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Thread: Buffy # 21 Issue Discussion Thread(Full Spoilers)

  1. #41
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rihannon View Post
    Considering the arc's title, and how next issue hints problems between Willow and Buffy, could this all be part of a more complicated plan to weaken Buffy's relationships with what her enemies would consider his two more powerful allies? The idea of Harmony and Vicky, or even some Military fraction, working with the Big Bads is not unlikely at all.
    I haven't reread it yet but I remember thinking that it was highly likely that Harmony and Vicky were working with someone else. I think there is a good chance that the sculptor is attempting to coordinate all of this to distract Buffy and break the team up.

    I can't quite make this work I hasten to say, but I have wondered whether Dylan is a siren. The Mistress had Xander and Spike at her place and the sirens obviously could 'know' some of their inner wishes for a partner so perhaps they were able to gain greater access to their minds/memories once they were tranced? I just can't make any sense out of Dylan being there, managing to successfully stalk Spike all the way to a totally different city that she had no reason to connect him with all these years later. And unless Christos is intending to rewrite the basic history in the canonical title, he's a guy she knew for just a couple of days. It just seems either totally weak plotting or reeeeally suspicious. If they are wanting Spike distracted and questioning his relationship pressing on his insecurities will be easier with someone he is going to somewhat trust. Harmony was supposed to set the seeds (as flimsy and dubious as I think they were), but Dylan may then twist the knife. We'll see how it goes. If she is simply uber-stalker there is no doubt knife twisting will be her agenda anyway, just before she boils the kittens. But the latest covers seems to show the Mistress trying to pull Spike under with her siren call so it could be related?? As I said, I can't quite make it work with Dylan turning up so long ago and leaving the message at the bar, that would be one overly complicated/delayed plan to try and appear genuine. But then it was the same issue as the sirens. Equally though, super-detective uber-stalker status isn't much easier to swallow.
    Last edited by Stoney; 19-11-15 at 09:05 PM.

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  3. #42
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    Oh! The kittens!! Please, not the kitties!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    It just seems either totally weak plotting or reeeeally suspicious.
    I will be generous here and go with "reeeally suspicious".

    I like the idea of Dylan being a siren, but they would have to come up with some explanation for this, and if someone can, in fact, become a siren (which would work nicely with the verse's metaphors, I suppose). Unless she was already a siren when Spike first met her.

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    Oh I meant that it isn't really Dylan but is a siren taking her form, gleaned from his memories. Basically the same way that the sirens in the same issue she appeared at the end of conned Spike and Xander in the bar.

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  6. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    Oh I meant that it isn't really Dylan but is a siren taking her form, gleaned from his memories. Basically the same way that the sirens in the same issue she appeared at the end of conned Spike and Xander in the bar.
    Oh, yes... of course.

    But, you know, Dylan being an actual siren would explain a lot.

    I mean, why else would just-souled!Spike even consider engaging in a relationship with someone that wasn't Buffy at that point of the story?

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    Because DH doesn't give a fig about continuity? In the same book he has his coat and can hit people without the chip firing.

    That said, it would be a silly coincidence she shows up just in time for Harm and Vicki to start their Let's Break Up Spike And Buffy plot. This thing gets more contrived the more you reread it.

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  10. #46
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    It's getting harder to justify the bucks, or even the effort it takes to download the comic and actually read it. But after dragging my heels I got this thing. Spike finally gets a huge role in the comics and I find it all painfully dull. Alas! Anyway, I'm only bothering to post to say that it's obvious that Spuffy will be an ongoing thing by the end of the season. The bad guys are crudely going after the relationship. Therefore the relationship is basically a good thing. And oh! yes! they'll both get to learn some valuable lessons about adult romance as opposed to less mature approaches to relationships (pedestals, etc.). Maybe there will even be a split while they work that out. But given how long Christos can stand to let anybody suffer, that will last at most two issues. Since Buffy will win the day, she and the team will yet again come together at the end, learning once again the incredibly important lesson that they are better off together than they are separately. This issue is seriously hurt by its exclusive focus on Spuffy. The Xander plot is much more interesting (though note -- that's a relative claim. All I mean to say is that it's not a total pain to read, as opposed to the rest which pretty much is.)

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  12. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie View Post
    It's getting harder to justify the bucks, or even the effort it takes to download the comic and actually read it. But after dragging my heels I got this thing. Spike finally gets a huge role in the comics and I find it all painfully dull. Alas! Anyway, I'm only bothering to post to say that it's obvious that Spuffy will be an ongoing thing by the end of the season. The bad guys are crudely going after the relationship. Therefore the relationship is basically a good thing. And oh! yes! they'll both get to learn some valuable lessons about adult romance as opposed to less mature approaches to relationships (pedestals, etc.). Maybe there will even be a split while they work that out. But given how long Christos can stand to let anybody suffer, that will last at most two issues. Since Buffy will win the day, she and the team will yet again come together at the end, learning once again the incredibly important lesson that they are better off together than they are separately. This issue is seriously hurt by its exclusive focus on Spuffy. The Xander plot is much more interesting (though note -- that's a relative claim. All I mean to say is that it's not a total pain to read, as opposed to the rest which pretty much is.)
    The bad guys even caring at all is kinda bothersome. One of the reasons Spuffy was interesting was that it was just them and their relationship had no greater plot relevance. Now we have the bad guys setting up this huge, elaborate scheme just to attempt to split them up. It's as though Buffy and Spike are now melded into Spuffy, the character.

    And honestly, Harmony and Vicki have no clue what they're talking about. None of what they say really describes either character, but we are clearly, whatever Gage might say, supposed to see them as accurately pushing buttons. Spike puts Buffy on a pedestal? Since when? His whole mantra was she wasn't some pure goddess of light. Buffy wants what she can't have then settles and gets bored? When did this ever happen? She was happy with Riley and if anything tried too hard to make it work. When did Spike ever have an issue with getting off on torturing things post-soul? The only instance I can think of this is during IDW's run and they explained it with that half-a-soul crap.

    And that bizarre--and conspicuous--comment about Buffy killing Angel because she was, what, bored? I get why people say this is obviously going nowhere, but that would suggest they just wasted a whole issue with it. Given the random comments from Dawn, Willow, Angel, Dowling that bolster all this, I definitely think we're *supposed* to see it as being accurate and hard-hitting truth. I think it's just more of Gage's "Oh, by the way, you didn't know this, but..." style of writing we grew so fond of in A&F. Oh, you didn't know Angel was going to save everyone in S8? Well, here's what really happened.

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  14. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardlyThere View Post
    The bad guys even caring at all is kinda bothersome. One of the reasons Spuffy was interesting was that it was just them and their relationship had no greater plot relevance. Now we have the bad guys setting up this huge, elaborate scheme just to attempt to split them up. It's as though Buffy and Spike are now melded into Spuffy, the character.
    Yes, it does feel that way. I agree with Maggie, this only can mean that they as a couple is something that the bad guy see as a... threat? Or something they have to end. And really, making this the whole point of an entire issue doesn't feel quite right.

    And honestly, Harmony and Vicki have no clue what they're talking about. None of what they say really describes either character, but we are clearly, whatever Gage might say, supposed to see them as accurately pushing buttons. Spike puts Buffy on a pedestal? Since when? His whole mantra was she wasn't some pure goddess of light. Buffy wants what she can't have then settles and gets bored? When did this ever happen? She was happy with Riley and if anything tried too hard to make it work. When did Spike ever have an issue with getting off on torturing things post-soul? The only instance I can think of this is during IDW's run and they explained it with that half-a-soul crap.
    I only hope the writer knows that we know that all this has no sense whatsoever, and the bad guys are just supposed to be mean, but not really smart, and they just wanted to take advantage of Buffy and Spike's insecurities... which are the only thing that is real here, as I see it.

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    I have Buffy # 21,Part I of ,"In Pieces On The Ground."

    I got the issue yesterday.I don't really have much to say.The focus on Buffy/Spike with Harmony and Vicki trying to create problems had no impact on me since I don't care for the pairing and I'm not rooting for the relationship.So that whole focus in the issue has no dramatic interest for me.

    As for the end,well we knew Dylan was coming at some point..

    There were little moments I liked such as seeing Satsu again and here reaction to young Giles.(his reaction too.).

    But that's really it.The focus of the issue was on a subject that I don't have any vested interest in and there were no real subplots for me to really get pulled in.

  16. #50
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    Issue #21? What issue was that? Oh, yeah - the meaningless Harmony issue.

    The presentation of Harmony and Vicki's doubts about Spuffy was so broad and ridiculous - basically jettisoning all character development for both Buffy and Spike up to that point - that it was pretty much pointless. You can't suddenly accuse characters of doing something that they've either never done to begin with or worked out about ten years ago and expect any real drama to happen.

    After all the torment that Spike has gone through for the past five years or so - getting tortured, going through the trials to get a soul, becoming immolated in the Hellmouth, basically changing almost every aspect of his life afterwards - all for the love of Buffy - it seems a bit - hmm - unrealistic that after finally engaging in a real relationship with her, he's bored after six months and decides to seek out another woman. Three decades, maybe - but less than a year?

    My guess is that it's all going to be a fake out - Buffy and Spike will get into a horrendous fight over Dylan - and break up - and the bad guys will think that they've won. And then it will turn out that it was all planned by Spuffy from the start because Harmony and Vicki tipped their hand too soon.

    If not - then the next few issues of the comic are gonna be pretty hard to swallow - one, because it's ridiculous that Spike would start cheating on Buffy right after being told that he's gonna start cheating on Buffy - and two, because the melodrama that will ensue guarantees that the other characters will be be neglected even more - if that's humanly possible - so that we can follow every Buffy tear and Spike snarl in excruciating detail.

    This constant emphasis on the Spuffy relationship as if we're supposed to be absolutely fascinated every time they share a bagel or watch TV together has destroyed the entire arc of the comics. We get one measly bone throw for Xander and his Anya problem. I thought the issue of Giles remaining a child would develop into a real subplot, but his issues seem to have been resolved (for the moment) in one ABC Afterschool Special issue - as does every single problem from coming out to growing up. Sheesh. It's as if the comic was written by child therapists for very special children of twelve.

    Does Willow even exist? Or Dawn? Where's Andrew trying to find Jonathan a body? Where's Andrew's boyfriend, for that matter? What happened to the three bad guys? Where's the Vampyr book and why is no one even talking about protecting it any more? What happened to D'Hoffryn? If the point of the Season was "growing up" (dreadful idea), then shouldn't the subplots have been deftly interwoven so that they can't be extricated from the main plot?

    Why are we left out of Buffy's head altogether after the first issue in which we shared her thoughts? Shouldn't we be feeling a growing paranoia from her as her friends and lover start supposedly drifting away from her, spinning their own plans? I figured that's where this was heading from the start - is Gage saving all the drama for the last nine issues? Have we just been spinning wheels for ten months? Shouldn't the season be building up to a bit of suspense here?

    It's as if all plotting bizarrely paused at Issue #12 so that we could have endless reiterations of the Spuffy relationship. I mean, did we really need a mind walk to discover that Spike LOVES Buffy? Were we all confused by this aspect of their friendship and figured Spike was lying all along? Did we really need the Angel crossover - which accomplished absolutely nothing except to tell us that Angel was angry that Spike was with Buffy. Did we think he'd be HAPPY? Did we really need to trigger Buffy's flashbacks of the AR so that they could deal with them? And why all the bizarre hesitation for Buffy to tell Spike that she loves him? Didn't she already do that in the Hellmouth?

    Apparently, Gage is making the entire point of the comic Season revolve around Buffy telling Spike that she really LOVES him - despite already having done so (though you wouldn't know it, since Spike and Buffy have never brought that moment up) degrades the comic into a cosmic soap opera - why not just get it over with and get on to REAL problems that people have in relationships that develop naturally instead of all this phony angst? I've read fan fiction about the Spuffy relationship that's about 3,000 times more poignant and hard-edged than this slop - not only is it turning off people who aren't into the Spuffy, but it's making people who are turn away as well. There was a way to make it work - even to make fans who aren't that fond of the relationship become really interested in it. But that would have required some great plotting and superb characterization - neither of which is happening here.

    And I won't even get into the whole Archaeus thing - certainly the WORST villain ever in the Buffyverse. His physical presence - a red pajama-clad angry Sunflower who seems to have wandered off from the Fantasia set - and his "possession" of Angel and Spike are so lame and toothless that his presence actually makes me laugh - especially when he starts on the droll Noel Coward asides - "Spike, my boy..." All that's missing is a smoking jacket and martini glass - actually, that would have been more entertaining. A bit of camp might have spiced up a very poorly drawn character.

    I was actually hoping that Buffy's father would be a part of the plot - since he was mentioned so many times in the early issues. Nope. I hoped that Andrew's coming out story would be treated realistically - and not as some joke by an author who has to tell us he needed help with that issue because he's NOT GAY - and therefore apparently incapable of understanding Andrew enough to write something other than a jokey, offensive subplot. Well, he's not a woman either - but that doesn't seem to faze him at all in writing female characters.

    But the sexuality of the other characters doesn't seem to even exist in the Season Ten comics - isn't Dawn getting it on yet with the messenger boy? Shouldn't Xander be seeking out new relationships if he believes that Dawn has finally closed the door? Willow is the sexless lesbian, of course, who cuts off relations with her snake girlfriend without much provocation and then lectures everyone else about the righteousness of what she did. Gage seems to have done the impossible - he's turned Willow into a self-righteous prude. Andrew is MIA, of course.

    In terms of sex, the only thing Gage seems to be concentrating on is the Spuffy relationship (which is either played for a "ha ha, they trashed the apartment" joke - or super angst) and Giles - because a little kid wanting sex is funny. There's no real adult exploration of sexuality here - it's as if all the characters have reverted to teenagers and they're just waiting for the "right one" - aren't they all a little too old and experienced to be saving it for the right person? Or too young to have given up on sex altogether? Even Spuffy is sexless and devoid of passion - forget Spike running around in his underwear like a dork - Satsu should have caught them in a make-out session so steamy that her toes curled. Where's the sexual energy between Spike and Buffy that was so obvious even in Seasons Eight and Nine? This season started off as if they were Best Friends Forever - and the sex between them reflects that. Just because Spike is changing into a vamp who wants a lover and friends and home doesn't mean that he should be castrated. Where's the passion and tenderness one expects?

    But I still maintain this all stems from the ridiculous rush into a sexual relationship where their first night together was treated like a cut scene from a teenage sex comedy - considering their ugly sexual history, just copying Smashed/Wrecked again didn't make any sense after the AR. It was a poor choice - and placed their relationship on ridiculously unstable ground from that point onward.

    But forget them - what about the other characters? What year is this anyway? 1959? Are we so prudish that we'd die to see Willow hanging out, slinging back beers in a lesbian bar with Dawn, having fun? Can't we see Xander fall in love with someone else and have some fun himself? The new Archie comic is more provocative these days!

    Anyway, I hope the comic can finally stick with an editor (can't be helping) and force the next writer to devise an actual PLOT to the season. Or readers are just going to continue dropping off like flies.

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    I didn't mind the nature of them getting together. In fact, I liked that rough/kinkiness wasn't directly related to a falling building or coercion. That's not to say I think it was done maturely; it was probably unintentional. Everything else was forced and nonsensical from the 'are you evil' stuff onward. Just one of many bizarre S2 refs out of nowhere like Vicki's comment.

    Every time I hear them say the comics are about growing up I strain an eye muscle. I can't tell if they're being serious or just saying something they think will add the appearance of a deeper meaning.

    Also and I might be alone in this, but Harmony continuing to live is stupid. It's like Dru to a higher power. I guess the rationale in-story is she's keeping the vamps under control, but by the number of Nu!Vamps around it doesn't seem like they're holding to it.

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    In regards to the lack of other characters' own sex lives...I fear that's a holdover from the TV show days, when the TV writers were either trying to appeal to the romantic desires of the very vocal 'shippers (who wanted just about all sex to happen strictly within the confines of a two-person-only monogamous relationship), or were trying to enforce the idea that all the Scoobies, from the get-go, were only interested in sex if it was confined to a monogamous/meaningful relationship.

    Even Xander, a character much of the audience was willing to write off as being just a horny idiot whose lower anatomy was the location of his brain, was shown to be somebody who would insist, even to a naked woman standing before him and proposing that they both get naked and have 'the sex,' that sex was supposed to "mean something."

    Faith was the first character to all but admit to having sex with multiple partners for no other reason than she liked it, and there was always an undercurrent from the writers that this was a reason for her to be pitied.

    Giles and Joyce were "regressed" by Ethan's magic school candy bars when they had sex on a police car (in other words, their normal right minds and judgments were not present), and afterwards they were too embarrassed by it to ever address it as mature adults.

    The primarily sex-based relationships of Xander/Anya in Season Four, and Buffy/Spike in Season Six, were depicted as either lacking any emotional depth and thus fair game to be used as comedic fodder or emotionally unhealthy & physically dangerous and thus fodder to show how edgy & dark and psychologically complicated the participants (and the writers) were being, respectively.

    The only physical liaisons Buffy's been allowed to have that didn't crash and burn in heartbreak and misery were with Satsu, and that had the baggage of appearing to be done so Joss could claim, "I'm still a liberal, see, I have my main character have a same-sex fling in a way that's not at all a naked ploy for attention but is all about how everybody in college experiments sexually with the same sex! Everybody experiments in college, dammit, right? (Why are so many of you looking at me like my skull just split open and Chthulu came out of it?)"

    Hell, it took Angel five seasons of his own show to be "allowed" to have sex with a woman without it being either a desperate attempt to lose himself in nihilistic despair at the apparent victory of his enemies, an illusion meant to facilitate the deliberate loss of his soul, or a comedic "ha ha, Lorne just Something Blued Angel into having magic-fueled sex with somebody he regards as an enemy" -- and Angel was still visibly uncomfortable about the notion of having sex without it being fueled by romantic love.

    And it's not like the audience hasn't played its part, either. How many times (during both the TV show and the comics) has a part of the audience complained (to put it mildly) at the mere suggestion that a character they 'ship with another character might have sex, or share a kiss with, or have an appreciative glance at, or even had a dream that they might be physically attracted to, yet another character instead? Think how judgmental they'd get if a character met somebody, was mutually attracted to them, and shared a mutually satisfying encounter that *didn't* lead to a relationship....
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  21. #53
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    This was a poor issue. The only thing I liked (other than shirtless Spike, that is - thank god it was not Megan Levens' art this time but Rebecca Isaacs'!) was Satsu's attitude - both the fact that she was over Buffy and totally cool about everything (completely contrary to the cliche soap drama you usually expect when exes come back) and her calling out Angel's actions as Twilight.

    The overall setup with the vampires and the gladitorial fights made little sense. Harmony was totally OOC - though she's always been somewhat in the comics, but here it was particularly weird. Since when is Harmony able to manipulate anyone, let alone get under Spike's skin? The things that Harmony and Vicki said about Spike and Buffy were absolutely not true, but by the way the two of them reacted, we were clearly meant to think there was at least some truth to it and that that's why Spike and Buffy were upset. But these supposed problems sounded like they belonged to some other people, not Spike and Buffy. I also wondered what show Gage was watching. Buffy wants what she can't have but gets bored when she's in a relationship?! Huh? When did that happen?! None of her relationships comes even close to fitting that description. Her boyfriends turning evil, dumping her, dying, or starting to act like a clingy, needy a$$ and going to vampire hookers, none of that was remotely caused by Buffy getting bored with what she has. Nor does Spike put Buffy on a pedestal, they've known each other extremely well and he's seen all her bad sides along with the good ones. He wasn't putting her on a pedestal even when he acting like an obsessed stalker, obsession and idealization don't necessarily go together. And when did Spike "play a martyr" and gotten Drusilla to leave him? Even when he was in a wheelchair and she was being her childish, self-obsessed self and flirting with Angel right in front of him, he wasn't "playing martyr" at all, he just tolerated it externally while forming a plan to get rid of Angel and drag Drusilla into his cave, I mean car and get out of Sunnydale. Finally, why would Harmony even talk about Spike's "unrequited loves"? How would she know that Cecily was one just by finding her picture? Drusilla was hardly "unrequited love", they were together for over a century. That she was not very faithful, and that she dumped him in the end, does not make it "unrequited". When it comes to Buffy, sure, Harmony knows he used to be obsessed with her when she wouldn't give him the time of day, for obvious reasons, but she also knows Buffy and Spike were together for a while before he died in the Hellmouth, and that would be all she knew about them. So why would she call their earlier relationship "unrequited love" on Spike's part? Did she hang out a lot on BtVS forums where people argue whether Buffy loved Spike or not?

    The constant attempts to reference every current popular pop culture thing are getting tiresome and kind of pathetic. They had done it in comics from the start, but Gage is particularly unsubtle with it. That was clearly the only reason not just to come up with the completely random gladiatorial fight, but also to call it "trial by combat", because of what happened in Game of Thrones season 4. Even though the fight in this issue was simply combat with no trial. That's not what trial by combat is - nobody's guilt or innocent was being decided. And "is this a thing outside of Game of Thrones", "the slow writing prat stole it from us"? That joke might work if not for the fact that trial by combat was an actual thing in real life, it was a custom of Germanic tribes that was even officially recognized by law passed by a German emperor in the Middle Ages. It's no surprise that Buffy doesn't know history, but Spike is clearly ignorant, too. Which is fine, he's not supposed to be an expert, either, but I suspect it's really Gage who didn't know that.

    (Also, I hate when people call the book series Game of Thrones instead of A Song of Ice and Fire. Sorry. Just a pet peeve of mine.)
    Last edited by TimeTravellingBunny; 25-11-15 at 01:05 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
    her calling out Angel's actions as Twilight.
    That actually bothered me most about it. It seems like it's just there for Buffy to refute that he was possessed. Except Gage retconned it in that he *was* possessed, so it's not like she's calling anything out. It comes off as another way to play it down, especially when The Initiative isn't mentioned. If Buffy was trying to convince her the military was untrustworthy, the whole secret experiment/murder plot is def. relevant.

    The big flaw in the Harmony/Vicki thing is they're not talking about Spike to Buffy or Buffy to Spike. They're talking about each character to each character, so you can't even spin it that they're picking at S/B's individual insecurities about the other. It definitely comes off as them spouting uncomfortable truths...that aren't.

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  25. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardlyThere View Post
    That actually bothered me most about it. It seems like it's just there for Buffy to refute that he was possessed. Except Gage retconned it in that he *was* possessed, so it's not like she's calling anything out. It comes off as another way to play it down, especially when The Initiative isn't mentioned. If Buffy was trying to convince her the military was untrustworthy, the whole secret experiment/murder plot is def. relevant.
    She said he was possessed..."some of the time". Even Buffy seems aware that her rebuttal is not all that convincing.
    You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
    She said he was possessed..."some of the time". Even Buffy seems aware that her rebuttal is not all that convincing.
    Except the "some of the time" includes when the slayers were killed. Gage made it a point to show that not only did he not kill them, but didn't even remember it happening. Like S8, the whitewashing was ridiculous, but like S8, it happened. Then, as if it wasn't completely obvious it was Gage talking, they add in the ol' "he's gullible when it comes to destiny" line. What does Buffy know about it? Nothing. It's the same as Vicki and Harmony talking about Buffy and Spike. And all this after the girl couldn't even look at him for a whole season, possessed or not. See what I mean? It's not Buffy talking, it's Gage and it's setting up something.

    That's why I don't like it. It's just more of the same faulty writing and it's setting up either Buffy or Satsu
    Spoiler:
    and I'm guessing Willow from the next cover
    as idiots. Trusting Angel OR the military is stupid. Characters make mistakes, sure, but the level of stupidity displayed by the gang since the show ended is off the charts.
    Last edited by HardlyThere; 25-11-15 at 03:35 AM.

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