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(Review) BtVS 8.12 'Wolves at the Gate' Part I

6th March 2008 (15:04)

Well, as I'm sure almost everybody knows by now, 8.12 contained a huge revelation. It's shocking and amazing and everybody should be talking about it... but strangely they aren't. What am I referring to?

Yes. Mr Gordo survived the ruin of Sunnydale!

I don't know if he was on the school bus as they escaped the destruction of the Hellmouth... or whether Buffy went back to rescue him afterwards. Or maybe the brave little fellow managed to get out by himself, which is no mean achievement when you're an inanimate stuffed pig. But there he is, lying on the floor of Buffy's bedroom, large as life.

Well, unless that's a substitute stuffed pig. Mr Gordo the Second. But I'm not going to believe that! I'm not!

Oh yeah, a few other things did happen in this issue too... I'll take them more or less thematically rather than in strict chronological order.



Renee and Xander finally make their relationship official after 11 issues of flirting. It's notable that she is the one taking the initiative; I wonder if she's got a little fed up with Xander finding excuses to spend time with her (it was 'sparring partners' back in 'No Future For You', here it's helping her with guard duty) and wants an actual romantic date. That's backed up at the scene at the end where she's frustrated with them going on a mission in a helicopter together rather than something more hearts-and-flowery.

Of course, there's also the sinister interpretation - if she's a traitor and wants to get close to Xander, she obviously needs to push the agenda along. There's nothing I spotted in this issue to actually support the betrayal theory, but nothing to contradict it either... We do see that Renee is still feeling a little sensitive over the zombie attack in 'The Long Way Home', blaming herself for not sounding the alarm sooner.

Xander seems quite upfront about being attracted to Renee - almost to the point of being weird about it. (Seriously, do you tell your not-quite-maybe-girlfriend that you have fantasies about her and three other women, one of whom is her boss?) Given his past experience and history, it's possible he's gunshy over getting into a serious relationship with anyone again, and is flirting defensively and needs to be pushed.

There's also the fact that Renee in effect works for him, so there's a potential imbalance of power situation here. Clearly not enough to make him turn her down, but perhaps enough for him to hesitate until he's sure it's her choice and not something she feels pressured into. I don't know if this interpretation is valid - there's nothing in the text to support it directly - but it might be something the writers had in the back of their minds when setting up the arc. Or not.

Which brings us nicely to the other big development of this issue: Buffy and Satsu. I have to say, my immediate reaction to seeing that page (you know the one) was "Oh my God, I don't believe Joss actually went there!" Not because I don't think it's in character or flows logically from the preceding story, because I think it does... but because I thought they'd be playing around with subtext and hints for a lot longer. Clearly not. At this point, I'd like to quote the review of the last issue I wrote a month ago:

I don't know where they're heading with all this... but I can see Buffy almost falling into a relationship with Satsu by accident: because she's lonely, and feeling isolated from everybody except the other Slayers; and she likes Satsu and appreciates her supportiveness and is flattered by the attention; and while she's got no sexual interest in her she's not squicked by the idea either; and she feels guilty for not giving Satsu what she wants when Satsu does so much for Buffy... Someone should write the fic.

Well, you don't need to write the fic now, because Drew Goddard just made it canon. :-)

In the 24 hours or so between the news of this going public and me writing this review, I've already seen a lot of analyses of what Buffy is thinking in this scene, and what her motivations are. And so, of course, I'm going to throw in my own...

First, she clearly enjoyed herself. Even more than the opening scene ("Wow. That was... that was... wow.") it's the bit where she says she'll be thinking about tonight and blushing and smiling all the next day that brings it home. (And there's the call-back to 'The Long Way Home' and her remarks about it being a slow year and missing that sex).

Her panic about not doing it right, being out of her depth, was very cute and felt true-to-life. Especially the way she completely forgot Satsu's original question. However, there are a couple of hints here beyond her actual words that Buffy's not exactly hopped the gay train. First, there's the way she's thinking in terms of instruction manuals and being graded on her performance; it implies she wasn't swept along on a wave of lust, she was doing what she thought she was supposed to do in this situation. And secondly, there's her comment about "you did more things than me" which has the same implication: it suggests that Satsu was carried away on that wave of lust I was talking about, and was enthusiastic and really into it in a way that Buffy wasn't. It all sounds very much true to life, the sort of thing that does happen when a basically gay person sleeps with a basically straight one.

A lot of people have taken the attitude that Buffy is using Satsu; that she doesn't love her and is merely taking advantage of her feelings. Comparisons to Spike in Season 6 have been made. However, having now read the comic a couple of times, I'm not sure of that interpretation. I think Buffy is more confused and mixed up than a bald "she's using her" might imply. Take the way she doesn't want Satsu to leave. Her speech about this "not going any further" is prefaced with "I don't know" and "I'm not sure". She doesn't seem to have had an "I'm recently gay" revelation (we could tell that even if Joss hadn't said the same thing in his interview for the New York Times) so she's working from the basic assumption that she and Satsu aren't going to be having a serious relationship - but she also cares deeply about her and doesn't want her to get hurt.

Which makes me wonder how exactly they ended up in bed in the first place. I doubt we'll be told, unfortunately - although judging by the clothes and underwear (and stuffed pig) strewn about the floor, it looks like it was a spontaneous and hasty sort of decision. :-)

Finally, Buffy seems to be maintaining her habit of secrecy about her relationships... although in this case I suspect it's because of the hassle that would be caused if it became known that one of the Slayers was sleeping with the boss, not to mention that perhaps Buffy isn't sure she wants to commit herself to anything public and permanent. Of course, this secrecy is immediately blown out of the water in a very funny sequence (that I'll come back to later.)

As for Satsu, it seems to me that she went into this in the full awareness that it was likely to be just a one-night stand ("I know what this is. I know you didn't just... turn gay all of a sudden"). Even so, when she hears Buffy confirm that out loud, she's upset and downcast and gets up to leave. And she's ever so pleased and grateful when Buffy asks her to stay until morning. She's clearly in love.

Her comment "And you let me. You were amazing" is also very significant. It kind of implies to me that Satsu has been thinking about sex with Buffy for a long time now, but assumed it would never happen... until tonight, when all her fantasies came true. And she's very grateful to Buffy for making that possible... but further down the line, I suspect she might be feeling guilty for using Buffy for sexual gratification when she knew Buffy herself wasn't really into it. And maybe she'll even feel guilty for using Buffy's emotional dependency on her and desire not to hurt her as tools to manipulate her into bed... Just speculation, but Joss's interview did mention that Satsu might regret this evening, and that's a possible reason why.

Her comment about the instruction manuals was funny. I suspect she's speaking from first-hand experience; and I do wonder, based on how Satsu was depicted in the early episodes as shy, reserved and formal, and how the Slayer spell brought her, specifically, "connection" (as shown in the flashback in #11), whether those manuals are her only experience and Buffy is her first lover. Which adds an added poignancy to Buffy's not-quite-rejection/not-quite-acceptance of her.

One last point. It is, of course, a cliché that naked couples in bed will have magic sheets that manage to just cover the important areas, no matter how they move around. In Castle Slayer, of course, the sheets might actually be magical... There's certainly one scene where Satsu has her back to us and is clearly uncovered to the waist, but when we see her again from the side the sheet has crept up to cover her chest without her apparent intervention. :-) At this stage in this sort of discussion, it's also standard to question why a couple who've just had hot, sweaty passionate sex are being so prudish and covering themselves up with sheets in the first place... In this case, I think it's actually a neat bit of characterisation. Buffy is deliberately and obviously holding the sheet over her breasts in several scenes; but Satsu doesn't bother. Clearly they have different comfort factors about what's going on here. (Then again, Buffy has always been fairly modest about showing her body, at least since she left high school.)

Now the French farce scene as everybody for a 10 mile radius comes into Buffy's bedroom. This is really funny; I particularly like the bit where Buffy dives out of bed onto the floor in order to hide from Renee, while Satsu blushes furiously. And poor Buffy keeps ordering people out of her room, but instead more and more come in... you'd think they'd at least knock. (But then again, in 'The Long Way home' everybody just burst into her room when Amy attacked too, so it's consistent).

I've seen various comments around that many of the people who do see the happy couple look disapproving or angry. That's not really the vibe I got, to be honest; I think most of them are just stunned. Dawn is the one who seems most agitated, but then again being shocked and embarrassed by a sister's antics is traditional. Andrew's reaction is perfectly in character for him... and Willow's "I think we're under attack... why are you naked in bed with Satsu?" was also a classic.

Again, people have been ascribing all kinds of emotions to her here, but what I get is mostly stunned disbelief, and perhaps some hurt. After all, Willow is probably the person who's known Buffy more closely for longer than anyone else, with the possible exception of Dawn depending on when you count from. I get the impression that this comes completely out of nowhere for her (and I find it hard to believe that in the 5+ years since Willow came out that she hasn't discussed questions of sexuality with her best friend) and she's reeling in incredulity. Not to mention upset that Buffy hasn't talked to her about it - remember her reaction to finding out about Spike and Buffy in 'Seeing Red' - although in the circumstances she possibly blames herself for putting the distance between them.

I'm hoping that we see various characters discussing the news in Buffy's absence in the next issue...

Anyway, onto the (nominal) A-plot.

There are, of course, no wild wolves in Scotland anymore, and haven't been for centuries. Either Drew Goddard doesn't know that, or it's a subtle bit of characterisation to show that Renee is not a native to Britain, despite her defence of Scottish civilisation later. I'll leave you to judge... We're never told why Andrew is coming to Castle Slayer, although I suspect it's because of the Simone situation we found out about last time. And the fact that poor Dawn is forced to sleep in a barn, with her feet sticking out, is perhaps a reminder as to just how miserable her new life is.

So far we know the names of two of the 'Japanese vampire goth gang' - Kumiko (the woman dressed as Baron Samedi who can fly) and Raidon (the one who turns into a panther and escapes with the Scythe). I assume the one who first takes the Scythe and punches Buffy is the leader; he's clearly both strong and powerful. Whether they're working for themselves or are in league with Twilight is so far unknown.

It was nice to see that Willow wasn't kidnapped again... I'm assuming what happened is that Kumiko somehow cancelled her flying spell, sending her plummeting down through the roof. The fact that Willow was dusting herself off and acting fine after such a brutal fall suggests that her magical self-healing or protection powers were still in full working order, however...

If the castle is in Scotland why didn't the sign on the door say 'Armoury', hmm? Unless Buffy had it fitted after she moved in, not from the original owners of the castle (whoever they were). Notice that even though she's been caught in an incredibly embarrassing situation, Buffy immediately takes charge once she knows they're under attack. That's our Buffy... (Her Eeyore pyjamas and UC Sunnydale crop-top are also quite in character).

I note that Buffy talks about the Scythe as hers, specifically. Faith agreed that it should belong to 'the Slayer in charge', but I've always thought of it as belonging to the Slayer line as a whole. The battle scene in 'Chosen' where it was being passed around from hand to hand reinforced that idea beautifully - so for Buffy to be so possessive about it now it slightly disturbing. Is she becoming even more isolated and elitist? Surely not... In this context, it will be interesting to see what happens if and when she meets Melaka Fray with another Scythe of her very own...

Why do the vampires want the Scythe? Buffy immediately talks about the spell, which implies that somehow the Scythe could be used to de-activate all the other Slayers. I don't know if that's her guess, or an actual fact... if true, it implies that the other girls are not "real Slayers" but only Potentials given a temporary taste of power by magic. That would be... quite disturbing symbolically, actually. I wonder if they'll go there?

Nice to see Leah and Rowena again. It's been a while.

Then there's the realisation about who might be able to give them advice. Xander's reaction was quite fun - was anyone else reminded of the final page of 'The Long Way Home'? And we learn that Xander knows how to pilot a helicopter. That's pretty impressive, actually; they're even harder to fly than normal aircraft.

Did they fly all the way to Transylvania? Or does Dracula live somewhere else now? I notice that his castle apparently has a helicopter landing pad... And of course there's the continuity to episode 5.01 with Xander acting as Renfield... and also to the comic story 'Antiquity', which is now available for free online just so we know what's happened before. I know that the comic has been criticised for implausibility - the idea that Buffy would leave Xander with Dracula for months seems incredible, unless she genuinely didn't know where he was. Or, of course, if he was sending her regular letters telling her how he was doing fine, and the strange European nobleman he was staying with was a nice chap, if a little eccentric... Still, we'll see how much of the story Drew uses.

And one last thing. If the next issue starts with Dracula standing in the doorway and inviting Xander and Renee to "Enter freely and of your own will" I'll be insanely happy. :-)

So. Brian Lynch, the eyes of fandom are upon you. After Buffy and Satsu, it's clearly Spike and Angel's turn now...

.

Comments

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 15:39 (UTC)

A lot of people have taken the attitude that Buffy is using Satsu; that she doesn't love her and is merely taking advantage of her feelings. Comparisons to Spike in Season 6 have been made. However, having now read the comic a couple of times, I'm not sure of that interpretation. I think Buffy is more confused and mixed up than a bald "she's using her" might imply.

True; but even if Buffy is not consciously doing it, she's still having sex with a woman we know has feelings that Buffy won't return. She might not intend to use Satsu, but especially given their general-lieutenant status, I'd say she still is to a certain degree; it's up to her to start or end it, and it's Satsu who's invested in it. But of course, Satsu is an adult (presumably) and should be able to make up her own mind... even if it's clear that she hasn't stopped hoping for something that Joss has explicitly said won't happen.

Why do the vampires want the Scythe? Buffy immediately talks about the spell, which implies that somehow the Scythe could be used to de-activate all the other Slayers. I don't know if that's her guess, or an actual fact... if true, it implies that the other girls are not "real Slayers" but only Potentials given a temporary taste of power by magic. That would be... quite disturbing symbolically, actually. I wonder if they'll go there?

I figure we're in for a metaphor here; Dracula has somehow shared his power with a bunch of Japanese goths much like Buffy has shared hers with a bunch of potentials... yada yada yada.

And Brian Lynch has shot that idea down.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 15:51 (UTC)
buffy-satsu-healing

Some of the best drama is when nobody is actually in the wrong, but someone is still going to end up getting hurt.

I can actually see Buffy being so anxious to prove (to herself) that she's not using Satsu that she ends up committing to her more and more, and when things eventually do go wrong (say, Buffy has a loving reunion with Spike in the final issue of the series ;-) ) it's far worse for Satsu than if Buffy had just been casually cruel early on in their relationship.

I like your idea about the metaphors and Dracula's power. Interesting!

As for BL's reaction, "Hell, Spider seems to think it's going on already" isn't exactly 'shooting it down'. :-) Sounds to me more like "That's not the story I'm telling at the moment".

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 16:01 (UTC)

Some of the best drama is when nobody is actually in the wrong, but someone is still going to end up getting hurt.

Agreed - especially if we get to see why people act the way they do. I must say I'm a bit disappointed that we didn't get to see why Buffy made this decision - but of course, that seems to be the standard for the comics. And no, I don't think Buffy in any way wants to use Satsu, but... did you read powerofthebook's The After?

Anyway, I'm putting together my own teal deer on this to get everything out there, so...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 17:52 (UTC)
teal-deer

I just read it, and commented. I don't know... I think a lot of people are wanting to make Buffy the bad guy here, and that's not the impression I'm getting. Not that she's blameless, not that there aren't potential squicks here, far from it; but she doesn't come across as the cold, casual user that's being implied. She has too much insight into Satsu's feelings for that.

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 18:56 (UTC)

Another day another "Buffy gets her comeuppance" story. Personally I really like the set up for two reasons. One, the call back to that picture of Elizabeth I on her wall in the second issue (Satsu could be her Essex). Two because it calls attention to the ambiguity over exactly what Buffy's relationship to the other Slayers is. They treat her as their superior because she's older and famous and more experienced but there's no formal power structure to back that up. She's not their employer - the bank money's no more hers than any of the other heist gals. She's not their teacher in the sense of being the one to award them grades and affect their future careers if she doesn't. It's not an army, there's no equivalent of shooting for deserters, they're there entirely voluntarily. She's more like the most experienced member of an activist group and Satsu is rapidly becoming her equal. I wonder if bringing in Dracula means Goddard wants to expand on the becoming a dinosaur issue he raised in his earlier story.

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 19:04 (UTC)

there's no formal power structure to back that up

"Everybody calls me 'ma'am'." Whether that's formal or not, it's still very much a de facto power structure - just as she IS their teacher even if she doesn't have a formal title, and they act as an army (and in fact, she once proclaimed them one).

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 19:33 (UTC)

Yes but because they choose to not because Buffy or the organisation requires it. It's not that she doesn't have a formal title it's that she doesn't have any formal power. If they decide to mutiny there's no law against it and no courts to punish them for it. They act as an army only in being a group of people who fight demons together exploiting the same kind of technology as the armies of nation states. But there is no nation state of Slayer. I'm not saying that they're not behaving as if there were a formal power structure in place but that's where the interest and the ambiguity lies, what would happen if anyone were to put that tacitly assumed structure to the test?

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 7th March 2008 13:18 (UTC)

Yes but because they choose to

Very true, it's certainly less formal than the "respect my authoratah!" s7 version. But on the other hand, by choosing to involve themselves in that organisation they are - for now - accepting the informal but nonetheless real power structure of the organisation. You're free to join or leave; but if you join, you'll have to accept certain groundrules (see, for instance, Andrew's speech about guns in #1). Buffy might not have any formal power, but she still has power. Satsu has been consistently portrayed as someone who sees Buffy as her superior, and Buffy's speech to her in #11 about Satsu taking over some day implies that Buffy sees it continuing as a loosely organised but still organised... uh, organisation. :-)

By comparison, consider the relationship between Giles and Buffy after "Helpless"; he's no longer her watcher in any formal capacity - but he still acts as it, and she still treats him as one. Mostly. He couldn't have doled out official punishment if she'd stepped out of line, any more than Buffy could have done it with the Scoobies - but they see the advantage of working together rather than apart, and to a certain extent that means that they accept a certain power structure of their own making. And of course, that structure got tested more than once.

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 7th March 2008 18:40 (UTC)

I'll buy the scoobies/Giles comparison - they all have power, it's not a simple linear hierarchy (and even those aren't so simple once the lower orders realise they might be the ones with the power a la Checkpoint). So while I think Buffy sleeping with Satsu is unwise in terms of how it might feed feelings of favouritism within the group, I don't think it's morally comparable to General/lieutennant, boss/secretary or supervisor/student relationships.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2008 22:18 (UTC)

So while I think Buffy sleeping with Satsu is unwise in terms of how it might feed feelings of favouritism within the group, I don't think it's morally comparable to General/lieutennant, boss/secretary or supervisor/student relationships

Pretty much exactly my own feelings.

And I'll also throw in that when Buffy says "Everyone calls me ma'am" she seems almost bemused by that fact...

Posted by: fangfaceandrea (fangfaceandrea)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 16:15 (UTC)
comic spike

when things eventually do go wrong (say, Buffy has a loving reunion with Spike in the final issue of the series ;-) LOL and whishful thinking XD

Posted by: fangfaceandrea (fangfaceandrea)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 15:41 (UTC)
delighted

Yay! for Mr. Gordo .
And well, your review made me want to read the issue even more. You are very good at racionalizing stuff and balancing things.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 15:54 (UTC)

Thanks! I try to be fair, but sometimes my biases do creep through...

And I suspect that Mr Gordo was there as a result of Drew Goddard's famous attention to continuity...

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 16:51 (UTC)

I suspect that Mr Gordo was there as a result of Drew Goddard's famous attention to continuity...

Then he should monitor Jeanty and insist on making Mr.Gordo spotty. Poor pig had black spots the last we saw it (in Freshman).

Can't wait to read the comic.

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 17:33 (UTC)
AtF Spike by moscow_watcher

Then he should monitor Jeanty and insist on making Mr.Gordo spotty. Poor pig had black spots the last we saw it (in Freshman).
Not to mention making him the right size...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 17:53 (UTC)

He grew five sizes when his Girl rescued him from Sunnydale Crater...

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 22:37 (UTC)

Maybe Buffy eventually bequeathed him to Dawn, and he got super-sized with the rest of her stuff?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2008 13:25 (UTC)

Works for me...

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 16:13 (UTC)
you sang me spanish lullabies

Oh, wow, I can't wait to pick this issue up.

Again, people have been ascribing all kinds of emotions to her here, but what I get is mostly stunned disbelief, and perhaps some hurt. After all, Willow is probably the person who's known Buffy more closely for longer than anyone else, with the possible exception of Dawn depending on when you count from. I get the impression that this comes completely out of nowhere for her (and I find it hard to believe that in the 5+ years since Willow came out that she hasn't discussed questions of sexuality with her best friend) and she's reeling in incredulity.

You know, I never once thought about shipping Willow/Buffy, but now I kind of want to ship Willow/Buffy.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 18:16 (UTC)
buffy-willow

I've always suspected that Willow had a huge crush on Buffy pretty much from the moment they met - though at the time she maybe didn't recognise it for what it was. But she's forever putting Buffy first in her life, being upset when Buffy excludes her from anything, and taking an eager interest in hearing all the details of Buffy's sex life... (well, blurry watercolour details at least...).

However, once Willow realised she was gay, I suspect she decided to firmly suppress any feelings of that nature she might have for Buffy - because she was terrified of scaring her off, and anyway she had Tara now.

As for Buffy, I think she's about 90% straight, and while she may have felt some attraction to Faith she was largely oblivious to it... or even subconsciously afraid of it. Like I said in the review, I'm pretty sure Willow and Buffy would have had in-depth conversations about sexuality while they were at college. I can see Buffy being [bi-]curious, but not confident enough about her own sexuality (and/or too monogamous) to be prepared to actually experiment with anything; and Willow wouldn't encourage her for the reasons I gave above. Then in season 6 there were obvious reasons why they wouldn't have that sort of conversation, and in season 7 (when Buffy, courtesy of Spike, has become a lot more adventurous in expressing her sexual tastes) they had the distraction of impending doom taking up all their time. So there's not much room for a ship, but a few cracks where you could slip one in. :-)

Oh, and there's this from 'Get It Done' :-)

PRINCIPAL WOOD: Buffy tells me you've been, how shall I put it? "Experimenting."
Willow shoots Buffy a look.
PRINCIPAL WOOD (cont'd): With the Magicks.
WILLOW: Oh. Yes.

*cough* Can you tell I've thought about this already.? :-)

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 19:20 (UTC)
sunset in Tanzania

But she's forever putting Buffy first in her life, being upset when Buffy excludes her from anything, and taking an eager interest in hearing all the details of Buffy's sex life... (well, blurry watercolour details at least...).

Not sure she always put Buffy first in her life(Do you remember "Something Blue"?), as for Willow being demanding, curious, petty and jealous even...it's SO typical of a relationship between two girls who are supposed to be best friends and share everything !

Sorry for ruining your little fantasy (;- ))but I think that even though Willow dedicated herself to lesbianism in season 4 it doesn't change the fact that Willow/Buffy pretty much embodies typical teenage friendship especially through Willow's behaviour.

Having said that, I've always believed that there's just one step from friendship to romance and Willow acknowledging her attraction to women could have made it even easier to take.

Posted by: fangfaceandrea (fangfaceandrea)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 21:02 (UTC)

Willow/Buffy pretty much embodies typical teenage friendship especially through Willow's behaviour.

Agreed. In the begining specially there was some Buffy worship on Willow's part, but the again , Buffy was the new girl who chose Willow's freindship over Cordelia's popularity circle, and who was all cool and strong. And they always had chemistry .

So Yes it's the kind of girlfriend crush you have with your Friends but it wasn't a sexual attraction and it never grew into that. And then they got to know each other too well to fall for each other. yeah I can't see Billow? WiFFY?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2008 10:18 (UTC)

Sorry for ruining your little fantasy

If you're under the impression I fantasise about relationships where one person has no clue about the true nature of her feelings and frantically represses any suspicion she may have, and the other is utterly oblivious, you have a strange view of me. ;-)

To be honest, anything I say about Buffy/Willow is slightly tongue in cheek, and slightly a conscious retcon. Face it, ME were writing her as heterosexual in the first three seasons. It's certainly possible she had a complete epiphany when she met Tara... but I personally think it's more likely she had crushes on or feelings for girls before then that she either misinterpreted, tried her best to ignore/suppress, or just kept completely secret and refused to act on. And I was trying to think who would be likely candidates - Jenny Calendar is on the list, for example - then the most obvious one of all hit me.

Posted by: mr_waterproof (mr_waterproof)
Posted at: 7th March 2008 00:01 (UTC)

Buffy's remarks to Satsu imply she has never done this sort of thing before, which means Wiffy could never have been consummated (nor could Fuffy). Otherwise I agree with you about Willow and Buffy up to Season 4. After Willow got involved with Tara, they weren't so close, and Buffy always seemed uncomfortable with the subject of Willow's sexuality. Presumably this was because she wasn't sure of her own feelings towards Willow, or how to react to the realisation that Willow may have fancied her

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2008 10:25 (UTC)

Buffy always seemed uncomfortable with the subject of Willow's sexuality

You think? I didn't get that impression at all. She was freaked out when she first heard the news, and I think there was some uncomfortableness up to the end of season 4, but after that I got the impression she had completely come to terms with it. She was certainly relaxed about teasing Willow about Kennedy ("have fun delivering the tea!")

And in Season 8 she's perfectly happy to be straddling Willow as Willow discusses her sexual fantasies about Tina Fey. ;-)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 18:12 (UTC)
Butsu 4 Eva

I just read it. The last pages had me in stitches. I'm so glad I read this first.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 18:18 (UTC)

I know! The last page would have been meaningless without having read that first... (and thanks for posting the link)

Posted by: curiouswombat (curiouswombat)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 20:04 (UTC)
Noggin

Mr Gordo survived the ruin of Sunnydale!

That's the most interesting thing I've heard about the comics - and the one thing I will immediately accept as canon... :~P

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 7th March 2008 12:53 (UTC)

And I know how it happened! ;-)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 6th March 2008 23:36 (UTC)

Seriously, do you tell your not-quite-maybe-girlfriend that you have fantasies about her and three other women, one of whom is her boss?

If you're Xander, you do. He's definitely made plenty of equally awkward comments in other situations, so it didn't strike me as weird... well, yes, it's weird, but not weird for Xander. It's one of the consequences of always joking his way out of an uncomfortable situation - sometimes he tries for the funny and ends up with his foot squarely in his mouth.

I pretty much agree completely with your analysis of the Buffy/Satsu situation. I'd like to see at least one heart-to-heart in the next issue that explains how they ended up in bed so quickly, but I thought Buffy came off a lot less condemnation-worthy than most people seemed to think based on the article. I also really liked your observation about Satsu feeling guilty about using Buffy - which is something we never saw in season 6 with Buffy/Spike, and I think is partly what puts this on a different level than that relationship. Buffy and Satsu both got something they wanted by taking advantage of the other's feelings, which I think puts them on more equal footing in the emotional fallout.

I also agree with you on Willow's reaction. I'm sure she would expect that if Buffy had any sort of lesbian leanings, she would come to Willow to talk about it. Not only is it a "best friend" type of conversation, but obviously Willow's not going to be judgmental about it, and has the experience to offer advice, making her a better choice than any of Buffy's other friends. So I definitely see her as being totally caught off guard, since this seemed to come out of nowhere for Willow. I don't think she's angry or hurt or anything yet - and if she does become those things, I think it would be more from a "why didn't you tell me?" angle rather than a "why did you pick her over me?"

Buffy immediately talks about the spell, which implies that somehow the Scythe could be used to de-activate all the other Slayers.

It doesn't necessarily have to mean that - if the scythe has the power to manipulate the slayer magic by activating all potentials, who knows what other effects it could have on slayers? Maybe destroying it would mean that new potentials (and thus slayers) cease to be born. Maybe it could take away ALL slayers' powers (including Buffy and Faith), or turn them evil by tapping into their demonic essence, or something else completely out of left field. No idea whether these vampires are connected to Twilight (I'm guessing not), but if it were that easy to get rid of all the newly-called slayers, why wouldn't Twilight have just stolen the scythe and deactivated the slayers, instead of playing cat and mouse with Buffy?

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 13th March 2008 16:00 (UTC)
Hee

I'm rereading your review after I've read and reread the issue and I basically agree with everything you say.

I note that Buffy talks about the Scythe as hers, specifically.

You know what's funny? That moment reminded me of Glory talking about The Key as something that was hers.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 13th March 2008 23:49 (UTC)

*Looks forward to seeing Buffy have a bubblebath with three blindfolded Junior Slayers in attendance.*

;-)

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 7th July 2011 16:01 (UTC)
(Review) BtVS 8.12 'Wolves at the Gate' Part I

Yes. Mr Gordo survived the ruin of Sunnydale!
Hahaha, that's great! Good eye.

Talking about eyes. Did you notice Willow's eye colour changed from reddish to greenish? LOL

Never read http://www.darkhorse.com/Books/Previews/11-756?page=1 before, but it answers some questions. Not that I really thought it was important.

I kind of like how the group keeps talking how vampires aren't allowed to do transmogrification and are forgetting in the heat of the moment that they encountered Dracula before.

The whole issue was really funny. I liked how Buffy interpreted Satsu's question wrong. How everyone walked in on Buffy and Satsu in bed. The vampire in charge being funny and deliberately touching the Scythe.

But while it's funny, it's also at the expense of some reasonable reactions. Despite the security that the castle has, everyone who tried to attack them, got in...easily. Wolves at the gate, panthers in the hallway and nobody sounding the alarm. *sigh* It's really funny reading the first time, but it looses something on re-reading because of that.

As for the Buffy-Satsu thing. I thought the entire pillow talk was cute. You're reading more emotions into the facial expressions than I can, but... who cares. When Buffy and Satsu were getting closer, I was hopeful for this. With all her relationship troubles, a relation with a fellow slayer might reduce the problems she has experienced up to now. So when this was labelled as an experiment, I was disappointed. It felt like a retcon at the end of this arc.

On re-reading it feels more natural, but that's because I had already adjusted my view of Buffy. The annoying part is that every relationship that Buffy has had up to now has been really serious. (Spike doesn't count given the list of psychological issues that it took for Buffy to have sex with him.) So this experimental casualness with sleeping with a girl feels odd. I makes me wonder if Buffy would now feel comfortable to go to the nearest city and pick a guy up for a one-night stand? Obviously not, given her period of not having had sex. And it's shown that there are lots of feelings involved for *both* girls. So maybe this feels odd for a television character (turned comic book), but is really close to real-life?

Knowing how Buffy and Satsu ended up in bed together is better storytelling, but that would obviously lessen the shock factor. I suspect that Buffy is still the blond, American teen-aged cheerleader who isn't allowed to be with a girl. It makes me really glad they haven't labelled this as drunken experimentation.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th July 2011 23:09 (UTC)
Re: (Review) BtVS 8.12 'Wolves at the Gate' Part I
buffy-satsu-healing

Willow's eyes are a mixture of brown and green, so they'll look different depending on the ambient lighting. ;)

I kind of like how the group keeps talking how vampires aren't allowed to do transmogrification and are forgetting in the heat of the moment that they encountered Dracula before.

And when they do remember Dracula, they all kind of turn to look at Xander one by one until he remembers too. :)

Despite the security that the castle has, everyone who tried to attack them, got in...easily.

While you definitely have a point, I will say that it wouldn't be very interesting to have an issue filled with all the times bad guys tried to break into the castle but couldn't breach its defences... and Toru's gang do have the ability to turn into mist and penetrate any barrier. It's the big plot point of this arc.


So this experimental casualness with sleeping with a girl feels odd. I makes me wonder if Buffy would now feel comfortable to go to the nearest city and pick a guy up for a one-night stand?

Maybe so - of course in Season 8 she never really had the opportunity, but who knows what she's doing in Season 9 and living in a city again. Personally, I'd find it rather refreshing if Buffy felt she could do some casual dating instead of her every relationship turning into ~Serious Drama~. I can see why they wouldn't do that on an American network TV show aimed at the young adult market, but maybe comics are less restricted.

I don't think I ever expected Buffy/Satsu to be permanent, given Buffy's basic heterosexuality, but I did think it would last longer than it did. I do think her hook-up with Satsu here falls more into the "friend with benefits" area than either "one night stand" or "serious relationship". (Of course Satsu wanted No 3 in that list, hence the drama.)

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