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Discussion of 7.04 "Help" - Aired 10/15/02 (UPN-US)

TriBel

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fate still remains more powerful than her, than everyone. Fate is the one that rules in the end, taking out Cassie even though Buffy and the others strived to save her till the very end.
I don't think it's as abstract as fate. What kills Cassie is a genetic flaw - her physical make-up. Could it have been avoided? Possibly - had someone made the connection between mind and body. Re-establishing these connections is, IMO, S7's priority. Had Cassie's parents not - with the best of intentions - kept her history from her perhaps she would have made the connections for herself? If so, would she have sought help in time? Is the text making a parallel between Cassie and Buffy? Did Giles (or more likely the council) keep the demon origins of the Slayer from her in order to have her on the side of "light"? In fact, isn't it true that Buffy really "belongs in the shadows" as Spike insisted she did? In fact - and this has just occurred to me - perhaps Buffy was "born wrong" the first time she was born but the nurture she received from Joyce (and Hank) made her more "human" then she was. Joyce wasn't there in her third "re-birth" to ease her through it. This would tie in nicely with the questions raised in Tabula Rasa.

Thanks for this - it's given me a new perspective on the episode. :)
 

spikenbuffy

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Buffy in this episode : I failed her (about Cassie)
I think it has a tie with how Buffy will be in this season with dealing the deaths of the potentials.
The final scene with Buffy accepting Cassie's death and saying that sometimes you can't do something to help looks like and reminds me the scene with Buffy & Woods in Get It Done. The potentials that will die, Buffy will say that she failed them, that some will die and that she can do nothing about it.
 

Mr Trick

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This episode's really underrated. Might actually be the best of the season up to this point. The MOTW were stronger in the first three. But I like how sensitively they handle the theme of suicide. Also Casssie's an engaging character very well played by the actress. I like the twist of Cassie dying of natural causes. The characters sell it effectively at the end too. I like the pep talk Dawn gives to Buffy. The modern issue of mental health seems to fit the theme of this episode well.
 

Faded90

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The final scene of this episode just perfectly sets up the message for the rest of S7. They can’t save everyone, even when they do everything they can ‘so what do you do when you know that?’ Scene then flips at her back at work opening up her next file thinking ‘well maybe I can save the next one’

It’s kind of the message she reassures Faith with in End of Days as well as Dawn’s ‘you didn’t fail her because you tried’
 

DeadlyDuo

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I find this episode overrated and I actually find Cassie kind of annoying.
 

Btvs fan

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I find this episode overrated and I actually find Cassie kind of annoying.
Its basically a rip off Reptile Boy. You know a series is creatively exhausted when they are rehashing old plots. They did the same with Him and BBB
 

TriBel

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Not watched it for a while but there's a lot to be taken from it. Not least the fact only Cassie and Joyce die a natural death and Buffy can't save either of them. She's upset not just because of Cassie...but also (maybe primarily) because of Joyce. Joyce is the absent presence in Buffy's life...the void around which everything circles.

Cassie is reading Vonnegut's 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death. The main protagonist, Billy Pilgrim is "unstuck in time" - as Spike was at the beginning...as all the characters will be at some point...even if they don't experience actual flash forward / backward they undergo the return of the repressed (it's kinda how the First works).

Its basically a rip off Reptile Boy. You know a series is creatively exhausted when they are rehashing old plots. They did the same with Him and BBB
I think that might be deliberate (as @Priceless suggests). Remember, the Master tells us (as Whedon did in the pre-season material) "we're going back to the beginning". There's a reference to Run Lola Run in the ST,SP (?) prologue. IIRC, she goes back to the beginning of her story three times making little tweaks to change the outcome...just as Buffy changes the slayer story and her own destiny. It's very much a season about time and history repeating itself (as it does in Him until they burn the coat).

It's not my favourite episode but it's okay.
 

Stake fodder

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I think this episode is showing the flip side of Buffy's "never give up" attitude. We see this later with the Potentials, some (or just one) giving up and others willing to fight to the end. Though since Cassie does still die, I'm not sure what the writers are saying about accepting fate or not, really.

Buffy hiding in a coffin is another instance of her resilience, not dwelling on her past death experience. The funeral home bit brought two issues to mind: one, doesn't someone have to be buried first before rising as a vampire? And two, can it happen if the person's been embalmed? (Or if they're cremated, how would that work? They would be pre-dusted?) I know I'm overthinking this, but the show's always been vague about this vital process!

The scene with Spike "keeping quiet" makes me think of the similar scene in "Sixth Sense," "Stay real still and the ghosts will leave." Spike seems like he's losing hope at this point, and Buffy doesn't know how to help him, or if she even really wants to. And despite his best efforts, he's 0 for 2 for successful assistance: the Ronny worm gets stabbed at the wrong time, and Cassie still dies.

I enjoy Xander's construction bits of wisdom. "Power and control, it's a trade-off." Willow's gentle tracing of Tara's name on the gravestone is so heartbreaking, that yearning to reach the loved one, but having only cold stone left to touch.
 
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