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(Review) BtVS 8.17 'Time Of Your Life' Part 2

7th August 2008 (21:24)

One thing we've learned about Buffy over the years is that the qualities she finds attractive in a potential lover include (a) being over 200 years old, (b) being evil. So with this in mind, let's take a look at issue 17 of Season 8...

Apparently the opening sequence confused a few people when it was released as a teaser, so just to make it clear: the dark-haired girl with purple highlights is Melaka Fray, and the blonde driving the flying bike is her older sister Erin. Not Buffy. Though to be fair, the only clue we get as to who she is in this issue is that Mel calls her "sis"; you'd need to have read the Fray comic to know she's actually Sergeant Erin Fray of the Haddyn Police. Also, this scene evidently takes place as a flashback before the confrontation between Mel and Buffy at the end of issue #16.

It's an interesting scene. Apparently future vampires build their nests inside flying vans - we later learn this was Harth's idea. The Scythe is capable of peeling the side of the van right open. And even more disturbingly, the police of the future apparently have the authority to shoot down passenger vehicles with giant ground-mounted plasma beams... It took me a while to figure out that image; it's a giant statue of a bearded man protected by a forcefield, and the beam that blew up the van was fired from out of it. The statue looks rather like Jesus, and the plasma blast looks like a bolt of lightning from his hand destroying the suspected criminals (without benefit of any trial or due process) - which makes me wonder if 'Fray' is supposed to be a satire of what the USA will be like if the Christian Conservatives maintain power for the next two centuries...

Mel's living accommodation, and the four-armed demon monkey, come from 'Tales of the Slayers'. I don't know what's behind the name, but given that both Starbucks and Microsoft are based in Seattle, maybe the Watchers' Diaries record Bill Gates as a member of the Council.... Then again, the Watchers all went stark staring mad in Fray's world.

And then we get introduced to the third member of the Fray family, Harth - Mel's twin brother, who was turned by a vampire at the age of 15 and is gifted with the Slayer's precognitive dreams and shared memories. It seems he's sending out vans full of vampires to capture victims, turn them and spread them all through North America (Noram). Judging by what appears to be the Brooklyn Bridge behind him in one picture, he's still based in New York.

And then we have his companion... I'll discuss the implications of who she is at the end, when the big reveal comes. (Spoiler: it's Willow.) But it seems here that Joss is trying to trick us into assuming she's Drusilla, given her black lace and Victorian-style skirts and weird speech. Although I've got to say that she's a lot more coherent than Dru would be, which kinds of gives away that it's not her. "The princess leaves her kingdom for the forest of the now" is poetic, but the meaning is perfectly clear; Buffy has left her world, where she's in charge, and come to their present day.

Trying to make sense of what they say: Harth has the communal Slayer memories, and he has dreamed about being Buffy and fighting Willow. This is probably a reference to 'Two To Go', but might possibly be about something yet to happen in the Season 8 continuity. Calling Buffy the 'Slayer of Slayers' is ambiguous: does he mean she is the epitome and paragon of Slayerhood, or the person who destroys the Slayer line? 

We learn that Willow has deliberately engineered this meeting between Buffy and Melaka, because she believes that Slayers do not gain strength from each other. That's a hell of a thing to say: and it contradicts what Xander was telling Buffy in 'A Beautiful Sunset' about the immense sense of connection and purpose all the other Slayers (except her) felt. What led Willow to this conclusion is still a mystery so far - as, of course, is the question as to who is right and who's wrong.

Finally, Willow tells Harth that the events she's engineered here in the 23rd Century will result in the creation of the Frayverse: demons and magic banished from the world for two centuries, and only one Slayer again instead of hundreds of them.

Aaand... back to present-day Willow, who is of course ignorant of what her future self has been getting up to. But she's feeling guilty anyway, because she's Willow. She's worked out that she led Buffy into a trap. She told her about the temporal event thingie, and brought her to Manhattan, just in time for her to be sucked through a time portal into the far future. Of course, she doesn't know that it was her own future self who set that trap, and that its result could be the elimination of the entire Slayer Army.

So. "Betrayal. The closest, the most unexpected", anyone? Willow just met the requirements in full. (Although that's not to say that someone else close and unexpected won't also betray Buffy. Maybe it'll be like 'Murder on the Orient Express'?)

And now, back to Castle Slayer. Apparently Warren's mystical missile didn't utterly destroy it, and we don't have a hundred dead Slayers - although we do have at least seven of them dead, and all the electronic gizmos are apparently blown up. So it's a major defeat and a tragedy rather than the utter catastrophe I was kind of expecting. Since we all expected Renee to somehow survive her impalement back in 'Wolves At The Gate', but she died, maybe Joss thought he'd reached his quota of major character deaths for the time being? It meant he could get away with having this incident being less comprehensively fatal than it otherwise would have been.

I notice that Leah is being carried off, apparently unconscious, in one panel; and Rowena looks like a scared little kid until Xander puts a boot up her arse and gets her moving. I'm not quite sure why Xander didn't just follow her down the tunnel, even though he was injured - couldn't Rowena have carried him? But instead we get Dawn to the rescue, which is cool. And gives her some agency, and a heroic role, and an opportunity for smutty innuendo, so it's all good.

Brief interlude with the Fray sisters. What Mel says is both fascinating and inconsistent: that 'The madwoman's power reached through time and transformed the last Slayer.' So first, we seem to have confirmation that Buffy was the last Slayer before the 200-year gap - although she's not actually named here. Secondly, the Watchers seem to have recorded that Buffy was transformed into a demon... but in fact, 21st-century Willow and Kennedy and the others have already worked out that the demon isn't a transformed Buffy, but that they've swapped places. Either we're dealing with two separate timelines, or those records were falsified.

Back to present-day Manhattan; and although it's not spelled out for us, it seems that Willow has interrogated the demon using her telepathy, and discovered what happened to it - at least from its perspective. And she comments that whoever set this trap has way more power than her.

Let's just repeat that for full effect: Willow just said that someone else has way more power than she does. Well, obviously; her opponent has had 200 more years to learn and grow... :-)

Liked the Vi/Willow interchange about pasties. Maybe Willow was hungry, and it was Freudian? Also, it seems to be implied here that Saga Vasuki's warning was innocent; she herself was fooled by Future!Willow, rather than playing a sinister role in this. But I'm guessing we'll hear more about all that later...

The interchange between Buffy and Mel gives us this issue's quota of humour. I particularly loved the irony of Buffy, of all people, complaining about someone else's idiosyncratic use of the English language. In fact, she seems at one point to be blaming herself for the linguistic drift, which I think is a sly bit of metahumour by the writer.

Mel's Scythe is now an identical mirror of Buffy's - in earlier artwork it was drawn all in red without a silver blade, but apparently that was just a continuity glitch rather than something meaningful. Also, it seems that having two copies of the Scythe touch each other does not destroy the entire universe in a huge antimatter implosion, which I'm sure is a relief for all concerned.

So Buffy's mental image of New York was a vast Bladerunner-esque urban dystopia? Figures. It's also interesting - not to mention dripping with dramatic irony - that Buffy describes Willow here as "my best friend" and assumes she'll have a prominent role in the history books. Despite their recent distancing it's nice to know Buffy still feels that way about her. Wonder if she'll still feel that way by the end of the arc? 

The fact that there's only one Slayer again in the 23rd century hits Buffy hard. Of course she'd assume there would be crowds of them; and now she's got to be wondering what happened to all the others. How they lost. Also, notice how she admits that in her time the Slayer Army is "flying blind" and the first thing she wants to ask Mel is advice on how to organise them? I'd kind of suspected all that before, of course, but it's nice to see Buffy say it openly.

When we met Gunther in the Fray comics, he kept nagging Mel to wear a skirt when she came to visit him. Looks like she forgot to warn Buffy that he's a massive fishy perv... He also seems familiar with magic, even if he doesn't trade in it, which shows he's got his finger on the pulse of events considering magic has only just recently returned to the Frayverse.

At this point, future shock finally catches up with Buffy as it sinks in where she is, and what happened in the past. And all the way across town, Willow can sense her thoughts. 

I'm not entirely sure what Harth's plan is; he's clearly amassed a large army of vampires and says that a battle is coming. Presumably Buffy and Mel will be in the thick of this, and it's all been engineered by Willow.

Who is revealed to us in the final panel. I'd already guessed it would be her given that Scary Veiny Willow is on the cover of the next issue. She looks kind of sad and world-weary here, rather than angry or vengeful. Though obviously she's completely soaked in dark magics, given that she's preserved herself alive and still young-looking for over two centuries...

So what happened? So far, it's a huge mystery. Is present-day Willow set on a sinister path even now, playing with dark magics again and getting sucked in by them? Is she already evil? Or will some huge, traumatic event occur in the future of Season 8, forcing her to change direction? (Kennedy, if I were you, I'd take out life insurance and get your affairs in order now...) Or maybe Willow will come to believe she made a huge mistake helping Buffy to create all the other Slayers, and is trying to reverse it. We've already see her express grave doubts about the path Buffy is following, and maybe they'll get worse and turn sour.

Future!Willow still seems to be fond of Buffy and to regret what she's about to do. On the other hand, she's apparently not got a problem allying with a vampire, and we saw a scene of innocent victims being gathered. She's either actively evil, or utterly amoral.

Minor point: in Fray's world, all the magic was lost for two centuries. So how did Willow use magic to stay alive? I'm guessing one of (a) She was just too powerful for the magic drain to affect her (b) She hid in another dimension, or shielded herself somehow (c) She was actually responsible for the loss of magic, so of course she was immune to its effects. Maybe she even sucked up all the magic in the world into herself, like in Season 6 but on a far larger scale, which is why she's so powerful now... 

And now she seems to be trying to engineer that - by bringing Buffy to the future, she will somehow eliminate all magic except her own from the world. The mechanics of this aren't yet clear. What is clear is that Future!Willow seems to have compatible goals with Twilight... to the extent that Scott Allie made a comment in his editorial to remind us that Twilight appears to be male, so probably isn't Willow. Even so...

TWILIGHT: Have your Slayers helped change anything in this world? Have they helped you? (#11)
WILLOW: Vampires gain strength from each other. Slayers, ultimately, don't. (#17)

I've avoided speculating on Twilight's true identity up to now, but I'm going to stick my neck out here. It's future!Xander, kept alive by the same magic Willow used to stay alive all those years - then sent back in time by her to carry out that end of their plan. He's in alliance with her, and is an enemy of Buffy for the same reason future!Willow is. Also, his flying boots use the same technology those flying cars in the Frayverse use.  

Remember, Twilight doesn't want to kill Buffy: he thinks she made a mistake creating all the Slayers, and that the world will be a better place without magic or demons or Slayers or any of it. I can imagine a bitter, disillusioned Xander coming to that conclusion, especially after Renee's death, and the destruction of the Slayer castle this issue, and whatever else Joss has planned for the next 23 issues...

I'll probably be proved utterly wrong, but hey. For that matter, I'm assuming that future!Willow is being honest with Harth, rather than playing him for some greater scheme of her own, but that may turn out not to be the case.

Do we really have to wait a month to find out what happens next? In particular:

What is future!Willow's plan?

How will Buffy react when she meets her?

How will Buffy tell present-day Willlow what the future holds in store for her, and how will she react? 

Hopefully, this warning would be enough to turn Willow onto a different path and make her dark future never happen... but if the story Joss is telling turns out to be a classical tragedy, then her attempts to avoid this fate will actually make it inevitable...


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Posted by: none of the above (frogfarm)
Posted at: 7th August 2008 20:50 (UTC)

which makes me wonder if 'Fray' is supposed to be a satire of what the USA will be like if the Christian Conservatives maintain power for the next two centuries

That would be par for the course. When it comes to religion, Joss is not exactly known for subtlety.


Either Vi was hungry, or she's been spending a lot of time in strip joints.

Also, does anyone else get the feeling that as a general rule, the comics are cramming a lot more happening into the same amount of space used by a televised show? (Allowing for the differences between the mediums.)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th August 2008 21:11 (UTC)

I see the American Christian Conservatives as a political force far more than a religious one, personally, but maybe that's my UK perspective speaking. And it took me a moment to realise what you meant wit the 'pasties' comment, which probably says something about me. :-) (It was Willow, not Vi, who said 'pasties', though - so she'd be the one visiting the strip clubs.)

I think it's Joss's writing style, actually. The arcs he writes, like this one and 'The Long Way Home', always seem to be really, really packed with dozens of scenes, and we're often left to work out for ourselves what happened between each one rather than getting it all spelled out for us. You could say that's showing trust in the reader's ability to follow a complex story without hand-holding.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 7th August 2008 21:07 (UTC)

I'm new to reading your reviews and I love them! What a fantastic site!

A comment about Gates and Starbucks. Have you considered that Gates might be Giles? And that Anthony S Head did the coffee commercials?

Your speculation that Twilight could be Xander is fascinating. It definitely fits. From the beginning I didn't think that Twilight was trying to kill Buffy; I had this idea that he may even be trying to protect her.

I am immensely concerned for Buffy. Drac's overture in issue 15 ended with "Alone." If both Willow and Xander turn dark-ish.. Buffy will be alone. Her worst fear.

I am extremely curious to find out what put Buffy and Willow on opposite sides. If it was the spell creating the slayers then what exactly has it affected?


Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th August 2008 21:15 (UTC)

Thanks! Lots of questions, so far not many answers, though...

I've heard the Gates:Giles theory, but I'm not really convinced by it, just because of the coincidence that both their names begin with 'G'... It's possible, but I think it was just a bit of random weirdness thrown in ther to show that in Fray's time, records of the past are filled with mistakes and uncertainties.

Or maybe it's proof that Fray's world really is a parallel universe, in which Buffy's Watcher was called Gates?

Posted by: leseparatist (novin_ha)
Posted at: 7th August 2008 21:13 (UTC)
[buffy] future is ours

I'm torn between loving the tragedy and cruelty of the story and feeling heartbroken because these are characters I actually care about.

Thanks for comprehensive review, yet again!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th August 2008 21:22 (UTC)

Glad you liked the review!

But I think tragedy and cruelty and heartbreak are things all fans of Joss Whedon have to learn to live with... (Although we don't know how the story will end, and I'm still hopeful of an upbeat resolution. Eventually.)

Posted by: leseparatist (novin_ha)
Posted at: 7th August 2008 21:29 (UTC)

Posted by: araceli (mana1023)
Posted at: 7th August 2008 21:40 (UTC)

How will Oz's arc factor into all this?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 19:42 (UTC)

I have absolutely no idea. :-)

Maybe Oz and Kennedy have to team up to save Willow from herself?

Posted by: Two legs good, four legs okay (nothorse)
Posted at: 7th August 2008 22:03 (UTC)

but if the story Joss is telling turns out to be a classical tragedy,

Actually it's Angel that's following the classic tragedy patterns.

Buffy was always more an epic/quest type of story with the appropriate upbeat resolution. (And I posit that even the end of Season 5 was upbeat. It was successful and heroic last stand. That's upbeat in my book.)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 8th August 2008 18:03 (UTC)

Totally, This crap is too dark for my taste I don't know what Joss is thinking. Hell I can tell one thing he is overly thinking things a bit too much for Buffy.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 19:45 (UTC)

Posted by: Two legs good, four legs okay (nothorse)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 20:02 (UTC)

Posted by: satsux (satsux)
Posted at: 7th August 2008 23:46 (UTC)

I never thought about Xander being Twilight... now that you said that, it makes too much sense for me... so therefor I am hitting myself on the head till the thought is gone and I am back to my delusional Xander is innocent state.

As usual love this review. And I gotta say, either way it goes, it's obviously that Willow's going to end up in the tragic department. Which is interesting, considering he had her go out on the show as the only Scooby with a happy ending relationship, yet in the comics he made her be lying and shady and now ultimately Dark in the future.

As far as the inconsistency regarding what happened, I think that was on purpose. They wouldn't have made a show with the whole Starbucks thing if they didn't want it to be vague. The problem is that with time travel you always want to be careful with what you state, because it tends to leave too many continuity problems, so I think Joss is mostly covering his ass regarding how history actually plays out when Buffy returns to 2005.. 2006? Wherever.

"The English language is just losing it. I should've treated it better." Was the best line and so easily to read as Sarah's voice.

I will say this, though I love the art, cause of Fray it's going to get hella confusing when Buffy and Erin share screen time. Especially given how they looked in some of the promotional art together, which I can't find the link to, but they do look like the same person. Hopefully Buffy or Erin gets her hair slashed or cut or burnt before the arc is over to avoid problems.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 19:51 (UTC)

I'm almost sure I'll be wrong about Twilight. (Though I'll still gloat if I'm right.) ;-) And so far, Willow hasn't really been any different from how she was on the show... remember this is the girl who tricked Cordelia into losing an entire class's worth of work in the very second episode of the show...

Erin Fray wears skintight red clothing and a utility belt; I think it's actually her uniform as a member of the future!police. Buffy probably wouldn't be seen dead in such an outfit...

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 00:26 (UTC)
[btvs] willow | the dark inside of me

I also never thought about future!Xander being Twilight, but I do really like that idea, and you make some good points.

Moving on to future!Dark Willow, who I am actually really excited to see -- I have sort of a theory on her, but I don't know if it's just because I'm a wishful, biased thinker. What really stood out to me was Harth and Willow's conversation at the end of the issue:

Harth: She's the last thing I ever loved. We're connected. Her pain is my joy. My ... True love. And what in this world is stronger than love?
Dark Willow: Time. Only time.

Honestly, all I could think about right then was how the creators always went on and on (and on and on) about how Willow and Tara were each other's true loves and that's why Tara's death was so tragic. Now, I've always seen Frayverse as a slightly alternate universe, so in my mind, I was thinking that maybe this future Dark Willow existed because Kennedy never came into the picture (either she was killed or Willow simply didn't date her). I, personally, could see Willow just biding her time, waiting for the right opportunity to bring Tara back. I don't doubt that at this point in time, she'd be powerful enough to (or at least think she was).

Now, I don't know how she would bring Tara back or why she would need Buffy, but I'm going to speculate here and say she's going to try and swap Buffy's life for Tara's. Remember the conversation Willow had with Kennedy a few issues back? About how she essentially did just that (except it was Tara for Buffy)?

On the other hand, of course, it could be something completely different. I have other thoughts on why Dark Willow is in this future, but I'm not sure if I can make them into coherent sentences just yet, so I'll spare you. :] Honestly, I doubt this will happen, but it is comics, and with things like Buffy, you always have to expect them to foreshadow things way ahead of time.

Urgh, long comment is long.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 19:56 (UTC)

It's possible, I suppose, but I don't really expect to see Tara come back now. At least not "just because". Unlike many fans, Willow's moved on. ;-) And Joss has already done the story of "Willow's new lover and her old lover both confront her at the same time and she has to choose between them", so he'd have to come up with some new twist to make it interesting.

Maybe a Tara/Kennedy hookup? :-)

Having said that, the idea of Willow's secret 200-year old plan being to exchange Buffy's life for Tara's (or even Kennedy's) is an interesting one.

And long comments are always welcome. Incoherent ones are also welcome, to a lesser extent. :-)

Posted by: lara beckinsale (larabeckinsale)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 04:05 (UTC)
let's not find out

What an issue! I read it just this morning and I'm loving the comments you're making about it. Things really are getting complicated huh? I feel very bad about Willow being all evil and yeah, it wasn't a big surprise, we all knew that was coming, and that's exactly why is so sad. She always had this craving for the evil side and now she's falling completely, I feel like that character is being destroyed and we'll never she her in the same light ever again.

About your idea of Xander being Twilight, well it would be like the last drop right? Really disturbing, but not impossible, I mean, it could happen! It would be like the ultimate act of betrayal towards Buffy, poor thing then she'll be completely alone and I can see the end of the slayer line there. Buffy has stayed the slayer so long because she had family and friends and well sometimes boyfriends that had helped her and keep her strong, she being left alone will be devastating for the character. If that happens, and I know I'm gonna sound like crazy obsessed fan here, I think only Angel or Spike would be able to help her, but that probably won't happen either 'cause they had their own comic now.

Anyway, I don't think your idea is that crazy, a very disappointed Xander agreeing that a world with no magic is better is not half wrong.

I think this is the best arc that the comics have presented, I'm looking forward to the next issue and your comments on it too! :)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 19:58 (UTC)

I'm not convinced yet that Future!Willow is Evil, as such; I think she's got her reasons for whatever it is she's doing, and I think that to her they'll be good ones. She might even think she's doing Buffy a favour by whatever she's got planned,although I assume Buffy won't agree...

Glad you're liking the reviews; thanks!

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 11:21 (UTC)

Great review as always!

The statue looks rather like Jesus

Some people are saying that it's supposed to be Alan Moore. Makes sense to me - there's something quite Watchmen-like over the more intriguing parts of the Twilight arc (and the role of the police in Haddyn - Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)

I don't know what's behind the name, but given that both Starbucks and Microsoft are based in Seattle, maybe the Watchers' Diaries record Bill Gates as a member of the Council....

ERIN: “Gates”?
MEL: The last great Watcher. Sacrificed himself at the Battle of Starbucks.

GILES: For all intents and purposes, I am the Watchers Council.

Of course, it's possible that Giles is busy re-establishing the council somewhere, but... if it's not Giles, and the battle in question happens in "our" timeline, then the list of candidates looks very small and not one of them is named anything remotely like "Gates."

Also, it seems to be implied here that Saga Vasuki's warning was innocent; she herself was fooled by Future!Willow, rather than playing a sinister role in this.

Or she's in on it and is part of the reason for all of this happening. I still don't get why you're so convinced that she's not one of the bad guys (inasmuch as a god, if that's what she is, can be described as "good" or "bad") but I suppose we'll see. What are your thoughts on the green snake demons unleashed by Twilight and Warren's bomb?

And all the way across town, Willow can sense her thoughts.

Or alternately, if we really want to get timey-wimey here, she remembers Buffy coming back from the future and telling her what happened... uh, is going to happen...

So how did Willow use magic to stay alive?

And where did Willow "can't I just poof it all better" Rosenberg find the patience to wait for 200 years? (Unless of course for some reason she HAD to wait for it to even be possible to do this, and that's part of what's driven her mad...)

It's future!Xander, kept alive by the same magic Willow used to stay alive all those years - then sent back in time by her to carry out that end of their plan.

I'm all on board with it being Xander, and this would of course be an explanation for how it's possible... but I'm still a bit wary; time travel was almost never used on Buffy before, and to go from that to having the entire season arc revolve around it...?

Hopefully, this warning would be enough to turn Willow onto a different path and make her dark future never happen... but if the story Joss is telling turns out to be a classical tragedy, then her attempts to avoid this fate will actually make it inevitable...

And Joss IS a fan of the self-fulfilling prophecy ("The father will kill the son"?) But on the other hand, I have trouble seeing him making Willow permanently dark. Not only would it be an impopular character development, but a very pessimistic one as well... and ultimately, prophecies always got thwarted on Buffy. Of course, this is the comic. ;-)

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 11:42 (UTC)

"But on the other hand, I have trouble seeing him making Willow permanently dark."

Not read the comic but saw this comment and though I would make a drive by comment. I agree I cannot see him doing it, but in writing terms it would actually be pretty gusty.

Further it could tie nicely into the meta of the show. It would line up with the crack magic metaphor reinforcing that. Show that the Watchers council were not just bone head idiots in keeping track of all the magic users as per Checkpoint there was a reason. Give some additional substance to Tara's family wariness over her.

And also explain why they left the protection of humanity in the hands of a single girl rather than uber magic users. They daren't do more as you run the risk of a Dark uber witch. Thus their motivations and control freakish nature whilst not right become more understandable. Why did the Watchers Council act that way, sure by later years it is boneheaded tradition but the founding cause behind it may make sense. Exhibit A Dark Willow.

Plus it does sort of fit Willow's arc.

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 11:54 (UTC)

Posted by: tessarin (tessarin)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 12:08 (UTC)

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 14:15 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 20:15 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 9th August 2008 20:22 (UTC)

Posted by: joe_sweden (joe_sweden)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 14:40 (UTC)

Re the "sis" clue to the sister's identity...my gf made a very good point that, to the uninitiated, thsi could just be another bit of future slang, along the lines of "bro".

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 20:17 (UTC)

True. Still, even if you don't get that, you can assume that the unnamed woman in red is a friend of Mel's, and that's all we really need for the plot so far...

Posted by: joe_sweden (joe_sweden)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 20:24 (UTC)

Posted by: Going through the motions (rowanda380)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 17:13 (UTC)

fabulous review...lots of interesting ideas...I am so excited to see what happens next!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 20:17 (UTC)

Thanks! Likewise...

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 8th August 2008 17:59 (UTC)

boo! Should had kept it fun and light sort of a 'day in a life of' you know. I say boo! Issue 16 will be my last.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 20:25 (UTC)

Peronally I'm really glad it's so deep and thoughtful and gives us so much to think about. I suppose it takes all sorts...

Posted by: flake_sake (flake_sake)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 18:25 (UTC)

Can I say, it's always a treat to read you reviews?

About how Willow survived for so long: Fray seems to believe that "the madwoman" is a lurk. I take it she has that either from her books or from the fact that she's hanging with Harth. But she could easily be wrong and it is Willow's magic that kept her alive. In that case it would very much make sense that Twilight is Future!Xander.

Can't wait to find out what motives Dark!Willow has.

I wonder about the whole slayer of slayers thing. If Buffy somehow has a hand in killing, say, Kennedy, Willow could easily go wild.

Looks like this is going to be my favorite arc so far, plot and artwise.

Edited at 2008-08-08 18:27 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th August 2008 20:29 (UTC)

Yes you can. :-) Thank you!

I'm pretty certain that Future!Willow is not a vampire: she's kept herself alive through magic. However, I'm not sure Melaka even knows that's possible - she doesn't have a lot of experience with the supernatural, after all. To her, the natural conclusion would be that anyone living for 200 years must be a vampire. Plus, of course, Joss spent most of the comic trying to fool us into thinking the woman was Drusilla, and this was part of it.

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 9th August 2008 13:06 (UTC)

Overthinking some more:
"The princess leaves her kingdom for the forest of the now"
Is it significant that the now is a forest? Just a reference to the concrete jungle that Haddyn has become or something more metaphorically concete. Fairytale motifs are a bit of a S8 thing, and Sleeping Beauty was specifically referenced in Joss’s previous arc. I can believe future!Willow surviving the death of enchantment in dreams.

“Willow tells Harth that the events she's engineered here in the 23rd Century will result in the creation of the Frayverse: demons and magic banished from the world for two centuries, and only one Slayer again instead of hundreds of them.”
Future!Willow herself is part of Frayverse, maybe it’s also about making this particular aspect of Willow the winner. When Saga Vasuki contacted her the message we saw was “Did you think you could hide from *what* you are? Or what’s to come?” Willow’s been hiding something all season, I get the impression neither Kennedy or anyone else knows what level of being she means when she talks about *her* allies (a little arrogant to reduce a goddess to an ally). But its not clear that 21st cen Willow remembers the fiery Saga Vasuki vison in detail – at the end of the issue she summoned the white-haired one and we don’t know what she had to say about the matter. I guess the Scythe(s) is still important in this - maybe Frayverse Willow had to wait as long as she before acting to give Melaka time to rediscover it. Or be given it by Urkon so I guess that means his demon masters acquired it at some point after battle of Starbucks in this timeline.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: 9th August 2008 15:56 (UTC)

This has to be significant in some way and I thought I'd add it to the theorizing here..

In the Fray miniseries: When Fray's demon watcher tells her of the end of magic and the big battle.. if we assume the slayer he was talking about is Buffy and the picture of Buffy's hand is taken into consideration.. It looks like Buffy was bansihed from the world along with Magic and demons etc.

If that is the case then Buffy would have been stuck in banishment / alternative dimension / whathaveyou for the last 200 years.

We can assume that Willow was not 'banished' or suck out of the reality since she is alive and kicking in Fray's time. Therefore, did Willow protect herself from Buffy's fate by betraying her? Did she not betray her back then but get caught in some magic backlash?

So many questions!


Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 9th August 2008 18:24 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 10th August 2008 09:15 (UTC)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 11th August 2008 17:28 (UTC)

Interesting review, it made me rethink some elements of the story. I'm still keeping the hope that Willow just pretends to be bad...

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 11th August 2008 23:50 (UTC)


Willow just pretends to be bad

She was calmly watching as Harth's minions carried around helpless, crying human victims. It could be that she's got some scheme of her own going on and she's just using him, but if she's not actively evil then she's so far beyond human morality that the suffering of individuals no longer matters to her.

My own guess is that this is going to be something like Xander's vision in 'Hells' Bells' or Cordelia's in 'Birthday' - a preview of what will happen to Willow if she chooses to go down a particular path here in the rpesent day. She can still avert it, in other words.

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