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BBD: As You Were

Taake

I do doodle. You too. You do doodle, too.
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Black Thorn
That's one of the issues I've had with Dawn. She wasn't suddenly implanted in her life; she never knew a life without Dawn being there and being born. Dawn was suddenly implanted in the audience's life. If Buffy knew, or remembered, Dawn suddenly being implanted then she would remember her not being her sister and the whole dying to save my sister would seem to be nothing more than a cop out, not to mention the things that transpired after.
Yes. Buffy knew and remembered, but that was because she had been magically implanted, i.e. inserted into a timeline where she did not originally belong. However, that's off topic, so...
 

TriBel

Scooby
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Growing up as a term can mean many things but I was using it as a synonym for aging, changing and evolving towards an adult self.
Yeah...but I'm not sure that happens...at least not in a consistent sense and I don't see it as a bad thing.
In the scene with Giles Willow is willing/bringing a flower into being, a blossoming if you will (another term for female growth specifically), that doesn't suggest childhood, it suggests motherhood. And doesn't that mirror Willow's end in S7?
Pregnant women don't blossom - they bloom (allegedly). It's a whole different vibe. 😏 Flowers tend to symbolise female sexuality and the female sex organs (it's a common symbol in art before Georgia O'Keefe made it explicit. Check Manet's Olympia hiding her pubes from view while surrounded by flowers. That's nothing (or little) to do with motherhood). And it's a Passionflower. Blossom often refers to losing your virginity/becoming sexually active (it's the transition from childhood to adult.). It's used in this sense in Him (in relation to normative sexuality).

BROTHER One time, I found all this poetry under his bed. Turns out, he wrote it. Then he, uh—what do you call it? Blossomed. That's what it was like.

In what sense is Willow associated with motherhood at the end? And what manifestation of the mother are we talking about? Tara Earth-mother); the Madonna in the Church and the Mission; the castrating mother/the phallic mother/the archaic mother. Are you referring to the White Willow/White Goddess? That's not a real mother...it's an imaginary function that's constructed according to the logic of future anterior. Seriously, you're a braver person than me if you're taking that on.

Aren't you conflating physical growth with character growth? Buffy doesn't gain height from season to season and yet Dawn does, how is that significant? Does it matter?
It doesn't matter to me...it obviously matters to the text because it mentions it so much...hence it's significant. Why do I think it does it? Partly because the old cliches / metaphors tend to lock us into thinking in particular ways that don't always serve us well. It's why I like Stockton's "growing sideways" (though the book's a bit odd).

TBH, I tend to think in terms of narrative function not character. That aside, I don't hold much truck with character "growth" in general but particularly in S7 because I think the idea of linear anything (history, language, self) is undermined by the text. The past erupts into language...hence Buffy's parapraxis or Freudian slips...meaning is constantly deferred... It doesn't protect us from the Real as it should. Characters move forward by way of the past...through a reconsideration of pasts that never made it into history. The past is there as trace, as palimpsest. That's it's gone is an illusion. A linear history presupposes time to be empty and homogeneous and posits a false distance between things and people. I don't think that serves anyone other than the privileged few. For example, in S4 Buffy defined herself as "different from Sineya" - later, it's what she has in common with Sineya and Sineya has been waiting for someone like her (Tales of the Slayers). We owe a debt to the past. Women owe a debt to the mother that the socio-imaginary makes impossible to pay. A shift away from linear time makes Messianic time more feasible. Plus growth - as in moving from A to B implies a single cause/effect. I don't think it's that simple - I tend to think of S7 in terms of rhizomes, feedback and loops..."everything's connected".

@Taake - yeah...you were my strawman...a leaping off point as it were. Apologies! 😄 Feel free to put the stuffing back in.

I don't see it as the idea of thwarting exploration or growth, just trying to shift from where/what mental state the growth and exploration is happening.

"As who was when" = who Buffy was when she didn't have the trauma of death and resurrection change her*.
Works for me...although I'd probably posit a primal trauma alongside a return of the repressed and compulsion to repeat. But that's probably just me...😏

She wasn't suddenly implanted in her life; she never knew a life without Dawn being there and being born. Dawn was suddenly implanted in the audience's life.
Good point. Again, not a problem for me but I can see why it's a problem for others.

However, that's off topic, so...
Hands up - my fault. In mitigation, I think S7 folds back onto S6 (and the other seasons) so I find if difficult to separate. Plus...rhizomes...😄... and did I mention fractals?

Sigh...As You Were folks...as you were.
 

Cheese Slices

A Bidet of Evil
Joined
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France
But, technically, suddenly having a sister magically implanted into your life is also impossible, so the idea of hitting the "re-start" button and wanting Buffy to continue to grow from a more mentally "healthy" or stable position, i.e. more of a pre-season 6 Buffy position, is not that far fetched for the show. I don't see it as the idea of thwarting exploration or growth, just trying to shift from where/what mental state the growth and exploration is happening.
No I kinda agree, but I would challenge the notion that Buffy ever was as stable or "normal" as some people/Buffy/the show claim. I would argue that while her resurrection was the main trigger and aggravating factor of her "depression", its origins can be traced back way before that. All the doubts and struggles she deals with in S6 were already growing in S5 (and even as early as S2 and S3). * At any rate, Buffy not dying and not being resurrected might have meant she never dealt with those issues in "unhealthy"** ways, but even then she might have repressed them until they manifested in other ways.
The idea of a reset just takes away a lot of the emotional weight and layers that were added to the character in this season. Dawn's insertion in the story is mostly fine because it doesn't change the weight and importance of the emotional milestones that the show had given us so far, but Buffy going back to "perky, bouncy" Buffy (who, again, I argue is not necessarily the "real" Buffy, it's one aspect of a complex character that might often be an affect more than anything) so abruptly kinda erases a lot of the self-discovery, so to speak. But the show doesn't really commit to it anyway, since have episodes like Normal Again and Seeing Red to a lesser extent.

*If anything, I don't think it's particularly healthy for someone to think that dying at 20yo is being "complete".
** or what she and/or her friends perceive as unhealthy, but that's another can of worms.
 

Taake

I do doodle. You too. You do doodle, too.
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Black Thorn
No I kinda agree, but I would challenge the notion that Buffy ever was as stable or "normal" as some people/Buffy/the show claim. I would argue that while her resurrection was the main trigger and aggravating factor of her "depression", its origins can be traced back way before that. All the doubts and struggles she deals with in S6 were already growing in S5 (and even as early as S2 and S3). * At any rate, Buffy not dying and not being resurrected might have meant she never dealt with those issues in "unhealthy"** ways, but even then she might have repressed them until they manifested in other ways.
The idea of a reset just takes away a lot of the emotional weight and layers that were added to the character in this season. Dawn's insertion in the story is mostly fine because it doesn't change the weight and importance of the emotional milestones that the show had given us so far, but Buffy going back to "perky, bouncy" Buffy (who, again, I argue is not necessarily the "real" Buffy, it's one aspect of a complex character that might often be an affect more than anything) so abruptly kinda erases a lot of the self-discovery, so to speak. But the show doesn't really commit to it anyway, since have episodes like Normal Again and Seeing Red to a lesser extent.

*If anything, I don't think it's particularly healthy for someone to think that dying at 20yo is being "complete".
** or what she and/or her friends perceive as unhealthy, but that's another can of worms.
I agree, especially with the bold. But I still think that is what the title implies the writers were thinking of as are-focus on who Buffy used to be. I am not saying that is a good thing though.

If the show was made today I wonder if it would’ve been taken in the opposite direction, getting more into the trauma.

As it is, they don’t really deny or completely re-set the character, but it seems like they want to make her ”normal” again, meaning mostly - wants to live, not self-desructive in an overt sexual way, not as self-isolating, not as depressed... I can see why, but it is one of the reasons why Buffy’s speech to Dawn at the end of the season doesn’t really work for me. It doesn’t feel real to me.

S6 isn’t flawless, but I have more problems with the execution of the ”As you were” perspective as I see it, because I wish Buffy’s end of the season speech had been turned into a gradual character arc over s7 where she more slowly gets over the trauma of s6.
 

Stake fodder

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I was watching S4's "Doomed" last night, in which Riley and Buffy begin their relationship. It has a number of lines that really foreshadow this episode in a way. Buffy is resistant to getting involved, as being the Slayer is her destiny: "It's something I can't change, I can't escape. I'm stuck."

Riley argues that this doesn't preclude their being involved, especially as he has revealed his own secret. But, "You have this twisted way of looking at things, this doom-and-gloom mentality. ...Mostly, I think you want to stay down in the dark place, 'cause maybe it's safer down there."

Buffy changes her mind, of course. It's interesting that their positions are similar in this episode, Buffy feeling stuck, and Riley encouraging her to get out of "the dark place."

How might the old format be used to underscore the fact that Buffy is not stagnant character but has always been a person of change and evolution?
So, my point is that these two episodes mirror each other in a way, and yet at the same time show that Buffy is not stagnant, because she is in very different places emotionally in these two episodes. However, Riley may be right that she has always had a bit of "doom-and-gloom mentality," so that is an unchanging part of her personality.
 
M

M

Guest
I was watching S4's "Doomed" last night, in which Riley and Buffy begin their relationship. It has a number of lines that really foreshadow this episode in a way. Buffy is resistant to getting involved, as being the Slayer is her destiny: "It's something I can't change, I can't escape. I'm stuck."

Riley argues that this doesn't preclude their being involved, especially as he has revealed his own secret. But, "You have this twisted way of looking at things, this doom-and-gloom mentality. ...Mostly, I think you want to stay down in the dark place, 'cause maybe it's safer down there."

Buffy changes her mind, of course. It's interesting that their positions are similar in this episode, Buffy feeling stuck, and Riley encouraging her to get out of "the dark place."

So, my point is that these two episodes mirror each other in a way, and yet at the same time show that Buffy is not stagnant, because she is in very different places emotionally in these two episodes. However, Riley may be right that she has always had a bit of "doom-and-gloom mentality," so that is an unchanging part of her personality.
I like this. With this perspective in mind, what does everyone make of Riley/Sam vs. Buffy/Spike? We essentially have two couples, one married, happy, full of purpose, and the other unmarried, turbulent, and uncertain. Buffy/Riley has basically split into two parts, one light, one dark, but as @Stake fodder mentions, Buffy seems to have a penchant for doom and gloom early on, both with Riley and earlier. Sam herself has been called a "Mary Sue". I'd argue "Pollyanna" might be a better name. She's perpetually upbeat, not unlike Season 4 Riley. So, what do you all make of this? How are these pairings compared and contrasted in the show, and to what purpose?
 
TriBel
TriBel
Pollyanna/Mary Sue - "Mary Sues can be found throughout the history of literature, standing on the shoulders of earlier fill-in characters, like Pollyanna"

Btvs fan

Scooby
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People are thinking way to much into this. Which is more than the writers did.

Xander refers to them as a Mr and Mrs Nick Fury. Basically a comic book reference that Petrie likes to do. I'm guessing that's it. There's no hidden meaning there. Riley is just so cool and so his wife has to be too. Sod the contradictions. Its why Rileys cheating was ignored in the flashbacks and Buffy apologieses to him.

Its not the only thing the episode is all over the place with.
The Subotai Demon is both almost extinct and a breeder. Its a mindless creature that can also negotiate Arms deals with Spike who is also an international Arms dealer that's never brought either before or after this episode.
While by the next episode Xander is dumping Anya at the alta which you wouldn't think why from this episode. Again no set up.
 

Faded90

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People are thinking way to much into this. Which is more than the writers did.

Xander refers to them as a Mr and Mrs Nick Fury. Basically a comic book reference that Petrie likes to do. I'm guessing that's it. There's no hidden meaning there. Riley is just so cool and so his wife has to be too. Sod the contradictions. Its why Rileys cheating was ignored in the flashbacks and Buffy apologieses to him.

Its not the only thing the episode is all over the place with.
The Subotai Demon is both almost extinct and a breeder. Its a mindless creature that can also negotiate Arms deals with Spike who is also an international Arms dealer that's never brought either before or after this episode.
While by the next episode Xander is dumping Anya at the alta which you wouldn't think why from this episode. Again no set up.
Yeah the demons ‘nearly extinct.... they breed like wildfire’. So how are they nearly extinct?

My theory is that Sam is a Sambot that Riley had created for the occasion. She’s super duper badass but still ‘oh shucks Buffy you’re so amazing and so much prettier that me. Oh golly I’m so humble’ so that it means Buffy has to like her or she just looks like a major dick. Riley knows ‘who to beat for information’ - something he never did when he was around the first time 😂 Joyce’s death being totally ignored so that we won’t remember how much of a dick Riley was while Buffy’s Mother was in the last few months of her life

Also the super cool secret agents who are so black ops and secretive that they get picked up by a helicopter complete with spotlights in the middle of the Main Street of Sunnydale 😂 really covert guys!
 

Stake fodder

Soulless
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How are these pairings compared and contrasted in the show, and to what purpose?
Sam is certainly contrasted to Buffy as being perfect, or even robotic, as @Faded90 says. All of which makes Buffy feel even worse, seeing her ex "trade up"! Sam and Riley are depicted as a happy, stable couple, lacking in the high drama of Buffy and Spike, which I think makes her (not just the writers) gloss over some of Riley's previous shortcomings. And it doesn't help that Spike acts petulant, demanding, possessive, and criminal in this episode. The contrast between the two men is best shown in the scene where Riley catches them in the crypt. Buffy is mortified about how this must look to Riley, while Spike obliviously throws it in Riley's face, thrilled to have supposedly "one-upped" him.

The Subotai Demon is both almost extinct and a breeder. Its a mindless creature that can also negotiate Arms deals with Spike who is also an international Arms dealer that's never brought either before or after this episode.
That didn't make sense, but I had the idea that some third party had stolen the demon's eggs and sold them on to Spike. Or he was being honest about "holding them for a friend."
 

DeadlyDuo

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Or he was being honest about "holding them for a friend."
I think Spike was being honest as he clearly didn't know how to handle the merchandise he was looking after. Don't forget in DMP he told Buffy he could get her money. What's the odds that this was him trying to get the money?
 
TriBel
TriBel
That's what I've always presumed.

DeadlyDuo

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I've thought that, too. And so, it also shows Spike as an incompetent provider, also a contrast with Riley.
Spike was a good provider for Dru, in Season 2 they turn up in town and Spike immediately procures them a place to stay. Being able to provide is seen as a masculine trait (harking back to the men going out to work and women staying at home days) so the fact that Spike messes up "providing" for Buffy could be seen as another attack by the writers on his masculinity, first started by the chip making Spike "impotent".

Given how Buffy is a "feminist" show, and for some people feminism is less about equality and more about female superiority and humiliating men (especially straight white ones), did the writers deliberately take what was a very masculine character in Season 2, then purposefully humiliate him and make him emotionally sub-servient to Buffy aka he became her lapdog, all in the name of "feminism"?
 
M

M

Guest
Given how Buffy is a "feminist" show, and for some people feminism is less about equality and more about female superiority and humiliating men (especially straight white ones), did the writers deliberately take what was a very masculine character in Season 2, then purposefully humiliate him and make him emotionally sub-servient to Buffy aka he became her lapdog, all in the name of "feminism"?
While Spike does get humiliated frequently (both Buffy and Riley whack him in the face and tell him to shut up), I don't think his lapdog persona is all that different from early season Spike. Spike is a devoted creature, and takes quite a bit of punishment for Dru's sake early on. Continuing this trait isn't really saying anything about feminism, one way or the other, and is simply a facet of Spike.

As for unmanning him with the chip, this in part is already restored to Spike, as it no longer works with Season 6 Buffy, and that's mostly who we see Spike interacting with.

The end of this episode actually ends with some degree of equality and respect given to Spike. Buffy may leave Spike, which is not what he wants, but her reasons for doing so do take Spike's feelings into account for the first time, and she uses his human name. Say what you want about Spike's preference for one name over the other, the fact that Buffy uses his human name is her way of according him respect as something more than just a thing, which she accused him of being earlier in the season.
 

Stake fodder

Soulless
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I would agree with @Moggin that Spike's depiction is fairly consistent. S2 Spike certainly takes care of Drusilla, but he is treated as the "beta male" once he is in a wheelchair and Angelus shows up. Here, he is once again being treated as the lesser option compared to Riley.

I don't think the writers were making a feminist comment about Spike, except to say that women should not be with abusive men. But it is true he is humiliated frequently in S6. If anything, the writers' biggest problem was failing to recognize how this builds audience sympathy for him, even when he deserves the bad treatment. It's less about being depicted as unmasculine and more about being a morally ambiguous character.
 
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