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Thread: BtVS rewatch: SEASON 6

  1. #181
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    Hey Guy!

    Great first review - fun snark and sniping of one of the most unloved episodes of the Buffyverse along with Beer Bad. I recognized the Phantom Menace review quote right away with the son in the bathroom line. Your pics were very funny - I laughed out loud at the Emperor Palpatine look.

    Agreed that the episode has many flaws - although there are some great things in it too. And I agree that Season Six itself in some ways does destroy the old formula of Buffy - which explains its many fans and detractors as doing such a thing polarizes opinion just a little bit!

    Would love to hear more about your thoughts on Dawn and Connor - agreed that the various attempts to bring in a younger demographic to Buffy were not totally successful. Please post! Will respond more later - but wanted to give some immediate feedback.

    And wish everyone on the Buffy Forum a happy Passover/Easter/spring break holiday!

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  3. #182
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    The thing I remember most about All the Way is that that a vampire gets slain by having a car door slammed on its head (or is that neck?). That's just sad.

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    I thought It was great!

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    Quote Originally Posted by American Aurora View Post
    Hey Guy!

    Great first review - fun snark and sniping of one of the most unloved episodes of the Buffyverse along with Beer Bad. I recognized the Phantom Menace review quote right away with the son in the bathroom line. Your pics were very funny - I laughed out loud at the Emperor Palpatine look.

    Agreed that the episode has many flaws - although there are some great things in it too. And I agree that Season Six itself in some ways does destroy the old formula of Buffy - which explains its many fans and detractors as doing such a thing polarizes opinion just a little bit!

    Would love to hear more about your thoughts on Dawn and Connor - agreed that the various attempts to bring in a younger demographic to Buffy were not totally successful. Please post! Will respond more later - but wanted to give some immediate feedback.

    And wish everyone on the Buffy Forum a happy Passover/Easter/spring break holiday!
    Thank you for the kind words!

    You can always trust ol' Palpie to bring the chuckles

    I actually LOVE 'Beer Bad'. It's silly and hilarious, not unlike 'Smile Time' or 'Band Candy'.


    Dawn and Connor... Well, first of all, let's dispell a common myth - Dawn and Connor were NOT meant to bring in the "younger crowd". I mean, I don't know what went on in the writers' heads when they introduced these two, but still - the characters are written in a way that is clearly not designed to attract young fans. Dawn and Connor's REAL purpose is to further the arcs of Buffy and Angel, respectively. It's a common trope - when a character gets older, the writers give it a child (or something resembling a child, like a younger sister, or an adopted daughter, or something), to show the main character's growth, and to serve as its familial bond. In other words - Dawn wasn't meant to be a new Buffy for the younger fans, she was meant to be the new Joyce, who supports the story of Buffy. Connor and Dawn are just like X-23 in 'Logan', or Harley in 'Iron Man 3', or Carrie Kelley in 'The Dark Knight Returns', or (most successfully, in my opinion) Ciri from 'The Witcher'. They serve the same function in old characters' stories that parents (like Aunt May, or Joyce, or Mufasa, or Dumbledore, etc...) serve in younger characters' stories. They're not there to draw in other audiences, they're there to service the main characters' story.

    If you want to know how I would change Dawn and Connor if I could, then just look at the character of Ciri, from the 'Witcher' franchise. She's the most perfect example of this trope that I know. Here's a taste:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1sk8KesUN8

    I'd like to note two main things that the character of Ciri does well, and how they fare in Dawn's and Connor's cases:

    1) The child character should NOT be a permanent damsel in distress. It's okay if the child needs saving every once in a while (EVERY character needs saving every once in a while), especially in the beginning, but it must NOT be a permanent trait. In other words - you shouldn't reach a point in which Buffy says: "So, Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday" (although that IS a hilarious line). This is something that Dawn struggles with, while Ciri and Connor do not. The reason is simple - Ciri and Connor are proficient warriors (And in Ciri's case, we also see HOW she becomes a skilled warrior, slowly and gradually, which is better than Connor's "I was trained off-screen by Holtz" situation), while Dawn remains pretty powerless throughout (Season 8 actually fixed this problem temporarily, with Dawn's giant phase). A powerless character is a permanent damsel-in-distress, and that's not good. It's okay for characters like Buffy's Xander and Angel's Cordelia, who were the comic relief and the human heart of the group, but it's not okay in the child characters, who are supposed to be more central to the story. Child characters mustn't be permanent damsels-in-distress, or the audience will resent them.

    2) The child character must resemble the main character in many things, but it must be its complete opposite in one thing - the child character will be lively and cheery and energetic, while the main character will be world-weary and grim and reserved. This is something that Dawn and Ciri do very well, but Connor fails completely. Buffy becomes a grim and weary character in the later seasons, while Dawn is lively and energetic. Geralt (the main character of the 'Witcher' series) is a gruff and grim old man, while Ciri is a lively and idealistic young woman. Angel is also grim and weary and broody, which is good (Err, it's good for this particular type of storytelling, anyway), but Connor is NOT his opposite in this regard, which is BAD. Connor isn't lively and cheery and energetic - he's just as grim and broody as Angel. As Willow says - "the sneer is genetic". Without this contrast, the relationship can't work. Connor doesn't help the audience see a new facet of Angel's personality - he just makes us see more broodiness and stoic-ness from Angel, and we've seen that already.
    Fortunately, the writers eventually noticed this mistake, and fixed it - in 'Home', Connor got a brand new personality, and this time it was a true contrast to Angel. The new Connor was lively and cheery and energetic, and when this new Connor interacted with Angel, he helped us see a new facet of Angel's personality - a warmer, more human side of Angel. The new Connor helped push Angel's story forward, and thus, unsurprisingly, Connor became a much more popular character (or, at least, a less hated one).

    Those are my two cents, anyway. Which are really just a very lengthy way of saying that you should all play 'The Witcher: Wild Hunt', because it's awesome

    Quote Originally Posted by Skippcomet View Post
    The thing I remember most about All the Way is that that a vampire gets slain by having a car door slammed on its head (or is that neck?). That's just sad.
    Yeah, this episode actually has a really well-executed fight scene, considering how lame the story is. The first half of season 6 is probably the most expensive-looking part of the entire show - all that new UPN money went to good use.
    Last edited by Guy; 16-04-17 at 12:52 PM.
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    I've finally found the time to warm up the DVDs and watch the ep. Hopefully I'll get the chance to read/respond over the next couple of days.

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    Hey Guy. A big thank you for joining us and contributing your time/thoughts in a review. All The Way isn't the best episode in S6 for sure, but as always I just hunker down with you all and grab my mining gear to see what we can scrape up.

    I think we all went to rewatch this episode just to get it over with. It was like an obligation. Like going to your stupid daughter's college graduation you know it's gonna suck, but you gotta go just to get it over with. Nah, f*&@k that metaphor. This was like going to an autopsy you know it's dead, and nothing's gonna change that, but you gotta do an autopsy to find out what killed it. Or WHO killed it...

    Okay, I'm sorry. This shameless RedLetterMedia rip-off was an exaggeration. I just thought it was necessary to start this review by addressing the elephant in the room the fact that 'All the Way' is no one's favorite episode. It's not a favorite episode of mine either, and I'm a huge fan of both season 6 and Dawn (who is the focal point of the episode). Something clearly went wrong with this one. And yet, like ALL Buffy episodes, there's also a lot to like here, too. So, in this review I'm gonna try to separate the good from the Dawn, and hopefully come out of this with a better understanding of the Buffyverse, or a better understanding of storytelling in general, or at least a better understanding of how much typing can make your hand bleed.
    Ha, describing your review as an autopsy really tickles me and the Scully gif made me smile. I don't read much outside of BtVS online and I didn't recognise the Plinkett quote, had never heard of RedLetterMedia in fact. I have to say I'm glad the glib comment about the son was attributable to a character.

    Running with it, of course the beauty of a review is that it doesn't stay restricted to relaying the autopsy's confirmation of the cause of death. The full investigation to whittle out the whys requires you to get to know the victim and learn about their life in the process of deducing what happened and identifying the killer, if indeed there even has been a !murder!. As you say, there is something to like in all Buffy episodes and so I'm certainly interested to hear if/why you feel Dawn does specifically pull it down.



    NO ONE CARES ABOUT CHARACTERS THAT THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT! (Or: Foreshadowing the potential slayers)
    Ha!

    And now we come back to 'All the Way', and its central sin the fact that it doesn't focus on our main characters, whose relatability has been slowly growing more and more over the last 5 seasons. Instead, the episode spends much of its run-time on the adventures of Dawn and her new teenage friends, who we only meet for the first (and only) time in this episode, and about whom we DON'T GIVE A SHIT.
    Ah, now this isn't a problem to me. Dawn's story in this episode follows on from the issues we have been seeing build up for her since before Buffy's death. Her importance, her relevancy, whether she is real, whether she matters at all is part of her story from the get go and this episode just continues it. I'm invested in that story growth and development, even if I don't personally relate to it. It feels right to me to see some wider context for her then, to get to see her with her peers and how she relates to them when she has been feeling so pushed aside, and even if it is just as a one-off. Seeing how Dawn gets caught up into desperately seeking peer approval, ignoring dangers and signs she should recognise in Justin just emphasises this issue of feeling adrift, separate to the others and how willing she is to fit in to feel wanted.

    It also highlights how unsettled everything is specifically because of Buffy's return. Not only is everyone not focussing on Dawn any longer, but discord is starting to become apparent. She walks in on Tara and Willow arguing in the kitchen and seems disturbed by it. And then later when Justin finds out her sister is the slayer he upsets her by attributing his interest in Dawn to that, "Your sister's the slayer? I totally get it! I knew there was something about you." It must be really hard to be able to see that Buffy's return, which she will have been so happy about, has caused such disruption too. With Spike no longer playing the same role in the group, Willow and Tara fighting, Xander's and Anya's relationship shifting (even if it seems positive at the moment), and with Buffy distancing herself as well, everything is fluctuating again and Dawn doesn't know where she belongs, if she matters, whether everything is going to be good again.

    And in the later years, two instances in particular reminded me of this same problem: The potential Slayers in season 7 of 'Buffy', and the introduction of teenaged Connor in episode 20 of season 3 of 'Angel'. In both cases, the mistake of focusing on new, unrelatable characters spawned some of the most reviled storylines of the Buffyverse.
    Now with the potentials I can agree with you but not Connor. Connor as a teenager may have been sudden and 'new' but his story wasn't, his connection to the other characters had substance to it before he had even walked back out the portal. The difference for me with the potentials was the entire thing was a whole topic out of the blue and it came with these new characters that didn't have any established connections to the characters that mattered to us, but they were dropped in bluntly by the story. Their presence was jarring, somewhat intentionally perhaps, but it meant that it suffered because there was no natural easing in to develop connections and so no early character developments for them. This episode doesn't make me feel like that about Dawn's friends because their presence helps expand on well-established issues for Dawn and it plays its part within her season I think.

    The second biggest problem with 'All the Way' is the main theme of the episode. What is the theme of the episode, you ask? Well, it's right there in the title it's about people going "all the way". Specifically, it's about people going "all the way" in BAD things, due to bad reasons like peer pressure and hedonistic urges. I like to call this theme "the seduction theme". Dawn "goes rogue" with her friends, and almost gets killed by vampires. Xander announces his engagement to Anya, and almost immediately regrets it. Willow continues to dabble in magic "to make people happy", and it throws a giant-sized wrench in her relationship with Tara. Buffy lets Dawn go visit her friends against her better judgement, and Dawn abuses that trust.
    SOUND FAMILIAR?
    There is quite a bit in this episode that directly ties to where different characters are towards the end of the season I think. At this early stage we are seeing some key moments, key tipping points within their journeys to get there. Rather than people truly going 'all the way' it seems more about the perception of it, the incorrect perception of it perhaps, as it turns out that these current moments and positions are just a step in a path they don't realise they are only at the start of. As opposed to them being one off incidents/choices that will have little or short-term impact.

    A key issue with Willow's perspective at the moment, again goes to how the consequences she risks are being brushed past. The scene in the bronze raised whether the risks from her choices are even ones she is seeing clearly at all. Perhaps there is just some elation after having successfully returned Buffy which is giving her too much confidence in her own ability. But it does seem that there is an issue in how she is being addressed, that perhaps the concerns being raised may seem like reprimands which treat her like a child. So in a similar way to how Dawn is defiant, perhaps there is a degree to which Willow is unconsciously pushing against being restricted because of how people are expressing themselves. Again, a lack of communication and failed communications could be creating barriers.

    The way Buffy is treating Dawn unintentionally pushes her towards a no man's land. She isn't coddled like a precious key any longer, or as the last connection to Buffy now she has returned, and she can't elicit attention like a cute small kid in a mini witch costume! She isn't a child but she isn't being treated like an adult yet either. It is a relatable stage in adolescence to want to gain some freedom/respect but also wanting to be protected still. It is something we have seen the gang go through too but they aren't managing it with Dawn and around their own issues as well. And let's face it, even with the best of intentions and a lot of considered thought, it isn't necessarily the easiest time to deal with anyway for any guardians/parents. So we see Dawn both looking to assert herself, take risky choices and defy expectations alongside behaviours such as the kleptomania which begs to be seen, challenges them to notice her and even punishes them for not doing do.

    But during all of that, Dawn is striving for connection and understanding. The way she is acting out is foolish and it seems very immature, childish behaviour. But to a degree pigeon-holing it purely as teen issues would miss the ties with the wider group's problems which are exacerbating Dawn's sense of isolation and lack of security. She doesn't really want babying or to break completely away from the group I don't think, she wants to be given a place within it and not be kept on the outskirts. She wants them all to adjust cohesively following Buffy's return.

    None of this is helped by the fact that Buffy and Dawn still haven't clearly forged the boundaries of their new relationship dynamic since losing Joyce. In taking the approach of trying to keep Dawn protected from the world, it simply builds in to Dawn's lack of sense of what her place is within it. We even see Dawn cover her knowledge of the supernatural world when talking to Justin as this desire for connection has her trying to twist/adjust herself to fit in with others. It is this rather than freedom I feel that shows she is really looking for feeling accepted and actively wanted somewhere. For Dawn to be given the assurance she still needs some of (even though she isn't a child) and the development towards adulthood of having a role and a place above being protected, we have to get to the point where Buffy isn't distancing herself. It takes the season for her to choose to be the one staying in the room to talk to Dawn, to say that she can 'see' Dawn and wants to show her the world, to share it with her, because she wants to be a part of it herself again too.

    So I think there is this theme through the episode of destination. What you think is 'all the way' at one point gains perspective and variance when you are at a different point in your journey. There is also the aspect that different people view the same journey differently and maybe even think they are heading to, and aiming for, different destinations.

    Showing the 'you treat me like a man' clip in the previously on for Spike was very interesting against his conversation in the stock room with Buffy, his behaviour in the fight and then afterwards when leaving Revello. Buffy felt that it was easier to speak to him when he wanted to kill her because it didn't add in any complications around his behaviour/feelings, and left him fitting well enough into box marked 'vampire'. If he'd asked her if she felt 'like a bit of the rough and tumble' then, she would probably have been far less likely to have wondered if he was talking about anything other than fighting. Assuming he wasn't being blatantly, overtly lewd to try and throw her of course.

    Spike had himself convinced that Buffy's inclusion of him at the end of last season was an acknowledgment of him in a way that it just may not have been. It mattered to him that she invited him back in and asked for his help, he felt needed and wanted. But we will see Buffy look to hold him away as she also draws closer to him in this season. Using him and taking some comfort from his separation from her life is complicated because of what genuinely also draws her to him. The understanding he has of a darker side to her is real, but along with her depression about her lack of ability to connect with the others it is a side she is worried is wrong and it mixes in with all that she wants to punish herself for. So there is also a fundamental rejection within this that eventually becomes literal when she ends what has become a very mutually abusive dynamic from the combination of her depression and his lack of soul. Spike however tries to see the connection they share as being made stronger in how their relationship develops, tries to see it as further acceptance, when really the physical intimacy is an illusion of such.

    So when Spike tells the other vampire that he is in fact the rebel, we do know this side to his character. We have seen it time and again since he arrived and we can apply it now to him fighting beside the scoobies, to having stayed to look after Dawn and all the ways he doesn't conform to fit comfortably in the box labelled 'vampire: easy to deal with'. But a belief he's truly accepted by Buffy would be a mistake and I don't think is something he fully believes in either. His attempt to draw Buffy into the dark is in part about believing that is where he belongs and hoping she'll join him, lower herself to do so. His wish to believe in there being strength to this new darker connection between them, from the perception of joint experiences and a feeling that she has come back differently, fuels the consideration that perhaps she may accept him now on different terms. Therefore, even after fighting alongside the group, he doesn't look to stay but still separates himself and keeps to the outside where he may be able to draw Buffy away from the others to join him. He returns to his crypt because that is where 'big bads' should be. And just as Justin sees turning Dawn as an acceptable conclusion to them liking each other, Spike's inner monster that sees drawing Buffy into the dark as acceptable will also draw a line between them eventually too, with Buffy even describing the relationship as killing her. So not really accepted on new terms, his failure to not hurt Buffy at the end of the season prompts a perception shift again as he rages against his inability to be monster or man. And so he sets a new expectation and destination for himself.

    Only to immediately regret it. Because, as Giles put it: "Anya is a wonderful former vengeance demon. I'm sure you'll spend... many years of... non-hell-dimensional bliss."
    The responses to Xander's and Anya's engagement is another great example of differing perspectives/destinations. Xander said aloud he wanted to marry her before making the announcement, but it was like he had really been seeing making the engagement official as a current destination. As Giles discusses house purchases and Anya immediately talks about timescales, further future developments cars/house/babies and plans for these, Xander is blasted by the impact of other people's perspectives, the destinations they are openly working towards straight away, and it overwhelms him.

    Anyway, while Xander has a good story going on with the "All the Way" theme, Buffy decides to go "all the way" on her "avoid my responsibilities at all costs" policy going patrolling with Spike when she's sick of the magic box, and leaving the job of lecturing Dawn to Giles.
    And of course when Buffy initiates the sexual relationship with Spike, opting for Rough and Tumble Option No.2 she takes it still further.

    The main reason that this episode works (Or, at least, doesn't leave us wanting to kill ourselves) is the unresolved nature of its ending. Despite sticking to the "seduction" formula throughout most of the episode, 'All the Way' breaks it in one way it doesn't end with the characters learning their lesson and moving on. Instead, the episode ends with everything still being WRONG:
    I think this is because the character's perspectives are wrong, because there is much further that they can go. As you say, they fall deeper and they are still falling by the episode end, so it doesn't stop.

    I noticed that characters are asking each other 'where' things are, 'where' people are, 'where' they should be (or would be) throughout the episode. It adds to this sense of unease, that things are up in the air and don't feel settled or grounded at the moment. The uncertainty of where we are heading, but having to make decisions which will impact where you go, is such a major part of growing up. It's back to the destination theme really. When Dawn directly asks Justin what he expects, it is this longer term 'where' that is in play, whether their expectations and perspectives are meeting. But it isn't something that gets answered because most characters aren't communicating effectively at the moment and he wants to distract her with a shorter-term perspective because in this case he doesn't want to provide an answer.

    There is some of what will happen between Buffy and Spike in the Dawn/Justin of this episode, beyond the monster beneath it all aspect I mentioned earlier. Spike will repeatedly try to pin Buffy down on what their relationship is, what she thinks of him and, despite their being some genuine understanding and connection between them, their different perspectives and expectations on their relationship are miles apart.

    The ending of 'All the Way', however, is even more disturbing. Faith had "bad news" written on her forehead ever since she was first introduced, and her fall to evil came as a shock to no one. Buffy, Willow and Xander, however, are our MAIN characters, and we expect them to learn their lesson after such episodes.
    Yes I know what you mean, it does have a real air of foreboding to it. You're right that the endings of the previous episodes had these unresolved problems hanging too, as it all builds up under the surface, great catch. And we are back to the symbolism from Flooded of all the pipes bursting under the pressure underneath the house. Those flood waters are going to undermine the damned foundations if they don't notice them and deal with them soon, ha.

    Instead of blowing up demons with rocket launchers, Buffy now fights her demons in a more down-to-earth, "realistic" way. It's no wonder that this season is so controversial it is a season that tried to break the very premise of the Buffyverse, and replace it with something new.

    Personally, though, I loved every single moment of it. TV shows always tend toward a status quo, toward a formula, and I always admire the few TV shows who dare to break their formula and bring real change to their stories. Moreover, this change in structure fit the coming-of-age story of Buffy very well...
    It works for me too as believable, progressive development. Really that is what the show has always been about, growing up and facing difficulties from challenges within ourselves as well as from day-to-day living. As much as I don't like that Giles leaves entirely, it does work at this stage for another loss of parental figure/support to go alongside further descent into their personal issues. We will continue to see separation and lack of communication between everyone. How their perspectives differ and sometimes how they don't even know or understand where the other person is really coming from at all. Division is a really big part of what increases their struggles this season and friendships flexing and straining is another realistic part of growing up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy View Post
    It's a common trope - when a character gets older, the writers give it a child (or something resembling a child, like a younger sister, or an adopted daughter, or something), to show the main character's growth, and to serve as its familial bond. In other words - Dawn wasn't meant to be a new Buffy for the younger fans, she was meant to be the new Joyce, who supports the story of Buffy. Connor and Dawn are just like X-23 in 'Logan', or Harley in 'Iron Man 3', or Carrie Kelley in 'The Dark Knight Returns', or (most successfully, in my opinion) Ciri from 'The Witcher'. They serve the same function in old characters' stories that parents (like Aunt May, or Joyce, or Mufasa, or Dumbledore, etc...) serve in younger characters' stories. They're not there to draw in other audiences, they're there to service the main characters' story.
    Of the references I understand there, I still haven't actually seen most of them. Perhaps this year I'll try to branch out a little more.

    Of course they may have multiple reasons for introducing new characters. But yes, I agree that the point of introducing Dawn and Connor is for what they bring to the stories of Buffy and Angel. But is that really any different to why the original core groups are formed in the first place? The groups are structured to support and best serve Buffy's/Angel's stories and to include characters that will ping off each other well in doing so. But it does work in reverse too, the connections that Dawn and Connor have to Buffy and Angel also makes their individual stories interesting.

    If you want to know how I would change Dawn and Connor if I could, then just look at the character of Ciri, from the 'Witcher' franchise. She's the most perfect example of this trope that I know. Here's a taste:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1sk8KesUN8
    I've never heard of this series before and the character of Ciri in the clip, without any background knowledge of the characters and their dynamics, was interesting enough but it isn't like she zinged and stood out as exceptional from just that small clip. Of course you'll see more than I do from knowing the series overall.

    I have to say, I just don't have an issue with Dawn getting herself in scrapes any more than the repeated plays for humour some other characters are given. Sometimes it is irritating and other times work better, but I don't think of it as an unchanging constant for her. As with the moments the others can have, it works for someone in the group to be awkward, weak or somewhat foolish sometimes, even often. It enhances the group overall to keep a mix of weakness alongside heroism. And Dawn is more than just a damsel in distress as she has bucketfuls of sass, she doesn't always cower and we do see her use her wits at times too. She was strapped to the tower and bled like a damsel for sure, but she told Glory exactly what she thought of her and she didn't hold back on Ben either. And not just with words, she got him pretty good with that chain too (ow!). She can cry, whine and beg, but be hit by defiance and guts too. Dawn has moments of idiocy, moments of real fear and uncertainty for sure, but she also has moments of strength, quick thinking and bravery. Like you say, there are other characters that aren't proficient fighters and I don't think Dawn works significantly worse than the others.

    Again I don't have a problem with the earlier treatment of Connor because his story was interesting to me. Yes, I agree he changed significantly after he was given his false childhood but seeing the consistencies in his character from that point was also fascinating. Before that change though, we got to see the contrast in Angel between his responses to baby-Connor against the clash that occurred with angry-teen-Connor. That phase with Connor, his relationship with him and behaviour towards him, gave some very interesting insights into Angel as a teen and the relationship he had with his own father. All this of course then fed directly in to how Angel handled the situation and the deal with W&H. I think sometimes having someone reflect another character can draw out really strong reactions that show self-awareness or a lack thereof. And of course where they also then do differ offers other insights too. But as Connor is one of my favourite characters it's not really surprising I don't see this the same.

    Some other general thoughts... I wondered how the character of Kaltenbach figures into the episode. He could be seen as another question on perspectives and it could be that his character plays on misunderstandings and assumptions, or that he works as another monster hidden beneath. The creepy vibe from him as he calls himself 'Daddy' () and when he bemoans having his job, his toys, taken away sits well within the Halloween setting and leaves us uncertain if he is as sinister and twisted as he seems. Of course it is in his house where it is revealed that Justin is in fact a monster underneath. So perhaps Kaltenbach is there purely to contrast and to create a false assumption. But the reveal of Justin's vampirism doesn't in fact determine whether Kaltenbach was a monster of a different sort as well at all.

    The other 'daddy' of the episode has a mixed one. Giles really does step up when he heads out to try and find Dawn and puts his life on the line to fight and protect her and Janice. I can understand his exasperation with Buffy when she passes the buck later on in speaking to Dawn. Even if I do think he shouldn't have totally withdrawn his support when he leaves and that he could have been helping Buffy to solve the finance issue more, I can understand why this grated. But we do see where the frustrations can be running both ways from a lack of communication between them generally and an inability to really consider the other's perspective. Now, whilst I can understand Giles' point of view in seeing the need to not have a heavy involvement in Buffy's home-life, I don't think her needing more support at this early stage is unreasonable (even considering they don't know fully yet how she is feeling). But when Buffy raised going out to patrol earlier with Giles it was ruled out because he wanted her to keep supporting him at the Magic Box and felt it was the priority. That she just left without speaking to him later is a little thoughtless perhaps, but I can understand why she may have not wanted to discuss it again. Is it any more unreasonable than Giles' clear expectation that the group will aid him/Anya in running their shop? I don't think so really. We also had Giles sending Xander off to the charmed objects in irritation which reminded me that he is still not considering the dangerous stock he holds in the magic box adequately (as the Council had flagged and as the next episode goes to prove).

    Buffy had previously gained some satisfaction that Xander and Anya were contrasting her experience when they remained together as Riley left, (their 'beautiful love', as Guy referenced ). But here we see her unhappiness when Anya is gushing about how lucky she is, that the universe allowed her to find someone she was meant to be with and everything work out. Perhaps this is just so difficult now as it both follows her recent meeting with Angel and is happening during a time where she is finding emotional connections difficult generally. But I wonder if there is also any sense of her feeling the unfairness in the contrast, she gave her life for the world and the universe gave her 'this'.

    I don't notice often when the show is out dated, but I don't think tattoos have the same stigma to them any more as the reactions in this episode seemed to convey. Although I appreciate that Dawn would still be pretty young to have one, too young over here to do so legally.

    My least favourite part of this episode is actually a really shallow thing. I hate, (and hate with a truly raw passion!) having to watch the kissing between Dawn and Justin, and there is just sooooo darned much of it. Sure, it works with the whole awkward teenager aspect, but it just looks so clumsy and is so cringe worthy, it's awful. The 'shiver me timbers' line too seems really forced and after looking so awkward the further 'wow' of Dawn's response to the kiss just doesn't work. Ha, I actually realised I'm sat here typing this with my face screwed up in pained disgust as I'm recollecting the scene.

    For favourite moments, I love the dance of capitalist superiority too and I agree with you all that the fight scene is really good. And I know it's a bit corny but I love that Buffy and Dawn bicker regardless of the large pack of vampires around them and mirror each other during the exchange, it just has a real 'siblings' vibe that's great...
    BUFFY: (outraged) Were you parking?! With a vamp?
    DAWN: I-I didn't know he was dead!
    JUSTIN: Living dead.
    DAWN: Shut up!
    BUFFY: How could you not know?
    DAWN: I just met him!
    BUFFY: Oh! Oh, so you were parking in the woods with a boy you just met.
    JUSTIN: We've seen each other at parties.
    BUFFY: Shut up. (to Dawn) I don't believe you!



    Thank you again Guy for joining us and for offering an interesting review. I hope you'll continue to contribute to the rewatch through the season.

    I don't really know if anyone else is particularly rewatching AtS alongside like I have been, but I haven't had the chance to watch Billy again yet. If anything strikes me when I do I'll pop in an extra comment.

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    Sunnydale High Student Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    Hey Guy. A big thank you for joining us and contributing your time/thoughts in a review.
    It was my genuine pleasure

    I don't read much outside of BtVS online and I didn't recognise the Plinkett quote, had never heard of RedLetterMedia in fact.
    Well, time to fix that
    If you have any love for deadpan sarcasm and dark humor, you'll adore this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxKt...4EBB1D68064251

    It also has a lot of really interesting things to say about storytelling in general. And if you hate the Star Wars prequels, these videos are downright cathartic!

    I have to say I'm glad the glib comment about the son was attributable to a character.
    Oh, I hope I didn't worry you there for a second



    Ah, now this isn't a problem to me. Dawn's story in this episode follows on from the issues we have been seeing build up for her since before Buffy's death. Her importance, her relevancy, whether she is real, whether she matters at all is part of her story from the get go and this episode just continues it. I'm invested in that story growth and development, even if I don't personally relate to it. It feels right to me to see some wider context for her then, to get to see her with her peers and how she relates to them when she has been feeling so pushed aside, and even if it is just as a one-off. Seeing how Dawn gets caught up into desperately seeking peer approval, ignoring dangers and signs she should recognise in Justin just emphasises this issue of feeling adrift, separate to the others and how willing she is to fit in to feel wanted.

    It also highlights how unsettled everything is specifically because of Buffy's return. Not only is everyone not focussing on Dawn any longer, but discord is starting to become apparent. She walks in on Tara and Willow arguing in the kitchen and seems disturbed by it. And then later when Justin finds out her sister is the slayer he upsets her by attributing his interest in Dawn to that, "Your sister's the slayer? I totally get it! I knew there was something about you." It must be really hard to be able to see that Buffy's return, which she will have been so happy about, has caused such disruption too. With Spike no longer playing the same role in the group, Willow and Tara fighting, Xander's and Anya's relationship shifting (even if it seems positive at the moment), and with Buffy distancing herself as well, everything is fluctuating again and Dawn doesn't know where she belongs, if she matters, whether everything is going to be good again.
    I agree about all these points! I LOVE Dawn. Always have, probably always will. And I love that we get to see her POV in this episode.

    My problem is the fact that Dawn's friends, who take up a significant part of this episode, are such flat characters. They're flat characters, because we've never seen them before, and will never see them again. That's the problem - instead of TRULY showing us what Dawn's life is like, this episode just throws a bunch of flat stereotypes out of nowhere and says that they're Dawn's friends. It feels flat and cliched, and doesn't work nearly as well as it should have.

    Can you imagine how good this episode COULD have been if Dawn's friends would have been established earlier? We' seen Dawn's friends in 'The Body', and this episode could have brought those friends back, and in that way we would have really CARED about these characters and what happens with them. If the show wants to show us Dawn's POV, then it needs to do it in a deeper way, IMO.

    Again, going back to the Ciri example - all of her supporting characters are either well-known to us from their interactions with Geralt (Geralt is the Buffy to Ciri's Dawn), or they get lengthy amounts of time to establish them as supporting characters for Ciri.

    Now with the potentials I can agree with you but not Connor. Connor as a teenager may have been sudden and 'new' but his story wasn't, his connection to the other characters had substance to it before he had even walked back out the portal.
    First of all, I want to stress this - I was talking about one episode specifically, 3x20. This is the first episode in which we see mature!Connor, and the writers made the big mistake of having Connor on his own in that episode. Instead of introducing us to his character by showing him interacting with the established characters (which is how Dawn was introduced - she spent most of her introductory episode, 'Real Me', interacting with the scoobies), 3x20 chooses to show Connor interacting mostly with a bunch of new characters - some random drug addict, some random drug dealer, etc... This is the WRONG way of introducing any new character, and it's DEFINITELY the wrong way of introducing a child character.

    Second of all - this may be a controversial statement, but I truly believe it: BABIES AREN'T CHARACTERS. Babies don't have complex desires, they don't go through character arcs, they don't build a connection with the audience. No one watches a show and goes "I really relate to that baby character". So, no - Connor was NOT a substantial character before 3x20. He didn't have a connection with the audience, and his relationship with his father was not established to the audience, and he DID need to be established in 3x20. For all intents and purposes, 3x20 was our "first impressions" of Connor, and it was the true beginning of Connor's story, and it needed to be written that way. It needed to make us UNDERSTAND Connor, and RELATE to Connor, and LIKE Connor. And I think that episode failed to do so - partially bacause it spent most of its run-time with Connor being away from the establised characters of the show.


    So I think there is this theme through the episode of destination. What you think is 'all the way' at one point gains perspective and variance when you are at a different point in your journey. There is also the aspect that different people view the same journey differently and maybe even think they are heading to, and aiming for, different destinations.
    Definitely. This episode shows the characters going "all the Way" in what they WANT, but not going forward at all in what they NEED.

    As much as I don't like that Giles leaves entirely, it does work at this stage for another loss of parental figure/support to go alongside further descent into their personal issues.
    Giles' departure was PERFECT for the show. It's exactly what this stage of Buffy's coming-of-age story needed - to lose her support systems, to be shaken, and to learn to survive regardless. If Anthony Stewart Head didn't want to go back to his family in England, Joss would have had to FORCE him to do it anyway, because it was just a necessary step for the story. There's a reason why mentors always get killed.


    Of the references I understand there, I still haven't actually seen most of them. Perhaps this year I'll try to branch out a little more.
    Tsk, tsk...

    Of course they may have multiple reasons for introducing new characters. But yes, I agree that the point of introducing Dawn and Connor is for what they bring to the stories of Buffy and Angel. But is that really any different to why the original core groups are formed in the first place? The groups are structured to support and best serve Buffy's/Angel's stories and to include characters that will ping off each other well in doing so. But it does work in reverse too, the connections that Dawn and Connor have to Buffy and Angel also makes their individual stories interesting.
    This is all true. i just don't believe in the common myth that Connor and Dawn were introduced to attract younger viewers. I don't think that any teenagers started watching 'Angel' because of Connor, and I don't think that the writers believed that Connor would draw younger viewers, when they wrote him as the backstabbing oedipal guy who throws Angel to the bottom of the ocean.

    I've never heard of this series before and the character of Ciri in the clip, without any background knowledge of the characters and their dynamics, was interesting enough but it isn't like she zinged and stood out as exceptional from just that small clip. Of course you'll see more than I do from knowing the series overall.
    Of course, of course. This is simply the first time the character is introduced (in the game), and it isn't exceptional in and of itself. The character becomes exceptional thanks to how well her arc is executed, and thanks to how she relates to the character of Geralt, but I can't really show that due to spoilers. So just play 'The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt'. You'll thank me later.

    I will note, however, that this is an optimal introduction for a child character - we see the child interacting with the MAIN characters of the story, in whom we are already invested. Dawn's introduction in 'Real Me' was equally successful in that regard. Connor's introduction, however, made the mistake of putting Connor with un-established characters, as I've said.

    I have to say, I just don't have an issue with Dawn getting herself in scrapes any more than the repeated plays for humour some other characters are given. Sometimes it is irritating and other times work better, but I don't think of it as an unchanging constant for her. As with the moments the others can have, it works for someone in the group to be awkward, weak or somewhat foolish sometimes, even often. It enhances the group overall to keep a mix of weakness alongside heroism. And Dawn is more than just a damsel in distress as she has bucketfuls of sass, she doesn't always cower and we do see her use her wits at times too. She was strapped to the tower and bled like a damsel for sure, but she told Glory exactly what she thought of her and she didn't hold back on Ben either. And not just with words, she got him pretty good with that chain too (ow!). She can cry, whine and beg, but be hit by defiance and guts too. Dawn has moments of idiocy, moments of real fear and uncertainty for sure, but she also has moments of strength, quick thinking and bravery. Like you say, there are other characters that aren't proficient fighters and I don't think Dawn works significantly worse than the others.
    In seasons 5 & 6, I mostly agree. Dawn gets damseled, but not too much. And as I've said, I love her! But I do think that her character should have had more of an empowering arc - I think that Dawn's overall arc should have been closer to Willow's than Xander's. I think that season 7 should have gone to much greater lengths to show Dawn growing into an empowered character, almost an heir to Buffy. This is what child characters do best - they allow the hero's story to end in a satisfying way, by having him pass the torch to the new generation. Buffy did just that with the empowerment spell in 'Chosen', but I think that the story would have greatly benefited from empowering Dawn more specifically, and having her take her place as a leading figure in the group.

    Again I don't have a problem with the earlier treatment of Connor because his story was interesting to me. Yes, I agree he changed significantly after he was given his false childhood but seeing the consistencies in his character from that point was also fascinating. Before that change though, we got to see the contrast in Angel between his responses to baby-Connor against the clash that occurred with angry-teen-Connor. That phase with Connor, his relationship with him and behaviour towards him, gave some very interesting insights into Angel as a teen and the relationship he had with his own father. All this of course then fed directly in to how Angel handled the situation and the deal with W&H. I think sometimes having someone reflect another character can draw out really strong reactions that show self-awareness or a lack thereof. And of course where they also then do differ offers other insights too. But as Connor is one of my favourite characters it's not really surprising I don't see this the same.
    I think this comes back to my "babies aren't characters" argument. I think it's crucial that Connor should have BEGUN as an idealistic, energetic, warm person, before becoming so sulky and grim. But since Connor's happy days ended when he was still a baby, and since babies aren't characters, the end result is that Connor was introduced as a sulky, grim character, and that's a problem. Ciri also became a grim, cynical character for a long while (in the books, mostly), but she was INTRODUCED as a positive, energetic, warm character, and that's crucial.

    Some other general thoughts... I wondered how the character of Kaltenbach figures into the episode. He could be seen as another question on perspectives and it could be that his character plays on misunderstandings and assumptions, or that he works as another monster hidden beneath. The creepy vibe from him as he calls himself 'Daddy' () and when he bemoans having his job, his toys, taken away sits well within the Halloween setting and leaves us uncertain if he is as sinister and twisted as he seems. Of course it is in his house where it is revealed that Justin is in fact a monster underneath. So perhaps Kaltenbach is there purely to contrast and to create a false assumption. But the reveal of Justin's vampirism doesn't in fact determine whether Kaltenbach was a monster of a different sort as well at all.
    Thematically, I think that creepy-old-guy served to highlight the misunderstanding of our characters - they THINK that their problems are the old conventions (Creepy-old-guy), when in fact their REAL problems are their immature instincts of rebellion (The teenaged vampire).

    Now, whilst I can understand Giles' point of view in seeing the need to not have a heavy involvement in Buffy's home-life, I don't think her needing more support at this early stage is unreasonable (even considering they don't know fully yet how she is feeling).
    Is it really an "early" stage anymore, though? This is the SIXTH episode of the season, after all. I think it's reasonable to assume that in terms of timeline, Buffy has been alive again for a few months. At this point, I would be feeling the same way as Giles - that no matter how traumatic Buffy's experience was, it is time to help her by pushing her, not by cuddling her. Clearly, the cuddling approach had not been helping.


    My least favourite part of this episode is actually a really shallow thing. I hate, (and hate with a truly raw passion!) having to watch the kissing between Dawn and Justin, and there is just sooooo darned much of it. Sure, it works with the whole awkward teenager aspect, but it just looks so clumsy and is so cringe worthy, it's awful. The 'shiver me timbers' line too seems really forced and after looking so awkward the further 'wow' of Dawn's response to the kiss just doesn't work. Ha, I actually realised I'm sat here typing this with my face screwed up in pained disgust as I'm recollecting the scene.
    Heh, I get that. That kiss was awwwwwwwwkward.

    As James Marsters said, kisses on film are a hard thing to do - very technical. And MT and the other actor were pretty young.

    For favourite moments, I love the dance of capitalist superiority too and I agree with you all that the fight scene is really good. And I know it's a bit corny but I love that Buffy and Dawn bicker regardless of the large pack of vampires around them and mirror each other during the exchange, it just has a real 'siblings' vibe that's great...
    BUFFY: (outraged) Were you parking?! With a vamp?
    DAWN: I-I didn't know he was dead!
    JUSTIN: Living dead.
    DAWN: Shut up!
    BUFFY: How could you not know?
    DAWN: I just met him!
    BUFFY: Oh! Oh, so you were parking in the woods with a boy you just met.
    JUSTIN: We've seen each other at parties.
    BUFFY: Shut up. (to Dawn) I don't believe you!

    Gotta love Buffy's sense of priorities
    Last edited by Guy; 26-04-17 at 01:51 PM.
    Come on, I'm not a dog. I'm talking through the dog. He was nearby. I am a power without name, from a realm far above your petty-- Hey! Balls!
    HAHNANUMMANUMMA-SLURP-MMNN... Ho! Wait! Wait! Whoah! I can't help it! I'm housed in this animal. It's complicated!

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  15. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy View Post
    If you have any love for deadpan sarcasm and dark humor, you'll adore this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxKt...4EBB1D68064251

    It also has a lot of really interesting things to say about storytelling in general. And if you hate the Star Wars prequels, these videos are downright cathartic!
    I'll check it out and I'll try to watch just a little more than BtVS/AtS generally.

    Oh, I hope I didn't worry you there for a second.
    Maybe a little.

    My problem is the fact that Dawn's friends, who take up a significant part of this episode, are such flat characters. They're flat characters, because we've never seen them before, and will never see them again. That's the problem - instead of TRULY showing us what Dawn's life is like, this episode just throws a bunch of flat stereotypes out of nowhere and says that they're Dawn's friends. It feels flat and cliched, and doesn't work nearly as well as it should have.
    I can see where you are coming from but it just doesn't bother me because it isn't about them at all. I can't see the episode working better for me if I had already met Janice really, she is a generic teen friend and it keeps the focus on considering the emotional drivers for Dawn rather than wasting time on friends that aren't going to be coming back again I think. Arguably perhaps, the fact that she is wanting to fit in with them to get some sense of the connection she needs despite the fact that they aren't particularly good company or interesting characters actually works.

    First of all, I want to stress this - I was talking about one episode specifically, 3x20. This is the first episode in which we see mature!Connor, and the writers made the big mistake of having Connor on his own in that episode. Instead of introducing us to his character by showing him interacting with the established characters (which is how Dawn was introduced - she spent most of her introductory episode, 'Real Me', interacting with the scoobies), 3x20 chooses to show Connor interacting mostly with a bunch of new characters - some random drug addict, some random drug dealer, etc... This is the WRONG way of introducing any new character, and it's DEFINITELY the wrong way of introducing a child character.
    Ah, hmmm, yes A New World is somewhat lacking. I'm not sure I agree still that it is because he was interacting with unknown characters (although the homeless girl I remember as being a duff inclusion) because I think my disappointment centred really on the lack of open emotional response to his return, that Angel was so cautious, but the sudden age shift and attack would have really thrown them. The lack of connection is an important part of his story at that stage, they couldn't have done it another way I don't think and had the steady reveal of how troubled and abused a child he became because of how Holtz raised him. His story would have been pulled down if he had started off as a more settled/happier persona.

    Second of all - this may be a controversial statement, but I truly believe it: BABIES AREN'T CHARACTERS. Babies don't have complex desires, they don't go through character arcs, they don't build a connection with the audience. No one watches a show and goes "I really relate to that baby character". So, no - Connor was NOT a substantial character before 3x20. He didn't have a connection with the audience, and his relationship with his father was not established to the audience, and he DID need to be established in 3x20. For all intents and purposes, 3x20 was our "first impressions" of Connor, and it was the true beginning of Connor's story, and it needed to be written that way. It needed to make us UNDERSTAND Connor, and RELATE to Connor, and LIKE Connor. And I think that episode failed to do so - partially bacause it spent most of its run-time with Connor being away from the establised characters of the show.
    Although I would agree a baby doesn't display character traits etc, the emotional connection to them, the wishes/hopes that the other characters have for who they might become, what their relationships with the child/adult may be like, builds up a meaningful impact that their existence has from the start. That Angel was so besotted with his son matters then in how he responds to him when he returns, how he struggles to connect to him and interact with him and the lack of input he has had to his formative years compared to Holtz. So whilst I agree that a baby isn't a character unless the story has deliberately shown developing character traits as they are ageing etc, Connor had meaning to the existing characters before he returned. I think that had very clearly been established before he was taken, how much he mattered to Angel especially. This then fed into how they reacted to him on his return.

    Sure it was the first impression of Connor as an individual, but his distance and his trouble relating to the others are important parts of his story that you can't have done differently for where they were taking him. We aren't supposed to understand him straight away I don't think, but be intrigued as to what might have happened to him in the time he has been gone to create the character thrown in front of us. It has to be somewhat jarring/confusing. It just works for me although I can understand why some people wouldn't like it. Now I'm all enthusiastic for getting to watch it all again.

    In seasons 5 & 6, I mostly agree. Dawn gets damseled, but not too much. And as I've said, I love her! But I do think that her character should have had more of an empowering arc - I think that Dawn's overall arc should have been closer to Willow's than Xander's. I think that season 7 should have gone to much greater lengths to show Dawn growing into an empowered character, almost an heir to Buffy. This is what child characters do best - they allow the hero's story to end in a satisfying way, by having him pass the torch to the new generation. Buffy did just that with the empowerment spell in 'Chosen', but I think that the story would have greatly benefited from empowering Dawn more specifically, and having her take her place as a leading figure in the group.
    I think there was enough empowerment being thrown around in S7.

    Is it really an "early" stage anymore, though? This is the SIXTH episode of the season, after all. I think it's reasonable to assume that in terms of timeline, Buffy has been alive again for a few months. At this point, I would be feeling the same way as Giles - that no matter how traumatic Buffy's experience was, it is time to help her by pushing her, not by cuddling her. Clearly, the cuddling approach had not been helping.
    Hell yes it is still an early stage! She dug her way out of her own coffin, clawed her way through the earth fighting for breath. I think that hits an 'impossible to imagine' level of horrifically traumatic experience. I see the fact that she is working past this within the same season as pretty impressive to be honest. But I can understand why Giles would feel his heavy involvement isn't necessarily right, that Buffy will need to start taking control and so he shouldn't just shoulder the burden of anything she wants to avoid. But there are ways of going about it and a lot of this comes back to failed communication again.

    As James Marsters said, kisses on film are a hard thing to do - very technical. And MT and the other actor were pretty young.
    True, true. But why did they have to show us so damned much of it!?




    - - - Updated - - -

    Stoney: Some other general thoughts... I wondered how the character of Kaltenbach figures into the episode. He could be seen as another question on perspectives and it could be that his character plays on misunderstandings and assumptions, or that he works as another monster hidden beneath. The creepy vibe from him as he calls himself 'Daddy' () and when he bemoans having his job, his toys, taken away sits well within the Halloween setting and leaves us uncertain if he is as sinister and twisted as he seems. Of course it is in his house where it is revealed that Justin is in fact a monster underneath. So perhaps Kaltenbach is there purely to contrast and to create a false assumption. But the reveal of Justin's vampirism doesn't in fact determine whether Kaltenbach was a monster of a different sort as well at all.
    Guy: Thematically, I think that creepy-old-guy served to highlight the misunderstanding of our characters - they THINK that their problems are the old conventions (Creepy-old-guy), when in fact their REAL problems are their immature instincts of rebellion (The teenaged vampire).
    I was thinking about this as I had my breakfast this morning, as you do.

    I think you are right that there is a definite tie in the use of Kaltenbach to the old against the new. I can see it works with the threat not coming from the sinister creepy motw he represents but the situation a character has walked themselves into, represented by Justin instead. But as I said, it is interesting because although it plays the surprise aspect that Kaltenbach wasn't the real current threat, it doesn't definitely conclude that Kaltenbach was harmless. The reveal he had indeed made some treats doesn't rule out any sinister intentions. It's a pretty dark representation of progression to work alongside the theme of growing up, to have a guy who was possibly preying on children taken out by a child turned killer, but it's there to consider (as well of course that it was just a false assumption about him).

    Perhaps Kaltenbach can also be seen to reflect how responses to The Trio are somewhat inadequate at first too. As a human any threat he presented was pretty disregarded by the teen group who too readily walked into his house. Similarly the Trio are too readily brushed off as foolish nerds and then actually cause some very serious problems and commit some horrific crimes. So there is this constantly repeated aspect of threats that are dismissed and/or hidden, Kaltenbach/Justin/The Trio, which reflects issues churning under the surface for all the members of the group and later also the threats that both Willow and Spike present which were unexpected.

    And if I'm remembering correctly this notion of threats that are 'hidden within' will also work alongside Billy where Wes and Gunn try to attack Fred driven by misogynistic hate. Even though it was caused by Billy's demonic effect and they would never have behaved like that in their right minds, it has Wes fearing what it says about him, what he has hidden deep within himself. Right, I'm going to go and watch that straight away.
    Last edited by Stoney; Yesterday at 07:11 PM.

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  17. #189
    Sunnydale High Student Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    I can see where you are coming from but it just doesn't bother me because it isn't about them at all. I can't see the episode working better for me if I had already met Janice really, she is a generic teen friend and it keeps the focus on considering the emotional drivers for Dawn rather than wasting time on friends that aren't going to be coming back again I think. Arguably perhaps, the fact that she is wanting to fit in with them to get some sense of the connection she needs despite the fact that they aren't particularly good company or interesting characters actually works.
    Of course it's not "about them", but they're still part of it. They're characters in the story. And as such, they should be deeper. Maybe the story works for you regardless, but don't you think that it'll work EVEN BETTER if they were deeper characters?

    Ah, hmmm, yes A New World is somewhat lacking. I'm not sure I agree still that it is because he was interacting with unknown characters (although the homeless girl I remember as being a duff inclusion) because I think my disappointment centred really on the lack of open emotional response to his return, that Angel was so cautious, but the sudden age shift and attack would have really thrown them. The lack of connection is an important part of his story at that stage, they couldn't have done it another way I don't think and had the steady reveal of how troubled and abused a child he became because of how Holtz raised him. His story would have been pulled down if he had started off as a more settled/happier persona.
    Well, they obviously couldn't just go from "Connor was trapped in a hell dimension with Hotz" to "Connor is happy and loves Angel". Which is why I think that Connor's story should have been fundamentally different, from a much earlier point. It would do his character good.

    Although I would agree a baby doesn't display character traits etc, the emotional connection to them, the wishes/hopes that the other characters have for who they might become, what their relationships with the child/adult may be like, builds up a meaningful impact that their existence has from the start. That Angel was so besotted with his son matters then in how he responds to him when he returns, how he struggles to connect to him and interact with him and the lack of input he has had to his formative years compared to Holtz. So whilst I agree that a baby isn't a character unless the story has deliberately shown developing character traits as they are ageing etc, Connor had meaning to the existing characters before he returned. I think that had very clearly been established before he was taken, how much he mattered to Angel especially. This then fed into how they reacted to him on his return.

    Sure it was the first impression of Connor as an individual, but his distance and his trouble relating to the others are important parts of his story that you can't have done differently for where they were taking him. We aren't supposed to understand him straight away I don't think, but be intrigued as to what might have happened to him in the time he has been gone to create the character thrown in front of us. It has to be somewhat jarring/confusing. It just works for me although I can understand why some people wouldn't like it. Now I'm all enthusiastic for getting to watch it all again.
    Okay, how about this - instead of having Connor kidnapped as a baby, he would be kidnapped as a 10-year-old. 10-year-olds ARE characters.

    I think there was enough empowerment being thrown around in S7.
    Empowerment is lik chocolate - you can never have enough of it.

    Hell yes it is still an early stage! She dug her way out of her own coffin, clawed her way through the earth fighting for breath. I think that hits an 'impossible to imagine' level of horrifically traumatic experience. I see the fact that she is working past this within the same season as pretty impressive to be honest. But I can understand why Giles would feel his heavy involvement isn't necessarily right, that Buffy will need to start taking control and so he shouldn't just shoulder the burden of anything she wants to avoid. But there are ways of going about it and a lot of this comes back to failed communication again.
    It's an early stage of dealing with trauma in general, sure, but I'm not sure if it's too early to start moving from a cuddling policy to a pushing policy.


    I was thinking about this as I had my breakfast this morning, as you do.
    Naturally.

    I think you are right that there is a definite tie in the use of Kaltenbach to the old against the new. I can see it works with the threat not coming from the sinister creepy motw he represents but the situation a character has walked themselves into, represented by Justin instead. But as I said, it is interesting because although it plays the surprise aspect that Kaltenbach wasn't the real current threat, it doesn't definitely conclude that Kaltenbach was harmless. The reveal he had indeed made some treats doesn't rule out any sinister intentions. It's a pretty dark representation of progression to work alongside the theme of growing up, to have a guy who was possibly preying on children taken out by a child turned killer, but it's there to consider (as well of course that it was just a false assumption about him).
    Well, anything's possible, but I'm pretty sure that we're supposed to infer that he's just a harmless old man. His toys ARE just toys, his cake IS just cake, etc...
    Come on, I'm not a dog. I'm talking through the dog. He was nearby. I am a power without name, from a realm far above your petty-- Hey! Balls!
    HAHNANUMMANUMMA-SLURP-MMNN... Ho! Wait! Wait! Whoah! I can't help it! I'm housed in this animal. It's complicated!

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