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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... 

Comments

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 16:23 (UTC)

I hope Tara doesn't come back (just like I hope S6 won't bring back Wesley). I love them both dearly (and Anya and Jenny etc), but bringing them back to life would cheapen their deaths.

THANK YOU. Sometimes I think I'm the only one in the entire fandom who thinks like that. I still can't watch "Seeing Red" or "Not Fade Away" without my inner fanchild cringing and praying to Joss that it will be different this time, but seriously - there's a limit to how many times you can undo death before it all becomes yawnsville, and Joss is already pushing that with Warren's return. I want to care whether these people live or die; that becomes increasingly difficult every time someone is brought back to life. When you undo a pivotal event - a character death, an unforgivable crime, whatever - it's so easy for it to go into the Bobby-Ewing-steps-out-of-the-shower thing and completely negate all the drama and character development that followed. And frankly, I hope Joss is above that.

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 16:32 (UTC)

No not alone. Quite a lot of people think this way. But it is a comic legacy that Joss seems to have.

One of the things I loved about early Buffy was the palpable danger that was missing from things such as TNG. After he killed Jenny whevever the characters went into danger I was worried they would die.

Then he changed started hanging onto characters who should be gone. So no I think Joss is not above that.

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 16:46 (UTC)
S8 Buffy by dreamer1104

I still can't watch "Seeing Red" or "Not Fade Away" without my inner fanchild cringing and praying to Joss that it will be different this time,
Oh I know that feeling. Wesley is one of my favourite *ever* characters (love Tara of course, but Wesley is special), but since most of my fic is post-NFA stuff I hardly ever write him, which I'd love to do. But I won't bring him back just because I like writing him...

but seriously - there's a limit to how many times you can undo death before it all becomes yawnsville, and Joss is already pushing that with Warren's return.
Sadly yes. Although I'm hoping for some sort of major badness to come from his revival - Amy must have been messing with seriously black mojo for a start... And the other thing is that although Willow feels bad about being a murderer, there's the fact that she doesn't feel all that bad for killing this *particular* man. "I killed him for a reason!" she tells Kennedy in 'The Killer in Me', and that might just be my favourite line in the whole episode. If this storyline gets Willow to examine herself more, I'd be v. happy - but I'm not sure it can be done satisfyingly deeply in comic book format. *sigh*

Actually as long as she's not in love with Buffy, I'm quite intrigued with Willow. Her line about her and Kennedy 'being on a break' (not direct quote, since I don't have the comics in front of me) was very close to how she described her and Tara's 'break' in 'Smashed').

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th May 2007 17:43 (UTC)

Although I'm hoping for some sort of major badness to come from his revival Major badness other than the fact that he's walking about with no skin??!? :)

To me, Warren's reappearance isn't 'cheapening his death', it's more like the classic pulp fiction trope of a recurring villain who is surely killed at the end of one story, only to reappear large as life and twice as ugly in the next to threaten our heroes one more time.

My only concern is, like you say, that I hope Joss uses Warren to give us a deeper insight into Willow, rather than just for the shock value of him being someone she has reason to hate/feel guilty over.

And for the record:
"Guys, it's okay. It's hard, but - but it's better this way, believe me. Little things started taking over, things that don't matter, but we saw
them differently, and so they got blown out of proportion. The time apart is gonna help us sort through that. Really."

"We're just taking it slow for a while. She's sort of in her own space, but it's cool."

Not sure if it's really the same - Willow here seems pretty together about things, not completely in denial as she was in 'Smashed'. It reminded me more of Kennedy's reaction to Willow's spell in 'Get It Done'.

(Incidentally, I always wondered about that scene. W and K have an awkward conversation in the corridor upstairs; Kennedy doesn't want to talk about it, she shrugs Willow off and says she'll see her in the morning. All very well.. but aren't they supposed to be sleeping in the same bedroom? So Kennedy going off to be on her own will have Willow coming into to join her again in another couple of minutes... :) Maybe the fade to black at the end of the episode, with Willow sat on Buffy's bed, covers up W asking B if she can crash with her that night?)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 7th May 2007 10:50 (UTC)
S8 Buffy by dreamer1104

Not sure if it's really the same - Willow here seems pretty together about things
Yeah, you're probably right. But this is where the comics are just inadequate - if this was on-screen AH's delivery, manners and behavior would clearly indicate if things really *are* cool, or if something went wrong.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th May 2007 11:58 (UTC)

I dunno - it seems clear enough to me. She's definitely being avoidy about what happened while she was off, but her constant repetition of "we'll talk about it" suggests that it's complicated and difficult, not that it's something she's refusing to think about.

Apart from that, she's pretty much her normal self - teasing Xander, joking with Buffy and giving her a hug, big-sistering Dawn (I nearly said 'mothering', but that's more a Tara thing), being geeky about magic, speaking to Amy the way she spoke to Faith in 'Choices'. She's definitely got her self-confidence back, and shows no hesitation in telling other people what to do. On the downside, she also seems to have underestimated Amy rather badly, and seems rather blasée about going black-eyed and veiny during the magic duel - "It'll fade". (I'm reminded a little of Oz's return in 'New Moon Rising' having supposedly mastered his werewolf nature.)

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