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StephenT [userpic]

(Review) BtVS 8.22 'Swell'

5th February 2009 (20:39)

'Swell' is in many ways a classic monster of the week episode of 'Buffy'. There's an 'A' plot and a 'B' plot: a threat that needs to be first researched and then defeated, while the characters resolve their personal issues. There's also plenty of symbolism and thematic elements which relate to the overall season arc and move it forward. Not bad for an issue of the comic which concentrates, for once, on two of the minor characters of the Buffyverse and shows us what life's like from their point of view instead of always focussing on the main heroes.


 

If I have a complaint, it's that this was very much Satsu's issue; Kennedy wasn't precisely a nonentity, but she was pretty much there solely to act as a foil for Satsu's character development. None of her own issues - such as the status of her relationship with Willow and the Saga Vasuki question - got addressed. Which could, of course, mean that actually there is no problem and her relationship with Willow is perfectly fine. :-) But we don't learn much more about her than we did before, and I think that's a shame.

The opening teaser confirms one thing to us - Satsu does speak Japanese. (This was, you may recall, a subject of some debate earlier in the season). However, her translation of the man's words isn't exact. According to swanjun on Whedonesque, he does indeed say "Wah! A monster!" but there's no swearing - Satsu adds that herself. And she doesn't translate his last sentence: "Dareka tasukete!' means "Somebody help!". Of course, it could be that we're only seeing the last part of his speech. The woman she's talking to is, I assume, Malita - the same wavy-haired Slayer who's later shown twice looking things up on computers. She evidently is not Japanese herself as she doesn't speak the language, so the Tokyo squad is clearly multi-national just like the Scotland one.

Satsu is shown here as a decisive leader who can think on her feet and come up with effective tactics - steering the monster towards the river and away from the crowds. She's also clearly enthusiastic about fighting. I've seen her being criticised for not stopping to help the man trapped in the armoured car, and you could argue that this is another example of Slayers not caring about ordinary folk. On the other hand, stopping the monster rampaging through downtown Tokyo is probably slightly more urgent, the man is in no immediate danger, and it's not as if there isn't a crowd of people gathered around who could help him. People who, incidentally, show no sign of panic at the idea of a monster on the loose. The citizens of downtown Tokyo are presumably used to that sort of thing.

Satsu's sword has a very reflective blade, doesn't it? This is the second time we've seen someone's expression reflected in it. (8.04 before.)

It puzzled me at first, but the pink voice-over boxes ("Oh crap...") are presumably the demon itself talking. As we later learn, it was paid to steal the prototype Vampy Cat from the armoured car we saw in the first scene, with the intention of luring the Slayers into chasing it to recapture the cat - but it didn't anticipate getting one of its arms chopped off in the process.

Kennedy "just dropping in" by parasail is a little over the top and campy, but it's the kind of humour I appreciate - though I'm sure the feeling isn't universal. It's not the only such moment this episode, either. Presumably there's an aircraft or helicopter that dropped her off. Incidentally, in a nice touch of continuity, the gun she's holding is drawn identically to the one Buffy used to zap the forcefield in 8.01. It clearly also works as a taser, stunning demons with a blast of electricity (not unlike the Initiative's weaponry). Satsu and Kennedy simultaneously kicking the demon once it revives, and its puzzled "...Grrrrr...Grr?" was amusing too.

Now we get to the 'B' plot, and things get interesting. The reference to the 'Korean incident' is left vague here, although it will pay off pretty well at the end of the episode. Satsu's line about Buffy "reviewing her ass" was funny: it shows that she's sarcastic and quick-thinking but also, perhaps, trading on her sexual relationship with the big boss rather more than she should be. The affair is clearly common knowledge among all the Slayers; as Kennedy says, "Yeah, yeah, everybody knows the story." There's clearly an active gossip hotline where Buffy is concerned.

Then there's Satsu's angry remark about Buffy sending "the other lesbian Slayer" to check up on her. From a practical perspective, I doubt that only two out of those 500 women are gay... although this comment does at least put to rest the tongue-in-cheek suggestion some people have made that the Slayer Empowerment Spell turned all the Potentials into lesbians as well as into Slayers. :-)

More to the point, however, Satsu's comment hangs a lantern on a rather significant issue. To be frank, I'm pretty sure that Joss and Steven S de Knight did choose Kennedy as the other character for this issue because she's the other prominent lesbian who is also a Slayer. However, the very fact that they were able to do that says something about the show itself. Generally, if there's a gay character in a story and another gay character appears, it's taken for granted that they'll pair up... that that's the only reason why Gay Character #2 was written into the show at all. But 'Buffy' has clearly now achieved a Sapphic critical mass, where the writers have enough lesbian characters with their own roles and backstories as unique individuals, that they can put two of them together for an entire episode without the expectation that they'll end the story in bed together (or arguing jealously, or dead).

Of course, there certainly was plenty of speculation even so when 'Swell' was announced that either Kennedy or Satsu or both would wind up dead, or they'd pair off together. I'm very pleased that nothing of the sort happened. And Willow/Kennedy are still an item. :-)

Anyway, on with the plot. If you've not seen it, there's a short story about the Vampy Cats on Dark Horse's website; they're being marketed as cute and cuddly vampires for children that will protect their owners by, um, disembowelling anyone who's mean to them. The 'Santorio Corporation' that makes them is a parody of the Sanrio Corporation that makes Hello Kitty dolls.  Meanwhile, our poor demon Gunyarr from the opening scene is being betrayed and killed by a shadowy form which we'll see more clearly later. You have to feel sorry for the guy. After all, he's 'armless.

At night, Vampy Cat comes to life. Given the red eyes and fangs I thought he was going to kill Satsu, and when she appeared in the next scene I was confused - thinking perhaps she'd been turned into a vampire herself... although the sunlight pouring in through the open walls would, with hindsight, make that unlikely. Is that Kennedy talking to Ayumi while Satsu is asleep, incidentally? Or just one of the other Slayers?  Also, note that Satsu now has an Easter Island moai to hang her jewellery on. I'm not positive, but I think that's probably a newspaper clipping with a picture of Buffy she's got stuck on the wall next to it.

Satsu in her kimono (or furisode, I suppose, if you want to be accurate) was quite puzzling until I worked out what was going on. Incidentally, she says here that her parents bought it for her, but later on once she recovers she asks "What the hell am I wearing?" I'm going to assume she's shocked that she unpacked it and put it on, since she wouldn't normally be seen dead in it, rather than that she literally has never seen it before. She must have got it from somewhere, after all. Also, if we assume she's telling the truth, we can also assume that she's not lying when she says her parents reacted really badly to discovering she was gay. That also implies that she was still living with her parents at the time, rather than with a Watcher, so she was probably one of the Undiscovered Potentials.

She's holding a map of Scotland, and we soon learn she's used it to point out where Buffy's new base is. The map shows dots at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee (slightly off-position) and Aberdeen, but also four other dots - two in the Cairngorms, one near the Isle of Skye and one in Caithness - and presumably one of these is Slayer HQ. (And another might be the Big Ruined Ex-Castle).

Now we have Stepford Satsu going into her misogynistic and homophobic rant about Slayers. I assume this is actually the Vampy Cat inspiring her words; though we have to wonder if this is their own thoughts - or if Twilight programmed them this way, and we're learning his true opinions. Or possibly, he was hoping for a few possessed Slayers to go on TV and make similar speeches to Satsu's, but in public, to discredit them?

What is really interesting is that many of Possessed!Satsu's criticisms of the Slayers are, in fact, things that many of the fans have been raising as problems about them:

"I mean, why are Slayers so aggro? With the hacking and the chopping and the staking! We should be ashamed of ourselves, bringing so much misery into the world! We're nothing but a bunch of self-righteous little ovaries! We march around playing soldier, deciding who's evil and who's not. We're the evil ones! And we're going to get what we deserve!"

Well, the argument is now out there on the page; but given the context, I think the messenger was specifically chosen to discredit it in our eyes. After all, Satsu is basically saying that it's not up to a bunch of women to make important decisions about good and evil or to take action to change the world, when they ought to be staying at home and making babies. I've never heard 'ovaries' used as an insult for women before, but given the context I suspect deKnight used it because he knew he wouldn't be able to get away with writing 'cunts', which is what he probably meant Satsu to be saying here.

Sadly, there were probably a few people in the readership who cheered when Kennedy got punched across the room - though probably not as many as would have done if it happened in Season 7. But she gets her revenge on Satsu; we get yet another scene of a Slayer throwing up on the floor (Satsu and Buffy have something else in common now) and the true nature of the Vampy Cat is revealed in all its really, really gross glory.

Oh, and Satsu's Slayer instincts have absolutely nothing wrong with them if she managed to grab that sword from somewhere or other and cut the kitty attacking Kennedy in half before even noticing her clothing.

Back in my review of 8.01 I wondered if the Slayers flew their helicopters themselves or if they hired pilots. Looks like the answer is (a) - or if they have hired pilots, they're by pure coincidence all young women in the same age-group as the Slayers. :-) Given their supernatural hand-eye coordination and lightning-fast reflexes I'm sure Slayers make excellent pilots, although I'm not sure I'd trust Buffy specifically behind the control stick...  

It wasn't clear at first, but when Satsu groans "Oh, my stomach" it must be because the pilot just put the helicopter through some aerobatics that made her nauseous again... because it's the pilot who apologises. Minor point - Kennedy is in normal clothing, but the other Slayers are all in their combat armour. And Satsu's armour appears standard; none of the teddy bear heads or other extreme customisation of old (though her bright pink fingerless gloves aren't regulation). I'm thinking that post-Buffy and as a squad leader now, she has less need to assert her unique snowflake status quite so much?

The dead sarariman in the Santorio offices looks like the one who arranged for the death of Gunyarr the demon, so presumably he was simply possessed then rather than being in on the plot - and once drained dry he was abandoned. Notice that Kennedy's reaction to the news of the ship heading for Scotland is "They're going after home base!" and Satsu's is "They're going after Buffy!" Still her #1 priority...

The name of the ship - Daikaijū - means "Great Big Monster" in Japanese. This is clearly foreshadowing...  This time Kennedy has changed into proper armour - and "What's Plan B?" "Same as Plan A. You die." is some classic Buffyverse bad guy dialogue.

We get a second mention of ovaries, showing that the first wasn't accidental; these Vampy Cats are clearly obsessed with the things. And there's a disturbing rape metaphor in the attack, as the monster tries to climb into Kennedy's mouth with its friends shouting "Get in her--" (last word cut off, twice.) The idea that the people opposed to the Slayers - or at least these particular people - are motivated by misogyny seems to be laid on with a trowel by deKnight.

The multiple small monsters combining into one huge one is a classic staple of Japanese anime. The really cheesy dialogue may also be, although it's also a Buffyverse standard as well.

And my laugh out loud moment of the episode was when Satsu tosses the flare into the sky, and we discover the Slayers not only have an Army, but a Navy too. A Navy with attack submarines. :-) It's ridiculous in its way, but it's actually explained pretty well as Satsu gives us the pay-off on the 'Korean incident' line from the start of the episode. Incidentally, I assume it's North Korea she's talking about, since the international repercussions of stealing one of their subs would be rather less than taking one from a US ally. For the record, a Sang-O class diesel/electric submarine is armed with two torpedo tubes and has a crew of 15. How Satsu trained her Slayers to use it and where they keep it is left as an exercise for the reader. (Though I do wonder if the Japanese government is complicit - the squad run by Aiko and now Satsu does seem to operate more openly than the ones elsewhere in the world, and of course Japan has a long history of having to fight huge monsters...)

The idea that Kennedy puts smiley faces on favourable evaluations is a cute touch - striking a nice balance between the Slayer Army as a hierarchical organisation and a loose, informal activist network. :-)

And back to the season arc. I laughed again at Xander's "Big buts come with the Slayer territory" and his immediate back-tracking when he realised what he just said. Harmony is now a national TV celebrity and 'vampire rights spokeswoman', apparently, and Satsu asks the question quite a few fans have also asked; why hasn't she been staked yet? Buffy's answer seems reasonable enough, and shows that she has been thinking carefully about a response to the new situation. However, her inspirational speech at the end does strike rather a discordant note:

"We need to stop being whatever we've been and focus. Be more than human, or the less-than is going to win."

From one angle, a fairly standard bit of motivational rhetoric: don't be content with mediocrity, strive to excel, you can be better than you are. But on the other hand, Buffy is quite literally preaching the superman, and dismissing her opponents as Untermenschen. (Or she would be if she spoke German). She's spelling out more explicitly than ever before that she believes her Slayers are better than normal people.

Season Three Faith would be saying "Preach it, sister!" right about now. I suspect Season 8 Faith would be appalled. I wonder if we're supposed to be too?

Oh, and Satsu finally decides to move on with her life and put Buffy behind her, symbolised by throwing her cinnamon lip gloss in the bin. Good for her.

Comments

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 5th February 2009 22:46 (UTC)
pic#82327614

Oh, and Satsu finally decides to move on with her life and put Buffy behind her, symbolised by throwing her cinnamon lip gloss in the bin. Good for her.

Twice, the season 8 comics have brought tears to my eyes. The first time was when Renee died. The second time was this.

Now, I know Buffy/Satsu shippers are about as rare as Buffy/Parker ones, but I am one of them. I held out hope that these two might find a way to get together... probably not as a romantic couple (Joss wouldn't have it), but as a pair who could really energize each other.

My working assumption has been:

A) That Buffy loves Satsu. Whether she's "in love" with her depends on your definition, but it was very clear to me from their interaction in "A Beautiful Sunset" and "Wolves at the Gate" that there was much more there than Buffy simply making her sacrifice to Great Muppety Odin and relieving her sexual tension. There was respect, concern, compatibility, protectiveness, and tenderness there in addition to the sexual attraction.

B) That Satsu was Buffy's lifeline out of the tailspin she's in now. And Buffy missed. Yes, I know this had to happen for the story to progress.

And I know Satsu went to Tokyo in order to fall out of love with Buffy. And Buffy knew that.

But when the realization came to Satsu that she had to move on, she showed it not by putting it down, or putting it away... but by putting it in the trash.

She put her love for Buffy in the trash.

I've been told I'm reading too much into that symbolism, but frankly I don't think I am.

True Love spurned becomes True Hate? Sounds Joss-like to me.

This is going to end very, very badly. And that makes me very, very sad.

I had other problems with the issue. I don't know when Kennedy and Satsu would have had the chance to become such close friends that Ken would volunteer to go to Japan to help Satsu with romantic problems. Or how she would know that Satsu was still carrying the torch for Buffy. I guess they must have met somewhere before.

I thought Kennedy's constant insistence on Buffy's heterosexuality was her way of trying to convince herself that Buffy wasn't a rival for Willow... and trying to convince Satsu not to tempt Buffy any further down the gayness road. Don't know if I'm right about that.

I assume if Kennedy had found out about Saga Vasuki, we would have been clued in. I get the feeling that revelation may happen just in time for Oz to arrive on the scene.

And I still don't buy that the world can know about vampires but conveniently ignore the fact that they're killers. Just doesn't compute.

I knew they wouldn't be trying to pair Kennedy and Satsu up with the deeply offensive "all lesbians must sleep together" cliche, as soon as I saw the preview pages with Satsu angrily going on about how they sent "the other lesbian Slayer." (I guess she must have meant "the other one in our inner circle").

Didn't like the Vampy Cats. Another ineffectual and silly move by an ineffectual and silly Big Bad. If Twilight turns out to be the real threat this season, I will be surprised and disappointed.

Did like Satsu's displays of competence and brilliant leadership, her scenes with Kennedy, and the action scenes. I am happily willing to overlook the question of how a bunch of teenaged girls learned to pilot a submarine in a few weeks' time.

I didn't see the menace in Buffy's "more than human" speech. The Slayers are, objectively, more than human. If she were becoming a megalomaniac I don't think she would be talking about laying low, waiting to show the world they're the good guys, and not creating martyrs. She'd be off with Simone waving guns around. (Which she may be, by the end of next issue, but I didn't see any problem with what she said here.)

And most importantly, I didn't catch what it was in her (rightly businesslike) video conversation with Satsu that would cause such a harsh reaction in her. And I don't get why Kennedy thought Buffy would be talking about her relationship and sexuality in these circumstances.

I liked a lot of this issue. But I disliked more, I'm afraid.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 5th February 2009 23:41 (UTC)

I was a fan of Buffy/Satsu ever since 'The Long Way Home' (I wouldn't say "shipper" because I don't really do that) but I honestly think a clean break is the best for the two of them. Buffy in a relationship with Satsu would be like, well, Willow trying to get back together with Oz. :-)

I read tossing the lipgloss away as a decisive break with her old self, rather than "tossing her love in the trash". The old Satsu was in love with Buffy, yes, but she was also timid and klutzy and a self-conscious outsider; a far cry from the dynamic squad leader we saw here.

It seemed obvious to me that Kennedy and Satsu have met before, but I didn't see it as such a big deal. Willow also clearly knows Satsu reasonably well (from 'Wolves At The Gate'), at least enough to recognise her on sight. Plus Kennedy is apparently a roving troubleshooter, so likely to show up at odd times and places.


I thought Kennedy's constant insistence on Buffy's heterosexuality was her way of trying to convince herself that Buffy wasn't a rival for Willow.

That wasn't my reading - I can't see Kennedy ever being that insecure. I think she was just being blunt and laying it on the line for Satsu.

I didn't think that Kennedy "thought Buffy would be talking about [Satsu's] relationship and sexuality in these circumstances" at the end. I think she came to the conclusion that Satsu was still carrying a torch for Buffy, and clinging against all hope and reason to the fantasy that Buffy would one day realise she was gay after all and beg Satsu to come back.

So Kennedy's comment was meant as a pointed but sympathetic "You know it's never going to happen". And Satsu's response wasn't harsh, to my eyes; she simply thought about it for a long moment, then decided that Kennedy was right and she did need to move on.


I still don't buy that the world can know about vampires but conveniently ignore the fact that they're killers.

Well, only the *bad* vamps are killers. The good ones drink pigs' blood, or just take a sip from willing donors. And they're glamorous and powerful and lonely and forever beautiful, and they can give you eternal life as well if they choose...

I didn't see the menace in Buffy's "more than human" speech

I think the speech was deliberately pitched at two different levels. You can read it as sinister fascist propaganda, or as a perfectly genuine inspirational speech; and I'm pretty sure Buffy would be utterly horrified at the first implication. She doesn't see herself as the bad guy here. That's the problem.


Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 01:46 (UTC)
pic#82327614

I was a fan of Buffy/Satsu ever since 'The Long Way Home' (I wouldn't say "shipper" because I don't really do that) but I honestly think a clean break is the best for the two of them. Buffy in a relationship with Satsu would be like, well, Willow trying to get back together with Oz. :-)

Well, I was using "shipper" in the loose sense, not the cultish sense. :-) I'm not sure about the Buffy/Satsu = Willow/Oz comparison... Willow is demonstrably lesbian now ("don't truck with the stubbly crowd") and Buffy is demonstrably bisexual (recently slept with a woman -- this woman, in fact -- twice, and loved it). But yes, at this point a relationship of that kind probably wouldn't work. Would've worked fine back in WatG, but Buffy's fears put the stake in that.

A close relationship that isn't sexual would be nice too, though.

I read tossing the lipgloss away as a decisive break with her old self, rather than "tossing her love in the trash". The old Satsu was in love with Buffy, yes, but she was also timid and klutzy and a self-conscious outsider; a far cry from the dynamic squad leader we saw here.

Except that the lipgloss had clearly been established in the opening pages specifically as a metaphor for Buffy and Satsu's feelings for her. So, if in the final panel it represented "Satsu's old self," it was a mixed metaphor. I'm not sure in what way her "self" changed during this issue, apart from giving up on Buffy. The image of the lipgloss in the garbage struck me as a deliberate piece of foreshadowing. I could be wrong. I dearly hope I am.

Being in charge has indeed had a very good effect on Satsu. Where she is now is clearly more fulfilling than where she was before.

It seemed obvious to me that Kennedy and Satsu have met before, but I didn't see it as such a big deal.

It's clear they've met (Satsu recognized her on sight)... but Kennedy was with Willow, and then working in New York, and Satsu was with Buffy, then in working in Tokyo. When did they get to know each other so well that Kennedy would travel around the world for a relationship intervention? Why does it mean that much to her?

Maybe one of Satsu's squad expressed concern about it to the higher-ups? That's the only way I can think of that Kennedy would even know Buffy/Satsu was still an issue.

I can't see Kennedy ever being that insecure.

Buffy: "My Will..."
Kennedy: "Hey, grubby paws off, lez-faux... you put the moves on Red and I'll kill you like a chicken!"
Buffy: "Hamnoo?"

I think she's insecure about this, and scared of Buffy taking Willow from her. She knows how close those two are, and doesn't know if she'd be able to compete if it came down to it.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 11:52 (UTC)

Buffy is demonstrably bisexual

I think this is where we differ, since I don't think that at all. I think Buffy is heterosexual, emotionally close to Satsu as a friend (the same way she's close to Willow and Xander), and after five years of being BFFs with Willow, finds the idea of lesbian sex completely unthreatening and non-freaky. It's not something she especially wants herself, but when Satsu is right there and really, really keen on the idea, Buffy decides to see what it's like.

When did they get to know each other so well

Before Season 8 even started would be my first guess; Kennedy was in charge of training the Potentials in S7 so maybe she also handled Satsu's initial training. Also, remember that in 8.12 Willow also recognised Satsu on sight ("Why are you naked in bed with Satsu?"), and spent time talking to her on the way to Japan. I wouldn't be surprised if it were Willow's suggestion that sent Kennedy to evaluate Satsu.


I think she's insecure about this, and scared of Buffy taking Willow from her

I read that scene a different way. I think Kennedy is hot-tempered and jealous and possessive, and doesn't like other people making moves on her girlfriend, even though she's far too self-confident to worry that Willow would actually choose somebody else. Remember, when Will gives her babbly "You know I love you..." speech to Kennedy next issue Kennedy's reply is "Duh".

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 13:01 (UTC)

I think this is where we differ, since I don't think that at all. I think Buffy is heterosexual, emotionally close to Satsu as a friend (the same way she's close to Willow and Xander), and after five years of being BFFs with Willow, finds the idea of lesbian sex completely unthreatening and non-freaky. It's not something she especially wants herself, but when Satsu is right there and really, really keen on the idea, Buffy decides to see what it's like.

This is most definitely where we do differ. I firmly believe what you're describing above is bisexuality. The words "heterosexual" and "straight" were coined specifically to refer to people who don't behave and feel the way Buffy did/does. Just as I don't believe you can say "I enjoy having sex, but I still consider myself a virgin," a woman can't say "I enjoy having sex with a woman, but I still consider myself straight."

But that's all a matter of labels that Joss doesn't care about anyway, and it's an argument I don't have the energy to have again. :-(

In any case, if Buffy finds sex with a woman completely non-threatening, it should be no barrier at all to a relationship with Satsu. She could continue to call herself straight, if that's what makes her happy.

I really did love the idea of them as a couple, and writing about them. But the inspiration is well and truly gone now. I guess that's what I'm mourning the most. I will miss them.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 13:30 (UTC)
buffy-satsu-healing

Well, I distinguish between "finds sex non-threatening" and "is passionately enthusiastic about sex". ;-) ("I didn't do enough things! You did more things than me!" "And you let me.")

I could imagine Buffy and Satsu having a long-term relationship, but I think for Buffy there'd always be an element of "Well, I don't mind the sex. Orgasms are nice however you get them. And Satsu loves it, and she makes me happy in other ways, so I guess I'm happy too."

I mentioned Willow/Oz before, and that's pretty much how I imagine Willow felt at the time. (Although she was younger and less self-aware and probably trying to convince herself that this really was what she wanted). But looking back and comparing what she felt then with how she feels with Tara and Kennedy, Willow concludes that she's gay not bi. I don't see why the same argument can't be made in reverse for Buffy. It's a matter of general preferences and identification.

Buffy's a 1 on the Kinsey scale, not a 0; and Willow is a 4 or 5, not a 6 - but not a 3 either.

I'm not trying to draw you into an argument, by the way. :-) Just explaining my point of view. I enjoyed your Buffy/Satsu fics a lot, and I hope you'll keep writing them.

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 14:32 (UTC)

Well, I distinguish between "finds sex non-threatening" and "is passionately enthusiastic about sex". ;-) ("I didn't do enough things! You did more things than me!" "And you let me.")

I could imagine Buffy and Satsu having a long-term relationship, but I think for Buffy there'd always be an element of "Well, I don't mind the sex. Orgasms are nice however you get them. And Satsu loves it, and she makes me happy in other ways, so I guess I'm happy too."


Well, she did describe it as one of the best nights of her life. Untruthfully, it seems.

I thought she "didn't do enough things" not because she didn't want to, but because she was inexperienced at girl sex. And she was feeling anxious that she hasn't done enough to please Satsu.

Honestly, in ABS and WatG I didn't see any element of "love" that was missing in Buffy's interactions with Satsu, except the fear of both getting hurt as a result.

The labels don't really matter here. Buffy did what she did, gay or straight or whatever, and she'll do what she'll do in the future.

So Willow was right. Buffy used a girl for sex, knowing said girl was in love with her, and then pushed her away after the orgasm was over. And that will have consequences. I assume that's why the whole incident was written into the story in the first place.

I enjoyed your Buffy/Satsu fics a lot, and I hope you'll keep writing them.

Thanks, but honestly... it's getting to be too lonely a road to travel. I think maybe I'll put them in with Satsu's lip gloss and move on.

I just don't know. This story is affecting me way, way more than it should. They're just colored squiggles on a piece of paper. I wish I didn't care so much about them. And I hate that nobody else sees them, and what happened between them, the way I do.

Nice userpic up there, by the way. Mind if I borrow it?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 14:53 (UTC)

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 15:01 (UTC)

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 7th February 2009 11:45 (UTC)

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 7th February 2009 14:00 (UTC)

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 10th July 2011 13:07 (UTC)
RE: Buffy-Satsu

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 12th July 2011 17:51 (UTC)
Re: Buffy-Satsu

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 15:23 (UTC)

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 01:47 (UTC)
pic#82327614

I can't see Kennedy ever being that insecure.

Buffy: "My Will..."
Kennedy: "Hey, grubby paws off, lez-faux... you put the moves on Red and I'll kill you like a chicken!"
Buffy: "Hamnoo?"

I think she's insecure about this, and scared of Buffy taking Willow from her. She knows how close those two are, and doesn't know if she'd be able to compete if it came down to it.

I think she came to the conclusion that Satsu was still carrying a torch for Buffy, and clinging against all hope and reason to the fantasy that Buffy would one day realise she was gay after all and beg Satsu to come back.

Well, she knew that from the beginning... it was her stated reason for volunteering to evaluate Satsu.

I don't know what new information Satsu gets during the course of this issue that would change her feelings. You've got Kennedy going:

K: "She's not gay!"
S: "I know."
K: "She's not gay!"
S: "I know."
K: "She's totally not gay!"
S: "I KNOW!"

And she's got a video conference that was apparently supposed to go like this:

B: "We're in trouble, our lives and organization are in mortal peril, and we've got to be careful and be ready."
S: "Are you in love with me yet, Buffy?"
B: "Yes. Please come back and hold me and never let me go."

But, these specific circumstances aside... I'm not sure why it would be against all reason to think that a woman who had made love to you in the recent past, and had behaved lovingly towards you, might be motivated to fall in love with you.

Kennedy's motives may not have been entirely selfish, but they were a bit misguided, IMO. Buffy's been in relationships with two vampires, both of whom tried to kill her multiple times. But it couldn't work with Satsu because she has innie-parts instead of outie-parts?

Sexual orientation was not Buffy's stated reason for rejecting a relationship with Satsu. In fact, Buffy clearly dismissed it as a non-issue ("it would be fine for me...")

That said, Satsu shouldn't live a celibate life while hoping Buffy will come around. But if she really is in love with Buffy, the evidence at hand shouldn't be sufficient to convince her to give up hope.

Just the romantic in me, I guess.

(Bear with me. This is my particular thing, and I can't just let it go. :-)

And Satsu's response wasn't harsh, to my eyes;

The image of the trash bin really stood out to me.

Well, only the *bad* vamps are killers. The good ones drink pigs' blood, or just take a sip from willing donors. And they're glamorous and powerful and lonely and forever beautiful, and they can give you eternal life as well if they choose...

But there are exactly two of the former, and... how many thousands of the latter, out there killing in every town, every night? And completely unable to not do so?

The media can only go so far in convincing people to ignore the evidence right in front of them. Would a cute reality show be enough to convince us to welcome Al Qaeda operatives into our neighborhoods? But Old Uncle Osama seems like such a jolly and sweet man!

I think the speech was deliberately pitched at two different levels. You can read it as sinister fascist propaganda, or as a perfectly genuine inspirational speech; and I'm pretty sure Buffy would be utterly horrified at the first implication. She doesn't see herself as the bad guy here. That's the problem.

I don't think she is the bad guy, at least not yet. Her thinking may be on dangerous ground, but she hasn't shown any desire yet to do anything other than fight evil, within guidelines considerably more ethical than seen in the typical action movie or "24" episode. I think we're tending to jump the gun a bit on the whole "Buffy is going bad" idea. Her biggest problem so far is that she's trying to apply to a global military organization the same approach and strategies she used when her "army" consisted of half a dozen teenagers in sneakers and t-shirts. Her disconnectedness is a problem, but I don't see evidence of her giving in to the "bad guy" impulse despite constant provocations and reasons to do just that.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 12:28 (UTC)

she knew that from the beginning... it was her stated reason for volunteering to evaluate Satsu

I think she was worried that Satsu would be feeling this way - and spending time with her confirmed her fears.

As for Satsu, I think the "new information" she got was simply confirmation of something she already knew but was refusing to admit to herself.

Sexual orientation was not Buffy's stated reason for rejecting a relationship with Satsu. In fact, Buffy clearly dismissed it as a non-issue ("it would be fine for me...")

"It's fine for me" seemed more like Buffy explaining why she didn't mind that Satsu was in love with her, because the affirmation that she was still attractive and desirable made her feel less lonely. Remember, her very next words were to warn Satsu to stay away from her for her own benefit, because while such a one-sided relationship was great for Buffy it was much less great for Satsu. (And Buffy knew that, and felt guilty about it because she genuinely cares about Satsu as a friend.)

Bear with me. This is my particular thing, and I can't just let it go.

:-) I've every hope that Satsu will be important to Buffy - and hopefully not as her nemesis - but I also do like the fact, as some people have mentioned elsewhere, that this is the first time in her entire life that Buffy has ended a sexual relationship gracefully and with no bad feelings on either side and with nobody being stabbed, beaten or killed.


Would a cute reality show be enough to convince us to welcome Al Qaeda operatives into our neighborhoods?

If the general public are aware of the evil vampires and what they do, then probably not. But if the media don't report that, and all anyone knows about is cute, bubbly Harmony - and Angel saving LA from Hell, possibly - I can well believe it.

And since you've raised Al Qaeda, there's a perfect analogy to prove it. The IRA was welcomed into many American neighbourhoods, and allowed to raise funds to finance its terror bombings aimed at murdering innocent civilians. But because the media didn't dwell on that side of their activities, and because they didn't target US citizens, nobody really cared and some people saw them as heroes.

I think we're tending to jump the gun a bit on the whole "Buffy is going bad" idea.

I can't speak for others, but I myself do agree she's not turning evil in the black hat and death ray sense. She's just behaving as the poster girl for the dangers of staring into the abyss for too long. To continue your al-Quaeda analogy, is the US turning evil because of Iraq and Guantanamo Bay and Falluja and Abu Ghraib and the PATRIOT Act and waterboarding and special rendition?

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 14:53 (UTC)

"It's fine for me" seemed more like Buffy explaining why she didn't mind that Satsu was in love with her, because the affirmation that she was still attractive and desirable made her feel less lonely. Remember, her very next words were to warn Satsu to stay away from her for her own benefit, because while such a one-sided relationship was great for Buffy it was much less great for Satsu. (And Buffy knew that, and felt guilty about it because she genuinely cares about Satsu as a friend.)

But her next words, and the tears that accompanied them, seemed to indicate her fear was not Satsu being hurt by unrequited love, but being hurt from being close to Buffy. Buffy was afraid of Satsu suffering from their love like Angel, Riley and Spike had, and she was afraid of having to deal once again with the guilt of that.

I've every hope that Satsu will be important to Buffy - and hopefully not as her nemesis - but I also do like the fact, as some people have mentioned elsewhere, that this is the first time in her entire life that Buffy has ended a sexual relationship gracefully and with no bad feelings on either side and with nobody being stabbed, beaten or killed.

Wait for it. This is a Joss Whedon story, after all. As I said, there's a reason for putting this storyline in.

If the general public are aware of the evil vampires and what they do, then probably not. But if the media don't report that, and all anyone knows about is cute, bubbly Harmony - and Angel saving LA from Hell, possibly - I can well believe it.

The thing is, during L.A.'s time in Hell the people got to know quite well what vampires are really like. When Angel brought Gunn to the hospital, the first question they asked was whether he'd been the victim of a vampire or demon attack.

I just don't find it plausible that reality TV is the people's one and only source of information here, and nobody... even the police or the government... seems even slightly curious to question the situation despite nightly evidence to the contrary.

And since you've raised Al Qaeda, there's a perfect analogy to prove it. The IRA was welcomed into many American neighbourhoods, and allowed to raise funds to finance its terror bombings aimed at murdering innocent civilians. But because the media didn't dwell on that side of their activities, and because they didn't target US citizens, nobody really cared and some people saw them as heroes.

But the vampires *are* killing US citizens, in their own neighborhoods, all the time.

I can't speak for others, but I myself do agree she's not turning evil in the black hat and death ray sense. She's just behaving as the poster girl for the dangers of staring into the abyss for too long. To continue your al-Quaeda analogy, is the US turning evil because of Iraq and Guantanamo Bay and Falluja and Abu Ghraib and the PATRIOT Act and waterboarding and special rendition?

But what actions has Buffy taken that you would equate with those things? She has continued to be very careful about not killing humans, despite the fact that said humans are not nearly as conscientious about not killing Slayers (or cheering when they do). She hasn't tortured anyone. The worst thing she's done is steal money from Swiss bank accounts, which puts her on about the same level of evil as the Ocean's 11 crew.

Posted by: mr_waterproof (mr_waterproof)
Posted at: 5th February 2009 23:52 (UTC)

First Kennedy was threatening Buffy to stay away from Willow, then she goes half way round the world to warn Satsu to stay away from Buffy. Had she looked into Buffy's eyes and seen her soul was truly Hetero?
This was Satsu's issue, Kennedy was chosen as the character to help her move on. As for the possibility of Satedy as a couple, this would only make sense if they wanted to break up Willow and Kennedy. And this would only make sense if the story either required Willow's heart to be broken again, or they had other romantic plans for Willow. Tara being resurrected seems to have been ruled out for this season, so that means the possibilities are:
Buffy: The Time of Your Life confirmed that the relationship between Buffy and Willow is absolutely crucial to this season. Perhaps Butsu was put in to make an exploration of the possible sexual tension here more plausible.
Oz: Joss seemed fairly definite that Willow is now Gay (not Bi). It would certainly divide the fans
Saga Vasuki: She probably doesn't do monogomy, but maybe she was overwhelmed at meeting a mortal with such power
Faith: An outside bet since they have never had any time for each other before, but they do have a lot in common post Season 6.
Melaka Fray: Someone should write the fic.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 00:15 (UTC)

the possibility of Satedy as a couple

The Satedy Girls

I remember the first day I met her,
That September morning was clear and fresh.
The way she spoke
And laughed at my jokes
And the way she rubbed her katana on the edge of my desk.
She became a magic mystery to me
And we Slay together making vamps history twice a week.
And some days we'd walk the same way home
And it's amazing how quick
A giant monster attack can clear the streets.


(Sorry)

Posted by: mr_waterproof (mr_waterproof)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 00:18 (UTC)

Don't apologise, I want to hear Billy Bragg sing it now!

Posted by: fix me, motherfucker! i'm standing right here. (immortality)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 14:30 (UTC)
buffy: b/s ; time to say goodbye

I don't really have anything to add to this comment, except the fact that I totally am a Buffy/Satsu shipper. *waves tiny flag*

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 6th February 2009 15:06 (UTC)

Thanks. :-)

(I made a userpic from that same panel of the comics!)

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