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Thread: Buffy, 9.19 "Welcome to the Team, part 4" Discussion Thread (FULL SPOILERS)

  1. #21
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    I can't remember off the top of my head, did Buffy know the curse wouldn't be an issue?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
    Are you talking about the comic writers being guilty of slut-shaming/only shaming the woman over the space sex, or Xander, the character? If it's the latter, nobody can accuse Xander of not wanting to rake Angel over the coals for the space boink, he is blaming both of them for it, he just can't tell Angel that to his face since Angel's not there (and I'm sure Xander is perfectly fine with not having to see him around).
    The writers. I actually agree with Xander that the problem is not the seed breaking, but the path of bad decisions that made seed breaking necessary. I just find it absurd that the comics give Buffy more grief and fewer outs over that path than they do Angel. And it will bother me if Buffy is shamed for 'choosing' sex over dead Slayers but Angel is never shamed for sex in the aftermath of dead girls. If Buffy is supposed to be shamed by that, I'm going to be jumping up and down demanding to know why the woman is criticized for sex but no one ever applies the same logic to the GUY. She didn't have ridiculous space sex all alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    I can't remember off the top of my head, did Buffy know the curse wouldn't be an issue?
    I think we're supposed to ignore that wrinkle because the writers seemingly forgot about it.
    Last edited by shipperx; 13-03-13 at 04:42 AM.
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  4. #23
    Dedicated Spike Fan Maggie's Avatar
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    Hmmm... my reaction is colored by having read Georgia's spoilers. It had led me to expect an A+ issue. It's pretty good, for sure. But...

    I don't like the way Illyria is written at all. I just don't think anything about her is being captured here. So her role is really just to provide exposition in places. We get a tiresome two panels of Buffy explaining about Glory and Dawn's keyness to viewers at home who missed all that. I still couldn't care less about Billy.

    OTOH, the crux of the issue is the big fight between Xander and Buffy. Buffy's first reaction is to assume that Xander is upset about the smashing of the seed, and she offers a long defense of herself that comes right out of King's playbook. But Xander calls her on that, telling her the problem is what happened to bring about the crisis, namely the big boink fest.

    Buffy excuses herself on the grounds that it was out of her control. Xander is pretty snarky in reply: "Yeah, I get it. The universe gave you and Angel so much mystical mojo... neither one of you could keep it in your superpowered pants.

    Buffy then blames the prophecy that set everything in motion. She starts to blame Giles, saying that if he'd warned her... Xander interrupts her to tell her not to even say that.

    Then Buffy says she was just trying to save the world. Xander's reply is that doesn't change the fact that every time she saves the world it just keeps getting worse.

    It really was a lot like Revelations in that Buffy isn't about to cop to being responsible for anything. This time, though, Xander doesn't hit below the belt the way he did in season 3. And his anger isn't inflected by his jealousy of Angel the way it was back then. So on my reading, anyway, this leaves Buffy looking pretty bad. She gives lip service to taking responsibility, but she really doesn't. She wants to focus on the one thing she's not responsible for (smashing the seed) and when forced to confront the thing she is responsible for she blames it on the prophecy. But if she *really* blamed it on the prophecy it wouldn't come up as an excuse -- she'd express some bitterness/anger about it since it's the prophecy that triggered the chain of events that's now killing her sister.

    Anyway, I do hope they follow up on this. I'd like to think that Buffy's Freefall has a great deal to do with her refusal to be honest with herself about her role in what happened. But I'm not super hopeful given how they're dealing with Angel. It's just -- what I need from Buffy is so small.. just a peep of real regret for having chosen to give into the unholy glow. Anyway...

    Buffy's closing line to Xander is "Be mad. Blame me. But Dawn's my sister and you're not doing this without me." That doesn't read like any sort of concession to me, but rather an effort to table the argument in favor of trying to save Dawn. Which granted is the right thing to do in that moment. But as I said, it leaves me needing something from Buffy that she's not yet willing to give.

    In his blurb for coming attractions (A&F #20), Allie refers to Spike as the vampire who *chose* to have a soul. So that's hopeful.

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  6. #24
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    My two cents:

    This issue was the best since 12 (I liked the first two parts of the Guarded arc), which isn't to say it's that great, but at least it's not boring, mainly, as Maggie says, because of the conversation between Buffy and Xander.

    I agree with Maggie about Illyria too. She's just...dull. I don't know how they could mess up so badly with this character, but they have. IMO it's because, by Illyria's own admission, the connection with Fred is gone (it was only a lie in the first place) and with that gone, Illyria's connection to the other characters is gone too, so why should we care about her? I'm hoping that the reason she isn't dead after Severin stole her power is because Fred's soul wasn't completely obliterated after all. I always hated that (the ultimate fridging) and hoped Joss would go back on it.

    As for the Buffy/Xander convo, which is what makes this issue interesting, while I think some of the things Xander said to Buffy were unfair (that every time she saves the world, it just gets worse), I put that unreasonableness down to same thing - whatever it is - PTSD? - that's been making him lose his temper all through the story (and Buffy has her own close up and personal view of that when he starts hitting the wall with his fist - I think she's really shocked), and which we still haven't really got to the bottom of.

    What else he says to her, while harsh, is not IMO slut-shaming (the only time he mentions Angel is when the subject of the space frakk comes up, so it's clear that he blames them both for that), and I do think it's time someone raised the issue of what led to the seed breakage, because as Buffy rightly says, she had no choice but to do that.

    ETA: And since the subject's come up, I hope Spike doesn't become human by accident, or because Severin does it to him or whatever. He just spent five issues of a spectacularly boring mini series reacting rather than being proactive (apart from when he told Morgan to sod off). If it were ever to happen, I'd want it to be his choice.

    ETA 2: Also, I agree with whoever it was that said Simone is stupid. I think she's boring too. Severin likewise.
    Last edited by Morphia; 13-03-13 at 10:52 AM.

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  8. #25
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    I just don't believe that they are going to explore this well. I agree with Xander, it isn't about breaking the seed, I don't think anyone really thinks Buffy had a choice there in the situation as was, it is about what happened before. But without them being willing to pin down better the whole glowhypnol levels/influence it can't be explored really because any level of culpability for Buffy is unknown, just that she was weak. For that reason the curse thing is an issue for me because it means that Buffy may have entered into the spacesex with a knowing negative consequence being ignored. I will have to go back and reread them. I accept that Buffy betrayed herself etc but no glow in the world should have led her to potentially unleash Angel's unsouled self. Perhaps with what he had been doing all year to her/the slayers she just felt there would be little recognisable difference!! [not serious before anyone jumps!]

    I understand why people feel the dissonance in how Buffy is being treated if it calls her on this to how Angel is and that isn't just, but it doesn't mean she shouldn't be.

    The thing that I passionately dislike about what Xander had to say is this notion that every time she saves the world it gets worse, as if there is some culpability there. Each time there is the choice against a destroyed world or a saved world it only has one correct path for Buffy. The world is therefore itself getting progressively worse and has jack all to do with her. Sure, call her on the spacesex (and I agree with you Maggie on what you want from Buffy there) but don't fault her for completing her primary focus successfully and saving billions of lives time and again. Perhaps I'm missing something he was getting at here.

    The Simone/Severin thing bothers me, as I said Simone wanting to be the ultimate vamp means Buffy will willingly kill her so it is plain moronic. What her and Sev need from each other still seems murky.

    I also am having difficulty with what is happening with Dawn. I liked that the transfer wouldn't work but I can't see why a) she didn't just instantly fade when the seed was broken or b) how Dawn can have been made 'real' if magic had to maintain her. Did they just make her physical form real flesh and blood but something 'else' is fading away that had to be maintained because she isn't going Marty McFly, so what is fading? If she couldn't be transferred because what was there was mystical energy is it just that her lifeforce was inextricably linked to being the key? If so, why did that need the Seed to be intact? Surely it was an existing object, not a spell that needed maintenance. Andrew was, presumably with how it worked with Buffy, trying to download her mind/her personality, so they don't exist outside of the mystical energy, her keyness? Clarity anyone?

    Again I'll agree about Illyria, she doesn't seem distanced and inhuman enough and when they try and write her that way, as in previous issues, it still didn't work. But yes, this is the best issue that we've had for a long time and it is all down with Xander so my expectations for the next issue are higher.

    Morphia you know we don't agree about the Spike mini but I would say that the mini would/could have set up why he would choose to keep/be pleased about regaining his life and actively embracing it as a gifted opportunity (assuming if it happened it wasn't chosen) and why he would seek it if he does.
    Last edited by Stoney; 13-03-13 at 11:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    The thing that I passionately dislike about what Xander had to say is this notion that every time she saves the world it gets worse, as if there is some culpability there. Each time there is the choice against a destroyed world or a saved world it only has one correct path for Buffy. The world is therefore itself getting progressively worse and has jack all to do with her. Sure, call her on the spacesex (and I agree with you Maggie on what you want from Buffy there) but don't fault her for completing her primary focus successfully and saving billions of lives time and again. Perhaps I'm missing something he was getting at here.
    I'm yet to read the issue but based on what I have heard I really disliked that as well. It's one thing to attack Buffy for the consequences of the space!frak because it was the one time where she did play a part in causing the apocalypse, but how is it her fault the world got progressively worse every time she saved it in S1-S7? That's bullshit.

    I'm just basing my thoughts on other people's reactions so my opinions might change once I read the issue for myself, but based on what I've read so far;

    - I'm glad the story is addressing the space!frak as that was Buffy's big betrayal as textually stated in #40. It's only fitting that resentment over that has been bubbling under the surface between the Scoobies. I can't blame Xander at all for being resentful over Buffy's betrayal and her involvement in what's happening to Dawn.

    - I'm VERY GLAD that Buffy called Giles out on his secrecy in S8 but not surprised whatsoever by Xander's reaction to her name-calling him. Giles was very wrong to withhold information from Buffy all season and I do find him somewhat accountable for what happened, so I'm glad that this was acknowledged again in the text. I love Giles and I get not wanting to "speak ill of the dead" but I was never all that comfortable with his culpability in Twilight being swept under the rug because of his death and people's sadness over it. I get why Xander would react badly to Buffy speaking negatively of the guy but she wasn't wrong to do so. Buffy has every right to be angry at Giles over what he did and it's not right that it should be ignored because of his passing.

    - I disagree with Maggie that we're still waiting for Buffy to admit her faults in S8. She did that plenty in #40. Now, as I said, I haven't read the issue yet so my opinions on this might change once I see how it plays out exactly, but I don't mind Buffy sticking up for herself a bit here. She was manipulated, she was terrorised and stripped down, she couldn't possibly have any idea what giving into Angel would do and Giles did withhold vital information from her, so she's right to say all that. She has already admitted that sleeping with Angel was a "mistake" and her "betrayal" and acknowledged that her actions "sent out ripples of hurt" and gave the Slayers a pass for ambushing her because of what she did.

    - I don't personally find much ambiguity when it comes to Buffy's consent in the whole space!frak. I may see if I can dig up my old meta on this but I think it's pretty clear that Buffy WAS under some form of control when she and Angel were actually f**king. It's textually stated at least twice and Buffy was totally surprised when she entered the Twilight dimension so she wasn't obviously fully aware of what was going on around her at the time. I think the best description is that the unholy glow "enhanced" her emotions to the point that "swept her up" (Buffy's words) and overwhelmed her. BUT her big betrayal was giving into the unholy glow and Angel's appeals for her to finally "just be happy" and that's her betrayal. It was Buffy saying, for however brief of a moment, to hell with what's right and what's wrong, to hell with my responsibilities, to hell with what Angel just did, and giving into that power. That all falls under the umbrella of the "space!frak" but I don't think Buffy made a conscious decision to sleep with Angel and I don't think that's what she should be punished for. She made a decision to give into Twilight's power knowing there'd be consequences and the space!frak was a result of that.

    I'm going to try and dig up my old meta on the subject as I actually think #33 is pretty clear on this.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 13-03-13 at 12:47 PM.
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  12. #27
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    I am glad that Buffy and Xander both still are likeable after that exchange, and that neither one was "the right one" or "the wrong one". Funny thing is, there's a reason. We wrote that scene. I honestly read that thinking they just plugged in a distilled version of forum discussions they've seen over the past couple years on the subject and who is responsible for what. I didn't feel like I learned anything or gained any new insight. It was validating to hear Buffy herself speak the words about giving everyone more time, about the Seed not really being a choice at that point, but still.

    And, of course, on the most direct subject at which most of Buffy's real cause-in-fact responsibility for Dawn's condition would turn, having sex with Angel despite all that he was and all that he had done, up to and including kidnapping Giles and Faith that very same day or so... they punted. Again. "... involved a lot of things that were way out of my control". Does anyone else feel like they agonized a bit over that line, to find a way to hold her responsible and blameless all at once for the spacefrak itself? "C'mon, son" -- Ed Lover

    I think in terms of where Buffy and Xander are, the panel I take the most assurance from is the last one.

    I honestly don't care about almost anything else that happened in this issue. A bit of Fridge Horror that the balloon creature wasn't a balloon-and-kid creature, because who dafuq knows how long that has been dragging that kid around and from where.

    One bit of possible continuity catastrophe in this issue, although somewhat averted -- SIRING. When the captive zomp tears its wrist and feeds the captive lower-case slayer, there is zero indication he had already drained her to the point of death. That method of siring, in this Chambliss penned issue, is straight oughtta Vampire Diaries. Now, I'll be honest, I think there's pluses and minuses to both from a storytelling standpoint, but let's not go accidentally swapping mythologies here. Like I said, it's averted, because we don't see them committing to how she became a vampire on screen, but in the Buffyverse mythology, all that feeding her that blood could have been is an interesting bit of torture, it would have absolutely no use in terms of actually turning her.

    It is kinda lame that Simone seems to have absolutely no concept of the zompire issue at all here, even with a captive zompire as her practice target. Or does she just think she's too badass to not be turned into a more conventional vampire? I think I find it most amusing to think maybe Severin has even noticed this and is just not pointing it out to her because he doesn't give a damn about her anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    but I don't think Buffy made a conscious decision to sleep with Angel and I don't think that's what she should be punished for. She made a decision to give into Twilight's power knowing there'd be consequences and the space!frak was a result of that.
    I was nodding in agreement until this bit. This becomes the sticking point for why it's their having it both ways. She's responsible for the choice to give into glowhypnol, but she didn't choose to have sex? If she had no choice in the sex, it's the r-word. If she chose sex with Twangel after the mass slaughter of the previous issue that's a whole other problem. By saying it wasn't really either the story is in a strange no-woman's land and becomes oddly like saying a girl had a hard week in school and decided to get really drunk at a party to blow off stream, and when she was insensate an ex used that to have sex with her. No she didn't choose sex but she chose to get insensibly blotto. What is that?

    Or a woman had a crappy week at work, saw her ex at a bar, saw him slip a roofie into her drink... and then drinks it anyway. And when roofied and beyond consent he takes her to the bathroom and has sex with her. What's that? (I don't rightly know but whatever it is I don't like it and wonder at a writer choosing to create such a scenario.)

    There is gap between saying she gave into 'the glow' but she didn't choose the boink. It's a gap where nothing good resides ...because the writers chose a scenario without deciding what level of consent, control (or culpability) they wanted her to have. As it stands they seem to be saying she didn't choose the sex but she chose to drink the roofie and... ugh.

    The writer's making that the scenario is problematic in a slew of ways. It's just that with a world of ideas at their disposal why did they go with one so murky and then continue vaguing it up?

    Re: Buffy being surprised they boinked a new universe, I don't know that this is evidence of much. Sure she may have thrown caution to the wind expecting consequences, but would she reasonably expect boinking a universe into existence? Who would?!
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    Quote Originally Posted by shipperx View Post
    I was nodding in agreement until this bit. This becomes the sticking point for why it's their having it both ways. She's responsible for the choice to give into glowhypnol, but she didn't choose to have sex? If she had no choice in the sex, it's the r-word.
    Well, no, I should have articulated myself better because it's not that I think she had *no* choice in the sex. I think the glow acted as an emotional enhancer where everything she felt for Angel was magnified to the point that she, as Buffy says, became swept up in their emotions. I do think on some level Buffy made that choice but out of the two choices she did make (giving into the glow & sleeping with Angel) it's the one I hold her least responsible for because she was being influenced at the time as well. It is murky, perhaps problematically so, but I wouldn't go as far to say she had no choice in the matter.

    Eh, I don't think I'm explaining myself well. Nevertheless, I think they liked the idea of Buffy being swept up in her romantic ideals and that's where the glow came from it. It was a commentary/parody on Buffy/Angel. I also think it was just a matter of practicality for them to create a way for Buffy to start the apocalypse but not intentionally so. If she had realised that she and Angel were literally tearing the world down around them as they f**ked, she'd be far more culpable for Twilight then she currently is. It's one thing to have Buffy betray her family, Slayers and herself by momentarily abandoning her morals and giving into her desire to be happy, it's quite another to have her knowingly cause an apocalypse.
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    But that is why I wondered about her perception of the curse at that point because that would be knowingly causing a dangerous scenario for a 'moment' of happiness, one which would, potentially lose her the focus of her affections as well. Surely it makes no sense if Buffy wasn't assured that the curse was irrelevant, ignore the apocalypse she didn't know could happen she would have known it was a bad choice full stop. It is all so murky and unsatisfying (particularly as I remain convinced they won't give clarification) that I end up totally confused.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie View Post
    Hmmm... my reaction is colored by having read Georgia's spoilers. It had led me to expect an A+ issue. It's pretty good, for sure. But...
    I'm not expecting any A-grade issues at this point and haven't for a long time. Georgia just said it's the first issue she's enjoyed in a long time, but that's not saying much considering the quality of this season. It was also the first issue of Buffy's season 9 title I've (mildly) enjoyed in a long time, but my feelings are summed up in my previously posted assessment that it's "surprisingly OK". At this point, this is very high praise for me. The expectations have been really lowered, so an OK(ish) issue like this is a breath of fresh air. So, despite the fact it's full of exposition, that the main villain - Simone - is revealed to be even stupider than the other villain (Severin), and that Illyria is indeed written in a bland and dull way (one can see why Joss used to insist that he'd be the only one to write her - and the fact he's given up in the end shows that he's given up the idea of writing for the comics with his present schedule), it's better than any of the several previous issues because:

    1) It is not boring; stuff actually happened and there is a plot shaping up (albeit predictable and not alltogether sense-making). Yay! After all, that's the reason why so many people like Angel & Faith, because there's a plot there and some stuff has happened - and the Buffy title has the advantage of not being as offensive.

    2) There was a joke I actually found funny ("fifty shades of demon" - "lots of leather"), which is the first time in... I don't even remember how long, and I mean across all four season 9 titles.

    3) Characters (Xander and Buffy) actually had a conversation about the Twilight-shaped elephant in the room without beating about the bush. That's huge progress (or rather, that brings the comic back to 8.40, the last time the characters talked openly about season 8 instead of completely focusing on the Seed breakage). They said things that their characters might conceivably say, while echoing the issues that the readers have been discussing.

    I have no illusions that the comic is ever going to pinpoint how much free will exactly Buffy had/to what extent her ability to consent was compromised... Or may be it has? If we take what Xander says about mystical mojo as a fact, it means it was, as fans succinctly put it back in the day, "date rape by the universe" (I'm not sure the Dark Horse writers are aware of it, though, considering Mutant Enemy's track record when it comes to mystically-induced sex). But I'm sure they'll soon say something to back down from it or qualify it differently, or maybe we're supposed to think that Xander isn't buying this explanation, so we shouldn't either. I expect them to try to maintain some ambiguity.

    Xander's accusations are a mix of reasonable and unreasonable (blaming Buffy for making the world worse every time she saves it?!), while Buffy's replies are a mix of things that sound reasonable and things that sound like excuses. Namely, blaming destiny for everything and claiming it was inevitable does not sound sincere, especially not from Buffy, who's proven she could beat the "destiny" before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    I just don't believe that they are going to explore this well. I agree with Xander, it isn't about breaking the seed, I don't think anyone really thinks Buffy had a choice there in the situation as was, it is about what happened before. But without them being willing to pin down better the whole glowhypnol levels/influence it can't be explored really because any level of culpability for Buffy is unknown, just that she was weak. For that reason the curse thing is an issue for me because it means that Buffy may have entered into the spacesex with a knowing negative consequence being ignored. I will have to go back and reread them. I accept that Buffy betrayed herself etc but no glow in the world should have led her to potentially unleash Angel's unsouled self.
    Eh, to me the issue of Angel's curse possibly being triggered was the smallest of worries compared to all the other problematic aspects of the situation, and considering all the things that souled Angel had done that year, which was no better and may arguably be worse than what his unsouled self managed to do.
    You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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  21. #32
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    I think I see the distinction Mogs wants to draw, I get it, but I don't think it avails much. Buffy "giving in" to Angel's pitch and Twilight's power was giving in to what was a very florid version of "wanna?" Even if her real moment of decision was just to let go of willpower or what have you, when she could only know with substantial certainty that the next thing after she would do that was she's get spaceplowed, than that's ultimately the thing she chose.

    Aside from what would have been best, which is a complete rewrite of 8.33's end and everything that followed in 8.34 and 8.35, what would have been best is if they'd just written Buffy as completely just going with it, of her own free will, no glowy bullshit. Yes, it's a face-heel turn, but it would be like a Phoebe-becomes-Cole's-Queen face-heel turn, they could have bought it back easily enough. Actually, they probably could have bought back a straight face-heel turn more quickly and readily than they've been able to recoup the damage done by Glowy Ambiguous Nonsense.

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  22. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
    Eh, to me the issue of Angel's curse possibly being triggered was the smallest of worries compared to all the other problematic aspects of the situation, and considering all the things that souled Angel had done that year, which was no better and may arguably be worse than what his unsouled self managed to do.
    I agree because Buffy decided (to some undefined extent) to sleep with the enemy. My point was that whilst people acknowledge that it is often said that she couldn't have know that there would be a dire specific consequence of her choice to just letting herself be happy for once (because apparently sex with the person who has been treating you like that would make you happy??? anyway...) and all I'm saying is that isn't true because, at the least, if she hadn't been led to believe that the curse wasn't an issue, she was doing something she had personal recall on and knew could have its own negative consequences specifically.

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  24. #34
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    While I think Xander is *wrong* to blame the world getting worse on Buffy, I don't' think he's being unreasonable, in an emotional sense, and I certainly don't think he's saying Buffy did everything to worsen the world in S1-7 without Xander's assistance. Xander does act like someone who knows that he's been standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Buffy. He just think that he and everyone deserves some blame.

    I put Xander's claim that the world has gotten worse on the same level as Willow's claim that things would have been better if she never resurrected Buffy and just retired from fighting evil with Tara and Dawn. I think the Scoobies were necessary this whole time and everything would have worse if they didn't fight evil from S6 on and CERTAINLY from S1 on. However, Xander's looking back at a lot of choices that he regrets and thinks Buffy should regret too (empowering the slayers, the resurrection, how they ran the slayer army, the mythology of Buffy and Angel as the Indispensable Champions, etc).

    Particularly now that police officers have filled an evil-fighting vacuum (which Xander emphasized when he asked Buffy to turn herself in in 9.03), Xander may be speculating that the world could have been saved more professionally and....better with a more responsible, clever, professional, force at the fore.

    I mean, I think that's dead wrong. No one was stepping in to fill any vacuum and I've written before on serious institutional reasons to not trust the police and military to take care of demons and why it's a bad idea to write slayers and other evil-fighting peeps off as unnecessary. However, I don't think it's emotionally unreasonable to look at the ever worsening state of the world and some of the Scoobies' and Buffy's controversial or bad choices and wonder whether they impetuously run to save the world without the wherewithal to eliminate consequences or clean them up effectively early.

  25. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Either way, I sincerely hope the spacefrak isn't the focus of Xander's wrath here. If he's going to vent, vent across a wide spectrum. I could sketch out some pretty harsh broadsides and topics these two could give each other, actually.
    What else is to vent here for him? He's been with Buffy every step and every decision since the end of S7.

    Based on the comments here and is behavior this whole season up till now I'd say that he's being emotional here and his rant is to feel relief and that usually is not based on logic. For example Giles is a sour point as can be seen. I strongly believe his behavour until Dawn's sudden illness has mostly been fuelled by Giles death. Also, coming to issue 20, he is fed up with feeling powerless. The zeppo thing.

  26. #36
    Dedicated Spike Fan Maggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    - I disagree with Maggie that we're still waiting for Buffy to admit her faults in S8. She did that plenty in #40. Now, as I said, I haven't read the issue yet so my opinions on this might change once I see how it plays out exactly, but I don't mind Buffy sticking up for herself a bit here. She was manipulated, she was terrorised and stripped down, she couldn't possibly have any idea what giving into Angel would do and Giles did withhold vital information from her, so she's right to say all that. She has already admitted that sleeping with Angel was a "mistake" and her "betrayal" and acknowledged that her actions "sent out ripples of hurt" and gave the Slayers a pass for ambushing her because of what she did.
    Even if we agreed that what Buffy ruminated to herself in a rather cavalier manner in #40 constitutes genuine remorse, the situation here is *entirely* wrong for "sticking up for herself". Buffy just found out that Dawn is dying and that as yet there's no clear way to save her. Dawn is dying because the seed was smashed. The seed was smashed because an apocalypse was launched. An apocalypse was launched because Buffy boned Angel. Buffy boned Angel because she decided to give into an 'unholy glow' with the guy who had terrorized her for a year and who was deeply implicated in the deaths of dozens if not hundreds of slayers in the middle of the war when the bodies of many of her slayers were not yet even cold.

    She needs to feel bad about this. Maybe even to hold herself *too* accountable for it. Why? Because the consequence is now as devastating in personal terms as it can be. Dawn is dying and she's dying because of choices Buffy made. This isn't a court of law. In the court of the heart, Buffy should feel terrible. Instead she's choosing this moment to "stick up for herself". This is the first conversation between Xander and Buffy on this subject. IF Buffy wasn't just saying words to herself back in #40 (more on this below), she at least should tell Xander here that she's been beating up on herself for this for sometime and now that Dawn is dying as a result it's unbearably awful. How can we take her to be repentant when she can't acknowledge to Xander here that she really did make choices (however blameworthy they may or may not be) that have caused Dawn's disintegration?

    Here's the conversation (with some abbreviations at Buffy's excuses):

    Buffy approaches Xander on a rooftop where he's trying to deal with the fact that Dawn's dying.

    Buffy: "I should have been here sooner, Xan. But we're going to fix this."

    (He ignores her)

    Buffy: "Now's the part when you agree with me so we can start to make a -- " (She reaches out to touch his hand).

    Xander: "GET OFF!"

    Buffy: "Xander!"

    Xander punches a wall bloodying his hand.

    Buffy tackles him saying "Xander!"

    Xander: Get. Off. Me.

    Buffy: You think this is my fault, don't you?

    Xander: I'm not the only one. And if you came up here hoping I'd let you off the hook for what's happening to your sister, I'm just going to put you right back on it. Buffy, we're going to lose Dawn because ---

    Buffy: I destroyed the seed? I know. I already covered that downstairs. But here's the giant asterisk that goes after that sentence... INSERT EVERY POST KING HAS WRITTEN ON THIS HERE... So let's focus on the conversation that really matters -- how to save Dawn's life now.

    Xander: Nice Speech, Buff. You're right. I can't blame you for what happened after you destroyed the seed. But I can blame you for what happened before.

    Buffy: What?

    (She shifts here from to defensive anger to a look of being taken aback or something like that).

    I pause here to comment that if Buffy really had internalized that she'd betrayed things badly somewhere around the boinking this is the place for her to say so rather than look like Xander's accusation is something she hasn't dealt with yet. Back to the scene.

    Xander: You really never thought this through? If you and Angel hadn't boned a new universe into existence, the seed of everything's-going-to-go-to-*#A@-if-you-smash-it never would have needed to be smashed. And Dawn would still be a real girl whose battery isn't running out of juice.

    Buffy: What happened with Twilight...involved a lot of things that were out of my control.

    I pause to comment that this is where Buffy needed to express remorse rather than make excuses. She could have said: "Oh God Xander, don't you think I haven't thought that a million times. I don't know how or why I made such a terrible choice, but I did and I'd give anything to take it back." That's the all I need to hear. But no -- Xander shouldn't be mad at Buffy because the glow made her do it. Back to the scene.

    Xander: Yeah I get it. The universe gave you and Angel so much mystical mojo... neither one of you could keep it in your superpowered pants.

    Buffy: It was a prophecy. Millennia in the making. Everything I did that led up to it.. I didn't know what it was adding up to. IF Giles had warned ---

    Xander: Do not say it.

    I pause to comment that this just isn't the time to say it's really Giles' fault. It's not like she's wrong to say it might have made a difference if Giles had said something. But she's appealing to that instead of expressing any kind of remorse. Back to the scene.

    Buffy: Xander, I was just trying to save the world.

    Now, I've got no idea what Buffy is specifically referring to. The slayer spell in Chosen? But basically this reads to me like Buffy handing herself a big "get out of jail free" card. She's the noble warrior. Nothing bad is her fault. Xander shouldn't be mad at her. And I think a person taking that stance in this moment when she's just learned that her beloved sister is DYING because of what she did is a person who has not really felt remorse over her choices.

    I don't much agree with Xander's subsequent bit about the world being worse off etc. They all have been doing the best they could. But I'd also say that Buffy hasn't given him anywhere to go. She hasn't once acknowledged in the conversation that she ever did anything that might have anything to do with Dawn's situation. It was the universe or a prophecy or Giles or (martyred voice) her own commitment to saving the world.

    Blech.

    Re: #40: Buffy only deals with this directly in her conversation with Kennedy. Here's what she says: "Okay, all my fault. Let's enjoy that reality... (you need to get back with Willow)." That's not remorse. That's a place holder that reads "I'm not going to defend myself -- you can enjoy blaming me if you want".

    Then we have her internal monologue about betrayal. That's also not remorseful. The betrayal happened even though she's not sure what it consisted in -- maybe it was boinking Twilight -- but that's not important. Bad things are going to blow back on her because (martyred voice) it's hard to change the world.

    I'd add that Buffy's season-long disconnect makes a whole lot more sense if she really and truly hasn't confronted her choices. It's easy to say you blame yourself for "x" especially if the world is telling you that you should blame yourself for "x". But that's not the same as really acknowledging deep in your own heart that you've made some terrible choices that are having terrible consequences. A further reason to be pretty sure that Buffy isn't really remorseful is that she persistently deflects her responsibility from what she did do (make the choices in the run up to the apocalypse starting space boink) to the one chain in the sequence where she really did do the only thing that could be done (smashing the seed).

    Final word: I just don't think it matters for the emotion whether it was Buffy giving into the glow or giving into the sex. I think what matters is that Buffy totally went for something she knew she shouldn't have -- something that is disgusting in many ways -- and that she has yet to have that sick feeling in her stomach that because of that choice Giles has died, Dawn is dying, countless unnamed people have died, etc. She's not a criminal. But she's deeply implicated in a catastrophe. To move forward she really has to acknowledge that -- deep in her gut, and out loud to people like Xander.

    ETA: Oh, and it doesn't help that Allie plays her reaction to a mention of Angel for awkward triangle moment, rather than a moment of vertigo where her stomach falls out because she's reminded of the moment when everything went to hell because of her thing for Angel.
    Last edited by Maggie; 13-03-13 at 06:00 PM.

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  28. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    Aside from what would have been best, which is a complete rewrite of 8.33's end and everything that followed in 8.34 and 8.35, what would have been best is if they'd just written Buffy as completely just going with it, of her own free will, no glowy bullshit. Yes, it's a face-heel turn, but it would be like a Phoebe-becomes-Cole's-Queen face-heel turn, they could have bought it back easily enough.
    Translation please? I think there's something interesting there, but I have no idea what that last sentence means (or even what it's referring to).

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    I agree because Buffy decided (to some undefined extent) to sleep with the enemy. My point was that whilst people acknowledge that it is often said that she couldn't have know that there would be a dire specific consequence of her choice to just letting herself be happy for once (because apparently sex with the person who has been treating you like that would make you happy??? anyway...).
    My biggest issue with the situation has been and remains the Slayerettes. If it were Buffy having sex with Angel, whatever. Even if it had questionable "Is he cursed?" aspects, I could still buy her accepting "but we have the chance to be happy!" siren call.

    But what makes the situation unacceptable is that this comes on the immediate heels of HUNDREDS of girls dying in a fight with an army with Twangel in the vanguard. That happened. And then he removed his mask and she was... whatever?

    That didn't compute then and it still doesn't. She had been in battle with Twilight. Hundreds of girls were killed. And the girls' "General" runs off with the general of the opposing army???

    Even if Angel's explanation had been good (it wasn't) or comprehensible (not that either) or convincing (*snort*) and actually did cover everything he had done (it didn't come close), it would still be terrible because what in the hell does that say to all the girls who were following Buffy? What kind of respect were they given? What does that say about all the girls who died? What compassion did they deserve? Are these things alone not enough for her to pause? For her to think that maybe some explanations were necessary not just to HER but to the girls that had followed her lead into the fray, and necessary before she went frakking?

    The thing is, even if Buffy's explanations were 100% on point and unassailably true... that was still a pretty cringeworthy moment. She should realize looks pretty awful even as Xander mentions it.

    The sticking point to me has always been that she turned her back on her own army. Girls DIED in the near-immediate preface of this moment, and she went off, without explanation, with the guy all the surviving girls viewed as the killer. That's where the question of consent matters to most me. Because if she did that or if the roofie did matters a great deal in how exactly I view Buffy in this. The sex stuff is meaningless. I'm even less concerned about boinking an apocalypse because (other than worrying about the curse) it just isn't reasonable to anticipate that they could boink a malevolent universe. However, it being an egregious betrayal of her army to run off with the titular (and heretofore active) opposing general is obvious enough that an inattentive child would catch onto it.

    So did Buffy do it, or did the roofie? If it's the roofie, I feel sorry for her. If it was her... it puts a dent in some of my feelings for Buffy.

    While I think Xander is *wrong* to blame the world getting worse on Buffy, I don't' think he's being unreasonable, in an emotional sense
    This is where I miss having actual actors interpreting this stuff rather than hit-or-miss art. If Xander is saying this in despair, that sort of wail at the entropy of the universe, it makes sense if he says it. From his personal POV the world does appear to be getting worse. Given his current desperation I can understand his saying so. If however, it's not more existential angst than literal complaint... WTH. Would he prefer the world be ended than marginally less good?

    I've been siding on the more existential side of things because otherwise it's kind of a dumb thing to say. But Xander is in an emotionally extreme situation so a lot of slack can be cut for him right now.
    Last edited by shipperx; 13-03-13 at 11:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shipperx View Post
    I suspect they never will. To definitively claim she had no agency they'd have to deal with it being rape (sans agency, that is what it becomes) which is a brier patch they don't want... so it will remain the vague 'both ways.' It was roofie enough that she wasn't responsible for her actions and not so roofied that the universe conspired to rape her.
    I see how this is problematic, however I don't know why they don't want fully admit that Buffy was mind controlled during this space sex? Is not like this is first time when Buffy had sex under outside influence. First time was in episode 4x18 "Where the Wild Things Are", second time in episode 7x06 "Him". First time at least she was with Riley but secound time she was with RJ, some teen boy, she didn't really knew at all. What's worse episode as plays it for laughs - look it's funny Buffy had uncontrolled sex in school class and now Dawn - who was also under RJ spell - is mad at Buffy, oh shenanigans! Authors clearly didn't know what were they doing - I don't think that was their intent to imply that Buffy was raped.

    Anyhow, either all those instances count as a rape, or neither of those can be classified as rape. I don't see how space sex is any different I really hate Buffy's sex life...

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  32. #39
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    What bothers me most about the way the season is shaping up -- and I think we're finally seeing it reach its final form -- is how simplistic it's become.

    Why'd we wait nearly an entire season for Dawn to begin fading away? Why'd we wait nearly an entire season for Xander to blow up in Buffy's face?

    This should be the gamechanger moment. This is episode 7 of every season. Why's it been put on hold? Why has dealing with Season 8 been delayed at the cost of actually creating an interesting and compelling Season 9?

    These aren't new problems. We're only now dealing with the fallout. Come on. Get your shit together, story. This personal fallout should've been driving the story since the beginning and then we'd be dealing with a whole new cluster**** of mindboggling fallout for Season 9's climax. Oh, sorry, is that too hard to conceive? Too tough to write? UGH.

    Why aren't there interesting conflicts with the human world being explored? Why isn't the absence of the Seed being explored in-depth beyond Dawn disappearing -- an effect that's waited 19 issues to reach its high point when everyone with a brain knew Dawn was in danger back in 8.39? What, too much time spent filling people in on Glory and Keyness as if Buffy comics readers could forget? And, ya know, I'd actually be interesting in SEEING how creativity is failing, exploring that in an arc because, heyyyyy that'd be interesting to explore duh doh (heh, maybe that's why Simone's plan is so stupid -- she's already displaying the grrargh of a zompire).

    This build-up to the season's climactic arc has just been filler for dealing with Season 8 ghosts. Those ghosts should've been haunting and hurting and upfront from the very first so the story could move on to bigger and better. Even if that bigger and better is them putting those ghosts to rest, only for these problems to keep getting worse and worse -- at least then the climax would feel like it'd been earned instead of avoided till the delusion bubble burst.

    I actually really enjoyed the Buffy-Xander conversation, it just should've happened like 12 issues ago. As for Buffy admitting anything, all I want from her is this: "Angel tortured me till I broke down. I'm human and I broke. After a year of emotional torture, of misery and loneliness, I let my guard down at the promise of happiness."

    But why would the story acknowledge the extreme pressure put upon Buffy? I mean, it used to acknowledge the burden of the weight of the world. The most important part of that is that even after breaking down, she got back up and did what needed to be done. Angel finally succeeded in torturing Buffy to the point of breaking, he just needed a soul so he could ~love her enough to kill her (betray herself).

    Buffy's biggest betrayal was believing the lie of happiness Angel offered her, a lie he made tantalizing by abusing the shit out of her until she was so desperate that she'd see him as a good option. The abuser slapped her around, then offered her a kiss -- and because she'd been broken down first, she was grateful for his ~kindness. So hell no, I don't need to see Buffy being punished for giving into evil -- I need to see that evil dissected and purged. I need to see her understanding why she was susceptible to Angel in the first place, to recognize the weakness, how she was brought low, to feel ANGRY about what was done to her even as she feels guilty for the lives lost -- because THAT is the Buffy I know. That's the Buffy who learned and grew from her relationship with Spike in the series.

    Jeez, what was the point of deconstructing the Bangel fantasy bubble if the story was just going to shove Buffy back into avoiding looking at Angel's monstrous face once the glow had been ripped free? Nooo, let's not talk about Angel Island, which is surrounded by an ocean of denial. Sure, that's in-character for Buffy to live in denial, but it's NOT in-character for the story to just let her live in that denial -- eff, that's the entire point of Spike, that he refuses to let her live in denial. That's why he's ~important and you don't send him off into outerspace to dick around when SPIKE IS A NARRATIVE CATALYST FOR DISSECTING ANGEL ISSUES. /KEYSMASH!1!!

    See, Spike had to be sent away because Season 9 doesn't want to deal with Angel issues. I'm actually feeling contempt for these storytelling choices. Sure, abuse Buffy in Season 8, tear her down, but noooo can't let her deal with how she feels about Angel, noooo. Buffy+Angel4EVER<3.

    We're never going to get to this place where Buffy speaks about Angel's abuse and diabolical manipulation. We're never going to get to a place where Buffy deals with the guilt of her Slayers' dying post-spacefrak -- an arc used to really delve into the complexity of her personal mistakes and her own victimization even as she refuses to see herself as a victim.

    Instead, we get an arc about Buffy as a bodyguard offering us parallels about how breaking the Seed is necessary. Instead we get the arc about Billy as pure time-wasting filler. Instead we get Xander and Dawn pushed to the sidelines until 2/3 of the way through. Instead, Spike gets sent off because the writers can't figure out a way to actually write him evolving in a Season 9 Buffy story that refuses to EVOLVE anything progressively.

    This storytelling is so weak and trifling and craven. Its failure to follow-up on the controversy of Season 8, complex issues which demand complex deconstruction, turns a boring story into an offensive one. They sent off Buffy's narrative foils, Spike and Willow, withered away Buffy's dealing with much of anything, delayed the emotional fallout of Season 8 so they wouldn't have to deal with it. And in return, we get Billy the Most Splendiferous Prince of Filler, all shall bow before him and call him AWESOME.

    Nothing. Important. Is. Happening. I'm so sick of treading water and failing to deal with the elephants because they've been sent to the other rooms titled Angel & Faith, Spike, and Willow.

    If Joss was going to smash the Seed and peace out, he should've pulled the plug. I didn't sign up for being Dawn, trapped in a Seedless world, mystically fading away, where my best option is waiting to be transferred into a robot facsimile only heyyy that might not even work.



    re: Spike -- yeesh, I do NOT want him becoming human through a Severin power zap. What happens next? Will he be bit by a radioactive spider? If and when Spike becomes human, I want it to be a product of the same self-willed, stubborn-as-hell, defy-the-odds, ****-you-universe determination that Spike brings to whichever party he decides to crash, damning the world for failing to invite him but earning his way in anyways because he refuses to say die.
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  34. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1701EarlGrey View Post
    ...second time in episode 7x06 "Him". First time at least she was with Riley but secound time she was with RJ, some teen boy, she didn't really knew at all. What's worse episode as plays it for laughs - look it's funny Buffy had uncontrolled sex in school class...
    Buffy didn't have sex with RJ in 'Him', she is straddling him in the class room but the script says that he is fully clothed. It probably would have gone that far if Xander hadn't arrived I suppose, but it hadn't.

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