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Discussion of 7.01 "Lessons" - Aired 9/24/02 (UPN-US)

Octavia

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Sineya
I forgot how utterly hilarious the scene with Dawn and Buffy was in the grave yard! Did they know it was the final season at this stage of filming? It seems to me an opener that catches new viewers up to the show. Spike seems a bit more useless this watch though.

YAY! GIles on his pony, I knew this episode had this scene in. The only part of the buffyverse I can truly relate to haha. This flower scene proves the point I was trying to get at in the Willows magic thread. Her making a flower is good use of magic. Giles even says it is not an addiction or hobby, that it is a power she is a part of and she is responsible for it. Responsible use of magic. Gppd choices make good magic. I dig that right now.

How long was the gap between s6 and s7? It seems it could have been a longer gap than summer break with how much work Xander had done on the school, with no mention of it in season 6. Is a bloody massive highschool.

Principal is sort of evil... I think he was poorly executed, but he must have felt a draw to the hell mouth to seek it and the slayer out. Was it just to kill spike? Was the Evil his hatered for Spike? Driving him to the hellmouth? The actor looks so young and tiny compared to the Lucifer role! LOL.

Did we find out who put the talisman there? Poor Dawn. Buffy went back in to blurty mode. haha.

I love Anya. Her white top is a bit pure white against Helfreks black and red checkers. And then Buffy in white too, and Xander under his blue. White is such an impractical colour.

Did Willow get overwhelmed by the first evil awakening or overwhelmed by the draw of evil? Because the first evil lives within all evil. It did end up swallowing Sunnydale.

I love Buffy here - I think I have to be more like Buffy here haha I don't care about the problems, get out of the way of the goal lol.

Spike has backstreet boys hair. Spike in black, buffy in white/light again. I swear it wasn't this obvious the first time through. Principal Woods job offer is bizarre, but the final scene with all of the big bads overshadows that. I feel like its a strong introduction to the last big bad. But I know some of it gets bogged down in Spike.
 

Dora

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Back to a proper Buffy episode, Sarah dressed so much better than through out S6 her little insecurity's Mum hair , liked the little family atmosphere Dawn Xander with the mobile etc
Why did Buffy not tell the others she met Spike in the basement ?
Sarah always said that joss promised her they would go back to Buffy's origins and they did at first in S7
 
Last edited:

Dora

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I forgot how utterly hilarious the scene with Dawn and Buffy was in the grave yard! Did they know it was the final season at this stage of filming? It seems to me an opener that catches new viewers up to the show. Spike seems a bit more useless this watch though.

YAY! GIles on his pony, I knew this episode had this scene in. The only part of the buffyverse I can truly relate to haha. This flower scene proves the point I was trying to get at in the Willows magic thread. Her making a flower is good use of magic. Giles even says it is not an addiction or hobby, that it is a power she is a part of and she is responsible for it. Responsible use of magic. Gppd choices make good magic. I dig that right now.

How long was the gap between s6 and s7? It seems it could have been a longer gap than summer break with how much work Xander had done on the school, with no mention of it in season 6. Is a bloody massive highschool.

Principal is sort of evil... I think he was poorly executed, but he must have felt a draw to the hell mouth to seek it and the slayer out. Was it just to kill spike? Was the Evil his hatered for Spike? Driving him to the hellmouth? The actor looks so young and tiny compared to the Lucifer role! LOL.

Did we find out who put the talisman there? Poor Dawn. Buffy went back in to blurty mode. haha.

I love Anya. Her white top is a bit pure white against Helfreks black and red checkers. And then Buffy in white too, and Xander under his blue. White is such an impractical colour.

Did Willow get overwhelmed by the first evil awakening or overwhelmed by the draw of evil? Because the first evil lives within all evil. It did end up swallowing Sunnydale.

I love Buffy here - I think I have to be more like Buffy here haha I don't care about the problems, get out of the way of the goal lol.

Spike has backstreet boys hair. Spike in black, buffy in white/light again. I swear it wasn't this obvious the first time through. Principal Woods job offer is bizarre, but the final scene with all of the big bads overshadows that. I feel like its a strong introduction to the last big bad. But I know some of it gets bogged down in Spike.

I know that MN said at the end of Season 6 that they did not expect Sarah to sign again after her contract run out at the end of Season 7 , And Whedon said that Sarah told him that she would not be renewing her contract at the end of the season, early in S7 but no mention how early
 

Btvs fan

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My thoughts on Lessons
Going back to School just felt like the show had run out of ideas but it was the last season anyway so back to the High school is hell metaphor

From what I understand Nick Brendon said that he and Sarah pitched about getting Xander and Buffy together for S7 but Joss said no.

Introduction of Principal Wood. DB Woodside was great even though the material given him throughout the season was uneven and they clearly had no ideas for him beyond Good looking mysterious Principle

I remember watching it and being on Buffy message boards it the time and Kit and Carlos didn't have a great reaction back then either I feel the same now. Joss on the commentary (sounding slightly defensive imo) says he only got them for that episode but I suspect that if they had been better recieved then they would've been brought back at a later date.

Buffy forgetting about Spike is weird. I know BY tries to answer it "why didn't you tell your friends about me" "kind of hoping you were a mirage I guess" That doesn't really work for me but each to his own I guess.

The end scene at the time generated much excitement but by the end it felt like a promise with a big let down
I say this is as somone whose not a fan of S7 1or 2 great episodes like Selfless aside. So be warned I will be negative on this season
 

DeadlyDuo

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My thoughts on Lessons
Going back to School just felt like the show had run out of ideas but it was the last season anyway so back to the High school is hell metaphor
I think the show was trying to return a bit to it "roots" after the less than positive reaction to Season 6 but didn't quite hit the mark.

From what I understand Nick Brendon said that he and Sarah pitched about getting Xander and Buffy together for S7 but Joss said no.
I don't think Xander and Buffy would've worked in Season 7 because Xander more or less got over his crush of her pre-Season 5 and Buffy showed zero interest in him when he was in a relationship with Anya.

What would've maybe worked is if they'd had Buffy and Xander in Season 6 rather than Spuffy. Buffy would do it because she wanted to feel (and with Spuffy she did enjoy the element of getting away with it as seen in Gone when she is feeling Spike up with Xander right there) whilst Xander would do it as a subconscious form of sabotage of his relationship with Anya because he feels its moving too fast. Being with Buffy is a return to the "safe" time in Xander's life pre-Anya when he used to fantasise about being with Buffy and where he didn't have a wedding imminently approaching. Or maybe have the Xanya wedding actually go ahead earlier in the Season before Buffy and Xander's affair. Anya feels like history is repeating itself hence why she becomes a vengeance demon again, Xander was self-sabotaging because he didn't want his marriage to go the same way as his parents', whilst Buffy just wants to feel something even if its negative thus showing the bad pace she's in mentally.

Introduction of Principal Wood. DB Woodside was great even though the material given him throughout the season was uneven and they clearly had no ideas for him beyond Good looking mysterious Principle
I strongly dislike Wood because of the way he stabbed Buffy in the back over the vineyard and the mutiny. However I think it would've worked better if Spike was still evil and thus still the person that killed Nikki Wood. Spike would be an ally which is why Wood trying to kill him isn't a good thing but it at least gives Wood some moral justification for trying to.

As it stands Wood is clearly in the wrong. Spike has a soul and then Wood gets pissy with Buffy because she won't let him kill Spike. If Spike was still soulless then both parties aren't wrong in their actions. Spike killing Nikki doesn't make him wrong because it was "kill or be killed" and she would've killed him, whilst Wood would be confronting the vampire that had killed his mother.

I remember watching it and being on Buffy message boards it the time and Kit and Carlos didn't have a great reaction back then either I feel the same now. Joss on the commentary (sounding slightly defensive imo) says he only got them for that episode but I suspect that if they had been better recieved then they would've been brought back at a later date.
Kit and Carlos were meant to be Dawn's Willow and Xander.

Buffy forgetting about Spike is weird. I know BY tries to answer it "why didn't you tell your friends about me" "kind of hoping you were a mirage I guess" That doesn't really work for me but each to his own I guess.
Did she forget or did she just want to think she was imagining it?

The end scene at the time generated much excitement but by the end it felt like a promise with a big let down
The First's plan made no sense and ultimately involving Spike just because it wanted to troll him is what brought around its downfall because it brought itself to the attention of Buffy.

I say this is as somone whose not a fan of S7 1or 2 great episodes like Selfless aside. So be warned I will be negative on this season
I strongly dislike Season 7 and consider it worse than Season 6. I don't mind Lies My Parents Told Me because any Spike flashbacks are always good (though replacement Nikki's acting is wooden and even Spike looks disappointed with her lame comeback) but I just don't get why people seem to love Help so much. Also I find the whole activation spell to be problematic because of what it represents.

The activation spell is supposed to be a "girl power" moment where all the potentials are "empowered" with the whole "are you ready to be strong?" but what about all the female characters that aren't potentials like Willow, Dawn and Anya? Don't they get to be "empowered" too? Same with the likes of any other female character we've seen over the course of the series such as Tara, Darla, Drusilla etc.

The message at the end of the episode isn't about empowering all women, it's about empowering a select few. And when that select "few" involves Kennedy (an entitled brat) but not someone like Tara (who had to deal with an abusive family for years) then that's a pretty depressing message.[/QUOTE]
 
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Black Thorn
Buffy forgetting about Spike is weird
I don't think she did because, it would either just be such an awkward thing to bring up or she just hoped she was imagining it. And to be honest, I don't blame her for thinking she imagined it, she goes back to the school, the hellmouth's going off again with random dead people appearing, it would all feel a little too convenient to be real.


And anyway what would have happened if she told Xander?

Buffy: Hey, Spike's sat eating rats in the school basement.
Xander: Did you stake him?
Buffy: No. I still kind of hate myself for using him so I thought I'd just leave him.
Xander: He tried to rape you, Buffy! I'll kill him myself!
Buffy: No! Don't hurt him, I have feelings for him!

Yeah... for some reason the way that plays out in my head doesn't go well.
 

sosa lola

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And anyway what would have happened if she told Xander?

Buffy: Hey, Spike's sat eating rats in the school basement.
Xander: Did you stake him?
Buffy: No. I still kind of hate myself for using him so I thought I'd just leave him.
Xander: He tried to rape you, Buffy! I'll kill him myself!
Buffy: No! Don't hurt him, I have feelings for him!

Yeah... for some reason the way that plays out in my head doesn't go well.
Xander is a different person in S7 than he was in S6, he's in a better place in his life and is able to be supportive to Buffy's decision regarding Spike even if he doesn't agree with it, so I don't see him threatening to kill Spike and going for it.

Interestingly, Xander's reaction to Spike being alive is already there in Beneath You and it's far tamer than Dawn's reaction. He doesn't attack Buffy for hiding his return from them for example (the way he did in S3 about Angel) #character_development :)

BUFFY
Guys, just a second, OK. Yes, I saw Spike. I just didn't—

DAWN
What? You just forgot to mention it?

BUFFY
Things were insane in the basement. I saved your life. We can discuss this later.

DAWN
Sure.

XANDER
(tenderly) Whatever you want.

DAWN
Right. 'Cause that seems to be the only time you let us in, Buffy. Whenever you want.
 

Btvs fan

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I don't think she did because, it would either just be such an awkward thing to bring up or she just hoped she was imagining it. And to be honest, I don't blame her for thinking she imagined it, she goes back to the school, the hellmouth's going off again with random dead people appearing, it would all feel a little too convenient to be real.


And anyway what would have happened if she told Xander?

Buffy: Hey, Spike's sat eating rats in the school basement.
Xander: Did you stake him?
Buffy: No. I still kind of hate myself for using him so I thought I'd just leave him.
Xander: He tried to rape you, Buffy! I'll kill him myself!
Buffy: No! Don't hurt him, I have feelings for him!

Yeah... for some reason the way that plays out in my head doesn't go well.
Well considering he ended up letting Spike live at his at Buffys request I don't think he would
 

katmobile

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I think the show was trying to return a bit to it "roots" after the less than positive reaction to Season 6 but didn't quite hit the mark.



I don't think Xander and Buffy would've worked in Season 7 because Xander more or less got over his crush of her pre-Season 5 and Buffy showed zero interest in him when he was in a relationship with Anya.

What would've maybe worked is if they'd had Buffy and Xander in Season 6 rather than Spuffy. Buffy would do it because she wanted to feel (and with Spuffy she did enjoy the element of getting away with it as seen in Gone when she is feeling Spike up with Xander right there) whilst Xander would do it as a subconscious form of sabotage of his relationship with Anya because he feels its moving too fast. Being with Buffy is a return to the "safe" time in Xander's life pre-Anya when he used to fantasise about being with Buffy and where he didn't have a wedding imminently approaching. Or maybe have the Xanya wedding actually go ahead earlier in the Season before Buffy and Xander's affair. Anya feels like history is repeating itself hence why she becomes a vengeance demon again, Xander was self-sabotaging because he didn't want his marriage to go the same way as his parents', whilst Buffy just wants to feel something even if its negative thus showing the bad pace she's in mentally.



I strongly dislike Wood because of the way he stabbed Buffy in the back over the vineyard and the mutiny. However I think it would've worked better if Spike was still evil and thus still the person that killed Nikki Wood. Spike would be an ally which is why Wood trying to kill him isn't a good thing but it at least gives Wood some moral justification for trying to.

As it stands Wood is clearly in the wrong. Spike has a soul and then Wood gets pissy with Buffy because she won't let him kill Spike. If Spike was still soulless then both parties aren't wrong in their actions. Spike killing Nikki doesn't make him wrong because it was "kill or be killed" and she would've killed him, whilst Wood would be confronting the vampire that had killed his mother.



Kit and Carlos were meant to be Dawn's Willow and Xander.



Did she forget or did she just want to think she was imagining it?



The First's plan made no sense and ultimately involving Spike just because it wanted to troll him is what brought around its downfall because it brought itself to the attention of Buffy.



I strongly dislike Season 7 and consider it worse than Season 6. I don't mind Lies My Parents Told Me because any Spike flashbacks are always good (though replacement Nikki's acting is wooden and even Spike looks disappointed with her lame comeback) but I just don't get why people seem to love Help so much. Also I find the whole activation spell to be problematic because of what it represents.

The activation spell is supposed to be a "girl power" moment where all the potentials are "empowered" with the whole "are you ready to be strong?" but what about all the female characters that aren't potentials like Willow, Dawn and Anya? Don't they get to be "empowered" too? Same with the likes of any other female character we've seen over the course of the series such as Tara, Darla, Drusilla etc.

The message at the end of the episode isn't about empowering all women, it's about empowering a select few. And when that select "few" involves Kennedy (an entitled brat) but not someone like Tara (who had to deal with an abusive family for years) then that's a pretty depressing message.
[/QUOTE]
You see one girl stopping someone hitting her in the montage of the young potentials being activated so at least one girl is escaping an abusive background. In the comics Buffy mentions one slayer escaping the Taliban as a result of being activated.
 

DeadlyDuo

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You see one girl stopping someone hitting her in the montage of the young potentials being activated so at least one girl is escaping an abusive background.
That's all very well but there are others in the same situation who don't get "empowered" by the activation spell because they're not "special".

Kennedy is literally the main issue for me. Here we have an entitled brat from a wealthy background and parents who easily accept her sexuality being "empowered" whilst someone like Tara who has suffered emotional abuse at the hands of her family and was facing a future of that (if the scoobies hadn't stepped in) doesn't get to be "empowered" because she's not "special" like Kennedy is. Tara has had a harder life than Kennedy and had to overcome more obstacles in order to survive, yet Kennedy is the one "empowered".

Do you see the problem?
 
T
thrasherpix
Yep, and instead of rescuing others in their situation, they're to leave their old lives and join General Buffy just as Buffy once did for the Watchers. But it's cool now, because Buffy is female, right? (Last question is rhetorical sarcasm)

Ethan Reigns

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That's all very well but there are others in the same situation who don't get "empowered" by the activation spell because they're not "special".

Kennedy is literally the main issue for me. Here we have an entitled brat from a wealthy background and parents who easily accept her sexuality being "empowered" whilst someone like Tara who has suffered emotional abuse at the hands of her family and was facing a future of that (if the scoobies hadn't stepped in) doesn't get to be "empowered" because she's not "special" like Kennedy is. Tara has had a harder life than Kennedy and had to overcome more obstacles in order to survive, yet Kennedy is the one "empowered".

Do you see the problem?
We see in "Lessons" (which is the subject of this thread), the potentials being hunted down and killed and Kennedy would definitely be a target - in fact, they trap a bringer when Kennedy volunteers to be the bait for a bringer attack and at this point, potentials are no more powerful than ordinary girls. Ordinary girls are safe from the bringers so in that sense, it would be better for the potentials if they were not "special". Kennedy is not somehow a worse person because she was born into a wealthy family nor do we see that her family knows anything about her sexual preferences - Willow's mother probably doesn't know either if she didn't know she had cut her hair until about five months after she did as she told it in "Gingerbread".

There is one simple reason Tara didn't get empowered - she was dead by the time "Lessons" came around and the empowerment wasn't until "Chosen".

There is no supernatural welfare state where if you don't have abilities, you get them anyway. We see this with Willow and Amy where Amy has to work twice as hard to be half as good at magic as Willow. The idea that a wealthy background somehow makes you less of a person than someone from a poor background is part of a Marxist / Socialst myth that a lot of people want you to believe, but it isn't like that in real life.
 
B
Btvs fan
Its no myth that the happiest citizens and well off citizens in the world are those in the Nordic countries such as Finland/Sweden/Norway and Denmark that have healthcare, services etc and what you would call Socialist.

thrasherpix

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There is no supernatural welfare state where if you don't have abilities, you get them anyway. We see this with Willow and Amy where Amy has to work twice as hard to be half as good at magic as Willow. The idea that a wealthy background somehow makes you less of a person than someone from a poor background is part of a Marxist / Socialst myth that a lot of people want you to believe, but it isn't like that in real life.
I believe this was about the supposed "girl power" message rather than an ad for capitalism by Joss Whedon, especially as not all the Potentials and like are from wealthy backgrounds (whereas one, more often than not, have their place determined in the system by accidents of birth rather than raw talent, the latter of which is simply exploited, either by capitalist or communist means).

Buffy gives the speech "are you ready to be strong" and it sounds like she's talking to everyone. But instead it's a select few. While one can argue that the power comes in the image rather than the greater implications, so that anyone being abused can rise up above that, it also enforces the idea that most never will. Only those who are seen as special, and this is where the "girl power" speech sabotages itself.

While it wouldn't surprise me if someone in the audience did relate enough to that one girl to stand up to their own abusers, for the most part it's going to fail to take hold. Most of those who are abused have come to accept it on some level, and even if they rail against it they're going to submit to it (because their subconscious mind will make them even if they consciously fight it). This is true of abused boys as well who as they get older and could easily beat the crap out of an abusive parent simply won't because it's unthinkable, and because it feels so right as this is what they've known. Being stronger doesn't make the difference. If they try, their muscles will turn to rubber. In extreme cases they may even feel they're becoming monsters themselves.

But here a girl is sparked by the Slayer spell who had a total attitude adjustment--just like a newly risen vampire--that she can now take care of this and does (and the only reason I buy this is because the others activated show a total attitude change). And the vast amount of abused girls watching that are not going to relate to that, their self esteem has been far too battered no matter how much their conscious mind wills it, to make a choice as Buffy says. They'll still be waiting for super powers that never come because they're just human, mortal, fragile...and they're failing math. They'll just have to rot, just like all the other Taras and abused girls in the show have to do if they're not "special." Because girls don't have power--or even the potential--inside them unless it's put there by someone else.

This is what I get him talking about. That the Slayer spell shouldn't have taken from the strong and given to the weak, but that the core message of girl power is undermined by how it worked out because it says, "You are weak, unless I make you strong. And if I don't, then lay down and rot."
 

DeadlyDuo

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We see in "Lessons" (which is the subject of this thread), the potentials being hunted down and killed
Yes, supposedly the last remaining potentials were all heading to Buffy's house for protection, but lo and behold there were still plenty out in the world for Buffy to activate. One was playing baseball and didn't look like she'd experienced and survived a murder attempt.

and Kennedy would definitely be a target - in fact, they trap a bringer when Kennedy volunteers to be the bait for a bringer attack and at this point, potentials are no more powerful than ordinary girls.
Kennedy had been trained by a watcher from an early age. Someone like Amanda hadn't, ergo Kennedy was in a better position to defend herself if something went wrong. And considering how Kennedy likes to profess about wanting to be a slayer yet chooses to avoid all slayer training activities, it was about time she pulled her weight.

Ordinary girls are safe from the bringers so in that sense, it would be better for the potentials if they were not "special".
Because ordinary girls aren't "special" enough for the Bringers to bother with. The point isn't about who gets murdered by the bringers and who doesn't, it's about the fact that the big "female empowerment" moment is only awarded to those deemed "special", therefore if you're a woman/girl and you're not considered "special" then you don't get to be "empowered". The message is that you have to fit a certain criteria (being a potential) to experience empowerment otherwise you don't get to be empowered.

Kennedy is not somehow a worse person because she was born into a wealthy family nor do we see that her family knows anything about her sexual preferences - Willow's mother probably doesn't know either if she didn't know she had cut her hair until about five months after she did as she told it in "Gingerbread".
Willow's mother knew Willow was a lesbian and was proud of her, Willow said this in TKIM. Of course Kennedy's family knows, do you really think she'd have the attitude she does if she was afraid of her family finding out she was gay?

Kennedy is a self-proclaimed brat (which makes her behaviour even worse because she knows how bratty she is yet does nothing to change it) yet gets to be "empowered" over someone who hasn't had the same opportunities as she had. The point isn't so much about Kennedy coming from a wealthy family, it's about the fact that Kennedy has advantages over someone from a poorer background due to the fact her family is wealthy but Kennedy is still the one who gets to be "empowered" and the poorer woman doesn't because Kennedy is "special".

There is one simple reason Tara didn't get empowered - she was dead by the time "Lessons" came around and the empowerment wasn't until "Chosen".
Even if Tara lived, she wouldn't get to be empowered. This is the crux of the issue, someone like Tara who has experienced emotional abuse at the hands of her family and survived it doesn't get to be "empowered" because she's not "special" yet someone like Kennedy who has had everything handed to her on a plate (hence the attitude) gets to be "empowered" because she's more "special" than Tara is.

There is no supernatural welfare state where if you don't have abilities, you get them anyway. We see this with Willow and Amy where Amy has to work twice as hard to be half as good at magic as Willow.
In the early seasons, it seemed like any girl could've been a slayer and Buffy was just the unlucky one chosen. In Season 7, this was explicitly reduced to only a few. This isn't about abilities, this is about the fact that the activation spell is a metaphor for female empowerment and how Buffy is "empowering" girls around the world. The problem is that the "female empowerment" is reserved only for those deemed "special" and if you don't meet that criteria then you don't get to be empowered. So Willow doesn't get to be empowered or Dawn or Anya or Cordelia or Tara or Amy or Darla or Drusilla or Harmony or Joyce or Jenny or Fred or Katrina or Sam or Nina etc because they're not deemed special enough. It's not about whether they're dead or alive by the time Chosen rolls around, it's about the fact that they don't get to be "empowered" at all.


The idea that a wealthy background somehow makes you less of a person than someone from a poor background is part of a Marxist / Socialst myth that a lot of people want you to believe, but it isn't like that in real life.
Again, it's about the metaphor of female empowerment. It's not about rich and poor, it's about the fact that Kennedy is given empowerment despite all the advantages she already has in life, whilst someone like Tara who doesn't have those advantages is denied that empowerment. That's not saying that a poor person deserves empowerment and a rich person doesn't, but either empowerment should be a universal thing for all women or the activation spell shouldn't have happened at all. It's Whedon wanting to have his big "girl power" moment without thinking through the actual logistics, much like he wanted the town falling into a crater despite being shown to have docks in the earlier seasons.
 

Ethan Reigns

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I don't consider this to be a generalized empowerment, nor is there a reason to consider it empowerment when it is coming from an outside source. This is not a girl power moment, it is restricted specifically to potentials, regardless of whether they are rich or poor. This is like a military unit going from training status to operational status. It is decreed from above them and affects them all whether they want it or are prepared for it. In order to participate in the change from trainee to operational status, first you have to join the army in question. In this case, they were born to be potentials and get operational only when a previous one died.

The real empowerment is choice. A majority of the 1800 potentials refuse the call to become slayers and this is the true empowerment - previous slayers were all draftees of various levels of willingness and the empowerment is to be able to walk away from it all. But none of this happens in "Lessons" - all we see here is potentials all over the world being mercilessly hunted.
 

katmobile

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That's all very well but there are others in the same situation who don't get "empowered" by the activation spell because they're not "special".

Kennedy is literally the main issue for me. Here we have an entitled brat from a wealthy background and parents who easily accept her sexuality being "empowered" whilst someone like Tara who has suffered emotional abuse at the hands of her family and was facing a future of that (if the scoobies hadn't stepped in) doesn't get to be "empowered" because she's not "special" like Kennedy is. Tara has had a harder life than Kennedy and had to overcome more obstacles in order to survive, yet Kennedy is the one "empowered".

Do you see the problem?
I see where you're coming from but Tara was empowered and it was the key to her finding Willow whose friends accepted her as she was and gave her the community she needed to break away from her abusive family. Tara had innate magic in her perhaps more than Willow.

Life often isn't fair and talents which magic and the slayer line are symbols of in a sense aren't always given to the best people. I agree with the resentment about Kennedy definitely a Joss pet even the other writers didn't like and would have happily killed her off. I came to really dislike her in the comics and would have liked it if someone called her out on her shite for once. I'm writing fan fic based in season eleven where someone will do that stating that most slayers are arseholes because they're following HER example.

However it's also worth considering that people like Vi and misfits like Amanda (sadly briefly) are also empowered and we meet a slayer in the comics who helps look after Buffy who seems like a kind, intelligent and wise person.

Also Kennedy does do some good for the slayer line in the comics. We also see in the comics that the presence of many slayers mean some can and do refuse to be active.
 
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DeadlyDuo

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However it's also worth considering that people like Vi and misfits like Amanda (sadly briefly) are also empowered
Whilst that's true, the issue stems further back than that. In the earlier seasons, it seemed like any girl could've been the slayer hence the "Into every generation a slayer is born" and that Buffy was just the unfortunate one chosen. It could've just as easily been Willow, Cordelia, Harmony etc. The original idea floated for Sunday was that she was a slayer that got turned into a vampire. Even Buffy rejecting the Watchers Council was supposed to be seen as "rejecting the patriarchy" that is trying to control her. The slayer was meant to be a representation, the subversion of the female victim that is normally the target of monsters is actually the one the monsters fear. If we have a look at Buffy's Chosen speech:

From now on, every girl in the world who might be a slayer...
will be a slayer.
Every girl who could have the power...
will have the power
can stand up,
will stand up
Slayers... every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?

Now if every female character had the chance to be the slayer, even though they weren't chosen, that's quite a powerful speech because it's about female empowerment as a whole. However, when you limit it to a few like the writers did in Season 7 with the potentials, then it becomes contrived and kind of discriminatory. Essentially what the writers are saying is "You get to be empowered! And you get to be empowered! But not you because you're not special enough."

The whole "are you ready to be strong?" is problematic as it insinuates that you can only be strong if you are an activated potential. Dawn doesn't get to be "strong", neither does Willow or Tara or any other female character on the show that isn't a potential. The "strong" isn't about physical strength either but about women having the power to "fight", particularly when Buffy starts the whole speech with "In every generation, one slayer is born... because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men" aka the patriarchy. Therefore the activation spell is about "girl power" and "fighting the patriarchy" but only certain girls get to do that because the rest of the female population isn't special enough to get given that opportunity.
 

Ethan Reigns

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Yes, the empowerment spell means you can only be strong if you are a potential. What's so unusual about that?

Felicia Day, who plays Vi, was in a similar situation in real life. She was offered a free ride through Julliard for violin but chose instead to go to University of Texas at Austin to take a double major in violin performance and mathematics, again on a full scholarship. Should everyone who wants to go get to go? Or should the school restrict admission to those who stand a chance of actually passing the course? I don't see this as elitism. I see it as a talent that is not earned in any sense (unless you believe in karma) that you have to develop. As Buffy told Dawn, on her first fight, she missed the heart with her stake. She had to train to get better. You could say that Felicia Day is 99.99 percentile in intelligence but none of it matters if you don't use it.

Do you believe that talent is handed out at random or that someone who has some particular talent is responsible for it? You can say the same about any advantages or disadvantages. Are you handsome / pretty? Did you select good looks or are they something that just happened? Are you a better person if you are pretty or handsome? Is your family rich? Are you automatically less good if you did grow up in a rich household? Life is full of inequity. If you believe in karma, the advantages you get may be due to things you did in a previous life. But this means you also believe in the fact that in some lives, you may be riding high and in others, no one in his right mind would envy you.

In this forum, there are a number of threads that complain that people get empowered who didn't want to be. In this thread, we see a complaint that not everybody got empowered. What's funny is, some of the same people have made both objections.
 

thrasherpix

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It's not about the events but the metaphor, and how incongruous they are with each other. Now if it was done better that would be a different thing. The only funny part is here we all are trying to make sense of nonsensical season 7 again, showing that we care far more than the writers or even Joss did at that point.
 

DeadlyDuo

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@Ethan Reigns The point is you can't use something as a metaphor for female empowerment whilst at the same time denying that empowerment to some female characters but giving it to others under the banner that they're "special". Doing that divides all the female characters in the Buffyverse into two groups, those "worthy" of the empowerment because they're "special" and those that don't get to be "empowered" because they don't meet the criteria.
 

Ethan Reigns

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@DeadlyDuo I once stood in the cafeteria line at Spar Aerospace in front of Sally Ride, America's first female astronaut. I don't think there could be a better example of female empowerment, but the job was not just handed to her. She had to be a university graduate in a STEM course and she had to get into magnificent physical shape. She was trained in survival (so the argument of cavemen vs. astronauts definitely favours astronauts because they could end up landing anywhere due to a fault in the spacecraft, so they are trained to survive anywhere). She had to show aptitude (translated = patience) to operate the Shuttle Arm. You know how some equipment like a good torque wrench is a satisfying piece of equipment to use? The arm was the opposite. You had to make all moves deliberate and slow because the arm could not be driven all over the place with a heavy satellite on the end of it and since there was no anchored point in space, you usually did not move anything faster than the directional thrusters could counteract. She could do it easily. I tried out the simulator once and it was a miserable piece of equipment. For the first time in my life, I did not envy an astronaut.

You are correct in one sense that this did not result in female empowerment everywhere. Not every woman could become a shuttle payload operator. But it meant that the path was no longer impossible. In one sense, she was given an opportunity that has been given to a group of people that wouldn't fill a school classroom. But it was now possible for girls to realistically consider "astronaut" as a career goal and in that sense, all women became a bit more empowered.

I will also agree that the empowerment spell in Buffy was different. None of the potentials had earned anything in the sense that they had to train to become a slayer although some like Faith and Kennedy had watchers before they were called. Their eligibility was predetermined and not earned in any sense. The empowerment was broadcast simultaneously to all of them, even those that did not know what had happened to them. I don't consider this to be "girl power" or elevation of females everywhere. It is a disbursement of power to a limited group of 1800 women in the world. It does not create any hope that other girls could train to become one of them. The real empowerment was that those who had been empowered did not have to accept the job with its dangers - they could walk away.
 
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