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'The Long Way Home' - what does it mean?

6th May 2007 (14:19)
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I've been wondering about the title 'The Long Way Home', and what it might refer to. I suppose we'll find out in a month's time, but in the meantime, here are three ideas.

1) It's literal. After travelling around the world, in the next issue Buffy and Xander will return to Sunnydale. Willow may already be there, depending on where Amy's taken her. I assume that's the military base where the Twilight Cult was holding her prisoner, but I don't know if that's near the ruins of Sunnydale, or elsewhere. Perhaps Nevada, based on Riley's line in 'A New Man' :

"They'll take Mr. Rayne to a secret detention facility in the Nevada desert. I'm sure he'll be rehabilitated in no time."

That, of course, assumes that Ethan's being held prisoner in the same base as Amy.

2) A character who was gone from the show (and the world) long ago will return. Well, obviously Warren already has, but I doubt that he's who the title is about. So perhaps someone else will return from the dead? Maybe Joyce, or Jenny, or Tara? All of whom have been the subject of speculation, because of the image of Buffy's dreamspace. (And because of wishful thinking too, probably. :) )

For some reason the idea of it being Tara keeps recurring to me: mostly, I think, because Joss has already brought back Warren, thus reminding us of the events at the end of season 6. Also, whatever power brought Warren back could perhaps bring Tara back too? Or maybe the fact of him being alive and walking around after what happened to him has disturbed the balance of the universe, and made the resurrection of Tara possible when it couldn't be done earlier. Other clues would be the fact that Kennedy is conveniently off-camera, and the persistent rumours that Joss wanted to bring back Tara in season 7 but was unable to for whatever reason.

Of course, this being the Whedonverse, if Tara did come back Willow would realise she's not in love with her anymore (maybe because she's in love with Buffy now!), or something equally angsty... :)

Other possibilities might be Spike or Angel, if they did die at the end of 'Not Fade Away'. Of course, that would assume that Joss was lying when he said that contractural obligations mean he can't use either of them as main characters in season 8. And Joss never lies to us!

But if this is the explanation for the story title, I'm going to predict that the last line of issue #4 is some variation on "You're back, sweetie! Welcome home!"

3) Something will turn full circle and bring us back to where we were at the very start of the show. In this context, I'm thinking of the Buffy/Xander romance, which was a big feature of season 1. Except perhaps this time it will be reciprocal.

Or perhaps it will be reversed. Buffy will realise that she's in love with Xander - her subconscious is already hinting at this - but this time it'll be Xander who falls in love with someone else. Probably Renee. Thus, we still get lots of relationship angst (a necessary component of any Buffy the Vampire Slayer story), but in the opposite direction to season 1.

I know I've been assuming - along with most other people - that the B/X elements we're being given are so obvious that they must be a misdirect... but perhaps we're actually over-thinking things and being too clever. After all, if Joss's aim was to set up a relationship between the two of them, I can't see what he would do differently to the story we're already being given... so maybe the simple explanation is the true one? There's a lot of references to both of them feeling lonely (and/or sexually deprived), and perhaps the punchline to the story will be someone like Willow (or Dawn?) getting them both to recognise what's right under their noses... 


Posted by: Kathi (imacrusader)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 14:52 (UTC)

I would actually think that it is more abstract. Like they have all been uprooted by losing their home and lives (sort of) and now they have to find their place in the world again. They have to make new homes, maybe even discover new sides to themselves, grow up and such.

And yeah I just pray to the God of the graphic novel that there won't be a Xander/Buffy ship. She really doesn't need a third love of her life deal and it would to me ruin a perfect platonic relationship and turn it into a soap-opera.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 16:21 (UTC)

That's a good suggestion, although to me "the long way home" suggests you're going on a long journey to get back to where you started from, rather than building a new home afresh. But maybe it's more about returning to their state of mind in the early seasons - not specifically in terms of a B/X romance, but more generally in the sense of having community and stability and so forth.

I'm fairly neutral on whom, if anyone, Buffy should be romantically involved with - but saying she should never have another love of her life seems to be going a bit far to me. :) I wouldn't want the poor girl to have to be permanently celibate at the age of 23...

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 16:35 (UTC)
S8 OT3 by st_salieri

but saying she should never have another love of her life seems to be going a bit far to me. :)
To be honest I've no problem with her getting a new boyfriend - but the emphasis being on the word 'new'. The Immortal, Mr Jones from Jesus (Wimsey reference) - it's fine as long as we don't get more inter-Scoobie relationships.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 17:15 (UTC)

I'd prefer that too. The problem is that without a real-life actor to bring the new person to life, it's not so easy to make us care about him. It was difficult enough on the TV show, for that matter. I mean, the one time Joss tried to fix Buffy up with a newly-introduced character - Riley - it backfired horribly. :) So he put her together with an established character from back in season 2...

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 17:23 (UTC)
S8 Buffy by dreamer1104

So let her be single. She's hardly ever been single, and starting a new relationship just because she misses sex (*cough*The Immortal*cough*) ain't really a good idea. I'm rooting for single!Buffy. Or they could always bring back Parker...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 17:52 (UTC)

She was single in season 5, as a deliberate and conscious choice by the writers. Arguably, she was single in season 7 as well. :)

What could be interesting would be to show Buffy being 'single' in the sense of going out on dates and having fun with a variety of men, but not settling into a committed relationship with any of them for the moment. After all, that's pretty much what the infamous cookie dough speech was about, wasn't it? Just letting her enjoy being a single woman in her twenties for a while.

Trouble is, she's currently living in the middle of the Scottish Highlands with only one man in range, so there are practical difficulties with that plan...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 17:57 (UTC)

Or they could always bring back Parker...


Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 18:37 (UTC)

I'm waaaaaay ahead of you on that one... ;-)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th May 2007 12:01 (UTC)

Foamy, are you sure you want to play there? It's a pretty big sandbox.

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 7th May 2007 12:32 (UTC)

I love to ship my Burker
It makes me feel so good
To vid them living happily
Like we all know they should

I love to ship my Burker
I love it every day
I even love the men in white
Who are taking me away.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th May 2007 15:51 (UTC)

That's it. I'm waking up.

(Did you create that vid, or did you find it? I especially liked the heart-shaped cuts between scenes. :) )

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 7th May 2007 16:08 (UTC)

I made it so long ago I even had a different username. And was still into making vids. You won't believe how tough it was to edit this so that they got the happy ending they deserved... damn you Joss!!one!! Buffy + Parker = 4 Eva!

Posted by: Kathi (imacrusader)
Posted at: 7th May 2007 14:53 (UTC)

but saying she should never have another love of her life seems to be going a bit far to me.
Oh no. That's not what I meant to say. I think she should have a boyfriend, but if she were to date Xander, it would be a huge deal again. A relationship to Xander could never be casual, but would hugely influence all Scooby dynamics and change the relationships in the entire group. Also in case they break up again it would never be the same.
I think she should just get together with someone from the outside that is not necessarily destined to be either this huge love or a drama guarantor.

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