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Helpless

Discussion in 'Season 3' started by brittles, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. brittles

    brittles Scooby

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    Sineya
    Does anyone else love this episode? I think it was so well done and it was interesting to see Buffy without all of her super strength and just as a normal teenage girl. The Zachary Kralik character played by Jeff Kober is a creepy interesting character and I love how Buffy kills him with the holy water in the end. She's obviously still very mentally capable without her superpowers. Sad to see her so hurt by Giles though but it adds such great depth to the story. Anyone else have any thoughts?
     
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  2. thrasherpix

    thrasherpix Scooby

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    Yes. This is a favorite, though not one I watch a lot.

    And for me, it's also one of the scariest, not just for its tone but its nightmarish theme that even that which you trust the most can turn against you. I personally think that at the end of the season when the library (the scene of the sick betrayal, and where it was revealed to Buffy) gets blown up would be therapeutic for Buffy and Giles both so HOPEFULLY they can put that incident behind them for real (as opposed to only doing so for a greater cause). I'd have liked to have seen the "behind the scenes" part of how Joyce reacted to all of it, as IIRC, she knew what was going on at the end (and thus who to blame for her terrifying abduction as well as nearly getting Buffy killed). I think if I were Buffy that I could've forgiven him (in time)...but I don't think I would've as Joyce!

    I also liked how Cordelia stood up for Buffy if only a minor way in this ep. (One of the best Cordelia moments for me was in the prom episode later on when she bluffed Gorch by pretending to be Faith, and Cordelia really has the "I'm the Slayer" line down pat! :D ). Cordelia's conflicting feelings regarding Buffy and the Scoobies make her one of the more interesting characters to me, rather than the vapid, shallow character she originally appeared to be.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
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  3. brittles

    brittles Scooby

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    Sineya

    I agree. It is a very scary episode in an unusual way for the show. You almost feel as vulnerable watching it as Buffy might feel without her powers. I don't watch it a lot either and only recently saw it for maybe the 2nd time and it struck me as being one of the better episodes in the show. It's heartbreaking when Buffy realizes that this father-like figure in her life "poisons her" in her own words. It must be so painful for Giles as well when he realizes how deeply he's betrayed her. It seems that this whole thing between them is resolved rather quickly considering how dramatic this reveal was. It would have been interesting to see them rebuild their trust with each other in more depth. I wonder how clear it was made to Joyce about Giles' involvement and exactly how integral his actions were? To be honest I've never given much thought to Cordelia's character just because she has always come off as being so vapid to me. The only time I've seen her display deep human emotion was right after she and Oz discovered Xander and Willow kissing. I guess on some level she is interesting. Why does she keep getting involved with the Scoobies who she so often claims to not be able to stand? Maybe deep down she knows she admires them for all that they do and wants to be that way too.
     
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  4. thrasherpix

    thrasherpix Scooby

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    Yeah, Cordelia admires them. She reveals how impressed she is in Homecoming (which, btw, was the actual episode I meant to reference in my first post in this thread rather than the prom episode), saying Buffy has so much, why does she have to take what Cordelia has as well?

    I just watched Helpless again. This may be the only episode where the Bangel dialog gave me the warm fuzzies. I actually laughed and cried again, seriously. This is a gut wrenching episode.

    And when a crying Buffy asks if Cordelia can drive her home, Cordelia's expression is one of deep concern, though Cordelia quickly hid it under her seeming cluelessness. Unlike a younger Buffy (as described by Angel in this ep, when he saw her before she was Called), Cordelia protects her heart rather than putting it out for all the world to see...which as I saw that look of compassion and concern Cordelia gave Buffy made me feel bad in remembering how Cordy found Xander kissing Willow, which was the kind of thing Cordelia was trying to protect herself from, but made the mistake of falling for Xander...and giving in to that feeling. And this already happened by Helpless, and still Cordelia gives Buffy such a look of concern (and tells her "of course" that she'll drive Buffy home) before she quickly hides it.
     
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  5. Priceless

    Priceless I am now

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    I love Helpless. It's one of my favourite from Season 3. I love how it shows the relationship between Buffy and Giles, and how Giles is torn between loyalty to the organisation he'sbeen part of most of his life, and his his love for Buffy. Lot's of people resent Giles for his behaviour in this episode, but I sympathise with him, it's hard to show the moral courage needed to turn away from and disregard the laws of an organisation you've belonged to all your life, especially when you did turn your back on them as a teenager and it all went terribly wrong.

    I especially love the fact that Buffy defeated Kralik without any of the slayers physical power. Buffy used her brain :) She was scared for herself and for her mum, but she still kept calm and defeated the psycho vampire, I've never loved her more and I was so happy and surprised when Kralik drank the holy water.
     
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  6. brittles

    brittles Scooby

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    Sineya

    That moment! Her look of concern-it's so real. It makes me want to hug her. I wish we could see more of that side of Cordelia. I guess she is a rather unexplored character in Buffy. She obviously is deeper than a puddle which is unfortunately the biggest kind of impression we get from her. I guess it makes these instances a lot more special though-seeing that she indeed does care for Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies. I'll definitely be revisiting this episode soon.
    --- Double Post Merged, Nov 24, 2016 ---
    That's what I thought was so genius about this episode! She didn't just hide behind muscle and superpowers. She actually used her head and defeated this freak to protect herself and her Mom. It's such an unexpected and clever way to off him as well! ("If I were at full slayer strength I'd be punning right about now." :) ) I sympathize with Giles as well. He was only doing his job and still he knows it's wrong and tries to call the whole thing off. It's not like he was just going to let Buffy go through with it so I can't resent him too much. I love Giles, he's one of the deepest characters in the show i think.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
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  7. Slayerofslayers

    Slayerofslayers We're going to destroy the world. Want to come?

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    This is a good episode. It was hard seeing Giles betray Buffy's trust like that when they have such a touching father and daughter-like relationship. But you could tell that Giles felt torn up about subjecting Buffy to the test and that he didn't want to do it but he felt like he had to follow the Council's orders as he usually does as a Watcher. I feel like this episode exposes how the way the Council does things and treats the Slayer can be flawed and unethical. I also felt like there should have been at least a couple of scenes after this episode where Giles has to earn Buffy's trust back and where Buffy and Giles have to struggle to repair their relationship. Kralik was very creepy especially when he has Buffy's mother tied up and is talking about how he doesn't like mothers and is taking pictures of her. I liked seeing Buffy's resolve even though she didn't have her powers and how she faced the threat to save her mother even without her powers. Buffy thinks that she doesn't know who she is without her powers but she proves in this episode that she is still the courageous, smart, and solid person that she is even without her powers. I like how Angel encourages her and says he loved her before she was the slayer; that was a nice moment.
     
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  8. DeadlyDuo

    DeadlyDuo Scooby

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    I agree. The council treat the slayers as numbers rather than names, when one dies they move onto the next one and so forth. The watchers themselves get emotionally attached because they are spending so much. time with that chosen girl.
     
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  9. Slayerofslayers

    Slayerofslayers We're going to destroy the world. Want to come?

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    Very true. That's why I like when Buffy and Giles stand up to the council throughout the show to show them that they aren't just puppets to control and that there are more virtuous ways of doing things. The slayer is the one that has the abilities and does their work for them so they should treat the slayer with respect and treat her fairly. I also like at the end of the show how all the potentials have their powers activated so that the slayer no longer has to do things alone and be restricted by the Council's rigid structure of only having one slayer at a time and trying to control her.
     
  10. DeadlyDuo

    DeadlyDuo Scooby

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    I think the slayers need to have that support network around them, just to pick them up when they're feeling down. Spike's "every slayer has a death wish" is true because these young girls are forced to kill, kill, kill with no respite. Eventually they're going to wish that they can just stop. It's in that moment that they get killed. Nikki Wood and the Chinese slayer were lucky that it was Spike that killed them as he made their deaths quick, just imagine if it had been the Gnarl that got a hold of them.
     
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  11. brittles

    brittles Scooby

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    Sineya
     
  12. Slayerofslayers

    Slayerofslayers We're going to destroy the world. Want to come?

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    Yeah that's one of the reasons Buffy has survived so long is because she has the scoobies and her mom and everything to support her and make her feel connected to the world. If the Council had realized that before than maybe the slayers could have survived a lot longer and had the will to keep fighting and going. Being a slayer means at any time they are going to their deaths, most often before they even reach adulthood so these things could have helped. And having more slayers around gives them more of a chance to survive and relieve the pressure of being the only one who can fight evil and save the world.
     
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  13. Ethan Reigns

    Ethan Reigns Scooby

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    Sineya
    I don't believe the council has not realized that there are better ways to organize slaying. The Council has only one agenda: the continuation of the Council and its power. A slayer who has reached adulthood would be expected to remain in business longer than a noob, some of whom lose their first fight. But adolescent girls would be easier to control than a seasoned veteran slayer and as we find out in the comics, there is no shortage of slayers - there are about 1800 of them and that is after the purge conducted by the Bringers. If I wanted to remain in control of a situation, I would choose young slayers and let them die off rapidly like the cannon fodder that they are. To maintain this power, the Council has the right to revoke Giles' visa among other items of political clout and they maintain a wetworks team to take care of anyone who gets in their way, slayer or otherwise. Where the organizational power of the Council seems to falter is the arrival of Gwendolyn post and their inability to contain the threats of Glory or the First.
     
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  14. brittles

    brittles Scooby

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    Sineya
    The council has no real power. How could they possibly do ANYTHING to combat all of these evil forces without the Slayer? The only reason they had a smidgen of power to begin with was indeed because they were controlling young, impressionable slayers and their dutiful, stuffy watchers who didn't want to loose their jobs by picking up a stake and helping their slayers out as Giles did. They hold information about Glory hostage in order to feel important and like they serve any kind of purpose. They amount of time they wasted putting Buffy through those stupid tests instead of flat out handing her the info and helping her understand what it means is so annoying. Why all of a sudden do they feel the need to come all the way to Sunnydale to conduct a "check of the slayers methods" and to make sure she's competent? She's gotten the job done for the past 5 years hasn't she? Stopped more than her fair share of what's the plural of apocalypse? They serve no purpose other than being able to gain access to some helpful information occasionally. Rant over :)
     
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  15. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    Yeah this episode is quite different. I also find it sweet the way Cordy stands up for Buffy against the guy when she has lost her powers.

    I wouldn't say its a favourite of mine. But it is pretty undervalued and is a big episode in helping Giles to see the light.
     
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  16. jls

    jls a big cat

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    Watching Helpless now, haven't read all the posts in this thread yet.

    Does anyone think that Buffy's Dad not turning up is an intervention by the Watcher's Council so that the test is uninterrupted? I was so mad at him when I saw this ep, but now I'm reconsidering.
     
  17. buffy1990

    buffy1990 Potential

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    I was going to say the same thing! I was actually really surprised when I read on the boards how many people resented Giles' actions in this episode. I always understood him having the internal conflict that he did, and appreciated that he chose Buffy in the end. If anything (after some conversations I'm sure they had about it) I think it strengthened their relationship.
     
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  18. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    No that's just Hank;)
     
  19. Priceless

    Priceless I am now

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    I agree. I think it would be expecting far too much from Giles for him to immediately turn against the Watchers Council after all these years, and after what he went through during his Ripper years. I think the Council represents a sense of safety for Giles, and turning away from them must have been really scary for him. I think Buffy must recognise this, which is why their relationship isn't destroyed by his betrayal.
     
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  20. jls

    jls a big cat

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    But but but but but but... if she had've gone with her dad, she would've missed her test. The Council would've had to reschedule everything. So it's a majorly beneficial coincidence for The Council that her dad backed out. And after all their careful preparation, a little too beneficial, I think :cool:

    I have a question, was administering the inhibitor a process, i.e. Giles had to do it numerous times, or did he administer it only once?