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Slayer, Reinvented

Cohen

Hellhound
Joined
Oct 24, 2005
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So I just rewatched “Damage”. I haven’t seen this episode in probably 10 years or so. It’s been a while since I’ve rewatched season 5.

Anyways, seeing Dana come to terms with herself and the slayer power was amazing. Also handless Spike was comical.

However, the idea of a psychotic slayer was both scary and intriguing. Have there been other psychotic slayers called? Those the Council had not yet identified but had traumatic upbringings? What do you think the council would have done? Would they have killed the slayer, so that a new one would be called? We saw this similar idea during Faith’s Buffy Season 4 arc. What are your thoughts?
 

IndianaSolo221

Potential
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Nov 29, 2020
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148
I remember first watching this episode when I was younger and being a bit surprised at how dark it was (although, frankly, having seen the rest of the series before, it shouldn't have surprised me much) I recall wondering if Spike was going to remain handless, and being greatly relieved when his hands reappeared
😂

Although I can't say for certain, I have no doubt that there could have been other Slayers who were either psychotic before their calling, or who became unstable due to the stresses of the job. And I'd imagine that in either case, the Council would likely take matters into their own hands and kill the Slayer so that a new, hopefully less-psychotic Slayer could be called.
 
M

M

Guest
I remember first watching this episode when I was younger and being a bit surprised at how dark it was (although, frankly, having seen the rest of the series before, it shouldn't have surprised me much) I recall wondering if Spike was going to remain handless, and being greatly relieved when his hands reappeared
😂

Although I can't say for certain, I have no doubt that there could have been other Slayers who were either psychotic before their calling, or who became unstable due to the stresses of the job. And I'd imagine that in either case, the Council would likely take matters into their own hands and kill the Slayer so that a new, hopefully less-psychotic Slayer could be called.

I completely agree. If we see Buffy struggle with her slayerness, then it isn't much of a stretch to assume someone with far fewer family connections, friends, and popularity would succumb to the enormity of that job much sooner, and much more drastically. I would assume this is actually a common problem, and one that has been kept hidden from all but those in the highest positions of the Council.

The Council always struck me as being a very cold and calculated operation, doing what needs to be done at all costs. I think each of the members would say that the end justifies the means, and even though Giles becomes overly fond of Buffy, it is frighteningly clear that he has this at his core. Remember how he disposed of Ben without any hesitation, and Wesley is another. Once he sheds his lovable dorky demeanor, we are treated to what is at Wesley's core, a brutal tactician. Yep, I have no doubt that they kill the wrong ones and start anew.
 

Bop

Scooby
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Sineya
I thought Dana was far too messed up to ever really become a functioning member of society and I say that as someone who loves Faith so I do believe people who seem like lost causes should be helped.
But Dana beheaded random people and thought nothing whatsoever of it, I actually found her cutting off Spike's hands to be very strange and grotesque. How did they put them back on?
I think the Council would probably kill a slayer as insane as her.
I also didn't really like the idea of Dana because it was completely the result of the slayer spell which is treated as a completely positive thing in Chosen. Realistically out of hundreds of potentials quite a few of them would be dangerous slayers.
 
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Cohen

Hellhound
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I also didn't really like the idea of Dana because it was completely the result of the slayer spell which is treated as a completely positive thing in Chosen. Realistically out of hundreds of potentials quite a few of them would be dangerous slayers.
But wasn’t this the point of the episode? That making hundreds or thousands of potential girls a slayer could be dangerous for a percentage of them? The comics explored this theme, as well. This was an extreme case. But it allowed the writers to show the consequences of Willow’s Awakening spell. I wish we would have had another season of Angel so these consequences could have been explored further.
 

Bop

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Sineya
But wasn’t this the point of the episode? That making hundreds or thousands of potential girls a slayer could be dangerous for a percentage of them? The comics explored this theme, as well. This was an extreme case. But it allowed the writers to show the consequences of Willow’s Awakening spell. I wish we would have had another season of Angel so these consequences could have been explored further.

Yeah I get that it was the point but I don't think it works with the tone of the spell in Chosen because no one seemed to consider these obvious consequences to that spell so I didn't like seeing the consequences.
 
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AlphaFoxtrot

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Sep 11, 2017
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Who chooses the Chosen one? Willow's spell chose every one, but it doesn’t preclude that the former process wasn’t blind fate. At the very least, the Slayer Spirit could decide whom to manifest in, and would avoid those who are physically or mentally unfit.
 

Angel6

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Sineya
I thought the handless thing was such a shocking moment, I thought it was a bit of a cop out he got his hands back honestly.
 
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M

M

Guest
I thought the handless thing was such a shocking moment, I thought it was a bit of a cop out he got his hands back honestly.
I wish they'd never gone there. I loved getting more Spike time with having him join Angel, but many of the stories didn't seem to fit with the world they built on Buffy. Spike losing his hands was something I never got over, and I don't think was appropriate to the character.
 

Priceless

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The Cruciamentum was designed to get rid of difficult slayers and I guess that would include the psychotic ones too. if by some miracle the slayer got through that test I'm sure the council would dispose of her.
 

TriBel

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Jun 25, 2017
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Both BtVS and AtS know the significance of hands. From Shells: Illyria: “Your breed is fragile. How is they came to control this world?” Knox: “Opposable thumbs. Fire. Television”. Buffy is Manus in the enjoining spell. The Claddagh ring is symbolic hands. Spuffy tends to be symbolised by real hands...you can't get away from hands in S7 and there are whole frames of Spuffy hands in the comics. For Aristotle the hand is the "instrument for instruments”; for Galen, they are “compensation for the relative weakness of humans”. Rowe explains the hand not only “typifies all parts of the human body” but, “in particular, typifies the humanity of that body.” (Sigh...I'm boring...I only know this because I kinda got carried away with Touched). Spike’s self-reflection after having both hands severed by Dana moves him further along the road to (self)-redemption. He takes another step forward when he single-handedly rescues the baby from the Fell Brethren (literally with the baby in one hand, a sword in the other). I sorta understand "hands"...but I still don't like AtS5.

I also didn't really like the idea of Dana because it was completely the result of the slayer spell which is treated as a completely positive thing in Chosen. Realistically out of hundreds of potentials quite a few of them would be dangerous slayers.

I get your point but it's social change...to appropriate a phrase from Spike "there are always casualties". Dana wasn't born "damaged"... it was inflicted on her by a man. Perhaps if she'd had access to her powers 10 (?) years earlier she wouldn't be in this position because she'd have saved herself and her parents? Perhaps we have to look at it long-term? In theory, I could come up with a myriad of reasons as to why the Chosen spell was the wrong decision - mostly to do with the backlash from men not ready to relinquish power and from that perspective it's never the right time.







 
Joined
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I remember first watching this episode when I was younger and being a bit surprised at how dark it was (although, frankly, having seen the rest of the series before, it shouldn't have surprised me much) I recall wondering if Spike was going to remain handless, and being greatly relieved when his hands reappeared

Whenever I see these scenes I always think it worked out pretty lucky for the writers that they had established that Wolfram and Hart have doctors who can replace hands perfectly without even any scarring as far back as s2... otherwise it would seem a bit of a cop out.

As for the question - Dana is the way she is because she has been through such massive, shocking and terrible trauma. The things she has been through are the kind of crimes that are incredibly statistically rare - most people will never suffer that type of trauma, not even close. And of course the slayer (up until chosen) is one girl in all the world at any one time - so is an even greater statistical anomaly. So the chances of the massive statistical anomaly of a slayer also being a person who has suffered massively statistically unlikely trauma is - within any given generation - pretty much a million to one chance.

Though of of course over the millennia the slayer has existed, this million to one chance must occasionally crop up. Certainly slayers in Faith's position will be much less rare, and slayers who were fine when called but can't cope with the duty/ pressure/ things they have seen and done must be fairly frequent.

However - Buffy is also a statistical anomaly not just in that she dies and comes back (twice!) but in how long she lasts over the course of the seasons - and thus how good she gets. Buffy first dies when she has been slaying a year, Kendra dies when she's been slaying a year, Faith ends up in a coma - but close enough - around the year mark ... slayers are not long term investments. I bet there are slayers who die on their first night out, and certainly ones who don't last more than a few weeks/ months. And I imagine the more damaged a slayer is, the less likely she is to survive for a prolonged period of time. Faith, for example, probably wouldn't have survived Kakistos if not for Buffy - she would have run until he caught her, she goes into complete melt down when he turns up at her motel room door.

Frightened and traumatised slayers are never going to be at their fighting best. And slayers who get lost pounding on one vampire to get their anger out (like Faith does) are only opening themselves up to attack from other demons.

The watcher's are obviously prepared for the possibility of rogue slayers - they have that squad of watcher's who come after Faith, Giles says Faith is not the first to have killed someone in the line of duty, Wesley 'arrests' her to face the judgement of the council. They are obviously prepared to take out a rogue slayer if that's what it takes ... though as Faith clearly demonstrates, just because they are prepared to doesn't mean they are capable of doing so.

The cruciamentum is part of their keeping slayers in line, definitely, but it requires a certain amount of slayer cooperation - Giles is injecting Buffy as they train together, he is making her look at crystals (which is clearly pointless for a slayer) and Buffy is going along with it. I don't know that Faith would sit there and get hypnotised by a flaw in a crystal ... and it just wouldn't even be possible to try it with Dana.

So ... I guess I think the watcher's council are definitely ruthless enough to 'take out' a psycho slayer should one ever be called but not necessarily competent enough to do so - but the damage of the slayer herself would probably mean she would not survive many battles. Like Faith, she would throw herself in without caution, cause too much trouble, call too much attention to herself and would get into fights that weren't strictly necessary. Chances are she would die before very long - all slayers die before very long and her death would just be that much quicker.
 
K
Kendar
As someone who works for a Family and Protective services agency, I can unfortunately say that trauma of that level (if not that specific type) is not as uncommon as most believe.

Stake fodder

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Does the Council even make the decisions by Angel S5? I thought Dana being collected by a group of other slayers indicated a definite shift in power. They are in charge of themselves now, and they surely would not allow Dana to be killed. But I agree that in the past, the Council would not have hesitated to kill one.

I agree with others that Spike getting his hands back immediately was too easy and too ridiculous. At least have a little scarring for a couple episodes!
 
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
When Lindsey gets a new hand he's playing the guitar the next day! They've established that hand transplants are no fuss no muss - they use pockla demons to reanimate the flesh. Fred's on the phone to them as she gets in the ambulance.
K
Kendar
There's no council by Angel Season 5 since it was wiped out in an explosion in Buffy Season 7. Unless you want to talk about the council formed by
Giles/Buffy/et al.

Stake fodder

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Myheadsgonenumb When Lindsey gets a new hand he's playing the guitar the next day! They've established that hand transplants are no fuss no muss - they use pockla demons to reanimate the flesh. Fred's on the phone to them as she gets in the ambulance.
Fair enough! Though I still think if the point was to hammer home to Spike the damage he had done to others, and be a turning point in his understanding of repentance, it shouldn't have just been over with by the next episode. But you are right that it would be a continuity error.

Looping it back to Dana, it especially seems a sharp contrast that she will not just be cured instantly, and playing fun video games.
 
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
now now - those video games are all part of the rehab - working out the digits, mate 😛
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