Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 31: Spoiler Forum

Lots of stuff to talk about in this week's episode. Tara's warning that a healing spell might do something much worse not only foreshadows what Dawn attempts to bring back in "Forever," but the gang bringing Buffy back. Tara says no; Willow won't.

Spike's backstory is great stuff, and we'll see more of it in further flashbacks. I kept thinking of "Lies My Parents Told Me" throughout the episode. We know that Nikki the Slayer was Robin's mom, and that Spike will ultimately get his kudos for his effulgent poem in the Angel finale... it's getting closer to the end, and more and more things are happening quickly to get us there. I'm looking forward to the first-timers reacting to "The Body" (which is why I'll have it in a week on its own).


Dusk said...

These episodes are sad enough, as good as the episode that's coming in 3 weks is, I dread it, does that make sense?

Buffy said "I've got a theroy!"

Did anyone ever say one way or the other if Cecily is Halfrek or not?

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Buffy gets a gut wound - like Chosen. Better the next day, though.

I think when Halfrek recognizes William that`s a good indication that she`s Cecily. Whether Cecily becomes a demon or whether she was undercover (my guess) is the question, I think. Though they don`t say in the series. They do one of the Spike comics.

Spike vs Angel - see Destiny.

Spike says he`ll give Angel the first crack at the Slayer - um...

Spike said that killing his first Slayer was the best night of his life - until he spends the night sleeping in Buffy`s arms.

Buffy says ``It would never be you.`` Uh huh.

The first Buffy/Spike back porch seen. Or as I like to call it - their place.

When Glory is fighting Buffy - why doesn`t she brain drain her?

The Scoobies patrolling without Buffy foreshadows their summer without her. (and recalls the summer Buffy ran away.)

Joyce gets Buffy to make a promise she`ll protect Dawn. Spike makes the same promise to Buffy. I`think this protection is part of Dawn`s construction.

Dave said...

I can't find the words to describe how much I love Spike. Fool for Love shows the whole range of his character. We see him at his most ruthless and we see him at arguably his most caring. So much fun to watch. And it begins to set up the awesomeness that is season 5 of Angel.

Quarks said...

Another good week of episodes, this week seems to focus largely on three main storylines: Spike and his obsession with Buffy, Riley feeling inadequate and Joyce's brain tumour.

"Fool for Love":

While I think that this is a great episode, and James Marsters' acting is superb, I am not as in love with this episode as I think many people are. I don't know why; it may just be that I'm not a big fan of flashbacks into the far distant past. It was similar with "Ab Aeterno" on 'Lost'; I think it's a great episode, but I don't love it like many people do. Having said that, I do love "Selfless" and the Anya flashbacks.

The other possible reason is that it is so focused on Spike, and Buffy, that the other characters barely appear. And, like 'Lost', the range of characters on 'Buffy' is one of the main reasons why I love the show. Spike is one of my favourite characters, but I personally prefer episodes which have all the characters more equally.

However, I do love finding out about Spike's past in this episode. Seeing him kill two of the past Slayers was awesome, as was finding out about 'William the Bloody'. There was also the scene of Spike and Dru with the Chaos Demon which I loved, partly because "Lover's Walk" is one of my favourite episodes, and one of my favourite lines in 'Buffy' is "I caught her on a park bench, making out with a chaos demon! Have you ever seen a chaos demon? They're all slime and antlers. They're disgusting." due largely to Marsters' delivery.

Spike tells Buffy: "Death is your art", which brings to mind "Death is your gift".

I have to admit that Spike's explanation of how he was able to kill the two Slayers confused me a bit. I think that what he was saying was the all Slayers have a death wish, so that was why he could kill them. And the reason why nobody had been able to kill Buffy yet was because she had ties to the world: mum, sister, friends etc. Once again, the idea is reinforced that what makes Buffy such a special Slayer is that she isn't alone.

Quarks said...



"Shadow" is another good episode of Buffy, and we start to find out more about Glory. Glory has to be one of my favourite Big Bads in terms of personality, second only to the Mayor. In terms of evil-ness, it has to be the First, or maybe Angelus, but Glory is one who I really enjoy watching.

The key point of his episode however, despite Glory's snake summoning, has to be Joyce's illness. I always find it hard to differentiate between what happens in this episode and the next, but I'm pretty sure that it is this episode where we find out she has a brain tumour. The importance of this is in setting up for "The Body", and also introducing a 'villain' which Buffy can't fight. Giles explains that magic and medicine shouldn't mix, and this is pretty much adhered to throughout the series. We very rarely see Willow or anybody else using magic to heal wounds (aside from death) and the only time we really do is when Willow is dark and removes the bullet from Buffy's body in "Villains".

This episode also starts building up Riley's insecurities and our sympathy for him. When Dawn tells Riley that Buffy doesn't get worked up over him like she did for Angel, we become even more sure that their relationship isn't going to work out. More so than any of the other characters in the show, Buffy seems unable to have a passionate relationship with anybody that isn't constantly fraught with tension and danger and angst, like her relationships with Spike and Angel. She can either be in a relationship with somebody dependable and reliable, but who she isn't passionately in love with, or with somebody who is dangerous and who she can't have a traditional relationship with, but who she does have that passion for. There is no middle ground.

"Listening to Fear":

Similar to "Shadow", this episode is more important for Joyce's illness than it is for the monster in it. There is little to say about it that wasn't covered in the previous episode, as many of the main themes and topics carry straight over.

This episode focuses more on the mental health issues in Sunnydale, and develops the idea that the 'crazy' people are the only ones able to see Dawn for what she is. I do have a slight question about why there has been such a massive increase; surely Glory has been sucking brains for all of Ben's life? Unless that was somewhere else, and they only moved to Sunnydale for Ben's job or something.

Related to this, Joyce discovers in this episode that Dawn is not actually her daughter, and deals with it a lot better than Buffy did. Joyce accepts that whether or not she actually gave birth to Dawn, she is their responsibility and they have to keep her safe, and also that her feelings are still real and she does care about her. So it doesn't seem to faze Joyce that much.

I love the scene of Tara and Willow stargazing. It really shows how comfortable they are with each other.

Overall, quite a good week of episodes that build on the storylines established earlier. Next week we have three great episodes: one emotional one where Xander is fantastic, and two more funny and lighthearted ones for the middle of the season.

lyssiria said...

One thing I don't get about this whole season of BtVS is this: Don't people notice the crazies popping up everywhere? I mean, they're EVERYWHERE! It must be more of that Sunnydale selective memory thing they're all so very good at. But even so, wouldn't you theoretically keep better tabs on your mentally ill family members? I understand in 'Listening to Fear' that the guy who got "Quelled" could have just wandered out of his home, but in 'The Gift,' there must be 20 or so mentally ill people out in the middle of the night. Doesn't anyone notice or care?

Another nitpick, but the Nikki that Spike fights in the subway is not the same Nikki who is Robin's mother/the First. Did they think we couldn't tell the difference or we would overlook it? Is the explanation that Spike's memory for what the Slayer looked like a different version than the 'real' one?

And oh! , the heart-wrenching endings! I accidentally watched 'Into the Woods,' (which is next week) right before I watched 'The Trial.' Nobody knows how to bring the pain like the BtVS/AtS writers. Oh, the futility of trying and planning when you live in the Buffyverse.

Dusk said...

@lyssiria I heard they changed Nikki Wood's actress supposedly because they wanted her to look closer to Buffy's age.

Anonymous said...

Yet Nikki Wood did have ties to the world - her son Robin. Guess Spike wasn't 100% accurate on why he was able to kill the other slayers... it seems clear that Nikki and the Boxer Rebellion Chinese slayer were both killed due to some bad luck - the lights going off in the subway car for Nikki; the explosion outside for the Chinese slayer. Of course, Spike wouldn't want to cop to those random events if he wanted to make himself the hero of the story.

Chris said...

Quarks said...
I do have a slight question about why there has been such a massive increase; surely Glory has been sucking brains for all of Ben's life?

My thoughts on this are that for most of Ben's life (some 25 years) Glory has not been able to regularly manifest herself. That it only has been in the past year or so, probably through the machinations of her minions, that Glory has gotten the 'upper hand' on Ben - able to manifest regularly. This is the only explanation for Ben having the time to not only finish college (and do extremely well apparently), but also medical school. If you consider that Glory had been defeated by her two fellow hellgods and placed in the body of a newborn infant (Ben), it would make sense that it would take time (years) for her to get her strength back (likely with the help of her scabby minions). This is shown throughout S5 since Ben is often around in the early part of the season, but when he is fired later on it is because Glory has been manifest for over two weeks (Ben was surprised that that much time had past); Glory was gaining dominance. And if I'm wrong, it doesn't mean that there has always been a large number of brain-sucked individuals around, just that Ben/Glory wasn't living in Sunnydale - most med students don't do their internships near where they grew up.

Whole heartedly agree. People need to remember that 'Fool for Love' is told entirely from Spike's point of view - he lucked out big-time, especially regarding the Chinese slayer; if it hadn't been for that fortuitous (for him) explosion, he would have been nothing more than a pile of dust.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I gathered the original Nikki was more stunt woman than actress and in season seven she had lines.

Dave said...

I think what Spike is getting at when he says the other slayers had a death wish is that he was really, really dedicated to killing them. Meaning, he kept at it until he broke their will. And he broke their will because at some point it was easier for them to stop fighting hard enough to prevent Spike from killing them.

Of course, Spike is overlooking the fact that he has to be a pretty darn good fighter to accomplish the said breaking of their will. And it could be that we are just supposed to be getting Spike's interpretation of why he killed them, not a true technical blow by blow analysis like Buffy wants.

I think that is what the writers had in mind because what is more important is both Spike and Buffy's perceptions. For Spike we understand that whatever he sets his mind to, be it killing the slayer or making Buffy fall for him, he commits himself to it completely. He doesn't pull and Angel and brood about it. And for Buffy, he is telling her that unless she continues to keep people in her life she cares about she risks not matching the will of someone like Spike.

Tom D. said...

"Every slayer has a death wish" is certainly an intriguing line. Here's my theory of what it means.

In the movie Sonatine, the gangster character played by Takeshi Kitano says something like, "When you're scared all the time, you almost want to die." I think that's what Spike was getting at, too. When you are constantly in mortal danger, constantly fighting for your life, when you are expected to die young, it is easy to become fascinated with death. And it's a small step from there to becoming curious about it, wanting (on some level) to experience it. Besides, death is the only way out: otherwise you have to keep on fighting until you die.

A vampire's point of view is different from a slayer's, because, first of all, a vampire has already died; and second, a vampire isn't a special "chosen one" with a sacred duty -- a vampire can just run around having fun for centuries, with no conscience.

That "chosen one/sacred duty" thing, by the way, is something that Angel (unlike other vampires) has in common with Buffy -- in his case, via the Shanshu prophecy -- but it seems to keep them apart rather than bringing them together. I'm thinking particularly of Angel and Buffy's verbal fight in Sanctuary, where he calls L.A. "my city" and basically tells her to sod off. (No comment on whatever-the-hell happened between them in season 8 -- I can't make any sense out of that.)