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Headscratchers: Buffyverse Slayers
Headscratchers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer
. Spoilers abound.
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- Why is it that the slayer has to scrape by in a dead-end job, like at the Doublemeat Palace? According to Spike, it's true for most of the slayers, and when they despair of this, they get themselves killed. Yet the Watcher's Council is an extremely rich secret organization. They pay the Watcher; can't they afford a salary for the Slayer?
- The slayers aren't expected to live past twenty, and they certainly don't expect them to get friends and family. Their ideal model of a slayer is more like Kendra than Buffy. Thus, they saw no reason to pay slayers, since so few live into adulthood.
- It's still a fair question. In seasons 1-3 it is implied several times (and can pretty easily be figured out by someone with a brain) that Buffy has a natural aptitude for law enforcement. Why the heck doesn't she go for a job as a police officer? She has the strength and the speed to be good at it, and the primary purpose of the job is to "Protect and serve". The only possible explanation is that it would take too much time for her to get the job, but that frankly doesn't hold much water. Why didn't she apply there first?
- For that matter, why is she so upset that she has an aptitude for Law Enforcement during Career Week in Season Two? Law Enforcement is basically what she does, and being a police officer would mean only dealing with humans, and getting paid for it, Buffy should be ecstatic that there could be a way for her to do her job and get paid for it, In The Dresden Files series, one of the main characters is a small, blond policewoman whose job is to basically deal with things that go bump in the night and the rationalize it to her bosses.
- Because Buffy isn't the small, blond policewoman from The Dresden Files, a character who is completely irrelevant to any discussion of Buffy. Buffy, at this stage in her life, still holds on to the hope of a life outside of slaying. She wants to have a future where she can be anything other than the Slayer. Being told that she's destined for a life of law enforcement is effectively the school itself inadvertently telling her that fighting evil is the only thing she'll ever be good for.
- Like you said, it'd be too time consuming. With a burger joint, you punch in, work a couple hours, punch out. Police work is much more complex and way more stressful. Not to mention, Buffy is good at fighting demons. What if Joe the crackhead shot her? No more slayer. She'd probably get charged with police brutality anyway, given her superstrength, and general attitude about procedure.
- Also, police jobs require highly specialized training, which would have taken her away from Sunnydale, and can you IMAGINE what the inevitable slew of background checks would have turned up?
- Background checks indeed. What with the "death" of Ted in Season 1. Kendra's in Season two, and the Deputy Mayor's in Season 3; she was implicated in/questioned on three murders before she even finished school. I'm pretty sure that's not the type of person the police look for.
- It IS Sunnydale, though. Quoth Snyder, the police in this town are DEEPLY stupid.
- Except they aren't stupid. Between Snyder talking to the Cheif of Police in School Hard (Season 2 Episode 4 I think) and the Mayor I think it's much safer to assume that at least until Season 3 the Police are on the payroll. It honestly begs the question of why they didn't find some BS reason to immediately let Buffy free to save the world from Angelus.
- And, of course, note how disappointed Buffy was when she learnt that her career aptitude test pointed her in the direction of law enforcement. That's not what she wants to do with her life.
- But, in one line, she mentioned wanting to be a firefighter (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm going off of a quote I found on here). She certainly has the skills for that one.
- That was a line from a dream and likely only a metaphor of some kind.
- It's very rare for police to work alone; Buff would be spending all her time with a partner, and that can make the "this one's undead, hold still while I grab my stakes" speech a little awkward.
- Plus, as a new cop on the bottom of the totem pole, there's a good chance she'd have to work the night shift, when she's kind of already busy.
- The Watcher's Council HATED Buffy. And Spike -did- promise to steal money for her. In short, normal Slayers depend on their Watcher for support. Buffy is nowhere near normal.
- They hated Buffy when she tried to get pay for Giles, too. She got the pay for Giles anyway. So I don't see how hating Buffy is a problem in getting pay for herself.
- They did, but she had leverage and the only money she actually got him that they wouldn't have had to pay eventually (based on rehiring him) was retroactive pay (and that was only at Giles' suggestion). If she didn't just not think of it, it's possible that she didn't want t push it ("it" being as much or more her personal mis?use of power as their patience, since, leverage).
- There are just too many possible ways she could get money:
- Getting paid by the Watcher's Council is entirely legitimate. Yes, the Watcher's council doesn't pay Slayers. They weren't going to pay Giles either. She forced them to pay Giles. If she's able to force them to pay Giles (whom they didn't want to pay), she's able to force them to pay someone else they didn't want to pay (herself).
- She could have worked at the magic shop when it was around. They had a comedy episode showing her failing, but most of the fail happened because of one time events, and they had to stick in a line saying that she didn't think the job was for her even ignoring the one time events. It may not be for her, but lots of people work in undesirable jobs to support themselves, and it still beats Doublemeat Palace, especially since she could say "I was late for work because I had to slay something" and be believed, a benefit few other jobs have.
- I actually see this one as being perfect. She was there all the time anyway, and, as you said, she could tell the truth when she's late and wouldn't have been reprimanded (apart from when Anya ran the shop). If I were her, I'd jump at the chance.
- Why even work at the Magic Box? Just give Buffy a regular paycheck. Anya is a firm believer in a day's work equals a day's pay and Buffy does her job (slaying) every day and has done it well for almost seven years at that point, she'd been slaying even before the series started. It wouldn't even have to involve Anya, Giles could have set it up, of course that woul hve let her skip part of her little deporession and money crisis (the money crisis where she can afford a big ass house and a new leather wardrobe every day).
- The biggest problem is Ms. "Capitalism, YAY!" Anya first having seniority and then outright being her boss; Giles would be forgiving of Buffy being late because she had to slay something. Anya would fixate on the whole "time is money" thing and equate it to stealing from her.
- When Riley visited and she helped his organization, she completely failed to ask how much it pays... and it's beyond reason that a group like that wouldn't pay its help anything (especially fairly unique help like a Slayer).
- Ask Angel. He was working on a completely different financial scale than her (at one point he defeated demons who had $50000).
- Oh yeah, that'd work great. Hey, torturous love interest! No, I'm not here to warn of great evil or start another doomed romance, I was just wondering if you could spot me a few. Oh, and how come you have a baby?
- Why not? I'm sure if she acted pouty she'd get it from him. (Side note, Buffy knows Angel has a son. At least Willow did in Orpheus so we must assume Buffy does as well.)
- Not necessarily—Buffy had enough going on in her life at the time; she didn't need that kind of information distracting her.
- She wouldn't want to manipulate Angel like that. Good guy, you know?
- We are talking about the same Buffy here, right? The one that robbed a bank to fund the Slayer organization in Season 8?
- "Paying my bills" isn't quite the same as "financially supporting a private army."
- Still, not wanting to manipulate people like that? Seriously, she's not that good of a person.
- Was there any reason she couldn't have had Willow, Tara, or one of Giles' associates test for magic on the many artifacts they found lying around near the MacGuffins and keep anything that so much as glowed, have Giles and/or herself cross-reference it against shielded artifacts, sell anything that passed both tests, and then keep some sort of log of who bought it in case it was an unknown, shielded artifact? It would give them a source of money, it would be easier to track down any unexpected mystical items if they had a buyers' log than if someone just walked into the tomb or whatever and walked off with something. In many cases it wouldn't even have been grave robbery, since some of the places were just storage (and didn't some of the demons just hoard artifacts because they were shiny and expensive, not because of any inherent magicality?) and a couple of them weren't technically graves once their occupants got up and left. It is, in fact, explicitly shown in the comics that that room full of gold that Spike and Harmony found was still pretty full after Spike took the gem and Harmony took what she could carry.
- An interesting fan-fic this Troper read at least five years ago had a Wishverse Buffy beating up vampires, offering to let them live if they gave her any money or other valuables they had on them, and then staking them. That way their valuables didn't turn to dust along with the vampires. I always assumed that this may well have been how other Slayers got by.
- Presumably this is yet another example of the Watchers Council still being a hundred years behind the times. Slayers and Watchers used to be mobile wandering from town-to-town and probably taking on the jobs available to itinerant wanderers as cover for their vamp killing activities. These jobs would be casual and no one would blink if they were blown off for no reason. Watchers (from what Giles and Wesley have said) seem to have come from established moneyed families, so in the old days of Patriarchality (anything pre-1970s really, maybe 1980s) it would be expected for the young female Slayer not to have her own cash. The Watcher would pick up the tab and provide food and shelter as required out of the family fortune. Wages probably weren't an issue until Buffy came along with her radically more modern lifestyle and the council's mindset hadn't grasped this.
- We're making a lot of assumptions here as far as Slayer's not getting paid or at least kept. We know that Kendra grew up with her Watcher, that girl had she lived would most likely have NEVER gotten a job. We don't know exactly how much Giles was being paid by the counsel but his personal money problems aren't brought up at all which when you realize he was out of work for at least a full year (from the end of the Sunnydale High in season 3 to him purchasing the Magic Box which even in Sunnydale had to have been a fairly large expense. They don't even really make it sound like he was struggling then and he seems to take it over more for convienence and something to do (and not wanting these twenty somethings at his house all the damn time) than out of an actual NEED. I think most slayers are probably kept, they don't get jobs they live with or at least on their Watcher's expense. Buffy is just the odd case.
- The answer is simple, the Council doesn't want their slayers being paid and being independent. They don't want slayers like Buffy who have friends and a family. They want slayers like Kendra, who are brainwashed, dependent, and disposable. That last one is the most important; the position of slayer is a temporary one, lasting about four years max. Watchers are more permanent, that's why they get paid. Also, from the Council's point of view, the slayer has no use for money; again, they're not meant to last long like Buffy did, they're meant to do their job and die young. They have all their needs met, and most die as minors. Buffy fought for Giles, but not herself because paying a watcher is standard. Paying a slayer would've been unprecedented and asking too much.
Slayers Killing Humans
- When is it considered okay for a Slayer to kill a human? The show can't seem to decide.
- I THINK it's only okay if the human is unrepentantly evil in a way that the regular justice system can't/won't punish AND they were involved in supernatural hoodoo.
- Only when necessary, or if the human is advanced in magics enough to the point where the police can't do anything. Gwendolyn Post had to be killed, or she would've destroyed the world, the German soldiers and the knights were going to kill Buffy/Dawn if she didn't kill them first, and there wasn't any time to incapacitate or reason with them. Faith was an acceptable target, b/c there was no way any cop could stop Faith (yes, I know Buffy didn't kill her, but she very much wanted to). Warren on the other, wasn't OK. His magics weren't very strong, so the police could take him, and while he did kill Tara while trying to kill Buffy, the deed was done, and Willow was wrong to continue chasing after him like that. The Deputy Mayor was wrong b/c he just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, though it is unknown how Buffy would've felt had she learned earlier that the Deputy Mayor and actual Mayor were about to kill her graduating class and overtake Earth.
- Er, the Deputy Mayor was trying to warn the Slayers that the Mayor was up to no good.
- We THINK that's what he was doing. He may have just been checking up on Balthazar. We will never know.
- I think that we earlier hear the Mayor tell the Deputy Mayor to give the Slayers some information about Balthazar, because it's to his advantage that they fight. (Balthazar's lot are a nuisance and not really on "his" side, and he might as well use the Slayers to get rid of them because if the Slayers die then that's even better for him.) I assumed that he just decided to give them this information in a dark alley while they were patrolling.
- Gwendolyn Post had a gauntlet that shot lightening bolts. That's hardly world destroying. And, frankly, with the slow rate of fire and the atrocious aim, a pistol would have been much more dangerous.
- Buffy wasn't aiming to kill G Post, she was aiming to cut the magic glove off her; could she know that that would have the side effect of killing her?
- Ah, yes, of course. A severed arm is Just A Flesh Wound.
- More survivable then a severed head.
- Actually, there is a very simple answer to this: Warren, Ben, the Mayor's deputy and those who weren't killed but could have been, were all helpless or relatively so. The Knights of Byzantium, Gwendolyn Post, and others, were either mystically armed, competent, or similarly dangerous: it is the difference between life-or-death combat and killing a helpless person in cold blood.
- Self defense?
- Yeah, I rememeber it being said several times that Slayers don't kill humans. I never heard the words "except in extreme circumstances" said afterward. Ignoring the fact that Buffy is much stronger than normal humans, IE, the knights of the Byzantium, and could easily incapacitate them without killing them.
- Buffy was threatening to kill her -own- friends at that point. Not quite sure she was sane.
- "Don't kill humans" seems to be more of a guideline. After all, if a human is mystically capable of fighting the slayer and attacks her it would be stupid of her not to fight back. Self defense killings may be fine as long as they are in mortal danger. I think the actual rule may be more along the lines of "Don't kill defenseless humans."
- This might also be the reason Buffy didn't want to kill Spike, as he was essentially defenseless.
- It's actually a compelling question. When IS it okay to kill someone? What justifies taking the life of another human? There is no solid, concrete answer.
The show Real life is inconsistent on this because there simply isn't an absolute Yes/No guideline that can be established. It has to be taken on a case by case basis, and there is no one to say, with absolute certainty, "That was the right thing to do".
- Also remember that most of the rules of what a Slayer does and doesn't do were made by the Watcher's Council - who have no interest in keeping any individual slayer alive for more than a few years, if that. From that perspective, a "no killing humans ever" rule makes sense - if the slayer is killed because she won't defend herself, a new one will just be called elsewhere, and if you allow the slayer to go around killing humans, even in self defense, it's possible that eventually she'll turn on her watcher. The inconsistency in regards to the subject is a result of the Scoobies trying to adapt the outdated, harmful rules into something that worked for their situation.
- There's a practical reason for the "don't kill humans" rule; vampires leave no evidence that they were ever there after being killed except for a heap of dust, but normal people tend to leave behind not just their bodies but all sorts of potentially incriminating evidence that can get the person who killed them into serious trouble. People don't tend to like having or letting people who murder other people walking around freely, and don't tend to be willing to accept "yeah, but he was an evil sorcerer who was planning to open a portal to Hell" as a valid or plausible excuse for offing them. Ergo, don't kill ordinary humans (unless, presumably, you're left with no alternative) because it calls down heat you don't want.
- This idea fails on a few fronts though only partially on one front. Slayers are most likely called Vampire Slayers because vampires are the most common breed of demon by a long shot. The Slayer was clearly created to fight much bigger things than vampires and really vampires in Buffy are really only dangerous to people who don't know what they are. People who know what they are up against fair reasonably well against vampires. The majority of demons DO leave corpses and maintaining the Masquerade is clearly a higher priority to the Watcher's Council than keeping any individual alive/out of jail. Finally and most importantly (which kind of begs the question why didn't they fetch Faith) the Watcher's Council is implied to possess a great deal of political power. Giles claims they could have him deported and barred from the United States with the stroke of a pen. They also didn't seem concerned about how they were going to extract Faith from the US for her trial and that's just what we've seen and confirmed. I assume that if a Slayer got arrested someone in the Watcher's Council calls up the guy they planted in the Justice Department and they are out before dinner. I imagine that Slayers break a lot of laws (like say borrowing rocket launchers and blowing up a mall or a school.) that get swept under the rug in this exact fashion.
- Where does the show actually state that the Slayer may never kill humans under any circumstances? This troper has always understood that, quite simply, the Slayer doesn't have "jurisdiction" over purely human affairs; human institutions have jurisdiction, and the Slayer must yield. Therefore, absent supernatural circumstances, the Slayer must respect human rules of justifiable homicide, and may only kill a human being if and only if an ordinary person would be justified in doing so in the same circumstances.
- This troper always understood that it caused mental damage to a Slayer to kill humans (because the Shadowmen didn't want the Slayer to just go around killing humans they didn't like as well as vampires). This is what drove Faith over the edge (not just the conflicts of her actions, but an actual "feedback loop" of some sort from the Slayer Spirit), and the killing that Buffy has done at various points in the show did clear damage to her.
- Depending on who (and when) you ask within the Universe it's fairly clearly that Buffy invented the rule all on her own. Clearly there are individuals that human prisons simply couldn't hold against their will. A slayer basically walked out of prison and I see no reason to think Willow couldn't have done the same thing. Gwendolyn Post is an odd example. She basically had a gun weilded to her arm, at the least amputations was a pre-req to holding her. That said when Faith accidently kills the Deputy Mayor Giles tells Buffy that when a human is killed the Watcher's Council holds a commity. Which clearly means that circumstances count. Giles kills a human, a human with a furious Hell God who'll kill them all but Ben is still human, he's not a Slayer of course but he's one of the guys who makes/made the rules. Wesley is very pragmatic by the end of Angel as well. We don't know much about the council but we know enough to say comfortably that they value the mission first, the law second and the life of the slayer third. If she'd ripped Ethan Raynes' head off the reprocussion would have been "Buffy we don't kill humans. Carry on.".
The Slayer's Femininity
- It's probably been explained in the series already, but bear with me - why is it the Slayer is always female?
- One of the episodes in Season 7 talks in detail about how the First Slayer got her powers: in a ritual that is essentially mystical demon rape. The Shadow Men took this young woman from her village against her will, chained her to the ground and unleashed the demon on her. My thought is that a young man of that age probably would have fought back and wouldn't have let himself be infused with the demon's power. As you can tell, the Shadow Men didn't care much for the girl and it was probably a domination/power thing. Perhaps a male Slayer wouldn't have been as easy to control as a female Slayer. Other than that, perhaps the flimsy excuse is the whole Girl Empowerment thing.
- One wonders how come a bunch of guys trying to amp Buffy's Slayer powers is portrayed as near rape (starting to go down to waist level after it failed to get in through her nose/mouth), but Willow activating potential Slayers all over the world without their permission is portrayed in a much more empowering fashion.
- Well, Buffy did at least ask some of the local girls. But also if they actually used the simple act of creating a Slayer as a rape metaphor then Buffy, Kendra and Faith were all raped in the show and Kendra and Faith loved it. More likely it's just meant as an examination of the Shadowmen's mindset. Force the power on one girl. Hell they could have given Buffy the thing that contained the demon and sent her back. But they were stuck with the old way while Buffy came up with something new.
- The difference was that the potential slayers were already potential slayers. Making a random girl into a slayer is not the same as activating a potential slayer, which is an entity with some distinct mystical standing in the Buffyverse. Willow merely gave these girls access to something that was already theirs, and already a part of them. Further: since the state of girls and women has improved since the stone age, these girls can truly wield the power of the slayer, unlike Sineya, who was ruled by it. Sineya didn't even have language, while the modern potentials had culture, community, and sense of their own personhood that made them stronger than their common spiritual ancestor. The first Slayer's suffering, while tragic, is now a part of their heritage, and more than just something to honor and respect; heritage is something that can be made use of. Hence Buffy's remark about the Scythe, which was the physical embodiment of the slayerdom: "Itís old, itís strong, and it feels like itís mine."
- There are girls who would not have become Slayers if Willow hadn't made them Slayers. It's splitting hairs to say that this doesn't count as forcing the power on them because they "had it already". They didn't have it, not in the form that messes up lives. Forcibly activating a potential power that most would otherwise never see is ethically the same thing as just forcing the power on them—if one is rape, so is the other. It's true that Buffy made that statement, but she can't channel the feelings of the other Slayers. Not to mention all the third parties who are affected by the fact that she and Willow just gave a bunch of random people the equivalent of invisible guns with unlimited ammunition.
- But the first slayer was given "power" beyond her control; it caused her to lose her humanity. That's substantially different from the situation of the new slayers, who are not only capable of controlling that power, but presumably under no obligation to change they way they live upon recieving it — with thousands of slayers in the world and the whole "chosen one" thing more or less debunked, becoming a slayer is pretty much being given free superpowers to use or not use. Willow and Buffy gave the potential slayers new options, whereas The Shadowmen reduced Sineya's options to one. It seems fair that only the one that takes away choice is treated as rape.
- And what about Dana? Having the Slayer heritage and powers suddenly forced on her in her fragile state turned her from damaged goods to a completely broken psychopath fighting vampires and demons from hundreds of years ago. Becoming a Slayer isn't just getting really strong. The vision dreams are part of the package. So is the connection to the other Slayers. And it DOES take away choice: none of the hundreds of activated Slayers can ever choose to just be normal and not have crazy messed up dreams of monsters killing people if they don't use their new superpowers to kill things (or even if they do, honestly). They're all Slayers now. Whether they accept or reject the call, they're still Slayers, and can never not be Slayers again. I don't see how it's different.
- Potential slayers already have the visions and dreams. The upgrade from Potential to Slayer only installs the useful superpowers on top of the preexisting nightmares and connection to the collective slayer unconscious. Dana became violent after activation, but Dana was catatonic until then, and would have presumably had the same nightmares as a potential if something had shaken her out of her catatonia sooner. Also, not being catatonic seems like it belongs in the plus column.
- I'll take "catatonic Slayer" over "Murderous, insane Slayer" any day.
- Sure, but if you want to take that approach, a dead slayer is better than a murderous, insane slayer, too. Not being catatonic constitutes an improvement in Dana's condition if we're at all worried about Dana. Buffy and Willow didn't make Dana crazy, nor give anyone any nightmares, nor take away choice from any of the potential slayers in the same way that the Shadowmen did to Sineya.
- There's also the practical aspect. The First going around killing the Potentials. They were already targeted so this way they at least were able to fight back. Also it's very different being The Slayer alone rather than being one of many Slayers.
- This was kind of lampshaded. Connor met Faith for the first time and said something along the lines of "So, Slayers, I've heard of you. How come you are always girls?" and Faith responds "I don't know. Maybe we're just better at it." Doesn't answer the question of course.
- Plausible Answer: Vampire Bait. Girls are stereotypically seen as the weaker sex and most vamps seem to be male. Could be that vampires underestimate her and see her as abnother easy meal, when BAM! she fights back and stakes them with her incredible strength. Girls make better bait. A vampire seeing a young adult male thinks "Fighter in their Prime" but sees a young adult female and thinks "Dinner" Also see "Slayer Pheromone" under WMG.
- It is Joss Whedon's unashamed Author Appeal.
- The Slayer wasn't intended to be a person. She was intended to be a weapon, something to be controlled and wielded by her Watcher against the forces of evil. Remember that the Slayer was empowered in a time when women were more or less objects and, even though the general treatment of women have improved, the Watcher's Council still views the Slayer in much the same terms. She's always a woman because women are supposedly weak-minded and easy for their masters, the men holding their reigns, to control. Kendra is a solid example of what the Slayer is supposed to be as conceived by the men who created it. Buffy, conversely, rejects the entire notion, and that's part of what makes her special.
- Maybe it's just that the Slayer powers are naturally drawn to females for some reason. In many cultures it's a very typical belief that women are more magical or mystical than men. Also the whole bleeding every month thing makes people associate women with dark powers. And there was the thing about her being "bound to earth" (whatever that means) and earth is feminine in almost every mythology ever.
- Or maybe it's just because the First Slayer was female and it was somehow easier or whatever to keep the line one gender only.
- Or maybe the demonic powers the Shadow Men used are allergic to the Y-chromosome?
- I think we're all forgetting how society worked for thousands of years. The Shadowmen made the Slayer female because it's as someone already stated, a weapon, not a person. What's one of the keys of a weapon? That you control it, you don't bargain, ask, cajole or beg. You just use it anyway you please. Until very recently in most of the world (and in some places this still isn't true) women were completely subservient to men. Even a woman who COULD beat up a man would never think to try. A man suddenly given super strength might very well have decided that he was in charge now and then asked what are they going to do if he decides to simply sit this next one out. That's right, he doesn't even need to fight them he can simply refuse to defend them if they don't make him king.
- A question that has been raised in Fan Fiction is this: the rule is that the Slayer is always female. So... does that mean physical gender only? Could a trans female be called as a Slayer? Or is it simply a matter of genetics?
- I think it's just a matter of genetics. So while it's possible a trans male could be a slayer a trans female couldn't be. When the slayer line was being created the idea of people not being the gender they were biologically would have been so far beyond their comprehension that they wouldn't have accounted for it.
- There so needs to be a storyline with this idea. Like, a mysterious guy saves Buffy's ass and is running around playing super hero and everyone is trying to figure out the source of his power, and assuming he's some sort of half-demon or warlock and it turns out he's a ftm transgender Slayer.
Foreknowledge of The Call?
Okay I've only see through season 2 so forgive me if I've missed some later revelation, but why did Kendra act like she had been training to be the slayer all her life when she would have only gotten The Call a few months before? Is there some way of knowing who's going to be called?
- That comes up again in the final season. Without spoiling any details, the Watchers have a way of identifying potential slayers and they try to train the ones they've found in advance. Buffy slipped through the cracks and grew up as a normal girl while Kendra had been training for most of her life.
Uhm, Slayer Jobs / Slayer Slavery?
Giles gets paid as Buffy's Watcher - and paid somewhat well. What does Buffy get out of it? Sure, Giles does the work to train, teach, and 'watch'... but because of The Watcher's and her calling, Buffy doesn't have the kind of time to do her education to prepare for a productive career, and any job she gets would come at the expense of her training or actual Slayer missions. This isn't a problem until Buffy has to support Dawn. They negotiated backpay for Giles, why not money to help keep Buffy and Dawn under a roof and fed? She's to do a 24/7 life and death job and not get paid - or any sort of living expense stipend? And Giles does? (I'm sure the woman who wrote her thesis on William The Bloody has a nice flat.)
- Also, Buffy has... certain skills. I'm sure she could have won lots of money as a prizefighter or as a carnival act.
- That's pretty much it exactly. Buffy's not supposed to have an education or a job. Or family, or friends, or any life outside of being the Slayer. She's supposed to be entirely sustained by Giles, go where she's told, fight who she's told, and then die. In short, she's supposed to be Kendra. But she won't sit for that, nor should she. It's just a form of control.
- While yes she's supposed to be a weapon we're making the assumption that she's supposed to die and not supposed to have a family. I don't see any reason (that isn't entirely made up by the fans about how the counsel doesn't actually want Slayers to grow up)why it wouldn't be encouraged for them to have a support group. Clearly it kept Buffy alive longer than she was otherwise slated and given what we're told is the average shelf life of a slayer surely this is far from the first time it's happened.
- We're explicitly told that she's not supposed to have any ties to the world. Giles tells Buffy outright in the first season that she must put slaying above all else in her life, it's a source of friction in the early days of their relationship. Wesley strongly discourages the existence of the Scooby Gang and permits it only because he's firmly outvoted and lacks any real power over Buffy. Kendra is played up as the ideal Slayer, being taken from her family and raised by her Watcher, and outright tells Buffy that the Slayer is not to have friends or family. The Watchers' Council, when they return in Season Five, openly objects to the existence of the Scooby Gang, berating Buffy for involving "civilians". Spike tells Buffy to her face in Fool For Love that she's special because she has ties to the world that Slayers never have, and that's why she's lived as long as she has. Where do you get the idea that the Council discouraging Slayers from having outside interests is Fan Wank? We see it all the time. As to the Council's opinions on the disposable nature of Slayers, one word: Cruciamentum.
- The Slayer is a weapon and that's how the Watcher's see her. They pay Giles to run her life and as far as they're concerned that's enough. And if Dawn wasn't in the picture it actually would have been enough.
- It's explicitly stated that the Council doesn't want slayers to live long lives like Buffy did. It's not fanwank, it's damn obvious canon. That's why Buffy quit, she realized she was being used. Giles also left the Council for some time for similar ethical reasons (or he got fired for refusing to endanger Buffy, I forget, but the point still stands either way). The Council doesn't pay slayers for two simple reasons; first, she is a tool, not a person in their eyes. The fact that she won't be able to support herself in adulthood is of little concern to them. Second, they don't think she'll need it. As stated, they're not meant to grow into adults; so every need they have is met by their watcher. Most die while they're still minors.
How Can Slayers Not be Religious?
- Hell and Heaven definitely are proven to exist. Supernatural monsters definitely exist. Souls exist, as they can be lost and reattained. Satan is at least presumed to exist, or at least some major force of supreme evil. Vampires are negatively effected by crosses and holy water. And yet most of the characters are agnostic or atheist? It doesn't make sense that characters who have the supernatural proven to them over and over, or Buffy, who actually died and went to heaven wouldn't be sure or wouldn't believe in God. Atheists in a fair portion of the Buffyverse would have to be traditional Hollywood Atheists - they don't not believe in God, they are simply angry at him.
Even if crosses work as a repellent based on their representation of the sun (as listed on this page), or as representations of pure, unselfish, self-sacrificing goodness (explained as that in some other series, this troper forgets which), holy water should not work. Granted, we never see vampires getting splattered with water from the Ganges, but if holy water provides specific protection from evil, and is one of the few things that can harm a vampire or other demon, then Catholic Christianity (or perhaps Eastern Orthodox - Protestant holy water is used in baptisms, rather than for an amulet effect) must be presumed to be the correct religion, as it is the only one that can destroy evil with items that their priests have blessed.
Barring that, then certain druidic sects must be presumed to be correct, as wood has the power to destroy vampires. All around, though, the supernatural running roughshod all over creation would tend to provoke a religious reaction in at least one character, excluding ones that worship evil (Glory's little minions, Caleb).
- Christianity: Has crosses and holy water backing it up. The worship of Osiris: Has direct appeal to the God resulting in all-out resurrection of the dead. Similarly, if you appeal to Hecate, people turn into rats. If you appeal to Janus, the entire town goes crazy. These are all rather more impressive tricks than "vampires find it slightly painful". So from the perspective of the characters seeing these things, either all religions are true, or religion is just functional magic. In the former case, picking just one could be risky (and since very few religions outside the Judaeo-Christian family specifically ban the worship of other gods, that would probably be their last choice); in the latter, it would be a bit pointless.
- There are hell dimensions, plural. It was said in-universe that the Heaven could have just been a heaven dimension, but since the body stayed on Earth (as compared to any time someone got stuck in a hell dimension), I doubt that is the case. The holy water was stated to have been blessed with a rite to harm vampires, Christianity just happens to be both an anti-vampire religion and one of the most commonly practiced religions in the western hemisphere (where Buffy, the Watchers, Faith, and [possibly temporarily, I don't know exactly where she was supposed to have hailed] Kendra live).
- The Jasmine arc in Angel adds extra twist to the relation between gods and religion. According to Jasmine's version of the history of Buffyverse, gods of all kinds existed before the great demons, who are actually offspring of "the malevolent among them". For eons the gods have been withdrawn from Earth and pay only peripheral attention, powering the magical mojo of those respectfully invoking them. The gods themselves seem to be so omnipotent and caught up in good-versus-evil that they don't care about the things that religion is called to explain. To them creation is nothing more than a battlefield, and magic is a mundane fact of life. No abrahamic God seems to be in the mix, but the effectiveness of a cross can be attributed to just about any powerful being willing so. Note that the cross doesn't have to be of canonical religious design to work (for practical application the longer plank is just there to hold the cross by), and faith certainly has nothing to do with it's effectiveness, as it scorches even the vampire holding it. The only unexplainable thing is holy water.
- Also worth noting: the crosses and holy water only work against vampires. They're utterly useless against other kinds of demons.
- This might be a case of Author On Board with Joss Whedon's personal opinions on religion. The only character in the Whedonverse who is portrayed as being a Christian is Kate Lockley from Angel.
- A few lines actually implied that Riley was a Christian as well.
Buffy: You got here fast.
Riley: Actually, I'm just late for church.
- Buffy appears to come from a Christian enough background that she'd pull "Bible study" out of her ass in one episode ... but neither she nor Joyce seems religious enough to view it as anything other than a convenient fiction to be indulged in for form's sake:
Buffy: I can see him any time. And I'm sure he'll come over later looking for a little... Bible study.
Joyce: Well, good. I mean, just as long as the two of you are spending some quality time with ... the Lord.
- It's used more for the sake of irony than anything else. Joyce knows what's going on, and Buffy knows that Joyce knows, but who wants to talk about their sex life to their parents?
- The OP kind of hit on something. It's a form of Hollywood Atheism. If there's a higher power he/she/it is making them put their lives on the line constantly and never freely giving help. Why would they worship he/she/it?
- This troper always assumed holy water to work BECAUSE crosses do. Whatever power the cross has (be it a higher power, the sun, belief, what have you), the ritual for consecrating the water imbues it with the power from the cross. In any case, while it has been proven that gods exist (Buffy has even fought one) thereby justifying spirituality, religion is another thing entirely. Atheism is unjustifiable in this setting, but I can't think of any characters who are outright atheist. Agnosticism is much more understandable; the acknowledgement of the possibility of higher powers but without claiming to fully understand what "higher powers" completely entails. Agnostic and Atheist are NOT the same thing. Also, while we're on the subject, Willow may not be Christian, but she IS Jewish. Just thought I should throw that out there. She also seems to believe "Wiccan" is a buzzword for magic-users.
- I would think agnosticism would actually be a less tenable belief system than atheism in the Buffyverse. Agnosticism is just "there maybe god or gods, but how can we know?" and that kind of logic doesn't hold up when you start smacking around a Hell god with a Troll hammer. The only way to hold a belief system like that is to get into pointless semantic quibbling about what constitutes a "god". I'm not saying that normal human religions are valid in the Buffyverse, but it does seem like agnosticism doesn't hold up in that universe.
- That's not what agnosticism means. Agnosticism is the acknowledgement of the possibility of a higher power, without being able to define what that higher power is. It's not "We can't know", it's "There may or may not be a higher power, but there isn't enough information to explicitly define what that power is." With all the gods, demons, and higher powers running around the Buffyverse, agnosticism is actually the most defensible stance; there's SO MUCH out there that it's impossible to say what's real. How would you know if you should be worshipping Jehova, Allah, Zeus, Glory, the Powers That Be, or Fornicus, Lord of Bondage and Pain? A Buffyverse agnostic is effectively the same as it is in the real world: someone who elects not to pick a god or faith, only instead of it being an absence of proof of any given one as it is in the real world, it's because of the abundance of proof of EVERYTHING.
- That's a fairly radical conclusion to agnosticism. Agnostics in the real world claim you we can't know if there is a higher power. In Buffy higher powers are more or less confirmed (Willow's power levels in Season 6 and the Comics at least leave the possibility open that God may be a title or rank. Certainly the number of being who would or could argue with Dark Willow if she declared herself a Goddess are fairly limited. I would certainly bet on Dark Willow (Season 6 who is magnitudes more powerful than Season 5) vs Glory. Think of religion like government (which in a place with REAL dieties is rather apt) the difference between Judaism, Christianity and Islam is similar to the differences between Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians. An agnostic is telling you there isn't sufficient evidence in "politicians" to justify joining a Party. Here we have made contact with plenty of politicians. Cessing out if you should vote Republican or Democrat is different from not believing in Congress. Agnostics in this case should be closer to Independents who want to keep their options open because they don't know who's best. They have a lot of choices of things that are REAL.
- What's with the assumption that any and all characters not seen professing their beliefs on camera are non-religious? How many shows can you name where you're 100% certain of everyone's religious standing? Buffy was meant to be an icon and hero for young women especially. I don't ever want to know what real-world religious denomination she belongs to (if any) any more than I want to know what political party she's registered with — that takes away from her belonging to everyone.
- In American fiction it's safe to assume characters are nominally Christian if it's not specifically mentioned. What specific denomination she belongs to would take away from her belonging to everyone. It's a factor of conservation of detail. Most Americans identify as Christian.
- In the case of Slayers and by extension Watchers (or more accurately Vice-Versa) Slayers aren't religious in the proper term because they "know" the stories are false. All three Abrahamic Religions agree on the creation and most specifically that the world started out as a paradise. Giles claims and Illyria later confirms (though they disagree on how vampires formed)that the Earth started as a horrible place where the Old Ones warred incessantly. Whether they left on their own or were forced out or my personal opinion both. (All the big guns wander off to fight on the frontlines some place and only relatively weak demons behind which were eventually killed, driven out and trapped in the Deeper Well. Regardless they know for a fact that the origin stories are lies, they know there are multiple "gods". Buffy is (according to Skip who may have lied but had no reason to) the first person to ever come back from paradise so Heaven is confirmed for the first time sometime around 2000 AD and Hell hasn't been confirmed. Demon dimensions have been confirmed, physical locations that you can go to if you know the right spell and from what we saw of Pylea Demon Dimension doesn't really need to confirm to the Hell archetype much at all. There are lots of things that apparently work like crosses and Holy Water but we can only speculate on why they work. It could be like the Slayer. Sufficiently powerful but very human spell casters simply declared it so. Regardless they have more of the "facts" than most people and thus less reason to be religious in the sense of joining any particular religion.
- Additionally, just because it's called "heaven" doesn't mean it's an Abrahamic heaven. They could just use the term because it's the most simple to use. After all, all of the cast comes from Abrahamic backgrounds, Angel included, so why not just use that term to describe the paradise that good people go to? For all we know, "heaven" in the Buffyverse could make Pastafarian heaven look prudish.
- Buffy dies at the end of season 5 but somehow a new slayer doesn't show up. And I know it would be reasonable to assume that maybe she just never came to Sunnydale, but with the call to arms of all potential slayers and the destruction of the council in season 7, shouldn't we have heard about a third slayer?
- No. After Buffy died the first time, the Slayer line passed to Kendra, then on to Faith after Kendra's death, so a new Slayer would only be called if Faith died. I believe this is actually the Word of God, although I don't remember where I read it.
- Word of God has indeed confirmed, via interviews, that the slayer line passed to Kendra and then Faith, making Buffy the extra slayer. Faith would have to die for another slayer to be called (though it's a moot point, now that they're all active anyway).
- And Giles didn't correct Buffy, even in private, when she said her death would activate one of the Potentials because? Replacing a plot hole with a plot hole is silly even for Wordof God. The right way to handle it would be as a story hookó"Who was the Third Slayer, what (dark!) forces kept her secret from the Council, and what is she doing now that all Potentials were activated?"
- What would happen if a Slayer didn't die but was unable to keep fighting? Like if they get badly injured and become paralyzed, or if they go into a coma and don't wake up, or if they do manage to stay alive long enough to grow old and their bodies just can't handle fighting vampires every night.
- Faith went comatose and no new Slayer was called so the answer is that they must physically die in order for a new Slayer to be called.
- I imagine in most of those cases the Council would step in and kill the Slayer. Then again Slayers are shown to physically recover really fast and while none that we're aware of lived long enough for old age to be a factor maybe they don't age like ordinary humans. There are some really fit old people in real life and they do it without any super powers just regular exercise and a good diet.
- So in the millennia since the Shadow Men created the Slayer, until Fray, there has NEVER before been a Slayer with a twin? Really?
- Probability alone suggests that such a thing happening is pretty damn close to impossible. Keep in mind that twin births were exceedingly rare up until the 20th century and even today they're pretty uncommon (roughly 1% of births result in twins). Then factor in that in a world of over 6 billion people, there are only thousands of potentials of those only one will be called at a time. It's possible that there is a consistent number of potentials so that even in the past there were thousands of potentials at any given time but much more likely the pool of potentials is proportional to the current population total. Thus we have a small fraction of a percent of the population who are twins and an even smaller fraction of the population who could be slayers and from there and even smaller fraction that will be slayers. The chance of it happening is something ridiculously small
- It's still almost impossible for it to have never happened before. Even keeping in all those small percentages, you have to remember the average Slayer lifespan is extremely short even in the modern age. It's confirmed by the council that the vast majority Slayers do not live past their 18th birthday and we also know that Slayers are called some time during their early teenage years with the majority seeming to be called at around 16. So we have a line that, for the most part, has a life expectancy of 2 years with some even lasting more briefly than that (Kendra didn't make it a whole year, hell Buffy technically didn't make it a whole year either). And keep in mind, this is also the modern age, where more advanced weaponry, communications, resources, and medicine should keep the Slayer alive longer. God knows what the life expectancy was like back in the 3rd century. We also know that the Slayer line stretches back long enough that the Slayer scythe was used to kill the last Old One to walk the earth, an event that happened millions of years ago. And we know that the Slayer scythe can only be properly wielded by a Slayer, so it's safe to assume there was a Slayer back then. That means there have probably been millions of Slayers (assuming the average life expectancy is about 2 years) and it is extremely unlikely that not one of them ever had a twin.
- Wait, what does being a twin have to do with a slayer. First of all there is no reason to believe that fraternal twins could both be slayer, because they are genetically no different than any other siblings. Second, in the case of identical, which is the kind I'm assuming you referring to, why would that mean they would both become slayers. Identical twins are almost genetically identical, but we don't know what causes someone to become a potential (and then how a slayer is chosen). Even if both twins were potentials there can only be one so only one could be called at a time.
- Being a twin confused the Slayer Calling in Fray, resulting in a Slayer who only received the physical powers, with her twin sibling getting all the Slayer dreams, prophecy, knowledge, etc.
- Why is it so hard to believe that before Fray, no twins ever were granted the slayer powers? The whole premise of the show is how strange Buffy is to the slayer lineage, and the only thing that makes her strange (initially at least) is that she has friends. Even the "rare" occurrence of a slayer having children is only considered rare when discussed by Watchers and other characters. Yet Buffy having friends is almost unheard of. So the idea of something like Fray happening also being "unheard of" would not be... unheard of.
- Buffy can punch through a brick wall and leap out of a three story building no problem. But she tends to be slapped around just like a regular girl who knows Kung Fu. Bugs the heck out of me.
- The reason she gets slapped around is that she doesn't weigh a whole lot. Hence, knocking her around is just a matter of hitting her.
- She lacks some Required Secondary Powers, thus she isn't anchored to the ground like some super strong people. Vampires get the same treatment.
- I know, budget restraints, but plywood over the windows is not effective for the minions in Season 7. The -existence- of a window is good for vampires, but by then the Big Bad had lots more options.
A Singular Slayer
- Why is there (originally) just one slayer? I mean how could a single person in a one-Starbucks town like Sunnydale fight off all the evil in the world? What happens to all the other vampires in the world and why aren't there more towns like the taken-over version of Sunnydale where vampires and demons rule? If flashbacks are any guide, there have been slayers in different parts of the world. Are the slayers just put wherever the most evil happens to be?
- When the slayer was originally created the entire human race lived in fairly close proximity to each other. The slayer could easily move between the few villages. (Yes, the slayer is nearly as old as humanity itself). The group of elders who created her (the group who would go on to become the watchers) didn't have the foresight to think that humanity would spread to a large enough area that one slayer couldn't protect it all. By the time this was apparent they had lost the means to create more than one slayer per generation.
- Or at least the whole human race that the creators cared about protecting. It's likely that even then, Homo sapiens covered a pretty wide geographic area.
- Well then that just made the Slayer rather minor then in the modern day, being able to cover only a limited area. One girl to cover the whole world? if 'She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness' was actually true then humanity might as well have lay down and died...
- She might seem rather minor from one perspective but have you ever noticed that slayers always seem to be where the big bad is hatching his plans? The oft-forgot gift of prophecy really plays tricks on your subconscious.
- Are you telling me there isn't anywhere else with evil people trying to take over/destroy the world with dark whats-itz and who-zits? One person would never be enough to fight all the magical evil in the world.
- No, but as we've seen she really isn't the only one to stand against the vampires, etc. That seems to just be theatrics on the side of the Watchers council. (Drogyn being an example of someone else who can. Also most watchers are capable of fighting themselves if they have to.) The gift of prophecy guides them to the apocalypses that cannot be averted without their intervention.
- Yeah but why aren't Faith and Kendra originally born near the Hellmouth? They eventually show up but what were they doing in their hometowns the whole time? Kendra and Faith were meant to be replacements and if Buffy had actually died and was therefore unable to kill ALL of those vampires and demons, Sunnydale would have become overrun with evil. I doubt there the evil was getting taken care of (which is unlikely, seeing as Kendra believed she was the only slayer). Shouldn't they have been sent to Sunnydale the second they were chosen to be slayers?
- Buffy was already there.
- Faith knew that, Kendra didn't. Kendra almost killed Buffy when they first met. Did Kendra and her watcher just know it was being taken care of by some vigilante? Or did Kendra's watcher know a slayer was there and just choose not to tell her for some bizarre reason?
- When Kendra was called the other Watchers probably just assumed Buffy was dead and didn't bother to check in with Giles because they assumed he was dead too (he did mention that most Watchers die with their Slayers) and had the new Watcher send over Kendra as soon as they felt she was ready. When they found out that Buffy was still alive and protecting Sunnydale, then they recalled Kendra to use her elsewhere.
- Besides, Sunnydale already WAS overrun with evil. The entire purpose of its existence was to be overrun with evil. It was founded by a man who made a demon pact to make the town a feeding ground for evil.
- Kendra was also probably busy battling evil and/or apocalyptic plans off wherever she was. Just because she wasn't in Sunnydale doesn't mean she was sitting on her laurels. Same for Faith, who even inadvertantly brought the vampire who killed her Watcher with her when she came to Sunnydale.
- Buffy was NOT born in Sunnydale, nor was she called to be The Slayer there. She was in LA still, and didn't go to Sunnydale until her mother decided to move. Destiny probably drew her there if anything, but Slayer Calling seems to have nothing to do with where most of the evil is at the time. It's simply a contrivance. As for how evil is stopped? Well, who says humans are completely helpless? Sure there's plenty of evil in Sunnydale, but it's literally right next door to Hell. There can't be THAT much evil in the world.
- It is implied that the Watchers council have their own agents around the world who deal with everyday threats, and the Slayer would be called in when something major crops up. However, remember that Buffy is not a "normal" slayer. Kendra is an example of what a "normal" slayer is like, and with her we see that she is sent to Sunnydale by her Watcher when he senses that something big is about to go down. Once the apparent threat is taken care of, she leaves, only to be sent back once the true threat emerges.
- Also, in "The Wish", we see an example of what Buffy would be like as a "normal" slayer. In this episode's alternate timeline, Giles has to contact the council to arrange for Buffy (who is on other assignments) to be sent to Sunnydale in order to deal with the threat there, with the implication that she would leave once done. The is how the council/slayer organization seems to be intended to work, only Buffy doesn't operate according to the council's orders and wishes to remain in Sunnydale. Luckily Sunnydale is on a hellmouth and is where most of the real bad stuff that a Slayer would be needed for goes down anyway.
- Moreover, the Sunnydale Hellmouth seems to be a lot more active than the Cleveland Hellmouth (possibly because... well, what are you going to do to Cleveland that it hasn't already done to itself?) so the Council has a vested interest in the Slayer not venturing too far away from it.
- Yeah, why would you want to destroy Cleveland? Us Steelers fans wouldn't have anyone to mock and laugh at anymore.
- At the start of Season 6, Giles and the Scoobies are terrified of what will happen to Sunnydale if it is discovered that the Slayer is no longer around, and indeed once it gets out the town is almost overrun by the biker demons. Yet before Season 1, the town seems to manage fine (more or less) without a Slayer.
- Up until the end of Season 3, Mayor Wilkins controlled the town and he'd been wheeling, dealing and/or killing any big bads who might want to take over. Once he's gone, Buffy's the only thing protecting Sunnydale and keeping out all the demons who might want to lay claim to the hellmouth. Once she's gone and the demons know it, all bets are off (though on a meta note, I really would've liked something more ominous and horror-themed than redneck biker demons).
- The biker demons are actually a demonstration of why the Hell Mouth being unguarded by a Slayer isn't that big a deal. Sure, something nasty showed up but they were just demon trash and would have moved on in a day or two. No end of the world stuff to deal with. Just because evil's drawn there doesn't mean it's important evil.
- Likely for control reasons. When the Slayer was created it was stronger than the ones that are around now but also went feral. It's easier to keep control over one extremely strong warrior than to keep control over a lot of simply really strong warriors. The Watchers wouldn't bother changing things as they remain in control with the system as is and the job is still getting done so why mess with a good thing? Even Buffy only thought of it after seven years, with help from the First at that, and it only worked because they had a Slayer artifact and a witch as powerful as Willow.
- So is there a genetic component to being a slayer or is it just a mystical curse that strikes a random girl?
- Sounds more like a curse because as far as we know the Slayer's parents have all been quite normal. And since most Slayers die young, it's unlikely that its passed down genetically, especially since there is only one Slayer per generation. How the girls are chosen is the real question. What happens if a Slayer refuses to accept her duty? What if she physically can't? Is there a clause in the spell that makes the Slayer physically able or are Slayers chosen from those who are?
- While it's doubtful for a number of reasons that there is a slayer gene the only one slayer per generation is is very misleading. There is only one Slayer at any given time (until we broke the rules) but when one died another is called. Even if you count the three we Slayers we see as typical Buffy dies after two years, Kendra less than one, Faith is in a coma after less than one. Three years, three Slayers. Not to mention it's quite possible to get pregnant younger than 16 and that seems to be the "average" age for a Slayer to be called and it was common before recently. You can't prove or disprove the gene theory on this.
- Potential Slayers being born from Slayers seems to be improbable, but Potentials being born from Potentials? Technically, they are Slayers... with asleep powers. They are part of the Slayer Line too!
- Until Joss states otherwise, I'm going to assume that Slayers are mystically chosen from amongst a pool of those who are physically able to do the job. What happens if the Slayer refuses the job? Well, Buffy tried that. Both the film and the show have her declining the job. Imminent danger and sense of duty changed her mind. For a better example, see Faith in the latter half of season three. She might be an extreme example, but of all the Slayers who've existed over the centuries it's not hard to imagine that one or two either ignored the call, or used it for personal gain. I'm guessing they didn't last too long.
- Especially considering The Watchers Council's stance on Rogue Slayers, after a certain amount of leeway a Slayer who ignored the call would be killed to call the next one.
- How do they FIND potential slayers, anyway? Funny birthmarks? Divination?
- The same way the Bringers did.
- Season seven reveals that there are seers who are able to find potentials. It's also apparent with Kendra who had been trained since her youth. The better question is how did Buffy slip through the cracks as long as she did and the same seems to be true of Faith. The only answer I can come up with there is that with the hundreds (if not thousands) of potentials at any given time and no way of determining who's next those two girls simply weren't attended to.
- While I could not begin to assume a genes or curse explanation (perhaps it is both) I can say that they did discuss in show about what happens when a slayer refuses the call or can't perform the job. During the Faith story arch, the watcher's council was on orders to kill the rogue slayer. In season 7, they show a few potentials that might no have been up to the task and were clearly not being trained by a watcher. And yes, I know the council had been destroyed, but any trainers out there would theoretically have been training their potentials, so they would have either been killed first, or at the same time. I am referring specifically to the endgame point of season 7 when the powers are activated in all the potentials and we see all the different girls in their (very brief scenes) of life as of "now". Then there is the one in Angel that was beyond help and more than likely would have been under Watcher surveillance if they had known about her, but she fell through the cracks in the system and went crazy. Of course it has been pointed out that Buffy tried to refuse the job as well. So in the event an unsuitable slayer was chosen (before the great slayering of season 7) The Watchers would have found her and either forced her into the role, or killed her with no thought to her being anything other than a "Rogue Slayer".
- In the first few episodes, Buffy jumped fifteen feet straight up, accidentally crushed a metal door and casually snapped a chain thick enough to restrain a silverback gorilla. In the very same season, she needed Xander's help to bend a thin metal door, and was barely able to free herself from some pencil-thin chains. As the series goes on, she frequently displays super strength when she needs to perform one-shot tricks like breaking doors or fixtures, but rarely in actual combat. She has super strength and and only when the plot says so. Yes, some of it can be attributed to her weighing less than her enemies or having roughly human durability, but a lot of scenes flat out and blatantly contradict the established rules and treat her like a normal human. What gives?
- There are a number of factors, magic, her mood (angry Buffy is pretty damned strong), level of threat, how tough her opponents are physically (hard for viewers to gage), how hard she's actually trying, what she's been training in, if anyone else is in danger, and of course good old writers whim. Sometimes characters get weakened for the sake of the plot, like during the two parts of What's My Line when Angel was hideously weakened by indirect sunlight to the point of being helpless even though the writers admit it made no sense.
- Why do the shamans who created the slayer line speak Swahili? The line is implied to go back as far as the beginning of humanity, but the Swahili language has only existed for three or four centuries. This troper is confused.
- It sounds foreign enough that the vast majority of people who hear it aren't going to know what it is. They just hear "African" and they're good. For those who do recognize the language, you can just apply Translation Convention.