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Buffy, 9.19 "Welcome to the Team, part 4" Discussion Thread (FULL SPOILERS)

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  • Buffy, 9.19 "Welcome to the Team, part 4" Discussion Thread (FULL SPOILERS)

    Saw the previews

    Read one advanced review

    SPOILERS

    Georgia's review
    https://leykimayri.wordpress.com/201...e-team-part-4/
    "Gunn dies, Illyria Survives, Spike shanshus, Angel looses an arm and Xander looses an arm too, which is odd because he wasn't even there."
    Joss Whedon at the High Stakes convention - 2004

  • #2
    Thread merge on Aisle 2

    EDIT: Or they can just delete mine.

    Well, going off of the advanced review, I'm already of mixed feelings. We'll have to see about the execution.

    I don't mind the idea that Xander has taken a set against Buffy, but I'm very wary of how this will be framed. There are contexts in which I can see him faulting her for a lot and being okay with it, and contexts where it will piss me off.

    For starters, I'm really tired of characters -- and by implications the writers -- not realizing that Buffy is not at fault for much if any of the fact that they got no magic right now, and in turn the threat to Dawn. If Xander wants justice for Dawn's situation, or revenge, or whatever, he needs to be in London asking Nadira if he can watch, so to speak. Or right along killing Whistler.

    Or, conversely, joining the Whistler crazy train if it means Dawn could be saved by his BS. Not a morally good plan, but rationally understandable.

    But Buffy was set up at every point of Season 8. Her moral excesses were intentionally flagged on and manipulated by Team Twilight, the spacefrak something she had no idea would have material supernatural consequences, and breaking the Seed necessary to save everyone that might have otherwise died.

    If this is it for Dawn, she died the second the Twilight dimension opened up, not when Buffy closed it down. All that changed was the timetable.

    Since we have covers indicating Xander and Buffy still on the same team here, I'm not worried too much that Xander is going to be Mwuhahahaing out of the group here, but I just hope that if their friendship is breaking or straining, it's not for entirely asinine reasons. The idea that the world gets worse every time Buffy saves it has interesting implications that play on a lot of levels -- one being the standard superhero "attractive nuisance" problem raised in many comics. Another being the meta level discussed by Buffy's hallucination shrink in "Normal Again", storytelling compels continually escalating crises. But it's all especially poignant when the man whose niche -- explicitly lampshaded more than once -- has been to (pace Corbin Dallas) to save her ass so she can save the world. What's it all been worth?

    There is interesting material to probe here, is what I'm saying, I just don't want Xander to HURP DURP YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE BROKEN THE SEED, because... well, hurp durp to that.
    Last edited by KingofCretins; 12-03-13, 10:01 PM.
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    • #3
      There is interesting material to probe here, is what I'm saying, I just don't want Xander to HURP DURP YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE BROKEN THE SEED, because... well, hurp durp to that.
      Xander blames her for what happened before, not for breaking the seed.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by zianna View Post
        Xander blames her for what happened before, not for breaking the seed.
        Well, gonna be interesting to see how they parse it. If he's after her about f@#$ing Angel, we're going to have to, HAVE to get definitive canonical clarity on her agency there.

        I have no problem with ridiculing someone for having sex with a disgusting person in a disgusting context (which, sorry, freshly genocidal Angel while Buffy's friends were still very much in danger was both), and I don't care what protestations anybody wants to make against "slut shaming" over it. But that only jives if they step definitively forward on the score of Buffy having had a fully conscious option to do that or not do that, no undue influence from the glow. And I'd prefer that be the case anyway, always have, I've thought a "glowhypnol" story was always a waste of our time. But the book has played tiddlywinks over Buffy's agency as have the book's writers and editor so it's time to shit or get off the pot there.

        But, now, if this is a whole litany that goes back to bankrobbing and such, homey, you waived your option to bitch about that when you were enabling, indulging, and even complimenting it for its sex appeal.

        I have a feeling that this is going to just come off with Xander as a heel, which... lazy. Hope I'm wrong. Let them both sound completely unreasonable or both completely understandable.
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        • #5
          Georgia's reaction to Xander's rant was "good for you". Since I don't think she's a particular fan of Xander, I think you can take that as good reason to hope that Xander is going to be articulating the rants that at least some of us have been ranting about for some time now.

          Needless to say I love Georgia's speculation about Spike becoming human. I've been talking about it as a possibility for some time -- and the news about Illyria does strengthen that speculation. So I'm doing a happy dance that it seems like a real possibility that the story will go there. It also is a easy way to tie Spike into some of the central themes of the story.

          Zero surprise that Dawn's key status is in play. It may have been predictable, but I'm very glad they are doing that. It makes the loss of magic issue concrete in the story in a powerful way. Hurray for that.

          I'm looking forward to the release tonight. First time in a while where I'll stay up in a way that's not totally grudging.
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          • #6
            Well, according to Georgia's speculations the matchstick demon was staying alive because - ? It/she was a demon too, and sucked dry by Severin, and still alive after suckage - no human soul present in it. I certainly hope Fred's soul was not destroyed - but there is little hope for it. So, as such I still maintain that Severin sucking an undead corpse animated by a demon off that demon will mean either a fresh dead corpse - with human soul instantly departing - these bodies Sev left behind were 'drained of blood' as far as I recall - or an undead body still walking sans all the vampire strength. To restore a vampire to human condition there is a need for regeneration device. Which , by the way, is present in A&F in a form of a Crown of Coils. Spike might be getting a hold of it in the next issue - or he might not.
            “Personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon” ranks as probably the best next-to-last line in TV history. (Granted, I’m not exactly sure what the competition is.) -- A.V. Club

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            • #7
              I'm thrown by the stupidity that it seems Simone wants to become a super strong vampire that Buffy can't kill. For a start at the moment she could only achieve super strong feral uber!zomp. Currently she is a human who wields a gun so she already has the advantage over Buffy because she is happy and willing to kill Buffy whereas Buffy, because Simone is human, would surely pause. What the heck is the evil plan here? It just seems thick. Must be more to it.

              Spike getting human is a definite season possibility and this issue has upped my percentage notion this way though I still wouldn't rule it out for his A&F appearance yet either as there are definite animating corpse with soul intact issues running riot around him there too. I like him vamped but I'll take him any which way I'm offered.

              I'm glad that a drained Illyria didn't 'become' Fred-like.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dorotea View Post
                Well, according to Georgia's speculations the matchstick demon was staying alive because - ? It/she was a demon too, and sucked dry by Severin, and still alive after suckage - no human soul present in it.
                I don't think that's relevant. The problem with the scenario (which I've thought was possible from the minute they gave Spike a near-human experience in the first arc) is how to account for why a vampire Spike might survive something that kills ordinary vampires. The business about souls addresses that, even if other, stronger demons like the matchstick demon could survive for other reasons.

                You are right that they could use phlebotinim from A&F to pursue the same end -- but it's more organic to the story Spike has been in to use phlebotinim that's been established in that story. The near-human panel has more resonance if it's foreshadowing the moment when Spike becomes fully human by the same means.

                I don't put much stock in your (or anyone's) effort to figure out the mechanics of Severin's powers based on 'logic'. The writers are obviously cavalier about stuff like that. If the writers take the trouble to seed the idea that the presence of the soul makes a difference in how those mechanics work, it's reasonable to think that the writers think they are working with a mechanics in which the presence of the soul makes a difference.

                It has always seemed to me that having Spike become human is a very Jossian thing to do. Shanshu is Angel's prophecy. But humanity is also an outcome Angel has repeatedly refused/resisted. He turned down the light by smashing the ring of Amara. He rejected his humanity in IWRY. He went with Dog, when dog told him that these new gifts made Shanshu look like a sack o' crap. And we know that Angelus would literally kill anyone who threatens him with the stinking humanity of a soul. Spike, by contrast, voluntarily sought the humanity of a soul. Before that he was always far more human-like. Unlike Angel, he relishes food. Unlike Angel, he flows with time -- being culturally aware and the like. He's NOT the stuff of prophecies. But that would be the irony. The vampire with the prophecy of becoming human isn't the vampire who's been clearly heading for humanity the whole time.

                I could easily be Jossed. But that way of seeing Spike's story is why I've been keen to pick up on every hint in the comics that Spike could end up human. To my mind there have been a lot of them. Spike singing to baby grubs, and clearly being interested in fatherhood. An inordinate number of mentions of the disabilities he suffers as a vampire (needing invites and so on). The near-human panel. The whole theme of normal/not normal that is playing in the Spuffy interactions this season.

                For the nonce I'm hopeful!
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                • #9
                  IMHO, there is absolutely zero chance of Spike ( or Angel) becoming humans without some serious repercussions. For Spike there is also zero chance of becoming human permanently and remaining in the series. So, either he does 'the Angel' and nobly rejects opportunity of using the McGuffin on himself because of 'she needs me super strong' and as human I am even of less use to her than now, or he is turned into a drained off powers walking undead with zero strength - and then they have to force Sev to restore him. The second scenario is extremely unlikely because of fandom ire volume - even for a few issues remained. The first one is more likely because Allie promised that many won't like what they are doing.

                  And , btw, as a Bangel I would not mind Spike being rejected after his final attempt to change himself for her - jumping yet through another hoop to find his net empty. But that's why I think this is not going to happen. All indicators after Spike's mini to him evolving yet again into not being all about a single other person - thus him making a decision 'not to change' is a likely possible development after his mini. Before his mini I would not have bet on it. But we shall see if any sign of CC in Spike's hand will be in A&F 20. I am usually right in my guesses only 1 time out of 2 .
                  Last edited by dorotea; 13-03-13, 01:07 AM.
                  “Personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon” ranks as probably the best next-to-last line in TV history. (Granted, I’m not exactly sure what the competition is.) -- A.V. Club

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                  • #10
                    I really hope they don't go the "ZOMG the soul keeps him alive!" route, since it makes absolutely zero sense. Yes, I know that a lot of things haven't made sense, but that would still be too much even for them. Soul is not what keeps a body alive. And soul or no soul, vampires aren't supposed to have the bodily functions of a living human. What animates them is the demon/supernatural powers. It makes no sense that they would be anything but dead humans without them.

                    Otherwise, this was a surprisingly OK issue, where things finally happened and the characters (i.e. Xander and Buffy) finally had some conversations about the elephant in the room.
                    You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post

                      I don't mind the idea that Xander has taken a set against Buffy, but I'm very wary of how this will be framed. There are contexts in which I can see him faulting her for a lot and being okay with it, and contexts where it will piss me off.
                      Same here. I have no problems with Xander going against Buffy's side of the story or recent indiscretions. However, when it comes to Xander being the antagonist or difference in judgment, the writers tend to heavy handily paint him as a judgmental ass. The idea of him throwing out an outburst of loathing filled blanket of blame on events that was at best ambiguous and at worst damn right lazy writing from the writers is loaded with potential traps. Either way, I feel as though this leaves far too much room for Xander to either come down on the side of slut shaming or as a hypocritical ass for his own role in the events. Neither side seems like a very fun place to be.

                      Hopefully the writing will come out better than what I am imagining at this point. But still, the last time Xander went against Buffy, even though he had a fairly good reason to be weary of her actions (such as had just violently lost an eye), he still gets lumped into the ungrateful ingrates category. Will the case be the same here even if there are possible good reason for him to feel the way he does?

                      Reading the brief description at the top of the review stating that In the midst of trying to have a normal life – for a Slayer –

                      ....Did I miss the "midst" parts? When has Buffy's life been "normal" even for a slayer this season? This is where I feel a major disconnect from what I'm reading vs what I feel the writers think I should be reading. I know the general teases of ambition and outlook for a season at the beginning of the story is often times off kilter in how it actually turns out, however, this season seems to be even more glaringly apparent how off kilter it was from what was promoted at the beginning. Whatever happened to getting back to the basics (or whatever it was), I have seen no basics.

                      Anyways, putting negativity to the side, I am looking forward to seeing Buffy and Xander interacting again! Its about dang time we get some Scooby action. And I'm also looking forward to seeing Buffy's reaction to Dawn's state when she returns as well as Xander reaction to her reaction. It sounds like its a combustable exchange. Now all we need is Willow again and then maybe we can get back to the basics.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dorotea View Post
                        IMHO, there is absolutely zero chance of Spike ( or Angel) becoming humans without some serious repercussions. For Spike there is also zero chance of becoming human permanently and remaining in the series.
                        I don't see why. As we learn from Billy the Vampire slayer, humans can be part of the team. See also Downing, Robert.

                        And , btw, as a Bangel I would not mind Spike being rejected after his final attempt to change himself for her - jumping yet through another hoop to find his net empty.
                        Ugh. I'd hate a story where Spike tried to become human in order to get with Buffy. As I said above, I think it's a trajectory that is integral to his own story, and in this instance we're talking about something that happens to him as a result of an encounter with Severin. Personally, I couldn't care less if Buffy ever goes for Spike or not. I no longer think of her as a particularly admirable or sympathetic person. You may think she'd be a good "prize" for your favorite vampire -- and while I'd spin it quite differently, I do think in some sense Angel and Buffy deserve each other, what with their shared indifference to the fates of the people they caused to die and all. But I do wish Spike would wish for something more for himself. A clean slate with a woman with less baggage. Alas, that's not a wish I have much hopes for -- but don't make the assumption that I'm rooting for Buffy to finally have a change of heart. She's shown that she prefers the vampire who was cursed with a soul to the vampire who fought for one. I say she should get what she wants.

                        TTB. It's a technicality, but for what it's worth there are many conceptions of the soul where the soul is exactly what keeps a person alive. But I agree that's not the conception of the soul at work in the verse. Still, I think the poetics work well enough on this. The soul represents some extra connection with humanity, and I don't see that as doing any more violence to the mythology than the idea, say, of demons controlling zompires through interdimensional remote control.
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                        • #13
                          It only just now occurred to me... Spike isn't even going to be in this issue. Yet two thirds of both the review and the discussion there would have you believe, it's "Fool For Love", part 2

                          Tiger, to be honest, most of the moments that have made me adore Buffy and Xander both as a friendship and as potential romance have been when they were antagonizing each other. I'm actually sort of enthused, just wary that they may cop out and make one the black and one the white hat in the argument. I mean, that will happen in the audience anyway, as Xander is probably the all time Escape Goat when it comes to the soap opera components of the "Buffy" series. But I'm counting on the narrative to take a middle road.

                          I'm not all that surprised by the idea that Simone has such an idiotic master plan. Can't count on someone who has no regard for anyone else's lives or property to have much respect for their own. But I really would love at some point for Buffy to rub it in her face that her whole plan is an admission that she can't hack it as a Slayer, even free of all the things Buffy does that Simone sees as limitations.

                          I shouldn't be too surprised that Illyria is being depowered and still being Illyria. This is undoubtedly what Joss' plans were for her, in fact. Problem being... how is she not just Anya? I mean, yes, her personality and experience and background are entirely different, but isn't the story hook her and the necessary chart of her character's path at this point pretty much just Anya 2.0? Fish out of water demon who is now powerless and forced to adapt? They started playing that angle in Season 5, but wanted her to still be the Big Guy, but now since they don't, she's the new Anya?
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                            I shouldn't be too surprised that Illyria is being depowered and still being Illyria. This is undoubtedly what Joss' plans were for her, in fact. Problem being... how is she not just Anya? I mean, yes, her personality and experience and background are entirely different, but isn't the story hook her and the necessary chart of her character's path at this point pretty much just Anya 2.0? Fish out of water demon who is now powerless and forced to adapt? They started playing that angle in Season 5, but wanted her to still be the Big Guy, but now since they don't, she's the new Anya?
                            By that logic, Faith was the new Buffy. Teenage slayer girl with a big fondness for badass clothes? Same person.

                            Illyria and Anya are entirely different. Trying to adapt to humanity when you still look like a demon (albeit a sexy demon) and always acted like a demon is completely different from adapting human when you look like a woman (particularly an Emma Caufield-shaped woman) who has posed as a normal human many times before.

                            Either way, I don't think Severin is going to get away with stealing Spike's and Illyria's powers permanently. I think restoring Spike and Illyria to what they once were will part and parcel of defeating this season's Big Bad.

                            Also I think that if there's any theme to this season, it's shaping up to be that it's the duty of heroes to take on whatever grander mission and powers make them special. Normal life or even, hedonistic lazy life is unacceptable.

                            The theme is assuredly that people should be protective and covetous of their powers and supernatural mission because it's needed for the world and because it allows beings to rise above pedestrian money-grubbing and TV-watching couch potato junk (or in other dimensions, magic-drugs and chasing literal snake tail) to something grander and greater.

                            Ending magic ended up making life a cruel joke for everyone. Xander dropped out of the fight to protect Dawn and that was a big waste as Dawn is dying. The Embodiment of Magic told Willow that she's inherently magical and should always be that way. According the writers, Buffy's shiny moment was turning down Kennedy's paycheck because that makes Buffy a Slayer with a capital S with all of the counter-cultural, anti-materialistic intonations there. Ahneed and Billy are the Secret MVPs of the season because they own and relish in the slayer legacy. Ahneed owns (ahem, in secret....) her superpowers and slayer legacy with honor while Billy is superpower-aspirational.

                            The theme is inherent in the fact that Severin tries stealing everyone's powers, making Buffy and Spike and Illyria to start, very righteously protective of the powers that are their birthright and siring-right because the Big Bad is trying to steal their power.

                            It's a klutzy theme. It took the last issues to materialize while the strongest seasons (IMO, 2, 3 and 4) made their themes clear right out the gate. However, the series still condemns Willow for being too grasping or whatever to get her powers (Willow) or makes vague criticisms of forgetting "little people" (Buffy) in an unfair manner that undermines their core themes.

                            However, the theme is clear enough for me to say that Severin CAN'T get away with taking Illyria's and Spike's power. And if he does for some reason, it's not a happy ending....at least for S9.
                            Last edited by Dipstick; 13-03-13, 03:55 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                              It only just now occurred to me... Spike isn't even going to be in this issue. Yet two thirds of both the review and the discussion there would have you believe, it's "Fool For Love", part 2
                              Well, thats the magic of Spike, he keeps taking over everything and he is not even there.

                              I share the opinion that everything in this issue was something that we saw comming before. The fact that Dawn was created by magic and will be affected by the seed breaking was disscused here right from the beggining, the reaction of Xander is also predictable in his normalcy.
                              Glad that Illyria survived the attack, but hoppefully, is not to set a trend about the soul thing, and Spike future. I particullary preffer Vamp Spike, and if someday he gets humanity I hope will be by choice and not for something like this.
                              At least.....no. Deffinitly a bad time to change, when it will be seen as allways, like just one more attempt to Buffy.

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