Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 42

And with that, we cover off the last of Hurley’s numbers in our Buffy Rewatch. ;)

6.14 Older and Far Away
6.15 As You Were
6.16 Hell’s Bells

Read along in Bite Me!, pp. 296-301.

This week’s Angel episodes are:

3.14 Couplet
3.15 Loyalty
3.16 Sleep Tight

Read along in Once Bitten, pp. 224-229.

I apologize that this week’s post will be shorter; back from New Orleans, I’m facing a huge workload, and I swear every school fundraiser and event is this week and I’ve been swamped with permissions slips and organization every evening. But luckily I have two excellent guest hosts to talk you through this week’s episodes.

But first, ANGEL. Did your heart break? Did you feel it break into a million pieces when Holtz disappeared into that vortex? I’ll never forget how I felt when I saw that scene. It was like a season finale… AMAZING.

And now back over to Dawn’s House of Perpetual Self-Pity. Would you like some cheese with that whine?

“Older and Far Away” is about everyone forgetting Dawn’s birthday and her whining and screaming about it. “As You Were” is about Riley coming back after he left Dawn over a year ago. And “Hell’s Bells” is about Xander and Anya cancelling their wedding just to screw up Dawn’s week.

At least, that’s how Dawn would recap these episodes….

OK, I’m being harsh. But it’s kinda fun.

“Older and Far Away” is a fun episode, although even now, I’m annoyed by the fact that Willow not using magic to help relieve this poor soul writhing in agony on the floor is somehow deemed heroic. But Tara is excellent.

Despite what you might think, “As You Were” is not near the top of my most-hated list, simply because I really saw it as a redemption of Riley. I felt sorry for him in this episode, and he really helps Buffy move forward in a big way, and for that I’m really grateful to him. I find when he left in “Into the Woods,” I was THRILLED to see him go. I’m glad they gave us this episode so I wouldn’t continue to feel that way. (But I’m sure there are as many people who despise this episode as those who don’t.)

“Hell’s Bells” is such a wonderful episode for Emma Caulfield. That scene where she slowly walks down that long, long aisle is heartbreaking. I still remember the queasy feeling I had the first time I saw it; only three years earlier, I’d gotten married, and my parents were together in a room for the first time since their divorce almost a decade before that. I was a basket case leading up to it, my rehearsal was so fraught with tension when one of my parents decided to make a scene in the middle of the service that I ended up exiting the church and bawling my head off outside, and the next day I was more nervous that I’ve probably ever been, before or since. And it wasn’t excited butterflies, it was the dire worry that my family was going to ruin this day for me. And while they certainly seemed to be trying to (and sadly, it wasn't just my parents!), I had so many other people rallying around me — and was marrying someone I loved deeply and still do — that I made it through. So watching Xander having to deal with this same fear, but crumbling in the face of it, my heart just broke for him. So many years later, all those same memories were conjured up once again while watching this.

The events in all three of these episodes are what will spark the actions of the next three… and what a downward spiral we’re about to get caught up in…

First up is Lorna Jowett, returning to us, fittingly, for the first time since she recapped “Into the Woods.”

Cold Comfort
Lorna Jowett

Last time I contributed to the Rewatch I talked about the characters growing up. That was back in season 5. By season 6, and halfway through, as we are now, it’s getting really grim. I know some people don’t like this season for that very reason but I love it when a show goes to the dark side. In this season we don’t even have a proper Big Bad, and Buffy rarely gets to be a proper Slayer, if proper means all kick-ass fight scenes and witty ripostes. Buffy’s never going to do social realism in the way that shows like The Wire or British fantasy shows like Misfits or Being Human do (the UK version of Being Human, that is, the US version is rather different). Like most other fantasy, horror and science fiction TV series, Buffy never adopts an all-out aesthetic of realism but it excels in emotional realism.

With plots about being trapped in the Summers’ house, Buffy’s ex paying an unexpected visit to Sunnydale, and Xander and Anya’s wedding, these three episodes demonstrate different takes on the domestic and on relationships. Our young adults are learning what it means to be adults, without either Joyce or Giles to watch over them or watch out for them. (Spike and Anya are much older than the others, of course, but that doesn’t necessarily make them grown ups). Buffy’s everyday life demands far more of her than being the Slayer, in these episodes and in the season as a whole. She tries to explain how she feels when Riley returns and seems to be living the life of, well, Riley. He tells her that none of the “incredible patheticness” or “stinky” bits of her life right now mean anything: “It doesn’t touch you.” I’m reminded of the season 2 finale when Buffy faces Angelus and he taunts her, “No weapons, no friends, no hope. Take all that away and what’s left?” One of my favourite ever Buffy moments is her catching his sword thrust between her palms and answering, “Me.” Here she, and several of the other characters, are groping for that sense of self. In the heat of a deadly battle Buffy could tap into who she was and know that she wanted to live. At the end of the last season, and at the end of a recent episode this season, we were reminded, The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. And these episodes, this season, suggest that it’s not just the big crises, the major losses that Halfrek reminds Dawn of in “Older and Far Away” that make life hard. It’s the mundane details that grind us down: putting the garbage out in time, making time for family even when we have other things to do, coping with changes in the relationships that structure our lives. I initially wanted to write about these episodes because of “Hell’s Bells” but watching them over again, I realise that all three negotiate love and relationships in different ways, so I’m taking a rather different direction here than I thought.

Amid the grim realities of season 6, including stinky minimum-wage Buffy, attention-seeking klepto-Dawn, and sleazy Spike, Xander and Anya’s wedding offers hope to the characters. Not just to Buffy, who admits that they are the light at the end of the tunnel, but to all the Scoobies. The depth of feeling between Xander and Anya and its expression through their wedding allows almost every character to express love and affection for each other – as Buffy does when she tries (and fails) to tie Xander’s bow-tie, or when Willow finds him and they recall their shared past. But while this episode has its teary-eyed moments of sentiment, it never allows us to fully believe that love or marriage is only about sparkly dresses or spiffy tuxes. Buffy’s world may not be our world, but it’s still a world where love is far more complicated than writing your own wedding vows and living happily ever after.

These three episodes, taken together, examine the complications of old and new relationships. The discomfort of seeing an ex isn’t just in Riley’s return during “As You Were”: Willow and Tara have various uncomfortable scenes during “Old and Far Away”, which also includes that brilliant throw-away moment when Halfrek and Spike/ William recognise each other. That moment when Willow and Xander express their friendship before the wedding includes a reference to their brief, formal-wear inspired fling. Just as Willow and Tara’s separation has repercussions for the whole group, so too does Xander’s jilting of Anya. The complex web that ties these characters together is family in more ways than one: not Kodak moments but messy, breaking up and forming new relationships, with all the hurt, anxiety, jealousy and uncertainty that comes with it. Anyone part of a long-term group of friends eventually experiences a break up that potentially divides the group and forces established ties to change.

Such changes aren’t necessarily for better or for worse – they’re just changes. But these episodes focus on some of the more negative aspects of dynamic relationships, that is, relationships that grow and change. It’s fairly obvious that love and sex aren’t always the same thing. And being family doesn’t always mean being safe and loved. Part of what makes this season so dark is the way it explores that to the full. Relationships can grow into familiarity and convenience, or grow out of using and abuse. Violence can be sexual or domestic. Loyalty can transcend separation, and neglect override care. Acting so as not to hurt someone in the future can mean hurting them now. When we’re confused by memories of what used to be, hope for the future, loyalty to friends, guilt about neglect, desires that seem selfish, how do we know what’s the right thing to do? The answer from these episodes, and an answer that chimes with our own life experiences, is that we don’t, we just have to go ahead and make it up anyway. Love isn’t simple, nor is life.

If these episodes seem exaggerated and ridiculous at times, they are. Maybe you won’t find an unexpected visit from your ex ends with him and his new wife being winched into a helicopter but odds on you’ve spent at least part of one family gathering enjoying a brief moment of sanity in the bathroom. Since it’s the title of a featurette on my DVD, it’s not exactly original, but it is no less accurate to say of this season that Life is the Big Bad. And because this is Buffy, all that melodrama isn’t handled in the conventional TV manner. I love the way it looks as though things will come right in “Hells Bells” after the demon is defeated – but then they don’t. Xander’s faith in himself and his ability to be a good husband is shaken irrevocably, more by his own parents’ example than by the phony demon vision. Spike asks Buffy when she appears at his crypt in “As You Were” if she’s come for “a bit of cold comfort,” and on the face of it that’s what these episodes offer. The tensions within many of these relationships continue to come to the boil as the season goes on, with some very challenging stuff still to come.

But life isn’t all angst and trauma. Two out of these three episodes feature one of my all-time favourite Buffy minor characters, kitten-wagering Clem, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Anya’s wedding vows provide or provoke some of the best lines in “Hell’s Bells,” including Tara’s rather uncertain, “I don’t think you should say sex poodle in your vows.” And even if you’re not a fan of “Older and Far Away,” it’s worth watching for that moment as everyone leaves the house, free at last and – God, look at the stars! The darker it is, the more they shine.

Beautiful. Thank you, Lorna! Next up is the returning Graham F. Scott, fresh from his recent turn here recapping the beginning of season 6 for us.

Reality Bites
Graham F. Scott

In most storytelling (with notable exceptions), the implicit message is that the fictional world you’re eavesdropping on is essentially the same world that you—the reader, listener or viewer—live in.

While Roger Moore was busy throwing Christopher Walken out of his own blimp high above San Francisco Bay in the 1985 James Bond adventure A View to a Kill, for instance, maybe you were sitting on your couch watching The Cosby Show. Or, perhaps, while four siblings disappeared into a magical world of talking animals through a portal in the back of a wardrobe in the rural England of 1940, your grandparents were fleeing the Second World War. And maybe an eerie black monolith abruptly appeared somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa about 83,000 years ago and your great-times-5000-or-so grandmother reached out and touched it, kick-starting the human race as we know it.

The point is: the creators of fiction go to great trouble to mesh their imagined worlds with our real one. They scribble their stories in the gaps of documented history, or extrapolate outlandish futures from our actual present. And plenty of them place their stories right now—as in, it’s happening today, in a town just down the road, to people you could conceivably meet, but just haven’t (yet)*.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that latter kind of story: it’s set in a quintessential California suburb, in a clearly recognizable late ’90s/millennial milieu, with all the particular clothing, hairstyle, and music choices that come with it. It’s just like the world you and I live in, except the characters we see once a week happen to be magical vampire-hunters who specialize in narrowly averting apocalypses.

The message is that vampires, demons, robots, and witches already walk among us. We—the clueless public—are simply too wrapped up in our own tedious little lives to notice the supernatural goings-on in our midst, or we blithely accept convenient explanations so that we can get on with our lives. The three episodes this week all, in different ways, puncture that thin veil that separates Scooby from civilian.

(This type of thing is hardly unique to this string of episodes, of course: see such examples as when Buffy is questioned by the cops for the murder of Ted the evil robot stepdad in the second season; or when the graduating class presents Buffy with a “protector” award at the prom in the third season; [spoiler: highlight to read] in season seven, of course the bad vibes produced by the again-active hellmouth will drive everyone out of Sunnydale, even if they’re not entirely sure why they’re going.)

“Older and Far Away” introduces Sophie and Richard, two never-before-seen “friends” of Buffy and Xander, respectively, who show up for Dawn’s doomed birthday party. In “As You Were,” Riley Finn** returns as the Initiative has tracked an egg-laying super-demon from South America. And in “Hell’s Bells,” the ultimate meeting of human- and demonkind takes place in the form of one gong-show of a wedding.

In each case, we witness the way outsiders react to their sudden run-ins with the Buffy Bizarroverse. In “Older and Far Away,” Richard—the audience’s emissary from normality—is just some poor schmo tagging along with Xander to a house party (where friendly demon Clem must be explained as merely suffering a skin condition). Richard promptly gets horribly maimed by a semiliquid demon who can walk through walls. Understandably, he’s probably not going to be popping by for a visit with the gang again any time soon. I always wondered what they told the triage nurse at the emergency room.

The existence of the Initiative always implied that there must be the sizable demon population outside Sunnydale. Buffy and her friends are just a small group defending one very eventful mid-sized college town in Southern California; what about, say, the demons and vampires afflicting people in Orlando? Or Oslo? Or Ottawa? The Initiative, as a secret military branch, must be part a much larger anti-demon campaign being waged across entire hemispheres, with many, many more people clued in to the existence and threat such creatures pose. (What does the UN Security Council, and, for that matter, the World Wildlife Fund, have to say about American intelligence agents carrying out covert ops search-and-destroy missions inside sovereign nations to eradicate local wildlife?) And what is the supremely lame cover story that Riley shouts as a grotesque demon terrorizes Main Street Sunnydale? That they’re chasing an escaped bear. Which the citizens of Sunnydale apparently accept hook, line and sinker.

This week’s set of episodes concludes with the wedding—though not the marriage—of Anya and Xander, with a full contingent of human and demon extended family mingling together. And how to explain the strange appearances of Anya’s side of the aisle? They’re “circus folk.”

I like these little glimpses of the Buffyverse outside the core characters, the way that the writers imagine these events and people fit into our actual mundane world. It’s best to keep them glimpses, of course — exhaustiveness would be terrifically boring, and none of us are tuning in to see what happens to Sophie and Richard next week.

Like painters who can evoke entire landscapes with a few brushstrokes, TV writers have to suggest a richer, deeper world than they can afford to actually put on film. These little hints of the wider world inside and outside Sunnydale — our world, in fact — are part of the reason the show resonates so deeply, and has proved such fertile ground for fandom. There are vampires and demons running around, sure, but the fantastical elements aren’t the things that get under your skin as a viewer. Instead, it’s the day-to-day: friendship, love, loss, awkward parties, escaped bears on the six o’clock news, cold feet on your wedding day.

Buffy will actually address all of this to brilliantly creepy effect in next week’s episode, “Normal Again”: the ways in which fiction can invade and colonize our real lives, the prospect of losing yourself inside an idealized fantasy, doubt about the very nature of reality. It’s a metaphysical horror story that explicitly bridges the gap between our “real world” and the fictional world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with a daringly ambiguous ending. But that’s a story for another time.

--- Footnotes ---

* Around the time of this episode, for instance, I would have gone to see Aimee Mann perform a live show at the Palais Royale in Toronto. And then, [spoiler]: early in Season Seven, there she is, playing at The Bronze! And she gets the best cameo line in Buffy history: “I hate playing vampire towns.”

** Poor, poor Riley Finn. I know a few Buffyphiles who detest him to a degree I find utterly mystifying. Their main criticism seems to be that he’s this bland cheeseball, but that’s exactly why he was a reasonable antidote to Angel and Spike, who, I would note, are both murderous scumbags who prey on Buffy’s death-wish tendencies and daddy issues. Sure, that makes them more interesting characters on a TV show, but if we’re keeping track here, count me on Team Riley. Anyone with me?

Well, you know my answer to that one, Graham. ;) Thank you!

Next week: Two of the most controversial episodes in the Buffyverse, with commentators Alyson Buckman and Cynthea Masson. I’m looking forward to the first-time viewer reaction to all of them.

6.17 Normal Again
6.18 Entropy
6.19 Seeing Red

And if you’re watching Angel, the darkness continues in

3.17 Forgiving
3.18 Double or Nothing
3.19 The Price


Marebabe said...

I dunno. It feels like either Buffy, or I, am in a slump. As I watched “Older and Far Away”, I kept casting sidelong glances at my un-written-on paper with the pen resting innocently on top of it. Nothing particularly inspired me to pause the DVD and scribble down my thoughts. I got all the way to the end, and my sheet of paper was still all clean and white like a snowdrift. Rather than gripe, and since I feel obligated to say SOMETHING about the Buffy episodes each week, I fell back on the adage of my youth, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Herewith some of the things I liked:

I liked that beautiful carved chest that Xander gave to Buffy.

I liked how Willow and Tara were able to relax and communicate at the end, after being all nervous and awkward at the beginning.

I liked that Willow was strong and didn’t cave in when everyone was pressuring her to do a spell. Good for you, Willow!

Moving on. It was well established at the beginning of “As You Were” that Buffy’s life, in all aspects, completely sucks. I sincerely hope that somehow, before the end of S7, things will get better for her.

Spike: “I’m holdin’ these for a friend.” Hee.

There were several important story threads going here, what with the Riley and Sam stuff, the mission to destroy the eggs, and Xander and Anya’s upcoming wedding. But for me, the best parts of this episode were between Buffy and Spike. When Spike looked straight into Buffy’s eyes and told her that he loves her and wants her all the time... *melt*. Also, when Buffy said, “I’m sorry, William.”

I love how our Willow is back to being all S1 cute and chipper again. It reminds me that, when I first started watching Buffy, Willow was my clear favorite from her very first scene.

Conflict is essential to any good story, and they solidly set it up at the beginning of “Hell’s Bells”, even before the opening credits. And when Xander said, “Nothing on earth can stop this wedding now”, I was reminded of the famous line from “Titanic”: “God himself could not sink this ship.” From that moment, I was pretty sure that this would not end well. It was a little too broad of a hint.

Although the bridesmaids’ dresses were pretty disastrous, I loved Anya’s gown! Too much veil, though. With all the embellishments on her gown, and her beautiful curls, she would’ve looked perfect with no veil at all.

I didn’t know what to make of the way “Old Xander” made a fiery entrance, but I was ready to believe his claim that he was time-traveling Xander-from-the-future. UNTIL we saw the shot of Xander and the old dude in profile, facing each other. Old Xander’s nose was way pointier than Young Xander’s. If they really wanted the audience to buy it, they should’ve been more diligent about the physical resemblance, or at least not shown their profiles together. Just my opinion.

I’m all ready for a happy, feel-good episode of Angel, now. Wesley is just so sad, and I’m wondering how Angel can ever recover from losing Connor. (I don’t believe he ever will.) So sad. *sigh*

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I noticed in OAFA something ongoing in the season - bad ADR.

With Spellcaster's Anonymous, we lose all hope for magic addiction as anything other than a metaphor for drug addiction. It's not just Willow, as Sam (blech, Sam) will 'spell' out.

Dawn is lonely. Why the frilly heck is she hanging out with her sister's friends anyway? Where are Dawn's friends? Has Buffy forbade her having any because of the trouble at Halloween, or is it because the only one she had has become Joan of Arcadia?

How did Dawn get the coat out of the store without activating the security tag? Or is it one of those that shoots ink when you try to remove it? In any case, did she think Buffy would like a big plastic tag on her coat?

Spike plays fine with others. And he did bring the better friend.

Ah, Sophie dances with Clem and a ship is born. I can show you the fanfic. Heck, I wrote it.

You can see Spike in the foyer mirror. Oops.

I love me a Twilight Zone reference. Cornfield, hee.

I know Dawn gets a bum rap, but her mother died and her sister died. You don't just bounce back from that.

Buffy takes a big leap from guidance councillor to vengeance demon.

It's Cecilfrek!

With all the bandages in that house, they just let Richard bleed? Okay, he's insipid but those stains just don't come out of the carpet.

The Spike that leaves in the end is stuntman Steve, not James.

As You Were, how do I loathe thee, let me count the ways.

Unlike Nikki, I found Riley had finally developed some human flaws when he left, and he was a lot more interesting because of it. Now he's back and about as compelling as a sheet of cardboard. And about as three dimensional. And look, Riley Sue has married Sammy Sue.

Why is Buffy so concerned with cleaning her coat - she only wears her clothes once.

Something bad has come to Sunnydale - Riley.

Riley has a Warren scar (where Katrina scratches him in Dead Things.) I had a friend with a theory that he was really Warren in a glamour to humiliate Buffy, and Sam was a robot. I prefer his version.

There's so much great logic in this episode. The demons are highly prolific killing machines that are almost extinct. Uh huh.

During the exchange "Nice wheels." "Came with the car." how does one keep ones' eyes from rolling off ones' head? Joss was off working on Firefly, wasn't he?

"Love the hair". The hair in the greasy ponytail. Enough with the hair already!

Is Riley really trying to harvest the demons for the US military? Cause that I'd believe.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Why does Dawn need a babysitter? Dawn should be working AS a babysitter to make some cash.

It's such a common story. Girl joins the Peace Corps. Girl leaves the Peach Corps to become a killing machine.

Spike is reading a book. Does Riley know how? (Yes, I'm getting mean now.)

There is no way on God's green earth, after what happened on the tower, that Spike would ever call himself Doctor. Ever.

In the official Buffy novel Cursed, Spike is bitter because Buffy wouldn't let him explain that he didn't know what the eggs were, but was trying to raise some money to help her out. This makes more sense than Spike's an international arms dealer who keeps killer demons in his bed room.

Buffy hitting Spike after sleeping with him is pretty darned despicable.

There's only one thing I like in As You Were. James Marsters' beautiful performance. Breaks my heart.

Speaking of heartbreak - Emma in Hell's Bells.

Notice how Xander's human family is much more evil than Anya's demon one. Though Carol and Krelvin make a cute couple. I like that Clem is on Xander's side - they probably made friends at the party.

Halfrek is in a bridesmaid dress and she does nothing to help. I do like her exchange with pimp daddy D'Hoffryn, who loves all his girls.

Speaking of, Anya's daughter's ears look very familiar.

Xander has brown eyes. 'Old Xander' has blue ones. He didn't notice?

I think this is the first time Willow has shown Anya any sympathy.

"I'm Xander from the future." It's a Freedom 55 ad!

Lisa(until further notice) said...

I really felt much more of an emotional impact from the Angel episodes this week. I stated last week that I was dreading what was about to happen as I knew it was coming and just couldn't bear it. And all this time, Cordelia is off with Gru. Angel needs you now more than ever, Cordy. Come home. It is the most heartbreaking episode, for both Angel and Wesley, and the fallout can't be anything but devestating. If only Wesley had spoken up and told Angel, or ANYONE, what he had deciphered from the prophecy, and this could have been avoided. Just like the good old days on LOST when no one would tell anyone else what was going on and bad things and misgivings would always happen.

I so adore Lorne, and he looked really "hot" in that orange shirt. I wish he had more to do on the show than babysit Connor, but I'll take what little I can get. Lilah...ugh. I spit upon you. You make me sick.

Hells Bells is Buffy's devestating episode of the week, and one in which the events could have been predicted ever since Once More with Feeling and the song and dance that Anya and Xander performed. It makes it no less sad, and the final scene between Anya and D'Hoffryn is equally dismaying...

Dawn (whom I can usually tolerate) has really been pushing my buttons lately. The only episode in which she could be tolerated at all was in Hells Bells, as she remained mostly in the background, and yet, even then she had to interrupt Xander and whine about one of the presents getting "loose" or "away" or whatever. LOVED the opening scene with Willow and Buffy discussing the horror of the bridesmaid dresses, and then Anya coming in and just adoring them. I heart Anya. She looked beautiful, and Emma acted her heart out in that episode.

I liked the exchange between Spike and Buffy at the wedding. It was sweet. I heart Spike.

Page48 said...

"Don't you want your garbage?"

Clem managed to mellow out since the card game, where he had some unsavory words for the Slayer. Apology accepted, Clem (if you ever get around to it).

Wowsers, Buffy just snapped that sword over her knee. Reminds me of Bo Jackson back in the day.

Riley just forgot to mention to the SLAYER that he wanted that demon alive. She's not the CATCHER, Riley, she's the freaking SLAYER.

Klepto-Dawniac thinks no one will notice that she who has no income can afford to a) buy a leather jacket and b) give it away. Writers soooooo didn't have a clue what to do with Dawnie once she was no longer The Key.

Xander and Anya. The Wedding. Wake me when it's over. The problem I had is that I don't give a toss about whether they get married or not, which exempts me from that achy-breaky-heart feeling that I just know I should have (but don't) when the wedding goes south. But, I will say, "Xander, make up your mind already".

"I'm sorry, William". Nice touch, Buffster.


Christina B said...

I don't have much to say about Buffy that hasn't already been said, except, that I didn't like Riley's wife at all. Could she have been anymore perfect? Totally unbelievable.

But Angel....Whoa!

First things first...Remember when I said I wanted Fred and Gunn together? I take that back. They have NO chemistry at all. It's actually kind of awkward to watch them.

Okay, enough of the little things. Lets get to the meat and potatoes here!
I did NOT see that ending coming at all!
Is Wesley dead?! (No, don't tell me!) ;)

This is going to break Angel. Ugh, I think his week has been the toughest so far for me to not watch ahead!

Efthymia said...

"Older and Far Away":

Making the same observation as Colleen/redeem 147, why doesn't Dawn get friends of her own who are the same age as her? She's always acting as if the others are supposed to hang out with her all the time; they spend too much time with her already!
And since we're on the Dawn subject: Yes, Dawn, people are worried that some unknown force is keeping them inside the house because they want to leave you, because, you know, it's all about YOU! I'm not a fan of physical violence, but this girl gets the worst out of me...
In spite of the Dawn annoyingness, though, I really enjoy this episode.

With Willow and Tara we witness that awful awkwardness when you share the same group of friends with an ex :/

House imprisonment, disappearing violent demon, and still the one thing that makes this a very bad party is Monopoly. I mean, come on, MONOPOLY?! Lamest. Party. Ever.

Ah, there are no words to describe how much I adore Clem!

"As You Were":

If Doublemeat Palace smells anything like McDonalds or KFC, I'm with the guy! No offense to all you nice people from the US, but your fast-food chains really stink.

So let me get this straight: Riley's been gone for just a year and in that short period of time he managed to meet, fall in love with and marry someone?! Brrr...
Good thing Buffy got rid of him when she did, he's weird (at best).

Buffy shot at Spike's records! That's mean...

So let me get this straight (Part II): They're trying to make Spike look bad in contrast with Riley? Really?

And mr. Graham F. Scott, as I've mentioned numerous times before, I don't dislike Riley because he's a bland cheeseball, I dislike him because he's a sexist who is more comfortable taking orders than thinking for himself. I can't speak for anyone else, but as far as I'm concerned, my Riley-hate doesn't stem from comparisons between him and Angel (whom I was never crazy about anyway) or Spike (who DOES indeed make a great TV character who you probably wouldn't want to come across in real life) but from who he is as a character himself. And just because neither Angel nor Spike are good boyfriend material for Buffy, it doesn't mean that Riley is.
As a feminist, I find the fact that men like Riley quite worrisome.

Efthymia said...

"Hell's Bells":
Ralisation-resulting-from-this-rewatch #3658545: "Hell's Bells" is too painful to watch. Really, I couldn't bring myself to rewatch it. I remember what happens, and I realised that I don't want to experience that again.

Personally, I hate weddings; I hate the formalities, and the parents thinking they have the right to invite whomever they want to ("My collegue's niece invited us to her wedding, so we HAVE TO invite her! And I don't care that you've never met your cousin Anna, she's family and her parents had invited me when they got married."), and all the money wasted on a dress that will never be worn again, etc; I hate that it means that your relationship has to somehow change just because of a ceremony. So, Xander not wanting or not feeling ready to go through that, I'm with him. BUT: It was Xander who asked Anya to marry him, and when she denied, believing he only asked because he thought they were going to die, he insisted that he wanted to marry her. And when she told him that he wouldn't reveal their engagement because he had second thoughts, he insisted that he wanted to marry her. And every time she detected any kind of hesitation or stress, he insisted that he wanted to marry her. Anya gave him many chances to back off and he didn't. He knew what his parents were like (WE knew what his parents were like since very early on the show). When you've reached the wedding day, the wedding moment actually, friggin' shut up and get married, and you can get a divorce afterwards!
Xander made a whole deal about Cordelia breaking up with him, made her choose him over her "friends" and then cheated on her with Willow; he wouldn't return Willow's affections until after she was in a relationship with someone else; and now this. He's one of the crappiest boyfriends ever.

Missy said...

'Older And Far Away'
Too bad about your klepto Sister and that Demon skewering your party guests.
Really!That Girl should just avoid her birthday...it never goes well.
Anya & Tara are standouts in this ep along with Clem.
Anya accusing Willow of not having self control and in turn Tara sticking up for Willow...such an intense scene.
I love Tara making fun of Spike's muscle cramp and Anya hyperventaling in Buffy's room.
And Clem just being Clem the cool young uncle everyone wants.Lol
Poor Sophie and Richard,they had no idea what they were in for.
And then theres Hallie and William a nod to the past or an after thought..I tend to think the latter with what I've read on the subject.Either way I like it.I always have.

'As You Were'
Thank God for Sam,I like her more than anyone should..after all she is just Riley's Wife..but that is infact why I like her..She keeps Riley occupied and away from Buffy..that and she lets Riley think that he's the tough guy that he thought he couldn't be around Buffy.I like that she's soo confident in herself that she's willing to let Riley believe he's the "man" in that relationship.
When clearly it's her.
Then theres the whole Spike/Egg debacle..Out of left field doesn't even come close to what that it felt like seeing that play out.
Xander fawning over Riley(like old times)was fun to see,Xander sorta admits in 'Triangle' that he's going to miss Riley.
And Willow trying her best to HATE Sam for Buffy's sake only to really connect with and like her.Lol

'Hell's Bells'
Wowza,It's one of my fav eps...but boy does it rip your heart out, then stand in front of you poking hot pokers into it laughing while you slowly die.
It took a looooong time for me to forgive Xander for standing Anya up(or leaving in the middle,whatever it maybe)...but when I did I felt horrible for Xander,he truely loves Anya and didn't want to ruin her life the way he watched his Mother and Father ruin each others and his.He's just a 21yr old guy that wanted to do the right thing by the woman he loved.Granted he went the wrong way about it..but still he was trying to protect her and thats what Xander does he protects the women in his life ,from Demons,from themselves and fromm him.
Anya's vows(all variations)are some of my fav words ever written.
Willow and Tara are sooo cute(when there helping Anya out).
Buffy getting teary while trying and failing to tie Xander's tie is a sweet moment between the two(that I long for in one of next weeks eps)
Hallie and D'Horryn bickering is funny.
And I'll give Dawn some props for talking&making friends with that kid with the horns ,even if it did inadvertently lead to Anya finding out that Xander had run off.
And god the agony when Xander is trying to explain his reason for not wanting to get married right now,Nicky does a great job and Emma is beautiful in her reaction ,pleading with him to have faith in their love.

Missy said...

Oops forgot to mention,I adore the scene between Willow & Xander in the kitchen.It gets to the very core of why they have such a deep realtionship and will continue to have each others backs.

As for AtS

It boils down to this
As much as I think Mark Lutz is a cutie and real sweet(in person),I'm a Cordy & Angel fan and tend to skip his big comeback in S3.
And this Holtz & Justine(I abhor what they do, but I'm sooo intrigued by both characters)kiddnapping Connor and hurting Wesley.Angel the character and AtS will NEVER be the same after this(nor will Wesley,or the rest of the gang)
Holtz and Justine have just changed the trajectory of the series and no-one can really say wether it was for the best or the worst.

Missy said...

"I'm using you,and it's killing me!"-Buffy Summers

The final scene in 'As You Were' is pretty much perfect..from the dialogue to the direction to the acting.
When the camera pans around to Buffy and zooms in and the bright light engulfs the space around her head..you almost believe that we have no control over our lives(it was too perfect to have stumlbed upon).It's a really beautiful shot.

Lol And now I'm done.

Quarks said...

I really like this week's episodes. 'Older and Far Away' is, for some reason, one of my favourites of this season. I mean, it's not as awesome as 'OMWF' or 'Tabula Rasa', or some of the ones yet to come, but it is a really enjoyable episode and I love watching it. I don't mind 'As You Were' as much as some people do, but I wouldn't say it's one of the best episodes this season. 'Hell's Bells' is a fantastic episode, and is one of the reasons why this entire season breaks by heart.

'Older and Far Away' is really the peak of Dawn's whiny-ness , but I still don't hate her as much as some people do. I think that if this were an earlier season and Buffy was whining about Joyce not paying attention to her we'd be on Buffy's side, because we are naturally aligned with her as the main character. So when Dawn annoys Buffy she annoys us as well.

As for Dawn not having friends her own age, there are probably good reasons for that. The monks probably made her particularly attached to Buffy so that she would be around Buffy more and be safer. Also, I remember back in 'Family' when Buffy forbade Dawn from visiting a friend called Melinda because she didn't like her hanging around with someone that short. It's no wonder she doesn't have any friends her own age.

One of main things I like about 'Older and Far Away' (aside from Clem) is Tara. She's really awesome in this episode: supporting Buffy, making fun of Spike, and defending Willow. I love the scene where she stands up to Anya in defence of Willow; and it's nice to see Willow and Tara getting closer again.

It doesn't particularly bother me that Willow refused to use magic to help in this episode. They live in Sunnydale; if Willow used magic every time somebody's life was in danger then it would be like her never giving up at all. Also, it shows how much conviction Willow has to remaining 'sober', even under pressure.

The return of Riley in 'As You Were' doesn't particularly bother me. He is probably one of my least favourite main Buffy characters, but I wouldn't say that I hate him. Unlike his wife who feels too perfect and extremely artificial. But him returning with his 'perfect' life is quite important, as it shows how even someone in the demon-hunting business can have their happily-ever-after, and it makes Buffy realise what she is doing.

I know the residents are Sunnydale are fairly ignorant of the supernatural things going on but surely even they aren't gullible enough to believe Riley's "National Forestry Service, we got a wild bear!"

Quarks said...


The interesting thing about 'Hell's Bells' is that before this episode if you had to guess who would get cold feet about the wedding I imagine that most people would say Anya. It feels as though her doubt have been shown much more than Xander's in the previous weeks; for example we have had Halfrek's conversation with her in 'Doublemeat Palace', her claustrophobia in 'Older and Far Away' and several other scenes which make her seem to be the one who would break it off. But she is able to put her doubts aside for the sake of her love for Xander. Unfortunately, he can't do the same.

If this episode had been several seasons earlier I probably would have hated Xander at the end, much like I did when he would get jealous over Buffy and Angel. But instead I feel sorry for him. Not as sorry as I feel for Anya, I have to say, but I do understand his doubts, especially with his parents. That's not to say I don't get slightly angry with him in the final scenes; he doesn't want to hurt Anya later, so he's hurting her now? That's insane troll logic.

According to Buffyverse wiki there was a deleted scene which explained why Giles was missing from the wedding. I wish they had included that in the episode, as that was the one thing that annoyed me about this episode when I first watched it.

One thing I really like about this episode is how it gives Anya a chance to come to the front. Of all the main characters in 'Buffy', Anya is one who hasn't had as much clear character development as others, like Willow and Spike. So it's nice to see her have an opportunity to take centre stage (along with Xander) and show us how she's changed from before. That final set of vows, where she explains how she finally gets love, show a very different Anya from the one we first met in Season 3.

The 16th episode (Lost number!) of each season always seem to be fantastic, and some of my favourites in the series:
Season 2: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
Season 3: Doppelgangland
Season 4: Who Are You?
Season 5: The Body
Season 6: Hell's Bells
I've missed out Season 7's purely because I don't know exactly what counts as spoilers, but it is also a fairly good episode (for season 7).

Overall, a very good week of episodes. And next week will prove even further why I think this is the most heartbreaking season.

Suzanne said...

I wish I could be as nice as Marebabe and only find the good things to discuss about this episode, but I am afraid I am not that nice! :) Although, I enjoy seeing glimpses of the old Willow and the old friendship dynamics between Willow and Buffy (her "I have your back" attitude in "As You Were") as well as Tara's strong presence in "Older and Far Away", I mostly have nitpicks about the first two of the three we watched this week.

I hate the way the writers conveniently make Spike look so bad when they want to contrast him to characters like Riley or when they want to emphasize the disgust Buffy feels about her relationship with him. I find the egg story-line to be disgusting, not Buffy's relationship with Spike. How could the Spike who allowed himself to be tortured by Glory in order to protect Dawn, or the Spike who fought beside the Scoobies and took care of Dawn after Buffy's death, be the same Spike who would be this "Doctor." It just makes no sense and is a weak effort on the writers part to contrast him with Riley.

As for Riley, I am not a Riley hater. In fact, I enjoyed Buffy and Riley's budding romance in Season 4. However, the Riley that comes back is very stiff and one-dimensional. I found his "commanding" behavior towards Buffy and his wife to be offensive. I noticed that in the fight scenes before his wife came into the picture, he seemed to be almost pushing Buffy of to the side in order to "protect" her. Since when did she need him to protect her? As much as I appreciate the fact that she had an epiphany of sorts after his visit, I really hate the lame way that the writers forced it to come about since it seemed very stilted and forced.

The marriage of Riley and Sam is a sham as far as I am concerned. For the life of me, I can't understand Sam's character. First we see Riley looking like he is almost ready to kiss Buffy when Sam enters the picture as utters the lamest line of the series "what are you doing with my husband" or something to that effect. She seems upset, but her upset seems to be directed at Buffy; why not Riley? If my husband was in a pose similar to Riley's with his ex, I wouldn't be talking to the woman, I would be talking directly to him and not in a nice manner. Then Sam does a 180 and is all accomodating to everyone, including Buffy. It was just lame. I can't think of another way to describe it. Riley was obviously not over Buffy either, and Sam said as much when she said that it took him a full year to get over Buffy. If that was true, how long did he have to fall for Sam and get married? A month, two months? Is Sam, Riley's Spike? Is he just using her to get over Buffy or worse to make her jealous? The only aspect of the whole episode I enjoyed was Willow and the way she seemed to be back to her earlier self.

My other major nitpick is Dawn. Why did the writers make her so annoying? They seem to be different people than the ones who wrote Buffy, Xander, Willow, Cordelia, and Oz as teens. Is Dawn from some demon tribe of teenagers who acts a lot different from modern-day teens in America. Her behavior is unbelievable, even given the idea that she is somehow different because of the monks. If that is the explanation, they should have played on it more and included more references to it.

"Hells Bells" was excellent, even though it was so sad. The opening of the episode is one of my absolute favorite Buffy openings. Anyone who has been a bridesmaid as many times as I have (about ten times with what I hope will be the last time being just last weekend) can relate to Willow and Buffy's horrified reaction to their dresses. It was pricelss.

Blam said...

The standout lines...

Buffy 6.14 "Older and Faraway"
Buffy: "We do not joke about eating people in this house."

Buffy 6.15 "As You Were"
Dawn: "Some vamp get rough with you?"

Buffy 6.16 "Hell's Bells"
Buffy: "We must share equally in the cosmic joke that is bridesmaidsdom."

Angel 3.14 "Couplet"
Angel: "That's my favorite broadsword!"

Angel 3.15 "Loyalty"
The Loa: "Your insolence is displeasing."
Wesley: "Try chatting with a cranky hamburger."

Angel 3.16 "Sleep Tight"
Angel: "You look like Hell. And not the fun one where they burn you with hot pokers for all eternity, but the hardcore one — you know, Nixon and Britney Spears."

VW: mingrate — Mickey Mouse's girlfriend in one of her moods.

Blam said...

The random episode musings...

You want to hate on Dawn, fine, but not only is it a little irresponsible and inconsiderate of the (relative) grownups to be neglecting her — it's stupid. Maybe she's no longer the Key, but she's a 15-year-old girl in Sunnydale and the Slayer's sister; that's a pretty tempting and valuable target. I watch the gang's laissez-faire attitude towards Dawn's activity in "Older and Far Away" and can't believe that ignorance isn't some supernatural schtick of the week.

I won't deny that sometimes Dawn is written as thick or self-absorbed or petulant, but on almost every such occasion those around her are written as equally (mostly uncharacteristically) thick or self-absorbed or harsh. Each member of the Buffy / Willow / Xander triumvirate has been caught up in their own stuff to the extent that they miss seeing that the others (and Dawn) have been dealing with their own issues. That's basically the theme of the season as epitomized by "Once More with Feeling".

Dawn could be acting like a kid because she's used to being treated like a kid or because, for all the yearnings towards adulthood and boundary-pushing that's natural at her age, she quite literally never really had a childhood and has had to deal with one whole hell of a lot since being retroactively inserted into reality as a person.

To put it another way...
Anya: "I think she's possessed."
Xander: "She's a teenager."

Blam said...

You know, "Doublemeat Palace" and "As You Were" remind me that The Watchers' Council doesn't like Buffy having a social life; they certainly wouldn't approve of her being a wage-slave — if not demeaning, it's certainly flat-out ridiculous when you consider that it could be time spent training, studying, meditating, battling incessant evil even more hours of the day, or just recuperating so that she's in top form. Maybe they should give the Slayer a stipend?

So in Sunnydale apparently the mail comes first thing in the morning when the garbage is picked up.

Dawn saying to Riley "I thought it would suck less this time" makes no sense to me because, frankly, she considered Riley a tool. Or at least that was so in her voiceover in "Real Me"; I'm not sure that the point was followed up on much, but neither do I recall Dawn and Riley ever bonding.

Blam said...

I can't stand "Hell's Bells".

Xander and Anya didn't strike me as long-term material when they got together on first watch or rewatch, and I've never been sure if we question the seriousness of their relationship because the writers are doing their job or because they're not doing their job. But Anya's constantly revised vows here are the stuff of melt, and there's no question at this point that these wacky kids love each other as much as they can love anyone, with all their baggage, and exactly the way that the other needs. Except... *thunk*

However realistic you think Xander's decision is, either because his fears are valid or simply because it's a proper character choice, out of all the tragedies that occur during Buffy's seven seasons this is one that I most want to ignore, to expunge, to erase from existence.

Blam said...

Sorry; I think Groo's a total doofus.

I know that the reference is anachronistic given when Angel first aired, but he strikes me as the answer to the question "What if Andy Samberg were cast as Conan the Barbarian with hair that was ridiculous even for a movie that cast Andy Samberg as Conan the Barbarian?"

The only thing that I kind-of like about Groo is that he strikes me as a live-action version of... Groo. I have to wonder if anyone involved in developing and naming Groo was familiar with Sergio Aragonés' long-running Groo the Wanderer, reverse-engineering "the Groosalug" from the nickname "Groo"; coincidence is possible, but the resemblance is impossible to avoid if you're aware of the comics character — dim-witted protagonist of clever, heartfelt sword-&-sorcery parodies. Angel's Groo isn't really enough of a stupid slab of beef to be funny, however, nor does he have enough of a personality to be, well, interesting.

Nikki: Your "Oops" entries usually bring up stuff I'd never even noticed, so I was surprised that there was no Once Bitten entry for "Couplet" about the obvious switch in Wesley's handwritten translation from the first shot to later ones of the same paper. Maybe it's all the time I've spent refining my own cartoonist's hand and distinguishing the styles of various letterers, but the lack of continuity there really bugged me.

The line in "Older and Far Away" where Buffy refers to having killed the demon that she'd clearly thought had gotten away was not one of the "Oops" moments I'd missed, incidentally.

I'm totally with you on the idiocy of Gunn and Fred taking so long to check the camcorder they'd brought with them on the "Couplet" stakeout, Nikki, but I didn't mind the dichotomy in tone of the hamburger drive-thru menu in "Loyalty".

Not meaning to disrespect anyone's religious beliefs, but when the revelation about the blood that Angel's been drinking is made I can't help thinking that a perfect episode title would've been "The Father, the Son, and the... Holy $#*%!"

VW: conalpie — A tall pointy dessert, with crust, made of pudding, meringue, fruit, etc.

Blam said...

The comments on the comments...

Marebabe: I liked that Willow was strong and didn’t cave in when everyone was pressuring her to do a spell.

Even though it meant that a poor civilian was lying there in agony at death's door?

Colleen: I noticed ... something ongoing in the season - bad ADR.

You too, huh?

Colleen: How did Dawn get the coat out of the store without activating the security tag?

I'm more concerned, in terms of plot believability, that she didn't notice it was there the whole time she was admiring the coat in her room and folding it up to giftwrap.

Colleen: Buffy takes a big leap from guidance councillor to vengeance demon.

I didn't really buy that leap myself, even if this is Sunnydale and even if she is the Slayer. Although there's recent precedent in her realizing, if a bit belatedly, that the events of "Dead Things" were a big set-up by the Evil Trio.

Colleen: I had a friend with a theory that he was really Warren in a glamour to humiliate Buffy, and Sam was a robot. I prefer his version.

I liked this when you posted it in the spoiler section and I like it now.

Colleen: Enough with the hair already!

Really... It's not even that noticeable, nor is it the most dramatic hairstyle change on the series (by far).

VW: reggless — Wantonly dismissive of the work of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, et al.

Blam said...

Page48: Riley just forgot to mention to the SLAYER that he wanted that demon alive. She's not the CATCHER, Riley, she's the freaking SLAYER.



I'd love to have seen a running gag in a previous episode when Anya's mailing out the wedding invitations and each member of the gang surreptitiously sneaks a little scrap of paper with exactly this phrase into the envelope being sent to Giles when the others aren't looking.

Giles has to have been invited to the wedding, even though there's not the barest throwaway line (that I recall) about why he's not there. [Quarks: Thanks for the note about the deleted scene!]

Efthymia: "Hell's Bells" is too painful to watch. Really, I couldn't bring myself to rewatch it. I remember what happens, and I realised that I don't want to experience that again.

I came close to not watching it again myself.

Quarks: I think that if this were an earlier season and Buffy was whining about Joyce not paying attention to her we'd be on Buffy's side, because we are naturally aligned with her as the main character. So when Dawn annoys Buffy she annoys us as well.

Good point... I never had the Joyce hate that some folks have and certainly don't have the Dawn hate, but I hadn't thought before about how they triangulate on us looking at each character from Buffy's perspective when in fact they each represent roles that Buffy played to the other (teenage [and only] girl to mother / mother figure).

Quarks: The 16th episode (Lost number!) of each season always seem to be fantastic, and some of my favourites in the series:

I admit that there's quality plotting, dialogue, and performance in "Hell's Bells" but it's far from a favorite for me because of how it ends. Rather it's like one of those novels or films that may be expertly written (and shot, and performed, etc.) but which contains a plot twist in the denouement or resolution that I consider fatally flawed and colors my enjoyment of the entire piece no matter how faithfully the creator's vision is executed — like Jo's choice of suitor in Little Women.

Suzanne: The marriage of Riley and Sam is a sham as far as I am concerned.

Wooly Bully!

Colleen/redeem147 said...

but which contains a plot twist in the denouement or resolution that I consider fatally flawed and colors my enjoyment of the entire piece no matter how faithfully the creator's vision is executed — like Jo's choice of suitor in Little Women.

But I love Papa Bhaer - especially when he was William Shatner.

JavaChick said...

I haven't read through all of the comments so I apologize if I'm repeating anyone, but I was thinking about Dawn and her reliance on the Scoobies for company and her lack of other friends. Last season, Dawn's mother died and Buffy took over. Then Buffy died, but Dawn had to pretend that she was still around. She had Willow and Tara taking care of her and everyone else pitching in to make sure she wasn't left alone.

Then Buffy comes back and she's distant. Willow & Tara break up and Willow is distracted by her own problems. Xander and Anya are distracted by their wedding. Spike is distracted by Buffy.

I'd think it would have been difficult for Dawn to keep up friendships while having to hide all this emotional baggage. While everyone was focused on taking care of her, she was probably okay, but suddenly everyone is too busy with their own problems to pay attention.

Add to that the normal teenage proclivity to feel like you are alone in the world and no one really understands you...Well, it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that she'd feel abandoned and alone.

Re: Dawn & Riley bonding - When Joyce was sick, Buffy did ask Riley to look after Dawn a few times and I remember a scene with Riley & Dawn at an amusement park. Also, when Riley left, Dawn did seem affected.

Other thoughts...I forgot how funny Tara was with Spike in Older and Far Away - we don't see that side of Tara often. As You Were - I always liked Riley and in this one I felt pain on Buffy's behalf as I saw her hopes being dashed, and squirmed along with her over the pathetic-ness that is her life right now. Hell's Bells made me angry (and of course sad every time after) the first time around. No one is ever allowed a lasting, happy relationship in TV land and it frustrates me. I thought Xander & Anya were really good together.

For me, these were three emotional-wringer episodes.

Nikki Stafford said...

JavaChick: I will admit, despite my Dawn snark this week, I've been more sympathetic to her this time around (well, with the exception of the episodes where I just want her to STOP). But here's my reason for finding her so childish: Buffy was called when she was Dawn's age. That flashback we had in "Becoming" where we saw her fighting vampires for the first time, coming home and staring into the mirror and finding that resilience within herself to go it alone... she was 15. When season 1 opens, she has *just* turned 16. When you compare who she was in S1 with Dawn in these episodes, you're seeing two VERY different women. Dawn still requires a babysitter for some reason, yet Buffy was out patrolling every night, saving the world.

Now, I realize there is a big difference between a first child and a second, that first-born children are the leaders and the protectors, and the second-born children tend to be the siblings who require the protection, even when they're adults, but there's a huge difference in their personalities.

But I do agree with you on so many levels; that scene in the beginning of the season with Dawn curling up next to the Buffybot at night breaks my heart every time.

Quarks said...

@Nikki: But then you have to consider that a) Dawn is technically less than 2 years old (as a human), and b) she has been through a lot more than Buffy had when she was 16. For a start, she has the knowledge that most of her memories are fake and that the connections she has with people were all created by the monks. Further to that, she has had to deal with the death of her mother and Buffy. She probably clings to Buffy and the others so much this season because she's now aware of how easily they could be taken away from her and she wants to make the most of what time they have.

Also, recall in 'The Weight of the World' Buffy's reaction to losing Dawn to Glory. That was a similar situation to the one Dawn would be in with her mum and Buffy dead, and Buffy was 20 then.

Finally, people have mentioned how the Scoobies aren't doing well without Giles around. Could you not consider that a vaguely similar situation to the one Dawn's in? Buffy accused Giles of abandoning her when he left in 'Tabula Rasa', yet we don't complain about her. Of course Dawn's situation takes place over a longer time which is probably why it annoys people, but perhaps she needs to be cut some more slack?

Marebabe said...

@Blam: Regarding the poor civilian at death’s door, we never got invested in him. (Did we even know his name?) We are VERRRY invested in Willow, and want what’s best for her.

It’s interesting, both yesterday and today, things have been kind of slow at work, and I’ve been passing the time between calls re-reading some of the excellent discussions we had on Nikki’s LOST rewatch. Remember when the Kahana blew up? Right before that, we saw the Zodiac craft going back and forth with background characters, ferrying them to the Kahana. When the freighter exploded, all we were focused on was the death of Michael, the supposed death of Jin, and how devastated Sun was. It wasn’t until the rewatch that I even realized that the Kahana went down with all hands, the totally anonymous crew, and some of the last redshirts from Flight 815. We weren’t thinking of them at all, because the story wasn’t about them.

Blam said...

Nikki: Buffy was called when she was Dawn's age. That flashback we had in "Becoming" where we saw her fighting vampires for the first time, coming home and staring into the mirror and finding that resilience within herself to go it alone... she was 15. When season 1 opens, she has *just* turned 16. When you compare who she was in S1 with Dawn in these episodes, you're seeing two VERY different women. Dawn still requires a babysitter for some reason, yet Buffy was out patrolling every night, saving the world.

First: What Quarks said.

Second: Dawn only requires a babysitter because Buffy (and the other "elders") say so — even though they're perfectly happy leaving her to her own devices at other times of day when she's eminently accostible. Like I pointed out earlier, this is both infantilizing and inconsistently unsound.

Third: Buffy did indeed grow into her role, and quickly, but even if you disregard the pushback she gave Giles early on (which I grant was only human) or the movie version's reluctance to embrace her Slayerness, both the movie and the flashback in "Becoming" clearly show her to be totally self-absorbed before Merrick approached her, perhaps a trait that was mysticogenetially passed on to Dawn.

I think that Dawn has been pretty strong when backed up against a wall. She just hasn't been faced with the constant threat of the Hellmouth the same way Buffy has, despite living in Sunnydale since she was 10 or so (in everyone's memory); in fact, for all of her actual existence and most of her remembered one since Buffy was called as the Slayer, her view of the supernatural has been a very mixed bag — vampires aren't always evil and even watch out for you at your sister's request, the apocalypse comes often and is averted (in fact, you may only find out after the fact), mortal combat with arcane forces is something whose effects you see frequently but is battled and overcome with bizarre jollity.

VW: olexcurl — Superman taunting his bald arch-enemy with the forelock on his lush head of hair.

Missy said...

I certainly thought of everyone aboard the frieghter. ;) Granted my overriding thought was oh god Jin.

As for Dawnie,It took many a rewatch to even understand how alone she felt wether justified or not,she still felt alone.
Buffy's not much better at coping with being alone..all of S6 proves that.(as does part of S3,specifically the start of the season & when she pretty much leaves the scoobies to play hooky with Faith.)