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Xander's fib in Becoming

Puppet

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#1
Do you know what it's like to read a fanfic that is really well-written, perfectly in-character, storyline fleshed out with a great background, and then find the one flaw that makes you want to close the tab before you're done?

I just read a great story, a crossover of BtVS and Cruel Intentions where Buffy and Kathryn are cousins. Anyway, the whole time, all I could think about was the writer's obvious hatred of Xander; she heaped blame on him for everything, including and especially his words in Becoming; "Willow said to kick his ass."

Now, I agree that he wasn't in the right, here. Willow trusted him to do this one thing for her, Buffy trusted him to always be honest, I get it. But how much does he really deserve to be punished for this? Do we even know why he did this? This author clearly assumed it was out of pure jealousy, but I really just don't see that. My interpretation, and I understand that others won't always agree with me, is that he worried that Buffy wouldn't go all out if she knew there was hope. And considering how the battle went, he was probably right (just because he turned out to be right doesn't make his actions right, I'm aware of this).

Anyway, this author dedicated half a chapter to Xander's 'punishment', which included pure vitriol whenever Buffy spoke of him, Giles basically disowned him, Willow couldn't forgive him (as if), Oz went all OOC calling him names, and Cordy dumped him because she, too, thought he did it out of jealousy over another woman. The 'scene' ended with him all alone in the library, listening to Giles cry in his office and 'finally beginning to understand his crime'.

Seriously?

Is it just me, or is this not a 'punishment fits the crime' scenario? Was there even a crime? Wasn't it just, I don't know, mistake? Or simply a lie? I mean, we can't ever really know if it was the best thing, there's no alternate reality where Xander tells the truth and we see the outcome. But do you think it was jealousy? His anger at the demon world as a whole? What?

Sorry for the rant, but I need something to distract me from that story, it just pissed me off.

What are your thoughts on 'The Lie'?
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#2
In Xander's defence, Buffy could have killed Angel in Becoming part 1 and possibly made it back in time to save Kendra, but she deliberately stalls, hoping to give Willow time enough to cast the spell. We're angry with Xander, because if he had had his way, then Angel would be dead, which nobody wants, but we must keep in mind the terrible risk Buffy takes by letting Angel live in Innocence and Becoming part 1.

It is psychologically interesting how an excuse (particularly an excuse that in itself constitutes a reason) can allow you to give in to a selfish desire without being totally aware of it. It is like your heart and your mind are conspiring together. Xander hates Angel for selfish reasons and he has legitimate reasons for wanting Angel dead.
 
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#3
My immediate reaction was to laugh (as in out loud) as I read such an over the top reaction.

Still, fanfics are often done with little work...I've written some fanfics that I don't even like to share because I cringe over the quality (though I still get updates that people like my fanfics or are following me, and that's several years after I stopped). Now that I'm writing original fics (I've since focused on one), I keep rewriting it over and over...I'm afraid I've gone to the other extreme and that eventually I'll have to accept it will never be perfect and just put it out there (but it WILL be better than my fanfics which were essentially more like polished first drafts).

The reason I mentioned that is that I'm thinking she wrote from her gut and didn't take the time to think and edit it...but then maybe I'm wrong given some of the articles out there that people have spent a lot of time on., and I've also noticed that many people who want to call out unacceptable behavior are only embolden to become more obnoxious if a person actually apologizes (like they sense blood in the water), and it's never enough until a person is utterly destroyed. If it is a "first draft" (beyond a general polish) then that's what one can expect. While my own fanfics didn't go there (punishing a well liked character in such an over the top reaction), I still included things in them that I never would've if I'd set it aside and come back to it a few times.

Another possibility is that she has a beta-reader proofing her fics afflicted with major Xander-hate, which sounds all too possible given that she's part of our fandom, and this beta-reader convinced her to go all out on hating Xander. It could even be more than one, and if they bonded in hatred of Xander then they could've created a "bubble" so to speak in which something so over the top seems perfectly reasonable, and even fears understating what Xander did if she's less extreme.


Overall, if the rest of the fic is brilliant then I'd just laugh that part off and focus on the rest...though I suppose if the Xander-hate continues unabated (and no chance for Xander to redeem himself) then it would finally ruin it for me. Is the story intending to at least have Xander become seduced by Kathryn (so that Xander had to be cast out of the Scoobies first)?
 
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#4
Angel was trapped in a Hell dimension for 100 years, that's longer than a human lifespan. And if not for the claddagh ring he would've been trapped in Hell for eternity. Xander would die of old age and go to Heaven and reunite with his friends & family while Angel would still be in Hell. Even if he was murdered by demons or committed suicide, he would've still been trapped in literal Hell.

Any negative reaction from the Scoobies and especially Buffy would have been justified.

Imagine if in Selfless Buffy knew there was a way to strip Anya of her demon powers but chose to let Xander kill her instead. Then Xander left town for months in grief & guilt and when he came back Buffy called him a selfish idiotic runaway.

Xander still tried to orchestrate Angel's death in Revelations when he was souled.
 
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WillowFromBuffy

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#5
Angel was trapped in a Hell dimension for 100 years, that's longer than a human lifespan. And if not for the claddagh ring he would've been trapped in Hell for eternity. Xander would die of old age and go to Heaven and reunite with his friends & family while Angel would still be in Hell. Even if he was murdered by demons or committed suicide, he would've still been trapped in literal Hell.

Any negative reaction from the Scoobies and especially Buffy would have been justified.
That's unfair. It was a difficult situation and there was more at stake than just Angel.
 
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#6
That's unfair. It was a difficult situation and there was more at stake than just Angel.
Xander was the only one who voted to kill him instead of ensoul him. Even Giles voted to ensoul him and it was his girlfriend who was murdered & left in his bed.

In Choices Xander's main thought was Willow instead of the town. In Grave Xander's main thought was Willow instead of the world. In Selfless Xander's main thought was Anya instead of her future millions of victims. In The Core Xander's main thought was Dawn instead of the world.

The only time Xander was ready to screw an individual person in favor of the bigger picture was Angel.

For goodness sakes, he referred to Buffy's trauma over Angel's death as boy troubles. And Faith's opinion of what went down after talking to Willow & Xander was "Big love, big loss. You gotta deal & move on." He thought it wasn't important enough to cause her to suffer depression. Xander was given more sympathy after leaving his fiance at the altar. Everyone easily forgave Willow when she returned 3 months after starting an apocalypse because she was grieving Tara.
 
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WillowFromBuffy

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#7
Xander was the only one who voted to kill him instead of ensoul him. Even Giles voted to ensoul him and it was his girlfriend who was murdered & left in his bed.

In Choices Xander's main thought was Willow instead of the town. In Grave Xander's main thought was Willow instead of the world. In Selfless Xander's main thought was Anya instead of her future millions of victims. In The Core Xander's main thought was Dawn instead of the world.

The only time Xander was ready to screw an individual person in favor of the bigger picture was Angel.

For goodness sakes, he referred to Buffy's trauma over Angel's death as boy troubles. And Faith's opinion of what went down after talking to Willow & Xander was "Big love, big loss. You gotta deal & move on." Xander was given more sympathy after leaving his fiance at the altar. Everyone easily forgave Willow when she returned 3 months after starting an apocalypse because she was grieving Tara.
Cordelia voted with Xander, and judging from s3, I am sure Giles would have changed his vote after the first attempt. Not that Giles votes to save Angel not despite Jenny's death, but because Jenny's last wish was to redeem herself by saving Angel.

Grave is a bad example, because Xander is outmatched. Willow can take an axe to the spine. Saving Willow is the only way to save the world.

The foot is on the other shoe for Xander in Selfless, and as Buffy says, she killed Angel, but Buffy only killed Angel after failing to do so several times, and at least two of these were deliberate. Xander may be a hypocrite, he may even be wrong, but you cannot give him the sole responsibility for Angel's circumstance or say he had no justification. Angel has been on a murder-spree lasting several months, killing children and putting them on display for their parents to find, and now he was going to destroy the entire world.
 
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#8
Cordelia voted with Xander, and judging from s3, I am sure Giles would have changed his vote after the first attempt. Not that Giles votes to save Angel not despite Jenny's death, but because Jenny's last wish was to redeem herself by saving Angel.

Grave is a bad example, because Xander is outmatched. Willow can take an axe to the spine. Saving Willow is the only way to save the world.

The foot is on the other shoe for Xander in Selfless, and as Buffy says, she killed Angel, but Buffy only killed Angel after failing to do so several times, and at least two of these were deliberate. Xander may be a hypocrite, he may even be wrong, but you cannot give him the sole responsibility for Angel's circumstance or say he had no justification. Angel has been on a murder-spree lasting several months, killing children and putting them on display for their parents to find, and now he was going to destroy the entire world.
If Buffy had reached the area at the same time as Xander do you think he would've been okay with letting Buffy kill Willow or do you think he would try to stop her (like he tried to stop her from killing Anya months later) then try to reach Willow with his words? Willow tried to murder more Scoobies than Angelus and just like him she tortured Giles and started an apocalypse. If Xander was given the option of tapping into Willow's humanity or trapping her in a Hell dimension which do you think he'd choose?

The times I remember Buffy having the chance to kill Angelus; in Innocence (2 days after losing her virginity to Angel), in Passions (she had to leave to save Giles from burning to death), in Go Fish (she was tasked with protecting Gage who was just injured & they thought being hunted by a demon), in IOHEFY (she was just possessed), & in Becoming #1 (she had to rush back to the library because she was right that there might be an ambush). Buffy upped her patrols after Jenny, was out hunting with a 103 fever, and Xander & Buffy commented about the increase in her hunts in 2 scenes in Becoming #1. He knew she wouldn't let him get away again and how much guilt she felt not taking him out the first chance she got. In Becoming #2 Buffy was not going to leave that mansion unless Angelus was gone via death or soul restoration.

In Selfless Anya had been a vengeance demon again for 5 months, that's a month longer than the Angelus arc. Xander spent years hearing her brag about the many ways she used to torture & murder humans. He still thought Willow & Anya's situations were "different". The only difference I see is that he loved Willow & Anya but didn't love Angel.

Xander had no justification because there was another way to stop Angelus and he chose not to use it.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#9
If Buffy had reached the area at the same time as Xander do you think he would've been okay with letting Buffy kill Willow or do you think he would try to stop her (like he tried to stop her from killing Anya months later) then try to reach Willow with his words? Willow tried to murder more Scoobies than Angelus and just like him she tortured Giles and started an apocalypse. If Xander was given the option of tapping into Willow's humanity or trapping her in a Hell dimension which do you think he'd choose?
Xander might take the risk in saving Willow, but I don't really see how that is relevant. At worst, that makes him a hypocrite. It does not make him solely responsible for Angel's time in Hell. If Xander had risked the world to save Willow, then maybe a second Xander should be there to stop him (and if that second Xander hated Willow, because he had been openly in love with Tara, then he and his friends would never know exactly why he did as he did, but the world would be saved).
Xander had no justification because there was another way to stop Angelus and he chose not to use it.
But they were running out of time. If Xander had told Buffy that Willow was casting the spell, she might have fought defensively and could have lost as a result. If Willow's spell had failed, Buffy could have ended up trying to extend the fight until Angel saw an opening and killed her. Instead, Buffy accepted that Angel was beyond saving and mustered all her strength to kill him as fast as possible, even so, I assume it is Buffy's love for Angel rather than Angel's skill that almost causes Buffy to loose.

When Buffy and Angel fights in part 1, Angel says, "Jeez, is it me, or is your heart not in this?" Buffy could hypothetically have killed Angel then and there and been back to stop the raid. It almost cost her the life of all her friends and the world to boot.

Xander's lie may have doomed Angel, but it may have saved the world. Xander's lie may have been tainted by jealousy, but you can't control your feelings, only your actions.
 

caitaintdead

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#10
I don't know if you can compare a human (Dark Willow) to a vampire (Angelus). Anyanka works as a much better comparison to me.

Personally, as someone who isn't a huge fan of Xander, I don't have a huge gripe about his 'kick his ass'. In fact, I'm of the belief that the comment possibly saved her life. If she was going into the fight defensively instead of offensively she may have held back.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#11
What bothers me the most about the lie, which I forgot to mention, is that Xander includes Willow in his lie, when Willow told him to ask Buffy to stall. If Willow wasn't super grateful to Xander in S7, I am sure she would have brought him to task about that.

If Giles had killed Dawn in "The Gift," I am sure he wouldn't have blamed it on Willow.
 
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thetopher

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#12
The worst thing about the lie is that Xander basically got away with it. So to the viewer who wants to hold onto that feeling of injustice they watch all through S3 Xander being a massive hypocrite WILLING for somebody to find out. They stew waiting for him to be discovered- a reasonable expectation that doesn't come to pass.
Instead Buffy carries those words of his around for 5 years, specifically remembers them and thinks that Willow wasn't there for her at a critical point in her life. So that's a scar right there, one that Xander helped inflict.


I don't think Xander meant for Angel to suffer a century in hell, but that was the definite unintended consequence. And yet he never acknowledges even the possibility of taking any responsibility or guilt for the end result. Buffy carries the whole burden and Xander- if anything- piles on the blame in 'DMP' by dismissing Buffy's own pain.
It's not that Buffy isn't at fault or didn't deserve to be called out for her leaving, but by Xander? That's salt in the wound for many viewers, so the wound never heals, it festers.


For me I hold a certain dislike for Xander through DMP (and Revelations, which is way worse than 'the lie') right the way through to the Zeppo. I even laugh when Angel punches him in the fact in 'Enemies' because karma.



On the other hand- and I'm trying to be very fair here- it was just a lie, and Xander had seen what had happened when they'd all tried to do the spell the first time- (Kendra died and Willow almost died and Giles was captured). I think he just wanted it over with and believed- not without reason- that Buffy would fight harder if she had no other choice. Kill or be killed and not waiting for Angel to come back.

Obviously rationally we can say it wasn't that bad a thing and was done for understandable reasons but emotionally we think its way worse because 'he got away with it and it never even colored his future actions'.
I think that's a fair assessment.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#13
I think it is possible to at least partially excuse Xander in Revelation, too. First, imagine the shock of seeing the supposedly dead Angel just strolling casually about in the graveyard. Then, imagine following Angel to Buffy and seeing them passionately kiss. For Xander, it would seem pretty obvious that Buffy should under no circumstance kiss Angel ever again. If it had been me, I would have felt more than a little betrayed.

Giles annoys me more than Xander in Revelations, because he somehow manages to make it all about himself. I don't usually give people a hard time for being unprincipled or inconsistent, but how could he forgive Angel for Jenny but not for the torture he himself suffered?

The thing that redeems Xander is that when he finds Giles's body and sees the state it is in, he immediately realises that something else is going on, and if his only interest was to kill Angel out of pettiness, he would not have begged Faith to stop.

I like Willow's take on it, even though it is extremely self serving, because she is able to completely understand Buffy's action without condoning them, which is an important distinction.
 

nightshade

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#14
I'm of the belief that the comment possibly saved her life. If she was going into the fight defensively instead of offensively she may have held back.
This is my thought too, she could well have stall and held back like she did before, and it could have killed her, and thus the world
 

caitaintdead

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#15
Out of curiosity, and this is just a theory, is it mostly die hard Bangel fans that heap hatred on Xander for this?
 
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#16
Buffy keeping Angel's return was not a betrayal. If he had still been Angelus it might be. The Angel that was in Revelations was the same Angel from the rest of s3 and the same Angel from AtS.

He suffered a century in Hell, that's worse than the 4 months of Angelus the Scoobies faced. Buffy revealed in HF&T that the soul restoration worked. Xander gave Willow the benefit of the doubt when she returned early from evil rehab and she never lost her soul.

If Buffy shouldn't ever kiss Angel again since sex led to him becoming Angelus then Willow shouldn't ever have a girlfriend again because it was grieving one that led to Dark Willow.

I think it boils down to Xander not believing in Buffy enough to trust her to do her job. She's the Slayer, not him. She's the warrior, the leader, the more experienced.

It shows that whether Buffy is actively dealing with the problem (soulless Angel) or not (triggered Spike), one of her male friends will lie to her in order to get a vampire she cares about killed and they will expect her not to be upset about it afterward.
 

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#17
Giles annoys me more than Xander in Revelations, because he somehow manages to make it all about himself. I don't usually give people a hard time for being unprincipled or inconsistent, but how could he forgive Angel for Jenny but not for the torture he himself suffered?
I thought it was clear that that wasn't about Angel or forgiving Angel, it was about Buffy and Buffy not trusting Giles as her Watcher. 'You have no respect for me or the job I perform.' I think he has a point.
And unlike the other Scoobies he waits until they're in private to tell Buffy his private feelings instead of airing them in a public forum.

Also bear in mind that Giles is still smarting from Post's manipulative and cutting assessment of him and his abilities as Watcher (she insulted his library! *splutter*) and I think its fair for Giles to be bitter- in that moment.
Once its revealed that Post was an evil fraud he instantly forgives Buffy in part because Post's opinions and observations were null and void.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#18
Buffy keeping Angel's return was not a betrayal. If he had still been Angelus it might be. The Angel that was in Revelations was the same Angel from the rest of s3 and the same Angel from AtS.
The Scoobies deserved to know that a mysterious entity had returned the world's most infamous vampire from hell, soul or no soul. In the early season of AtS, they take the threat of Angel losing his soul again very seriously, until they slowly stop caring about it.
He suffered a century in Hell, that's worse than the 4 months of Angelus the Scoobies faced.
I don't see how this is relevant. Angel ending up in Hell with a soul was a twist neither Xander nor the audience saw coming.
Xander gave Willow the benefit of the doubt when she returned early from evil rehab and she never lost her soul.
Buffy does not give Willow the benefit of the doubt. She fears Willow is the murderer in STSP, even though the randomness of the murders does not fit Dark Willow's profile at all.

The big difference between Willow's and Angel's return is transparency and openness. If Xander had stumbled upon Willow floating pencils for fun in her back garden when he thought she was still in England, I suspect he would feel betrayed. Willow would not be accepted back if she did not communicate with everything she did that she took the past seriously. She tells Giles that she was willing to submit to incarceration, torture and death.
If Buffy shouldn't ever kiss Angel again since sex led to him becoming Angelus then Willow shouldn't ever have a girlfriend again because it was grieving one that led to Dark Willow.
I do not think Willow not having a girlfriend is any guarantee she would not experience grief again. When Willow becomes Dark Willow in the comics, it is because of Buffy, not a girlfriend. Willow going dark is very different, because she has to actively choose it, so we can simply hope that she has learned from her mistake.

That being said, I specifically said Xander wouldn't want Buffy to kiss Angel again. Kissing may not be a risk to Angel's soul, but to Xander, it would definitely look like playing with fire. The fact that they are doing this in complete secrecy fuels Xander's paranoia.
I think it boils down to Xander not believing in Buffy enough to trust her to do her job. She's the Slayer, not him. She's the warrior, the leader, the more experienced.

It shows that whether Buffy is actively dealing with the problem (soulless Angel) or not (triggered Spike), one of her male friends will lie to her in order to get a vampire she cares about killed and they will expect her not to be upset about it afterward.
Buffy may have been the most prominent member of the Scoobies, but she was never officially the leader, nor do I see any reason she should be. I am glad Xander is not the leader, but Buffy isn't infallible.

The only official leader of the Scoobies was Willow, in Buffy's absence :p
I thought it was clear that that wasn't about Angel or forgiving Angel, it was about Buffy and Buffy not trusting Giles as her Watcher.
Suuure, but that wasn't really my point, and in Amends it becomes clear that Giles has in fact not forgiven Angel.

I am reluctant to give Giles a pass because of Gwendolen, because it will soon become clear that Giles should have cut ties with the Watcher's Council long ago. At this point in time, they are all making ready for Buffy's coming-of-age-murder-party.
 

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#19
Suuure, but that wasn't really my point, and in Amends it becomes clear that Giles has in fact not forgiven Angel.
But he still helped Angel in that very episode and then had little problem working with him later on. He wouldn't have done that if, on some level, he had come to terms with what Angel/us did to him.
I don't see any evidence that he secretly held some sort of grudge towards Angel either. For example he's sympathetic towards the Bangel break-up in 'The Prom'.

I am reluctant to give Giles a pass because of Gwendolen, because it will soon become clear that Giles should have cut ties with the Watcher's Council long ago.
I dunno, aren't all watcher's chosen when they're kids? Giles wanted to be a grocer slash fighter pilot and instead he was groomed to become a demon fighter by his family.
Indoctrination should be a factor when people say 'its obvious that this is a bad idea'. The council had been the thing that had been a constant in Giles' life since he was a child, its not nothing that he went against that in the end.
 

brinkster130

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#20
The punishment you describe is harsh and over the top, but dismissing Xander's actions as a little mistake or simple lie lets him off the hook too easy IMO.

I agree with thetopher, that the lie damaged Buffy emotionally more than anyone knew, and it was hard to see it go unacknowledged.
 
GraceK
GraceK
This is a fair assessment
thetopher
thetopher
Well put.
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