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Thread: Lies My Parents Told Me

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    Quote Originally Posted by betta View Post
    I mentioned some instances where I saw sacrifice - of one's own life, or a great length of sacrificing your deepest feelings for the greater good, without falling into desperation and allowing everything go to hell, literally...

    I don't see what Giles did as a sacrifice, even in Ben's case (although he really could be an immediate threat if Glory was still inside him). To kill (or plot to) to prevent a future damage you think may happen isn't a sacrifice in my opinion; Giles did the same in the comics, when he sent Faith to kill Slayer Genevieve, because she was planning to kill Buffy. Besides, "what has to be done", who decides that? In Spike's case, not Giles for sure.
    I didn't consider Ben's case a sacrifice, neither by the way your example of sending Angel to hell as Buffy thought she's killing Angelus , not Angel. In case of Spike's it was. Giles sacrificed his relations with Buffy, a woman that was like daughter to him, because he thought removing danger of Spike was more important for the mission.

    Why not Giles? He'd seen danger in Spike that could potentially be demise for the world and he's chosen to act on it. It was his decision and it would be he who would be paying for consequences. That situation could affect all the world, that included him of course, so he was surely in his right here.

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    I don't agree with a lot of what Alce says about Giles. I don't think it was within his rights to go behind Buffy's back and undermine her leadership and especially after he had pushed Buffy into the leadership role in Bring on the Night and was adamant that they were following her lead. Giles can't cherry pick when he wants Buffy to be the leader and when he wants to take control just because she may make a decision he disagrees with. It is very unfair how he constantly pushes and pulls her throughout S4-S7 because he can't decide what kind of role he wants to have in her life. However, I do agree with Alce that Buffy was being fairly unreasonable about Spike, to the point I found it borderline OOC at times, at that simply stating "Well it's a metaphor for Buffy overcoming the patriarchy so Buffy is automatically right and Giles is automatically wrong [/paraphrasing]" is a fairly unconvincing argument. I mean, sure, that's what the writers may have been intending but if the writing is weak then the metaphor becomes fuzzy at best.

    If I am being generous to S7 I would say that the writing is deliberately making it more complicated than that. Giles may have been wrong to undermine Buffy's leadership and to act so condescendingly and patronisingly but he also had legitimate concerns about Buffy's attitude to the trigger. Spike was a threat and Buffy was being highly irresponsible by ignoring that threat and becoming weirdly hostile anytime characters like Giles wanted to address this. As much as Giles messes up in Lies My Parents Told Me, what he does deserve credit for is actually showing some initiative by searching for the mystical stone to access Spike's memories in an attempt to de-trigger him. That's certainly more than Buffy bothers to do and it is understandable that Giles is concerned by her rather bizarre behaviour when it comes to Spike in S7. If I am not being generous to S7, which is usually the case, I'd say that the writers just did a terrible job of writing Buffy and that her lack of foresight or initiative was uncharacteristic and highly unusual and that the writing undermined it's own message by having Buffy behave so recklessly. What I imagine the theme of the story was is that Buffy was absolutely right when she said that "you can't beat evil by doing evil", and that she was right to put her faith in Spike, which is true. But the writer's severely undermined their own story of Buffy believing in Spike's capacity to change and "be a good man" by creating an entire plot where he's robbed of his agency and freewill and turned into a mindless killing machine. Triggered!Spike has nothing at all to do with Spike being a good man because Spike had no control over his actions. And Buffy's insistence that he can be a good man, and therefore that he isn't a threat, is severely undermined by the fact that Spike could be a saint and he'd still be turned into a mindless killing machine whenever The First wanted to trigger him. The story would have actually been far better if The First was simply taking advantage of a newly souled Spike to mess with him and turn him to the dark side (like it tried to do with Angel in Amends) and if they had abandoned the trigger plot completely. Then Buffy's belief in Spike to do the right thing would have actually been relevant.

    I'd also point out that just because the writer's have a very clear metaphor in mind it doesn't mean the audience necessarily has to agree with that metaphor or find it convincing. I think it's fairly obvious in S3 that when Faith says "What are you gonna do, B? Kill me? You become me" that when she goes after Faith in Graduation Day we're meant to think she's "becoming" Faith. Whereas, whilst I can acknowledge that is clearly the writer's intent, I think it's a juvenile and simplistic way of interpreting their characters and remain completely unconvinced that Buffy suddenly "becomes" exactly like Faith just because she decides to kill her. No, she doesn't. Their motivations and their principles are still completely different and whilst that may be the easy and clear cut way to interpret their arcs in S3 I will always disagree with it.

    I also disagree that Giles was jealous of Buffy turning to Spike instead of him. I completely disagree with that and I don't believe we saw any evidence to suggest such a thing. I think it's obvious that Wood manages to convince Giles to betray Buffy in large part because Giles believes Spike is legitimately bad for Buffy and "will be her undoing", as Wood says. In First Date Giles tells Buffy (in regards to Spike) that he "wants more for her." In Lies My Parents Told Me he tells Buffy "Angel left here because he knew how harmful your relationship with him was. Spike on the other hand lacks such self-awareness." It's obvious that a big part of Giles' motivations were the belief that Spike was bad for Buffy and possibly dangerous to Buffy and that Giles thought he was doing what was right for her. I won't go as far as trying to paint this as some noble "sacrifice" because I think it's rather condescending and paternalistic, and I do believe other motivations were also in the mix, but Alce isn't wrong that Giles was willing to risk his entire relationship with Buffy if it meant doing what he believed was best for her in the long run. He couldn't have been naive enough to believe that if Wood had succeeded that he and Buffy's relationship would be fine. I see no evidence that Giles was bitter of jealous that Buffy was turning to Spike more than Giles or even that Buffy was supplementing Giles' role in her life with Spike. She definitely leaned on Spike the most in S7 but I never felt she went to him for the things she usually would have approached Giles about.
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    To me it's no accident that the Shadow Men, the First Watchers, can be summoned by a device that goes in circles and that they also stand in a circle. This episode shows characters trapped in a cycle set in motion millennia before.
    I also remember Spike's rant to Clem in SR - "Slayer, Vampire, vampire kills Slayer...it's always been that way." It may have for a long time, but this is where both Spike and Buffy break the chain. Or to use one of Spike's favourite metaphors - Spike bows out of the dance.
    Giles is descended from the Shadow Men. His positions are entrenched and he lives on borrowed time with Buffy. He accepts Woods arguments without question. Wood deflects his questions. Giles wants to believe the worst about Spike because that has always been the way, and he doesn't want his surrogate daughter involved with another vampire.
    Wood has put a lot of energy into tracking down not only Spike, but also Buffy. It reflects Spikes hunt for Nikki. He is obsessed both with Slayers, just as Spike was, and also with his vendetta against the murderer of his mother.
    His trap for Spike is meticulous and cold. Spike is reticent about his changes - not only does he (erroneously I think) see Wood as a rival for Buffy's heart but he has picked up on Woods's passive aggressive attitude to him.
    So Wood causes Spike to vamp out. Wood could share his knowledge of the trigger with Giles. He could also share with Giles that the First has appeared to him, but he doesn't do either of these things. He knows he is being manipulated but it doesn't seem to cross his mind that the First might want this to happen. I don't blame him for his sorrow or even his vendetta. But he is acting on incorrect and incomplete data, just as Giles is. Like Giles he is unwilling even to consider the possibility that Spike might have changed.
    Buffy is flattered by Wood's attention but she misunderstands his interest in her. I don't
    understand how she doesn't seem to realise it can only be Spike who killed Nikki.
    I think she sees Spike clearly and sees his ability and crucially his willingness to change for the better. When she closes the door on Giles it is painful for them both, but necessary. They have to present a united front to the First, there can be no infighting.
    Spike's comments to Wood are I agree harsh, and don't really seem to fit with what he has said before. His comments about his mother and the demon he let loose represent his coming to terms with the trauma of turning her then losing her again, this time for good.
    When Anne asks him to stay with her, I had a flash forward to Touched, when Buffy asks him to stay with her. I think she looks remarkably like Joyce would look if she had aged. Both Spike and Wood want their mother back. Spike know she can't come back, Wood hasn't yet realised this.
    Wood will make a move on Faith shortly, or at least not repel her advances. He is not healed or cured of his fascination with Slayers.
    When Spike spares his life, I think he is actively choosing not to perpetuate the vendetta. Not only is he being pragmatic, but he is showing respect for Nikki. I think, anyway.
    To use another of Spike's favourite metaphors from another of his favourite games, he is showing Wood a yellow card.
    I don't think anyone comes out of this heroic or villainous. But some players make more unexpected decisions than others.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Flow, if you are guilty of idealising Spike, I have to constantly fight that instinct as well.
    My post above about LMPTM is a condensed version of something I have had on the back burner for a week or so. If we ever get around to a S7 rewatch I'll post the full item, for what it's worth!

    As to whether or not Spike should have taken back the coat, he thinks he has earned it. Whilst I can empathise with Wood's pain at seeing this, it is now part of Spike's identity. He needs it as a reminder of why he is where he is, who he is, and what he can do.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by bespangled View Post
    On to another issue - Giles.

    Does anyone else find it all kinds of odd that Giles is so determined to kill Spike and so willing to go to such extremes given that he was willing to forgive Angel once he was souled. If he’s that worried about the trigger, a crossbow from the top of a flight of stairs would have done the trick. Arranging a decent setting for Spike to remember the trigger would have helped. Allowing an audience and berating Spike for not knowing what the trigger is immediately - it seems like Giles wanted to prove a point rather then detrigger Spike.

    He said he wants more for Buffy, and Spike won’t leave on his own. I think that is far more of a problem than the trigger. He wants Buffy to break off with Spike, and when she won’t disavow him, Giles decides to have him killed. Then when Buffy objects, Giles decides to help kick her out and take Faith - who still wants and needs a watcher. Sorry - while I dearly love Giles, I think he was more than a little crazed by losing the council, and this is where the crazy ended up. He is pure Quentin Travers here.
    I have more problems with Giles' attitude than Woods'. I can understand Giles sincerely believes he is acting for the greater good. But he is still trying to assert his authority over the gang as a whole when his time as the patriarch is coming to an end. He is angry with Spike about the trigger, but Spike submits to the probe out of good faith. He wants to be detriggered. Frankly I got very angry with Giles over the whole business.
    Last edited by debbicles; 13-03-18 at 01:54 PM.
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    There are definitely multiple factors at play. Giles isn't simply representative of the council/shadowmen, he is also being paternalistic and, as vampmogs says, confused about what role he wants as he presses Buffy to lead then undermines her. I certainly wasn't trying to reduce Giles' narrative role as simply representative of patriarchy, but I think it is in the mix and shouldn't be discounted. Just like Buffy's reckless attitude towards the trigger shouldn't be denied. That isn't just because she believes in Spike and wants him to be given the opportunity to be a better man (although, hell yes, don't forget the trigger removes his free will Buffy so don't unchain him!), it is also because of her personal feelings for Spike affecting her judgement. Just as Giles' personal feelings Spike isn't good enough for Buffy and (rather than any particular jealousy from my pov other than I suppose how any father can feel 'replaced') his residual response to what happened with Angel/Jenny are going to be within his too. There is just so much at play for each and every character and it is why it is one of the most interesting parts of the season and why the complex histories for these characters are so interesting.

    I really like your point about the shadowmen device moving in circles debbicles. I hope you do join in with the rewatch discussions as and when you like, so definitely post more on LMPTM or even consider grabbing one of the S7 reviews when we do the sign ups for them towards the end of S6.

    I think it is important to remember re: Spike taking the coat back that he didn't originally want to wear it at all when souled, not until it became the way that he could make himself the most useful he could be to the mission. The character weakness of needing these created images and 'props' to connect him to aspects of his identity is greatly a separate point. But I can see how, especially when first souled, it must be very difficult to reconcile actions that you felt that you are responsible for and committed alongside knowing that the 'you' you now are would never have done those things and so you also want to distance yourself meaningfully from it too. I often think the difficulty of reconciling both of those feelings of connection and separation from their pasts for Angel and Spike is vastly underestimated. It is, as is much of all of this for everyone involved, a very messy, muddled and emotionally complex situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alce View Post
    I didn't consider Ben's case a sacrifice, neither by the way your example of sending Angel to hell as Buffy thought she's killing Angelus , not Angel. In case of Spike's it was. Giles sacrificed his relations with Buffy, a woman that was like daughter to him, because he thought removing danger of Spike was more important for the mission.
    I didn't see him much worried about loosing his relationship with Buffy, so even from that perspective, I think it wasn't a sacrifice...

    Why not Giles? He'd seen danger in Spike that could potentially be demise for the world and he's chosen to act on it. It was his decision and it would be he who would be paying for consequences. That situation could affect all the world, that included him of course, so he was surely in his right here.
    And the killing Spike could have affected all the world; I'm not even talking about his role in the end, but how his death – by betrayal nothing less – would have affected Buffy as a person, as a leader, and also the whole group.

    Spike, a strong fighter, would be dead. Wood would be gone: no way he would be able to continue fighting side by side with Buffy like nothing had happened (how would she trust him again?), as well as Giles. Buffy's state of mind would be shattered, by loosing Spike, by being betrayed, by being made a totally fool with that training in the cemetery. To be able for her to kill Angelus, it took some time (and Jenny died); with the First, they were at the middle of a war, not much time to recover from a blow like this. And Giles didn't even get the severity of what he had done, going by his half-assed attempt at an appology (when he thought his plan had succeeded):

    Buffy... I—I understand your anger. Please believe me, we did what we—

    And above it all: I cannot agree with such a cold-blooded decision. Or Giles was a Watcher, or he was part of a group fighting Evil; and as Buffy said, "we can't fight evil doing evil".
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    Betta, I forgot Angel used the ploy of drawing her away in a different fight, one to divert her from what was really going on. Good call!
    Last edited by debbicles; 13-03-18 at 06:44 PM.
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    I watched the Still Pretty youtube episode for Lies My Parents Told Me yesterday and Lani Diane Rich said something interesting. She was talking about Spike`s relationship with his mother and those were her exact words :"That bitch never loved you!". It was a line of thought, that was quite new and refreshing to me

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    Quote Originally Posted by flow View Post
    I watched the Still Pretty youtube episode for Lies My Parents Told Me yesterday and Lani Diane Rich said something interesting. She was talking about Spike`s relationship with his mother and those were her exact words :"That bitch never loved you!". It was a line of thought, that was quite new and refreshing to me

    flow
    I heard that too, and it's a view I'd not heard before. Maybe that's why Anne was so loving, she was over-compensating because deep down she really didn't love William.

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    Yah, there's the thing - I don't really care much for metaphors of any kind. Especially metaphors that have no support from the plot. I always take plot for what it is. If you want to show some idea in your work at least do it properly. If you show that Spike have trigger that makes him a killer (which BTW Buffy didn't believed up until he ambushed her, a point for "trusting her instinct") and then show that Buffy allows him be free around her friends and potential slayers it's really hard sell to represent Giles decision as patriarchy oppression on the woman. Because it surely looks exactly like you've described it - a woman whose judgement is clouded by emotions. Of course for me it was just Buffy and Giles, beloved characters and not some abstract ideas.
    Okay - there are 3 episodes in which Spike could have been a threat to potentials. In First Date, Spike is wandering around the house unchained - and Buffy is out on a date. Giles is in charge but he has no qualms about free range Spike. He even lets Spike go off on his own to tell Buffy about Xander. The next two episodes don't have Giles, but no one expresses any concern about Spike. If you believe that Buffy is a woman whose judgement is clouded, then what is clouding Giles judgement?


    Spike was immediate danger that was the difference. Giles wouldn't do what he did otherwise. He just couldn't risk it in that particular situation.
    Why? What has changed since First Date when Giles had no problem with Spike wandering around? More important, why kill Spike? Would Giles kill Dawn in the same situation, or Willow? Would he distract Buffy while either of them is beaten to death?


    What I imagine the theme of the story was is that Buffy was absolutely right when she said that "you can't beat evil by doing evil", and that she was right to put her faith in Spike, which is true. But the writer's severely undermined their own story of Buffy believing in Spike's capacity to change and "be a good man" by creating an entire plot where he's robbed of his agency and freewill and turned into a mindless killing machine. Triggered!Spike has nothing at all to do with Spike being a good man because Spike had no control over his actions. And Buffy's insistence that he can be a good man, and therefore that he isn't a threat, is severely undermined by the fact that Spike could be a saint and he'd still be turned into a mindless killing machine whenever The First wanted to trigger him. The story would have actually been far better if The First was simply taking advantage of a newly souled Spike to mess with him and turn him to the dark side (like it tried to do with Angel in Amends) and if they had abandoned the trigger plot completely. Then Buffy's belief in Spike to do the right thing would have actually been relevant.
    I think it's more relevant in the sense that killing Spike is like pouring the baby out with the bath water. If Spike is a good man then killing him is a bad thing. There are a lot of other ways to protect themselves. All of the scoobies present some sort of danger - even Giles. Any of them might be triggered - they didn't know that Spike was at first. Willow could be killing strangers and not know it - would you advocate that she be killed? The First wins when it is able to turn the people on Buffy's team against each other. It won a helluva victory that day because of what Giles and Woods did to Buffy and the rest of her army. It didn't slip up when it told Andrew it wasn't time yet for Spike - it planted a seed, because that is the only weapon the First has.


    I also disagree that Giles was jealous of Buffy turning to Spike instead of him. I completely disagree with that and I don't believe we saw any evidence to suggest such a thing. I think it's obvious that Wood manages to convince Giles to betray Buffy in large part because Giles believes Spike is legitimately bad for Buffy and "will be her undoing", as Wood says. In First Date Giles tells Buffy (in regards to Spike) that he "wants more for her." In Lies My Parents Told Me he tells Buffy "Angel left here because he knew how harmful your relationship with him was. Spike on the other hand lacks such self-awareness." It's obvious that a big part of Giles' motivations were the belief that Spike was bad for Buffy and possibly dangerous to Buffy and that Giles thought he was doing what was right for her. I won't go as far as trying to paint this as some noble "sacrifice" because I think it's rather condescending and paternalistic, and I do believe other motivations were also in the mix, but Alce isn't wrong that Giles was willing to risk his entire relationship with Buffy if it meant doing what he believed was best for her in the long run. He couldn't have been naive enough to believe that if Wood had succeeded that he and Buffy's relationship would be fine. I see no evidence that Giles was bitter of jealous that Buffy was turning to Spike more than Giles or even that Buffy was supplementing Giles' role in her life with Spike. She definitely leaned on Spike the most in S7 but I never felt she went to him for the things she usually would have approached Giles about.
    BUFFY
    He can be a good man, Giles. I feel it. But he's never gonna get there if we don't give him the chance. (walks to her closet to put the clothes away)

    GILES
    (walks up to Buffy) Buffy, I want more for you. Your feelings for him are coloring your judgement. I can hear it in your voice. (Buffy sighs) And that way lies a future filled with pain. I don't want that for you.

    BUFFY
    We haven't— (looks uncomfortable) Things have been different since he came back.

    GILES It doesn't matter if you're not physical with each other anymore. There's a connection. You rely on him, he relies on you. That's what's affecting your judgment.

    Giles problem is that Buffy isn't listening to him - that she isn't going to him for the things she once would have. This is because he left her alone in season 6 to sink or swim. She learned to swim, and now he's back and he wants her to go back to seeing him as the authority figure. While Wood is killing Spike, Giles is telling Buffy that the only way she can be a good general is by doing exactly what he tells her to do. This isn't about Spike - this is about Giles wanting to reassert his role in Buffy's life. Spike is simply the battlefield.

    If nothing else Giles knows that retrieving repressed memories isn't done in with a large and hostile audience. He should have cleared the room - then he and Willow should have left and locked the door letting Spike deal with his memories alone with Buffy. Instead he accuses Spike of refusing to cooperate within minutes of using the stone. Either all those hits in the head have severely limited Giles basic knowledge of psychology, or he made a piss poor hash of it so he could prove that the only thing to do was to kill Spike.
    Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bespangled View Post
    Okay - there are 3 episodes in which Spike could have been a threat to potentials. In First Date, Spike is wandering around the house unchained - and Buffy is out on a date. Giles is in charge but he has no qualms about free range Spike. He even lets Spike go off on his own to tell Buffy about Xander. The next two episodes don't have Giles, but no one expresses any concern about Spike. If you believe that Buffy is a woman whose judgement is clouded, then what is clouding Giles judgement?

    Why? What has changed since First Date when Giles had no problem with Spike wandering around? More important, why kill Spike? Would Giles kill Dawn in the same situation, or Willow? Would he distract Buffy while either of them is beaten to death?
    Did I miss something? When did Giles become a superman that could do anything about Spike? If it was so easy to restrain Spike it wouldn't be a problem at all. Besides Giles tried to help Buffy to disarm trigger. Both Spike and Buffy didn't want to cooperate. It was especially jarring in case of Buffy - she saw how easy was it to trigger Spike and her solution was to unchain him? That was ridiculous.

    Willow is different from Spike that she would never agree to be near her friends if she thought that she could be danger for them.


    I think it's more relevant in the sense that killing Spike is like pouring the baby out with the bath water. If Spike is a good man then killing him is a bad thing. There are a lot of other ways to protect themselves. All of the scoobies present some sort of danger - even Giles. Any of them might be triggered - they didn't know that Spike was at first. Willow could be killing strangers and not know it - would you advocate that she be killed? The First wins when it is able to turn the people on Buffy's team against each other. It won a helluva victory that day because of what Giles and Woods did to Buffy and the rest of her army. It didn't slip up when it told Andrew it wasn't time yet for Spike - it planted a seed, because that is the only weapon the First has.
    Of course there were such ways. Only Buffy didn't want to hear about them. Giles by himself didn't have much options at all, so he took opportunity that Robin gave him to deal with this problem.



    Giles problem is that Buffy isn't listening to him - that she isn't going to him for the things she once would have. This is because he left her alone in season 6 to sink or swim. She learned to swim, and now he's back and he wants her to go back to seeing him as the authority figure. While Wood is killing Spike, Giles is telling Buffy that the only way she can be a good general is by doing exactly what he tells her to do. This isn't about Spike - this is about Giles wanting to reassert his role in Buffy's life. Spike is simply the battlefield.
    Giles problem is that Buffy is acting very stupid and endangering the mission. Giles tells her that she should be ready to make difficult decisions. And he did show her one of that kind. I saw that only thing that he was concern about was the mission - it was clear through all what he's done and all what he's said. There are absolutely nothing that would show that it was about him and Buffy. It's so baseless that I can name only one reason why this even appears in discussion. It's so evident that Buffy acts borderline idiotic that people subconsciously want to defend her by turning point of discussion from her bizarre behavior to something else. No, let's forget about vampire that could be turned into killing machine in a second, that's definitely not what concerns Giles. He couldn't be thinking about such mundane thing, could he? No, he definitely wants to play daddy with his little girl (I know how that sounds, but frankly it would be much less strange idea that way).
    Last edited by Alce; 17-03-18 at 01:07 AM.

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    bespangled - Really nice post - thanks!

    Okay - there are 3 episodes in which Spike could have been a threat to potentials. In First Date, Spike is wandering around the house unchained - and Buffy is out on a date. Giles is in charge but he has no qualms about free range Spike. He even lets Spike go off on his own to tell Buffy about Xander. The next two episodes don't have Giles, but no one expresses any concern about Spike. If you believe that Buffy is a woman whose judgement is clouded, then what is clouding Giles judgement?
    I'd say Giles judgement is warped by his conscious or unconscious desire to control Buffy. In fact, in the opening scene with Willow (Lessons) there's a reason we see Giles patrolling borders/fences. Giles polices boundaries just as he'll police Buffy's sexuality and her relationship with Spike. It’s how patriarchy maintains its power: building fences, moving them to re-contain, re-enclose as appropriate and all the time asserting the boundaries are necessary, that they're in our "best interests". I’d want to ask the identity of “our”. IMO, it's gendered.

    In Lessons as in First Date, there’s an edge to him where it feels his paternalism tips over into something more oppressive - the severe father ("Do you want to be punished" is spoken softly but sounds ominous - it's double edged, euphemistic, like some of Spike's less savoury comments). Willow looks frail and sounds childlike. I find Giles gentleness deceiving – patronising - insidious – controlling. He makes my flesh crawl. He's abject and I feel his abjection. Then we hear the words as fundamental to the season as "Power", "Real" and "Beginnings" - "It's all connected. The root systems, the molecules...the energy. Everything's connected".

    Willow makes a flower manifest. “That doesn’t belong there”” Giles says. Throughout the history of art, literature, and mythology, flowers have metaphorically stood in for the physical female body, sexuality, chastity, and femininity (hence, I think, the symbolism of the flower/vagina dentate on A11. If debbicles is right then Cassie/The First's disappearance is staged as flower/vagina dentate - the castrating woman). Giles implies the presence of the flower contravenes the laws of nature. However, we don’t live in a state of nature – we live in culture. Rhododendrons are not native to the UK and yet they flourish in the wild. It’s all to do with keeping things in their “rightful place”. Who has the power to decide what’s right?

    “Willow: I wanna be Willow. Giles: You are. In the end, we all are who we are, no matter how much we may appear to have changed”. Is this profound wisdom or is it a reassuring platitude? Alternatively, is it an undermining threat spoken like a platitude? It’s unclear. In the following scene, we see Dawn given a “weapon” in the shape of a mobile phone. In this scene, I think we’re seeing language used as a weapon (as it was throughout S6. It's a metaphor given form in Touched). Giles controls Willow’s excess (the magic associated with the female) through language, through infantilisation and through provoking shame (an important emotion in 6). I think we're beginning to see the emergence of the politico-aesthetic of S7 - the uncanny.

    “The uncanny as something which ought to have remained hidden but has come to light". What does, I think, come to light is patriarchy. It’s made explicit in Dawn’ reference to the book To Serve Men is a cook book. That which appears to work in Buffy’s best interests is actually patriarchal hegemony and she's been perpetuating it (the evil used to beat evil). It's pervasive but rather than being located in the unseen (and unseeing) other, it’s located both in those familiar to us and in the self. Giles in his second appearance is far less insidious. I’m wondering whether it’s because he doesn’t feel threatened? Willow in the later scene is distraught – he can “naturally” play the caring father – as Spike will say in Empty Places – he can be the “big man”? In the first segment, he intrudes on Willow – in a sense there’s no place for him so he performs “the big man”.

    "Giles: It doesn't matter if you're not physical with each other anymore. There's a connection. You rely on him, he relies on you. That's what's affecting your judgment". Connection again. To my mind, Giles fears chains (of command, of meaning, of cause and effect) being broken and different connections being made (unless he's controlling the severance). Seems to me that a re-chaining of events by effect/cause rather than cause/effect, would result in a different story. I don’t think it’s coincidence that Buffy snaps the chains tethering her in the cave but leaves the hasps intact. She'll reconnect with her origins but on her own terms. Having rejected the darkness of the Shadow Men, she takes it willingly in Touched as she reconnects with Spike in the dark. Note the exchange before his speech: “People are always trying to connect to me, and I just slip away…You should know. SPIKE I seem to recall a certain amount of connecting”. She does, of course, slip away but not before his shadow has been imprinted on her.

    Giles problem is that Buffy isn't listening to him - that she isn't going to him for the things she once would have. This is because he left her alone in season 6 to sink or swim. She learned to swim, and now he's back and he wants her to go back to seeing him as the authority figure. While Wood is killing Spike, Giles is telling Buffy that the only way she can be a good general is by doing exactly what he tells her to do. This isn't about Spike - this is about Giles wanting to reassert his role in Buffy's life. Spike is simply the battlefield
    Precisely – rather like the fields in the opening scene, he must be fenced in – his boundaries made visible. Wasn’t this the problem in S6 – the transgression of boundaries?

    I'd want to go back to the prologue of Lessons. The teaser begins with a rooftop shot of Istanbul. It’s night-time. Obeying the rule of thirds, we see the grey rooftop, a mass of grey buildings, indistinguishable except for the minaret of a mosque, and the grey night-sky (it may not be night – it could be just before dawn or just after dusk. There are fewer lights than one would expect of a city). The camera pans down and we see stereotypical Turkish houses. We see a man oblivious to what will unfold. We hear Turkish music – strange and mournful to Western ears. A girl in her mid-teens appears. There’s a chase through a series of open arches and doorways, past closed windows (recurring motifs throughout 7), until she finds refuge on a roof. Appearing over the parapet is a Bringer. She falls to the ground and is killed by hooded men. There’s something about the Bringers daggers that suggests ritual – spectacle – even when there’s no-one to see it. A willingness not to see; a view that is blocked and the blindness of the Bringers all point towards what may be at the heart of the text: the ocular.

    The brief portrayal of the city is an example of “orientalism”, a patronising western attitude that constructs the east as an unknowable and exotic other – as significantly different from “us”. They could have used a skyline of modern Istanbul – they don’t because it doesn't convey difference. Orientalism has the effect of locating patriarchy and misogyny in an unfamiliar them not in “us”. I think the text sets this up to rip it down. "The other and othering” is a central theme of the season and a carryover from S6. Aside from evoking otherness, why Istanbul? Cities have a metaphoric function and the metaphor commonly associated with Istanbul is division and the bridge. The Bosporus divides the city with Asia on one side and Europe on the other. The city is a bridge between East and West, between two different cultural worlds. Spike – I think – is the other – as you said, the terrain where the struggle is taking place – both the catalyst for division and the bridge between worlds. What Buffy comes to realize is phallogocentricism rests on the demonization of women (literally in The Slayer's case) and, without drawing a direct line between demons and women, both are structural other to phallic masculinity. That's why Spike has "her back" - he's the other-side of the coin.

    If nothing else Giles knows that retrieving repressed memories isn't done in with a large and hostile audience. He should have cleared the room - then he and Willow should have left and locked the door letting Spike deal with his memories alone with Buffy. Instead he accuses Spike of refusing to cooperate within minutes of using the stone. Either all those hits in the head have severely limited Giles basic knowledge of psychology, or he made a piss poor hash of it so he could prove that the only thing to do was to kill Spike.
    There’s a reason psychoanalysis is called “the talking cure” (and for me, it’s Freud that informs BtVS – whether directly or via mythopoetics and Joseph Campbell. In S7, I think it’s Freud as re-conceived by French Feminism. I think we see In Afterlife, the potential’s there for a therapeutic journey but, tragically, Buffy puts an embargo on speech.

    Aargh...apologies for the ramble!

    Alce
    He definitely wants to play daddy with his little girl
    No argument from me there.

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    Moi??? I'm always right, me!!!
    I'll respond more coherently after I get over how pleased I am to actually have come up with a valid observation!
    Great stuff. Carry on rambling.
    You know what I am. You've always known. You come to me all the same.

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    All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.




    * Buffy in "What's My Line Part II" (B 3.10) tells Kendra that Buffy would have killed her if Kendra had successfully dusted Angel.

    Kendra didn't even know Angel was a 'good guy'.


    I reason there's little likelihood that Buffy wouldn't have killed Robin Wood if Robin had dusted Spike. As-is, Buffy doesn't begin to truly forgive Giles until BtVS S8. Giles's only real 'saving grace' in BtVS S7 is his connection with the Potentials Slayer. I consider Buffy wouldn't be okay with any Scooby who was okay with Giles's part in the conspiracy to dust Spike.

    At the least, Buffy would disown Giles forever. The Watchers Council would be put under Dawn or Andrew or Wesley. Buffy knows Giles helped Angel and Willow; consequently, Buffy would know Giles's wanting Spike dead was personal for Giles and not actually for the 'good of the world'.

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    Oh, I think she may well have killed Robin had the plot succeeded. Giles, no, that's a joke. Way too much history there. I do think she wasn't bluffing when she told Robin she'd let Spike kill him. Of course, I'm usually more willing to take somber death threats between the gang seriously in their moment (like Xander to Buffy in 2.01). I also am the one that took Buffy's significant look at Andrew when he asked, the episode prior, what Buffy would have done had the tears not worked to deactivate the seal as tacit acknowledgment she might have gone through with killing him.

    I don't know about disowning Giles forever, either. At the end of the day, Buffy is a realist. In the cold light of day one would like to realize she was being completely unreasonable with her total denial mode about Spike and the trigger and that Giles - whom she knew was a committed pragmatist - may have felt he was out of options.

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    Oh, FFS, guys. She *said* she'd kill the military guy in S4. She *said* she'd beat Faith to death and saved her life 2 seconds later. She *said* she'd kill the council hitman. She *said* she'd kill Spike a million and one times. There are few things in the show that can be taken less seriously than a Buffy death threat, particularly against a human. While this is an example of never being able to prove a hypothetical negative, you'd have to disregard everything about Buffy to think she'd let Spike kill Wood, much less kill him herself. Hell, the only reason she ever even went after Faith was to save Angel and it was the only way to do it. Not vengeance or payback.

    The idea that she was going to butcher Andrew is probably one of the more insane things I've seen. Pushing aside Buffy's character, Willow went along with this? That if their plan didn't work Buffy was just going to cycle through Andrew's bodily fluids until something happened? The whole thing is was a smoke screen to get the desired result, much like her big rant in Get It Done, which she later apologized for, and no different than her telling Wood what she did. She could have tried "Please stop trying to kill my teammates" but it lacks weight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post

    I don't know about disowning Giles forever, either. At the end of the day, Buffy is a realist. In the cold light of day one would like to realize she was being completely unreasonable with her total denial mode about Spike and the trigger and that Giles - whom she knew was a committed pragmatist - may have felt he was out of options.
    But she did disown Giles, which made him angry enough to orchestrate her expulsion from the group. He told her what he wanted her to do, and she blew him off. He went behind her back to arrange to get the job done. He failed, and she no longer trusted him. He sent Spike away and sent Faith out partying with the others to try to talk to her and she wasn't receptive. So he threw her under the bus.

    As for why - the council had been blown up and I'm sure he lost friends. There had been attacks all over the world. This gave him a strong sense of urgency. He didn't like Spike, and he resented being replaced as Buffy's only advisor. He didn't want this sort of relationship for Buffy - didn't like the influence Spike had and the way Buffy relied on him.

    He arranged the murder, and then took Buffy out to convince her that he was the person she had to listen to. This wasn't just about killing Spike - a crossbow from the top of the stairs would do that. This was about reclaiming his position as Buffy's only counsel, and using their personal history to reinforce his primacy. When this alienated her even further he put his support behind Faith, knowing that she would rely on him.
    Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bespangled View Post
    But she did disown Giles, which made him angry enough to orchestrate her expulsion from the group. He told her what he wanted her to do, and she blew him off. He went behind her back to arrange to get the job done. He failed, and she no longer trusted him. He sent Spike away and sent Faith out partying with the others to try to talk to her and she wasn't receptive. So he threw her under the bus.

    As for why - the council had been blown up and I'm sure he lost friends. There had been attacks all over the world. This gave him a strong sense of urgency. He didn't like Spike, and he resented being replaced as Buffy's only advisor. He didn't want this sort of relationship for Buffy - didn't like the influence Spike had and the way Buffy relied on him.

    He arranged the murder, and then took Buffy out to convince her that he was the person she had to listen to. This wasn't just about killing Spike - a crossbow from the top of the stairs would do that. This was about reclaiming his position as Buffy's only counsel, and using their personal history to reinforce his primacy. When this alienated her even further he put his support behind Faith, knowing that she would rely on him.
    I'd call "disown" a pretty dramatic interpretation of someone she still let sleep in her home, train with her charges, etc. They had an argument.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bespangled View Post
    He sent Spike away and sent Faith out partying with the others to try to talk to her and she wasn't receptive.
    Giles didn't send Faith out partying. Faith came up with the idea of going to The Bronze on her own whilst speaking with Dawn;

    FAITH
    (stands) Maybe. (looks at the other girls) In the meantime, the troops here gotta sit and stew, feeling crappier by the minute.

    DAWN
    We should keep them occupied.

    FAITH
    Yeah. I know how to keep them occupied.

    Giles played no part in that decision and even if he had, he'd have had to also know that Willow, Xander and Anya wouldn't be around as well so that he could try and speak to Buffy alone which would be extremely fortuitous and coincidental.

    This was about reclaiming his position as Buffy's only counsel, and using their personal history to reinforce his primacy.
    Giles has never been Buffy's "only counsel", though. Not ever. Buffy has always turned to romantic partners, friends, her mother, sometimes even teachers, for counsel too.

    Quote Originally Posted by bespangled View Post
    He didn't like Spike, and he resented being replaced as Buffy's only advisor.
    When do you feel Spike acted as Buffy's "advisor" in Season 7? I've tried to do a mental check of every episode to come up with examples and I'm honestly drawing a complete blank? Are you able to cite some examples where Spike filled a role that would have previously been filled only by Giles?

    Buffy has always had emotional support besides Giles. She relied on Angel, Riley and her friends for emotional support throughout the series and Giles never felt it infringed on the relationship he had with Buffy. I agree with you that Giles clearly did not like Buffy's relationship with Spike, as he says so repeatedly, and that Giles did find it difficult that Buffy was making tactical decisions that he disagreed with. But I think it's a mistake to conflate the two. Spike didn't take over the role in Buffy's life that Giles traditionally had held. Spike never offers Buffy counsel or acts in an advisory capacity that Giles would normally have offered himself. IMO Spike filled the position previously held by Angel and then Riley, not Giles.

    I generally agree with you about your assessment of Giles' actions and his difficulty with relinquishing his control and power to Buffy. I just disagree with you on the specifics.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 10-11-19 at 05:54 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofCretins View Post
    I'd call "disown" a pretty dramatic interpretation of someone she still let sleep in her home, train with her charges, etc. They had an argument.

    BUFFY Giles, we don't have time. And you're not going into battle. (Giles sighs) I need you to stay behind with the others. Help the girls who still need a teacher.


    I think that is disowning.

    Giles didn't send Faith out partying. Faith came up with the idea of going to The Bronze on her own whilst speaking with Dawn;

    FAITH
    (stands) Maybe. (looks at the other girls) In the meantime, the troops here gotta sit and stew, feeling crappier by the minute.

    DAWN
    We should keep them occupied.

    FAITH
    Yeah. I know how to keep them occupied.

    Giles played no part in that decision and even if he had, he'd have had to also know that Willow, Xander and Anya wouldn't be around as well so that he could try and speak to Buffy alone which would be extremely fortuitous and coincidental.
    Technically true. He was in the room and he didn't complain like he had complained earlier

    GILES Children, enough!

    XANDER I'd need some stylish new clothes.

    GILES Enough! Have you learned nothing from tonight's assorted chaos? There isn't time for fun and games and quips about orientation. (holds up flashcards) These—these aren't a joke. (flips through the cards) This—this happens. Girls are going to die. We may die. It's time to get serious. (walks out of the room)

    That's quite an attitude change. Very passive from a man who has been anything but, and all he knows about Faith is that she's an escaped murderer so he's pretty trusting. I'd say he sent everyone on their way so he could have a one on one with Buffy. It didn't go the way he hoped it would.


    Giles has never been Buffy's "only counsel", though. Not ever. Buffy has always turned to romantic partners, friends, her mother, sometimes even teachers, for counsel too.
    Giles has always been her premier counselor - her constant. Then he abandoned her to make her grow up. Now he is discovering that she did grow up and she doesn't need him the same way.


    When do you feel Spike acted as Buffy's "advisor" in Season 7? I've tried to do a mental check of every episode to come up with examples and I'm honestly drawing a complete blank? Are you able to cite some examples where Spike filled a role that would have previously been filled only by Giles?
    I said Giles believes it. Buffy relies on Spike, and refuses to agree with Giles about him.

    GILES (walks up to Buffy) Buffy, I want more for you. Your feelings for him are coloring your judgement. I can hear it in your voice. (Buffy sighs) And that way lies a future filled with pain. I don't want that for you.

    BUFFY We haven't— (looks uncomfortable) Things have been different since he came back.

    GILES It doesn't matter if you're not physical with each other anymore. There's a connection. You rely on him, he relies on you. That's what's affecting your judgment.

    Buffy has always had emotional support besides Giles. She relied on Angel, Riley and her friends for emotional support throughout the series and Giles never felt it infringed on the relationship he had with Buffy. I agree with you that Giles clearly did not like Buffy's relationship with Spike, as he says so repeatedly, and that Giles did find it difficult that Buffy was making tactical decisions that he disagreed with. But I think it's a mistake to conflate the two. Spike didn't take over the role in Buffy's life that Giles traditionally had held. Spike never offers Buffy counsel or acts in an advisory capacity that Giles would normally have offered himself. IMO Spike filled the position previously held by Angel and then Riley, not Giles.
    People that Giles approves of though!

    I agree that Spike didn't take over. Buffy had simply grown up. But i really believe that Spike was the battleground over who would be in control - Giles or Buffy. He clearly believed he could talk her out of this aberration and she would be okay with him conspiring and dusting Spike. He believed he could force her hand and win - that he was too valuable a counselor. As much as he wanted Buffy to make decisions like a general, he was also going behind her back to take the decision out of her hands just in case. He knew she loved him best and would forgive him.

    Why else would he try to explain to her that he was right to try to kill Spike? I think Spike was mostly an emotional support for Buffy but Giles saw him as a usurper.

    It's a pretty classic trope used in lots of literature - the mentor being supplanted who strikes back. The father figure hating the boyfriend. The watcher wanting to control his slayer. The guy who was at ground zero watching everything go pear shaped.

    I generally agree with you about your assessment of Giles' actions and his difficulty with relinquishing his control and power to Buffy. I just disagree with you the specifics.
    I just can't see it as coincidental and unrelated. Is cool - fandom would be so dull if we all agreed.
    Last edited by bespangled; 10-11-19 at 06:23 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bespangled View Post
    That's quite an attitude change. Very passive from a man who has been anything but, and all he knows about Faith is that she's an escaped murderer so he's pretty trusting. I'd say he sent everyone on their way so he could have a one on one with Buffy. It didn't go the way he hoped it would.
    But if Faith made the decision and came up with the idea herself then we can't really accuse Giles of "sending everyone away?" At best, you could accuse Giles of taking advantage of the opportunity to speak with Buffy one-and-one, but Faith still made that decision of her own accord.

    It also then works under the assumption that Giles sent Willow, Xander and Anya away too as their whereabouts during all of this is unknown. But we simply have no proof of that either.

    Giles has always been her premier counselor - her constant. Then he abandoned her to make her grow up. Now he is discovering that she did grow up and she doesn't need him the same way.
    I don't entirely disagree. I just disagree with you about why Giles is anti-Spike/Spuffy.

    I said Giles believes it. Buffy relies on Spike, and refuses to agree with Giles about him.
    Giles accuses Buffy of being emotionally reliant on Spike. He doesn't ever accuse her of seeking counsel from Spike, though. A lot of Giles' issues with Buffy in Season 7 stem from disagreements they have about her decision-making and choices as a leader. Giles disagrees with Buffy's battle strategies, his early perception of her as being too flippant ("First Date"), and his lack of action in regards to the trigger etc. In "Bring on the Night" he explicitly tries to hand over power and responsibility to Buffy in regards to this but ultimately finds it difficult losing that control as Buffy's decisions splinter strongly from the decisions he'd make if he were in charge.

    But, IMO, his issues with Spike specifically stem far more from their old Buffy/Angel issues then they do this notion that Giles feels Spike is usurping his role in Buffy's life. Giles himself makes it explicit in "LMPTM" when he brings up Angel. There's then a cut line from "Empty Places" that drove it him even further with Giles bringing up Jenny. Giles believes that Buffy is repeating history with Spike and that, like when Angel lost his soul in Season 2 and Jenny was killed, that Buffy's inability to put her feelings aside (about Spike and the trigger) will cost them dearly. That's where Giles' issues with Buffy/Spike come from. I don't see any evidence or logical reason for Giles to feel threatened that Spike is replacing him.

    People that Giles approves of though!
    Giles didn't approve of Angel, though. And I'd actually argue that Angel was far closer to usurping Giles' traditional role than Spike was seeing as there are examples of Buffy going to Angel for not only emotional support but for actual counsel. He even trained/sparred with Buffy often throughout Season 3 which is specifically a Watcher/Slayer thing. And despite all of that, and despite Giles not approving of Buffy/Angel romantically and disliking Angel, Giles never felt threatened that Angel was making his position redundant.

    I agree that Spike didn't take over. Buffy had simply grown up. But i really believe that Spike was the battleground over who would be in control - Giles or Buffy. He clearly believed he could talk her out of this aberration and she would be okay with him conspiring and dusting Spike. Why else would he try to explain to her that he was right to try to kill Spike? I think Spike was mostly an emotional support for Buffy but Giles saw him as a usurper.
    IMO Giles just saw Spike as another Angel. Another vampire that posed a risk to Buffy on not only an emotional level but life or death as well. He thought they'd got passed that after Angel left town and now he believes he's seeing history repeat itself again. He experienced firsthand what Buffy's feelings for Angel cost those around them when he lost Jenny and now he believes Buffy's feelings for Spike are going to cost them all again with the trigger. Basically, I don't think Giles ever really dealt with losing Jenny and the part of him that holds Buffy responsible. He was able to bury it and he was glad when Angel left town but Buffy/Spike brings it back up to the surface.

    I do think it's all tied in to Giles' struggling to relinquish control and finding it difficult that Buffy's decisions as a leader are in contrast to the decisions he'd make himself. There's a power struggle there, absolutely. Personally I think he's written more like Pod!Giles in how it's actually scripted but I get the general idea of what they were going for. But I definitely think that Giles explicitly comparing Angel and Spike in "LMPTM" was a telling insight into what's really causing Giles to behave like he is specifically in regards to Buffy/Spike.

    But I'm happy to agree to disagree. I was under the impression that you were of the opinion that Buffy sought counsel from Spike and that's what I was trying to understand because I was trying to run through every episode looking for specific examples and I was coming up blank. Based on our conversation it sounds like you more are arguing that just Giles believes that rather than whether it's actually factually correct. We still disagree on that but as you say, it'd be boring if we didn't.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 10-11-19 at 07:30 AM.
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