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(Review) BtVS 9.07 'On Your Own' Part II

15th March 2012 (13:58)

Well, I certainly wasn't expecting that. It raises lots of questions, (like, WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN??), but also explains a few things we've been seeing lately. Also, this gives me a chance to break out the T:SCC icons again, for a 'Buffy' review. :)


I'll address the big questions at the end of this review. But first, back to Buffy's roommates. It's nice to see new characters being given page-time: I think it keeps the Buffyverse fresh, and of course on the TV show we got new recurring characters almost every season. Mind you, that has the downside, given the comics format, that's it's literally months since we last saw Dawn, Willow or Xander. What are they doing?

I assume the 'vote out of the apartment' line was a reality TV homage, not to mention a callback to everyone's favourite scene from late in Season 7. Ironically, Buffy's flatmates don't actually want her to go - but it's too late, because she herself has chosen to leave. There's a big metaphor here about peer pressure and the harsh judgement of society. Both Anaheed and Tumble assumed they had to make a show of hostility to Buffy because the other person expected it of them, not because it fitted with their own preferences. And Buffy assumed the worst and left before she could be kicked out, rather than trust her flatmates to see the better side of her and accept her. Distrust, lack of communication and submitting to peer pressure lead to you losing your friends or being forced to live in a bug-infested spaceship.

Well, probably not the second one for most people. I wonder if Buffy moving out is final, and we won't see Anaheed and Tumble again? Or will her be (another) twist?

So Buffy is being quietly reflective and a bit down on herself, sitting on the roof of Spike's mobile home. It's significant that she compares herself as a hated outcast to Spike in vampface. This is setting up their big fight later in the issue, of course: Buffy says she "fails at all things ordinary", and she's comparing herself to Spike in that respect. Nice, although at this stage the implications of that aren't brought forward.

The preview picture of Buffy touching her belly caused a few people to think she wouldn't be going through with the abortion, but the context of the scene now shows this isn't really mother-zygote bonding, but more Buffy remembering which of her many problems Spike was specifically referring to. And she's convinced she's doing the right thing. (and for that matter, the fact that she didn't realise immediately what Spike meant shows that she's not obsessing over this particular thing. It was kind of sweet that Spike made the phone calls on her behalf, though.

Quick intermission to Dowling and Cheung - Cheung is baiting her partner about his 'play date', but Dowling now keeps stakes in the glove compartment of his unmarked patrol car. Which is shown zooming over the crest of one of San Francisco's hills in a way that will surely wreck its suspension - notice Spike's bug ship flying in the background, in the same direction.

A '415' is police code for a disturbance of the peace.

I liked Buffy and Spike snarking about clothes: it hangs a lantern on Spike's apparent lack of variation in his wardrobe, and his response that maybe he has multiple copies of that leather coat was funny. (And also true, if 'The Girl in Question' is to be believed.) We have another reference to the bugs' habit of losing their legs (as first seen in the 'Spike' one-shot), which is pretty obvious foreshadowing. But then things get serious.

Spike clearly likes the idea of being Buffy's first choice to run away with, although it's clear he doesn't quite believe it yet. He's also insistent that he would make a good father, which is more call-back to Jane Espenson's last one-shot. But Buffy spoils things. First she says that running away, having a baby and settling in to a life of cosy, (if dingy) domesticity "flouts every Slayer instinct in my body". That doesn't bode too well for their future, although I can see some readers at least rejoicing at the statement that not every woman is brimming over with automatic maternal instinct. But it also raises the question of why Buffy thinks that parenthood and being a Slayer are antithetical. Is it a rational objection, because she doesn't feel that it's possible to be fair to a child while still saving the world from evil demons? Or is it more instinctive, that she thinks there's something about being a mystical killing machine powered by the essence of a demon that makes maternity inadvisable?

But then she comes out with the line about Spike being what she'd run away from if she wanted a normal life, and he takes umbrage. Naturally enough: Spike's whole character arc since Season 5 has been about him trying to become a man instead of a monster - and here's Buffy apparently throwing back in his face that to her, he'll never be anything but a monster. A nice, friendly and supportive monster, sure; but still a monster. There's nothing out of character in Buffy's comments either: it's in line with what she been saying to him ever since "you're my dark place" in S8 if not earlier. It's also pretty clear she didn't mean anything bad by it, but rather it's a difference of perception. Spike wants to be normal; Buffy thinks normal is overrated. She may sometimes be wistful about not being able to lead a normal life, but she seems to have accepted now that she never can. So what she seems to intend as acceptance, he misinterprets as rejection. I did like the 'Whoosh' sound effect as he leaves.

Back to the issue's other plot, as Dowling and Cheung arrive in Pioneer Park to find a nest of rampaging zompires. Coit Tower, in the background, is a real landmark, and Spike's comparison of it to the nozzle of a fire hose is one that's often made in real life too.

I loved the joke about Europeans using alien electric socket designs. Less keen on Spike being over-protective of pregnant Buffy and telling her she can't go slaying in her delicate condition. (Which as Buffy rightly points out, is even more silly because she's not keeping it.) I'm not quite sure what to make of the close-up of Buffy's eyes: she seems to be frowning, but her pupils also seem dilated. So is she simultaneously touched by Spike's concern and angry at his presumption?

Cheung is grabbed by a couple of zompires, and Dowling runs for his life into the tower as about nine more come for him. We don't see Cheung again in this issue, so it's not looking too hopeful for her chances of survival. However Spike did drop down to fight the vampires outside the tower - where we last saw Cheung, not where Dowling ran to - so it's possible he came in time to save her life off-camera.

The shot of the zompires climbing up the outside of the tower was creepy, as was Dowling trying in a panicked fashion to remember how to stake someone. Then Buffy dives to the rescue - blatantly ignoring Spike's instructions to stay safe and out of the fight, naturally. Also, it looks like she jumped out of a flying machine onto the narrow ledge of a 64m high tower - I don't think she could have brought herself to do that before Season 8.

In this season's first arc, Dowling saved Buffy's life. Here she returns the favour. If I interpret the panels correctly, she grabbed his leg and twisted him around violently so his stake went into the chest of the vampire grabbing him - pretty nifty move. And of course, this being 'Buffy', they have a conversation about her love life while she's fighting vampires. Dowling is playing matchmaker for his new buddy Spike, aww.

Buffy then jumps off the top of the 64-metre tower into the middle of the crowd of vampires attacking Spike, and stakes five of them in rapid succession. Not bad, for a human.  (But...)

Now we have the big positive emotional Spuffy conversation of the issue. It's revealing that she's surprised by the discovery that he still loves her, although perhaps not surprising to us. Even setting apart the fact that he didn't get in touch with her for two years after being brought back from the dead, there's the way he's been deliberately keeping his distance from her all this season. He's spent more time with Koh and Dowling than with her, from what it seems, and while both of them worked out his true feelings for her long ago, Buffy hasn't had the same opportunity. Plus, there's all her inferiority issues coming into play as well, as demonstrated here. Her self-deprecatory monologue about not having rounded corners was classic Joss even if Andrew Chambliss wrote it. But now Spike gives her the full-blown declaration of love and commitment - and Buffy isn't exactly pulling away even if she seems a little bewildered by it all. He also makes a statement of his independence and autonomy as a person, and makes it clear he's not willing to settle for second best in his relationship with her.

And then comes the big plot twist. Buffy's a robot. When did that happen?

Written like that it sounds pretty silly, and I'm sure lots of people are calling it that even as we speak. But apparently, Joss's inspiration for the plot line was an idea to do a similar storyline to 'Intervention' in Season 5, but this time not let the audience in on the fact that Buffy has been replaced by a 'bot until the characters themselves discover it. And who can hate the Buffybot?

Also, Scott Allie is a troll. As he says in his letter column, quite casually, "Yeah, so the arm thing happened in this issue, even though it's on the next cover." Grrr. :)

I did notice that Buffy feels pain when her arm is ripped off, but after the initial shock she's functioning quite normally on a physical basis. Her mental processes are another matter entirely, of course.

So what's going on? It's actually possible that this is real, human Buffy except with an artificial arm, of course, but I think we're meant to assume that this is a Buffybot. On the other hand, her memories, emotions and thought processes appear to be entirely human. She didn't know she wasn't human; she has none of the Buffybot's vocal quirks or obvious signs of programming. So we have a few options:

She's an AI based on organic!Buffy, but a really, really advanced one - more advanced than Warren managed with the last Buffybot.

Whoever made this robot managed to record Buffy's entire personality and transfer it wholesale into the robot. Like a Dollhouse-style imprint, in other words.

Real, organic!Buffy is still in control. She's a brain in a tank somewhere (hopefully with her real body still attached) and is controlling the robot body remotely, but thinking it's actually her. (Amy Pond-style)

As above, but it's mystical. Buffy's soul has been transferred into this robot while her actual body is being held in stasis somewhere.

Next question: who is doing this? Andrew would be one obvious candidate, especially since we saw him working on a robot arm in a previous issue, and he's mentioned in solicitations for later issues as being involved somehow in this storyline. Another candidate would be Simone and Severin, if we assume that they're the season's Big Bads and this is part of the main season arc. Or it might be someone new.

Was it done without Buffy's consent? The obvious plotline is that she's been kidnapped and replaced by a Stepford Slayer, while the real Buffy is being held captive somewhere. The fact that robot!Buffy didn't even know she was a robot lends strength to this theory. The other possibility, which I think is less likely, is that this is a plan Buffy herself and Andrew came up with off-camera. Presumably in this case the robot!Buffy is a decoy who wasn't told she was a robot to help preserve the secrecy. However, that seems over-complex; while the kidnap theory suggests an obvious storyline for the next few issues.

So who did it and why, and for that matter when? Is it connected to Buffy's pregnancy? One obvious idea - even if Doctor Who did it first - is that real!Buffy is being held prisoner somewhere by someone (Simone?) who wants her baby to restart a new line of Slayers or something of the sort. Robot!Buffy, meanwhile, is there to keep up the pretence and prevent anyone looking for real!Buffy for the next nine months or so.

One obvious flaw in this theory is that there isn't much time for such a complex plan to be put together - it's been a few weeks at most since Buffy became pregnant, which doesn't seem long enough to build such an advanced robot. Unless, of course, whoever built the 'bot did so first and then arranged for her to become pregnant, which opens up a whole new icky can of worms. (Though it doesn't have to mean rape: sabotaging her contraception would work equally well.) Or they've had the robot standing ready for months or years just waiting for whenever Buffy might get herself up the duff. Or, of course, the other alternative is that the robot and kidnapping plot has been prepared for a long time, and Buffy's pregnancy is purely coincidental.

Presumably the substitution was done after the end of 9.05 when Buffy discovered she was pregnant - unless, of course, the robot was designed to register as pregnant to a pregnancy test. (But why go to such lengths?) We saw Buffy drinking coffee with Wood in 9.06, but that's no proof she wasn't already a robot - a 'bot wouldn't be very convincing as a body double if it was unable to mimic human bodily functions. Some people pointed to Buffy's apparent change of attitude between her positive, yay!motherhood expression when she talks to Wood and her downcast appearance when Spike finds her later on, and it's possible that's when the substitution was done - but the implication that real!Buffy would have wanted the baby but only evil!robot!Buffy would abort it is (I hope) not something Joss would ever put out there willingly or deliberately. Unless he was deliberately winding people up, of course. He does that sometimes.

Regarding the story's emotional arc: over the past few months I've seen a lot of Spuffy fans assuming crash positions, on the basis that the comics seemed to be pushing the relationship between those two so hard, that it's inevitable something horrible must be approaching for them. By some points of view, this issue could actually be that crash: we get heartfelt declarations of love and commitment, only to discover that it wasn't the real Buffy and Spike making them, but a robot double. (Well, I assume Spike isn't also a robot. BUT YOU NVER KNOW.) Rug, pulled out from under. Except not really, of course, since Spike's expressions of feeling were entirely genuine. It's just that the real Buffy hasn't heard them yet - unless, as I speculated above, that's still real!Buffy's consciousness controlling the robot body remotely.

What about the metaphor? It seems pretty apt, given how hard some powerful groups in the United States are now campaigning to take away a pregnant woman's right to control her own body. (And I'm not just talking about abortion, although I'm sure that's the justification they use in their own minds. I'm talking about US state representatives saying that if it's good enough for a cow or a pig to carry a dead foetus to term and give birth to a stillborn infant, it should be good enough for a human woman. Or women being put on trial for murder because they took drugs while pregnant and then had a natural miscarriage.) So now she's pregnant, Buffy has lost control of her own body, which has been replaced by a mechanical thing.

There's also questions about the nature of identity. which we know from 'Dolhouse' Joss is interested in. If robot!Buffy believes that she's the real thing, is her belief invalid? If her memories and thought processes are all identical to organic!Buffy's, what gives us the right to say which one is the real one? If real!Buffy gets rescued (and it's not her brain controlling the 'bot remotely), would it be murder to switch off the robot?

Anyway, at least now we know why the cover of this issue reminded so many people of the Stepford Wives. :)


Comments

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 15th March 2012 16:37 (UTC)

Circumstances (and the solicitation copy for the next couple of issues) make it obvious that Andrew is the one behind Buffybot 2.0. The big questions are: why did he do it? Did the real Buffy consent to it somehow? And is the real Buffy pregnant?

Buffybot 2.0 can presumably be controlled like any robot. One of the upcoming covers shows Simone and Buffy seemingly fighting side-by-side, and the copy for a future issue mentions an "unexpected ally" for Simone. Makes me think Simone will somehow get control of the Buffybot and start using her against the real Buffy.

I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of Cheung. When you see a character fighting for her life but don't see her killed, odds are she survives somehow. I'd love it if she turns out to be a Slayer (which might also explain her dim view of Buffy).

And I'm sure we haven't seen the last of Anaheed and Tumble, either. Too much care has been put into their creation to just drop them this soon. They can be seen among Buffy's mourners in the background of the cover to #10.

The notion of Simone wanting to use Buffy's baby to continue the Slayer line is actually in keeping with what we know about Slayers and vampires. Apparently the Universe is very keen to keep those two groups in balance, but now we have a situation where vampires can still propagate themselves (after a fashion) and Slayers can't. This will eventually lead to a world with lots of zompires and no Slayers, and that doesn't serve the balance. So Slayers have to "evolve" some other way to keep themselves going.

It's hard to believe that Buffy is the first or only Slayer to have gotten pregnant since the breaking of the Seed, though.

I really need to catch up on my Doctor Who watching. I guess Amy Pond is a robot, or is replaced by one at some point. (I kind of hope that's because the real Karen Gillan was off playing Slayer Leah in the film version of season 8. Oh well, I can dream...)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th March 2012 17:01 (UTC)
weeping-angel2

make it obvious that Andrew is the one behind Buffybot 2.0.

It's not obvious to me. All we know so far is that he's going to be involved in this plot arc as it develops - which is a logical conclusion given his particular knowledge and talents.

Showing him working on a robot arm in that earlier issue could simply be establishing (for new or forgetful readers) that he has experience in this area, so that when Robo!Buffy goes to him for help next issue, we're not wondering why he's suddenly an expert on robots. And if he comes up with a crazy, backfiring scheme on how to find organic!Buffy, that could account for the solicitations.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's impossible that it's Andrew. I'm just not ruling out alternatives.


Aren't robots famous for defying their creators and rebelling, not for being uniquely able to be controlled? :)

Interesting idea on Cheung being a Slayer, but I'd have thought she's too old for that. Although maybe she was a Watcher-trained Potential who was too old to be activated by Willow's spell.

What happened to Amy Pond in Doctor Who Series 6 was... complicated. But it did involve pregnancy, kidnapping, a robot double, and Amy's own personality being imprinted onto the robot remotely such that she herself didn't realise she was a robot.

She would make an excellent Leah, actually. Good thought. :)

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: 15th March 2012 22:36 (UTC)
Buffy mud Restless strange impossible pa

And furthermore... why Buffy? There are thousands of Slayers in the world now.

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: 15th March 2012 22:36 (UTC)
Buffy Faith Fuffy

But why would Simone think that Buffy's child (even if it's a daughter, which is just 50% chance) would be a Slayer? There's never been any indication that Slayer line runs in the family. Surely there would have been Slayer dynasties otherwise ("My aunt was a Slayer, too, and my great-aunt!") They're not royalty, and it's not a congenital condition, as far as know.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th March 2012 22:58 (UTC)

If someone has come up with an elaborate scheme to kidnap a pregnant Buffy and substitute a robot in her place so nobody suspects, there must be some reason. Either they want her, or they want her embryo, or they just want her out of the way for some other purpose. The middle option is the only one that works the pregnancy directly into the main story arc; so I think it's the most likely.

So what else would they want with a Slayer's foetus, if not something connected with restoring the slayer line? It might not be as simplistic as them hoping that Buffy's child would be a Slayer; like you say, it doesn't work that way. But maybe they have something planned involving cloning or genetic engineering or something. After all, if they can make such realistic AI robots, surely cloning isn't beyond their capabilities?

As for why Buffy and not just any random Slayer:

  • She's the original and oldest living Slayer: that might matter.

  • She was resurrected and "came back wrong": if the writers remember that, it might be significant. Her cellular structure is different to other Slayers.

  • She's also recently been a goddess, and was physically closest to the Seed when it broke; those might matter.

  • If it's Simone behind this, she has a personal grudge.

  • Buffy is the title character. That obviously matters. :)



Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 16th March 2012 01:56 (UTC)

This situation (Slayers able to pass their powers on to their daughters) would be new, since the breaking of the Seed, in order to allow Slayers to keep propagating themselves like vampires still do, and thus preserve the balance of Slayers vs. vampires (or zompires).

If Simone has found this out, then she might want Buffy's baby because Buffy is the original bearer of the Slayer line. Perhaps *only* Buffy can pass it on through her genes.

The big fly in the ointment of this theory is: if Simone wanted to breed a Slayer line through Buffy, why would she have been working with Severin to drain or kill Buffy, either one of which would short-circuit the plan?

We'll probably know a lot more after next issue.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 16th March 2012 02:10 (UTC)

If Simone is after Buffy's daughter, then it wouldn't matter if Buffy still had her Slayer powers or if she'd been drained of them. The latter would actually be a lot safer, in fact.

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 16th March 2012 14:21 (UTC)

But if Severin drained Buffy while she was pregnant, wouldn't he also drain any magic the baby might have?

It would all come down to whether an embryo is a separate living being from its mother, and the two can be drained separately.

In the middle of an abortion storyline, Joss probably won't want to put forth the position that mother and embryo are two separate living things, since that claim is one of the pillars of the anti-abortion movement.

Posted by: mike13z50 (mike13z50)
Posted at: 15th March 2012 18:26 (UTC)

Nice review.

I'm thinking Warren made the bot back in Season 8, with a little help from Amy. They just never had a chance to use it.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th March 2012 18:58 (UTC)

Thanks - and interesting point. Warren is certainly the 'bot expert, not Andrew, after all.

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: 15th March 2012 22:46 (UTC)
Buffy mud Restless strange impossible pa

. First she says that running away, having a baby and settling in to a life of cosy, (if dingy) domesticity "flouts every Slayer instinct in my body". That doesn't bode too well for their future, although I can see some readers at least rejoicing at the statement that not every woman is brimming over with automatic maternal instinct.

Well, many women don't. I have no desire to get pregnant. Now, I've heard it said that hormones during pregnancy might make women start feeling a maternal connection. But, apart from the fact that it's probably too early anyway (?), this Buffy has a mechanical body anyway so she wouldn't feel the effect of these hormones, so...

The line is certainly interesting. By "...who better to do it with than you?" does she mean because being with a vampire also is - or should be - against every Slayer instinct, or because he flouted every vampire instinct, or both?

I'm talking about US state representatives saying that if it's good enough for a cow or a pig to carry a dead foetus to term and give birth to a stillborn infant, it should be good enough for a human woman. Or women being put on trial for murder because they took drugs while pregnant and then had a natural miscarriage.)

WHAT?! :o

Is that for real? Who is saying that?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 15th March 2012 23:13 (UTC)

It's an interesting idea: whoever programmed the Buffybot Mk.2 gave it a full set of reactions for all normal circumstances, but didn't anticipate what's happening to Buffy now. :) (Maybe that's why she doesn't say much in response to Spike's heartfelt speech at the end: her central processor is all, FILE NOT FOUND / COMMAND FAILURE / ERROR because her programmers never expected her to have to react to that. *g*)

Regarding "Who better...?" I think it could be both of your suggestions, plus a straight-up compliment to Spike as the person she'd most want to have at her side.

Is that for real? Who is saying that?

This is the source for the livestock comment:
http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/03/12/442637/georgia-rep-compares-women-to-animals/?mobile=nc

As for women being tried for murder after suffering a miscarriage, here's an article on that:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/24/america-pregnant-women-murder-charges

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: 15th March 2012 23:30 (UTC)
Kira WTF

Both stories are WTF?! The livestock story sounds surreal, like an article by Onion. Best comment on the article: "I grew up on a farm. In my experience, what I remember is they castrated the bulls." Maybe he should think twice about livestock comparisons next time... :D

Seriously, who elects these people?!

It's an interesting idea: whoever programmed the Buffybot Mk.2 gave it a full set of reactions for all normal circumstances, but didn't anticipate what's happening to Buffy now. :) (Maybe that's why she doesn't say much in response to Spike's heartfelt speech at the end: her central processor is all, FILE NOT FOUND / COMMAND FAILURE / ERROR because her programmers never expected her to have to react to that. *g*)

Ha. :) But in fact, it's very IC for Buffy - she also remained speechless after his big speech in Touched, just looking in his eyes and asking him to hold her. And she reacted to his pep talk in #40 by crying and running away so he wouldn't see her.

Posted by: Lisa (shipperx)
Posted at: 16th March 2012 15:42 (UTC)

All those 'personhood' bills as were voted down in Mississippi and Colorado (and is winding its way through the Alabama and Virginia legislatures have the potential of not only leading to miscarriage could equal murder, but also put an end to IUD, possibly the Pill, and absolutely to In Vitro fertilization.

Posted by: Lisa (shipperx)
Posted at: 16th March 2012 15:39 (UTC)

If you ban abortion 'for any reason' you effectively ban the D&C that removes a still born fetus from a mother because... it's the exact same procedure.

Posted by: TimeTravellingBunny (boot_the_grime)
Posted at: 16th March 2012 17:47 (UTC)
Kira WTF

Well, the question is: why would you want to do that?

The basis of the pro-life argument is (unless I'm misunderstanding it all??) - as the term itself says, that the fetus is already 'alive' and therefore that life should be protected. How does that apply in any way if the fetus is definitely dead/not going to develop into a living baby, whatever you do with it?!

And are there really people so sick and twisted that they want to force women to carry a dead fetus for 9 months and give birth to a stillborn baby?!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 17th March 2012 12:47 (UTC)

They're so passionately anti-abortion that they don't want to allow any loophole, however small; and they're drawing their laws wide enough to catch even ridiculous situations like this.

I suspect the 'livestock' case was actually an unintended consequence of the wording of the law, but the State Representative in that video clip was too stubborn to back down, and instead tried to justify the law. ???

Posted by: Lisa (shipperx)
Posted at: 16th March 2012 15:23 (UTC)
Dr Who - 11 Surprised

No clue when the swap took place but I'm really skeeved that there's a posibility that Buffy's pregnancy was someone's 'plan' so that she was deliberately knocked out to be knocked up, so that at some later date body and baby could be stolen and replaced with a bot. ::shudder::

At any rate, while I have no way of knowing when the replacement happened, right now I'm operating on the assumption that it was before the Slayer dreams and the fairy visit (wonder if the fairy is related to the blue fairy of Pinnochio-fame). At any rate, the fairy told her (paraphrased for poor memory) that she wasn't the slayer but she had part of the slayer in her. And she's no longer a girl... which seemed offensively sexist, but may now be taken as a literal statement. She wasn't a girl... she was a robot.

And, because it's appropriate. Amy Pond icon.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 17th March 2012 12:50 (UTC)

Though its possible, as someone was saying on BF, that the fairy's comments and other hints were supposed to be foreshadowing rather than clues about something that had already happened. I expect we'll find out soon enough.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 16th March 2012 18:12 (UTC)

If robot!Buffy believes that she's the real thing, is her belief invalid? If her memories and thought processes are all identical to organic!Buffy's, what gives us the right to say which one is the real one? If real!Buffy gets rescued (and it's not her brain controlling the 'bot remotely), would it be murder to switch off the robot?

In "Dollhouse: Epitaths" comics, there are multiple copies of the same personalities imprinted on different bodies. So, apparently, it *is* an option for Joss - to show two embodiments of the same personality.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 17th March 2012 12:54 (UTC)

That idea was in the Dollhouse TV show as well, not just the comics. Topher imprinted himself into Victor so he could be in two places at the same time; the guy in charge of Rossum (forget the name) did the same.

Of course, as the two versions of the personality had different experiences they'd start to diverge. But early on, I don't think you can dismiss what Robo!Buffy is thinking as being "not the real Buffy" if her self-identity, memory and thought processes are all those of Buffy.

Posted by: Immortal Beloved (beloved_77)
Posted at: 16th March 2012 19:33 (UTC)

Spike wants to be normal; Buffy thinks normal is overrated. She may sometimes be wistful about not being able to lead a normal life, but she seems to have accepted now that she never can. So what she seems to intend as acceptance, he misinterprets as rejection.

Finally, someone who read the scene similarly as I did. :-P I admit that my first reaction included a lot of expletives directed at Buffy, but her body language gives the opposite message of her words. She has her hand on his arm and is looking into his eyes. She's reassuring him and trying to connect with him. Also, the panel where she puts her palm to her forehead in a "Doh!" moment clearly indicates that she realizes her failure to properly communicate her feelings. She also calls back Spike (presumably to explain what she meant), but he is already out the door. I can see how Spike misinterpreted her words (I likely would have had the same reaction), but Buffy meant them they way he heard them.

By some points of view, this issue could actually be that crash

I'm guilty of assuming the crash position, but I don't see this issue as a crash (provided that it is actually Buffy's consciousness, which I hope it is). There's definitely some burning, but not quite cashing. :-P

Very well-thought-out, intelligent review. Thanks. :-)


Edited at 2012-03-16 19:36 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 17th March 2012 13:00 (UTC)

Thanks!

I think Buffy's emotional problem right now is because she associates "normal" with what Xander and Dawn are trying to do. Distance themselves entirely from all things supernatural - which would include Spike. I do think part of Buffy envies them for being able to do that. It's not that she's enthusiastically embracing non-normality with both arms, but that she's reluctantly decided she's just not build for normality. She couldn't give up being a Slayer, and (implied, not stated) she couldn't give up Spike either.

But she can't see the middle path: that she wouldn't have to give up *everything* Slayer-related in order to manage a reasonably normal and domestic life. That's what Spike is offering her at the end of the issue.

Posted by: phil_k_87 (phil_k_87)
Posted at: 25th March 2012 14:10 (UTC)

I hated the surprise revelation that it's Robot!Buffy and I felt alienated by it. My emotionlal response was more "WTF! Oh really!?" than "Wow! Cool!"

Which might have something to do that I never really liked the concept back on the actual show. I just hoped that the destruction of Robot!Buffy at the start of Season 6 was the end of her.

So I kind of feel cheated. And it also seems like the abortion-arc got downplayed by it, assuming real Buffy herself isn't pregnant. Well, we don't really know when the exchange took place. Let's see how it plays out.

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