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(Review) BtVS 8.10 'Anywhere But Here'

4th January 2008 (17:51)

So: was I the only person who looked at the cover of 'Anywhere But Here' and started singing to myself, in a painfully high-pitched voice,
We're walking in the air,
We're floating in the moonlit sky.
The people far below
               are sleeping as we fly. 

Oh, so it was just me then...
(It's possible that if you're not British, you won't understand that reference. In which case, rejoice.)

Speaking of rejoicing, hear that clicking sound? It's all the pieces of the jigsaw falling into place as we finally learn:
  • Why Dawn is a giant, and why she was so reluctant to talk about it.
  • What happened to Willow during the time she was away, and why she was so reluctant to talk about it.
  • Where all the money comes from, and why Buffy was so reluctant to talk about it.
  • What Twilight's secret plan really is.
Of course, the answers raise even more questions, as all good answers should... 


Anyway, this episode begins, coincidentally enough, the same way as the first one-shot in season 8, 'The Chain': with the words "Buffy Summers". Although this time, we're getting an input into Buffy's rich sexual fantasy life. With more proof - if it were needed - that she's thoroughly straight. Also note that even in her dreams she's reading books about vampires - and specifically, one about a sexy, bad-boy male vampire who was born in Europe over a hundred years ago. 

If Season 8 is really set in autumn 2004, then Buffy presumably knows of Daniel Craig from his parts in 'Tomb Raider', 'Road to Perdition' and 'Layer Cake'. The fact that in her fantasy he's even wearing the same swimming trunks he will be wearing in a scene in the 2006 film 'Casino Royale' is clearly a coincidence - or perhaps it's due to the timewarping effect of the demon Buffy will meet later this issue, giving her insights into the future...

It's been said before, but I like the double entendre of Willow's reaction to Buffy's fantasy:
"You don't like Daniel Craig?"
"No, he's got a thing."

We know from 'Him' that Willow is willing to work around the possession of a thing if she has to, but she'd rather not... 

In fact, I loved the banter between Willow and Buffy full stop. (As you might guess if you've read my fanfic). Willow seems to be taking such simple joy in her new ability to fly, and Buffy's ill-concealed terror is adorable. Though I notice that later on she overcomes it enough to sit cross-legged on Willow's back without holding on at all... 

Willow's own 'anywhere but here' fantasy was probably a big disappointment to those people who, on the strength of her agreement that Daniel Craig 'has a thing' in the preview, decided that she'd clearly gone back to Boys' Town and is destined to reunite with Oz any day now. Oh well. I did have to look up who "television's Tina Fey' was (head writer for 'Saturday Night Live', creator and star of '30 Rock') but she's definitely female. And ten years older than Willow. And they have hot cocoa together. :-) 

And the first hint of awkwardness as Buffy tries to push about Kennedy, and Willow avoids the subject. We saw way back in 'The Long Way Home' that Buffy wasn't even sure if Willow and Kennedy were still together, and Willow was quite evasive then. Here we get the first confirmation that they're still definitely a couple, but Willow isn't answering any of Buffy's other questions. I wonder if the rough landing she gave Buffy was accidental, or because she was annoyed at the line of questioning? Or upset and losing her concentration? 

Sephrilian's lair is bigger on the inside than on the outside. Fortunately, it's not in the shape of a blue police box from the 1960s. And the introduction of Robin Balzer is nicely done, I thought... I did wonder how Joss would handle a character who in real life is schizophrenic, and this way seemed to work for me well enough - but I'd be interested to hear reactions from people who might have experience with the illness in real life. Incidentally, Robin's role in life seems similar to that of Drogyn; guarding a dangerous flaw in reality. Hopefully Robin will not end up the same way Drogyn did, though... 

So Giles and Buffy are still working on the same side: he helped them with information on this mission. Although it seems Buffy didn't pay much attention to his briefing - which is par for the course for her anyway, but may have been because she didn't want to spend a moment longer in his company than she had to. 

I wonder if the reference to 'rescuing the prince' and 'it follows you' will mean anything? For some reason I thought of Ethan as the prince needing rescuing, but it could be anyone, or no-one. 

And I liked Buffy thinking of a better witty comeback after the event, and deciding to use it if she gets caught in a timeloop - something, of course, she has personal experience of. And she still sucks at French. Mind you, so does Willow, since that phrase should have been "esprit de l'escalier", not "esprit d'escolier"... (Willow is an all-round genius, of course, but science rather than languages was always her strong suite). Still, "spirit of the staircase" is an appropriate expression considering where they are. 

In fact, this sequence is laden with references. Buffy not understanding Willow because she's speaking French is a call-back to Xander's dream in 'Restless'; Willow referencing Buffy's fear of the dark is a reference to Buffy's dream in 'The Long Way Home'. I'm not sure that Buffy has ever shown fear of the dark before - she spends enough time in midnight graveyards, after all - but I sense metaphor here. Also, the only previous occasion I can remember Willow calling anyone 'cutie' is when she was Evil and threatening Dawn, which may or may not be significant now. Still, she tells Buffy she's got her back here... which may be ironic in the light of coming revelations, but I think Willow really means it. 

Buffy clearly hasn't had a heart-to-heart with Faith since 'No Future For You', and is still thinking that she tried to kill her. (Which she did, of course, but there were circumstances). And Faith's name is the one thing Willow picked out of Buffy's ramble to agree with her on... 

I've not been talking about the intercut Dawn-Xander scenes, because there's not a lot to say so far: they're cute and funny, especially Xander's reaction to falling into Dawn's underwear (and her own tolerant amusement at his reaction). For what it's worth, the vibe I'm getting from them is definitely big brother/little sister. Of course, things are about to get a little more serious here soon, with Xander's discovery of a (framed!) photo of Dawn with Kenny. 

Oh, and apparently Buffy is a fan of Christian Bale as well as Daniel Craig. The films she references came out in 1994 and 2002 respectively, so our timeline remains happily intact. :-) Notice that Buffy seems to have a thing for threesomes, hmm? (Even if it's with two copies of the same guy). 

And more awkwardness over Kennedy and Willow. I did think it was interesting that Buffy says 'I like Kennedy, you know". They had their rough moments and outright confrontations in Season 7 - but I also remember that when Buffy was desperately trying to push Willow, Spike, and all the Potentials into doing something - anything! - for themselves instead of putting all the burden on her, Kennedy was the one person who was taking the initiative, pushing back, and trying to get things done herself. While that could make her difficult to be around sometimes, I suspect Buffy was also grateful that there was one person she didn't need to light a fire under... 

Buffy being happy to be rescued from an awkward conversation by the attack by a huge scary demon is so typical of her. Sephrilian is "one of the demon elite" - I wonder if that makes him a true demon, like the Mayor? - and the TV screen like thing with his faces is an interestingly bizarre touch. And then we get exposition. It's already been hinted at, but this confirms it: Twilight is about a war between demons and humans which will end with the closing of the hellmouths (plural, you notice), the final triumph of humans, and the death of magic. Just like in Fray. 

Of course, the idea of the 'death of magic' is not something Willow is happy about at all. And notice how the demon says that the destruction of everything Willow believes makes her special is Buffy's life's goal? Whoa. If we were looking for a reason for Buffy and Willow to end up on opposite sides, there we have it. Personally I suspect it's a red herring rather than foreshadowing, but the rest of the issue certainly milks the idea for all it's worth. 

And now we learn why Dawn's a giant. It's because she is, to quote her sister in 'Welcome to the Hellmouth', "an enormous slut". :-) Or at least she thinks she is, which is why she doesn't blame Kenny for taking his revenge on her this way: she thinks she deserved everything that was coming to her. And then we cut back to Buffy on the word "Lies". That seems to be the theme of this issue, doesn't it? 

The reference to the human brain being incapable of comprehending the totality of the universe is very Lovecraftian. So's the demon, for that matter. 

And now we learn how Buffy paid for the castle, the radar systems, the helicopters... hee! Back in the day, I wrote a story about Willow acquiring the funding for the Slayer Army by robbing a Swiss bank - because I thought she had the flexible morality and the means to do that. But in a typical Jossian twist, it's Buffy the righteous who actually turned to crime for a supposedly good end. And Willow who immediately sees why this is not a good thing for her to have done - thus completing the reversal that began with their conversation on the morality of killing humans back in 'No Future For You'. So Team Slayer is not being secretly funded by Twilight or Wolfram & Hart after all... but instead they've been doing exactly what General Voll accused them of. Oh, Buffy... 

Trivia: the Slayers looting the vault include Leah and Satsu, and I think the one nearest the door is Renee. I can't see Rowena there, but she might be off-camera. (So Buffy has also implicated her followers in her crime). Buffy is still easily distracted by shiny objects - and the diamond looks similar to the one the Trio stole from the Sunnydale Museum. (Is she turning into the new Warren?) And her comment that it's a victimless crime because the bank is insured reminded me of the Stainless Steel Rat, who also uses that excuse, though this may not be a deliberate reference. 

Oh, and Buffy's glee at seeing "a you bad thing" is cute... as is her shock (and envy) when she realises what Willow has been up to. I assume this is a scene from Willow's "six month mystical walkabout", and suspect that Kennedy might not be too happy if she knew Willow has, we assume, been having sex with giant female demonic snakes in return for knowledge.

And for some reason I now feel the need to quote this: "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3 iv-v)

Also, yay for gratuitous nudity! (I'm not hypocritical, I'm invoking the Cute Jewish Wiccan Redhead exception clause). And now both Buffy and Willow have slept with demons. :-)

Back to Dawn's dirty little secret... spot a theme here?... and Xander at his most understanding and mature. I loved "And for the big money... did he in any way play in a band?" and "You are hereby found guilty of being a cliché." Also, interesting that Dawn never knew about Parker; though perhaps it's not surprising that Buffy would never want to share that little episode with her sister... (or that the monks would choose not to construct a memory of her sharing that episode... but you know what I mean). 

I'm not sure what happened in that last Dawn-Xander panel. It looked as if Dawn suddenly saw something outside the window, but we're not told what. I wonder if finally telling the truth about what happened has some effect on the spell? Hypothetically, Kenny could have worked the magic so the only way to break it would be for Dawn to admit to somebody else what she did... though I suspect Dawn needs to remain giant-sized for a while longer to suit the story arc. 

I wonder what the broken red egg thing is? Willow implies that this is a vision of the future ("has this happened yet?") so it could well turn out to be really important. Plus a scratched-up Buffy crying her eyes out because she's been betrayed by "the closest, the most unexpected." Uh-oh. I don't think there's much point speculating on who it's going to be until we have more information - although my first thought is to wonder if Xander knows where Buffy got the money for the castle from, and if he approves? 

And now we get our first sight of Kennedy in season 8, and the reveal as to why Willow's avoided talking about her. (I didn't immediately recognise Kennedy, but the large picture is a spot-on likeness of Iyari). The two of them seem to have a very nice apartment in the heart of a major modern city - I wonder how they afford it? Did Kennedy's parents buy it for their daughter? Also, it would be a nice touch if the city in question were either Sao Paolo or Rio de Janeiro, just so that Andrew wasn't totally lying in 'Damage', but I don't recognise any of the buildings. 

I suspect this scene will generate vast quantities of hate, but as a fan of the Willow/Kennedy relationship, I'm pleased that they're still in love - I'd say 'happy and in love', but that's not entirely appropriate to this scene... still, the fact that Kennedy is utterly devoted to Willow ("You know I'd die for you... oh wait-- I did!") fits what we saw in season 7. Also, nice that Kennedy is apparently not threatened by Tara, but her first instinct is to comfort Willow. As for Willow, she's still being secretive in her relationships - like I said, I'm not sure she's ever told Kennedy about the hot girl-on-demonic-snake action she's been having - and keeping her girlfriend away from Buffy, just like she did with Tara back in season 4 (except that Ken is, predictably, not quite so complaisant in this). But feeling guilty about it, and doing it for what she sees as her own good. Fortunately, though, Willow is now mature enough to talk to her lover about this sort of thing instead of hiding it forever or casting 'forget' spells... 

Also: yay! to the follow-up on Willow's encounter with Warren in 'The Long Way Home'. I'm glad there were consequences to that, and even happier that they're not the predictable ones. Willow still hates Warren, clearly - in fact, she now enters the ranks of "Buffyverse characters who swear for real" alongside Faith and Dawn: but given Willow's basic niceness, it must take strong emotions indeed for her to refer to someone as "Warren fucking Mears". (Oh, and we now have canon confirmation of how to spell his last name!) If she's feeling guilty, it's not because she killed him, but because she's remembered that she was responsible for him being a threat in the first place. 

The fact that the Scoobies were unable to move on after Buffy's death in 'The Gift' is a commonplace, but it's still powerful to see Willow admit it and lay it out so clearly here. That she and Tara could have adopted Dawn - notice the payout here on "Willow's like a mom to me"? - moved away from Sunnydale, lived a normal life. But instead she chose to resurrect Buffy, start up the misery and violence again, and set in motion the train of events that led to Warren killing Tara. I don't think Willow blames Buffy for Tara's death - she blames herself (and Warren, obviously); but that's why she's reluctant to go near Buffy. She associates her company with the deaths of people she loves. 

And of course she feels guilty about that, and gets avoidy when Buffy presses her about it. She also feels guilty about valuing Buffy over Tara, and doesn't want to do the same with Kennedy. And that's no surprise to me at least - Willow has always been All About Buffy, ever since she met her. Not sexually (well, not entirely :-)) but because Buffy and fighting evil gave her life the meaning it lacked; made her special. 

Incidentally, I'd argue that Willow is being too hard on herself here: settling down to domestic bliss with a wife, daughter and white picket fence might have been tempting, but it would also have meant giving up the fight against evil. Although granted, since Willow herself was the cause of the apocalypses in both seasons 6 and 7, it might have not been such a bad thing if she had retired... :-) But it wasn't only selfish motives that impelled her to bring back Buffy. 

I wonder if this is the first time that Willow has talked to Buffy honestly about ressurrecting her and bringing her out of heaven? The intercut nature of this scene is a little tricky to follow, but I'm assuming that Willow had this conversation with Kennedy at some point after 'The Long Way Home', during which time she must have teleported back from the castle in Scotland to wherever Kennedy lives. And now the demon is replaying it for Buffy, and Willow is commenting on it. 

And once again, Buffy takes refuge from emotional pain in violence. The demon makes a fatal mistake in telling her that it's not going to be on her side in the coming war, just when Buffy is aching for some Slayer comfort food.... and I liked its misunderstanding of her 'Hail Mary' comment. 

What's exceptionally significant is that even though Buffy and Willow have just been through a really uncomfortable moment, when it comes to the fight they work together in perfect synchonisation. Buffy does the kind of wire-fu stunt that on TV only 'Angel' had the SFX budget for, and raises her arms to swing at the precise moment that Willow's magic invokes a weapon into her hands. Just like she did in 'The Long Way Home', incidentally. Despite the current rift between them, Buffy and Willow still trust each other implicitly when it comes down to the wire. Scratch one snake-like True Demon, and this time they didn't even need a school full of explosives to kill it. 

And now Robin does a really impressive bit of magic of her own, even enough to impress Willow. I hope "the field's stable now, you guys bought me some time off" is prophetic. 

And Buffy and Willow walk off into the setting sun - Twilight - heads bowed, not talking, and as far apart as possible. I wonder if Buffy has really accepted what she's learned - her comment "It was demons. Playing games." and the close-up of Willow's dubious expression makes me wonder if Buffy is going to go into denial about the revelations, and Willow is deeply worried about this. 

Powerful stuff. And now we're one quarter of the way through the arc... 

Comments

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 4th January 2008 19:35 (UTC)

I loved the banter between Willow and Buffy full stop.
Yes.

I'd be interested to hear reactions from people who might have experience with the illness in real life.
Robin’s partner’s been commenting very favourably on whedonesque but Robin already identified with a Joss written schizophrenic, I suspect it presents itself differently for different people.

Giles and Buffy are still working on the same side: he helped them with information on this mission.
I wonder if there was a reference to Sephrilian in Roden’s book. I suppose it’s just possible that Willow’s referring to some previous lecture but it would have had to have been several weeks ago.

Buffy being happy to be rescued from an awkward conversation by the attack by a huge scary demon is so typical of her.
Yes

Also, yay for gratuitous nudity!
I was going to speculate that Jeanty has a no female nudity clause in his contract because I’d totally forgotten Faith in the bath but remembered Not!Buffy’s initiation by slug. Richard’s characters look more naked when they’re nude.

I'd argue that Willow is being too hard on herself here
It’s complicated isn’t it? They could have broken Faith out of prison but I don’t think any of them trusted her enough at that point and I don’t know if Faith would have done it to save Sunnydale as opposed to Angel.

And Buffy and Willow walk off into the setting sun - Twilight - heads bowed, not talking, and as far apart as possible… Powerful stuff.
Hell, yes :-)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th January 2008 20:11 (UTC)

It may have been selfish for Willow to resurrect Buffy... but it probably also saved thousands if not billions of lives, so perhaps it was her duty as well. Like you say, it's complicated.


Good point about the 'look more naked' appearance - it's weird, but I agree with you. (Although Dawn was naked in 'TLWH').

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 4th January 2008 21:07 (UTC)
Comeback of the Year

Ah, I haven't read this yet, but I couldn't resist reading your recap. I'm glad we finally found out how Buffy was able to finance all those things, because it bugs me when characters just happen to have things for no reason.

Interesting how Willow sort of sees resurrecting Buffy as the cause (well, not, cause, but) of Tara's death. Myself, I'd always just assumed that it was the Law of Three, with Willow purposely misusing magic and all. But, eh.

I feel bad for not being happy that Willow and Kennedy are together, because I love Willow. But I like Tara the best, and therefore, I want her to be alive (and not Kennedy; I'm selfish, I know). I think I'm going to pretend that this is all just a big setup for Willow to bring Tara back. Or, heck, Tara can come back for any reason (just because!) and I'll be happy.

Still. This looks like a good issue, and I'll definitely have to pick it up.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 4th January 2008 21:42 (UTC)

I have to wonder what you made of some of the things I've said, if you've not seen the comic itself. Especially the bit about Xander falling into Dawn's underwear. :-)

And yes, Buffy is a bank robber.

"We could have moved on. Raised Dawnie, moved somewhere nice... But I chose. I chose to put Tara in a bullet's path. I chose you over her. I can't do that again..." There might have been some sort of karmic or magical payback involved, but either way, Willow feels that if she hadn't insisted on raising Buffy, Tara would still be alive.

I'm afraid I can't agree with you on the Kennedy v Tara question. Sorry. :-) Though if it's any comfort, Kennedy seems to be entirely respectful and understanding about Willow's previous relationship...

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 4th January 2008 21:59 (UTC)

Posted by: mr_waterproof (mr_waterproof)
Posted at: 4th January 2008 22:12 (UTC)

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 00:07 (UTC)

Posted by: mr_waterproof (mr_waterproof)
Posted at: 4th January 2008 22:06 (UTC)

When I first saw the cover I thought of Peter Pan flying over London. Other phrases that came to mind were "I'm Willow, fly me" and "You'll belive a Wiccan can fly"

So Willow and Kennedy are still an item. That will upset both the "Willow is straight bring back Oz" faction and the "Willow'n'Tara 2getha 4eva" shippers. Personally I thought Kennedy was being sidelined but keeping her in the picture could lead to more interesting narrativage (sorry, writing about Buffy brings out the Buffyspeak).

And how exactly did Buffy intend to fence all those piles of gold bars and diamonds?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 00:21 (UTC)

I bet that demons prefer gold to modern paper currency (though the papers they were scattering around could have included bearer bonds and such like.) Also, I like the idea of teenage girls lugging around sacks full of gold bars as if they weighed the same as spray-painted polystyrene. :-)

And Buffy has a weakness for sparkly things.

Posted by: mr_waterproof (mr_waterproof)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 08:43 (UTC)

Posted by: none of the above (frogfarm)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 07:05 (UTC)

The cover was the warning, the internal first few panels of Buffy and Willow proved it. Joss has hacked into my puter; nay, my very brain. Curse you, Whedon!

Maybe more on this later -- still floating on the sugar high of finishing my rough draft. Yes, that means FtVS soon :)

Thanks for the recap!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 12:47 (UTC)

He's sneaky that way. Thanks!

Also:

The Book of Revelation, Chapter 6

6:1: And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

6:2: And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

6:3: And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

6:4: And there went out a fanfic writer: and power was given to frogfarm to finish the first episode of Faith the Vampire Slayer.

;-)

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 10:56 (UTC)

Thanks for the Through Review there!

Oh, and i wonder who it could be, the traitor... Could be Willow not wanting magic to disappear-but i don't buy the whole magic disappearing if the hellmouths are closed, so i gather there will be a witch hunt thereafter. Or maybe Giles, finally being able to close off his duties for final. That would be..intriguing.

I don't miscount Xander or even Dawn, but i guess those two would hurt more on an emotional point than strategic...though it appears Xander did get an important role in the slayer organization...

Well, it appear to get "Fun" :/

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 12:57 (UTC)

It seems to be a lot easier to cast magic on a Hellmouth than elsewhere, so it's a reasonable extrapolation that magic involves drawing energy from other dimensions - or from beings such as Hecate or Osiris who live in those dimensions. So if you completely seal off Earth from the other dimensions, you not only prevent any more demons arriving, but you stop magic working.

I can buy a witchhunt against the remaining demons living on earth, certainly - but without magic, they might well end up powerless. Or even die, if their bodies are sustained by magic.

We know there's a spy in the Slayer organisation... however, the person who betrays Buffy in the vision might not be the same person. It might even be a spur of the moment thing that the betrayer regrets almost instantly, but too late... which means it could be anyone. Perhaps: Xander learns that his hero Buffy is a bank robber, storms out in disgust, and while he's away from the control room and the castle's defences are unmanned Twilight seizes the opportunity to attack. Or something like that.

Thanks!

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 14:19 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 14:44 (UTC)

Great review as always - I know I keep saying that and disagreeing with you, but hey, more than one viewpoint can be valid. :-)

Incidentally, Robin's role in life seems similar to that of Drogyn; guarding a dangerous flaw in reality.

If we refer back to Willow's speech on reality as a social construct in "Life Serial" (possibly referenced by Buffy later on as well), it could be pointed out that she's guarding a dangerous flaw in Buffy's reality. There's more than one possible reality.

I did think it was interesting that Buffy says 'I like Kennedy, you know".

True. And interesting that it comes straight out of Joss's pen as well. :-) Bound to upset one or two fans who want to blame it all on Marti...

Of course, the idea of the 'death of magic' is not something Willow is happy about at all.

Really? While she doesn't look happy, I'm not sure I'd draw too many conclusions about her opinions from that one facial expression. After all, back in the TV series she's wanted to get rid of the magic more than once... if given a choice, I'm not 100% convinced she'll be opposed to getting rid of all of it.

And her comment that it's a victimless crime because the bank is insured

is of course nonsense, as anyone who understands insurance would point out. Interesting thought: what if those guards DID wake up? Is it OK, by New Slayer standards, to harm or even kill security guards who would try to stop them? It's for the greater good, after all...

And Buffy and Willow walk off into the setting sun - Twilight

Nice observation.

wonder if Buffy is going to go into denial about the revelations

I don't think there's any "if" about it. It's a pretty good continuation of their talk in one of the previous issues where Buffy talks about how it's OK to kill humans for the greater good; Buffy seems to have been heading into Nietzsche land for some time now.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 16:11 (UTC)
TLWH-monsters

But I think we pretty much agree this time around.

I'm sure that Willow would have seriously mixed emotions at the idea of "the death of magic". Yes, objectively, she can see why it would be a good thing for humanity. On a personal level, it would destroy everything that makes her powerful and special. (Well, not really - she'd still be a hyper-intelligent computer geek. But she herself doesn't value that part of her). So faced with the choice, would she really be able to overcome her own self-interest in favour of an altruistic sacrifice?

And oddly enough, the central emotional conflict at the heart of this episode is all about Willow dealing with issues of self-interest, selfishness, and whether to put her own happiness above the cause Buffy's fighting for... And so far, it looks like she's putting her relationship with Kennedy higher than her allegiance to Team Slayer.


Would Buffy have killed the security guards is an excellent question. I'm wondering if she's going to end up turning into season-3 Faith, and will need season-8 Faith to come along and knock her back into line... (in issue 35 or so, of course...)


And the art in this comic does seem to enjoy setting scenes at twilight...

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 16:21 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 16:56 (UTC)

Posted by: skipp_of_ark (skipp_of_ark)
Posted at: 5th January 2008 21:43 (UTC)

One thing I wanted to briefly touch on is my disappointment that, as of this issue, Xander apparently is resuming his seasons 6-7 status of existing merely to move the plot forward -- more accurately, other characters' plots forward. He's apparently Buffy's second-in-command or the equivalent of a Slayer air traffic controller; he's Dawn's explicit surrogate big brother; he's the emotional support system-slash-Heart of the gang, there to cheer up depressed Slayers and little sisters and kickass wiccas when they need it; he's oh-so-mature and supporting and comforting and, with the exception of a couple of caption boxes in the first issue, he's utterly devoid of any inner life whatsoever. He's like one of the secondary characters on the original Star Trek -- he's got a chair on the bridge and a title for what he does, and that's all there is to him. He has no issues, no wants, no desires, no opinions that might run contrary to other characters' opinions, and no real characterization of his own (just a static continuation of past characterization instead of development).

I'm worried that this might be for one of three reasons: 1) That Joss truly has lost all interest in Xander as a character but is still willing to use him as a prop/story crutch until he feels he's worked up to a point where he can kill Xander off and it won't detract from the desired ending; 2) That Joss truly believes that the best way to depict Xander as mature and grown up is to surgically remove any and all characteristics and quirks that have historically offended so many vocal segments of the audience in the past; or 3) That Joss thinks this is an excellent way to spring some lame "Guess what, Xander really *is* a traitor!" scenario without building up any semi-plausible motivation for it, because that would be yet another "plot twist." And I've already taken enough space in your LJ without getting into why I'd hate that kind of "twist" with the passion of a thousand suns shining out of Spike's bony ass in Chosen...unless, of course, you'd like me to elaborate. :)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th January 2008 23:07 (UTC)

Well... I agree we haven't seen anything to support a "Xander is a traitor" theory: but I could buy it that we're being shown that his life is so comfortable right now that it's about to be torn apart in some horrible way...

And I disagree that he's lacking in screentime, always allowing for the fact that Buffy is and presumably always will be the main character. He's got his Renee subplot, the sexual tension between him and Buffy subplot, and his involvement in the main Twilight plot. Since #5 was entirely about a minor character and #6-9 were Faith's standalone arc, he's got as much going on as the other main characters...

Posted by: M (spankulert)
Posted at: 6th January 2008 22:25 (UTC)
ComicB Buffy kay.

Again, best review *sticks on gold star*

Not my favorite issue, but still very good. I loved the W/B banter, and very happy to see Kennedy show up again. Great likeness too!

Buffy really is verging into veery gray areas, first with her very casual refrance to human casualties to robbing a bank(as if that in no way could have turned ugly). Oh, there's one of them damned bunnies hopping past again.

Well, think I'll be off iconising some now. Mwhahaaa

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th January 2008 23:12 (UTC)

*Wears gold star with pride.*

She is on a slippery slope, definitely. I don't think she's actually turned dark as such; she was treating the bank heist as a big joke, because she knew nobody got hurt. But they could have done, very easily (see beer_good_foamy's recent fic on that subject.) And then Buffy heads down the same road Faith was on...

Posted by: filmtx (filmtx)
Posted at: 6th January 2008 23:59 (UTC)
bffs

Excellent review. I really enjoyed the Buffy and Willow banter as well. I laughed out loud several times, feeling that familiar sense of comraderie that (IMO) has been missing in this comic series for the most part. However, it was also nice to see some of their issues get revealed, even if they weren't resolved. I am not a Willow/Kennedy fan and doubt I ever will be. But I thought the flashback scenes with Kennedy were superbly integrated into the present-day revelations. I was heartbroken over Willow blaming herself for Tara's death by bringing Buffy back from the dead. I thought it was a great way to explain Willow's absence post "Chosen."

I assumed the mispelling of esprit d'escolier was intentional to demonstrate Willow's mispronunciation. I loved when Buffy said she'd change her threat if they did a time loop. Hee.

Still not big on the Dawn story line.

There was a pretty blatant lie/fantasy vs. truth/reality theme going on. Not just secrets, although that's a big part of it. I'm not particularly happy about Buffy being a bank robber. I wonder if this is the source of Buffy and Giles's falling out? I suspect (as I have since early in this series) that the story may be getting into some geo-political metaphors by showing how even "the good guys" can abuse their powers when they feel it serves a greater good. Or not. Who knows what's going on in Joss's brain?

ETA: I hope we get more info on Willow's 6 month mystical journey. What they hell was that green snakey chick slithering all over her? And wouldn't Oz be considered a demon of sorts since he was a werewolf?

Edited at 2008-01-07 00:05 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th January 2008 01:20 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments. What I particularly liked was the camaraderie, yes, but also the way that when it came to the fight, they (temporarily?) forgot their problems and worked together in perfect harmony.

Still not big on the Dawn story line.

*Desperately resists the obvious pun.*


And yes, I do think that the question of power - how it's used, how it's regarded by outsiders, and how it changes those who wield it - is the central theme of this season.

And i've written fic now on who the green snake woman was. :-)

Posted by: filmtx (filmtx)
Posted at: 8th January 2008 02:32 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th January 2008 21:56 (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 10th January 2008 19:35 (UTC)
Hee

I loved your review. I discovered interesting trivia I haven't figured out myself. Thank you!

And Buffy and Willow walk off into the setting sun - Twilight -

Interesting point. I haven't noticed it.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 14th July 2008 23:15 (UTC)

What if the "prince" is Xander? What betrayal could hurt the most than the one from "the loyal" one? and the whole "itchy neck" by twilight it's such a xander things...

I don't know. My money's on Xander being the prince and the traitor (not so much on the twilight thing)

Fer

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 2nd July 2011 23:09 (UTC)
Great review

Loved the review. I can't believe I actually missed Buffy sitting cross-legged on Willow's back. The time-travel is kind of confusing though. Never knew that Robin was modelled after a real-life woman.

It's already been hinted at, but this confirms it: Twilight is about a war between demons and humans which will end with the closing of the hellmouths (plural, you notice), the final triumph of humans, and the death of magic. Just like in Fray.

Except we now know it wasn't about that. Worse, if that had been the plan, we know that could have been achieved a lot easier. The whole thing was a smokescreen.

About the red egg. I thought that was just decoration on the wall. It was conveniently place above the door openings.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 3rd July 2011 01:27 (UTC)
Re: Great review

Dark Horse ran a competition for readers to say "How did 'Buffy' change your life?"; the prize for the winner was to be written into an issue of the comic.


The whole thing was a smokescreen.

True. Presumably it was the hook Angel was using to persuade the human part of his grand coalition to rally behind him - while giving a different story to the demons. fo that matter, Angel himself believed he was creating "a world without war" - it just wouldn't be this world.

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