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(Meta) Foreshadowing in 'Always Darkest'

6th March 2010 (22:46)

candleanfeather  posted some thoughts on foreshadowing of Spike and Angel in S8, and this prompted me to re-read 'Always Darkest'. And you know, in light of what we now know about Angel, Twilight, and shiny glowing auras, 'Always Darkest' really is absolutely  full of foreshadowing:


1. The first thing Caleb says to Buffy is "It's the one lesson you always forget, girl: you can't kill what's inside you." And now we've learned that Buffy apparently has a sparkly glowing force inside her that wants to connect to that other person glowing with "unholy power".

And meanwhile, Giles says "Regardless of what Buffy does, there is no winning", while Angel says "She's about to face something she truly can't fight." It all seems to be setting up the glowy force as an enemy, and one that Buffy won't be able to defeat through brute strength.

2. Buffy sees Spike and Angel, and rushes towards them - but toward them both equally, and Spike jokes to Angel "She can't even tell us apart." This is just speculation, but now I'm wondering if the prophecy or whatever that Angel thinks connects him eternally to Buffy could also apply equally to Spike - since they're both vampires with souls, and maybe the ancient mystical forces, like Buffy, "can't even tell us apart". So maybe Spike's upcoming appearance in S8 will be key to finally defeating the glowy force? (Compare Buffy substituting herself for Dawn in 'The Gift', though hopefully the finale of Season 8 won't be quite so fatal to those involved.)

3. Angel replies to Spike that the reason she can't tell them apart is because of "the outfits". That's a pretty clear reference to his Twilight outfit that prevented Buffy from recognising him.

4. I suspect the spangel sex scene was just Buffy's libido at work within the dream, though it confirms that she's still sexually attracted to both vampires with souls.

5. The story ends with Buffy marrying skinless Warren. On one level, this could be simple foreshadowing of his (supposed) switch of sides to ally with her. On the other hand, in her dream Buffy is marrying a misogynistic murderer who killed her friends... foreshadowing for what she's doing at the end of 8.33?

If the direct analogy that Angel=Warren is a bit too radical, perhaps the dream's intended warning is rather that it shows Buffy a scene of her being so overcome by love and passion that she is happy to marry a disgusting slimy monster... and this is supposed to alert her that her waking-world feelings now are likewise being manipulated into doing something equally unwise with Angel.


So... if 'Always Darkest' really was a prophetic Slayer dream, it was warning Buffy that something 'unkillable' inside her will fool her into thinking she wants to marry one of her worst enemies. What could that possibly be referring to? ;-)

 


Comments

Posted by: prophecygirrl (prophecygirrl)
Posted at: 6th March 2010 22:57 (UTC)

Well, I hope your interpretation of #2 is correct, for my pathetic little Spuffy heart's sake. But the cynic in me is thinking that it may mean that they are both equally linked to the bad force. Hence the spangel hilarity and smoochies -- they're in bed with each other.

Plus, those flaming hands at the end of chosen that I always loved so much are now making me nervous.


I would so love it for you to be right, though!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th March 2010 23:08 (UTC)
BAS-OT3

Well, I'm thinking that yes, they may both be linked to the bad force. But while Angel embraces it whole-heartedly (because he thinks it's his mystical destiny, and doesn't realise it's evil), Spike instinctively fights against it ('cause he's a rebel). That would be in character for both of them.

One idea that I'm pretty sure Joss will not go with is that this force wants the Slayer and the vampire with a soul to mate... and because both Spike and Angel qualify on the last count, the force ends up making them have sex with each other while Buffy looks on in amazement, just like her dream. :-) (Or maybe, threesome!) I suspect that will have to be done in fic, though...

Edited at 2010-03-06 23:13 (UTC)

Posted by: prophecygirrl (prophecygirrl)
Posted at: 6th March 2010 23:43 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th March 2010 23:48 (UTC)

Posted by: prophecygirrl (prophecygirrl)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 01:27 (UTC)

Posted by: dancing till the world ends (lynnenne)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 15:14 (UTC)

Posted by: Cal (caliente_uk)
Posted at: 6th March 2010 23:06 (UTC)
comicbookspike

Interesting meta as always. :)

I hope you're right about #2.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th March 2010 23:12 (UTC)

I'm 99.99% sure Spike will make a dramatic entrance and save the day, possibly at the end of issue 8.38. It's been all but confirmed he'll be appearing in the season, and I can't imagine Joss would waste that on something trivial.

(Though I also strongly suspect that neither he nor Angel will end up in a relationship with Buffy at the end of the season; Joss presumably has to dust them both off and give them back to IDW again afterwards, after all.)

Posted by: Cal (caliente_uk)
Posted at: 6th March 2010 23:22 (UTC)

Posted by: ladydorotea (ladydorotea)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 03:11 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 12:30 (UTC)

Posted by: ladydorotea (ladydorotea)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 22:17 (UTC)

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 13:42 (UTC)

Posted by: fangfaceandrea (fangfaceandrea)
Posted at: 6th March 2010 23:21 (UTC)
Don't make me shoot you

Wow, That actually makes a lot of sense. (I didn't think anything related to the comic could make sense at this point so my hat's off to you).

I also like how you lift my spirits just by mentioning the reasonable possibility of Spike coming into the story to actually help out and balance out the evil!badness that is S8. nah, in truth It would piss me off to see Spike at this point coming in to save the day and the damsel in distress(oh God that what they going to do isn't it??) because that's the opposite of a good BtVS story.

I still don't like the prophesy and the idea that there's something in her that connects her to Angel but from what you say, the foreshadow has been there all along and we were too hopeful to see it .







Edited at 2010-03-06 23:23 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th March 2010 23:28 (UTC)

Thanks! :-)

This is still Joss we're talking about, so I'm pretty sure Buffy will end up saving herself quite well, thank you - though Spike might well play a crucial role in, for example, distracting the bad guys, or letting Buffy and Angel break free of the evil force long enough to act for themselves, or something.

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 6th March 2010 23:27 (UTC)

Yup, yup, yup.

Though #3 doesn't quite work -- the outfit keeps Buffy from recognizing Angel, but presumably not from distinguishing Angel from Spike. Some might take this as evidence that Angel and Spike are in on it together and are both running around in Twilight suits.

Good stuff, though!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th March 2010 23:31 (UTC)

Thanks!

As for #3, I was thinking of it as more of a throwaway comment, but one drawing attention to the fact that the outfits people wear prevent us from seeing the truth about them.

Which, now I write it out, is actually a very deep observation in itself. ;-)

Posted by: ladydorotea (ladydorotea)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 03:25 (UTC)

I think you are interpreting much -- and that 'marriage' and 'pregnancy' shtick has taken over the fandom lately with absolutely no reason whatsoever.

The dream can be as easily read in the same key as Xander-kissing-head-knocking one -- ie as result of oversexed imagination, stressed by continuous presence of danger looming in the background.

I agree with your take on line #1 -- this is clear enough read on what's to come - Buffy's new prophesied destiny.

As for not being able to take Angel and Spike apart - this is most likely tease for the fandom, overrun by Spikettess and Spuffy-shippers. Plus a dig into bot Spuffy-Bangel enthusiastoes who cannot care for much aside Buffy's erotic associatins.

Number 3 I see once again as a dig at the shippers rather than any serious reference.


Same with #4.

#5 Yup - this one it truly a serious premonition of being blinded and seduced by evil - but it is hard to tell what would be the real reason for such worry. IMHO - marriage -pregnancy symbols are overwhelming the fandom, for reasons not really related to he actual comic plot.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 12:43 (UTC)

The thing is, I really doubt that Joss writes these things in order to "take digs at the shippers". From all that he and Scott say, shipping is something that's vaguely on their radar screen as something that a few of their more hardcore fans are into, but not something they consider all that much when writing.

that 'marriage' and 'pregnancy' shtick has taken over the fandom lately with absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Issue 8.33 makes it clear that what's happened to Angel and is now happening to Buffy is something the Watchers' Council had known would happen for a long, long time. Add that to the way both Buffy and Angel behave once they start glowing, and the idea that it's some sort of millennia-long breeding programe comes naturally. :-) It might not be the correct explanation - we'll find out next month, or the month after- but it fits the facts bette than most.

The dream can be as easily read in the same key as Xander-kissing-head-knocking one -- ie as result of oversexed imagination, stressed by continuous presence of danger looming in the background.

But that dream was full of foreshadowing too. "I'm afraid of the dark", "Buffy, you are the dark", "That's what I mean" can now be seen as foreshadowing this development, and ties straight into Caleb's words about "you can' kill what's inside you." Then there's Buffy falling, and wishing she could fly - more foreshadowing - and then regretting it instantly when she's caught in the claws of a monster, and desperately saying "New wish! New wish!" - as she discovers the power of flight is worse than the alternative...


Edited at 2010-03-07 12:43 (UTC)

Posted by: ladydorotea (ladydorotea)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 22:10 (UTC)

Posted by: coalitiongirl (coalitiongirl)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 06:28 (UTC)

I like #2 there, and it's something I've thought would make sense. :)

(Of course, my other alternative is that after the mystical f***ing, Buffy stakes Angel and discovers, to her horror, that she's left Spike heartbroken without his REAL lover. And there's your #4. :D)

#5 is interesting, and very applicable. Thank you for this!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 12:46 (UTC)
cordelia-yourewelcome

:-)

(I can see Angel asking Buffy to stake him if/when we discover there's a sinister reason behind the glow...but she won't, of course.)

Posted by: ubi4soft (ubi4soft)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 07:44 (UTC)

Great to see you doing this.

5. Caleb is the one performing the ceremony = could be the equivalent of the 'unholy power'?

But you didn't mentioned the last panel: Xander's 'sleeping any better' as in like no more bad dreams and Buffy's mortified face 'everybody die always'. What do you think of that?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 12:51 (UTC)

Caleb is the one performing the ceremony = could be the equivalent of the 'unholy power'?

Nice idea; I could definitely go for that.


As for the last panel - if this is a prophetic Slayer-dream, then the last panel isn't part of it. It's showing how Buffy is reacting to her dream in the waking world - not very well. :-) Though there could be accidental as opposed to supernatural foreshadowing in the words "Everybody die always", since that's what 40% of her Slayers just did...

Edited at 2010-03-07 12:53 (UTC)

Posted by: Pam V (pamsblau)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 11:29 (UTC)
Season 8

Did i ever tell you how much i love you for doing these reviews?No? Well, now i do.:P
That one particularly's the most wonderful i've read so far.I've always knew that there're so many things that this issue hides.I hope you're right about everything!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 12:53 (UTC)

:-)

Once hesitation I have is that 'Always Darkest' was published on-line rather than in the comics itself, so I don't know if Buffy will be shown reacting to the dream (remembering its warning) during the actual story. That might confuse comic readers who don't have an internet connection, if there even are any such people these days...

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 13:41 (UTC)

Posted by: alienfish (alienfish)
Posted at: 9th April 2010 01:16 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 9th April 2010 12:36 (UTC)

Posted by: alienfish (alienfish)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 04:46 (UTC)

Posted by: dancing till the world ends (lynnenne)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 15:56 (UTC)
buffy big damn hero

Great interpretation of the foreshadowing in "Always Darkest." I also keep coming back to the symbolism in the title of this issue: "Always darkest before the dawn." It seems obvious to me that Dawn will play some crucial role in all of this. She's always been the symbolic embodiment of Buffy's goodness, just as the vampires are the embodiment of her dark side.

Posted by: candleanfeather (candleanfeather)
Posted at: 7th March 2010 21:38 (UTC)

Excellent analysis and great harvest. I find 1 and 5 particularly interesting for the meaning and the interpretation of the whole story.

As for Spike, I'm now persuaded that he will have a significant role in the last arc. I can't really envisage a quick apparition à la Angel in season 7. He has more resonnance with the story from a thematical POV. That being said, he certainly won't be the white knight saving the princess (which I wouldn't like, too banal and boring).

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 8th March 2010 03:40 (UTC)

Interesting stuff, and I have to say I'm dying to find out what Spike's role is going to be in all of this... particularly with regard to Angel.

It's quite telling that in the final panel of Always Darkest, Buffy seems deliriously happy to be making an epically bad decision of the heart. Compare and contrast with the expressions on the faces of all her friends in that panel (Xander, Willow, Tara).

Posted by: arkeus (arkeus)
Posted at: 8th March 2010 12:58 (UTC)

As usual, interesting.

I wonder what Angel and Spike roles would be- Angel seems to be embracing this, but at the same time he has always been the one against embracing 'unholy' things.

Spike, however, was the opposite.

It would be interesting if they had switched roles, but i am expecting a few surprises.

Posted by: treadingthedark (treadingthedark)
Posted at: 1st April 2010 18:21 (UTC)

Very interesting analysis. I appreciate your interpretation. Makes me slightly less pessimistic. I'm one of those people that has a hard time "getting" the comics. As in, I really hope that when it's all done that somebody takes Season 8 and turns it into a novel. Then I might get it. When people analyze and explain it really helps. Thanks.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 1st April 2010 22:27 (UTC)

Glad to help! It's an interesting idea, actually; re-writing one of the comic arcs purely as a fanfic, keeping the dialogue the same but using description instead of pictures. Hmm...

Posted by: alienfish (alienfish)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 04:48 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th April 2010 23:07 (UTC)

Posted by: alienfish (alienfish)
Posted at: 11th April 2010 13:47 (UTC)

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