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Buffy's character regression

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  • Buffy's character regression

    It is notable how Buffy is slipping away from her humanity and her moral self that we've seen on the show. I do see it as a logical continuation of S7, especially that we're missing and year and a half before S8, but what explanations do you have for these actions of regression:

    - She keeps delaying Dawn's problem, even though it's a huge one.
    - She robbed a bank to fund her slayers.
    - She cut her relationship with Giles completely (I'm not so sure about this one, since she called him in #10)
    - She slept with Satsu who had feelings for her even though Buffy didn't have feelings her and didn't really swing that way.
    - She let some innocent bystanders be killed for the "big picture"
    Last edited by Sosa lola; 14-09-08, 01:08 PM.
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  • #2
    I wrote a lot about this in the Buffy thread. I think that it is interesting that the writers finally have the guts to do this, after they did this already many times with Angel. Angel fell hard on his face in season 2, when he changed his job from protecting innocents into killing the big bad guys. The same happened to him in season 5 when he wanted to bring the Senior Partners down.

    But at the same time, Wesley and Giles have both the big picture thinking role in a 'positive' way. It was Wesley who almost killed Faith off to save Angel because Angel is 'more important' for the big picture, he is the one who stabbed the girl to find out where Angelus was. Giles is the one who tried to kill Spike in LMPTM, he killed Ben ... and they are needed, their actions are needed.

    I think that Buffy and Angel both need a person like Wesley/Giles ... but they shouldn't do it themselves. So I think that we should compare Buffy to Angel in season 2/5, she will find out the hard way that this isn't the way ... that this isn't her job.

    And I do think that Buffy sleeping with Satsu is not part of the bank robbing, the letting people die for the greater good etc. Using Satsu was for herself, it had nothing to do with the bigger picture ... the same for ignoring Dawn. Those two things are part of her superiority complex/ feeling alone story. I hope that they will do something with that story as well, because after 4 seasons ... it's time for a conclusion of that storyline ...

    The other things are the same story as Angel's big picture thinking story ... a hero who lost his actual path and will find it back somewhere after he/she fell deep and come back stronger than before.

    I hope that the writers have the guts to let Buffy fall, because if they don't ... It will destroy the story and the character.
    Last edited by Nina; 15-09-08, 12:06 AM.

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    • #3
      I don't believe sleeping with Satsu really falls into the same category as some of her other dubious decisions this season. It's certainly not the best decision she's ever made, it's not the smartest, but it's nowhere near as *morally* questionable as some of her other actions.

      Buffy was always forth coming with Satsu about where she stood in the relationship. It wasn't a case of Buffy leading a younger woman by the hand, stringing her on, then telling her it can't evolve into anything after she's had a romp in the sack. Buffy cares about Satsu, she genuinely does, we see it in episodes like 'A Beautiful Sunset' where she takes time out to talk to Satsu to clear the air. She could have continued ignoring it but she didn't for Satsu's sake.

      And Satsu's a smart girl, far smarter than some people give her credit for. She knew what this was going into the relationship and no one forced her to sleep with Buffy, she knew the circumstances but chose to anyway. After the sex she says "But you're not gay..." and she knows this to be the fact because Buffy tells her this before sleeping with her. It was always emotionally up front and honest between the two of them.

      And Buffy cared about Satsu's feelings, she not the kind of person who tries to kick Satsu out after the sex, in fact she makes it explicitly clear that's not what she's saying at all.

      It's questionable because Buffy slept with a subordinate but I don't think it's as bad in the other areas.

      With the bank robbing you can kind of see where Buffy may have had trouble drawing the line. She stole the rocket launcher in 'Innocence' because she believed it was required to save the world. She robbed the bank for the same reason. She's broken the law many, many times since she was the slayer, eventually it was going to get a bit more blurry about what's acceptable and what isn't for her. I'm glad they've touched on it really.

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      • #4
        - She keeps delaying Dawn's problem, even though it's a huge one.

        I never read it that way. Dawn seems more at fault than Buffy. Dawn refused to talk about what happened to her to anybody but Willow for awhile, then she lied to Willow once Willow showed up, then she finally told Xander the (maybe) truth. Ultimately it seems they've come to the conclusion that whatever the Thricewise did is irreversible and she's just going to have to ride out the remaining transformations.

        - She robbed a bank to fund her slayers.

        Yeah, still not seeing a problem with this. She and the Scoobies have a long history of stealing things they need or blowing up sh*t in their way. The law has always been subservient to the Slayer, and i don't see why it's a problem now, when actual money is involved rather than a bazooka or a Winnebago. People have argued that it's too indulgent, that they don't need everything they've bought, but, in the end, if they had been without a helicopter they could not have retrieved Dracula, who was a deciding factor in Wolves at the Gate. If they had no private jet they would not have been able to get anyone, let alone the whole Scotland squad, to Japan in time to prevent the deslayerizing spell. they seem to be just as equipped as they need to be to deal with threats on a global scale.

        - She cut her relationship with Giles completely (I'm not so sure about this one, since she called him in #10)

        Again, it seems to me that Giles was doing the cutting. He deliberately kept her in the dark about his operation and then point blank refused to talk to her about it when confronted. Buffy gave him the help he needed despite that, and then we see Giles riding off into the sunset with Faith. That's all we've seen, and it doesn't put Buffy in a bad light in my opinion.

        - She slept with Satsu who had feelings for her even though Buffy didn't have feelings her and didn't really swing that way.

        She was upfront at all stages about how she felt and very considerate towards Satsu throughout. Satsu is an adult who has shown herself to be completely capable of making her own decisions ("I'll see you on the battlefield, Ma'am."). And it was pretty heavily implied during her conversation with Willow that Satsu was the one who seduced Buffy.

        - She let some innocent bystanders be killed for the "big picture"

        This is meant to give us pause, and show how much Buffy has changed, I'll admit, but I think people have taken a much too black and white view on the subject.

        Fray jumps into the fight without thinking, much like Faith, against five or six vampires. She's a good Slayer and takes them out, but while she's busy four out of five of the victims are still spirited away to be turned into vampires. She saves one person, which I'm not belittling, but the van still made it away, there are still a fleet of them cruising around the city picking up meals and canon fodder, and she ends up being manipulated by Dark Willow.

        Buffy, meanwhile, manages to discover in one day the headquarters of Harth and the army that he's creating, which Fray has been searching for for a long time. If she was using the 'big picture' as an excuse to do nothing or to hold onto power it would be a different thing, but she thought about the big picture, found the big picture, and immediately sets out to destroy the big picture.

        Fray thought about the Fight, Buffy about the Battle. Both are legitimate positions to take in my opinion.

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        • #5
          I pretty much agree with XavierZane on every point. If Buffy has shown some signs of slippery than it's more in her reaction to Manhatten and that was all in good fun. In my opinion she hasn't slipped, she has only grown compared to S7.

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          • #6
            She slips every, only to be temporary rebuilt after seemingly hit rock bottom, at season's end only to repeat the cycle next year.
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            • #7
              I won't use the terms 'regression' or 'growth', but Buffy has become very dark, far too much so for me to put it down to corruption through power or anything like that. I think, or at least I hope, that there's something else going on there that we don't know about yet. Certainly there are hints that this may be the case.

              Namely, Buffy's become something of a coward and I can't figure out why. Since when was she scared of heights or of the dark? The latter certainly doesn't make much sense unless these fears are simply an expression of something else she may not really understand.

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              • #8
                Yeah, they've been doing the rinse-lather-repeat with Buffy descending, having an epiphany that lasts a couple months, and then going right back down, since Season 6. It's old. That's the only real creative criticism I have of Season 8 so far.

                I don't think Buffy having phobias is a bad thing, I think it's actually realistic and kind of reassuring. Phobias aren't signs of cowardice... if anything, they usually indicate some real bravery. Buffy still dove out of a skyscraper.
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                • #9
                  The breakdown in the relationship between Buffy and Giles was entirely due to Giles. He was the one who stopped talking.

                  I think Buffy is growing up, and this involves a loss of innocence. In war you have to choose the lesser evil very often, which does mean doing something evil, considered by itself. Letting some innocent people die in order to achieve a greater strategic prize is a familiar example.

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                  • #10
                    I think Buffy is proving a very complex character this season, but I don't think it's exactly a regression - I'm not sure what she's becoming, but it's not the person she used to be. Definitely not going back to season 6's bleakness, nor to the authoritarianism of season 7. She's showing mixed motives and she's clearly not found her footing in terms of how to react to the new circumstances. But it's keeping me interested as to where they're going to take her, and what the consequences will be. Like Nina, I don't want her to "get away with it" - I mean, I don't want all her moral greyness to go undealt with, or to be without consequences.

                    Re Giles, I think she showed dodgy judgement, both in cutting him off and in the reasons behind it. I think she should've sat down and talked things through with him, for starters. But also, I think she should've been more worried that he was hiring Faith for WETWORKS, than that he was cosying up with Faith. WETWORKS, Buffy! Exactly the shit the council used to pull in its bad old days. I wanted her to have more of a reaction to that, and it does make me think a bit less of her that she didn't.


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                    • #11
                      I am sure that Giles cut Buffy off. I think he knows that Buffy would not countenance wetworks. In my imagination I think Buffy knows that she is going to have to confront Giles sooner or later.
                      Last edited by Michael; 14-09-08, 10:58 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Buffy nearly killed Gigi herself when she learnt that she'd hurt other slayers, so if anything she's more inclined to agree with Giles than she is to not. As Wolfie states, Buffy was fuming because he had teamed up with Faith, it had very little to do about his proposed plan.

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                        • #13
                          I hardly think being afraid to leap off of a skyscraper not knowing how you'll survive the landing to be an unwarranted fear--or to have much to do with the height itself, per se!

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                          • #14
                            Buffy nearly killed Gigi in response to an homicidal attack from Gigi. It would have been self defense, but Faith intervened. It was Giles who refused to explain to Buffy what he was doing . Giles is responsible for the breakdown in relations.

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                            • #15
                              I also think Giles is the one responsible for their current lack of contact. He was wrong to go hire Faith, wrong to conceal it from Buffy, wrong to hold her out after she was attacked.

                              But Buffy was not defending herself from Genevieve at the time Faith intervened, at least not be any definition understood in American law, nor do I think she was morally entitled to kill her at that point. Genevieve was helpess and disarmed when Buffy was wielding the axe at that point. The threat had passed. Part of Genevieve's tragedy is that she was no match at all for Buffy or Faith in a fight. Faith kept Buffy from committing what would have essentially been an execution, and also protected her from an attack by Roden.
                              Last edited by KingofCretins; 15-09-08, 08:50 PM.
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                Yeah, they've been doing the rinse-lather-repeat with Buffy descending, having an epiphany that lasts a couple months, and then going right back down, since Season 6. It's old. That's the only real creative criticism I have of Season 8 so far.
                                They've been doing it since mid S2, with it only getting really blatant since S4.

                                Buffy enters the season feeling somewhat good about herself, then starts questioning herself, then something happens to both Willow and Xander, then all three have a temporary respite. Then things get really ugly for a little while usually right around the time Buffy has a major relationship problem surface for all to see. What follows next is a hollow re-union en route to a hasty reconcilation to allow for them to work together to defeat the big bad.
                                Buffy pledges to be more accepting of help and not be 'alone' anymore, etc...

                                Lather, rinse, repeat.

                                They've already set most of the above up rather nicely. Even turning Buffy being one of many slayers back into being 'The Slayer' as in the one who ends all magic, amongst other things.


                                I don't think Buffy having phobias is a bad thing, I think it's actually realistic and kind of reassuring. Phobias aren't signs of cowardice... if anything, they usually indicate some real bravery. Buffy still dove out of a skyscraper.
                                She's had a number of phobias..
                                -Being turned.
                                -The Slayer spirit itself within her, 'Fear itself'.

                                Being afraid of heights isn't that big of a deal to me. It's fairly common, so I've got no qualms or concerns about it.
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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                  I don't think Buffy having phobias is a bad thing, I think it's actually realistic and kind of reassuring. Phobias aren't signs of cowardice... if anything, they usually indicate some real bravery. Buffy still dove out of a skyscraper.
                                  Multiple phobias developing for no apparent reason over twelve to eighteen months? Realistic? It's as if Buffy's character development had been put on fast forwards and things that should have taken several years have happened in one and a half. There is even some evidence in text to suggest that the phobias may not be all they appear.
                                  BUFFY: No, no, I can’t go outside, I’m afraid of the dark.

                                  XANDER: Buffy, you *are* the dark.

                                  Flying out the window, Buffy answers Xander’s head as his body still stands in the room.

                                  BUFFY: That’s what I meant.
                                  Last edited by Anon; 17-09-08, 08:30 PM.

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