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Buffy 8.25 "Living Doll" Spoiler Discussion Thread

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  • #31
    I would certainly like to see what more is in store for Dawn but I wouldn't mind seeing the end of the magical transformations. Even though the drawings of Dawn as a doll were actually kind of cute. Why not see what the comics can do with Dawn as a physical human being?

    This theme of sister neglect goes back to Season 6 (remember "Older and Far Away"?) It feels kind of used at this point.

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    • #32
      I have to say that I found it a rather boring issue. It has some nice stuff, but the whole Kenny/Dawn stuff was pretty boring and the sister problems between Buffy/Dawn is long overdue. I simply don't understand why Buffy/Xander had to wait for looking Dawn until after the fight. It was barely a fight and the other Slayers wouldn't their waiting. I actually think the issue was rather stupid the more I think about it. In principle not really a problem when it is a fun read. But it was boring.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by oneslikeme View Post
        all buffy knew, all dawn would let her know, is that her boyfriend was a thrisewise and cast a horrible curse on her. dawn did nothing to correct that image to buffy
        On the contrary: Dawn insisted all along that her transformations had nothing to do with Kenny, he was completely blameless and she didn't even want to talk about him. She also tried to deny to Buffy that Kenny was a Thricewise at all, although that wasn't very convincing.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
          If anything, the issue only confirms that there really isn't anything they could have done. I'm not sure how that is lost on folks. Dawn had to do it herself, by apologizing. Kenny does mention that he could have taken it off, but there was no way for Buffy to A) know that, or B) make him do it without severe tactics, and all that would have done (and you who would have said it *know* you would have) is make people pile on her even *more* for being dark and morally compromised.

          Except in this instance you have to look at the situation from Buffy's perspective, not from the viewer's narrative perspective. Buffy sees Dawn has been transformed into a another creature to the extent that it's interfering with her normal life. For all those who say Dawn's transformations aren't hurting Dawn (frankly I can't see how people can think Dawn being a giant and a centaur is 'yay awesome' because even we the audience were bored sick with it), it doesn't matter because from Buffy's perspective Dawn way back in LWH she wants Dawn normal again so that she's back where she "belongs" at UC-Berkely. That's the sister mission. End of story. So we're supposed to think Buffy's okay with Dawn being a giant and a centaur? Right, she's clearly not okay. So the next step for Buffy is determining how to fix this situation. Dawn belongs in school and that's where Buffy wants her to be. Dawn shouldn't be a giant or a centaur - Buffy doesn't see her in this way as being good or valuable, but a nuisance.

          Mission: Remove the spell from Dawn so she's back to normal.

          Steps Buffy takes: Has local wiccas work on it. Waits for Willow and has Willow work on it. Blames Kenny in LWH, explaining how she knows it's his fault and that Dawn refuses to open up to her. Doesn't go to Kenny who she knows is a Thricewise and demand an explanation.

          Hmmmm....this situation is feeling very A New Man to me.

          Mission: Once she realizes Giles is the demon she's been hunting, she puts the beatdown/threatdown on Ethan till he returns Giles to normal. Ethan is the source of the magic, Ethan is the solution.

          Kenny is the source of the magic, and hey waddyaknow - Kenny is the solution. Kenny's presence is what pushes Dawn to admit her guilt and remove the curse. Kenny is the key (heh). And Buffy knew this all along. She knew it. But she did nothing about it till Dawn had disappeared. And actually it's Xander who targets Kenny by sending Andrew to bring him back to Slayer Central.

          Buffy has no active involvement in setting up to bring Kenny in and solving this mystery though her intuition has always been telling her that Kenny is the key. It's been telling her this since LWH. The reason for this neglect - an overinflated sense of involvement with the Slayer mission. The fact that the threat Judas Cradle is "too big to every Slayer [Buffy's] got here" is why she says she "want[s] to get [her] sister to safety too. Can't. Not now." Yet this threat turns out to be six lame and probably drunk vampires against an army of well-trained slayers. It's a laughable threat. Tilting at windmills here?

          Buffy's mindset: mission, mission, mission, Slayers, mission, mission, Twilight, mission, mission, oops Dawn's missing oh crap.

          Finally when she sees Dawn's tracks and realizes she's transformed again does she order to "get the thricewise" cause third time's the charm. I mean, yeah Dawn was turned into a Giant and then a centaur and she didn't order that Kenny be brought in, but the third transformation is the one that broke camel's back. I mean jeez, Dawn's transformed again? Gasp. There's no reason for Buffy to have not ordered "get the Thricewise" back when Dawn turned into a centaur (or frankly back when she first learned Dawn was a giant) except that she was distracted by her mission to go to NYC and research the lead on the Scythe with Willow. Mission > Dawn.

          And Buffy admits this: "I'm so preoccupied with leading my army that I've forgotten my family."

          Dawn admits that subconsciously she did all these things with Kenny - risky behavior like dating a Thricewise and pissing him off - because she was jealous of Buffy's new sister Slayers and wanted Buffy to "save [her]". The real tragedy here - Buffy doesn't answer this desperate cry for love and attention right away. Doesn't reassure Dawn and reconnect with her sister. It's ultimately good for Dawn to learn not to put herself in peril so she can get Buffy's attention, but it also says something sad about Buffy - Dawn puts herself in genuine peril, truly needs help, and Buffy largely ignores her.

          Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post

          As I implied, if Buffy had ordered them to go round up Kenny back in 8.11, and had beaten or threatened or Jack Bauered him into removing the spell, I could write the posts myself about how "oh, look at how Buffy is out of character, look how she immediately went to violence" blah blah blah moral corruption cakes.
          How is that moral corruption? And how is this not something we're meant to expect from Buffy? We don't think she threatened Ethan to get him to turn Giles from a Fyarl back into a human in A New Man? Why would we judge her for making a threat like that? That's exactly what I expect her to do and I'd be cheering her on for saying to Ethan/Kenny - "This is wrong and you're going to undo this." We learn from Kenny that he in fact could have undone it. That he would have undone it before it got to the "horned fire snails" phase. He said he would have "called it off". Again, Kenny had the power to undo this spell. Just as Ethan had the power to restore Giles to his human state. The difference being that the writers wanted Dawn to admit her guilt and show how she was looking for Buffy to rescue her. It's a really drawn out story that in fact isn't OOC for Buffy because it's supposed to be in-character that she's neglecting her sister. And it sucks. And we the audience don't like it.
          Last edited by Emmie; 10-05-09, 02:36 AM.
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          • #35
            Hey, I don't know about You the Audience, but I the Audience loved Dawn's storyline and was never bored with it.

            The difference between this situation and A New Man is that Buffy wasn't the leader of an international organization fighting a three or four front war back in Season 4. She is constantly having to perform triage, basically, and separate the most pressing problems and threats from the benign threats from the lost causes. For all the awkwardness it caused her, Dawn's transformations never put her in direct peril or harm. In fact, they made her more capable than she ever had been. In this issue, Dawn not only disappears but she has transformed into something tiny and helpless. It's not when Dawn disappears that Buffy promotes Dawn's problem to "we have to solve this NOW", but when Dawn's tracks change from Centaur tracks to tiny doll tracks.

            Buffy isn't completely blameless in this situation, but 1. she always had legitimately more important things going on 2. Dawn never told the truth about what happened to her and continuously claimed that Kenny had nothing to do with it 3. all of Buffy's efforts (wiccas, Willow, etc) led nowhere.

            And, in fact, Buffy's efforts never do lead anywhere. Kenny found Dawn on his own and of his own free will, only Dawn's "I"m Sorry" changed her back to normal. A big point of this issue and Dawn's arc, one that fans should realize as much as the characters, is that Dawn is an adult now. She has to (and can) save herself, and it's not Buffy's responsibility to instantly drop everything anymore when Dawn is in trouble (especially if Dawn won't even tell the truth).

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Emmie View Post
              Buffy has no active involvement in setting up to bring Kenny in and solving this mystery though her intuition has always been telling her that Kenny is the key. It's been telling her this since LWH.
              In LWH Buffy's intuition was telling her "once again sports fans it's all my fault." That whatever whammy Kenny put on her what it was really doing was manifesting Dawn's internal issues with Buffy and the Slayers and abandonment. Those issues would not be fixed by doing anything to Kenny (he's external not internal) but by trying to reconnect with Dawn. But when she does try to talk to Dawn they end up bickering like 12 year olds and it solves nothing.
              Dawn admits that subconsciously she did all these things with Kenny - risky behavior like dating a Thricewise and pissing him off - because she was jealous of Buffy's new sister Slayers and wanted Buffy to "save [her]".
              I think it's possible for people to subconciously want contradictory things. Dawn is on the cusp of becoming an adult. Her child self wants to be saved, her adult self wants to be free. She's a mass of contradictions like most teenagers. You can see it in all her transformations. She's a feeble giant, a mighty freak and a doll with soul. And then there's Buffy wanting to be both sister and Slayer - welcome to every working parents dilemma (or maybe you think parent shouldn't work). With all these internal contradictions and unresolved binaries is it any surprise that confrontation leads to bickering not solution?

              Unlike Buffy, Gepetto only wants to keep her safe (the big crack in her head does heal as a result of his knife work). However, humans are contrary and finally having someone to watch over her 24/7 is the one thing Dawn needs to discover she doesn’t want to be saved. Dawn's living doll transformation finally putting her in unknown peril rather than extravagantly visible (but visible is safe) discontent is what gives Buffy the chance to resolve something by action rather than words and she takes it only to find that she can't force Kenny to do anything, she can't fix things between him and Dawn because only Dawn can do that. I don't know what 'audience' you've been referring to but I'm not part of it. I've enjoyed Dawn's arc and am profoundly glad that threading it through 25 issues has given the complex and contradictory relationship between the two sisters the growing space it deserves.

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              • #37
                I hope we are finally, finally, finally done with Buffy and Dawn's 'we need to be sisters' arc. I thought this ended with season six and their whole walking-into-the-new-dawn bit but I guess not. Now we have closure and thank GOD.

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                • #38
                  Just read issue 25, very good, love the sad attack by an 'army' of 6 vamps who then get slaughtered by the Slayers. Creepy but Dawn is SOOOO cute as a doll (not that she isn't cute all the time). Note Andrew's totems are Yoda's. And the gang are fans of Veronica Mars which of course Charisma Carpenter and Alysson Hannigan star in. Glad that Buffy made the Wolverine reference, we were all thinking it.
                  The wood nymph remind everyone else of the character of Jeremy from Yellow Submarine? Yet another excuse for the artists to draw naked pictures of Dawn. Lovely scene at the end with Dawnie and Ken parting and lovely scene with Buffy and Dawn, the Summers girls together is always special.

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