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Thread: Colors in "Restless"

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    Graveyard Patrol ghoststar's Avatar
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    Default Colors in "Restless"

    Note: I originally wrote this as part of an ongoing gif commentary series on Tumblr. Since has a much more limited ability to accept images, I wasn't able to include the relevant gifs here. Still, I think that hardcore fans have probably seen the episode enough time to know what I'm talking about.

    I’ve long been fascinated by the use of color and lighting in “Restless,” but it wasn’t until a recent giffing session that I realized why the mud that Buffy applies in her “primal” make-up session looks so different from the Primitive’s. I think that it’s because color symbolizes the aspects of life that the Primitive has given up for her mission. The shots featuring the Primitive’s place of origin tend to be overexposed, giving the sand a harsh, bleached look. The shooting script describes her clothing as “gray rags.” And her face paint is a stark combination of black and white. However, there is one spot of bright color in her world: The pink worn by “Tara”– as the voice that the Primitive herself no longer claims.

    Unlike the Primitive, Buffy clings to normalcy, and this is reflected in the colors around her. When she reveals the card that shows her sleeping friends, it’s depicted in natural color, unaffected by the dream’s prehistoric sun. Her dress features a pattern of bright pinks and reds, in a palette similar to “Tara”’s costume, against a crisp white background that highlights, rather than diminishes, its brightness. Even the mud that she slathers on her face is about her own attraction to the darker side of her primordial heritage (”Okay, killer, if that’s the way you want it”), rather than an ascetic dedication to it. Small wonder, then, that it looks so different from the Primitive’s stark, cadaverous makeup.

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