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  • Showtime

    I'm currently half-way through my S7 rewatch, and just finished watching Showtime. Despite being quite fond of this season, there are multiple things I don't like about this particular episode. I'm not really a fan of The Beljoxa's Eye subplot, even though I think the storyline makes sense and, as opposed to what I can see is a huge portion of the fandom, I've never been confused on the reason why The First is only trying to tip the scale between good and evil in this moment, and what the Beljoxa's Eye means when it says that the disruption of the Slayer Line is to blame. I also think Eve's actress is terrible and, given the fact that her character is given a pivotal role in the episode, I really think they should have replaced her.

    But more than anything else, I'm pissed at the scene where Buffy, Willow and Xander mentally communicate with each other out of the blue. What was that?? It's not like Willow is making it happen through magic. The episode clearly shows that Buffy initiates contact and Willow is just a responsive party. I'm not 100% sure, but I'm fairly convinced that that scene is never getting explained or even brought up ever again in following episodes, but correct me if I'm wrong. I don't know if David Fury was just going with "let's do this as a preamble to the same narrative trick we'll employ in Chosen to display the actual final plan at a crucial stage" or if he really thought such a choice was narratively justified in the moment. I mean, am I missing something?

  • #2
    I always have found that choice an odd one just because we haven't had it before between the friends that I can recall and it feels out of the blue. I think though, in a season where they can have enemies lurking within, it isn't without any logic. But nothing like that is given, that it is an established tactic or suggested as such.

    I do remember in Clavus' review of Showtime they raised that in Two to Go Willow had told Dawn that she could hear her if she thought real loud. I'd never linked the two, but that could be seen to combine with Willow's previous use of telepathy to explain Buffy trying this. If it had ever been mentioned to her. So I appreciate the suggested improvement to the scaffolding of the moment, but it still feels a little lacking in set up.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Stoney View Post
      I always have found that choice an odd one just because we haven't had it before between the friends that I can recall and it feels out of the blue. I think though, in a season where they can have enemies lurking within, it isn't without any logic. But nothing like that is given, that it is an established tactic or suggested as such.

      I do remember in Clavus' review of Showtime they raised that in Two to Go Willow had told Dawn that she could hear her if she thought real loud. I'd never linked the two, but that could be seen to combine with Willow's previous use of telepathy to explain Buffy trying this. If it had ever been mentioned to her. So I appreciate the suggested improvement to the scaffolding of the moment, but it still feels a little lacking in set up.
      Ok that bit about Two To Go got me thinking a bit, but still this wouldn't explain Xander's own ability to join the communication. Even though... If I recall correctly, it's Willow who calls for him to join in. So maybe, theoretically, we could say that Willow was able to hear Buffy's thoughts because of this recently-gained ability based on her own increased powers, and that then she used magic to mentally talk to Xander and involve him in the exchange. That would be an incredible stretch... and even then, it still wouldn't explain why the scene is shot as it is. If this was the case, I figure the moment would pick up with Willow looking at Buffy first instead of the other way around. And we would be shown Willow actually inserting herself inside Buffy's trail of thoughts, or something like that. Instead we have Buffy making contact with Willow and actively trying to communicate with her by mentally calling out her name.

      I also considered the idea that this could be an editing problem - that somehow the bit where Willow was supposed to be shown creating the exchange through magic was cut from the footage last-minute because of time constraints. But I don't think it's even that, because the script is still too deliberately specific on how the scene actually plays out. Honestly this might be one of the clearer cases, if not the clearest case, of bad writing in the entire show. I just can't wrap my head around it.

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      • #4
        Holden Norgorov
        if not the clearest case, of bad writing in the entire show. I just can't wrap my head around it.
        Stoney ‚Äč
        So I appreciate the suggested improvement to the scaffolding of the moment, but it still feels a little lacking in set up.
        I don't think either is necessarily true. It's a season about senses. Spike stinks and "smells"; Xander is the Seer who loses an eye; mends windows (eyes) and removes his safety googles. Buffy eats and "tastes". Touched repeats elements of OMWF and Seeing Red (and possibly Hush) but is so far in excess of all that no one knows what it means. We know vampires have enhanced hearing. We actually have (at least) 7 senses. The two lesser known senses are vestibular and proprioception and they are connected to the tactile sense (touch). Vestibular sense involves movement and balance. Proprioception helps us understand where our body parts are in relation to each other. It also helps us figure out how much force to use in different activities. Watch the co-ordination between Buffy and Spike; between the Slayers in Chosen. With all this going on, what's a bit of ESP between friends? Besides - it's called Showtime - not Telltime.


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        • #5
          Holden Norgorov
          I'm not really a fan of The Beljoxa's Eye subplot, even though I think the storyline makes sense and, as opposed to what I can see is a huge portion of the fandom, I've never been confused on the reason why The First is only trying to tip the scale between good and evil in this moment, and what the Beljoxa's Eye means when it says that the disruption of the Slayer Line is to blame.
          I actually think it's a neat explanation and I am intrigued by where that could have led but then ... it doesn't lead anywhere. I mean, Anya and Giles went to great lengths to talk to this Beljoxa thingy and then they go home and nothing comes out of it. Yeah, they now know why The First Evil rose but the why doesn't matter at all. On the contrary. In the series finale, all Potentials around the world are called by Willow's spell. If the resurrection of one slayer made The First Evil so much stronger you'd think the calling of hundreds of Slayers would have some negative repercussions for the balance of good and evil too.

          Buffy, Willow and Xander mentally communicate with each other out of the blue. What was that?? It's not like Willow is making it happen through magic.
          We have seen them communicate telepathically before. Maybe once the link was established by Willow's spell every one of them could use it at any given time? It doesn't explain though why they never use it in situations where it could be useful.

          flow


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          • #6
            flow
            I actually think it's a neat explanation and I am intrigued by where that could have led but then ... it doesn't lead anywhere. I mean, Anya and Giles went to great lengths to talk to this Beljoxa thingy and then they go home and nothing comes out of it.
            IIRC they had to cut it because the episode ran over. They did something similar with First Date. There's a really clumsy edit where Wood and Spike get to the basement about 3 weeks behind Buffy . Again, IIRC - initially, there was a prolonged fight that delayed them but was cut. Someone shoulda bought them a clock.
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            • #7
              Willow is definitely the conduit there. Buffy tells Willow to "grab Xander" and I assume from thereon in she patches him into their psychic link.

              I agree that it comes out of nowhere. We have multiple examples of Willow being able to reach people telepathically (The Gift and Bargaining I) but this is the first we're seeing of someone without witch abilities being able to initiate contact with her. The line from Two to Go could explain it but the impression I got is that S7 Willow wasn't anywhere near as powerful as Dark Willow was in her prime (having sucked both all the Magic Box books and Rack's power at this point) and if Willow can hear other's thoughts it opens up a whole other can of worms. Is she listening in the entire time? Does she have to continuously make a mental effort to shut out other's thoughts? We saw the toll that took on Buffy in Earshot so Willow would be handling it remarkably well if that were the case.

              I don't mind the idea in theory. The Core Four fan in me loves the idea of Buffy, Willow and Xander growing so close that they're able to communicate in this way. And from a practical sense it does make a lot of sense when you're facing an adversary that can be invisible and anywhere at any time. One of my biggest frustrations with Buffy's argument for attacking the vineyard in Dirty Girls is that she thinks Caleb and The First "won't be expecting an attack this soon" when you literally cannot surprise The First, and this would've solved that. However, as you say, not only does it appear at random in Showtime but then they never use this method again so it feels very odd and out of left field. I also find their reactions to it a little strange. Willow doesn't seem all that surprised that Buffy has reached her telepathically and other than the initial surprise of Willow's voice entering his mind Xander doesn't either, which is weird as this appears to be the first time this has ever happened.

              As for the Beljoxa's Eye, I think it's a huge missed opportunity. Willow, Xander and Anya are witnessing girls die right in front of them apparently because of a spell they performed. Buffy is responsible for caring for the Potentials and is also witnessing them die because she was resurrected and lives again. On top of this you have the original strain on the Scooby relationship of Buffy's trauma after being brought back after her friends resurrected her and now the added element of it risking the entire Slayer line. And you have a Big Bad who has a reputation for messing with people psychologically and it doesn't ever taunt either Buffy or her friends about this. In a season where Buffy isolates herself from the Potentials out of guilt over their deaths and everyone's relationships being tested over the crushing weight and stress of the First's war it seems incredibly strange that the writers wouldn't mine this revelation for every golden nugget of storytelling opportunity it could give them. That aside, it's also just really strange that it is literally never mentioned again and we have no idea if Buffy, Xander and Willow are even told about it.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by flow View Post
                Holden Norgorov

                I actually think it's a neat explanation and I am intrigued by where that could have led but then ... it doesn't lead anywhere. I mean, Anya and Giles went to great lengths to talk to this Beljoxa thingy and then they go home and nothing comes out of it. Yeah, they now know why The First Evil rose but the why doesn't matter at all. On the contrary. In the series finale, all Potentials around the world are called by Willow's spell. If the resurrection of one slayer made The First Evil so much stronger you'd think the calling of hundreds of Slayers would have some negative repercussions for the balance of good and evil too.



                We have seen them communicate telepathically before. Maybe once the link was established by Willow's spell every one of them could use it at any given time? It doesn't explain though why they never use it in situations where it could be useful.

                flow
                I think the explanation is the end itself. It chose that time because Buffy's resurrection irrevocably messed up the energy around the slayer line. It was not really meant to set up a storyline but answer a question. That said, it is a little anticlimactic given the build up to it with Anya and Giles jumping dimensions to talk to this thing. Having Buffy back didn't make the First stronger, it only created a loophole with which it could destroy the line.

                The telepathy is one of those power creep things they used when it was convenient and it sucked, IMO. That's one aspect of the latter years I dislike about Buffy and nearly all shows where magic plays a part. Inevitably the story runs into a wall of 'why doesn't Willow just..." and it's valid. Since you can set things on fire with just words, as established in S4, why doesn't Xander do it all the time?

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