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BtVS rewatch : SEASON 3

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  • BtVS rewatch : SEASON 3

    Here's the new thread for the Season 3 rewatch.

    As we are doing one episode a week this season I've suggested we aim to post each weekend to give ourselves a little more structure and to keep the pace going. To help I've put a guiding Fri date next to each episode so people can be prepared for when their reviews are due. No doubt we will agree what break happens around Christmas closer to the time. Below is the reference list of those signed up to do the initial reviews and, as always, I'll keep an episode list below that links to each review when they're posted.

    So, as we carry on chatting over Becoming II, get disc 1 loaded up and ready for norwie's review of Anne.


    *post each weekend, Fri date given as a guide

    3.01 Anne - norwie (15 Aug)
    3.02 Dead Man's Party - Local Max (22 Aug)
    3.03 Faith, Hope & Trick - Stoney (29 Aug)
    3.04 Beauty and the Beasts - TimeTravellingBunny (05 Sep)
    3.05 Homecoming - Stoney (12 Sep)
    3.06 Band Candy - Dipstick (19 Sep)
    3.07 Revelations - King (26 Sep)
    3.08 Lovers Walk - Stoney (03 Oct)
    3.09 The Wish - TimeTravellingBunny (10 Oct)
    3.10 Amends - TimeTravellingBunny (24 Oct)
    3.11 Gingerbread - Stoney (31 Oct)
    3.12 Helpless - Local Max (07 Nov)
    3.13 The Zeppo - Sosa (21 Nov)
    3.14 Bad Girls - Dipstick (28 Nov)
    3.15 Consequences - TimeTravellingBunny (12 Dec)
    3.16 Doppelgangland - Local Max (19 Dec)
    3.17 Enemies - Rihannon (02 Jan)
    3.18 Earshot - Local Max (09 Jan)
    3.19 Choices - Dipstick (16 Jan)
    3.20 The Prom - Local Max (23 Jan)
    3.21 Graduation Day Pt1 - King (30 Jan)
    3.22 Graduation Day Pt2 - King (06 Feb)

    SEASON 1 thread
    SEASON 2 thread
    SEASON 4 thread
    SEASON 5 thread
    SEASON 6 thread
    SEASON 7 thread

    SEASON 3 episode links
    Last edited by Stoney; 19-10-19, 09:09 PM.

  • #2
    So I'm off to the family meeting a few hours early hence the review will be up sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning (Sunday evening for you westerners oversea ).

    Things to look out for:

    Ghandi explained!


    Forearm tattoos!

    Batman vs the Red Army!

    Mirroring first vs last ep!

    And, finally, why "Anne" is the best ep ever.


    • #3
      "First of all, a film is created out of interests, money and careers, then intentions, crafts and manias. Only in what remains, from what the participants are able to do either too much or too little flows the unknown, unconscious, that which makes a film not only wiser than its authors, but also smarter than the system which produces it."

      Buffy "Anne Frank" Summers.

      Buffy "Working Class Hero" Summers.

      Buffy "Sasha Pechersky" Summers.

      Buffy "(Not-)Ghandi" Summers.

      Buffy the Slayer.

      Most awesomest episode of all awesome episodes. In this episode, Mutant Enemy loose their cool and get down and dirty with the heavy themes.

      I'm not going to comment too much on the Sunnydale scenes since the meat of the episode lies elsewhere. I'm sure some of you diehard Willow/Xander/Scoobies fans will give a way more detailed rundown than I ever could.

      We open up with a scene from Sunnydale where the Scoobies fight a vampire willingly. The scene is played for laughs - message: the Scoobies are alright.
      (But the underlying tones are that the Scoobies do not only miss Buffy in her capacity of the Slayer, but as a person: "I feel we took her punning for granted", says Xander.)

      Then we cut to Buffy's beach dream which shows her guilt over killing the one she loved (her subconsciousness accuses: "Not even if you kill me").
      I think the rest of this scene is romanticist filler, such as the rather nonsensical "dialogue" between Buffy and dream-Angel.

      THEN "we" wake up to Buffy's working class reality.

      Her working place is aptly named "Hell(en)'s Kitchen", firmly establishing that this is real, Buffy's awoken from her petty-bourgeois dreams as a Sunnydale middle class white girl into the reality of the working woman's life. The men are not knights, the work is shitty and the pay is poor. All Buffy has left is a room, work and a lot of guilt come the night. The heroic "Me!" from last ep. is seriously shaken and deconstructed. But, fear not gentle reader: Buffy will reclaim her "Me!" stronger than ever before: In the name of history far greater than her personal love story of having to send her abusive Ex to hell (quite literally, since this is the Buffy show). Last season it was about Buffy's individualistic and very personal identity in the face of personal abuse - this time it is about collective destruction as much as it is about personal abuse; it is about the whole of mankind. Sure, this isn't an apocalyptic episode on the surface. But below it is much more about the apocalypse than any other episode on the whole show. It is not about a "highschool is hell" metaphor but "life is hell"/"Hell on Earth".

      We then meet Rickie and Lily who are caught between the antagonism/contradiction of their respective romanticist dreams and the(ir) economic reality. They have blown their little savings on seemingly fleeting dreams of forever love. Kitschy tattoos and and even kitschier lines blown into each other faces. (Especially the tattoos will get deeper meaning once the episode steams on.) In this regard the two are a mirror to Buffy (and Angel) - but also a reminder: What we live through is tattooed into our being forever, no matter how "dreamy", or "fleeting" it may have been.

      Lily recognizes her one-time hero in Buffy: You can take the girl out of the Slayer duty - but you cannot take the Slayer out of the girl.

      This scene also has some grim humor in the discussion between Anne, Lily and Rickie about what to eat:

      "If they have no bread then let them eat cake."

      We cut back to SD - and the happy and carefree overtones of the first scene get a bit of a deeper meaning here when Giles reminds the Scoobies of the possibility of gruesome death at the hands of vampires. It is still played mostly for laughs, especially the sit com-esque pairing scenes Xander/Cordelia and Willow/Oz. Here, it is firmly established that the characters left in Sunnydale are still very much into the " petty-bourgeois dreams as a Sunnydale middle class white girl"/boy. This spills over into the Scoobie's playing at slaying (I should take up rapping... ), especially when we get to Buffy's case of missing people in LA.

      Tangent: Buffy's whole Working Class Hero life plays in Los Angeles, a sprawling industrial mega city, the petty-bourgeois children's dreams play in nice suburbian Sunnydale. Another contrast which makes Buffy's experiences "real", and the lives of the Scoobies the "minority report". While Buffy's social identiy lies pretty much in SD (her friends, her mom, her Giles, her emotional core) the world at large is (her) LA.

      The scene shifts again to Buffy: we meet Ken, who is at first glance a parody of a zealous religious, then we get into the story of the life in hell. Lily tries to establish a friendship with Buffy which hints at her admiring Buffy, at reaching out to Buffy and in her own inner Slayer. Buffy rejects the Slayer - but we get a first glimpse at not-entirely-lost-Buffy when she dives into traffic to save a "no one".

      We get a look at "the lost and the damned" of society, the scenes are shot grimly and with no warm blanket or metaphor to cover our eyes and make us sleep tight and safe at night.

      Now we finally get to a very important scene in Sunnydale when Joyce cuts right to the core of it in her fight with Giles:

      She accuses him (rightly) of estranging Buffy from her, of breaking up the maternal home of the Summers women. Giles is the - male - intruder here, the Watcher's Council man who told Buffy time and again to hide her activities from her mother: Patriarchy stealing away the daughter from the mother, destroying the relationship a woman has to her foremothers, making them pliable to the male will. The WC do not want the Slayer to learn wisdom from her mother but form her into a tool to be used, abused and thrown away by men. (Of course Giles is taken aback: I don't think he is aware of this, he only has the best of intentions - the effect is nonetheless the same). Ah, rich material here.

      Back to hero Buffy: She's on the case of missing Rickie, showing her smarts and finally finding him. She identifies him by the forearm tattoo. No, it is not a number on the TV show but when we later learn about the truth of the circumstances of his suffering and death it becomes quite clear. The only mark of identity after the Enemy stripped away every trace of identity he had for himself:

      - - - Updated - - -

      Part II follows in some hours - i have to edit some material which I had forgotten about.

      - - - Updated - - -

      During the Buffy detective story we witness another time just how smart Buffy really is: alternating deduction, brains and brawns in successful combination to unravel the mystery (another little hint at Buffy's smarts is in her conversation with Lily about her names: Buffy knows stuff. Even exotic stuff. ).

      In just no time she's standing at the gates of hell and finds herself in Sobibor – I mean Ken's industrial hell.

      The way Lily and Buffy are captured and their attitude towards their situation firmly establishes the key differences between them: Lily is the civilian caught up in her own desperation while Buffy is the soldier („Warrior of the People“), determined to analyze the situation and finding a way out of it.

      Buffy in the concentration camp:

      So. Sobibor.

      As you all know there were just over 40.000 (forty thousand) concentration camps all over Europe during the reign of open fascism over here. Most of them were „dual purpose“ camps: Annihilation through labor. Some however were pure factories of death – no workshops beyond the ones necessary to run the camps, just the industrialized destruction of human lives. And while Auschwitz remains the name foremost associated with the millions murdered in the Holocaust and the Shoa – it was still officially a „work camp“. The life expectancy in Auschwitz was 3 to 6 months.

      Sobibor was different. There were no factories. There were no meager food rations. There were no barracks. The life expectancy in Sobibor was about 3 hours.

      Sobibor was different in other ways: It was the place of a successful uprising of the 600 prisoners held there to run the camp which led to the destruction and abandonment of the camp: Alexander „Sasha“ Pechersky, a soviet jewish RKKA officer led an armed revolt on October, 14th during which two-thirds of the members of the SS were successfully killed and again two-thirds of the prisoners escaped the camp. (Tragically, only around 70 of the escapees survived the following man hunt and the war.) In the aftermath of the successful insurrection the camp was abandoned by the nazis and no further human lives were destroyed at this place. Which makes the escape from Sobibor probably one of the most successful life saving acts of all times. By comparison: In Auschwitz – a „labor camp“ - between 1 million (conservative estimates) and 5 million (estimation by the commander of the camp) people were murdered. The death camp Sobibor had the capabilities of murdering much, much more people until the liberation by the RKKA. But, October 14th, 1943 was the last day anyone was murdered there.

      Now, you wonder why I put a picture of Rutger Hauer above. Well, you could all watch the documentary about Sobibor but knowing that you are all pop culture vultures – there's a movie from the 80s named „Escape from Sobibor“ which depicts the events quite well and shows Rutger Hauer in the role of Buffy Summers – I mean Sasha Pechersky. I recommend it. (Pechersky survived the escape and continued to fight against the Enemy until he was severely wounded during Operation Bagration after which he helped write „the black book of the Holocaust“ by Ehrenburg and Grossman and worked as a – music teacher.)

      Now, that was not a detour, but a precizision of the the events depicted in the episode „Anne“. The whole scenery in Ken's hell is the scenery of a concentration camp of the 40s in Europe. Prisoned slaves are worked to death for the profits of the demonic master race.

      This is maybe the most political episode of BtVS, with clear references and paralleling of concentration camps (hell on earth, but also completely removed from everyday life), their real purpose (accumulation of capital) and their inner workings (annihilation through labor).

      And, indeed, fascism is the "ultima ratio" of capitalism (which turns this around to the start of the episode: Buffy as a working class woman, working in "hell's kitchen").

      Buffy's stay in the hell of the working class has some of the most epic scenes and lines from the series: „I'm Buffy the vampire slayer – and you are?“ (which is the „Me!“ scene of the ep and a strong reaffirmation of Buffy's self). Buffy standing, hammer and sickle in hand in the workshop over the corpses of the slain demon fascists, the Enemy of the people - reminding us who actually destroyed the beast.

      (In the words of the class enemy:

      "History knows no greater display of courage than that shown by the people of Soviet Russia" Henry L Stimson, Secretary of War.

      "We and our allies owe and acknowledge an everlasting debt of gratitude to the armies and people of the Soviet Union" Frank Knox, Secretary of the navy.

      "...the scale and grandeur of the Russian effort mark it as the greatest military achievement in all history." Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief Southwest Pacific Area.)

      There's also the infamous line „humans don't fight back!“ which is a shift/displacement of the well known phrase „Jews don't fight back“.

      Part III follows shortly thereafter.

      - - - Updated - - -

      So, Buffy – the one who fights back - leads an armed revolt and leads the prisoners to freedom, in the process smashing Ken's skull with her working class hammer while giving the impression of a „really angry Ghandi“.

      This is a funny and but also sombre scene as it plays with the image Ghandi has in western society and rejecting the message (as understood by most westerners) altogether.

      The truth about Ghandi is a bit more complicated than just „Pacifism!“. During his life Ghandi developed – as all humans do – and changed positions. The „Umkhonto we Sizwe“ - „Spear of the Nation“ - the armed arm of the South African liberation movement ANC (Nelson Mandela was the first leader of the Spear of the Nation) developed much of it's theory from Ghandi's work. While Ghandi became more and more stubborn in his stated pacifism until he wrote that shameful letter to the european Jews he was not always like that: In the beginning, his peaceful protests were more of a strategy to reach his goals and not the stone set principle it became later. Ghandi was in favor of the British wars against open racism and urged his fellow Indians to join the British forces. Only after it became apparent that the peaceful protests actually worked (in the isolated situation of 400 million against 100.000....) he elevated the strategy to a principle.

      So, Buffy's not wrong when she says that a „really angry Ghandi“ would smash Ken's skull. The world has never witnessed a „really angry Ghandi“.

      At the same time of this little irony I applaud Mutant Enemy to depict Buffy as a contrast to the image of a peaceful Ghandi: There's human action in this world which demands an equally forceful counter action. Without the likes of Sasha Pechersky the ashes would cover the world from Lissabon to Vladivostok; Africa and Asia would be slave camps and mass graves (moreso than they already are).

      The end scene is Buffy returning to Sunnydale while Lily takes up the mantle of „Anne“, the Working Class Hero. Lily is inspired by Buffy to fight, to „become“. She stays in the urban working class world while Buffy leaves the working class and returns to her petty bourgeois family and dreams – but she's learned a valuable lession: Solidarity wins the fight. It is no wonder that she employs these lessons in the finale of the season, raising a student's army to defeat the mayor. And while „Graduation Day“ is a piss poor adaption of that principle (white middle class petty bourgeois youths will never be a decisive force in this world...) „Anne“ is actually a really great depiction of bravery, solidarity and smashing the chains (and Ken's brains) yourself (because there's no one else who will do it for you).

      Buffy is the spark, maybe the – militarily speaking – driving force of insurrection. But only together victory is possible. This is what the season shows in it's first episode, as well as it's last. (Whedon is so obsessed with symmetry it is really funny. )

      (And just for the record: I LIKE „Graduation Day“ - i just love „Anne“ so much more, as it is much more intense and much more true to the world we live in. „Anne“ has real depth, while „GD“ is just cool.)

      Oh, I promised Batman vs. The Red Army. Hm.

      This is actually a little bit of cheating as that actually happens in a sort of thematical crossover from „Anne“ and „DMP“. We get the children playing at „Nighthawk“ (Batman) and the woman smashing the fascist's skull.(„Hey, Ken, wanna see my impression of Gandhi?“). Red Army wins.

      Bits and bytes.

      Buffy holding the gate open is a really powerful image derived from myths of the hero using his/her body/mind to hold open the gates; think Moses and the Red Sea. Here, Whedon's knowledge of classical and antique hero myths really shines through.

      „Anne“ from BtVS and Anne from AtS have very little in common. Business as usual. The two narratives just don't work together.

      This is the real Alexander Pechersky:

      This is the real Buffy Anne Summers:

      This is the hymn of the Jewish resistance fighters:

      Zog nit kejnmol as du gejst dem letstn weg,
      chotsch himlen blajene farschteln bloje teg,
      kumen wet noch undser ojsgebenkte schoh,
      ’s wet a pojk ton undser trot – mir sejnen do!

      Fun grinen palmen-land bis wajtn land fun schnej,
      mir kumen on mit undser pejn, mit undser wej,
      un wu gefaln is a schprits fun undser blut,
      schprotsn wet dort undser gwure, undser mut.

      'S wet di morgn-sun bagildn unds dem hajnt,
      un der necht wet farschwindn mitn fajnt,
      nor ob farsamen wet di sun un der kajor,
      wi a parol sol gejn dos lid fun dor tsu dor.

      Dos lid geschribn is mit blut un nischt mit blej,
      ’s nit kejn lidl fun a fojgl ojf der fraj,
      dos hot a folk tswischn falndike went
      dos lid gesungen mit naganes in die hent.

      Never say this final road for you,
      though leaden skies cover over days of blue.
      as the hour that we longed for is so near,
      our steps beat out the message, we are here.

      from lands so green with palms to lands all white with snow,
      we shall be coming with our anguish and our woe.
      and where a spurt of our blood fell on the earth,
      there our courage and our spirit have rebirth.

      the early morning sun will brighten our day,
      and yesterday with our foe will fade away.
      but if the sun delays and in the east remains,
      this song as password generations must maintain.

      this song is written with our blood and not with lead,
      it's not a little tune that birds sing overhead.
      this song a people sang amid collapsing walls.
      with grenades* in hand they heeded the call.

      therefore never say the road now ends for you,
      though leaden skies may cover days of blue.
      as the hour that we longed for is so near,
      our steps beat out the message, we are here!

      *the word used in the Yiddish original is „naganes“ which means „(Mosin-)Nagant“ - a standard issue soviet infantry rifle.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by norwie; 18-08-14, 06:22 AM.


      • #4
        Norwie, thank you so much for writing that. I admit that I'm very intimidated about following that with any comments at all.

        The first thing I wanted to mention is that the very first scene, in addition to establishing that the people in Sunnydale are alive and so on, also mirrors the end of the L.A. plotline: we see a vampire crawling out of a grave, suspended between two woman's legs with a stake exposed. We are meant to think this is Buffy, before the reveal that it's Willow, who is very explicitly attempting to fill the role set by Buffy, "the slayer." She's cut her hair into a sexy 'do, which at this point is a fairly radical change for her. In the same scene, Willow refers to Buffy as "the slayer" before Xander calls her Buffy, and refers to her in the past, and that's when Willow tells Xander not to use the past tense rule. Willow misses Buffy and tries to pretend she's not gone, but she tries to "become" "the slayer," in some form. I can't help but point out that Willow's legs are the key element of the shot, when last we saw her was in a wheelchair (without the use of her legs): the image deliberately calls forth how badly injured Willow was in the finale, and thus how close to death she was there.

        I think what this is setting up, for the main story, is the nature of heroism and myth. It is true that the Sunnydale scenes are lighter in tone, but Willow did almost die immediately before Buffy's departure; I think her desire to try to fight vampires (I think the operation is headed by Willow here), even though it's got a relatively low success rate, comes from the same desire to "save themselves" that Buffy is able to activate in Lilly. And so again symmetry: the episode's beginning is a play on Willow, the victim who just barely woke up out of her vampire-induced coma in the finale, attempting to become THE SLAYER THE MYTH, just as Lilly becomes ANNE THE MYTH; Buffy is a person, and her heroism and strength also shine brightly and inspire those around her. Which is how the collective action heroism works -- alone, Buffy can save herself and maybe some others, but fundamentally her task in the episode (and, indeed, the series) is to be able to bring others to the point where they can fight as well. The duality of THE SLAYER/ANNE, that Buffy is Buffy Anne Summers the Vampire Slayer, reflects Buffy's position as both everywoman and divine warrior. Willow and Lilly have somewhat similar names, and I think they are paralleled, with Willow's radical reinvention from wheelchair-bound, long-haired "victim" to short-haired "slayer," while not entirely successful, is something akin to Lilly's more extreme transformations of self. I see Willow and Lilly them as the episode's comic/tragic takes on Buffy's inspirational power in particular and, more generally, the inspirational power of the myth that Buffy taps into. The Scoobies are able to succeed in slaying once they start functioning properly as a team, and the couples are able to get over their forms of romantic disappointment, in its own take on the "collective action" and "escape from the pain of romantic disillusionment" in the main plot.

        I guess my embarrassing Willow fondness makes me want to point out, too, that the episode opening with Willow having reinvented herself as a fighter, when last we saw her was recovering in a wheelchair from a near-fatal vampire attack, does fit in with the themes norwie discusses as more than a joke, IMO. After all, what is Willow's attempt at radical-self transformation into a fighter, brought on partly to help fight back the vamp horde and partly by feelings of powerlessness from a near-death experience and the departure of her gentile friend/saviour whom she misses, but evidence that Jews do fight back?

        That "past tense rule" line makes me think, too, of the way Buffy is stuck in time, reliving the moment where Angel dies in her mind, which later on connects to the demon dimension in which a hundred years pass in a day. People feel themselves "stuck" in moments which end up being eternal. There are various perspectives on this -- the Sunnydale denizens are trying to stave off the possibility that Buffy might not return, Buffy is trying to stave off the internalization of having killed Angel and him being gone (rather than being dead only "in a dream"). Freezing time like this causes them some degree of pain and is even a kind of mini-death -- some for the Scoobies, a great deal for Joyce, and a huge amount for Buffy. But on some level they "want" to stay frozen in this moment, where there is hope, just as Buffy on some level "wants" to no longer be Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, early in the episode before she is called back to action. The demon prison then becomes the horrible exaggeration of these concepts -- both the loss of identity in Buffy's case in general, and also the idea of living out one's entire life, essentially, in an eternal present, with time never moving forward. It is the demons giving Buffy an excess of what she gives to herself that allows her to see how poisonous it is, and break free of it -- to reclaim her identity, and to allow time in her life to move forward again. In keeping with norwie's comments on the mirroring between the season's beginning and end, this is in some sense what "graduation" (or "ascension") means -- the acceptance of the passage of time, that one phase of life can truly end and another begin, rather than living out one's entire life in the prison of a single moment or the past.

        To the board: the 22nd is my girlfriend's birthday. I might be a little late in posting on DMP, but I will try not to be.
        Last edited by Local Maximum; 19-08-14, 06:26 AM.


        • #5
          Norwie -

          Great analysis especially as our world is going through yet another horrendous time of great political and economic power struggles. The, what for me is one of the fundamental structures of the entire series "find your inner hero" is so clear and significant in this episode. All of the characters move through that theme as the entire graduation class will do in the finale.

          Just a quick comment regarding the injured legs and the idea of Willow's needing to transform herself from the grievous injuries - this can also be applied to Spike, his legs had to heal so that he can leave his wheelchair and join Buffy against Angelus. And while Spike had his own agenda to save Drusilla; to mend their relationship he nonetheless turned to Buffy just as Lily will. I love how all these characters and their stories are connected in the events and in the symbolism/metaphor. Spike removed the fantasy blinders from chanterlle/lily who will then find way to Buffy in LA and Buffy will help Lily find her inner hero/warrior and her path back to her freedom and a better life and to use that phrase for independence "stand on her own two feet" just as Spike did and Willow is doing at the start of season three.

          I'm off to watch the episode now - but again, congratulations Norwie on your outstanding review and to Local Maximum for the excellent post.


          • #6
            I love Anne. I hope to talk about the rest of the episode later on but just to touch a bit on Buffy and her story in this episode.

            Once again Whedon really does do a magnificent job portraying someone going through depression. I love the scene where the episode abruptly cuts from Sunnydale High to Buffy sitting alone in her apartment. It’s the f***ing half-opened can of food in Buffy's hands that gets me. That's what convinces me that Whedon must have suffered through bouts of depression or at the very least is extremely attuned with those who have. Because it nails it so perfectly – that you can be halfway through doing the most menial of tasks and then suddenly you lose all energy, or those horrible thoughts creep back in, and it just paralyses you. Without getting too personal, there are a lot of days when I will have driven home from work and I arrive at my house and I just can't get out of the car. The engine is off, the car is parked, but I will sit in my car for a good 15 minutes or so because doing something as mundane as walking to the front door is too overwhelming. Or out of nowhere you'll be hit with a motherf**cking wave of pain and it stops you dead in your tracks. And more often than not it's the moment when you're completely alone when it'll creep up on you. And that’s what’s so insidious about the disease because not only does a part of you want to indulge in that pain and wallow in your depression but even when you purposely go out of your way to stay busy and focused all it takes is for that inevitable moment of loneliness (waking up in your empty apartment, driving home alone from work, doing something as mundane as taking a moment to open up a can of food etc.) for it to take hold of you. And Buffy “wants to be alone” because the idea of socialising and forcing herself through pleasantries really does sound too exhausting and unappealing in comparison to staring at a blank wall and indulging those depressive thoughts, but it’s not like she wants to be in that state either. And the episode captures wonderfully how it’s a tragedy that Buffy isn’t there experiencing her first day of school but at the same time there’s just no way in her state she could have possibly faced all of that chaos and not have found it completely overwhelming.

            I also really appreciate the Buffy/Anne scenes when Anne first approaches her on the street. Buffy couldn’t imagine anything worse than going to a “rave” of all things (large crowds, dancing, loud noises, and an abundance of strangers you have to socialise and exchange fake pleasantries with – exhausting) but of course she comes off as unfriendly and rude to Anne who doesn’t understand and interprets it as rejection. And, well, it is a rejection but not because Buffy is some cold bitch, and then we have that incredibly awkward exchange where Buffy tries to offer Anne money as a way of an apology and THANKGOD the crazy old man interrupts them with his “impoliteness” because it’s so incredibly uncomfortable. Whedon’s writing just feels particularly authentic here. He’s known for capturing human emotions and making his characters relatable but I think in this episode he really excels himself.

            I think what this episode does also do really well is explore how both Buffy and Anne are in a pretty crappy situation but react to it pretty differently. And maybe this is presumptuous of me since we don’t know a great deal about Anne but despite being homeless, I don’t get the sense that Anne is actually suffering from depression. Not that she’s perfectly happy mind you or that her situation wouldn’t merit someone actually going through that but in my personal opinion (and very, very semi-professional phone counsellor level opinion, so take it with a grain of salt) she doesn’t behave like someone with clinical depression. Unlike Buffy, she’s outgoing enough to approach a stranger on the street and try and strike up a friendship, she’s keen to go to the rave party, she does seem blissfully in love and happy with Ricky even if their relationship seems a little naïve, and despite her pretty horrendous circumstances she does tend to see the positives in what she can (finding fun in being able to sneak into the cinema and not dwell on the fact she can’t actually afford to see a movie etc). And that’s another thing I find authentic about this episode because depression isn’t necessarily dependant on your circumstances. In MANY ways Buffy has it far better than Anne. As nowie notes, Buffy gets to return to middle-class suburbia and to a mother who loves her whereas Anne remains in a crappy apartment, with a crappy job, a repulsive boss, and a family she’s still estranged from. But you can be incredibly rich (take Robin Williams for example) and still be prone to bouts of depression whereas someone less fortunate than you may not be.

            And whilst Anne appears to be a more glass-half-full than Buffy and more emotionally well, it is noteworthy that Ricky and Anne couldn’t find a job between them whereas Buffy comes to LA and manages to secure herself a job and an apartment. There’s definitely a sense that Anne (and Ricky) aren’t suffering so much from depression as they are just needing a bit of a kick up the pants and Anne especially needed to be taught to rely on herself more so than always somebody else.

            ~ Banner by Nina ~


            • #7
              Vamps, that's a great discussion of depression. However, I sort of object to this:

              And whilst Anne appears to be a more glass-half-full than Buffy and more emotionally well, it is noteworthy that Ricky and Anne couldn’t find a job between them whereas Buffy comes to LA and manages to secure herself a job and an apartment. There’s definitely a sense that Anne (and Ricky) aren’t suffering so much from depression as they are just needing a bit of a kick up the pants and Anne especially needed to be taught to rely on herself more so than always somebody else.
              I agree that Anne (and Ricky) need to learn some new life skills. However, I really disagree with this "suffering from depression"/"need a bit of a kick up the pants" dichotomy. Anne is "optimistic," but she also reads to me as someone with mental health issues, a likely candidate for addiction (the raves, you know), probably some PTSD. Her ability to present herself as super-friendly, to go to raves and be around other people, to approach Buffy, need not be evidence that she's secretly got all the tools she needs to succeed, but a reaction to her circumstances. She seeks out people because she has no ability to function on her own, not, I think, because she's not trying hard enough, but because she's learned a kind of powerlessness. I'd definitely peg her for at least dependent and avoidant personality disorders, for instance (avoidant of whatever topics it were that hit her in the past, dependent on others), and borderline -- which is often associated with angry outbursts, which doesn't fit Anne exactly, but is associated with manipulation (I think that some of her clinginess is actually unconscious manipulation to get people to stay around her), a pattern of extreme, marked changes in identity, a pattern of unstable, intense relationships, a tendency to idealize/devalue others. This set of issues of Anne's are pretty devastating to live with, especially while homeless, and while I strongly suspect being an abuse survivor.

              I think her "optimism" is part deliberate escape from reality into a fantasy world, and part a way of making herself seem likable and appealing to others who are possible candidates for people to take care of her. She is "optimistic" because she has to be. We see her from Buffy's perspective and don't know all of Anne's inner life. However, I suspect Anne has settled on "pleasant, hopeful" as a life strategy, because she has completely given up on taking care of herself as an option. If she starts outwardly being sad, she will lose any chance of other people taking care of her. Even going to raves, I think, doubles as both distraction from pain, and, perhaps, the opportunity to form another network of people who might be able to take care of her. That she so quickly, almost instantaneously, says "I'm no one" suggests that, on a deep level, she is basically ready to give up to despair at a moment's notice. It doesn't seem like she is so willing, because she dogs Buffy the way she does, but I think her clinginess is, again, something of an automatic defense mechanism; she is able to function while she's trailing some person she thinks is "better" than her, and trying to suss out what will make them like her enough to take care of her so she doesn't die. Buffy never stops living during her depression, but she can turn into herself because, fundamentally, she is able to function while completely turned in -- she can "get a job," find enough calories in order to sustain her body. She can be depressed and not die. I think that if Anne gave in to despair in the sense that has the qualities of clinical depression, she would die. Her reaction to trauma, pain, mental illness is to reach out to others instinctively, almost with panic.

              In general, I think the episode does show Lily/Anne as being more at risk than Buffy. Lilly is much more likely to be taken in by Ken than Buffy is. We basically see that -- Lily's despair makes her believe anyone who comes to her offering her a way out, even if it's a demon. It's not really a case of her being emotionally well. She's just on the edge, very nearly living on haflhearted good vibes, and she's bound for a crash. Buffy only ends up in Ken's hell dimension because she is a hero -- because she wants to help Lily (in something like a repeat of Buffy getting involved in Willow and Xander and Jesse's problems back in WttH). Buffy is suffering terribly, but she is not actually at risk in the same type of way that Lily is, of ending up in the demon prison/concentration camp. Buffy is at risk for suicide, by contrast, in ways we later see emerging more explicitly in s5/6; she is at risk herself, in a big way. However, Lily's emotional unwellness manifests in ways that make her easily exploited and killed, and easy to believe that she deserves to be exploited.

              I don't think a kick in the pants is the thing she needs, is sort of my point -- I think she fundamentally has been trained by trauma and lack of proper emotional support to believe that she's incapable of functioning on her own, and seems to have a series of mental health issues that spring up from that or are exacerbated by that. That her experience with Buffy is able to teach her to start the difficult work of self-reliance and healing doesn't prove that all she needed was a pep talk -- one could just as easily say that Buffy's going back home after rediscovering herself in hell proves all she needed was to kill some fascist demons to remember that she is the one with all the power in her situation. It is maybe "true" to a degree, but it doesn't cover the whole story. I think Anne's ability to pull herself together, which she can only do as a result of the Buffy myth, is incredibly heroic, and I think she's overcoming a lot of mental health issues in order to do it. This makes Buffy's overcoming her own trauma and metal health issues no less heroic, but I don't think Anne's issues are a separate category from mental health.
              Last edited by Local Maximum; 19-08-14, 07:32 PM.


              • #8
                Great review, norwie. Way to kick off the season. Great responding posts, everyone. I really liked what Local_Max had to say about Willow and Anne. To further riff with norwie's interesting and dare I say, apropos theme.

                My grandfather warned my siblings and I to "Always keep a bag packed" because in his view, Jews are in danger everywhere even in 2014 United States in a comfortable income bracket. He didn't coin the expression- I've heard it elsewhere and some feel it's being borne out in Israel and parts of Europe right now. And my family is 100 percent Jewish as far as I can trace it but I didn't lose any known relatives in the Holocaust. My mother's side emigrated to the US a couple of generations before WWII and my dad's family is from England. Many German and Western European Jews were prosperous and middle class. Hitler's rise to power began slowly and it felt even slower in non-German countries. In early WWII, Jews were being oppressed through rhetoric, stigma, discriminatory laws, occasional but increasing violence and on the verge of greater horrors while still being bourgeois.

                Part of the Holocaust WAS Jews living the petty bourgeois life but aware that dark, evil powers were rising and gaining power and waiting for the bottom to drop out of their lives. And that's Sunnydale. That slow burn of dehumanization which starts off mild and becomes dystopic is one of the scariest things about the Holocaust for me. (Which isn't to say that almost immediate machete-squads in Rwanda doesn't carry an equally potent horror.) In Holocaust analogue, Buffy saw and broke out of a concentration camp. The Scoobies are leading the resistance stop avoid that late Holocaust dystopia which the Mayor and the Wishverse Master want to create right there in Sunnydale. (Season 3 theme?)

                Thus far, the demon-town the Mayor built just works to eradicate the human race with secret nightly killings, the government propagates misinformation while helping demons exterminate the human race if it needs the political favors (Larconis and the babies) and tries to lock up or expel resistance fighters like Buffy. I'm sure the Mayor actually loves that property values are depressed in Sunnydale and he may even nudge it along. He certainly doesn't keep watch or maybe even knows that Mollock occupied valuable computer-factory space. Like a totalitarian dictator, he wants to tout his prosperity but he doesn't want his citizens/chum to sell their homes and move away. I wager many Sunnydale denizens are underwater on their homes, sold on buying a house in a So Cal beach town with a UC university but they find that they can't sell because there's a unsaid stink of a reputation. A big part of the Holocaust was how the Nazis tricked and stole from the Jews and anyone they wanted to persecute. i.e. Instructing Jews to come with all of their jewelry and their best clothes to the concentration camps so they can interview well for good jobs so they can rob more possessions before they murdered their rightful owners. Or the Nazis drawing starved, weak Jews out of the ghetto to the concentration camps by promising food down the tracks. Ditto the Mayor saying that all students needed to attend their graduation ceremony to get their diploma so they're all there to be food for him even though the students should be guaranteed a diploma from the state of California as long they comply with the credit requirements.

                It's a all in a lead up to creating conditions to eat and torture humans en masse by daylight. The Scoobies are definitely in the theme and their surface middle-class attitudes and Willow's heritage are part of how they feel like Western European Jews and resistance fighters.

                Norwie, I admired how you brought in Sobibor. However, Buffy's resistance is like Sobibor but different. When Buffy says, "I'm Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. And you are?", she's claiming the full spectrum of Buffy inherent in this show's very silly name that puts people from appreciating its awesome. ;-) There's a valley-girl element of the name Buffy and the sass-frass of "And you are?" However, there's also the slayer in "the vampire slayer". Buffy isn't just some girl. She's a super-hero with the strength to take all of those hell demons and the moral clarity and training that she can kill evil demons in hell as opposed to starved, weakened Jews who need to kill human guards (including many women) to resist.

                Moreover, Buffy was captured five minutes before she mounted her coup- she wasn't subject to years or months of dehuminzation and stripping of resources and friends in the real world like the Jews or gypsies, etc. in WWII. It feeds into my earlier point. A lot of what's scary about the Holocaust was steady progression of dehumanization before the Jews even got to the camp. Per the end of Anne, Buffy could always go home. A concentration camp victim couldn't in the middle of WWII or even after the liberation. Even before they even got to the camp, their property was stolen, their Aryan or even Christian Eastern European friends voluntarily or were forced to turn against them, and they were likely starved, weakened, and abused into compliance. It's all part of why Sobibor or the Warsaw Ghetto resistance was so rare.

                I really liked what Local_Max had to say about Anne's mental condition. I'll add that Buffy didn't kick Anne in the pants. Buffy had her tough love temper tantrum of "I can't solve your problems, go away" but that was wrong and Buffy went back on it to rescue Anne. That's one of the keys of the ep. Anne needed to be rescued because there are rapacious, sneaky, evil, powerful forces who manipulate kids without resources into being slaves. The Ken-hell dimension problem wasn't frivolous. It was huge and Anne and the other kids needed a Slayer. Really, only a Slayer and a really talented, experienced one at that could have beaten back all of those demons in hell and kept that gate up for all of the teen slaves to escape. LOL, I'm sure Acathala is like a totally different thing but Angel didn't figure his way out like Buffy did here or come to think of it, like Connor did in Quor-Toth or like Fred did with some AI help in Pylea. OK, now I realize that I'm just being bitchy....

                And then, Buffy followed that supernatural help to give Anne a leg up on her human challenges. A place with a little help on the rent and a lead on a job. Because clearly, no one had ever done that for Anne. I think the ep makes very clear that Anne was abused in her childhood home and thus, kept changing her name. Anne immediately took that *help* (not a kick) to become comfortable and then, provide other youngsters help. Buffy does say firmly that taking care of yourself takes practice and she treated Anne like an urgent partner in the hell-saving (as she would her friends)- but Buffy was like, 98 percent help and 2 percent kick and that's what worked. Not Buffy's earlier stance which was, 98 percent kick.
                Last edited by Dipstick; 19-08-14, 08:42 PM.


                • #9
                  Really interesting review norwie and great following posts. You all definitely upped my appreciation of this episode.

                  I think the Xander/Willow side follows on well from the hospital scene in Becoming 2. They are both shown to be very focused on their current relationships throughout the episode, Willow even seems somewhat wearily amused by Xander and Cordelia’s drama/bickering. Although I don’t like their coming romance storyline it does work that although she doesn’t scan as jealous at all to me, conversely, Xander’s problem at the start with “come and get it, big boy” can be taken to be a touch in part due to his possessiveness. As a point of characterisation for Xander it works generally but it also fits in with them heading towards their romantic interlude being prompted by Xander finally noticing Willow sexually as she is drawing that attention from others.

                  I vaguely remember discussing with Max and Dipstick, and probably others too, about Willow taking on roles during discussing Nightmares and another time about her taking on role characteristics of others. Willow in her comfort zone is very different to scenarios where she actively tries to find/consider how to present herself. The opening scene for me really looks at this again with Willow trying to fit the ‘slayer’ gap as Max said. But then her unusual excitement over the prospect of homework when school starts again the next day serves to emphasise that she is out of her comfort zone here fighting vampires. The start of S6 is a great contrast to this though where Willow has by then gained a confidence in the skills she personally can add and she is very much in command as herself.

                  As much as I oft criticise Joyce, I feel for her deeply in this episode. I agree with norwie that she is right to be angry at Giles, even though I think she is conveniently not looking critically at herself. Well not openly so. But her fears show in not wanting to leave the house in case she misses Buffy. She is trapped, crippled by her fear and remains inactive outside of distracting household chores. She can’t be the one to go out trying to affect the situation so she remains passive to its resolution. Although, as Xander points out when Giles is heading out on yet another lead, the resolution really lies with Buffy’s choice to return. But the guilt Joyce must be feeling for her part in pushing Buffy away, in not noticing the signs, mixed in with her fear that Buffy might not return or that she might not be there yet again when/if Buffy turns to her for support, must have her on an emotional knife edge. The intensity for her is huge and I genuinely get a lump in my throat when that knock on the door comes at the end of the episode, knowing that the utter relief would be overwhelming.

                  One of the things that really strikes me in this episode is how deeply the points of ‘fear’ thread through it. Hell isn’t just a loss of hope and proof of despair as Ken puts it. Those emotions certainly are playing key roles but oppression also feeds off and into fear. We can do it to ourselves as well as being subjected to it by others. A lack of hope and despair need, I think, to be bound by fear for inactivity to be the response. Our instinct is fight or flight, so to stay still is a significant lack of reaction. Of course here and in history it is what was relied upon - they don’t fight back, “that’s how this works”. Fear stops the masses using their superior numbers to take control back. No one wants to be one of the definite casualties that action would undoubtedly result in. Or be on the receiving end of the consequences to pull everyone back in line if it fails. I think it does, in actual fact, show that whilst there is despair it doesn’t sit alongside a complete loss of hope necessarily if people do nothing. There is some hope that you may not die if you do as asked, that they might let you go or a real opportunity to escape may just appear without risk. Hope is definitely battered and despair is suffocating, but there is fear behind inaction.

                  Buffy needed this time to mourn. She didn’t feel she would be able to do that back home. She doesn’t feel that her grief would be accepted or understood. She fears going back and facing everyone, going back to being the slayer when it hands out a brutal reality that comes with severe loss (of love and/or life itself by her experience). But she also fears letting go of her pain and moving on. As Max says there is a want to stay frozen and that works alongside norwie’s point about the tattoo as a ‘forever’ mark on a life. I see the significance of Anne’s return into her life, someone from Buffy’s own past, as emphasising the truth to Buffy that life does change and it will move on. She can need this time and wish things were different, she can want to be alone and grieve but life just won't stay static for her. Willow wishes for the impossible in Buffy being there the next day as if nothing happened. The next day will roll up regardless but if Buffy arrives unexpectedly or not, it can’t be as it was before.

                  On a lighter note, I love Oz in this episode, the dismal stake throwing is excellent, his discussion about his repeating year with Willow was great and this is just classic Oz, I love him so…
                  Oz: I don't know. I think we're kinda getting a rhythm down.
                  Xander: We're losing half the vamps.
                  Oz: Yeah, but . . . rhythmically.


                  • #10
                    - - - Updated - - -

                    Ken: Humans don't fight back. (enraged) Humans don't fight back! That's how this works! (to the guards with him) Get down there!

                    (the guards finally manage to overpower Buffy and bring her to Ken. He's got a big knife.)

                    Ken: One of you fights... and you all die! That... was not... permitted.

                    BUFFY: Yeah, but it was fun.

                    Ken: (smiles) You've got guts. I think I'd like to slice you open and play with them. Let everyone know! *This* is the price of rebellio...

                    (He's about to slice into Buffy, but Lily shoves him off the ledge)

                    The brilliance of the scene and the theme, IMO, is that Lily/Anne with the greatest simplicity and lack of bravura makes the choice to push The Oppressor Ken Monster off the ledge. Once she can make that choice she takes control of setting herself and the others free. Buffy was her guide/hope/caretaker, but at that most important of all moments chantrelle/lily/anne becomes those women we see in the “are you ready to be strong” montage. Lily/Anne may not have transformed into a powerful warrior and protector but she changed her life and her world and that of all the other prisoner/slave victims. This for is the Great Power Transformation of the episode. One person, just like Gandhi did, can change the lives of millions by his example. Buffy/Gandhi brought C/Lily/Anne to the point where she understood and accepted the vision that she could fight against Ken/Oppressor and gain her freedom and control of her life. If C/Lily/Anne, irrespective of all the guidance or strength that Buffy offered her; had she not faced her fears and overcome her vulnerability and destructive dependence on others, she along with all the others would have remained prison/slaves.

                    Ken’s “Humans don’t fight back! That how this work.” – Tells the truth of it and for me, this is my fundamental significance of the episode. The great power that each person holds within themselves if they will understand it and use it. Transform that individual power and join it with others and you have the heroic resistance fighters of WWII and the millions who fought against the insanity and evils set loose during that period of human existence. You could take Buffy and Lily/Anne and the Scoobs finding their own strengths and inner hero - drop them down in our time and their story is still a true reflection of the political dynamics of our lives. People who value their lives and freedom have always to value, take care that the Oppressor/Ken Monsters don’t destroy their lives, as they did millions in WWII. It was true then and it continue to be true today.

                    Buffy may have been lost and living her life in LA HELL – but as Kendra told her, it’s not a job this duty of being The Slayer/Chosen One. Being the Slayer is who Buffy is and she falls right back into that role when she has no other choice and the lives of others are at risk. Buffy can’t, no matter how much she wants to escape life and her pain from all the events she has lived through in Sunnydale – If she wants to live she must face all the sorrows and pain of life. To find life again, it was an inescapable truth that she had to find her Slayer strength and Life Force Strength again and return to her home and life in Sunnydale. She had to face not only the loss of Angel, but just as importantly she had to face her guilt and, unfortunately the part she played in the deaths that come from her inability to kill Angelus. And that guilt had to be a huge factor in all these events. They show that fantasy beach dreamscape and Angel but right beside Angel we can imagine stands Jenny and the victims of Angelus.
                    Last edited by cil_domney; 20-08-14, 04:03 AM. Reason: double posted text


                    • #11
                      Dead Man's Party - teaser

                      Hi gang! So I will be attempting to do my post on Dead Man's Party tomorrow morning. I can't guarantee it, but I will try.

                      However, as a "special treat," I thought I'd get the ball rolling with a little teaser. Part of what makes Dead Man's Party very difficult to talk about is that it's a very controversial episode, which brings out very strong emotions. And further, a lot of people find the perspective of the gang (in particular Willow, Xander and Joyce) hard to understand, or, to put it more generously, view the gang's behaviour differently than I do. There is probably some controversy over interpreting Buffy too -- but the show devotes more time to her POV, and I don't see Buffy's actions and reactions as being as potentially opaque.

                      So, I wrote a somewhat short fic in which I attempt to represent, as I see it, the POV of several significant characters (Giles, Xander, Willow, Cordelia, and Joyce) in the days leading up to Buffy's reappearance. I got a little bit of advice on it from Dipstick. Also, in general, I think this fic owes something to beer_good_foamy's excellent s6 AU fic which similarly focuses on multiple POVs and is of a much higher level of artistry, Building Character. Totally unrelated, but recommended.

                      I hope this is to everyone's satisfaction -- I think in some ways this is a more efficient and effective way for me to communicate how I see the POVs of the Sunnydale characters before Buffy arrives back in town, so I see it as on-topic, though I also admit that it's an indulgence

                      Life Without Buffy


                      After the incident with Angel, I was recommended bedrest by the typically charlatan American doctors. It was hard to drive for a few weeks, however, and in those first few weeks of searching for Buffy I nearly got into an accident. I decided after some consideration not to inform the Council that my slayer had disappeared. I pored over the old diaries for any hint of what others had done when a slayer had disappeared, and as expected there were no records of it. I wondered how many times a Watcher was faced with this same predicament, and, like me, failed to record that anguish for eternity out of shame and failure.

                      And then I considered that none of them could quite understand my current situation: Buffy Anne Summers, already at her young age having saved the world multiple times over, had to kill her lover. It is immaterial that her lover happened to be a creature of darkness. In the moments in which Drusilla appeared to me in Jenny’s guise I felt my rational mind stripped away from me and I would have given anything to be back with her.

                      It is possible, I suppose, that young Miss Rosenberg’s spell was successful. Perhaps once we are in a somewhat less intense state of crisis I should do a survey of her powers. Regardless, it is unlikely that a novice could practice a spell so far beyond her ability, and it is easy to attribute her experience of—how did she put it?—“something going through me” as mere mystical superstition from someone totally inexperienced. Unless…. A mental note to consider the possibility of what Willow’s success would have entailed for Buffy, and I could recognize some devastation. When Buffy is back, there will be time to determine the exact cause of her departure, and perhaps the exact emotional wounds, and provided I can maintain her trust we should be able to work together to turn these into more effective tools for the fight.

                      It does become exhausting to travel all over this ridiculously large country. Had she only disappeared back home…. I do not believe for a moment that Buffy could have survived the Master’s assault, defeated the Judge, and saved the world from the threat of Acathla and found herself bested by some mediocre specimen. She is out there and she is alive; it is a matter of finding her. That I have not done so is my failure. But it will not be long.


                      OK, a week gone by since she got back and only two or three fights with Cordelia. Things got tense for a little while last week when Cordy said point blank to me why we bother doing this slaying thing while the slayer is gone. “I mean, don’t the vampires like follow her stake or whatever?” We do it, Cordelia, because we care. We’re her friends. “Oh please, just because I lowered myself to date you because of hormones and the lack of other prospects doesn’t mean little vampire queen is going to.” Yeah, like I care what she thinks of me. None of this is about me, Cor. But I realize she’s got a point and I should make a little bit of effort. It is, I guess, a little easier to know what I’ve got with Cordy when she is not here breathing over my shoulder. Now if only Cordy could go away for a few months again it’d probably be love.

                      We’ve staked a few vamps. Willow is finally starting to quiet up about you-know-who now that school is back in session. Giles looks tired, man, like a broken man, and last week he didn’t even yell at me for shelving the books wrong. I was worried and I checked with Willow to see if maybe I accidentally figured out how to do it right, and Willow patted me on the arm and said maybe she should handle this stuff from now on, which I think means that Giles’ not yelling at me really is a bad sign. Willow says that she visits with Mrs. Summers with a gift basket or something every other week, dropping off more and more smelly “protection spells.” She doesn’t talk about it but when she comes back with that forlorn look I can sort of tell.
                      Look, I get Will’s present tense rules and all but time to move on. Buffy’s gone. She came to Sunnydale, she saved our lives a bunch of times, but eventually we’re gonna have to fend for ourselves. If she can’t handle a little vamp dusting just because he used to be her honey, and hey maybe I could have been better about that but look let’s face it, forget it Jake it’s Sunnydale. Willow’s demon robot boyfriend didn’t exactly make her run for the hills did he? You tell someone how much you care, you fight along someone for a few months, eventually it starts to feel as if you really matter for once, but of course you don’t. She’s out there doing who knows what and who knows who, and if she’s lying in a gutter dead maybe she should have stayed in touch with the guy who would risk everything to go and bring her back to life. But hey. We’re alone out here. And it’s great that for a bit of time it seemed like we weren’t, but, let’s face it, we always have been.

                      Fine with me.


                      I think Xander gets my present tense rule, or at least after I explained it to him a few times and looked around and finally found his old grammar book still in its original packaging somewhere in his basement—didn’t I buy him that?—and anyway he’s been good about it, and Oz is Oz. Buffy’s definitely coming back, and it’s just a matter of keeping things right for her so that when she gets back she’ll be like HEY GUYS and we’ll be like BUFFY! and tackle hugs and mochas, well, okay she wasn’t there when I started drinking mochas but I’m sure she’d approve, she’s got this big sweet tooth. And Xander gets grumpy when I mention her sometimes and he gets all weird looking when I mention Angel and I get it, I do, I definitely am not happy with the guy but Xander has to maybe realize that it’s not for us to judge, I mean, we don’t have a soul on/off switch and it’s not like Xander is Mr. Perfect when he has evil spirits messing with him. I mean, okay, so probably my spell didn’t do anything, Giles is right that I’m an amateur witch and so I shouldn’t expect etc. etc. but I keep thinking, if Oz went all wolf for some reason and I found out I were gonna have to kill him and then were going to die and then I found out I could save him and then we had a chance to go away together I’d…well, okay, so maybe I would want Buffy to come along anyway but you know what I mean. And if she did kill Angel, it takes time to grieve, I’ve learned all about the grieving process, definitely, and she was kicked out of school and there was the murder charge and— That’s way too much.

                      OK, those vampires? Turn out to be a lot scarier than I thought but also not. I mean, look, still here! And hey, sometimes we get one and it’s just this rush, like I’m doing something! I matter! And then it fades pretty fast, and it is maybe not worth all the time I almost die, but still. I wonder if that’s what Buffy feels like all the time? But then the rush kind of comes down the next day and there are aches all over. I keep trying to find spells that help with that but nothing that’s anywhere near my power level, and the one time I tried I ended up getting this rash and my whole body smelled like sulphur for a week. Which had the effect that none of the vamps wanted to come anywhere near me when we tried patrolling, which is good because no one going near my neck but bad because I was trying to chase them to stake them and they would just run away and then they’d rrrr and go after Oz or Xander so, you know, not trying that again. It was kind of a drag that first week or two before I could get out of the wheelchair and Oz came every day when my parents were out which was most of the day but I still don’t quite want them to see him because they might not understand, I mean, his hair which is. And Xander brought over some packed lunches. But there’s a lot of guy-time and I kind of wished that… I mean, I invited Cordelia over, but it turned out that we didn’t have much in common except talking about how dumb Xander was and I went along with it but I kind of started feeling bad about that after a while even though it was nice that someone else noticed the way his eyebrows don’t line up right, or maybe Cordelia was just humouring me which, wow, character growth!

                      It is weird not teaching again. Snyder said that the district superintendent basically said that they have to pay me if I’m going to teach a whole class again, so they are going to cut out funding for the class entirely and possibly the entire computer cluster. I tried to say something but then he started pretending like he couldn’t hear me. I mean, it’s fine, it gives me more time to focus on researching magic and asking Giles, when he’s around and not off looking for Buffy, about slaying and trying to find controlled studies on what foods tend to make dogs happier so I can plan a big surprise treat series for Oz’ next birthday which happens to be a full moon, and I don’t really miss the sweat that comes from being in front of a whole group of people which is kind of terrifying in a way that nearly dying every night because of vamps isn’t as much. But I guess what I really miss in history class is taking an extra set of notes for when Buffy’s sleeping or hasn’t shown up because she’s had some big slay-event and seeing her smile when I give it to her, or hanging out and sharing things, and for once having a friend who I don’t have to spend hours reassuring of his manliness every time we go shopping and I think Oz might be cooler about it than Xander was but it doesn’t seem like it’s worth a risk and it’s okay, I’m sure Buffy misses me, she’s just got reasons.

                      I do wonder sometimes if maybe she’s, y’know. The d word. But Giles basically tells me that there’s no way, and I believe him—I mean, look at how Xander and Oz and me and apparently Cordelia now are doing, and Buffy’s a superhero and we’re just us. She’s definitely alive out there, and I mean, if she’s not, well, I mean, no, there’s no point even thinking about that. So she’s going to come back, and she’s okay, and she’ll be back and obviously she’ll say why she’s been gone so long and it will be because of reasons we’ll understand and she’ll be impressed by what we’re doing and she’ll be so happy to see us and she’ll say how she wanted to reach us but couldn’t because she was, like, undercover or something maybe. And she’ll be so happy that I, I mean, we, took care of slaying and stuff for her and then we can go back to normal.


                      So you know what’s weird? I got into school and I saw Willow and I’m so proud of myself that I didn’t say anything about her silly shorter haircut which please, and then I talked to Xander Harris and there’s a big nothing. Of course there is, what was I expecting? And I took out some books from the library from Giles and he talked for a while about something, I wasn't really listening, and then later on I go to classes and teachers prattle on. And then eventually I’m settling in at home to plan out my outfits for the next few weeks and make some catalogue orders and Willow calls me and tells me that they’re going vamp hunting, and can I please come along, as if I don’t have anything better to do, and I’m like, well, why are you even doing this?

                      Willow said, “Well, you know, we’re trying to fill in for Buffy until she comes back….”

                      And I said, “Wait. Buffy’s gone?” I knew there was something different about school this year!


                      After we finished reading it, I found out that they’re making a movie of Deep End of the Ocean for later this year. Pat says it’s not a good idea to see it.

                      The first few weeks, I just kept the door closed to her room entirely. I took a few weeks off at the gallery of course because Mr. Giles said that it’s best to stay home while he goes out looking for her because she could come home at any time, and I couldn’t miss the phone call. I stopped sleeping and stopped moving and time just seemed to slow, and then the call finally came that I was past due on the rent for the space and if I didn’t start making more money soon they were going to close it down. So, I went back to work, pretending it matters, because if she comes back I have to have a house for her to come back to. And then a lady comes in and tells you she’s interested in tribal art and you realize that you’re actually interested in the questions she’s asking and you’re not just on autopilot, and for a second you’re alive again, and then the pain comes back all over again.

                      The first few times at work and eventually at the book club, Willow and Xander agreed to take care of the phone in case she called, and Willow started leaving little gift baskets. She kept bringing them even after they stopped coming over to watch the phones because it seems more and more obvious that she’s never going to call. The police shrugged when they come by and said that they know now that they got the wrong woman and that the murder charges were dropped. I screamed and screamed at them until my voice is hoarse and they just keep shrugging and then they left and I cried, and then the next day felt like the same as if the police never came. There’s no Buffy to say to, “Look, you can stay here now, you’re safe.” I’m the one who kicked her out.

                      Hank came over a few times; in fact, he’s come over more times in the past few weeks than in the entire time since we moved to Sunnydale, like it’s easier for him when Buffy’s not there. He kept getting this tone in his voice as if, obviously he’ll be there for her when she comes back, but, underneath that, we all kind of figured it would end like this, and maybe it’s better that it’s finally happened. I felt so angry I almost threw a plate at his head, but then he didn`t actually say it. Maybe it wasn’t him who almost said it but me.


                      So, I guess what is best is probably to hold off on discussion of DMP proper until I do the post for that episode, but I hope this will "set the tone." Until tomorrow!
                      Last edited by Local Maximum; 21-08-14, 08:51 PM.


                      • #12
                        Ok, so Max will post the next review very, very soon. I'm sorry i couldn't participate in the very interesting discussion about "Anne" (but then, i already said my piece ) but as anticipated, YOU guys did justice to the Scoobies. I totally agree with Max, btw. when he says that Lily/Anne is depressed in different ways. Also, very short here, Dipstick: I hear you. I think the Escape from Sobibor did actually happen because Pechersky - like Buffy - wasn't in there for a very long time, just three weeks after his arrival the Escape went on.

                        So thank you all for your interesting thoughts - may work be held at bay so that I'm able to discuss with you all this weekend.

                        And just because i can!

                        Bonus material - Yiddish working class song (in Yiddish/English):


                        • #13
                          You know guys, it has been only three days or so since norwie posted the finalized version of his post. I don't actually mind waiting until early next week to give the Anne post the room to breathe. Or I can probably still post tomorrow (or if not, Saturday or Sunday) if people think that's best. I can go either way -- I don't know if this is important enough to be worth polling for.


                          • #14
                            I think that we need to keep a regular pace or it grinds up and people stop coming because it gets too ad hoc. It went really quiet half way through S2, I think because we had become so irregular. Having said that, there does need to be some degree of realistic flex in there. The Friday dates are a guide to mark the weekend really. If reviewers look to put the reviews up during the weekend (Fri-Sun) I think that will keep the schedule going well enough without being too rigid. So up to you really I would say.


                            • #15
                              Hey guys, sorry I'd been kind of absent. Trouble and sorrows are like bullies, aren't they? They like to pile on and gang up against people that is just trying to go on with their lives... And then it's really hard to find time and/or motivation to participate in enjoyable things, like this forum... Also, for some reason discussing Buffy always touches deep things, and right now I don't have the energy needed to get in touch with my feelings.

                              But I do enjoy reading what you guys have to say, a lot.

                              Great review, norwie! I really enjoyed it and made me look Anne under a whole different light.

                              Local Maximum, what a treat of a teaser. Willow's part brought a smile to my face, and Cordelia's made me laugh out loud. Introspective fics are awesome when the characters are 'spot on'. Well done!