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(Meta) S8 Guide: Buffy the Bank Robber

16th March 2010 (16:08)

One of the most controversial plot arcs of Season 8 was the revelation that Buffy robbed a bank. So controversial, in fact, that even people who've never read the season still talk about it - although some of them may be hazy on the details of how and why she did it. That's where this meta comes in.

Simply put, what I plan to do here is re-tell the whole story of that particular plot arc, which spread over at least a year of storytelling, all in one place and with everything laid out clearly. I'm particularly aiming this at people who've not read S8, or gave up reading, but are still curious to find out what's been going on in a story which Joss Whedon considers to be the canonical continuation of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'. ;-) Of course, people who are reading the season might also find it of interest as a recap.

I'm trying to be fairly neutral here, and describe what happened rather than provoke a debate on whether or not it was a good or in-character plot development. Though debates have a tendency to happen anyway when it comes to controversial things, which is kind of the point.

If anyone is interested in a similar summary of one of the other season arcs, feel free to suggest it in the comments and I'll see what I can do. I don't, however, plan to write anything on the plotlines which are still ongoing, at least until after the season is over and we know how it ends - so that means I won't be writing about Buffy and Angel or Spike here. Consider this post a haven from the Spuffangelight wank if you like. :-)

Dial-up warning: post contains lots of images.

Buffy the Bank RobberCollapse )

Comments

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(Deleted comment)
Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th March 2010 15:05 (UTC)
cordelia-yourewelcome

Glad you liked it. :-)

Posted by: nmcil12 (nmcil12)
Posted at: 26th March 2010 05:54 (UTC)

"BUFFY: Look, Andrew. You were willing to sacrifice yourself to save innocent people. For a greater good. That's huge for you. You should be proud.
ANDREW: But you were right. I lied to you.
BUFFY: Yeah, you're part of the family. Get used to screwing up for good reasons. It's what we do."

Taking into account the picture of "Barbarella" in Andrews room - this seems to a huge foreshadow of the Twangel connection and his justification for taking on the Twilight persona - taking a choice of action,the moral relatavism, to accomplish his justified "lower numbers

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 29th June 2011 20:05 (UTC)
Assumptions

Loved your analysis.

But there are also some assumptions built into it which I don't agree with.

GENERAL VOLL: We go ahead with this, we gotta be together on exactly what we're facing, and that's an army. They got power, they got resources, and they got a hard-line ideology that does not jibe with American interests. Worst of all, they got a leader. Charismatic, uncompromising and completely destructive.

I disagree with the fact that 500 slayers is an army. Looking globally, 2000 slayers is not even 0.01 percent of the world population. (Unless the Buffyverse is less populated.) A competent (American) general would be more concerned with the magic at their disposal than the manpower. And while governments might suspect that the money was illegal, they could just send the IRS after them.

STORMWREATH: So the truth is: Buffy and a group of Slayers (including, by the looks of it, Renee, Leah and Satsu) robbed a Swiss bank. The fact that Buffy knows exactly how much longer the guards will be unconscious for suggests - and it's confirmed in a later issue - that she also used wiccan magic to help them get in and out again unnoticed.

So, only the slayers involved know about the crime. Otherwise it's not much of a secret. So either Simone was involved, or she decided that on her own.

WILLOW: And money changes everything. This is where it all starts, Buffy. What your enemies saw. Slayers acting above the law, and endangering their most precious possession: their possessions. This is the first domino.

So much for going unnoticed then. So, either Willow is wrong. Or the bank had magical protections. Or someone has been talking to the authorities.

BUFFY: I started it. Willow says my little Thomas Crown Affair is what got people so riled up in the first place.

First of all, which people? And second, how do they know?

SIMONE: And here I thought we had so much in common, philosophy-wise.

Personally, I thought that was sarcasm.

Even without having read the whole season 8, much of the comic books read like a non sequitur. (Side note: before the whole Harmony the vampire on television arc, those non sequitur were my biggest problem with the comic books.) And assuming what happened "off-screen" only goes so far. Looking back after reading the whole season 8, you can assume that Twilight did a lot more than was shown "on-screen". Spreading propaganda, for example.

So, I can understand that Buffy's behaviour wasn't out of character (not that it really bothered me to begin with). And I can see the similarities between Simone and Buffy. But thinking that Buffy acted like the wrong role-model for Simone is kind of odd. There isn't enought evidence to support that.

Then again, I initially thought that GENERAL VOLL was a rogue general. That was weird enough. But thinking that he had orders from higher up, actually makes it worse. 500 slayers --- poorly trained compared to most infantry soldiers --- are not much of a threat. They can still be killed by bullets.

BTW, I'm enjoying your analysis of the comics very much. Your insight is much better than mine. I'm really bad at mythology and metaphors and such.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 29th June 2011 23:58 (UTC)
Re: Assumptions
buffy-S8

Thanks for the comment, and glad you're reading my S8 meta. I'm just thinking I'm going to have to gear up for S9 soon. :-)

A few counter-points:

I disagree with the fact that 500 slayers is an army.

Well, it's not like the US military doesn't have a history of playing up the threat level of its opponents to justify what it's doing. ;-) But I also don't think you can dismiss the power of Buffy's organisation just because it only has 500 members - given that they're superheroes. Two Slayers alone easily defeat at least 10 and possibly 100 times their number of fully-armed and prepared soldiers in 'TLWH', who had guns and were firing bullets at them, with little or no effect. That's qute a force multiplier...


So, only the slayers involved know about the crime. Otherwise it's not much of a secret.

It is a bit of a discrepancy, isn't it? But on the other hand, even if the authorities have no proof Buffy robbed the bank, they know someone did since all the money is missing. And those in the know might suspect supernatural involvement, or even be able to detect traces of it. And now, Buffy's Slayer army is going around purchasing large quantities of military hardware, with money of unknown origin, which will surely raise some flags among intelligence and police organisations. Eventually, the people in authority will put two and two together, even if they have no conclusive proof.

Within the Slayer organisation, too - you know the saying, "The only way for three people to keep a secret is if two of them are dead"? I'm pretty sure there'd be some incautious gossip between friends, and the secret of what Buffy did would percolate outwards to other Slayers.


Looking back after reading the whole season 8, you can assume that Twilight did a lot more than was shown "on-screen". Spreading propaganda, for example.

I don't think so, actually. I think the guy in the mask and costume got the blame and/or credit for a lot of things that were happening anyway and had nothing to do with him. That's one of the major themes of the season, after all - that the people perceived to be in charge have a lot less control over the course of affairs than most people assume. "There's always a name. Lincoln, Hitler, Gandhi. The name can inspire terror, awe, sometimes great things. But there's millions of people go into making a name." Blaming things on our leaders is an easy excuse.

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 30th June 2011 11:51 (UTC)
Re: Assumptions

But I also don't think you can dismiss the power of Buffy's organisation just because it only has 500 members - given that they're superheroes. Two Slayers alone easily defeat at least 10 and possibly 100 times their number of fully-armed and prepared soldiers in 'TLWH', who had guns and were firing bullets at them, with little or no effect. That's qute a force multiplier...

Personally, I would just explain that situation with the ninja trope: Conservation of Ninjutsu. In previous years, I might not have been able to name it, but I sure recognized it. Unreasonable fighting conditions give unreasonable fighting strength. Reasonable fighting conditions give reasonable fighting strength.

I'm pretty sure there'd be some incautious gossip between friends, and the secret of what Buffy did would percolate outwards to other Slayers.

Buffy seems to have a guilty conscious. Why can't the other slayers have that? It's something that could prevent them from gossiping about it to slayers that weren't part of the robbery. Also, why should Rona (for expample) know about the robbery? It would only make her complicit.

WILLOW: And money changes everything. This is where it all starts, Buffy. What your enemies saw. Slayers acting above the law, and endangering their most precious possession: their possessions. This is the first domino.

BUFFY: I started it. Willow says my little Thomas Crown Affair is what got people so riled up in the first place.

STORMWREATH: Willow's lecture calls back to General Voll's speech quoted above, and as such ties into the "public opinion turns against Slayers" plot arc of the season.

STORMWREATH: Buffy can clearly see that what Simone is doing is wrong... but she is no longer blind to the effects her own activities have had.


As a reader I can see these connections. But looking through the eyes of the characters, raises a whole lot of questions.

For example, the USA doesn't have a problem with the Blackwater corporation and similar ones. So what makes the slayers so special that you have to sic an army on to them? I can think of a lot of other options to respond to the robbery with. And the destruction of the hellmouth could make people nervous (think the twin towers), but since the goverment knows about the supernatural and demons, they should also know that the slayers are demon fighters. So what's their agenda?

The same applies to Simone. I can see the connection. And so can Buffy off course. But I don't have to assume that Simone did the things she did, because Buffy was a bad role-model. Faith did the things she did all on her own. Why can't Simone. There was a reason Rona sent her away!

Then there is the part where the American military attacks targets on British soil and Chinese soil. And neither goverments have a problem with that?

I think the guy in the mask and costume got the blame and/or credit for a lot of things that were happening anyway and had nothing to do with him. That's one of the major themes of the season, after all - that the people perceived to be in charge have a lot less control over the course of affairs than most people assume.

Which isn't the same as having no control. And that goes back to the talk Angel had with Whistler. What was Angel's purpose as Twilight?

Posted by: olegvisenov (olegvisenov)
Posted at: 3rd January 2014 12:57 (UTC)
:)

Елки-палки, уникальная статья

Posted by: okxx (okxx)
Posted at: 4th January 2014 14:56 (UTC)
:)

В принципе, автор четко накреативил.

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