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(Review) BtVS 8.23 'Predators and Prey'

7th March 2009 (02:36)

In common with a few other people, my initial reaction to 'Predators and Prey' was strangely conflicted. It's a perfectly good issue, addressing some important thematic issues and moving the plot along nicely, yet it left me somewhat underwhelmed. I'm thinking the reason could be because the emotional conflict and metaphor wasn't particularly subtle: Buffy has to confront someone who, essentially, is herself, or at least the version of herself that other people are seeing. Maybe my relative lack of excitement was due to the fact that I didn't have to dig so hard this month to work out what was going on. :-)

Plus, this was an Andrew-centric episode. I'm starting to dislike him less than I did when he was on the TV show, but I have to admit my pulse doesn't race and my breath catch in my throat when I hear the news "this issue of the comic will be all about Andrew Wells!" (Though as I said to shapinglight, I'm not knocking Tom Lenk particularly. It must be one of the most thankless tasks in acting, to play a character who's supposed to be aggravating. The better you do your job, the more the audience will hate you. And Tom did his job really well...)

Anyway, on with the review.


Andrew's opening voice-over about how the Slayers are one big happy family appears to be pretty typical of him. He's repeating the same party line that others, such as Xander, have offered in previous issues. We've learned already that Buffy herself feels somewhat excluded from this sense of community. In 'Harmonic Divergence', we saw Soledad being repelled by it, seeing it as a hostile force. As for Andrew himself, we will learn in this issue that his own feelings are far more conflicted than this opening scene would suggest. He's trying to convince himself that he's also a part of this happy family... while believing in his heart that he doesn't deserve to be, and he's only there on sufferance.

His remark "I like your top" shouted as he dashes past the two girls is a classic "I've learned how to interact socially with women from a website!" kind of line. I'm not sure if the expression on the Slayer in green's face is meant to be contempt or fond exasperation, though. His dramatic entrance is pretty amusing too, as is Buffy's reaction to it. Interesting that both Xander and Willow try to censor or minimise Buffy's initial harsh comment.

The makeshift command centre is quite a come-down for them after the castle. They've apparently even had to scrounge a dot matrix printer from somewhere, judging by what Xander's holding. The bag on the worktop appears to say "DONTS'... which is either the name of a shop, an abbreviation of 'doughnuts', or proof that they're so wealthy from plundering banks that they fly in their doughnuts from the US instead of buying them in Scotland. Or a lack of britpicking by the artist.

Also, Willow is wearing a necklace that says "Willow" on it. Which is cute, although it does lay Georges Jeanty open to snarky comments wishing that all the other characters in the comics would wear nametags too. *g* (For the record, I think this is a very good likeness of Alyson/Willow. One thing Jeanty is very good at is subtle expressions.) Nice to see Buffy wearing a cross around her neck, too; that's a callback to earlier seasons.

On a more serious art-related note, there are a couple of continuity errors in this scene. On page 2, Buffy's shirt has a plain round collar, and she's sitting on the left-hand side of the picture with Willow on the right. In the second frame on page 3, we view the scene from the opposite perspective, so Buffy should now be on the right... but she's not, she's still on the left. Also, she's now wearing a pink shirt with a collar instead of a pink cardigan with a pinkish-white t-shirt under it. Then in the 5th and 6th panels, her clothes have changed again: now the pink cardigan has returned, but her shirt has a seam down the front and a v-shaped cut-out at the neck. Oops.

We're being told again that Harmony's reality TV show is causing huge problems for the Slayer organisation. I know a lot of people have had trouble swallowing that idea; but one thing both 'Swell' and this issue do show is that it isn't all just down to Harmony. Other people, such as Santorio in the last issue and Simone in this one, are taking advantage of the current public infatuation with vampires to forward their own agenda, and contribute to the growing chaos.

We get this issue's first comparison between Buffy and Simone when Buffy mentions, without any apparent sense of irony, that the rogue Slayer has been robbing banks and raiding military bases... and also Hot Topic shops. (Hot Topic sell music-related merchandise, and in the real world - as opposed to the Buffyverse - they're an exclusively North American chain with no retail presence in Italy or Europe as a whole at all. Maybe Simone's gang stole one of Buffy's private jets? *g*) To make the parallel between Buffy and Simone even more pointed, Andrew points out that she has also been "kicking people out of their homes", just like Buffy did in 'Touched'.

Did anyone else get the impression that Buffy thought Xander was invading her personal bubble by grabbing her arm like that? She seems rather uncomfortable, and it also seems a bit more intimate than Xander would normally get with her. Hmm. The "Andrew is a geek and Buffy's reaction to this is not what you'd expect" joke takes a while to set up, but it's pretty funny. Notice also that Buffy is being quite sympathetic and understanding all through this episode.

Other reviewers of this issue have dwelt on how many of Andrew's references they were able to get themselves and how many went over their heads, so I'll naturally do the same. And since I'm an insane completist, I'll also research answers to the other questions...

1) The pictures showing a plane, a train and an automobile are presumably a reference to the 1987 Steve Martin film. Incidentally, there are plenty of direct flights from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Milan, from which presumably they could drive, so I'm not really sure why they would need to take the train as well. However, if Simone really has stolen their private jet that might explain why they had to take a commercial airliner. :-)

2) The discussion of Jedi and lightsabres is obviously from Star Wars, while Xander and Oz were discussing Superman's weakness to kryptonite way back in Season 3. Also, "Who would win in a fight between X and Y" is a standard geek trope.

3) Vanity Smurf is from the Belgian comic and its TV adaptation. I knew that, but had to look up the specific character. Amusingly, according to his Wikipedia entry (yes, I know...) "Vanity is the epitome of a Narcissist. He has a flower in his hat, and he often holds a hand mirror, staring into his own reflection, which he kisses often." You can tell why Andrew might identify with him and feel he's "misunderstood" because of his behaviour.

4) The references to (Anastasia) Dualla, Lee (Adama) and Billy (Keikeya) are all from Battlestar Galactica. I don't watch that show and so had to look this one up. I don't know why Andrew refers to Dualla by her surname and the two men by their first names; is it a BSG thing or an insight into Andrew's character? Anyway, Billy and Dualla had a relationship but when he proposed to her, she turned him down - and he was killed soon after, and she later married Lee. Who, apparently, then put on weight. This storyline was broadcast in Spring 2006.

5) I had to look this one up (which I managed by Googling the phrase "fascists took over England", if you're wondering.) It's a reference to the Alan Moore comic V for Vendetta, and the character who wrote her autobiography on toilet paper was called Valerie Page. She'd been imprisoned by the aforementioned fascist government for the 'crime' of being gay. The comic came out in the 1980s, the film version in March 2006.

6) This is a reference to the Dungeons and Dragons game Andrew played with Giles, Xander and Amanda in 'Chosen'. "Talking about your character" is another RPG-geek stereotype. It's interesting that Andrew has (a) noticed that Buffy and Giles aren't talking to each other but (b) he doesn't know why not, suggesting it's not common knowledge.

7) Linda Hamilton and Arnold (Schwarzenegger) starred in the first two Terminator films. Schwarzenegger, but not Hamilton, also starred in the widely criticised 2003 film Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

8) Helen Keller (1880-1968) was a writer and activist noted for being both blind and deaf. The idea of her being a secret agent is Andrew being weird, but I'll note that in the shooting script of 'Dirty Girls' Faith seemed to be thinking along similar lines: "They say your other senses get better. Maybe all blind people are smokin' in a knife fight. ... Not sayin' it's likely."

9) Heath Ledger was nominated for an Oscar in 2005 for his role in Brokeback Mountain (are you spotting something of a gay theme in Andrew's geek references yet?). He died of an overdose in January 2008.

10) The character Don Draper is an advertising executive in the 2007 TV series Mad Men, set in the 1960s. (I had to look this one up).

11) The Italian count who wants to give Andrew "private driving lessons" (ahem) is presumably an original character.

12) The "No bitchassness" quote comes from something producer and rapper P Diddy said on the MTV reality TV show Making the Band in 2003. I looked this one up too.

13) See (1).

14) Andrew is singing the theme tune of the 1980s children's cartoon series Jem. Jem is the alter ego of an ordinary girl called Jerrica, who transforms herself into the famous rockstar using advanced hologram technology to disguise her true identity. (Could this be a clue that Andrew is actually Twilight, using a similar technique? Nah, probably not.) Yep, I had to look this up.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWkPh44I-EQ

15) Daniel Craig first appeared as Bond in the 2006 film Casino Royale. As we know from 'Anywhere But Here', Buffy is also a big fan of his.

Incidentally, Scott Allie has pointed out that Season Eight works on "comic book time", which is rather more vague than real world time. Specifically, in this case, the writers are using present-day pop culture references that the casual reader will appreciate, rather than spending time researching what characters in 2004 or 2005 would be talking about. As we find out later with Buffy's reference to having been friends with Xander for eight years, we're still supposed to consider Season 8 as taking place over the course of a reasonably short period of time (one, maybe two years) rather than the entire period from 2003 to 2009.

I have to admit I laughed when I found out why Buffy really said "Stop". The reasons for her interest in Daniel Craig are pretty transparent, too... though the casual "I've done that" about running on rooftops was pretty funny too. Especially since Buffy has done it for real, and Craig presumably had stuntmen and safety ropes and stuff. Once again, the writers decline to commit themselves on Andrew's sexuality, just as he declines to commit himself on the subject of Daniel Craig's swimming trunks. It's generally accepted that he's gay but completely in denial about it, although the thought occurs that maybe he's heterosexual, just very camp and non-traditionally-masculine and we're all being prejudiced by assuming that means he must therefore be gay. Or perhaps he's leaping into bed with hot, hunky men all the time, but chooses not to discuss his sexuality at all with Buffy and her gang.

We get another example of Buffy's empathy when she agrees with Andrew's comment about bullies.

Nisha's quite a fun character, in her acerbic and sarcastic way. Judging by her name and skin colour, she's Indian in origin, incidentally. It's interesting that she already knows that Andrew created the Ragna demon and arranged the trap - something Buffy does not know. In fact, Buffy's dislike of research shows her up even more here; if she'd discovered beforehand that Ragna demons were supposed to be extinct, she might have suspected Andrew's story earlier. But apparently her organisation is carrying on all sorts of projects without her knowledge, despite her being its leader - a theme that recurs in this episode, not to mention being the whole point of the Simone arc. Buffy's not as in control of things as she'd like to think.

Nisha's reference to Andrew performing "recombinant DNA experiments" to bring back the Ragna demon is a homage to Jurassic Park. I'm not sure if we're supposed to take her literally, but I suspect not. She was joking, and Andrew used more traditional magic demon-summoning and cross-breeding methods to bring back the Ragna. Remember, back in Season 6 when he was part of the Trio demon-summoning was his speciality (and something he learned from his famous brother Tucker, no doubt). Oh, and Charlotte is a reference to the children's novel Charlotte's Web, about a friendly spider of that name. Like Buffy, I can also remember reading it as a kid.

And now, enter Simone. Her hair is the same as when we saw her in episodes 2, 5 and 11, but now she's apparently wearing a hussar jacket like the one Captain John wore on Torchwood. She's loyal and supportive of her friend, contemptuous and bullying towards Andrew, and treats Buffy on equal terms while being not at all a member of the Buffy fan club. The line about "I am a threat" and her casual zapping of the demon show her up to be pretty badass too. So in short: a charismatic bully. A dangerous person.

An interesting insight into Andrew's current state of mind comes next. He's lying and devious, but pretty decent at heart and wants to meet his responsibilities, and is pretty mature about that. He's got a problem about asking for help, though, and therefore keeps secrets from his friends.

It's no wonder Buffy is reasonably sympathetic with him; she surely sees a lot of herself there. *g* Although her line about "Lying to me is [the way to make me lose faith in you]" is classic no-nonsense Buffy. And Andrew doesn't think she's a fan of irony, which is itself ironic considering the theme of this month's episode.

And now they get to travel in a boat, as well as a plane, train and car. Buffy is still pissed off, by the looks of it. The village is, indeed, beautiful; the little Italian peasant girl in rags is straight out of Central Casting, though. But she clearly touches Buffy's heart, and Buffy is still in her determined mood as she promises to explain to Simone the ethics of home stealing. (Shh! Nobody talk about 'Touched'!) Interestingly, this small island fishing village apparently has its very own opera house. Those wacky Italians, eh?

And now we get to the passage that has set the Internet aflame with comment. Well okay, not really. But here in episode 8.23, and for the first time since 7.22, the name "Spike" is uttered out loud. *g* And we get Andrew's definitive judgement on the Bangel versus Spuffy controversy, as he tries to set the record straight by telling Buffy everything he needs to tell her before his anticipated death at Simone's hands:

"Now that I've met Angel, I have to say, Spike was so much edgier, you definitely traded up, I'm totally Team Spike. Also, I know I'm in the minority, but I liked it when you cut your hair."

Buffy's reaction is to stand there, open-mouthed in shock, utterly gobsmacked for two entire panels of the comic.

Now, it's possible that she's shocked at the news that people hated her short-haired look (I assume this is a reference to 'Gone'). But assuming it's the first part of Andrew's comment that hit her, I can speculate on some reasons.

1. The simple mention of those names got to her, because she thinks Spike is dead. (Or does she???)

2. The idea that Andrew is passing judgement on something so personal to her shocks her. After all, Buffy herself knows nothing of the shipper wars waged in her name by fandom.

3. It is, I suppose, possible that she didn't know that Andrew had met Angel, and was shocked by learning this. That would give comfort to the people who think Andrew lied in 'Damage' about having received his orders from Buffy. This episode itself also supports that, by showing that Andrew is capable of coming up with elaborate schemes and not telling Buffy about them.

4. Buffy is shocked by the affirmation of her relationship with Spike by a third party. Remember, in Season 6 she was bitterly ashamed of herself for sleeping with him; in Season 7 she was extremely defensive about him, and had to endure the suspicion and hostility of Xander and Dawn, Willow pushing her towards Robin Wood instead, and Giles's murderous betrayal of him. It's hardly surprising that Buffy might conclude that nobody else would ever understand or support her feelings for him... and now to hear Andrew not only accepting her relationship with Spike but saying that Spike was better for her than Angel was... well, I think those are words that Buffy never thought to hear from anyone. I wonder if she'll continue to think them over in the coming issues?

Anyway, on with the plot. Buffy finds herself surrounded by Simone's army. Incidentally, there are 19 people in the room plus Simone herself, Andrew and Buffy. Later on, Simone mentions her "16 Slayers", so I have to assume 3 of the people in the room are non-Slayers - Wiccans, presumably. Or even just hangers-on or groupies. It's worthy of note that all the people in the room appear to be women; Simone's gang might be anarchists and rebels and criminals out to have fun and take what they want from life, but they apparently haven't acquired boyfriends for themselves. So either moscow_watcher</lj>'s theory about the side-effect of the Slayer Empowerment Spell is true after all; or maybe they've got the boys chained up in their bedrooms. *g*

As other people have noted, it does test the suspension of belief somewhat that Simone could take over an entire island - even a really small one - without the Italian government intervening. Simone talks about fear; they must be really afraid of these 20 girls. She talks about being the "agents of change and fear" - and remember that back in 'A Beautiful Sunset' when we last saw Simone Buffy was also talking about herself bringing change, and how that was a good thing. But now she rejects Simone's attempt to claim she's the same as her - maybe it's the "fear" part that she rejects. "It's not who I am".

For a moment, let's just compare Simone to Faith back in 'Consequences'. There are definite similarities: Faith also wanted to use her powers to have fun, and rejected the rules placed on her by ordinary society because Slayers were better. However, there's also a big difference. Faith was still committed to the idea of helping people and fighting evil, she just thought she should get special allowances made for her because of that, and be allowed to do whatever she wanted to because she was one of the good guys. (*cough*just like Season8Buffy*cough*). Simone, however, is motivated purely by selfishness and anger. In fact, as we soon learn she's also incredibly petty and spiteful. She has a grudge against Andrew because she thinks she's better than him and yet he was placed in charge of her, and she just wants him to suffer for that.

And nothing gets Buffy angry faster than an attack on one of her friends... and nothing makes her realise she's friends with someone faster than them being attacked. (See: Tara, 'Family'). Let's also take a moment to admire her courage: she's surrounded by 20 assorted hostile Slayers and witches, with no back-up as far as she knows, and she's completely unafraid.

For all her anger the sword duel is a bit random, but fun nevertheless. Maybe Buffy just wanted to knock Simone down a peg; I'm pretty sure she's not out to kill her. Errol Flynn may have swung from the chandelier, but I bet he never made a standing jump from the ground up to one, then flipped himself one-handed over the top of it while cutting through the rope and dropping it on his opponent. Incidentally, note that Simone is left-handed - or at least she holds her sword in her left hand. I wondered about the gun for a moment, but looking back I saw that she does indeed have a holster strapped to her leg, so its appearance was legitimate.

The symbolism of Buffy, the experienced fighter, and Simone, the younger, arrogant and faster challenger, is obvious. And Simone wins the fight, because she's more ruthless and willing to use a gun, which Buffy isn't. Yet.

Andrew gets his glory moment as he's willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Buffy cutting short his attempt to quote Spock from 'Star Trek' because she's "geek-bonded" with Xander too and already knows the quote is amusing; and notice that even with a gun pointed at her face she's not backing down an inch. Her actions here have been compared to the argument over saving Willow as opposed to stopping the Ascension in 'Choices', and also to her actions in 'Time of your Life'. There she was willing to sacrifice a group of innocent people now in order to strike a greater long-term blow against evil later. Here, though, she does the opposite: she puts saving Andrew's life now above the potential and abstract threat later she would otherwise prevent. This is an important moment for her, and the look on her face as she says firmly "Because that's who I am." brings that home. This is, quite possibly, Buffy's season 8 epiphany, or at least the start of it.

Of course it's not entirely uncontroversial; saving the life of one of her friends now even if it means more people will die later on is hardly unproblematic. But that's the way Buffy works; and she'd argue that she will probably find a way to save the other people too, if you give her the time. The 'General Buffy' of late season 7 and early season 8, willing to sacrifice even Dawn for the cause if she had to, is gone.

And with that, in comes the cavalry. It is quite touching to see that the rest of Andrew's squad are actually loyal to him, and not about to see him hurt. Also, note that it was Xander who organised the whole thing by letting Italy Squad know what was happening.

On the other hand - see how Buffy is almost sidelined as an irrelevance. Italy Squad are here to rescue Andrew, and Buffy is an afterthought. And when she wants them to take back the island for its original inhabitants, she's overruled. "With all due respect", the other Slayers are not going to obey her orders. Looks like the Slayer Army is not quite so hierarchical and disciplined as some people thought, eh? Although the fact that it's fellow-Slayers, not demons, they're opposing might help explain the reluctance to actually fight them. Just as we saw with Simone's challenge, and as we've been seeing in episodes like 'Wolves At the Gate', Buffy's position as leader of the Slayers is in danger of becoming nothing more than a respected but powerless figurehead overtaken by younger and hungrier competitors.

Buffy does still get a moment of coolness, however. I think it's very symbolic that she grabs Simone's gun away from her to do it with. We all know how Buffy hates guns - something referenced twice in this very issue. But now, having recognised that loyalty to her friends is "who she is", she is willing to take up her enemy's weapon herself and use it - not to kill anyone, but in an act of liberation. Shooting the padlock off the Ragna's cage with one shot from a handgun from about 15 feet away is not a bad feat of marksmanship... suggesting that a Slayer's affinity for all weapons does extend to guns as well, and it's only Buffy's personal hang-ups that made her awkward around them. Until now.

It's quite impressive how Jeanty managed to make the Ragna demon seem sympathetic, even though she's a big spider with bulbous red eyes and chittering mandibles. She looked all sad and pathetic in the cage earlier, and when Buffy frees her she seems to be thinking "Oh wow! Thank you, mysterious small blonde human!" Notice also that she's given the privilege of a gendered pronoun instead of just "it". Simone's reaction is pretty funny too - and Buffy's act in closing the double doors leaving the people trapped in the room with a demon is a call-back to both 'Potential' and 'Reunion'. I wonder what happens to the Ragna; Buffy assumes Simone's gang would kill her, but I'm kind of hoping she escaped and will live on to appear again.

So Buffy went out on a high note; but it was still a lost battle. Simone still controls the island, and the Pitiful Italian Peasant Girl and her Grandmother are still homeless. It isn't fair, and Buffy knows that. The only positive, except for the personal character development, is that at least they know where Simone is now.

Are those her pyjamas she's wearing, or just casual clothing as she leans sexily against the doorpost to tell Andrew it's time for bed? *g* The final scene is a nice moment for Andrew fans, of course (I hear there are some). For Buffy, though, it's important as well: she's in a space where she can recognise that she and all her friends are people who screw up, make mistakes, commit wrong actions - but these are all things you can come back from and remain part of the family, as long as you're willing to be honest and face up to your faults. It's an important lesson.

"The thing about changing the world... once you do it, the world's all different."
- 'The Long Way Home'.

"Everything in our lives has changed. It isn't fair."
"I know."
- 'Predators and Prey
 

 

Comments

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 04:08 (UTC)
pic#85222149

Two things made me happy about this episode/issue...

First, Buffy's moral center is still intact and healthy (at least as much as it's ever been). She's still firmly on the side of humanity, even though humanity is no longer on hers. She hasn't come to let anger or arrogance or resentment drive her actions. If she had any temptations in that regard, then Simone should serve as a good cautionary example for her. I've always argued that the notion of Buffy's "growing darkness" has been overstated this season, and I think her behavior here backs me up.

I wish I could say as much for Buffy's tactical sense as I can for her moral compass. Simone is her problem, and she needs to deal with her now. Simone is now her personal enemy, and probably armed with her own Ragna demon that she wants to use against the locals. She's also the living proof of the "Slayers = Terrorists" concept, and Buffy's inaction suggests to all that she's okay with that.

Willow alone should be more than powerful enough to subdue Simone's entire gang with no loss of life. So why isn't Buffy all over this problem? Does she want to sit there in her HQ and watch more fallout roll in on top of her?

Who'd have thought that Andrew would be the one of Buffy's friends to take the bull by the horns, grab hold of her, and resolve those outstanding issues. A little bonding, a little shared danger, and the air is clear between them. Now Dawn, and Willow, and Xander, and Giles, and Faith, and Satsu need to form a queue, take numbers, and do the same.

As other people have noted, it does test the suspension of belief somewhat that Simone could take over an entire island - even a really small one - without the Italian government intervening.

I was one of the people noting that :-) Asked about this in a Q&A (and about why humans are so quick to embrace the monsters that are killing them nightly), Scott Allie admitted "There may be demons involved. And magic in some cases."

So we may be looking at some kind of magic global perception-changing program, as previously used by Jonathan, and Dawn's creators, and Jasmine on a much larger scale.

The fact Allie was willing to give away that plot point probably means he's aware of the pitfalls and dangers of trying to tell a story designed for TV in comics format... you have to wait a month between episodes rather than a week, and these nagging questions have time to fester until they become big plausibility gaps.

I guess I need to remove Andrew from my Twilight Suspects list.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 13:31 (UTC)

I've always argued that the notion of Buffy's "growing darkness" has been overstated this season

My line has always bneen that she's slipping over to the dark side with the best of intentions; she has never become personally corrupt and she still believes her motives are pure. That may even be true, but unfortunately good intentions can still lead to active harm.

I guess I need to remove Andrew from my Twilight Suspects list

But then again, he's proved he's willing to lie to Buffy, and he's interested in hologram technology that can make somebody appear different to what they really are... ;-)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 18:08 (UTC)

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 04:17 (UTC)

I haven't actually read the issue, so my comments are mostly frivolous. :)

I don't know why Andrew refers to Dualla by her surname and the two men by their first names; is it a BSG thing or an insight into Andrew's character?

It's a BSG thing. Dualla mostly gets called Dualla - or Dee for short. It might be because she's military, so there's a lot of last-name calling, but also, Anastasia's kind of a mouthful.

I can speculate on some reasons.

What about this one? I gather Andrew thinks he's about to die, and that's why he's telling her this? Maybe her reaction is to the fact that this is Andrew's priority. If she does think Spike is dead, it's pretty useless advice - she can't exactly get back together with him. And if she knows he's alive, she also realizes he didn't tell her he was alive, which also makes getting back together unlikely. So why would Andrew bother announcing his preference? (Other than the fact that it's Andrew, and this probably does seem like a priority to him.) Buffy's probably thinking, "There's nothing more important you can think of to tell me?"

she puts saving Andrew's life now above the potential and abstract threat later she would otherwise prevent.

I will admit, I am having trouble figuring out why anyone would rather have Andrew than... well, pretty much anything. ;) That Buffy's a softie.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 13:38 (UTC)

Anastasia's kind of a mouthful

Taz? Stasi? Ana?

Buffy's probably thinking, "There's nothing more important you can think of to tell me?"

It's possible. :-) But given that Andrew has been wittering on constantly for the entire issue so far, and Buffy's reaction has been to let it all wash over her without much comment except when she notices something important passing by in the flow of words, I think she'd have just ignored him if her reaction was just "WTF?"

That Buffy's a softie

There is this bit of dialogue:

SIMONE: I want my payback. Also, he's incredibly annoying.
BUFFY: Yeah, well, that part you get used to. But you're not taking him.

Simone pissed her off. The fact that it's Andrew is secondary (though she does seem to value his abilities, and respect his sincerity in wanting to do the right thing now.)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 04:47 (UTC)

Your detailed reviews are always so helpful! Thanks. It's also helpful that you can read comic bookese better than I can. Though I don't think those are pajamas at the end.

In any case, I agree that the issue is a bit straight-forward. The part of me that never wants anything too obvious wants there to be more undercurrent than there probably is. I'm not very happy about Andrew either. And the undercurrent I'd like to be there is that even as he's coming clean about the lying, he's still lying. Mostly because this seems like not a very good pay-off for cueing us in the opening scene of the season that Andrew is a bit of a loose canon who doesn't always fully disclose what he's up to. So I'd rather this be a faux resolution with a bigger, more painful resolution to come.

If this is the start of Buffy's turn around (and it does read like it), it's a very quiet one. Which is interesting. Makes me wonder if it's meant to be a bit of a turn to make it all the more tragic when everything falls apart in a big way in the wake of the big pain (whatever that turns out to be).

Being Spike-centric, I naturally focus on *that* line. Although I always make a big deal about Buffy's last word, I hadn't thought that it might be a big deal when it gets respoken. And it probably isn't. But it'd be nice if it were. My bad comic book skills had me not notice or register her as gobsmacked. But I was also distracted by trying to figure out where the anarcy sign was in that first panel....

If you are right about that, it's interesting. I don't think #3 is an option, cause if it were, you'd think she'd have mentioned it in the not-pajamas scene. The line is written around the open question about what Buffy knows. I know most people think that's just because Joss either doesn't care or is actively toying with a certain segment of the fandom. But I'd rather think that it's deliberate... the stringing out of the question acting as a pointer to a plot point which will either help fill in the blanks of what has happened, or an important piece of how things unfold. [Sidebar: Lee/Dualla: Since you don't watch BSG you may not know that they also did a leap forward in their narrative skipping something like a year, backfilling for dramatic impact as the narrative unfolded. I suppose you don't want spoilers, but let's just say that Lee/Dualla was one of the story lines that didn't become clear until one of those late backfills. And I'm clinging to the hope that we're going to get something cool like that here, seeing as how Joss is a big fan of BSG and all].

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 13:46 (UTC)

So I'd rather this be a faux resolution with a bigger, more painful resolution to come.

You mean, you want Andrew to play a pivotal role in the entire season arc, rather than this important but low-key episode??!? :-)

not notice or register her as gobsmacked

Well, a few people below seem to think she's just staring blankly into space with a vacant look on her face. For over a minute.

The first panel of the three is shown from a different angle, so the anarchy sign isn't in view. think the wall is painted on is actually off to the right of that picture; in panel 2 Andrew has turned to his left and the camera has swung around clockwise through 90º or so.

I think you're right on #3; good point. Personally I think #4 is the most likely response. (You can probably tell from the way I offered that suggestion with the most detail...) As for whether it's important to the plot, I suppose the question is whether Drew just threw that line in himself, or whether Joss told him to include it...


Thanks!

Posted by: The Mezzanine (deird1)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 05:59 (UTC)

Just commenting to say that yes, the last-name-first-name thing is definitely standard BSG talk, and not just Andrew. It took me quite a while to figure out that "Dualla" was actually her last name - because I'd never heard her first name.

Some characters are referred to by first name, some by last, some by callsign, some by number, and some by weirdly long descriptions. You get used to it.

At any rate, Andrew's referring to them exactly as most BSG fans would.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 13:50 (UTC)

Thanks!

I've noticed that something similar seems to happen in Buffy fandom, in that I always refer to JW as 'Joss', but I tend to call the other creative people by their surname ('Jeanty', for example). Occasionally I catch myself and think I ought to use first names for everybody; but then run up against the problem that people might not know who I mean if I talk about 'Georges' or 'Steven' or 'Scott'.

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 17:17 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 09:12 (UTC)

Great review as always!

Hot Topic sell music-related merchandise, and in the real world - as opposed to the Buffyverse - they're an exclusively North American chain

Well, to be fair, Buffy hasn't exactly been making the social scene lately. For all we know, she simply assumes - like most Americans would - that they have the same stores over here. ;-)

Linda Hamilton and Arnold (Schwarzenegger) starred in the first two Terminator films. Schwarzenegger, but not Hamilton, also starred in the widely criticised 2003 film Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

And neither Hamilton nor, controversially, Schwarzenegger is in Terminator: Salvation, announced in spring 2008.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) was a writer and activist noted for being both blind and deaf.

Helen Killer is a comic with the exact plot that Andrew mentions, apparently first published in 2008.

I can speculate on some reasons

5. That's not open-mouthed shock at all, just Jeanty drawing a general non-expression (very similar to her expression in the preceding panels).

without the Italian government intervening

I'm tempted to make a joke about the powerful Italian military here, but maybe they just slipped Berlusconi a few million?

Of course it's not entirely uncontroversial

As much as I like Buffy starting to find herself here, I can't help but think that the opposite of the Spock quote would be that "the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many." Of course it's not a straight either/or question, but...

The 'General Buffy' of late season 7 (...) willing to sacrifice even Dawn for the cause if she had to, is gone.

Or was never there. ;-)

And with that, in comes the cavalry.

Was I the only one who wondered why they didn't bring the cavalry along from the start?

I wonder what happens to the Ragna

What's to say Simone doesn't just stun-gun her as easily as she did earlier and continues with her plan of breeding a spider army?

at least they know where Simone is now.

And I'm sure she'll deal with her in the next issue and it won't take another 10 issues to get back to her. ;-)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:07 (UTC)

Buffy has actually been receiving reports of raids on Hot Topics, though. While the real answer is obviously that DZB didn't do his research, thinking up in-world answers is more fun.

'Helen Killer'... hmm. :-) Thanks for the information. (Oh dear.)


Jeanty drawing a general non-expression

I can't see that at all, sorry. Look at her eyebrows, for one thing. I feel a separate post coming on...


Or was never there

What, don't tell me you're one of these people who refuse to accept 'Lies My Parents Told Me' as canon? ;-)


why they didn't bring the cavalry along from the start?

Well, initially it's clear that Buffy never meant to get into a fight with Simone at all; they were going to rescue/capture Nisha from the demon then bring her back to Scotland for interrogation. It was also a very rushed mission, no time for prior arrangements. However, Xander did get the Italy squad involved as soon as he heard that Andrew was "going to engage Simone". That could mean he called them as soon as Buffy left Scotland, but since they didn't know Simone would turn up I think it's more likely that either Andrew or Buffy rang Xander while they were on their way to the island to tell him their plans. So all you can fault Buffy for is not asking for backup during that call. I think she was partly overconfident, partly worried about taking Slayers from more important duties, but mostly not actually intending to fight Simone, only to talk to her or even do recon without confronting her straight away. She's taken by surprise when Simone is waiting for her, after all.


What's to say Simone doesn't just stun-gun her as easily as she did earlier?

The fact that in the panel of them reacting to the demon's escape, none of them are holding stun-guns or indeed, weapons of any kind? There were presumably still all the guns, swords and maces we saw earlier still lying around, so they could have grabbed those up quickly enough; but we don't know if their stun-guns were also so readily to hand.


And I'm sure she'll deal with her in the next issue and it won't take another 10 issues to get back to her.

Yes, just like she launched an all-out attack on Angelus, Spike and Drusilla's base in Season 2 the moment she knew where they were. :-)


Thanks!

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:29 (UTC)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:23 (UTC)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:38 (UTC)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:41 (UTC)

Posted by: skipp_of_ark (skipp_of_ark)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 22:00 (UTC)

Posted by: joe_sweden (joe_sweden)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 10:00 (UTC)

I haven't read the issue yet, but the possibility of an Andrew-centric ep does rather excite me... or at least, bUffy and Andrew tag teaming....so looking forward to it!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:08 (UTC)

the possibility of an Andrew-centric ep does rather excite me

*blinks*

*backs away slowly*

:-)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:24 (UTC)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 10:25 (UTC)

"Buffy's reaction is to stand there, open-mouthed in shock, utterly gobsmacked for two entire panels of the comic. "

I gotta say thats not how I read her expression. I know Jeantys art is difficult to understand sometimes, but that expression just seemed more like an unemotional blank to me personally. Not shock at all.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:11 (UTC)

I don't see that, I'm afraid. Portraying emotions is one of the things Jeanty does really well in my opinion, and 'blank-faced' wasn't my impression at all.

I think I might have to make a separate post to discuss this, actually.

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 19:41 (UTC)
From Bufyforums...

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 11:21 (UTC)

I’m with you in initial underwhelment. I think the problem was partly that in comics less is more where text is concerned. All the verbiage worked well in the comedy sections and in the planes, trains and automobiles panels more was definitely more. But it undercut the drama and Slayers at gun point could have been dramatically huge.

Contentwise I have to admit to a little schadenfreude at the way the biggest proponents of fallen Buffy, Buffy the Bank Robber, Buffy Slayerreichsfurhrer, fiddling while bystanders scream has been trying to spin this issue as her big, yet strangely invisible to the naked eye, epiphany moment. It’s not as if ME have a track record of being subtle with these things.

Andrew’s story is the A plot here and is also not about a change of heart but about recognising something that’s already there. Buffy is not Simone. She could be if you take a reductio ad absurdum approach to characterization. She’s done some of the same things but for different reasons and in retrospect her argument that the good guys are good because they’re good not because they don’t kill humans is actually quite a sophisticated moral stance in that it rejects prescriptive lists of thou-shalt-nots as the be all and end all of ethical thinking. Motivation matters and it matters because it predicts future actions.

As I’ve said before I don’t think this was ever meant to be a story primarily about corruption, about Buffy for no reason given in the text (as people keep pointing out) gradually giving in to the beige. I think it’s a story about exposing flaws that have previously been seen as strengths and in particular the one thing she specifically describes as being who she is - that she doesn’t walk away from her people. As you point out, Simone didn’t walk away from Nisha either. The relationship may be different. Simone describes her people as her muscle suggesting that she sees them as subjects rather than citizens. Buffy’s people are bound by a much more complex chain of connections, a web if you like (yay spider metaphor). Still to be one of Buffy’s people you need to connect with her personally, she needs to see you. Homeless little Italian girls who ask for her protection get it. The abstract mass of faceless humanity not so much. She’ll save her people and the world they live in but she’s not a great humanitarian and never has been.

Hot Topic sell music-related merchandise, and in the real world - as opposed to the Buffyverse - they're an exclusively North American chain with no retail presence in Italy or Europe as a whole at all

Simone does have teleport capacity but I think they may be going by comic book geography as well as comic book time.


The only positive, except for the personal character development, is that at least they know where Simone is now.

And the nature of her plans, which was the original mission. Guns change things. Demons seem not to use them and against other demons they’re not the most effective weapons but when you’re talking human on human it’s a different matter. I think Buffy should think twice about starting an outright war on Simone at this point. Not only will it get girls killed in the crossfire (and some of Simone’s followers may be simply young and impressionable) but in the current climate it’s only going to add to the general impression of Slayers as a source of chaos and fear.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:25 (UTC)

Oddly, while I was underwhelmed at first, writing the review got me much more interested in the story. Just listing out all the plot advancement did it, I suppose.:-)

her argument that the good guys are good because they’re good not because they don’t kill humans is actually quite a sophisticated moral stance

Well, it can be. As long as they don't derive the conclusion that because they're good, their actions will therefore be good to (like Willow did in S6).

Why am I now thinking of the Justification through Works ('what we do') versus Justification through Faith ('who we are') religious controversy? Willow in S8 is a Catholic*, and Buffy with her sola fide argument is a Protestant. Plus, Willow was always more suspicious of Faith than Buffy was. :-)

*I don't know enough about Judaism to know what their doctrine on salvation is, or even if they have one as such.


I don’t think this was ever meant to be a story primarily about corruption

I've used that expression myself, but I don't mean, as I assume you do here, that she's turning evil. I think her motives are always unimpeachable, but they've led her into accepting some very questionable decisions which seemed perfectly right at the time. It's one of the problems of having power and responsibility in the real world, as I believe you've observed yourself once or twice. :-)

She’ll save her people and the world they live in but she’s not a great humanitarian and never has been.

Quoting this because it's a good summary.


I think Buffy should think twice about starting an outright war on Simone at this point.

I don't disagree, but this is another example of the compromises she's being forced to make. The best she can hope for is that Simone's Slayers are still fighting demons, not just humans.

Maybe a vast army of vengeful Ragna demons will attack Simone's island soon? :-)

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 16:31 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 17:06 (UTC)

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 18:34 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 23:23 (UTC)

Posted by: aycheb (aycheb)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 23:12 (UTC)

Posted by: harsens_rob (harsens_rob)
Posted at: 18th June 2009 23:56 (UTC)
Or....

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 11:31 (UTC)

Nice review. I go for the lack of Britpicking (never come across that expression before, but I knew what you meant). It would hardly be the first time. Sometimes, I think comic book writers/artists have never heard of Google.

I'm still finding the issue pretty flat and asking myself why. I like that Buffy's a bit more like herself, but apart from that, I think my favourite thing is the Ragna demon, and I don't even like spiders.

Also, I don't see why we should assume Nisha was joking about the DNA-splicing. It wouldn't be the first time in this series that the characters had displayed sci-fi-type tech/scientific skills. Plus, Andrew did used to be Warren's disciple.

Buffy's reaction is to stand there, open-mouthed in shock, utterly gobsmacked for two entire panels of the comic

Like Sueworld and BGF, that's not what I got from Buffy at all in those two panels. I just got total disinterest/non-reaction. It was just another throwaway 'shipper crumb, and essentially meaningless because it came from Andrew.

Edited at 2009-03-07 11:33 (UTC)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:22 (UTC)
Buffy wank

"It was just another throwaway 'shipper crumb, and essentially meaningless because it came from Andrew."

Yep, thats exactly how I saw it too. Glad I'm not the only one. *g*

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:35 (UTC)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 14:44 (UTC)

Posted by: 2maggie2 (2maggie2)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 17:46 (UTC)

Posted by: sueworld2003 (sueworld2003)
Posted at: 7th March 2009 17:53 (UTC)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 8th March 2009 19:02 (UTC)

Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 8th March 2009 22:45 (UTC)

Posted by: MrTeufel (mrteufel)
Posted at: 8th March 2009 03:20 (UTC)
Cool Terminaper

...you had to look up the V reference?! Hand in your geek card immediately!

:P

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th March 2009 11:16 (UTC)

I've never claimed to be a comic book geek. The 'Buffy' and 'Angel' comics are pretty much the only ones I've read since I was a kid. :-)

Posted by: itsmrgordotoyou (itsmrgordotoyou)
Posted at: 8th March 2009 20:35 (UTC)

Nice review, as usual. I too felt a little ambivalent upon realizing how Andrew-heavy this issue was. I don't hate him, but I already thought he's been getting more than the rather limited amount of attention he merits this season. But upon reflection, I've decided that I like the character development he gets here. If Andrew must become a regular cast member, this is a good way to do it. His motivation, the desire to earn his place on Buffy's team, builds naturally on my favorite Andrew moment, when he finally drops his self-deception at the end of Storyteller. It also reminds me of my second-favorite Andrew moment, his dicussion with Jonathan in CWDP about joining Buffy's team. Jonathan's murderer is now atoning the way Jonathan hoped to do.

Buffy's reaction is to stand there, open-mouthed in shock, utterly gobsmacked for two entire panels of the comic.

Now, it's possible that she's shocked at the news that people hated her short-haired look (I assume this is a reference to 'Gone'). But assuming it's the first part of Andrew's comment that hit her, I can speculate on some reasons.


My first interpretation was essentially the same as your #2. She definitely looks gobsmacked to me, standing there with her mouth hanging open and her eyebrows reaching for the sky. (As Andrew continues with the mission, oblivious to her reaction -- that's why we get a two person view instead of a closeup on Buffy.) #4 is also possible, I guess; but #3 seems unlikely and #1 is extremely dubious, as nothing Andrew says implies that Spike is still alive right now.

Of course, being "edgy" is more something that makes for an entertaining fictional character than something that makes for a good lover. It's essentially fan talk. Andrew is evaluating Buffy's love life as if she was a TV character or something. Maybe DeKnight is actually tweaking Spuffistas, and romantic shippers in general?

Posted by: itsmrgordotoyou (itsmrgordotoyou)
Posted at: 8th March 2009 20:38 (UTC)

PS: Still a LJ newbie. Do most people here prefer italics instead of the blockquote tag for quoting?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th March 2009 22:07 (UTC)

Posted by: itsmrgordotoyou (itsmrgordotoyou)
Posted at: 8th March 2009 20:41 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 8th March 2009 22:04 (UTC)

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 13th March 2009 23:23 (UTC)

leans sexily against the doorpost to tell Andrew it's time for bed

You laugh now. Just wait until the next issue opens with Buffy and Andrew in bed together... :-)

(So are you still planning to cross post to Usenet?)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 13th March 2009 23:43 (UTC)
buffy-S8

Well, it would parallel Buffy's own flirtation with the opposite orientation quite neatly. :-)

But on the other hand... yuck yuck yuck. :-(

Thanks for the reminder about atvbvs, too.

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 16th March 2009 12:08 (UTC)

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 10th July 2011 17:44 (UTC)
(Review) BtVS 8.23 'Predators and Prey'

Thanks for the review.

Plus, this was an Andrew-centric episode. I'm starting to dislike him less than I did when he was on the TV show, but [...]

I dislike Andrew less too --- sometimes he's even funny. But a whole issue is a bit much. On the other hand, on reading it again, I kind of like his character development. We get a lot of insight into his character.

Other reviewers of this issue have dwelt on how many of Andrew's references they were able to get themselves and how many went over their heads, so I'll naturally do the same.

Thanks for that. I understood some, others not so much.

On a more serious art-related note, there are a couple of continuity errors in this scene. On page 2, Buffy's shirt has a plain round collar, and she's sitting on the left-hand side of the picture with Willow on the right. In the second frame on page 3, we view the scene from the opposite perspective, so Buffy should now be on the right... but she's not, she's still on the left. [...] Then in the 5th and 6th panels, her clothes have changed again: now the pink cardigan has returned, but her shirt has a seam down the front and a v-shaped cut-out at the neck. Oops.

I'm completely baffled by that. Either the artist(s) don't understand a vital part of their profession. Or they're basically insulting their audience. Either way, I think it's bad. It's not like this is the first time.

We're being told again that Harmony's reality TV show is causing huge problems for the Slayer organisation. I know a lot of people have had trouble swallowing that idea; but one thing both 'Swell' and this issue do show is that it isn't all just down to Harmony. Other people, such as Santorio in the last issue and Simone in this one, are taking advantage of the current public infatuation with vampires to forward their own agenda, and contribute to the growing chaos.

Except...Simone has been busy a lot longer. And the island seems to be under her control for quite a while given the state of the streets. And The Swell has a connection with Twilight (whatever the connection might be). Does the Swell know about this prophesy too? Because that would start to get ridiculous. Everyone but the white hats (Buffy and Co.) seems to know the prophesy. And for all we know, the negative publicity is restricted to the USA. Tokyo supports that idea. And why isn't Buffy interviewed? Even the Al Qaida leaders got interviews.

We get this issue's first comparison between Buffy and Simone when Buffy mentions, without any apparent sense of irony, that the rogue Slayer has been robbing banks and raiding military bases... and also Hot Topic shops. [...] To make the parallel between Buffy and Simone even more pointed, Andrew points out that she has also been "kicking people out of their homes", just like Buffy did in 'Touched'.

I gather that "Touched" is a hot item in some parts? *shrugs* Anyway, the problem with Simone the criminal is similar to Buffy the bank robber. How much do the authorities know? If the authorities know then there is a curious lack of response. And a raid on a military installation is an act of war. But even if only Buffy and friends know, *this*:
As other people have noted, it does test the suspension of belief somewhat that Simone could take over an entire island - even a really small one - without the Italian government intervening.
*should* get a response. (Nice euphemism, by the way.) Marines? Special Forces? An aerial bombardment? Simone is *not* just Buffy's problem. It's everyone's problem.

The writers seem to want to have this biased reality distortion field. Well, what about giving me a reason to believe in that. Inside the comics, please.

(continues)

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 10th July 2011 17:50 (UTC)
Re: (Review) BtVS 8.23 'Predators and Prey' (continues 1)

(continues)

Nisha's quite a fun character, in her acerbic and sarcastic way. Judging by her name and skin colour, she's Indian in origin, incidentally. It's interesting that she already knows that Andrew created the Ragna demon and arranged the trap - something Buffy does not know. In fact, Buffy's dislike of research shows her up even more here; if she'd discovered beforehand that Ragna demons were supposed to be extinct, she might have suspected Andrew's story earlier. But apparently her organisation is carrying on all sorts of projects without her knowledge, despite her being its leader - a theme that recurs in this episode, not to mention being the whole point of the Simone arc. Buffy's not as in control of things as she'd like to think.

Well, to be honest, the only slayer we've seen that had that kind of knowledge was Kendra. So I'm thinking that Andrew's project is well known within the Italian squad, but outside of it? Why on earth would a slayer want to learn about an extinct demon species? And I actually like both Nisha and Simone in this issue.

And I don't think that Buffy believes she's in control. She has some competent slayers heading the squads and those squads are basically running independent. Andrew, Rona, Violet, Aiko and Satsu are just a few of the examples we've been shown. General Voll already called them terrorist cells which reinforces that idea. I think that is more fandom interpretation than anything else.

Anyway, on with the plot. Buffy finds herself surrounded by Simone's army. Incidentally, there are 19 people in the room plus Simone herself, Andrew and Buffy. Later on, Simone mentions her "16 Slayers", so I have to assume 3 of the people in the room are non-Slayers - Wiccans, presumably. [...] It's worthy of note that all the people in the room appear to be women; Simone's gang might be anarchists and rebels and criminals out to have fun and take what they want from life, but they apparently haven't acquired boyfriends for themselves. So either moscow_watcher's theory about the side-effect of the Slayer Empowerment Spell is true after all; or maybe they've got the boys chained up in their bedrooms. *g*

Or maybe, the Slayer Empowerment Spell makes them less interested in boys. It's also a confirmation that Simone has been recruiting slayers herself. I think that more than anything is the danger Simone represents.

For a moment, let's just compare Simone to Faith back in 'Consequences'. [...] Faith was still committed to the idea of helping people and fighting evil, she just thought she should get special allowances made for her because of that, and be allowed to do whatever she wanted to because she was one of the good guys. (*cough*just like Season8Buffy*cough*). Simone, however, is motivated purely by selfishness and anger. In fact, as we soon learn she's also incredibly petty and spiteful. She has a grudge against Andrew because she thinks she's better than him and yet he was placed in charge of her, and she just wants him to suffer for that.

But the only example of Buffy wanting special allowances is the bank robbery. (Or am I missing things?) So I think stretching that to "season 8 Buffy" is unfair.

The symbolism of Buffy, the experienced fighter, and Simone, the younger, arrogant and faster challenger, is obvious. And Simone wins the fight, because she's more ruthless and willing to use a gun, which Buffy isn't. Yet.

I never really understood peoples obsession with Buffy not liking a gun. She thought the rocket launcher was fun, didn't she? I believe she doesn't like guns because it's the one thing that she's powerless against, vulnerable to. She seems to be pretty good at aiming with a gun, so I think she has some training in it. And there are practical reasons why guns are worthless to a slayer's job.

(continues)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 12th July 2011 18:45 (UTC)
Re: (Review) BtVS 8.23 'Predators and Prey' (continues 1)

Posted by: chianazhaan (chianazhaan)
Posted at: 10th July 2011 18:08 (UTC)
Re: (Review) BtVS 8.23 'Predators and Prey' (continues 2)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 12th July 2011 18:32 (UTC)
Re: (Review) BtVS 8.23 'Predators and Prey'

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