Page 3 of 12 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 239

Thread: BtVS rewatch : SEASON 3

  1. #41
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    5,755
    Thanks
    5,554
    Thanked 6,937 Times in 2,838 Posts

    Default

    I do have the same issues with Giles that I have with the Council, but I tend to try to be understanding that Giles is starting to break form. It doesn't excuse him monumentally letting down these young charges that he has literal responsibility for, and the others that he knows he is in a position of authority for and is a de facto mentor to, but it is something. Buffy fled her duty because of the pain of what it cost her and her uncertainty/hurt from those around her. She had some time in LA to come to some level of terms with her grief. Giles' grief over Jenny was pretty effectively smothered by his duty still and his personal worries for Buffy. I think that Giles is struggling in S3 with his own loss and the deeper sense that he can never be truly happy in the position that he is in. He despises having to deal with little worms like Snyder and play those games and he doesn't actually want to be a leader to a group of teens and deal with all their troubles. It is hard enough just trying to protect and guide his one slayer and he feels that he hasn't done that well either. Giles welcomed Angel and did nothing to establish/research the security of his soul and the risks of the situation. He even encouraged Buffy at points to spend time with him and as much as that doesn't make what happened his fault I think he is having problems processing where he went wrong and what he reasonably should/shouldn't have done in the events that resulted in the death of the woman he loved and an emotionally devastated slayer. Having Faith arrive who is going through additional troubles isn't even vaguely hitting his 'must do' list when he feels inadequate in spinning the plates he is already in charge of. He comes through for Buffy on an emotional level I feel in getting her to open up but he doesn't know what to do with it, it has just helped her some. Giles is still trying to fit himself into the box of watcher even though he is frayed around the edges and increasingly uncomfortable. He stumbles all the way up to his dogged following of Council procedure in Helpless which breaks this bleak miasma of uncertainty of who/what he is for him somewhat. I am still angry with him. It isn't good enough and his failure has a detrimental effect on those relying on him. But I don't think he is wilfully negligent, rather than he is too splintered in himself to provide good structured support at the moment. That doesn't stop the fact that he is the one on the ground though seeing what is happening and as much as The Council is an abject failure in caring for its slayers' personal wellbeing in their systems/attitudes, their eyes and ears are Giles'.

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Stoney For This Useful Post:

    cil_domney (23-09-14),Dipstick (05-09-14),Local Maximum (06-09-14)

  3. #42
    Slayer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,310
    Thanks
    3,165
    Thanked 2,718 Times in 1,239 Posts

    Default

    I agree with all of that, Stoney. Giles didn't ask to be a Watcher but his job led to a lot of pain and trauma, a bunch of which occurred in the last year. Moreover, Buffy is such a strong personality that Giles finds it very easy to fall into a trap of "How To Be a Successful Watcher: Be there to support Buffy 100 percent so Buffy can Reach Her Full Awesome Slayer Potential". Giles isn't a social worker; he's a Watcher. When you get down to it, Giles's Watcher-y opinion seems to be that Buffy is so awesome that she can save the world and protect Sunnydale so Buffy is the right slayer to get his attention and the team's resources to help Buffy out. And you know, that's pretty true. Buffy at the helm with the Scoobies/Watcher support has far more demonstrated results for success than Faith. The world hasn't crashed and burned because Giles didn't help Faith enough and Giles is in the business of world-saveage.

    However, I still think it's more prudent to invest human resources in both slayers. Yes, Buffy's incredibly talented but she's fallible and world-saveage can get too hard for one person. Giles's risk pays off if you just consider the world but it could have been a mistake to not invest in Faith. Through S3, I think Giles spends a lot of time monitoring Buffy and training Buffy in exercises that serve only cute comedy functions on TV that could have been spent with Faith. I think Giles has a lot of down-time- although not as much as S4. I don't think he invites Faith to the library just to be included in the meetings. Faith only comes when she's getting an assignment for a mission and the rest of the time, she's stewing in her motel room or getting up to no good. If Spike could live for awhile in Giles's house in the next season, I don't see why Faith couldn't have had the sofa or some extra room that we didn't see but I think exists given the exterior shots of the house.

    However, Giles doesn't think in those terms. His brain is focused on Buffy. Moreover, Giles considers Buffy a sort of leader on who gets care in the gang. After Faith starts to go bad, Giles puts his faith that Buffy's friendship can steer Faith right and Buffy makes a choice to put herself and to a lesser extent, Angel more in charge of the Faith situation.

    As for Willow, I start out by defending Giles because I think he had plenty reason to believe that Willow is a good, smart girl who could teach herself magic safely and wisely. Giles actually seems to choose cluck at Willow sporadically and lock books away primarily to establish himself as the adult in charge to scare her off really bad stuff. For a little more than three years, one could argue that his hands-off approach was mostly fine. I don't think Giles was counting on Willow becoming as powerful as she became. Even when Willow's magical acts indicated major power, it's easy for Giles to underestimate Willow as a powerful witch because she's so cute and helpless. And again, Giles is so Buffy-focused that he only treats Buffy like the key instrument of a person to fight evil who needs to be trained, helped, prepared because the fate of the world rests on Buffy's preparedness. The team does need Willow's magic but at the end of the day, Buffy frequently delivers the final savey blow.

  4. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Dipstick For This Useful Post:

    cil_domney (23-09-14),Local Maximum (06-09-14),Stoney (06-09-14)

  5. #43
    Slayer TimeTravellingBunny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    5,098
    Thanks
    3,826
    Thanked 3,128 Times in 1,403 Posts

    Default

    I have to apologise for being late, but unfortunately my review of Beauty and the Beasts will be posted tomorrow, because I currently don't have Internet on my computer due to a problem with phone wires (I'm using ADSL). I only have Internet on my mobile phone now. But I should have it fixed by tomorrow.


    BTW, I've just learned that my phone autocorrects Beasts to Bradys.
    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.

  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to TimeTravellingBunny For This Useful Post:

    Dipstick (07-09-14),Stoney (07-09-14)

  7. #44
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    5,755
    Thanks
    5,554
    Thanked 6,937 Times in 2,838 Posts

    Default

    Hiya TTB, any joy with the internet connection?

    It's so slow, with only one episode a week, I'd prefer to keep the pace up and stick with the timings and have a double weekend if need be rather than bump them all along, but if anyone has any other views/preferences shout up.

  8. #45
    Scooby Gang Sky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    425
    Thanks
    1,188
    Thanked 296 Times in 150 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    Hiya TTB, any joy with the internet connection?
    Since she and I live in the same country. I can confirm the problems with ADSL. Yesterday I didn't have internet for a whole day! It seams internet provides have some problems.

  9. #46
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    5,755
    Thanks
    5,554
    Thanked 6,937 Times in 2,838 Posts

    Default

    The joy of technology! Thanks Sky. I guess we will just wait for connectivity!!

  10. #47
    Slayer TimeTravellingBunny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    5,098
    Thanks
    3,826
    Thanked 3,128 Times in 1,403 Posts

    Default

    The problem is fixed, I have to finish something for work now, but I'll post the review today. Sorry about the delay.
    I also can't wait to comment on the previous episodes, I didn't have the time earlier to join the discussion.

    - - - Updated - - -

    This ended up being really long and wordy, even longer than my previous review I wrote a couple of years ago on my LJ.

    I also have lots of comments on the previous three episodes, but I'll post them tomorrow, since I haven't had the time before to read the entire discussion.


    Beauty and the Beasts

    The structure of this episode reminds me of Phases – it’s that time of the month when Oz needs to be locked up, and he is again the initial suspect in a murder that someone else has committed. And Angel is again another suspect – but unlike in Phases, this time Angel is innocent, too – there is another monster who is really committing those crimes. And just like in Phases, this frame allows the exploration of issues such as masculinity and the question of what causes violence, the supposed natural aggression or the performance of a gender role imposed on men; and the question of where exactly the line is between a human and a monster. However, Beauty and the Beasts explores these themes in a much more serious and darker way.

    This is, of course, also the episode in which Buffy learns of Angel’s return. I feel that this episode deals with their relationship and the fallout from season 2 in an emotionally honest way that was rare in season 3. Abusive relationships are a major theme of the episode, and it has a lot of interesting things to say about that topic, particularly with the way it reflects on Buffy/Angel, recognizing that it can also be seen as a story of an abusive relationship. Is Bangel a tragic romance, or a metaphorical story about a bad experience with an abusive boyfriend? And does it have to be just one or the other, or can it be both?

    I like this episode quite a lot, and I think it’s quite underrated. (Well, apart from the design of the werewolf, which still looks awful and resembles a gorilla more than a wolf.) I’ve seen people even call it misandric and claim that the episode is saying that “all men are beasts”, i.e. insensitive, violent, abusers etc. – which I find to be really off-the-mark, and which only works if we assume that Faith, of all people, was meant to be the show’s spokesperson in this episode. Faith, who voices this belief early in the episode, is clearly hinted to have had lots of bad experiences with men, which are coloring her views. (Incidentally, we already saw characters give „all men are beasts“ speeches in Phases - that time it was Buffy, coming on from a terrible experience with Angel in Innocence; but this was obviously temporary, since in this episode she calls Faith’s views cynical and doesn’t agree with her.) And later in the season, we see that Faith herself is very violent and dark, particularly in Consequences (which, incidentally, is written by the same person as Beauty and the Beasts, Marti Noxon), where she sexually and physically assaults Xander, who she had previously treated as a sex toy. Violent impulses and abusive behavior of women are explored quite a bit on Buffy, just not in this episode, because they thematically don’t fit in this episode, which is focused on comparing three specific relationships: Buffy/Angel, Willow/Oz and Debbie/Pete. And what we actually see happen (even if we disregard the existence of all other men in the show) doesn’t support the “all men are naturally violent/abusers” reading at all.

    The character whose views seem most likely to be the closest to what the show is trying to say, is actually Dr. Platt, the school therapist Buffy has to see, who turns out to be really smart, understanding, nice and funny. And of course, as it usually happens when Buffy meets a sympathetic, intelligent and understanding authority figure in school, other than Giles – he has to die a gruesome death in the same episode. (The same fate befell the nice biology teacher in season 1.) But before that, he has lots of useful things to say to Buffy, such as:

    “Look, Buffy, any person—grown-up, shrink... Pope—any person who claims to be totally sane is either lying or not very bright. We all have demons.”
    “Demons can be fought. People can change. You can change.”

    This is another one of the major themes of the show. Our demons, the dark side, the possibility of change. But for Buffy, the words, although they referred to her own ability to heal after her experience with Angel, would acquire a different meaning once she learns that Angel is back – still with a soul, presumably, but in a mad, beastly state of mind, and once she starts wondering if there is any hope for them to become more human again and fight the demon inside – something she tries to question Giles about. She comes really close to telling Giles about Angel’s return, but doesn’t actually do it, claiming she just had a dream of Angel’s return. (The only person Buffy felt comfortable confiding in was Platt – although she would not have told him the supernatural aspect of the story. With the Scoobies, there is a whole lot of Angel-related baggage that makes it hard for her to decide to tell them about it.)

    Giles explains that time runs differently in the Acathla hell dimension (similarly to what Buffy had seen in another hell dimension, the one from Anne) and that Angel has presumably been tortured for hundreds of years already – and that everyone experiencing something like that would go insane. This is horrifying, and Angel losing his mind seems as a likely consequence of such an experience. Unfortunately, neither of the two shows ever really follow up on this is a satisfying way: Angel is significantly better in the very next episode, in just two episodes he is completely normal, and we don’t see any permanent consequences on his psyche at any later point (as opposed to, say, the way we saw them with Connor before the mind-wipe). This is why Angel’s time in hell doesn’t feel as real as many other things in the shows, things we actually get to see on screen, and why people seem to practically forget or ignore it most of the time.

    In the same conversation, Giles voices another one of the show’s major themes:

    Buffy: "In my experience, there are two kinds of monsters. The first type can be redeemed. And, more importantly, they want to be redeemed…"
    Buffy: "And the second type?"
    Giles: "The second - is void of humanity. It cannot respond to reason. Or love."

    But which is which? Surprisingly (or not), in this episode, and in many other situations on the show, it’s those monsters who are technically human that are, or that have become, “devoid of humanity”.

    Let’s take a look at our three “beasts” in this episode. On one end of the spectrum, there is Oz – a super-nice guy, rational, cool, laid-back and perfect boyfriend when not in wolf shape. He really doesn’t have any control over his wolf side – or at least he believes so (despite the lack of control, he never actually killed anyone on any of the nights he was free – before Veruca in season 4, in which case he had other reasons to resent her), and no memories of anything that happened when he was in his beastly state. This is one of the things that would make it really difficult to blame him even if he had committed one of those murders, but another thing that’s incredibly important and that marks Oz as a really good guy is that he takes every possible precaution to ensure he doesn’t hurt anyone. The contrast between regular Oz and wolf!Oz seems really drastic at this point. Some say that Oz being a werewolf is supposed to show that even the most calm, rational and laid-back people (or, some would say, men) have a beastly, violent “id” inside. But I would say that maybe it’s exactly because Oz is normally so rational, nice, collected and laid-back that his “wild” side tends to come out especially violently. We saw in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered and we will see in Choices that Oz can actually have some really passionate, intense emotional reactions, when he is fully Oz, not the wolf – usually having to do with someone he loves, i.e. Willow. Season 4 will explore this later and show that Oz’ intense emotions, such as rage and jealousy, can make him wolf out even if it’s not the full moon or even if it’s daytime. (In New Moon Rising, he notes that he is particularly likely to become like that around Willow, which is somewhat similar to Pete saying that Debbie makes him that way.) But Oz remains a genuinely good guy because, whenever he understands he is a danger to others, he does everything to protect them from himself; he goes away to get himself healed/fixed so he wouldn’t endanger people. But I’m getting ahead. In this episode, Oz is the guy who actually does have some (super)natural violent urges but who never chooses to hurt anyone, but is instead constantly choosing to do the right thing and not hurt anyone.

    On the other end of the spectrum is Pete – the only “beast” in this episode who is shown to be irredeemable. Pete is human, or was human, but he chose to make himself into a monster, in order to be more powerful and “manly”, and therefore supposedly more attractive to his girlfriend. It seems extremely unlikely that this was ever necessary: Debbie is completely in love with Pete, and I’m pretty sure she likes him perfectly well and much better when he is not being a monster. But, for Pete, none of this was ever really about Debbie, though he believes otherwise. It’s all about his own issues and insecurities that he projects on her. The show has emphasized the difference between real love and selfish obsession before, and what Pete feels for Debbie is the latter. It’s the type of love that manifests itself as an extreme possessiveness and jealousy, which leads to resentment, animosity and violence towards the object of affection.

    Pete’s and Debbie’s relationship is the textbook example of an abusive relationship. When I watch the episode, I can’t help thinking of my mother’s story of her awful life with her first husband, who used to beat her up and was pathologically jealous and controlling – story she used to tell me as a cautionary tale. I always found it hard to imagine my mother, who I knew as a strong, blunt, independent woman, as this shy, scared young woman she described her former self as, who needed a couple of years before she finally left her abusive husband – but she was young and very much in love. He was her first love, and she moved to another town to be with him and his family. They met at the university, and he was charismatic, handsome, popular, both of them were intellectuals, and he didn’t have any substance abuse issues. I’m saying this because people often have these popular stereotypes about what abusive husbands are like and imagine them all as lower class, uneducated, alcoholic… when in fact, it’s often not like that at all. In spite of being attractive, popular and successful, he was pathologically insecure and jealous to the point of paranoia: my mother used to say that she had finally realized that he had a huge inferiority complex, partially because of his screwed-up parents/family situation. He would accuse her of cheating on him or flirting with other men, all the time: she had to walk down the street looking at her feet, because he would otherwise accuse her of ogling the men walking by; she couldn’t even read her favorite newspaper columns on political and social issues, because he would accuse her of being in love with the 60-year old columnist she had never met. But at the same time, he would always fill her head with the talk about how she is going to be nothing without him, that she would drink, roam the streets like a crazy person and sleep with everyone, if he ever left her. Going by all this, Pete’s characterization seems spot on. He is a talented scientist, nice-looking, seems normal, nice, funny, cheerful; he and Debbie appear to be a perfect couple in public, to the point of being saccharine sweet: the first time we see them, he has just given her a flower; they are always laughing and hugging. You have to look really closely to see subtle hints that things are not right, like Pete’s upset look when Debbie says something a bit positive about Platt, after going on about how much she dislikes him (which may have been for Pete’s benefit – but probably also because Debbie really didn’t like Platt’s advice about her relationship with Pete). Pete gets jealous of every man who even talks to Debbie, and when he gets into the “beastly” form, he is accusing her of cheating on him, calling her a whore and denigrating and insulting her, in addition to beating her up. That’s not someone who is able to really love, that’s someone who sees his girlfriend as an object and feels the need to control her because of the rivalry with other men that’s in his head and the imagined affront to his pride. Then he goes back to his “nice”, normal self, apologizes and manages to make her feel sorry and even start to comfort him, but what she doesn’t notice is that he is still managing to accuse her and make her feel guilty (“You know you shouldn’t make me mad. You know what happens”).

    Pete acts as if he has this uncontrollable beastly side that he developed only because he wanted to impress her; but it becomes increasingly obvious that this is just a manifestation of what his personality is like, even without any scientific enhancements or monster transformations. That’s why, in the end, he doesn’t even need the potion to turn into a monster, and why all semblances of love for Debbie turn into nothing but murderous rage and misogynistic hatred. In contrast to Oz, he didn’t have to deal with any natural or supernatural violent and beastly urges; he chose to turn himself into a monster because of his fantasies of powerful masculinity.* (Men turning into monsters in order to be more powerful or more successful is something we have seen before, particularly with the blatantly-obvious-steroids-metaphor of the swim team in Go Fish, and it also makes me think of season 6 and the nerds, their attempts to be villains, and Warren’s development into a full-fledged villain despite being 100% human.) Pete is in a way the opposite of the titular Beast from the “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale – he appears to be fully human and nice, until he transforms himself, or rather reveals himself to be a monster.

    (*As an aside: this makes it even more ironic when we learn at the end that one of the stories kids at school tell about Pete is that he went crazy from too much estrogen, after supposedly taking all of his mother’s birth control pills. It’s as if their first idea of a monster is someone who is gender-nonconforming, and a man becoming monstrous is naturally linked in their minds with the idea of a man being too feminine.)

    Where does that leave Angel and his relationship with Buffy? Somewhere in between Pete/Debbie and Oz/Willow, I would say. Angel did not choose to be a monster. He tries to fight his demon while he has a soul. However, when he is soulless, he is a deliberate, calculated monster who enjoys cruelty, which is very different from what Oz is. And we see, particularly later in AtS, that he can do some very disturbing things even with a soul. Of course, in this episode, Angel does not behave anything like the soulless evil schemer, he behaves in an animalistic way, but the memories of his history with Buffy are there in her mind and in ours. Buffy, in her conversation with Platt, describes, or agrees with the description of her relationship with Angel as a classic case of a relationship in which the one you love is initially nice, but then changes and becomes abusive, but you are not able to extricate yourself because you are in love, emotionally dependent and still hoping that he could change for the better.

    Platt: Lots of people lose themselves in love. It’s no shame. They write songs about it. The hitch is: you can’t stay lost. Sooner or later, you have to get back to yourself.
    Buffy: But if you can’t?
    Platt: Love becomes your master, and you’re just its dog.

    It’s interesting to compare this line with Spike’s famous line from Lovers Walk “I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it”. But unlike Spike, Buffy is not ready to embrace being “love’s bitch” and we will see her becoming less willing to take emotional risks when it comes to romance, trying not to be “love’s dog” again… though with variable and questionable degrees of success. It is even present in this episode, which Buffy spends trying to date “a normal guy” and move on, wondering if Angel is still redeemable, being concerned about him, but also unsure of whether she should ever try to rekindle a relationship even if he is (which is confirmed in the next episode, in which she is taking care of Angel, but still trying to date Scott Hope).

    Buffy gives a harsh speech to Debbie, laying it as it is, but I think that she can’t help seeing disturbing parallels to herself and Angel, any more than we can. Debbie has indeed “lost herself” in love, trying desperately to convince herself that Pete does really love her, making justifications for him, hiding the truth of his behavior from others, trying to protect him. In the end, she dies for it at his hands. Buffy is not like Debbie: she never completely lost herself, she is able to care about others and fight her ex-boyfriend, and even kill him to save the world… Yet, perhaps she is so angry when she’s talking to Debbie because she as angry at herself, or trying to resolve some issues in herself, even subconsciously: “While you guys enjoy your grim fairy-tale, two people are dead.” “Anybody who really loved you couldn’t do this to you.”

    (And here’s a great detail I noticed in my previous rewatch - look at the poster on the locker room behind Buffy while she is talking to Debbie and what it says!)

    The resolution of the episode is both hopeful and unsettling. After a fight between two “beasts” – Pete and wolf!Oz – Buffy fights Pete, but does not manage to defeat him. It’s Angel who eventually kills him, using a chain to strangle Pete. Buffy is oddly frozen, and even somewhat disturbed by the sight. One can say, on the Doylist level, that it was a plot device to allow Angel to save Buffy’s life, before dropping to his knees (in a scene that’s visually reminiscent of Pete crying and dropping to his knees in front of Debbie earlier), whispering her name, showing his love and devotion to her that is still there. Or we could see it as a result of Buffy having issues with killing Pete because he is technically still human, while Angel has no such scruples… but we can also see it as symbolic for Buffy’s inability to successfully and completely deal with her relationship with Angel, the fallout of season 2 and the problem of the “bad boyfriend” for the entirety of season 3.

    It is also important for Angel to symbolically kill Pete as a representation of a dark part of himself. In the end, Angel is portrayed as someone who is still capable of redemption; on BtVS, a monster who is trying to be a man is always portrayed as more sympathetic, morally superior and redeemable than a man who decides to be a monster. (See also: the arcs of Spike and Warren in season 6.)

    Taking this to the real life level again, behind the metaphors - while Pete and Debbie are a reminder of how dangerous it is to continue to find justifications for the abuser and how this makes many victims unable to end the relationship, I feel like it would have wrong to imply that anyone who has some sort of problem that may result in violent behavior – say, PTSD, mental illness, personality disorder, alcohol or drug addiction – should be written-off as a “lost cause” unworthy of love or a second chance. Which is why it’s important that Oz is successfully dealing with his condition, and that there may still be a chance for Angel.

    The moment when Angel drops to his knees in front of Buffy, as well as the episode’s closing scene, in which she is silently watching Angel, who is writhing in pain on the floor, belong to those ambiguous scenes – and there are many such in BtVS – that can be seen as romantic, but also as disturbing. And I love that ambiguity. This is no Twilight, but it’s also not a Lifetime movie. When he drops on his knees in front of her, it is certainly a moving scene, but Buffy’s silent facial expression and body language do not show any happiness; it’s not a “ooh, he saved me, this is so romantic” or even “oh, he is back and still love me” moment for Buffy. She does even not touch him while he’s hugging her legs (unlike Debbie, who was stroking Pete’s hair). Her face only shows a lot of pain and uncertainty about what lies ahead and what she should do. She is certainly very concerned about Angel and his state, and deeply feels for him, but she seems also to know at that moment that, whatever happens, all the angst, drama and pain she had tried to leave behind is back into her life.
    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.

  11. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to TimeTravellingBunny For This Useful Post:

    cil_domney (24-09-14),Dipstick (11-09-14),Emmie (17-09-14),Local Maximum (11-09-14),norwie (11-09-14),Stoney (10-09-14),vampmogs (12-09-14)

  12. #48
    Slayer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,310
    Thanks
    3,165
    Thanked 2,718 Times in 1,239 Posts

    Default

    Great review, TTB. I'm gonna be a little bit of a hater. A lot of the characters really aren't on their best behavior. Faith comes out the best!

    Xander/Giles/Buffy are all flawed in the "fall asleep" thing to varying degrees. Xander clearly made a choice to reassure Willow that he'd stay up on Oz-watch and then, immediately tried to fall asleep once her back was turned. Not cool, Xander. I have wondered whether this is standard "Xander is totally indolent" stuff or whether it's supposed to indicate that Xander is still a little aggravated and passive aggressive about Willow/Oz in preparation for the Fluking story which starts in the next ep. This is a continuing pattern but Xander displays rude frustration with Cordelia throughout her limited time in the ep. Barking at Cordelia for shrieking at the cadaver....like Xander just did two seconds ago. The sarcastic, "You were in your special place, Cor, which is why I adore you".

    Then, Giles bitches Xander out. It would just be a little hepped up if not for the fact that Buffy was supposed to be on SUPER-IMPORTANT SLAYER WATCHING OZ BECAUSE HE MIGHT BE A MURDEROUS BEAST and she fell asleep. The hypocrisy morphs it into "Buffy is Giles's Watcher's Pet at best" and "Giles treats Xander like shit" at worst. Buffy's sin is a little less because she fell asleep out of pure exhaustion but it was pretty silly of her to flake out on her UPER-IMPORTANT SLAYER WATCHING OZ mission, especially since she dismissed Faith who was prepared to stay up all night. (Faith probably slept most of the day.)

    Buffy absolutely screws up by hiding Angel's return. It's even more aggravating because she's still relying the Scoobies' resources to suss out Angel but without doing the Scoobies the respect of telling them what they're answering. Buffy fishes Giles for information about surviving hell dimensions and Buffy gets all up in Willow's grill about DEMANDING the answers to the autopsy report so Buffy knows whether Angel did it. Even though Willow is understandably hesitant about walking the fine line between delivering incendiary and prejudicial information or delivering dishonest cover-up information about Oz and doesn't need Buffy insensitively barking "What did it say! Was he bit!" to the point that Giles had to intercede and stop Buffy.

    Buffy does even more of a disservice to Willow and Giles by declaring to Platt that they'd freak out or "do something" (kill Angel). We can see later by Revelations that this wasn't the case at all. Moreover in that speech, Buffy leaked Willow and Giles's names as involved before telling Platt the entire story which Buffy surmised would convince Platt that she was loony-bin material. It's a big violation of Willow's and Giles's confidentiality/trust that could have affected them negatively if Platt was alive to hear Buffy's entire story. I understand that Buffy was shocked and desperately looking for neutral adult voice to help her but she went about it all wrong. And as Giles points out in Revelations, part of Buffy's actions does stem from a lack of respect for Giles and her friends.

    Meanwhile, Willow and Oz are definitely the healthiest couple of the three per TTB's review. There's a lot that's admirable about how they get through this as a couple. Willow is genuinely comforting and nurturing when Oz is a wolf- the reading, meat feedings, hesitance about tazing, etc. Oz immediately accepted responsibility as a potential suspect without hemming and hawing. However, I enjoy Willow as Oz's advocate. See:
    Cordelia: Oz ate someone!
    Willow: He did not!
    It's all in the delivery.

    However, Willow advocates for Oz but she also investigates and honestly reports her findings. She wants to clear him, not cover up for him. Oz locks himself up to avoid hurting anyone, even when it's humiliating like when everyone gets their assignments that they can do as people and Oz is about to leap into action but he remember. "I'm going to...lock myself in a cage." Aw, baby. Willow risked her life by getting Wolf!Oz to chase her to give Faith a clear shot with the tazer.

    However, I really don't care for Willow's "I mean, this time, it's not your boyfriend who's the cold-blooded..." It's pretty insensitive to Buffy. And Oz isn't a cold-blooded anything. Even if we accept the wolf as him, it's a primal hot-blooded beast. Not a calculated Angelus-type. I also wonder if this comment is meant to presage The Fluking. In their relationship, I think Willow does find Oz's stand-offishness and....coldness frustrating in contrast to warm-blooded, passionate Xander. Oz somewhat demonstrated that earlier in the ep by insisting on walking off and doing the guy thing when Willow wanted to talk and comfort. Human!Oz is colder than Wolf!Oz. Perhaps, Willow was subliminally alluding to that. Obviously, it's still not fair to Oz to start analogizing any part of him to Angelus. BTW, *I* wasn't bothered by Oz wanting to walk off and do the guy thing. It was a beyond minor reaction to the extreme stress and anguish that he felt to want a few minutes to himself. However, it's a distant, isolation-heavy pattern of Oz's which includes behavior that I had a bigger problem with (not telling Willow that he was repeating 12th grade, heading up to Monteray which is probably far from Sunnydale without telling Willow, all of Wild at Heart).

    Then while Willow's cold blooded....jelly doughnut thing was wrong, Oz clearly just files it away to keep as a shot for another time.

    Oz: Hey, I may be a cold-blooded jelly doughnut, but my timing is impeccable.
    Not the worst thing but kind of calculated and bitchy.

    Meanwhile, Cordelia was barely in the ep. And Angel's a total wild, murderous beast. Faith is totally the nice, reasonable, calm one in this ep! Plus:
    Oz: Debbie. (Giles looks at him) Well, victim number one, Jeff. He was in jazz band with us. They used to horse around.
    Faith: They were screwing?
    Adorable.

  13. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Dipstick For This Useful Post:

    cil_domney (24-09-14),Local Maximum (12-09-14),Stoney (12-09-14),TimeTravellingBunny (11-09-14),vampmogs (12-09-14)

  14. #49
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    5,755
    Thanks
    5,554
    Thanked 6,937 Times in 2,838 Posts

    Default

    There are several things that really stop me particularly enjoying this episode. The continued awful werewolf makeup is one. The terrible human shaped scorch mark void where Angel ‘landed’ also bugs me. It is also a nonsense as well that Angel miraculously turned up at the school to protect Buffy and, most of all, I have to say I think DB’s acting during Angel’s feral state is just rubbish. Plus, as you say TTB, the fact that Angel’s, likely, centuries in hell never has bearing going forward and is easily overcome is definitely unsatisfying. But as you ran through, there are some key thematic areas that are raised and I do think I appreciate more of the episode now thanks to your thoughtful review.

    I have to agree with Dipstick that Faith comes out best in the ep. Perhaps Xander’s disregard over the sleep does relate to his Willow/Oz underlying grump, he certainly didn’t like the half monty comment! And yeah, I really dislike that Giles finds Buffy asleep and yet that causes zilch reaction.

    I do find Debbie’s situation fascinating and how she has become trapped in loving Pete and accepting his abuse, even to the extent of protecting him. It does sit against Buffy and Angel somewhat, what they went through, what happens when Buffy finds Angel, but also in a lot of Buffy’s anger/frustration towards Debbie we see her lingering feelings of guilt. This melds with fighting inner demons, our darker sides and the desire to change. I think it also works well when considered following the differences between having faith and hope, as Max covered so well when we were discussing Faith, Hope & Trick.

    Buffy’s continued sense of isolation is pulling her down again and as she fears the reaction of those around her to Angel’s return, she is again turning away from the support the others can give, their right to know the truth of the situation and potentially again from her duty with the possibility Angel may have been killing to survive since his return. I’m not sure I would have labelled her secretive choice as stemming from a lack of respect, but that definitely plays a big role.

    Angel gave Buffy the connection between her home life and slaying life and I think Faith’s easy going vibe in this episode emphasises that Buffy does have other opportunities for that support now but she is holding Faith off. That Pete can be the animal at will in some ways I think reflects how Buffy feels about herself as the slayer and focuses on her guilt, the hurt and pain of it all again. Her separation from the others is a further part of that too of course. And her open anger with Debbie greatly exposes her awareness of these backwards perspectives and the risks of Angel’s return I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
    She is certainly very concerned about Angel and his state, and deeply feels for him, but she seems also to know at that moment that, whatever happens, all the angst, drama and pain she had tried to leave behind is back into her life.
    I think Buffy is fearing that she is about to go through it all again. This heightens her fears of the reaction of others too and starts a self fulfilling aspect by her withdrawing on assumptions of what they will say. I think there is also an issue for Buffy in not being able to separate Angel souled/unsouled as easily when he is in this more primitive, beastly state. As the episode starts Willow’s Call of The Wild reading talks about the deeper aspects of nature. Is he souled still? Because she can’t tell. There is something animalistic about him with the needs/nature of the demon commanding basic drives from what she can see. This emphasises how the flavor and tone of Angel unsouled must be informed by his personality and not the deeper inner demon. Buffy I think only feels any sense that it is his souled self that has come back when he says her name after killing Pete. That reminds her of when his soul was returned and yet she has just watched him kill which emphasizes the demon within that can’t be ignored here.

    This all works well alongside the visual of Dru’s (presumably) dolls getting shoved aside to find the chains to secure Angel as a subtle reminder of all the complications and hurts that have occurred. Dru obviously being an aspect of Angel's past that was specifically disclosed during the last season and Spike’s defection making it clear that there was a continued relationship occurring with Angel/Dru again. As Scott states, even if you care about someone you never really know what is going on inside them.

    But unlike Spike, Buffy is not ready to embrace being “love’s bitch” and we will see her becoming less willing to take emotional risks when it comes to romance, trying not to be “love’s dog” again… though with variable and questionable degrees of success.
    Although I feel that it is in many degrees Buffy’s slavish devotion to maintaining the fairytale notions of romance she fixatedly presses significance on for Angel that is what does make her actually “love’s dog”. As you say, the indication of Buffy’s anger towards herself can be heard in some of what she says to Debbie. The mockery of what Buffy/Angel will manage to have going forward is there through Buffy’s derision of Debbie’s ‘Grimm fairy tale’ when considered against Angel’s declaration in The Prom of their relationship as a ‘freak show’.

    Seth Green was the episode highlight for me. I felt for Oz at each turn and especially loved the delivery on his reaction to being told Faith would watch him… Oz: What, you're having a Slayer watch me? Oh, good, we're not overreacting.

    I also love Giles getting hit with the tranquiliser ‘bloody priceless’ indeed.

  15. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Stoney For This Useful Post:

    cil_domney (24-09-14),Dipstick (12-09-14),Local Maximum (12-09-14),vampmogs (12-09-14)

  16. #50
    Slayer Supporter vampmogs's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    11,592
    Thanks
    1,247
    Thanked 5,539 Times in 1,670 Posts

    Default

    I actually like this episode. I've seen people accuse it of misandry but I mostly have to roll my eyes at those accusations as I usually do when BtVS is accused of such things. Both Buffy and Willow reject Faith's opinion and the portrayal of, say, Oz and Pete is wildly different. But it's considered trendy to bash Marti Noxon so this episode is usually considered 'proof' that she's a man-hating jerk

    I guess I'm more sympathetic than most when it comes to Buffy keeping Angel's return a secret. If I were in Buffy's position, I too would be uncertain about how the gang would react and what they may do. Dipstick raises a valid point that for the most part Buffy underestimates the Scoobies here and how they really do react come Revelations (except for Xander who actually does make plans to murder Angel behind her back) but is Buffy being unreasonable to think it could have gone differently? I don't think Revelations necessarily reflects how the gang would have reacted to a feral and uncontrollable Angel who is violently lashing out at anyone who comes near him, including Buffy. Had Buffy taken the gang to Angel in his animalistic state and he tried to attack them or her I don't find it unbelievable whatsoever that they would try and stake him or at the very least put a great deal of pressure on her to do so.

    Buffy is still operating under the premise that Willow really did say "kick his ass." Buffy experienced firsthand the lack of compassion and patience Xander has for Angel issues in Dead Man's Party. Her relationship with Angel and the fallout from it caused a great deal of friction within the group and it's something they're just recovering from. I'm really sympathetic why Buffy would be fearful of telling them all and why she thinks "they'd freak" and react pretty negatively to any compassion she showed Angel or sign that she can't kill him if necessary. It makes a lot of sense to me that she'd find it easier to turn to Platt who is impartial. Her breakdown in Platt's office is heartbreaking to me because I think Buffy is dealing with what feels like an insurmountable pressure to figure things out and deal with Angel quickly and she doesn't believe her friends would have much tolerance for her putting off what very well may be the inevitable. Not again. Not after last season and what it cost them. And I think TimeTravellingBunny nails it in her analysis of Buffy's reaction when Angel crumples to the floor and embraces her and describes it as a mix of uncertainty about what she should do and guilt and anger, even, towards herself for the compassion she still feels for him. I just can't blame Buffy for thinking her relationship with the gang is still not stable enough to handle a resurgence of the very same issues that caused so much hostility between them in the first place. And I think part of Buffy feels that the gang have every reason not to understand her because she doesn't really understand it herself but she needs the space to figure it out. Buffy doesn't want to be another Debbie but that's all the gang may see.

    Which isn't to say I don't think the Scoobies aren't perfectly justified to be hurt and upset when they find out Buffy has been lying to them. One lie ends up snowballing into a whole bunch of lies (about what she's doing at night, when she pits Joyce and Giles against each other etc) and they have every reason to be angry about that. I also can totally understand why Giles feels it shows a lack of respect for his role and the job he performs. I do think Buffy inevitably gets caught in her own web where as time goes on it becomes harder to tell the truth the longer she leaves it and it becomes less sympathetic when it goes from watching over a feral Angel to doing sexy Tai Chi with him. So I certainly understand their anger and can't blame them for it. I just don't think it's about Buffy having a lack of respect for the gang as much as it is her being caught between two worlds and being unable to reconcile the two. Which is why Buffy/Angel works so well as a mirror to Buffy's Slayer/girl conflict in S1-S3.

    I must admit that I never noticed how Giles treats Buffy and Xander to a double standard in this episode. I guess because I didn't find the situations comparable (Buffy fell asleep whilst reading whereas Xander had no intention of even trying to stay awake) it didn't really occur to me that Giles was being unfair. However, that's information only the audience is privy to so you guys are correct.

    Stoney, usually I'd agree with you that a character miraculously showing up to save the day is ridiculous but I have no trouble believing it here. Angel most likely tracked Buffy's scent and in his feral state Angel would have been relying on those basic senses more than ever.

    I really like the Buffy/Platt scenes. The actor who played Platt had a really great screen presence and it's such a shame Buffy lost another authority figure who she felt she could trust and open up to. I wonder if she ever thought much of Platt when she takes on a counselling role in S7?

    Oz's costume is ridiculous but I must admit I love the mayhem in the scene where the gang interrupt Oz/Pete fighting, Giles gets accidentally shot, and chaos ensues. Willow tugging on Oz's little tail makes me laugh every single time

    I totally agree with Dipstick that Willow's "this time it's not your boyfriend who is the cold blooded murderer-" is very poorly articulated. And it makes me cringe every time Oz catches her saying it even though I know it's coming. I get why Oz feels guilty about anything he may do as a werewolf but it's not remotely similar to Angelus at all and it's unfair to call him a murderer or cold-blooded.

    That said, I do love all the little details Willow puts into their monthly Oz Watch. The towel up for privacy, his 2 o clock feeding, reading him passages from a book etc. Very cute.

    Giles must have later thought back to the scene of Buffy asking him about Angel/Acathla/Hell dimensions and have been pretty hurt. I think more than anyone he has a good reason to be so upset with Buffy in Revelations as he's been really, really great to her in S3 thus far. And speaking of that scene, I do love what Giles says about Angel. It's a real shame that S3 drops the ball examining the trauma Angel went through in hell and the impact this would have had on him. It never really gets factored into his characterization and thus fandom mostly ignores it as well, but it's really pivotal that Angel spent 100 years being brutally tortured and it must have had a huge influence on his psyche. It's also really impressive, as Giles says, that he had enough sense of character and will to overcome that. And whilst a lot of people write off B/A as an idealized teenage romance (and there's certainly some truth to that) it is pretty meaningful that after 100 years of agony Angel was able to still recongize Buffy and it was her presence that go through to him.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 12-09-14 at 07:29 AM.
    "You've got ... a world of strength in your heart. I know you do. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself."

  17. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to vampmogs For This Useful Post:

    cil_domney (24-09-14),Dipstick (12-09-14),Local Maximum (12-09-14),Stoney (12-09-14),TimeTravellingBunny (13-09-14)

  18. #51
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    5,755
    Thanks
    5,554
    Thanked 6,937 Times in 2,838 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    But it's considered trendy to bash Marti Noxon so this episode is usually considered 'proof' that she's a man-hating jerk.
    Coming so late to watching BtVS I often miss knowing any of the wider fandom reactions/debates. This quite clearly seems ridiculous for all the reasons you and TTB point out, so I've got to agree with your .

    I guess I'm more sympathetic than most when it comes to Buffy keeping Angel's return a secret. If I were in Buffy's position, I too would be uncertain about how the gang would react and what they may do.
    I think at this point it is pretty much totally understandable coming on the back of why she left in regards to the others perspectives. Even with, as you say, Giles being very supportive. It is just that as Angel quite obviously starts to come around to be more himself again it becomes rapidly less so. Or at least the balance tips anyway.

    Stoney, usually I'd agree with you that a character miraculously showing up to save the day is ridiculous but I have no trouble believing it here. Angel most likely tracked Buffy's scent and in his feral state Angel would have been relying on those basic senses more than ever.
    Ha, I'd never thought about the scent tracking, duh. I have to say though that since the last time she was at the mansion, when she tried to touch him, she has been to see Platt, has been in the library, the girls locker room, back to the library, around the halls and through the window, to the supply room so it does amuse me to think of Angel as racing around all of that like a trail of silly string to get there.

    It never really gets factored into his characterization and thus fandom mostly ignores it as well, but it's really pivotal that Angel spent 100 years being brutally tortured and it must have had a huge influence on his psyche. It's also really impressive, as Giles says, that he had enough sense of character and will to overcome that. And whilst a lot of people write off B/A as an idealized teenage romance (and there's certainly some truth to that) it is pretty meaningful that after 100 years of agony Angel was able to still recongize Buffy and it was her presence that go through to him.
    Personally I find it just adds to the weakness in the writing of Angel's time in hell. Just because in my mind a true hell torment would involve false visions of people, incorrectly believing you were being saved etc. So to feel it is the connection that breaks through I want to see something 'other' than the times they have already been around each other and it make no difference to him. Perhaps I can fanwank, to sit alongside the tracking part, that it was her continual scent being 'right' that finally broke through. I just think the whole feral Angel/hell stuff is a totally dropped ball. Especially because some of his darker choices going forward could have understandably related to some of his experiences during that time. Not in the sense of excusing or fully explaining them but just adding a richness into his story's overall coherency.
    Last edited by Stoney; 12-09-14 at 08:40 AM.

  19. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Stoney For This Useful Post:

    cil_domney (24-09-14),Dipstick (12-09-14),vampmogs (12-09-14)

  20. #52
    Slayer Supporter vampmogs's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    11,592
    Thanks
    1,247
    Thanked 5,539 Times in 1,670 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    Coming so late to watching BtVS I often miss knowing any of the wider fandom reactions/debates. This quite clearly seems ridiculous for all the reasons you and TTB point out, so I've got to agree with your .
    Unfortunately, people still ignorantly conflate feminism with misandry and are really paranoid about it. If a TV series, film or book speaks candidly about having a feminist agenda you can bet your bottom dollar you'll have people accusing it of male-bashing. Apparently a feminist show that explores misogyny (an inevitability) is being misandrist despite having a lot of wonderfully complex, rich and heroic male characters.

    And Marti Noxon is pretty much fandom's scapegoat for everything they disliked about the show. S6 haters blame Marti for the darkness that season despite Whedon stating multiple times he was just as involved as before and multiple writers confirming the balcony scene, Buffy/Spike and Willow going dark were all Whedon's ideas. Fans have simultaneously bashed Noxon for favouring Spike and Buffy/Spike above all other characters AND bashed Noxon for hating Spike and keeping Buffy/Spike apart (she talks about this on the Bargaining DVD commentary). Fans have also blamed Noxon for coming back from maternity leave in S7 and supposedly putting a stop to B/X in favour of Spuffy despite no writer ever saying B/X was going to happen in S7 and it being very clear from early on that Spike was going to remain Buffy's love interest that season ("Some day she'll tell you"). Marti has been accused of being a misandrist for both this episode and the AR and that's despite her very candidly stating that the AR was inspired from a personal incident where she forced herself onto her boyfriend. Joss got so fed up with the Marti-bashing that a few years ago he publicly slammed a poster called Vmars on Whedonesque;

    Here is Vmars' original post bashing Noxon when she became the new showrunner for Greys Anatomy;

    Uh oh. That means that Grey's is officially going downhill. Let's hope that next season isn't a big depressing season where Meredith gets raped and her and dr mcdreamy spend hours upon hours doing S&M and uttering the most cringe-inducing (AND LETS NOT FORGET-- DEGRADING.) dialogue. And TR Knight's character is probably going to develop a drug addiction. Expect all of the characters to be a shell of what they once were (That goes for the show as a whole as well.) I better go warn the Grey's fans...In fact, I think I'll write a pilot. Marti the Show Killer/Slayer.

    LOL reminds me of Dru's line:

    "Everything I put in the ground withers and dies."

    RIP Grey's Anatomy. You have now officially, jumped the shark.

    Oh how rude, where are my manners?

    Congratulations Marti!!


    And here is Whedon's response;

    How sick am I of Noxon-bashing? Enough to break my rule of silence, certainly. I've had so many people rag on her for aspects of the show I developed, or praise me for things she came up with. She's been a vital part of everything people love about Buffy since she overhauled the halloween script in season two. She's as good a story-breaker as I've ever worked with. And she's a leader.

    Everyone's entitled to their opinion, Vmars. You are uninformed and rude. That's mine.


    One of the things I'm most ashamed about when I look back on my time in fandom is when I actually believed this nonsense. In my early years I actually let it suck me in *shudders*


    I think at this point it is pretty much totally understandable coming on the back of why she left in regards to the others perspectives. Even with, as you say, Giles being very supportive. It is just that as Angel quite obviously starts to come around to be more himself again it becomes rapidly less so. Or at least the balance tips anyway.
    I agree. As I said, I think once it stops being about Buffy taking care of a weakened Angel and evolves into them doing steamy training sessions together then it becomes a lot worse that Buffy is continuing to keep his return a secret. The lies spiral into more lies and I can't blame the others for being angry at Buffy. I just think that the more time that passes the harder it is for Buffy to tell the truth.

    Ha, I'd never thought about the scent tracking, duh. I have to say though that since the last time she was at the mansion, when she tried to touch him, she has been to see Platt, has been in the library, the girls locker room, back to the library, around the halls and through the window, to the supply room so it does amuse me to think of Angel as racing around all of that like a trail of silly string to get there.
    I just picture him with his nose to the ground like a dog.

    Personally I find it just adds to the weakness in the writing of Angel's time in hell. Just because in my mind a true hell torment would involve false visions of people, incorrectly believing you were being saved etc. So to feel it is the connection that breaks through I want to see something 'other' than the times they have already been around each other and it make no difference to him. Perhaps I can fanwank, to sit alongside the tracking part, that it was her continual scent being 'right' that finally broke through. I just think the whole feral Angel/hell stuff is a totally dropped ball. Especially because some of his darker choices going forward could have understandably related to some of his experiences during that time. Not in the sense of excusing or fully explaining them but just adding a richness into his story's overall coherency.
    It definitely is one of the most glaring weaknesses of S3 (which I still adore but is not as perfect as I had once believed). I'm not really as fussed about the false visions of being saved as whilst that's certainly one way he COULD have been tormented there's no reason to say it had to have happened. Angel could have been mentally tortured or just physically tortured and I guess it just depends on how 'inventive' his captors decided to be

    And yes I often feel that a lot of Angel's darkness would be rooted in his time in hell. Obviously it also has to do with his nature but there's no way 100 years of torture wouldn't have a horrible effect on him. I've tried to argue that many times but I can't really blame fans for not paying attention to it when the writing drops the ball completely.
    "You've got ... a world of strength in your heart. I know you do. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself."

  21. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to vampmogs For This Useful Post:

    cil_domney (24-09-14),Dipstick (12-09-14),Local Maximum (12-09-14),Stoney (12-09-14),TimeTravellingBunny (13-09-14)

  22. #53
    Slayer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,310
    Thanks
    3,165
    Thanked 2,718 Times in 1,239 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    I guess I'm more sympathetic than most when it comes to Buffy keeping Angel's return a secret. If I were in Buffy's position, I too would be uncertain about how the gang would react and what they may do. Dipstick raises a valid point that for the most part Buffy underestimates the Scoobies here and how they really do react come Revelations (except for Xander who actually does make plans to murder Angel behind her back) but is Buffy being unreasonable to think it could have gone differently? I don't think Revelations necessarily reflects how the gang would have reacted to a feral and uncontrollable Angel who is violently lashing out at anyone who comes near him, including Buffy. Had Buffy taken the gang to Angel in his animalistic state and he tried to attack them or her I don't find it unbelievable whatsoever that they would try and stake him or at the very least put a great deal of pressure on her to do so.
    IMO, if Buffy plead/ordered the Scoobies to chain up Angel and give him a few days to see if he'll cool down from hell, the Scoobies would have fallen in line. The Scoobies basically always follow Buffy's directives re: Angel. Willow, certainly, wasn't going to attacking Angel for being all feral and wild at this point considering Oz. In Revalations, Xander plotted to kill Angel for a short time because Buffy's integrity was at an all time low and she shouldn't vouch for Angel or herself effectively. Plus, Xander was panicked that Angel have the Glove of Mynegon. IMO, if Buffy came to the Scoobies straight-away and came off as forthright and focused on the Scoobies' safety, they would have taken Buffy's lead for awhile on waiting to see if Angel recovered.

    However if Buffy really was concerned with how the entire gang would view Angel as a danger because he's actually very wild and dangerous, that's all the more reason to cut in more fighters/researchers to contain Angel or cut in neutral people to assess the situation to give up on Angel. She can't even just tell the story to Platt without cutting in the Scoobies, so Buffy violates Willow's and Giles's privacy by leaking their names to Platt as involved in the whole loony-bin story. Buffy clearly wants exposition from Giles on hell dimensions and an autopsy report to clear Angel from Willow and I bet Buffy would like a tranq run and more guards. I think deep-down, Buffy felt she was ill-equipped to handle this safely in Beauty and the Beasts. However, I think Buffy deals with her indecision and low self-image by painting everyone else as worse. Debbie is an enabler, Willow double-talks and can't spit out an autopsy report, Giles and Willow wouldn't understand and they'd just kill Angel unfairly, Faith is too wild and promiscuous and anti-men to share with even though Faith is like, over-sharing.

    I see Buffy's reasons for hiding Angel and I'm sympathetic to a degree but I still think it was a big violation of trust from the get-go that just got worse after this ep. To rank it in the Secrets o'Meter. I look on it less favorably than Xander's "kick his ass" or Willow hiding the details of the resurrection spell or Buffy hiding Dawn's origins or Xander lying about remembering his Hyena times. I look on it more favorably than Tara lying about her supposed demon-hood or the Cruciateum or Riley's vamp hos or probably the Fluking.

  23. The Following User Says Thank You to Dipstick For This Useful Post:

    cil_domney (24-09-14)

  24. #54
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    5,755
    Thanks
    5,554
    Thanked 6,937 Times in 2,838 Posts

    Default

    3.05 Homecoming

    I always enjoy this episode and I think it is a good little showcase of the issues different characters have and the struggles within the group going forwards.

    Alongside all we saw Buffy give up when she fled to LA, this episode highlights again what she lost in becoming Chosen. Rather than economic differences, although that often plays a part in popularity as Faith in part continues to show too, we are focusing more on the political complexities of the group and of high school. This works of course alongside the development we also see with Mr Trick and The Mayor.

    The internal balance for Buffy of her Chosen status and the girl within is front and centre yet again. It makes sense as she is trying to reason through Angel’s return and he helped her feel a balance between those two aspects, but she is currently trying to deny herself that and is trying not to flee to him. Really we see, I think, Buffy trying exactly what it is that Angel tells her she should strive towards when he leaves. I support Angel totally in making his choices for himself, but I do think that it is not completely right to make a decision based on what you think it will encourage someone else to do and particularly to tell them that is what you are doing it for, as that does risk placing an emotional weight on their decisions based upon your wishes and point of view. It is sad though that I think this episode shows the underlying truth for Buffy that we, the audience, have seen clearly repeated since NKABOTFD, that Buffy needs integration as separation is never really going to happen. Buffy can’t find the average guy and have the average life, that just isn’t her life now. And I have to question if average is what she really wants anyway as she enters a competition to prove greater popularity and significance! But anyway, slaying does often/normally encroach and I can feel a lot for Buffy on that.

    Very understandably following her time away in LA, Buffy is wanting to feel her sense of belonging in Sunnydale firmly again now and outside of her existence as the slayer and her duty. It is really hard then that the reality that she is faced with is that the group dynamics have changed. Xander arguably should be helping Cordelia over Buffy on this occasion. Buffy’s regular withdrawal and absence from the norm does isolate her by placing her on the outside so that she can miss the photographs due to training or the majority of the prom due to being hunted down as the slayer. Her duty is forcing a ‘Marcie Ross’ esque social status and the links to Out of Mind, Out of Sight feeling clear with the prom link too. Even a forced/fake popularity is preferable to strive for as her actual status is such a non-event here. A further Marcie link came with the teacher that also failed to know who Buffy was. It isn’t just students, she might as well not be there at all. The fact that the class she loved was on contemporary heroes just making the teacher's lack of awareness of her seem an even more cruel truth to face. Although we will of course see in The Prom that Buffy’s perception of her status isn’t right and her presence/actions are not as invisible to others as she thinks.

    I do feel some annoyance with the group for how they treat Buffy when she is trying to campaign, even though I feel they are put in an unfair position. But they don’t handle it well. I particularly dislike Oz behaving as if he has no agency in how he effects other people’s feelings by taking his uber-chilled easy route attitude ‘as Willow goes, so goes my nation’. I dislike this passivity as Willow may be his reason for being there and his focus but that doesn’t mean his actions don’t affect the group any and he should take some ownership for that.

    I think the scripting in the campaign board scene is actually great for showing that Buffy is falling back to quite petty/childish behaviour she should be past as she strives to revisit her past. It is also worth considering that a Cordelia/Cordette approach isn’t a dynamic that she has shared with the Scoobies either so it feeling awkward works well.

    Both Buffy and Cordelia are unpleasant to each other during the course of the campaign. Cordelia certainly dropped the ball about the photos but it is Buffy’s annoyed jibe that starts the confrontational tone, even if it is understandable. Although there are elements of them both behaving badly towards the other, they had in many ways come past this level of discord and I feel that it is actually Cordelia’s reversion to being all ‘Queen-C’ that escalates the nasty side of it all. Her attitude regression does make sense against the current social event in causing the rearing of resentment, as I will look at in a mo with Cordelia, but I have to say, beyond the name calling, that I think Cordelia steps even further over the line when she comments on Buffy’s split home. As I say, the economics do also fall in with the politics too here at times.

    It is worth a quick aside to note that we have a flash of Buffy’s physical aggression again in response to Cordelia making a move to shove past her. This is in addition to Faith openly stating that she is channelling her rage in her sparring. Again Faith is more comfortable with some of their natural tendencies although here, with just them present, releasing her emotions through violent physical release isn’t something Buffy is denying, although she still doesn’t seem very happy or accepting of it.

    It isn’t fair the way the others are placed in the middle though and that is Buffy’s doing particularly I think as she is choosing to start the challenge between her and Cordelia. Asking Willow to let her look at the database isn’t fair and I disagree with Willow that it is her/Xander overcompensating in guilt that is at fault, although it certainly doesn’t help stabilise the situation. Buffy is trying to directly challenge Cordelia over an area that she hasn’t tried to assert herself into before, striving for the popularity vote, and it is that which puts pressure on the group. It sits well alongside Faith’s appearance as another slayer and the potential conflicts that can (and will) arise. In both cases they can coexist and it isn’t until there is direct intention to push the other out, to occupy the same space, that the clashes really come about. Cordelia telling Buffy she is trying to be like her works well alongside the coming Faith/Buffy storyline and Buffy’s focus here repeatedly on the status of ‘her life’.

    The episode certainly seems as much about Cordelia and illustrating how her position has changed too within the same social circle. If we again compare with OOM,OOS, Cordelia then was commanding the Cordettes and was an easy/assumed win for May Queen. Now she is angry about Buffy splintering her vote and in part that is because she is angry at the change in social status that she has experienced. That mostly has to do with becoming a regular and active member of the Scoobie gang, which, of course, focuses around Buffy. We will see that resentment about Buffy as the catalyst of change come out in The Wish. But Cordelia somewhat reclaims her position, her inner strength a little perhaps, in (the ridiculous) face off with Lyle Gorch. But despite the nonsense of it, credit to Cordelia, and her character is pretty consistent in this way here and going forward to AtS I think, for being brave to the point of all out ballsy in protecting Buffy when she is down and vulnerable.

    So both Buffy and Cordelia come through by working together effectively and at the end there is the brief tease of the cheesy ending of sharing the crown and then they both walk away. It seems clear that neither of them are ever going to be ‘that’ person again and sometimes you just have to let parts of yourself and your past go to move forward. Cordelia getting more assertive in the fight and Buffy going watcherless are both paths they will explore more in their futures, albeit in AtS for Cordelia.

    Whilst we have Cordelia openly admitting during the episode to the depth of her feelings for Xander, we have Xander and Willow’s first kiss. I, like many, really don’t like this plot development. I can see that Xander, who is very possessive, has been feeling out of sorts since Willow became so focused on Oz. We had his displeasure at the ‘half monty’ comment last episode and here, just before the kiss, he is again wanting to gauge the physical developments in Willow/Oz's relationship. The Willow of it I also can see. She has pined after Xander for years and he makes a move on her ‘finally’. That would be hard to resist. But I find it difficult to accept how easily she goes there when there have been numerous points this season where she has shown little or no interest/awareness of Xander/Cordelia or Xander’s obvious jealousy of Oz.

    The selfish immaturity and callous disregard for their partners is as bad from them both. I admit I feel more irritated at Xander though because it feels more like part of the compulsion for him is about losing a favoured toy, rather than a changing perspective. I can see the argument that he felt differently when Willow was in hospital at the end of last season or that her dating made him look at her differently. But I just don’t feel a depth of romantic feeling is built up to in getting to this, and then it isn’t sustained at all going forward. The end result is that it works best if it is about possessiveness from him I think. I do also roll my eyes at Willow’s now open cutesying about the ‘sweetest thing’ he does with his mouth too. It felt pretty awkward for her to be comfortable to be voicing that after all these years of supressing it and after so little prompting. Sure it could be seen as grasping at the chance to release it all, now that the kiss made it feel ok to do so, but I just struggle to buy into this plot direction for these two. The fact that it continues is even harder to take when you see how miserable and distant they are both feeling at the dance.

    It is interesting that in this episode with the small politics within the group being a focus we see Faith trying to be supportive of Buffy in sparring together, chatting with Buffy, encouraging her after the break up and then, even with Buffy not present, showing a loyalty in jibing Scott and splitting up his alternate date at the dance. As Faith is seen as being wilder and more carefree than Buffy it follows on from Scott’s criticism that Buffy isn’t as full of life anymore that she would follow Faith’s lead as a louder force of nature in considering going to the dance without her date. I think those that feel that Faith enters Sunnydale with the premeditated intention to displace Buffy should consider the little snippets we see in this episode that clearly show a person who is trying to become a part of the group, although her manner/methods continue to make her feel like an outsider.

    So the Mayor is finally on our screens too and is a character I adore. He is quirky and interesting from the beginning. I love how he epitomises the personable elected leader who promotes healthy living and family values alongside his underlying power crazed corruption and his effortlessly threatening command and control. Following on from Faith, Hope & Trick we see where Mr Trick is taking his perspective of ‘the big picture’ that the Hellmouth can offer in his Slayerfest business venture. It’s arguably a business plan that hasn’t fully considered the complexity of its asset usage(!), but it certainly captures the attention of The Mayor. Through Trick this is the start of the path that leads Faith to his door too. It also works well against the upcoming episode Helpless for placing a slayer in a testing situation against an adversary.

    The Angel of the episode isn’t time consumptive although it is significant. He clearly is becoming more compos mentis and DB handles this degree of a distracted and muddled mind far better than he managed to show the totally feral loss of reason imo. His reaction to hearing Giles’ name is brilliantly done as he seems to almost be searching for the links of all that happened in his mind but with a real sense of sadness and concern that shows his increased understanding of what has passed.

    On the side of Buffy keeping his presence secret I start to get uncomfortable about it from here. There is the threat that an unstable vamp can pose and when he whirls round at Buffy’s mention of dating someone she seems to feel physically threatened, or at least slightly nervous of him in response. He is unchained now so if any part of her fears that he isn’t stable enough to be trusted that is deeply worrying. Plus, any worries she may have had at them not accepting him when he was less ‘with it’ has faded down now to “they wouldn’t understand that you’re… better”. And I have to ask “in what way?” They wouldn’t understand that he is better than when he was feral from hell or they wouldn’t understand that he is better than when he was unsouled? Because I can’t see any reason why they wouldn’t understand either of those things. What I think is really the issue is that Buffy fears they wouldn’t understand her wanting to spend time with him and help him. Either because of what them being together meant for everyone before, or, that they simply may not be comfortable with his presence after everything that happened. It is possibly, in part, projecting her own mixed feelings and uncertainty on them. Certainly as her comment about Scott being a nice solid guy that makes her happy and that she can rely on is clearly a pointed remark and seems, unusually for Buffy, to lay some blame of Angelus directly onto Angel.

    Giles’ bumbling, poor handling of his role continues. His passive attitude towards Faith’s arrival seems to meld here with both his peripheral stance when remarking on the fuss over being prom queen despite it showing some issues with the interplay in the group and his ‘joke’ at the dance. His praise to Willow and Xander for getting Buffy and Cordelia talking again shows his lack of involvement there too, even if he did give tacit approval. Then when he learns that something terrible was indeed happening to Buffy he gets knocked out before he can help. That distancing from what Buffy the girl is going through also working towards him playing the Council line in Helpless. This is all perhaps a little harsh as he did make noises about being there to support her when the results were announced, but still I think the overall feeling is that he didn’t have a real handle on what was going on like he should have. I think it also works well leading up to Buffy taking the more able/adult role in Band Candy too.

    A couple of light hearted extras to finish with… I have to say I loved the characterisations when they had their photos taken. Willow’s pic was adorable and I thought Oz’s immutable expression was perfect. And this line by Trick just shows how delivery can be key, it’s great…
    "...and whatever the hell you are, my brother. You got them spiny-looking head things. I ain't never seen that before."

  25. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Stoney For This Useful Post:

    Dipstick (15-09-14),Local Maximum (18-09-14),TimeTravellingBunny (11-10-14),vampmogs (15-09-14)

  26. #55
    Slayer Supporter vampmogs's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    11,592
    Thanks
    1,247
    Thanked 5,539 Times in 1,670 Posts

    Default

    Great review Stoney! I hope to write something more substantial soon but just a couple of points!

    I have to agree that Oz's "as Willow goes, so does my nation" is really annoying in this episode. Oz rarely does anything to upset me and I find his devotion to Willow nice but it's like he has no original thought of his own and is basically just admitting that he will blindly follow Willow in the group. He does something similar in Earshot when Willow runs out of the library over Buffy's telepathy and Oz says "I'm going to follow the red head" and abandons Buffy too. I mean, don't get me wrong, I expect that Oz's loyalty will first and foremost be towards Willow as it should be but that's twice that he pretty much shows complete disregard for Buffy's feelings. As Stoney says, it may very well be that Willow is his main reason for socializing with the gang but he can be pretty callous towards others and how his actions effect them and not only is it pretty selfish but, like, you can have an original thought in your head, dude! I do get running after Willow in Earshot because she was upset but could he not help Buffy just because Willow isn't? I don't think Willow would have mind (in fact, it probably would have relieved some of her guilt if she thought Buffy was getting help from someone) so it's kind of ridiculous. And, hey, maybe he would just rather help Cordelia but if that's true then own it as a decision of your own and not because you have to follow Willow around. It's why as much as I like Willow/Oz and like Oz as a character I'll always prefer Tara for actually caring about what the rest of the group thinks of her and making an effort to socialize and fit in (Family) and for developing pretty close relationships with other people than just Willow (Dawn and later Buffy).

    I actually think Willow/Xander does make sense overall. If you look back at their history the two of them always get extremely close when Buffy is either absent or in this case has been absent and is still pretty distant in the gang. They nearly kissed in When She Was Bad and in the Wishverse they're a couple as well. And as others have pointed out, Xander still showed a very possessive side of himself over Willow seeing Oz 'half monty' in Beauty and the Beasts and of course there's still his "I love you" in Becoming II. I think Stoney is correct as well that it would be difficult for Willow not to be tempted as she waited so long for Xander to notice her that as much as she loves Oz and was moving away from that crush, to reject Xander's kiss after all those years of waiting is just too much. I also think it's important that their first kiss happens when they're getting ready for Homecoming and not only reminiscing about their childhood together but talking about how scary it is, to an extent, that they're growing up and leaving the final stages of adolescence behind. It seems like they're reacting to that fear by trying to reclaim a little bit of their childhood back.

    I love Faith in this episode. It shows a really nice side of her that she's so loyal and protective of Buffy and tries to get Scott back for ditching her. I do feel a little bad for her that she makes an effort to gossip with Xander and Willow and they're both too guilt-ridden to pay any attention to her. Normally I wouldn't pay much attention to it but knowing Faith and her loneliness/rejection issues I can see her taking that personally and misinterpreting it as them not liking her very much.

    Buffy does not react well to Cordy touching her *at all*. It's a very consistent character-trait of hers that throughout the series; Angel touches her aggressively in Amends and she hits him, Angel grabs her arm in Sanctuary and she hits him, Riley holds onto her arm in Into the Woods and it takes a lot of restraint for Buffy to just tell him to take his hand off her, Spike grabs Buffy's shoulder in Smashed and she responds by hitting him ("Don't touch me!). Buffy can restrain herself if a non-super powered person touches her when she doesn't want to be touched (Cordy and Riley) but it clearly bothers her *a lot*. Don't get me wrong, Buffy is perfectly within her rights not to like being touched in an aggressive manner, but it's just something that consistently bothers her throughout the show so I think there's more to it. And Buffy does lash out in pretty extreme ways sometimes like when she strikes Angel in Sanctuary. I've always saw it as a reaction to the nightly violence Buffy has to endure and that it's pretty much a defense mechanism now for her to lash out when people touch her like that. I obviously don't agree with Cordy calling her "sick" but Buffy is a little bit scary there. She lives and breathes violence on a daily basis and I definitely think this is evidence of how the slaying has taken a toll on Buffy's psyche.

    Cordy using Joyce and Hank's divorce against Buffy was a really, really low blow. I see that as a pretty big betrayal of Buffy, the gang, and Xander's confidence to use intimate personal details like that against her. She's obviously well aware of Buffy's issues with her father.

    I do think it's really uncomfortable the way Buffy tries to revert things back to S1 when she insults Cordelia in front of the gang. She's talking to Cordy's boyfriend after all so it's no wonder her jokes fell flat. And as hard and uncomfortable it is to watch the gang chose Cordelia over Buffy I'm actually pretty sympathetic towards Xander because it would have placed him in an incredibly difficult position. I do think he did the right thing supporting Cordy's campaign over Buffy's as she is his girlfriend and she should expect that kind of loyalty/support/commitment from him. I'm less sympathetic to Willow because I think she should have supported her best friend over the girl who's used her popularity to beat Willow down over the last few years, but I understand that it was Willow's guilt compelling her to do this and to her credit she does feel terrible about it. Considering Buffy doesn't know the reason behind Willow's behavior I would say she's pretty damn understanding all things considered. That would have felt like a pretty big betrayal without the context to understand why Willow was choosing Cordy over her.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 15-09-14 at 09:31 AM.
    "You've got ... a world of strength in your heart. I know you do. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself."

  27. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to vampmogs For This Useful Post:

    Dipstick (15-09-14),Local Maximum (18-09-14),Stoney (15-09-14),TimeTravellingBunny (11-10-14)

  28. #56
    Slayer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,310
    Thanks
    3,165
    Thanked 2,718 Times in 1,239 Posts

    Default

    To defend Oz, I think he did nothing wrong in Earshot. Buffy wasn't visibly distressed when he ran out. Buffy was crowing about her new superpower. Then, Willow got distressed at lack of privacy in her brain and her whole relationship with Buffy and Oz changing. And Oz ran out to comfort the only obviously upset girl in the room who is also his girlfriend. Buffy had a fine- even triumphant- affect before Oz ran out of the room. It just so happens that Oz running out of the room with Willow combined with Xander scooting away combined with Wesley being all "Can you hear me now?" insensitive that it all hit Buffy as sad. (And then, like, a scene later, she couldn't even tolerate people near her anyway as long as she could hear all thoughts.)

    Oz is a little more insensitive in Homecoming but I do think that he flat-out doesn't get the emotional significance of the Homecoming race to Buffy. To Oz, this kind of feels like a silly whim of Buffy's that just popped up and he doesn't get and doesn't want to be roped into. On a surface level putting aside Buffy's insecurity, I don't think Oz should have to spend his leisure time working on a homecoming campaign that he's uninterested in against his girlfriend to make Buffy the Homecoming Queen. In Oz's head, Buffy had her leisure time silly whim that she wants to be Homecoming queen. Fine. Oz has his leisure time whims that he wants to be on Willow's side and spend his non-werewolf/non-class/non-band/non-slaying/non-researching leisure time with Willow.

    Oz is so well-possessed and original and fully himself that he intellectually understands how a sadder, insecure person needs a title or shiny new thing that makes them very special- but he's totally removed from it. He's more sympathetic to Xander in The Zeppo because Xander was more openly discussing his insecurity and there was a guy-bonding thing as opposed to Buffy to masked her insecurity with Cordelia-snark and orders and peppiness.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 15-09-14 at 12:40 PM.

  29. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Dipstick For This Useful Post:

    Local Maximum (18-09-14),TimeTravellingBunny (11-10-14),vampmogs (15-09-14)

  30. #57
    Slayer Supporter vampmogs's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    11,592
    Thanks
    1,247
    Thanked 5,539 Times in 1,670 Posts

    Default

    It's how he phrases it though – "As Willow goes, so does my nation." Like, ok, maybe it’s commendable that he is just being brutally honest, but he's basically saying that Willow is his only investment/only thing he cares about and if she's not around, he's not around. It’s just pretty insensitive how brazenly he blows Buffy off. His investment in Willow can certainly be cute and admirable but I don't know why anyone else in the group should give a shit about Oz if he shows no interest in them outside of spending time with Willow or if he can't even fake interest or sympathy in their 'silly whims.' I get why people could find those qualities appealing about Oz but to me basic pleasantries like indulging people's hobbies or faking interest is sometimes just part of being a good friend.

    I just think he could have phrased it better. People don't need to be reminded that you're only socializing with them out of necessity of wanting to socialize with someone else. Even if he doesn't understand the importance of this to Buffy he'd have to be pretty socially stunted not to see how it would hurt her to see everybody just abandon her. I agree with Stoney that it comes across as almost cowardly the way he denies his own agency and attaches it to Willow. Buffy clearly looked to him for support and it just seemed like he wanted to avoid taking responsibility by attaching himself to Willow rather than accept that he was making a decision on his own and that it would have consequences.

    And I do think you're right about Earshot. Good point that Buffy doesn't become visibly upset until Oz has already left the room. I think the only reason that scene frustrates me is, again, the way Oz chooses to articulate himself before leaving the room – "I'm going to follow the red head." Maybe it is just being really candid and honest but again it just drives home the point to Buffy that he’s only there because Willow is there and he doesn’t have much interest in her or what’s going on if Willow isn’t present. And he’s actually doing a disservice to himself because as Buffy realises when she’s reading his mind, he was pretty insightful and thoughtful about what Buffy’s telepathy meant and he could have contributed meaningfully to the group discussion. If I were part of the gang I'd just have a hard time getting invested in Oz as his own person if he constantly acts like he's permanently attached to Willow's hip and doesn't want to make any effort to develop a relationship with anyone else or even fane interest in me.

    He does improve in S4 though. I prefer it when Oz becomes more vocal and less monosyllabic and he certainly finds his voice in those early S4 episodes. There's also a lot more examples of Oz showing concern for other members of the gang or spending one-on-one time with them.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 15-09-14 at 01:34 PM.
    "You've got ... a world of strength in your heart. I know you do. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself."

  31. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to vampmogs For This Useful Post:

    Dipstick (15-09-14),Local Maximum (18-09-14)

  32. #58
    Scooby Gang
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    453
    Thanks
    538
    Thanked 246 Times in 115 Posts

    Default

    On the Clothes Fluke...I don't remember when it was first discussed or announced that Mutant Enemy/Joss had decided on a spin-off show for Angel (whether it was before the end of Season Two or shortly thereafter), but almost immediately afterwards there was talk of having Cordelia leave the parent show to join said spin-off. So on a meta-level, the major point of the Clothes Fluke was to give Cordelia sufficient motivation to end her romantic relationship with Xander so she could be fully free and clear to leave Sunnydale. (There's also, I believe, a secondary motivation behind the Clothes Fluke that I'm sure isn't a mystery to anybody here, but I'd like to save discussion of it for a later episode, namely, The Wish.)

    The unfortunate thing about the Fluke, at least when the show first aired back in '98-'99, was that there was stilll a massive amount of audience hostility aimed at Xander because of The Lie, which was not helped by the events of episodes like Dead Man's Party and later Revelations (basically, any episode that included scenes of antagonism between Xander and either Buffy or Angel). Much of the online fandom was bitterly and angrily awaiting for The Lie to be revealed, discovered, figured out, or confessed to, preferably in such a manner that would paint Xander in as negative a light as possible so that his punishment or comeuppance would therefore be as harsh and unforgiving as possible, and things like the Buffy/Xander arguments in said episodes and the Clothes Fluke were quickly latched onto as fuel for the fires of Xander-hate, to the point that audience hostility towards him was even greater at the end of Season Three than at the end of Season Two. As best as I can remember, the audience almost universally placed responsibility for the Fluke solely on Xander while giving Willow a free pass, and it wasn't until a couple of years after the show ended that I saw anybody who wasn't either a Xander fan or a hardcore Xander/Cordelia 'shipper level any blame or responsibility for it on Willow's shoulders as well.

    I don't think the writers gave much thought, if any, towards the X/C of the Fluke beyond "reason to break them up," as they certainly didn't address it onscreen beyond "Cordelia being extra bitchy to Xander and the others" up until "Xander buys Cordelia's prom dress for her" in The Prom. This aggravated the X/C 'shippers to no end; not only were they in disbelief and denial that the the ship was over (and remained so long after it ended), but they kept waiting in vain for the writers to seriously address the aftermath. Continued guilt on Xander's part, or Xander spending the rest of the season trying to win her back after realizing he was deeply in love with her, or Cordelia at last confronting him about what the hell he was thinking, or something. To say that many were not satisfied by the prom dress purchase towards the end of the season is an understatement.
    Last edited by Skippcomet; 15-09-14 at 07:18 PM.

  33. The Following User Says Thank You to Skippcomet For This Useful Post:

    Local Maximum (18-09-14)

  34. #59
    Slayer
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    1,195
    Thanks
    2,850
    Thanked 3,254 Times in 910 Posts

    Default

    Catching up:

    Beauty and the Beasts: great review, TTB, and great comments, all.

    I think a big part of the reason Buffy keeps Angel's return a secret is because she sort of suspects that if Angel really is an irredeemable monster, he will have to be killed, and she really, really doesn't want to do that. Like, I think it goes beyond the question of whether the others will insist on it, because I think it may be true, as Dipstick says, that Buffy could just insist on it strongly enough and the others would probably fall in line. I don't know for sure whether they would, and neither I think does Buffy -- but I think if Buffy were absolutely sure that Angel has a right to live, she would stand up proudly for it and not feel the need to hide it, at least not as strongly. She might still hide it then -- she hides Dawn's Key-ness for a while, for example, but even there she tells Giles right away, and by the season's end she's saying that she'll kill anyone who comes near Dawn.

    Angel isn't like that. Angel might actually have to be killed, not just because he's a threat to the world, but maybe because he deserves to. Dawn in s5 is a threat to the world but manifestly innocent. Angel is...complicated. The question at hand in this episode is how much control over their inner beasts these men have, and how they should be treated accordingly. Buffy's difficulty is because there are indications that Angel both can and can't control it, does and doesn't want to, is and isn't a threat. Buffy's intuition and heart tell her that it would be wrong to kill Angel, but she also has an intellectual and on some level emotional recognition that by most moral standards, maybe she should. It's easier to cope with these away from others' eyes. I don't think she knows what she's going to do.

    This leads to some interesting dynamics. Buffy keeps what's going on from Willow, and that is a big deal. Not only has Willow been supportive throughout the Angel ordeal, and not only has Buffy even taken a step in the previous episode to coming clean with Willow about what pain Willow's actions inadvertently had caused, but, more importantly, Willow even notes the similarities between her situation with Oz and Buffy's situation. And more to the point, Oz is a suspect of the same crime Angel seems at the moment to be guilty of -- and not telling Willow about Angel's return means that Willow (and Oz) have to continue living with the guilt and fear that Oz has just become a killer of humans with no other likely suspects. But part of the problem is that Willow and Oz are, again, the light mirror for Buffy and Angel -- Oz is so split from his "monstrous" form, and his monstrous form itself is so clearly not a moral agent at all, destructive in a purely animal way rather than the cruel way that Angelus practiced in the previous season, that it is too painful to try to talk to her about it.

    This is really the episode that torpedoes Buffy/Scott as a ship. Maybe it could have survived Angel's return, under other circumstances. Angel certainly needs Buffy more when he comes back. And yet, I think that it's notable that Scott loses what seem to be his two best friends, horribly and violently. Buffy does care -- but still, her last moments in the episode are comforting not Scott, whose friends have just died, but Angel, who has returned, mouth soaked in blood, from another world. Even lots of fans seem to think that Scott's dumping Buffy in Homecoming is because he's a jerk who deserves Faith to go around ruining his future relationships. (Not really blaming Faith for it.) I don't know whether Scott dumped Buffy because he couldn't connect to her in the wake of his sudden shocking grief -- but I think it's kind of important that it does happen, and that it does end up occupying a small space in Buffy's mental real estate, where Angel looms so large and Scott is the guy she can count on and so on, in Homecoming. She wants to choose the friendly, normal guy, into whose life violence and monstrosity intrudes, but basically her heart belongs to the monster reenters her life with blood on his lips. And maybe that's because it's only Angel who can actually save her from monster attacks, being a monster himself. Scott, for his part, does somewhat push Buffy away from helping him, maybe because there is no way to help him.

    I mention this because one of the themes of the episode is actually whether there is something that makes women, as Xander suggested back in The Pack, like guys with a little monster in them. I also want to point out that the show examines the opposite as well, with Xander's (especially) attraction to demons and otherwise dangerous women; I do not think the show is arguing this is some trait of women specifically, though this episode, ultimately, is about three couples of human women with monstrous men. Debbie clearly seems to be the victim of Stockholm Syndrome, and I think the same may be somewhat true of Buffy. But when Buffy and Willow read The Call of the Wild to their animalistic men at the beginning and end of the episode, I think there is something else going on. The title, of course, is a reference to Beauty and the Beast; at a screening of the 1943 French version by Jean Cocteau ended, with the beast becoming a man, Marlene Dietrich is said to have shouted out, "Where is my beautiful beast?" The whole story is about a woman being held captive by a monster until her love redeems him, which has a similar Stockholm Syndrome vibe. But in this case it's also Oz and Angel who are kept locked up by the women.

    My Jung is not great, but I think there is something going on here about the Animus; according to the Wikipedia article, the "first stage of animus development" is the male as athletic being -- Tarzan being the example given. Someone who straddles the human/animal boundary. Angelus in season two is not really an animalistic monster, but Angel is in this episode, Oz certainly is, and Pete is something like that as well. I think that the...idea of being attracted to a man/animal has symbolic significance, especially for the way these men represent the women getting into deeper touch with their primal, animal drives of sexuality. The idea that women want someone who has an animal passion and magnetism is, I think, part of what compels Pete to become a monster deliberately, in order to achieve what it is he thinks Debbie wants, and also, of course, to have the power to control her.

    "Getting in touch" with the inner animal/monster is actually not an entirely bad thing. Oz and Angel are able to fight Pete only when they're in animalistic/monstrous states. And I think therein lies something of the issue. For Buffy and Willow, I think the desire to tame the animal within Angel and Oz, soothe them and comfort them with The Call of the Wild, is also a way of them getting in touch with that primal part of themselves without losing themselves to it -- something like what Mr. Platt says, losing themselves in "love" (or passion, or wildness, or animal abandon) without staying lost. Buffy watching Angel fall on his knees before her, the romantic/frightening moment, is Buffy letting herself love him again when she doesn't want to, but also Angel letting his love for Buffy overcome his monstrous leanings, and isn't that kind of what humans all hope would happen? That love and music and intellect and art can soothe the beast within, that we can access it without being overwhelmed by it.

    I think the animal material is particularly important for this season, where Faith just mentioned slaying making her hungry & horny and where the Big Bad is trying to cast off human form to become a giant animal-demon. Lots of emphasis on eating, animal drives, throughout.

    Willow grabbing Oz' tail is one of the best moments ever for me. Because, like, here's the thing about Willow/Oz: she is very, very good about stopping Oz, and even hurting him, when he's being an active danger to those around him. She does it non-fatally, and feels bad about hurting him -- but she never actually hesitates in the key moment. It's a contrast with Buffy/Angel, which is all about hesitation. Now one could say that it's because Willow doesn't love Oz as much, but I don't think that's what it's about; I think that it's just that they have different ways of reacting to the threat. There's this strain of pragmatism in Willow that I think is actually really perfect for this situation, and doesn't lessen her love for him -- especially because I think Willow and Oz are both glad that she stops him from, like, murdering people.

    Willow's panicky up-all-night reaction to the possibility is worth noting. It's interesting that she is interested in this animal side of Oz, and even sees him/it as cute -- until it's potentially deadly, at which point she becomes afraid. It's hard to deal with. And I think it's significant that the first conversation Willow has after the end of her reading process is how she can hardly handle Oz half-monty -- i.e., sex is scary. Intimacy with Oz = sex and now the possibility of someone who could become a murder the wrong full moon. Oh.

    Will talk about Homecoming soon, maybe tomorrow.

    =====

    Homecoming:

    Great review Stoney. Great comments all.

    OK so here's my take on this episode -- might be a bit of the long way around.

    Here's what Mr. Trick says, helpfully, in order to clue us in to the episode's themes:

    Trick: Competition. Competition is a beautiful thing. It makes us strive. It... makes us accomplish. Occasionally, it makes us kill. We all have the desire to win.
    It reminds me a little of the famous "Greed is good" monologue from the movie Wall Street -- a monologue so famous I know most of it despite never having seen the movie. Competition is what separates out the winners from the losers, pushes people to accomplish things, drives them to their goals.

    Well, that's great, but I can't help but thinking Mr. Trick might have an ulterior motive for this speech. This is the third time a vampire has ordered a set of assassins in in order to kill the slayer: the Master brought in the Three and Spike brought in the Order of Taraka before this point. We don't know exactly how these things worked, but I kinda figure that the Master used some kind of religious devotion system, and I assume that Spike either did the same or, more likely, was going to pay the Order of Taraka, probably on completion. Trick, on the other hand, sees that he's got a slayer problem, and decides to turn this problem into an opportunity to profit: rather than paying assassins, he gets the assassins to pay for the opportunity to enter the competition with the chance to win all the money. He avoids all risk to himself, avoids paying any money, almost certainly skims a sizable amount off the top of the entry fees, and all but guarantees that most of these dangerous assassins are eliminated in the course of competing. Trick is the casino owner talking about the nobility of gambling while he counts his winnings. The people who don't kill the slayers either die or go home much poorer for having taken part in this competition, and then are led to believe that this is their fault for not being the best one at slayer-killing.

    That competition is a mug's game is reinforced by the way Buffy and Cordelia ultimately defeat the Slayerfest competitors. Had these competitors put aside their differences and focused on how to hunt down and kill the slayers, I think they would have had a very good, maybe even great, chance at taking the slayers down (well, Buffy and Cordelia, that is). But they keep getting divided against each other, fighting each other for a taste of the big pie, needing to get all the wealth even more badly because they've given up money even to enter into the thing in the first place. This inability to work together because of the obsession with competition and the competitive impulse even manifests in the brothers shooting each other dead, late in the game.

    Tracking the "who actually benefits?" question with the Homecoming competition, there is no fully obvious Mr. Trick analogue in the Buffy/Cordelia battle. I can't help but think that tux renters and dressmakers and limousine companies stand to benefit the most from the kind of high school memories that only money can buy. But I guess if I start following that route I stand a chance of writing a screed that loses touch with reality; suggesting that Homecoming itself is a sham, that manufactured "events" at the high school level don't serve the emotional purposes they are supposed to serve and are part of the capitalist engine is suggesting an exploitative conspiracy when there are just kids wanting to have fun and good memories. I don't want to be like Homer Simpson in this exchange I thought of while thinking through this paragraph:

    MARGE: Maybe we should let the dog in.
    HOMER: Marge, dogs love the outdoors.
    [Shot of the dog whimpering in pain and cold outside]
    MARGE: I think he needs a doghouse.
    HOMER: What can you do?
    MARGE: I bet we could buy a nice doghouse for $50.
    HOMER: Marge, you're a tool of the doghouse makers.
    MARGE: I am not.
    HOMER: Yes, you are. You've been brainwashed by all those doghouse commercials on TV.

    - from episode "Bart the Lover"
    Still, whoever benefits from the Homecoming competition between Buffy and Cordelia, one thing is for sure: it's not Buffy or Cordelia. They don't quite shoot each other to death like the rifle brothers, but Scoobyville goes from relative stability to a war zone, where the two are fighting over the three people (Willow, Xander and Oz) who actually represent their only social network from the peer group of other students these days. And for what? Cordelia wants to maintain her popularity and, I guess, is self-deceived enough in these pre-"The Wish" episodes that her popularity hasn't taken a hit from hanging out with the very losers who Cordelia up until recently helped ensure were socially isolated. Buffy, on the other hand, tells us what she wants:

    Buffy: Because this is all I do. This is what my life is. (lowers her head and steps into the room) You couldn't understand. (shrugs) I just
    thought... Homecoming Queen. (smiles) (Cordelia keeps respectfully silent) I could pick up a yearbook someday and say, I was there. I went to high school, I had friends, and... for one moment, I got to live in the world. (smiles) And there'd be proof. Proof that I was chosen for something other than this.
    This is good. This is valuable. Buffy wants the races of a "normal life" that she'd left behind, but she also just wants to be appreciated, to show that those years of her life spent at high school were not wasted or "lost years," that she can have some kind of symbolic representation, in the yearbook or hanging up in her closet, that carries all the meaning of human connection and community. She wants it so badly because she's missed so much of her high school years, is mostly socially isolated from all but a tiny clique of other students, feels constantly as if the majority of students view her in the terms Cordelia uses, when things get heated -- freak. She wants to feel that she matters, that she is important to other people.

    The question I have about this is whether becoming Homecoming Queen would in any meaningful way reflect these desires. Some of this is because I'm not actually sure what the democratically elected Homecoming monarch is supposed to do. What is the basis for becoming Homecoming king or queen? Being awesome? Being hot? Someone you'd like to have with you at Agincourt? My high school didn't have homecoming at all, let alone a king or queen, and I forget whether there was a prom king or queen. Anyway, the thing is that the Homecoming king/queen is a paradoxical position: it's a way of proving that one is an important part of a community by symbolically being the community's ruler, with, as far as I can tell, none of the power and none of the responsibility associated with being the ruler, but a brief period of getting all kinds of attention and having people hold you up as the "best," which is to say, "most popular," which is to say...?, person of your gender in the graduating class.

    So in order to achieve her dream of getting symbolic recognition of her time in high school, Buffy starts a campaign designed to fake close friendships with people she couldn't care less about, bribe people into voting for her, an start muckraking her opponents, including the opponent who happens to be her friend. Her list of weaknesses for Cordelia, on the board, includes "Xander," and she shares this board while trying to get Xander's help to destroy his own girlfriend's campaign. The thing is, had Buffy actually won the competition, would she actually particularly enjoy the symbolic victory of being "Homecoming Queen," which proves that her ability to bribe people into "liking" her and her ability to tear down other girls for shallow reasons was good enough. The thing is, these qualities are not ones that Buffy *actually* admires in herself -- or to the extent that she does, they're ones that Buffy mostly rejects. I view Cordelia as being more internally consistent, because I think she's definitely being shallow, but knows that she's shallow and spends more time valuing her shallowness, whereas I think Buffy is bringing out her shallowness as a weapon in order to trick herself into believing that she's achieving meaning.

    The thing is, all that the Homecoming-industrial complex does is convince Buffy that she has to buy meaning, and forces her away from actual connection. Her friends become commodities, pawns used by her and Cordelia against each other. Willow and Xander are trapped by their own guilt and are caught in the Buffy-Cordy crossfire, and they only escape by leaving a message for Buffy-Cordy that they should work things out and be friends again, a message which, curiously, mirrors the message Trick leaves for the two of them that they are the Chosen Two versus a league of assassins. Willow & Xander actually mean well in putting Buffy & Cordy together, and Trick means for them to die (and for Cordy to have been Faith!) but the effect is the same -- the recognition that they have a common enemy, and that the resources they are fighting over, i.e. their friends, are something they can actually share, allows them to get past their rivalry and into a position of connection once again.

    I guess I'm hypocritical for supporting Willow & Xander's trick on Buffy & Cordy when I criticized Giles for his trick in "Faith, Hope & Trick" to get Buffy to 'fess up about Acathla. But, well, I kind of like the limo idea better because Buffy & Cordy do learn that they've been played and why, rather than being forever kept in the dark about how they've been manipulated. I am okay with Giles' action ultimately, too; and with W&X, I think it's a maneuver that's earned by the severity of the Buffy/Cordy blowout combined with the actual silliness of the idea that they should be in competition. They should be friends, and I think that W&X recognize on some level that they do share something that W&X can't touch -- Buffy & Cordy are girls who were once extremely popular, and used that shallow popularity as a substitute for their real hunger for personal connection. Their beauty and charisma made it easier, and, in desperate times, still makes it easier to go for getting a lot of people to revere them than to get a small group of people to love them, and being able to recognize this trait in each other and relate to each other allows them to move past this bump.

    Really, I think that Buffy's attempt to run for Homecoming Queen is kind of silly -- Buffy feels that she's missing out on the high school experience, and her way of compensating is to be THE BEST AND MOST POPULAR GIRL IN SCHOOL! in like a week with no particular warning and after having not particularly participated in the high school social scene. I think that Buffy even thought she could become Homecoming Queen is kind of telling, because it's notable that most people have almost no chance of winning that type of competition, let alone people who have been out of school. The things that make Buffy actually exceptional are her heroism, which she very pointedly does not try to use with the main rabble of the Sunnydale High populace, though she does use it to convince Willow to betray Cordelia for her.

    What I think is notable is that the thing that Buffy really wants is the recognition of the way her actual high school experience -- which consisted of a few close friendships and an incredible amount of self-sacrifice and saving lives -- ends up coming to fruition in "The Prom," when she's not fighting for it. Part of "Homecoming's" purpose, I think, is in setting up that glorious moment in "The Prom" where Buffy gets the full recognition she deserves, and it's the recognition that Buffy didn't ask for. Look, I think that it's important to ask for what you need in life, but when it comes to symbols representing your part of a broader community, "earning" that symbol without recognizing it after performing yet another act to help others is a hell of a lot more meaningful than trading off shallow signifiers of popularity and manipulating or attacking one's friends for an ultimately meaningless crown.

    That Buffy & Cordy bond over being former Queens cut down to size, at least a little bit, Willow & Xander are dealing as former nerds who are suddenly flowering into adulthood. And it's weird and scary. In the episode immediately preceding this one, Willow's boyfriend was a likely suspect for a brutal killing. Xander and Cordelia are getting serious -- and they're a relationship whose entire foundation was a series of angry arguments. They have serious relationships with attractive and beautiful people who are also quite scary. And they see each other as children who have been beaten down and convinced of their worthlessness by a hostile world. I get the criticism of the story, but I think it works well that Willow and Xander are fundamentally afraid of how fast their lives are changing, sort of recognizing that they are losing touch with each other as they grow up, and that they don't even entirely recognize themselves as attractive, beautiful people. There is something comforting about being able to share the fundamental change in their lives. Just as I think that they recognize that Buffy & Cordelia share something that they can't quite touch, they share something that they can't quite share with their partners. Willow has wanted this, with Xander, for years, and it really makes sense to me that she retreats to that when things get scary. And Xander just self-sabotages all the time.

    I also think that the Clothes Fluke appearing in this episode adds an interesting wrinkle to the idea of competition. Because for all that I think the episode overall argues that cooperation is superior to competition, and that even the idea of competition is often used as a way of manipulating people, there is also another side to that: sometimes you do have to make a choice. There are some resources that are in too short a supply to split, and some roles in people's lives that can only be filled by one person. Willow, Xander & Oz can either help Cordelia or Buffy, but not both. And since none of these high schoolers is at the point of considering polyamory, they have to make a choice. Buffy cannot date both Scott and Angel. Willow cannot date both Xander and Oz. Xander cannot date both Cordelia and Willow. Buffy, Willow and Xander all "know" who the choice they believe they want is -- Buffy wants Scott and then No Guy At All, Willow Oz, Xander Cordelia. But then secret desires are hard to keep down.

    I think that Buffy/Willow/Xander's conception of what the "right" choice is -- Buffy knows she shouldn't date Angel again, Willow and Xander both "know" that they "should" not want to betray their current partners -- gets in the way of being able to actually make a complete and total decision. It may be that it is objectively the "right" choice for Buffy to forsake Angel and for Willow and Xander to forsake each other, but I think in all three cases Buffy/Willow/Xander are so focused on their "knowledge" and "guilt" that these are the "wrong" choices that they are not able to step forward and seriously consider what they do want. And, well...I think Willow really genuinely does prefer Oz as a romantic partner to Xander, but her problem is that she can't be entirely honest with herself about the depth of her desire for Xander, and as a result tries to suppress it rather than dealing with it honestly with herself -- sitting down and talking to herself (and to Buffy?) about what she really wants. Similarly, I think Buffy really "knows" on some level that she really can't be with Angel -- not anymore, not after what happened, not with the risks. But I don't think she's really done the work of considering the depth of her desire for him and deciding that even with all that desire, it's still the right choice to stay away. I don't know if I'm being clear here; Buffy and Willow, in particular, have secret affairs which they end, and want to end, in "Lovers Walk," once they are exposed (and, in particular, once the emotional component is either directly or indirectly revealed by Spike). They intellectually know even as of "Homecoming" that they should stave off the secret desire, but I think that they pretend that the desire is not even there, or is some force they can't control, rather than wrestle with it directly. Xander is...a little more complicated, because I don't think Xander has any clue what he really wants or what decision he should make. When she's faced with the possibility of losing Oz, Willow really snaps to Oz being her priority. Xander...I think he really doesn't know, and accepts the one-two punch of Cordy rejecting him entirely and Willow pushing him to not even touch her anymore so her hands, her everything, can be for Oz only as demonstration of his lack of worth. Buffy may lose her certainty that she and Angel must stay away from each other shortly after "Lovers Walk," but for a short time I think that Buffy and Willow both get real certainty there that they lack here. Xander I don't think gets that kind of illumination at all.

    In some ways, real honesty about what is at stake, and a willingness for parties to even, on some level, "fight it out," hopefully not with actual fighting, might have saved these couples a lot of pain. It would be extremely difficult for Willow and Xander to tell Oz and Cordelia about the kissing fluke, but if they did tell them that and talked openly about it and about the fact that they weren't sure what their feelings were, there could be some kind of actual decision made about who they felt would be the best romantic partners for them. I don't think the fact that Willow/Oz and Xander/Cordy were couples already should totally trump Willow/Xander as a possibility -- it's not ideal, but if that is really what Willow and Xander want, I think it's not a betrayal to break up with their partners and pursue that, if they do so honestly. But I think they can't do that honestly because even considering it seems like a betrayal, and so they end up hurting their lovers even worse because their commitment to their chosen course of action is shakier. The same happens/will happen with Buffy and her Angel secret. Sometimes people have to get hurt. Some things and some people can't be shared. Willow & Xander, and Buffy with her Angel secret, hide from it here. Cooperation isn't everything.

    We're looking at this episode, and this season, about the difference between democracy as ideal and democracy as it is sadly often practiced: the high school class honouring what Buffy means to them, versus Buffy using dirty tricks to manipulate people into voting for her. And so we meet the Mayor in the episode in which we understand the shallowness and vapidity of an electoral campaign and the way it actually transforms heroic individuals into children faking friendships with relative strangers and screaming low-blow insults at each other ("freak"/"whore!"), and in which Trick convinces a bunch of assassins to pay for their chance to die. The Mayor's campaign is to work up to eating the Sunnydale graduating class in plain daylight: this season suggests that politics as it is practiced is the process by which people are manipulated into acting against their own interests.
    Last edited by Local Maximum; 16-09-14 at 06:35 PM.

  35. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Local Maximum For This Useful Post:

    cil_domney (25-09-14),Dipstick (16-09-14),Emmie (17-09-14),norwie (16-09-14),Stoney (16-09-14),TimeTravellingBunny (11-10-14),vampmogs (18-09-14)

  36. #60
    Slayer Emmie's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Over the Rainbow
    Posts
    3,163
    Thanks
    1,412
    Thanked 2,397 Times in 572 Posts

    Default

    Here's my feminist spin on the question: "Who benefits from the Homecoming Queen race?"

    If competition is the name of the game, and Buffy and Cordelia don't benefit, I'll suggest that this exemplifies the in-fighting between women in society who are schooled to compete for men's attention. Being beautiful, popular, the belle of the ball -- it's all about being the most desirable object.

    How's that quote go? "Winners go home and nail the Prom Queen." Being voted the Queen means you're the most desirable girl in school.

    This takes us back to what it means to be the most popular girl in school. What was Cordelia's endgame back in Season 1? Marry a rich guy, look beautiful, rule her social class. And how does she do that? By cutting down other women (and Xander).

    That's a feature of a patriarchal society. Women turn against each other in the hopes of gaining the attention of men. Think about Buffy flirting and offering boys home-baked cupcakes to go along with her fifties style dress and hair.

    So with women totally preoccupied with competing against each other for male attention in the gender conformist, societally expected manner, what are they not competing for? Jobs. Education. Athletic honors.

    What makes it so great in BtVS is that the demonic patriarchy (as opposed to the subversive reality we live day in day out as the norm) comes a-calling and there's no way to not see the detrimental affects of in-fighting in a life or death scenario, forcing Buffy and Cordelia to fight together as opposed to fighting each other.

    Along these lines of women vs. women (including Buffy vs. Faith at the end of the season with Angel complicating it all), I love fast-forwarding to Season 7 and women fighting alongside women, tossing the Scythe around the battle in Chosen. Like the end of Mean Girls, when everyone gets a piece of the crown because we are all Homecoming Queens.
    Last edited by Emmie; 17-09-14 at 09:16 PM.

    Banner Set by thedothatgirl

  37. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Emmie For This Useful Post:

    cil_domney (25-09-14),Dipstick (17-09-14),Local Maximum (17-09-14),norwie (18-09-14),Stoney (17-09-14),TimeTravellingBunny (11-10-14),vampmogs (18-09-14)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •