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Thread: The body swap and the slayer line

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    Default The body swap and the slayer line

    This is an interesting question from the fb group. I never thought of it before. If Faith had been killed while in the body of Buffy, would that have triggered a new slayer? Or if Buffy was killed in the body of Faith, would that have triggered a new slayer? We know the line goes through Faith now, but is the slayer line tied to the body's death? Or is it tied to the personality/soul of the slayer?
    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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    I think if faith had died in Buffy's body that would have been the trigger. The soul is a tricky thing in the buffyverse but it is without a doubt important.


    I like who I am when Im with him. I like who we are together.

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    One vote for Faith's body and Buffy's soul as irrelevant.
    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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    Are soul and personality the same thing? That's a genuine question - is there a canon ruling? I tend to think of them as separate.

    Does becoming a slayer involve a natural (or rather supernatural) reform of the body (matter) and is the personality/soul (mind) predominately shaped by the watcher?* Perhaps it's like a monarchy and there's a Body Politic and a Body Personal/Natural?** The former never dies (The Queen is Dead. Long live the Queen), the latter does. However, if I understand it properly, this involves two "souls".*** So Buffy and Faith have their own souls while the Slayer has a politic "soul" that's immortal and doesn't go to either Heaven or Hell but passes immediately to the next Slayer following the death of the body natural? Where that's located is any one's guess. I'm presuming it's spirit not matter so I'm inclined to agree with GoSpuffy (with the caveat I could change my mind). If this is the case, then Buffy's been without the Slayer soul since the end of S1. But...does that raise questions of the Chosen spell? Does Buffy merely activate a second dormant soul in each of the potentials?

    *In Lucifer, Lucifer's asked whether an Angel's (God-given) gift shapes his personality or whether his personality is the reason he receives a particular gift. He greets the question with incredulity and doesn't answer it. I'm guessing it's because the writers don't have an answer. It could be a similar situation with Slayers. Actually, strike that comment - I've rethought it (I think).

    **https://www.libraryofsocialscience.c...gs-two-bodies/

    ***which makes remarks made in the latest Boom!BtVS kinda interesting.

    Perhaps both Buffy and Faith would need to die?
    Last edited by TriBel; 11-07-19 at 09:04 AM.

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    I actually think it's the body. In "Prophecy Girl" Buffy was "clinically dead" for a short period of time ("What's My Line II") but she has no memory of the afterlife, despite later seasons proving that an afterlife absolutely exists. So why does Buffy remember her death after "The Gift" but in this episode she doesn't? My best guess is that it takes a short while after the body dies for the soul to actually depart. So whilst Buffy's body died I don't think her soul had yet moved on in "Prophecy Girl" and thus, IMO, a new Slayer is activated when a Slayer's actual body dies ("She's not breathing!") rather than a soul passing.
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    despite later seasons proving that an afterlife absolutely exists. So why does Buffy remember her death after "The Gift" but in this episode she doesn't?
    I'm not sure it does. She only "thinks" she was in heaven. Her description in Afterlife can just as easily be read as an intrauterine existence and a violent rebirth. She doesn't know about "theology or dimensions" and the intrauterine child has no dimensions because it has no boundaries. What's known as "return to the mother" provides a pattern that's traceable through to S12.

    And does she remember it? How can one describe something that's ineffable? Is she just describing things she doesn't have now - is she just describing lack? Is meaning emerging negatively? I think one of the reasons she doesn't "remember dying" in PG is because Joyce is still alive - there's an actual mother to return to (just as there's a mother to return to in Anne). For me, everything from The Body onward relates to the trauma of losing Joyce (Dawn is drawing negative space when she's told of Joyce's death), which is, in itself, a return of earlier repressed traumas (in S10 she mentions the trauma of losing her mum being far greater than the trauma associated with SR). In "No Place Like Home" she's envious of the relationship between Joyce and Dawn: "why can't I ever be L'il Punkin' Belly?". The child's first home is the mother - there's "no place like home" because the process is imaginary.

    So...I'm not saying Buffy recognizes this. I'm suggesting the text does. The ideas are running parallel.

    I also think we have thorny problems with the soul - is it spirit (so the Cartesian spirit/matter dyad) or is it an embodied soul (which is what other philosophers would have us believe. There's a reason Spike can "feel" his in Chosen)? Again - there might be a tension between what the characters believe and tell us and what the text suggests. For me, the embodied soul lends itself better to BtVS being a feminist text.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    Are soul and personality the same thing? That's a genuine question - is there a canon ruling? I tend to think of them as separate.
    There was a link between soul and personality made in Angel 9 I think it was, in the storyline with Giles' soul chunks that Angel was nipple ring collecting. As Angel gathered parts of Giles' soul to him with the nipple thang he became affected by Giles' personality. Whether the personality comes with the soul or not is irrelevant to vamps of course because they are informed by the human personality during siring anyway, so the loss of the soul isn't a total loss of personality and so wouldn't be noticeable in that way. When Buffy was losing her soul in Living Conditions she was acting cruel/dismissive and more aggressive, but that could just be the shifts of losing the breadth/depth of emotions and moral capacity that the soul is tied to inverse.

    I agree with GoSpuffy that the soul is consistently important in BtVS so I could see it being tied to the person in that way. But becoming the slayer is also such a physical thing that I could see the physical death being what releases the power to be activated in another potential. So I'm unsure. I tend to think of the slayer power as something that the potentials are born with, hence them being identifiable, but the parameters of the shadowmen's spell keeps dormant in all be one at a time. If I had to lean one way or the other I'd say the body then is what matters for triggering the next potential. As vampmogs says, Buffy's first death was enough even though her soul didn't pass over. I'm not sure that the soul lingers so much as was pulled back by her resuscitation, but it didn't pass for long enough that there was any sense of having left this mortal coil so to speak.
    Last edited by Stoney; 11-07-19 at 10:12 PM.

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    For all we know, Buffy activates a new slayer when she dies in "The Gift." The characters in the diegetic world seems to think Buffy's death will call a new slayer, including Buffy herself, the potentials and the Mayor.

    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    Are soul and personality the same thing? That's a genuine question - is there a canon ruling? I tend to think of them as separate. ?
    Darla does not turn into a baby in "Lullaby." Vampires experience continuity between their souled and unsouled selves. I think most of our faculties are located in the brain. The soul just gives free will and propensity to feel guilt and shame.
    Last edited by Willow from Buffy; 11-07-19 at 10:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Willow from Buffy View Post
    For all we know, Buffy activates a new slayer when she dies in "The Gift." The characters in the diegetic world seems to think Buffy's death will call a new slayer, including Buffy herself, the potentials and the Mayor.
    No. The characters were stupid in S7, remember?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S. View Post
    No. The characters were stupid in S7, remember?
    Truth is, there is no evidence whatsoever that only Faith's death will bring a new slayer. And the Mayor assumes that Buffy's death will bring a new slayer in SEASON 3 so thereayahgo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Willow from Buffy View Post
    Darla does not turn into a baby in "Lullaby." Vampires experience continuity between their souled and unsouled selves. I think most of our faculties are located in the brain. The soul just gives free will and propensity to feel guilt and shame.
    Yeah...I presumed it wasn't intrinsically linked to personality but the OP juxtaposed the two. I was being polite

    I think most of our faculties are located in the brain.
    Don't disagree but (without bringing physiology into it), it's the mediation by the senses that interests. For instance, sight implies a distance that touch doesn't. It seems Anya can actually see Spike's soul and Spike can actually feel it. As far as I'm aware, humans don't have that capability. They know they have a soul because... they've been told? Are we dealing with different types of "soul"? Is it embodied in demons and spirit in humans? Or...do humans need to believe it's spirit in order to distance themselves from matter/the body? This has implications because traditionally it's the male who's associated with mind; the female with body

    Andrew S.

    The characters were stupid in S7, remember?
    I didn't think they were stupid. IMO, they were (to a certain extent) unlearning/re-evaluating what they'd learned in the past. It's why S7 starts with an episode called "Lessons".
    Last edited by TriBel; 12-07-19 at 11:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    Yeah...I presumed it wasn't intrinsically linked to personality but the OP juxtaposed the two. I was being polite Don't disagree but (without bringing physiology into it), it's the mediation by the senses that interests. For instance, sight implies a distance that touch doesn't. It seems Anya can actually see Spike's soul and Spike can actually feel it. As far as I'm aware, humans don't have that capability. They know they have a soul because... they've been told? Are we dealing with different types of "soul"? Is it embodied in demons and spirit in humans? Or...do humans need to believe it's spirit in order to distance themselves from matter/the body? This has implications because traditionally it's the male who's associated with mind; the female with body
    I think that what Spike feels when he feels is soul is a kind of pride or a kind of love that means putting someone else before himself. If we look at what the First Slayer tells Buffy in "Intervention":

    FIRST SLAYER: You are full of love. You love with all of your soul. It's brighter than the fire ... blinding. That's why you pull away from it.
    BUFFY: (surprised) I'm full of love? I'm not losing it?
    FIRST SLAYER: Only if you reject it. Love is pain, and the Slayer forges strength from pain. Love ... give ... forgive. Risk the pain. It is your nature. Love will bring you to your gift.
    BUFFY: (pause) What?
    FIRST: Death is your gift.

    That fits Spike perfectly, doesn't it. Love is something painful that must be faced, and the greatest form of love is sacrificing for someone else. The First Slayer even invokes the imagery of the fire that consumes Spike as he "dies."

    In American culture, as opposed to European, it is often the masculine that is most associated with the body and the feminine stands for civilisation, control, calm, family, the home, etc. Spike seems to be from this tradition, as he is someone who is mostly body (his comment about his blood flowing usually downwards rather than up) and doesn't even have a soul for most of the show.

    The soul is something that most definitely does not exist in Sartre's existential philosophy, so it is a bit weird that it is so important for Angel, seeing that he both reads and paraphrases Sartre. Angel is very mind-over-matter in his way of thinking. He fears his natural self.

    I think the soul is important on BtVS and AtS, because they are at their core quite romantic show. They want us to believe that we as humans have the ability to better ourselves. That there is a divine spark that allows us to override all our animalistic proclivities.

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    Angel is very mind-over-matter in his way of thinking. He fears his natural self.
    Agree...which is why I like Angel but have problems with Bangel because, as I said above, traditionally it's the female who occupies the position of nature (males = culture) and masculinity/culture tends to be the privileged term.

    In American culture, as opposed to European, it is often the masculine that is most associated with the body and the feminine stands for civilisation, control, calm, family, the home, etc. Spike seems to be from this tradition, as he is someone who is mostly body (his comment about his blood flowing usually downwards rather than up) and doesn't even have a soul for most of the show.
    I'd agree with some of this but I'd argue that a) it's very much influenced by the myth of The Western, the homesteader etc. and b) the male body tends to be the "coherent and clean body". I think there's a reason we get this in First Date: GILES: "We should be circling the wagons instead of doing things like going out on dates when—when gunplay is imminent". Spike, on the other hand, would appear to have lost faith in certain myths "Think I still dream of a crypt for two with a white picket fence?"

    "Civilisation, control, calm, family, the home" etc. is very much in keeping with the Victorian Angel in the House. When it comes to the abject body (the body that bleeds, that has openings that transgress boundaries, the body that lacks and is wounded - has a "gash"), it's the female body (the monstrous feminine). I wouldn't associate Spike with hegemonic masculinity. He's male in the sense he has a penis but he doesn't have access to power structures.

    Women having control in the home sorta disguises the fact that they have very little power outside of it (I think the first scene in Revello in Lessons plays with this idea). If you look at "The Woman Question", concepts such as "wandering womb" don't sit easily with the idea of calm and control.

    Going back to the soul, I don't think this is a metaphor:

    SPIKE (amazed) I can feel it, Buffy. BUFFY What? SPIKE (looks at her) My soul. It's really there. Kind of stings.

    I think, by the time we get to Chosen, we're dealing with a different understanding of the soul than we were at the beginning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Willow from Buffy View Post
    Truth is, there is no evidence whatsoever that only Faith's death will bring a new slayer.
    Yes, there is. I think the fact that no new Slayer emerges after Buffy's second death is evidence enough, don't you? The characters' assumptions that Buffy's death anytime post-"Prophecy Girl" will bring about another Slayer is (at best) a likely guess in S3-S5, but in S6-S7, it's just completely not true. There is NO new Slayer after "The Gift", which proves that the Slayer line no longer runs through Buffy. Joss Whedon actually confirmed it in an interview around that time. Any assertions otherwise are just, on a "Doylist" (bear with me, I don't use/encounter these terms that often so I apologize if I'm misusing them) level, a case of the writers contradicting their own mythology and, on a "Watsonian" level, a case of self-centeredness on Buffy/The Scoobies' parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Willow from Buffy View Post
    And the Mayor assumes that Buffy's death will bring a new slayer in SEASON 3 so thereayahgo.
    Exactly. You said it best: he assumed.
    Last edited by Andrew S.; 13-07-19 at 04:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    I'm not sure it does. She only "thinks" she was in heaven. Her description in Afterlife can just as easily be read as an intrauterine existence and a violent rebirth. She doesn't know about "theology or dimensions" and the intrauterine child has no dimensions because it has no boundaries.
    AtS Season 4 confirms that Buffy was in a heavenly dimension;

    SKIP
    Nobody returns from Paradise. Well, a Slayer one time but...
    Even so, we know that some form of afterlife exists because the characters have experienced ghosts on many occasions and Giles was communicating with the spirit world in "The Zeppo."
    Last edited by vampmogs; 15-07-19 at 01:21 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    Are soul and personality the same thing? That's a genuine question - is there a canon ruling? I tend to think of them as separate.

    Does becoming a slayer involve a natural (or rather supernatural) reform of the body (matter) and is the personality/soul (mind) predominately shaped by the watcher?* Perhaps it's like a monarchy and there's a Body Politic and a Body Personal/Natural?** The former never dies (The Queen is Dead. Long live the Queen), the latter does. However, if I understand it properly, this involves two "souls".*** So Buffy and Faith have their own souls while the Slayer has a politic "soul" that's immortal and doesn't go to either Heaven or Hell but passes immediately to the next Slayer following the death of the body natural? Where that's located is any one's guess. I'm presuming it's spirit not matter so I'm inclined to agree with GoSpuffy (with the caveat I could change my mind). If this is the case, then Buffy's been without the Slayer soul since the end of S1. But...does that raise questions of the Chosen spell? Does Buffy merely activate a second dormant soul in each of the potentials?


    Perhaps both Buffy and Faith would need to die?
    Actually, I never thought of adding the soul to the equation. But it would explain why Faith didn't run off when she had the chance. Experiencing Buffy's life s one thing. Experiencing an uncorrupted soul would be a powerful gateway to understanding. That could explain her anger toward herself, her attempt to run away from the pain, and why she finally begs Angel to kill her.

    If a soul is connected to the slayer line, and bounces from one slayer to the next, then how do we explain slayers who go rogue and start killing innocent people? It seems to me that the purpose of a slayer soul would be to regulate use of the slayer powers. That's why I can't see a separate soul. There is a legacy, as Anya terms it. I tend to see it as all encompassing - both mind and spirit. The person's soul may be affected - in fact it probably is. But a new soul crowded in with the other soul would be incredibly difficult to deal with. It might well be fatal if it makes the slayer stop for even a few seconds at a critical time.


    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    Yeah...I presumed it wasn't intrinsically linked to personality but the OP juxtaposed the two. I was being polite .
    You were actually the person who brought the soul into the discussion, so you were being polite to yourself.
    Last edited by bespangled; 15-07-19 at 01:57 AM.
    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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    bespangled:

    You were also the person who brought the soul into the discussion, so you were being polite to yourself.
    You started it!

    Or is it tied to the personality/soul of the slayer?
    Don't do slashes - I'm easily confused!

    Actually - I'm brain-dead - I've forgotten what the conversation was about!

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    It was 103 degrees here today. - that about 40 degrees celsius. That's the normal temperature this time of year. It is why we brag about our lovely winters. And the monsoon season is late. We have all the freakin humidity without the release of a crashing bashing huge thunderstorm.

    My brain is baked and leaking out of my ears.

    Yes, you started it. I give you credit because it was an interesting dimension to speculate on.
    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 Andrew S. View Post
    Yes, there is. I think the fact that no new Slayer emerges after Buffy's second death is evidence enough, don't you? The characters' assumptions that Buffy's death anytime post-"Prophecy Girl" will bring about another Slayer is (at best) a likely guess in S3-S5, but in S6-S7, it's just completely not true. There is NO new Slayer after "The Gift", which proves that the Slayer line no longer runs through Buffy.
    But we have no evidence suggesting that no slayer was called, except for the absence of said slayer. The Council kept secret about Kendra and Faith. After they failed to bring Buffy back under their thumb in S5, I think it is beyond reasonable to assume that they would do everything in their power to stop Buffy from having knowledge of and access to a new slayer.

    The Council seems to have seen Buffy and Faith as failures after their first watcher's died, which is why they sent Giles, who was unpopular, to Buffy and Wesley, who was unproven, to Faith, and then generally kept the Scoobies out of the loop on pretty much everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S. View Post
    Any assertions otherwise are just, on a "Doylist" (bear with me, I don't use/encounter these terms that often so I apologize if I'm misusing them) level, a case of the writers contradicting their own mythology and, on a "Watsonian" level, a case of self-centeredness on Buffy/The Scoobies' parts.
    I guess you're using them correctly (though I don't really like those term), but I don't get your point. You first claim that Joss has spoken out in favour of the slayer-line-runs-through-Faith theory, and then you say that if Joss hypothetically has ever contradicted that statement (which you have provided no evidence for) then that contradiction would obviously be a mistake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S. View Post
    Exactly. You said it best: he assumed.
    Since the slayer-line-runs-through-Faith theory is never addressed on the show, then the Mayor's and the Scoobies' assumptions are all we have.

    The fact is that the nature of slayer succession (and what effects Buffy's deaths has on it) is never really explored much on the show.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Willow from Buffy View Post
    But we have no evidence suggesting that no slayer was called, except for the absence of said slayer.
    The absence of said Slayer is evidence that no new one was called. The plot of Season 7 was literally about every single known Slayer, activated or not, being rounded up by The First Evil, the Scoobies, and the Watcher's Council. So don't you think that if there was another fully-activated Slayer, surely someone -- The First Evil, Giles, or the Council, all of whom were, again, rounding up every Slayer they could find -- would have mentioned her?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willow from Buffy
    The Council kept secret about Kendra and Faith. After they failed to bring Buffy back under their thumb in S5, I think it is beyond reasonable to assume that they would do everything in their power to stop Buffy from having knowledge of and access to a new slayer.
    And what was stopping Buffy from having acknowledge of and access to this new Slayer after the Council was destroyed and Giles was delivering every Slayer (albeit unactivated ones) found by the Council to her doorstep?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willow from Buffy
    Since the slayer-line-runs-through-Faith theory is never addressed on the show, then the Mayor's and the Scoobies' assumptions are all we have.

    The fact is that the nature of slayer succession (and what effects Buffy's deaths has on it) is never really explored much on the show.
    I agree with the last part and definitely think the writers should have definitely explored the slayer line theory more, but I don't think you can say there's NO evidence that another Slayer wasn't called. The Council can track all Slayers, the Council was destroyed, and, IIRC (it's been a couple years since I watched S7), Giles rounded up every single Slayer they had in their possession (just Potentials) and brought them to Buffy. That's evidence enough to me that no other fully-activated Slayer existed, besides Buffy and Faith. The Mayor's assumption that another Slayer would rise by killing Buffy was him trying to be cautious because he had an ascension coming up and Buffy's assumption was her being self-centered, as she has a superiority complex which is what her whole S7 character arc was about.
    Last edited by Andrew S.; 18-07-19 at 01:39 AM.

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