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Thread: Circles, Spirals, Symbols: Spuffy, Vertigo and Temporality

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    Default Circles, Spirals, Symbols: Spuffy, Vertigo and Temporality

    I’m opening this thread because I’ve been thinking of patterns recently and didn’t know where else to place my thoughts, so please excuse the length of this post! I’m trying to follow the textual logic of BtVS. (This doesn’t particularly have anything to do with S12 - though who knows it might - but for the time being I’m prepared to take the comics at face value.) What prompts me to think through these symbols is a comment made by Buffy in S12 and it’s in my nature to be analytical..So these are just my speculative thoughts and opinions. Everything I say is prefaced with a tentative ‘IMO’.

    I recently watched Hell’s Bells and Entropy, both favorites from S6 (I thought about posting in the S6 Rewatch thread, but this might disrupt the flow of discussion.) TriBel shared some eye opening insights into the parallelism between Buffy and Yeats’ Second Coming. Amongst other things, she pointed out that a gyre consists of concentric circles. Elsewhere she pointed out the ominous spiral staircase in Buffy S11. This got me thinking. Buffy specifically mentions in S12 that “grey isn’t her color.” She is dressed in grey and green. It’s an elaborate choice for an artist to draw her top split into two colors (echoing the duality of her hair in S11 #12) – a portion of her sleeves are grey, the rest of her sweater is green.) It’s most clear in this panel at the start of S12 #1 where Buffy holds the baby: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhAQq_dFX-V/) but I’ll come back to this later. After re-watching Hell’s Bells, I see many patterns and connections taking me back to Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The symbolism continues in Entropy, and is consistent with other climactic Spuffy moments in episodes like School Hard, Normal Again, Entropy, Seeing Red, End of Days


    PART ONE - Grey and Green

    Spoiler:


    Norman Holland: "Martin Scorsese commented on Bernard Hermann’s famous score for Vertigo: Hitchcock’s film is about obsession, which means that it’s about circling back to the same moment, again and again. Which is probably why there are so many spirals and circles in the imagery." (Source: http://www.asharperfocus.com/Vertigo.html)

    In Vertigo, Scottie becomes dangerously obsessed with Madeleine, whom he follows, and saves her life when she jumps into the river. By S5, Spike, too, has developed a full fledged obsession for Buffy - he keeps a shrine of her images, a mannequin that looks like her, a Buffybot and uses Harmony as a substitute for Buffy (even making her wear Buffy's clothes/ say things Buffy would say in role-playing scenarios.) Similarities between Buffy and Madeleine also exist: Buffy after her resurrection in S6, like Madeleine, is possessed by a ghost – her own ghost. She wants to go back to heaven, she doesn't want this life. For a briefly Hamlet-ian period, she flirts with suicidal impulses (particularly in Gone). Madeleine (as Scottie sees her) is a mysterious woman possessed by the ghost of the beautiful Carlotta Valdes (whose grave she visits, and whose portrait hangs before her at the gallery) who attempts suicide periodically, falling into lakes and rivers - she jumps into San Francisco bay as Scottie watches – an immersive act akin to the metaphor of ‘falling in love’. In their exchange in his apartment, Scottie says “First time for me too”, and we know he is talking about falling in love. Judy, the woman pretending to be Madeleine, loves Scottie genuinely but Scottie can only love the illusion, not the real woman. (*I'm aware this is a reductionist reading, but I'm compressing things for structure.)

    Below: Opening credits of Hitchcock's Vertigo

    1.


    There are many motifs in Vertigo: the tripartite structure (echoed in Run Lola Run), triple bouquets of roses, duplicate women, doppelgangers, flower symbolism, the symbolism of green and grey, the fetishistic male gaze, a potentially self-fetishizing female gaze, mirrors, fragments, spirals, femininity as artistic construction (the woman as artefact), romantic/erotic obsession.

    Vertigo’s opening credits feature an eye, around its iris a spiral motif forms. Scottie’s acrophobia, his fear of falling, is a loose metaphor for the terror of falling deliriously and desperately in love, and is treated as such throughout the film. Hitchcock liked to dress his prototype of the “cool blonde” in grey, but green is also very symbolic for multiple reasons. Green represents nature, renewal and rebirth/ Edenic bliss. It can also represent jealousy. In The Great Gatsby, green light represents an idealized vision of Daisy. Gatsby lunges towards the future, towards his dreams, towards the eternal green light.

    When Scottie first sees “Madeleine” at Ernie’s Restaurant in Hitchcock’s film, she is dressed in emerald green. Later after Madeleine’s “death” when Scottie tries to re-construct Judy into the image of Madeleine, a green mist appears around her as she walks towards him, clad in a grey suit.
    When Spike and Buffy first meet in School Hard, in their first fight in this episode (Spike tells her he “couldn’t wait” till Saturday), Buffy is in green. This is coincidental but the symbolism built from there onwards is likely not. In Seeing Red, in the violent bathroom scene (a possible allusion to Psycho?), the shower cubicle is bathed in a curious green light and Buffy is dressed in a grey robe. She is the object of Spike's fetishistic gaze, and during their exchange is encircled in the pale green light of the wall behind her as she stands resisting him in a grey robe. In Vertigo, we see Scottie coerce Judy to relinquish her selfhood in order to yield to his desires and mould herself in the image of his fetish object - Madeleine.

    But Vertigo is so much more than an exploration of male perversion, it is an intricate treatise on the nature and paradox of love. Buffy and Spike have their heated exchange on differing conceptions of love (his conception is that love is "wild and passionate and dangerous", a love which "burns and consumes", Buffy counters this by telling him such love "doesn't last".) It's a re-opening of themes explored in Hell's Bells; the question of love and whether it can last, what it needs to last. In S12 #1, Buffy is dressed once again in grey and green, and comments that grey isn't her color. I'll come back to this.



    Buffy in Seeing Red -

    2.

    Judy "remade" in the image of Madeleine - Scottie's image of "the perfect woman" in grey, surrounded by a green mist & picture frame of roses.

    3.

    Carlotta's bouquet

    4.
    5.
    6.

    Carlotta, the Spiral Bun, Buffy and Spike

    7.
    8.
    9.
    10.

    The above image (fig. 10) is from Tom Tykwer's thriller Run Lola Run, a film centered around multiple temporalities, predestination and free will. The painting on the wall of the casino (a woman dressed in grey, with blonde hair in spiral bun) is of Madeleine Elster, who in Vertigo looks at the painting of Carlotta Valdes. It supports the spiral motif employed in both films. The rest of the images above are from Hell's Bells.



    Image 9 and the above show "Madeleine" gazing at the portrait of Carlotta Valdes (the likeness reflected in the identical spiral bun and bouquet of roses held) in the art gallery where she sits - from Hitchcock's Vertigo. Madeleine, in effect, is gazing at a mirror image of herself. Both she and the painting are "constructed" works of art. Madeleine's bouquet of roses and spiral bun are identical to Carlotta's in the painting - in a sense, Madeleine and Carlotta are mirror images - both "framed" works of art. Scottie gazes at her back from behind in the art gallery. It's similar to the way Spike gazes longingly at Buffy's retreating back three times across the episodes Hell's Bells and Entropy.

    When we first see Spike (and Dru) in School Hard –the scene ends with Spike asking Collin, "So, how ‘bout this Slayer? Is she tough?" As a counterpoint, we then cut to an image of Buffy, fragility and femininity emphasized (as opposed to her toughness), when she stands in rose-patterned pyjamas, gazing at herself in the mirror, lamenting the purchase of a cream rinse. Flower symbolism is thus introduced early on in what eventually evolves into the Spuffy relationship. Here's a link to the image from School Hard: http://screencapped.net/tv/buffythev..._display_media



    PART TWO: Spirals and Flowers

    Spoiler:

    Below - images from Vertigo (the eye - Seeing Red - the spiral)






    excerpted from E.E. Cumming's somewhere i have never travelled gladly beyond

    your slightest look easily will unclose me
    though i have closed myself as fingers,
    you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
    (touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

    (i do not know what it is about you that closes
    and opens;only something in me understands
    the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
    nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands


    There are three instances of Spike watching Buffy’s retreating back as she walks away from him in Hell's Bells and Entropy, and each time it's with a rose in her hair (as he gazes after her longingly.) Once in Hell’s Bells, twice in Entropy. There's lots of interplay in the looks they give each other before Buffy walks away. There's an incredible tenderness in the looks exchanged in Hell's Bells. In Entropy, Spike watches bereft as Buffy walks wordlessly away from him with the rose in her hair. It's interesting to note that in Vertigo, Scottie (as he falls in love with her), gazes at Madeleine from behind her at the art gallery, she is positioned as a work of art, remote and elusive. Both Hell's Bells and Entropy bookend Normal Again - 'normal' for Buffy is anything but.


    Sightless, unless
    The eyes reappear
    As the perpetual star
    Multifoliate rose


    Eliot in The Hollow Men alludes to Dante's Paradiso, whose final vision of paradise is of a flower whose ‘petals’ are comprised of saints and angels: salvation is the “multifoliate” rose, which Eliot describes as “the hope only of empty men.” Spike’s yearning for Buffy, however, is not entirely illusory, even if we go with the interpretation that he idealizes Buffy in his unconditional love for her – that he is, in fact, in love with his idea of a “perfect woman”. This is unpacked in the comics and resolved when Harmony and Viki taunt him for his myopia. Spike states that he has worshipped Buffy as a symbol of his salvation in S10 of the comics when he says “I made you this... this symbol of everything I needed – salvation, redemption, love...I want to try, too. Not being with that symbol – something no one could ever be, or should ever have to be. Being with you.”

    Unlike Scottie and the dark premise of Vertigo’s conclusion, Spuffy is uplifting. Spike and Buffy overcome the deadlock of illusory love as presented in Vertigo in S10 and 11.


    When “Madeleine” flings herself from the bell tower to her death, she leaves Scottie numb with grief and guilt. Buffy in S5 jumps from the tower into the portal to save the world, leaving Spike devastated and plagued with guilt for not having been able to prevent it. He counts the days since she’s gone, dreaming of alternate scenarios. “Every night I save you.” Spike is also caught in a loop, endlessly circling round the possibilities of how he could have acted differently, done something “quicker, faster” to prevent her from jumping. Guilt is a Hitchcockian theme - particularly undeserved guilt. Spike suffers from emotional acrophobia – terrified that he's 'fallen' too deeply in love, and in S6 and 7, now that Buffy has come back, he may get hurt a second time. In End of Days, he admits to being “Terrified.” Buffy: “Of what?” Spike: “Last night was - It was the best night of my life.” He’s reached the greatest height, at which point, if he falls, it's not only fatal to him but downright terrifying.

    The spiral motif, the symbol of the rose, looked at another way, could also represent the endless mystique of the feminine, and the labyrinthine ways of the Slayer's mind (S12 involves a focus on Slayer memories, which can potentially change the world). Normal Again plays with this idea when it establishes Spike’s fear of being entirely subsumed by Buffy’s mind, of being obliterated by her very consciousness. This is his exchange with Xander from that episode:

    Spike: So, she’s having the wiggins, is she? None of us are real? Pretty self centered, if you ask me…On the other hand, it might explain some things. This all being in that twisted brain of hers. Yeah, fix up some chip in my head, make me soft, fall in love with her, then, turn me into her sodding sex slave.
    Xander: What?
    Spike: Nothing. Alternative realities, where we’re all little figments of Buffy’s funnyfarm delusion.


    (The dialogue playfully contrasts with Marnie's quip to Mark “Oh, men—you say ‘No, thanks’ to one of them and, bingo, you’re a candidate for the funny farm.” when Mark suggests she needs professional help, in Hitchcock's other film Marnie)


    Carlotta's Grave



    Buffy's Grave







    PART THREE: Trees, Time, Predestination

    Spoiler:


    Hell's Bells, among other things, ruminates on relationships, it sets up the idea of what enduring love can or cannot be. It’s the ‘Vertigo’ episode of Buffy. The exchange between Spike and Buffy in this episode was written by Joss Whedon himself. Xander is told: “Sometimes, two people, all they bring each other is pain.” We then cut to Buffy, walking past bowers of flowers when she spots Spike, standing alone by the wall. She is in emerald green, a corsage on the front of her bridesmaid’s dress and a rose in her hair, styled in a spiral bun. (*I’m aware that the bridesmaids’ dresses are played for laughs, but they could have chosen just about any color to go for humorously tacky. To choose the colour green - in an episode focused so heavily on these themes- is a significant color choice.)

    A spiral has a centre. In S12, Willow has a center - Willow is the center (as TriBel first illuminated), and as the #4 cover indicates with the way Willow is pictured. It is thus fitting that, in S5’s episode Spiral, it is Willow, the center, who rescues Buffy from the labyrinth of her own mind, where she is caught in a temporal loop. A loop is a circle.

    To quote TriBel:
    “If the centre doesn't hold - things fragment […] it's an important concept in Walter Benjamin's concept of history (and I think Whedon's aware of this)…Illyria - "the risk entails being torn to shreds and scattered upon the temporal winds" Mel and Erin: "Turn around, scurry back home or the Fray sisters'll kick you there...In pieces, need be". I'm not committing to a single meaning - either literal of metaphorical - but I think fragmentation will signify - or has already happened.”
    In Vertigo, Madeleine tells Scottie: “It's as though I-I were walking down a long corridor that once was mirrored. And fragments of that mirror still hang there. And when I come to the end of the corridor, there's nothing but darkness.”

    Norman Holland writes: "Some critics have spoken of a “Hitchcock image,” a corridor, tunnel, or drain, some receding hole, anyway. Something goes into it and disappears or something scary comes out of it." (Source: http://www.asharperfocus.com/Vertigo.html) The long ‘corridor’ could be likened to the tunnel Buffy feels trapped in Hell’s Bells – she says “They were supposed to be my light at the end of the tunnel. Guess they were a train.” The entire episode revolves around speculation on whether love can endure. Seeing Red picks this thread up again. I will return to the idea of fragmentation at the end of this post.



    TIME TRAVEL, PREDESTINATION, TREES: " Heather Nova: "And it's all an eternity, hoping to learn only love"."

    There is a frame from Hell's Bells where Buffy and Spike stand facing each other, a framed painting of trees between them.




    "Their true name is Sequoia sempervirens -- 'always green, ever-living,'" says Scottie of these magnificent sentinels, but for Madeleine they are reminders of the transience of human life -- and particularly of her impending death, which will also mean the inevitable death of the romantic illusion she now finds herself sharing with Scottie." (Source: https://www.rogerebert.com/scanners/...in-technicolor)

    Jim Emerson writes: "The scene in which Scottie and Madeleine really fall for each other takes place in deep, dark green of the California Redwoods (there's that juxtaposition of opposite hues red and green again). These are indeed the Trees of Mystery (as bumper stickers proclaim them a ways up the coast), and they provide the atmosphere for Vertigo's most mysterious, haunting, and erotic scene in which Madeleine ruminates on the insignificance of human beings in a timeless landscape." (Source: https://www.rogerebert.com/scanners/vertigo)

    In Tim Guillains' 1996 film about time travel - Twelve Monkeys - which was inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 Le Jetee, there is a key scene where the characters watch the tree sequence in Hitchcock's Vertigo. The theme of predestination enters into this discourse.
    Cole the protagonist from 2035, will travel back in time to gather information and stop an apocalyptic virus that killed billions of people before it has a chance to mutate. The movie holds out no hope that he can "stop" this before it starts; from his point of view, it has already happened. It's a curiously symmetrical inverse of Harth's mission. The character James Cole (played by Bruce Willis) comments as he watches the tree scene with Kathryn Railley: "It's just like what's happening with us. Like the past. The movie never changes. It can't change. But every time you see it, it seems different because you're different. You see different things." / Railley: "If you can't change anything because it's already happened...you may as well smell the flowers."

    Similar to what happens with Spike and Buffy in S12 where they find themselves replaying scenes from their past, Cole and Railley (played by Bruce Willis and Madeline Stowe) replay the Vertigo scene: "Cole and the woman hide out in a movie theater playing Hitchcock's "Vertigo," and later, in their own lives, replay the movie's key scene, with the same music on the soundtrack. What is Gilliam doing here? He's not simply providing a movie in-joke. The point, I think, is that Cole's own life is caught between rewind and fast-forward, and he finds himself repeating in the past what he learned in the future, and vice versa." (Source: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/12-monkeys-1996)

    Here is the clip below - it's worth watching:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-9fev--mxI

    An image of the final confrontation in Entropy - note the rose in Buffy's hair (the only image I could find of this):



    In Entropy (which is partly centered on the mutual heartbreak of Spike and Anya), Buffy hands Spike a camera (the camera is a symbol of Spike’s obsessive/fetishistic gaze) and accuses him of spying on her. Spike is offended and rightly so, desperate to convey to her that what he feels is real, that he doesn’t hurt her. Buffy doesn’t see things the same way. Neither is entirely wrong at this point, but the viewer (and later Spike) realize that he is, indeed, driven to desperation by his obsessive love for Buffy. He ends up hurting her, and himself in the process, by the end of this episode, and what happens in the next episode is even more devastating.

    Entropy is Spike’s tipping point for Seeing Red. In Entropy (the word means gradual decline into disorder –as if to underscore this, Tara quotes the Second Coming to say “Things fall apart” – thanks TriBel!), Spike once again watches Buffy’s retreating back in the last scene and once again, there is a flower in her hair. She turns and the camera focuses on the flower as Spike watches her leave, devastated that she does not reciprocate and remains out of reach.




    The spiral is at once the eye, the circle, a labyrinth, the spiral bun, the coiled petals of a rose, the vortex of mystery, multiple registers of temporality/time, the depths and heights of falling [in love]. Beljoxa's Eye in S7 (a grotesque parody of circles) spoke to Giles and Anya of past and present.

    Here's the spiral staircase in Issue #12 of S11, p. 16: http://www.11comic.com/comic/1711150.../pages_16.html

    A poster of Vertigo - and Marion's eye in Psycho, juxtaposed with the circular drain:



    In the 2002 Run Lola Run, Lola runs through the seemingly endless spiral staircase - in a spiral structured plot that is suggestive of multiple timelines/ multiverses - or Rashomon-like truths:





    PART FOUR: Meshes and Patterns

    Spoiler:


    MESHES, PATTERNS, SYMBOLS, FOREBODING (possible allusion to Maya Deren's surrealist Meshes of the Afternoon?)



    The mesh from #7 of S11 is a pattern of entrapment. In the last panels of S12, Willow, who is symbolically the Center - connected to nature - is wearing a white jacket patterned with giant red roses that practically shout for attention. The roses suggest both nature and the symbol of the spiral. Buffy is in a brown skirt (an earth color) with a mesh pattern, which matches the mesh pattern of Giles' brown sweater (it's a grid criss-cross - an entrapment motif for both Spuffy and Giles.) In S12, Giles has been 'restored' to his true age, while Buffy has seemingly regressed to a past state of insecurity.) Even Spike and Buffy's identical patio chairs display the same mesh pattern at the edges.

    It's most clearly visible in this link: http://www.11comic.com/comic/1711150.../pages_23.html




    S12, #1 is coincidentally set in San Francisco, in the Dander apartment. There seems to be a sartorial connection between Willow and Buffy in #1. Both are linked through their clothes –and both women are soon to be targets (Slayers and Witches). Willow wears a green dress, but the color of the sleeves starting just above her elbow and down to her wrists are white, not green. The dress is split in two: the colors white and green (in the last panels of S11, she is in the white, rose-motif jacket.) Buffy is in a green sweater but just above the elbows, the sleeves of her forearms are colored grey. But she says grey isn't her color. The green dress is split in two – white and green. Buffy’s sweater is split in two: grey and green. They share a strange sartorial affinity.

    Here is the link again (I don't know how to link directly to the pages in S12, so I can't show what I mean about Willow), but here's the preview with Buffy: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhAQq_dFX-V/

    It takes me back to Tribel’s point about fragments (why color the sleeves a separate color for both women? Why not make it one uniform color for each article of clothing for each woman? Doesn’t this design create more arbitrary work for Jeanty, where he has to color the same pattern into every panel featuring Buffy and Willow? Why do it unless there were a symbolic reason?)

    In S11, Buffy’s split hair (one side cropped, one side long) shows division and duality. The duality also speaks to the Judy-Madeleine divide. In S12, we see a similar duality and connection between Buffy and Willow if we look carefully. There's an ideological angle built into the comics from S8 that's really interesting me (S8 references different Slayer timelines manifest in the different 'costumes' Buffy wears of scattered Slayers from the past.) So why are Buffy and Willow dressed in this way? How is the symbolism of green employed here? Why do Buffy and Spike ironically quote their past selves? I don’t know, but I will end with a quote from Fitzgerald: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

    Last edited by SpuffyGlitz; 12-07-18 at 05:24 PM.
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    Library Researcher debbicles's Avatar
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    Thank you for highlighting the rich symbolism contained in the depiction of this relationship. I adore Vertigo and I can't believe I didn't see the connections until you pointed them out.
    It does make me wonder where the writers are taking a fictional couple so freighted and resonant with meaning. If it ends with a whimper rather than a bang, I shall definitely feel both cheated and infuriated.
    Just a passing thought, I seem to recall Hitchcock labelled that scene of Judy newly reconstructed as Madeleine, where she walks towards Scottie and he sees her again as she was before, the recognition scene. I seem to remember the music bears this out, too, but this time with more than a tinge of foreboding. The music takes up the Madeleine theme, swelling with a lush string arrangement but it's heartbreakingly sad.
    Last edited by debbicles; 12-07-18 at 09:31 AM. Reason: Can't spell, apparently! Also OCD
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    Oh, I adore Vertigo too! I will absolutely feel more than cheated. It's been developed so painstakingly that if it does end on a whimper (and it's all just face value) - I am simply going to blot out this mess. It will just be too ridiculous to accept. Glad you see the similarities too - I feel like some things are a bit of a stretch but that spiral staircase is definitely symbolic. It was TriBel's comments about it, and about spirals, that led me to think about any of this at all - and of Vertigo (and on the other forum TriBel told me that principal Robin Wood was named after the film critic/Hitchcock scholar Robin Wood, so there was already a connection it seems...) I'm steadfastly trying be detached about #2, but that staircase gives me hope about wobbly time.
    I want the fire back. - Buffy Summers

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    SpuffyGlitz - This is brilliant! I haven't had time to read it all yet so apologies if I'm repeating something you've already said. Run Lola Run - I'd always presumed the killing of the German potential at the beginning of Beneath You was a homage to Tom Tykwer (and I think I've read confirmation elsewhere). Hell's Bells - I'd noticed the whorl and the green.

    The dresses of the slayers in S8. If we're talking about Twilight, I always read it as an example of a premature utopia and the clothes in relation to this (Marx' 18th Brumarie):

    "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce...Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.
    And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language".

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    Just thinking some more about your fascinating analysis of the links and parallels between Vertigo and Spike/Buffy relationship.

    Of course the Madeleine Scottie sees and falls in love with is not a real person at all, but a complex honey trap, a mirage to play on his fear of letting someone down. His innermost fears stem from the death of his colleague and this is what is at play. So this to me is the other link: Spike unintentionally let Buffy fall to her death. We see how this preys on his mind and emotions at the very start of S6’ and I suspect it is something that will never leave him. They also fell to Earth together in The Last Gleaming, partly I think because Spike was jealous and angry about Angel/Twilight, but also I believe to make sure Buffy stayed safe.

    They also fell together into the clutches of the Soul Glutton, but at that stage their fighting partnership had been renewed and grew in strength during S10 and S11. It seems fractured now, without any reasonable explanation that I can tell, so maybe there is after all an undercurrent of something else at work here. The unreasonable, the chaotic. As exemplified perhaps by the spiral motif?

    Is Buffy still a construct to him in early S12? As you and TriBel rightly point out, Spike recognised that the woman he fell in love with was a projection of his fears and hopes, an ideal. She could never exist. I expect someone – ooh, maybe someone like you, SpuffyGlitz? – who understands about courtly love, could make a whole thread about this particular aspect of Spike?

    So far, so good. Now they have tried to make a life together and it seems it hasn’t worked. Is it because reality is too hard for them? Are they still moving through the hall of mirrors? Is there another spiralling fall in prospect? And if so, whose?

    I should also say that surprise surprise I do wax passionate (and frequently pompous) about this 'ship. And to have these parallels to a great film disclosed, to me that's just the icing on the cake.
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    As Buffy says, always with the falling.


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    Ooh ta, Priceless, didn't see those! Now it all starts to make sense.
    You know what I am. You've always known. You come to me all the same.

    "There's a lot of comedy to be gotten from the world's doom spiral right now." Tracey Ullman, June 2018

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    @Tribel
    Run Lola Run - I'd always presumed the killing of the German potential at the beginning of Beneath You was a homage to Tom Tykwer (and I think I've read confirmation elsewhere).
    OMG! I can be so effing dim! I didn't realise you were referring to that opening chase scene in Beneath You. You are so right!! She has to be modelled on Lola! Wow. Thanks for this! And yes, I was referring to Twilight - premature utopia - I love it! And it makes sense.

    @debbicles - Thanks so much for pointing out the musical score for that scene - I didn't know it was called the 'recognition' scene but it's certainly fitting! It is definitely heartbreaking.

    They also fell to Earth together in The Last Gleaming, partly I think because Spike was jealous and angry about Angel/Twilight, but also I believe to make sure Buffy stayed safe.
    Oh, I love this!! I totally hadn't thought of that!

    Is Buffy still a construct to him in early S12? [....] Now they have tried to make a life together and it seems it hasn’t worked. Is it because reality is too hard for them? Are they still moving through the hall of mirrors? Is there another spiralling fall in prospect?
    I don't think that reality was too hard for them. That would be complete regression, even the writers must find that disempowering (I hope.)
    Especially considering - it's this weird premise that they split up precisely because reality wasn't hard enough for them.
    Everything seems imposed on them - as if they're acting against their own will and feeling compelled to do and say things from the past.

    It's interesting about Madeleine and Buffy - there are definite parallels, but they're also not the same. Like you point out - Madeleine never existed, she wasn't a person - and her story was to lure Scottie in.

    With Buffy, it's kind of the opposite - she was and is real, her story was and is true. She's always been true to herself. So in that respect, even on the show, I don't think it was an entirely illusory love for Spike. But the comics retrospectively unpack all these residual Vertigo-like issues from their relationship, and its made clear that they love each other, for each other.

    So this break up.... for me, it doesn't have to do with them. It's to do with time.

    Just some thoughts:

    Do you think there's some fateful connect between Giles and Buffy/ some sort of trap? Partly compelling Buffy to act/ think this way?

    Because in those last panels of S11, it can't be coincidence - Giles and Buffy's clothes - the brown mesh - exactly match. And the chairs Spike and Buffy sit on, and her skirt with the brown mesh - it all signifies some sort of entrapment. Then there's the sleeves connection with Willow in the opening #1 of S12. What does it mean?!

    Here it is: http://www.11comic.com/comic/1711150.../pages_23.html


    Another thought: in Seeing Red (I'm sure someone's noticed this before but I just did!) - you can see Spike's reflection in the bathroom mirror. Deliberate or a gaffe?
    His black boot, during the scuffle on the floor, is visible in the mirror.
    I want the fire back. - Buffy Summers

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    I bet the SR boot glimpse is just an error (I'll look out for it though!). Rihannon in the OaFA review pointed out you glimpse him in the hall mirror at Revello too. I can see why slight glimpses like that would get past checks/looked over.

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    I'd have to watch the relevant Angel episode again, but I'm pretty sure Wesley describes the markings on Illyria's sarcophagus in terms of being in concentric circles, in other words a spiral. I seem to remember the word concussive is used, but the only meanings of this I can immediately find are the obvious medical ones. I'd have to watch again to find the exact phrase, so if anyone out there has a more recent memory of this point than I, perhaps you could clarify?

    I know this doesn't seem pertinent to this thread, but from what I understand Illyria retains at least part of her time travelling powers. I'm not able to take this any further right now as I'm now smack bang up against that deadline I've mithered about this week. But I'll put it out there in case someone else thinks it seems useful - or not. Could be I'm just wandering off the track. It just came into my mind, that's all.

    PS I think I could be the only native of Blighty posting here or even viewing right now. Feeling a bit sad today, and that's as someone who normally couldn't give a fig about sport, particularly football.

    PPS SpuffyGlitz you should definitely at least link this thread to the S6 rewatch thread, even if you don't post the whole lot over. I think it's meat and drink for the folks who post and read there.
    Last edited by debbicles; 12-07-18 at 09:34 AM.
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    Me again - this is a very good scholarship SG! What follows are just a few thoughts. They might appear disconnected but I can connect them.

    she jumps into San Francisco bay as Scottie watches – an immersive act akin to the metaphor of ‘falling in love’
    Giles does something similar in the Giles mini - from the St Thomas [Vincent Thomas?] Bridge.

    Which is probably why there are so many spirals and circles in the imagery.
    " You mention the surrealists later so I just wanted to flag up Duchamp's "Readymades" - one of which is the rotorelief. Rosalind Krauss discusses it in The Optical Unconscious (a title that returns me to Benjamin - A Short History of Photography. I also think Whedon implicitly references Duchamp in S7. There again, I think Whedon implicitly cites a number of artworks in 7 so I could be making it up. Definitely, Spike refers to Dada in 6). In short, spiral often symbolises the vagina.

    Rotoreliefs - here: https://hyperallergic.com/323582/duc...l-experiments/

    Optical Unconscious - here: http://onewaystreet.typepad.com/one_...conscious.html

    Here's a quote from the above webpage.

    "...it's commonplace to argue that at some point in history--maybe when MTV debuted--we lost the ability to tell the difference between the image and the world, between the real and the artificial. Writing in the 1930s, Walter Benjamin was working with an older opposition, one derived from György Lukács, between first nature (our helplessness before the uncontrollable fury of thunderstorms) and second nature (our helplessness before the uncontrollable fury of the global economy). Benjamin was also highly influenced by Surrealism, which, like Lukács' theory of reification, asserted our view of reality is clouded by a faulty rationality. We don't prefer the artificial to the real because we're simpletons duped by the irresistible lure of the image, but because we've reshaped our reality so totally and so perfectly that we no longer recognize it as our own".

    Read in relation to the natural/unnatural storms in both BtVS11 and Giles.

    I agree on the entrapment theme except I'd change the term to containment. However, a) it's a network (and - in the light of S11 and the mini I'd definitely want to juxtapose this with the internet/web) and a net is characterized by holes/gaps in which things can get trapped but also through which things can flow, circulate and fall through. I always think it's a useful way of thinking about power and discourse. See this: https://www.powercube.net/other-form...is-everywhere/

    The threads on the chairs (which are spiraling round the supports, literally supporting the couple and holding the fabric in place - and yeah - deliberate metaphors ) I think there are either TWO threads each going through alternate holes - or one thread that folds back on itself (giving the illusion of two). Either way - it's a double helix. I wondered about Buffy's earrings - doubled here and doubled with Mel but apparently it's not a helix piercing unless it goes through the cartilage (okay - I learned that today!). What I do know about the double helix is - it's the structure of DNA and - given S11 is about the extraction of (magic) DNA and genetic modification it's probably significant.

    "Natural patterns include symmetries, trees, spirals, meanders, waves, foams, tessellations, cracks and stripes". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patterns_in_nature What struck me about the chairs was the absolute symmetry. It seemed a lot of attention had been paid to detail. I've just flicked through the TPB for S11 and I'm overwhelmed by the number of "hard edges" in this season. The whole thing looks as though it was drawn with a ruler. The predominate shape is the square/rectangle. Interestingly, one of the scenes where "nature" predominates is the fight scene with the thug (trees). However, if this is a park then it's not naturally occurring nature. The most significant on for me is Buffy, Spike and Willow in the hills above the camp - naturally occurring strata, cracks and trees. Significantly - no stars - just the moon (and artificial light from the distant caravans). Willow says "I'm not trying to start a fight [telling given the above]...We just have to believe in ourselves. Who we are without the bells and whistles. Which I fully admit is scary as hell".

    With Buffy, it's kind of the opposite - she was and is real, her story was and is true. She's always been true to herself. So in that respect, even on the show, I don't think it was an entirely illusory love for Spike.
    I'm a card-carrying post-structuralist and have massive problems with essential selves or "truth".

    Have to go - I'll try and add later. As Willow says in S7 "It all connects"

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    Just re-reading your post - again - and I realised that Spike's exchange with Xander from NA that you quoted, took me back to his rant to Buffy in Crush:

    "I'm drowning in you, Summers, drowning in you."

    I know that he said this at the height (or nadir, more aptly) of his obsession with her. It just seems to me to chime with the themes of immersing/losing yourself in love, and the fear he has/had that there would be nothing left of him.
    Last edited by debbicles; 13-07-18 at 05:04 PM.
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    Updated to confirm that Wesley does indeed apply the word "concussive" to the markings on Illyria's sarcophagus. And in this context it means violently shaking. Wonder whether this snippet of trivia is better off in the S12 spoiler thread?
    You know what I am. You've always known. You come to me all the same.

    "There's a lot of comedy to be gotten from the world's doom spiral right now." Tracey Ullman, June 2018

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