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(Review) BtVS 8.27 'Retreat' Part 2

7th August 2009 (00:34)
accomplished

current mood: accomplished

It's been almost a year - since September 2008, to be exact - since we had an issue of the comic that fell into the middle of a multi-episode arc. I've almost forgotten what it's like. (Slightly frustrating, actually, because lots of plot elements are being thrown at us but none of them are being resolved yet...) But at least the story feels like it's moving forward again, and even picking up pace.

Also, we get the long-awaited reunion, after five years, between Willow and Oz. So did Willow dump Kennedy, forget all that "gay now" stuff and have a happy, tearful and passionate reunion with him, as a large faction of fans apparently hoped? See under the cut for the answer...

 


No. But the scene we do get instead was certainly unexpected. :-)

But back to the review. Amy is still using her magical powers to spy on Buffy and Co, but they've figured that out since the last episode, and arranged for her to be fed misinformation instead. Twilight doesn't fall for it, though, and reacts with angry violence. Notice how Amy's magical scrying water remains suspended in mid-air even after the bowl is broken? Also, Jane is now full-on teasing us about his identity, with the revelation that he "knows Buffy too well" - something that Warren picks up on, just to make sure we readers notice the point. So either Warren doesn't know Twilight's true identity, or he does, but didn't realise he knew Buffy - which would mean Twilight is someone from before Season 5. Riley's there too, being practical and efficient... and the man in military uniform, while drawn too far away to be sure, looks very much like he's General Voll. Which would mean Buffy didn't kill him or take him prisoner after 'The Long Way Home'. (I didn't think she would, but there was a question mark there.)

Another interesting comment is when Twilight talks about searching a dead dog for fleas. In other words, he says it will be easier for him to track down the Slayers if he destroys the world first - or at least wipes out all the magical creatures straight away, so the Slayers will stand out more clearly. What's fascinating is that he says this as a passive-aggressive threat, to get his team to work faster. "Do your job properly or I'll commit genocide, and it'll be all your fault!" is certainly unique as motivational strategies go...  Note that as he says this, it's Riley that's in focus in the panel. Warren and Amy are presumably motivated purely by self-interest; a pogrom of all magical creatures would include them too. What's Riley's angle?

Back to Tibet, and the people meeting Oz are stripped down to the Core Four, new and old versions - Buffy, Xander, Willow, and both Giles and Dawn. It's been a long, long time since we saw a scene like that. Wonder what Willow and Kennedy's conversation was like just before this meeting? Also, notice that Xander and Dawn have - entirely coincidentally - sat down right next to each other, practically touching, and are conducting their own private conversation. Hmm.

So Oz is married, and has a child. Looks like Willow/Oz is pretty much off the menu now. :-) Until I saw the preview of this episode I have to admit I didn't see that coming at all - although it does make sense. The original high school characters are all in their mid-twenties now, and Oz was actually a year older than Buffy and Willow, and always one of the most mature characters. While comic book time does seem to go slower than TV episode time, 'Buffy' was always noteworthy for showing its characters growing up, and this is a welcome development.

We're not actually told the baby's sex. 'Kelden' is a Tibetan name which can be used for either boys or girls; it's also an Irish boy's name. On those grounds I'm going to tentatively say that Kelden is a boy, and await Jossing (Janing?) in the next issue.

I laughed out loud at the puppy/baby joke, even though I was kind of anticipating something like that. Jeanty once again proves that while he's not so hot on making the characters easily recognisable, he's perfect at facial expressions. At the news that Oz and Bay have a baby, just look at the reactions. Giles is shocked. (I don't think he likes babies...) Xander is delighted. Dawn is in full squee-mode, and almost looks like she's about to cry with happiness. Buffy is gently wistful. Willow looks upset, but trying her best not to show it. Then the dog barks and every single one of them looks identically freaked out... Oz's understated reaction when he realises their mistake is, well, pure Oz.

Flashback time! We see something of what happened when Oz first arrived at the monastery after 'Wild At Heart'. The monks just watch him in a mysterious and inscrutable fashion, although it's possible they're thinking, in Tibetan, <<Who is this stranger and why is he yammering on in his foreign language that none of us speak?>> I'm also curious to know who gave Oz that cup of tea he's holding; maybe it came as a freebie with the sari he bartered a Radiohead CD for just outside the monastery. The other mystery is what happened in between Oz transforming into a werewolf and him waking up in a cage being served butter tea. Are the monks also werewolves who've mastered the transformation? Or do they just offer their services to passing lycanthropes, and subdued Oz through magic or their mystical Tibetan-monk kung fu moves? We don't know.

The rest of the flashback is simply re-capping what Oz told Willow in 'New Moon Rising', complete with a cameo flashback from Tara. Two years ago it was revealed that Georges had been practicing drawing Tara... presumably this is why. Oddly enough, I have to say it's not a bad likeness even though I would never have recognised her, if that makes sense. I think he's drawn Amber Benson rather than Tara Maclay...

Oz with the tail sticking out of his mouth is an odd image. At first I thought it was a feather, part of some weird magical ritual; but I assume it's because he ate a squirrel as a wolf, then changed back into human before he could swallow. Which, yuck.

When Oz talks about "just giving in", Willow seems to have her heart in her eyes, being all empathetic, while Buffy is even more wistful. Looks like the idea of just giving in has occurred to her too, at least in a "wouldn't it be nice if I could?" way. The fact that by trying to hide herself away and lose her powers she basically *is* giving in presumably hasn't occurred to her yet, although most of the readers get it already. :-) While Oz's wife is cuddling her baby in this scene, Dawn and Xander are both making a big fuss of the cute puppy. Is this meant to be foreshadowing, I wonder? :-)

Lots of Twilight scenes this episode, and the big T is getting more actively involved in things rather than leaving it to his minions. Is this significant? Jane teases fandom unmercifully with the "It's a pretty big spike" line, and the fact that both Riley and Twilight repeat the word "Spike?" in surprise. Meanwhile, Amy and Warren are still arguing - do they ever do anything else? - about last issue. I assume Andrew is who Amy is describing as "your little pet".

Riley's role in the scene is interesting. The nameless (and doomed) minion in glasses is convinced he's discovered that Willow teleported the submarine to Central Asia - and he is, in fact, perfectly correct. But Riley is doing his best to convince him that it's nothing, it's just a random glitch caused by interference. He even acts dismissive when Twilight comes over to see what's going on. So does Riley really believe it's a glitch? Or is he covering for Willow and Buffy, trying to throw Twilight off the scent, which means he is a triple agent? another mystery for the list...

More Oz flashbackery. It's interesting that he doesn't tell the story entirely himself, though. Bay also takes up the narrative - her dialogue is the speech with a purple background, while Oz's is orange. Nice to see that this Original Female Character is taking an active part in the story rather than just being decorative or a plot object. In fact, it seems it was mostly her - with his help - who moved on from the monks' teachings to develop a new method of keeping the wolf from taking over.

That answers a question some people were asking back when Part 1 came out - Oz failed to suppress the wolf back in S4 after his visit to Tibet, so why would we (and Buffy) expect him to be better at it now? My answer at the time was "Well, he's had five more years of practice" but it seems the real answer is that he and his wife came up with a better way of doing it. One which doesn't *suppress* the wolf but allows it to pass through without taking control of you.

BAY: "It turns out the secret isn't in bottling up the wolf."
OZ: "The wolf doesn't like that."

Oz's conclusion - that you can simply stop being a werewolf, let the energy flow through you without it changing you, and have a normal life - is obviously something that Buffy finds extremely seductive. Just look at the way she's looking at him as he says that. (Meanwhile, Willow is even more upset, and Giles is remembering why he doesn't like babies.) Giles is sceptical about the whole thing, and Dawn is worried about Willow. Buffy's concern is more practical, that she prefers action to sitting around and meditating.

A humorous little interlude as the gang find out exactly what they've been drinking. ("Yak butter. Rich, foamy. Straight from the yak.") Buffy has the worst table manners, since she spits hers out, but Dawn's face is the funniest. Oz shows he's all perceptive and caring and mature by noticing Willow's unhappiness and offering to talk to her about it. Dawn holds on to Xander to, er, "support him on the slippery rocks". Yep.

Oh, forgot to mention the whole Monroe sub-plot. As far as I can see, this is just setting up some dramatic tension and a Little Bad for the episode to provide some danger, aside from Twilight's team. Although it does provide the vehicle for confirming that Bay is also, like her husband, a werewolf. There's also the parallel with Slayers like Simone, of course, who revel in their Slayerness and think it makes them better than normal people, just as Monroe's werewolves do.

Oz's comment about the Buddhists was very funny. Dawn's misplaced enthusiasm in her new insight into Slayers, then backpedalling as she realises she's just called her sister a demon, was also a good character moment, although I'm not entirely convinced by her logic. Her glee in listening to the story was adorable - and reminiscent of her listening to Spike's stories in S5.

Back to Casa Twilight for the moment, and the Geeky (but Doomed) Minion makes a valid point - if Twilight is so anti-magic, how come he's happy to surround himself with people who use magic openly? Could it be that Twilight is a hypocrite, or that he tells a different story to all the people he recruits? Surely not...

My favourite scene in the issue was the next page, with its multiple conversations. Bay saved Oz's life, but did it by turning into a wolf, which is kind of a betrayal of their principles. But her own biggest regret is a tactical one - that by killing Monroe she turned him into a martyr for the rest of his werewolf band. She also turns out to have quite a sarcastic tongue on her, with the (quite true) comment about how teleporting submarines is less than stealthy. Meanwhile, Kelden has stolen Giles's glasses, and Dawn and Xander are - guess what - walking on together ahead of the others in a private world of their own. Buffy is focussed on business and her objective, as always. And Willow and Oz are having their heart-to-heart conversation.

It's interesting - and rather sweet - to see Willow in apologetic and self-doubting mode ("I'm being jealous and hateful and I'm so sorry"). It's almost like seeing Oz again has rewound her personality back to its Seasons 2 - 4 state. However, while Oz wonders if she's jealous that he's married someone else, Willow explains that it's the *baby* she's jealous of. "You have a life. You have a future. You have what I want". I've seen a comment to the effect that this is a slam against Kennedy - that Willow doesn't see her as someone she can have "a life" or "a future" with. That's possible, certainly - and if Kennedy were listening in and feeling uncharacteristically vulnerable, she might well assume that was what Willow meant. However, I think it's simpler than that. "It's the baby." Willow's getting broody; and that's not something she and Kennedy can ever hope to do together. (At least, not without magic; I've even written a story about that myself. But I suspect that's not a route Joss would choose to take the canon story down, because it would be too facile and unrealistic compared to the real-world situation.)

The interlude with the werewolf attack was a little odd. I assume it was one of Monroe's band, and is there to set up a big fight in the next or next but one issue. Note that it's Bay - and not Buffy - who drives the werewolf off; Buffy barely reacts. That knife doesn't look big enough to do much damage, but I assume that's the point; the werewolves are still humans, and killing them is not the object except in self-defence. Though maybe the knife is silver?

The final Twilight scene was pretty funny too - outright farce has been missing too long from the Buffyverse, and Twilight's "They're probably not even in Mongolia" was a classic. (Does Mongolia have mountains? I thought it was flat steppes. *Checks atlas* Huh. It does have them.) However, Twilight's order to kill the man that "found this 'spike'" is rather more disturbing. It's the sort of thing the classic evil Big Bads like the Master used to do - kill a minion who fails in his job - and it confirms that despite all his talk about protecting humanity from the evil of the Slayers, he's pretty much definitely a black hat himself. What's more disturbing is that Riley stands there so calmly. Is Riley now evil too? Or just playing a role?

So the episode ends with Oz explaining the plan to the assembled Slayers. Rather than suppressing their Slayerness, they have to let the power flow through them and out like a river without it changing them. Which means no more super-strength, no more magical quickness. Oz warns them that a crisis might come along and tempt them to use their powers - but if they start the process but don't complete it (and it takes a year) it can be "dangerous". Dangerous how? He doesn't say. Maybe it turns them less human, more Slayer, as Buffy was threatened with in 'Get It Done'.

And last of all, Twilight predicts that Buffy's attempt to "lay down her sword" will fail. (I think it will too; I think the Slayers will be forced to use their powers by the end of this arc, although possibly not until after someone has died because of it). He then goes on to say that his ultimate aim is to make her "turn her sword against herself." Hmm. Does that mean he wants her to forcibly reverse the Slayer empowerment spell, turn back time and make the other Slayers normal girls again? Is Twilight, in fact, the embodiment of the faction in fandom who say that 'Chosen' was a mistake?

Only time will tell...
 

Comments

Posted by: darkestboy (darkestboy)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 00:17 (UTC)

I noticed that Faith and Andrew appeared as well without dialogue during Bay and Oz's speech. Overall, I found the issue to be very solid and I'll do a review on my blogspot for it.

Um, there's a Willow one-shot supposed to be due in November so that means the last part of this arc will be out in December.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 00:20 (UTC)

Yes, I saw them. Faith didn't look very happy. I think there may have been Leah and Rowena in the audience too, but no sign of Satsu.

Is this definitely a 5-episode arc?

Posted by: darkestboy (darkestboy)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 00:30 (UTC)

Definitely a five issue arc. Whedonesque has shown the covers for Issues 28 and 29, so after the cover for the Willow one shot is revealed, I'm sure we'll see 30.

31-35 is Brad Meltzer and then Joss Whedon is doing 36-40 and apparently there's a Season 9 as well.

I'm glad that Twilight is finally doing something. We've had too many issues without him. Kinda surprised we didn't get an Oz/Kennedy scene though.

I'm finding that some of the letters in the pages are annoying. I don't mind reading criticism for some stuff but some of it can be depressing as well. Season 8 isn't perfect but I don't think it's nowhere near as bad as some are making out.

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 00:58 (UTC)
pic#85222149

Leah was in the background, over by the sub, in the scene where the Scoobies are gathered on Oz's porch. (I keep an eye out for her because I worry about her. :-/

No Satsu to be seen.

This will be a five-issue arc, then there will be the Willow one-shot which Joss is apparently writing alone. It's also been announced that Joss is writing issue #31... it's not clear whether that will be a standalone or the first issue of the next arc, the balance of which will be by Brad Meltzer.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 01:14 (UTC)

This arc is only 40% complete so I don't know how it will end up, but so far it's shaping up to be one of the best. And it's written by Jane Espenson, which has to mean something.

For context, Oz and his wife have just been giving a long exposition on how Buddhist monks taught Oz to suppress the wolf inside him - but as we saw in 'New Moon Rising', that doesn't work so well. When Oz came back to Tibet after that episode she helped him find a new and more effective way of staying human, that relies on the pre-Buddhist pagan traditions of Tibet. Meanwhile, some other werewolves have perverted those teachings and are setting themselves up as enemies...

BAY (Mrs Oz): And then suddenly we discovered we had a dangerous rival. Competition. They thought they'd found the only way and they were willing to get violent to prove it.

BUFFY: The Buddhists?

OZ: Yeah, those saffron-robed jerks were kicking our ass.

GILES: Really?

OZ: No. Not really. They don't do that. It was Monroe.


Like most jokes, probably not as funny when you have to explain it; but in context it was perfect dry Oz humour.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 00:54 (UTC)
pic#85222149

Re: Riley... I'm fairly convinced now that he's secretly working in Buffy's interest. Notice how much trouble he goes to to convince Twilight that the "spike" in Central Asia is just a glitch. It's even possible he had some way to interfere with Amy's scrying magic and produce a false result that sent them to Mongolia.

And on the final page when Twilight orders the "spike" finder killed, Riley seems almost to be smiling. Could it be because he just manipulated Twilight into ridding himself of one of his few competent henchmen? Looks like Buffy won't be the first to "turn her sword on herself" in some respect.

I think the Dawn/Xander relationship is pretty definite, though I don't see it ending well. Dawn needs to watch her back for approaching bits of weaponry and/or rebar. Xander's girlfriends seem to have problems with that...

I did wonder about Willow's comment about not having a life or a future, and found it hard not to think of it as having second thoughts about Kennedy. That wouldn't really match up with the commitment we saw in "Anywhere But Here" or with the lovey-doveyness we've seen as recently as last issue, though.

One image that's interested me ever since the preview pages came out is the panel where Bay and Oz are facing each other having tea, Oz in his cage and Bay outside of it. Bay is framed by a sun image, while Oz is backgrounded by a panel of darkness. The fact that Twilight is the transition from sun to darkness occurred to me and caused me to suspect that Oz and/or the monks themselves might be behind Twilight... but that seems impossible now with the events of the full issue.

And Giles (at least the present version of him) is now absolved of being Twilight... unless that's not the real Giles with Buffy.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 01:33 (UTC)

Since I don't believe that Riley would just turn evil randomly, I have to believe he's either a triple agent or under some sort of control - either brainwashing (again) or blackmail. This issue does lend support to the triple agent theory.

Regarding Willow, a discussion over on Buffyforums reminded me of Willow's comment to both Kenndy and Buffy in 'Anywhere But Here', about how she and Tara could have settled down, raised Dawn and moved somewhere nice - but instead Willow chose to raise Buffy instead, and "put Tara in a bullet's path". So I'm wondering if she's thinking that she and Kennedy could move somewhere, settle down and have a life together - but they can't, because of the whole saving the world and being hunted by Twilight deal.

But I still think she's broody too, even if that's not the whole explanation. :-)

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 13:31 (UTC)

Riley

Another possibility is that the Twilight organization developed out of the military anti-monster squads that Riley rejoined in BtVS S5.

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 04:03 (UTC)

Great recap. I'm with you all the way.

I find it really interesting how much imagery we have with the sun, the moon and the space between. It seems like the reintroduction of werewolves completes this message. And of course the continued theme of transformation and change, how this is reflected in the administration of power one possesses. Brave new dawn, resisting transformation under the full moon, tragedy coming at the time of twilight.

I've reached the point where the only person I can see as Twilight that is in the here and now, present day (not some future version) is Angel. Which makes me want to reread After These Messages again. Because remember this scene which was one of the few original-feeling scenes in that issue because it was clearly referencing Season 8:

Buffy: If you knew something about someone's past...future...would you tell them?
Angel: Probably not. You can't change a person's past. And just by telling them, you'll change their future into who knows what.

Could it be Angel!Twilight knows something about Buffy's future, the future of the world, but instead of telling her about it, he's working to change it himself?

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 04:25 (UTC)

More thoughts:

Recall also future!Willow telling Fray that vampires are "the most important men" both her and Buffy's lives. Whether you take this statement to be just about Harth and Angel or Harth, Angel and Spike - I think everyone can agree that Angel is referenced here. Wouldn't it cut deep to have the most important man in Buffy's life betray her when he still has his soul? She's always comforted herself with the lie that the soul was the reason he stopped loving her, but we see in Spike and Drusilla that demons do love without a soul (even if not wisely or maturely or selflessly - but then who does love selflessly?) Buffy's always had blinders to Angel's dark side. She likes to separate Angelus from Angel. She's never known the dark Angel of AtS Season 2 and Season 5. I doubt she'd fully believe he was capable of these acts while still ensouled. I think it'd be interesting for her to finally see Angel clearly, without the blinders of teenage love and romantic ideals. Can she still love Angel after facing the reality of what he's capable of? And is Angel capable of being Twilight?

If Angel is Twilight, I imagine his motivation has to do either with saving the world or saving Connor - two things he'd place above his loyalty to Buffy.

Posted by: Two legs good, four legs okay (nothorse)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 06:25 (UTC)

Dammit. You scooped me :)

I've had the cles laid out here

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 18:39 (UTC)

Great minds... :)

Posted by: Nicki (peroxidepirate)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 13:37 (UTC)

I've reached the point where the only person I can see as Twilight that is in the here and now, present day (not some future version) is Angel.

I was just thinking that. The fancy costume could be protecting him from sunlight, and the response to the world "spike" fits.

Could it be Angel!Twilight knows something about Buffy's future, the future of the world, but instead of telling her about it, he's working to change it himself?

That's like him, too: charge ahead with his plan, without consulting anyone else involved, "for their own good." (He and Buffy are both so bossy... another reason I can't get behind any kind of B/A reunion).

Plus somebody (either Joss or Scott Allie, I think) was quoted a while back as saying, "Angel will show up when it's most painful." Being Twilight would definitely be that.

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 18:38 (UTC)

*nods* Angel does like to jump ahead with his own plans. I also can't escape the fact that I think Twilight's true motivations haven't been revealed yet. I think he's been lying to everyone. That's why he has minions against magic working for him and minions who are pro-magic too. And the guy who starts to ask questions gets killed immediately.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 23:22 (UTC)

The fancy costume could be protecting him from sunlight

True - not to mention that Twilight only seems to appear outside when it's, um, twilight. Or night. Never in full daylight...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 23:20 (UTC)
angel

So basically, issue 8.40 will have a big final showdown between Twilight and Dawn? :-)

I notice that everybody seems to be assuming Twilight will be one of Buffy's former allies, and this will be a betrayal of some kind... he could be a former villain? In fact, I do wonder if Warren was brought back in the first arc as a deliberate reminder that in the Buffyverse, death isn't always final, so as to prepare the ground for resurrecting another villain.

Posted by: Emmie (angearia)
Posted at: 8th August 2009 05:23 (UTC)

Which villain are you thinking of?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2009 19:03 (UTC)

Well, originally, I was saying Twilight was a resurrected Caleb, wearing multiple belts and a mask to hold the two halves of his body together. Now I'm leaning towards Adam, because of his whole "dispassionate manipulator playing with humanity as a scientist would experiment upon a lab animal" schtick. Adam was killed by magic, so has a good reason to dislike it; but he was always fascinated by, well, just about anything he encountered. He was willing to use anybody as a tool - humans, demons, even Buffy - to achieve his objective... just like Twilight.

There's also a pretty simple way to bring Adam back; those data tapes he kept inserting into his chest. Maybe he downloaded his personality onto one as a back-up, and now it's been re-installed into a new body? (Dollhouse crossover alert...)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 8th August 2009 06:37 (UTC)

It could be a villain but I'm not sure how that would go with all the "The reveal will make Buffy fans chew their own feet off in shock!" hints from the production team. If it's someone we already know is a bad guy (and most likely dead, but...), why hide him from us for this long?

(Not to mention that the only major villains who seem to fit the bill are Adam and Caleb, who were dull enough first time around...)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2009 18:58 (UTC)

Yes, but Scott's latest line on that subject is that some people will chew their feet off in shock, some people will yawn and say "Is that it?", some people will react in fury that Joss has sold out, the show has jumped the shark and this is pathetic; and some people will say "Remind me who that is again?" In other words, I think he's learning more about 'Buffy' fandom as he goes on. :-)

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 9th August 2009 13:02 (UTC)

His latest phrasing (August SlayAlive Q&A, linked to on Whedonesque) is "There won't be continuity issues. However, I'm sure people will say it was overhyped, that it's the best thing ever, that it's a letdown, and that it makes no sense."

Incidentally, in response to another question he said that Kelden (Oz and Bay's baby) is male.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 11th August 2009 02:49 (UTC)


LOL I just had a thought.. maybe Twillight is Owen from "Never Kill a boy on the first date." LOL.

Actually - I think its Angel or Angelus. I don't think its Spike - especially with the cheesey "Spike" line in this issue. And whoever Twillight is it has to give Buffy an emotional punch. Adam wouldn't give her an emotional punch. She'd just kill him again.

Parker - possibly but that would be cheesey too.
Riley would have been a good choice but its not him.
The first evil in human form - maybe but he's been done.
Her father - I considered that but IMO her father is clueless.
Most of the other villians are dead.

My money is on Angelus.

Angel turned human in the after the fall comic. Perhaps the demon was set free somehow.

Or Twilight is some alt version of Buffy.

Shrug

Kat

Posted by: none of the above (frogfarm)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 06:52 (UTC)

Once again, you and I are on the same page. Feel free to email me and continue this in private :)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 23:23 (UTC)

*Expects commission from Scott Allie*
:-)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 09:58 (UTC)

Heh, great recap, and for once we seem to be mostly in agreement too... :-)

The other mystery is what happened in between Oz transforming into a werewolf and him waking up in a cage being served butter tea. Are the monks also werewolves who've mastered the transformation? Or do they just offer their services to passing lycanthropes, and subdued Oz through magic or their mystical Tibetan-monk kung fu moves? We don't know.

I say Bay took care of him. She can handle herself in battle, and given that she's there when he wakes up, she could evidently control the wolf at least as well as he learned to by "New Moon Rising"...

Two years ago it was revealed that Georges had been practicing drawing Tara

Shame he didn't stick with it. ;-)

Oz's comment about the Buddhists was very funny.

Agreed. I forgot to mention it in my review, but it might be the funniest line in a good long while. "No. They don't do that."

and it confirms that despite all his talk about protecting humanity from the evil of the Slayers, he's pretty much definitely a black hat himself

Devil's advocate here - how is killing someone who has no qualms in aiding an armed assault on a bunch of innocents necessarily a black hat moment? I'm not saying it's not, but Geeky Minion certainly wasn't a good guy by a long shot. Greater good, yada yada.

What's more disturbing is that Riley stands there so calmly. Is Riley now evil too? Or just playing a role?

If he is a triple agent, I'm still wondering exactly what his plan is. Buffy doesn't seem to know he that is, he doesn't seem to pass along any information to her, he doesn't actually stop Twilight from bombing castles and killing Slayers by the dozen/score/hundreds, if he is indeed trying to stop Twilight from tracking down Buffy he's not being very efficient... his entire job seems to be to stand beside Geeky Minion and make unhelpful comments. That's not being so much being a triple agent as just, well, slacking off at work. :-)

He then goes on to say that his ultimate aim is to make her "turn her sword against herself."

My recent poll seemed to suggest that most people think the "closest, most unexpected betrayal" will be Buffy betraying herself...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 23:30 (UTC)

for once we seem to be mostly in agreement

Only because apparently you liked this episode, for some odd reason. ;-p


how is killing someone who has no qualms in aiding an armed assault on a bunch of innocents necessarily a black hat moment?

Because everybody in the room was complicit, so if Twilight had wanted to strike a blow for protecting innocents he should have killed everybody there, then committed suicide. Which would have been silly. :-) Hence I think his motive was petulant rage, or possibly to silence someone who pointed out his hypocrisy beofre other people started wondering too.


If he is a triple agent, I'm still wondering exactly what his plan is

I actually suspect Riley might have joined Twilight's organisation willingly, but not realising exactly what its agenda was... and when he discovered that, he decided to stay inside as a triple agent rather than resign or get himself killed fighting back.


most people think the "closest, most unexpected betrayal" will be Buffy betraying herself

Arguably that's exactly what she's doing now, by stripping herself of her power rather than trying to take the fight to Twilight.

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 8th August 2009 07:24 (UTC)

I actually suspect Riley might have joined Twilight's organisation willingly, but not realising exactly what its agenda was... and when he discovered that, he decided to stay inside as a triple agent rather than resign or get himself killed fighting back.

Good point. It'll still leave him with a lot of explaining to do ("And you couldn't tell me this when we met? Or make one phone call now and then to let us know how many of us he was planning to kill next time?") but... yeah, I can sort of see that. Speaking of Oz and "New Moon Rising", that's also the episode where Riley a) is told that Willow's been dating a werewolf, b) captures a werewolf, and c) fails to make the connection and decides to blow its brains out... Going along with things without thinking about it would certainly be more Riley than randomly turning evil just for the sake of it. It doesn't really change his current status as useless, though, but we'll see.

Posted by: ibanezz (ibanezz)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 20:10 (UTC)

The thing that I don't quite get is the reasoning behind Buffy's plan. If her intention is indeed to suppress the slayerness in herself and the other slayers forever, wouldn't it be easier to simply ask willow to reverse the spell?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th August 2009 23:37 (UTC)

If her intention is indeed to suppress the slayerness in herself and the other slayers forever

But that's not her intention. The only time the word "forever" was used was about Willow's use of magic, not the Slayers. Buffy thinks Willow is going to turn dark again if she keeps on using magic, so she needs to find a way to persuade Willow to stop. The fact that Oz's techniques would also help all the Slayers hide from Twilight is a bonus.

I don't think Buffy is thinking much further ahead than that; she's just been driven out of three successive bases, lots of her followers have been killed, the world hates her, and Twilight seems to be able to track her down wherever she goes, and her best weapon in the fight just turned out to be a liability. I think she's doing remarkably well just holding it together...

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 9th August 2009 03:03 (UTC)

yeah, i kind of agree, Buffy is being manipulated quite thoroughly by twilight. Though how he manages to do all that without having an "in", i don't know. I still think more and more that Buffy will betray herself, ala do something that she thinks will help, but instead destroy everything she used to believe in.

And, really, i really dislike the whole "This is hwo you should live" bit she is doing on Willow (an i still wonder if Future willow's comment about not being Human as a reflection on Buffy's belief that witch aren't humans).

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 9th August 2009 03:18 (UTC)

Another thing, upon re-reading it, it seems the "bad" things is that doing it partially might make it possible for the power to invade you and take you over completely, hence buffy becoming completely demon, or willow becoming something else etc.

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 11th July 2011 20:40 (UTC)
(Review) BtVS 8.27 'Retreat' Part 2

Thanks for the review.

I liked the flashback part about Oz.

However, I think it's simpler than that. "It's the baby." Willow's getting broody; and that's not something she and Kennedy can ever hope to do together. (At least, not without magic; I've even written a story about that myself. But I suspect that's not a route Joss would choose to take the canon story down, because it would be too facile and unrealistic compared to the real-world situation.)

*snorts*

It's not as if the last standalone issues and this arc is any less realistic. On reading the last issues again, I've pretty much given up on a plausible plot, but even the metaphors are getting ridiculous. The core group seems to agree with the plan. To me, they seem to be suffering from amnesia.

"Have you tried not being a slayer?"
"Have you tried not being a lesbian?"
"Have you tried not being a mutant?"

I'm also reminded of the theme that "Safe" addressed. It seems like a lesson that Oz still needs to learn. By being stuck in Tibet, he's still running away from what he is.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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