This is a continuation of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer thread I started over on the “old board” last April. Alan and Mike convinced me that the show’s move from the WB to the UPN and the start of season six is a logical time to move this discussion to the board’s new home. For those of you who might be new to the discussion, I am in the process of watching this series, start to finish, for the first time. I don’t provide much in the way of recap because I’m working under the assumption that most of you reading this thread have at least a passing familiarity with the series. The ground rules of this discussion are simple: I can (and will) spoil anything I want to, but you can’t spoil anything I haven’t seen yet. Ready? Okay, let’s begin.

SEASON SIX: EPISODES 1/2: “BARGAINING—PARTS 1/2”

I actually don’t have much to say about the two-part season opener. Most of it was spent resetting Buffy’s apparent death at the end of season five. Shouldn’t her death have triggered a new Slayer to have been called up? Judging from the opening credits it looks as if Giles is going to be out of the cast on a permanent (or at least semi-permanent) basis. I’m really enjoying the development of the “relationship” between Buffy and Spike thoughout last season and into this one. Apparently even vampires are subject to classical conditioning!

Views: 467

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

SEASON SIX: EPISODE 13: “DEAD THINGS”
SEASON SIX: EPISODE 14: “OLDER AND FAR AWAY”
SEASON SIX: EPISODE 15: “AS YOU WERE”


I watched three episodes over the weekend so excuse me is this seems as unorganized as it is. Before I get started I’d just like to mention that I’ve now listened to “Once More, With Feeling” often enough that whatever song is stuck in my head a t a give time is probably from that soundtrack

Buffy went to Tara for help and confided in her about Spike. That’s significant. Tara always felt an outsider with the Scoobies, and Buffy may not have had any choice, but she still was comfortable going to Tara and later made sure Tara was invited to the birthday party. Things seem to be well on track for reconciliation between Willow and Tara. Why does than make me feel uneasy?

In the scene in which Buffy confides to Tara, her relationship with Spike seems to me to be a metaphor for homosexuality. Tracy vehemently disagreed with me, though, as she saw magic as a metaphor for homosexuality and Buffy’s relationship with Spike as a metaphor for a woman trapped in an abusive relationship. I disagreed because theirs is a mutually abusive relationship, and an abusive relationship isn’t a very good metaphor for an abusive relationship. Besides, magic could just as easily be a metaphor for sex. Well, maybe not.

I’m glad Dawn’s shoplifting subplot is finally in the open. Maybe it just seems as if it’s been dragging because most plot development happens so quickly on this show.

Tracy was a huge fan of West Wing but I had never seen it. She chose to but the complete series on DVD a couple of years ago, but always made me turn my head when she cued up the episode because the episode montage would often contain spoilers. I don’t know how many people buy DVD sets of television shows they have not seen, but the montages for Buffy are increasingly spoilery. For example, I would have guessed the guidance counselor was Anya’s demon friend (because in her previous appearance I was struck by how like an old girlfriend of mine she looked), but Tracy did only because her demon aspect was featured in the montage.

Any surprise of Riley’s return was similarly ruied by the episode montage, but nothing he did after his presence was revealed came as any surprise at all. Both Tracy and I were felt well rid of him when he flew off to fight demons with his commando squad, and he didn’t do anything in “As You Were” to endear him to us any further. Not only did he not brief Buffy on the true object of the mission, he neglected to mention he was married. What a bozo!

The entirety of Season Six so far has been an example of why I thought I didn’t want to watch this show in the first place, namely because, y’know, Buffy should be slaying vampires, not, uh... boinking them. Although I’ve liked each season progressively more and more, I don’t think I would have liked season six much at all if that’s where I started watching and hadn’t seen everything that led up to it. I feel better about Buffy relationship with Spike that I ever did about her relationship with Angelus, probably because she and the cast never forgot that deep down he is a creature of evil. But having seen the five seasons leading up to it, I can accept Spike and Buffy’s relationship in season six. Having said that, now that they’ve (apparently) broken up for good, I think she’s better off without him.
It’s interesting the way Buffy broke up with Spike. She told him she didn’t love him and admitted she was just using him. Because he’s Spike, that alone wouldn’t have mattered, but she called him “William” for the first time ever and said that their relationship was bad for [i]her[/i], putting Spike in the position that if he truly loves her and wants what’s best for her he’ll let her go.

Another interesting “break-up” recently was when Willow broke off her friendship with Amy. I can’t remember exactly what she said but it was something like, “If you’re really my friend, stay away from me, and if you're not really my friend, stay away from me.”
By calling his William, she was acknowledging a humanity in him, which she has to respect by trying not to use him to work out her issues. It goes all the way back to their encounter all the way back in Once More with Feeling.

I have to say that I do think that Tracy is more right than you on the metaphorical connection to Buffy and Spike's relationship. I do agree with your qualms about it, since it is not very neat. But it never felt like a coming out in terms of homosexuality, because in the Buffyverse they are certainly not going to connect that with shame, and Buffy was reeking with shame, which is a huge issue for people caught in abusive relationships. Many don't dare reveal abuse due to the fact that they blame themselves for being hit or for not walking away after they were. In a sense I think the magical addiction and Buffy and Spike's relationship to be both about substance abuse. Buffy is in a sense medicating herself, trying to regain passion, feel hurt, feel something, through her relationship with Spike, but it is one where she isn't nearly as in control as she thinks she is.

Jeff of Earth-J said:
It’s interesting the way Buffy broke up with Spike. She told him she didn’t love him and admitted she was just using him. Because he’s Spike, that alone wouldn’t have mattered, but she called him “William” for the first time ever and said that their relationship was bad for [i]her[/i], putting Spike in the position that if he truly loves her and wants what’s best for her he’ll let her go.

Another interesting “break-up” recently was when Willow broke off her friendship with Amy. I can’t remember exactly what she said but it was something like, “If you’re really my friend, stay away from me, and if you're not really my friend, stay away from me.”
Tracy will be pleased to learn you sided with her over me... if I tell her, that is. Heh, heh, heh...

SEASON SIX: EPISODE 16: “HELL’S BELLS”

This episode reminds me of every wedding I’ve ever been to and stands as a reaffirmation of why Tracy and I didn’t have one. (We were high-fiving each other throughout.) I half expected to see Angelus and Cordelia and maybe Oz there. I’m a little surprised Whedon didn’t go through with it after all in the end. He’s demonstrated multiple times in the past he’s not afraid to shake up the status quo, but I guess there’s more story potential this way. It will be interesting to see what happens with Xander and Anya next.
Didn't you love Xander calling Riley and his wife "Nick and Nora Fury"?

I can't believe you've never attended one really great wedding...I've been to quite a few...including my own.
Yeah, I caught that. :P I also meant to add yesterday that, although I don't think Riley was a good match for Buffy, both Tracy and I think he's a good match for Sam (and apparently the Scoobies agree, try as they might to dislike her).

I don't really like weddings, never have. I've only been to two in the past 25 years: my own and, most recently, my nephew's. That one I rather enjoyed, as kind of an "outsider" looking in. My nephew's side of the family was represented strongly and almost entirely by his maternal side; on the paternal side there was just my brother, sister, mom and Tracy. Our table was a little island where we could sit back and observe... well, you saw "Hell's Bells."
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Yeah, I caught that. :P I also meant to add yesterday that, although I don't think Riley was a good match for Buffy, both Tracy and I think he's a good match for Sam (and apparently the Scoobies agree, try as they might to dislike her).

I don't really like weddings, never have. I've only been to two in the past 25 years: my own and, most recently, my nephew's. That one I rather enjoyed, as kind of an "outsider" looking in. My nephew's side of the family was represented strongly and almost entirely by his maternal side; on the paternal side there was just my brother, sister, mom and Tracy. Our table was a little island where we could sit back and observe... well, you saw "Hell's Bells."

Wait...I thought you said you didn't have a wedding...
By the time I thought to add the words "a traditional" it was too late.

(This 15 minute editing window really sucks, if you haven't noticed.)
SEASON SIX: EPISODE 17: “NORMAL AGAIN”

In this episode Buffy is poisoned by a demon and hallucinates that she’s really in an asylum and everything that’s happened in the series so far is an elaborate delusional fantasy. I’ve seen stories such as this before (such as ST:TNG’s “The Inner Light” in which SPOILER Picard lives out his life is stranded on a planet and learns to play the flute END SPOILER[, but “Normal Again” failed ever convince methat Buffy might really be in an asylum. Then about halfway in I determined that the false EYKIW is not the point of the episode, but rather how Buffy reacts and deals with the situation is.

Then, after the demon has been defeated and Buffy has been cured, the little zinger at the end shows Buffy back in the asylum! Now I am confused. Intrigued, but confused.

Nice touches this episode include the appearance of Buffy’s parents in the asylum sequences and the oblique reference to showing progress last summer then suffering a relapse at the time she would have been pulled out of Heaven in her “fantasy” existence. Very intriguing.

(Tracy commented that Buffy was setting a bad example by wearing the jacket Dawn stole while on patrol.)

SEASON SIX REFLECTIONS

Yesterday at lunch one of my co-workers asked me how my Buffy-watching project was coming along. I told her I was in the middle of season six, then remembering what Ana said about some fans (“Buffy would never...blah...blah…”) I asked her what she thought of the sixth season. She must be one of those fans because she said the show went downhill during season six and never recovered. So last night I mentioned it to Tracy. Whereas she disagreed with the notion, Tracy said she could see why some fans thought so, but it doesn’t have anything to do with Buffy’s behavior, rather some of the turns taken in the plot.

Tracy observed most recently, for example, that any man who had Xander’s reservations about getting married would never have allowed the wedding planning to progress beyond the "vague idea in the future" stage. Using her own former fiancé and me in my previous relationship as examples, she proved her point (to me, anyway).
I've spoken before about why I grew disenchanted with season six, but it was in an old thread on the old board, so I'll revisit the issue for you, Jeff. You're far enough along that I'm not worried about flavoring your opinions at this point...

(As a caveat: I've never re-watched seasons six or seven, which means that I am at this point working from seven-plus-year-old memories, so take whatever dose of salt you need to continue.)

Despite Ana's explanation of why some fans felt season six marked a decline, I was never of the "Buffy would never...blah...blah..." camp; nor was it, as such, some of the turns taken in the plot, as Tracy observed. For me it was all about the mood — season six was a major downer. Joss Whedon has said that this season was deliberately designed to reflect that period of loss, directionlessness, and bad choices that many of us face in our early 20s, and I can respect that. The problem comes, though, in that there was no character who wasn't feeling that in season six. There was no reprise; no main character the audience could look to as an island in the sea of tumult. In this season, it seemed that every victory was hollow, and to be hit with that week after week for the better part of a year is...dispiriting.

(This is where watching it on DVD and can controlling the pace and viewing experience makes a difference. Letting the story flow at the pace it works for you can take the edge off; coming back week after week for appointment TV to see another example of characters you love winning hollow victories and struggling with emptiness and ennui is kind of heartbreaking.)

Certainly, it doesn't help that some of the storytelling points felt particularly heavy-handed (I'm looking at you, magic addiction and ridiculously phallic Doublemeat Palace demon), or that some of the characterization felt off. But heavy-handed story points and off characterization aren't new to this show, so those aren't what marks the slide to me. But taking away the feeling of hope? That is new to the show, and it's an ingredient whose absence many fans felt knocked Buffy the Vampire Slayer off its moorings.
Tracy observed most recently, for example, that any man who had Xander’s reservations about getting married would never have allowed the wedding planning to progress beyond the "vague idea in the future" stage. Using her own former fiancé and me in my previous relationship as examples, she proved her point (to me, anyway).

Certainly. There are a lot more examples of people walking away from a wedding in fiction than in real life (see also The Graduate, Four Weddings and a Funeral). Usually, the wedding is never planned in specifics or canceled a couple of months early. It's a dramatic conceit to cancel the wedding on that day, but one I'm willing to forgive Joss for because it was such a good episode. However, I do know of one real life example in which the husband left the honeymoon after the first day and the marriage was annulled.
I’ve been meaning to go back to the top of “Jeff Watches Buffy” (version 1.0) while I still have the opportunity and review who liked which seasons and why. (I remembered there was someone on this board who didn’t like it, but I didn’t remember who it was or why not.) Speaking of Buffy threads on the old board, I tried searching them a couple of weeks ago but kept bumping up against spoilers so gave it up. I did save Chris’s “vacation columns” for future reference (including Angel, just in case).

No, Alan, you needed worry about flavoring my opinions at this point, and yes, I agree that watching it on DVD at one’s own pace can make a difference in the viewing experience (just as reading a lengthy comic book story arc in a single sitting can). There’s also a difference watching a show that’s already “in the can” so to speak, even when watching for the first time. Watching a show in “real time” is something of a Schrodinger’s television set in that the outcome has yet to be observed. Not that I have any more or less “control” either way, but knowing Buffy’s a done deal allows me to more readily sit back, relax and enjoy it.

I’ll keep your critique in mind (and share it with Tracy) and perhaps revisit it at the end of the season. I’d like to take this opportunity to mention that I’ll be off the board for the rest of the week. “Jeff Watches Buffy” will return next Monday with new comments on “Entropy” et al, but feel free to continue to discuss the relative merits of season six in my absence.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2021   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service