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Question Did "Helpless" Have a Happy Ending?

Should we be happy Buffy forgave Giles, because she needed a father figure?

  • Yes, that was a heartwarming end to a scary episode.

    Votes: 8 44.4%
  • No, that is kinda ****ed up!

    Votes: 10 55.6%

  • Total voters
    18

WillowFromBuffy

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#1
When Buffy finds out that Giles has drugged her, she is rightly furious. However, when Quentin uses the word "fatherly" to describe Giles's relationship to Buffy, it makes Buffy forgive Giles, because Hank's failure to show up for her birthday makes Buffy believe Giles is her only hope of having a father figure.

How did the rest of you react to this ending? Does Giles complicity in a plot that came very close to kill Buffy seem any less heartless when viewed besides Hank's absentee parenting?

I am not saying Buffy should never ever have forgiven Giles. It just feels like she forgave him, because she felt she had to.
 
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#2
He saved her twice in that episode, which is just one of the reasons why it's different from Hank being absent (though OTOH, Hank never tried to pull anything of that level either, but at least Buffy knows Giles actually cares, even if he did mess up bad here).
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#3
He saved her twice in that episode, which is just one of the reasons why it's different from Hank being absent (though OTOH, Hank never tried to pull anything of that level either, but at least Buffy knows Giles actually cares, even if he did mess up bad here).
I am not saying that Giles is better than Hank. I am saying that without Hank, Buffy feels she needs Giles, so she forgives him immediately for fear of being abandoned completely.
 

Taake

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Black Thorn
#4
I mean, he does save her. He does love her... BUT he also goes along with the trial thing at first. So even though he ends up Team Buffy, he clearly starts out with stronger loyalties to the Watcher's Council and goes along with something that is obviously messing with her head and body.

I guess the episode was necessary for us to see that breakdown in him, his ties to the Council, but honestly, yeah, she does forgive him too easily. It's super lovely to get the "you have a father's love for the girl", and I get that it's emotional for them both, but she could've died. So, it's kind of messed up.

Love the episode, but messed up.
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
#5
The whole "you have a father's love for the girl" is total BS and it's just a line used to try to rehabilitate Giles. If he had a father's love he would have said no to the whole thing. His "love" for his "daughter" didn't outweigh the want of his nice Watcher salary. I don't know many fathers that would risk their daughter's life just to keep their job.
 

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#6
The whole "you have a father's love for the girl" is total BS and it's just a line used to try to rehabilitate Giles. If he had a father's love he would have said no to the whole thing. His "love" for his "daughter" didn't outweigh the want of his nice Watcher salary. I don't know many fathers that would risk their daughter's life just to keep their job.
He's actually the first watcher (that we know of) to have remorse and try to stop this whole f*cked up "tradition" so I would say he at least cares about her. Plus we know the council can ruin anyone's life with the stroke of a pen, so I'd say he wasn't just trying to keep his job
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
#7
He's actually the first watcher (that we know of) to have remorse and try to stop this whole f*cked up "tradition" so I would say he at least cares about her.
Of course he cares for her, just not like a father. I doubt her own father would drug her and give her over to a psychotic vampire. As much as I think Joyce is a horrible mother I dont even think she would do that.
 
Evil Seal
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Sineya
#8
This is a throwback to the Milgram experiment. Selections of people from various professions were asked to grade people who were given questions to answer (which were matching words) by the test conductor and for each answer that wrong, the people were supposed to apply electric shocks to the test subjects. The test subjects were confederates of the test conductor and were not actually shocked because the real purpose of the experiment was to determine whether people would go against their consciences. The shock voltages (which were never actually applied started at 15 volts and incrementing in 15-volt steps up to a maximum of 450 volts. The test was conducted with the test conductor using several levels ranging from request to insistence:

  1. Please continue.
  2. The experiment requires that you continue.
  3. It is absolutely essential that you continue.
  4. You have no other choice, you must go on.
It was found that 65% of the people assigned the role of teacher would continue until the final 450 volt level and this varied from 28%to 91% in various locations where the experiment was conducted. The experiment proved that blind obedience is a sin and it is one that large numbers of people commit. Giles is one of the people who would have failed, but he is by no means unusual.
 
MarieVampSlayer
MarieVampSlayer
Very interesting indeed!

WillowFromBuffy

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#9
This is a throwback to the Milgram experiment. Selections of people from various professions were asked to grade people who were given questions to answer (which were matching words) by the test conductor and for each answer that wrong, the people were supposed to apply electric shocks to the test subjects. The test subjects were confederates of the test conductor and were not actually shocked because the real purpose of the experiment was to determine whether people would go against their consciences. The shock voltages (which were never actually applied started at 15 volts and incrementing in 15-volt steps up to a maximum of 450 volts. The test was conducted with the test conductor using several levels ranging from request to insistence:

  1. Please continue.
  2. The experiment requires that you continue.
  3. It is absolutely essential that you continue.
  4. You have no other choice, you must go on.
It was found that 65% of the people assigned the role of teacher would continue until the final 450 volt level and this varied from 28%to 91% in various locations where the experiment was conducted. The experiment proved that blind obedience is a sin and it is one that large numbers of people commit. Giles is one of the people who would have failed, but he is by no means unusual.
The number of people that went through with it decreased dramatically when teacher and patient were in the same room. Also, the researcher stood beside the teacher the entire time, telling him to keep going.

Giles gave Buffy the poison directly and Quentin was not there to tell him to keep going. None of the experiment designs combined those variables.

Conclusion: Giles would super fail the experiment.
 

Fool for Buffy

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Sineya
#10
She doesn't forgive him because she feels like she has to imo. I think she at first thought that Giles was betraying her, and Quentin made her realize Giles was really betraying Quentin by not following instructions. He really chose Buffy over Quentin in the end, and she loved him for that.
 
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Sineya
#11
The number of people that went through with it decreased dramatically when teacher and patient were in the same room. Also, the researcher stood beside the teacher the entire time, telling him to keep going.

Giles gave Buffy the poison directly and Quentin was not there to tell him to keep going. None of the experiment designs combined those variables.

Conclusion: Giles would super fail the experiment.
The Milgram experiment was originally designed to determine whether the horrors of Nazi Germany could ever be repeated. The experiment was not correctly designed to do this:

1. The test subjects were told that they would not cause any permanent damage. The Nazis supported the final solution.
2. The test subjects were not known to the teacher nor was race a factor. The Nazis had consistently demonized the Jews and believed they were responsible for the damage that was the Weimar Republic.
3. The test subjects showed genuine anguish whereas the Nazis were perfectly at ease with what they were doing.
4. The test lasted one hour. The Third Reich lasted 12 years so there was plenty of time for reflection and a change of opinion.

Giles didn't need Quentin to be there. He knew that whether he was there or not, he could be deported within a few days because the Watchers' Council was that powerful.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#12
The Milgram experiment was originally designed to determine whether the horrors of Nazi Germany could ever be repeated. The experiment was not correctly designed to do this:

1. The test subjects were told that they would not cause any permanent damage. The Nazis supported the final solution.
2. The test subjects were not known to the teacher nor was race a factor. The Nazis had consistently demonized the Jews and believed they were responsible for the damage that was the Weimar Republic.
3. The test subjects showed genuine anguish whereas the Nazis were perfectly at ease with what they were doing.
4. The test lasted one hour. The Third Reich lasted 12 years so there was plenty of time for reflection and a change of opinion.

Giles didn't need Quentin to be there. He knew that whether he was there or not, he could be deported within a few days because the Watchers' Council was that powerful.

The design of the experiment was extremely specific. The student (I called him patient before for some reason) had to be hidden by a wall in the original experiment and the researcher stood beside the teacher and commanded him to continue. When they changed the design by putting the student beside the teacher (as in the photo) very few teachers completed the experimented. Giles looked Buffy in the eyes and saw her pain. Horrible, horrible man.

I did a year of psychology. I failed cognitive psychology, but I got a B in the social bit :p
 
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Sineya
#13
The design of the experiment was set up to determine whether a random selection of people would conduct an experiment (for which they were paid) on random people who were not part of an identified group. Giles was a moral disaster. I don't see why Buffy ever trusted him again. As it was, Giles could be charged with administering a noxious substance and violence against women. If Buffy did not retaliate, I could see Xander or Buffy creating some sort of hell for Giles. So what if Giles finally stood up for her? My own mentality says that if someone betrays me, the trust fuse is blown. It is not a circuit breaker that you can reset. I find the levels of forgiveness to be unrealistic in BtVS is a lot of places. It is necessary for storytelling because cutting ties permanently with someone does not further the drama whereas forgiveness allows the same people to remain in the story.
 
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Black Thorn
#14
Considering how quickly she forgave Giles but not Jenny it doesn’t seem as though the time fits the crime really.
It’s a hard episode to watch but still very emotionally charged.
 

Grace

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#16
She forgave him more easily than I would have. He stuck a needle in her! Though I think the fact of him getting fired played a role in addition to the "father's love" comment, because he got fired over something related to her. Even if not one bit of it was her fault, those kinds of consequences tend to make people feel bad for any part they might have played.

I also wonder if she forgave him more easily because he forgave her pretty quickly for concealing Angel's return. (Though his "you have no respect for me" thing just five episodes ago actually makes him seem extra heinous in Helpless.)
 

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#17
Just rewatched Carrie. Talk about a "mother's love". She did way worse than stick a needle in Carrie's arm and Carrie still loved her and held her until the end. Of course, it's another thing entirely because there's constant abuse and Stockholm's syndrome maybe as well but still, it shows that it can be easy to forgive the people you love and especially those that are there to teach and educate you
 

Spanky

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#18
Just rewatched Carrie. Talk about a "mother's love". She did way worse than stick a needle in Carrie's arm and Carrie still loved her and held her until the end. Of course, it's another thing entirely because there's constant abuse and Stockholm's syndrome maybe as well but still, it shows that it can be easy to forgive the people you love and especially those that are there to teach and educate you
But that was her flesh and blood mother, not someone she only meet a year and a half prior. She spent her entire life with her.
 

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#19
But that was her flesh and blood mother, not someone she only meet a year and a half prior. She spent her entire life with her.
True but what she did was also a thousand times worse that what Giles did and she didn't have an "excuse" (I'm not saying he has an excuse, I just can't think of a better way to phrase it, he had motivation to do it whereas she was just batshit crazy). Giles shows remorse and he struggles with his task even if he's not her flesh and blood and has only known her a year and a half. And it's because he has known her for a little while and the fact that he's really starting to see her as more than a job that he struggles and eventually rebels. But I agree, I wouldn't call it fatherly love, not at this point. If it had been 6 years later, sure. But at this point it would have been unforgivable of him just like Carrie's mother's behaviour was unforgivable imo.
But then again,
Xander almost gets Buffy & Willow (& the world) killed in the Deeper Well by betraying her and she forgives him on the spot
so what do I know... I honestly don't know if it'd be easier to forgive someone you've known and loved for a long time or someone you've just started to trust completely.
 

MarieVampSlayer

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Sineya
#20
I think it was perfect for Buffy to frgive Giles because he did realize his actions were bad and helped her in the end. Giles was a watcher way before he knew Buffy and he was aware of the test slayer had to pass at 18. He even told her at first that she had to face the Master and die in S1 before changing his mind. He only changed his mond after he realized how Buffy felt about her powers and how young and innocent a slayer really was. The cruelty of the action is not as vivid if you decide about it while staying cozy with your fellow watchers back in England. He made a mistake and decided to fix it so to me Giles did a good thing in the end.

As for Buffy, why should she stay mad with him forever? What good is she if she can't forgive him for making a mistake? She loves him and yeah her love for her is a lot like a father-daughter love but above that Giles didn't needed to be permanently punish for his actions in helpless. He wasn't evil to Buffy, he was just doing his job.
 
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