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(Review) BtVS 8.18 'Time Of Your Life' Part 3

5th September 2008 (20:55)

This month's theme, boys and girls, is "betrayal." Betrayal of your friends, betrayal of your enemies, betrayal of your principles. Possibly even betrayal by the closest, the most unexpected, although the jury's still out on that one. We've also got the clearest statement yet that Buffy's character development in Season 8 is not something that we're supposed to accept without question.

Also, I think that I'm getting the feel for Joss's style of comic-writing now. All the issues he's written himself, rather than hand over to a guest writer, have been characterised by one thing: half a dozen or more plot arcs all going on simultaneously, and often completely unconnected. Well, except by overall theme, or dramatic irony, or the classic Jossian device of the final dialogue of one scene overlapping into the next scene, or vice-versa. It's an effective but risky strategy, especially for an ensemble universe as packed with people as this one is.

It means that every character gets at least a small scene in each comic, which is much better than them simply being forgotten for months at a time. It also helps build the idea that this is a real, ongoing world; everything doesn't just revolve around the hero, there are other things going on as well at the same time. On the other hand, fans of the characters only given bit-parts in a particular issue are likely to complain of being short-changed – even if the alternative was for their preferred character to not appear at all.

It also encourages both the tendency and the demand for gratuitous fan-service: after all, if Joss is happy to throw in a page of Characters A and B interacting, even though the main storyline is about Characters C and D, it just leads to questions about why he hasn't also devoted a page to characters E, F, G, H, I and J. And a page showing that character B isn't sure if character S is still alive or not. And can't there be a page where character X is shown mourning for character A who died two years earlier? And so on and so on, until there's no room for actual new plot in between all the references to what happened in previous seasons of the show...

So, taking my own advice, let's talk about episode 8.18.

There are, in fact, three separate plot strands here. The main one, the A-plot, is all about Buffy in the future. Even here there's two separate aspects: the actual story, which is about Harth's evil plan, and future!Willow's plan which may or may not be evil but is certainly mysterious, and whether Buffy and the Fray sisters will unite in time to foil whatever scheme is being planned. But you've also got "the Buffy of it", which in this case is her learning that everything good she thought she had achieved in her life will all be for nothing. Not even a footnote in history.

Then we've got the B-plot, which is Willow and Kennedy in the present day trying to get Buffy back. Plus the dramatic irony of Willow being unaware that in the future, she's Buffy's worst enemy.

And finally the Second Unit stuff, which is Xander and Dawn. I'd say this was totally unrelated to the rest of the issue, except there's a clear theme connecting them. In the future, Buffy sees everything she tried to build has turned to dust. In Xander and Dawn's arc, this isn't just metaphorical: the castle that they made into their home is literally now a big pile of rubble. Is this how it began? Is this the start of the disaster that led to Buffy's world-changing army of Slayers being forgotten by history?

Or is it just a case of a different leg of the Trousers of Time? The path not travelled? I suppose we'll find out next month. (Or possibly, Joss being Evil, we'll find out in a couple of years' time at the end of the arc...)

It was affecting seeing Buffy so emotional when she realises how it ends - and "spoiler alert" is a great phrase for her to use. I've seen a few people commenting on this scene that it's suggesting that Buffy's Slayer spell was a bad idea. I really don't get that at all (and suspect wishful thinking by people who think Buffy and Willow empowering all the Potentials in 'Chosen' was a bad thing, and are hoping that the storyline will eventually prove them right). It's clear that Buffy thinks it was a wonderful idea - "to beat back the darkness. To make the world a better place" - and she's crying because it's clear it was undone somehow. There's only one Slayer again, and the world is obviously not a better place.

Violence is still Slayer comfort food, even in the future. Nice to see some things don't change. Though I notice that we don't really dwell on what it must feel like for Melaka to finally meet another Slayer after being alone all her life... is she grateful? Fascinated? Jealous that Buffy got the full package, including the visions and intuition? I can certainly see that last bit feeding into the later plot developments, though it's not referenced specifically...

Willow and Kennedy are being cute. Incidentally, judging by the small and bland nature of it, I'm guessing that's a hotel bedroom rather than, say, Kennedy's own apartment. The decor doesn't really match what we saw in 'Anywhere But Here'. Also, I learned this week (from one of the articles Petzi posted) that the swearword "frak" was in fact invented in the original 'Battlestar Galactica'  series, although popularised by the new version of it.

Anybody wanting to see the differences in personality and speech patterns between Willow and Kennedy has only to read the dialogue here:
"Ken-doll, do you trust me and know that I love you and I'm not a crazy person and what we do is for the greater good cross your heart no backsies?"
"Duh. What do we gotta do?"


Pitch-perfect character voices. Who wrote this?
And yes, 'Ken-doll' is slightly cringy and cutesy, which is why it's perfect for Willow. I just hope, as I said when the preview of this came out a couple of weeks ago, that Kennedy's corresponding pet name for Willow is not 'Barbie-doll'... Kennedy resting her head on Willow's shoulder is also a trademark action of hers from Season 7.

Minor observation: the artist here is really emphasising the fact that Kennedy's skin colour is significantly darker than Willow's. A mixed-race relationship! Shock, horror! I remember once, when I wrote a post mentioning that Iyari Limón is a Latina, someone commented with the criticism that she didn't act like one on the show, or her character wasn't played that way, or something. Which is an interesting view of race; it doesn't matter what your physical ethnicity is, you only count as being of that race if you act according to the right stereotypes. Hmm. Anyway, I wonder if there's any significance in the fact that the Key Three's love interests this season - Satsu, Renee and Kennedy - have all been non-white? Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times...

Brief Xander and Dawn interlude time. Some people have suggested that we're being pushed gently into accepting that these two will hook up, given all the sexual innuendo between them. While I'm not rejecting the idea I'm not convinced either: seems to me that Xander still gets freaked out whenever anything sexual gets mentioned. Dawn, on the other hand, is far more casual about it, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if her "ridden hard and put away wet" comment was said deliberately with intent to shock. She's both grown up a lot, and still a teenager. In fact, I think Dawn comes across very well in this little vignette.

Though I notice that while she's wearing a t-shirt to cover up her human torso, her naked bottom is clearly visible in one picture. Perhaps she assumes that because it now has a tail coming out of it, it doesn't matter. Let's hope Xander isn't a Furry...

The bit with the tree spirits was a perfect 'Buffy' moment. I laughed. There was lots of debate in the preview as to whether the fiery ents were "too fairytale" and didn't fit the Buffyverse aesthetic... so it was wonderful to see Dawn making fun of them for exactly that reason. Like I said, she's definitely come of age, and developed the classic Scooby attitude to weird, scary monsters: refusal to be impressed, irreverent questions and mockery. I'm guessing that next episode will see Xander and Dawn teaming up with the tree people to fight the evil green cobras. (And try taking that sentence out of context...)

The confrontation between Harth and Gunther was a nice little "two powerful evil dudes try to see who has the biggest dick" moment. Although not literally, because that would be an entirely different genre of fiction.

Apparently Gunther has rigged his chamber with "sunlight generators", whatever they are - presumably ultraviolet lights? I wonder if that will actually work in the Buffyverse? Alternatively, it could be something mystical using techno-magic to store actual sunlight in capacitors somehow. And the ending was suitably creepy, not to mention clever - is this the end for Gunther? Or does Harth just want to scare him? Gunther's security barrier has betrayed him - and if Harth is honest about he and Gunther being "of a kind", then he's betrayed him too. Although betrayal comes naturally for vampires.

Buffy's driving ability hasn't improved in 200 years, and just as predicted, Mel is regretting letting her drive. The repetition of Snyder's line from 'Band Candy' was amusing, Buffy's reaction to it even funnier... especially if we take it that she's assuming the "Summers" part of the saying has also entered popular culture...

I'm also trying to remember if the Grand Theft Auto computer game series includes any flying cars. Deliberately flying, that is, not hurtling off ramps or unfinished bridges or the sides of buildings. There's a jetpack in one of the games, and helicopters of course, but not flying cars, I think. Back on topic, is it significant that we're reminded here that like Buffy, Melaka is a thief? And, in fact, a more experienced, professional thief?

Because it really points out the big conflict between them next, when Mel wants to jump in and help the innocent victims, and Buffy wants to stand back and follow the vampires back to their base afterwards.

This is, to be honest, rather shocking. I'm not going to say it's out of character for Buffy because we've seen, step by step, how she got to this point. The world-weariness and cynicism that set in by Season 5. How in Season 7 she deliberately hardened herself to the idea that she might have to order other people to their deaths. How she admitted to Giles in 'Lies My Parents Told Me' that put into a situation like 'The Gift' again, she'd let her sister die. And in Season 8, we've seen her relying on crime to fund her organisation, and being ready to kill another Slayer out of hand, and isolating herself from the world in a remote Scottish castle where the only other people she ever meets are Slayers, witches, giants or Xander.

But. If 18-year old Buffy had been sitting in the car next to her future self instead of Melaka, I think she'd be just as horrified at her own decision. Letting people die so you can prevent more deaths later might be 'big picture', but it's still letting innocent victims get killed. Melaka refuses to accept Buffy's logic; she's going to try and save them anyway. And - just like earlier Buffy would have - she manages to get the best of both worlds. She saves the people... and one vampire manages to escape in the van and lead them back to its hideout anyway. I think that's pretty crucial, because it's the author telling us that Buffy screwed up here. She made the wrong call.

Does she recognise that herself? I think her "Dammit, Fray" can be read both ways; is she angry at herself because she recognises the truth, or is it just the surface meaning, that she's scared about being left at the wheel of the flying car?

Mind you, it's not a simple black and white picture. Buffy isn't entirely wrong, because the truth is that saving that small group of people would lead to even more deaths later, if they fail to get the clue on where Harth's base is. Melaka is fighting a battle, the way Buffy used to do; but Buffy is now trying to wage a war. You know, like the Watchers' Council used to do... Buffy is turning into them.

Or possibly, she's becoming Wesley, except with less stubble - on her face, at least - and fewer guns. And Wesley was dark - but can you say he was wrong? Can ends ever justify means?

On a lighter note, I assume the vampires are all mummy-wrapped in bandages to protect them from sunlight.

I wonder if the similarity between Willow talking about Buffy here and Angelus talking about her in Season 2 is a deliberate echo? It seems that future!Willow does want to kill Buffy, although since we're not given a reason as yet it's still up in the air as to whether this is really her plan, and what the twist will be.

Speaking of twists, now we find out how Willow has been contacting Saga Vasuki, and why she had a problem talking to Kennedy about it... and to be honest, I think it reflects more creditably on her than I'd expected. See, I'd assumed that SV expected sex with Willow as a condition of talking to her, or something like that... and to be fair, their interaction here does seem very intimate, at least on the serpent goddess's side of things, so it's at least possible something like that has happened in the past.

But instead, it seems that Willow needs to be actually in the throes of orgasm to travel into SV's dimension. Something that Saga Vasuki appears to find rather amusing, given her little joking references to it ("Do come again").   And also, given Kennedy's huge grin in the final panel, it's clear she doesn't have any problem with the idea that helping Willow use magic involves giving her lots of orgasms. (Or one orgasm lasting one minute twenty seconds, which is how long it took me to read out loud the dialogue in that scene...) So why is Willow feeling awkward and guilty about this?

Well firstly, because she's Willow. It's kind of her default mode. But also, I think, because she thinks she's being selfish; instead of enjoying making love with her girlfriend for the connection and companionship and shared pleasure, she's using it to power her magic. She's literally thinking about somebody else at the moment she comes. In her mind, she's using Kennedy, and she's ashamed of that.

This revelation also casts an interesting sidelight on the last page of 'Wolves At The Gate', incidentally...

I rather like the characterisation of Saga Vasuki here... she's obviously a cryptic and powerful unearthly being, but she also gets sulky, she pouts, and she makes sly jokes about orgasms. And Willow - despite being all embarrassed about her nakedness - is clearly not afraid of her. ("You lied to me.") Lots of stuff to comment on crammed into these few pages. Willow says "I don't have that kind of power" and SV replies, not with either direct agreement or contradiction, but a rhetorical question. Of course, we readers have come to the conclusion that it's Willow herself from the future casting the time portal spell, so it's all dramatic irony. Even more so when Willow says that "only someone on the deep dark" would meddle with those forces.

And let's all pause a moment as we witness Season 8 Willow admitting that some magical forces are too dangerous and powerful for her to mess about with. See? She's learned from experience after all. :-) Or at least she has here; who knows what her future self has been up to...

Who is the person SV trusted, who told her about the time portal? Was it future!Willow herself? And why doesn't she want Willow to look into the future when she opens the portal? The obvious answer is that she doesn't want Willow to see what will happen to her later, because if she knew she might take action to change the future course of events. That, in turn, implies that SV wants this to happen - the end of the multiple Slayers, the banishment of magic and demons. It's another betrayal. But on the other hand, surely Buffy will tell her everything anyway when she gets back, so why try to hide it? Maybe there are other things going on here instead...

Incidentally, I did like the call-back to 'Who Are You?' in Season 4, where Willow also apparently needed to be having an orgasm in order to send her spirit into the Nether Realms. Continuity! Mind you, I kind of guess she and Kennedy weren't just sitting crosslegged and holding hands this time around. Though I could be wrong.

And back to the future, where 200-year old Willow confronts Melaka. The look of sadness on her face where she admits she hasn't been quite human for "some time now" was chilling. And the moment where she says that the most important men in Buffy's life are "lurks" was equally intriguing. Is she talking about seasons 1-3/6-7, or after season 8? :-)  I also got a definite Adam vibe from some parts of her speech: the remote, analytical observation of other lifeforms ("Your brother is interesting. Ambitious."). So what is it that Willow showed Melaka, to make her turn against Buffy in the final act? In fact, to make her believe that betraying Buffy would "save the world"? I suppose we'll have to wait and see...

Something else to speculate on. Why would veiny, black-eyed 200-year old Willow say that the little green flame was "about as much magic as I can muster"? Assuming she's telling the truth, it could be because all her power is being used to sustain her unnaturally extended lifespan. Or to power the time-portal. Or maybe she's so old that her power has faded. Or perhaps the ritual that banished the demons and magic from the world has affected her too, so now even the Most Powerful Witch in the Western Hemisphere is barely capable of conjuring a simple vision.

Back to Buffy - and notice that she's getting positively blasé (or should that be blasée?) about heights now, by the way she drops down the face of the building from one projection to another. Even though she did manage to crash the car...

I was a bit confused by the page break here, assuming that the scene over the page where Erin confronts Buffy happened immediately after the "Oh, futuristic snap!" line. In fact, it seems that Buffy investigated a little, then made her way back to Melaka's home, and quite some time elapsed.

"Stand down and offer submission" is the same line Erin used in the 'Fray' comic when arresting her sister; Buffy's reaction to it here is priceless. I also liked her sudden realisation that if Erin is Mel's sister, then Harth is her brother too.

A lot of people commented on how they thought Erin actually was Buffy in #17, and it's interesting that here the two women have been given identical hairstyles. They also share a moment of bonding over the problems caused by little sisters - though I thought Dawn was 6 years younger than Buffy, not 5. In yet another continuity-porn moment, Buffy references 'What's My Line' and the suggestion there that she take up a career in law enforcement... and it's very much in character here for her to say the outfits were a big factor in her decision. :-)

Erin's final question was a curious one. Shorn of the Buffyesque distractions, it was "You're a Slayer? Why?"

Why is Buffy doing this? After all, she doesn't have to, not anymore. Plenty of people (in her time, anyway) who could take up the mantle. She believes she's making the world a better place; but is she also doing it out of ego, because she wants a place in the history books? Food for thought.

And in the final panel, Melaka knocks her unconscious with a ray gun - and it turns out Erin was in on the plot. Yet another betrayal, and one that has Willow's fingerprints all over it. Looks like whatever she said to Mel was convincing. Erin clearly doesn't think Buffy seemed like the type, but she's willing to trust her sister.

The Slayer's job is to prevent the apocalypse and save the world. Buffy is in Fray's world now, and Fray is the Slayer. She's acting like the Slayer, in fact, when Buffy is not. Does that make Buffy the Big Bad? This is what I think Willow showed Melaka: that unless stopped, Buffy will destroy the world... Fray's world. She'll make it as if it never existed, along with everybody in it.

And Melaka Fray has sworn to protect her world from anything that threatens it...
.

Comments

Posted by: satsux (satsux)
Posted at: 5th September 2008 21:15 (UTC)

Dawn was 14 in season 5, where Buffy turned 20, so it is 6 years chronologically speaking, though it's probably 5 and a few months depending where the monks place Dawn's birthday. Which given that it was never celebrated or reference in any of the Buffy eps can be during summer of winter breaks. My guess is over the Summer, given that Dawn also appears after a summer. So that's why she's older every season. Though I can't be sure. She's 15 in Once More With Feeling, so anyone catch her age after the winted break of that season? Cause I really heard nothing but Get Out, Get Out, Get Out from her shrieky mouth that year.

But that aside, great review! And I do think that Willow's the one who sent the message and to me it seems that is not so much as Snake Lady (I refuse her given name, damn it!) wants the future to happen but if Willow sees herself it could probably alter the events already taking place, so it was more a warning to protect the already fragile time stream and Willow, who would be directly affected. Cause I do think the Snake Lady cares for Willow. Also, I don't think Dark Willow has any intent of killing Buffy, she's making it appear so to the audience, and okay, Meleka too, but really, I think because we find out the slayer army ceased to exist, there was something crucial that's coming to happen in Buffy's time and it'll probably be Buffy or Buffy's friends fault and Willow may have figured this was the best way to warn the people of her past. She doesn't seem to care at all for Hart's plan. She's using the all three Frays to get Buffy to see all she needs to see from the future. I'm guessing next issue Buffy confronts her Dark Future friend and promises to keep most of what she saw to herself (Isolating her even more!) or she leaves the future with all the dark glimpses she got, and more determined to prevent it.

Though given Jo's cover for next issue, my first guess seems more accurate.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 5th September 2008 23:53 (UTC)


The theme of betrayal got me thinking...

I have this sinking suspicion that future!darkWillow is not all she seems. That somehow she is a red herring.

The idea of Buffy herself being the big bad ultimately doesn't really gel. However, what if Buffy is the betrayer (the most intimate) but not in a big bad -conscious- sort of way.

What if Buffy has betrayed her former self by becoming too distant from what she once was. Stormwreath, you mention something along these lines.

In becoming the "General," Buffy has lost the connection she felt to the world, her family, fellow slayers (Kendra and early Faith), even her friends to some degree. We see Buffy not wanting to lose these connections, yet her fear hardens her in the end. She pulls back, cuts herself off. Alot of this stems back to the last few moments of "Becoming Part II" when she knew she had to kill Angel even though she was madly in love with him. That was a pain that cut her so incredibly deep that to this day she holds herself apart because of it. Even, from Angel.
(Mind you.. I really like B/A and B/S and even thought Batsu was cute for what it was.. so I'm pretty open minded with her relationships).

What if something broke through Buffy's hardness? The line regarding "Lurks" being important to her struck me...

Would Buffy betray her own creedo to save Angel (or Spike)? Because she chose the world over Angel once before my gut answer is no but faced with the moment again...

Crazy thoughts: What if future!Willow is not Willow but someone else using a glamour? Melaka accused Buffy of using a "glam" so they do have them in the future.

Also, do you really think Joss would say that giving lots of women power around the world is a bad thing?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th September 2008 00:42 (UTC)
firstslayer

I've said once, only half-joking, that S8 might end up like a certain famous Agatha Christie novel, and it turns out that literally everybody betrays Buffy. She even betrays herself.

Interesting thought on Willow and the glamour.


do you really think Joss would say that giving lots of women power around the world is a bad thing?

Absolutely not. Which is why I'm scratching my head over the people who seem, in all seriousness, to believe that's the storyline. A lot of it seems to be about the rape metaphor in 'Get It Done', and the implication that if making one woman into a Slayer was like rape, then making any woman into a Slayer is always and automatically like rape. So Buffy and Willow were multiple rapists. Violating women against their will by forcing them to, uh, become more powerful and have new choices open to them that weren't ever available to them before...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th September 2008 00:36 (UTC)

From research, Dawn's age is mentioned as being 14 in the following Season 5 episodes: 2, 5, 13, 14 and 15. I'm actually inclined to think that 26 September 2000 is her real birthday, that being the date 'Buffy Versus Dracula' first aired and therefore when the monks created her.

So Dawn was 'born' on 26 September 1986, when Buffy was 5 years 8 months old. So both '5' and '6' are technically correct, depending on how you round it.


I'm not sure if Saga Vasuki genuinely cares for Willow, or if it's more of an "I'm immensely powerful and could crush you to dust but I choose to indulge you" sort of thing. I'd like to think it's genuine liking, though.

And I really have no idea what will happen next month...

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 5th September 2008 22:29 (UTC)

The Joss modus operandi seems to be to make each question proliferate new ones without stopping to answer the originals. It’s exponentially questiony but it works for me (AtF this week seemed the complete opposite, all answers - all talk and no show).

I think Dawn comes across very well in this little vignette.
Dawns had some nice incremental character development since her confession to Xander got her more comfortable in her (then) giant skin.

Because it really points out the big conflict between them next, when Mel wants to jump in and help the innocent victims, and Buffy wants to stand back and follow the vampires back to their base afterwards.

If there’s room for debate about how evil Future!Willow’s plans are I think the same fuzziness applies to Buffy. Her version of events wasn’t that Melaka was for saving lives while she was for sacrificing them but that the younger Fray was running off all crazy to take out some vamps.

She saves the people... and one vampire manages to escape in the van and lead them back to its hideout anyway

Not them, Buffy. If both of them had jumped in to “do their job” there’s have been no-one ready to drive after the escapee. I do think Buffy’s lack of *emotional* response to the victims’ cries is marked and very similar to her response to the victims in the very first issue. Then she was worried about the effect of seeing human death and suffering on her rookie Slayers but not on herself. Your parallel with what a younger Buffy would have thought of this is spot on. I just don’t see it as coming from a place of world-weariness and cynicism. S8 Buffy may have become cynical about the idea that all humans are good or all victims innocent but she’s not cynical about the Slayer cause, she’s a believer. Like many idealists she’s starting to lose touch with the individuals the ideals are supposed to be in aid of but I don’t think she’s reached the stage of consciously rejecting them just tends to overlook them. Still, although Haddyn and particularly the Uppers (she seems to be suspicious of establishment types) aren’t her world she’s is trying to save it from Harth.

I did like the call-back to 'Who Are You?' in Season 4
The “it’s Buffy we need her back” also sounded like a call back to Bargaining, which she said told Kennedy she wouldn’t do again. Weren’t temporal fold’s what she tried tp create with Anya in Doppelganland? That called up VampWillow and I almost wonder whether Future darkish Willow might be a side effect of something current Willow attempts in her immediate future.

Why is Buffy doing this? After all, she doesn't have to, not anymore.
Why is Erin a cop? It’s a vocation – it’s who you are.

And in the final panel, Melaka knocks her unconscious with a ray gun - and it turns out Erin was in on the plot.
Or assumed Melaka had her reasons. There’s a curious green glow down Fray’s gun side in the final panel and her words have a slightly robotic air. I wonder if all Willow’s harmless remnant of magic did really was just to show her something.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th September 2008 00:53 (UTC)
fray

If both of them had jumped in to “do their job” there’s have been no-one ready to drive after the escapee

Absolutely. But it seemed to me that Buffy's plan was simply to watch and wait and then follow. Mel's plan was to jump in and Slay. The plan they *should* have come up with was for Buffy to do the Slaying and Mel to drive the car and follow them. (Assuming Mel can drive - it's a scary thought, but maybe she let Buffy take the wheel because she's actually a worse driver than Buffy?)

In the event, that's almost how it happened; but it was by accident, not a deliberate plan.

I like your thoughts on Buffy's ideals losing touch with the people she claims to be protecting. It kind of reinforces the whole Angel Season 5 vibe I'm getting from this story. (Much more than I'm getting from 'After The Fall', ironically.)


“it’s Buffy we need her back” also sounded like a call back to Bargaining
I got that too, very strongly. But I forgot to mention it in the review. :-)

Why is Erin a cop? It’s a vocation – it’s who you are.
That's where I was going with that, yeah. :-) Though I do think there's a bit of the ego in there too. Buffy wants to believe she, personally, changed the world.



Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 6th September 2008 20:11 (UTC)
Scoobies

I read your review with great interest. I only don't understand what you mean by "Gunther's security barrier has betrayed him". And - the whole scene between Harth and Gunther seems pointless (maybe we'll get a development of the scene in the next issue?)

Also, I've got the impression that Erin has been caught unawares when Fray shot Buffy.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th September 2008 23:48 (UTC)
fray

Regarding Gunther's security barrier - I'm just saying that he thought he was safe, because he's underwater and nobody air-breathing can reach him. If they try to break through the glass, he's got defence mechanisms ready to activate. (Probably ones for humans too, as well as the anti-vampire measures he actually mentions). But all his precautions betray him because Harth found a way past them.

Apart from being a cool scene in itself, I suspect the implication is this: Harth knows that Gunther has given Mel information, so he know that Mel knows where he is. So, in classic style, he's going to set a trap for them.

I didn't get the impression Erin was surprised at all - she asks Mel if she's sure they're doing the right thing. I think what happened is, Mel asked her to keep Buffy talking and distracted until Mel was in position to shoot her. However, when she talked to Buffy, Erin found her to be a pretty reasonable and pleasant sort of person instead of the world-destroying monster Mel had implied she was.


Incidentally, I've seen an interesting suggestion as to why Buffy and Erin look so alike: Erin is Joyce Summers' great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 7th September 2008 02:15 (UTC)


That would be really interesting if Erin is Joyce's great x many granddaughter. Decended through Dawn would be weird though cause of the whole key thing..

Think Buffy would have a kid?

Kat

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th September 2008 09:54 (UTC)

Well, I said "Joyce" rather than "Buffy" to leave open the possibility that Erin would be Dawn's descendant rather than Buffy's... she's human now, and I actually think it's a little bit more likely that Dawn would marry and have children than Buffy would.

If Kenny's surname turns out to be 'Fray', that would be an interesting clue. :-)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 7th September 2008 08:21 (UTC)

she asks Mel if she's sure they're doing the right thing.

She asks "what are we doing here?" I think Fray told her to come to her flat but didn't explain what she plans to do.

As to Buffy and Erin's likeness, current issue definitely showcases it by identical hair, identical career inclinations and identical predicaments with a younger sister. Iiiinteresting...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th September 2008 09:59 (UTC)

Maybe it's an English idiom thing? I read Erin's question with the emphasis like this: "What are we doing here?" rather than "What are we doing here?" She's not asking literally or specifically why they're in Mel's home; she's asking what they're doing, at this time and place.

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 7th September 2008 11:42 (UTC)
Hee

I read Erin's question with the emphasis on "what"; but I'm not a native speaker so I could be wrong. Be it a TV show we could be clued in by actors' facial expressions and their intonations. But here we don't have such luxury.

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 10th September 2008 04:34 (UTC)

Though I notice that we don't really dwell on what it must feel like for Melaka to finally meet another Slayer after being alone all her life

Good point; I wish there'd been more Fray and Buffy interaction before they ended up enemies again (if that's indeed what's happened), and that would have been very nice to see.

Which is an interesting view of race; it doesn't matter what your physical ethnicity is, you only count as being of that race if you act according to the right stereotypes. Hmm. Anyway, I wonder if there's any significance in the fact that the Key Three's love interests this season - Satsu, Renee and Kennedy - have all been non-white?

Well, if you wanna go Core Four (sigh) there were some Faith/Giles vibes... remember that essay that argued that Faith was really black? ;-)

Like I said, she's definitely come of age, and developed the classic Scooby attitude to weird, scary monsters: refusal to be impressed, irreverent questions and mockery.

Not that it's new for Dawn.

DAWN: Is that supposed to scare me?
SPIKE: Little tremble wouldn't hurt.
DAWN: Sorry, it's just ... come on. *I'm* badder than you.

Does she recognise that herself?

Again, given her comments to Erin later, I'm thinking no.

And Wesley was dark - but can you say he was wrong?

Yes. The prophecy was a fake. Angel wasn't going to kill Connor (then). Wesley was wrong. ;-)

This revelation also casts an interesting sidelight on the last page of 'Wolves At The Gate', incidentally...

Not to mention Giles' mention of Willow being on an astral plane for what we can only assume is a lot longer than 1 minute 20. ;-)

The Slayer's job is to prevent the apocalypse and save the world. Buffy is in Fray's world now, and Fray is the Slayer. She's acting like the Slayer, in fact, when Buffy is not. Does that make Buffy the Big Bad? This is what I think Willow showed Melaka: that unless stopped, Buffy will destroy the world... Fray's world. She'll make it as if it never existed, along with everybody in it.

I'm leaning more and more towards this too - and it's a tricky choice. If that's the way it's going and Fray fails, then we end up with the situation where the white hat meets a tragic end and the by now very dark grey Buffy triumphs over a Slayer who's doing exactly what she's supposed to ("Slayer of Slayers" indeed). It would be an enormously unfair ending - or rather never-beginning - for Fray. On the other hand... the alternative is, it seems, letting Twilight win.

But at least it gives Fray a fighting chance, unlike what she'd have if she just sent Buffy home and Buffy then calmly went about changing the future. And who knows, maybe they can still talk things out and find a common solution... though Buffy has form in not trusting Slayers who turn on her.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th September 2008 09:16 (UTC)

Regarding Giles: in fact, his last recorded official love interest was black - Olivia - so that's a clean sweep.

No comment on Faith. :-)

DAwn wasn't scared by Spike, but I seem to remember a degree of screaming in terror when she met real monsters ,at first. But yes, she's Buffy's sister. Or clone. Or she's her. ("Yeah, I never got that.")

I was mostly thinking of S4 and S5 Wesley, not just S3...

I imagine there's more than one way to reach these other dimensions, but the orgasm route is quick and convenient (and, let's face it, more fun).

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 8th July 2011 15:15 (UTC)
(Review) BtVS 8.18 'Time Of Your Life' Part 3

As usual, you catch a lot more details than I do. The changing art isn't helping either.

This month's theme, boys and girls, is "betrayal." Betrayal of your friends, betrayal of your enemies, betrayal of your principles. [...] We've also got the clearest statement yet that Buffy's character development in Season 8 is not something that we're supposed to accept without question.

I agree with the betrayal part, although I think it's too convenient that it makes Buffy almost as lonely as she was in season 6. As for betraying "your principles", or Buffy's character development, that I don't see. The scale of the fight / war (whatever) has changed, which means the rules do too. As do the consequences of *every* decision.

Also, I think that I'm getting the feel for Joss's style of comic-writing now. All the issues he's written himself, rather than hand over to a guest writer, have been characterised by one thing: half a dozen or more plot arcs all going on simultaneously, and often completely unconnected. Well, except by overall theme, or dramatic irony, or the classic Jossian device of the final dialogue of one scene overlapping into the next scene, or vice-versa. It's an effective but risky strategy, especially for an ensemble universe as packed with people as this one is.

It's great for you, that you've gotten a feel for his writing-style, but it's not so great for the ones that don't. The numerous plot arcs confuse me. And you can't really disagree with a well written plot, but I can (and do) disagree with some of the themes.

It was affecting seeing Buffy so emotional when she realises how it ends - and "spoiler alert" is a great phrase for her to use. [...] It's clear that Buffy thinks it was a wonderful idea - "to beat back the darkness. To make the world a better place" - and she's crying because it's clear it was undone somehow. There's only one Slayer again, and the world is obviously not a better place.

Well, there is no evidence that it was a bad decision. Only allusions to that effect. And it raises a question. How did we go back to "one slayer in every generation" again? I mean, at the end of season 8 magic is gone! Did someone undo the spell from Chosen? I also find it suspicious that every reference about the events that lead to "the end of magic" is gone. Did Future!Willow censure the records? Or is Buffy's phrase about "AT LEAST ONE THAT'S TOO RIDICULOUS TO COMPREHEND" about the Twilight apocalypse? In which case I agree that it's ludicrous.

Brief Xander and Dawn interlude time. Some people have suggested that we're being pushed gently into accepting that these two will hook up, given all the sexual innuendo between them.

And that is now official. And I wouldn't call it a gentle push...more a harsh shove.

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 8th July 2011 15:40 (UTC)
Re: (Review) BtVS 8.18 'Time Of Your Life' Part 3

(continues)

Because it really points out the big conflict between them next, when Mel wants to jump in and help the innocent victims, and Buffy wants to stand back and follow the vampires back to their base afterwards. This is, to be honest, rather shocking. I'm not going to say it's out of character for Buffy because we've seen, step by step, how she got to this point. [...] But. If 18-year old Buffy had been sitting in the car next to her future self instead of Melaka, I think she'd be just as horrified at her own decision. Letting people die so you can prevent more deaths later might be 'big picture', but it's still letting innocent victims get killed. Melaka refuses to accept Buffy's logic; she's going to try and save them anyway. And - just like earlier Buffy would have - she manages to get the best of both worlds. She saves the people... and one vampire manages to escape in the van and lead them back to its hideout anyway. I think that's pretty crucial, because it's the author telling us that Buffy screwed up here. She made the wrong call. [...] Mind you, it's not a simple black and white picture. Buffy isn't entirely wrong, because the truth is that saving that small group of people would lead to even more deaths later, if they fail to get the clue on where Harth's base is. Melaka is fighting a battle, the way Buffy used to do; but Buffy is now trying to wage a war. You know, like the Watchers' Council used to do... Buffy is turning into them.

As you pointed out, it isn't out of character, but I would say that it has always been a part of the way Buffy does things. She left Sunnydale after defeating the Master at the end of season 1. She let Angelus run wild. Made a deal with Spike to give him and Drusilla a free pass. She let that werewolf hunter Gib Cain go. She let Ethan Rayne go (although Giles played a significant role there). The problem is, many of the consequences of those decisions happened off screen. I think that 18 year old Buffy would only be horrified at having to watch it, not the decision itself.

I believe that Buffy came to the conclusion early on that she couldn't save everybody, so she didn't really try. Instead she came up with a list of priorities: save people she cares about, save the world (because people she cares about are in it), save strangers (to avoid unnecessary nightmares). Oh, and she smuggled a rule onto that list about not killing humans. Granted, it wasn't a conscious decision.

And with the author's permission, they both obtained their objectives. *sigh*

"Buffy is now trying to wage a war." You make it sound like that's a bad thing. Consider this: how many people died before Buffy came to Sunnydale? And how many people died before Angel took up the fight against Wolfram and Hart? And that's 2 champions making a difference in California!

I think the only thing Buffy changes her opinions about, is the part about killing humans. She has shown that when it comes down to a choice between her fellow slayers or the Twilight soldiers, she doesn't give a crap about the latter. Nor should she.

Maybe there are other things going on here instead...

*snorts* That's an understatement. Having read the whole season 8, Future!Willow's actions make even less sense than before.

Thanks for your thoughts on this issue. I like the extra details you provide, and the contrary view.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 9th July 2011 00:44 (UTC)
Re: (Review) BtVS 8.18 'Time Of Your Life' Part 3

I think you're right about Buffy's sense of priorities, but I still think that younger Buffy would never, ever, have sat there and watched innocent victims get killed if she could have saved them.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 9th July 2011 00:42 (UTC)
Re: (Review) BtVS 8.18 'Time Of Your Life' Part 3

How did we go back to "one slayer in every generation" again? I mean, at the end of season 8 magic is gone! Did someone undo the spell from Chosen

As I understood it, the end of magic means that no new slayers will be called, but those who are already Slayers will keep their power. How the Slayer line continues after Buffy, Faith and all their contemporaries are dead is an unsolved puzzle. (Assuming magic does't somehow come back after all in S9)


And I wouldn't call it a gentle push...more a harsh shove.

Really? I saw them building up Xander/Dawn slowly, bit by bit over two thirds of the season, until the final reveal in 'Turbulence'.

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