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StephenT [userpic]

(Review) BtVS 8.35 'Twilight' Part 4

8th May 2010 (01:04)

So. Anybody out there still interested in Buffy 8.35 now the comic has finally landed on British shores two days later than most other places?

As for me, my overriding thought on reading this issue was, "Huh. So basically, the point of this story arc is to satirise Premillennial Dispensationalism and the Christian doctrine of the Rapture?" Because honestly, the comparisons are close and sustained. Okay, you could also compare it to other millennarian doctrines such as Marxism or Neoconservatism, but it's the religion analogy that struck me as the closest.

After all, you've got Buffy and Angel being taken up to heaven by the power of their mutual rapture. We're told they've been granted this as an act of grace, because of their righteousness. But while they're enjoying the benefits of paradise, those Left Behind™ are suffering tribulations and being tormented by demons. Angel accepts this, despite his concern for them, because it's all part of the divine plan. The way it's Meant To Be. Is he being evil, cruel, selfish? Well, would you use those adjectives to describe the millions of Americans and others who believe in the Rapture and presumably, therefore, hold quite similar views to Angel regarding those who failed to achieve salvation?

Anyway, enough philosophising; on with the review.

Buffy has her Admiral Ackbar moment, and immediately leaps to the conclusion that something bad is about to happen to them. She's always been self-aware and fourth-wall-breaking, and this is no exception. Indeed, the thought occurs to me that -- just as last issue might have contained an element of Joss poking fun at the fan conviction that whom Buffy sleeps with is the most important thing in the universe --here he's mocking his own reputation that whenever two of his characters have a moment's happiness, especially if it involves sex, then they must inevitably be about to suffer terrible consequences.

I liked Buffy's fighting pose, back to back with Angel, although it did strike me with a little cognitive dissonance. I associate that kind of 'fighting together in total harmony' as being more a Buffy/Spike thing than a Buffy/Angel thing; maybe I've turned into a Spuffista without realising it. *g*  But I tend to think of Buffy and Angel fighting separately, even during the earlier seasons - he was handling one set of bad guys while she was off in another room fighting the others. So this seems odd.

It's interesting that Angel immediately follows her lead, even though he's sceptical of the need for it. He still respects her leadership.

When the preview came out, a few people commented on Buffy referring to 'orcs'. Given her extensive pop culture knowledge, I don't find it the least bit surprising that she's seen 'Lord of the Rings' and can probably quote from it extensively (I'm less sure that she's read the book, though). It fits the context because she's talking about generic storybook monsters, and if you're Buffy demons are real, not fairytales. Also of relevance, in the Joss Whedon-written comic 'Stacy' (from 'Tales of the Vampires') the vampire protagonist refers to herself and the powers of evil in general as 'We're the orcs', and this seems to carry the same weight of symbolism.

We later learn that their minds formed both their surroundings and their clothes out of their imaginations. Apparently Buffy believes that in Eden, she would wear a pure white chiton... while Angel is in modern-looking trousers and shirt. She's clearly the more imaginative one. The reference to a poisoned apple obviously recalls the story of Adam and Eve too, although maybe Snow White would be an equally apt comparison. (And a call-back to the first arc of the season.) Buffy's reference to feeling the 'afterglow' is obviously a call-out to the infamous glow from 8.33. You'll note that now they're in Twilight, they're no longer glowing.

Meanwhile back on Earth, and Giles and Willow are still locked in their exposition-through-argument. Willow calls Twilight a place, which I suspect is only an approximation of the truth, which is that Twilight is a concept. It's the liminal stage between day and night, or between one universe and the next. It's Twilight in the Germanic mythology sense of the word. The end of one world and beginning of the next.

So Giles, like all Watchers, knew all along that there was a prophecy about a Slayer and a vampire falling in love, proving themselves worthy through multiple heroic deeds, and thereby bringing about the total destruction of this universe. Willow is shocked that he would keep this a secret from Buffy. I, knowing Giles, am not at all shocked that he'd be reluctant to share this with her. What would he say?

"Hey, Buffy, don't fall in love with Angel. There's an ancient prophecy - which may or may not be true - that it will lead to dire consequences. Oh, and the prophecy might apply to Spike instead, now he has a soul too, so you'd better not fall in love with him either." I'm sure she'd listen. Or how about, "Buffy, if you prove yourself worthy the universe will reward you with godlike powers, which would be bad for the rest of us. Please stop being so heroic. Be more selfish occasionally." And for that matter, there's "Buffy, if you suddenly acquire additional superpowers from a mysterious cosmic source, I'm going to have to kill you." I'm sure Giles would love sharing that little titbit with her -- or even admitting it out loud to himself -- not to mention the tactical unwisdom of warning her to be on her guard.

Instead, it seems to me to be very Giles-like that he would keep quiet, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Especially since he was more than half-convinced the whole thing was just a myth anyway, until Angel convinced him in 8.33.

Xander lampshades Angel's actions over the rest of the season - and as lusciousxander has pointed out, it's a sign of his growth that he's now puzzled rather than gloating that Angel has 'shown his true colours'. Giles offers the 'his judgement was confused by the power of Twilight' defence, which I'm guessing is what the season is going with.

And now it's pouring demons (as opposed to raining men?). Xander instantly snaps out an order to Kennedy; Kennedy accepts it without question (but has already anticipated it). Both of these are interesting character statements in their own right. :-)

The interaction between Warren and Andrew is even more interesting. The quarrel over the shield seems like something straight out of Season 6... until Andrew sees the demon attacking, warns Warren, and then shelters him behind him (with an arm around his shoulder, even). Andrew in Season 6 would never have had the self-confidence or presence of mind to do that. But he suffers for it, as the demon cleaves the shield in two. I'm not sure exactly what injuries Andrew suffers - you'd think, if anything, his right arm would take the brunt of the blow, but it looks intact and instead he's unconcious and bleeding from the mouth. Since it was an energy sword, maybe it was some sort of transferred shock of heat that injured him. Incidentally, the fact that he's bleeding is a sign that he's not dead: you don't bleed once your heart has stopped beating.

Warren, in turn, is all concerned about Andrew, and goes so far as asking his hated enemies for their help. I'm not sure whether this is meant to be a sign of his possible redemption - though I'm pretty sure that in Joss's worldview anybody (with a soul) is capable of that, even Warren Meers - or just a reminder that human beings, however many other flaws they may have, are still capable of affection and empathy. Amy, meanwhile, reminds us that they're still supposed to be evil. I smiled at her line.

Since it's brought up in the next section, let's talk about sex. It amused me that Angel is acting a bit like a lovestruck teenager after his first time here - there was his comment about Buffy's finger earlier, and here he's all "Mother of mercy, we had the sex part." Buffy, while also making remarks about afterglows and satisfaction, is much more casual about it all. The thing is, that while Angelus and Liam before him presumably had lots of sexual experience, that was all more than a hundred years ago, and probably never reached the level of 'making love'. Souled Angel, I would guess, actually has far less sexual experience and confidence than 25-year old human Buffy now does, courtesy of Parker, Riley, Spike and Satsu. It shows, and it's an appealing reversal.

On the other hand, Brad Meltzer apparently never got the memo that there were questions raised about consent issues due to mysterious glows or the Universe taking the characters over. Buffy and Angel are acting like two old flames and former lovers who really missed each other, met up again and decided to have some really amazing sex - because he told her she shouldn't be afraid to be happy, and she impulsively decided to take him up on his suggestion. (I went back to check 8.33, and getting physical was definitely Buffy's idea, not Angel's.) In the first scene Buffy doesn't want to talk about the sex just yet, but I got the impression that was because it was the wrong time for complicated emotional discussions possibly involving cookie dough metaphors. She was expecting an imminient orc attack -- not feeling particularly upset or violated or anything. Assuming I've interpreted the author's intentions correctly here, I'd hazard a guess that he didn't even think any other reading was possible.

On the other hand, Angel is acting weird in this scene... but weird in a way I recognise. It's the Rapture metaphor again. All that "So much doubt always" and "I think we're finally free"... Angel is talking like a new convert to a religious cult. A true believer trying to love-bomb Buffy into joining the same cult.

Buffy's natural scepticism comes to her rescue. I did like her reaction to Angel's "the only way we get here is with each other"... At first she seemed stunned; there's a deer in the headlights quality about her eyes, though I also detect a trace of a smile - but then she just gets pissed off. Clearly, Buffy is thoroughly impatient with the idea of Stephanie Meyer-style Destined True Love. (And equally clearly, any thoughts that Joss was trying to push the Buffy/Angel 'ship unironically into that kind of Fated Soulmates trope now appear unfounded. At least to me...)

The next conversation has multiple layers to it. Angel assumes Buffy is joking -- maybe because he can't believe she hasn't accepted how wonderful it is to be Saved. He assumes that her jokes are a way of deflecting the conversation away from serious subjects, and compares it to Xander's similar habit. Buffy knows without explanation what Angel means -- but also denies his insight, saying that Xander jokes because he wants to, not because he's hiding away. In her retort Buffy simultaneously, therefore, tells Angel that she knows Xander better than he does, and that Xander is more mature than the boy Angel used to know back in Sunnydale.

I'm not entirely clear why Buffy's clothing keeps changing to match the costumes of past Slayers. It might just be a background colour detail to show that she's the culmination of the Slayer line, or it might be significant later. Equally interesting is how Angel recognises the costumes -- they're from before even his time so it can't be his own memories.

The pool table is also entirely random. (Is it a 'Fool For Love' reference?)

And now they're in the blank white space, the tabula rasa (which actually reminded me of the White Room in W&H). Their argument highlights the classic difference between Buffy and Angel in terms of motivation.

Buffy is all about her family and friends. It's not that she doesn't have principles and values; but they're not why she fights. Buffy would send the world to hell rather than let anyone kill Dawn.

Angel is a loner, who wants to make the world a better place but isn't all that keen on interacting with its people. He steps out of the shadows, offers his help, then fades back into the darkness. He sets up Connor in a new life, takes one last look through the window and leaves, intending never to see his son again.

It doesn't work out that way, of course: but that's because Joss's moral seems to be that Angel's approach is the flawed one. You need people, and Angel needs to be constantly prodded and reminded as to why they're important. His story from 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' to 'Not Fade Away' is one long series of epiphanies and backsliding about that simple fact. And apparently, it's still going on here. :-)

Buffy tears a hole in the page of the comic to see what's going on back in the other scene. (Or something like that.) This at least confirms, as I thought, that neither she nor Angel were aware of the damage they were causing last issue. Angel's reaction suggests that he knew their ascension would cause changes back on Earth, but he appears genuinely surprised and shocked that things would be so bad. However, he's not worried because he thinks that "We can fix it". Again, I wonder how the people who've been taken up in the Rapture are supposed to regard the sinners left behind on earth. With the same sort of detached compassion and vague regret Angel is showing here? For that matter, I'm reminded of Buffy's own description of Heaven, how she "knew" that everybody she loved was safe (when they really weren't).

For the second time, Angel tells Buffy that the two of them can finally get to be happy together, and once again Buffy gets all dewy-eyed. The prospect really tempts her. (The prospect of being together with Angel specifically, or just the idea of finally getting to be happy? I think that's open to interpretation by individual fans. *g*)

An interlude of the battle. Faith rescues Andrew, with Warren's help... Xander shows a touching concern for Faith and Faith doesn't even knock his hand away or anything. Willow and Amy are fighting back to back and discussing tactical options... and in what might be karma, Amy gets knocked out just as she suggests "getting us out of here" (Did she mean just herself and Willow, or the whole gang? My suspicion is the first; Amy is fundamentally selfish.)

Willow, presumably, doesn't like being told she smells of anything, be it good or evil... and did the demon mean she's good and Amy's evil, or that both of them partake of both? Either way, all I can say is ouch. Pissing off Season 8 Willow is a bad idea.

I understand a lot of people are unhappy with Angel's characterisation here, especially when he tries to block the sight of the battle. He's certainly not behaving admirably -- although I do suspect that he might be hiding the sight because he's feeling troubled and guilty himself and doesn't want to watch it, rather than because he's trying to convince Buffy everything will be for the best. He seemed surprised and  distressed enough when he saw the earlier battle scene. I think he's honestly convinced that they can create a new world here... at first he didn't think there'd be a price at all, and now he's seen that other people are paying it, he's trying to justify his earlier decision to himself as much as to Buffy.

Xander's absolute faith in Buffy is pretty touching. I doubt she heard him literally -- though if she's become a goddess, maybe she actually did hear his prayer *g* -- but she makes a classic Buffy decision anyway. Screw destiny. And fuck evolution.

(Since it came up often in previous discussions, I'd like to say that 'evolution' means "a gradual process of development, an unrolling". It doesn't only have to refer specifically to Darwin's theory about the evolution of living organisms through a process of natural selection, you know. *g*)

Buffy's defiance gives Angel an epiphany (is that the 15th? *g*). I will say, it seems pretty sudden and out of the blue - maybe Angel's just had so much practice at them by now? Or maybe he places a special value in Buffy's insight, and was already starting to harbur doubts himself. Mind you, it is very well depicted for what it is. Jeanty's artwork, as usual, captures the facial expressions perfectly. The way Angel looks down as if to say "I'm being an idiot, aren't I?" is just so well captured.

Give him credit; when he realises he's been wrong all along, he doesn't bitch and moan about it. He accepts it with good grace and immediately tries to make amends for his fault. You can't ask more of anyone.

We get another close-up of Buffy looking all emotional... but before, she was also teary-eyed. Now, her eyes are clear. I really loved the little detail of the way she bound up her hair before going into battle, the genuine-sounding 'I did miss you', and then the business-like "I'll take the ones on the left." It's another classic Buffy hero moment for our lists.

By comparison, the battle scene is just a battle scene, though impressive enough. I'd actually forgotten that Buffy and Angel are still ultra-superpowered, but they cleave through the demons like they were nothing.

Willow being snarky is always fun to see. It did seem to me that there was more of an edge to her remark to Angel, while with Buffy she was, while still pointed, rather more teasing. Not to mention smutty. Also, I liked that Buffy's first words after returning to the battle were specifically, "Willow, I'm sorry." :-)

And finally... the spectacular appearance of who I assume will be the last character to make a shock final-panel-of the-comic heroic entrance this season. I would like to say I was slightly wrong, since a couple of months ago I predicted that this would be the last panel of issue 8.34, not 8.35. I was out by one month. *g*  Also, I didn't predict that Spike would climb out of a bizarre brass rivetted steampunk monstrosity... I assume we'll find out more about it (like, what the heck it is) in the autumn. It looks kind of like a hermit crab, making me think it's a submarine -- or something for burrowing through the earth. Or maybe it travels to other times and dimensions, entirely unlike a TARDIS since that's copyrighted to a different franchise. Let's call it the chronosphere.

Either way, Willow clearly recognises it. That means one of two things. Either she's familiar with that type of vehicle and knows it belongs to allies of hers -- it actually made me think of Muffit's turbo-V8 powered wheelchair in 'Goddesses and Monsters', so maybe Saga Vasuki and her gang are involved in this. Or she knows Spike will be onboard and is looking forward to seeing everybody else's reactions. Or both (maybe she asked Aluwyn to help Spike out?).

In the group shot when everybody looks at the chronosphere, Willow seems to be trying to keep a straight face instead of breaking out in a huge grin; everybody else is stunned. Then Spike appears... and everybody looks even more shocked. Unfortunately, the picture is too small to show clear reactions, but even Willow looks surprised to see him. Angel looks irritated rather than surprised, which amuses me. As for Buffy... she looks pretty stunned herself.

So here's the question: is this the long awaited "Buffy discovers Spike is still alive" moment after all? Or did she know all along, and she's only surprised to see him here, now? (Or, if you want to be more uncharitable, is she worried that he'll be able to smell the fact that she and Angel just had sex, and she's embarrassed about that?) I suppose we'll find out in four months' time...

On which subject, I notice that in the letters page Scott repeated his standard formula that "there are conversations going on between the characters off the panel" and that "Andrew would have told the others about 'the big news items' from his meetings with Angel". He says this whenever anyone asks him if Buffy knows Spike is alive, and it's a perfect politician's response because it appears to answer the question without actually doing so. Scott has never once said specifically in so many words, "Yes, she knows he's alive", and his deliberate avoidance of that seems significant. It could be that he simply didn't know the answer and was trying to avoid tying his writers' hands in case one of them chose to make it a plot point later.... or maybe he knew it would be a major issue in 8.36 and didn't want to give away any spoilers. We'll see.

It would actually be in character, I think, for Andrew to obey Spike's wishes to not tell Buffy he was alive by telling Willow instead, and leaving it to her discretion and timing whether or not to tell Buffy. That might explain Willow's reaction here.

One final note: I'm going to quote 'A Beautiful Sunset' again, because of how obvious the foreshadowing is in retrospect:

"Saving the world means keeping the status quo. But apocalypses come because the world is trying to change. It has to.
"That either means chaos, and the morons chaos inevitably employs... or it means moving forward. To something better. And I did that.
"Yay me."

Change brings chaos and suffering. Buffy learned that by issue 8.11 of the comic; it took Angel until issue 8.35. The question Joss will need to answer in the final six issues of this season is - does that mean that we should be afraid of change? Avoid it? Accept the status quo, however bad it may be? I'm guessing the answer will be "No", but how it will work out still remains to be seen...


Comments

Page 1 of 2[1][2]
Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 00:28 (UTC)
pic#82749049

Hmmm.

I was very pleased by Buffy's words and actions in this issue. They were (almost) everything I could have hoped for, and I'm delighted that I won't have to hold her in contempt.

My only puzzlement is that Buffy wasn't more upset at being manipulated like this, and that she apparently regards her friends -- but not humanity as a whole -- as being worth fighting for. While that's a very human attitude, it's not a very good one for the leader of the Slayers, since their very raison d'etre is to fight for humanity.

Angel was a different story. He did everything he could to prevent Buffy from making her heroic decision. He only went to help because Buffy was intent on going, and staying behind would have been pointless. (To have Eden, you need Adam and Eve... Adam and his right hand won't quite cut it.)

I'm hoping that we'll see a different viewpoint from Angel now that he's apparently shaking off the influence of Twilight. His agreement with Willow's chilling comment makes me think that's the case, along with the tightly troubled expression on his face when he says it.

Spike's vehicle is a Yellow Submarine. :-) If so, that makes the third explicit reference to that song in season 8. Georges says it's because he has the Yellow Submarine figurine collection in his studio, and they keep inspiring him.

Story-wise, this was by far my least favorite arc of the season. The writing and art were fine, I just find the moral implications, especially regarding Angel, to be very troublesome. The notion of "the morality of letting 6 billion people be torn apart by demons is subject to valid differences of opinion" is not something I'm going to swallow.

I'm glad Joss is coming back on the job now.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 00:44 (UTC)

I definitely think we needed to have seen this issue before passing judgement on Buffy's character development and the message of the 'Twilight' story arc, rather than assuming 8.34 was the definitive statement. I kept on saying so. ;-)


she apparently regards her friends -- but not humanity as a whole -- as being worth fighting for.

That sounds very much like a Joss Whedon message, though. "Humanity as a whole" is only an abstraction, and people fighting for abstractions can permit all sorts of atrocities in the service of what they perceive as the greater good. In fact, you could say that's the theme of not only this arc but the entire season.


He only went to help because Buffy was intent on going, and staying behind would have been pointless.

I disagree strongly. He went because he finally realised Buffy was right... or possibly, that she was Buffy and that he'd trust her judgement. His expression shows self-deprecating realisation and then acceptance, not reluctance.

Has Georges actually said the vehicle is based on the Yellow Submarine? I can see the resemblance, though it's not exact of course...


The notion of "the morality of letting 6 billion people be torn apart by demons is subject to valid differences of opinion" is not something I'm going to swallow.

Do you have the same feeling about religions that accept that only a handful of Elect will be saved and everybody else will go to hell?

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 01:09 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 01:31 (UTC)

Posted by: JG (jgracio)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 11:11 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 11:51 (UTC)

Posted by: JG (jgracio)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 12:40 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 13:00 (UTC)

Posted by: JG (jgracio)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 13:57 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 00:44 (UTC)

Yet another very helpful review. It helps sharpen my understanding of what's going on. I realized today that it's just a mistake to expect micro-details, even though I think they're necessary. Why did Buffy power up in #30? I don't think we'll ever know. Many, many questions along that line. I guess we need to take the vague -- Buffy did a pure act and set this in motion line and just roll with it. Angel seems to think he 'deserves' it as well, but based on what is anybody's guess. Maybe we'll get some backstory for him in Joss's arc. I'd rather say that Angel ends up being the guy because it's geared towards Buffy's wish-fulfillment. The universe follows her desires and taps Angel for the power up. He uses it as Twilight because that's Angel for you. Maybe he's the one because Buffy hearts him the most Maybe he's the one because at the time the universe went in this direction, Buffy thought Spike was dead and so her desire would be focused on Angel as the one that's left available.

I really like your observation that Joss is riffing off of ideas about heaven. That's how all of it would look like to someone of Joss's philosophical persuasion. I also think he's riffing off ideas about narcissistic romance. We might think we want to escape to a paradise with our honey where the world bends to our every desire, but it's all BS. My post on Power of Love spells that out a bit more. Pretty much it's a critique of any sort of escapist thought.

I hope you are right about Andrew telling Willow... and about how to parse Allie. It comes out from others just that way too, so much so that it reminds me of a talking point memo. (In this country, talking heads for political positions often pop up formulating positions in identical terms because a memo has literally circulated on how to address certain things). Meltzer went off script, though. His answer to the question was that it wasn't his story to tell, so that lends strength to your own interpretation here.

It's not clear how many times they can let Angel destroy the world due to either ill-thought out good intentions and/or momentary lapses into despair and have the audience keep forgiving him. I guess we get to do it again here. It'd be easier to really love the character if the writers would hold him a wee bit accountable for being such a dick. The idea that we're supposed to pat him on the head and forgive him because he's our beloved hero is an exercise in protagonist privilege that really grates -- especially when other characters are held to more exacting standards of justice.

Anyway, thanks -- the cycle is never complete until you've weighed in. Whatever shall we all do with ourselves with the long months ahead?



Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 01:18 (UTC)

Thanks! :-)

it's just a mistake to expect micro-details, even though I think they're necessary.

I know it might seem finicky to analyse the comics panel by panel the way I do, but I do think a lot of story-relevant detail can only be gleaned for that level of reading. Some of it, I assume, is put in there deliberately by the writer or artist; some of it, I think, is unconscious on their part but shows the way they're leaning.

In 8.33 Buffy grabbed Angel by the lapels and pulled him towards her into a kiss - it's that kind of detail (which I only spotted myself on third reading) rather than some long in-character exposition afterwards on how it was her own impulsive choice to get physical with him that tells the story, and it's easy to miss it on a casual reading.

Nor do the comics have the space or time to elaborate on things over-much. A one-line explanation of something might well be all we get.


Angel ends up being the guy because it's geared towards Buffy's wish-fulfillment.

I was assuming it's because he's the vampire with a soul in the shanshu prophecy (and that yes, Spike would also qualify if Buffy had known he was alive) but I like your idea too. Maybe a bit of both?


Joss is riffing off of ideas about heaven

Or philosophies like the inevitable revolutionary collapse of the capitalist system and the transition to communism - the early Marxists were remarkably blasé about the suffering that would cause to other people. But with all the Eden symbolism and talk of ascending to godhood, the Rapture analogy seemed the one they were going for primarily.


His answer to the question was that it wasn't his story to tell

I do find it hard to believe that Spike will make a dramatic entrance, and the next issue won't spend at least three pages dealing with the impact of his arrival before getting on with the main plot. Unless of course Joss deliberately undercuts it for laughs ("Spike? Spike! But... but I thought you were... were..." ""Were what, pet?" "I thought you were supposed to be here a month ago! Where the hell were you?")


The idea that we're supposed to pat him on the head and forgive him because he's our beloved hero is an exercise in protagonist privilege

"To forgive is an act of compassion, Maggie. It's not done because people are protagonists. It's done because they need it." /Giles.
;-)


Whatever shall we all do with ourselves with the long months ahead?

Well, there's the Riley one-shot... and I do suspect some of these more recent arcs will make more sense when read as a whole now we know what's going on.

Or maybe we could all go back to arguing about, I dunno, why Xander lied to Buffy about the re-ensoulment spell in 'Becoming'. ;-)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 01:59 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 03:00 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 11:56 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 17:19 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 18:46 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 19:19 (UTC)

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 00:12 (UTC)

Posted by: JG (jgracio)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 11:41 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 11:59 (UTC)

Posted by: JG (jgracio)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 13:18 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 12:12 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 13:04 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 17:31 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 18:53 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 18:57 (UTC)

Posted by: the infamous Midwestern subterrainean Explodebear. (hkath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 02:18 (UTC)
everybody die always [BtVS]

I like where you're going here with ideas of Teh Rapture (tm) and heaven and cults and religion. This is very similar to that whole Left Behind rigmarole (minus Kirk Cameron, obviously). Now I need a re-read of the whole shebang with those concepts in mind.

I find that I am perfectly fine moving on from the much-debated sex into what's actually going on. What a relief! It wasn't the end of the world! Well, I guess it kinda was, but... anyway. Thank deity that we didn't have to spend the four-month break with that hanging over our heads! Instead we get to spend four months puzzling over Spike, astride his steampunk prairie dog/snake/submarine/happy face/hermit crab/sand worm. I am so confuse. For the last 3 days, I've been digging the issue out and randomly staring at it, trying to figure out what that thing is and adding to the list of things it reminds me of.

I should have trusted, though, that you'd remember what I didn't! That steampunk wheelchair! Fantastic observation. Now I'm going to be hoping that Saga Vasuki is somehow involved!

I frankly am more bothered by the sudden change in Warren than any crazy space sex. The idea of the writers giving that character any kind of redemption seriously skeeves me. Then again, I do enjoy a good skeeve from time to time. I'm thinking maybe he'll give up his special survival magic to save Andrew. That feels like something Joss would orchestrate.

Also, it's awfully convenient that Andrew's unconscious just as Spike shows up, huh? :P The reaction panel pretty much convinced me that Buffy never knew he was back. I'm not sure about the other characters, but Buffy's exaggerated gaping mouth (and Dawn's, to a lesser extent) while there are so few other details suggests genuine shock to me. I agree with you that Angel looks totally peeved! Ha! And Faith looks simply delighted, which is weird, but nice, I guess!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 12:06 (UTC)

What a relief! It wasn't the end of the world! Well, I guess it kinda was

Not just the end of the world, the end of the universe! ;-)

I'm resigning myself to the fact that Joss won't manage to tie up every single plotline in the last 6 issues, but I'm pretty sure we haven't seen the last of Saga Vasuki.


I do like your idea about Warren sacrificing himself for Andrew, although it does seem just a little bit out of character for him. The guy clearly still has a shred of decency inside him, which is nice, but to go all the way to heroic self-sacrifice?

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 02:32 (UTC)
twilight not kidding

Is he being evil, cruel, selfish? Well, would you use those adjectives to describe the millions of Americans and others who believe in the Rapture and presumably, therefore, hold quite similar views to Angel regarding those who failed to achieve salvation?

Maybe not, but I can sure think of some other words I'd use, no more complimentary than those. *g*

I do think the "new convert to a religious cult" comparison is apt, though I don't think it excuses anything Angel's done. I also wish we knew how Angel became a true believer. I thought this was supposed to be the issue that explained that?

Or, if you want to be more uncharitable, is she worried that he'll be able to smell the fact that she and Angel just had sex, and she's embarrassed about that?

That was actually my first interpretation of Buffy's "Oh, this is gonna be bad" line. I assumed she meant Angel and Spike together - particularly after what she just did with Angel - would be bad, but it seems that's before she knows who's in the Steampunk Spaceship of Doom (although, really, who ELSE would possibly have one of those?).

Posted by: Barb (rahirah)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 04:55 (UTC)


Maybe not, but I can sure think of some other words I'd use, no more complimentary than those. *g*


Yeah, that. Fine, Angel's a convert - but in a universe where magic has consequences, always, at the very least he's being galactically stupid if he thinks he can get something for nothing out of the cosmos.

It would be rather nifty in some respects to discover that while Angel and Giles have been sneaking around concealing things from Buffy, Buffy has been sneaking around concealing things from them. But I doubt it - Willow may recognize Spike's Steampunk Spaceship Of Doom (TM), but I suspect Buffy's remark is more along the lines of "I knew there would be orcs."

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 12:14 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 12:10 (UTC)

Posted by: ubi4soft (ubi4soft)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 04:14 (UTC)

Something I recognized as Angel being in character:
Angel:They can handle this,Buffy.
Buffy:You don't know that.
Angel:It's no different than when you died.They'll survive.They always do.
Buffy:You're just saying that because you can live without knowing the outcome.I can't.


This is Angel going to grieve in Tibet after Buffy's death (feeling more guilty that he can live knowing she's dead)

Something I don't recognized as Angel being in character:
Angel:Yes,we had the sex part.Mother of mercy,we had the sex part.So much doubt always.

I Will Remember You, moron!

And I'm not very happy with Angel knowing that they will cause such bad things and then approach the S6 Willow reasoning "I can fix it with magick!power"

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 12:21 (UTC)

Having read Brad Meltzer's interview, I do feel I understand (his take on) Angel's character better. He's an immortal; he can't afford to get too closely involved, emotionally, with anyone who's likely to wither and die while he remains forever young. He has to cultivate aloof detachment as a survival mechanism. On the other hand, his natural urge to therefore avoid all human contact and brood in the darkness is also unhealthy for him; he needs to cultivate human contact and love.

He needs to strike a balance, and he's constantly being pushed back and forward by the two halves of his nature. (And the soul/demon split is a mirror of that conflict).


I Will Remember You

That was only the third time in her life Buffy ever had sex, and before she and Spike spent a year doing things he can't even spell. If Angel was expecting her to be pretty much the same as the last time they made love, he could have been in for a shock...

Posted by: ubi4soft (ubi4soft)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 16:16 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 16:41 (UTC)

Posted by: ubi4soft (ubi4soft)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 17:08 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 17:57 (UTC)

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 14:05 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 04:21 (UTC)
This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro
Buffy the Bitch

He still respects her leadership

No, he now is acting like he respects her leadership. We have an entire season of him disrespecting her.

Is he being evil, cruel, selfish?

I'm going with Snap-Crackle-Pop CRAZY for 1000, Alex.

Apparently Buffy believes that in Eden, she would wear a pure white chiton... while Angel is in modern-looking trousers and shirt

I interpreted it as Angel beliving it's Eden (this is his belief, that they're chosen to be special and better and happy and remake the world, not Buffy's) and constructing the world while Buffy's too out of it to think coherently.

Souled Angel, I would guess, actually has far less sexual experience and confidence than 25-year old human Buffy now does, courtesy of Parker, Riley, Spike and Satsu.

Uhhh, I've got three Mmmm Aaaangel! muses who say different (they're not moaning in ecstasy just 'cause). And are we differentiating between a souled Angel and a souled Spike? Because souled!Spike doesn't get to take credit for his sexcapades with Buffy at all. Actually, barring Harmony, souled!Spike is more of a eunuch than Angel (barring his coitus interruptus with Harm and if you choose to include Spider jumping him while he's imprisoned... oh HAI more consent issues). Sorry, but this argument doesn't hold water for me and reads a bit like straining to fanwank Angel as in-character.

Give him credit; when he realises he's been wrong all along, he doesn't bitch and moan about it. He accepts it with good grace and immediately tries to make amends for his fault. You can't ask more of anyone.


Yes, you can. And many do. Like say, actually building up to this development of Angel's character? In medias rex works when you explain it later. If you never show it, then you never earned the right to use in medias rex.

Here's the thing. Many people, including myself, have said they can see how it's possible for Angel to reach this point. But it would require a build-up of development over a season. This characterization isn't earned except by the power of ETHOS thy name is Joss. Without the requisite context for Angel's characterization, the WTFery of this storyline pops the balloon of drama and leaves it to fly about the room until it plops to the floor in a forgotten corner and the dog tries to eat the rubber.





Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 04:35 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro
WTFery

I'm going with Snap-Crackle-Pop CRAZY for 1000, Alex.

Hahahaha, yeah, that's what I was thinking, too. And yes, Stephen, for the record, I would say that about those who believe in the Rapture. :)

Uhhh, I've got three Mmmm Aaaangel! muses who say different (they're not moaning in ecstasy just 'cause).

Yeah, and as ubi4soft points out, Angel's already had a whole day of sex with Buffy in IWRY. Plus, he's had sex with Nina. He's certainly not promiscuous by any means, but he's not a blushing virgin, either.

I do think Buffy has grown exponentially in sexual confidence since her first time with Angel. But she's still discovering herself. Angel's not. He's already 250 years old, so I'd expect his sexual experiences since his first time with Buffy to be less enlightening than Buffy's have been, regardless of quantity.

Edited at 2010-05-08 04:36 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 12:51 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 15:36 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 16:00 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 20:06 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 20:47 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 20:55 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 21:29 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 12:40 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 14:57 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 15:40 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 16:01 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 19:54 (UTC)
Re: This My Devil's Advocate To Your Pro

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 08:30 (UTC)

Good review as always. I like your comparison to the Rapture (and I agree completely with erimthar there), even if I really don't see how it fits the character with no build-up whatsoever or excuses him in any fashion. ETA: One important difference, of course, is that most people who believe in the Rapture believe in an omnipotent God who will make it happen, whereas Angel has actively worked for this.

Others have pointed out a lot of other things so I won't bring them up again, but here's a thought: In the Fray arc, Buffy told Fray to let vampires kill innocent bystanders and eventually was prepared to let her entire world be wiped from existence.

I'm leaving. I don't care about your world. (...) It's called 'Fate of the world', Short View."

...as a parallel for what Angel argues here, it's not completely off. Of course, Buffy had much more of a world to fight for there than Angel does here, and a lot of us still agreed with Fray's assessment of Buffy back then, so...

Edited at 2010-05-08 08:54 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 13:12 (UTC)

You don't see how it fits Angel's character that he would be enthusiastic about an ancient prophecy which says, "the vampire with a soul who can prove himself worthy will link up with the Best Slayer Ever to create a new universe, where they would have godlike powers to end all suffering and hardship forever."? :-)


In the Fray arc, Buffy told Fray to let vampires kill innocent bystanders and eventually was prepared to let her entire world be wiped from existence

Absolutely. Buffy then was doing what Angel's doing here, just on a smaller scale. Like I said to erimthar, "people fighting for abstractions can permit all sorts of atrocities in the service of what they perceive as the greater good. In fact, you could say that's the theme of not only this arc but the entire season."

When Buffy went on her Retreat, it reconnected her with her humanity and the need to fight for people, not grand causes. Angel needed Buffy herself to remind him of that. They were both guilty of the same sin, but both of them appear to have regained grace. Angel took longer, because he's a little slow compared to Buffy. :-)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 14:49 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 15:41 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 15:48 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 16:07 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 16:25 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 16:47 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 18:32 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 16:07 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 10:10 (UTC)
Let his Kingdom come.

As for me, my overriding thought on reading this issue was, "Huh. So basically, the point of this story arc is to satirise Premillennial Dispensationalism and the Christian doctrine of the Rapture?" Because honestly, the comparisons are close and sustained. Okay, you could also compare it to other millennarian doctrines such as Marxism or Neoconservatism, but it's the religion analogy that struck me as the closest.

I was beginning to think I was the only person to see this. Possibly it would have been clearer in my review post, if I’d made more than a one line reference to kingdom coming instead of spending most of it babbling about West Side Story and Alan Moore’s Promethea but Maggie’s absolutely right about this being the Bertrand Russell take on Christian eschatology. Part of the problem I suppose is that it’s also (according to his CBR interview) the Brad Metzler take, he wasn’t able to make Angel’s case more credible because he rejects it at some fundamental level. He doesn’t understand the yearning for abstraction so Angel’s motivation comes across mostly in less spiritual terms - wanting to be happy.


Angel is a loner, who wants to make the world a better place but isn't all that keen on interacting with its people. He steps out of the shadows, offers his help, then fades back into the darkness. He sets up Connor in a new life, takes one last look through the window and leaves, intending never to see his son again.
I did think Metzler’s point about Angel’s (kind of) immortality giving him a different perspective was valid. Angel knows that one day he’s going to have to watch Connor die. Most parents don’t have that. I like your point too:


So Giles, like all Watchers, knew all along that there was a prophecy about a Slayer and a vampire falling in love, proving themselves worthy through multiple heroic deeds, and thereby bringing about the total destruction of this universe.

I’m not sure that the falling in love with a vampire was part of the Watcher’s version of the prophecy. Giles’ expo focused more on one Slayer and (presumably one vampire) being found worthy but not that they’d need to meet. Willow described Angel and Buffy’s relationship with Angel (and Spike) as the piece they were missing.


I understand a lot of people are unhappy with Angel's characterisation here, especially when he tries to block the sight of the battle. He's certainly not behaving admirably -- although I do suspect that he might be hiding the sight because he's feeling troubled and guilty himself and doesn't want to watch it, rather than because he's trying to convince Buffy everything will be for the best. He seemed surprised and distressed enough when he saw the earlier battle scene. I think he's honestly convinced that they can create a new world here... at first he didn't think there'd be a price at all, and now he's seen that other people are paying it, he's trying to justify his earlier decision to himself as much as to Buffy.

Absolutely. We’ve seen the worst of Angel so far (but usually the further they fall, the higher they fly by the end). There is something pitiable in how much he wanted/needed this and pity has always been the way to Buffy’s heart where Angel is concerned. She falls for his sadness.


Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 10:11 (UTC)
Let his will be done.

(Since it came up often in previous discussions, I'd like to say that 'evolution' means "a gradual process of development, an unrolling". It doesn't only have to refer specifically to Darwin's theory about the evolution of living organisms through a process of natural selection, you know. *g*)

I’ve been trying to point his out too. There’s plenty wrong with Giles’s description of how nature works but he’s perfectly entitled to use the word evolution in its broader sense to describe fictional metaphysical phenomena.

On which subject, I notice that in the letters page Scott repeated his standard formula that "there are conversations going on between the characters off the panel" and that "Andrew would have told the others about 'the big news items' from his meetings with Angel". He says this whenever anyone asks him if Buffy knows Spike is alive

Also in this particular instance the question was whether Buffy knew about Cordelia.


I'd actually forgotten that Buffy and Angel are still ultra-superpowered

Maybe Giles still wants to kill them. The blurbs suggest a lot more inter-Scooby divisions about Angel than we’ve seen. Maybe that’s being saved for Joss to deal with.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 13:23 (UTC)
Re: Let his will be done.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 13:17 (UTC)
Re: Let his Kingdom come.

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 15:56 (UTC)
Re: Let his Kingdom come.

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 05:12 (UTC)
Re: Let his Kingdom come.

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 08:38 (UTC)
Re: Let his Kingdom come.

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 13:56 (UTC)
Re: Let his Kingdom come.

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 17:03 (UTC)
Re: Let his Kingdom come.

Posted by: Caroline (jamalov29)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 14:45 (UTC)
Heroes-earth_vexer

This is such a pleasant , articulate and well-thought review. I have enjoyed reading it for the sole pleasure of your analysis - I ‘m trying to skip almost everything related to the comics from now on. However I must say that it’s very nice to have someone sharing impressions in this quiet , thoughtful manner . If felt like there were gracious ( I’m not sure I’m using the right word ) vibes all along your post ,for which I am grateful.

I associate that kind of 'fighting together in total harmony' as being more a Buffy/Spike thing than a Buffy/Angel thing Lovely point about Buffy and Spike fighting , it’s also like that that I picture them.

maybe I've turned into a Spuffista without realising it. Beware ! We might have an evil influence on you, you never know . :-)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 15:41 (UTC)




Beware ! We might have an evil influence on you, you never know . :-)

It probably is true that my awareness of the "Spike and Buffy are always fighting in harmony" idea comes from Spuffy fans pointing it out, and me then realising they're right. I'm not sure I ever really noticed it on first watching.

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 16:39 (UTC)

Very good review. The Rapture metaphor is something I hadn't considered, even though religious devotion seems a pretty reasonable assumption. And I think drawing the comparison between Angel and those who wait to be saved at the Rapture whereas others are Left Behind helps give some insight into what they were going for with Angel. I think one of the fundamental (and fundamentalist *g*) differences is that most of the time, I think those awaiting the Rapture expect many of those in their family and social circle to be saved as well--and of course, don't actually have to deal with watching as all Hell breaks loose on Earth. I guess Angel doesn't either, though, until Buffy forces him to.

I like your observations about the Buffy/Angel exchange over Xander, which maps well onto Xander's faith in Buffy and his more mature reaction to Angel--even though an "I knew it, he was evil!" would seem pretty appropriate at this juncture. I had thought about the exchange as showing Angel having at least a bit of Buffy-specific insight, which has largely been lacking in the past few issues.

Change brings chaos and suffering. Buffy learned that by issue 8.11 of the comic; it took Angel until issue 8.35. The question Joss will need to answer in the final six issues of this season is - does that mean that we should be afraid of change? Avoid it? Accept the status quo, however bad it may be? I'm guessing the answer will be "No", but how it will work out still remains to be seen...

That's the (a) big question. The arrival of Spike, poster child for change (and knocking down the old) suggests, maybe, that it will go to No. But we'll see, as ever.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 16:46 (UTC)

Thanks!

I got the impression Angel hadn't really thought in depth about what would happen to those Left Behind. It seems like he just assumed that somehow, everything would work out all right for them. He and Buffy would have godlike powers and could, y'know, set everything right again. His family is "wherever he wants them to be".


That's the (a) big question.

Yeah. Given that S7 ended on a big women's empowerment metaphor, it was always going to be difficult for him to subvert that (as part of creating conflict for his story) while still supporting it...

Edited at 2010-05-08 16:47 (UTC)

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 04:53 (UTC)

Posted by: candleanfeather (candleanfeather)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 17:23 (UTC)

This review is a pleasure to read as always.

As for the arc itself, it's difficult to have a solid opinion when you don't read the comics by yourself. Yet from what I've read here and there, I can only say that I hope J Whedon will tackle all the issues they have touched with Angel much more in depth than they have, because I don't find any of the explanations given to be sufficient to see Angel as anywhere as being redeemable in this.

To finish on a more humoristic note, I want to see the character be sent to LA to help Anne and be under a strict interdiction to never ever again do anything for the good of humanity. Thank you.

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 17:47 (UTC)

I want to see the character be sent to LA to hel Anne and be under a strict interdiction to never ever again do anything for the good of humanity. Thank you.

That's perfectly put!!

And instead, it's possible that the universe is rewarding him because it thinks he's the bestest vampire ever.

In a nutshell, that's why I have a hard time loving Angel. What he is and what the text wants to treat him as are so very far apart.

Posted by: Lirazel (penny_lane_42)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 17:57 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 18:19 (UTC)

Posted by: candleanfeather (candleanfeather)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 13:38 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 18:16 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 18:25 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 18:39 (UTC)

Posted by: candleanfeather (candleanfeather)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 13:59 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 18:12 (UTC)

Posted by: candleanfeather (candleanfeather)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 14:15 (UTC)

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 05:00 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 07:07 (UTC)

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 16:59 (UTC)

Posted by: candleanfeather (candleanfeather)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 14:17 (UTC)

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 16:57 (UTC)

Posted by: Lirazel (penny_lane_42)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 17:55 (UTC)
[btvs] terrible

At some point, I'll probably read through everyone else's thoughts, as they are, no doubt, insightful and interesting. But for now I just wanted to pop my head in to say that, as a Christian who doesn't believe in the Rapture and thinks that Revelation is an allegory that was meant for the 1st Century church talking about the persecution they would undergo and is included in the Bible only because it's got some interesting commentary on the history of the church and can be read as having some insights into the ultimate battle of good versus evil on a very, very metaphorical level (...and all of that's probably more than you wanted to know about my eschatology), I find your thoughts on the religious commentary here absolutely fascinating. I'm gonna go mull over them for awhile.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th May 2010 18:11 (UTC)

Thanks! You know, I did wonder if I should have emphasised more in my review that the Rapture is a doctrine of one small subset of Christians, and even then it's interpreted differently by different groups and individuals. I'm glad you weren't offended by the broad brushstroke.

As an outsider, the emphasis by certain strains of evangelicalism that, basically, if you do this and believe that, then you'll be saved, and if you don't you're doomed to torment however good a life you lead otherwise is... well, worthy of being satirised. I'm sure there are lots of decent people who believe in that doctrine and are heartbroken that their nice neighbour Mr Khan or their good friend Mrs Isaacs or their atheist son-in-law John will be damned, and pray nightly that they'll see the light before it's too late. It's the doctrine, not the people who genuinely believe it, that's questionable in my eyes. And, I gather, Joss's and Brad's eyes.

Posted by: nmcil12 (nmcil12)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 07:27 (UTC)

Regarding Buffy and her super power source - do you think this might have some connection?

It still continues to look to me that Buffy was shown as potentially having passed into another death state or into another realm - Buffy is shown as a skeleton when she is zapped by the Goddess and then she is shown in what I would describe as the classic death figure with coins over her eyes to help her cross into the underworld or after death realm.

ReplyLink Parent Thread

Great Review - connecting this with The Rapture is something that had not occurred to me at all. Wouldn't that be a great Jossian conversion - Angel, the fallen man taking up the mantel of the most faithful and innocently in his belief pursuing a plan that makes his Heavenly Reward a place of Wondrous Love while giving Lucifer his Great Victory with the destruction of humanity. You know, Jeanty did show that Monkey in his cosmic sex. Great Muppety Odin sex - but muppets have no life without someone manipulating them.



Edited at 2010-05-09 07:53 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 9th May 2010 14:18 (UTC)

Nice summation. :-)

I like the idea that Buffy symbolically died before being reborn with superpowers. It's a consistent theme on the show ('Prophecy Girl', 'Bad Girls') and of course it ties in with the whole Campbellian Hero's Journey thing.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 12th May 2010 14:31 (UTC)

Interesting review.

Change brings chaos and suffering.

There are different kinds of changes. Looks like Twangel has mixed up evolution and revolution - because his actions look very Bolshevist (the end justify the means).

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 12th May 2010 14:45 (UTC)

While in my review I mostly talked about the Christian theology of the Rapture, the Marxist idea of the revolution paving the way to Communism was very much in my mind too...

Giles's talk about the old universe nurturing the seeds of its own destruction, and then being torn apart to make way for the new one. Angel's belief that any destruction and suffering caused will be worthwhile because he's helping to bring a better world... and he'd rather not look at it himself. Buffy sharing power with other women makes them the vanguard of the proletariat. It's all there. :)

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 1st August 2010 19:45 (UTC)

Brian Lynch talked about an upcoming Spike comic series in an interview at Comic-con.

(A link to the interview was posted at whedonesque.com on July 31.)

Some points related to the S8 storyline.

1) The series will cover some of the backstory to Spike's appearance in S8.

2) Willow will appear in the series.

3) It takes place about a year before S8 (not sure if that means the beginning of S8 or where S8 is now).

4) Joss has substantial involvement in plotting the series.

(Unless Willow gets some sort of partial memory wipe at the end, #2 rather settles the question of whether Buffy already knew that Spike was alive.)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 1st August 2010 22:28 (UTC)

RE your last point - either that or it will cause a huge plothole that people will need to fanwank. :-)

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