to say "Kick his ass"? First, if she didn't want to give Buffy false hopes, she didn't need to instruct Xander to say anything. Second, Willow is Bangel shipper number one. Third, Willow is a terrible liar and prone to self-flagellation, you would think that it would have seemed a little odd to Buffy that Willow shows no guilt whatsoever when the subject of Angel comes up except for a bit in Faith, Hope and Trick and there Buffy seems very sincere in accepting Willow's apology. If Buffy remembered Xander's words (I think everything until Selfless makes perfect sense if we go with the interpretation that she forgot that incident) and still thought that Willow lied to her, rather than Xander, well I would say she really doesn't know Willow or Xander very well.
    I feel like I'm repeating myself here but it's stated in the text that Buffy thought the message came from "both" of them. She plainly states;

    BUFFY: I killed Angel. Do you even remember that? I would have given up everything I had to be with him. But I put a sword through his heart because I had to. Do you remember cheering me on? Both of you. Do you remember giving me Willow's message? "Kick his ass?"

    There's no reason why Buffy would turn on Willow like that if she didn't believe Willow had ever said the words? And as far as Willow showing guilt, that would have to suggest Willow felt she did something wrong but Buffy just thinks Willow doesn't understand so why would she feel guilt?

    I don't. I think Buffy felt guilty for the injuries Willow, Xander and Giles had sustained and felt she shouldn't expect them to feel bad that Angel's gone. Also, she just wanted to be alone for a while. I see no resentment in her towards Willow or Xander or anyone else.
    Fair enough. I think "as if I could have come to you, Xander. You made your feelings about Angel and I perfectly clear" and "You wouldn't understand" displayed clear resentment and hurt feelings.

    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Well, "do you even remember that" was in reference to something that happened after the lie, and would have pretty much happened anyway even in the best case scenario, and that Xander didn't even find about for months. She was admonishing him for not remembering how much it hurt her to kill Angel because he was accusing her of being tone deaf to his feelings about Anya. She was not referring, with those words, to the lie, she wasn't admonishing them for having "cheered her on" toward killing Angel, just for not having remembered that that's what she had to do.
    I think she's admonishing him for the whole lot. It's why she brings up the lie in the first place when he hits a nerve by stating "if she knew how he felt." She's angry because it sounds as if he doesn't even remember the sacrifice she made or what she had to go through, and she's angry because he's screaming at her for saying she wants to kill Anya after they both "cheered her on" to kill the man she loved.

    Or is the idea that he should have told her because Buffy and Willow both might have hated him and that is an end unto itself for some in the audience?
    I think the audience, and this is true for most fandoms that I've dipped my toe in, like to see characters held accountable for things they do and say. In my experience a lot of fans get extremely irritated when a character does something like lies and they seemingly ‘get away with it.’ I personally didn’t care in this instance because truth be told ~the lie~ has never had the huge impact on me that it has for most other fans, but to play devil’s advocate I don’t think one has to hate the character to wish it was revealed to the others.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 02-02-12 at 06:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    I think she's admonishing him for the whole lot. It's why she brings up the lie in the first place when he hits a nerve by stating "if she knew how he felt." She's angry because it sounds as if he doesn't even remember the sacrifice she made or what she had to go through, and she's angry because he's screaming at her for saying she wants to kill Anya after they both "cheered her on" to kill the man she loved.
    Your mileage may vary. I felt a very distinct segue both in the dialogue -- which you quoted -- and in Sarah's delivery when she switches tracks to lashing out at how they'd cheered her on, as it were. But when she asked if he even remembered, it's explicitly preceded by the fact to which she's referring -- that she killed Angel.

    I think the audience, and this is true for most fandoms that I've dipped my toe in, like to see characters held accountable for things they do and say. In my experience a lot of fans get extremely irritated when a character does something like lies and they seemingly ‘get away with it.’ I personally didn’t care in this instance because truth be told ~the lie~ has never had the huge impact on me that it has for most other fans, but to play devil’s advocate I don’t think one has to hate the character to wish it was revealed to the others.
    Well, my position is still that there's nothing to be held accountable for here -- there are only attaboys. I actually think one of the reasons that they might have abandoned it is that there was no way to get into it without either A) having to have Buffy and Willow ultimately accept what he did on its face or B) look like the bigger clowns for deciding to sever their friendships with him over it. For my part I would have loved more in-story scrutiny of it because I think it would have won out -- any close scrutiny ultimately bears it out as the right decision. I would love to listen to Buffy or Willow try to give voice to the sort of arguments that threads like this produce against Xander, because it would have been a sobering mirror in which all their holes would be clearly visible. But that's also the "why get into it?" of it -- you go down that road and you're eventually consigning Buffy to having to be at peace with killing Angel, and they didn't want her to be okay with that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Your mileage may vary. I felt a very distinct segue both in the dialogue -- which you quoted -- and in Sarah's delivery when she switches tracks to lashing out at how they'd cheered her on, as it were. But when she asked if he even remembered, it's explicitly preceded by the fact to which she's referring -- that she killed Angel.
    Oh, I don't disagree. But if she's accusing him of not even remembering that she killed Angel then whatever distinction made between that and how he "cheered her on" would be kind of meaningless to her. It's basically the same thing and I see her bringing up the lie after that as just an extension of the point she was making. If he can be as 'tone deaf' to actually state "if you knew how I felt" then it's not a stretch to think that the lie he told had nowhere near the lasting impact on him that it obviously did on her. I mean, in a piece of literature we often take for granted that characters can recite dialogue that they said years ago, but it’s not every day that someone can remember word-for-word what somebody said to them 4 years earlier. For Buffy to bring it up and repeat those exact words so many years later is evidence of how much it hurt her.

    Well, my position is still that there's nothing to be held accountable for here -- there are only attaboys. I actually think one of the reasons that they might have abandoned it is that there was no way to get into it without either A) having to have Buffy and Willow ultimately accept what he did on its face or B) look like the bigger clowns for deciding to sever their friendships with him over it. For my part I would have loved more in-story scrutiny of it because I think it would have won out -- any close scrutiny ultimately bears it out as the right decision. I would love to listen to Buffy or Willow try to give voice to the sort of arguments that threads like this produce against Xander, because it would have been a sobering mirror in which all their holes would be clearly visible. But that's also the "why get into it?" of it -- you go down that road and you're eventually consigning Buffy to having to be at peace with killing Angel, and they didn't want her to be okay with that.
    Mm, I don't think it's quite so clear cut. The fact that ~the lie~ is one of those infamous scenes in BtVS that constantly gets debated over and over again is proof how polarising it is. If fandom is so divided about it there's no reason the writers couldn't make the characters just as conflicted. Whilst you may be firm in your beliefs that it was the right decision and that any closer scrutiny proves as such, there’s others who believe the exact opposite and are just as firm. I think the writing could have brought it up without declaring any side the ‘winner’, so to speak. I easily could imagine it coming out during their massive argument in Revelations (a rather appropriate title, IMO) with Buffy then accusing Xander of being a hypocrite or some such. And ultimately it could have been resolved the same way the rest of their argument was in that episode, with mutual forgiveness and no real parsing out of who was most right or wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sosa lola View Post
    1) Xander didn't plan to lie to Buffy. He was going to tell her the truth, but changed his mind when he noticed Buffy being hopeful.
    Okay, I am like Buffy one her first day with the Initiative - asking Prof Walsh a ton of annoying questions.

    Question #1 - What specifically was Zander's lie to Buffy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golden Boy View Post
    Okay, I am like Buffy one her first day with the Initiative - asking Prof Walsh a ton of annoying questions.

    Question #1 - What specifically was Zander's lie to Buffy?
    It's in Becoming pt2 the finale to season 2. Bufy is on the way to confront Angel and Xander joins her on the path. They exchange a few words and then Xander blurts out "Willow... she told me to tell you" (she had sent a message that seh was attempting the re-cursing) Buffy asks "Tell me what" and Xander replies "Kick his ass."

    The whole debate seems to be over 1) the intepretation of that scene and 2) the morality surrounding it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golden Boy View Post
    Okay, I am like Buffy one her first day with the Initiative - asking Prof Walsh a ton of annoying questions.

    Question #1 - What specifically was Zander's lie to Buffy?
    Willow had told Xander to tell Buffy that she was going try try the re-souling curse on Angelus. Xander instead told Buffy that Willow said "kick his ass", referring to Angelus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangent View Post
    It's in Becoming pt2 the finale to season 2. Bufy is on the way to confront Angel and Xander joins her on the path. They exchange a few words and then Xander blurts out "Willow... she told me to tell you" (she had sent a message that seh was attempting the re-cursing) Buffy asks "Tell me what" and Xander replies "Kick his ass."

    The whole debate seems to be over 1) the intepretation of that scene and 2) the morality surrounding it.
    Thanks. I am going to have to re-watch it. One of the best ever Buffy moments is when she realizes Angel's soul has been restored, but she still kicks him into the portal of Hell anyway.

    Totally awesome!

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    Mm, I don't think it's quite so clear cut. The fact that ~the lie~ is one of those infamous scenes in BtVS that constantly gets debated over and over again is proof how polarising it is. If fandom is so divided about it there's no reason the writers couldn't make the characters just as conflicted. Whilst you may be firm in your beliefs that it was the right decision and that any closer scrutiny proves as such, there’s others who believe the exact opposite and are just as firm. I think the writing could have brought it up without declaring any side the ‘winner’, so to speak. I easily could imagine it coming out during their massive argument in Revelations (a rather appropriate title, IMO) with Buffy then accusing Xander of being a hypocrite or some such. And ultimately it could have been resolved the same way the rest of their argument was in that episode, with mutual forgiveness and no real parsing out of who was most right or wrong.
    I think we want him on that wall, we need him on that wall. Not kidding at all, one's opinion on this is the difference or not about me feeling profound relief that it was Xander that showed up and found Buffy and not anyone else. The best case scenario in any "we tell Buffy about the curse" scenario is that the episode unfolds exactly as it did, and every other outcome is worse by way of getting sucked into hell.

    I'm reminded very clearly of Crimson Tide with Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington. At one point while Denzel's XO is in command, the their submarine is flooding in a bilge bay that, if its not sealed, will sink them. Problem is... there are sailors in that bay, some trapped, some trying to fix it. The bay must be sealed, or the ship is lost.

    Here's the scene -- which I'll do my best to give some narrative flow from a mere transcript
    Spoiler:


    Aboard the bridge of the Alabama, the navigation officer ("manuevering" is his station), the Chief of the Boat (COB) and Hunter, the XO (Denzel) are talking, and they are using the intercom to Lt. Hellerman outside the Bilge Bay --

    NAVIGATOR: Conn/Maneuvering: We've lost propulsion, sir!
    HUNTER: Chief of the boat, how we doin'?
    COB: Sir, we are going down!
    HUNTER: I need propulsion!
    OFFICER: Forward ballast tanks are damaged, sir! Forward air pressure: Zero!
    HUNTER: Maneuvering/Conn: Restore propulsion as soon as possible.
    NAVIGATOR: Conn/Maneuvering: Restoring propulsion as soon as possible! Aye, sir!

    [Hull Groaning]

    HELLERMAN: Control/Bilge Bay: Flooding is slowed! I think we got it under control, sir!

    on the bridge

    COB: Passing 1,500 feet. At 1,850 it's all over.

    [Hull Groaning]

    COB: Passing 1,600 feet.
    COB: Passing 1,650 feet.
    [Hull Groaning]
    [Submarine Shaking]

    HELLERMAN: Conn/Bilge Bay: Flooding has recommenced! It looks like three men are trapped!
    HUNTER: Bilge Bay/Conn: Try and get those men out of there and seal that bay.
    COB: Sir, if we don't seal the bilge bay now, we'll lose the ship!

    [Hull Groaning]

    HUNTER: Bilge Bay/Conn: Can you get the men out?

    HELLERMAN: Sir, there's no f#$kin' way! If I go down there, I'll never get out!
    (to crewmen in bay) Barnes, come on! You've got to come! Move, move! Barnes, come on, come on! You can do it! Move it!

    HUNTER: (quietly) Bilge Bay/Conn: Seal that bay.

    HELLERMAN: (ignoring him, to the sailor trapped in the bilge bay) Barnes, let's go! Come on! I've got to close the hatch! What the f#$ are we doing here?

    HUNTER: Bilge Bay/Conn: I say again, seal that bay.

    HELLERMAN: Sir, there are men down there, and they're gonna drown!

    HUNTER: Lieutenant Hellerman, you have your orders! Now seal the goddamn bay before we all go down!

    HELLERMAN: Barnes! Please get the **** out! Barnes! Come on! Barnes!

    Seeing he's out of time, with water already pooling out of the bilge bay, Hellerman forces the door shut and seals it, three sailors left to drown inside.

    HELLERMAN: Conn/Bilge Bay: Seawater hatch is sealed, sir!

    HUNTER: (very queit) Very well.


    When I hear "kick his ass", see, I also hear "seal that bay". That's the choice Xander made, and it's unambiguously as correct in the situation as the one Hunter made.
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    I've never been one to stick up for Xander. I'm not his biggest fan and I also don't agree with many of his decisions. His decision to lie to Buffy about Willow's spell however; that's one that I will agree with.

    I honestly think that he had the right intentions when he told Buffy about Willow's 'message'. I have never watched that episode and thought, "Yup. Well done, Xander. You shouldn't have lied to Buffy, what the heck are you doing?!"

    Buffy was on her way to kill Angelus; Xander knew there was a chance that the spell might work. However; in fairness, it was a slim chance. I've always viewed the lie as something that helped Buffy. If she had known Willow was doing the spell, she'd have known there was a slight possibility that Angel could come back, granted, however I always thought that if Buffy knew the truth, she'd have held back, wouldn't have given it her all and she probably could have wound up dead trying to buy time for Willow's spell to work.

    Also; what if the spell didn't work?

    No, I definitely believe that Xander made the right choice in not telling her the truth; the truth would have distracted her. Buffy was finally in the right frame of mind; jeopardizing that with the truth could potentially have had dire consequences.


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    IMO, Xander went to Buffy with all intentions of telling Buffy Willow's exact message. When he finds Buffy, she is in serious, focused, fighter mindset. Her mind is where it needs to be, not filled with sentimental attachment and emotional dilemmas over her ex boyfriend. Whether a hopeful tone, or pause in her demeanor, or simply Xander coming to the realization that Buffy is fighting her hardest fight, he realizes that her mind doesn't need to be divided .

    I honestly believe Xander's words are what propel Buffy through the moment where Angelus has the sword about to strike and is mocking her. She was able to separate the visage of her ex boyfriend with the murderer in front of her. An ex boyfriend saying those words would have emotionally torn her down while a murder saying them only hardens resolve.

    Angel had to be sent to hell because Buffy wasnt able to stop Angelus from he pulling out the sword. I don't think Xander's words had any effect on her ability to keep him from pulling out the sword. And I don't equate "kick his ass" with "send him to hell." To me, kick his ass means win.

    I am infinitely regretful that Xander had to lie because it emotionally divided Buffy from the scooby gang to think she was the only one who cared for angel.

    I am mad at Joss for never bringing up the issue of Xander's lie. I think it is an important moment with long lasting emotional consequences. It should have been discussed by the scoobies and resolved.

    Last fall, I made this explanation and wallpaper last fall about the moment. It is an important moment to me in the show, heartbreakingly tragic in how it separated her from her friends but essential to helping her find her own personal strength and surviving.

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