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BtvS Top 10: #3-- Restless

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  • BtvS Top 10: #3-- Restless

    "Restless" makes a lot of people's lists, although they don't usually focus on the same reasons that I love it. I'm not super interested in the subplots about Willow or Xander's insecurities or Giles's paternal feelings. However, as someone who loves prehistory and questions about the origins of characters' impulses, I'm fascinated by the tension between Buffy, who wants to deny that she's in any way inhuman, and the First Slayer, who identifies herself only by her calling.

    I've written at length about Slayer origins, so I only have a few things to add:

    This is the first time that Buffy hears that she might be part demon? and she hears it inside her own head. Did it never occur to her until Sineya started sharing thoughts and feelings with her, or has she been trying to suppress questions about the Slayer's nature for years?

    The First Slayer bothers to give Buffy a piece of her mind. Everyone else, she just stalks and "kills." They're not much more than bulls'-eyes to her. By contrast, she makes a point of giving Buffy a piece of her mind before they fight. She doesn't just care that the combo-Buffy spell happened; she cares that Buffy participated in it. On some level, she must feel connected to her inheritors, or she wouldn't show such a sense of betrayal.

    Why is Sineya opposed to the spell? Did the Shadow Men indoctrinate her to never share her power, out of fear that they would lose control of the resulting combo-Slayer? Is she possessive because the Slayer power still feels like it's hers, as long as it stays within the line? Does she fear the unpredictable results of new magic interacting with the Slayer's powers? a fear which would, based on the information that Anya and Giles gain from Beljoxa's Eye re: the First Evil in "Showtime", be justified?

    Minor gripe: Why are Sineya's teeth so bad? Broken teeth would make sense for someone who fights all the time. Filthy teeth are a different matter. I'm aware of only one site which shows high levels of tooth decay in a Paleolithic population, located in a region of Morocco that had an abundance of unusually sweet acorns. (The relevant culture also had the bright idea of cosmetic tooth removal, which didn't help any.) We have an explanation for why the Grotte des Pigeons's inhabitants had such bad teeth because the excavators were so startled that they considered it worthy of investigation. And it wasn't excavated until the 2010s anyway, so it wasn't a factor in the writing.

    ? Also her hair. I've griped about Buffy Slaying with long, loose hair before (and I love the practical bob she gets in S6, notwithstanding her motivations), but at least Buffy is established as vain and determined to remain a girly girl. Sineya is not. She's an ascetic fanatic who devotes herself solely to her calling and shuns human society. You can't impress your peers with your hair if you don't have peers. THERE IS NO REASON FOR SINEYA TO PATROL WITH WHAT LOOKS LIKE A 40-POUND SPIDER ON HER HEAD. What do you bet the Watchers' diaries are full of accounts of "? Then the vampire grabbed her hair and pulled her off-balance, enabling his ally to bite her. Future Watchers and Slayers should discuss workplace hairstyles as soon as possible in their relationship"? HOW MANY SLAYERS HAVE DIED FOR LONG HAIR?