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"What you are... what's to come. You haven't even begun"

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  • "What you are... what's to come. You haven't even begun"

    Foreshadowing is a big part of the structure of Buffy, whether it's a matter of something being planned in advance (eg Dawn) and pre-referenced, or whether themes grow out of little theme seeds in a more organic way.

    In what ways do you feel season 8 grows out of earlier seasons? How does it knock down the pins set up in other seasons, in terms of characters, relationships, ideology, mythos, subtexts, themes etc? Does it introduce completely new elements, too? Is it a brave new world or a variation upon a familiar setup? Is the Big Honking Castle simply Revello Drive writ large?

    I was rewatching Becoming part II earlier and I was struck by Snyder's snark when Buffy comes to the library, where Kendra was recently murdered, to fetch a sword:

    Snyder: You do know this is a crime scene, don't you? (Buffy looks up
    at him approaching) But then... you're a criminal, so that pretty much
    works out.


    Buffy's criminality or deviance is something that hovers in the background, and sometimes comes to the foreground, in seasons 1-7. She has various run ins with the police, for crimes she did and did not commit (eg getting arrested with Faith, when she was guilty, or getting done for Kendra's murder, when she was not). She's a fringe element in Sunnydale society, both in high school social terms - no one knows what to make of her, they even have to invent a new award at Prom because she doesn't fit into the class clown/prom queen etc moulds.

    When she stars sleeping with Spike in season 6, she becomes a sexual deviant and outcast, literally sleeping with the enemy. Spike tells her that "vampires get you hot" - she's a vampesbian.

    These ideas of sexual otherness/rule breaking and criminality come back in both more and less dramatic ways in season 8. She becomes more of a criminal than even Snyder could've predicted, an international jewel thief...but with a robin hood twist, since she's doing it to fund her saving the world enterprise. THat doesn't exactly make it kosher, but she's no Faith, either. It's not Want Take Have... not yet, at least... though her tea leafing is muddled up with sexuality, as is her authority (she finds it hot to be called Ma'am, Xander finds it hot that she steals diamonds).

    Muddled morality is the order of the day for season 8. It's not about right and wrong, it's about...well, making it up and hoping for the best, perhaps? It's about sleeping with someone who's somewhere between inferior officer, apt pupil and family member. First word jail, second word bait? Or a skill-and-spiritual equal (and coiffure-related superior)?

    Buffy is now unambiguously a criminal. She's turned the gay metaphor of slayerness ("Have you tried not being the slayer...it's because you didn't have a strong father figure, isn't it?") into literal hot!gay!sex, but without the simple directness of Willow's "Gay Now". It's more gay now...now not....now again a bit...no, again...not so much. But keep calling me m'aam...oh yeah.

    So, to the floor. Are there any themes (or what you will) in season 8 that pick up where other seasons, old or more recent, left off?


    -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

  • #2
    Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post

    When she stars sleeping with Spike in season 6, she becomes a sexual deviant and outcast, literally sleeping with the enemy. Spike tells her that "vampires get you hot" - she's a vampesbian.
    I always thought of her as a necropheliac. Vampesbian is good too though!

    Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
    So, to the floor. Are there any themes (or what you will) in season 8 that pick up where other seasons, old or more recent, left off?
    I think the only thing that seems to be a recurring theme or at least recurring part of Buffy's character, is how she's always alone and cut off from everyone. I thought once the end of season 7 happened she would be less lonely now and would be able to have more of a life but from what we've seen she has completely reverted back to basically season 6 Buffy. She doesn't feel anything and turns to the wrong person to try and feel something. A misjudgement for both characters, although I feel Buffy's a little more at fault in the matter. All the other scoobies are distant. Yeah every once in awhile we'll get some scooby bonding going on but it's usually taken away and forgotten by all the non-scooby bonding going on. Oh another theme that's going on is that she's still not having a good relationship with Giles. That being carried over from season 7. I do kind of wish they reconcile though. I like me some Ripper.
    T _A _T _E _R _S'____ W _O _R _L _D

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    • #3
      Originally posted by holypotatoes View Post
      I always thought of her as a necropheliac. Vampesbian is good too though!
      Can't take credit for it - Ravyn (who was on Buffyworld, and on here for a while I think) came up with it. Good word though!

      If she was a necrophiliac, she'd have to do plain old corpses and zombies too.
      But maybe she just hasn't met the right zombie?


      I think the only thing that seems to be a recurring theme or at least recurring part of Buffy's character, is how she's always alone and cut off from everyone.
      Oh, I've just thought of another - there's the conflict in her between fun and duty, between being "in the fight" and longing to escape, even if that escape is into something nasty - whether it's sex with someone she hates or a loonie bin.

      I think the Daniel Craig scenario in "Anywhere but here" captures that beautifully - Buffy wants to fight evil and confront it, but at the same time, there are things she craves that pull her away from the mission: hot guys in small trunks... baby oil...that sort of thing.

      Sometimes when Buffy escapes, it isn't into somewhere better. In season 5, she goes into herself, in Weight of the World, becoming catatonic... in season 6, Normal Again, we see her retreat into a made up world (Or is it....? Dun dun duuuuhn).

      In Anywhere but here, she retreats into a game of anywhere but here, but she's also offered an "escape" from the world into the fantasy/nightmare space that's guarded by Robin.


      This isn't a fun escape, she's not running away as it's part of the mission... but it does contrast with Buffy's role as the leader/general of an army, the head of a household of sorts (well, a castlehold). In this labyrinthe, she's kind of playing babes in the wood with Willow, existing in a fairytale space of spiral staircases, where she isn't holding things together or giving orders - she's being pulled apart, just like time is. All the bad things are exposed, assumptions are questioned. While suited and booted "duty" Buffy has to be whole and keep her shit together, "escape" Buffy can fall apart. Not that she wants to... but there's that tension within her between order and chaos that plays out here.


      I thought once the end of season 7 happened she would be less lonely now and would be able to have more of a life but from what we've seen she has completely reverted back to basically season 6 Buffy. She doesn't feel anything and turns to the wrong person to try and feel something. A misjudgement for both characters, although I feel Buffy's a little more at fault in the matter. All the other scoobies are distant. Yeah every once in awhile we'll get some scooby bonding going on but it's usually taken away and forgotten by all the non-scooby bonding going on. Oh another theme that's going on is that she's still not having a good relationship with Giles. That being carried over from season 7. I do kind of wish they reconcile though. I like me some Ripper. [/QUOTE]


      -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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      • #4
        Originally posted by holypotatoes View Post
        I thought once the end of season 7 happened she would be less lonely now and would be able to have more of a life but from what we've seen she has completely reverted back to basically season 6 Buffy. She doesn't feel anything and turns to the wrong person to try and feel something. A misjudgement for both characters, although I feel Buffy's a little more at fault in the matter. All the other scoobies are distant. Yeah every once in awhile we'll get some scooby bonding going on but it's usually taken away and forgotten by all the non-scooby bonding going on. Oh another theme that's going on is that she's still not having a good relationship with Giles. That being carried over from season 7. I do kind of wish they reconcile though. I like me some Ripper.
        I disagree with this

        I don't think Buffy is anywhere near the emotional bad place she was in season six. When Buffy says she doesn't feel the connection I don't believe she's necessarily talking about the Scoobies and more the slayers. Both Xander and Willow chalk this up to her position as general more than anything else. "She's the general. We're the army. And that's never going to change?" And doesn't that sentence just make you think it will indeed change. Buffy in season six would have never went to Xander for emotional support like she did in 'A Beautiful Sunset' she was frank and honest and let someone in, and that she's a lot of progression on Buffy's part. We saw how easier it became for Buffy after confiding in Tara during season six, and now she did it in Xander.

        Buffy's not in the best of places, she's disconnected from Giles and to some extent Dawn but I've revaluated her friendship with Willow after this latest issue and don't think they're in anywhere near the emotional bad place I suspected they'd be in after 'Anywhere But Here.' And she's very close to Xander. She's got some work to do, but she's shaping up to be an individual who lets others in about her feelings, who showed her feelings rather than turning on everyone in 'Wolves At The Gate' unlike how she acted in 'Get It Done' and that's all positive signs she's returning to a healthier, 's1-s4/s5' Buffy than the last two televised seasons.

        I know Wolfie and King at least think she's in a better place but IMO people are portraying Buffy as being more messed up than she actually is this season, poor girl Not to say she's in the best of places, there's some morally dubious things going on with her, but emotionally she's far better.

        ~ Banner by Nina ~

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        • #5
          I think the epeisode with the most forshadowing in was restless. the line from Tara in restless i think forshadows alot of seeason eight

          Tara:
          You think you know. What's to come. What you are. You haven't even begun.

          The bit 'What you are' makes me think that she was talking about Buffy being a leader and that Buffy doesnt know that she is a leader.

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          • #6
            My feeling is that Buffy is not in the right sort of position in Season 8. The contrast between herself and her little platoon on the one hand, and the Initiative on the other hand in Season 4, illustrated the essential nature of Buffy, including her "buffyness" as Wolfie puts it.

            She is the natural, and informal, leader of a small band of semi anarchic outsiders and eccentrics who fight spiritual and supernatural bad guys. She needs to get back to that if she is to resume her true quest, to know the meaning of the enigmatic utterance : "what you are..whats to come.You haven't even begun."

            She is not naturally employed commanding an army. She does not have,nor should she seek, the bureaucratic and political skills needed for that function. Of course it grew out of the unsatisfactory situation in Season 7, but that was forced upon her by circumstances.

            As C.S.Lewis advises: "When you are on the wrong road, the quickest way home is to turn around, and go back to the place where you took the wrong turning."
            Last edited by Michael; 29-05-08, 03:48 AM.

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            • #7
              The only flaw in that theory, Michael, is that portion of the path isn't open to resume. Season's one through seven might be compared roughly to the stages of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth, the call to adventure, trials, the ultimate boon, and the application of the ultimate boon; The monomyth was completed in the final episode of the seventh season in which Buffy saved and changed the world. In that season Buffy became self-actualized, fulfilled each step of the monomyth and concluded her story. She can no longer be considered an outsider and her story can no longer be considered the story of an outsider because she altered the world and herself such that she no longer is.

              In Season 8, Joss has recommenced the monomyth, Buffy is no longer continuing her journey to understand herself in terms of her slayer power and girl-power but rather her power as a leader; The Character and her story have changed. The "what you are and what's to come," have also consequently changed.

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              • #8
                AllenGray,
                I know that you are right, but I cannot resist a nostalgic lament. Actually with Wolfie and tangent and Stormwreath on another thread we have been looking at Arthurian parallels and possibilities.

                And I have just been watching Kenneth Branagh's production of Henry V. King Harry translates easily into Buffy. She should have talked to her troops in Season 7 like the King:
                "There are none of you so base that she hath not lustre in her eyes."
                "Every woman who fights with me today is my sister"
                "The Lord bless thee noble Buffy"
                Well, it would be a start.
                (It has a wonderful anthem at the end of Agincourt.)

                Last night I had another look,after many years, at John Boorman's Excalibur and felt again the emotions and symbolism of the sword in the stone, which is connected with Buffy's scythe, which was also in stone. But the Arthurian sword is not just or even mainly for battle, but represents the sacred calling of kingship. Something similar,though not a royal crown, must lie in the future for Buffy. Or something better. It must be something that will set off a numinous tingle inside one.

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                • #9
                  Anyone else notice [8.15 spoiler]
                  Spoiler:
                  how this line from Restless was used again by the snake lady in the preview for 8.15? Sounds like she's connected to the slayer line somehow?


                  I do wonder though if Joss is willing to address the moral ambiguity of what's going on in her life and new role. She's much more powerful then she was, so I suppose that makes it easier for her to make mistakes because no one else is making the decisions. But yeah she is also more open in her friendship.. at least with Xander, which is really nice and keeps a foundation there.
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