Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Buffy 8.21 "Harmonic Divergence" Spoiler Discussion Thread

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Buffy 8.21 "Harmonic Divergence" Spoiler Discussion Thread

    I'm not sure.

    Harmony as a media sensation I get. Vampires as part of the popular culture, even, I get (helped in part by "True Blood"). Slayers as figures of suspicion, I get. But...

    I'm not sure.

    It's funny, which is important. I loved Harmony and Clem, I liked Andrew doing the recruiting thing. I liked Buffy's trite speech over the phone... she's supposed to be the closer but must be kind of lazy.

    The Slayer character was fascinating, and I *thought* I knew where the issue was going -- she was going to kill Harmony on TV and make Slayers instant public enemies. Instead, she's killed and drained on TV and... Slayers are still public enemies. Hmmm.

    Of course, the media can spin anything and create anything, but that still seems pretty hard to buy. And I get that the big fascist Slayer notion comes right out of the "Brownskirts" essay (which I actually didn't agree with much). But... I'm not sure.

    One of my biggest concerns from 8.01 was that Joss was going to just bail on any "Buffyness" to Season 8 and make it a weak, politicized war on terror allegory in which the "terrorists" are the sympathetic figures and the culture and state that reject and pursue them are the close-minded etc etc you get the idea. This issue brings all that right back up again, and it's just as crappy an idea now as it was then.

    This new direction could be exquisitely fun and a commentary on media, on the cult of personality, on the importance of having good press over having reality on your side. I certainly hope that any attempt at "Buffy" as social commentary is confined along those lines.

    As to the characters, I liked the little Scooby stuff, like the unicorn taking interest in Dawn. I liked all of their genuine concern and discomfort about Harmony being on Anderson Cooper. Personally, I hope they answer back in kind -- get Buffy or Xander or Kennedy on Greta Van Susteren or something and fire back. Harmony has *killed people*. Vampires have wiped out towns, Angelus tried to destroy the world, all that stuff. And, honestly, aside from that -- keep Slaying. Don't back down. If it were me, I would ignore the media blitz and put the hit out on Harmony. She killed a Slayer. She doesn't walk away from that. Eff the cameras.
    sigpic
    Banner by LRae12

  • #2
    My review of Buffy Season 8 #21 Harmonic Divergence. It's definitely meaty fare after the lighter mindtrip of #20 After These Messages.

    So after Buffy's messages of 'we're still the same, just like the high school years' and 'we've got a world to save', we're right back to the main themes of Season 8: connection, power, perception and the subjectivity of reality. Harmonic Divergence does a great job of building on After These Messages by showing how out of touch Buffy is with the outside world ("Right? They can tell who's wearing the white hats") which goes to show that our mindtrip last issue with Buffy was one of self-delusion. Things are just the same as they've always been according to our titular slayer. Well, no. They really aren't, Buffy. Harmonic Divergence blows those messages out of the water.

    Buffy changed the world and now it's all different. There's no longer one, but thousands. And unfortunately the ones in charge of recruiting aren't getting the job done. A Hispanic slayer comes into her power, the power that enables her to escape her gang ties and "changes stuff". Plus side. Downside? Andrew and Buffy bungle recruiting her. Actually, it's Buffy who bungles it. The new slayer is "in" after Andrew's speech about destiny and protecting the weak. Then comes the phone call to Buffy with the "crappy connection" (*cough*connection*cough*) where Buffy gives her spiel about "togetherness! unity! sisterhood!" and the new slayer doesn't want to drink the kool-aid. She's heard "those words" before when she joined the Las Cuchillas gang. Buffy's spiel, bad connection notwithstanding, probably didn't ring true for the Senorita Slayer because Buffy's admittedly having trouble feeling that connection herself ("Connection. Why can't I feel it?" - A Beautiful Sunset). How can she explain something empowering and enlightening that she's not a part of?

    The consequences of the Chosen spell crystallize in this one slayer's origin tale. She comes into her power but slips the leash of Buffy's Slayer army. Goes rogue from the establishment. No mentors, no allies, no understanding of her duty beyond this: slayer + stake = dead vampire. The danger of power without understanding its gravity. Not realizing that the fight is conducted in the shadows, not in front of camera crews - all to keep humanity out of the crossfire and not on Anderson Cooper. A PR nightmare waiting to happen when the noob slayer attacks in front of the whole world, outting the slayers and making them "the enemy". The Slayer power is out of control and dividing the protectors (slayers) from those they would protect (humanity). Slayers are "the best villains since Nazis" and the equivalent of an LA gang. The allusions to fascism in The Chain are coming back to haunt us.

    Espenson also clarifies one of the ways that potentials post-Chosen who come of age become slayers. Senorita Slayer turns sixteen in this issue and feels the fighty, glowy power. One week later, Andrew comes to recruit her and calls Buffy. This is, at minimum, a year and a half after Chosen and who knows how long into Season 8 but Dawn is a centaur when Buffy tries to welcome Senorita to her 'gang'. So we have a potential who wasn't a slayer til she turned sixteen. This means that there's something about age that matters and that "every girl who could have the power, will have the power" once she comes of age. Buffy became a slayer at 15 so perhaps it's more the case of when the girl is ready, when she's matured to the point of being ready for the power.

    We also get our first glimpse of a non-Hell-A in this issue. Harmony's on a roll and the Hollywood system seems untouched in its superficial glory. There's also a none too subtle mocking of reality TV shows - they're all slaves to their impulses, mindless drones to Harmony's bite only looking to capitalize on the cache of her vampire stardom. No greater philosophical interest in good and evil beyond how they can spin it and make it sell. Reality TV star Harmony is sucking the life out of her fans and they foolishly clamor for more - it makes them "feel weaker, but...that's okay". So clearly, Hollywood is still the same. So what does this mean for the consequences of After the Fall? Has Harmony been in LA the entire time and only Angel's gang were sent to an alternate LA dimension? Is that why the one outside glimpse of LA by the Asylum crew showed it as being business as usual?

    Coming back to Harmony, she appears to have been continuing her 'don't kill' policy learned at W&H. Although she's modified it to limiting herself to drinking human blood straight from the source, but from willing victims. As Giles' categorized it in Into the Woods, it's "ambiguous evil" that doesn't require a slayer's full focus. Bigger fish to fry, less ambiguous evil to slay. But Senorita Slayer doesn't know about the gray morality of the underworld. And she's the one who gets caught in the crossfire. Buffy handed her a weapon she wasn't prepared to use and it ended tragically. Hello consequences.
    sigpic

    Banner Set by thedothatgirl

    Comment


    • #3
      As I said on lj nice review love. It sounds like an interesting issue. I shall look forward to getting hold of my copy at some point.

      "So what does this mean for the consequences of After the Fall?"
      I think it means what I've suspected all along, that two publishing companies aren't going to have storylines that fit with each other, because basically they don't have too. Well I should say Darkhorse doesn't have to.

      If it were me, I would ignore the media blitz and put the hit out on Harmony. She killed a Slayer. She doesn't walk away from that. Eff the cameras.
      sueworld
      Banned
      Last edited by sueworld; 07-01-09, 09:57 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by sueworld View Post
        I think it means what I've suspected all along, that two publishing companies aren't going to have storylines that fit with each other, because basically they don't have too. Well I should say Darkhorse doesn't have to.
        Without getting into another pissing contest concerning Darkhorse and IDW and letting it ruin a thread that's not related; I don't see that happening. The companies are irrelevant, what is relevant is that Joss was involved with both stories and it wouldn't make sense for him to choose one over the other. Emmie's explanation works fine.

        Nice review Emmie, can't wait to get my hands on the issue.

        ~ Banner by Nina ~

        Comment


        • #5
          I know that this thread is not about ATF; but I wanted to point out that we saw too many people in hell who had nothing to do with Angel and his team for a while (Kate, Groo and Gwen) or who never had anything to do with Angel before (the streetprophet and the girl from the cinema and also Beta George). The option that only Angel's team is sent to hell is not high on my list. Although nothing is impossible.

          But that doesn't mean that it can't fit together. If ATF happens in a couple of months and the same time happens in the real world, Hell-LA will return before season 8 starts and that it's rebuild before issue #21 happens. I think as well that Joss won't let this two stories contradict eachother, I'm more worried about Aftermath because Joss has no time to help with that one.


          And I really want to read this issue as well, it sounds interesting and fun.
          Nina
          and her haircut.
          Last edited by Nina; 07-01-09, 11:09 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with you Nina that it appears everyone who was in LA at the time was probably sent there, which I guess leaves us with wondering wether or not Harmony could have got out of LA fast enough? We can pin point the change happening at some point during the alley way fight, which could be at least a good hour or so after Harmony hightails it out of there, perhaps even longer. There was never any real indication of how long the fights went on between Angel/Hamilton ect. Perhaps Harmony managed to get out of the limits of the spell then returned later? During LA's glamour?

            Or the more likely scenario, given how season eight takes place after 'After the Fall' began, LA's already back out of Hell.

            ~ Banner by Nina ~

            Comment


            • #7
              She is in LA right now, and as far as we know LA isn't there around the time of ATF. They would notice it if the city was there but the people in it aren't. So I guess that we can assume that LA returns some time before issue 21. About Harmony leaving LA before it went to hell; I can't see how. Why would she run away from LA and not go to her house after what happened? And I'm not sure if there was enough time to get out the city, she was in downtown LA when Angel and Hamilton started to fight. I think that there is a bigger chance that she was/is in LA but didn't show herself.

              Comment


              • #8
                My supposition about Harmony being separate from Hell-A was just because there's no remaining trauma for the town or Harmony. Hollywood is still just Hollywood. So either it's a reset or where Angel and Co. are is apart from where Harmony is now. An alternate dimension where certain individuals were sent (no limit on who really). But Harmony and LA aren't showing the wear and tear of the Hell-A experience. And there's also the scene where the Asylum crew switch on the TV to look at LA and it's normal.
                sigpic

                Banner Set by thedothatgirl

                Comment


                • #9
                  WOW!

                  Again?Wow!

                  This might be my favorite issue. If the rest of this arc is near as good as this one, this will be my favorite arc easily.


                  Harmony: Harmony plays a big part, I think, in why the public becomes so sympathetic towards vampires. At the beginning of the issue the secret of vampires is out (the big question is how did this happen) and people are curious about them, but I got the impression that Harmony was the first vampire the wider public was exposed to. Harmony is the most human vampire in the Buffyverse, and actually became a better person due to being vamped. Even now, a year after not working for Angel, she doesn't seem to have gone back to killing humans. She doesn't want to murder, steal, destroy towns, or the world ? she just wants to be famous. The cameras follow her around, but "nothing much ever happens." It makes sense that her audience wouldn't really understand a super powered chick trying to kill her.


                  Sweet Sixteen Slayer:
                  What a loss! This girl not only had the guts and resolve to stand up to a gang and say, "I want out", but the drive to go after the first vampire she sees. She genuinely wanted to protect people from themselves and those that would victimize them. She was just, you know, sixteen. If she had trained even a little bit (even on her own) before going out, she would have made a hell of a Slayer.

                  Buffy and Company: What's kind of tragic about this is that Buffy seems to have taken her lesson from issue 20 to heart. From the little we saw of the Scooby gang, they're closer than they've been in years. Every time we see them they're together, and they're in real person clothes! Seeing Willow in overalls and Xander in jeans made me happier than I would have expected, considering I've never been one to complain about their clothes this season. But the Scoobs are hanging out together in the country, and they're watching TV together, and Dawn is completely included. Seeing Willow and Xander braiding Dawn's tail was hilarious. As was them saving her from the unicorn! Buffy finally seems to have her personal world in some kind of working order?meanwhile everything else has gone to hell.

                  Andrew: Andrew was really fantastic this issue. Although, to be fair, he's always fantastic. First of all, it was his commercial (which I'm more and more sure was his idea) that again gave a slayer an inkling of what was happening to her. Second, either he himself figured out that another Slayer had been called and where she was, or he was specifically chosen to go recruit her. Either way it makes sense, because his recruitment is pitch perfect. He starts off with the basic, generic line that probably wins over the vast majority of Slayers "no conscience, no empathy, soulless, etc". But the SSS, isn't impressed ("Uh-huh.") and is probably thinking, "Yeah, that sounds like a lot of the people I grew up around. Where were you guys when I had to join a gang I hated just to make sure I could survive to sixteen?" Andrew, seeing this, instantly changes his pitch, and picks the perfect words to hook this Slayer in. It's almost a little scary how well he manipulated the situation to his advantage, which I'll get to in a second. After he has her raring to go, Buffy unfortunately ruins everything. Should have just stuck with "Welcome!", Buff. Unfortunately, Andrew did too good a job, and the SSS was still raring to go and absolutely convinced that vampires needed to be destroyed, even if she's going it alone. Then, at the end, it's Buffy and Andrew having a little powwow about the latest revelation. Overall, with the amazing light they're casting on Andrew, I don't see how anyone can keep on with the assertions that he's incompetent or bumbling or just a joke. Which is why I believe that he's going to be turned evil soon. He's either Twilight's man inside Buffy's operation, or he might even be Twilight himself (though he's far down my list). Joss rarely makes anyone look good without turning around and making them look really, really bad.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Emmie View Post
                    And there's also the scene where the Asylum crew switch on the TV to look at LA and it's normal.
                    That's what I was thinking. It's possible that people have visited LA and it appears normal to them, as if Hell A is a world below. Which would mean that if Harmony had got out of town she could have returned to this pleasant glamour of LA and no one would be the wiser. Of course it still poses questions like Nina said; could she really have gotten out of town that fast? Why would she leave town and return home? I think we can fanwank the leaving town bit, it's not that ridiculous to suggest she'd do it, she did it in 'Disharmony' when she'd betrayed the good guys, nothing to suggest she wouldn't hightail it out of there again.. but getting out in time, well I'm just not sure she'd have succeeded in the time frame given.

                    ~ Banner by Nina ~

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't see that happening.
                      I gotta say I do.

                      The option that only Angel's team is sent to hell is not high on my list. Although nothing is impossible.
                      Mine neither I'm afraid.

                      The only thing that I'm dreading about this issue is having to see more Andrew. I still can't get a grip on his character being so trusted by Buffy and co.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Emmie View Post
                        And there's also the scene where the Asylum crew switch on the TV to look at LA and it's normal.
                        It could be a spell, W&H are powerful enough to do spells like that to cover up the loss of a whole city. Maybe LA is missing but nobody is seeing or noticing it because of the spell. I think that it was KoC who had a great theory; he suggested that there is some spell that makes people be not interested in LA. It was also weird that Beck was so easy with calling George crazy to go on with being bored. And can you imagine that Nina's sister returns from Mexico and can't find her sister and friends? Or what if she tries to call Nina? The only way too keep it a secret is too make sure nobody contacts or goes to LA.
                        Nina
                        and her haircut.
                        Last edited by Nina; 08-01-09, 12:02 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by XavierZane View Post
                          Buffy and Company: What’s kind of tragic about this is that Buffy seems to have taken her lesson from issue 20 to heart. From the little we saw of the Scooby gang, they’re closer than they’ve been in years. Every time we see them they’re together, and they’re in real person clothes! Seeing Willow in overalls and Xander in jeans made me happier than I would have expected, considering I’ve never been one to complain about their clothes this season. But the Scoobs are hanging out together in the country, and they’re watching TV together, and Dawn is completely included. Seeing Willow and Xander braiding Dawn’s tail was hilarious. As was them saving her from the unicorn! Buffy finally seems to have her personal world in some kind of working order…meanwhile everything else has gone to hell.
                          That's something I can't wait to see for myself! It's good to know that Buffy's taken some of what she learnt in 'After These Messages' and has actually grown from it, far too often she's had epiphanies which she never follows through with, it's good to see, for now at least, it seems to have stuck. I think it’s a great point you’ve brought up about concerning their clothes. Like yourself I’ve had no qualms with how any of the characters have dressed this season, I think Xander’s attire is appropriate seeing as how he’s actually *at work* and Buffy’s battle gear practical, she’s running an army and she has the money to make it well protected- why wouldn’t she make armour for herself and her girls? But it’s a great point that when the Scoobies appear to be so at comfort and close to one another, their clothing changes to how we are used to seeing them, it symbolises when the characters are at ease with themselves. Great to hear that Dawn’s included with the gang as well!

                          Great review

                          ~ Banner by Nina ~

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by XavierZane View Post

                            Sweet Sixteen Slayer:
                            What a loss! This girl not only had the guts and resolve to stand up to a gang and say, "I want out", but the drive to go after the first vampire she sees. She genuinely wanted to protect people from themselves and those that would victimize them. She was just, you know, sixteen. If she had trained even a little bit (even on her own) before going out, she would have made a hell of a Slayer.
                            I liked her -- and her position was no more inappropriate than Buffy's, Angel's, and the Scoobies' in "Lie To Me". Harmony was going to do harm to them, if nothing else, she was getting them to ignore the danger vampires pose and arguably going to kill some (turn them) herself. She was completely right to try to take out Harmony.

                            Buffy and Company: What's kind of tragic about this is that Buffy seems to have taken her lesson from issue 20 to heart. From the little we saw of the Scooby gang, they're closer than they've been in years. Every time we see them they're together, and they're in real person clothes! Seeing Willow in overalls and Xander in jeans made me happier than I would have expected, considering I've never been one to complain about their clothes this season. But the Scoobs are hanging out together in the country, and they're watching TV together, and Dawn is completely included. Seeing Willow and Xander braiding Dawn's tail was hilarious. As was them saving her from the unicorn! Buffy finally seems to have her personal world in some kind of working order?meanwhile everything else has gone to hell.
                            Loved the Scooby stuff. Especially the unicorn gag -- that's "Spike and Buffy in 'Him'" quality.

                            Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                            That's what I was thinking. It's possible that people have visited LA and it appears normal to them, as if Hell A is a world below. Which would mean that if Harmony had got out of town she could have returned to this pleasant glamour of LA and no one would be the wiser. Of course it still poses questions like Nina said; could she really have gotten out of town that fast? Why would she leave town and return home? I think we can fanwank the leaving town bit, it's not that ridiculous to suggest she'd do it, she did it in 'Disharmony' when she'd betrayed the good guys, nothing to suggest she wouldn't hightail it out of there again.. but getting out in time, well I'm just not sure she'd have succeeded in the time frame given.
                            Without any other information, we can only assume A) Harmony got out beforehand or B) the events of "Angel: After the Fall" conclude with LA out of hell and that Season 8 takes place later.

                            Originally posted by sueworld View Post
                            I gotta say I do.
                            It's the least likely explanation of all. Joss isn't going to promote both books as canon continuations and then make them completely discontinuous.
                            sigpic
                            Banner by LRae12

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well we know that Aftermath is going to reference this whole development so I think it's safe to say there is an explanation in store. Also this isn't the first time Angel and Buffy haven't synced up. Season Four of ATS and Season Seven of BTVS were connected but the real time of the show vs. the release timing meant that there was no way the shows could continue the canon in complete synchronization.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Saro49 View Post
                                Well we know that Aftermath is going to reference this whole development so I think it's safe to say there is an explanation in store. Also this isn't the first time Angel and Buffy haven't synced up. Season Four of ATS and Season Seven of BTVS were connected but the real time of the show vs. the release timing meant that there was no way the shows could continue the canon in complete synchronization.
                                I hate that! If you're doing a marathon of both series and begin Ats at the same time Btvs s4 starts everything works rosy, until season seven/season four.. where everything goes to hell and it takes some effort to put them in line so anything works right.

                                ~ Banner by Nina ~

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I wonder if Harmony "siding" with W&H has anything to do with her not being in the AU Hell-A? Perhaps her allegiance there at the end of "Not Fade Away" was rewarded with her not having to be with Angel Inc.

                                  The issue was interesting - nice little "Whedonverse Mythbuster" about Vampires not having to kill people when they drink blood. Really? Good!

                                  Emmie - Great Review! Loved this part:

                                  Buffy changed the world and now it's all different. There's no longer one, but thousands. And unfortunately the ones in charge of recruiting aren't getting the job done. A Hispanic slayer comes into her power, the power that enables her to escape her gang ties and "changes stuff". Plus side. Downside? Andrew and Buffy bungle recruiting her. Actually, it's Buffy who bungles it. The new slayer is "in" after Andrew's speech about destiny and protecting the weak. Then comes the phone call to Buffy with the "crappy connection" (*cough*connection*cough*) where Buffy gives her spiel about "togetherness! unity! sisterhood!" and the new slayer doesn't want to drink the kool-aid. She's heard "those words" before when she joined the Las Cuchillas gang. Buffy's spiel, bad connection notwithstanding, probably didn't ring true for the Senorita Slayer because Buffy's admittedly having trouble feeling that connection herself ("Connection. Why can't I feel it?" - A Beautiful Sunset). How can she explain something empowering and enlightening that she's not a part of?
                                  Absolutely! Which to me emphasizes that Andrew - being new to "good" (1/3 Troikin ) still "Believes" in what they are doing. It can't be all coincidence that Warren (Troikin deux) is working with Twilight.

                                  Andrew is awesome - and perhaps this is why he and Buffy will be paired up for this assignment in Rome. Maybe he will give her some insight into "Why We Fight".

                                  I am still waiting for the Pomeranians to turn into vamps...
                                  -TP<3
                                  "At that point I'd love a fight and a heart to heart and then of course naughtiness and happy ever after."
                                  - Dorian's Kitten re: Spuffy Reunion

                                  Spuffy Videos!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Saro49 View Post
                                    Well we know that Aftermath is going to reference this whole development so I think it's safe to say there is an explanation in store.
                                    We do? Thats a new one on me. Where did they say that then?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think Saro is assuming that because of the cover featuring Angel and what looks like demon paparazzi...

                                      (set made by Francy for me)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Well I don't think they should get their hopes up. As you well know covers can be terribly misleading.

                                        Brain said as much on IDW, so we'll have to see what he means when it's released.

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X