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(Review) BtVS 8.39 'Last Gleaming' Part 4

4th December 2010 (01:10)

I had to struggle through snow that came halfway up to my knees to get this issue of Season 8. I hope you all appreciate my sacrifice. :-)

So - now we know who dies and who is betrayed.

The episode starts with a grand climactic fight scene with both Slayers and soldiers dying in gruesome ways at the hands of demons, while Faith i kicking ass in the middle of it all. I thought it was a good touch to show that before cutting to the more personal confrontation between Buffy and Angel, and Willow's all-too-brief moment of apotheosis.

When Buffy says "It's different than before. Now we can hurt each other." I take it she's referring to when they fought back in 8.34, before the destiny sex. Her words have a double meaning, of course, because the hurt that Angel's going to inflict on her in this episode wll be worse than physical.

Interesting character dynamics at work in the scene where Spike intervenes. He's coming to help Buffy, as you'd expect, but I think he's also a little bit glad to get a decent excuse to pummel Angel. "Chosen a side" isn't really accurate, of course, given that Angel is, we assume, possessed, but why let that get in the way of a good brawl?
Angel, on the other hand, demonstrates why he can be so scary. It's not enough for him to simply kill Spike: he wants to watch him die slowly as the sun burns him. This form of death parallels Spike's previous death in 'Chosen', of course - and the mischevious part of me notes that Angel wants Spike to die in his arms. His actions here foreshadow what he does to Giles too, of course.

The question can be asked as to why Angel does this. We're assuming he's possessed and controlled by his New Universe daughter - but presumably Kitty Twilight's aim is simply to get possession of the Seed using him as her agent. That certainly means removing any obstacles in their path, such as Buffy herself, but surely not taking time out to watch Spike fry. That surely has to come from Angel himself, or at least from the Angelus part of his character. So what happened to Angel's soul?

The answer, I think, goes as follows. Angel is indeed possessed by Twilight, and seeks to do her (/his/its) bidding. He's not a mindless automaton, though; he still has his own personality if not his own will. But - Twilight is currently soulless, because the Seed of Wonder is her soul and she doesn't currently have possession of it. So Angel is possessed by a soulless creature; therefore he acts as though he were soulless himself.

Buffy, meanwhile, is in emotional turmoil even though on the surface she's still striving to maintain her usual air of insouciance. "Oh God. I liked it better when you were kissing" sounds more exasperated than anything else; she has to intervene, like a parent, between the boys and their antics. And incidentally, save Spike's life by knocking him to safety. I'm taking it she wasn't anticipating the spaceship catching him, simply that he'd fall down out of the sunlight once Angel had to let go of him.

The kissing line is a back-reference to her dream in 'Always Darkest' (and quite possibly to many other dreams she's had); Spike's muttered "I'm fairly certain I never mentioned..." is both extremely funny, a nice call-back to 'Power Play', and proof that even in such a crisis, he can retain his cool.

 Buffy apparently wasn't very impressed by Angel's 'Twilight' act earlier in the season, and now she blames herself for everything that's going wrong. "Some cosmic vengeance that I had coming." Of course, there are a lot of people in fandom who would agree with her on that. There are also a lot of people who think that we're supposed to agree with her, and are currently getting all angry with Joss Whedon for writing a story with that as its theme. Personally, I think this is just Buffy being completely in-character and shouldering all the blame herself - but not, you'll notice, letting it get in the way of doing her duty.

As for whether she is to blame for what's going on - I'd say yes, kind of, in the same sense that Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg was responsible for the outbreak of the First World War. (*Wonders how many people will get that reference.*)

When Spike says "Angel gets the girl" I understand that as being "He kills her" but deliberately alluding to the language of romance novels, of which Season 8 is a parody. As for "finally happening", in a sense there's a meta-fandom context to it. Buffy and Angel went off to be stars of their own TV shows, and later comics series, so in a way it as kind of inevitable that they'd have to get together in some sort of huge knock-down fight to see who would win.

Flash to Xander for a moment - but also a scene of Slayers (specifically, Kennedy) and soldiers fighting side by side, to emphasise that this crisis has brought all the humans together. Dawn appears to be on her feet again, so she isn't dead (unless that's the surprise twist in the final issue.) Xander has lost hope that Buffy will win this time, which could be described as a betrayal of her.

At this point, enter Giles and the cavalry. Alongside the Slayers and the soldiers, now even demons have joined the fight to save the Earth. A very nice touch is that these specific demons are the same species Buffy was fighting way back in 'The Long Way Home' - and the ones Giles went to negotiate with to ask if they knew anything about the Twilight symbol.

This can be seen a couple of different ways. Either it's uplifting - all the races of Earth uniting to fight the common enemy - or it's worrying: Giles is willing to do a deal with the devil, or at least with demons, to achieve his goals. Or it's both, of course.

Andrew gets a cameo too; he saves Leah's life when a fire-breathing dragon incinerates a group of Slayers. It's a neat but nasty touch that the demons the Slayers were fighting are unharmed by the fire, but can be seen standing there amidst the charred skeletons when the flames die down. They're also apparently bio-mechanical in nature, with technological rather than organic wings.

Now it's Willow's turn. Back when the preview was released questions were asked as to why the Master was in chains; we see here that it's simply that Willow chained him up because she thought she would make a better Guardian of the Seed than him. All the elements of her character are in full force here: her playfulness and love of language, her arrogance, her sense of wonder, the way she can go from adorable to scary in half a second. Specifically, notice that the spells she casts kill the dragon and the demons who just wiped out Leah's squad of Slayers (and were about to wipe out her and Andrew, by the looks of things.)

Willow sees herself as Guardian of the Earth now, embodying its "soul and life". It's quite disturbing, however, that the living creatures on the Earth are dismissed by her as "little things that crawl" - that's us you're talking about, Willow! Becoming a goddess means losing your connection to humanity; something that stands as one of the themes of the entire season.

At this point Willow is attacked by a giant vagina monster. I, um, don't know if the visual reference is deliberate... although the monster does appear just as she says "You attacked Mother" which might imply that it is. Willow has bonded with the Earth Mother of this plane in her defence; and is facing off against a giant distorted parody of femininity.

Here Angel comments that Willow "Thinks she can win this fight" - he doesn't comment on whether her belief is realistic, because according to him that's not the point. Willow is trying to defend the Seed and the world; Angel's aim is to take the Seed to the new universe, at which point it won't matter what happens to the Earth.

Giles comes to get the Scythe from Faith so he can give it to Buffy... the fact that Faith hands it over without demur is actually a pretty big deal for her. It's not really been explained why she had it in the first place; was it just a coincidence, because Buffy dropped it when she was zapped by the vengeful earth goddess, and Faith was the one who picked it up? Or were Faith and Giles trying deliberately to keep it out of Buffy's way until they knew which way she'd turn on the whole "Twilight wants the Seed" question?

The demon melting the bodies of those Slayers is a particularly nasty one. Faith presumably survives because she's got main-cast character privilege, the same way Spike and Angel can withstand sunlight for longer than a no-name no-dialogue vampire can, so all she gets is a bloody nose. I wonder if the other Slayers are dead now, or somehow zombified?

And now we see that Amy and Warren have skedaddled from the fight, and are enjoying a light lunch and bottle of red wine at an open-air café in St Mark's Square in Venice. I assume Warren's cowboy outfit is supposed to be some sort of disguise. Amy comes across as rather more sympathetic than he does here; she's feeling a little guilty about leaving the others, and seems wistful when she comment on how Andrew has found a place with the Scoobies now. Warren is merely dismissive and contemptuous of the man he once called a friend. The scene also reminds us of the detail of Amy's magic acting as Warren's skin, so we won't be surprised by what's about to happen to him.

Incidentally, there's been a big argument the past month or two on how extensive the devastation has been due to Buffy and Angel bonking in 8.35. We saw Andrew and Dawn reporting on volcanoes and seaquakes erupting all over the world, then we saw demons pouring out of rips in the sky, and several scenes of battles raging and cities laid waste. Many people concluded from this that the destruction must have been immense: a poll on Buffyforums showed the majority of people there were guessing the human deathtoll was in the millions or even hundreds of millions.

Set against that was the fact that with very few exceptions, the comic never actually showed innocent people being killed. The battles were all Slayers fighting demons, not demons slaughtering helpless civilians. In fact Buffy herself assumed that the demons would be specifically targetting Slayers. The question is, were we not being shown scenes of the wider effects of the crisis because the writers and artist didn't think to include them, or because in fact the destruction *was* only affecting Slayers and the army and a few unfortunates caught in the cross-fire, rather than being total?

And now we get this scene. A peaceful piazza in Venice with tourists and locals calmly going about their business. A woman is sitting at a table in the cafe reading a book; a couple of tourists are taking a photograph of the Campanile (I assume, based on the angles). If the world is ending, the news clearly hasn't reached Italy yet. Setting the scene in Venice is particularly clever, because if the seaquakes in the Arctic Ocean had really triggered a series of tsunamis laying waste to all of Europe, I imagine St Mark's Square would have been underwater by now.... In other words, this scene proves that the more exaggerated guesses about the death toll were just that - exaggerated.

Willow's spell she's about to cast at the vagina monster and its friend sounds to me vaguely like Ancient Egyptian - in fact, 'neteru' is Egyptian for 'god' or 'goddess'. I don't suppose anyone on my highly erudite flist actually speaks Ancient Egyptian, do they, and can confirm? :-)

Andrew says "All the planes are down" - effectively, that's the same thing that would have happened in 'The Gift' if Buffy or Dawn hadn't jumped off the tower. Back then, it took a death to stop the apocalypse; it will here too. I wonder how badly hurt he was by the demon punching him? Also, nice to see Kennedy being concerned about him. Where's all the Kennedy-Andrew buddyfic and bonding stories, hmm?

On a side-note, if I were Willow and had the power of flight, I'd probably choose to wear trousers rather than a skirt all the time. Just saying. :-)

And the fight shfts to the Seed chamber. When Angel tells Buffy "You created a world. You can't turn away from it" did everybody else get the impression that this was talking metaphorically about Joss and the Buffyverse? (Especially given that it's Dark Horse's editor-in-chief who wrote this particular issue; maybe Angel was expressing Scott's thoughts to Joss. :D ) Though from the violence in the scene and the way Angel is kicking Buffy around, it's clear that Joss's relationship with the world he created is not exactly a smooth one either...

Angel kills the Master, and the way Buffy takes a moment to congratulate him for doing that mid-fight is adorable. I wonder if it's significant that Angel kills his grandsire the same way that Connor killed his daughter?

Xander is watching the fight. In one sense, it's perhaps disappointing that he doesn't get a moment of cool heroics here at the climactic moment; but from another point of view, that's never bene his role on the show. He's the Everyman, or the Chorus in the Shakespearian sense, there to give us a point of reference and the ordinary person's perspective on the things going on around him... plus to give emotional support to the hero, which is what Iimagine his big moment will be next issue.

This is Giles's moment, however. He's brought the Scythe to give it to Buffy, because while her power is limited in the presence of the Seed, the Scythe instead is enhanced by it. We were told earlier that Giles was looking for a weapon to kill a God; it seems he's found it.

The trouble is, he doesn't think Buffy will be willing to use it. She won't kill Angel, or at least she'll hesitate - and presumably, with Angel being a powerful as her and actively fighting her, he'd use the moment of hesitation to grab the Scythe? And so he goes to "get between those two".

I think this is a quite deliberate and knowing moment of self-sacrifice. He believes that only by this action will Buffy be sufficiently motivated to end the battle, without further hesitation. Which, indeed, is exactly what happens.

We've come full circle from 'The Gift'. In that episode, Giles took it upon himself to kill Ben because he didn't think Buffy could bring herself to do it. Here, he lets himself be killed because, again, he doesn't think she'd otherwise bring herself to kill Angel. It's kind of a karmic return, seen in that sense.

It's also, of course, an extremely heroic, noble and self-sacrificial deed... and one that's not unproblematic. Giles is manipulating Buffy into doing his will, the same way Angel has been doing all season, "for her own good" - though the difference of course is the price Giles is willing to pay in return.

The problem is, Buffy doesn't kill Angel - she breaks the Seed. I honestly don't know if that was part of Giles's plan, or if it was the exact opposite from what he hoped to achieve. In which case, his attempt to manipulate Buffy was foiled by her exercise of free will - although she isn't exactly acting in a clear-headed manner here, understandably enough. I don't think she knew what effect breaking the Seed would have, personally - I think she just saw it as the cause of all her problems. She was lashing out in pain and rage.

A thought occurred to me that back in 'The Long Way Home', Ethan Rayne was killed. Now Giles is dead too. People who believe in an afterlife can draw comfort from that; they're reunited again. :-) Was it foreshadowing?

So what happens when the Seed of Wonder is broken? It has one good effect: the demons are dragged back up into the sky and out through the dimensional portals again. butthe overall effect is presented as being destructive. Buffy says something wordless, perhaps a call-back to the notorious space sex scene?

As Willow clutches her head and screams, we get a montage of 13 shocked-looking young women. I don't know if they're reacting to seeing Willow, but I interpret it differently. This is the Season 8 equivalent in reverse of the montage in 'Chosen', but these are Wiccans all over the world suddenly losing all their powers. We see a specific scene too, in what appears to be New York - showing that not all the Slayers were either killed or took refuge in Tibet. *waves to Vi*

As I predicted, the end of magic results in Warren's immediate and extremely messy death. (In as much as he was alive before, of course.) I can't say I'm heartbroken, though, although Amy seems to be.

Willow, on the other hand, is looking at the end of her world. From her perspective, they just lost the battle; and it's hard to see a scene where a whole group of women are disempowered as being any kind of victory. She may have lost more than that too, given how far she fell and Kennedy's "Baby-- baby, lie still, I think you broke--" Broke what?

I've a nasty feeling, given the twisted way she's lying with her legs stretched out uselessly along the ground, that the answer his 'her spine' and without magic she's looking at spending the rest of her life in a wheelchair. But we'll see next issue. (Obviously by the time of 'Fray' she's fully mobile, not to mention 200 years old, but that might not be 'this' Willow.)

I don't imagine a crippled and powerless Willow will be very happy when she discovers it was Buffy who broke the seed... Kennedy comes off extremely well in this scene, though. Concerned and supportive.

Willow is crying out franticly for Aluwyn when Kennedy finds her, because the bond has been broken and Aluwyn won't be able to contact the Earth again. I know some people have interpreted theri relationship as an illicit love affair, which makes it rather tactless of Willow to be calling for Aluwyn in front of Kennedy. I don't really interpret it that way, though: I think it was much more a mentor-student relationship. (Which, as the ancient Greeks would tell you, could well be sexual, but sex wasn't the purpose of it.)

The obvious parallel here is that both Willow and Buffy have lost their primary mentor figures, and will have to go forward into the rest of their lives without their support. It's all bvery symbolic of coming of age - the nasty part of it, compared to the empowerment part that was Season 7's metaphor.

Spike gets to be all admiring of Buffy's achievement - of course, he never doubts for a moment that Buffy was the one to save the world, and makes sure his crew understands that too. Then just like in 'Chosen' he leaves to "do the clean-up" - chase after one of the giant demons which slipped away instead of getting called through the portal. Since he's flying after the giant vagina monster that Willow was fighting earlier, if I were crude I might say that Spike left to chase pussy instead of sticking around - but I'm not (and this isn't an IDW comic) so I won't. :-)  I'm sure much has already been written arguing over whether Spike is "leaving to be his own man and do something heroic" or "leaving Buffy in the lurch because Joss hates Spuffy". Or, in fact, whether he might show up in the next episode all pleased after having killed the monster. :-)

The final page shows us the scene from the prophecy in 'Anywhere But Here', and now we know why Buffy is crying. What's new is that Xander is there to go to her and try to comfort her - which, really, is Xander's distinctive brand of heroism. There's a strong reminder of 'Prophecy Girl' here - not only the set-up but the architecture, the dry ice, and the fact that Angel is being useless.

I actually feel really sorry for Angel here, going by his imploring expression. It's clear that breaking the Seed returned him to his normal self, and he bitterly regrets what he's done. But given Xander's reaction, I don't think the forgiveness he wants will be quick in coming, from anybody.

I know a lot of people have said that Joss has "ruined Angel" this season - but in a way, I think what this does is distill him down to his purest essence. Angel is the monster who tries to walk like a man. He's the sinner seeking redemption; the one who did great evil but now tries to help the helpless, not in a crude 'balancing the scales' way but because as someone with a conscience, what else can he do?

But the problem is, his crimes were mostly all off-camera and abstract. We saw occasional flashbacks where he was dressed in a bad wig doing an worse Irish accent, and we were *told* how rotten and mean and nasty Angelus used to be, but we were never really shown it. Season 2 tried to up the scales, and by Early-Buffy standards it did to an extent - but for all she was a sympathetic character, Jenny was still only a recurring part. Now Angel has killed one of the Core Four, someone loved by (almost) everyone - and he killed him in a way which we in the audience will instantly recognise as the same way he killed Jenny, even down to the circular motif in the architecture behind him.

So before now, the question "Can we forgive Angel for his past crimes, now he's trying to be a good man?" was easy to answer. Yes of course; his evil past wasn't really dwelt on much, we never saw him doing anything really unforgiveable, it was mostly just talk. And killing Willow's goldfish, mustn't forget that. But now? Both the audience and the characters are going to have a really hard time forgiving him. And that, I respectfully submit to you, is the whole point of Angel's character arc. Winning redemption is no achievement if everybody would be happy to offer it to you.

Buffy's Scythe is broken. It was the Scythe that symbolised the empowerment in Season 7, so seeing it broken here, coupled with the depowered Wiccan montage, really rubs in the idea that we're meant to see this as a defeat. There's only one episode left in the season, and it's called 'Coda' which doesn't imply that there'll be many more plot developments, just reflection, reaction and tying up loose ends. (Though that may be a mislead.)  Most of the show's season finales were deliberately designed to work as series finales as well if the show wasn't renewed; if things end like this, it will be a pretty depressing end toth show. But (a) the mood might be reversed in the final issue, (b) we already know there's going to be a Season 9, so this isn't the end. It is, rather, the Empire Strikes Back of the 'Buffy' franchise.

Let's just hope there are no Ewoks in season 9.
 

 


Comments

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 01:35 (UTC)
dollhouse ¤ born under a bad sign

You know, I stopped physically reading S8 after about issue #15 or so and have just been lurking about and reading your recaps for each issue (which, PS, thank you for doing it!). But I have to say, if this is really the direction Whedon wanted to take Buffy in, I'm glad the show never made it past S7 on television. But I also wish that Whedon had never even decided to continue Buffy's story after S7

I just feel like, and I felt this with S2 of Dollhouse too, that at this point, he doesn't really give a shit about his characters and just throws horrible situations at them because he thinks this is 'what we need.' How many times is he going to be ~shocking by killing a well-loved character? How many times is Willow's character (or really, ANY of the characters) going to have to needlessly suffer? There's necessary drama and then there's drama for the sake of it. I just feel like he's just sitting there going, SEE LIFE SUCKS THERE ARE NO HAPPY ENDINGS AND NO ONE CAN EVER BE HAPPY EVER AND THEN EVERYONE DIES.

When I first started reading S8, I really, really enjoyed it. And then Warren was alive. And then on top of that, Renee got killed. And then it was the whole, Buffy is a pseudo-lesbian just because! And then it was a ton of other stuff that I don't even care about, and it makes me really sad, because I really do love Buffy, but honestly, enough is enough already. I seriously want to cry just thinking about S8 and how everything's turned out and the very idea of there being a S9 ...

Sorry to just rant at you like this, but I just feel so very disappointed in what Whedon's doing here (and even if he's not personally doing it, he's allowing it to be done, which is just as bad). The characters deserve better.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 02:14 (UTC)

No problem. I'm actually surprised (but pleased) you're reading the reviews, since you stopped talking about the season yourself (as did so many other people).

I will say, Idon't think Joss kills off major characters to be "shcking", at least not anymore. He knows his reputation, he nows we're not going to be shocked now. Rather, one of the things he often mentions in interviews and such is that he wants to show the cost of our actions. That if people are going into deadly danger on a regular basis, some of them should get killed, or else it cheapens the whole thing. If we know that "nobody really dies", there's no suspense... but also, there's no triumph if they live. Yes, this issue was a big downer... but I'm waiting to see if/how Joss changes the mood in the final issue before I close the book on the season.

On an up note, Warren is dead again now. :-)

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 02:28 (UTC)

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 17:02 (UTC)

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 17:14 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 02:09 (UTC)

Nice review, as usual.

There's an Allie interview up on You Tube where he says that Giles' aim was to break the seed, but Angel got to him too fast. So he wasn't letting himself get killed to motivate Buffy into action. That's a good thing.

I agree that the estimates of casualties in the hundreds of millions was seriously OTT. There's a disjuncture, though, between all the mayhem shown in #34 and on and a bunch of tourists strolling around. I suppose that's what things looked like when the Tsunami hit, though, or on 9/11. So I still think it's an open question just how catastrophic the events were. It's just not plausible that cities could be in rubble (as we saw) and only a few slayers got killed. But then, this is a world where it's plausible for people to think that real vampires are snuggable. Since logic has no bearing on how things work, I suppose we can go with the illogic of saying that all that destruction resulted in no innocent civilian casualties.

Reading about Giles as the Big Death left me cold. But reading the issue, it was affecting. And since the point wasn't who died, but who did the killing, it then makes sense to have Giles be the one who died. It resonates with Jenny's death and brings together the Bangel arc in a nice way.

And we are primed for some really interesting stories in season 9.

Posted by: none of the above (frogfarm)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 02:23 (UTC)

And we are primed for some really interesting stories in season 9.

Some fanfic authors have made the Buffyverse interesting without magic. At the very least, I'm curious to see how [well] Joss does it.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 12:42 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 16:31 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 18:10 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 18:57 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 19:50 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 20:22 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 20:53 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 22:26 (UTC)

Posted by: Lisa (shipperx)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 19:26 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 19:53 (UTC)

Posted by: Lisa (shipperx)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 01:45 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 09:04 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 22:32 (UTC)

Posted by: none of the above (frogfarm)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 02:22 (UTC)

Betrayal on all sides! Boo, Buffy killed Willow (in a sense).

Of course the vagina monster would be a vagina dentata, but we knew that.

I'm hoping I can turn this into FtVS inspiration over the weekend, before Dexter Sunday night grabs my attention way again.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 12:43 (UTC)

Yeah - people betraying themselves, each other: it was a whole betrayafest 2010. :(

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 02:35 (UTC)

So i Guess Future!Willow's plot might have been to either have Buffy be able to get over Giles' death, or else be able to kill Angel like she did Willow.

Seems Buffy has her priorities screwy though :-(

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 12:45 (UTC)

Maybe. I wonder if 8.40 will address that at all, or if we'll have to pester Scott or Joss with queries and reminders...

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 05:03 (UTC)
pic#85222149

You're the first person I've seen suggest that Willow might have been paralyzed by her fall. Thanks for that, I wasn't quite depressed enough by this issue. :-<

I wonder what Georges Jeanty meant a couple months ago in a Q&A when he said we'd soon have reason to "sing the praises" of Aluwyn. Makes me suspect there might be more of her and Willow's story coming up next issue... I dunno.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 12:53 (UTC)

Regarding Willow,I may be reading too much into it, but we'll see.

The final issue is apparently all going to be from Buffy's perspective so I'm not sure how they'd fit in an interaction between Willow and Saga Vasuki. It could be that it's simply on the level of "The things she taught Willow help Willow to adjust to what's going on"; or it might be something more dramatic. Probably not "Aluwyn ressurrects Giles" level of dramatic; I think they'd see that as way too cheesy even for 'Buffy'. But maybe Aluwyn is the one responsible for Willow still having access to magic power in Fray's world; she somehow finds a way to restore that link for her even if other people in the world are without magic. If Willow then uses the power to heal her (alleged) spinal injuries, that would certainly be a reason to praise Aluwyn.

Or then again, maybe Georges was just talking about the exposition she gave Willow a couple of issues ago. Maybe in the original story plan that scene was more significant than it ended up on the page?

Posted by: SharkyBoredNow (sharkyborednow)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 13:52 (UTC)

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 13:55 (UTC)

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 14:14 (UTC)

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 14:23 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 18:14 (UTC)

Posted by: Lisa (shipperx)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 19:32 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 22:52 (UTC)

Posted by: Speaker-to-Customers (speakr2customrs)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 10:07 (UTC)
Runrig

kantayra speaks Ancient Egyptian; she's not on your F-list but she'd probably answer your question if you sent her a message or commented on her LJ.

Posted by: Speaker-to-Customers (speakr2customrs)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 10:14 (UTC)

Now that this travesty of Season 8 is almost over perhaps you could get back to your Willow/Conan crossover fic? It's approximately 2,786,445 times better than the comics.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 12:55 (UTC)

Oh yeah, I never did finish that, did I? :-)

Glad you liked it!

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 20:11 (UTC)

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 10:38 (UTC)

I don't believe in afterlife. :-(

But I will forgive Joss for this mess, because of Giles' best line on the show:


"To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It's not done because people deserve it. It's done because they need it."

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 12:57 (UTC)

Well, in real life neither do I - but in the Buffyverse, it seems things are different. Certainly they were for Buffy. (I didn't know you were reading these reviews, but I did think of you when I wrote that particular line ;-) )

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 13:37 (UTC)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 13:34 (UTC)

Then just like in 'Chosen' he leaves to "do the clean-up" -

You do realise, don't you, Buffy, as written by Joss himself, doesn't think that's all Spike did in Chosen? In no 36, she thanks him for saving them all. If the uber vamps were already retreating, then he didn't do that, did he?

if I were crude I might say that Spike left to chase pussy instead of sticking around - but I'm not (and this isn't an IDW comic) so I won't. :-)

Then why did you?

Edited at 2010-12-04 13:35 (UTC)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 14:28 (UTC)
Careful now!

"Then why did you?"

Ditto.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 17:22 (UTC)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 19:58 (UTC)

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 14:42 (UTC)

no Ewoks in season 9

Of course not. Just an extended guest appearance by Jar Jar Binks... :-)

One minor note is that, with the Scythe broken, we now have what at least appears to be a divergence from the Fray timeline.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 17:25 (UTC)

Actually, what's really interting is that in tiem Of your Life' Buffy broke Melaka's Scythe. Then we saw her Scythe mysteriously restored, and willow was talking about events rippling through time. I'm wondering if Buffy's Scythe breaking in 8.39 was what caused Melaka's to repair itself?

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 14:47 (UTC)

So Angel is possessed by a soulless creature; therefore he acts as though he were soulless himself.
Good point. I think Miss Kitty is a very angry lion and not as goal directed as she might be but this specific animosity towards Spike has at least some Angel in it and sets up the later dismissing and killing of Giles to be not all Twilight driven either.

Andrew gets a cameo too; he saves Leah's life when a fire-breathing dragon incinerates a group of Slayers.
I think that was Giles, he looks like Giles and is wearing the same clothes as him. We see Andrew getting name checked later wearing a helmet.

At this point Willow is attacked by a giant vagina monster.
I wasn’t quite sure whether the vagina mosnster was attacking Willow or she’s invoked it. It doesn’t get sucked back into hell which implies a local origin.

I wonder if it's significant that Angel kills his grandsire the same way that Connor killed his daughter?
I did too. Fraught familial relationships kind of a motif in the verse.

I think this is a quite deliberate and knowing moment of self-sacrifice. He believes that only by this action will Buffy be sufficiently motivated to end the battle, without further hesitation. Which, indeed, is exactly what happens.
This was my take as well given the dialogue about hesitating before killing Angel and the earlier chat about what a scythe is good for. Against that is Aluwyn’s saying either the vampire or the watcher would figure out the seed could be destroyed and the way Giles is shown entering the room headed away from Angel not towards him. Maybe both were possibilities. Either way, I think Buffy would have thought that Giles was trying to kill Angel.

I don't think she knew what effect breaking the Seed would have, personally - I think she just saw it as the cause of all her problems. She was lashing out in pain and rage.
I think pain/rage was part of it but there was also an element of her usual ability to suddenly intuit what she needs to do. The seed isn’t just the source of her problems but right now of everyone’s. It’s what makes life a story and stories have to end and not just fade away. If not Miss Kitty then some other big bang finish. The alternative was to kill Angel/Twilight but by then it may have been too late, the new universe had already done too much damage to the fabric of the old.
Did they win or did they lose? Willow says lose. Spike says she did it in a way which implies some kind of win. Xander and Dawn can now have the life they were dreaming of. Buffy destroyed the very thing she promised to protect and achieved what her enemies were unable to. But her enemy did claim to be humanity and while Voll may have been wrong about how representative he was, humanity did chose to make peace not war with vampires. Buffy ended magic but didn’t reverse the slayer spell, just killed all the hype surrounding it.
Before this issue I thought it would be clear whether breaking the seed was good or bad but it really isn’t. Like Future Willow says it does matter who does the breaking and why.

A thought occurred to me that back in 'The Long Way Home', Ethan Rayne was killed.
Everyone argued that dreamspace Ethan was Angel (“my love” sounded like Angelus) or Spike but with hindsight he was Giles (which should have been the more obvious connection). Buffy’s guide and killed by Twilight (what we first thought of as Twilight).

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 16:38 (UTC)

I think Ethan served to stand in for all three. They didn't know back then that Giles was going to be killed. So says Allie in one of his recent interviews.

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 21:02 (UTC)

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 17:15 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 17:37 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 21:11 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 21:38 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 21:51 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 23:02 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 23:06 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 00:43 (UTC)

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 6th December 2010 01:52 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 23:00 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 7th December 2010 09:19 (UTC)

Posted by: Lisa (shipperx)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 17:30 (UTC)

"Chosen a side" isn't really accurate, of course, given that Angel is, we assume, possessed, but why let that get in the way of a good brawl?
Angel, on the other hand, demonstrates why he can be so scary. It's not enough for him to simply kill Spike: he wants to watch him die slowly as the sun burns him.


Strange that in this description 'possessed' Angel's actions are apparently emotionally influenced by... Angel.

Set against that was the fact that with very few exceptions, the comic never actually showed innocent people being killed. The battles were all Slayers fighting demons, not demons slaughtering helpless civilians. In fact Buffy herself assumed that the demons would be specifically targetting Slayers. The question is, were we not being shown scenes of the wider effects of the crisis because the writers and artist didn't think to include them, or because in fact the destruction *was* only affecting Slayers and the army and a few unfortunates caught in the cross-fire, rather than being total?

Strange then that the 'weapons of destruction' are volcanoes and tsunamis. These aren't exactly strategically targeted weapons. They cannot be 'targeted'. They are blanket-swathe, indescriminate disasaters. I'm not sure how one could possibly 'target' a volcanic explosion or wave phenomenon that can swamp multiple coasts in different countries from a single source such that it only harms specific persons. Neither of those phenomenon work that way. So while one can argue "if they meant to show wide-spread damage they would have shown wide-spread death", I'd argue if they meant to show targeted damage for only those directly or at least strategically involved, they could've used strategic weapons. They didn't. They employed visuals of cataclysmic, indescriminate disasters that we know from real-life-experiences kill in the hundreds to the thousands.

And now we get this scene. A peaceful piazza in Venice with tourists and locals calmly going about their business. A woman is sitting at a table in the cafe reading a book; a couple of tourists are taking a photograph of the Campanile (I assume, based on the angles). If the world is ending, the news clearly hasn't reached Italy yet. Setting the scene in Venice is particularly clever, because if the seaquakes in the Arctic Ocean had really triggered a series of tsunamis laying waste to all of Europe, I imagine St Mark's Square would have been underwater by now.... In other words, this scene proves that the more exaggerated guesses about the death toll were just that - exaggerated.

Or, easier answer, the comics are sloppy about details.

I think this is a quite deliberate and knowing moment of self-sacrifice. He believes that only by this action will Buffy be sufficiently motivated to end the battle,

Except in his YouTube interview, Scott Allie says this isn't the case. He was just running as fast as he could to break the seed and was too slow.

Edited at 2010-12-04 17:53 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 17:57 (UTC)

Remember that 'possessed' is the word fandom is using, not anything the comics have stated directly. I don't think it's a case of Angel's body being animated remotely, like a puppet or a robot. Rather, his willpower has been beaten down so far by Miss Kitty's magical control that he can no longer defy her commands - but he's still Angel.

It's very similar (and consistent) to the way a vampire acts the way the former human did, even though the body's soul has been replaced by a demon. The memories and personality remain even though someone else is in the driving seat.


Strange then that the 'weapons of destruction' are volcanoes and tsunamis.

Who says they were? The impression I got was that the natural phenomena listed in 8.35 were more in the nature of birth pangs rather than anything deliberately targetted. (Not to mention a parody of the old "Did the earth move for you?" cliché). Plus, I thought what was scary was more the mounting tide of incidents, the impression that the world was slowly starting to shake itself to pieces, not necessarily that any of the problems were serious in themselves. Not yet, anyway.

For instance, we were shown one (1) volcano erupting, not plural "volcanoes". We were told that there was a seaquake under the whole Arctic Ocean, but not how big it was in terms of the Richter Scale, and there was no mention of tsunamis at all. "Cyclones" were mentioned, and we were told that hurricanes were "starting", which was the one thing that did sound really serious - but there are half a dozen hurricanes 'starting' in the Atlantic every year.

As opposed to the Earth's travails were the armies of demons pouring through the dimensional rifts. They were there to capture the Seed, and they were the ones who, from what we were actually shown, were causing the destruction. Well, them and Angel.

Posted by: Lisa (shipperx)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 19:08 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 23:10 (UTC)

Posted by: ladydorotea (ladydorotea)
Posted at: 7th December 2010 01:18 (UTC)

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 18:00 (UTC)
Always Darkest

Well, I was very unsurprised by this issue. Pretty much everything that could have been expected to happen, happened. Giles always seemed to be the most obvious candidate for the big death. People on buffyforums were wondering if it would be Xander and/or Faith, and I considered those as possibilities only because Giles seemed too obvious.

I'm glad, however, that my prediction about Twilight trying to possess Buffy did not happen. *sigh of relief*

As for the betrayal, I stand by what I said on buffyforums before this issue came out: it's all about Willow and Buffy. The first time someone talked about betrayal, it was Robin talking to Buffy and Willow. Everyone assumed that it was Buffy who was to be betrayed, but Robin never specified that. The second time, it was Saga Vasuki talking to Willow. Willow was the only one present both times. And Saga Vasuki was very sad when she was talking to Willow about the betrayal, and when Willow asked who it would be. Saga Vasuki didn't know Buffy and she meant nothing to her, why would she be sad about someone betraying Buffy? Unless she's telling Willow that her best friends will "betray" her (from her and Willow's point of view, anyway.) And for her, the end of magic is certainly a bad thing.

I think that the "betrayal" is, from Willow's point of view, Buffy (and Xander) "betraying" her by breaking the seed and depriving her of magic. It will be very interesting to see the consequences to willow and her relationship with her best friends.

As for whether she is to blame for what's going on - I'd say yes, kind of, in the same sense that Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg was responsible for the outbreak of the First World War. (*Wonders how many people will get that reference.*)

Ooh... That's a bit of an exaggeration. Sophie was merely a passive victim. I agree that Buffy isn't really to blame for the space sex, since she was manipulated by Twilight (and essentially drugged by the glowhypnol and date-raped by the universe), and unlike Angel, she had never chosen to be Twilight's ally. But I think that Buffy was not (just) referring to the space sex. I think she was referring to all the choices she had made, starting with her decision to share power in "Chosen". I think she has been having doubts all season about the unforeseen consequences of her decision, as she was getting disconnected from humanity, as she witnessed rogue Slayers like Simone, as she did things she would never have done before - like robbing banks to fund her Slayer Army. I think she may have even been wondering if there was some truth to Voll's words that she was now at war with the humanity. And then she learns that it was the Slayer spell that awoke Twilight and set this whole mess in motion. Maybe that's why (in addition to the glow) she was willing to listen to Angel's explanations after trying to stake him when he revealed himself as Twilight. When the narration said: "I'd never tell him, but as he says the words, I know he's right", that may not have been just about his words about the source of their superpowers, but about his earlier words: "You fundamentally changed the balance of power in this world, Buffy. People die when that happens. Every time. It could never be as simple as you hoped." And in #38, in her last conversation with Giles (which, BTW, was such a strong hint that his days were numbered...), she said that it all started when "We shared power".

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 23:22 (UTC)

I definitely agree that there's more than one betrayal going on here, and Willow and Buffy are central to that.


Ooh... That's a bit of an exaggeration. Sophie was merely a passive victim.

Ah, but she wasn't. She was unhappy about not being able to accompany her husband on State visits, and badly wanted to be able to ride beside him in an open-topped car past cheering crowds. So for their wedding anniversary, they went to Sarajevo, not caring about the fact that to Serbian nationalists, inspecting Austro-Hungarian troops in Bosnia's capital on the anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo would be a massively provocative action.

So her wishes and desires put them in a situation where other parties could manipulate them to serve their own ends, and as a result she died and the First World War started and millions of people died. Buffy's decision to have sex with Angel was, I suggest, very similar in nature.

Buffy knew there was a risk involved, just as Sophie did - or they should have known. But there was no reason for either of them to anticipate exactly how much destruction would result from their apparently-harmless decisions.

Granted, if you want to bring in all of Buffy's Season 8 actions rather than just the space sex, then I'll offer Franz Ferdinand himself rather than his wife as the comparison, since he did play a bigger role in shaping the Dual Monarchy's foreign policy. :-)

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 18:00 (UTC)
Always Darkest

The question can be asked as to why Angel does this. We're assuming he's possessed and controlled by his New Universe daughter - but presumably Kitty Twilight's aim is simply to get possession of the Seed using him as her agent. That certainly means removing any obstacles in their path, such as Buffy herself, but surely not taking time out to watch Spike fry. That surely has to come from Angel himself, or at least from the Angelus part of his character. So what happened to Angel's soul?

The answer, I think, goes as follows. Angel is indeed possessed by Twilight, and seeks to do her (/his/its) bidding. He's not a mindless automaton, though; he still has his own personality if not his own will. But - Twilight is currently soulless, because the Seed of Wonder is her soul and she doesn't currently have possession of it. So Angel is possessed by a soulless creature; therefore he acts as though he were soulless himself.


I think that Twilight/Angel is a merge of Kitty's and Angel's minds. Kitty wouldn't know who Spike was, but I think that in addition to Angel's jealousy, she/he/it has her/his/its own reasons for being jealous and hating Spike. Kitty Twilight resented Mommy for rejecting it, and wanted to get its soul (the Seed), to impress her and be accepted ("I shall become more monstrous, more beautiful than anything she has ever feared or fantasized"). She was going to resent someone she saw as a rival to Daddy and herself/itself/himself for Mommy's affections.

I'm sure much has already been written arguing over whether Spike is "leaving to be his own man and do something heroic" or "leaving Buffy in the lurch because Joss hates Spuffy".

LOL I really don't think that Joss hates Spuffy ;) But Spike believes that Buffy can take care of herself do what she needs to do - and she just did. Plus, he doesn't know about Giles' death and how much in need of emotional support she is now, and even if he did, the way things are between them at the moment, he doesn't seem to think that he's the one she would need to get it from.

Giles's actions sum up all that was great about his relationship with Buffy as well as all that was wrong about it. He was ready to sacrifice himself and to protect her from making tough decisions, and at the same time, it was his old patronizing streak, his belief that Buffy would be too emotionally compromised to make a tough decision. It's the same thing that caused their conflict in season 7 when he went behind his back and tried to have Spike killed. And both of these incidents really go back to the same thing - Angelus in S2 and the murder of Jenny, which is why I never thought Giles was OOC in "Lies My Parents Told Me": Jenny's death was a major trauma in his life, and he suffered more than anyone because of Buffy's relationship with Angel and her inability to kill Angelus in "Innocence".

Posted by: Lisa (shipperx)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 20:27 (UTC)

Personally, I never thought that Giles deciding Spike needed to be killed was out of character. I thought Giles allowing Robin to do it was.

Edited at 2010-12-05 01:47 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 23:30 (UTC)

Posted by: candleanfeather (candleanfeather)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 19:28 (UTC)

Interesting review as always. Thank you for sharing. Of course Giles being my second favourite character, as you know, the news stroke hard; it even brought tears to my eyes (yup, is stupid). But on the other hand as I don't have the same connection with the comics characters and the ones in the show (it's much more distant due to the medium and the fact my my knowledge of season 8 is only indirect), Giles in my personnal fantasy land will live a long life and retire for a happy retreat in a somehow holmesian way.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 23:32 (UTC)

Aww. ♥

Ther eis the idea somepeolpe have had, that Giles will appear in season 9 much like Obi-wan Kenobi appeared in the second two Star Wars films, as a voice in Buffy's mind. Except I think he'd be a little bit more sardonic about things. :-)

Posted by: empresspatti (empresspatti)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 20:37 (UTC)

I haven't ever read the comics - but I NEVER miss your meta. Which is wonderful.

Unlike the comics == feh, what a mess.

I think Ewoks would prolly be an improvement. Right now I get the feeling Joss is doing everything he can to make sure no one ever wants to read/see/hear BtVS again...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 23:34 (UTC)

Thank you, even if I disagree somewhat on the comics. :-)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 4th December 2010 22:31 (UTC)

Interesting review, thank you for sharing.

When Angel tells Buffy "You created a world. You can't turn away from it" did everybody else get the impression that this was talking metaphorically about Joss and the Buffyverse? (Especially given that it's Dark Horse's editor-in-chief who wrote this particular issue; maybe Angel was expressing Scott's thoughts to Joss.

Interesting - but does it imply that we're supposed to look at the situation through the bad guy's eyes?

Now Angel has killed one of the Core Four, someone loved by (almost) everyone - and he killed her in a way which we in the audience will instantly recognise as the same way he killed Jenny, even down to the circular motif in the architecture behind him.

Um, typo - it's "him".

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 23:40 (UTC)

Well, it's a common trope in Joss's works that it's the bad guys who tell the straight, unvarnished truth.

Also, I think the metaphor is that Joss himself is Buffy (as he's admitted), and Angel represents all the pain of the creative process. Or possibly he's beating Joss up after he dared to create a new universe (Firefly, Dollhouse) and then abandon them half-finished. :D

Unfortunately, by this metaphor, it ends with Buffy\Joss smashing the Seed of his creativity, which presumably means that from now on he'll only make bland, formulaic mass-market Hollywood shows like The Avengers.


Yes.Thanks.

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: 5th December 2010 02:02 (UTC)
Always Darkest

And the fight shfts to the Seed chamber. When Angel tells Buffy "You created a world. You can't turn away from it" did everybody else get the impression that this was talking metaphorically about Joss and the Buffyverse? (Especially given that it's Dark Horse's editor-in-chief who wrote this particular issue; maybe Angel was expressing Scott's thoughts to Joss. :D ) Though from the violence in the scene and the way Angel is kicking Buffy around, it's clear that Joss's relationship with the world he created is not exactly a smooth one either...

But since Joss is credited as co-writer and since Joss has been very involved with season 8 and is no doubt the one who ultimately has the word on the story lines and developments... I think the best theory is that season 8 is about the universe Joss has created, but it got out of hand. After all, Joss did say recently in an interview that he finally realized that "Buffy was me".

However... I don't think that Twilight is Buffyverse. Because 1) Joss didn't really abandon Buffyverse, and 2) Buffyverse is not soulless, dull, unchanging and dead like the Twilight universe is. Maybe it's more about the things that Joss's creation has spawned. Think about it... Soulless shell of a universe, with lots of overblown, ridiculous 'romantic' elements that feel like a distorted, parodied version of early seasons Bangel... Remind you of anything? ;)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th December 2010 00:00 (UTC)

I agree that in the big picture, the metaphor works better if Buffy's own universe is the Buffyverse, and the Twilight one they create is a stand-in for either other people's spinoffs (Stephenie Meyer et al) or possibly for Joss's other, more recent projects. They're all battling over the Seed of Wonder, the creative spark that can give life to the stories, because there isn't enough of it to go round for all of them.

But in this instance, because Scott Allie wrote this specific issue of this arc, it amused me to think there was another message being played underneath; that Scott (Angel) was beating up Joss (Buffy) for daring to think about moving onto new projects and abandoning the world he created, which is Dark Horse's best-selling line of comics.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th December 2010 00:08 (UTC)

Thanks! (There's a link to all my S8 reviews in the links list over on the right, if you're interested).

I did like the dynamic in Angel S5 that Spike was finally learning to be his own man, and do the things that he thought were right rather than what was expected of him by the people around him (be that Cecily, Drusilla, Angelus or Buffy). As a souled vampire with a lot to atone for, I can certainly see him being the one to understand Angel and reach out to him, although I'm sure he'd hide it behind a huge layer of snark and fake-dismissiveness.

Posted by: singer_shaper (singer_shaper)
Posted at: 7th December 2010 19:12 (UTC)
slayers

Out of curiosity - and I ask you this because you do like the comics - do you think going global turned the Slayer narrative on its head? Can a Slayer still be a Slayer if she's not the only one?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th December 2010 21:00 (UTC)

"The thing about changing the world; once you do, the world's all different".

I wouldn't say it turned the narrative on its head, because it's still the same basic concept: people having ordinary reactions to extraordinary events, and the supernatural standing in as metaphor for real-life problems. There's still clear continuity in terms of the characters and their personalities from the TV show, but they're in a new situation so of course they have to scramble to adapt to it. That's what make it interesting.

Plus, Buffy might not be the one and only Slayer anymore, but she's still burdened with a unique weight of responsibilities that she can't share with anyone. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Posted by: William B (local_max)
Posted at: 13th December 2010 10:15 (UTC)

Rather late to the party on this one, but I enjoyed the review.

The panel of the Wiccans as a reverse of the Chosen montage: excellent!

I definitely thought of the space scene in Twilight when Buffy has her dialogue-less panel, also. In a way they're kind of bookend moments--two times where Buffy made a huge leap of faith, in a sense. She jumps onto Angel and believes him; she decides that smashing the Seed is the best option.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 13th December 2010 14:12 (UTC)

Thanks! Though the montage of depowered Wiccans was only "excellent" in the sense that means "horribly depressing, but well done artistically". :-)

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