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BtVS Season 7 Rewatch

Grace

Destructo-Girl
Joined
Mar 23, 2017
Messages
1,792
Black Thorn
I think he probably would have stood up for her, given how much she had stood by him throughout the season. However, I do think he would have been at least a little skeptical of the plan, given that he did voice concern about going to the vineyard the first time. ("Could be that's just what he wants you to do—the old bait-and-switch.") But once he had the info from the mission in Gilroy, then I think he supported going back.

It's clear from Touched that Spike mostly blames Faith for what happened with Buffy, when Faith was actually the only one who seemed to handle herself well during the blowup. Of course he didn't get the whole story (not that I blame him, but it's not like his perspective there is objective).

Buffy did need to go back to the vineyard, but I do think it would have been another disaster if she hadn't had her realization in Touched about how to do it.
 
W

WillowFromBuffy

Guest
Anyone have any thoughts on what Spike would have said or done if he was present during the Empty Places scene?
I think Spike's only concern was proving his devotion to Buffy by any means possible. He preferred to be burned to death rather than face the coming rejection and was annoyed to be resurrected. I am pretty sure he would have sided with Buffy regardless.
 

Mylie

Scooby
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
2,098
Age
33
Touched

This is a frustrating episode. Still it has some good stuff in it and I will concentrate on those things because I'm bummed feeling too negative so close to the end.

Dawn had the idea about the spell!! And then "There's a translation!" LOL

I like the idea that just replacing Buffy with Faith in the power position doesn't fix the problem. While it's not enjoyable to watch, it works in favor of Chosen and just for that I get why they needed Faith to have her turn. I'm just not sure that a mutiny was needed.

The scene between Faith and The First/Wilkins is kind of amazing. It shows Faith's insecurities and how much it must have taken her showing up in Sunnydale.

I have a lot of problems with the Buffy/Spike scene but what I do appreciate from it is Buffy's reaction to Spike saying "there's always casualties in war". I'm finally starting to feel that she gets how cold that way of thinking is. And she does realize that she's been cutting herself off from her friends. The why of it all was always implied but I still like that it was addressed. That said, "It's my fault I stayed that way" is only partly true. She does have the weight of the world on her shoulders and so the isolation is understandable. But there is a part of her that has been loving isolating herself. So I think it was her making a bad situation worse in a way, but even then voicing this makes me a bit uncomfortable. It's like saying people who suffer from depression are not helping themselves. Often, it's a vicious circle and while it can be very frustrating for outside people to watch, it's very hard to put a stop to it.

The Faith/Wood talk... it comes right after The First/Wilkins tells Faith that she's always wanted Buffy to love her. And he says "Listen, nobody wants to be alone, Faith. We all want someone who cares, to be touched that way. I mean, the First deals in figments, but that wanting is real.". So forgive me but this, to me, confirms what The First was saying. All Faith wants, is Buffy's love and approval. And right after, when she tells Robin that The First warned her about Buffy, she says "The First is telling me to worry about her, and I just wish she was here.". My fuffy heart!!! I'll just ignore what follows... lol

While I find the scythe thing a bit ridiculous and out of nowhere, Buffy finding it is such a good moment and I absolutely love her smile.

So... I think the episode addresses some important things and does good character work but it being the follow up to Empty Places, I can't help but see it as a continuation of something I hated.

My ranking :
Selfless
Same Time, Same Place
Dirty Girls
Lessons
Storyteller
Potential
Conversations With Dead People
Him
Never Leave Me
Showtime
Bring On the Night
Help
Touched
The Killer In Me
First Date
Sleeper
Lies My Parents Told Me
Get it Done
Empty Places
Beneath You
 

Grace

Destructo-Girl
Joined
Mar 23, 2017
Messages
1,792
Black Thorn
I'm finally starting to feel that she gets how cold that way of thinking is. And she does realize that she's been cutting herself off from her friends. The why of it all was always implied but I still like that it was addressed. That said, "It's my fault I stayed that way" is only partly true. She does have the weight of the world on her shoulders and so the isolation is understandable. But there is a part of her that has been loving isolating herself. So I think it was her making a bad situation worse in a way, but even then voicing this makes me a bit uncomfortable. It's like saying people who suffer from depression are not helping themselves. Often, it's a vicious circle and while it can be very frustrating for outside people to watch, it's very hard to put a stop to it.
Thank you for articulating this. It's something that I struggle with, too. I feel critical of Buffy because she definitely made mistakes and treated people badly, but at the same time, I can see the impossible situation she's in. I know it's too early from a storytelling perspective for her to have her Chosen realization, but I also didn't want to see her shoulder the blame entirely. I really liked when she said to Wood in Dirty Girls, "I don't want to lead them into war. It can't be the right thing." I wish she would have come back to that, the idea that it wasn't right. I know she didn't want to make excuses for herself, but the system *is* fundamentally messed up. I also don't like how Buffy continues to blame herself for the badness of Season 6.
 

Mylie

Scooby
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
2,098
Age
33
Thank you for articulating this. It's something that I struggle with, too. I feel critical of Buffy because she definitely made mistakes and treated people badly, but at the same time, I can see the impossible situation she's in. I know it's too early from a storytelling perspective for her to have her Chosen realization, but I also didn't want to see her shoulder the blame entirely. I really liked when she said to Wood in Dirty Girls, "I don't want to lead them into war. It can't be the right thing." I wish she would have come back to that, the idea that it wasn't right. I know she didn't want to make excuses for herself, but the system *is* fundamentally messed up. I also don't like how Buffy continues to blame herself for the badness of Season 6.
Yes, there are a lot of decisions that Buffy made that I disagree with this season, but I think ultimately she's put in a bad position and has to come up with a miracle solution to find a balance between winning the war but also not losing her humanity in the process. I feel like she just went a bit overboard in one direction which made it difficult to sympathize with her. But the worst happened already. From now on, I'm completely on her side and rooting for her!
 

EarthLogic

Scooby
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
1,350
Location
London, UK
Black Thorn
Potential:

One of the merits of this season is the attention and development it gives to Dawn and this episode is another strong one for her. As Buffy gives an encouraging speech to the Potentails in the basement: ‘Most people have no idea why they’re here’ we cut to Dawn looking on, clearly troubled by her apparent irrelevance within the group and the fight. Again I wish we had seen something along these lines in S6, but her story does work well for the purpose of this episode.

@Mylie- pretty much agree with everything you say in your review r.e. Dawn. More so then wanting to feel special or unique, she wants to connect to her sister’s world and to the power of the slayer. If the monks made her out of Buffy and she is a part of her, then should she not be connected to that part too. I think Dawn’s enthusiasm for research all this season ties into this. She’s keen to find a place and purpose within the powerful Slayer circle. Of course one of the threads of this season, albeit a patchily realised one, is the disconnect between Buffy’s slayer half and human half which Dawn represents. Once again Buffy leaves her phone – the lifelines and symbol of connection between her and Dawn - at home when she goes to patrol with the Potentials. Fittingly the opening graveyard scene harks back to the opening of Lessons, only now Buffy is not teaching Dawn anymore.

Xander/Dawn:
I loved Xander’s speech about being extraordinary – at least in terms of the bond that it cements between him and Dawn. It also works to foreshadow (horribly as we later find out) Xander’s power of sight, which will be later taken from him.

I am curious though about why Xander understands his position/role as being ‘near to the spotlight and never step[ping] in it’. In Selfless Buffy brutally lays into him about how painful a burden it is to be the Slayer, to be the only one with the power to make the hard decisions and yet here he doesn’t seem to have taken any of that on board. Is this an intentional writing decision for the character or a writing flaw – because from this angle the scene is rather ironic. He supposedly sees more than anybody and yet appears blind to the agonising reality of what it means to be a Slayer.

On ‘General’ Buffy:
On the ‘You’re all gonna die’ speech – Buffy gets taken to task for this one a lot but I think the hate is unfair. Is Buffy too ruthless, too absolute? I don’t think so. She’s trying to keep them alive. They can already see that Spike is somewhat different to the other vampires they’re being told to slay, but if Buffy starts to go into the nuances of vampire behaviour and personality the doubt that might sow could get them killed. Besides Buffy knows that the vampire types these girls will eventually come to take on – the Turkey Khans -leave no room for ambiguity. The little questioning side-glance from Spike in the crypt tells us that we’re not supposed to take Buffy’s words as evidence of what she truly believes about vampires, but rather of what she thinks will help the girls survive.

The problem with the setup isn’t Buffy, it’s The First. It’s not a very good Big Bad. The threat has been shown to us but I don’t get a real sense of it and this leaves us watching Buffy get increasingly tense, taking on the role of Gneral, I must admit the idea of TF being in remission is kind of lazy – it’s like they couldn’t be bothered to come up with a valid excuse for Spike not being under its control for the time being yet not doing much either.

Another problem I have is that despite agreeing with her, I still don’t connect to Buffy. Up until this season Buffy has been our emotional touchstone. Apart from the overtly meta episodes where the focus is clearly on another character and providing a different point of view (The Zeppo, Storyteller) we’re on her side when she feels angry, lost or alone. Yet right now I’m on her side because I’m always on her side, not because I understand and truly empathise with what she’s going through, although I can make informed guesses and interpretations as to what she might be feeling. But we as viewers are not privy to that. We don’t get a sense of the Buffy that’s struggling to figure things out.

As for the pseudo-Cruciamentum. I do think we’re supposed to see Buffy’s echo of the Watcher’s Council’s archaic patriarchal methods as troubling and problematic. Her description of vampires ‘the animal inside, always the same’ closely mirrors what Giles about pre-ensoulment Angel says in S1: ‘like all of them: a vicious, violent animal’. However on the level of story and character I have a hard time believing she would fall into this mindset after all that she has been through. It’s not helped by the fact that we still don’t get any private insight into her thought process. Once she locks them in we cut away to the house. There’s no reaction shot from the Buffy and Spike’s side of the crypt door, nothing to clue us into where Buffy’s mind is at this point. The next we see of them is when they come to help Dawn and Amanda. I don’t think we’re supposed to assume they left the Potentials in the crypt all the time they were school but that’s the first thing that puzzled me.

Stray thoughts:
  • Fave quotes:
    • - ‘’cause the black chick always gets it first?’
    • - Buffy r.e Andrew: ‘He’s not evil but when he gets close to it he picks up its flavour, like a mushroom or something’
  • Dawn trying to break the flagpole was funny.
  • Anya’s ‘never got that’ in response to Dawn and Buffy sharing the same blood was I think a nod to the fandom arguments about how their blood connection worked in The Gift.
  • I feel like SMG’s comic moments in this episode are kind of forced. Usually babbling, awkward Buffy makes me laugh but here it fell flat to me.
  • I like the Potentials' training scene. They’ve developed a bit more personality and individuality, which is good. So far Vi is my favourite. As for Amanda, who is the focus for this episode, I liked her physical awkwardness. I don’t know if it was an intentional acting choice or is naturally how the actress carries herself but it’s very much how I’d expect a lanky awkward teenager like her to hold herself. Her actual acting, however, was not good.
 

Mrs Gordo

Bangel extremist...
Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
4,043
Location
Texas
Black Thorn
Touched:

Why does Spike hit Faith? Just like does anyone have a good answer for this? Is it because she is the only one he can hit without really hurting and he needs to punch something? I get that he is mad. I get it. And he isn't even altogether entirely wrong with what he's saying (although he does seem to blame her without asking many questions). But how do you get from that to "let me punch Faith in the face real quick."

The conversation when Spike first walks into the bedroom with Buffy is strange.
"This isn't something you gave up, it's something they took." Huh? She's still the slayer. What did they take from her? They took "her" army? Was it hers for them to take? Did they take her leadership role? I guess they took her house, I'm with him on that.

I'll just add to the consent joke being not OK which has already been mentioned here. Add insult to injury that this is potentially the one year anniversary of SR same episode number in the previous season.) I really hope the writers just missed this all together. I want to live in a world where no one in the writer's room was like "hey I have an idea..." So that's my headcanon. They didn't catch it.

Another thing that's not OK. Spike saying he'll kill Faith for Buffy. Is he kidding? He's kidding right?

I haven't watched this episode in a long time. I had forgotten everything that wasn't the part where Spike kneels down. Everything before "I've been alive a lot longer than you" is not my favorite. But if I can divorce all of the stuff that comes before, and maybe season 6, and some of 5 - I really like what Spike tells her here. Not sure he is the best person to deliver the message but the message alone is meaningful and I'm glad that Buffy is hearing these words. And again, ignoring a lot of stuff..., it is nice to see Buffy tell Spike to just hold her because she hasn't allowed herself to be vulnerable the entire season so it's important that she allows herself to make that connection. And in fact, that is what this whole episode is about - making connections with people.

"What it does a heel thing too?" LMAO. The Faith stuff is cool. I like getting some insight into her. I'll always prefer Faith on AtS than on BtVS.

It would've been nice to see Buffy wake up next to Spike in the morning and see something of a smile or at least a look of something resembling peace or feeling positive. Again with the strange SMG acting thing. I guess the idea is to keep us guessing as to what her feelings about all of this in anticipation of the whole "I was there with you" that's coming in EoD.

When Buffy says this: "I've always cut myself off. I've always— Being the slayer made me different. But it's my fault I stayed that way. People are always trying to connect to me, and I just slip away. You should know."

Huh?? Can we pump the brakes and take a look at the evidence here?

Giles is fired because he and Buffy have formed a relationship that was so close to a Father/Daughter relationship. Up until s6 when he leaves, she relied on him heavily and I never for a second questioned the depth of their connection until s7. (Prophecy Girl, Passions, Helpless, Spiral).
Willow and Xander had historically had an uber close connection with her. In s4, they are literally her heart and her spirit. In s5, Willow is the one who brings her back from a catatonic state. Pretty connect-y.
Dawn is tough because she was only around in s5 but Buffy is always so loving and protective of her. She breaks down in front of her in Forever. Seems like a plenty strong connection.
And - I hate to go here but I'm going to go ahead and do it, Buffy pursues Angel in season two (she is trying to connect to him) and they do, and he slips away because he dies and then leaves. If it was up to her, she'd have a drawer in his mansion and he would've bought some mirrors.
Hell Buffy even tries to reach out and connect with Faith. When Faith kills Allen and loses her way Buffy tells her that they can figure this out, she wants to be support-o-gal. She was trying to make that connection. Faith struggled with connections. In fact, this line (people alwys trying to connect and I slip away) could apply to Faith in s 3 but not to Buffy before s6.

So it seems to me that she hasn't "always" cut herself off. She started cutting herself off after her resurrection. And it seems to me it's less related to her being a slayer (because before her resurrection she was a slayer for 6 years) and more related to her being resurrected. The whole point of 5 seasons of Buffy was her connections to her friends her family, her mother etc. For the writers to now tell me that she always struggled to connect with them the entire time - well - what show was I watching? What am I missing here? Sure, at the end of the day, the big moments - those are hers, the burden to make the difficult decisions like sacrificing herself to the Master, like killing Angel, like sacrificing herself (again) for the world those were always hers and hers alone. But along the way - she made deep and meaningful connections and she didn't really start struggling with that until s6. Am I alone here? Does anyone else struggle with this line of thinking?

Anyway, I'll end with it's refreshing to see Buffy kick some Caleb ass.

Actually, I'll add one more thing, I'm going to enjoy this finale. Even if I struggle so much with s7 on so many levels, BtVS is my favorite show and I enjoy seeing Buffy wage a war and be a badass. I'm looking forward to just leaving the rest of the episodes behind and seeing the finale. Because the finale is bigger than this season and it's message is something that is very important to me. I consider the finale like a Monet painting, meant to be admired from afar.

End of Days/Chosen group watch info:


Event is created: Rabbit | Event (although I'm not sure what the point of this event creation is because I'll still come here and post the link.)
Time is 5 CST/ 6 EST / 11 GMT

I'll be streaming from Hulu (I'm cheap and don't pay for commercial free sorry!) We will start with End of Days. Runtime for each episode is 43 min so if you want to join in for Chosen you can join us about 5:45. You can basically use the link to join in at any time. If you want to go in and sign up for Rabb.it now it may save you some time on the date of the watch. If you have any questions at all as to how this works let me know.
[automerge]1521410168[/automerge]
Here is your link to join the room for the watch:
https://lets.rabb.it/MX2MHrZEoL
 
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Mrs Gordo

Bangel extremist...
Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
4,043
Location
Texas
Black Thorn
Thank you for those who joined the group watch! So much fun! If you want to come in here and post final thoughts on the episodes feel free to do so, some interesting things were brought up during the chat/discussions maybe we can discuss here.
 

Mylie

Scooby
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
2,098
Age
33
End of Days

I've already watched Chosen but I've decided to separate those 2 episodes and I'll post my thoughts on Chosen after I rewatch it another time.

I very much enjoy the "preparing for war" feel of this episode. Everyone is getting things in order. Buffy sending Xander and Dawn away from Sunnydale shows that keeping Dawn safe remains a priority for her. I love her line "I trust you with my life" and I feel like Dawn continues to represent life for Buffy.

Buffy telling the potentials and Faith that it wasn't Faith's fault and that this could have happened to her as well means a lot. It's weird seeing most characters interact with each other as if nothing had happened but I'm also kind of relieved that we're letting the horrible events of Empty Places behind us.

The Buffy/Faith scene is all kinds of wonderful. I love every single thing about it. From Buffy reassuring Faith that it's not her fault, to her sitting on the bed, to Faith understanding Buffy's isolation, to them both realizing that they share this unique position. It's a lovely scene, one I feel we've been wanting for for years and the payoff really works here. It doesn't feel forced and it's very much in character for both of them.

The Andrew/Anya stuff is funny and cute. I think it takes a tiny bit too much space (I would have taken more Willow, Xander or Dawn instead) but I also think Anya deserves this, given her upcoming fate.

Buffy's letter to Dawn references what she told her in Grave but did she forget that this was said after they fought together? I love that Dawn refuses to leave and let Buffy fight without her.

Buffy looks so beautiful in this episode. I love the jacket and the ponytail. The whole look is even better with the scythe!

The Buffy/Caleb fight is so well done One of the best fights on the show. And then ANGEL!! I always cheer when he appears on screen. I love how they are immediately drawn to each other, the way they look at each other and smile. Their little banter, Angel watching Buffy fight and "god, I missed watching this" is pretty much how I feel watching them interact on screen.

This is a great episode. It isn't perfect, but it's very satisfying to watch and makes me excited for the finale.

My ranking :
Selfless
Same Time, Same Place
End of Days
Dirty Girls
Lessons
Storyteller
Potential
Conversations With Dead People
Him
Never Leave Me
Showtime
Bring On the Night
Help
Touched
The Killer In Me
First Date
Sleeper
Lies My Parents Told Me
Get it Done
Empty Places
Beneath You
 
Puppet
Puppet
I'm sorry, Empty what? Don't know what you're talking about...

debbicles

Music is what makes life amazing
Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
175
Location
United Kingdom
Dirty Girls

Faith is back!!! Yippee!
Frankly I started to scratch my head around here, with the introduction of a new villain. To me, Caleb is a shadowy (no pun intended) version of Robert Mitchum's evil religious fanatic and I don't find him particularly frightening. His allusions are, similarly, indeed heavily sexually laden and nastily misogynistic. So he is cut from the same cloth - argh can't escape the terrible jokes - but he muddies the waters for me. I understand his purpose as the receptacle but for me he has nowhere near enough depth or presence to carry it off. However I must go with the flow.
Xander badly wants to reassure the girls but his dream goes downhill. His reality is even more downhill.
Poor thing. How many times as a parent have I been rudely woken from sleep to deal with a crisis. Don't think I've ever had a dream like that, though. I hope not
Producers and writers, it's too late to make Willow cutesy. I love her but it was too late back in S5.
I love Faith's insecurity. But she throws herself into the fight anyway, even though she is not sure of her welcome. To put it mildly.
Classic Buffy graveyard chase.
Ahem, Spike - Faith reformed before you did. I love the whole exchange - I am nothing like Angel. Amen and hallelujah. Vive la difference and all that.
And whatever happened to Slayer vampire senses? Why does Faith need a badge to tell the villains apart?
I love Dawn's stoney face with Faith. Those monks did some powerful magic.
Strength and loneliness with strength, while Caleb is drinking a toast to sin.
Oh shut up, Andrew.
Wood finally seems to be getting the message that he is needed but it has to be on different terms. It is his idea to lead the girls into battle and he throws the mission word in. Buffy, please don't grovel to him.
It's quite amusing to hear Spike and Faith talking about life, sex and redemption in the same sentence. They flirt, low key.
What does Spike do with the revelation that it was Faith who came on to him in Who Are You? Bloody hell, he kisses and tells. You should look embarrassed, my boy.
Mind you, it does seem that Buffy comes to see him first. Seems to be a habit with her. Dawn doesn't seem to know she's home until she calls down. Given her history with Faith, I'm not surprised she's antsy.
Giles speaks sense about the mission, and surprisingly both Spike and Willow agree. Everyone has misgivings.
I love Faith's attitude to the fight. I had always hoped those two, she and Buffy, that is,would get along. Oh dear, Buffy looks understandably upset that Angel just says "hi". And we are just about to get to the interesting stuff when Faith spots a Bringer. It sort of brings home for me that she and Angel have led separate lives for a long time. She still thinks about him but is not apparently a priority with him.
Shut up, Rona and Kennedy. I know you're scared but Buffy is not crazy. And Xander is loyal as ever.
Spike's Falcon Cresr reference is funny.
Oh, those poor girls getting slaughtered.
Spike is so furious at Buffy getting zapped he vamps out but unfortunately he doesn't fare any better than her.
Caleb blinding Xander is really upsetting and graphic. And I can't help but notice - because I checked several times - that it is Spike who rescues him from even more injury. Spike's "we are leaving" to Buffy reminds me of Aliens - he is the trusted lieutenant, the only one who can actually give her an order.

An episode about the duality of human nature? Evil as our other half? There are deeper themes in this episode but I'll save my analysis of them for another occasion.
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Empty Places

I see very few people posting here think this episode has much merit. Whilst it is true this is far from the best of Buffy, I think there is some enjoyment here.

Lovely to see Clem once more. And a VW Beetle is exactly what he would drive, just as Spike would drive a DeSoto.
Oh Anya, how I love what you're trying to do, lecturing the Potentials. And Xander putting a brave face on things. Great to see Willow and Xander together.
Yikes, Kennedy seems human. At last.
And I love Faith supporting Buffy, although I don't like her calling Dawn a pip squeak.
Sunnyvale is deserted at last, despite every other apocalypse.
An errant thought occurs to me - where do the Lord and the Bible stand in all this? Caleb must once have believed in them. Of course, the Devil is meant to be able to quote scripture. He is a fallen angel, after all. All the best lies have inherent truth in them.
Buffy needs to be tamed, does she?
Spike's attitude is insolent. Don't blame him for being angry. That sneer is classic Spike. Good to see.
And I love it that he and Andrew don't want to go together. For totally different reasons. And Buffy seems to concur.
And I think I finally understand the rationale behind Buffy's saying Spike has her back, while Giles claims they all do. Yes, they are all loyal to her and bring different skills to the battle. But she has gradually, almost imperceptibly been moving closer to him, to the point where he is her shadow. It's not a literal back, its emotional and metaphorical. He has been moving upwards into her sphere of light. She can sense it.
Faith sending Amanda for a 7 Up. How funny.
Oh dear, Buffy resorts to old tactics with Faith.
I love the Spike/Andrew road trip and the flowering onion conversation. Andrew, he means it so shut up.
Wood is back. I don't like the way his chat with Faith is going. Faith, you are so right about his issues. I can't begin to tell you.
Spike is surprisingly gentle with the surviving priest. And I'm not surprised that he can read Greek - he's still at heart the educated gentleman and I don't care what the jokes are, stupidity has never been a trait of his.


My Big Questions:
Why does Spike need a magnifying glass?
Why is Faith eating so much?
Why is Wood being rude to Buffy in her own home?
Why does he get to suggest a vote?

Normally, I love Anya. But her whole speech to Buffy is hateful. Buffy is not lucky to have become a Chosen One. Luck plays no part in it.
And Dawn throwing Buffy out?
I think everyone has been on the Hellmouth too long. The fumes seem to have gone to their souls and hearts.
Faith is great, still.
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Empty Places

Actually there was one other thing that annoyed me. Something that Rona said - she tells Buffy she doesn't know what her deal is with Spike. But I am pretty sure it was Spike who was rescuing her until Xander was injured and he went back to help him. Lovely to see how grateful you are, Rona.

Returning to normal schedule.
 
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debbicles

Music is what makes life amazing
Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
175
Location
United Kingdom
Before I get stuck in to this review, I apologise upfront for not quoting. It doesn't matter how often I get help. And Antho, on the off chance you are reading this, I am deeply shamed I am unable to do as you or anyone else told me. Thank you for your help anyway.
So I shall just mention and refer
Instead of quoting.

Touched

"They're just sinners, you are sin."
If you leave something empty, what comes to fill it up?
After the revelation of unpalatable truths in Get It Done and LMPTM, and the sadness of Empty Places, several couples make a connection, and this makes the First wistful. It hints it wants a connection with Caleb, or that it already has one.

OMG I LOVE the Mayor!!!!
I like Dawn as research girl but I have to overlook her sudden knowledge of the Turkish language. And I have to roll my eyes at the Bringer being taken to the cellar - yes, because that's where the evil things dwell. Yawn. Still, I suppose if you're going to cut someone's throat you wouldn't do it where the rug or sofa will stain.
Nicely done scene with the Bringer talking through Andrew.
Interesting that the first thing we see at the Mission is the Madonna, as in BY. She intercedes on behalf of sinners who ask forgiveness.
Cut to Spike and Andrew.
The atmosphere at Casa Summers palpably changes when they return. Nobody looks Spike in the eye when he rants. Except Dawn, I was pleased to see. Could be wishful on my part but I see there a tantalising hint of the revival of their old friendship.
Willow pulling a face at Spike. Spike telling Giles he used to be the big man. Another unpalatable truth.

In reading back through various posts on this episode, I'm getting the impression either that Spike has no business getting furious and disappointed with the gang. Or that his fight with Faith is unwarranted.

Spike's behaviour is entirely consistent with his love for Buffy and I would have a very poor opinion of him if he hadn't shown his anger and acted on it. If I have misunderstood please correct me.

Spike's loyalty to Buffy is personal. She is his liege and his overlord. He is her sworn subject. He made a promise to a lady that he is now trying to keep. At the end of the season Buffy will reward him by allowing him to sacrifice himself. For the world. It isn't in the least bit romantic but it is chivalrous.

As to Spike hitting Faith, that is simply round two of their fight from Dirty Girls. He asks Faith at the time to stop hitting him. Much as I love Faith, she did actually tell him to,save his lack of breath. I don't really know how she expected him to react - the UN won't be recruiting any of them any time soon.
It's logical Spike should think Faith is behind Buffy being ousted. He knows her history with her.
Faith as the leader is great. And seeing Giles offer her encouragement and support is most welcome and long overdue.
OMG I LOVE the Mayor! Had to say it again. He messes with Faith's head. Faith admits to Wood she loved him as a father. When the Mayor explains to Faith how he is part of the First, I am reminded of CS Lewis' Screwtape Letters.
Wood tells Faith she is now officially a player. News flash, Robin. Faith has always mattered.
Ok, moving on. I think Wood was a pretty good principal and he is sorry he can't do that anymore. He admits he is out of his depth, and I think it's great to see he still fights.
Wood's saying to Faith that Buffy isn't the only one is in direct contrast with Spike telling Buffy she is The One.
Anya and Xander, Willow and Kennedy, Faith and Wood, all indulging in pre-battle intimacy. The First feels wistful.
Mylie, re Spike and Buffy - I think you said you had a number of problems with Spike's speech and then go in to say (I paraphrase) that Buffy understands how cold thinking about people as casualties of war is.
I wouldn't presume to second guess exactly what you mean, but as you don't elaborate on what your issues are, I can't tell if you disagree because of the speaker - and I can tell you have a teeny tiny problem with Spike, I'm astute that way - or the views expressed.
I don't see anything here that Giles, as one example, would say. I can hear Angel saying it, too. I don't find anything cold about it, either in context or in terms of the speaker. Spike seems resigned. His manner is gentle, he is here to provide intel snd moral support.
Spike,having a problem with the word "no"? Hmm. I'll let that pass. She says it within the anger or rancour. Or you could argue she is too knackered to snit at him.
"I'm not asking you for anything...I love what you do, how you try...". It's an echo of Buffy's NLM speech.
Dcai - re Spike threatening to off Faith. I seem to recall back in S3 that Buffy wanted to offer Faith's blood, well, actually Faith herself, to Angel to cure him. Only when that didn't pan out did she offer herself. So I'm afraid I'm not getting out the pitchforks just yet.
Buffy, dear, as Spike points out, you are still remarkably self-absorbed. Mind you, you are at a low ebb.
The thing about her friendships etc is that it is two-way traffic. They bear the responsibility as well. Whilst they all still love one another, they don't enjoy the same closeness as before. Other relationships will supersede.
In Get It Done, Buffy rejected the demon power from the Shadow Men. Now she embraces it, her own personal demon. Her own shadow. On her terms. She draws on her inner darkness as personified by Spike.
What enters the empty spaces?

The Big Questions:
Why does the axe - I can't call it a scythe - look so shiny and new?
How did Dawn not know there was a translation of the spell?
Why is there no Tab in the fridge?
 
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Mrs Gordo

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It's logical Spike should think Faith is behind Buffy being ousted. He knows her history with her.
And do you think that this suspicion alone is justification for Faith getting punched in the face? Do you agree with Spike’s actions here?

Dcai - re Spike threatening to off Faith. I seem to recall back in S3 that Buffy wanted to offer Faith's blood, well, actually Faith herself, to Angel to cure him. Only when that didn't pan out did she offer herself. So I'm afraid I'm not getting out the pitchforks just yet.
In Season 3, Buffy was trying to save Angel’s life. Faith had been the direct cause of Angel’s life being put into peril. I personally see a big distinction between Buffy attempting to kill Faith to save a life and Spike’s threat to kill Faith because Buffy was annoyed with her for taking over the group.
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She still thinks about him but is not apparently a priority with him.
You’ll have to excuse him he has an apocalypse to deal with but he’ll be back offering himself to Buffy’s fight shortly. Just give him a sec to save the world.
 

Grace

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In Get It Done, Buffy rejected the demon power from the Shadow Men. Now she embraces it, her own personal demon. Her own shadow. On her terms. She draws on her inner darkness as personified by Spike.
It's interesting that you see it that way, because I kind of took away the opposite interpretation. For the most part, Buffy in Season 7 has been embracing her slayer (demon) power and cutting herself off from her humanity (Dawn in particular, but all of the Scoobies in one way or another, as her mind, heart and spirit). The rejection of the power from the Shadowmen was one notable exception, which to me (along with her stroking Dawn's hair and crying over Chloe's grave and telling Wood that leading girls into war couldn't be the right thing) showed that underneath her coldness as the General, she was still Buffy.

But Spike tells her that what makes her special is being *Buffy* ("you're a hell of a *woman*"), not being the slayer. Not the demon in her, but the humanity. His speech, to me, is the counterpoint to Anya's ridiculous comment about how Buffy was just lucky and didn't deserve her power.

Throughout the season, Buffy kept calling out the demon in Spike (Get It Done) and emphasizing his strength as a warrior. But what she really needed from Spike was his goodness. The goodness that *she* inspired in him. The light in him, not the darkness. (To me this is reinforced by his fighting power not ultimately being needed in the Hellmouth, but his soul and his willingness to sacrifice himself.)
 
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Agree 100%

debbicles

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I don't think in this instance it's really a question of whether I personally agree with Spike hitting Faith in the face. I'm just saying I think it's logical and consistent. It's a continuation of their fight. I found their fight in Dirty Girls entertaining. It was in character for Faith. And if you recall Spike was very much getting the worse of it. I was expecting Spike at some point to hit back if he felt Buffy was being threatened. And he did. All very in character.
Yes, I do recall why Buffy did that with Faith back in S3. I hadn't forgotten. I'm just saying that everyone has done things that do not necessarily bear close scrutiny from a moral point of view. And as for Spike threatening to off Faith, he would only ever do anything on Buffy's orders. I took it as his usual bluster and braggadocio. After his experience at the hands of Wood, I have my doubts he would ever go off on a tangent. Or that after his shame in Sleeper that he would revert to being a cold killer. And I don't think Buffy was annoyed. Upset, demoralised, riddled with self-doubt, yes.

Yes, of course Angel comes along to help. I am familiar with the events in AtS. Not as familiar as you because it's been a little while since I watched it. Believe it or not I was quite glad to see him in Chosen. It was quite fitting that he came along.

Grace, you make excellent points. I agree with everything you say. At the end of the day it was Spike's soul that channelled the sunlight and not his skills in fighting. He is coming into the light. He becomes Buffy's champion.
The way I see it is that Buffy has finally embraced the darkness at the core of her powers. She feels ambivalent about rejecting the offer of more power from the Shadow Men but this is Buffy. She does things the hard way. She keeps her humanity. But what I'm trying to say, and making a poor job of it, is that by bringing Spike into the light she has come to realise that he complements her. It's all symbolic, with his shadow profile falling on her. I'm hopeless at explaining symbols.
To me, one of the themes of this season was realising the power you have, gaining self-knowledge, doing things that changed you and wielding that power confidently. Obviously that's hardly an original observation but I still think it's valid.
 

debbicles

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I simply meant that Spike is loyal. Not blindly loyal, just loyal. Spike is in the process of becoming his own man. It's going to take a while. If he had turned on Buffy now, as clearly the misdirect at the end of End of Days tried to make me think he would, I would have been more than disappointed. I don't think loyalty is an undesirable trait and when you are a newly reensouled demon, still looking for your purpose in your unlife, you are lucky to have a Slayer as a role model and guiding light.
 
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Mrs Gordo

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when you are a newly reensouled demon, still looking for your purpose in your unlife, you are lucky to have a Slayer as a role model and guiding light.
Couldn't agree more with you here. Much better than having the only family you have had for over a hundred years telling you that "you're disgusting" and threatening to stake you. Spike was very lucky in this regard to have Buffy.
 

debbicles

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Indeed. Darla was never really famous for her empathy.
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Hi thetopher.
I notice you say that Spike has no moral compass of his own. And that Buffy acts as his compass.
I would posit that since Spikw became reensouled it’s rather more complicated than that.
I think the story depicts a slow but steady progression since BY. As I think I said in LMPTM, Spike makes his own decision to spare Wood. Whether or not you or I agree on his motives for this, he nonetheless shows he can decide for himself.
And I do believe that this self-awareness and agency increase as time goes by.
As for what desirable qualities a hero should supposedly display, the beauty is that we can all bring our notions of this to the table. I love discussions! Thank you all for responding so eloquently and with such great ideas to my posts.
 
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