Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Riley Finn: Flawed, realistic, and a solid supporting character

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Riley Finn: Flawed, realistic, and a solid supporting character

    Riley Finn gets a lot of flack from BtVS fandom, only a minority of it for the bad things he actually does. There are plenty of these: He’s slow to question authority (although he does get there); he pays vampires to drink his blood (which, given his own disgust toward them, screams hypocrisy); he dumps Buffy and leaves Sunnydale on less than an hour’s notice; and he returns to Sunnydale, wife in tow, without bothering to call ahead of time. All these are wrongful actions (or, sometimes, inactions) and fair game for criticism.

    However, the majority of Angry Posts™️ about Riley seem to assume one or both of two things I disagree with: A) that the writers portray his wrong choices as right and/or B) that his bad decisions prove that he’s an intransigent sexist manchild. A few also grumble about some variation on how he is, in the words of one Tumblr post, “just your basic-ass white boy from Iowa,” as though this made anything he did worse. (Tip of the day: If your biggest beefs with a character are his race and state of origin, whining about him is probably a waste of your time.)

    First off, I don’t believe the writers were trying to convince us he was right about everything, or even most things. Riley himself realizes that the Initiative took advantage of his tolerance for authority, and he risks everything to atone for it: He springs Oz from the lab, leaves the compound with the Scoobies, endures withdrawal from the Initiative’s drugs, and spends an uncertain amount of time homeless, on the run and at risk of being charged with treason, in his attempts to undo the Initiative’s damage. He even tells one of his commanders, as he escapes with the Scoobies, “I’m an anarchist.” (He really isn’t, but he’s feeling rebellious, and he’s at least dedicated to stopping the government’s demon experiments.) When he breaks up with Buffy and leaves town, we see Buffy crying in the next episode, Buffy struggling with her self-esteem, Buffy worrying that she’s become “too hard” to love even as she puts her life on the line time and again. The fact that Riley tells his side of the story doesn’t negate the sympathy we feel for her. Upon his return to Sunnydale, Willow expresses outrage that he’s sprung his marriage surprise on Buffy: “Just so you know, I’m ready to hate this woman any way you want me to.” While the writers didn’t take a stance that Riley is evil and must be hated (as they notoriously, and unsuccessfully, attempted to do with Spike), that doesn’t mean they intended us to see him as right– just that they trusted their audience to watch the show and make up their own minds.

    Second, the fandom reads motives into Riley that don’t exist, or are at most ambiguous, in canon. It’s popular to complain that he leaves Buffy because he can’t stand Buffy being a powerful woman. To be fair, Buffy herself wonders if this is the reason he wants to leave. But also to be fair, Riley isn’t wrong in his description of her failure to trust him, which he says is the real reason.

    I feel that complaints about Riley’s attitudes toward gender relations deserve a little more attention, because, in a show replete with kickass women and straw misogynists, Riley’s perspective, though imperfect, is nonetheless nuanced and realistic. Prior to even asking Buffy out, he angered her by saying that women needed protection. Later, he almost rejects a life-saving surgery because it would diminish his strength, and he feels he won’t be able to reach her anymore. He also admits, when she accuses him of being angry that she’s stronger than he is, that “it’s tough,” although he also insists that it’s not the reason their relationship is in trouble.

    Counterbalancing all this are scenes in which he shows that he generally treats women better than most of the show’s human men. While he thinks that women need physical protection, he’s also sincere about providing it.* He risks serious career repercussions by decking Parker for making crude jokes about seducing and abandoning Buffy, at a time when he barely knows her. Further, despite his sense of awkwardness at dealing with physically powerful women, he has no problems acknowledging women as authorities in science and strategy, even in military contexts: There’s no sense that he’s reluctant to obey Walsh’s orders just because she’s a woman. He may feel weird about Buffy’s physical prowess in comparison to his own, but he only complains about it in the context of worrying that she will quit sharing her mission and life with him. He’s also relatively open-minded about women’s sexual and romantic choices: He doesn’t think less of Buffy for her one-night stand with Parker (which happened shortly before he begins dating her), talks Buffy out of slut-shaming herself for her affair with Spike (during his otherwise horrible return to Sunnydale), and, as we discover in season 7, has left orders that the military follow Buffy’s orders in Spike’s treatment. Contrast this with Xander’s ridiculous griping over the Spuffy sex or Giles’s taking the “distraction” caused by Spike into his own murderous hands, and it becomes obvious that Riley is, relatively speaking, quite the forward thinker.

    Where he does get whiny is in being left out of emotional support, not being trusted with secrets, and not managing to understand what makes Buffy’s Slayer side tick. He’s upset that Buffy lies to him about the reasons for her increased protectiveness of Dawn (true); that she never turned to him during her crying spells over Joyce’s illness (true); and that he doesn’t grasp her attraction to the world of vampires (YMMV). Does he handle his feelings poorly? Yes. Are his feelings petty and self-centered to begin with? Maybe. Are they indicative of unyielding, dyed-in-the-wool sexism? No. I’d say that his desire for emotional closeness to his partner is a gender-free universal. Whether or not you find his issues sympathetic, they’re the sort of human traits that belongs in well-written characters.




    *Yes, he hits Willow in “Goodbye, Iowa,” another act that makes fans angry. I don’t think it really counts, though, considering that he’s suffering from paranoid delusions as a result of being cut off from the secret drugs that Walsh had been feeding him.

  • #2
    I agree, nothing else to add. Just that I can't believe in the last two weeks that me defending Riley is the Buffy hill I'm gonna die on .

    Comment


    • #3
      Where he does get whiny is in being left out of emotional support, not being trusted with secrets, and not managing to understand what makes Buffy’s Slayer side tick. He’s upset that Buffy lies to him about the reasons for her increased protectiveness of Dawn (true); that she never turned to him during her crying spells over Joyce’s illness (true); and that he doesn’t grasp her attraction to the world of vampires (YMMV). Does he handle his feelings poorly? Yes. Are his feelings petty and self-centered to begin with? Maybe. Are they indicative of unyielding, dyed-in-the-wool sexism? No. I’d say that his desire for emotional closeness to his partner is a gender-free universal. Whether or not you find his issues sympathetic, they’re the sort of human traits that belongs in well-written characters.
      First off, the Angry Posts™️ is basically saying that those who disagree with you clearly are a mob of fans unable to compose an intelligent thesis. Not a great way to start out. People who dislike any character and can make a case don't need to be put down because you disagree.

      My biggest problem with Riley begins in the Initiative - in the fact that he sits back and follows Walsh's orders throughout the carnage of good, bad, and okay demons. He stays there because he needs something outside himself to give his life structure. He needs Mommy Substitute Walsh to give him direction, validate him, and let him know how special he is.

      That character trait carries over to his relationship with Buffy after he leaves the Initiative. Riley has a severely codependent personality and without his mother figure he is lost so he tries to put Buffy in that situation. He never makes any attempt to get a job, go back to school, even find a group of buddies to hang out with. Riley just wants Buffy to give his life structure and meaning. He wants Buffy to be his Living Emotional Crutch (trope).

      His assumption that Buffy ran off to LA to screw Angel and now Angel is evil is spectacularly ridiculous. After being with Buffy for most of a year he shows how little he knows her. That right there should have been a sign they need to break things off at least temporarily. Instead his ploy works and Buffy is forced into a caretaker position because Riley shows how little he is able to take care of himself.

      His dependence only gets worse. He continues to act out. He refuses surgery to save his life because Buffy might not love him as much - he tells her this to her face. If that is not a suicide threat, I don't know what is. Buffy has no choice but to take care of him, and profess her love once again.

      Rather than being comfortable enough to allow her to deal with her mother's brain tumor in the way she needs to he adds to her load by letting her know he feels neglected. That alone is an excellent reason not to tell him about Dawn. He castigate her for not living up to what he sees as her part in the relationship. His desire to have Buffy turn to him when she wants to cry isn't about comforting Buffy. It's about his own feeling of self worth and his need for validation as a good boyfriend.

      Riley is an emotional mess and rather than look for other resources he puts all his problems on Buffy's lap and tell her that she is the cause of them and she has to fix them. Buffy is supposed to do what he needs in order to make him feel needed. When she doesn't he gets even more suicidal - getting suck jobs from two bit vampire trulls. This too he blames on Buffy - he had to find out what attracted Buffy to her exes. Or maybe he figured if he got turned she would love him.

      I don't find his character in the least bit sympathetic. He gives me no reason to care about what happens to him. He's a naturally codependent personality trying to force Buffy into a relationship where he alone will be the center of her world, the only person she turns to, the one who will carry her through her difficulties. The fact that she has friends, responsibilities, and a life beside him are all impediments.

      If he loved Buffy he would accept her as she is, and let their closeness grow naturally. He would stop trying to make her fulfill his every emotional need and make the effort to get a damn life of his own. He would respect her needs even if he wishes she would call on him more. Franky, by season 5 Riley's relationship with Buffy is as unhealthy as Spike's in season 6. But Spike is an unsouled demon with an interesting personality. There is a reason his attachment is fundamentally unhealthy. Riley is a whiny entitled white boy who wants to be the center of Buffy's universe, and who acts out in increasingly dangerous ways to try and force her hand.

      Yes, all characters have flaws...yadda yadda yadda. I like that, if the character is interesting and the flaws are relatable in some way. If the character is fundamentally selfish and manipulative, as well as boring and predictable I have no patience. Just count me in the Angry Posts™️ mob.
      Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

      Comment


      • #4
        I apologize for not placing this post in its proper context. I copy/pasted it from my old Tumblr, where I’d written it in response to some time-specific discourse, and it wasn’t Forum-ready. Clearly, it needed either editing for tone or an explanation of its history in the fandom.

        Despite the tonal flaws, I stand by the main point, and your reply does indeed include some of the markers of what I consider a reductive, and unfortunately common, approach to Riley’s character. I’d encourage you to view my arguments once more, without the feeling (which, as previously noted, I regret bringing to the Forum). If Riley can’t atone for his misdeeds at the Initiative, then we’re throwing out a principle which I try to apply, not only to fictional characters, but to all real people: That, by changing enough for the good, anyone can be redeemed. Some people may need to change more, some less, but surely Riley’s choices to risk court-martial, hit squads, and detention at a black site show that he has made that change.

        As for not loving Buffy enough, I’ve never claimed that he was the right guy for her. I agree that he and Buffy were a deeply dysfunctional couple in season 5. Perhaps they even were, as you claim, S6-Spuffy levels of toxic. However, I don’t judge Riley purely on his value as a love interest, anymore than I consider it a conclusive metric of Buffy or Spike’s worth. He can be the wrong boyfriend, and give Buffy good reasons to break up with him, without negating all his other qualities. He’s still the guy who saved Willow from oncoming traffic; who cut a mind-control chip out of his chest to escape Walsh’s plans; and who stayed in Sunnydale for months without any clear purpose beyond his hope that he and Buffy could work things out. He’s complicated, in ways that I find frustrating and interesting and ultimately good for the show. I certainly don’t consider him “fundamentally selfish and manipulative, as well as boring and predictable.”

        That you don’t enjoy his scenes is fair enough. However, “whiny entitled white boy” seems like a cheap shot made for identity-politics points, and I’m disappointed to see you take it. Nothing that he does, regarding either demons or Buffy, would have been implausible if he’d been black, and he’s no more stuck in gender roles than some of the female characters (for example, Cordelia states that “it’s not a date until the guy spends money”). Why? Because people aren’t made in uniform batches of standard socioeconomic recipes. Their innate personality interacts with their upbringing, with multiple subcultures, with their changing social groups, and with exposure to new ideas. Whether or not you consider Riley’s development well-written, the assumption that being a white male dooms him to being a “bad” character is, frankly, wrong. The fact that so many people complain of his race and sex in the same breath with his supposedly “boring” nature says more about the fate of fandom than it does about Riley himself.

        Comment


        • #5
          All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.



          * Everything is relative and contextual.

          These are supporting characters in BtVS given Sarah Michelle Gellar was hired as Lead and Nicholas Brendan was hired as Male Lead: Rupert Giles, Willow Rosenberg, Angel, Daniel Osbourne, William Pratt aka William the Bloody aka Spike, Anya Jenkins, Faith Lehane, Drusilla Keeble, etc.

          Riley Finn is a worse character than all the above mentioned.

          Riley Finn has the added complication that he's Buffy's long-term boyfriend post-Angel and instead of Spike and/or pre-Spike. Yet, "I Will Remember You" (A 1.08) happens and makes it clear Buffy would drop Riley in a second if she could be with Angel. And then "Something Blue" (B 4.09) happens. And no matter what the viewer wants to think about Buffy/Spike in BtVS S4, "Something Blue" essentially details that Buffy is seriously considering Buffy/Spike and only doesn't pursue it because of how Spike treats her and regards her during the My Will Be Done spell.


          * So, Angel wasn't even a regular in BtVS S1 and yet is popular enough and Buffy/Angel popular enough that BtVS S2 is greenlit. Angel is popular enough to get a spinoff. Spike was originally intended to be a 5-episode or whatever villain and almost immediately becomes the most popular character in the Buffyverse. Faith was created because Juliet Landau wasn't available for BtVS S3 and Joss didn't know how to have Spike in BtVS S3 without Dru. Faith is relatively barely in BtVS and yet she's more iconic than Xander and Giles and possibly more iconic and part of popular culture than Willow.




          * Nicholas Brendan played a better soldier than Marc Blucas. Nic played a private. Marc played a Special Forces soldier so elite that he was recruited as Head Solider for the Initiative.

          Riley's most popular act is removing Spike's chip. Marc Blucas isn't on-screen for that.

          Comment


          • #6
            I apologize for not placing this post in its proper context. I copy/pasted it from my old Tumblr, where I’d written it in response to some time-specific discourse, and it wasn’t Forum-ready. Clearly, it needed either editing for tone or an explanation of its history in the fandom
            Is cool - I've done the same thing more than once!


            Despite the tonal flaws, I stand by the main point, and your reply does indeed include some of the markers of what I consider a reductive, and unfortunately common, approach to Riley’s character. I’d encourage you to view my arguments once more, without the feeling (which, as previously noted, I regret bringing to the Forum). If Riley can’t atone for his misdeeds at the Initiative, then we’re throwing out a principle which I try to apply, not only to fictional characters, but to all real people: That, by changing enough for the good, anyone can be redeemed. Some people may need to change more, some less, but surely Riley’s choices to risk court-martial, hit squads, and detention at a black site show that he has made that change.
            But I don't think he does atone. Yes, he defies the system to get his friend released, but there's no further examination of what atrocities the Initiative may have committed to humans or friendly demons. He kinda hides out and decides Buffy has gone to LA to have sex with her former boyfriend and believes Angel is evil. Where is that coming from? Yes he digs the chip out and fights but he really does less than Xander and far less that Willow. His actions aren't about atonement - they're about survival.He ends up going back to the army and is rewarded for his misdeeds with a perfect life and a perfect wife. I don't see any sign that Riley ever examines his life and realizes there are things he needs to learn about people, let alone demons.

            That's why I find his story arc so flat that it's jarring. He is there to be Buffy's decent normal human boyfriend so that's pretty much all I see of him. Even in the Initiative his actions always complement Buffy's story. He doesn't have an arc of his own like Tara and Anya do. He exists for one purpose so I can't really remove Buffy from the picture.

            That you don’t enjoy his scenes is fair enough. However, “whiny entitled white boy” seems like a cheap shot made for identity-politics points, and I’m disappointed to see you take it. Nothing that he does, regarding either demons or Buffy, would have been implausible if he’d been black, and he’s no more stuck in gender roles than some of the female characters (for example, Cordelia states that “it’s not a date until the guy spends money”). Why? Because people aren’t made in uniform batches of standard socioeconomic recipes. Their innate personality interacts with their upbringing, with multiple subcultures, with their changing social groups, and with exposure to new ideas. Whether or not you consider Riley’s development well-written, the assumption that being a white male dooms him to being a “bad” character is, frankly, wrong. The fact that so many people complain of his race and sex in the same breath with his supposedly “boring” nature says more about the fate of fandom than it does about Riley himself.
            No - entitled white boy is a type. I would never call Giles or Xander that because they aren't. Yes , the personality does interact with the upbringing and social class. That and his lack of self examination are what makes him entitled.

            I am basically white. My Mohawk blood doesn't show unless I want it to, and I am not enrolled. I'm Jewish, but no one can see that either. I am therefore privileged in some key ways. My family is multi racial. One of the things I have learned is how sensitive white people are, and how easily they get offended by things that people from other cultures deal with on a daily basis. I have seen how white people act when I am out with black family members. Using the term white privilege does not indict all white people any more than saying black thug indicts all black men. But generally black men know they will be seen as a thug sometimes. My nephew has a degree in psychology but too many white women still clutch their purses and move away.

            Kyle is black, and my other nephew Tim is white. If Tim gets stopped by a cop he has been told to be up front and have respect. Kyle was told from the time he was a pre-teen that if he ever gets stopped by a cop not to stare in his eyes, not to move at all, say very little and immediately do anything a cop asks, whether or not it makes sense. He can't ask questions. He basically has to treat any cop as a rabid dog. It's really too bad - most cops are great. He just can't take any risks because there is no way of knowing if this cop is gonna shoot first and ask questions later. So, I happily admit I am an privileged white woman. It doesn't mean I haven't dealt with a lot of crap. It means I haven't dealt with this kind of crap. I check my assumptions all the time, and I try to correct them if needed. It's when you don't actually examine your own assumptions that you are entitled.

            We are all privileged in some way. Men are privileged in ways women are not. When they walk down the street at night their main fear is not getting raped. Women are expected to know things that men don't know, which means we are being put in a box. Some guys are fine when you say you don't belong in that box by temperament, skill set, responsibilities. Buffy is a super being, a slayer, with an enemy to defeat, a sick mother, a new sister, and friends she has known for years. Riley's box of expectations that he brought from Iowa is too small for her.

            Riley doesn't have this self awareness. No, he's not sexist like his grandfather probably is. But Riley wants Buffy to damsel herself - he wants her to lean on him, cry to him, behave like the kind of girls he dreamed of back in Iowa. He expects her to be his entire life. He refuses to have needed medical treatment because he would rather die than not be as powerful as Buffy. That is a suicide attempt. He needs her to reassure him that she isn't sleeping with her ex. He needs to the with her in the center of her storm but Buffy isn't built that way and her storm is a bigger one than he can handle. He wants more than she is able to give and he hurts himself to get her attention. He puts the responsibility on Buffy to save him repeatedly. Sorry - I still see him as a whiny manipulative entitled white boy.
            Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bespangled View Post
              Is cool - I've done the same thing more than once!




              But I don't think he does atone. Yes, he defies the system to get his friend released, but there's no further examination of what atrocities the Initiative may have committed to humans or friendly demons. He kinda hides out and decides Buffy has gone to LA to have sex with her former boyfriend and believes Angel is evil. Where is that coming from? Yes he digs the chip out and fights but he really does less than Xander and far less that Willow. His actions aren't about atonement - they're about survival.He ends up going back to the army and is rewarded for his misdeeds with a perfect life and a perfect wife. I don't see any sign that Riley ever examines his life and realizes there are things he needs to learn about people, let alone demons.

              That's why I find his story arc so flat that it's jarring. He is there to be Buffy's decent normal human boyfriend so that's pretty much all I see of him. Even in the Initiative his actions always complement Buffy's story. He doesn't have an arc of his own like Tara and Anya do. He exists for one purpose so I can't really remove Buffy from the picture.



              No - entitled white boy is a type. I would never call Giles or Xander that because they aren't. Yes , the personality does interact with the upbringing and social class. That and his lack of self examination are what makes him entitled.

              I am basically white. My Mohawk blood doesn't show unless I want it to, and I am not enrolled. I'm Jewish, but no one can see that either. I am therefore privileged in some key ways. My family is multi racial. One of the things I have learned is how sensitive white people are, and how easily they get offended by things that people from other cultures deal with on a daily basis. I have seen how white people act when I am out with black family members. Using the term white privilege does not indict all white people any more than saying black thug indicts all black men. But generally black men know they will be seen as a thug sometimes. My nephew has a degree in psychology but too many white women still clutch their purses and move away.

              Kyle is black, and my other nephew Tim is white. If Tim gets stopped by a cop he has been told to be up front and have respect. Kyle was told from the time he was a pre-teen that if he ever gets stopped by a cop not to stare in his eyes, not to move at all, say very little and immediately do anything a cop asks, whether or not it makes sense. He can't ask questions. He basically has to treat any cop as a rabid dog. It's really too bad - most cops are great. He just can't take any risks because there is no way of knowing if this cop is gonna shoot first and ask questions later. So, I happily admit I am an privileged white woman. It doesn't mean I haven't dealt with a lot of crap. It means I haven't dealt with this kind of crap. I check my assumptions all the time, and I try to correct them if needed. It's when you don't actually examine your own assumptions that you are entitled.

              We are all privileged in some way. Men are privileged in ways women are not. When they walk down the street at night their main fear is not getting raped. Women are expected to know things that men don't know, which means we are being put in a box. Some guys are fine when you say you don't belong in that box by temperament, skill set, responsibilities. Buffy is a super being, a slayer, with an enemy to defeat, a sick mother, a new sister, and friends she has known for years. Riley's box of expectations that he brought from Iowa is too small for her.

              Riley doesn't have this self awareness. No, he's not sexist like his grandfather probably is. But Riley wants Buffy to damsel herself - he wants her to lean on him, cry to him, behave like the kind of girls he dreamed of back in Iowa. He expects her to be his entire life. He refuses to have needed medical treatment because he would rather die than not be as powerful as Buffy. That is a suicide attempt. He needs her to reassure him that she isn't sleeping with her ex. He needs to the with her in the center of her storm but Buffy isn't built that way and her storm is a bigger one than he can handle. He wants more than she is able to give and he hurts himself to get her attention. He puts the responsibility on Buffy to save him repeatedly. Sorry - I still see him as a whiny manipulative entitled white boy.
              Regards the racial paragraphs. You're absolutely right. Charisma Carpenter linked a video of this cop from 2017 on her Twitter page and hes screaming abuse at this guy just because he is black, its horrifying. The guy just has to sit and take because, if hed argue back he probably would've been shot.

              Regards Riley. To me he was just a boring character who had no chemistry with Buffy and who I didn't care about. And as he had, after Buffy, the most screen time in S4 it was noticable.

              What was also noticable was how man times he saved the day (Hush/Doomed) or saved Buffy's life and defeated a guy who'd beaten Buffy. Forrest in PrimeEvil being one example another being the Vampire in Fool For Love.

              I remember Doug Petrie saying there were huge debates on who should win the fight scene between him and Angel. Angel only got it because he had his own show. If say it was a Chipless Spike theres no way they wouldve had Spike win that. Its also kind of crazy, that that was what they were concerned about...

              Riley was set up to be this ultimate awesome boyfriend and he just fell flat

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post
                Riley was set up to be this ultimate awesome boyfriend and he just fell flat
                Was he though? I mean he is ultimate awesome boyfriend if we judge him as we judge real people. He's better than 90%+ of real boyfriends and husbands. The problem is that nobody cares about such an ideal boyfriend in TV series. In short love novel or stupid romcom maybe, but not in weekly TV. It's too boring in large doses. And I have no doubts that Joss had understood this well enough. I think he always supposed to be just a rebound guy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm sorry - I feel like I went all big knowledge woman on you, ghoststar. I hope I didn't hurt you.
                  Can we agree that the writers made everyone do and say everything with a thought to getting good ratings and being renewed. This includes everything we love as well as everything we hate.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Alce View Post
                    Was he though? I mean he is ultimate awesome boyfriend if we judge him as we judge real people. He's better than 90%+ of real boyfriends and husbands. The problem is that nobody cares about such an ideal boyfriend in TV series. In short love novel or stupid romcom maybe, but not in weekly TV. It's too boring in large doses. And I have no doubts that Joss had understood this well enough. I think he always supposed to be just a rebound guy.
                    If he was just the rebound guy, why did the writers do all that once in a life time guy crap by Xander and then do shudder As You Were shudder for his return. They even had Buffy apologising to him !!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post
                      If he was just the rebound guy, why did the writers do all that once in a life time guy crap by Xander and then do shudder As You Were shudder for his return. They even had Buffy apologising to him !!
                      Why not? From all practical points of view he was her best boyfriend. "As you were" is quite a lame episode that I usually skip on rewatch, so my memory of it isn't very strong, but as much as I remember it wasn't about him in the slightest it was about Buffy and Spike and Riley with his ridiculously good personal life was just for making contrast even more obvious. As I've said It's really lame episode.

                      And I mean rebound guy in broader sense. Not only as rebound guy after Angel, but as relationship between her two big loves Angel and Spike. He was needed for narrative. We should see that Buffy could have healthy relations with normal guy for at least some period of time. Whether she needed that or not is another question, but without him in the middle, her personal life would seem screwed up too much. I mean it already is of course, but it would be so even more. I think that was his real purpose and he never intended to be some big love of her.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I found Riley dull on my first watch but have appreciated his character and his story much more since. I agree with both sides about how we see him strike out to redeem himself and also how he tries to make Buffy/their relationship fit something he personally needs that doesn't fit well against what Buffy is looking for. I do think that she took him for granted to some extent, but also that he failed to put his own issues aside to support her the best. That both sides have valid points is part of what I have come to enjoy about his inclusion in the story. I don't think that he and Buffy fitted well. Despite caring about each other and wanting it to work, it didn't. That's what happens sometimes, they just needed something from a partner the other didn't offer. If Buffy had managed to stop him leaving I don't think that would have resulted in a long-term successful relationship, it would probably have just been more painful for trying to fit in a way that just wasn't going to happen.

                        The most uncomfortable part of the Riley story is in his return in As You Were where the contrast is being really leaned on to help Buffy see the negative side of her relationship with Spike in a new way, or perhaps a brighter light, that'll spur her into breaking up with him. I wish they had just included one thing that showed Riley's shame or regret at placing Buffy in the position of the ultimatum after such a huge emotionally difficult reveal as the bite vamps was. Or for having done that in the first place. Rather than it solely being Buffy's remorse about how it went. But there was a limited focus they wanted from his return and it is easy to consider that the awkward aspects of returning and doing so with a new partner and then finding out about Spike made for a less than perfect and balanced reunion. Sometimes things don't go smoothly and aren't fair on reflection, it happens so I can roll with it happening in verse too. At the end of the day, the guy had some admirable qualities but there were things he also did wrong. That both were there is proven in the way that we see and can discuss them. Whether you like or enjoy the character is a separate thing. As I say, I've come to appreciate the story that we see him go through a lot more on rewatching. Even though I've never been a fan of the relationship and how he behaved in it, I enjoy watching his character development as well as the issues now on rewatch.
                        Last edited by Stoney; 16-02-19, 09:52 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I admit I was talking more about how I percieve the character more than him in the actual storyline.

                          I agree that even if Buffy had got to the helicopter and stopped him, it wouldn't have worked. He was just to insecure for her.

                          It should be said that when given the right material such as the bar scene in Goodbye Iowa or the Replacement, Marc Blucas did well with it.

                          I do think it was interesting though that in the flashbacks at the start of AYW, the cheating is cut out and it's just shown as hin leaving to go back to the military, that's it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bespangled View Post
                            I'm sorry - I feel like I went all big knowledge woman on you, ghoststar. I hope I didn't hurt you.
                            I'm pretty sure I permanently lost my license to hold a grudge over going "big knowledge woman" a long time ago. We're good.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post
                              What was also noticable was how man times he saved the day (Hush/Doomed) or saved Buffy's life and defeated a guy who'd beaten Buffy. Forrest in PrimeEvil being one example another being the Vampire in Fool For Love.
                              Hush/Doomed are team efforts. Would you prefer it if Buffy supplied the rope in "Doomed" and Riley jumped in, or that Riley was the one that knew how to defeat the Gentlemen and silently communicated this to Buffy while fighting the bad guys at the same time? It is made abundantly clear that the vampire in "Fool for Love" is nothing special, and Riley only goes after it to prove his usefulness and the depth of his love.

                              Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post
                              And as he had, after Buffy, the most screen time in S4
                              It may have seen that way to you, but I am convinced that's not true.
                              Last edited by Willow from Buffy; 16-02-19, 07:20 PM.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X