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  • Good guy role reversal

    I was rewatching Season Three of BtVS the other day, and I realized: (almost) every season of Buffy and Angel hinges on the progression of a generally good character into a (generally) bad character or Big Bad.

    With the exception of Season One (of both Buffy and Angel) and Season Five of Buffy (unless you count Ben), they all have a similar pattern:

    BUFFY:

    S2 - Angel ---> Angelus
    S3 - Faith ---> Bad Faith
    S4 - Maggie/Forrest ---> Zombie Maggie/Super-Zombie Forrest
    S6 - Willow ---> Dark Willow
    S7 - Spike ---> Killer Spike, Anya ---> Vengeance Demon, Giles ---> Maybe Dead Evil Giles

    ANGEL:

    S2 - Angel ---> Dark Angel
    S3 - Wesley ---> Cradle Robber (literally) Wes, Baby Connor ---> Evil Connor
    S4 - Cordy ---> Fake Evil Cordy, Angel ---> Angelus, Wesley some more, Connor again
    S5 - Fred ---> Illyria, Angel ---> (possibly) misguided Angel

    Granted, it's slightly more prominent with some seasons/characters than others, but the idea still holds true: Joss loves role reversal.

    Now, I ask you fair forumers, is this a hat trick by Joss or is it always the best way to go with the story? I won't disagree that role reversal is super-dramatic, and in Joss' case, generally works. But I'm interested to know what others think.
    You've got to get behind the mule in the morning and plow.

    www.myspace.com/brettknickerbocker

  • #2
    You forgot Gunn in Ats season 5.

    And for the comics;

    Spoiler:
    Dark Willow, vampire Gunn, Gwen and possible Wesley. Also Buffy and Giles are close to the dangerzone and there is a story that Angel will lose it ... again.



    I'm a bit 'been there, done that'; when it happened with Angelus in season 2, it was amazing. But everytime they do it, it gets less good. Especially because they love to do it with Angel again and again (right now, 4 times and in the episode 'Eternity'). I'm all for ambiguous characters, but it would be nice if they found another way. And I'm especially tired to see Angel being evil/confused/in the wrong place every season.
    Last edited by Nina; 24-10-08, 11:53 PM.

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    • #3
      It usually works out REALLY well I find and makes complete sense in terms of the characters. Dark Willow was especially memorable, and moreso because she was still Willow through-and-through.

      It would've been tired by Angel Season 5 if they simply made an Evil Fred, but I'm glad Illyria was a lot more than just a Big Bad to defeat. Joss is always reinventing new ways to have his actors play different people - Illyria was one of the best and most original ways to do that because she wasn't simply evil.

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      • #4
        By Anya in 'Selfless' it seemed a little.. "meh, been there done that." Sometimes it just feels like they're running out of ideas.

        With other characters it is different though, Faith's character was born to make that switch, it had to happen, it made her whom she was, and it was important for both the character of Faith but for Buffy as well.

        Same with Angel/Angelus in Btvs season two, made for the best arc, IMHO, Btvs ever saw.

        As for others? Hmm... Dark Willow was good, though they blundered it a little making her try and destroy the world, that went too far and felt unnatural, it came out of nowhere, should have kept it very intimate and personal and made her friends the outlet for her rage throughout.

        ~ Banner by Nina ~

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        • #5
          Good observations there, though I don't necessarily agree about Buffy season 4. I don't think Maggie was a "generally good" character, or really changed while she was alive; I think she was a villain all along, but the other characters didn't see that side of her at first. As for Zombie Maggie, she was just that - a mindless zombie under Adam's control.

          You do have a point about Forrest, though he wasn't a main character.

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          • #6
            Because it fits the topic;

            What is your opinion about the (now old) trick of making Angel (look) evil. It's something they do almost every season, even in the comics. Am I the only one who gets a bit tired of this?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Nina View Post
              I'm a bit 'been there, done that'; when it happened with Angelus in season 2, it was amazing. But everytime they do it, it gets less good. Especially because they love to do it with Angel again and again (right now, 4 times and in the episode 'Eternity'). I'm all for ambiguous characters, but it would be nice if they found another way. And I'm especially tired to see Angel being evil/confused/in the wrong place every season.
              Originally posted by Nina View Post
              Because it fits the topic;

              What is your opinion about the (now old) trick of making Angel (look) evil. It's something they do almost every season, even in the comics. Am I the only one who gets a bit tired of this?

              I totally agree. I really love the Angel/Angelus dynamic, but it loses the dramatic weight if they use too much. Especially in "Eternity", that was just lame. Whereas something like Season 2 of AtS, where he went super-dark but never turned into Angelus was extremely engrossing. I'm still interested in seeing where they're going with After the Fall, but yeah, the trick is worn off.

              It worked phenomenally in Buffy S2, very well in Angel S4, and very middle of the road every other time. And Angelus is a villain that should never be considered "middle of the road."

              Originally posted by urbanlegend23 View Post
              It would've been tired by Angel Season 5 if they simply made an Evil Fred, but I'm glad Illyria was a lot more than just a Big Bad to defeat. Joss is always reinventing new ways to have his actors play different people - Illyria was one of the best and most original ways to do that because she wasn't simply evil.
              Yeah, I think Illyria is probably one of the best examples. I really do love the Illyria storyline, if only it hadn't resulted in my poor Fred's death...*sniff sniff*

              Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
              By Anya in 'Selfless' it seemed a little.. "meh, been there done that." Sometimes it just feels like they're running out of ideas.

              With other characters it is different though, Faith's character was born to make that switch, it had to happen, it made her whom she was, and it was important for both the character of Faith but for Buffy as well.

              Same with Angel/Angelus in Btvs season two, made for the best arc, IMHO, Btvs ever saw.

              As for others? Hmm... Dark Willow was good, though they blundered it a little making her try and destroy the world, that went too far and felt unnatural, it came out of nowhere, should have kept it very intimate and personal and made her friends the outlet for her rage throughout.
              Anya in Season Seven also kind of bugged me. I don't think it felt like it was out of place, I was just kind of sick of that type of storyline by that point.

              As for Faith and Angel, I agree, they (and the shows likewise) were only made better by turning/giving in to those evil aspects.

              And I completely agree about Dark Willow. It seemed like they said "well, end of the season, Willow HAS to try and destroy the world so that we will our apocalypse quota." In a season so drowned in the personal, inner-workings of the characters and their emotions I think that keeping Willow's ultimate evil plan more intimate would make so much more sense dramatically.

              Originally posted by Zosimos View Post
              Good observations there, though I don't necessarily agree about Buffy season 4. I don't think Maggie was a "generally good" character, or really changed while she was alive; I think she was a villain all along, but the other characters didn't see that side of her at first. As for Zombie Maggie, she was just that - a mindless zombie under Adam's control.

              You do have a point about Forrest, though he wasn't a main character.
              I agree about Season Four, a bit of a stretch. But, also, Season Four began the transition of Spike into "good" guy, so there was still a major character role-reversal going on.

              *phew* Saved myself on that one...

              EDIT: Adding more reply to Nina's one-minute prior post. Heh.
              Last edited by bknick; 27-10-08, 11:01 PM.
              You've got to get behind the mule in the morning and plow.

              www.myspace.com/brettknickerbocker

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              • #8
                Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                By Anya in 'Selfless' it seemed a little.. "meh, been there done that." Sometimes it just feels like they're running out of ideas.

                With other characters it is different though, Faith's character was born to make that switch, it had to happen, it made her whom she was, and it was important for both the character of Faith but for Buffy as well.

                Same with Angel/Angelus in Btvs season two, made for the best arc, IMHO, Btvs ever saw.

                As for others? Hmm... Dark Willow was good, though they blundered it a little making her try and destroy the world, that went too far and felt unnatural, it came out of nowhere, should have kept it very intimate and personal and made her friends the outlet for her rage throughout.
                I'm so surprised by people's negative take on the Selfless storyline - actually, in some ways, I don't see Anya's role there as a complete switch - she had been ambiguous from the beginning of dopplegangland through to selfless, with brief pauses in the middle to be Anya-Christina-Emanuella-Jenkins, born on the fourth of july, and very much not a demon. She never really showed remorse for her life as a demon until selfless, and that's kind of what makes the 'switch' not feel very switchy to me - in many ways Anya was kind of an amoral character, often standing outside the morality of the buffyverse, and only made moral by her choice in Selfless.
                Originally posted by Zosimos View Post
                Good observations there, though I don't necessarily agree about Buffy season 4. I don't think Maggie was a "generally good" character, or really changed while she was alive; I think she was a villain all along, but the other characters didn't see that side of her at first. As for Zombie Maggie, she was just that - a mindless zombie under Adam's control.

                You do have a point about Forrest, though he wasn't a main character.
                I agree re season 4 that Maggie was never good, just that people didn't yet know she was evil. I was thinking there was another switch in season four though, one going in a different direction - Spike and his journey from evil Big Bad Mc Baddy pants to comic relief. Maybe that's more of a meta switch, but even in harsh light of day he's taken as something of a threat, and on Angel in the associated ep that I can't remember the name of, Cordelia is telling Doyle that he should be really scared of Spike. This evil spike transitions through "You made a bear! Undo it!" to being a kind of pseudo scoobie whose main role is to make jokes and sow the seeds of dissension. Certainly a switch of kinds!
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by litzie View Post
                  I'm so surprised by people's negative take on the Selfless storyline - actually, in some ways, I don't see Anya's role there as a complete switch - she had been ambiguous from the beginning of dopplegangland through to selfless, with brief pauses in the middle to be Anya-Christina-Emanuella-Jenkins, born on the fourth of july, and very much not a demon. She never really showed remorse for her life as a demon until selfless, and that's kind of what makes the 'switch' not feel very switchy to me - in many ways Anya was kind of an amoral character, often standing outside the morality of the buffyverse, and only made moral by her choice in Selfless.
                  Oh I agree from that side of things, I'm thinking more from a narrative viewpoint where we have the "I have to kill Anya" moment before the ad break, I mean it just wasn't shocking anymore. I felt like saying "Of course you do..." I mean 'Selfless' was one of the better episodes of the seventh season, and they finally did something interesting with Anya's character, it's just by this point even Anya mocked the idea "any friends of yours left you haven't tried to kill" and Xander talked about it like it was just another day at the office "when our friends go bad and try to kill people, we help them."

                  ~ Banner by Nina ~

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                  • #10
                    I don't have a problem with Willow's "destroy the world" bit. It jumped pretty fast, but she was grieving, pissed off, and had the power to do it, so why would she possibly just stop at torturing her friends?

                    Besides, whether it made sense or not, it let us have the Xander/Willow scene in grave, which is undoubtedly a top 5 in the show.

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