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Article Seeing is Believing

Discussion in 'Season 7' started by Puppet, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. Puppet

    Puppet My ass is not pansy!

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    Black Thorn
    Seeing is Believing in Season Seven

    I found this to be a very intriguing article, raising images and plot points that I had never considered myself. Granted, this isn't the season I re-watch the most (though also not my least favorite, lol) but I've still seen it more than a dozen times, at least.

    I particularly enjoyed the Xander segment, as I find him to be one of the most fascinating characters on the purely human level (though, again, that might be because he is the only purely human one). The highlight of what has to be one of my favorite speeches from the show was a nice touch, but there were other things I hadn't considered.

    Admittedly, I might have to re-watch S7 soon and decide whether I still found it OOC for Empty Places to happen the way it did.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. DeadlyDuo

    DeadlyDuo Scooby

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    I thought it was "The Killer in Me" that Willow became Warren, not "Empty Places"? The caption under the picture is wrong.

    Didn't @TriBel post bits of this article before, it seems familiar?
     
    Last Watcher: Yeah. You're right....definitely 'Killer in me'
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  3. Puppet

    Puppet My ass is not pansy!

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    Black Thorn
    Sorry if it's true, I haven't seen it but I am still new, technically.

    I didn't realize one of the captions were wrong?
     
  4. TriBel

    TriBel Scooby

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    No I didn't - I just tend to ramble on about similar stuff! :) I haven't read the article properly - just scanned it. The article I'm supposedly writing (which is fast turning into a book because I ramble) is to do with the unreliability of both sight and language. Sight is the privileged sense and is equated with knowledge - to see is to know. What S7 does (IMO) is replace sight with touch - it's a movement away from the spirit/body binary of humanism towards the embodied mind. Read that article - it's far more accessible - and enjoyable - than anything I write. :( She is right in the sense that Spike's the vehicle for a radical transformation (which is one reason I've fought hard to defend him) but IMO there's some misreading (sorry if that sounds arrogant!). :eek: Sigh - I'd better stay off here and finish my own - I'll send you a copy if I ever finish it! Thanks for alerting me to the thread!:)
     
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  5. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    That's a great article. I enjoyed the Willow and Xander sections. Personally, nothing will make Empty Places anything but a character assassination to prop Spuffy. I like Spuffy a lot, but not at the expense of the other characters.
     
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  6. Fool for Buffy

    Fool for Buffy BFF of Sour Patch Kid

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    Sineya
    With The First as the big bad and only certain people being able to see it at certain times, it makes sense that seeing plays such a huge role in that season. I hadn't noticed it before but now I can actually think of an example for it in every episode of season 7. (Seriously, I just went through every one) I love motifs so this was a cool article. Anytime I rewatch I'm always looking for another motif that I can connect with characters, relationships, seasons, etc. Thanks for sharing @Puppet
     
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  7. flow

    flow Will you just hold me ?

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    I have only read it yesterday and found it really interesting. I was suddenly thinking - and maybe I am completely wrong - that we, the viewers might be the mutineers in Empty Places.
    S7 has been so harshly criticised. And in Empty Places the Scoobies and the Potentials criticise Buffy. The viewers did not trust the writers to accomplish the task of having a memorable final season. And the scoobies and the potentials did not trust Buffy to accomplish the task of defeating the First Evil. Maybe the scene in Empty Places is something like a mirror and we - the viewers - are the non-believing Thomas.

    In addition to this thought I have to repeat something, I have mentioned before about Empty Places. Caleb was supposed to kill Xander during the fight in the vineyard. Now, if they had done that, the scene in Empty Places suddenly makes sense. Xander, the heart and the seer of the group, the one, who has just before defended Buffy in an overwhelming speech, is gone. Willow is probably to shocked to say or do anything. Dawn would be grieved as well and grief often turns into anger, aimed at other people, wether they deserve it or not. And the potentials are just frightened out of their wits. The slayer failed in saving her oldest and best friend. How will she save us ?
    It is suddenly no longer OOC for them to turn against Buffy and throw her out of her house.

    The writers later changed Xanders death into the loss of an eye. And although that is still horrifying, it does not have the same effect on the viewer. And that is why Empty Places does not work anymore. They should have changed it, after the changed the scene in the vineyard, but maybe by then they didn`t have time any more or were exhausted or just wanted to get done with the rest of the season.

    flow
     
  8. TriBel

    TriBel Scooby

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    As I said - I think it's far more radical than being a motif. Most of the "seeing" is unreliable - characters who "see" (or who equate seeing with knowing) are often wrong about what they know. Spike's vision is sometimes better (he has "enhanced" eyesight) but it tends to be distorted when Buffy's about. And it goes beyond this. It's also referencing painting and art movements (IMO). I think one of the difficulties with it is it's taking cubism (or something similar to cubism) as a model. With cubism you see all facets at once - which explains why we don't know who is wrong and who is right - perspectives shift. Also - language is becoming unreliable - it's simultaneously saying too much and not enough. Touch is a much more reliable indicator than sight. This is actually overturning about 500 years of western philosophy. :)

    I need to get out more. :(
     
  9. thrasherpix

    thrasherpix Scooby

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    I think it's reading too much into the series. This is a season where Buffy finds the Scythe because Caleb pushes over the very barrel hiding the trapdoor that Buffy then jumps through, torturing Spike by dunking his head under water when it's clear that breathing is optional for them (if they wanted to torture him then it should've been holy water, which I presume they could get the same way humans work with dangerous chemicals), and quite a few other things that others have mentioned many times over, which includes Buffy being kicked out of the house which was not only OOC but just plain stupid on many levels (and just one more thing forced to promote Spuffy). I recall Joss saying some continuity problems were just overlooked and he was busy, though finding those interviews again is like finding a needle in a haystack.

    And I am amazed just how we, the fans, can read completely different things from season 7. This is just one more reading. Season 7 is like an ink blot, and what we take from it is our own personal meaning, not what was intended, and I think the same is true of someone who wrote that article about seeing, though it's an interesting take on a sloppy season.
     
  10. TriBel

    TriBel Scooby

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    Flow - I totally, totally agree. It does hold a mirror up and ask us to recognize ourselves in the mirror. That's why it's such an open text. It puts the onus on the viewer and then asks "why do you think that?". This isn't my "opinion" - it's a device used by many texts. The idea is -- we take responsibility for meaning. It's actually a very "ethical" way of writing (it's one reason I love S7 so much) but it demands a lot from the viewer. You are - in effect - the writer - not the reader.

    Symbolically, the eye works for me. a) it's castration and by a "father". Given Xander's relationship with his own father - it's doubly traumatic for him. Oddly enough, once he's got over the shock, he'll be better for it. He will have to actively look - instead of just glancing. In fact, I've just realised he says something like "you're a bit to my left" to Buffy. What I think the text is suggesting is he needs to look inside him self - to "see" the place he's speaking from. To position himself to "see" correctly (important when seeing is connected to knowledge). It was projected - in First Date he's wearing safety goggles - he takes them off to look at Lissa. Later we get this: "WILLOW Want me to check your girl out while I'm at it, Xand? XANDER Nope. I'm going in blind. I'm gonna be an optimist about this. Why go looking for trouble? If it's gonna find you, it's gonna find you". I wonder whether the text is suggesting he actually goes out to seek demon women? It's not as random as he suggests? It's not demon women who are attracted to Xander - Xander's attracted to them. Then you need to reconsider all the terrible things he said of Spike.

    (I've just realised Spike says "I'm not one for self-reflection" in LMPTM. It's the first time I've ever heard him make such a remark)

    It's such a clever, clever season - I love it, love it, love it! :) Rambling now...:(
     
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  11. TriBel

    TriBel Scooby

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    Personally, as I've said above, I think it's reading too little in to the season.:) She's right inasmuch as a cursory glance of the text will show there is a denigration of vision in 7 - as there's been in Western thought throughout the 20th century (probably more so in European thought than Anglo-American - see for instance, Martin Jay's Downcast Eye). Almost every character who uses "see" as a metaphor for "know" is wrong in his/her perceptions.

    You're right - folk do understand things differently. Where you see OOC, I see cracks attesting to the fragmented, decentred subject of postmodernity (BtVS is a pomo text). I see individuals in a state of flux because of trauma - initial primal trauma and life event trauma. I understand them as suffering from repression and suppression and I see both these states marked on the body. In 6 I see vulnerable and sexualised bodies, mechanical bodies; alien bodies, technologized bodies; invisible and monstrous bodies - all the result of mind being projected onto matter as a means of control. I see S7 as an attempt to reverse this, externalising the internal in a bid to illustrate the embodied mind. IMO, it's an attempt to recuperate the body in a bid to halt the abjection of the female and to bring about a new society based on a non-hierarchical otherness.

    Do we know for definite it's not holy water? Have we seen Spike react to holy water before? This isn't a rhetorical question - I really don't know:(. He doesn't react to crosses in the same way Angel does. Christian symbols don't bother the Turok-Han - the text is specific about this - it's foregrounding it for a reason. Perhaps it's relative to a vampire's belief in God? Perhaps Spike doesn't believe in God - rather he believes in Buffy just as Buffy believes in him? Spike's aligned with femininity and female sources of power. The two "churches" we see in S7 are both dedicated to the Madonna. There's a reason Dru refers to him as Daddy - there's a reason Caleb is a Father. In addition, the water episode enables us to draw parallels between Spike and Andrew. It also, IMO, refers us to baptism and rebirth - which is why Dru mentions Christmas. When Spike says "Ain't we in a soddin' engine?" in Beneath You I presume he's alluding to an Enlightenment metaphor for God (and if Caleb is anything to go by - an old testament God). When we are told the power guys have left Sunnydale it's alluding to a power vacuum - a hole in meaning that's political and personal - God is dead (perhaps to be replaced with a Goddess?).

    On the second point, again - I don't see this as a problem. Caleb makes a fundamental error because she antagonises him. She makes him furious - his control, his capacity for doing harm is undermined by emotion (traditionally - though not intrinsically - connected to femininity). Significantly, he can't "touch" her (touch replaces sight and language as a marker of authenticity in 7). I don't think it's "accidental" that the attack on Faith and her team is marked by numbers or that Andrew refers to Vulcans - the text is referring us to a mode of understanding that transcends reason and is located in the physical not the metaphysical.

    For Caleb the genus "human" consists only of one - man (his death by bifurcation is ironic and interesting when compared to Anya's ending). "There once was a woman, and she was foul, like all women, for Adam's rib was dirty—just like Adam himself—for what was he, but human". Significantly, it's two "unset ribs" that mark the renewal of Buffy and Spike's relationship. It's embryonic but will eventually get to a stage where neither is the by-product or negation of the other (he won't be her dark place, she won't be his light - extremes of both are dangerous). IMO, "Spike" is not simply a character, nor is "Spuffy" simply a romantic pairing. When the First says it's not time for Spike yet, he/she/it is rightSpike/Spuffy represents a form of thought that couldn't be accommodated at the time because it couldn't address psycho-social contradictions - the contradictions that result in Twilight and cause so many problems for Buffy S8. Personally, I believe his time/their time is now - S11. You may not like S6/7 - I can honestly say I understand why people don't - but, to my mind, it's not sloppy. Story, plot and discourse are bound together in a way that's truly amazing for mainstream TV. Perhaps I'm also reading too much into it but, TBH, I don't think I'm bright enough, or imaginative enough, :(to identify connections that aren't already written in.

    Sorry - this sounds more terse and more didactic than I intended :( - I was trying to keep it brief so cut down on my usual daft asides.:) I failed - miserably. :( I'm just so in awe of, and enthusiastic for, this season.
     
    thrasherpix: Interesting read, but just for the record I only threw a small sampling of my problems with s7, and read an interview by a writer just desperate for the show to be over, not pomo art
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