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Discussion of 7.07 "Conversations with Dead People" - Aired 11/12/02 (UPN-US)

Buffy Summers

Yataro
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Buffy squares off, physically and mentally, against former classmate Holden Webster, who has just risen as a vampire. Back at the Summers house, Dawn is terrorized by an unseen force, while Willow is visited in the library by the ghost of Cassie Newton, who says she's been sent by Tara.
Source: TV.com

Discuss this episode here!
 

Doppelgang

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This is a really good horror-style episode, interspersed with great, intelligent dialogue between Buffy and her former classmate Holden, who's now a vampire. The Willow dialogue with the ghost of Cassie is really creepy and scary as it develops in a sinister direction, building up to the point where Cassie dissapears going inside out and zipped into a tiny invisible hole (best way I can describe it!) A great taster of whats to come with the first evil.
 

Chosen Enemy

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In this episode, it seemed, or they made us think, that The First Evil is really powerful, evil and... well, deadly. It didn't deliver, IMO. They presented it as a very scary thing in this episode, it was so well written. But the First went a little less deadly after this episode that actually "promised" us the biggest evil we ever saw or knew. So as much as this is a good episode, as much as it's one of the best of the series, it didn't deliver.

However, as I said, this episode was so well written and acted that it's maybe the best of the season.
 
PassionBecoming
PassionBecoming
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Jules

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Dawn's scenes were the most freaky, seeing Joyce on the couch, the blood writing on the wall, the house shaking etc. Willow's scenes were heartbreaking especially when she starts realising its not Tara. I like that Buffy's scenes revolve around her relationships and that she was talking to a vampire about it.

Poor Jonathan, I didnt want him to die. And his speach was so sweet.
 

Jules

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I've listened to the commentary by Nick Marck, Jane Espenson, Drew Goddard, Danny Strong and Tom Lenk.

They mainly talk about working with each other and certain scenes, like Jonathan and Andrew's ''Check, check'' scene. But they mention that the episode highlights that you can be alone, even if your surrounded by people. Its one episode were none of the characters interact with each other and its the only episode where Xander doesnt appear. They mention that Xander didnt appear because they didnt have anyone significant for him to talk to.

Cassie was meant to be Tara but Amber wasnt avaiable because of her schedule.

Joyce is definately the First. The First can appear in more places as once.

With Jonathan's storyline, from the start of the show they've had the character be an outsider. At the end he realises its almost self inflicted and as he realises he gets killed. Its highlighting the harsh reality of the show.
 

BrandyRose86

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Joyce wasn't The First. It was actually her trying to reach out to Dawn. I've been driving myself crazy trying to figure out exactly where Whedon was going with it. When Joyce tells Dawn that in the end Buffy won't chose her. That she'll be against her. In an interview Whedon said that he had this whole season where he was going to elaborate more on Dawn and her being The Key and that's where her interaction with Joyce was leading. Then he had to wrap the rest of the series up in one last season so he had to change directions. I so wish I could find more information on what plans he had for Dawn and fleshing out her story.
 

dexeded

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Joyce wasn't The First.
Why do you say that?

I read somewhere that the writers intended Joyce to be The First; there was a deleted exchange that went something like this--Dawn: They said I couldn't bring you back. Joyce: Maybe I'm the first.

Ah ha, found it. "On the DVD commentary for the show, Jane Espenson revealed that the image of Joyce is The First. In the original draft of the script, Dawn was going to try to raise her mother. When Joyce appeared, she was to say, "They said I couldn't bring someone back." To which The First/Joyce would reply: "Maybe I'm the First." "
 
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PassionBecoming
PassionBecoming
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BrandyRose86

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This is insane! I feel like I'm losing my mind. I know I read it in an interview. Like it came out of his mouth and now I can't find this interview anywhere. I actually just came across an interview where he's saying it was TFE trying to rattle her and set them against each other. It doesn't make any sense. Joyce's manifestation isn't consistent with any other of the TFE's manifestations of the other deceased characters. The whole scene just was screaming something way more then just TFE. If that was the case, if that's all it was, it was very anti climactic. I'm going to keep searching for the interview I read where he said he had a whole arch he was going with to flesh out Dawn's character more and then he got cut short so he had to wrap everything up in the seventh season. If I find it, I'll post it.

---------- Post added at 05:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:00 PM ----------

Another point. Since when has TFE ever been able cause physical harm to anyone or affect anything physically? The gash on Dawn's face when she was performing the spell. The whole house was torn to pieces. She was speaking through the radio. I guess TFE could have summoned a demon or poltergeist to do these things but it seems like an awful lot to go through just to spook Dawn. It didn't even manifest into anything down the road. Buffy's interaction was eventually to show that Spike was killing again(among other things). Willows was to try and get her to kill herself because she was a major player and also to introduce itself into the storyline as the thing that is actually devouring you from beneath. Dawn's was to scare her? It just doesn't add up.
 

dexeded

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Since when has TFE ever been able cause physical harm to anyone or affect anything physically? The gash on Dawn's face when she was performing the spell. The whole house was torn to pieces. She was speaking through the radio. I guess TFE could have summoned a demon or poltergeist to do these things but it seems like an awful lot to go through just to spook Dawn. It didn't even manifest into anything down the road. Buffy's interaction was eventually to show that Spike was killing again(among other things). Willows was to try and get her to kill herself because she was a major player and also to introduce itself into the storyline as the thing that is actually devouring you from beneath. Dawn's was to scare her? It just doesn't add up.
Yeah, I assumed TFE summoned stuff to do all the damage, since it didn't physically touch anyone. As in, it didn't claw her physically, cuts just appeared. The point? To rile up Dawn, sow the seeds of doubt. I think it all culminated when Dawn made the decision to kick Buffy out, actually.
 

HisMrs

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This is one of my favorite episodes of Season 7. I think it's so well written, and it packs a big punch in showing us just how badly The First can screw with the Scoobies' heads if it wants to. I do agree with Chosen Enemy, though, that it felt like it felt a little flat because The First was supposed to be so deadly and evil and basically all it did was talk to everyone.
However, Buffy's scenes with Holden were amazing. Some of my favorite of the show itself.
 

PassionBecoming

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I recall enjoying the conversation between Buffy and Holden in this ep. The whole "inferiority complex about her superiority complex". :p

-Weird having the title of the ep and air date at the beginning...
-A little (lot) of Jack for Spikester
-I like this song, but the whole "sad Scoobies" montage is depressing!
-"Here we go." I still feel bad for Buffy and everything that happened in S6. Just seems so wrong that she has to just get back to normal living after all that.
-Ah, return of the dweebs. Andrew annoys me.
-Yup, and there's Dawn, disobeying Buffy, ruining her clothes, and breaking the house. Still the selfish gal, I see.
-Ugh, I forgot about Cassie in this one. She is SO creepy! (Awesome acting!)
-So...Dawn has a haunting going on. Where's the cell phone?! Good thing she acts rationally by smashing all the electronics...
-Love the vampire trying to get Buffy to remember him. Heh.
-Ahhh, mention of good ol' Scottie. Love listening to the easy way they are just chatting.
-If I was Dawn I would be out of that house so fast. I never got the mother's milk comment; just a blood reference or what?
-I wonder if house insurance in Sunnydale includes poltergeists...
-"Then we join her gang and possibly hang out at her house." So, why the change of heart, boys?
-Freaking Warren. Andrew is such a moron.
-Way to get at Willow. Makes me angry. :(
-Buffy getting shrinked in a cemetery. That in itself is a psychologist's imagery dream. "I think you're confusing me because you're evil." Haha.
-So, Buffy's only 21...but was drinking beer at the Bronze in S5? Bad Bronze bartenders.
-"Because I'm gonna win." She could have just staked him right there!
-Insane troll logic reference!!!!
-"Who could live with that for seven years and not feel superior?" I like that Buffy is finally getting some insight.
-Ugh, Dawn, take your own advice: "Get out! Get out! GET OUT!"
-Dead Joyce is rather scary...
-"I've got no worries. I'm dead." Heehee
-I would think Willow would be able to sense that Cassie isn't of the "good" side. But maybe not.
-Awww, Jonathan. He does have a kind heart.
-And there's the realization again that it doesn't matter if the Slayer has friends and family. She's still alone.
-Aw, Joyce. I know it isn't anything good, but nice to see her again.
-And Willow realizes something isn't quite right. Go Willow!
-I do feel bad for Dawn there. After all that, she gets that message. :( Though she should know better - Buffy already made the ultimate sacrifice for her. How much harder can it get?
-Stoopid Andrew. He needs to be slapped. A lot. And the blood graphic is horrible.
-Hmmm, vampy Spike. Haven't seen that in awhile. Now Buffy has to figure out what to do about that.

One of the creepiest eps, but I also like it. Though this is where the story line starts getting all sketchy for me. Balance of good vs. evil? Then shouldn't Whistler be prancing about? Isn't trying to destroy humanity always what evil is trying to do? Meh.
 

Ethan Reigns

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Holden Webster stole the show - he is the psych student Riley should have been if Riley had been written better.

"Buffy, I'm here to kill you, not to judge you." - best line in the Buffyverse
 

AnthonyCordova

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Ugggh...the trio (duo actually) again? God, I wish they would just leave them behind already, permanently. Jonathan was killed in this episode, but Andrew is still here to annoy me to no end with all of his stupid and excessively nerdy (and completely unsubtle and obvious) Star Wars references and such. I really hope he is purely peripheral from this point out.

Other than that, I thought this was another extremely entertaining episode (people have a big problem with S7?) I like how the show addressed some of Buffy's heretofore unresolved psychological issues that had been hanging in the air for awhile. With a vampire while on patrol no less. Novel.

Dawn's scenes in the house were almost horror movie material. I liked that.
 

thetopher

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This episode's pretty good.
Enjoyed Dawn's battle with the ghost, probably one of the more extreme things she's ever experienced.
And Willow and Cassie was just...sad, heartwrenching and then horrifying. The First was actually truly scary here.
The Trio stuff...vaguely annoying, but they were easily trumped by Holden Webster!
God, I hate this actor, something about him just bugs the hell out of me, same as he was in Firefly and in Angel. (he was Knox)
I mean, some of his lines were funny, but I just wanted him dusted right there and then. Why the hell did Spike sire this douche! :mad:

Overall, a pretty top-notch ep. :)
 

EVIL UU

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Damn, this is a sad episode and I don't even mean Willow's stuff. I mean Buffy. Buffy is having a conversation with a vampire. Seems simple enough but think about it for a second. Buffy is talking to an undead beast, not just talking, actually sharing her secrets and crying and it's like a therapy. Just what the...? And it's so normal to her, you know what I mean? Buffy's not like What in the hell am I doing?! there's no that God, I'm talking to a vamp, I must be brain damaged! moment either. Crazy.Friends? Nah, I'm just gonna pour my heart out to a random corpse! Not even Angel or Spike. How far gone is this chick? Does she still belong to the human world? What happened to her? When did this become acceptable? Normal? OK? It's sad, you know.
 

white avenger

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Why do you say that?

I read somewhere that the writers intended Joyce to be The First; there was a deleted exchange that went something like this--Dawn: They said I couldn't bring you back. Joyce: Maybe I'm the first.

Ah ha, found it. "On the DVD commentary for the show, Jane Espenson revealed that the image of Joyce is The First. In the original draft of the script, Dawn was going to try to raise her mother. When Joyce appeared, she was to say, "They said I couldn't bring someone back." To which The First/Joyce would reply: "Maybe I'm the First." "
But are we really supposed to consider deleted scenes as canon, especially when what is televised is different? I consider the final cut, as it was shown on the air, as canon. Deleted scenes aren't.

As for what Joyce really was, and this is just personal opinion, but I think that it works well in context, if there is a First Evil, why wouldn't there also be a First Good who, just like the First Evil, cannot physically act in the human universe, so has to work through agents, like maybe the Guardians, and ethereal apparitions? Nature hates an imbalance.
 

thetopher

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But are we really supposed to consider deleted scenes as canon, especially when what is televised is different? I consider the final cut, as it was shown on the air, as canon. Deleted scenes aren't.
The only reason deleted scenes are cut is becasue of time constraits, so I do consider them canon of a sort- as long as their a reliable deleted scene. (From the shooting scipt and not from some interview that a writer gave)

There have been a couple of episode re-writes which aren't at all canon. For example, in the shooting script for this episode there's a whole Tara/Willow scene had has a few bits of different dialogue which was cut. Obviously this isn't 'canon', just some 'what-if' if Amber Bensen had come back.

Another example is the end scene from 'Empty Places' which was heavily rewritten from the shooting script to what we get onscreen.

To me, that's the difference. If a line or two were cut from the script then its time constrait and it's intended to be canon- if its rewritten then the writers obviously had a change of heart about including it and decided not to.
 

white avenger

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The only reason deleted scenes are cut is becasue of time constraits, so I do consider them canon of a sort- as long as their a reliable deleted scene. (From the shooting scipt and not from some interview that a writer gave)

There have been a couple of episode re-writes which aren't at all canon. For example, in the shooting script for this episode there's a whole Tara/Willow scene had has a few bits of different dialogue which was cut. Obviously this isn't 'canon', just some 'what-if' if Amber Bensen had come back.

Another example is the end scene from 'Empty Places' which was heavily rewritten from the shooting script to what we get onscreen.

To me, that's the difference. If a line or two were cut from the script then its time constrait and it's intended to be canon- if its rewritten then the writers obviously had a change of heart about including it and decided not to.
I think that the final edit of the episode , as it appears in broadcast or in the DVD sets, is canon. Anything beyond that, whether it was included in the shooting script, or even shot and later deleted, doesn't count as canon. Just like we can guess and conjecture, imagine "what if," or "why not," or apply Vulcan logic to a character's motives, we can also say, "Yeah, but the script says that it was SUPPOSED to be this, before they changed it," but that is all, still, ultimately, just opinion.
 

Charmander

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I loved Alyson's performance when she thought Tara was speaking to her.
It's a shame that Amber couldn't return but Cassie's actress nails being the First. I can't imagine Amber really pulling it off in the same way.

What a shame about Jonathan, Andrew has his funny moments but is just too shallow a character to me. It would have been nice for Jonathan to have redeemed himself.
 
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