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BBDiscusses : Into the Woods

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[B]Btvs fan[/B] Yeah it was on the BBC back in the day though Ats was on Channel 4 I believe

I watched them both on Sky, which had advert breaks, but still no where near as many as they have in the U.S.
 

Taake

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I love the fake staking, honestly, I am still not sure why it is a fake stake (except for the audience), but I do think it is a great psych scene and I’m like finally, Riley takes some action.

Anyway, I really love this episode now, as I love the breakdown of this relationship, but I do think that Xander is dead wrong in his speech to Buffy.

Why Riley’s ”assessment” is right:
We don’t know that much of Riley’s background except that he appears to be a cornfed Iowa boy who drove four hours to watch football games. What I imagine is that he came from a small town and a close knit family. Then he joined the military/Initiative at approximately age 8 (j/k but considering how advanced in rank he seems to be...) which is another close knit organisation.

Everything about Riley, and his love language, screams dependance and unity.

None of that is Buffy. She is all about independence and initiative (no pun intended), I disagree that she needs a little monster in her man, what she needs is a guy who doesn’t need her to need him, someone who can not only honor her independence but is capable of combining his own independence with a steadfast and loving relationship.

I don’t think Riley is wrong for wanting what he wants from Buffy, he is just asking the wrong person to give it to him. Their relationship is a miss match and a learning experience, it is not that they don’t care for each other, they just don’t have the same wants or needs out of a relationship. So Riley is right, from his perspective, but he is wrong for expecting Buffy to be able to fullfill his needs in a relationship.

That’s why I love the breakdown of their relationship, it is so real and not very pretty, but also inevitable. My ”what if” is that if Buffy caught up with Riley they may have gotten back together... only to repeat this pattern 6 months or a year down the line. They’re just not right for each other, no matter how much they care. Making their relationship work wouldn’t be impossible but would ask a lot of effort from both of them to modify their ”love language” so to speak, to accomodate the other.

So, Xander is wrong to me, he has no idea what is really going on with Buffy and Riley and he is projecting his own needs in a relationship onto Buffy. As seen later, as he rashly proposes to Anya, he is still very immature and doesn’t even know what he wants in a relationship (hence the overeating and lying before the wedding). I think he wants Buffy and Riley together because on the outside they look like what he wants, and that is what he tries to recreate when he declares his love (and later proposes) to Anya, basically compatible stability, the kind of stability he didn’t have at home.

in conclusion: love isn’t always enough, but every relationship is a learning experience. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk :p

(Great thread!)
 

TriBel

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I like the staking - I like everything about BtVS.

It doesn't matter where the stake came from. It could be anything. A small plastic fence post from a gardening store; a theatrical prop; something the Initiative use in training. Its existence is hardly beyond the realms of possibility. It's not a magical implement. The important thing isn't what it is - it's what it's not; it's not real. It looks like the real thing; Spike's anticipation is real but it doesn't live up to expectation. It's lacking. It's an erastz thing: an artificial or inferior substitute; a copy; an imitation; a person or thing that takes or can take the place of another; an inferior replacement for something natural or genuine. This "erastzness" (apologies to the German language) could, can and does map onto anything.

It's not meaningless...everything on the screen has meaning - everything signifies although the weight of meaning varies. (symbolic, iconic, indexical) and the signs combine. In this case, I can't see why they'd throw it in for cheap laughs or thrills when we've already had this.

DAWN: When I was younger, I used to put my chopsticks in my mouth like this, (She puts chopsticks into her mouth so they stick out like very long fangs) and then Buffy would chase me around the house yelling, (makes claw hands) 'I'm the slayer, I'm going to get you!' (Laughs)
ANYA: That's disturbing. You're emotionally scarred and will end up badly.
DAWN: (removes chopsticks) No, it was great. I mean, she didn't actually stake me in the heart, you know.

Together with this:

ANYA: Well, we could play that game again, Life. That was fun. DAWN: (frowns) For you. You always win. ANYA: Well ... we can make a wager this time. You can give me real money. That would be different.

I don't think the bar would serve her, but we could bring something in. (to Dawn) Strawberry schnapps taste just like real ice cream.

They have a map...they talk about it is though it's the real thing. Maps stand in for the real. There's also something going on with imaging...scans etc. which reveal that which can't be seen. The image is the real? Wow! Way to go with Baudrillard...it's too early in the morning for simulacrum.

Then we have this:

That's all in the past now. Mom's out of the woods, and I'm here with you. That's all that matters.

Love (or the loved object) is an ersatz thing in the sense that the mother is the child's first love. Everything that follows is a poor imitation, a copy of the mother/child dyad and it will never reach those heights. It will always be less than anticipated. This love - or the plenitude of this love - the completeness of this love - isn't real - it's imaginary and brought about by the logic of future anterior. But it feels real and we're driven to replicate it. You can, in fact, miss what you never had (I'm playing fast and loose with theory).

I suspect her reasons for chasing after Riley are negative rather than positive...that it's less to do with wanting Riley and more to do with not wanting to lose Riley. (XANDER: think about what you're about to lose). She runs into the woods after Riley because, unconsciously, she fears Joyce is not out of the woods. She fears a loss that never happened.

love isn’t always enough, but every relationship is a learning experience. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk
"Love is never enough...every relationship is a repetition. We never learn". Welcome to my amendments to Taake's Ted talk. Think of me as a drunk heckler. 🤣 I live a lonely life.
 
Priceless
Priceless
I like the staking - I like everything about BtVS - Amen
Taake
Taake
😂 Every good talk needs a heckler

Faded90

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Honestly I always see the running after him as a panicked response to Xander’s speech ‘oh my god what if this is the best guy I can get?’ I genuinely think that Buffy knew he wasn’t the long haul guy for her but had a panic of the self esteem moment
 

Btvs fan

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Priceless
Priceless
Interesting interview, thanks for posting

Cheese Slices

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I love the fake staking, honestly, I am still not sure why it is a fake stake (except for the audience), but I do think it is a great psych scene and I’m like finally, Riley takes some action.
This is an interesting take. Could you elaborate on that ? What do you think is his goal/purpose in doing this ? For me taking action == making things move forward, do you think this is what this move accomplishes, and if so how ?
Thats not what the writers were going for. Either then or afterwards
This is fascinating because I've read some interviews from other writers (can't remember who atm), stating that Riley was a "palate cleanser" that would facilitate the transition between Angel and Spike. Do you think they were retroactively covering their asses, or that there were conflicting views among the writers ?
 
K
katmobile
I think the latter - the writers were never a monolith.

TriBel

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I genuinely think that Buffy knew he wasn’t the long haul guy
I'm not sure at what level she "knows"...consciously or unconsciously...but I'd go along with "a panic of the self" and "self esteem" is as much as she values the self (the autonomous, Cartesian self) and wants to avoid the fissured self associated with loss. If she consciously knows, then there's a cynicism, a conscious perverseness, I don't associate with her and she'd do well to listen to Xander:

"If he's not the guy, if what he needs from you just isn't there, (shakes head) let him go. Break his heart, and make it a clean break. But if you really think you can love this guy ... I'm talking scary, messy, no-emotions-barred need ... if you're ready for that ... then think about what you're about to lose".

I'm talking scary, messy, no-emotions-barred need. This, I think is what she gets (wants?) from Spike but she's not ready to call it love.

Thats not what the writers were going for. Either then or afterwards
D'you mean this? If so, I can understand the point she's making (I thought that was one of the reasons for putting a distance between Buffy and Angel) but it doesn't preclude speculation on how they rid themselves of him. Just because the writers want something it doesn't follow the character does.

"Well, he had other opportunities. He had some movie opportunities. But, truthfully the answer it, Sunnydale romance just rarely goes well. Buffy with a boyfriend is not as interesting as Buffy in some kind of romantic strife. Riley, by his nature, was such a good and constant character that we were at risk of things getting a little dull".

"a good and constant character". Do they bring him back As You Were as even "gooder" and "constanter" (ouch...the English language). How's he represented in Restless? Isn't he a double agent in the comics? Rhetorical questions really because they're going off topic. :)

This is fascinating because I've read some interviews from other writers (can't remember who atm), stating that Riley was a "palate cleanser" that would facilitate the transition between Angel and Spike. Do you think they were retroactively covering their asses, or that there were conflicting views among the writers ?
It can be both...or everything you've said. As I've implied, I think this comment (below) unites the different phases (I've always made a point of not reading what writers say...especially about meaning...but I find Noxon quite interesting - and honest. For much of the time Whedon's just a sarky idiot):

"If he's not the guy, if what he needs from you just isn't there, (shakes head) let him go. Break his heart, and make it a clean break. But if you really think you can love this guy ... I'm talking scary, messy, no-emotions-barred need ... if you're ready for that ... then think about what you're about to lose".

@Priceless Still not a "fan" (in the truest sense) of BtVS but still in awe of how it (and the comics) are written (might include S12 in that :eek:) .
 
Priceless
Priceless
I am a fan, I can find something to love in every bit of it . . . even S12

Taake

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This is an interesting take. Could you elaborate on that ? What do you think is his goal/purpose in doing this ? For me taking action == making things move forward, do you think this is what this move accomplishes, and if so how ?
Well, if he had really staked Spike I suppose he would've moved things forward in one way or another, but what I mean is mostly that finally Riley makes an independent decision and does something he's not sure Buffy will approve of. So I'm more thinking of his journey, he's generally very good at taking orders, or giving orders in an organized manner, but he's not very good at being impulsive or chaotic. I feel it is a moment where he is letting go of his emotional control, he is at a breaking point, and does something about Spike (whom he's been annoyed by previously but does nothing about because Buffy).

Basically, I like it because I don't think he has a goal or a purpose, for once he just does. He's not really going to kill Spike, and beyond a fleeting moment of shock it is not like he can scare Spike, and he's not going to upset Buffy because he won't tell her about it... he just acts on his own feelings and I find that refreshing.


It all comes to nothing as it is a fake stake, but I do remember watching that first time and being genuinely shocked and worried, so it was a psych that really got me.

What it accomplishes is that Riley realizes that this can't go on and the whole unfolding of everything happens and he leaves (back to the saftey of being ordered around and all that).
 

Btvs fan

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This is an interesting take. Could you elaborate on that ? What do you think is his goal/purpose in doing this ? For me taking action == making things move forward, do you think this is what this move accomplishes, and if so how ?

This is fascinating because I've read some interviews from other writers (can't remember who atm), stating that Riley was a "palate cleanser" that would facilitate the transition between Angel and Spike. Do you think they were retroactively covering their asses, or that there were conflicting views among the writers ?
Based on what Whedon also said , gas lighting the fans. What Doug Petrie said on the DVD commentaries , they were covering there arses.

Also Buffy doesn't even acknowledge Spike feelings until Intervention, until then its all 1 sided. So I doubt there was a big plan, just roll with it and see what happens.
 
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Btvs fan

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Well, if he had really staked Spike I suppose he would've moved things forward in one way or another, but what I mean is mostly that finally Riley makes an independent decision and does something he's not sure Buffy will approve of. So I'm more thinking of his journey, he's generally very good at taking orders, or giving orders in an organized manner, but he's not very good at being impulsive or chaotic. I feel it is a moment where he is letting go of his emotional control, he is at a breaking point, and does something about Spike (whom he's been annoyed by previously but does nothing about because Buffy).

Basically, I like it because I don't think he has a goal or a purpose, for once he just does. He's not really going to kill Spike, and beyond a fleeting moment of shock it is not like he can scare Spike, and he's not going to upset Buffy because he won't tell her about it... he just acts on his own feelings and I find that refreshing.


It all comes to nothing as it is a fake stake, but I do remember watching that first time and being genuinely shocked and worried, so it was a psych that really got me.

What it accomplishes is that Riley realizes that this can't go on and the whole unfolding of everything happens and he leaves (back to the saftey of being ordered around and all that).
There is nothing in that time frame that suggested Buffy would care. Hell if he'd told her he'd caught Spike sniffing her sweater she'd understand.
Fact is Spike was kept alive for many episodes (OOMM) for no other reason than delight armour and it was ridiculous
 

Taake

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There is nothing in that time frame that suggested Buffy would care. Hell if he'd told her he'd caught Spike sniffing her sweater she'd understand.
Fact is Spike was kept alive for many episodes (OOMM) for no other reason than delight armour and it was ridiculous
Except that Buffy has that whole morality thing of not hurting those who aren't technically harmful monsters and Riley, e.g. through the experiences with Oz and the Initiative, knows that.

I'm not saying she would hate Riley for doing it, but she would object to him hurting Spike when the latter couldn't defend himself because of the chip. So no, she wouldn't approve or respect the choice, more likely she would get all "I don't even know who you are anymore" and yeah, maybe she would get over it, but it wasn't like Spike was just furniture to her at this point.
 

Faded90

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Except that Buffy has that whole morality thing of not hurting those who aren't technically harmful monsters and Riley, e.g. through the experiences with Oz and the Initiative, knows that.

I'm not saying she would hate Riley for doing it, but she would object to him hurting Spike when the latter couldn't defend himself because of the chip. So no, she wouldn't approve or respect the choice, more likely she would get all "I don't even know who you are anymore" and yeah, maybe she would get over it, but it wasn't like Spike was just furniture to her at this point.
Honestly though I feel like if Riley just said ‘he nearly caused my death Buffy’ she’d mostly just shrug it off. I think she might get righteous about it for 5 minutes then move on to an ‘oh well’ reaction
 

Taake

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Honestly though I feel like if Riley just said ‘he nearly caused my death Buffy’ she’d mostly just shrug it off. I think she might get righteous about it for 5 minutes then move on to an ‘oh well’ reaction
I'm not convinced, Buffy is used to making difficult decisions and sacrifices, but she is also used to being the one who gets to make those calls. She would have follow up questions to how Spike, not being able to hurt humans without intense pain, would have "nearly caused" Riley's death. And again, even if she got over it, I don't think she would look at him the same afterwards. It would just be another strain on their relationship.

Even if Buffy doesn't love Spike at this point, I don't think she is callous or indifferent towards him. He is, also, her strongest ally at this point and even if one could argue that it is uncertain how much she cares for him personally, she most certainly cares for his ability to be of potential service to her when needed.
 
B
Btvs fan
Hes not her strongest alley at that point. Hes just a vampire who tried to kill her and insults her

Btvs fan

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Except that Buffy has that whole morality thing of not hurting those who aren't technically harmful monsters and Riley, e.g. through the experiences with Oz and the Initiative, knows that.

I'm not saying she would hate Riley for doing it, but she would object to him hurting Spike when the latter couldn't defend himself because of the chip. So no, she wouldn't approve or respect the choice, more likely she would get all "I don't even know who you are anymore" and yeah, maybe she would get over it, but it wasn't like Spike was just furniture to her at this point.
"You helped Buffy before so she has a problem killing, you now your helpless, I don't"
He's literally said it there.

Plus Spike is not helpless, he tried to kill her and Riley and got Harmony to kill for him. All of that is forgotten by the next episode. Its just lazy writing plain and simple
 

Faded90

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I'm not convinced, Buffy is used to making difficult decisions and sacrifices, but she is also used to being the one who gets to make those calls. She would have follow up questions to how Spike, not being able to hurt humans without intense pain, would have "nearly caused" Riley's death. And again, even if she got over it, I don't think she would look at him the same afterwards. It would just be another strain on their relationship.

Even if Buffy doesn't love Spike at this point, I don't think she is callous or indifferent towards him. He is, also, her strongest ally at this point and even if one could argue that it is uncertain how much she cares for him personally, she most certainly cares for his ability to be of potential service to her when needed.
I meant in Out of My Mind when he nearly causes Riley to die. There was basically no reason why she wouldn’t have killed him then, particularly when she knows he’s living with a soulless vampire - as much as they all see Harmony as a joke
 

Cheese Slices

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While I'm not saying that Spike doesn't deserve to be staked or kicked around on more than one occasion, I do think it's interesing how Riley (and Buffy to a lesser extent) has been using Spike to work out his frustration all season : in BvD, when he hits up Spike for intel re Dracula and Spike tells him he is out of his league and places him as the superhero's weak SO, he immediately threatens him with death and goes into an almost literal dick measuring contest. In OOMM, he seems to repress his feeling of inadequacy by telling Spike to go away because he doesn't belong there (when it's really Riley who's out of place, or that's his true feeling anyway). In Shadow, it's not Spike's gross sweater sniffing that truly sets him off, but his accusing him of not being enough : he pushes him out in the sun and asks him "Am I dark enough for you now ?".
Similarly here, he punishes Spike for essentially exposing his own failures ; he even admits that he is essentially "killing the messenger" : Riley's most violent act towards Spike arguably occurs when Spike is the least at fault. I think he recognizes it to an extent, which is why we have the following scene of the both of them commiserating.
 
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DeadlyDuo

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Similarly here, he punishes Spike for essentially exposing his own failures ; he even admits that he is essentially "killing the messenger" : Riley's most violent act towards Spike arguably occurs when Spike is the least at fault. I think he recognizes it to an extent, which is why we have the following scene of the both of them commiserating.
That sounds like an example of more red flag behaviour from Riley.
 

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Should this have been over 2 episodes? The Buffy finding out about him and the vampires, and the military asking him back and him leaving?
 

DeadlyDuo

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Should this have been over 2 episodes? The Buffy finding out about him and the vampires, and the military asking him back and him leaving?
I don't think there was enough material for two episodes. However, the Buffy/Riley argument paints Riley in a real bad light particularly his demand that Buffy get over his "cheating" on her then and there or else he's gone and it'll be all her fault. Had that been given a longer time gap between that argument and Riley leaving, where Buffy could've been given a real chance to think things through and make a decision not based on "you should totally tolerate Riley's bad behaviour and want to be in a relationship with him even though he hates the fact you're not reliant on him because he's "the one who comes along once in a lifetime" and you have to make a decision right now otherwise you could end up alone forever!", then I think Riley would've come across a little less negatively than he did in show and it wouldn't take away Buffy's empowering moment of calling Riley out on his ultimatum and not giving in to it. Buffy was right in what she said during the argument yet the writers treated her as if she was wrong to feel the way she did when she was more than justified.
 

GothicBuffy

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I always hate that he went back to the military. Season 4 was about Riley finding his own identity, learning that the military does not equal "right" or "good" and he has to find his own place in the world after realizing the horror of the US military. He becomes his own person and starts thinking for himself. So why would he go back? Simply because he resents Buffy that much? That seems drastic and really regressive. Negates a lot of self realization he had.
 
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