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Buffy 8.24 "Safe" Spoiler Discussion

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  • Buffy 8.24 "Safe" Spoiler Discussion

    This was the best issue in a good while, easily the best since the end of "Time Of Your Life" and arguably the best since "Wolves at the Gate".

    When we find Giles and Faith (who, as an aside, thankfully exude all the romantic tension of Detectives Munch and Finn on Law & Order: SVU), they are doing exactly the job we thought -- patrolling the night to help Slayers get a handle on what they're doing. Somewhat surprisingly, though, the first measure we see them apply to whether or not a Slayer is troubled is the fact that she ran out on her squad. That's a perfectly legitimate measure of someone being unhappy, but it's not a promising start for people who were hoping this subplot would somehow be a total condemnation of Buffy and her choices and her leadership. Giles and Faith (rightfully) understand that the "choice to be chosen" as their charge, Courtney, never Coco, refers to it, is by definition going to be reflected in one's choice to be involved with Buffy's deal or not.

    Faith's journey through this issue is very awesome, and for the second time, we get very informative flashbacks about her -- this time, her "first time", the first vampires she killed. One of them got away. From her very first night on the job, Faith's pattern of believing she falls short of what she should be.

    The Slayer Sanctuary is a brilliant concept, and its message is pretty clear -- you can't "unchoose" yourself and survive. You can't deny purpose, you can't ignore the world around you and your place in it and flourish. The Watcher that runs the "sanctuary" (actually, deathtrap), Duncan Fillworthe, thinks he deserves the hiding place even at the expense of the Slayers that came to him for shelter because, he, too, doesn't want to be part of the fight anymore since the world is just so ungrateful. One will pardon the expression after reading this issue, but apparently that IS exactly the type of wooly-headed liberal thinking that leads to being eaten. For him, and for every Slayer that came there. Ironically, fleeing the power that Buffy gave these girls drove these girls right back to the oppressive patriarchal structure of the Council, such as it was, and to their deaths.

    Giles' seems to come into all this with certain misgivings about the idea of being "out" of the fight, as he's already enthusing about the possibility of Faith's example being what will inspire the Slayers in the Sanctuary to find their courage and rejoin the fight. I somehow doubt that's what Twilight had in mind, and this issue I think takes him out of suspicion.

    It should have been raining -- when Giles, Faith, and Courtney take command of the murderous, undeserving townfolk of Hanselstadt (doesn't that mean death of Hansel? A bit on the nose isn't it? I'm assuming based on "kinderstadt"), it should have been raining. They are the message -- you don't stop the fight, not because you're scared, not because you think you deserve a break, and not even because you deserve the gratitude of the people you're protecting -- you fight because it needs done. "Safe" is in this way the convergence of and intellectual heir to both "Orpheus" and "Not Fade Away" from "Angel" as well as the entire vampires-in-public arc and the disbelief and doubt it creates in Buffy. If Faith and Giles survive, they'll be the role-models for who Buffy will have to be to stand against Twilight.
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  • #2
    Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
    It should have been raining -- when Giles, Faith, and Courtney take command of the murderous, undeserving townfolk of Hanselstadt (doesn't that mean death of Hansel? A bit on the nose isn't it? I'm assuming based on "kinderstadt")
    No, "City of Hansel". Death is "Tod", i.e. "Kindertod" (probably should have been "Kindestod", but then my German is getting pretty weak these days...)
    "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange..." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

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    • #3
      Maggie pointed that out for me All I did was think about the word, I didn't look it up or the spelling would have been a giveaway. But, still, even "City of Hansel" is a bit on the nose.

      I played a RPG once with a friend way back, and he was GMing and told me my character heard a siren. I said I'll go toward it. He said "you are now entering SECTION D-E-D. The siren is louder." I said I'll go toward it. He said "you are now entering SECTION D-D-R. The siren is louder." I said I'll go toward it again. He said "you enter SECTION N-O-W."

      See? On the nose

      I really do think this issue takes Giles out of any rational argument as Twilight -- he wouldn't face a "Not Fade Away" like fight without using his powers, what would be the point? It's looking more and more like it'll be Xander, despite the complete incoherence and continuity problems of that direction. I'll openly cheer for it to be Angel, Spike, or maybe Hank or Pike or whoever else would make any sense at all. I was somewhat pleased by Scott Allie's answer to an 8.12 letter that *wasn't* about Buffy/Satsu, though --

      Personally, I'd love to see Buffy with Xander! They both deserve it, but I don't think either of them is at a point in their life where they get, or know how to go after, the good things they deserve.
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      • #4
        I never expected Twilight to be Giles. Don't really expect him to be Xander, either, but right now I'm not sure who to point to. I have a couple of suspicions, but I'm going to keep them to myself (that way I can lie and say "I knew it!" when it turns out to be someone else entirely...)
        "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange..." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

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        • #5
          The more this goes on the more I think maybe the mask and stuff is just to make it think its someone we know, and it'll turn out to be someone new who just doesn't like his face. Or has some kind of Phantom of the Opera scar.

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          • #6
            Nah, it's been established that Twilight is known character, that when he's revealed, we'll feel shocked, ashamed, etc, etc.

            I can't enthuse enough about how awesome this issue is. To see Faith, Giles, and Courtney and these completely hateful, murdering townfolk facing down vampires manages to at once be cooler than the alley fight (because I believe more in the ethic behind this standoff than behind the one in "Angel"), and also to remind me of why I love Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" so much, and the idea that even people on a grand mission have to deal with the fight in front of them even if it could get them killed.
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            • #7
              Just finished this issue. Nah, Giles isn't Twilight. Yeah, Faith still has Buffy issues. And judging by the letters column, Dark Horse might consider shipping a handy-size bottle of Valium with each issue from here on...
              "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange..." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

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              • #8
                Maybe it's Tucker.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                  Nah, it's been established that Twilight is known character, that when he's revealed, we'll feel shocked, ashamed, etc, etc.

                  I
                  Was that in a letter? I missed that, could you point me in the right direction?

                  Shame. I was hoping for uknown Twilight. (*Lame scooby doo ending grumble*)


                  Maybe it's Tucker?

                  Can't wait to get this issue. Tomorrow!


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                  • #10
                    I must say I'm really confused by some of the negative reaction people have had towards 'Safe.' Worst issue in season eight? What about it made it worse than the adorable yet incredibly flawed 'After These Messages'? What about the writing made it more clunky than 'Harmonic Divergence'? Not only did I find ‘Safe’ a very good issue, but I easily found it the best issue of the arc so far. In fact, I enjoyed this issue more than I did the majority of 'Time of Your Life' or several of the second parts of the first three arcs.

                    Lets start by getting the obvious out of the way. The last few days a lot of us have been discussing wether or not slayers can choose to live the life of a slayer or not. This issue seemed to be the one people were looking to for answers. It gave them the answer quite clearly. It’s a choice. Getting that power wasn’t a choice but acting out on a duty of a slayer is. The series supported that anyway when Buffy was “LA Woman” and when Faith was your average prisoner in jail, but it’s just been repeated again since the “empowerment” spell.

                    It was great seeing Giles and Faith again, and seeing Giles with pages worth of dialogue made me realise how much I missed him. I just love the G Man, and I think the writing was spot on for both Giles and Faith.

                    It was great to see Faith’s first kill. We saw Buffy’s first kill and she succeeded (after she missed the heart) but Faith doesn’t manage to dust all of them. It reminds me a lot of when they’re falling down towards the pool in ‘No Future For You’ and both are praying they don’t get the shallow end. Buffy got the deep end, Faith got the shallow end. No surprises there. I think King was spot on about his analysis of that scene, it really was the beginning of Faith’s inferiority complex. The vampire she let get away. Makes how scorned she looks in ‘Revelations’ when Post calls her attack a “blunder” even more appropriate looking back on it. Just another wound Post rubbed more salt into. But I think there’s other layers with this scene as well. Not only is it the beginning of Faith feeling inferior but it’s also the first sign of her blas? attitude to slaying. It’s the first sign of what will become an increasing trend of “unannounced walkabouts” and being “uninterested in proper training.” Faith could have chased after him but she settled for the two she did manage to kill. Chasing after him would require too much effort.

                    I agree with Giles though, Faith “is too hard on herself” and it’s not as if she’s the first slayer to ever let murderous vampires just run away. Buffy’s been guilty of it with Angelus, Spike, Harmony just to name a few.

                    The Faith/Giles stuff wasn’t as heavily focused on as I expected it to be. They both seemed to be off doing their own separate things. But what we did get of them was fairly enlightening. Giles thinks Faith is too hard on herself, which he’s right about, and he tells Faith to zip it at one stage. I’m glad she’s got someone kicking her butt into gear. I thought it was really interesting how adamant Faith was about letting these girls sit it out if they want to, opposed to Giles’ idea of recruiting them. I think that really stems from Giles’ big picture thinking, he knows there’s a big fight coming and he wants all the soldiers he can get. Whereas, Faith’s POV comes from a slightly different place. She’s seen what slayers can become, she saw it in herself and with Gigi. I think she’s more than ok with letting slayers sit it out if they want to.

                    The two new characters in this issue were pretty great. I thought Courtney was a great little slayer and I’m always happy to get some growth for all those girls out there. It wasn’t much but it appealed to me that we got to see her own insecurities about her parents come out. It actually reminded me of Buffy’s issues to be honest. The fact Faith inspired this Buffy replica could indeed be symbolic for what’s to come later in the season.

                    And Duncan was great. He was actually one of my favourite parts of this issue. The interaction between Duncan/Giles reminded me of how much I loved the scenes between Giles/Travers. The whole dinner table scene was very well written. I thought it was interesting that Duncan seemed bitter and twisted about how the slayers treat their Watchers. The fact he mentioned Jenny Calendar to Giles was also a great touch. Not only was it fantastic to see her name pop up again but it actually addressed a lot of the problems people have suspected Giles has towards Buffy. Duncan tried to make Giles sway to his way of thinking by making him detest Buffy for letting Angelus kill Jenny because she was still in love with him. But Giles rejects those feelings and that opinion, in many ways he’s rejecting what a lot of fans think his problem is.

                    The demon wasn't the most original for Btvs, we've seen it in 'Fear Itself' and even 'Where the Wild Things Are.' Ats' 'Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been' also played with the same theme. I actually quite liked the idea behind it though even if it is a tad redundant now.

                    I actually really enjoyed the entire “feel” and “vibe” of this issue. Germany was a fantastic setting, I loved the imagery of the vampires from inside the train as they stood aimlessly outside the town. That was actually a genuinely creepy idea. And Duncan and his associates gave off a very sinister vibe. In Pat's review he said he thought they should have explained it better why Faith guessed this was a trap. I actually had no qualms with Faith realising quite easily this was a trap, I would have too. The whole thing seemed very creepy and "off" somehow, but Faith's also not one to automatically trust people easily. It's engrained in her character to have issues with authority figures, "they wind up kinda dead" especially those from the Council. It seemed appropriate that she would figure out this was a trap long before Giles would.

                    Overall a solid issue. I’m going to go re-read it for a third time because I actually think there’s many hidden layers here worth checking out. Giles/Faith continues to be a fascination of mine and I really need to re-read it all again to see if there’s other things I haven’t picked up on. Great stuff.

                    King- Allie's comments about Buffy/Xander, though nice, basically seemed to suggest it really isn't happening in season eight. I though it’d make you depressed more than anything?
                    Last edited by vampmogs; 02-04-09, 12:10 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Lets start by getting the obvious out of the way. The last few days a lot of us have been discussing wether or not slayers can choose to live the life of a slayer or not. This issue seemed to be the one people were looking to for answers. It gave them the answer quite clearly. It’s a choice.
                      Except that the overtones you get from this is, you don't 'inlist' you end up getting killed. Nice one.

                      Also as some one else said elsewhere this town was in Germany, not outer Mongolia. If there's a demon in the town eating their children, why didn't they just LEAVE.

                      If there's Vampires stopping them, how about calling up the local authorities to help them?

                      The artwork was much better then the usual Jeanty malarkey, with some very nice inking, and a couple of nice bits of dialog, but over all I found it a tad on the dull side.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sueworld View Post
                        Except that the overtones you get from this is, you don't 'inlist' you end up getting killed. Nice one.
                        Well ah yeah…. If you've got Twilight after all these slayers who were part of Buffy's organisation, running and hiding isn't going to make the bad man go away. That seemed like a no brainer really. It's no worse than the message of unity they got across in 'Graduation Day' with the entire class enlisting to stand up and battle the Mayor.

                        What you’d prefer the wholesome message of “running away from your problems is the way to go kiddies!”

                        Also as some one else said elsewhere this town was in Germany, not outer Mongolia. If there's a demon in the town eating their children, why didn't they just LEAVE.
                        Probably the same reason no one left Sunnydale for six years. Denial until it's too late. Besides they weren't mean to be portrayed as good. "You people are murderers!" They chose self preservation over their own children.
                        Last edited by vampmogs; 02-04-09, 11:48 AM.

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                        • #13
                          What you'd prefer the wholesome message of "running away from your problems is the way to go kiddies!"
                          Once again I see you're talking in extremes. I'm sure showing that having some kind of choice about what a Slayer did with her power might not come amiss in this, but then making out through this that really there isn't one (because you'll end up dead) is what they're after.

                          I agree with some of the comments on Whedoneque. A silly silly plot that actually helps make Faith and Giles something they very rarely are, and thats dull.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sueworld View Post
                            Once again I see you're talking in extremes. I'm sure showing that having some kind of choice about what a Slayer did with her power might not come amiss in this, but then making out through this that really there isn't one (because you'll end up dead) is what they're after.
                            Actually the issue was very specific in talking about slayers who left Buffy's organisation to come to the sanctuary. It made no mention of the slayers who had never previously enlisted. Only the ones who had.

                            But ok I get it, as per you disliked it. Nothing much more to say really. Lets move on.

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                            • #15
                              Oh I liked the artwork just fine (for a change) and there were a couple of nice lines in there, but for me at least that was about it.

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                              • #16
                                The Slayers can't run because they aren't savvy enough to recognize the trap and then they're just dead. The people don't run precisely because they *are* murderers, and in Hanselstadt they can live in the denial of necessity to carry on murdering. I imagine the demon might have had some allure in this regard as well, much like the Thesulak did in "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been..." Isn't it rather implicit that anything that can drive you to one emotional extreme can also deal out the other extreme like a carrot? The Thesulak gave just enough sense of reassurance to the safety of staying in the hotel that it kept people there to live off their paranoia. This demon very likely gave the people just enough certitude in their actions to keep them comfortable with luring in fresh victims full of regret to exploit.

                                The plot of "Safe" is mostly a synthesis of "Are You Now and Have You Ever Been..." and "Hell Bound". These, therefore, are also silly, silly plots.
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                                • #17
                                  The plot of "Safe" is mostly a synthesis of "Are You Now and Have You Ever Been..." and "Hell Bound". These, therefore, are also silly, silly plots.
                                  Hellbound? In what way? I found this to have more overtones of Gingerbread myself.

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                                  • #18
                                    It's hardly the most outlandish plot we've ever been given. It was tame in comparison to 'Band Candy' or even 'OMWF.' Both fan favourites in the fandom.

                                    And as you say King, is basically a retread of ‘Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been.’ That's the closest story it is to, a paranoia demon keeping people in one place, feeding of their anxieties.

                                    As I said in my initial post, the idea is hardly new. It’s somewhat similar to ‘Fear Itself’ as well, where the fears manifested into real things. Arguably it’s also got a touch of ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’ It continues the trend of people's fears or insecurities manifesting into things, or feeding demons. This is just one of those classic instances where the comic is judged to unbelievably different standards to the televised seasons. I’d love for anyone anywhere to be able to argue successfully why this plot is sillier than any other plot we’ve been given over the years.

                                    As far as plots go, it's even a lot more grounded that 'Wolves At The Gate' or 'Time of Your Life.'

                                    On another note, I found it interesting that they brought up the Council in this issue. Giles states he is the Council in 'NFFY' but Duncan kind of believes he is. He also states he and Giles were the only two Watchers left (I presume he means of those who were on active duty at the time the First attacked, Wes' dad was retired) and Giles asks if he is sure about that. I got the impression that Duncan really hadn’t adapted to the new world order, he still seemed to regard the Council (or what’s left of it) as in charge of the slayers. Completely disregarding Buffy’s organisation.

                                    I also thought it was interesting that Courtney *had* heard of Faith as well. Perhaps she’s right up there with Buffy & Willow's legendary status after all. Even Giles seemed to have a reputation in ‘The Chain.’ I’m pretty happy Faith’s made a name for herself as well.
                                    Last edited by vampmogs; 02-04-09, 02:33 PM.

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                                    • #19
                                      Well, you've got Pavayne (Duncan and the townsfolk) clinging to continued existence by feeding spirits (children and lured in Slayers) to hell (this demon). I thought it fairly straightforward.

                                      The "Are You Now..." comparison is basically you've got this hotel (Hanselstadt) where a demon feeds paranoia (regret) and manages to find a way to enable the people in the hotel (Hanselstadt) to keep feeding it.

                                      "Gingerbread" is actually the comparison I find the least apt, other than the fact of the word "Hansel". The demon in "Gingerbread" fed on paranoia and outrage, but apparently just needed the show put on for it. The people it took advantage of didn't *know* what they were really doing. Duncan, like Pavayne, knew exactly what he was doing -- trading the lives of others for his own existence. This demon, like the Thesulak, ostensibly liked this arrangement because it saved it the effort of having to relocate after wiping out the town.

                                      I assume Duncan was just wrong about surviving Watchers, or not, and probably just convinced himself of that in order to continue his justification. Giles doubted him... but didn't produce another Watcher by name, which is troubling. I just find it incredibly hard to believe the First managed to eliminate *the entire Council* but for two men, of which Giles is now the last. Robson, after all, survived both Nora's attack and the explosion. Roger wasn't dead as of Season 5 of "Angel".

                                      No surprise to me that Faith also has legendary status. She is, after all, still THE Slayer, if you will.
                                      Last edited by KingofCretins; 02-04-09, 02:36 PM.
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                                      • #20
                                        It was tame in comparison to 'Band Candy'
                                        Oh I thought Band Candy was far better written then this. But then you do have the benefit of great performances from the actors which help enhance things and which you can't get in a comic of course.

                                        I think 'Have you now' is the nearest thing to this, but of course incredibly inferior when compared to that marvelous episode.

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