Headscratchers: Buffy Season 7
Headscratchers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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The First's abilities
There are actually three questions here:
- What exactly happened in Dawn's storyline in "Conversations"? I got the impression that it was the First trying to mess with Dawn to accomplish... pretty much nothing at all, as usual. But it later becomes a plot point that the First is unable to influence the physical world; in fact it literally can't do anything besides talking to people. So what hit Dawn and trashed the house?
- How did the First manage to brainwash Spike and install a Musical Trigger in his subconscious? It never does that to anyone again, even though that seems like it would be an immense asset. Additionally, not one of the Scoobies ever even worries that it might happen to someone else. What do they know that we don't?
- It seems that the first can just manifest and talk to people at will. If that is the case, what possible purpose could the three chanting bringers in "Amends" have served? When Buffy killed them, the First stopped haunting Angel. So were there a few bringers hidden away in a basement somewhere chanting for the entirety of season 7?
- In several episodes this season we see that Drusilla is who turned Spike into a vampire, but when he first appeared in Buffy in the second season, he says to Angel 'You were my sire man'.
- Doylian answer: the complex history between Darla, Angelus, Spike, and Drusilla hadn't been fully fleshed out yet by the writers, resulting in this minor continuity error. Watsonian answer: Word of God says that Spike was using the term as a show of respect; Angelus did not literally sire Spike, but he did take him under his wing and make him the vampire he is today. Note that Spike follows up with, "You were my Yoda."
- Word of God is what you have to run with here even if the Doylian answer is clearly the correct one. Notice that the scene we're talking about is Spike testing Angel to see if he was evil and Angel thinking that posing as evil was something Spike would believe because of their past relationship. By season seven however we know that Spike knew all about the Gypsy curse and possibly is partially to blame for it still being in place since he sort of ate Darla's bargaining chips when Darla was negotiating Angel's release from the curse. Sure he didn't fall for it but given the history of the characters Angel shouldn't have tried something that dumb and Spike shouldn't have let him get as close as he did.
- Other tropers have pointed out that "sire" can be used ancestrally; as Angel is Drusilla's sire, he's Spike's "Grand-sire", so to speak. Also, he was Spike's mentor, he was the leader of the group, he introduced Spike to the cool world of being a badass, as when they slow-mo in front of burning houses and Spike jumps over that thing. Slo-mo equals cool, especially when the guys have long hair and one of the girls does a slow-mo twirl, including a bit of slo-mo running backwards while stretching her hand out seductively to her guy. Maybe I'm retro-adding that part in my imagination. I do believe though that the initial thought was that Angel DID literally sire Spike, and that the Drusilla story was retconned, as Spike was such a richly employable character, and that the "ancestry sire" explanation was also retconned to fit the universe. Ah well, that's what we're all here to point out, innit!
- In "The Killer in Me", what appears to be a dead man walks into a gun shop with no ID or Handgun Safety Certificate, picks out a gun and buys it without a method of payment, and immediately walks off with it without filling out a single form or waiting ten days. Now, the entire episode is a Wall Banger, even by Season 7 standards, but how the hell does this happen? Is the gun dealer somehow affected by the spell cast on Willow? There's no obvious reason to believe he is... other than that he sold the gun.
- Willow's magic was affecting his mind. It's been shown that Willow's will can affect the world - she wanted the situation to play out exactly the same, and for that she needed the man to sell her the gun. It was probably entirely subconscious.
- Having never bought a firearm myself, I'm not too sure about the rules, but it's clear that this dealer was specifically the same one who had sold Warren a gun (that he used to kill Tara). Would it help if Warren had had something on file with the gun dealer showing he passed a background check within the last 6 months (or so)? While Willow's spell changed not only her appearance but her clothes too, it seems likely that her wallet became a guy's wallet with her ID changing to have Warren's face and name as well. Perhaps it could have been shown on-screen, but the whole "proper registration of a firearm" thing would sort of break the flow of the drama in the story.
- Given the highly restrictive gun laws in California require a 10-day waiting period between buying a gun and actually being able to take it with you, clearly the gun dealer wasn't on the up and up in the first place. Even if he was a legitimately licensed dealer, he must have been making illegal sales on the side.
- Given that the gun store is in Sunnydale, where you could be killed, eaten, and have something else with your face come back to pick up your order within the waiting period, the owner of the gun store probably is willing to sell to anyone with a reflection and/or who comes by during the day. He's probably making most of his profits off of semi-legal or completely illegal sales from people who need protection and can't get magical protection, or just would prefer a gun over magic.
- Buffy was supposed to be an intelligent, athletic, and confident girl, living in the suburbs with a loving mom and supportive watcher. Was there any reason she turned twenty-two without ever learning how to drive? Granted, she was pretty busy, but you'd think your watcher would want you to be able to make it across town in a hurry when the world needed saving. Beyond that, it's a detail that seems bizarrely out of synch with the whole girl-empowerment theme of the show. Was there a meta reason for this?
- I understand it's slightly easier in America, but in Britain the driving test has a pass rate of 42 per cent. Logically, more than half the cast should be unable to drive. Buffy's casual attitude towards book learning would probably do her no favours in the theory side, and superhuman reflexes would probably throw other parts of the test off.
- Yeah, but we drive way more than you guys. :) In the US, about 50% pass their road test on the first try, but mostly we start early and keep taking it until we pass — you only have to wait a few weeks to take it again if you fail. In California, it's only around 10% of women that haven't learned to drive by Buffy's age at the end of the series — more of them in densely populated urban areas than in small towns like Sunnydale.
- She Drives Like Crazy, this is canon. My guess is that she has some sort of mental block against learning to drive well early in the series, and later in the series (possibly as early as the aftereffects of "Band Candy") she's stopped practicing at all because the automobile damage was getting to be too expensive and too dangerous for Joyce or any other licensed adult who would willingly get in the car with her.
- By Season 7 she seems to have learned to drive off screen. In "Him" she pulls into the school parking lot in an SUV before trying to kill Principal Wood.
- Buffy's a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and because of how much foot pursuit she does, she's more or less used to weaving around and over obstacles at high speeds. It comes from years of hunting vampires; taking her time to go around obstacles in her path can potentially be the difference between a successfully dusted vampire, and letting her quarry escape. This does not translate very well to careful and attentive driving; she drives about the way she sprints, urgently forcing everything else out of her way with instincts trained to go over and through obstacles instead of around, and taking her turns as fast as she possibly can without flipping the car. One instance of being in the car with her is enough to make anyone decide never to let her drive again, and she can never learn to drive if no one lets her drive. So without any chance to practice, Buffy's never honed the skill, and continues to drive as recklessly as ever.
- Oh man, I can't believe that no-one has yet taken (and so I get to) the wonderful opportunity at this particular junction to quote from Buffy's conversation with Riley, when they first get to know each other having a picnic on-campus? They are sitting on their blanket, and Riley is baffled that Buffy can't drive, and she says: "Cars and Buffy are like.. un-mixy things." Now isn't that a wonderful example of Joss-speak? I feel so happy that nobody has answered this yet and I get to write it. I hope someone reads this and will feel compelled to re-watch those episodes. I might just go there myself now.... It gets very nicely subtly sexy after that, with Riley talking about just driving along the ocean just in order to drive... feel the breeze... just get swept away.. let go... they have an intense moment, Buffy says: "We're still talking about driving, right?" Riley: "I thought I was" and then he simultaneously breaks the tension AND increases it by delivering this heavily innuendo'd line in a light manner: "I'm taking you." Ah! I'm swooning just remembering it. Gives you that funny down-low tingle. How low? I leave that up to you.
The Scooby Murder Gang
- What really bugs this troper is how the half the Scoobies are murderers, and yet nobody ever gets punished, not even karmic punishment, for it. Buffy makes a big deal about turning herself in when she thinks she's killed someone in "Dead Things", but then Willow kills Warren of her own totally free, premeditated will, and everyone handwaves that as "he had it coming" (it's funny how Buffy talks about how she has to keep Willow from crossing the line by killing a human being in "Villains", and then after Willow does so, Buffy redraws that imaginary line and says that now Willow would cross it by killing innocent people). She suffers no consequences whatsoever for it, just the karma-free satisfaction of having gotten revenge for Tara's death, not to mention free magic lessons from Giles and a coven of witches. Then Anya goes on her own killing spree as a vengeance demon, and Xander actually hangs a lampshade on this problem with the line "when our friends go all crazy and start killing people, we help them!" And then there's Faith, whose penance for killing multiple people in cold blood was to spend maybe two years in jail, and then run around the Buffyverse being a "hot chick with superpowers" (her words!) once the rather flimsy pretext of Angelus being loose arose. The heroes in the Buffyverse not only don't pay for their murderous moral lapses, they don't even feel guilty about it. They kill to boost the drama, but then they go right back to witty one-liners and "one for all" comradery once the blood's been mopped up.
- This really comes down to a question of morality. If you think murder is murder regardless of circumstances, context, or aftermath, then obviously nothing we could say will convince you differently. As many others have pointed out, saving the world is kind of a bigger deal than killing a psychotic murderer in a fit of rage. If you expect your good guys to all be saints, or will only be satisfied when every "mistake" is treated with mindless compulsion to imperfect law, may I suggest you avoid fiction?
- Oh get off it. This actually really annoys me, when people defend horrible behavior from their favorite characters with "if you expect all your good guys to be saints". Excuse me, we're talking about murder here. This isn't "Willow ran a red light" or even "Willow had an affair," this is Willow killed someone in cold blood. Since when is every character who doesn't commit murder a Purity Sue? I don't know about you, but I've managed to go my whole life without killing one person. Haven't you? And your sense of morality is seriously warped if you think it's just a math game, that you're free to kill people as long as you've saved more. Hey, in that case, why not just give every doctor a license to kill? And again, I'm talking about karma. The writers sent Angel to Hell for Angelus's rampage, Faith sent herself to jail for a few years, Spike spent almost half a season as an ensouled lunatic in a basement after trying to rape Buffy and Anya lost her best friend and got targeted by demon assassins as karmic payback for her brief Face-Heel Turn (and she even brought her victims back to life). Willow, however, got an absolutely free pass (losing Tara doesn't count - that was the cause of her rampage, not a consequence). The show itself drew attention to this, via Willow saying that she was expecting Giles to kill her rather than go "all Hogwarts" over the summer and Xander comparing how they treated Dark Willow to how they're treating Anya. It's likely that Joss also saw this as a problem, given that almost the first thing he did in the Season 8 comic book was reveal that Warren didn't really die, and then turn him into a recurring villain whose later death wasn't Willow's fault.
- And for that matter, why are you assuming I don't like Willow? Willow is my favorite character in the show, apart from maybe Giles. The last three episodes of Season 6 were some of my favorites in the series. That's why I'm so bothered that, apart from morbid jokes and Willow's fear of using magic, there was absolutely no follow-up on what happened at all. Those were some very extreme, major events that really should have changed things, and yet the relationships just went right back to what they were before, which is especially glaring in a series that usually does a great job of building on its continuity and character development. So stop assuming I'm complaining because I have it in for your favorite character - I'm complaining because she's one of my favorite characters, and I think the story cheated her growth as a character by pushing the reset button on S6 too quickly and easily.
- What's more important, rehabilitation or punishment? Willow circa season 7 was making an honest effort to change from the magic-obsessed "I can fix everything by cramming magic down it's throat, to hell with the consequences" personality she'd developed over the years. She spent her summer actually studying magic and what it means to the world from Giles's coven, and then she spent her year learning how to live in the physical world again. She was finally making the actual, honest-to-god improvement over herself that Tara had desperately wanted her to make. At this point, antagonizing Willow and reminding her over and over again, "Hey, by the way, you're a murdering scumbag and should burn in Hell," would only have driven her into a corner and discouraged her from improving herself. Sure, in the short term, it might be emotionally satisfying to punch her in the gut if you think that what she did is unforgiveable. But the long term cost is, by getting her defensive and making her believe that her improvement isn't enough, you would only make her want to stop, because why should she work so hard if everyone's just going to spit on her anyway? Positive reinforcement is the best way to help someone who truly wants to change.
- About Faith, she just saved the world and then went off to do it again. It seems to me that if you save the world, you should be given a full pardon and a mansion and the ability to restart any TV show you please. Plus, Angelus being loose is not a "flimsy pretext". It's an apocalyptic level threat. Plus, the only karma you should get for killing a raping, murdering, homicidal madman is good karma (for making the world a safer and cleaner place). The "free magic lessons" were to help her control herself, as she's in a line of work where pure rage is likely to happen again. They don't want a repeat of Dark Willow Tries To End The World. Plus, murdering evil isn't murder, it's just cleaning up messes. Hell, even Faith killing the Mayor's Assistant was a good thing, because he was the Mayor's Assistant. It's like complaining when Darth Vader or Tartarus dies! Even if he never killed anyone before, his inaction alone has caused deaths, which still makes him deserving of death.
- Try turning your friends into the police. Buffy wouldn't want to throw her best friend in jail, evil non-withstanding.
- OK, one at a time: Willow was literally insane with grief at Tara's death, so, standard insanity defense applies here. In addition, at the beginning of season 7, she still clearly deeply regrets what she's done. For demon Anya, this was SOP; she was known for the creative ways in which she would wreak havoc in her earlier demon days. She was also willing to give up her life to take back the wish that killed so many, and since it was taken back, she effectively only killed Halfrek. She's still guilty about this, as she distances herself from the Scoobies at the end of the episode, but Buffy brings her back by telling her that they need to stick together. Justified in that Halfrek was a demon. As for Faith, watch the Angel episodes "Five By Five" and "Sanctuary." And don't forget that Buffy's knee-jerk reaction to both Willow and Anya killing a person is "She's gone irrevocably evil. I'm going to go grab an ax and go kill her now."
- I saw those episodes. I agreed with Wesley that someone who spends the night torturing people shouldn't be eating pastries the next morning. The gist of these rebuttals is "well they felt really bad about it". That's not the point. You don't get to walk away from your crimes just by saying you regret them. Not to mention that Willow never even regretted killing Warren. Her guilt in "The Killer in Me" was all about Tara, and she even went on to use her murder of Warren as a Rule of Funny threat against Andrew. In a storyline where Angel's spent decades on Earth, and centuries in a hell dimension, trying to atone for the actions of a demon inhabiting his soulless body, I'd expect some kind of karmic come-uppance for the free will decision of a human character to commit murder. Andrew actually suffered more for his killing Jonathan than Willow did for her behavior: at least we saw him directly confronted with it and moved to tears by what he'd done. Willow was taken to England on a magical holiday and the most she ever had to deal with was a vague, almost played-for-laughs worry in one episode that she's "still evil".
- "You don't get to walk away from your crimes just by saying you regret them." You think going to prison, voluntarily, with full knowledge that you could, at any time you wanted, break out of said prison with insolent ease, counts as walking away from your crimes?
- First of all, that only applies to Faith and not to the others. Second, if you're really not walking away from your crimes, you don't get to pick the length of your prison sentence—you go to prison for as long as the court sends you. If Faith didn't immediately go back to prison after the crisis was over, then yes, she walked away from (part of) her crimes.
- Since Faith is my favorite character in the Whedonverse, I feel compelled to speak up. Look at the timeline: Wes goes to collect Faith, she busts out, they go to LA and put Angelus back in Angel, with Willow's help; Willow and Faith immediately head for Sunnydale; we then have the Buffy finale and Sunnydale goes bye-bye; at this point, Faith's been out for awhile and since her trail led to Sunnydale, could be of the opinion that nobody in law enforcement was going to find her, and she could do more good outside of prison than inside it. If you were given that set of circumstances, and had a problem with authority already, wouldn't you opt out of returning to prison?
- The timeline just proves that Faith is able to stay out of prison, not that it's the right thing to do. If she really wasn't walking away from her crimes, she'd turn herself in and serve the rest of her sentence, whether the police could catch her or not and whether she likes the authorities or not.
- You seem to have missed the parts where Buffy attempted to kill Anya and only stopped when Anya hit her Reset Button, Faith attempted to commit Suicide by Cop using Angel, and Season 8 is definitely building to something with Willow, given recent events.
- On another note, Anya gets somewhat of a pass since she did Reset Button her own actions at the expense of what she expected to be her life. Faith also gets a pass for willingly being in prison for several years, since that's at least some karmic balance, some permanent change in her life. Willow, more than anyone, is what bothers me. Even if she doesn't go to prison, there should be some repercussion, some lost trust among friends, some lasting sense of guilt, something substantial. If one good thing came out of the Season 8 comic book, it's that, by bringing Warren back to life, it's at least taken away the reward of her getting revenge, so that her rampage really didn't accomplish anything after all.
- As was said, Willow was insane at the time. If she had been turned in she probably would have gone to an asylum for treatment. Which is exactly what happened to her after season 6. Also what would you tell the police? "She used magic to turn him inside out?" Welcome to the loony bin. And Faith was reformed. She willingly chose to go back to prison because she was reformed. When the world needed her she broke out. (Buffy might have even had Riley use his pull to get a pardon for Faith after she helped Buffy defeat the First. Or Angel as head of Wolfram and Hart might have used his newfound influence to get Faith pardoned.)
- Willow killed two people, both of which were very bad people. The rest she was stopped from doing. This doesn't get her off, but they are mitigating factors. She's also black magicked up. Faith, Anya, Giles even Buffy have a higher kill-count. Also, try sticking Willow in prison or a mental hospital. She gets treated like a normal criminal/patient. She doesn't get any training to counteract her magic addiction. I'd give her a month, maybe two, before she goes loopy again and massacres the whole place. Giles, being the all round clever bugger that he is, knew the proper treatment and saw to it that she got it. Then she helped save the world. Looks like redemption enough to me.
- The closest mundane parallel to Willow's actions that I can think of would be if she was a recovering drug addict who, upon seeing her girlfriend shot, jacked herself up on PCP and adrenaline, killed Warren, tried to kill her associates, then tried to set fire to the town all in a drug-induced rampage. She needed rehab and counseling. Willow probably would have stayed in England for years if she hadn't had to leave early in order to save the world. They didn't bring her back because she was ready. They brought her back because she was the most powerful witch in the world and they couldn't afford to keep her on the sidelines. Same deal with Faith.
- One element that seems to be missing from the discussion of this point is that the shows imply that some of these folks are just too powerful to be dealt with ordinary punishments. Faith can presumably break out of prison without too much effort, and there must be very few witches or warlocks willing to risk fighting Willow unnecessarily. There is very little meaningful chance of imprisoning these folks; short of killing them, the only punishments that can be dealt to them are those that they can be convinced they deserve.
- Didn't Buffy outright say that they couldn't trust a Cardboard Prison with holding Faith after she woke up, and they were trying to figure out ways to take care of her that didn't involve the Watchers or killing her?
- So, The Complainer Is Always Wrong? You basically just said that if you don't agree with the rest of society then you are evil. Plus, think for a moment. She just helped save the world. I think that should get you a full pardon and perhaps a religion to boot.
- What purpose would she serve by going back to prison? There are three basic views as to the purpose of prison: to punish, with no purpose other than cruelty (a position that has rather fallen out of favour in the last century or so); to reform, through both punishment and education (a goal which was clearly achieved in Faith's case); and to protect society from those who are dangerous (clearly no longer necessary in Faith's case). So unless you believe in cruelty for cruelty's sake, Faith's further incarceration would have been a pointless waste of a useful, and possibly vital, resource.
- "To punish, with no purpose other than cruelty (a position that has rather fallen out of favour in the last century or so)"? There is a huge portion of the general public, if not the majority (certainly the majority in the U.S., and I'm willing to bet the majority around the world when popular public opinion is considered alongside academic theory), that is very firmly in favor of legal punishment as its own virtue. And to those people, that's not "cruelty", it's "justice". Which is really what this whole thing comes down to. Half the fans are saying Willow and Faith were rehabilited and further punishment would be pointless, while the other half are saying that justice itself demands further punishment. Everyone's talking around each other's points because two different moral theories are clashing. There's really no way to compromise between them, and debating which view is "better" would be a topic for an ethics dissertation.
- The real explanation for why all these things played out the way they did (regardless of if one agrees with it or not) is probably that Whedon himself rejects the value of punishment for its own sake. This is mostly clearly demonstrated with Spike. When he was first chipped, he was still a (literally)soulless monster. He was still actively tying to do evil. The only thing that had changed was his ability to do evil. The mere fact that he was no longer a threat was enough for Buffy to let him live (so to speak) and go about his business unpunished.
- Agreeing with the above. Spike's story is probably the most visible example of this, but we do see it in Angel, Faith, Anya, Willow, Andrew, even Giles and his history as Ripper, and I'm sure I'm forgetting some. A recurring theme in Buffy is the notion of rehabilitation as an effective and vital alternative to "punishment for punishment's sake", for those that are in a position to take it, and most of the characters who follow a rehabilitation path wind up becoming productive and valuable members of the Scoobies and/or Angel Investigations. At the same time, Punishment for the sake of simply punishing is portrayed as a negative thing with Enyos and the gypsies who cursed Angel; the line, "It is not justice we serve, but vengeance," pretty clearly establishes Whedon's views on the concept.
- Here's the problem with Anya: if you hold her responsible in a way that demands legal culpability for what she did as a vengeance demon, then this also demands that she has legal rights. As such, Buffy's attempt to kill her would be attempted murder. And every slain vampire, every felled demon, every monster on her hit list would be a crime. You can't say that Buffy's absolved of her guilt because demons are universally evil, because they aren't. As for Willow, she was clearly not in control of her actions. If she had killed Warren immediately after Tara's death with conventional means, even as he was running away, it's unlikely she would have been found guilty, given what her state of mind would have been at the time: dark magic just extended that state of mind more or less indefinitely. With Faith? She does face justice. She turns herself in and apparently intends to serve her sentence. Mitigating circumstances like history's most sadistic vampire being set loose and/or the imminent end of the world get in the way. You could make the argument that part of the point of the justice system is that the guilty not be able to do what they want, but courts do typically make exceptions in extreme circumstances: allowing an inmate to donate an organ to a dying loved one, for instance. It's just that Faith's extreme circumstance is more complicated than most.
- Warren DID have it coming. This troper cheered when Willow flayed him. And no, I don't pretend it had anything to do with 'justice.'
- I agree, I also cheered when Warren suddenly lost his skin. Anyway, OP, did you even see the episode "The Killer In Me"? Willow felt horrible guilt for killing Warren, which she said plenty of times. Xander and the others did kind of try to justify it with "he deserved it", and well, he DID kind of deserve it. What Willow did wasn't justice, and it was evil, but it can't even be lumped in the same category as what Warren did out of malice and spite, killing both Tara and Katrina, and almost killing Buffy. It's pretty clear that Willow never forgot what she had done, and she felt guilt about it for the rest of series. Anya is another strange case because she was a vengeance demon. It was her JOB to murder or brutally maim men. The only murders she does on the show after she becomes a main character are the frat boys. She feels horrible and ends up resurrecting them all, meaning to sacrifice herself (it's not her fault that Halfrek was sacrificed instead, she didn't think D'Hoffryn would do that, and she lost her powers again). And Buffy was entirely prepared to kill her, as shown in the fight between them, it's not like Anya would have gotten away with it while her friends acted like nothing happened.
- Did you watch that episode? Willow was only claiming to feel guilty about killing Warren to avoid confronting the actual guilt she felt over being attracted to Kennedy and thus symbolically killing Tara, which is why she changed into Warren (because she'd "killed" Tara all over again). And so long as we're rationalizing crimes, both of Warren's murders were accidents: Tara was hit by a stray bullet and Katrina got hit too hard on the head during the struggle. No matter how much of a misogynistic jerk Warren is, voluntary manslaughter doesn't rise to the same moral level as prolonged torture and premeditated murder. He did try premeditated murder on Buffy, but the show treats that as a bizarrely mild transgression too (even if we're writing off vampires since they don't have souls, Faith's a human being who tried to kill Buffy numerous times). And I've already said that Anya at least felt remorse and reversed her actions at what she expected to be the cost of her own life, and Faith at least voluntarily went to jail for several years, that Willow's the only who never really showed regret or faced any fallout for what she did.
- This troper completely agrees- it agitates me to no end when people paint Warren as the ultimate evil for two accidental murders compared to someone like Anya, who committed a lifetime of absolute atrocities against men (sending them to hell dimensions, torturing them, cursing them, turning them into monsters) all while having a soul. Warren never did anything like the above so I fail to see how he "deserved" the fate that Willow meted out to him. Vigilante justice will always be crime and should be punished as such.
- Legally speaking, neither of Warren's murders are accidents. Wrongful deaths that occur during the commission of another serious felony (rape for Katrina, attempted murder for Buffy) count as premeditated murder; while you might not have intended to kill that person, you did already come there with the previous intent of killing or harming someone so you can't claim involuntary manslaughter.
- I disagree that Willow was only feigning guilt. Sure, she felt guilty about being in a relationship with Kennedy since it felt like betraying Tara's memory, but she also also clearly felt guilty about killing Warren. And you could technically say that Warren's actual crimes were accidents, but these accidents occurred while he was doing horrible, monstrous crimes in the first place. He might not have meant to kill Katrina, but he definitely knew that he was trying to rape her, and the stray shot that killed Tara came from a premeditated attempt to shoot Buffy, which would be flat-out first degree murder, not voluntary manslaughter. Willow didn't get off consequence-free. She spent months in Britain learning how to control her magic without going off the deep end (maybe that sounds like a free magical vacation, but she was severely shaken up over the events that happened, and she had to learn how to deal with her powers without being corrupted again), and the level of trust between her friends went down. In "Same Time Same Place", when flayed corpses start appearing, Willow is the first suspect of the Scoobies. Why didn't that trust go down any more than that? Because Willow had spent the last 6 years proving her extreme loyalty to her friends, saving the world multiple times. She did an unspeakable, horrible thing killing Warren, but that doesn't undo all the good she's done before that, such as resouling Angelus, draining Glory to save Tara and weaken the hellgod for Buffy, fuse everyone's souls to defeat Adam, and save the world from apocalypse on many occasions. I'm not saying that because she's a good guy she should be able to get away with the occasional murder, but how exactly should one punish one of the world's most powerful witches for a crime caused when driven literally insane by grief? Send to her jail, where she can't help her friends save the world at all, or rehabilitate her and make sure she stays on the side of good? And alienating Willow wouldn't have made sense; like I said, her friends are insanely loyal to her just as she is to them. They all love her and they're not going to start treating her like crap after all these years for going off the deep end after her girlfriend is murdered. Xander saved the day by showing his love for her, he's not gonna just start acting weird around her and admonishing her; even if she deserved it, it wouldn't be in character for any of the Scoobies (except maybe Anya). So I disagree that Willow didn't suffer any consequences, and I also disagree that she should've suffered more.
- The fact of the matter is, regardless of what society thinks, punishment, in and of itself, is fucking stupid. It serves no purpose. When you jail someone, punishment is not the purpose. Ceasing the potential to repeat the crime is the purpose, either through isolation or rehabilitation, preferably both. Willow could just as easily murdered everyone inside a jail. Rehabilitation and acceptance were the only realistic things to do there. Anya's a vengeance demon, it's literally her job. It's outside normal laws. As it stands, her crimes are all reversed. Faith has been rehabilitated. She's still kind of fucked up, but there's nothing there to suggest the potential for damage that was the reason she "needed punishment" in the first place. Also, you say that you think most of the world thinks punishment is an end to itself? America, maybe. The developing world, maybe. Everywhere else? God no. The rest of the world is smart enough to treat people like people.
- I was a little taken aback by Buffy's whole if you kill a human your effectively a monster when she was trying to convince Willow to stand down, she seems to forget the whole Knight of Byzantine attack on the RV in Season 5 where she killed like 10 of them who happened to be human, now it was in self defense, but so was Willow killing Warren in a sense that Warren wouldn't have stopped trying to kill them until he was dead or in jail, considering the fact that he killed Tara and with-out Willow's intervention Buffy would've died as well, showing that it doesn't take magic or strength to get the drop on them. That's not taking into account that the Knights of Byzantine who to everyone else but the Scoobies and the viewers would be considered the heroes, trying to kill a person who technically didn't exist up until 4 months before that, in order to pretty much save the universe. As for her whole let the human justice system take care of Warren, Jonathan, and Andrew just seemed like she was holding the Conflict Ball right there, they were dealing with demons and magic the whole season, they never had a problem dealing with magically inclined humans before, I mean look at Amy's step-mom, the got turned into a living cheerleader trophy, or the kid who sold Buffy out to Spike to get turned into a vampire, she let him there to die and he did. All those things can be hand-waved in saying that they were eliminating threats to the safety of humanity,y'know their job, but Willow kills a triple murderer/attempted rapist, and magical heroin dealer and people were expecting her to feel Angel level guilt, theres also the fact that Season 7 takes place months after the end of Season 6, who's to say that Willow wasn't damn near catatonic for weeks dealing with what she had done, what she had become, plus the epic levels of grief that got the rampage ball rolling to begin with. And i mean no one wanted to watch Willow staring at the ceiling, reliving the death of Tara, and killing Warren over and over again while crying her eyes out, it would've been more depressing than the show had already become up to that point. I also think she gets a pass on the whole guilt thing anyway considering her first major appearance in Season 7 has her ending up facing an enemy she's powerless against, shes paralyzed and forced to watch a demon "flay" strips of her skin off and then eating it, now it didn't get very far, because again it would just be awful to watch, still very Laser-Guided Karma-ish , confusing in that in-universe its never brought up as such, they never show it giving Willow insight into Warrens last seconds, but still you've just been partially eaten alive, who wants to deal with a you deserved it speech. As to those who say Willow is unrepentant they must have missed the part where she is talking to Giles when she says that she thought he brought her to England to kill her or throw her in a magical prison and throw away the key, so she went with him voluntarily where she was near certain there was a punishment awaiting her, it was only because of Giles' seeing her inherent goodness that she wasn't.
- Part of the whole "Buffy ignoring her murder of the Knights of Byzantine is because Buffy considers anything done to save Dawn, including dooming the entire world to be acceptable.]] Yeah, Dawn getting hurt is the Berserk Button that makes Buffy throw all of her rules out the window.
- The Knights of Byzantine were killed in combat and most people agree that combat kills are an entirely different animal. Despite the show attempting to make special rules for humans that are only applicable because the author says they are. The Knights of Byzantine should have been fair game by any rational rules. Warren on the other hand is on that grey border that killing him is easily justified it's the cold blood part that gets foggy as well as what actually constitutes cold blood. Thus far there don't seem to be any mentions of when Buffy went specifically after Faith fully intending to start a fight a murder her. Presumably because the fact that her blood being the cure for Angel's poison officially changed her species from "Human" into "Antidote" but Faith was an insane killer and as boring a show as it would make heroes in general would be a lot better off if they were a little less reactive and a little more proactive.
- We don't know that Warren would have just kept trying to kill them until he was killed or imprisoned but, even if that were true, Willow still made the choice to kill him instead of imprisoning him when she could have easily done that and eliminated the threat. This isn't some crime the courts are not prepared to deal with and magic wasn't even involved in Tara's murder. When she passed over a readily available non-lethal option in favor of killing him it's just not self-defense regardless of what else it may or may not be.
- The fact of the matter is that no one wants to watch a character brood for 44 minutes, and effectively showing guilt on camera is hard, it will always look like a character is just making uncomfortable faces unless there is an inner monologue or flash back or odd background music, it really takes away from a story, there is a reason why Spike and pretty much all the Scoobies make fun of Angel. Plus considering how much everyone hated Buffy for bitching about being alive again, imagine 7 or 8 different people bitching about one of their friends every episode, all season long. Seriously imagine "Same Time Same Place" where everyone is thinking Willow is back to her flaying ways with the constant " I dont trust her"s and the what if she tries to kill us again. Better yet, how about "Normal Again" where Buffy comes very close to killing the entire cast, it would get ridiculous if every time Buffy day dreamed or zoned out, she would be accused of going crazy again. And then there is Xander who people seem to forget is indirectly responsible for the deaths of 2 people maybe more when he summoned Sweets the broadway demon, he gets away with an "I thought it would be fun", yes those people's families can rest easy knowing your actions were all in good fun. It's also important to realize writers and directors have a certain amount of time to try to cram in all these things, and considering Season 6 and 7 seemed pretty crammed to begin with, having multiple episodes dealing with each of the main character getting weepy with each other seems like a waste of television.
- I think many of you are confusing Buffy's (the character's) morality with the morality of the series. Buffy clearly believes that killing humans is evil and the beginning of a slippery slope, but in the series that belief is portrayed as admirable but naieve. Giles' killing Ben, for example, was unpleasant but necessary. A lot of people get passes on doing bad things because the forces of good NEED them, and in such a morally gray universe compromises have to be made to stop the world from ending.
- While this troper has some issues with how the idea of the Potentials was executed, the notion that the could-be Slayers can be identified long before being called actually explains a lot. For instance, the great difference in attitudes between newly called Kendra, who had spent some time watchered before that, and Buffy, who still had a life when called. The Potentials as shown in season 7 clearly had no training at all. Still not the big issue. The big issue is "Chosen". In one glorious spell, the Potentials all over the world get activated... What Potentials? The ones that got that way after the Watchers Council was destroyed, that had no chance whatsoever to survive the obligatory visits by the Bringers?
- Fanwanky answer: The Bringers and the Watchers could only detect those in line to be the next Slayer, when Faith was killed. So that's who got murdered/brought to Sunnydale. The spell activated everyone who had the potential to ever be the Slayer. Presumably whatever mystical randomness picks the next Slayer has an algorithm. It's worth noting at this point that there don't seem to be any older Slayers in the Season 8 comics, so presumably once you get past a certain age you've missed your chance.
- Alternatively, the Bringers don't know instantly when new Potentials appear. If they did, the army that formed in Sunnydale would have been far smaller.
- Or the Bringers simply were not particularly successful in their Potential Slayer genocide. They're a small cult working for an incorporeal being; there's only so many places they can be and so much they can do at any given time. And that's before you take into account that the methods available for identifying Potentials are far from perfect; between Buffy, Faith, and Kendra, 1 out of 3 Slayers that we know of have had the whole Official Watcher's Training prep for being activated, which is not an impressive identification rate. They probably just didn't get very far in wiping out the Potentials, before Potentials started massing in Sunnydale and thus became a priority target.
- Or they were very good at wiping out the potentials. I haven't read much of the comics so I don't know how large the number of slayers they didn't find were. If we look at the series finale however it becomes obvious that bringers weren't going after nine year old little girls or thirty year old house wives. They were focused on a fairly narrow window of slayers that given that the average slayer shelf life is probably less than year, Kendra dies within a year of her calling, Faith only barely dodges death, Giles implies that making it to the 18th birthday is an accomplishment for a slayer. Considering both Buffy and Faith prove that Slayers can fall through the cracks it wouldn't shock me to find out that at any given time there are over one hundred potentials being actively trained. Of what we get what? Thirty odd?
- As far as we saw, the only Potentials the First successfully killed were those whom the Council had already located, and who already had Watchers. Every Potential that showed up at the Summer's residence, that was the case for (excluding Amanda, whom they located themselves). This suggests that the First lacked the ability to locate Potentials itself, but had to rely on the Council and it's allies to do so for it.
- While I think that is the most logical explanation, it does pose the question why the First saw fit to kill off the only people who were able to locate the potentials, thus throwing yet another spanner in the works of its own plan. Seems pretty stupid to me, but then again, the First seems to have firmly grabbed the Idiot Ball at the start of season 7 and never let go of it again.
First Evil's First Mistake
- In "Conversations With Dead People", The First Evil uses the image of one-shot character Cassie to talk to Willow, claiming to have messages from Tara. Why Willow can't talk to Tara directly is Hand Waved early on, but we know that The First is lying at that point. So why can't it impersonate Tara? The First was only trying to mess with Willow's head after all, surely it would have been more successful if it did.
- The easiest explanation and one which explains pretty much all of The First's actions in season seven is that The First is simply a moron who wouldn't know what a good plan was even if it came and hit it on the head.
- The meta reason is that Amber Benson declined the offer, but in-universe, maybe because denying Willow the joy of seeing Tara again, and tying it to her being a murderer, was deliberately meant to add to her sense of despair: if it wanted Willow to kill herself, dangling the opportunity to see Tara again like a carrot on a stick must have seemed like a good strategy. And using someone Willow didn't really know gave the First more leeway to say things that Tara herself wouldn't say (that Willow eventually saw through it anyway shows how quickly the First might've blown it if it'd tried to impersonate Tara).
- Wouldn't the First's mistake be trying to get Willow to kill herself in the first place, Willow would have been a powerful ally, considering she turned the tide of the battle pretty much by herself it's safe to say she could have obliterated Buffy given the right motivation. I don't think The First really cares about Osiris' rules about natural death,and it's practically been in existence since the beginning of time so if there's a way to do it, The First knows. So wouldn't it have made more sense to tempt Willow with promises of bringing Tara back.
- All indications are that resurrection from a natural death is impossible. It's not just Osiris's rule, it's a static rule of the universe. Even if it were possible, the First would not be able to work it; the First doesn't really have any capacity for manipulating the world. All it really seems capable of doing is talking and that brief power-up merger with Caleb. On top of this, Willow's already learned her lesson about abusing dark magicks in response to Tara's death; she spent the entire summer getting a crash course on using magic responsibly, and at that point in time, is terrified of herself to the extent of being reluctant to work any magic at all. Any such temptation would fall on deaf ears and immediately raise Willow's guard against her. The window of opportunity for tempting Willow to commit terrible atrocities closed when Xander brought her down from her rampage.
- A really good Mind Screw would have the first appear to Willow as herself, she did technically die once, in the Halloween episode in Season 2, she dressed up as a ghost then when Ethan's spell went into effect Willow technically died and came back as a ghost. Considering at this point Willow probably hates herself as much as Faith hated herself, both sharing similar circumstances. The First probably has some really dark stuff to screw with Willow. Imagine the scene with Faith!Buffy beating the shit out of Buffy!Faith but with Willow not being able to do anything.
- Appearing to Willow as herself would immediately put her on her guard. Appearing as Cassie or, ideally if Amber Benson had been on board, Tara creates the impression that this is actually Tara, someone she loved, talking directly to her. This is an opening the First can twist to a variety of purposes. It's probably her best trick, playing the role of the ghost of a dead loved one to play on deep-rooted emotional weaknesses. Appearing as Willow herself would immediately set Willow to the question of, "What is this actually, because it is clearly not me." A defensive Willow isn't going to do anything the First wants her to do, because she's watchful and wary of the fact that she's being manipulated by what is blatantly a malicious entity of some manner, rather than opening herself up and taking everything that the person she loves says to heart.
What balance Between Good and Evil
- In "Conversations with Dead People" First!Cassie is found out by Willow to not be talking for Tara, then The First goes off on a rant about the mortal coil the Balance Between Good and Evil and vague threats of fates worse than death. Through out the series there isn't even an implied balance, 7 years hundreds of vampires and demons, one hell god,and the embodiment of Evil and through all that, one Slayer, technically 2 but that was through luck and one of them is in jail for a while. I mean when the First threw that line out there I was expecting some awesome climactic battle between First infused Caleb vs. The embodiment of all that is good infused Buffy, but no even after all the Slayers get activated it's still not exactly balanced, vampires get lucky, demons have comparable strength to a Slayer , plus there are Hell dimensions full of millions of demons, there was never anything close to balance of good and evil, if Evil wanted it would win in a heart beat. With the exception of the Divine snow storm that saved Angel in Season 3, the side of good gets pretty well and shafted on the whole help from above front. I mean if there is a "First Evil" shouldn't there have been an inverse "The First Good/Justice/Innocent" something like that.
- It gets a little annoying in the Season 8 comics where a lot of people bitch about how the balance got thrown all out of whack when Buffy decided that 1 vs 1 Million seemed like shitty odds, and even then made it 1500 vs 1 Million still shitty but better, but every one acted like trying to make it so the world isn't in fear of being exploded or taken over every year was a bad thing.
- We should remember that while there had been some close calls Buffy and the Slayers have managed to keep the world from ending for how many thousands of years against some pretty nasty threats. Acathla was killed by a knight. It took an army but the Judge went down. The good guys have been doing such a good job of defeating the forces of evil that the official stance from the good guys is to put on a charade so everyday people don't have to worry about these things instead of training them. Just on our world between the Watchers and the Initiative I think it's safe to say that with the possible exception of a true Demon we really aren't the dimension to mess with. Even in the case of a true Demon we never (in the show, haven't read much of the comics) see one to assess how tough it is by modern standards. Just because a volcano killed the last one five hundred years ago doesn't mean it could stand up to even a good rifle. It means early fire arms and melee weapons were insufficient. We know that the demons were DRIVEN from this dimension so either humans can hang with the big boys when push comes to shove or we had help from whatever forces of good exist. I would think that crosses working would hint that we have a protector even if he's more the "I gave you tools now deal with it" sort than the "I got your back" sort.
- We don't know if evil could win in a heartbeat if they wanted. For starters a lot of them have conflicting goals but putting that aside we don't know if there are millions of dimensions filled with demons. That's the assumption we make but how we know the dimension next door isn't filled with fluffy bunnies? We don't know what the average strength of a demon is either. If Buffy n Angel's average demon are the norm then let them come. We have guns. Pylea wasn't a particularly bad world. Quor-toth is said to be the worst place ever but an old man survives it, with an infant child, using nothing but his wits and a sixteen year old who's admittedly a good fighter (but shown to be inferior to Angel and Faith to give perspective) had an entire dimension trying to get away from him with his dart gun and wrist blades. Plus there are probably more good beings that we just don't see like the Guardian or Drogen the Battlebrand. I think it's more accurate to say that if good was half as proactive as evil in trying to wipe it's foe off the board it would do so with ease.
- We actually do know that the demons we have in Buffy's plane are a joke compared to demons from other planes. It's firmly established in the series mythology that true demons no longer exist in Buffy's world, and that the demons they have are all hybrids, infected with humanity to varying degrees. The only time we've ever seen a true demon on the series were the Mayor's Ascension, which was still stabilizing when Buffy killed it with enough explosives to destroy her entire school building. We've been told that a demon of comparable power to the Mayor's ascended form took a volcano to kill, and it's been alluded to just how powerful Illyria would be if she weren't confined to a mortal shell. In After the Fall, we got to see Illyria in her natural state, and nothing short of turning back the clock so it never happened could stop her. All in all, it's been demonstrated repeatedly that the only reason the forces of Good are so capable of handling the dangers in this world is because there are no real demons here, just their gimpy little cousins.
- We also know that humans with one Slayer drove demons from this plain into a combination of other realms and the Deeper Well. It took a volcano to kill the last demon on this plain but we don't have much scale to work from given modern weapons. A volcano would take out a tank and is just about the only "realistic" way a bunch of middle ages soldiers were gonna stop it but that's not because it takes a volcano to stop a tank. What has been demonstrated in the series is that humanity is sufficiently bad ass that not only are we holding off the forces of darkness, we're doing it so easily that we've decided to keep the average person out of the loop. Also as was pointed out above where are these real demons Anya told us about? I more inclined to believe that much like Angelus that super demons is just demon hype and was a rarity. I haven't read all the comics but honestly one talking T-Rex told me all I needed to know. Joss Whedon is brilliant but he needs a budget to keep him from going completely crazy.
- Illyria is the closest to a true Old One we have ever seen in the series, and she was unbeatable despite the fact that she was contained within a human body and not able to actually control all of her considerable power. Even in her human state, she took down Angel's entire crew simultaneously with her invulnerability and the fact that she could selectively alter the flow of time. In addition, it's stated that Old Ones like Illyria were so powerful as to exist outside the very notion of life and death; Illyria herself is stated to have had seven lives before the one she has now, and all it took was the simple release of her soul/spirit/demonic essence from its confinement for her to immediately latch onto the nearest living thing and will herself back into existence. At one point, the prospect of her meltdown is considered a threat to the entire continental shelf, and that's not even getting into the comics, or into Jasmine and the way she had the power to brainwash the world solely by existing. For as much as humans are able to hold back the half-breed demons that exist in their world, Old Ones like Illyria are in an entirely different league.
- Lindsay is the one who claimed that humans killed off the demons, but he is an unreliable source. Giles himself said that the demons 'lost their purchase on this world', which suggests that the demons just gradually faded away. Illyria implied that the reason the demons lost Earth was that they warred with each other so much, that they could no longer maintain viable numbers. Illyria also pretty clearly stated that she and the other demons did not consider humanity to be serious threat (calling us 'the muck that eats itself'). Given that, it's probable that while humans may have killed a few demons (The scythe was supposed to have been forged to kill the last true demon), they played little-to-no part in their ultimate fate.
- I think Grey Morality is responsible for that. For as much as Buffy likes to tout her Good v. Evil, the shows both go out of their way to blur that line. "Evil" in the Buffy universe by and large means "Regularly Kills or Harms Humans", while "Good" in the Buffy universe by and large means "Humans, except those that regularly kill or harm humans". With the revelation that even the Slayer is the result of human sorcery, and Angel's respective reveal of Jasmine as the Powers That Be that have been guiding Angel for so long, there doesn't really seem to be anything looking over humanity's shoulder that doesn't have an ulterior motive behind it. The series' philosophy seems to be that humanity is strong enough to stand against the forces of evil without divine influence holding their hand, and that any supernatural gift horse promising protection at no cost to you, ultimately comes with strings attached. It's effectively Cultural Humanism: The Series.
- I'm sure it was a conscious effort on the writers to never show a god looking over The Scoobies shoulder, because if it happens once then every Big Bad they face, the Scoobies are just going to wait and hope it happens again, and people get really pissed about Deus ex Machina But the implied for every dark there is supposed to be a light, makes it seem like light is just a lazy ass hole and dark is way more pro-active.
The First Evil - Using Buffy's Image
- Why didn't the First, which could appear as Buffy, try to get Buffy in trouble by using that? Get a minion to pretend to be a hostage threatened by "Buffy". Once the police catch up and can clearly see who's the hostage-taker, then leave and have the hostage say "she miraculously didn't get hit by your bullets, but I know where she lives".
- Since it is the First Evil, the most evil and powerful thing in the known Buffyverse, this troper is sure it had larger goals than that, such as world destruction.
- The First wanted, as part of its plan, to get rid of Buffy. Getting her put in jail would easily do so.
- A prison couldn't stop a slayer from busting out, which she would do if the world/her friends were in serious danger. See: Faith, that very season.
- By the end of season 7, the First had corrupted all the cops in Sunnydale anyway, so it didn't have to bother with such an elaborate plan. Besides, police going after the slayer wouldn't take her out of the picture, they would just slow her down a bit.
- In "Dirty Girls," Caleb mentions several times that he believes Buffy will lead the Potentials to their deaths. The First as Mayor Wilkins claims that The First, on some level, actually is the person it's impersonating. Because Buffy has died, The First can know her better than any other living opponent—At the very least, it likely has access to all of her thoughts and memories at the time of her death. The First now has intimate knowledge of Buffy, and the last thing it wants to kill or incapacitate a leader that it can easily manipulate (hence why both Caleb and the Turok-han spare Buffy's life when she's unconscious).
- Which is extremely stupid. The First Evil is as old as time itself. There is no possible reason, in any logic, that it would assume that a PTSD suffering, recovering from depression, stressed beyond reason Buffy would be anything like she was pre-resurrection.
- And on that note I have a pet theory that The First does use Buffy's image to get her into trouble. It's just a lot more subtle about it, going as far as messing with the audience by having us think it's Buffy, but it's really The First. Watch Get It Done, a lot of the way she acts is so nasty and out of character you have to wonder...
- Imagine if the Scoobie Gang was unable to know if they were ever truly speaking to Buffy without testing her for incorporeality — this was the potential of Season 7 in a nutshell! My guess is that The First just doesn't want to do this, it has its own game plan and the scope of that is beyond the viewers. All of Season 7 may have been just as it planned. Eternities to act, remember? The First could be considered The Chessmaster. If you read the Season 8 comics, you know that nothing achieved in the Final Battle actually turned out to be a good thing for our heroes...
- "Empty Places" in series 7 anyone? Buffy gets the Judas treatment from the entire group (bar Spike). What exactly had she done to deserve that? She has forgiven Willow and Faith for murder and trying to end the world. Forgiven Xander for all the snide comments about Spike and Angel not to mention his blatant lies to her about what Willow said about Angel back in Season 2. She put up with Giles going behind her back in an attempt to kill Spike and on top of that dumping the potentials on her most of whom turned out to be ungrateful whiners. Plus the final insult when Dawn throws her out of her own house, this being her own SISTER who had committed suicide to save her in the finale of season 5. What makes it worse is she was being blamed for things that were totally out of her control. She assaulted the vinyard with the potentials under advice from Robin Wood. She took exception to Faith taking the potentials out to the Bronze, an action which horribly exposed them to attack from the bringers and which Giles seems to have no problem with despite reprimanding Buffy about something virtually identical earlier in the season. Then when Buffy outlines a perfectly reasonable, if admittedly dangerous, plan to the team she is thrown out. If I had been Buffy I would have walked away from this bunch after the finale and never wanted to speak to any of them again. The entire supporting cast turned into total Jerkasses and if Joss meant us to feel any sympathy for them then I'm afraid he really got it wrong.
- Oh, I completely agree. I can't even watch that episode without getting pissed off.
- Personally I thought that Buffy was being a domineering bitch that was jumping into stupid plans out of fear of Caleb. Her last "plan" had gotten Molly killed, and many other girls injured. The next plan she suggested was exactly the same, yet she wasn't willing to listen to anyone else's suggestions. She needed a great big slice of humble pie.
- Not just Molly. Buffy's rushed plan got two girls killed and many injured. And Xander lost an eye... not that this stopped him from following her for the rest of his life (despite not wanting her to take the lead in that particular not-too-clear-minded moment).
- I didn't think the plan was too rushed. I thought it was quite clever. She left some of the weaker potentials at home under the protection of Willow. She split the team into two fairly even groups, both with their own Slayer's, and gave the advice to come in if it looks like an ambush. This was the most sensible thing she could have done given the resources.
- NEVER! SPLIT! THE GROUP! First off, dragging a bunch of glorified season 1 through 3 Xanders into battle is a horrible plan made of badness. He was a big enough liability back then. An army of them is just asking to die. Buffy's an idiot, because she seems to forget that, unless activated, a potential is a normal human. Remind me what is the worst thing to put in the path of super-strong monsters? A teenage girl? Yep! Training or no, they're normal humans. Even Xander's better equipped to fight them, because he's ripped. They're not. Secondly, you know what's better than one Slayer? Two Slayers. Two Slayers can get so much more done together than one Slayer on their own, especially when they're both on babysitting duty. You know what Buffy's plan was? A Zerg Rush. A shitty Zerg Rush, because she made both groups half sized. Oh, and leaving your biggest gun at home. That's even dumber. The group was split into three, left the big guns at home, and had the smaller big guns separated. Buffy should never be allowed to plan anything. I wouldn't trust her to plan a wedding, let alone a battle.
- It wasn't so much a Zerg Rush as it was a field exercise with a certain amount of risk. She hadn't met Caleb yet prior to this fight, Buffy thought she was going to be fighting a bunch of Bringers who are not super powered monsters. She figured, and based on her record with only a handful (The Judge, Glory, Adam the only ones that come to mind) that she couldn't fight at the very least to a standstill, that this wasn't a particularly dangerous situation. If she'd had any clue how strong Caleb was she would likely have taken Willow, Spike and Faith and left everybody else at home. That's not so much piss poor planning as it is unforseen elements. Buffy is not particularly bright, I think most of us can agree on that, but this plan isn't her being stupid. Cocky? Maybe. But seven successful years as the slayer and you've earned the right to think you're that damn good.
- One point at a time. First, Giles tried to kill Spike because SPIKE WAS A DANGER TO THEM ALL. He had a trigger in his head that overrode his soul, and his chip, and made him kill people. Willow and Giles tried to remove the trigger, but Spike didn't cooperate and Buffy WOULD NOT LET THEM. She WILLINGLY left a dangerous, unpredictable vampire, who had previously tried to RAPE HER, off his leash. That was STUPID. Spike, at that moment, had to be neutralized, and if the trigger could not be removed, then they had to take Spike out. Buffy later claims that SHE could not trust THEM! The woman who allowed an unpredictable vampire to have free reign and possibly MURDER THEM ALL couldn't trust them. Yeah. Buffy was an idiot. Second, they didn't throw her out. She LEFT HERSELF. She led them into a trap, several people got killed, Xander lost an eye. And what is her brilliant strategy? She wanted to go right back into that situation. The Scoobies, quite justifiably, said no. They told her they wanted her to back off. Try to come up with a better strategy. Maybe let someone else handle the whole strategy thing for a while. Buffy said no. Her entire attitude was 'We do this MY way. I'm the Slayer. I'm better than you. You do what I tell you to." She quite clearly said, in no uncertain terms, that she wasn't going to stay there if she couldn't be the one in charge. They weren't going to play the game Buffy wanted to play, so she was going to take her ball and go away. Dawn CALLED HER BLUFF. She put them in the position of either allowing her to boss them around, or she wasn't going to be there. So, she left. It was clearly stated by three different people, including Buffy herself, that she had a superiority complex. She felt herself above all of them, better that them. Because she was the Slayer. And she was acting like she had been handed the authority to lead from God Himself. The people who had her back, who kept her alive for SEVEN YEARS, did not matter to her. Willow. Giles. Anya. Xander. Her own sister. They were all beneath her in her mind, unworthy of her respect. Their opinions didn't matter. The only one she treated as an equal, with any respect at all, was the previously mentioned unstable vampire who not a year earlier had tried to rape her. When Buffy came back, she came back humbled. For the first time since her return to life, she listened to them. She took their opinions into account, and she actually treated them with respect, as her equals, as her FRIENDS again. The events of 'Empty Places' served to deflate her ego, and bring back to pre-season 6 Buffy Summers that was so effective.
- Seconded. This was my favourite episode of the season. I lost patience with Buffy's self-righteous attitude fast, and found her crash to earth very satisfying. She didn't get kicked out of the house because her plans were no good; she got kicked out of the house because she openly stated that if she wasn't allowed to be in charge, then she wasn't going to play. That was horribly irresponsible and childish of her, especially since she had been a terrible leader thus far that season. It's not just that a few of the girls died on her watch; it was a war, I could accept that casualties are not completely avoidable. What annoys me is that that she decided halfway through the season that they were all doomed and as a result gave up on training them (and no, Buffy wandering around feeling hard-done-by while one of the potentials plays drill-sergeant does not count.) I'm annoyed that she made no attempt to become familiar with the girls or their individual strengths and weaknesses, so as to make good use of their abilities - Faith's comment about learning their names comes to mind. I'm annoyed that she carelessly tore down their morale because she was stressed out. Those are all understandable behaviours, given the pressure she was under - but they make her a crappy leader. Faith, by contrast, won the girls' loyalty in what, a month? She had some idea of who they are and familiarity with their individual talents, despite having arrived only relatively recently, and she showed confidence in their abilities, while still being there to back them up. To all appearances she's a brilliant natural leader, at least once she does her stint of pennance, so Buffy's insistence that no one else could possibly lead them is totally unwarranted, in fact laughable. Buffy's refusal to do the job she was good at (fighting) because she wasn't being allowed to do a job she was terrible at does not get her any sympathy from me.
- Yes. Look at the previous seasons, especially 3-5, and how does Buffy handle the Big Bad? She talked to the Scoobies, listens to their input and advice, and with their help, develops a plan that utilizes each members individuals talents and strengths. Glory in season 5 is a perfect example. Each member contributed to the the final battle. Willow's magical talent and her her technological skills, Anya's suggestion of the Dagon's Sphere and Olaf's hammer, Xander with a wrecking ball and his idea of using the Buffybot. It resulted in a very efficient and impressive battle that took out Glory rather quickly. Seasons 3 & 4 showed Buffy displaying a similar level of strategic thinking and skill. That all disappeared in season 7, during which Buffy acted as a dictator, expecting everyone to immediately fall in line and do what she said without complaint, and she refused to listen or take input. Hence leading to one disaster after another. The final idea, to utilize Willow's magic to activate all the Slayers, came only after her exile and return. She had been humbled, her ego deflated, and again started listening to her friends and as before. As before, victory only came because she worked with other people and formulated an idea that, again, best utilized their individual talents. That was the whole point. She had to get rid of her ego, her feelings of superiority, in order to defeat the First.
- Yes indeed, look at the previous seasons. There's a reason that this season is listed under Seasonal Rot on the main page, and Character Derailment is a big part of it.
- Why does everyone say that Buffy got "kicked out of the house"? Dawn actually says to Buffy "Look, I love you, but you can't be a part of this… I'm sorry. It's my house, too. Either you let Faith handle things... or you have to leave." Dawn is not trying to kick Buffy out of the house, she's trying to get Buffy to back down and let Faith "handle things". The Scoobies aren't "uniting to kick her out" as so many fanfiction authors say, but trying to stand behind Dawn in order to get Buffy to back down and let Faith take charge, to get Buffy to let someone else run the show. In the episode Dawn clearly wants Buffy to stay, but Buffy's not responding to reason so Dawn tries to threaten Buffy with something she knew hurt Buffy in the past (getting kicked out at the end of Season 2) in hopes that Buffy won't want to live like that again, and will give in. Dawn just massively underestimates how far beyond reason Buffy is at this point.
- It bothers me that Dawn is acting like "it's her house, too" is any real standing. It's like if Buffy had tried to kick her mother out at some point since it was her house, too. Even if Joyce left it to them both jointly, Dawn if at most seventeen at this point and probably sixteen. She has no legal standing. It's Buffy's house period as long as Dawn's a minor.
- The law had long since abandoned Sunnydale by the point of that conversation. Dawn may not have had a legal foot to step on but she did have a legit vote, especially considering that the potentials were being treated as if they had a say in the situation right then.
Where Did the Magic Box Go?
- Why did they stop using the Magic Box in S7? I know the in-story reason, because Dark Willow destroyed it at the end of S6, but what was the writers' reason for keeping it destroyed and not using it in S7? Because losing that set meant that the new "meeting place" became the Summers House, and as the main character and pretty much every other character was living there at that point, it meant that almost every single scene was set in that house, which made the whole season feel static and claustrophobic. Half-way through the season, many fans were screaming for them to get out of the damn house. Why wasn't the Magic Box kept as the meeting place, therefore diversifying the sets a little bit?
- Maybe it was a Rule of Three sort of thing, and the spot where they met had to be destroyed once in every three years. Maybe something else would've been destroyed in season 9 or something.
- But they'd only had the Magic Box set for two seasons.
- They couldn't justify still having it. In season six Anya became the sole owner, and after becoming a vengeance demon again she didn't need it anymore. Because of this, after Willow destroyed it it wouldn't have made sense for her to keep it.
- Besides, it SHOULD feel static and claustrophobic in S7. That's part of the idea, with all the Potentials and the Scoobies crammed inside the one little house, it SHOULD feel cramped and unwieldy.
- Pretty much. As soon as the First was in the picture, the Scoobies were meant to be acting as if they were under siege, at the very least metaphorically, and building an army. So they need one HQ for their army and to act as a (very ineffective) safehouse. Andrew even draws it as a castle.
- Also, they probably couldn't write in a justification for rebuilding it. Rebuilding it would require money. Anya doesn't seem the type to shell out a lot of money to rebuild the store. And Giles had his own life to live in England.
Touching Giles (not like that)
- Also in Season 7, the beloved Giles returns and nobody gives him a hug? I was at least hoping for a handwave of the Big Bad saying 'I crafted a low level spell just to screw with your minds; I was bored'. But nothing.
- That was intentional. By not having him touch anyone for 'weeks' without making it too obtrusive, the audience could be kept guessing whether or not he had, in fact, survived the seemingly unsurvivable attack at the end of "Sleeper".
- That's exactly the problem with that Mind Screw—it didn't make any sense. Giles should have been touching people all the time. The only reason for him not to do other than actually being the First (which has its own problems) is that he read the script.
- The people who thought he was the First were Andrew, Anya, Xander and Dawn. He might have come into contact with Buffy, the Potentials and Willow, but they were all otherwise involved when the call came. Hell, he might have touched one of the others, but they just didn't remember, being too worked up by the idea that he might be the First.
- Buffy attempts to hug him when he arrives in "Bring on the Night", but the Potentials get in the way.
- Unfortunately the ambiguity of whether Giles is The First or not is pretty much ruined when Anya can be seen clearly grabbing his arm as they return through a portal after seeing the Baljoxis Eye in Showtime.
- (sorry for the wall of text, I don't know how to split paragraphs under bullets) I'll admit to only just starting to watch Buffy this year (I was aware of it years ago, just never watched it), and I've been on one hell of an Archive Binge the last 3 weeks (thank you Netflix instant streaming), but one theme I've noticed over the seasons is distance. The whole gang started out in season 1 being very physically near each other (hugs, arms thrown over each other, etc) in addition to emotionally (they definitely talked things out between much more in the early seasons). As is often the case in real life, things started drifting apart as time went on. This was given a mention, possibly foreshadowing, as early as the season 3(?) ep just after Willow and Xander got caught making out. Both are in the Bronze, trying to act like normal, when Xander takes Willow's hand in emphasis. Willow immediately pulls away and chides Xander while he complains that they used to do things like that all the time. The entirety of season 4 had the increasing distance between old friends as one of the major themes. This is also when the gang really starts hiding things from each other (though Buffy herself may have started that with the whole Angel hiding thing. My internal time line is a little confused since I've seen nearly 100 episodes since then). We see examples like Willow hiding Tara, Oz hiding that werewolf singer, and Xander hiding his ambition insecurities. I think Giles being cut off from his Watcher resources probably fits in here too. This particular case comes to a head when Spike plays their insecurities off each other. Unfortunately, the single revelation that they'd been hiding from each other wasn't enough to keep them from continuing down that path in the future. Remember each of the dreams in Restless at least touched on the distance/hiding thing. (The issue is given another big nod in the season 5 ep The Body, where the concept of negative space (the area around and between the subjects of an image) is both named and shot. We got a lot of overhead shots in that episode of characters standing apart, signaling the increasing distance between them. After Buffy gets pulled back to life in season 6, we move to a seasonal theme of isolation, and the entire gang continues their trend of talking less and less about and to each other. This season brings such events as Giles leaving, Buffy completely withdrawing inward, Xander and Anya having a terrible breakup through their lack of communication, Dawn feeling completely abandoned by no less than 3 parental figures (continuing from season 5, obviously, with her mom, Buffy, and Tara) and Willow losing herself to her magic (which I firmly believe came primarily from a place of isolation and lack of communication, like is often the case in real life, but that's another thesis). Most characters have started to respond that nothing's wrong in the increasingly rare cases they're asked. Throughout all this, even when the gang is together, nobody seems to want to be hanging over each other like they used to. Even the hugs when Giles comes back seem hesitant at best. True, they finally got some cellphones in season 7 (a symbolic gesture perhaps?), but how often did they actually work like they were intended? Feelings of isolation, despair, and betrayal continue to deepen for each of the characters as the season goes on. It's entirely plausible to me that none of the involved characters had actually touched Giles since he'd returned this time; they'd all been deeply emotionally scarred from recent events and were likely feeling incredibly abandoned, hurt, and unable to fully trust anyone around them. To sum up: overall physical interactions between characters in the show had been declining from its peak around season 2. (parenthetical statement)
- Yeah drifting apart like that is very natural as you finish high-school and move into college. Especially since it was over this time that a heap of new characters came in/ became prominent - Tara, Anya, Riley. The gang just all had there own things going and drifted apart quite a bit in s4. Then in s6/7; Buffy's affection for Spike created a big divide between her and her friends aswell. All through s6 she went to him when she couldn't talk about stuff with her friends because she was going through a dark time, and didn't want her friends to see that side of her. But turning to Spike all the time like she did kind of drew her further in to her little self-destructive bubble. (Lol this is going pretty OT). What I actually was going to say before I digressed... I loved that red-herring with Giles, made me laugh, since earlier in the season I had wondered why he'd gotten so bloody lazy; he'ld always be having the potentials carry his books around, or he'ld boss them around and tell them to grab that notebook so-and-so left behind. I thought he was being a bit of a pompous ass treating them like his slaves. XD
- The above essay on drifting apart is spectacular. After high school, it's very easy for friends to fall apart. They go their separate paths; Buffy and Willow stayed tight in college, Xander started trying to get a job and was no longer someone who could just be there at school every day, and Giles was now unemployed and only saw the group when they dropped by his house (symbolic of leaving your parental figure when you get out into the world). The simple act of being an adult pulled everyone in different directions, to the point that it took a conscious effort to stay friends. Secrets and conversations they would have confided in each other are now being shared with their respective lovers instead; newcomers to the group that nobody really knows or is particularly comfortable with initially, except the one member saying "This is my boy/girlfriend, he/she is part of the team now." For Xander, this is Anya, who took two years to really gain approval in the group. For Willow, it's Tara, who became familiar enough to be considered a friend, but nobody but Willow ever really "got" her. For Buffy, it was Riley, who actually did click with the group right off the bat, and later Spike, who was never popular with anyone except Buffy herself. They naturally gravitate towards their lovers over their friends, and their connection is irrepairably damaged for it. Xander leaves Anya at the altar over insecurities that, four years ago, he would have sat up with Buffy and Willow to talk about, and they would have talked reassured him that he could do this because they knew him better than anyone. Willow loses Tara and, instead of spending a couple days crying into a bucket of ice cream while Xander and Buffy comfort her, goes into straight, "I've lost everything that matters, rocks fall, everyone dies," mode. And when tensions over Spike get ugly, Buffy goes a bit over the edge making the point clear, "Spike is part of the group, and if anyone has a problem with it, bite me."
- Aside from Giles supposedly never touching anyone, no one ever witnessed him eating, getting something to drink, answering a phone, tripping over/picking up something someone had tossed on the floor, pulling out a chair or moving something on a couch to sit down, using the door to enter or exit the loo? No one saw him reading a book or doing research on a computer? I'd think people would start to notice a few of those things, especially the last two, fairly quickly.
- It's not entirely clear how perfect the First is at illusion making other than being able to take the shape of any dead person, it wouldn't shock me to find out that it can manifest books and images on a computer screen, nothing you could touch but I see you flipping through a book or sitting at the computer on Demonwiki I'm not going to double check, at least not until we get to the point of paranoia where where we just keep tennis balls around and play catch before every conversation and quite possibly during. The same goes for eating, there is no proof the first can't conjure up a fake apple and happily munch away.
Scythe Or Axe
- Why is the weapon obtained in season seven refered to as a scythe? It's not remotely scythe like. I don't know what would be a more accurate name but it's definitely not a scythe.
- It's a war scythe. The handle is a bit shorter than normal though. I suppose you could call it an axe.
- It's not a war scythe either. A war scythe is like a pike with a long blade instead of a spike. The scythe in BtVS is more like a Bardiche.
- Isn't the weapon in question older then recorded history? Maybe it preceeded the wordage, like the theory that the assistants for the Fowl family generated the meaning for 'butler'.
- Not quite - it was forged in ancient Egypt. As it is effectively unique, they really ought to just come up with a name of their own for it. Maybe "sineya" after the First Slayer?
- Actually, The Scythe most closely resembles a lochaber axe◊, a weapon used in the Scottish Highlands around the 12th century, related closely to the Bardiche and more distantly to... the scythe. Historians believe the lochaber axe may have been used both in war and in farming, being used to reap crops much like a scythe. So besides being a symbolic name (death carries a scythe), to a manner of thinking the Slayers' weapon is being correctly identified by its function.
Ms Kitty Fantastico
- Willow and Tara had a kitten. What the hell happened to it? It just disappeared.
- Dawn has a line sometime late in Season 7 about how she doesn't leave crossbows lying around "since that time with Miss Kitty Fantastico."
- Miss Kitty Fantastico lived with Tara in her dorm room, and the last time we saw it, Glory had just ripped the wall open. Maybe Miss Kitty was killed then, or just wandered off when no one came by to feed her for a few days.
- This only suggests a more vexing question: if Miss Kitty Fantastico is dead, why is it that The First never took on her appearance to torment Willow/Dawn/Andrew?
- I agree that Dawn messed up and accidentally shot the cat.
What was Caleb?
- What exactly was Caleb? Were we ever told? Demon? Some insanely superpowered person? Something else entirely?
- Apparently just some serial killer that the First imbued with portions of its power.
- He was Nathan Fillion. No other explanation is needed to explain his godly super strength, it's a byproduct of being Nathan Fillion.
- Caleb wears a dog collar. He is a Roman Catholic priest. He rapes children. That's logical, Captain.
- He was what the first response said he was. He was just a murderer The First gave some power to.
Caleb And The Scythe
- Why the heck did Caleb dig that Slayer weapon scythe out in the first place? Why the hell didn't he just leave it embedded deep in the rock where Buffy had no idea of its existence? For that matter, why didn't he just blow up the Summers house just like the Watcher's Council?
- Because a) She's Buffy. She'd find out about it somehow, and b) He' a twisted psychopath. He wanted to play with his food before he ate it.
- And why does Caleb lure Buffy into the very place where the Scythe was buried and not any random house anyway?
- This troper thought it was all part of some plan? 1: Dig up the weapon. 2: Mock the slayers loneliness. 3: Watch as slayer makes an army of X Slayers. 4: Cackle as the new army of slayers trashes the rule of one good and proper, leaving the world without slayers for X generations and ensuring the rule of the First in a couple generations time.
- Buffy went a good seven years without ever knowing it was there, or even that it existed in the first place. It's a fair assumption that if Caleb hadn't dug it up, she would have continued on not knowing it was there or even existed.
- She also didn't need it for those seven years. Those Who Watch the Watchers would have brought the Slayer to the Scyth when the time was right.
- Also, how in the world could Buffy come up with the turn-potentials-into-slayers plan in the series finale? How could she know that the scythe had that kind of power?
- She felt it, remember?
- Excellent question. I would add one more - how did Willow manage to power the Potentials anyway? She just channeled some random magical energy into the Scythe and its magical AI did the work? Lucky for her that the Scythe did exactly what they wanted except for something completely random...
- A Wizard Did It.
- Twasn't the Scythe. It was Willow. My take, backed up by what Buffy herself said, (that Willow had more power than all the Shadow Men put together) was that it was Willow's magic that activated the Slayers. She just used the magic in the Scythe, which was already linked to the Slayer being as it was forged for her, as a conduit to enable the spell. As to how Willow powered it, well she had been clearly established as being one of the most powerful beings on the planet by that point, one who had previously, in a moment of grief, nearly succeeded in ending the world with one spell. Frankly, activating the Slayers would have been easy compared to that.
- At one point though Willow says that using the scythe/ax to activate the slayers was way beyond anything she ever tried before, I mean Angel got as close to ending the world as Willow did. One theory that just sort of popped in my head because of the above troper's point is that maybe Willow is a descendant of a Guardian . It would have been a nice if somewhat easily convenient explanation as to how she is ridiculously inherently powerful, how she even knew where to begin with activating all the slayers, and how she is apparently immortal given the future arc in Season 8.
- Caleb was going to try and use it. This is why he taunted Buffy by claiming he could kill her before she dislodged it from the rock; he had tried to get it out already.
Fighting the Ubervamps
- Much as I enjoyed the season finale, the plan had gaping Fridge Logic holes a mile wide. When the first ubervamp appears, fighting him is a huge deal. Buffy, a Slayer with seven years of intense experience, barely manages to defeat him. So...
- Fan interpretation: The one that escaped had a chance to feed and so was at full strength because of it. The thousands under the seal presumably had not fed in quite sometime and were thus likely to be weakened because of hunger. Not an official explanation but it makes sense, given what we know.
- Let's take about thirty newly-empowered slayers and pit them against a horde of thousands of ubervamps. That means that the brand-new slayers are probably going to need to take out, on average, a hundred or more ubervamps each. In one fight. Did they know that Spike would be able to pull his Tanning Bed of Doom routine, or were the likes of Giles and Willow unable to perform basic math?
- Not to mention, the complete lack of anything resembling tactics in their battle. It was "just everybody go down there and do your own thing". And for that matter, all the newly activated Slayers have no experience utilizing their new super strength. Given that the Slayers themselves opened the seal to go down and fight the Turok-Han, why not have Willow activate them beforehand and spend a little time practicing with those new abilities before starting the final battle?
- Wait. What if some of the ubervamps get past thirty armed slayers and head for the sewers? I know! Let's have teams of two non-superpowered humans guarding the exits! It totally makes sense that Anya and Andrew could hold off five or six of these monsters! This is a much better idea than, say, having Xander and company blow holes in the roof, leaving the vamps trapped until sundown, and having the normals outside with crossbows as an extra precaution.
- Or, better yet, open the Seal of Danzalthaar, wait for the Ubervamps to try and get out and dust them easily when the three tops that can get out at a time are too preoccupied with trying to claw their way up out of the ground to adequately defend themselves.
- The whole defense plan with the non-powered Scoobies is pretty misguided even by taking a short look at the basic pair-ups. Giles and Robin (experienced watcher with years of training and demon hunter with years of training), Xander and Dawn (7 years of experience demon fighting/imbued with military training and sister of the Slayer who has been personally trained by her), and then Anya and Andrew (ex-demon who's never been shown as a competent fighter without her powers and the most incompetent fighter since Wesley in season 3). Obviously one or both of the Anya/Andrew camp would die, the others at least stood somewhat of a chance.
- Joss has actually acknowledged this and openly states that he weakened the other ones. "They couldn't all be as strong as the first one". Though, if you want an in-universe explanation, I guess you could say the First gave the first ubvervamp a power-up of sorts to make it more powerful. The First couldn't power up the entire army, so there you go.
- Alternately, the first ubervamp was the strongest of the ubervamps under the hellmouth, either a chosen champion, or just the one able to beat up all the others and get to the seal before they did.
First Evil: Dead, Still Around, in Mexico?
Did it ever actually die? Because all that did happen was that its plan was foiled. Is it still out there, doing evil, or did it lose a lot of power? How is it with this thing? Or did they just quietly ignore that fact in light of that they could do nothing about it? Ipood
- The First is evil itself. It cannot die. But, it's probably too embarrassed to show its face so soon after losing an army of ubervamps and a Hellmouth's worth of future evil in one fell swoop to a small group of mortals and a half demon wearing jewelry.
- As meta answers go, the writers probably aren't in a hurry to return to the concept very soon in the comics, but it's a hanging plot thread.
- The First can't be killed, but it also can't do anything on its own other than appear as an intangible image of dead people. With all of its followers wiped out, it's pretty much rendered irrelevant.
Spike vs Robin
- Why did Buffy - actually, why did anyone - take Spike's side over Robin's? Spike killed Robin's mother and tore her coat off her dead body. Yes, S7 Spike had a soul, but he didn't show it in any way. He was still willing to kill, still actually killing, and he was a danger to the whole group the moment Buffy took out his chip and let him run free. For the safety of the group Spike had to be killed, not just for personal revenge! And as for Buffy's argument that Spike was good now - he revealed he didn't regret killing Robin's mother, taunted him about how his dead mother never loved him, and then casually put back on the coat he stole from her corpse. When compared to Angel's actions with people he wronged as Angelus, this is even more obviously wrong and cruel. The other argument - that Spike is the best fighter, and necessary - is also proven wrong. Spike doesn't do anything spectacularly useful for the rest of the season, at least nothing crucial, apart from in the last fight when Angel's medallion saved everyone - and if Spike hadn't been there, Angel would have worn it, resulting in the exact same plot except that Buffy wouldn't have acted like a spoiled thirteen-year-old with a crush. The fact is, they should have killed Spike years before. Buffy choosing Spike over both Robin and Giles, who are good fighters and moreover good people, seems clearly wrong. So why does the show seem to imply that she's in the right?
- Buffy is certainly very biased in Spike's favor in season seven, and there are numerous examples of that. But with regards to this particular incident, Buffy took Spike's side over Robin's and Giles's because Robin and Giles were the instigators. If Spike went off half-cocked to murder one or both of them in secret, she would have gone off on him the same way she did on them. Robin Wood and Giles behind Buffy's back and deliberately activated Spike's trigger (endangering not just himself, but anyone else that Spike may have killed if Robin had failed in his plan) in an attempt to murder him as an act of petty vengeance. Spike taunted Wood about his mom, yes...while Wood was trying to kill him in cold blood, hardly a good time to expect Spike to be sympathetic to Wood's situation. In this situation, Buffy is in the right because her people can't be undermining her authority to try and murder each other when they need to be presenting a unified front, and in a war zone, if ANYONE in the unit thinks their own agenda is more important than the cause they're fighting for, then they are a threat to the group as a whole, regardless of how justified their reasoning may or may not be.
- The truth is by this point Buffy "loved" or was at least strongly emotionally attached to Spike and likely would have sided with him in even more irrational situations. However he IS the most effective non-slayer, just because he didn't get to shine in season 7 doesn't take away from six other seasons of proven inteligence and loyalty (though obviously not always to Buffy). There also a number of situations that Spike would prove uniquely good in should they come to pass. He can take a bullet for example or in general more abuse than even the slayers. Considering how odd things are with souls in general and with Spike in particular (Angel holds very little in common with Angelus, you could visually pick them apart. Spike with or without a soul is Spike sans a few crazy weeks in the basement)I don't really buy the whole this wasn't the same Spike who killed Nikki argument. He is or close enough and he really doesn't feel bad about it.
- The reason Spike with a soul isn't that different from Spike without is that William as a vampire wasn't very different from William with a soul; whereas Liam changed dramatically when he turned into Angelus, Spike as a fledgeling vampire was still a romantic poet worrying about his mother. His transformation into Spike the badass punk-rock vampire came more from his mother turning on him and his experiences with Angelus and the gang. But even souled Spike made a valid point about Wood's mother: she was a slayer. There's a war between slayers and vampires, she went out and killed vampires every night, and he was just the lucky vampire who survived by killing her instead. Souled Spike does feel horribly guilty for most of his vampiric crimes, as we later see in "Hellbound" and especially "Damage," but he doesn't seem to count the two slayers he killed on the same level, much the same way as a soldier who'd feel guilty about killing innocent civilians wouldn't feel the same about killing an enemy soldier during a firefight. Spike was brutally undiplomatic in how he phrased all this, but, as said, Wood was in the middle of betraying and trying to kill him.
- And Spike really WAS good now. Every single killing that he did after getting his soul was under the effects of the First using his trigger, he wasn't responsible for his actions. The fact that he had a soul now certainly was relevant, he was a very different person when he killed Nikki Wood. He taunted Robin because, as the above troper mentioned, Robin was trying to kill him and was actively trying to use the trigger on Spike. Can't blame Spike for getting a bit snarky. In fact, the fact that Spike did NOT kill Robin, sparing his life, shows that Spike really was a good guy in the end. A Nd of course, they're fighting a war, personal vendettas have no place. Robin had every right to be upset and angry with Spike, but in the end, the Spike that killed his mother wasn't the Spike that he was now on a team with.
- Spike's actions did make a big difference, just not in that season. Wolfram & Hart made a deal with Angel that had him as head of the L.A. branch, a deal that included the amulet. But as Angel observed later, they expected him to use the amulet, not Spike. So the Senior Partners were actually planning on Angel getting trapped inside the amulet before he could even so much as step into his new office. Why? They never directly said, but it's not hard to imagine the possibilities. At best, an extraction team digs the amulet up and they stick it on a shelf labelled "do not open until the apocalypse." At worst, they know a way to release him from it sans soul and now they have Angelus running the branch. Spike screwed all that up when he took on the role instead, which is presumably why Lindsey was the one who had to go dig up the amulet. Whatever the Senior Partners were planning for Angel, Spike derailed it so thoroughly that they called it a wash and just left the amulet buried in Sunnydale. Had Wood killed Spike, they might have stopped the First only to face an even worse threat from W&H just a few weeks later.
- Spike may have been genuinely good, but he also had a trigger in his head that overrode his soul, and forced him to kill people. As such, as long as that trigger remained, he was still a danger to the Scoobies and the Potentials, and hence a potential threat that needed to be neutralized, one way or another. Robin and Giles were right in that instance. Furthermore, 'Kill Spike' was plan 'B'. Plan 'A' was the removal of the trigger, which failed because Spike not only did not cooperate, but actively RESISTED it, causing him pain. At that point, Buffy made them stop and release Spike. Yes. Buffy endangered the life of her friends and all the people under her command, just to save her boyfriend from a little discomfort. From that moment forwards, any lives Spike took would be Buffy's fault, their blood would be on her hands. And then, the woman who allowed said unpredictable vampire to be off his leash had the audacity to claim she couldn't trust Giles, the one who was actually trying to remove a potential threat to the world. Yeah. I have a hard time sympathizing with Buffy here. She was, quite simply, an idiot who was endangering the world because she wanted to act like an infatuated 13 year old. Spike may have been strong, and a good fighter, but that didn't outweigh the potential threat he posed due to his trigger, nor justify Buffy's refusal to acknowledge that very threat.
- A few problems with this. First Spike is still a very valuble and proven resource trigger or no. Nobody else there can take a bullet, nobody else (Faith hasn't shown up yet) is remotely on par with Buffy. (We can debate I have the power but won't use it Willow later if you like.) He's important. His value far outweighs him maybe going nuts especially considering the potentials were literally useless until the last bit of the last episode. They were the equivalent of twenty lottery tickets to Spike's actual fifty dollar bill. The second problem with is that Buffy had assumed control. Military structures need a leader, if you want to say (as they did eventually) that Buffy was simply unfit to rule (a debatable point but one that honestly I would tend to support. Giles has far more wisdom and tactical inteligence being the best fighter doesn't make you the best general) that's one thing. However once the general lays down orders you shut up and follow. Even under the "it's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" rule I think it's safe to say that killing Spike should have been on the assume Buffy doesn't want unlike say bringing Faith where I assume there was some behind closed doors talk between Buffy and Willow that went a bit like this. Buffy: You brought that crazy bitch here? Willow: Uh. . .two slayers are better than one. If you wanna send her away. Buffy: Ugg. . .fine. Next time ask first.
- Again, Spike's skills do not outweigh the very real threat he posed due to his trigger. And that threat was not simply to the Potentials, but to the world at large. And the fact that he posed a very real danger to the Potentials is enough of a reason to neutralize him as a threat. The First Evil wasn't doing what it did for shits and giggles. It had a very real plan: The exterminate the Slayer line, and make sure their could be no more Slayers. As far as the Scoobies knew at that moment, the Potentials under their care were the last ones remaining, the very last of the Slayer line. And Buffy was willing to let the First have an agent with which to get to those very people she was supposed to be protecting. Between that and her numerous botched battles, Buffy was doing a damn good job of wiping out the Slayer line all by herself. The First didn't need to really do anything else. Furthermore, if a general is reckless, and endangers their own people through their blindness to threats, the way Buffy did with Spike, then the men under their command will usually remove said reckless leader FROM command, for the good of the unit. Usually by making sure they meet with an 'accident'. Fragging is very common in the military in situations just like that. As Anya said, Spike had a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card with Buffy that no one else had. She had clearly demonstrated that she was BLIND to the danger Spike posed, and she was too self-absorbed and arrogant to listen when they tried to make her realize that (it was canon that she had a superiority complex), and refused to listen to anyone's opinion but Spike's. Those simple facts meant that Giles and Robin had simply NO OTHER CHOICE but to take Spike out. They, unlike her, were not blind to the danger, were not acting, as the troper who started this question said, like a 13 year old girl with a crush. They saw a very real and very serious threat to their cause, and a 'leader' who was not only unwilling to do anything about that threat, but was, probably willingly, blind to it. As such, they tried to do what they HAD to do under the circumstances. To do anything else would be to leave said threat free to do whatever it wanted. Which was not acceptable.
- Spike did not have a "get out of jail free card" no matter what the series might claim to the contrary. At least not in a world where Angel went bad and was instantly forgiven (despite being insane and feral) Anya entered the group pretty much right after summoning vampire Willow and is only ostracized from the group when she returns to vengence (it takes a pretty big blind spot to think that in the time between being left at the alter and getting her powers back that Buffy's response to you're a demon again is pretty much "shrug", it's not until she kills an entire fraternity that she makes it a point to go after her. She gets forgiven immediately for that too) Faith tried to kill her, tried to kill her boyfriend, tried to steal her body, Willow tried to destroy the entire world. I'd say everybody on the show pretty much has a get out of jail free card that's pretty constantly in effect. Also it's not a superiority complex if you actually are superior and the very fate of this dimension has hung on your shoulders for eight years and while there've been some close calls it's worked out. Robin was being vengeful, plain and simple. Giles was being pragmatic. It's not necessarily bad but lets stop pretending he Buffy was being entirely irrational and he was this shining beacon of all that is good. If you remember the conversation Buffy and Giles were having he was pretty much advocating cutting the knot. He more or less blatantly says that when Glory was around they should have taken the only sure route to stop her from opening the gates and simply killed Dawn and been done with it.
- No, it IS a superiority complex when you BELIEVE yourself superior while you are not. Faith was equally as strong as Buffy, Giles was smarter, with more resources and more experience, Willow was the most powerful individual among them (something Buffy herself acknowledged in season 5), all all three showed themselves to be better leaders than Buffy. Anya had a thousand years worth of experience as a demon, and was probably more knowledgeable about demons than even Giles. There is a difference between recognizing that you have certain skills and advantages over other people, and believing those advantages translate into having been given authority to lead from God Himself. Buffy fell into the latter camp, showing clearly that she was unwilling to listen to or take advice from anyone else, treating everyone else like inferiors and expecting to just fall in line and do whatever she said without question. It was that very attitude that made her unwilling to listen to reason when it came to Spike, made her refuse to acknowledge the threat his trigger posed, and caused her to allow Spike to run around unrestricted. And yes, he DID have a 'Get out of Jail Free' card with Spike. When Anya killed the frat boys, Buffy couldn't WAIT to go after her. She tried to straight up murder Faith for poisoning Angel, and later chased Faith down to L.A. on a vengeance kick just for humiliating her. Contrast that to Spike who, even KNOWING he had a trigger, still had him staying in her house, had the Initiative REMOVE his chip, and even forced XANDER, who she KNEW had doubts about Spike, to keep him at his apartment. Would she have done that for Faith? Or Anya? Certainly not. The only way to spin it as Buffy NOT having a blind spot concerning the danger Spike, however unwillingly, posed is massive amounts of self delusion.
- You're order is a bit off. Lies my Parents told me is episode 17, and Dirty Girl is 18. Which means Faith was currently unavailable and thus not Buffy's equal because she's not around. That's also the episode where Buffy gets a lot of potentials killed, before that most of if not all the potentials deaths were if not entirely unavoidable certainly not Buffy's fault. Willow raw power aside was unwilling to so much as try to get them out of a house as Anya pointed out earlier. If you refuse to use your power it's hard to call you powerful even if you are the biggest bad ass in the room. Anya's 1000 years of experience makes for a compelling case that perhaps she should have a rank we never see her earn or frankly display right to. Giles being in charge is a no brainer. It's already been mentioned that Giles has every qualification and Buffy frankly lacks a lot of them no matter how one tries to spin it. If the case is that Buffy shouldn't be in charge because she's emotional and immature as a whole that's fine. Giles wasn't wrong to suggest that showing up to Glory's ceremony with a sniper rifle and killing Dawn was the best solution. Worlds better than a Rube-Goldberg fight sequence that ultimately failed. But Buffy has been the agreed upon leader for a while and not only because nobody could make Buffy do something against her will. Again with the order of things that happened Giles and later Xander were forced to keep Spike in Season 4, well before Buffy had anything resembling affection or even appreciation for him. As for the specific charachters considering everything Faith did they were very nearly chummy when she showed up in Season 7. It wasn't UNTIL the Fratboy incident that Buffy went after Anya, contrast that to vamps that she literally waits for them to rise and slays prior to their first kill, and she's immediately forgiven after that. Willow nearly got Dawn killed functionally because she was drunk or high, take your pick. Unless your argument is that Spike's trigger is worse than being intoxicated because intoxication is a choice and a trigger is done to you Willow's sin was far worse. Oh and then Willow tried to end the world and Buffy shipped her off to England and then met her (or tried to, accidental spells aside the motive was there) to meet her at the airport. Even if you factor in Xander and Dawn's mishaps as humorous it's obvious that the "get out of jail free card" is universal. If you say your sorry and you really mean it (or in Spike's case in Seasons 4 and 5 simply some combination of useful, horny and harmless) Buffy doesn't kill you.
- You're getting off point. The issue isn't who's done what badly, and it is obvious that Buffy's love interests were held to different standards than anyone else (and not just Spike. Look how long it took her to go after Angel, when he went bad), it's that Buffy possessed a blind spot concerning Spike. Again, he was a threat, whether that was willingly so or not is irrelevant. He was a threat, who was under the control of the force that was trying to extinguish the Slayer line. Again, Buffy refused to acknowledge said danger, and refused to listen to those around her when they tried to point out that fact. Again, that blindness led to her allowing said threat to run around unchained, with free access to the very people the First Evil was trying to kill. Again, Giles attempted to remove the trigger, and Buffy refused to allow him to do so, simply because it would cause Spike a little discomfort (And said discomfort only existed because he resisted in the first place), again Giles saw this blindness Buffy possessed, the unwillingness to realize the threat her precious Spike posed, and her refusal to cooperate when they tried to remove the trigger, and he acted the only way he could: To remove the threat, without Buffy's permission, as it was clear she would not see it. The advantages Spike brought to the table were nebulous at best at that point, as it was clear that Spike was to be a big player in the First's plans. Something they could not allow to happen. Giles took the right course of action, the necessary and pragmatic decision: The neutralization of a potential threat, when Buffy and the others were unwilling to. That Giles clearly recognized the severity of the threat Spike posed with his trigger intact speaks volumes about just how serious that danger was, as he had previously, as early as season 5, recognized the asset Spike could be when the chips were down. Now, here he was attempting to kill that same asset, because he recognized that things had changed, and said asset now posed an immense danger, even if Buffy was not willing to.
Potentials are useless
Everyone sucks but Buffy. She made her feelings about that very clear. If they are all going to die anyway how come Buffy doesn't just leave them to fight herself?
- She needs as much help as she can get.
They're supposed to be a female counterpart to the Watchers...except that the Watchers are not in any way an all-male organization. Did Whedon just forget that female Watchers exist?
- They are not the female counterpart to the Watchers. They are ones watching the Watchers and presumably have different goals that are more inline with the Slayer. Considering how poorly the Slayers are treated in general and how large a problem Glory for example presented I think its more likely that the Guardians along with that ? weapon simply didn't exist until Season 7.
- The Shadow Men were an all-male organization back when the Guardians were created. By the time they had evolved into the watchers they'd gotten more progressive. A lot can change in thousands of years.
Everyone's attitude towards Anya
Why is everyone so blasé about Anya being a practicing vengeance demon.
Even if she didn’t kill anyone she still turned that guy from Beneath You
into a worm demon and almost got him and his ex killed yet Willow is still friendly with her at the college. Even before the frat house murder why didn’t anyone ever say “Gee, maybe we should do something about her.”
- I think it's worth taking a look at both the cast and the situation they're in. Willow having just gotten back from "I almost destroyed the world" counseling doesn't feel she can say anything to a mere Vengeance Demon. Xander feels responsible for the situation. Spike's a little crazy (and probably wouldn't care one way or the other) and Buffy was told the world is so close to ending that they're bringing Willow back from early because she's needed. As for why this wasn't solved between season 6 and 7, same as above except Buffy probably just didn't know what to do about it or she was busy.
Gather the Potentials? Really?
I don’t understand what the Watcher’s intended to accomplish by sending the Potentials to Buffy. There doesn’t seem to be a real upside to it. We’re told it’s so Buffy can protect them but she’s a single girl with one vampire, one Watcher and one admittedly powerful witch. There is no way that Buffy could have stopped the Bringers, Turokan or even a fairly determined group of vampires willing to set a house on fire to force the people inside to come outside, from slaughtering those girls had they been the primary targets. Throwing a bunch of innocents in for Buffy to actively protect actually makes her job harder, not easier. The girls also were obviously doing a decent job of staying alive on their own since so many show up, none show up with watchers of their own, several never had watchers which leads to the question of how did the council convince people from all over the world to move to Sunnydale? Either these girls had survived enough of an attack that the conversation they had with this man from an organization that they’d never heard of telling them that they were magical warriors that it sounded a little like this:
Watcher: Hi. I’m from the Watcher’s Council and I need you to go to a place called Sunnydale and seek a young woman named Buffy.
Girl: Is this about the eyes guys with wiggly daggers trying to murder me?
Or there are some really gullible people in the Buffyverse. Worse since it’s clear the Bringers were having at least some trouble hunting these girls down already wouldn’t a smarter plan have been to get the girls to remote hiding places instead of gathering them at a single location near ground zero? They brilliantly send dozens of helpless girls very close to the very thing hunting them, putting them in a single easily assaulted area with at best three known defenders (Faith doesn’t show up until late in the season, and Robin was an unknown). Unless someone knew that the Potentials would become full blown slayers (which they may have and simply never told Buffy because the only people who knew got blown up) sending the Potentials to Sunnydale was amongst the most tactically stupid things they could possible do.
- It's actually implied that many, if not most, potential Slayers are found and trained by Watchers when they are very young.
- Considering Buffy and Faith were both missed, at least a few of the potentials never had a Watcher and the scene where Willow awakens the potentials and how many both old and young that were apparently missed that doesn't seem likely. Which still doesn't justify bringing them all to one location that could be set on fire instead of hiding as far away from anything as possible.
- How do we know Faith was missed? She had a Watcher who was killed before she came to Sunnydale, and quite possibly before she became a Slayer, given that she had only been a Slayer for a couple of months at that point, and the fact the death of her Watcher seemed to be particularly traumatic to her, it can be inferred that she HAD been located before she became a Slayer. In fact, according to 'Go Ask Malice' that is just the case. The fact that Buffy was missed by the Council in no way disproves the implication that the Council had located most of the Potentials. No system is perfect, and expecting it to be so is idiotic. Unless you think all doctors are full of shit and useless just because some occasionally misdiagnose people. In fact, of those Potentials who showed up in season 7, several of them had already had Watchers assigned to them prior to Sunnydale. That is the case for Kennedy, Vi, and a potential named Nora (Kennedy in fact had been in training since she was at least 8 years old). The only of the Potentials who it was clearly established had NOT been located by the Council prior to her arrival in Sunnydale was Rona. For the rest, we do not know as it was never said whether or not they'd had Watchers before Sunnydale.
Watcher's Council wiped out?
I know this is just how fiction works sometimes and I need to stop being annoyed by it but how did, as far as we can tell, the Watcher’s Council get wiped out? It’s the same problem I have with the Beast’s assault on Wolfram & Hart where everybody dies. It’s virtually impossible to take out everybody in any organization, doubly so with a single attack. I know there was a bomb but just like nuking Congress and White House wouldn’t get rid of the US government simply because a lot of fairly important people, to say nothing of the day to day people would simply be else where. If Giles and the Council Members who captured Faith are anything to go by there should be plenty of Watcher’s fully capable of fighting of a Bringer that didn’t catch them completely by surprise. Especially if any of them were on par with late Wesley’s pragmatism and thought that owning a shotgun is a perfectly acceptable method of dealing with the supernatural.
Is it just that after HQ blew up that the survivors all just said screw it I’m done with this Watcher business? We know Wesley’s father survived, he didn’t think the end of the world was a sufficient reason to get off his ass and go meet that troublesome girl everyone’s been on about for most of the decade?
- The real problem is that the Watchers Council organization has been blown up. Before that, they could probably communicate with each other, meet up with each other, or have a base to rally at. After this, they lost most of their members. And keep in mind, this wasn't a single bomb, before the Watchers Council in London is destroyed, there are reports of attacks on Watchers H Qs in other areas of the globe. Also, if Wesley's father is to be believed(even if it was a cyborg posing as him), the Watchers still exist, and are rebuilding. Their resources, presumably, are being used for that, while Giles and Buffy hijacked as many Slayers and other Watchers resources for dealing with the First. We know from Fray that the Watchers exist until the last one immolates himself in her presence, so they do survive, presumably Caleb's bombing of them was a crippling blow that they never recovered from.
- They knew where the Slayer was! They should have rallied at Sunnydale for what was, literally days before, the site of the ultimate battle. I get that they were hurt and presumably lost most if not all of their upper echelon members but not one of them even bothers to personally escort their potential?
- Odds are that whatever Watchers weren't in the offices (which were all being systematcially destroyed) were out there looking for Potentials. Notice that a significant number of Potentials don't make it to Sunnydale for the final battle. Odds are that the Watchers who weren't killed in the blast were either killed by the Turok-Han trying to guard Potentials or were deep undercover trying to ensure that at least some Potentials survived the genocide that was going on at the time.
- Kennedy's Watcher was murdered by the Bringers, so I think it is indeed likely that most died trying to protect their charges.
- In the episode where all this is brought up, it is revealed to Buffy that Xander lied to her about Willow's message in the season 2 finale, and not much is said or done about it. Shouldn't Xander face consequences for this? Especially since he doesn't have the same attitude towards Anya in this episode.
- At this point it's five years later, Buffy and Angel have spent virtually no time together since she graduated high school, and everything worked out for everyone. I can see why she wouldn't be able to summon up really strong anger about it after all that.
Why does everyone hate Kennedy?
- True she's not Tara, but before "Empty Places" where she got way to uppity for someone who has no experience or powers, I actually thought it was a good step for Willow to take. I mean Willow finally achieved something akin to confidence with her, before they became an item every time someone even remotely brought up the idea of doing magic Willow became Season 1 Willow, but after Kennedy, Willow became confident enough to do magic with-out constantly thinking she was going to go Dark. I think people forget, because of how mature Willow and Tara's relationship was, with the in spirit of the law adoption of Dawn, they became mothers after being together for like a year and a half, if Buffy hadnt been brought back, they would have been forced to get jobs, their lives were already set. In the end Willow was only 21-22 when Tara died, people expected some long drawn out process of courting and coy smiles for some reason, Willow was a hot, single women, why doesn't she get to start something up with someone who is interested in her. A bit off topic there, but the fact remains that I get the feeling that even before "Empty Places" people hated her, I guess because she screwed up the One True Pairing of Willow/Tara but then again so did Spike with Buffy/Angel and people love him for some reason.
- I brought up "Empty Places" because seriously she's supposed to be like 18-19 in a room full of battle-hardened adults including a slayer whose seen like 8 apocalypses, a witch who nearly caused one of those as well as surviving the other ones, a Badass Normal in Xander who survived everything through sheer force of will, Spike a 150 year old vampire who knows a few things about battles, Anya who has seen worse things than every other character combined on account of being a 1000 year old ex demon, and Giles who has encyclopedic knowledge about a lot of things, shown him self to be a cunning strategist, but for some reason Kennedy thought it was prudent to share her opinion, if people were allowed to swear on this show anyone not a potential would have told her to sit the fuck down before they throw her to the uber-vamps.
- But after that it seems like the writers realized that her being a bitch wasn't a good thing so she sort of settled back down into her helping Willow gain confidence role which I thought worked to a certain degree. But before that, before everything people had to realize that the relationship wouldn't last, Kennedy was a rebound someone to get her back on track, and the simple fact that Willow will never be over Tara, I'm amazed that the Season 8 comics set a year and a half after Season 7 kept them together till then end, if the show had stayed on, Kennedy would've been gone by the season premiere. It's almost like people getting pissed about one of Ted's girlfriends in How I Met Your Mother you know it's not going to work just by virtue of it not being the Mother which in this analogy is Tara, so why get upset about it.
- Speaking personally, it's not that I dislike Kennedy for not being Tara, I dislike her because she's the OPPOSITE of Tara in nearly every way. Where Tara was quiet and reserved and shy, Kennedy is loud and obnoxious and rude. Tara's the person who really got Willow into magic, while Kennedy apparently is uncomfortable with magic and only tolerates it because she likes Willow. Willow and Tara's relationship was built up slowly after many episodes while with Kennedy, it was more like "Hey, I'm a lesbian, you're a lesbian, let's do it", with very little buildup. Basically, I don't like Kennedy because she's everything that Tara wasn't, and even apart from the relationship with Willow, I just found Kennedy to be an unlikeable character due to her overbearing personality. Of course, I can't speak for everyone, that's just the way I see it.
- Not to put words in everyone else's mouths but I think that is the reason why most people don't like her, the sad fact is that's why she was written the way she was, if she was exactly like Tara people would have hated her more, if she was sort of like Tara then it would have made it awkward every time Willow was around her, if Kennedy had been like Willow circa Season 4 then Willow would have turned into Tara, the sort of guiding hand in her coming out of the closet, it was the backlash of killing off Tara that they had to create someone who was completely different so they couldn't be called a Tara replacement. Willow and Tara's relationship had to be built up slowly, the only thing that hinted at Willow being gay were remarks she or the other characters had made which seem ironic now but could have been written off as nothing if nothing ever happened, it would have seemed stupid if Tara had just invited Willow over to her room and the slept together after the first episode.Because Willow was out and proud by the time Kennedy came along, there wasn't a need for the metaphorical sex, or the semi-vague comments, they were just two single people attracted to each other, now if Willow was still solely responsible for Dawn, she would have kicked Kennedy to the curb, but she didn't have any responsibilities to anyone else, so why not go for the younger woman who thinks your awesome.
- That's just the Willow side, I thought it was a healthy step for Willow after all she'd been through, but you're right about everything else, she was obnoxious, rude, and trying to muscle her way into a group she had no business being in. There's a difference in being assertive and being an ass, and Kennedy toed the line all the way up until "Empty Places" then she ran across the line, hopped on a bus until she reached Bitch Ville, thats not to say I hate her, i just think that a couple of changes wouldn't have made her so annoying.
- For me, the problem with Kennedy wasn't necessarily the overbearing, obnoxious nature of the character, the fact that she wasn't Tara, etc., the real problem is the way she just kind of forced her way into the Scoobies. This is probably a result of the show being cancelled quicker than Joss Whedon had planned, resulting in the rushed and chaotic feel of season 7, but Kennedy made herself unwelcome by how quickly she just assumed the position of a Scooby. Anya was dating Xander for a long time and was considered a useful resource but otherwise just Xander's girlfriend for quite a while before she was really accepted into the gang. Tara was with Willow for two years before people really became comfortable; the cast even had a conversation about that on her birthday episode in season five, how nobody really knows her because she's just "Willow's girlfriend". Angel was a fringe resource for his first season, Spike had a tentative on-and-off relationship with the Scoobies for his entire duration on the show post-season two, Riley never really fit in, etc. Outside of the core group of Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles, every new member of the Scooby Gang had to really fight to EARN their membership. Kennedy didn't. Banging Willow was treated like it automatically qualifies her to weigh in as a full-fledged member of the crew, and she acted as such. The show constantly tried to show us that her voice was equal to all the other Scoobies, but no reason was ever offered for why it should be other than "She's Willow's girlfriend". Oliver Wood and Andrew both had this problem as well in season seven, but Andrew was treated like an annoyance when he tried it, and Wood got the royal comeuppance of his life for trying to go outside the chain of command. Kennedy never got anything of the sort; she was an obnoxious, annoying bint who for no adequately explained reason, we were just expected to support and respect as a valuable member of the team from the moment she appeared.
- Oliver Wood? Gryffindor's Quidditch captain?
- Yes, that Oliver Wood. You didn't see that episode? It was awesome. He staked an ubervamp by flying into it really hard with his broom.
- Oh yeah that episode where Willow showed up at Hogwarts and showed everyone how it was done, that was awesome.
- I'm going over the episode now. Kennedy isn't coping with Caleb, and says as much, even saying how soundly he beat Buffy before realizing she said too much. During the big meeting Kennedy snaps at Buffy her plan that will likely get them kill. This was after Faith, Giles, Wood and Rona become upset, and Buffy gets pissed.
- Yeah, Kennedy can be a Jerk Ass. You know who else can be? Buffy Summers, Dawn Summers, Joyce Summers, Hank Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Shelia Rosenberg, Xander Harris, Rupert Giles, Jenny Calender, Angel...about the only one who hadn't been was Tara. And Oz. (Willow sure know how to pick 'em.) If that's why Kennedy's hated so much do the other characters, the other Potentials when they act the same way get a pass?
- It's not so much that she's a Jerk Ass, it's the fact that she acts like she's a full-fledged member of the Scooby Gang when she hasn't earned it. The only reason she has any more of a voice than the rest of the Potentials is because she's sleeping with Willow. She's no more a member of the group than Wood or Andrew, the other two newcomers the season introduces. Andrew is repeatedly told to sit down and shut up, and Buffy outright tells Wood that if he tries something stupid like trying to kill Spike again, she will stand back and let him die. Wood is given more respect than Andrew, but he still never feels like he's a full-fledged member of the group. Like Andrew, he's still a low man on the totem, and the one time he tries to go outside the chain of command, he's beaten half to death by Spike and then browbeat into submission by Buffy, very effectively putting him in his place. Kennedy, however, behaves as though everyone is supposed to respect her as a full member of the group, for no other reason than because she's sleeping with Willow and, unlike Wood, she never gets put in her place for it, as though the writers themselves want us to accept her as an equal part of the group to Buffy, Xander, Spike, etc. without giving us a reason to respect her as such. Even then, if she were a particularly likeable person, that wouldn't be as big a deal, but all we ever see of her is obnoxious bitch. While the most probable cause for this is simply that she was supposed to have a larger role in the show that was cut drastically short by the impending cancellation (many parts of season 7 feel terribly rushed), that doesn't change the fact that a large part of the fanbase hates Kennedy for the fact that it feels like she effectively fucked her way into the Scooby Gang, and then immediately started acting like a bitch to all the pre-established and well-beloved characters while the writers just looked for more ways to shove her down everyone's throat. She's like Dawn without any of her redeeming qualities, even less justification for why she should be part of the gang, and a more commanding role despite all that.
- There was no impending cancellation, the writers had planned to end it after season 7.
- Kennedy is hated simply because she dared to not fawn all over Buffy, and actually stood up to her bullshit when no one else did. She didn't have tolerance for Buffy's 'I'm chosen by God and all of you don't matter' attitude, and she made that clear. People didn't like that.
- I'll go over what was said here.
- Kennedy was pushed too hard? It's hard to argue this: look at how Oz and Tara were handled. On the other hand it was drastic times, though even with her being the eldest I think being made head Potential, no, pushed too hard. From a production standpoint if there was time and room to be able to develop her character better then they might not have gone this route. But yeah she was pushed too much.
- Kennedy's an obnoxious bitch? That's generally her attitude, however there are glimpses of the character she could be. Helping Willow for example; which may or may not be just trying to get into her pants, or Buffy in the season nine comics (but check out the WMG entry before we get too far ahead with this.) Doesn't excuse her default attitude, but by the same token even at her worst she was no Buffy. Compare the two in Get it Done.
- Kennedy is hated simply because she dared to not fawn all over Buffy, and actually stood up to her bullshit when no one else did. What about Rona? To a lesser extent what about Faith, Giles and Wood? People want to slap Dawn because of what she did. What about Xander? Was Kennedy the primary instigator in Empty Places, was everyone else at fault, or was Buffy the problem?
- It was clear that Buffy was the problem in 'Empty Places', and indeed, in much of season 7. Viewers sometimes fail to realize that it was clearly established that season, by three separate people including Buffy herself, that Buffy had a superiority complex, and a belief that she was always right. She acted, consistently, as if she had been given the authority to lead from on high, from God himself. She refused to listen to other people's opinions, and allowed herself, in her arrogance, to be blinded to threats, refusing to recognize the danger they posed (such as Spike and the trigger in his head). That attitude got multiple Potentials killed, and caused severe morale issues. "Empty Places" is a perfect example of that. In the episode before that, she had led them into a trap, resulting in more loss of live, and Xander being permanently disfigured. As a result, she then decided to just try again, right away. When asked to cool down and try to come up with a better strategy, she refused. When asked to take a break and let someone else handle the strategy part, she said no. Her entire attitude was that she was Slayer, and no one else mattered, so they should just fall in. When the Scoobies objected, she made it clear that if she could not be in charge, she was going to leave. At which point Dawn made sure Buffy kept her promise in that regards. Kennedy and the other Potentials, unlike Willow, Giles and Xander, were objective observers to all this. They saw what the Scoobies didn't, or at least what they didn't want to. Having no particular attachment to Buffy, as the Scoobies (and the viewer) did, Kennedy had no incentive to blind herself to Buffy's faults, to her failings as a leader (as we and the Scoobies did), and no reason to censor herself because of that.
- Kennedy, at core, is a rushed character. There wasn't enough time to develop her properly and, while there are hints at a deeper character, we ultimately didn't get to see it due to the series' cancellation. The Season Eight/Nine comics aren't much better at developing Kennedy, but that's largely the product of the substantial fandom hatred for her; people don't want to see Kennedy in the comics, so the writers keep Kennedy on the sidelines. So ultimately, much of the fandom hatred for Kennedy is the result of her rushed character feeling like she was trying to trounce over the pre-established cast, while much of the fandom love for her seems to be less about Kennedy and more about disliking Season 7 Buffy, as the Empty Places argument above pretty firmly evidences. Kennedy's primary role was intended to be the voice of the Potentials, which means she also suffers for the fact that a lot of the fans don't really like the Potentials much either, seeing them as needlessly bloating the cast with a large group of empty characters; conversely, Kennedy's rushed development doesn't help the reception of the Potentials because, as their voice, everything fans don't like about her gets backlashed onto them. Season 7 effectively divided the fanbase into two camps: those who see Buffy as the legitimate point of authority, think that the Potentials were a worthless waste of cast, Kennedy was an obnoxious bitch shoehorning her way into the spotlight, etc., or those who see Buffy as an overbearing blowhard that recklessly got people killed, the Potentials as the stars of the season, and Kennedy as the one person with the strength of will to fight back against Buffy's reign of tyranny. Both of these viewpoints are extremely skewed in perspective, and nearly all point back to season 7's rushed nature and failure to properly develop its plot and characters under time constraints imposed by the impending cancellation.
- I try and take a third option. If Buffy, or Kennedy is right I'd support them (...um, help me out with what Buffy did that was good this season) and when they're wrong I'd be all for telling them (Get it Done.) Look at the sum of the parts rather than the whole if that makes sense.
- A lot of the "Buffy was a useless, horrible leader" argument heavily ignores key parts of the context. For what she did good, just off the top of my head, Buffy protected the Potentials to the best of her ability; apart from the Vineyard, most Potential deaths were the result of either not being able to reach Buffy, or listening to people they shouldn't have instead of her (like the Potential that killed herself after spending a night talking to the First). She slew the ubervamp, inspiring the Potentials in the process. While it's true that she did lead the Potentials into a trap at the vineyard, the argument in Empty Places is easy to skew against her, but it's important to bear in mind that Buffy was completely right, there WAS a powerful MacGuffin being protected in the vineyard. When nobody was willing to help her, Buffy went in solo, retrieved the MacGuffin, and shortly after, she not only used it to slay Caleb, but it became a key cornerstone in defeating the First. Yes, she rejected the ancient elders' offer of more power, but she only rejected the elders themselves; she later had Willow do the exact same thing, only instead of just buffing up Buffy herself, she split the power; this plays heavily into the theme of rejecting control by those who would wish to control the Slayer, taking the power for women everywhere, a key theme of the series itself.
- And people seem to forget that Kennedy was just as bad with how she treated the other potentials, when she shouldn't have had a higher position of power than them anyway. Remember, when the First convinced Chloe to kill herself, it was Kennedy's insults and shouting of "maggot!" that were referenced, not anything Buffy did. Kennedy, who was on equal footing as the other potentials, drove a girl to suicide. That's definitely a mark against her.
- Not useless as such, but definitely someone who should have found the time to go to a real drill instructor rather than watch films of the worst Drill Sergeant Nasty one time and think that was how she was to...heh, get it done.
- Actual Drill Instructor training is extremely brutal and very time-consuming. Speaking as someone who hasn't been through Drill Instructor training but has been through Basic Combat Training, Buffy went soft on those girls. Drill Seargant Nasty isn't as far off as people immediately assume it is when they see it; the D Is (not just one; my platoon had three plus one seargant who was getting ready to enter DI training) tend to be merciless. I remember our third day in BCT, we got smoked in the showers ass-naked while the three D Is circled and screamed at us, because we took too long for the entire platoon to finish showering. Compared to that, Buffy was a saint.
- On the original subject people hate Kennedy for a combination of she's a bitch and she seems to have slept her way to the top. (Funny how Anya doesn't get any of that, maybe because they intentionally excluded her from 2 season finales one of which was pretty much stated as THESE ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS!) As for showing a realistic Boot Camp not only would Full Metal Jacket which is about as real as you'll ever see on film (and I always tell people it's just like that except instead of two watching and one shouting funny insults it's one watching and three in your face shouting mean things) it wouldn't have worked in story either. The girls would have simply left. Buffy didn't have an isolated compound, she had a house in suburbia. I'll admit as I've said before that perhaps gathering all the Potentials in one location that could easily have been set fire instead of scattering them to the four corners might have been a poorly thought out plan but that aside Buffy could only push so hard and honestly I think she only pushed to take their minds off the the fact that she thought they were all going to die.
- On Kennedy I did think of one thing. Let's take a look at Oz. In a couple of episodes he only gets one or two lines, then in a couple of later episodes he gets a couple of small scenes, then he gets maybe a larger scene and the odd episode that focuses on him. Aside from genuinely being an interesting character they slowly built him up. Contrast Kennedy.
- On Buffy, all I really can say is Empty Places\Touched did good on...touching on everyone else reacting to how Buffy treated them. I still question it though. In Get it Done it didn't seem like Buffy, it didn't even seem like Wishverse!Buffy. It was like how The First might play Wishverse!Buffy.
- Is anyone else bothered by the fact that the Potentials all seem to be under 18, and Willow is like 22? My biggest problem with Kennedy was that technically Willow would be committing statutory rape. Or did I miss something?
- There's a point where Kennedy says that she thought she was too old to even be called to be The Slayer, so they set it up that she's older than the rest of the Potentials. They also show her at The Bronze with a drink so she either has a fake ID or is able to legally buy alcohol. Plus I think the age of consent in California is 17, so she would only have to be like a year older than Dawn for it to not be so Squick.
- Actually, this is connected to the reason that I personally dislike Kennedy: her pressuring Willow into sex and into a relationship. Their relationship began when Kennedy arranged to be the only girl in Willow's room, and told Willow, not asked her, but told her that they would be together alone in the room and should make out/have sex. Also, Kennedy reminds me a ton of the character of Allison from the show Daria: Allison acts very similarly to Kennedy in terms of sexual aggressiveness, deciding that a girl is going to be her girlfriend, and she even looks like Kennedy.
Buffy's lack of Social Network
- Buffy has been the Slayer for 7 years by now, and the only people she can get information from is Giles, Anya, Spike, Willow and the internet. Giles talked about his sources for years which is to be expected he was a watcher for years before he became Buffy's, and even before that he was involved in the magical underground. Anya who was well a demon, so it only doesn't stretch the imagination that she would know all about demons, who they are, what they want, and a historical perspective that anyone under 200 can't bring to the table. Spike who while a semi-good guy still has an ear to the ground in the seedy demony world. The weird one is Willow, she has only been a major player in the game for about 3 years and even she has contacts by the end of Season 7, her coven from England which was stated earlier to have been a little afraid of her, they still feel the need to give Willow info.How is it that a Morally Ambiguous Watcher, an Ex-Vengeance Demon, a Vampire with a Soul, and Powerful Witch with Dark Tendencies have more sources and contacts on the side of good than the Good Vampire Slayer, what the hell was Buffy doing in all her time as a Slayer. Wood probably has more contacts than she does and hes just a Badass Normal, hell even Dawn has Clem, no wonder Buffy has no idea what the hell is going on till the season finales. As cool as it is that she more or less solves all her problems by beating the shit out of things or stabbing things, if she could network better and maybe figure things out before trying the beating and stabbing thing, she probably wouldn't have died twice. Dark Willow happened to know where one satanic church was and could have ended the world, a little knowledge goes a long fucking way, a lesson Buffy never seemed to learn in 7 years of fighting much, much better informed opponents.
- Well like you said, Buffy generally isn't too subtle in her approach. Her plans generally involve her punching stuff until she wins. Besides, she had Giles, Willow, Anya, Spike, and others who would get information to her, she probably figured that getting info was the job of other people, and they'd just direct her where to punch.
- Buffy's been The Slayer for seven years. Angel, Spike, Anya, they have connections because they're demons. They're well connected in the metaphorical (and, in some cases, literal) underworld. Giles and Willow are well connected on the magical end because they're mages; there are whole networks of information for them to draw on. Giles also has the benefit of the Watchers' resources, during his years as a Watcher. Buffy, however, is the Slayer. Nobody talks to the Slayer. The Slayer is the bogeyman of the demon world. It's very difficult to make connections when half the people you talk to think you're going to murder them at a moment's notice, and the other half are dead because you did.
- Besides, traditionally a Slayer has an incredibly low lifespan (most don't survive a year from being Called). Odds are that even those who sympathize with the Slayer aren't going to get involved, since she'll (usually) be dead soon anyway.
- The thing is there is more than just the demon world. The Watcher's Council offers her close to no support and prior to season three or four and after season five they should have been on reasonably good terms. There are good witch covens like the one in England Willow went off to. There appears to have been an Iniative since around WWII and at least one other group that Riley runs off to join actively fighting the forces of evil. There's Drogyn the Battlebrand. Hell, despite being evil there is Wolfram & Hart and I can't imagine them being pleased about Glory collapsing all the dimensions together. Hell even if they had some ulterior motives they did step in when the First was getting uncomfortably close to victory. So it's not just that demons don't talk to her, her own built in support group, the Council, seems to mostly neglect what is implied to be the biggest gun in their arsenal.
Him but not Hers?
- Why didn't RJ's jacket create a Xander's Love Spell situation? It's potent enough to grab Dawn from long-distance without RJ even noticing her, so why did it take so long for girls to start killing for him?
- Two reasons come to mind. The first is that they only started trying to kill (and for the most part him, not each other) after Xander rejected them all multiple times. RJ was taking advantage of the situation which might be the safest thing in the short term with that particular spell. The second is that it's probably not the exact same spell and if we've learned nothing else from Buffy and Angel it's that magic is very particular and I guess a distant third is that the spell is at least four years old probably more and maybe the spell is weakening.
- Didn't RJ also get the jacket from his older brother? We're told the jacket's been functioning without horrible violent disaster for years. Also keeping in mind that Xander's spell misfired and thus the effects were not necessarily typical for a love spell, it's entirely possible that the jacket was simply enchanted more competently.
Vengeance Demon Powers
- Anya is pretty much the most powerful being we ever see in the show. It's not really shown what vengeance demons are capable of, but we know in "The Wish" that Anya is, at the very least, capable of creating an entire alternate universe, effectively rewriting the past. Shouldn't Buffy be able to defeat The First Evil by just saying "Gee I sure wish the First Evil was gone forever and the hellmouth didn't exist" and having Anya grant it? Hell, Willow was offered the chance to become one in season 5, if she just did that they could easily deal with every threat that comes up.
- Anya is simultaneously the most and least powerful being we ever see in the show. Her power is enslaved to the vengeance wish. While details on how the wish works are sketchy at best, we know that she couldn't cast a curse for herself after Xander left her at the altar, so it seems there does have to be a legitimate vengeance from an external party to be wished. Willow would have been limited by the same if she had taken the offer in season 5; her time would have to be spent invoking horrible vengeance upon mortals along whatever theme she decided she wanted to have for herself.
- Anya's powers are also probably limited by what D'Hoffryn want's to happen. He was well aware of the First's coming and presumably end of the world. Which honestly makes his motivations interesting, he seems to be "evil" but like Spike I don't see why he'd want the first to win. I imagine in a world where the First won a good deal of the wishes for revenge would be about smiting evil.
- D'Hoffryn is Head of Vengence, much further along the demon hierarchy than anyone we're used to interacting with. We have no idea what his ultimate goals are, besides providing pleasure to the Lower Beings but he's likely not just working on the one world. There are plenty of other dimensions to play with, if Earth dies he can just move shop over to Pylea or some other world and continue on.
- Most likely he is. However the only other beings we know in the Buffyverse who serve vengeance are the Gypsies and they don't seem to care much about good and evil only Vengeance. D'Hoffryn once saved Buffy and friends from Willow basically because she asked nicely. Whatever his agenda is it's HIS agenda and he doesn't seem overly concerned with anybody else's plans one way or the other.
Sunnydale High-New and Unimproved
The high school is rebuilt at the beginning of season 7. Since it's a new building, why is there so much old crap in the basement? There's no way that there was enough time, between the ribbon-cutting and the first day of school, that so much stuff became broken/obsolete and needed to go into storage. That should have been a shiny, spankin' new basement that they fell into in the first episode. It bugs me.
- Maybe they actually used the remains of the old basement and just built the school on top of those? Seems very unlikely, but then again, they managed to miss a giant evil metal seal buried under about three foot of earth and also for some reason decided to have rooms in the basement where the floor is made of stomped earth, so maybe whoever was in charge of the new building was really incompetent. Or an agent of the First. Or used to ignoring anything even remotely out of order. Or on PCP.
- Alternative explanation: After all that happened at the old high school, the place was just really haunted. Everything down there is a remnant of the old place, and all of the miscellaneous crap is actually ghost crap!