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Discussion of 2.08 "The Dark Age" - Aired 11/10/1997 (WB-US)

thetopher

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Yeah, this one doesn't line up with season 6 of magic itself as a drug. That's more like of what it should be like, of magic turned into a drug and used, which had different effects than shown in season 6.
Agreed. I always considered the demon possession part was 'the incredible high' Giles spoke of; the danger and tabboo nature of it, nothing to do with magic at all.
 

Mr Trick

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This is a nice change of pace which builds well on Gile's backstory. Some of the effects are rough though some are also quite practical and hold up well (thinking of when the Angel becomes the host). Again its the character stuff which carries the episode.

I like how we get the first look at the evil Jenny which returns in Amends. Plus Willow, Cordelia and Xander working together without Buffy is a nice touch. Its a big one for Cordy too. She kicked Ethan! And the first time you start to see the flirty banter between her and Xander:D
 

DeadlyDuo

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This is a nice change of pace which builds well on Gile's backstory. Some of the effects are rough though some are also quite practical and hold up well (thinking of when the Angel becomes the host). Again its the character stuff which carries the episode.

I like how we get the first look at the evil Jenny which returns in Amends. Plus Willow, Cordelia and Xander working together without Buffy is a nice touch. Its a big one for Cordy too. She kicked Ethan! And the first time you start to see the flirty banter between her and Xander:D
I think we could've done with a young Giles flashback at the beginning of the episode to show what the Eyghon demon was and just how "dark" Giles was in his youth before it skips to present day. I think the show relied to much on tell don't show because the teenage Giles we get in Band Candy, whilst fun, does not seem like the Giles we were told about in Season 2.
 

Mr Trick

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I think we could've done with a young Giles flashback at the beginning of the episode to show what the Eyghon demon was and just how "dark" Giles was in his youth before it skips to present day. I think the show relied to much on tell don't show because the teenage Giles we get in Band Candy, whilst fun, does not seem like the Giles we were told about in Season 2.
I think if they did that it may have telegraphed the way the episode was heading. Also I'm not a big fan of flashbacks. As it is I think its effective to little hints of Giles darker side and have it come out every now and then. Think we see enough of Ripper for me.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I think if they did that it may have telegraphed the way the episode was heading.
They could've kept it vague where we see a young Giles involved in something but not actually see what that was so that you could still have the Eyghon reveal.

Also I'm not a big fan of flashbacks.
I think it's dependent on the flashback. I'd love a flashback movie of the Whirlwind. I definitely think that if Buffy and Angel had been aired nowadays and proved popular then a Whirlwind spinoff would've probably been a thing.

As it is I think its effective to little hints of Giles darker side and have it come out every now and then. Think we see enough of Ripper for me.
I would've liked to have seen more. Giles is ashamed of his Ripper days, it would've been nice to see why that was rather than just being told about it. Show, don't tell.
 
Mr Trick
Mr Trick
Fair enough. I thought they handled it fine.

RDHWesley

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I never used to think this was that good. I still don't rate it very highly but it's grown on me. I think the biggest reason for that is when I watched it (surprise surprise) with my mum, who about 15 minutes in said 'This is a bit of a weird one isn't it?' In that moment I just kind of threw aside any misgivings I had and watched it with the mindset that it's weird. Enjoyed it a lot more. I like the steady pace of it and the scenes with Ethan are very nicely executed.
 

Ethan Reigns

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I thought this was a decent episode. Angel's face distorting as the demon within was fighting Eyghon was quite the shocking visual and is the most memorable part of the scene. The plan that Eyghon would jump into the nearest available body when the one it was in was threatened and would encounter another demon was ingenious. Giles' dark past as Ripper was brought out here, showing he wasn't just a staid, conservative character all his life and of course, we can never get enough of Ethan Rayne.
 

FaithLehane16

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Yeah, this one doesn't line up with season 6 of magic itself as a drug. That's more like of what it should be like, of magic turned into a drug and used, which had different effects than shown in season 6.
I very much disagree with this because, to me, it seems like you don't understand it all the way because Giles, Ethan, Randall, Deidre, Thomas, and Philip develled into the black arts for pleasure and gain as well. The group got a high from the pleasure and gain. That is what Willow was doing in Seasons 5 and 6, and she was encouraging Dawn do to the same in Forever. This is why Giles scolds at Willow for bringing Buffy back the way he did. He knows from experience of what happens when a person starts becoming really liberal with the black magics. He wasn't being mean to Willow, he was just stating the facts. Plus he must've been concerned for her and his Slayer. It's what parents do because they don't want to see their descendants go through the same thing they went through. Willow, in return, was being an annoying, bratty, pain in the rear. When Ripper and his crowd started out lightly with the black magics, they develled deeper each time, and summoning Eyghon was the heaviest Giles reached. After awhile the group lost control, which made most of the group to a different direction in life. Ethan continued on the dark path. This means that Giles knows what it's like to get out of hand with the black arts, and Willow was thinking that he didn't know what he was talking about. Giles knew exactly what he was talking about when he yelled at her. He also knew that Willow must've gotten a high during her "trip" bringing Buffy back from the grave. She did in fact butcher a deer. Towards the end of the season, she sucks Osirus into her.

The other thing I took note of this episode is that some of the characters are wearing long sleeves and two of the characters are wearing shorts and tank tops. Does it really get that cold during the day in California that Jenny, Xander, Willow, and some of the students wear winter clothing?

Willow is more or less in charge in this episode just like in Halloween, which happens later in the series.

There is definitely sexual tension between Xander and Cordelia in this episode because it looked like they were about to kiss each other in that library. Too bad Willow stopped them from fighting because if it weren't for that, I can see XC kissing in front of Willow there.

Xander putting his two scents in about his Uncle Rory was pretty funny. Even though he wasn't really helping in that scene, he did have a point.

We hear about Giles being into dark stuff when he was younger, but that never seemed to happen with Wesley. I guess Giles's dad wasn't much of a pr*ck like Wesley's dad was.

There is no way in he** that Buffy would've been that naive about going ahead of Ethan in the costume store. For one, she wouldn't be as trusting over Ethan's "nice" gestures. Two, she should've known that people can be added into the group because of the fact that 6 people had the tattoo marked on their skin. Ethan can be deceitful.

Why is it that Ethan can really be that weak? He never thought of protection outside of magics?

I, too wonder how much was in Buffy's allowance to get that tattoo removed, and how spendy those pair of shoes that she was going to buy.

I used to think that this was a weak episode, but as I've watched it more and more it's not that weak. I mean, we could've used a second part of the episode. I would've liked to see some flashbacks to Giles's past. They could've made Season 2 into 23 episodes instead of 22 just because Season 1 had 12 episodes.

Some people out there got The Mark of Eyghon tattoo. Plus, there's a Mark of Eyghon phone cover, duvet cover, shirt, cups, wall hanging, etc......

It does say that Eyghon returns in the comics, but I find that hard to believe because Angel's demon clearly destroyed Eyghon, and why would Ethan leave a dead rat in a shop where he sold cursed costumes? I would think that OSHA would get on him about that. Even if it's a closed store, it's still unprofessional. That would give me another reason to not fully read the comics.

I understand that Jenny fears for her safety now, but she isn't a good person herself now because she is keeping secrets from Giles and the others at this point. She can still be cautious with Giles without acting that coldly towards him. She's in fact stalking Buffy&Angel's relationship because of her loyalty to her family. She comes across as being too harsh with Giles because she isn't taking a good look at herself.

I would think that there should've been more students in Saturday school.

Also, about the beginning, if I were Philip, I would be running someplace else that wasn't just pounding on the door. I would be running to my car and flooring it, or find the janitor a demand to go into the building to take a better way to the school library. Just slamming onto the door isn't going to cut it. .
 
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DeadlyDuo

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I very much disagree with this because, to me, it seems like you don't understand it all the way because Giles, Ethan, Randall, Deidre, Thomas, and Philip develled into the black arts for pleasure and gain as well. The group got a high from the pleasure and gain. That is what Willow was doing in Seasons 5 and 6, and she was encouraging Dawn do to the same in Forever. This is why Giles scolds at Willow for bringing Buffy back the way he did. He knows from experience of what happens when a person starts becoming really liberal with the black magics. He wasn't being mean to Willow, he was just stating the facts. Plus he must've been concerned for her and his Slayer. It's what parents do because they don't want to see their descendants go through the same thing they went through. Willow, in return, was being an annoying, bratty, pain in the rear. When Ripper and his crowd started out lightly with the black magics, they develled deeper each time, and summoning Eyghon was the heaviest Giles reached. After awhile the group lost control, which made most of the group to a different direction in life. Ethan continued on the dark path. This means that Giles knows what it's like to get out of hand with the black arts, and Willow was thinking that he didn't know what he was talking about. Giles knew exactly what he was talking about when he yelled at her. He also knew that Willow must've gotten a high during her "trip" bringing Buffy back from the grave.
Bringing someone back from the dead is very dark magic and Willow was being very blasé about what she'd done. She basically wanted a pat on the head and be told "well done". The problem with Giles during Season 6 is that he abandons Buffy when she needs him most AFTER learning that she was dragged out of heaven and he uses a crap excuse to do so. His words lose their weight as a result. If Giles was so concerned about what Willow had done then he should've stuck around to keep an eye on her. The writers had to write ASH out somehow but the trouble is the character wouldn't just up and leave like he did so as a result Giles becomes very OOC during Season 6. The story direction does not facilitate Giles leaving, especially as he considered leaving in Season 5 but then decided not to. He tried pulling back from Buffy in Season 4 but then couldn't bring himself to. All the opportunities Giles had to go because Buffy didn't need him that much, he turned down, but then when she needs him the most, THAT is when he decides to up and leave.

Buffy is only 20/21 in Season 6. She's already had to grow up fast because of being the slayer, yet she's expected to deal with everything with no support from anybody.

The other thing I took note of this episode is that some of the characters are wearing long sleeves and two of the characters are wearing shorts and tank tops. Does it really get that cold during the day in California that Jenny, Xander, Willow, and some of the students wear winter clothing?
They would need to hide Giles' tattoo somehow until the big reveal without it looking like he's suspiciously wrapped up whilst every one else is in Summer clothes.

As for the winter clothing, The Dark age looks like it takes place November/December time, it's after Halloween (31st October) but 4 whole episodes before Buffy's birthday in Surprise (21st January I think), so the clothing could be used to denote the time of year, especially as it would've likely been filmed over the summer. Also where people go can affect there perception of temperature. People from colder countries would probably find California warm in the winter whereas Californians would probably find it chilly compared to the summer.

We hear about Giles being into dark stuff when he was younger, but that never seemed to happen with Wesley. I guess Giles's dad wasn't much of a pr*ck like Wesley's dad was.
Not necessarily. Wesley wanted his dad's approval whereas Giles was openly rebelling against his dad. That doesn't mean that Giles' father wasn't a prick, just that Giles didn't care about getting his approval. Roger Wyndam-Pryce isn't going to win father of the year but Wesley clearly admired and looked up to him enough that he wanted a form of recognition from his father. My guess is that RWP did not have a very good balance between family life and watcher duties. Though to be fair, keeping an eye on the forces of darkness is probably a little more important than playing catch with your son, even though it sucks for Wesley.

Children tend to think the world revolves around them so it's likely that Wesley couldn't grasp the reason for why his father was always working and never spent any time with him. I don't see RWP telling his young son that nightmarish monsters actually exist and would happily murder him if given a chance until he was old enough to handle it. However, by that point, the damage has already been done.

There is no way in he** that Buffy would've been that naive about going ahead of Ethan in the costume store. For one, she wouldn't be as trusting over Ethan's "nice" gestures. Two, she should've known that people can be added into the group because of the fact that 6 people had the tattoo marked on their skin. Ethan can be deceitful.
Again, I think this is plot dictates character. Sometimes characters have to suffer a bout of stupidity in order to push the story forwards otherwise there is no story.

Why is it that Ethan can really be that weak? He never thought of protection outside of magics?
I think that, as we later saw with Willow, magic users tend to think magic is the solution to all problems.

I, too wonder how much was in Buffy's allowance to get that tattoo removed, and how spendy those pair of shoes that she was going to buy.
I think Buffy had been saving up.

I would've liked to see some flashbacks to Giles's past. They could've made Season 2 into 23 episodes instead of 22 just because Season 1 had 12 episodes.
I too would've liked to have seen flashbacks to Giles' past. They could've probably taken out Go Fish which was unfortunately placed between IOHEFY and Becoming Part 1 or SAR and kept it at 22 episodes.

It does say that Eyghon returns in the comics, but I find that hard to believe because Angel's demon clearly destroyed Eyghon, and why would Ethan leave a dead rat in a shop where he sold cursed costumes? I would think that OSHA would get on him about that. Even if it's a closed store, it's still unprofessional. That would give me another reason to not fully read the comics.
Maybe the rat just died or was killed by a cat then just left. Maybe it was bait? I doubt Ethan would just leave dead rats lying around for no reason.

I understand that Jenny fears for her safety now, but she isn't a good person herself now because she is keeping secrets from Giles and the others at this point. She can still be cautious with Giles without acting that coldly towards him. She's in fact stalking Buffy&Angel's relationship because of her loyalty to her family. She comes across as being too harsh with Giles because she isn't taking a good look at herself.
Maybe that's why Giles gives her the cold shoulder later. She gave him a hard time over Eyghon yet was concealing things herself that would've been helpful for the group to know.

I would think that there should've been more students in Saturday school.
Not necessarily. Saturday is not a compulsory school day. It's normally there for those struggling academically, assuming they bother turning up.
 

FaithLehane16

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The problem with Giles during Season 6 is that he abandons Buffy when she needs him most AFTER learning that she was dragged out of heaven and he uses a crap excuse to do so.
It isn't a crap excuse. Buffy needed to grow up. She even said that he was right to go. You CANNOT always rely on parental figures to do your bidding. It's wrong. Just because someone is depressed by their own state DOES NOT give them the right to put their responsibilities on someone else's place when it isn't their job in the first place, and take advantage of people. I don't care what state someone is in. I don't want ALL of their RESPONSIBILITIES and for them to use their state as an excuse to take advantage. You obviously don't understand parenting if you say that it is nonsense that Giles left. It would be nonsense for him to stay there. I think people are unreasonably harsh on Giles leaving in Season 6 and forget the fact that he came back AFTER SHE WAS RESURRECTED for crying out loud. It's like people forget the check her wrote to her, and that makes him the bad guy for leaving?! I don't think so. It's not like Tillow, Xanya, and Dawn weren't around. It's not like he should keep on taking Dawn duty and giving her money to do so. That is what tough love parenting is. If anything Buffy handled herself fine after being expelled, being kicked out of the house, being wanted by the police, and being forced to kill the greatest love of her life to save the world. She got herself a frickin job and took care of herself. I didn't see her asking Giles for money, and for her mom to do all of the household chores for her in the meantime. Also it's a fact that you can't always rely on people for everything and that you have to handle crap on your own, NOT an opinion. THAT is why Giles left because Buffy wasn't acting like an adult. How else can she learn while he's there? Nothing! There's so much a person can do.

Maybe that's why Giles gives her the cold shoulder later. She gave him a hard time over Eyghon yet was concealing things herself that would've been helpful for the group to know.
Payback is a bit**.

Saturday is not a compulsory school day. It's normally there for those struggling academically, assuming they bother turning up.
It's shocking that there are only TWO students struggling in that class. I would think there would be a few more, not a whole class.

Maybe the rat just died or was killed by a cat then just left. Maybe it was bait? I doubt Ethan would just leave dead rats lying around for no reason.
So, are we guessing that Ethan left the door open during the day or night for an hour that a cat and a rat came in? It still doesn't add up to me. It wouldn't look good on his resume.

I too would've liked to have seen flashbacks to Giles' past. They could've probably taken out Go Fish which was unfortunately placed between IOHEFY and Becoming Part 1 or SAR and kept it at 22 episodes.
The thing is that I like Go Fish and SAR because they are a part of what makes my favorite season interesting. I'm surprised that the Initiative didn't bring up the events in SAR. I can see Professor Walsh being interested in that.

Again, I think this is plot dictates character. Sometimes characters have to suffer a bout of stupidity in order to push the story forwards otherwise there is no story.
I think Buffy should've taken Giles's advice about Ethan and bring Angel as her backup because I think the plot could've worked out fine. Plus it wouldn't have Giles put his apartment at risk for robbery. Giles was more together before getting a vision that Buffy had been marked. It makes me wonder if there were criminals who just happened to find out that Giles's apartment was free to rob.

Wesley wanted his dad's approval whereas Giles was openly rebelling against his dad. That doesn't mean that Giles' father wasn't a prick, just that Giles didn't care about getting his approval.
I used to care about getting my parents' approval, but stopped when they didn't like my boyfriend, and supported my sister over me when she stole from me, committed fraud on one of the checks I've wrote to her, treated me like crap, cornered me into a crap lease, and taunted me. The whole situation is part of my weight gain.

They would need to hide Giles' tattoo somehow until the big reveal without it looking like he's suspiciously wrapped up whilst every one else is in Summer clothes.
That I know of. People would be asking about that tattoo.

He tried pulling back from Buffy in Season 4 but then couldn't bring himself to. All the opportunities Giles had to go because Buffy didn't need him that much, he turned down, but then when she needs him the most, THAT is when he decides to up and leave.

Buffy is only 20/21 in Season 6. She's already had to grow up fast because of being the slayer, yet she's expected to deal with everything with no support from anybody.
People can change overtime, and once again even when Giles is gone, she still has people around her. She did deal with everything with no support before. Also you are forgetting that check Giles wrote to her, and that Buffy, herself, said that Giles was right to leave.
 

DeadlyDuo

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It isn't a crap excuse. Buffy needed to grow up. She even said that he was right to go. You CANNOT always rely on parental figures to do your bidding. It's wrong. Just because someone is depressed by their own state DOES NOT give them the right to put their responsibilities on someone else's place when it isn't their job in the first place, and take advantage of people. I don't care what state someone is in. I don't want ALL of their RESPONSIBILITIES and for them to use their state as an excuse to take advantage.
Buffy wasn't taking advantage of Giles. She was struggling to cope and having to hide her trauma from her friends because they were the ones that caused it in the first place and she didn't want to hurt their feelings. Dawn playing up was something that she just couldn't deal with in that moment so she left it to Giles. If he was so aggrieved by it, he should've talked to Buffy about it rather than running away.

Buffy wasn't asking Giles to deal with everything, but she was leaning heavily on his support. Again, she'd just been ripped out of heaven and brought back from the dead. She's only 20/21, what person that age has their own life sorted and in full working order like clockwork?


You obviously don't understand parenting if you say that it is nonsense that Giles left. It would be nonsense for him to stay there.
You obviously need to work on your tone because you come across as rather condescending when you start telling people what they do and don't understand.

If a person cares about someone that is struggling, they try to help them out, not just tell them to buck up and deal with it. Even if Giles was thinking of leaving pre-OMWF, Buffy's revelation of being dragged out of heaven should've changed everything. At worst Giles should've stepped back but let Buffy know he's still in town if she needs him, not hop a plane back to England. The truth is Giles couldn't be "around" in any capacity because ASH had to be written out, but as a result Giles exit is so clumsily written that he look like a jackass that just abandons Buffy with a flimsy excuse.

I think people are unreasonably harsh on Giles leaving in Season 6 and forget the fact that he came back AFTER SHE WAS RESURRECTED for crying out loud. It's like people forget the check her wrote to her, and that makes him the bad guy for leaving?! I don't think so.
Giles was going to leave in Season 5 because he didn't feel needed but decided to stay any way because he cared about Buffy. In Season 6, when she clearly needs his support, he buggers off. He wrote her a cheque but that was probably just to allay his guilt over abandoning her. None of the scoobies really give a damn about Buffy in Season 6, Giles tends to cop it from fans because he clearly cared about her in the previous seasons yet now doesn't care about her enough to stay.

It's not like Tillow, Xanya, and Dawn weren't around.
They were a massive part of the problem because they essentially caused it all.

It's not like he should keep on taking Dawn duty and giving her money to do so. That is what tough love parenting is.
Dawn was being a brat in Season 6 and should've been given a reality check by the scoobies. Buffy is trying to hold everything together yet Dawn is not helping matters. Also Buffy is not asking Giles for handouts, he gave her money of his own free will (and it could be argued that as her watcher he actually does have a financial responsibility towards her, a responsibility he didn't have to take on previously because Joyce was around to do so).

If anything Buffy handled herself fine after being expelled, being kicked out of the house, being wanted by the police, and being forced to kill the greatest love of her life to save the world. She got herself a frickin job and took care of herself. I didn't see her asking Giles for money, and for her mom to do all of the household chores for her in the meantime.
Buffy hadn't been dragged out of heaven resurrected then having to dig her own way out of her coffin at the end of Season 2 whilst also having to keep it secret so as to spare her friends the guilt. Buffy's response to killing Angel was to run away. Don't forget, Giles was chasing over the country for her, following any lead even if they turned out to be false. At the end of Season 2 Buffy only had to take care of herself. In Season 6, Buffy can't run away. She has to stay to look after Dawn and keep a roof over her head. Buffy wasn't shirking her responsibilities, she just needed extra support dealing with them.

Also it's a fact that you can't always rely on people for everything and that you have to handle crap on your own, NOT an opinion. THAT is why Giles left because Buffy wasn't acting like an adult. How else can she learn while he's there? Nothing! There's so much a person can do.
You can't always rely on people, but you shouldn't expect those you care about to abandon you in your hour of need. Buffy handled Giles' departure with grace but that doesn't mean it didn't leave her struggling. Giles made his choice and Buffy respected that, however if he had given HER the choice over whether she wanted his help or not, she probably would've asked him to stay.

Giles left because ASH wanted time off.

It's shocking that there are only TWO students struggling in that class. I would think there would be a few more, not a whole class.
Again, it's all dependent on whether the students want to be there or not. Those students probably genuinely wanted to improve their grades, someone like Sheila from School Hard probably wouldn't care.

So, are we guessing that Ethan left the door open during the day or night for an hour that a cat and a rat came in? It still doesn't add up to me. It wouldn't look good on his resume.
Rats can get through small holes., It could've been injured by a cat or ingested rat poison, escaped into the empty shop then died.

I seriously doubt Ethan is going to put "dead rat" on his resume, assuming he even has a resume.

I think Buffy should've taken Giles's advice about Ethan and bring Angel as her backup because I think the plot could've worked out fine. Plus it wouldn't have Giles put his apartment at risk for robbery. Giles was more together before getting a vision that Buffy had been marked. It makes me wonder if there were criminals who just happened to find out that Giles's apartment was free to rob.
Buffy should've but she's stubborn and if she had taken Giles' advice then how would Ethan capture her and provoke the climax of the episode.


I used to care about getting my parents' approval, but stopped when they didn't like my boyfriend, and supported my sister over me when she stole from me, committed fraud on one of the checks I've wrote to her, treated me like crap, cornered me into a crap lease, and taunted me. The whole situation is part of my weight gain.
Your issues are your own.

People can change overtime, and once again even when Giles is gone, she still has people around her. She did deal with everything with no support before. Also you are forgetting that check Giles wrote to her, and that Buffy, herself, said that Giles was right to leave.
Buffy is hardly going to tell him he was a terrible person for leaving her. She weathered her obstacles and is in a better emotional place by the time Giles returns. That doesn't mean she couldn't have reached the same place in a less brutal way if Giles had stayed.
 
AnthonyCordova
AnthonyCordova
Hmm, interesting point of view
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