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(Meta) "Risk the pain. It is your nature." - Buffy's character development over the series

24th September 2008 (19:59)
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When I read other people's comments and reviews of Buffy seasons, there's one particular complaint I see quite often, which honestly baffles me. Paraphrased, it boils down to "Buffy shows character flaws this season, just like she did in previous seasons, which is boring". Occasionally there's a variant, such as "Buffy is behaving exactly like she did in a previous season. This is lazy writing." Or sometimes, "Buffy is behaving completely differently to how she did in a previous season. This is lazy writing."

And so, after pulling my head off my desk and peeling my palm away from my face, I decided to write this. It's a season-by-season analysis of Buffy's character arc, aimed at showing how she develops from year to year, and how each season builds on the previous one.


Risk the pain. It is your nature.


Season 1: Rejection of responsibility

Buffy wishes she wasn't the Slayer. She hates the way it interferes with her attempts to lead a normal life and have fun with her friends. She would much rather pass the buck and let someone else do the Slaying. In the first episode, she claims to be retired; in the last she announces that she quits; and in between she asks Giles why he can't do it all instead of her.

Effect on her romantic life: When she tries to go on dates with cute boys, Slaying always gets in the way. Even Clark Kent had it better than this.

Resolution: When she goes to kill the Master even knowing she's walking to her death, she finally accepts her responsibilities in full.

"It wasn't our world anymore. They made it theirs. And they had fun. What are we gonna do?"
"What we have to."


Season 2: Resentment of destiny

Buffy has now resigned herself to being the Slayer, but she sees still it as something imposed on her from outside. She hates what it does to her life, and spends a lot of this season sulking and pouting. Magic and the supernatural are usually shown as an external force that intervenes and tries to ruin your life - just ask Ampata or Oz, let alone Angel.

Effect on her romantic life: The great love of her life is ruined by a stupid gypsy curse. Being the Slayer sucks.

Resolution: When she accepts that the strength that comes from being the Slayer is a fundamental part of her that no external force can take away.

"That's everything, huh? No weapons, no friends. No hope. Take all that away and what's left?"
"Me."


Season 3: Rebellion against the rules

Buffy no longer questions her destiny as the Slayer; she even starts to enjoy the power it brings her. However, she feels oppressed by the burden of expectations that other people place on her because of it. So many of this season's stories revolve around authority figures and their attempts to control Buffy's activities - starting with 'Anne' onwards. The Mayor himself is a powerful government official; there's the Watchers' Council, Ms Post and Wesley; there's Principal Snyder; even Giles and Joyce are trying to regiment Buffy's life. As for her, part of her longs to rebel against it all. To revel in the benefits of being a Slayer, just like Faith does. However, her innate sense of responsibility eventually drives her to reject the more nihilistic and selfish side of Faith's approach to Slaying.

Effect on her romantic life: She still wants the romantic dream and a white wedding, but she's embarrassed to discover that the idea of wanting, taking and having turns her on as well.

Resolution: When she rejects both empty rebellion and blind obedience, and determines to forge her own path to the things she believes in. It's no coincidence that the final episode of the season is called 'Graduation Day'.

"Buffy, they're very firm. We're talking about laws that have existed longer than civilisation."
"I'm talking about watching my lover die. I have no clue what you're talking about and I do not care."
"The Council's orders are to --"
"Orders? I don't think I'm gonna be taking any more orders. Not from you. Not from them."


Season 4: Search for identity

Buffy may be determined to lead her own life, but she's still questioning exactly what form it should take. She's an adult now, away from the guidance of parent and Watcher, and she's feeling cast adrift, unsure what sort of a future she really wants. This season's antagonists are a roll-call of people pretending to be something they're not, faking their identity or stealing somebody else's: Kathy, Parker, Riley, Professor Walsh, Veruca, Tara, Faith, Giles (in 'A New Man'), Jonathan... while Adam by contrast is unnaturally certain of his own identity and place in life. Which direction will Buffy choose? (Note: I've written about all this in more detail here.)

Effect on her romantic life: Does she want a nice, normal man to be her safe, unthreatening boyfriend - or a cool monster hunter to be her comrade in arms? She can't decide,which kind of sucks for the guy...

Resolution: When she accepts that she's the Slayer, but not *just* the Slayer. It doesn't mean that she has to be alone; her friends and family are an essential part of her identity, and it's possible to combine the mundane and the supernatural parts of her life.

"The Slayer does not walk in the world."
"I walk. I talk. I shop. I sneeze. I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There's trees in the desert since you moved out, and I don't sleep on a bed of bones. Now give me back my friends!"


Season 5: Death is your gift

Having decided that family and friends are what matters in her life, Buffy now has to face the downside: that opening herself up to others makes her vulnerable. Family can cause problems; family can be taken away from you. There's another, deeper fear, going back to Angel's death but given new strength when Riley leaves and Buffy suspects Glory is behind her mother's illness: that she herself drives people away. That being the Slayer makes her incapable of keeping the relationships she now knows are so important to her; that she is a dangerous person to get close to.

Effect on her romantic life: She pretty much gives up on romance this season. She wants to be self-sufficient, and to concentrate on looking after her family, and perhaps she's afraid of the consequences.

Resolution: When she decides that even if she can't live a normal life in the world, she can still use her Slayer gifts to protect and benefit her loved ones, one last time.

"Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I'll always love you. But this is the work I have to do. Tell Giles I... I figured it out. And I'm okay. Give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now -- you have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn. The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me."

(Some people think 'The Gift' was the perfect ending for the series. I think it's exactly the wrong ending, which is why I'm so pleased it wasn't. Buffy decided that she couldn't be part of the world; that her heroic death was the best gift she could give her sister. If the hardest thing in this world is to live in it, Buffy failed that test. Luckily, thanks to Willow, she would have the chance to take a re-sit. In terms of Joseph Campbell's theories, 'The Gift' only marks the end of the second stage of Buffy's initiation as a hero; she still must face the Return From Death. Quite literally, in her case.)


Season 6: Life is the Big Bad

Heroic deaths are fine in fairy tales; in mundane reality, life goes on and there are always consequences. Buffy thought she could best help her friends by her self-sacrifice, by not being part of their lives anymore; but her friends disagree. Coupled with her clinical depression after being torn from heaven, Buffy now finds herself hating and rejecting everything in her life. And because she feels guilty about this, her sense of responsibility only leads to greater self-loathing.

Effect on her romantic life: Buffy turns to Spike because he's as far away from everything in her previous life as she can get. With him, she can forget whom she used to be for a time. Of course, this only feeds her self-disgust and need to punish herself more.

Resolution: When she realises that her life is worth living after all. That she can enjoy the company of her friends and her sister, and that there are things she wants to do to help them that don't involve her dying for them.

"Things have sucked lately, but it's all gonna change - and I want to be there when it does. I want to see my friends happy again. And I want to see you grow up. The woman you're going to become...Because she's going to be beautiful. And she's going to be powerful. I got it so wrong. I don't want to protect you from the world - I want to show it to you."


Season 7: It's about power

Buffy has re-engaged with her life. She's confident in her own power and identity as the Slayer, she's on good terms with her friends again. But that's all put to the test when she's landed with personal responsibility for other people's lives. With no training or experience - and very little support - she has to learn how to lead an 'army' of unwilling and scared teenage girls against an apparently unbeatable foe. So she makes mistakes. She cuts herself off emotionally to avoid being hurt by their inevitable deaths. She becomes hardened and ruthless, because she thinks it's the only way to win.

Effect on her romantic life: Buffy's ruthless pragmatism leads her to accept help from the man who recently almost raped her. While she eventually does come to trust Spike again and to rely on him, this only points up her self-isolation from her other friends and allies.

Resolution: When she accepts that she can't do everything herself, and that to lead other people successfully she has to trust them. She empowers the other Potentials, giving them the strength to make their own independent decisions and take control over their own destinies - which in turn, frees her to take control of her own.

"I hate this. I hate being here. I hate that you have to be here. I hate that there's evil, and that I was chosen to fight it. I wish, a whole lot of the time, that I hadn't been. I know a lot of you wish I hadn't been either. But this isn't about wishes. This is about choices. I believe we can beat this evil. Not when it comes, not when its army is ready. Now.

"Tomorrow morning I'm opening the Seal. I'm going down into the Hellmouth, and I'm finishing this once and for all. Right now you're asking yourself, 'What makes this different? What makes us anything more than a bunch of girls being picked off one by one?' It's true none of you have the power that Faith and I do. So here's the part where you make a choice.

"What if you could have that power...now? In every generation, one Slayer is born... because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of the Scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up.  Slayers... every one of us.

"Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?"


Season 8: She's the general, we're the army

Buffy has learned to share her power and matured into an effective leader. She cares about the welfare of her followers, and in return they view her with a devotion bordering on hero-worship. But that brings its own dangers; Buffy is so focussed on her responsibility to the Slayers she leads she's becoming blinded to other concerns. Because she's convinced of their righteousness, she's coming to believe that anything that threatens her Slayers is bad, and anything that benefits them is good. She's never exactly shied away from ruthless acts or criminal behaviour if she believes it's necessary for the greater good; but now that she commands a loyal and well-equipped army of teenage superheroes, the stakes are far higher. When you're focussed on the big picture you don't care about the individual pixels.

Effect on her romantic life: Buffy is so distanced now from normal everyday people, and so intensely focussed on her responsibilities, that the only person she has room to form a romantic relationship with is a fellow-Slayer.

Resolution: We don't know yet.

"Here's the thing. She's alone. She's vulnerable. And she has the weight of the world on her slender shoulders. [...] You need to remember... she's not like us. She's the general. We're the army. And that's never gonna change. Also, she's not, you know..."
"A dyke?"
"I was gonna say 'friend of Sappho', but okay, whatever the kids are saying these days, I'm hip, I'm with it."

 


In conclusion, I think that Buffy's character shows a steady growth and progression over the seasons, with each development building firmly on those that came before. Of course, some things are consistent in Buffy's personality. She has a huge sense of responsibility; she may resent her duty sometimes, feel the urge to rebel against it, but in the end she'll always do what she thinks is right. She is not afraid to break the rules in order to win. She loves her family and friends, but also feels separated from them by the weight of her destiny.

And she tends to feel that the world and all its problems revolve around her - but considering that the world she lives in is usually called the Buffyverse, she may actually be correct in that belief...

 

Comments

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 25th September 2008 21:34 (UTC)

Very well done, as with everything you write, and for the most part I agree completely...

...up to a point, of course. :-) I'm glad it works for you, but... We've been over this, but to go back to some earlier points you made:

forge her own path to the things she believes in.

her friends and family are an essential part of her identity, and it's possible to combine the mundane and the supernatural parts of her life.

Which is exactly where I feel that Season 8 Buffy has done, if not a full 180-degree turn, then certainly a very sharp one leaving burned rubber all over the place. At the heart of Buffy's decision making was always "what she believed in" (or didn't). TV!Buffy cared; she had heart. Comic!Buffy, far too often, comes across as heartless - whether it's about ignoring Dawn and blaming her for getting cursed, sending Giles away, using Satsu (and hey, for once I seem to agree with Allie :-) ), or her behaviour in the latest issue (especially the bit where she, several hours later, knowing full well that the vampires' victims would have been stone dead if she'd had her way, still complains about Fray saving their lives).

I can buy Buffy being "blinded" by the responsibility she's taken upon herself - she was always a bit of a control freak, always a bit self-centered. But I do have problems seeing her faced directly with the consequences of that blindness, watching people die while she sits back, not to mention being told by her enemies exactly what she's accused of, and shrugging it off and pursuing that path even more tenaciously. That's not just being blinded; that's being both blind and stupid.

Buffy has learned to share her power and matured into an effective leader.

I'd say this is up for debate. For one thing, she's still very much in charge, and not just because everyone asks her to be; she's shared her physical strength, but not her power (which would sort of undermine that whole female-empowerment theme of "Chosen" - "give women power, but make sure they use it the way YOU want them to.") For another, being an effective leader includes knowing where to lead someone - which she seems to be losing. To continue the Life Of Brian references on a very exaggerated example: Otto, the leader of the Judean People's Front suicide squad, is very effective. He leads a tight squad, they're all prepared to die for the cause, every man does exactly what he's supposed to do, the plan goes off without a hitch... trouble is, the plan itself is shit.

You keep mentioning that Buffy was "ruthless" in s7 (and yes, I just re-watched s7 a few weeks ago.) Still, for all her talk she didn't actually have to be all that ruthless in the end. IMO, her central dilemma of the season was that she was trying her damnedest to find a way to NOT be ruthless, and there didn't seem to be one as long as everyone else seemed destined to be, as Anya said, cannon fodder. And that was killing her (just like using Spike for sex and comfort in s6 was). To then turn around and now decide that there are acceptable losses (among innocent bystanders, no less) seems weird: a complete change of heart. She talked about hypothetically sacrificing Dawn, but in a situation where there didn't seem to be anything that would require sacrificing Dawn. She went to kill Anya, but she did it with a weapon that she knew couldn't kill her. Yes, of course this is the Buffy who sacrificed Angel to save the world - but as we all know, that wasn't something she carried easily. That wound is still open as late as "Selfless." Maybe she could have sacrificed Dawn; I have trouble seeing her doing it with a shrug and a flip remark, though. It would have been a huge deal. Just like it was a huge deal to send a bunch of innocent girls to their senseless deaths. Because Buffy had heart; she changed the world so she wouldn't have to be ruthless.

This Buffy sits back and whines when Slayers save humans from being slaughtered in front of her.

Though to be honest, I'm not really sure whether my main complaint is that I think Buffy's being OOC or just that I think she's acting stupidly. ;-)

Boy, that got long again, didn't it? :-)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 25th September 2008 22:46 (UTC)
satsu

The thing to remember is that Buffy in S8 believes in her creation. She believes passionately and sincerely, with all her heart, that the Slayer Army is the greatest thing in the entire history of fighting evil. As Xander says:

"I live with a bunch of Slayers. Dozens of girls who are... so filled up with purpose, with confidence they didn't have before... the walls are vibrating with it. I can't sleep, the place is so charged.... Maybe now we're only cleaning up messes, but we're just getting started. What you've created here is a lot more than just monster fighters."

Buffy isn't cold and unfeeling: Buffy is a blazing sun of righteousness. Only problem is, she's getting dazzled by it.

The rest are quibbles. Buffy isn't ignoring Dawn any more than she did during the show; she quarreled with Giles because he was repeating his pattern of undermining her and going behind her back to have people killed; she was entirely up-front and honest with Satsu, who seems remarkably unscarred by the whole episode; and if Fray had had her way, those vampires' victims might be alive but hundreds, perhaps thousands more would die in the weeks to come. Arguably. :-)

For one thing, she's still very much in charge

Not the impression I get. Vi is very much in charge of the New York operation; she knows everything going on on her patch and she's the one organising things there. Kennedy apparently organised the Slayer squad taking part in the specific time-portal mission on her own initiative. In the previous arc, Aiko was 'assigned to field ops' in Japan and tracked down Toru's gang, and the first Buffy knew about it was when her mission was successful. Back in the first arc, Donna's squad of Spanish Slayers calls in to HQ when they need reinforcements, but they're not being micromanaged by Buffy - who probably doesn't even know about their mission since Xander and Renee handle it.

Long story short, Buffy is the leader, but the other Slayers are empowered and self-motivated. They'll do what Buffy tells them but in the meantime they're not sitting around waiting for her orders; they're taking action themselves.


being an effective leader includes knowing where to lead someone

I'd argue that leadership and tactics are two different (but related) skills. If you're a good leader, people will follow you into the mouth of Hell itself; if you're a good tactician, you'll lead them out again alive. :-) This is important because leadership is mostly an inherent quality - a matter of charisma and self-belief, though people skills also play a part - and Buffy definitely has that quality. Tactics, on the other hand, are something you can learn by study and experience, and this is where Buffy has room for improvement.


To then turn around and now decide that there are acceptable losses (among innocent bystanders, no less) seems weird: a complete change of heart.

I think there is more nuance to this. A callous disregard for other people's lives is one thing, and I think that this is what Buffy was falling into against her will until she had her epiphany. However, even after that, she still has to accept that in a war, innocent people will die. That's how she can comfort and reassure Faith after the ambush: "People die. You lead them into battle, they die. No matter how smart you are, or how ready, war is about death. Needless, stupid death." If you're going to be a Slayer - or a general - the trick is to accept that, and still not let it harden you. It's a dilemma that people in the army in real life have to grapple with too.



Apart from that Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?, thanks for your comments. ;-)

Posted by: Easily distracted fangirl. (cursedfire)
Posted at: 26th September 2008 07:28 (UTC)

I agree with what you say here. I think Buffy's development was obvious and good during the series. I didn't think there was any lazy writing :)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 09:38 (UTC)
Buffy - Hell will choke on me by stormwr

A couple of things. Did Buffy *ever* let (innocent) people be killed for the 'sake of the mission' before? (She left plenty of people to their (self-inflicted) fate, I know that.) The situation with the potentials was different, since they were supposed to be an army.

Secondly - have you watched Torchwood? (There is a reason behind this question.)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 11:27 (UTC)

Did Buffy *ever* let (innocent) people be killed for the 'sake of the mission' before?

If she had, this wouldn't be a dramatic and shocking plot development now, would it? :-) Wasn't it equally shocking when Angel locked those lawyers into the basement with Darla and Dru?

But then again:

"After what you've been through, faced with the same choice now, you'd let her die."
"If I had to...to save the world. Yes."
"So, you really do understand the difficult decisions you'll have to make? That anyone of us is expendable in this war?"


She's just putting into practice what Giles taught her...


(And I have to point out that she wasn't letting the innocent people die; she was letting them be captured by vampires and bundled into a van. Which she was then going to follow back to their lair.)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 12:01 (UTC)

(And I have to point out that she wasn't letting the innocent people die; she was letting them be captured by vampires and bundled into a van. Which she was then going to follow back to their lair.)

Two things:

1. And the one that Fray was helping patch up two nasty puncture wounds on the neck had... what? Tripped and fell on a barbecue fork? ;-)

2. By the time Buffy gets back to Fray's, she knows that even if the vampires had only captured their victims to take back to their lair, they would still have been as good as dead since Buffy couldn't get inside said lair. This doesn't seem to bother her much.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 20:09 (UTC)

1. Clearly one of the vampires got hungry too soon. That's traditionally the sort of thing that gets you killed by your master as soon as you get home.

2. So you think she should have had an epiphany when she saw the huge fortress, making her realise she's been in denial about the bad effects of her exclusive focus on the big picture? That would seem a bit of an anticlimax to me, from a storytelling point of view.

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 20:48 (UTC)

1. Assuming "bring everyone back alive and don't drink a single drop" was the plan in the first place (which isn't exactly standard vampire operating procedure, so I don't see why that should be the assumption). I don't recall anyone saying - and certainly not telling Buffy - that ALL (or indeed any) vampires in Haddyn these days only capture their prey alive. They certainly don't look any more starved than they did in Fray, so they're obviously feeding. They're bloodsuckers; they kill by sucking blood. That's why one slays them.

2. Of course not, but it would be nice to at least see her show some tiny sliver of doubt about her methods and goals when it leads to people getting killed (or, best case scenario, carted off to a Fate Worse Than Death) in front of her - to mention just the most recent issue. As opposed to shrugging it off and bitching about little sisters who don't do as they're told.

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 18:36 (UTC)
Touched by killtheprettyx

I'm going to quote the movie now, because Merrick has the perfect line:

"You do everything wrong!" [after Buffy apologizes] "No....Do it wrong."

Whenever Buffy tries to do it 'right', to follow the rules, things go wrong. When she follows her intuition, she wins. S7 is probably the best example of this, where she tries to be the general and it's not until 'Touched' that she begins to do things her own way again.

I'm sure I had a point about s8, but I can't really formulate it. Basically I don't understand how we're supposed to see her - is she still the hero or not? I honestly can't tell.

*tells self yet again to stop talking about it*

Sorry. It makes no sense to me. ETA: Going back to the subject of this post - all through the 7 years, I could follow Buffy, knew where her head was (even when it was all messed up). And this was in great part due to the fact that I knew where she'd been and what she'd been through. s8 Buffy makes no sense when viewed through canon!Buffy, and taking her on her own is just as confusing.

Edited at 2008-09-28 19:43 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 20:15 (UTC)

I don't understand how we're supposed to see her - is she still the hero or not? I honestly can't tell.

Was Angel the hero of 'Angel' Season 5? Or the third quarter of Season 2? However you answer that question, apply the same answer to Buffy in BtVS Season 8.


s8 Buffy makes no sense when viewed through canon!Buffy, and taking her on her own is just as confusing

I confess to being stumped by this, because it's so obvious to me that she is the same Buffy. She's been put in a bizarre situation, subject to novel new demands, but she's working out her response to it based on the same fundamental personality traits she's always shown...

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 20:27 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 12:05 (UTC)

have you watched Torchwood?

Sure have. Any particular similarity you're thinking of? :-)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 18:52 (UTC)
Janto Unspoken by mukhy0

Not any similarity, no. ;)

What I *have* thought of though, is characterisation, partly because in 'Adam' the solution of the story comes out of Ianto's OOCness and Jack's blank refusal to believe in it, despite everything. I *adored* that episode for that reason - that it played with how much you could change people and keeping them the same. Gwen, Tosh and Owen were still fundamentally the same (like Buffy, Angel, Giles etc in the Wish-verse, they'd just been sent down different paths), but Ianto had something completely alien (pardon the pun) forced on him, and it showed.

Torchwood has its flaws (in other news: the sky is blue and water is wet), but (most of the time) it does brilliant character stuff. s8 seems to me to be the opposite - lots of great intricate plottiness, but happily sacrificing the characters so they'll fit. I mean - Xander/Dracula is hilarious, but (to this little fan at least) as OOC as Ianto the evil killer.

Lord I hope that makes sense - I think I've been breathing too many paint fumes today and my brain is all foggy.

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 21:04 (UTC)

Good example, that's a great episode (by TW standards, haha).

I'm trying to come up with a Buffyverse example, and I'm coming up all "Carpe Noctem"...

CORDELIA: What? This is totally like him. Doing the mystery dance with some cheap blonde...
FRED: Brunette. She was a cheap brunette.
CORDELIA: You're right. This isn't like him.


Though it makes me wonder what would have happened if, for instance, it had never been made clear that Cassie in "Conversations with Dead People" was an impostor. I'm sure you could find some Tara quote that's ambiguous enough so people would still be arguing that it's perfectly in character for her to want Willow to kill herself... ;-)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 17th October 2008 20:14 (UTC)

I mean - Xander/Dracula is hilarious, but (to this little fan at least) as OOC as Ianto the evil killer.

It wasn't to me. And many S8 fans who take time to think how it happened *winks*

That's not so hard to fit into canon. Dracula had kidnapped Xander and put him under his thrall (Like Buffy vs. Dracula) Xander stayed with Dracula for months (because he was under Dracula's thrall), in which Dracula grew attached to him, until Buffy saved Xander. When Dracula was needed, notice how Xander looked annoyed and upset, he didn't want to interact with Dracula again. He brought Renee with him to keep him on his feet, sadly he slips one time after another at the presence of Dracula until Renee snaps him out of it. From the looks of it, Xander doesn't seem to care much about Dracula while Dracula is obviously very attached to Xander. Even the last scene between them shows how much Xander resents Dracula's way of treating him, like a slave/manservant. In fact, the last scene is the best resolution to Xander's speech in Buffy vs Dracula where Xander got to stand up to Dracula, a great ending to his Butt-Monkey arc with Dracula.

The "gay love" here is obviously one sided: from Dracula's side. Xander, as it shown in Wolves at the Gate, isn't that interested in Dracula at all. Only went to him when the mission needed him.

That's how I've been seeing this arc. And it sounds pretty much so canon to me and not that hard to picture. But I can see why fans are having a hard time with it: they actually did the stupid thing of believing Andrew's tale while there's so much evidence that Andrew doesn't know jack about the real story. :)

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 17th October 2008 20:27 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 10:48 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 17th October 2008 23:59 (UTC)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 00:39 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 10:51 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 10:56 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 11:04 (UTC)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 20:52 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 21:50 (UTC)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 19th October 2008 08:45 (UTC)

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

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 19th October 2008 19:59 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 11:08 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 11:32 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 11:55 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 12:13 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 12:26 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 15:02 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 19th October 2008 11:18 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 20th October 2008 10:58 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 12:28 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 12:23 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 12:52 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 16:33 (UTC)

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Posted at: 19th October 2008 11:06 (UTC)

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Posted at: 19th October 2008 19:16 (UTC)

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Posted at: 20th October 2008 17:25 (UTC)

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Posted at: 19th October 2008 17:31 (UTC)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 20:58 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 08:25 (UTC)

Posted by: lusciousxander (lusciousxander)
Posted at: 18th October 2008 11:00 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 28th September 2008 21:08 (UTC)

She's let people die without trying to save them. I wouldn't count Ford because she did try to persuade him to save himself. But there was Debbie in Beauty and the Beasts who she dismissed as being broken, exploding head boy in Storyteller and the house owner she kicked onto the bringer-infested streets without his gun in Touched. It's also surprisingly difficult to think of instances of her *actively* going to the rescue of non-family or friends, when that and not slaying their attacker was the primary objective. She's helped strangers like Anne only when they've asked her to or it's explicitly been her job like when she was Cassie's school councillor. Put it another way she'll save people but not The People, she's never a been a political thinker and it's an interesting flaw in her view of the world and her role in it, which has been hidden in plain sight until now much as the 'One Girl' issue was until S7.

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