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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: 10 50.0%
  • No, that is kinda ****ed up!

    Votes: 10 50.0%

  • Total voters


The Master's Publicist
Aug 28, 2017
This is a really tricky discussion to have. In a way it's hard to not think of rape when looking at Giles' actions (I mean, he literally penetrates her with that needle--and then takes away her ability like slayer GHB).

That said (and ignored for the rest of this post), I think this is a huge episode for both Buffy and Giles and in the end I can understand why she forgives him (though, I do not think that she forgets--she knows where things stand now, and more specifically, she has further insight to how imperfect her watcher is, how human--if the whole Ehygon thing wasn't quite enough).

In this episode Buffy gets confirmation that her mystical physical strength, while a big part of what makes her her, is not the be-all-end-all of who she is (something that has to relearn as time goes on and jelly Floppy Haired Guy exists). So overall, ****ed-up-circumstance aside, this experience is actually on the side of good for Buffy's feeling of well-being and confidence.

On the Giles side: Giles grew up with the Watcher's Council (sure he deviated for a few years, but the council is how he came back and got his shit together). The Watcher's Council, despite having some lady watchers, is a pretty easy Patriarchy metaphor to point out--slews of men being trained for the chance to control one strong woman, making sure that while she is the one doing the fighting, there's the Council of (primarily male) elders standing behind to take her credit. And TBF, their research skills/connections are invaluable.

So when Giles is asked to do this, this tradition in this great cult of tradition he was raised in, his being initially conflicted is his first step toward breaking away from the patriarchal brainwashing of his youth toward a world of empowerment—people owning their accomplishments rather than bolstering their egos with the successes of those around them.

So while I think there is a lot of parental feelings driving him here, it’s far more than that. Buffy has made an impression, he has changed everything about the way he views the world, and her effect on him in just a few years is enough to dismantle a lifetime of Watcher-as-owner (“your slayer”) education/brainwashing.

His decision to help her was one he made because he knew what was right and while this episode might not be as “daddy/daughter heartwarming” as the show wants us to think it is, I would say that between Buffy getting some data on her exceptionalism being a “her thing” and not a “slayer thing” and Giles breaking from the shackles of the oppressive group he was born into, this is a goddam happy ending.
Thanks for this. I was at a loss to explain how my choice is both, equally (and thus can't choose), but you did it!


Oct 18, 2003
Their trust should have been broken, at least for a few episodes, as it was in season seven. the happy moment should have come then, and not at the end of this episode. but all in all, it delivered the emotional punch that we, as fans, were looking for.


Apr 1, 2016
I don't think Buffy ever got over it , you wouldn't it would always be there in your mind , season 4 when she went to him again, he turned her away only to change his mind later , Season 5 he was going to leave until Buffy asked him to stay , Season six he left despite knowing Buffy had just been rejected from heaven and was mentally ill , Hardly a fathers love , Season seven he came back a different character!
Helpless was all about Giles following orders , and having a guilty conscious after , his action not only put Buffy at risk but also Joyce
It is a thing throughout Buffy her friends lie to her or let her down , Xander about willows spell , Willow bringing Buffy back and the consequences of that , Giles from S3 on wards and of course Spike plus whole chucking Buffy out in S7....All things you would never speak to these people again.....Buffy forgives them all
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