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What is Giles’ problem

M

M

Guest
Joss has daddy issues, and ultimately, as long as Giles was Buffy's father figure, he was eventually going to turn him into Hank. It's absolutely ridiculous, season 6 was largely about a girl needing a father, a mother and a mentor. But Season 7 was about Girl power. And Joss did reconcile with his own Father prior to the man's death.
I did not know this, though, I'd be lying if I said I didn't expect it.

This is one of those rare times when I get taken out of the story's world and realize that everyone is sort of one person, the creator. Ideally, we shouldn't see this or realize it. Part of the fun of entertainment is imagining that a world created purely out of the mind of one creator, or the minds of a handful of creators, is in fact a real world with unpredictable circumstances and people, where anything can happen. Because there was a team involved, they were able to keep surprises coming, but if I can fault Season 7 for anything, it's in letting down that illusion in some places.

One could argue Giles's behavior is a natural progression, that Buffy's behavior is a natural progression, that Willow's and Dawn's and Faith's, so-forth and so-on, are all just natural progressions of their characters growing against each other over seven seasons. However, that progression all seems to take a similar turn towards the last seasons. Nearly every character is starting to look a bit too battle hardened and cynical.

We could say, of course they are cold, cynical, and battle hardened, they've literally been battling for seven seasons, but not every person responds the same to stress or any other outside influence. One could counter that because they are all so friendly with each other this probably points to their deep seated similarities as friends, and therefore, their responses to seven seasons of fighting are remarkably similar. Sure...but what about Kennedy, Rona, and Wood? They haven't been there for seven seasons, yet we get the same brand of cold cynicism and battle hardened attitudes. Sure, there are a few new characters who aren't this way, but how much screen time do they get and how memorable are they? Not much. There was an attitude that Joss endowed the entire show with in season 7, and it wasn't always to the show's benefit.

I could argue for Giles here and the writing, but I'd rather not. It doesn't take away my appreciation of the show, but it makes me thankful that it ended when it did, so we didn't get any more of this.
 

darkspook

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This is interesting and good comment... and thats no sarcasm or crap from me.

This is one of those rare times when I get taken out of the story's world and realize that everyone is sort of one person, the creator. Ideally, we shouldn't see this or realize it. Part of the fun of entertainment is imagining that a world created purely out of the mind of one creator, or the minds of a handful of creators, is in fact a real world with unpredictable circumstances and people, where anything can happen
Very true. All the characters in a book, story or film are characters created by a single creator and therefore a reflection or influence or highlight of that creator. Example Philp K Dick of Bladerunner fame often wrote women with suspicion, distrust and sometimes hatred as he himself had been married 5 fives, gone through messy divorces and even physically abusive with his third wife.

One could argue Giles's behavior is a natural progression, that Buffy's behavior is a natural progression, that Willow's and Dawn's and Faith's, so-forth and so-on, are all just natural progressions of their characters growing against each other over seven seasons
It is interesting as Giles always seemed to have a different relationship with Willow and Buffy than say Xander. With those girls he encouraged, spoke softly to and quite often give them more understanding to make mistakes. With Xander Giles was tough on him at times and perhaps that was because he saw that Xander needed that given that Xander comes from a bad home and discipline wasn't something he learned from where he should have. Giles was patient beyond words with all of them. He never forbid Buffy from seeing Angel, never told Willow and Xander they could not join Buffy in her fight against evil. As many mistakes as the Watchers Council made over the years as shown on the show, they got it so right when they chose him to train Buffy. The group all lucked out big time by getting him. If we never had well it would have been someone like Wesley... very different show.

Nearly every character is starting to look a bit too battle hardened and cynical
Agree with that. For me Willow, Buffy, Giles, and Xander are all very damaged after S7, and they each show the symptoms in different ways. There is a weight lifted that they defeated the First and closed the hellmouth but these guys are still damaged.

We could say, of course they are cold, cynical, and battle hardened, they've literally been battling for seven seasons, but not every person responds the same to stress or any other outside influence.
Honestly I feel as if the show ended without much real resolution in terms of the social issues facing the Scooby Gang. They're still alienated from one another, still hurting deep down inside from a dozen different issues, and still don't seem able to understand where things went wrong or what they're missing. We never did see final closing scene between Giles and Buffy a moment of understanding between given their past actions and things they said to each for example. We got a look between the two as he comments on her battle plan in the finale but that is it. The closest we saw of this was Buffy's scene with Xander where she tells him he is her strength. Maybe there were simply too many balls to juggle but I can't recall Willow and Giles for example asking how each are feeling or highlighting the journey they have been on.

Sure, there are a few new characters who aren't this way, but how much screen time do they get and how memorable are they? Not much
I guess Andrew is shining light of happiness in an otherwise darker, jaded cast. He does get alot of screentime but I struggle as he doesn't really seem to care or look for redemption until his own episode. He just hangs around and says 'I'm one of you... when most of them roll their eyes.'
 

thetopher

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Sineya
After reading the above I've been thinking a lot about Giles actions in the last two seasons and how to make some sense of them. His arc in the first 5 seasons is pretty much spot on but then it gets a bit wobbly.
First off I will state that I'm bias, Giles was always one of my faves... but he is far from being perfect; he has powerful flaws that define him and that he has to overcome. And although he's often the 'adult' surrounded by children it doesn't mean his view is always the correct one.

Anyway, back in S1 'Nightmares' everyone faces their worst fears made manifest; Willow has to perform in public, Xander punches a clown, Buffy's Dad makes her feel awful, Cordelia's hair becomes nightmarish.
A lot of it is fairly inconsequential (apart from Buffy's fears). But Giles greatest fear is that Buffy will die. And in S5 that fear comes to pass.

So I think after S5 something in Giles broke; he takes Buffy's death very hard, blaming himself to 'getting her' killed. Unlike the others (who for various reasons never fully accepted it) Giles actually had processed Buffy's death by the time he leaves Sunnydale. He then tries to move on with his life since he feels the loss very keenly whilst in Sunnydale.
When Buffy returns he's obviously overjoyed, but also shocked and takes time to readjust (Buffy guesses that he return is 'inconvenient' which is harsh, but I think she senses his reticence/ambivalence), and after a while eventually comes to the conclusion that he cannot stay and continue to 'see her suffer'.

This is very different from any previous Giles, who would always try and offer guidance and support when Buffy was in pain- like in S2 or 5 for instance. This was never just Watcher duty since he helped Buffy long after it was his job to do so, something has changed.
Because now Giles loves Buffy like a daughter, loves her too much to not step in and help/interfere if he can. He believes that this isn't right which is why he vacates Sunnydale again.

He doesn't return until urgency requires it (nor was he particularly needed during the first third of season 7) and the Watcher's council is wiped out.
So he is basically the 'last watcher' with all that pressure entails. He handles the pressures about as well as Buffy in some ways- as in not very- and keeps his focus very much on the 'big picture'; rescuing Potentials instead of helping train them with Buffy.
But at the same times there are moments where Giles is extremely Dad-like and protective of Buffy (like in 'First Date') when he hasn't been before; he hadn't cared previously about her relationships or mushy feelings towards vampires unless there was an immediate chance it would interfere with her slayer duty. His 'I want more for you' in regards to Spike is telling, Giles priorities are all intermingled.

Basically I think Giles in S7 is a weird mash-up between 'trying to be coolly aloof Watcher man' and 'overprotective Dad'; he doesn't want Buffy to die again, he knows he couldn't stand it as a Dad, not as a watcher, and yet also Buffy is 'the slayer', the last hope and the stakes have never been higher so if she won't do thinks his way....
All this, I think, causes Giles to do what he previously hadn't done since 'Helpless' and betray Buffy's trust.

Whilst I think what Giles did was totally in-character for him, and whilst I hate the behavior of both Spike and Buffy in regards to the trigger, and whilst I also give Giles all of the credit for stopping Spike from being a huge liability in the coming fight, he was still wrong to do it the way that he did.
He should've been more forthright, more 'I'm going to deal with this if you're incapable of it' but he didn't and Buffy...reacts accordingly.

When Faith is in charge Giles goes back to his more traditional role of advisor, because Faith is a slayer and doesn't matter to him as much as Buffy, he can be more objective.

it starts out in season 6 when his reaction to Buffy’s severe depression and suicidal feelings is pretty much ‘you just need to grow up’
It's not as simple or as heartless as 'oh, grow up', in Giles' eyes its a kind of tough love. He goes because he can't stay and NOT intervene on Buffy's behalf, he has to be away from her.
It's worth noting that when he returns he apologies and says that he made a mistake in leaving Buffy how and when he did.

Then season 7 rolls around and by mid season he’s trying to undermine Buffy at pretty much every opportunity for his own spiteful reasons.
It's been a while since I've watched the middle part of the season so I'm gonna need some examples. Apart from conspiring with Wood to kill Spike I can't think on anything.

Twisting her out of context words about Spike having her back to fuel the mutiny and just generally going against her at every opportunity.
Actually its Buffy who brings up the matter of trust first and Giles, quite reasonably, quotes Buffy back at herself and says that perhaps that there's something there that should be addressed. It shows Buffy's state of mind and some of the borderline paranoia she shows during this scene.

They make it clear that it’s because Giles is bitter he isn’t in charge but that actually doesn’t make sense because Buffy has been in charge since at least season 3 and even before that Buffy was never one to follow orders.
Giles has been content to simply advise for many years now, but Buffy has stopped listening. And by not listening to Giles Buffy led them all into a trap. And, frustratingly, she still won't listen to his advice and just accuses him of engineering a coup because he sent Spike on an intelligence gathering mission.

He even manipulates himself into being in control when Faith is leading.
I only saw him encourage her or reassure her, I never saw 'manipulate'. Examples?

It’s him who goes with the potentials to capture the bringer and it’s him who interrogates it and kills it - Faith isn’t even in the room.
Because clearly Faith is delegating; she came up with the plan in the first place so Dawn learns a spell that will help, Kennedy acts as bait, Giles leads the interrogation, etc.

Buffy shows in both Empty Places at the end and in Chosen she considers Faith her second in command in both a leadership and battle scenario
The final battle? Sure, but not before that. Buffy doesn't trust Faith with the girls in 'Empty Places', Faith has the bruise to prove it.

There’s a scene in End of Dayswhen Giles and Willow are researching the scythe. Willow suggests checking out a pagan temple, Giles then says a lot of intellectual things and goes round the houses with his train of thought and ultimately comes to the conclusion that yes they should check out the pagan temple. This scene shows that Willow is far more on the ball when it comes to research.
I know that scene well and Giles pretty much finds the damn temple himself by directing Willow what to search for; he identifies the scythe's origin with his huge watcher brain.
It's a nice scene because it shows that Giles still has a wealth of knowledge to contribute even without his books.

In Chosen when the civilians pair off Buffy wants Xander with Dawn. Giles is a better fighter and Xander only has one eye and Buffy still trusts Xander more with the most important person in her life.
Buffy positions people depending on where the flow of vamps will likely go, so she puts her two strongest normal warriors- Giles and Wood- at the likeliest escape route, Dawn and Xander at the second likeliest and Anya/Andrew (the weakest) at the third. It's not really much to do who who Buffy trusts with Dawn, its about how much danger each respective pairing is going to be in when the time comes.

Giles in Chosen isn’t part of the slayer army, he’s not the big spell caster, he doesn’t wear the amulet and he’s not even Buffy’s trusted person anymore.
He does find the temple where the Guardian is though, the person who tells Buffy...well, not much except where the scythe comes from. Oh, well.
But the failure in writing is that nobody apart from Willow and 'an' amulet wearer are needed to save the day. And also Angel to bring the amulet, otherwise the world ends regardless of what Giles and everyone achieves.
 

katmobile

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After reading the above I've been thinking a lot about Giles actions in the last two seasons and how to make some sense of them. His arc in the first 5 seasons is pretty much spot on but then it gets a bit wobbly.
First off I will state that I'm bias, Giles was always one of my faves... but he is far from being perfect; he has powerful flaws that define him and that he has to overcome. And although he's often the 'adult' surrounded by children it doesn't mean his view is always the correct one.

Anyway, back in S1 'Nightmares' everyone faces their worst fears made manifest; Willow has to perform in public, Xander punches a clown, Buffy's Dad makes her feel awful, Cordelia's hair becomes nightmarish.
A lot of it is fairly inconsequential (apart from Buffy's fears). But Giles greatest fear is that Buffy will die. And in S5 that fear comes to pass.

So I think after S5 something in Giles broke; he takes Buffy's death very hard, blaming himself to 'getting her' killed. Unlike the others (who for various reasons never fully accepted it) Giles actually had processed Buffy's death by the time he leaves Sunnydale. He then tries to move on with his life since he feels the loss very keenly whilst in Sunnydale.
When Buffy returns he's obviously overjoyed, but also shocked and takes time to readjust (Buffy guesses that he return is 'inconvenient' which is harsh, but I think she senses his reticence/ambivalence), and after a while eventually comes to the conclusion that he cannot stay and continue to 'see her suffer'.

This is very different from any previous Giles, who would always try and offer guidance and support when Buffy was in pain- like in S2 or 5 for instance. This was never just Watcher duty since he helped Buffy long after it was his job to do so, something has changed.
Because now Giles loves Buffy like a daughter, loves her too much to not step in and help/interfere if he can. He believes that this isn't right which is why he vacates Sunnydale again.

He doesn't return until urgency requires it (nor was he particularly needed during the first third of season 7) and the Watcher's council is wiped out.
So he is basically the 'last watcher' with all that pressure entails. He handles the pressures about as well as Buffy in some ways- as in not very- and keeps his focus very much on the 'big picture'; rescuing Potentials instead of helping train them with Buffy.
But at the same times there are moments where Giles is extremely Dad-like and protective of Buffy (like in 'First Date') when he hasn't been before; he hadn't cared previously about her relationships or mushy feelings towards vampires unless there was an immediate chance it would interfere with her slayer duty. His 'I want more for you' in regards to Spike is telling, Giles priorities are all intermingled.

Basically I think Giles in S7 is a weird mash-up between 'trying to be coolly aloof Watcher man' and 'overprotective Dad'; he doesn't want Buffy to die again, he knows he couldn't stand it as a Dad, not as a watcher, and yet also Buffy is 'the slayer', the last hope and the stakes have never been higher so if she won't do thinks his way....
All this, I think, causes Giles to do what he previously hadn't done since 'Helpless' and betray Buffy's trust.

Whilst I think what Giles did was totally in-character for him, and whilst I hate the behavior of both Spike and Buffy in regards to the trigger, and whilst I also give Giles all of the credit for stopping Spike from being a huge liability in the coming fight, he was still wrong to do it the way that he did.
He should've been more forthright, more 'I'm going to deal with this if you're incapable of it' but he didn't and Buffy...reacts accordingly.

When Faith is in charge Giles goes back to his more traditional role of advisor, because Faith is a slayer and doesn't matter to him as much as Buffy, he can be more objective.



It's not as simple or as heartless as 'oh, grow up', in Giles' eyes its a kind of tough love. He goes because he can't stay and NOT intervene on Buffy's behalf, he has to be away from her.
It's worth noting that when he returns he apologies and says that he made a mistake in leaving Buffy how and when he did.



It's been a while since I've watched the middle part of the season so I'm gonna need some examples. Apart from conspiring with Wood to kill Spike I can't think on anything.



Actually its Buffy who brings up the matter of trust first and Giles, quite reasonably, quotes Buffy back at herself and says that perhaps that there's something there that should be addressed. It shows Buffy's state of mind and some of the borderline paranoia she shows during this scene.



Giles has been content to simply advise for many years now, but Buffy has stopped listening. And by not listening to Giles Buffy led them all into a trap. And, frustratingly, she still won't listen to his advice and just accuses him of engineering a coup because he sent Spike on an intelligence gathering mission.



I only saw him encourage her or reassure her, I never saw 'manipulate'. Examples?



Because clearly Faith is delegating; she came up with the plan in the first place so Dawn learns a spell that will help, Kennedy acts as bait, Giles leads the interrogation, etc.



The final battle? Sure, but not before that. Buffy doesn't trust Faith with the girls in 'Empty Places', Faith has the bruise to prove it.



I know that scene well and Giles pretty much finds the damn temple himself by directing Willow what to search for; he identifies the scythe's origin with his huge watcher brain.
It's a nice scene because it shows that Giles still has a wealth of knowledge to contribute even without his books.



Buffy positions people depending on where the flow of vamps will likely go, so she puts her two strongest normal warriors- Giles and Wood- at the likeliest escape route, Dawn and Xander at the second likeliest and Anya/Andrew (the weakest) at the third. It's not really much to do who who Buffy trusts with Dawn, its about how much danger each respective pairing is going to be in when the time comes.



He does find the temple where the Guardian is though, the person who tells Buffy...well, not much except where the scythe comes from. Oh, well.
But the failure in writing is that nobody apart from Willow and 'an' amulet wearer are needed to save the day. And also Angel to bring the amulet, otherwise the world ends regardless of what Giles and everyone achieves.
Two points re: the trigger - point of the first you don't undertake any sort of therapy, which is essential what was needed to deprogram Spike in getting him to work through his memories, in a group amongst people they don't know unless it's a supportive group of like-minded sufferers - only high control groups (aka cults) will make people tell deeply personal stuff to those they haven't built up trust with. Giles conducted a interrogation and the blamed his subject for clamming up and not co-operating. So you're grilling someone who's head's being messed with in front of someone whose presence they object to and you expect them to spill the tea? From a smart guy that's pretty dumb unless you just wanted to prove a point. B) you may not care about Spike but it kinda bothers Buffy that he almost died, that he broke through his fears to her back from a situation she put herself in and his 'few months in a basement moaning' were actually pretty upsetting to watch too as they involved a lot of self harm and constant anguish. I think not wanting to see him be put through more of it was pretty understandable.
 

thetopher

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Sineya
Two points re: the trigger - point of the first you don't undertake any sort of therapy, which is essential what was needed to deprogram Spike in getting him to work through his memories, in a group amongst people they don't know unless it's a supportive group of like-minded sufferers - only high control groups (aka cults) will make people tell deeply personal stuff to those they haven't built up trust with. Giles conducted a interrogation and the blamed his subject for clamming up and not co-operating. So you're grilling someone who's head's being messed with in front of someone whose presence they object to and you expect them to spill the tea?
The 'interrogation' was Spike, Buffy, Giles and Wood in a room figuring out what just happened; everyone else cleared out to minimum safe distance after the freakout that hurt Dawn. It was not that hostile an environment, Buffy was on Spike's side and Wood was quiet. It was Giles asking questions about the memories brought about by the device he went to great lengths to procure. Maybe Spike could at least attempt to meet him halfway instead of storming off minutes of Hulk-raging out.

And hey, this trigger thing has caused actual deaths to occur, so maybe Spike could sack up and deal with his crap whilst in a relatively contained environment. But Spike showed NO interest in addressing whatever hidden memories were being revealed, memories that were causing him to lash out at people he cares about. But no, we must consider Spike's feelings, which of course are paramount. :rolleyes:

I mean, the priorities here lean towards 'dealing with imminent danger' and less 'Spike's issues means he must be coddled with therapy'.

From a smart guy that's pretty dumb unless you just wanted to prove a point.
I think Giles is expecting too much of Spike tbh. Or maybe he expects him to deal with whatever's going on in his head rather than whining about his chains being uncomfortable.
Again, to reiterate, the trigger has killed people. At the behest of a Big Evil. Maybe Spike should focus more on that.

you may not care about Spike but it kinda bothers Buffy that he almost died, that he broke through his fears to her back from a situation she put herself in and his 'few months in a basement moaning' were actually pretty upsetting to watch too as they involved a lot of self harm and constant anguish. I think not wanting to see him be put through more of it was pretty understandable.
I have no idea what this has to do with my post. I made no comment about the validity or not of Buffy's reaction to Giles' betrayal. In fact I called it what it was, a betrayal.
But Buffy is far from perfect here, her 'the mission is what matters' doesn't apply when listening to Giles or Faith, her holding of grudges and inability to see a perspective coming from somebody she dislikes ultimately gets people killed.

Still, this thread is about Giles, not Buffy and certainly not Spike.
 

ILLYRIAN

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It seemed a simple case to me, that Giles was becoming more like that twat Quentin in Checkpoint, that Giles saw himself like the Watchers Council leader - he wasn't. Giles was a person who helped.
 

katmobile

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The 'interrogation' was Spike, Buffy, Giles and Wood in a room figuring out what just happened; everyone else cleared out to minimum safe distance after the freakout that hurt Dawn. It was not that hostile an environment, Buffy was on Spike's side and Wood was quiet. It was Giles asking questions about the memories brought about by the device he went to great lengths to procure. Maybe Spike could at least attempt to meet him halfway instead of storming off minutes of Hulk-raging out.

And hey, this trigger thing has caused actual deaths to occur, so maybe Spike could sack up and deal with his crap whilst in a relatively contained environment. But Spike showed NO interest in addressing whatever hidden memories were being revealed, memories that were causing him to lash out at people he cares about. But no, we must consider Spike's feelings, which of course are paramount. :rolleyes:

I mean, the priorities here lean towards 'dealing with imminent danger' and less 'Spike's issues means he must be coddled with therapy'.



I think Giles is expecting too much of Spike tbh. Or maybe he expects him to deal with whatever's going on in his head rather than whining about his chains being uncomfortable.
Again, to reiterate, the trigger has killed people. At the behest of a Big Evil. Maybe Spike should focus more on that.



I have no idea what this has to do with my post. I made no comment about the validity or not of Buffy's reaction to Giles' betrayal. In fact I called it what it was, a betrayal.
But Buffy is far from perfect here, her 'the mission is what matters' doesn't apply when listening to Giles or Faith, her holding of grudges and inability to see a perspective coming from somebody she dislikes ultimately gets people killed.

Still, this thread is about Giles, not Buffy and certainly not Spike.
Wood may have been quiet but he was still present against the wishes of the person actually being asked to reveal personal information. Who was actively questioned 'what are you doing here!' I think it could be handled better on all sides. Yes Giles did go to a lot of effort to get the stone but it was a massive misjudgement to think that he could get someone to open up by being insentive to them after casually literally insulting their intelligence. Wood shouldn't have been present no matter how much he insisted on being and when Spike objected to his presence he should have politely told to wait outside the door at the top in case he was needed for physical backup. The more I think about it the more I think that actually the number of people ought to have restricted and Dawn should have left the minute she'd finished reading from the book. You're rude and dismissive about that but you're not considering the context of someone who is being told to spill deeply personal tea in front of people he knows don't like him which includes Giles after being told to toughen up and that working for them. Unlike Giles you don't have the excuse of not witnessing those events. Also excepting someone to sort through their issues when you are interogating them is not coddling someone its displaying no understanding of what you're really asking them to do. It's understanding the nature of it - it shows Giles doesn't understand it or consider who he's dealing with to be human enough for it to apply to him. Buffy has got somewhere with getting Spike to be self revealing on her before if Giles wasn't putting her pressure she might have pointed that out and we don't know that wasn't the intention for her to sit down with him alone and talk it out.

Re: Buffy and Faith - in a sense Buffy does put aside her differences to work with Faith - she doesn't throw her out or tell she's not needed. She accepts Faith's assertion that she didn't ask to replace Buffy in the mutiny and offers her advice. Afterwards she assures Faith her leadership stint not ending well wasn't her fault and they connect.

I know you're protective of Faith but the fight in The Bronze was a result of tension Buffy was wrong to hit Faith and Faith is right in giving herself credit for not hitting back but Faith had delivered a low blow verbally and I think she knew it. Buffy was right in Sanctuary - she gave Faith a lot of chances which Faith violated. You don't just get over someone messing with you in the ways Faith did and unlike Spike this isn't someone she also treated badly. Unlike some I'm not partisan in whose redemption arc I get behind - I enjoy Faith's, Spike's and even Andrew's and like all those characters whilst acknowledging their flaws. You could try it - one of the things I get out of fandom is the perspective of someone I hadn't previously considered, it's interesting if you open your mind.
 
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darkspook

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To expand on the comment I made above. I find all of the core four characters in season 7 pretty damaged and alienated from each other especially in the second half of the season. That closeness in the first half between Dawn, Buffy & Xander dried up pretty quickly. With respect to Giles I see him as being in more of a tired, almost defeated place than some of the others. He's too psychologically mature to delude himself into thinking all is well, but he's also too tired to recover (alone) from the nightmares he's faced in the last few years.

Sadly I feel that the writing let down Giles this year. I know that in someways is an easy excuse but really it did not do him justice. We had to endure 4 episodes of 'is Giles the first because I never saw him touch anything'. A storyline that at best falls short of making it into anyone's top 5s that year and at worse is insulting to the audience. Seriously you telling me that noone not a single person saw this guy with a cup of coffee in his hand? Despite him living with them for what weeks? Oh come on!

His kill Spike plot he cooked up with Wood is controversial for sure and splits the fans however no more than I would argue AR by Spike or Faith strangling Xander. These are controversial moments that get us fans debating. Giles's point of view is fairly solid. It is proven that Buffy is heavily focused on Spike ie got a big old blind spot when it comes to him, she removed his chip knowing that he had a trigger that could cause him to harm and kill... so you removed a safe guard that prevents him from harming humans... to quote Tony Stark 'Not a great plan!' Buffy sees the best in people and inspires them to do good but like any protective parent Giles just doesn't see that. He sees a Buffy who is blinded, isolated and cold to anyone apart from Spike. There are several plot holes and issues with Giles's logic and methods for sure but I would argue that's an issue of the poor writing. For example are we to believe that Giles a person who gave his role as a watcher to help Buffy during 'helpless' highlighting his true feelings and parental love for Buffy would not stake Spike on sight after learning about Spike's AR... naturally that scene was skipped.

This is after all a Buffy who tells everyone that she has been carrying everyone and making all the tough decisions... WAY OUT OF BASE BUFF! Time and time again it has been shown that others in the group have made tough if not tougher decisions. Xander dragged Angel to face the Master and save Buffy a feat he did knowing that would have likely kill him, Willow performed the spell to restore Angel's soul in a hospital bed, Xander didn't tell Buffy about the attempt for fear of what might happen ie Buffy die in her likely attempts to stall, Giles murdered Ben with his own hands to prevent Glory. This underscoring of the Scoobies achievements reaches a head when later when Spike gives them a dressing down. Saying that they would be dead a dozen times over without her... well Buffy the show wouldn't have lastest a season if it wasn't for the Scoobies. So there is a flaw in that scene for me but I'm moving off topic.

To go back to Giles I would argue that the writing fails him as the show had become very plot driven by this point. That means they have to fit the character's actions and decisions around the plot. Would Buffy really isolate herself in season 7 so quickly after promising to show Dawn the world at the end of season 6? Yes because the plot demands it. Would no one really not see Giles touch a single object in the house for weeks? Yes because the plot demands it. The Wood/Giles kill plot sets up the loss of Buffy's trust both in the group (its clear that Buffy doesn't want a debate or an option to hear opnions in 'Empty Places' its her way or the highway) and their trust in her. Its all about the setting up rather than exploring character for me about season 7.
 

katmobile

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To expand on the comment I made above. I find all of the core four characters in season 7 pretty damaged and alienated from each other especially in the second half of the season. That closeness in the first half between Dawn, Buffy & Xander dried up pretty quickly. With respect to Giles I see him as being in more of a tired, almost defeated place than some of the others. He's too psychologically mature to delude himself into thinking all is well, but he's also too tired to recover (alone) from the nightmares he's faced in the last few years.

Sadly I feel that the writing let down Giles this year. I know that in someways is an easy excuse but really it did not do him justice. We had to endure 4 episodes of 'is Giles the first because I never saw him touch anything'. A storyline that at best falls short of making it into anyone's top 5s that year and at worse is insulting to the audience. Seriously you telling me that noone not a single person saw this guy with a cup of coffee in his hand? Despite him living with them for what weeks? Oh come on!

His kill Spike plot he cooked up with Wood is controversial for sure and splits the fans however no more than I would argue AR by Spike or Faith strangling Xander. These are controversial moments that get us fans debating. Giles's point of view is fairly solid. It is proven that Buffy is heavily focused on Spike ie got a big old blind spot when it comes to him, she removed his chip knowing that he had a trigger that could cause him to harm and kill... so you removed a safe guard that prevents him from harming humans... to quote Tony Stark 'Not a great plan!' Buffy sees the best in people and inspires them to do good but like any protective parent Giles just doesn't see that. He sees a Buffy who is blinded, isolated and cold to anyone apart from Spike. There are several plot holes and issues with Giles's logic and methods for sure but I would argue that's an issue of the poor writing. For example are we to believe that Giles a person who gave his role as a watcher to help Buffy during 'helpless' highlighting his true feelings and parental love for Buffy would not stake Spike on sight after learning about Spike's AR... naturally that scene was skipped.

This is after all a Buffy who tells everyone that she has been carrying everyone and making all the tough decisions... WAY OUT OF BASE BUFF! Time and time again it has been shown that others in the group have made tough if not tougher decisions. Xander dragged Angel to face the Master and save Buffy a feat he did knowing that would have likely kill him, Willow performed the spell to restore Angel's soul in a hospital bed, Xander didn't tell Buffy about the attempt for fear of what might happen ie Buffy die in her likely attempts to stall, Giles murdered Ben with his own hands to prevent Glory. This underscoring of the Scoobies achievements reaches a head when later when Spike gives them a dressing down. Saying that they would be dead a dozen times over without her... well Buffy the show wouldn't have lastest a season if it wasn't for the Scoobies. So there is a flaw in that scene for me but I'm moving off topic.

To go back to Giles I would argue that the writing fails him as the show had become very plot driven by this point. That means they have to fit the character's actions and decisions around the plot. Would Buffy really isolate herself in season 7 so quickly after promising to show Dawn the world at the end of season 6? Yes because the plot demands it. Would no one really not see Giles touch a single object in the house for weeks? Yes because the plot demands it. The Wood/Giles kill plot sets up the loss of Buffy's trust both in the group (its clear that Buffy doesn't want a debate or an option to hear opnions in 'Empty Places' its her way or the highway) and their trust in her. Its all about the setting up rather than exploring character for me about season 7.
I think you're being unfair, Xander's actions are less noble than you present them as, it wasn't his decision to make and it's undercut by him being a jerk in Dead Man's Party.

Buffy's promise to Dawn comes before she suddenly acquires a lot of other people to take care of including a slew of mostly ungrateful potentials. Dawn herself gets this and is rightly praised by Xander for it.

Buffy is by the stage of Lies a multiple plate spinner or juggler - a lot of that is what Giles dumped on her. She's trying to multiple things going to me it's not surprising she drops a few balls, misses a few signs and gets angry and frustrated on occasion, if she didn't she'd be a Mary Sue.
 

thetopher

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Wood may have been quiet but he was still present against the wishes of the person actually being asked to reveal personal information. Who was actively questioned 'what are you doing here!' I think it could be handled better on all sides. Yes Giles did go to a lot of effort to get the stone but it was a massive misjudgement to think that he could get someone to open up by being insentive to them after casually literally insulting their intelligence.
Again I'll say it; lives matter more than feelings. The questioning was not even that hostile, Spike was just very defensive. It's not unreasonable for him to toughen up given what's known to be at stake, that the trigger is still active. Also he knows that Buffy is in his corner and her presence in the scene should be enough.

Wood shouldn't have been present no matter how much he insisted on being and when Spike objected to his presence he should have politely told to wait outside the door at the top in case he was needed for physical backup.
Yeah, well if it were such a problem then Spike could've insisted, then Buffy could've told Wood to leave or something. She didn't because Wood wasn't being obnoxious or intrusive or anything.
Obviously only Spike found it a problem, and not a big enough one to justify his attitude.

You're rude and dismissive about that but you're not considering the context of someone who is being told to spill deeply personal tea in front of people
Oh, I'm sorry if I'm being rude and dismissive about someone's deeply personal tea. *utterly bewildered*

Unlike Giles you don't have the excuse of not witnessing those events.
No, but also Giles didn't witness the huge pile of dead bodies caused by trigger!Spike, so it balances out I guess.

Also excepting someone to sort through their issues when you are interogating them is not coddling someone its displaying no understanding of what you're really asking them to do.
I disagree that it was any sort of interrogation. Giles- who knows the device and its workings- simply says that Spike is resisting the process. Then Spike gives it a minute before demanding to be unchained and then walking off!
He knows he's still triggered, knows he's still a danger, and yet he does not care about the risk he still poses because *feelings*. That shows an astonishing lack of priorities that I fail to understand.

Buffy has got somewhere with getting Spike to be self revealing
Buffy did nothing, which is her general attitude when it comes to the trigger; it will be okay because she 'feels' that Spike is different. I'm sure that matters to the many people he killed and injured in the thrall of a great evil...

But if we're saying that Giles was 'interrogating' Spike then Buffy was definitely too blase about letting him walk off.

Re: Buffy and Faith - in a sense Buffy does put aside her differences to work with Faith - she doesn't throw her out or tell she's not needed.
Yes...but still she punches her, taunts her and demands to know why she's there in the first place, even knowing what Willow told her about helping out Angel. That is not being neutral, that is being petty.

But you seem to be saying that Buffy did treat Faith fairly but even if she didn't then its okay because of what Faith did and you just don't get over that? Is that the argument here?
Isn't Buffy surrounded by many who have done much worse very recently; Andrew, Anya, Willow or Spike. hell by now even Xander is responsible for people dying. And yet this is the group that Buffy works along side.

She accepts Faith's assertion that she didn't ask to replace Buffy in the mutiny and offers her advice.
But boy, did she perk up when Spike said that he punched Faith a few times. That's not petty at all.

Afterwards she assures Faith her leadership stint not ending well wasn't her fault and they connect.
Well yeah, Buffy finally learned from her mistakes. I've never said any different.

I know you're protective of Faith but the fight in The Bronze was a result of tension Buffy was wrong to hit Faith and Faith is right in giving herself credit for not hitting back but Faith had delivered a low blow verbally and I think she knew it.
Well I'm actually fairly consistent on this point no matter which character is involved; unprovoked violence is crappy no matter who is doing it. If Buffy responds to any verbal provocation with an actual assault then that is crappy.

And no, Faith did not 'know it', in fact she felt aggrieved and unfairly treated ('this is the favorite of all my bruises') however, to her, other things matter more', kinda like 'the mission is what matters' only instead of say, punching someone, Faith grouches to a relative stranger away from the rest of the troops. I think that's fairer, certainly less crappy.

And boy, do I have a problem with some of what Faith says and does this season, but those things are not here.

You don't just get over someone messing with you in the ways Faith did and unlike Spike this isn't someone she also treated badly.
I seem to remember something about...a knife in the gut? Is attempted murder not treating somebody kinda badly?
Oh well, I guess the fact that Faith didn't go out about it forever is a point in her favor...

Not that it matters, Faith does not expect to be treated well or trusted at all by those she is allied with, she's not in Sunnydale to do anything except help beat the bad guy. She doesn't demand anything from Buffy (unlike some) and its only in 'Empty Places', after Buffy telling everyone how evil Faith had been in the past, that Faith actually bothers to call Buffy out on her messed up priorities.


Unlike some I'm not partisan in whose redemption arc I get behind - I enjoy Faith's, Spike's and even Andrew's and like all those characters whilst acknowledging their flaws. You could try it - one of the things I get out of fandom is the perspective of someone I hadn't previously considered, it's interesting if you open your mind.
Sigh, I'm sorry to disappoint you person on the internet that I've never met. I'll try harder to be as impartial as you. /sarc

And yes, the above was to indicate that you are coming across as rude, superior and patronizing. You should know that people can have any opinion or invest in any particular story line they want, it all depends on the quality of the writing and the depiction of the characters involved.

I guess there are some here are more discerning about what truly great redemption arcs they judge successful. see that, back there, was being superior and patronizing. It's not fun or productive.

Anyway, I'm done here. I'm on this thread to talk about Giles, not to be lectured yet again by a Spike-fan about how I'm a big meanie for not recognizing Spike's pain. Well I do, actually. I just think that there are more important things to focus on during an apocalypse and Giles, to his credit, is actually doing that.
 

darkspook

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I think you're being unfair, Xander's actions are less noble than you present them as, it wasn't his decision to make and it's undercut by him being a jerk in Dead Man's Party.
Never said it was noble but merely suggested it saved her life. Becoming 1 presented a Buffy vs Angelus fight were she was stalling for time and it was pretty lame attack/defense on her side. I don't think you can go into a fight with Angelus with one hand behind your back twice aka stalling for time. It was his decision and a tough one therefore it proves my point that others made tough decisions.

Buffy's promise to Dawn comes before she suddenly acquires a lot of other people to take care of including a slew of mostly ungrateful potentials. Dawn herself gets this and is rightly praised by Xander for it.
I would put this down to changing the plot of season 7 to what they had planned when they were filming season 6 finale. Season 6 finale sets up one thing while season 7 shows us something else. Writing and ideas change all the time I accept it. But again I feel its abit sad on Buffy's part that she basically dumps Dawn. I agree Dawn shows growth in how she handles it. Good character growth.

Buffy is by the stage of Lies a multiple plate spinner or juggler - a lot of that is what Giles dumped on her. She's trying to multiple things going to me it's not surprising she drops a few balls, misses a few signs and gets angry and frustrated on occasion, if she didn't she'd be a Mary Sue.
She is a multiple plate spinner by that point and really, the fact that she's spinning them and standing by the even that stage of the series speaks to me of some incredible inner strength. Okay Giles dumped the potentials on her lap or doorstep but this is the same Buffy who forced Xander to make Spike his roommate (boy that conversation must have been fun!), the same Buffy who seemed to think Spike gaining a soul meant he was her responsibility.

As I mentioned Giles is way off base for cooking up some murder plot with Wood but he did it with the best intentions. Way before season 7 it is established he is no saint and yet there are those who comdemn him while defending her. She might have had more on plate and I agree after running away from her responsibilities in s6 it was nice in a way to see her take charge and commit in s7 however I still feel that Giles suffered from bad writing. Am generally curious for example on your feelings of the Giles is the First subplot? A great piece of misdirection or an insult to intelligence?
 

katmobile

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Never said it was noble but merely suggested it saved her life. Becoming 1 presented a Buffy vs Angelus fight were she was stalling for time and it was pretty lame attack/defense on her side. I don't think you can go into a fight with Angelus with one hand behind your back twice aka stalling for time. It was his decision and a tough one therefore it proves my point that others made tough decisions.


I would put this down to changing the plot of season 7 to what they had planned when they were filming season 6 finale. Season 6 finale sets up one thing while season 7 shows us something else. Writing and ideas change all the time I accept it. But again I feel its abit sad on Buffy's part that she basically dumps Dawn. I agree Dawn shows growth in how she handles it. Good character growth.


She is a multiple plate spinner by that point and really, the fact that she's spinning them and standing by the even that stage of the series speaks to me of some incredible inner strength. Okay Giles dumped the potentials on her lap or doorstep but this is the same Buffy who forced Xander to make Spike his roommate (boy that conversation must have been fun!), the same Buffy who seemed to think Spike gaining a soul meant he was her responsibility.

As I mentioned Giles is way off base for cooking up some murder plot with Wood but he did it with the best intentions. Way before season 7 it is established he is no saint and yet there are those who comdemn him while defending her. She might have had more on plate and I agree after running away from her responsibilities in s6 it was nice in a way to see her take charge and commit in s7 however I still feel that Giles suffered from bad writing. Am generally curious for example on your feelings of the Giles is the First subplot? A great piece of misdirection or an insult to intelligence?
It's neither it's a long attempt at a tease that wasn't worth the pay off. It wasn't an insult to the intertelligence but an attempt to be clever that was annoying.
 

darkspook

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It's neither it's a long attempt at a tease that wasn't worth the pay off. It wasn't an insult to the intertelligence but an attempt to be clever that was annoying.
I don't know botherline insulting to me being asked to invest on something that was full of holes. Think we could both agree a low point of the season.
 

Cheese Slices

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@thetopher You said you were done so feel free to ignore this, but I think the point isn't about coddling Spike or sparing his feelings. The point is that, it would seem, trauma-related triggers and general trauma that your psyche has blocked out can't be articulated or retrieved by sheer conviction, let alone by having people growl at you to just spit it out or "toughen up". This kind of things can only be unearthed in specific and adapted settings and conditions that are evidently not met there. Giles was lacking patience and the attempt is noble but half hearted, and therefore ineffective.

Never said it was noble but merely suggested it saved her life. Becoming 1 presented a Buffy vs Angelus fight were she was stalling for time and it was pretty lame attack/defense on her side. I don't think you can go into a fight with Angelus with one hand behind your back twice aka stalling for time. It was his decision and a tough one therefore it proves my point that others made tough decisions.
The problem is that A) We don't know that it would've been detrimental necessarily, since it never happened and B) his intention was still very much not about helping her. It was about his own desire to see Angel killed because in his mind he deserved it and Buffy was too emotionally compromised (oh the irony) to make the right decision.
kay Giles dumped the potentials on her lap or doorstep but this is the same Buffy who forced Xander to make Spike his roommate (boy that conversation must have been fun!), the same Buffy who seemed to think Spike gaining a soul meant he was her responsibility.
I don't get this notion at all. He is not her responsibility any more than Willow or Xander are. She does nothing for him that she wouldn't do for Xander, Willow, Giles, Dawn, or even any of the potentials. She takes him in because she chooses to, and before she makes that choice she is not shown as feeling guilty about leaving him on his own while she processes her own stuff.

I don't know botherline insulting to me being asked to invest on something that was full of holes. Think we could both agree a low point of the season.
I think the writers made a mistake trying to placate the part of the fandom that was super grumpy about S6 and therefore trying to inject more light-hearted, silly stuff but it often missed the mark because they seemed also interested in raising the stakes and making the threat look more dire.
 
thetopher
thetopher
'noble but halfhearted'; Giles is literally the only who did ANYTHING regarding Spike's trigger. So I guess halfhearted is better than nothing.

darkspook

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The problem is that A) We don't know that it would've been detrimental necessarily, since it never happened and B) his intention was still very much not about helping her. It was about his own desire to see Angel killed because in his mind he deserved it and Buffy was too emotionally compromised (oh the irony) to make the right decision.
That view on Xander's reasons is very much yours and very much open for debate on another thread. There is nothing but speculation and conjecture without firm evidence. We never during Buffy's run had him firmly and clearly give his reason for not telling her so to suggest it was because of some desire to see Angel dead because in his mind he deserved it is a theory at best. We each have our own like I think my theories on Spike's motvations and actions during the AR scene are fairly open and common but as some folk suggested they are just theories and how I interpret the scene.

I think the writers made a mistake trying to placate the part of the fandom that was super grumpy about S6 and therefore trying to inject more light-hearted, silly stuff but it often missed the mark because they seemed also interested in raising the stakes and making the threat look more dire.
So that was the best 'light-hearted' silly stuff the writers could come up with? Jeez how the mightly have fallen... but I guess that kind of agrees with my view about poor writing so thanks :) I will take that.

I don't get this notion at all. He is not her responsibility any more than Willow or Xander are. She does nothing for him that she wouldn't do for Xander, Willow, Giles, Dawn, or even any of the potentials. She takes him in because she chooses to, and before she makes that choice she is not shown as feeling guilty about leaving him on his own while she processes her own stuff.
She just will not let him go. She does far more than for him ie removing his chip, encourging him to find his dark side again, working with him over Willow, Xander and Giles to train the potentials and just generally islatoting herself to everyone apart from him. All I ask was one scene, one tiny moment where he says:
"Love I got a soul for you!"
and she replies:
"That's great Spike but I never asked you to!"
I think the ending of beneath you clearly shows Buffy feels responsible for Spike's condition and resoulment.
 

darkspook

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It seemed a simple case to me, that Giles was becoming more like that twat Quentin in Checkpoint, that Giles saw himself like the Watchers Council leader - he wasn't. Giles was a person who helped.
Funny cause I think if anyone was acting like Quentin Travers in season 7 it was... Buffy. Season 3 helpless Quentin Travers, sets up an extreme test for the slayer by rending her powerless and locking her in a building to face a vampire. Flash forward to season 7 potential Buffy leaves the potential girls trapped alone with the vampire in a crypt... no Giles in sight.
 

Cheese Slices

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That view on Xander's reasons is very much yours and very much open for debate on another thread. There is nothing but speculation and conjecture without firm evidence. We never during Buffy's run had him firmly and clearly give his reason for not telling her so to suggest it was because of some desire to see Angel dead because in his mind he deserved it is a theory at best. We each have our own like I think my theories on Spike's motvations and actions during the AR scene are fairly open and common but as some folk suggested they are just theories and how I interpret the scene.
Sure, but there are also plenty of scenes prior to this one that indicate Xander's feelings and set up the lie, notably Passion, Becoming pt1. He literally says "I think you want to forget about Ms Calendar's murder just so you can get your boyfriend back", and "I say faster, pussycat, kill, kill". So this is more than mere speculation and conjecture, this is textual evidence, text that is constructed by the writers to lead up to the lie.
And btw, I understand Xander's viewpoint, I'm not trying to argue how he's the worst or anything of the sort. But there is evidence that his motivations are not about strategy, but rather about ensuring that what he thinks should be done is done.
So that was the best 'light-hearted' silly stuff the writers could come up with? Jeez how the mightly have fallen... but I guess that kind of agrees with my view about poor writing so thanks :) I will take that.
Sure, but the might have not fallen lower than before. There always were instances of poor writing on the show, they just tend to be glossed over if they happen to be in S2 or S3.
She just will not let him go. She does far more than for him ie removing his chip, encourging him to find his dark side again, working with him over Willow, Xander and Giles to train the potentials and just generally islatoting herself to everyone apart from him. All I ask was one scene, one tiny moment where he says:
"Love I got a soul for you!"
and she replies:
"That's great Spike but I never asked you to!"
I think the ending of beneath you clearly shows Buffy feels responsible for Spike's condition and resoulment.
Removing his chip == not treating him like a dog when there is no reason to anymore. Why should she not treat him like a person at this point ?
Encouraging his dark side : she does the same with Willow. Don't see what the issue is.
Training the potentials with him : training with someone who possesses the physical attributes of their common enemy and does not tire or injure himself easily makes less sense than training with people who could get hurt and aren't really fighters to begin with ?
Most of all, how do any of your arguments speak of Buffy making Spike her responsibility ? (which was the point you were refuting). It just means she considers him a friend and a useful person in the war. He is only her responsibility in the same way the others are, which is being her follower and her his leader. That's actually one of the main issue Buffy faces this season : she is asked to be a general and a leader, but also to be a friend, and she has a hard time reconciling the two. Spike doesn't care because his focus is Buffy, while her friends come to resent it because they have their priorities and concerns.
There is nothing at the end of BY indicating that Buffy feels responsible. And neither does Spike make her responsible. His main motivation was her, because that's how he interpreted all the "you don't have a soul, therefore you're (not) *insert quality that makes him (un)worthy of love*", but that's not the same as expecting anything in return, especially once he gets a soul.
 
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katmobile

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I don't know botherline insulting to me being asked to invest on something that was full of holes. Think we could both agree a low point of the season.
It's not great certainly. I think it was more like ok so that wasn't worth the payoff and that wasn't as clever as you think but I don't take things like that - I was offended by the end of Normal Again. You don't get to suggest I've been watching someone's delusion - eff you you smug bastards!
 

Cheese Slices

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The writers got a bad case of twistitis and misdirectionite at some point, but unfortunately that was the early 00s for you (although did the trend ever die out actually ? I can't tell).
 
K
katmobile
I love your invention of those terms and one criticism I will accept is season seven overused both.

katmobile

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Funny cause I think if anyone was acting like Quentin Travers in season 7 it was... Buffy. Season 3 helpless Quentin Travers, sets up an extreme test for the slayer by rending her powerless and locking her in a building to face a vampire. Flash forward to season 7 potential Buffy leaves the potential girls trapped alone with the vampire in a crypt... no Giles in sight.
Except Buffy and Spike are standing right outside and probably keeping an ear out for trouble plus there's a group of them - it's not the same thing as a Crucumentum at all, that's false equivalence. You want to argue facts and logic - don't use logical fallacies.
 
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