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  • #16
    Apologies, first, for my long delay in joining this thread:

    Have been reading with great interest, but a deadline—one
    that I am, for this short passage of words, denying, looms, even
    as the words refuse their flow…

    But—

    I am suddenly overwhelmed by a desperate desire to pretend that
    Dickinson, Darwin, and the Anthropocene do not press demands
    upon me….

    Much of what I have to say resonates with the fine posts of vampmogs,
    Andrew S, Stoney, bespangled, and Priceless, although it takes your
    ideas in a slightly different direction…

    It also draws on a longer piece I wrote months ago on the Buffy/Riley
    relationship: the link it is just below, if you are interested, but I will here
    just quote the most relevant passages, as much of the remainder involves
    a discussion of Irony, Schlegel, and AYW

    At work, to me, in the final confrontation between Buffy and Riley is not
    simply that Riley is, in his way, in love with Buffy, even as he knows that she
    is not in love with him (much as I do think she loves him in a certain way): it
    is also that rather than directly face this, as bespangled noted, he tried to
    salvage a sort of relationship with her even knowing this—and that the relationship
    he sought was utterly normative. Here, I do not think his drive to normalization
    grounded itself in patriarchal expectations, in expectations that Buffy damsel
    herself for him; rather, it lay in his desire—despite his stated love for Buffy’s
    craziness (see The Replacement)—for a perfectly settled, ordered relationship, one
    in which he knew always his place, one in which Buffy would be a proper girlfriend,
    turning to him in times of distress, depending upon him, so that he would know
    exactly where he stood in relation to her. But this was impossible for two reasons:
    first, Buffy was not given to structured relations, with set roles to play—a boyfriend
    does x, y, and z, a girlfriend a, b, and c—was given more to a certain spontaneity and
    subversion of settled orders (hence her turning away from the Council); second, Buffy
    could not trust Riley fully because she sensed, at least unconsciously, his devotion to
    order, sensed what that might lead him to do (see, in the early episodes of S5, his
    repeated references to the Initiative or the Army as a source of support).

    For if there is one thing Riley loves more than Buffy, it is being a soldier: his deepest
    sense of self is grounded in that normative form. And this is something he cannot admit—
    an inability that leads him to be dishonest not only Buffy but, more crucially, himself, in
    his explanation of his turn to the vampires—

    As I wrote before:

    Riley: It’s just, these girls…

    Buffy: Vampires. Killers.

    Riley: They made me feel something, Buffy—something… Something I didn’t even know I was missing until…

    Buffy: I can’t—I can’t hear this—

    Riley: You need to hear this—

    Buffy: Fine. Fine. Tell me about your whores. Tell me what on the earth they were giving you that I can’t.

    Riley: They needed me.

    Buffy: They needed your money. It wasn’t about you—

    Riley: No. On some basic level it was about me: my blood, my body. When they bit me—it was beyond passion: they wanted to devour me. All of me.

    Buffy: Why are you telling me this?

    Riley: It wasn’t real—I know. It was just physical. But the fact that I craved it, that I kept going back—even though it was fleeting, they made me feel as if they had such… hunger… for me.

    Buffy: And I don’t… make you feel that way?
    ItW
    They needed me…. On some basic level it was about me: my blood, my body.

    In biting Riley, sucking upon him, drawing their life from his, the vampire “girls”—we may speculate upon Riley’s use of that word in place of the more respectful “women”—made him feel not only that they needed him but that he alone would satisfy their most primal need: they made Riley feel as if he had a place in their world, a place that he alone could fill. They gave him a place to stand (or lie supine across…). A place from which the world again became, he thought, intelligible—the world, Buffy, and himself.

    But he was wrong—wrong not only in his understanding but in his attempt to explain it as a misunderstanding, “It wasn’t real—I know. It was just physical.” The need and its specific focus upon him were absolutely real—as well as absolutely random and absolutely momentary. For in the always delimited duration of their intimacy, each woman did need Riley in his personal specificity, but this specific need came only because his was the specific warm body, his the specific blood that chanced to be there. It could have been someone else—and soon it would be. To them, for those moments, Riley in his specificity was utterly necessary and utterly fungible.

    To be in a place where one is at once completely necessary in and of oneself yet utterly fungible—that is the place of a soldier. The military compels obedience in part by evoking in each soldier the strong but illusory sense of her unique value, the sense that she must be the specific one at a specific place at a specific moment to do a specific good and necessary thing, even as it allows the truth of her fungibility to loom, a clouding threat. Each soldier is absolutely needed to perform x act—until she dies… Then another soldier will be put in her place, drawn to save, to kill in the same way. This aspect of his life—this Riley never grasped, not being given to ask questions for himself, not being shaped to see, to think outside the matrices of power that made him. Nor could he see it after he had officially left, walked outside: he was still so fixed on fixing himself, on being fixed to a necessary place, that he could not apprehend the extent to which his mind had been always already fixed to see according to a determined logic of structured relations and commands.

    Thus he could not see the illusory nature of the place he filled in the vampires’ non-life, and thus he could not see the way in which he imposed a certain military structure upon his relationship with Buffy…

    (end of quote... )

    And yes, I do think he ends up blaming Buffy: You keep me at a distance, Buffy. You didn’t even call me….


    Were Buffy’s responses perfect here? Did she truly seek to understand what Riley was saying?

    No.

    In part, most deeply, the wound of his betrayal—that cut too raw for her to be open to listening, to asking, to even grasping clearly his self-delusion.

    Was time a factor? One that created a no-win situation?

    That I am not so sure of…

    On one level, it seems to me that the Army wanted Riley: he could have joined them later…

    On another, I do not think that Riley wanted more time: part of him wanted to leave, wanted to return to his greatest love, to the way of being that would return him to a stable knowledge of who he was, what his future would be. (No wonder he fell in love with Sam—no pushover as a woman but another soldier, wedded to military hierarchy, chains of order… )

    Thus his demand for immediate resolution from Buffy, his ultimatum: not because this was his only chance to return to the Army but because he desperately desired to return to the settled self, the soldier-self with a determined place in the world, the self whose being Buffy, given that her very way of moving through the world worked to endlessly subvert given structures of authority (until S7… but we’ll discuss that soon, how Buffy erred in becoming a general, how she removed herself from that position… ), endlessly ungrounded. She had to give him a place in her life akin to what the Army offered, the place of an boyfriend-as-soldier, or he would leave to take that place, become an actual soldier.

    And here, he really did not have any time to give Buffy to cool down, work things out: as he noted to Spike, I left reason a few exits ago—he had reached a breaking point. Without a place in the world, only the nether-world of vampires gave him the drugish-induced illusion, if temporarily, that such a place existed for him. Even more, I think he knew, in his desperation, growing as it had been over the last months, that Buffy would never fall in line—that no more time, no long talks, that nothing would bring the solution he sought…

    In all this, I do bear a certain sympathy for Riley, bound as he was by his upbringing (I have lived in Iowa… talk about normative forces… ) and his training, incapable, despite his I’m an Anarchist (NMR), of shivering off his inability to bear the world, sustain relations with or within it, without the structures of authority that shaped his being…

    At the same time, his resistance to self-knowledge (another part of his training, I know—but also a sign of his resistance to learning anything from Buffy, his resistance to opening himself to the change she could have given him, the becoming… ) did lead him to blame Buffy—

    And Buffy—in part due to her mother’s death, that abyssal loss; in part due to the traumatic sense of wrongness bred into her by her parents and, I think, the traumatic influx of her Calling under the control of the Council; in part due to her related desire to be a normal girl with a normal boyfriend, her investment in Riley as such a creature, a sign of her own inability to be fully honest with herself—internalizes this blame, sees herself as the one at fault for the crash of their relationship, a blaming that resonates through the end of S5, that resurfaces in the depth of her depression in S6.


    * http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/sh...l=1#post737465


    Last edited by StateOfSiege97; 16-07-19, 04:53 PM.

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    • #17
      On another, I do not think that Riley wanted more time: part of him wanted to leave, wanted to return to his greatest love, to the way of being that would return him to a stable knowledge of who he was, what his future would be. (No wonder he fell in love with Sam—no pushover as a woman but another soldier, wedded to military hierarchy, chains of order… )
      Completely agree with this. I think he goes to Spike first because he wants to run down the clock. He wants Buffy not to have enough time to either change her mind, change his, persude him etc.

      Riley uses Spike as a sounding board, to get his feelings clear, to really finally see what's going on and who Buffy is without him. He pretends to himself, and Spike, that he's gone there to kill him, but of course he won't do that because he already knows he's leaving and that he's lost any ground he had.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by bespangled View Post
        Buffy had no responsibility to change her basic nature in order to better suit Riley. That's what he was unwilling to face. Buffy doesn't damsel, and she doesn't confide. Part of loving someone is accepting who they are, and loving them. His way of trying to make her change was to let her know that her love was inferior in quality, and she wasn't able to make him feel loved. That was also Riley's problem that he wanted Buffy to fix.
        Don't get me wrong, just because I understand the path Riley took and the character issues that played their parts in why the relationship was unsatisfying for him, can see how Buffy's personality and responses to him didn't meet his expectations, that doesn't mean that I think that the responsibility falls to Buffy to 'fix' things. It doesn't mean that I think that Buffy should have changed what she wanted/needed/herself to be what he wants. Not at all. Either of them could choose to look to shift their own expectations to try to make the relationship work, if they really wanted, and I think that is what Buffy considers doing when she chases after him. But I don't think it would have worked personally because she wasn't ever going to be needy and would always be stronger. I actually agree that they aren't a great mix because I think they do want a different relationship dynamic than they manage together. He'd have had to satisfy those needs at least somewhat outside the relationship and all of this is why I feel that it's fair to think that if Riley really wanted the relationship to work with Buffy that he would have considered where else he could have gained satisfaction for his wish to be leaned on, such as through work (which is, as I said, effectively what he leaves to go and do, just in the jungle rather than close to home when the relationship could perhaps have survived as well). Essentially they just didn't want the same thing from each other.

        - - - Updated - - -

        Great post SoS and I very much agree that a set way, order and discipline are deeply important to Riley. If not I think he could have sought other ways to satisfy his need to feel a place, to have some sense of structure and order alongside the relationship. But the level which he looks for is greater than 'alongside' allows and he wants to feel it in a way Buffy 'as is' doesn't offer. It is in this way he isn't wanting and looking for change in himself but in how they are together which then would/could have come from Buffy trying to be other than she is. Something I really do think would have eventually failed. I also agree that Buffy's tendency to internalise and blame herself for things that she can't 'save' means that she takes on the responsibility for the break and her failure to adapt in time to stop him leaving becomes the focus of the split rather than Riley's choice to go to the opportunity in the jungle rather than finding alternatives himself. The whole relationship and it's twists and turns is really very interesting through S4 & 5 and, as you say, what is seen of the fall out in S6 for them both too.
        Last edited by Stoney; 16-07-19, 01:36 PM.
        to be returned as soon as possible...

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        • #19
          I completely agree with vampmogs that Riley had been given an ultimatmum as well. He didn't have much time. He had to make his decision within hours.

          Of course he could have made the decision whether he should try to ear back Buffy's trust without putting the pressure on Buffy and demanding from her a promise that she would make his decline of the offer worthwhile. But we are only humans and I can understand that Riley was only ready to let that once in a lifetime chance with the army pass for his relationship with Buffy if there was at least a very tiny possibility that they could and would repair their relationship. He gets a pass for this as well (at least from me).

          What really really really pisses me off though is that he said "I am not giving you an ultimatum". That was not only a lie. It was manipulative.

          flow

          - - - Updated - - -

          I don't agree though that Buffy gave Angel an ultimatum in Lovers Walk. Sure, she said "Tell me, you don't love me and we can see each other as friends".

          However, what she really meant was something completely different.

          She never seriously considered Angel would say those words nor did she want him to. What she really said was "We have both been pretending those last few weeks and months that we are just friends but we were lying to each other. We want to be more than friends and we both want it and we want it desperately.

          We can't go on lying to us and we can't go back to being lovers. Therefore there is no way for us to see each other again. The only way would be if one of us or both of us are not in love any more. Then we could be friends. But that's not how it is."

          She did not gave him an ultimatum. She simply faced a difficult truth and dealt with it.

          flow
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          • #20
            I never had any problem with Riley's "ultimatum" or whatever it was. He was on crossroad, either he would try to save relations that clearly doesn't work anymore or he would return to his military career and try to find purpose in life again. So he tried to clarify his relations with Buffy one last time and gave her choice to made. Was it unfair? Of course it was, but second choice was to decide it himself and just break up with her. Whatever he would chose it would hurt Buffy anyway, so...

            As for it's all been his own "insecurities" then I would say no to that. He was absolutely right about her. Buffy didn't need him and didn't love him nearly as much as Angel and then Spike. She said to Spike that he was "just convenient", but it was Riley who fits this phrase, not Spike. Yes, Buffy had no responsibility to change her nature, but nor Riley should be taken responsible for not wanting to settle for something that wasn't enough for him.

            And one more moment about "nature" of Buffy. In seven season she gave Spike all that Riley could ever hoped for. Spike who wasn't even her boyfriend at that moment was thousand times closer to her than Riley ever was. One phrase "because I'm not ready for you to not be here" sums it up perfectly. If Buffy had ever felt that way about Riley they wouldn't get to that "ultimatum" moment. All what happened wasn't Riley or Buffy fault, they just weren't the right ones for each other.

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            • #21
              My problem is not the ultimatum. It's the fact that he should have either sat down and talked about the issues, or else broken up with her. Instead he let his insecurities rule and spun out of control. He was so interested in trying to change how Buffy expressed her love that he became self destructive, rather than talk to her about the issue. I cringe every time Riley questions her love because his complaint is that he doesn't feel it. That's putting it all on her, and blaming her for how he feels, repeatedly.

              No, Riley never had the part of Buffy that Spike and Angel did, mostly because he fell apart. He was going to be the person who fought by her side, an equal. But after he left the initiative, he risked his life repeatedly so he wouldn't have to lose a facet of his hyper masculinity. The message there is "I don't trust your love for me." Buffy reassured him, babied him, pushed him to save himself. When you feel that insecure in a relationship then you've reached a pathological level.

              That dynamic makes it impossible to trust him with her own inner life. He blames her for not opening up, but he never opened up to her without causing a huge crisis. He's erratic, troubled, and slowly spinning out of control.

              Angel and Buffy have a melodramatic teen romance, but underneath that they have love and pure trust. At least until Angel loses his soul. In season three he left because they couldn't have what they wanted. I think Buffy and Angel share a bond that no one else will ever share with either of them.

              Riley wasn't there for that part of her life. Maybe if he had met her when she was an impressionable teen she would have been his ideal. Then she was more trusting, and less of a threat to his masculinity.

              Spike saw the ugliest parts of Buffy that she would never show anyone else. He displayed his own ugliness, and Buffy came to him anyway, He hurt her and crawled over glass to reach a point where Buffy would say she wasn't ready for him to leave. I think Buffy and Spike share a bond that no one else will ever share with either of them.

              Buffy wasn't traumatized enough to act out like that, and Riley would have run off if she had.

              Angel left because they couldn't give each other what they needed - and he was willing to discuss it. Spike stayed and burned because that's what he was needed to do - and he was willing to change for her.


              Yes, Riley prefers structure and order. Yes he went through a tough time - much of it of his own making because of his insecurities. Yes he had just found out about the chance to be all he could be. But he'd been having problems since she "let" Dracula bite him and he never told her how he felt. Riley became passive aggressive and self destructive for months. He didn't didn't open up to Buffy and try to talk until he had to give her an ultimatum - if she couldn't change immediately into his fantasy love he would leave her. Even when he says it's his own fault, he still blames her for not being able to give him what he wants. But he didn't offer to change in any way, because she had made him crazy.


              Can you imagine how destructive that is to hear? She did her best, and it wasn't good enough. This was all her fault. He did things because her love was so toxic he was forced to. She wasn't even able to make him feel as good as a dried up vamp sucking him. She wasn't enough to keep this man, who says he loves her, happy. All her fears coming true.


              BUFFY: (incredulously) Oh, I'm sorry. You know, um, I'm sorry that I couldn't take care of you when I thought that my mother was dying.
              RILEY: It's about me taking care of you! It's about letting me in. So you don't have to be on top of everything all the time.
              BUFFY: But I do. That's part of what being a slayer is.
              (shakes her head) And that's what this is really about, isn't it? You can't handle the fact that I'm stronger than you.
              RILEY: It's hard sometimes, yeah. But that's not it.
              BUFFY: Then what? What else do you want from me, Riley? I've given you everything that I have, I've given you my heart, my body and soul!
              RILEY: You say that, but I don't feel it. I just don't feel it.
              BUFFY: Well, whose fault its that? Because I'm telling you, this is it, this is me. This is the package. And if it's so deficient that you need to get your kicks elsewhere ... then we really have a problem.



              This is who she is right then. The slayer - a powerful women with huge responsibilities, We love people in different ways and during different times. This is what she can give. The fact is that Riley is incapable of loving a slayer. What happened truly is that they weren't right for each other, but he really put her through hell, IMO.

              I'm sorry, I just can't see this as Buffy's expression of love being faulty. I see it as Riley having a need and acting out to try and make her fill that need. That's co-dependence, not love.


              YMMV!
              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.

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              • #22
                All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.



                * My only problem with Riley's ultimatum in "Into the Woods" (B 4.10) is that what Riley seemed to ultimately want from Buffy is for her to kill Angel and Spike to prove to Riley that she preferred Riley. And remember that Riley at this time didn't know that Buffy didn't actually kill Dracula.


                * My problem with Riley regarding Buffy/Riley in BtVS S5 is I consider Riley was on some level raping Buffy. He considered that she didn't even want him. Yet he seemed to try to kiss, touch, and have sex with her as much as possible. And he seemed to want her to focus more on him than on her dying mother.



                * Buffy 'broke up' with Angel several times even though she considered them still together. Her worst action toward Angel was continuing to date Scott Hope. And Buffy would have eventually had sex with Scott had Scott not broken up with her.


                * Buffy's actions against Spike are perhaps more understandable. She continued her relationship with Riley even after "Something Blue" (B 4.09). But notice that Spike is the first to look disgusted after the My Will Be Done spell is broken. And Spike said he waned the Buffy taste out of his mouth.

                The badness of Buffy's treatment of Spike began after Spike's song to her in "Once More With Feeling" (B 6.07). But she also gave him the sexual intimacy she considered he wanted.

                BtVS S7 has her go on one date with Robin Wood and has her in a quasi quasi quasi relationship with Robin. But post-"Get it Done" (B 7.15) is the first time in BtVS S7 in which Buffy/Spike may have been physically intimate. Spike before that had seemed clear he didn't want a sexual relationship with Buffy anymore.



                * Anyway, if you don't consider that Riley wanted Buffy to dust Angel and Spike simply to prove to Riley that she loved Riley more and/or if you don't consider Riley was somewhat raping Buffy, then I don't see how Riley's ultimatum was particularly bad.

                Oz cheated on Willow and that literally wolfs out in anger after realizing that Willow's with Tara. Yet Oz is still beloved and we are happy for him in Season 8.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by bespangled View Post
                  Buffy had no responsibility to change her basic nature in order to better suit Riley. That's what he was unwilling to face. Buffy doesn't damsel, and she doesn't confide. Part of loving someone is accepting who they are, and loving them. His way of trying to make her change was to let her know that her love was inferior in quality, and she wasn't able to make him feel loved. That was also Riley's problem that he wanted Buffy to fix.
                  Originally posted by Priceless
                  As for Buffy not opening up to him about Joyce, when has she ever been an open person? Her nature is to deal with things herself as much as possible. I would also say that when Riley was having heart problems, he didn't go to Buffy to discuss them with her. When faced with them, he ran away, afraid to deal with his own emotional issues.
                  I disagree with you guys on this part, but I'm glad I saw it because it forced me to really think hard about my view of Buffy’s character. See, I don’t think Riley was wrong for wanting Buffy to be more open with him. It’s not “changing her basic nature” for her to communicate to him and confide in him. That’s just the compromising that one is supposed to do when they’re in a relationship. Who wants to be in a relationship with someone who never confides in them or lets their guard down? My problem with Riley isn’t that he wants Buffy to confide in him (I actually think that’s fair), it’s that he doesn’t even give her a chance to. He has all of these issues with her and he never makes an attempt to talk to her so that she could have a chance to fix them. He just bottles it all up, gets suckjobs from vamps, gets caught, drops an ultimatum on her, and then leaves.

                  I think Buffy’s behavior during the illness arc *was* unhealthy. I think she did shut Riley out, but she shut nearly everyone out. Now I’m aware that people process their emotions very differently. Some people need to confide in others in order to process their emotions and some people genuinely do better dealing with their emotions all on their own. I just don’t think Buffy is one of those people. And her behavior in episodes like “Shadow” – refusing to cry or talk to anyone – is so troubling to me because it’s not like her.

                  Pre – “The Body”, I actually think of Buffy as a very emotionally open person, at least to those that she cares about. The only time I think Buffy is closed off to people is when she’s going through some really, really traumatic shit (her depression/PTSD over Angel in early-S3; her mother’s illness and protecting Dawn throughout a lot of S5). Other than that, I read Buffy as being very open and in touch with her feelings. I know she has this reputation (both in and out of universe) of being closed off but there are numerous, numerous scenes and episodes where Buffy vents/cries to people about her problems (both voluntarily and in-voluntarily).

                  Just off the top of my head…

                  She cries about her prophecised death to Giles in “Prophecy Girl”, she cries in front of everyone while breaking The Master’s bones in WSWB, she cries to Giles and vents to him, Willow and Xander about Angel in S2, she cries in front of everyone in “Dead Man’s Party”, she vents and then later cries to Giles about her lost powers in “Helpless”, she cries to Willow about the Faith situation in “Consequences”.

                  Now Buffy doesn’t cry to anyone in S4, but I think that’s less about emotional distance on her part and more about that just being a relatively ‘light’ year for Buffy. There wasn’t much for her to cry about in that season, but we still got many scenes where Buffy was open about her feelings to people (*including* Riley). She vents to Xander about not fitting in at college during “The Freshman”, she vents about Parker, and then later Riley to her friends. When it comes to Riley, I’ll admit that Buffy is very reluctant to put her feelings out there at first (as we see in “Doomed”), but she does overcome this and starts being honest with him. She explains her history with Faith to him in “This Year’s Girl” and her history with Angel to him in “New Moon Rising” / “The Yoko Factor”, despite great difficulty. I’d even say that Buffy was closer to Riley during S4 than she was with anyone else. Now, I think that was mostly due to their relationship still being in the honeymoon stage, but still.

                  But in all of the examples I just mentioned, Buffy found catharsis in venting/crying and seemed to feel better after the event, which is why I think she’s a person who needs to vent/confide in order to deal properly. I think she fully starts to guard herself from everyone in late-S5 up until the end of the series. And notice she’s a lot more miserable because of it.

                  I’m of two minds about Buffy’s more guarded persona during the illness storyline (and during the later seasons). I think part of it was the writers trying to contrive drama between her and Riley (and the other characters, once we get to S6-S7), but I also think part of it was a natural reaction to all of the traumatic stuff she was going through during that time. Buffy’s mom had just been diagnosed with a tumor and she found out that her little sister wasn’t real, so of course, she’s a little mentally-spun and acting OOC in the episodes afterwards.

                  However, I do think Buffy starts to come back to open and honest self, right after Riley leaves (haha, ironic, huh?). She cries to her friends in “Triangle” (the older I get, the less OOC Buffy’s over-the-top crying is to me in that ep; especially when you think about how much emotional strain she had been under in the episodes before), lets them in on Dawn being The Key in “Blood Ties”, and confides to Xander about her relationship insecurities in “I Was Made to Love You”. Then, “The Body” happens and that’s where I think the definitive change in her character happens. Buffy is never the same after that, but understandably so.
                  Last edited by Andrew S.; 18-07-19, 03:53 AM.

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                  • #24
                    Yeah, I don't think it's a coincidence that most of the fans who vilify Riley for wanting Buffy to let her guard with him because he's her boyfriend also simultaneously a) don't like Riley already, b) don't want Buffy to be in a relationship with him (and want her to be involved with somebody else, like Angel or Spike), and c) display either no problem whatsoever when she does lower her guard around other love interests like Angel or Spike OR display great anger and frustration when she doesn't let those other love interests in.

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                    • #25
                      I think the difference for me is that the potential death of her mother is a very different emotional experience than anything else Buffy has been through. She feels she has to stay strong for her mum and Dawn, to be the rock they can lean on. As she says herself, if she did let her guard down even for one moment, she might never recover that strength that she needs to be of support to them.

                      I'm not saying that the way Buffy dealt with her mums illness was healthy. But I don't think Riley was thinking of Buffy's emotional health in anyway, he was simply feeling left out and making the situation about him. I don't think he even mentions that sharing her feelings could have helped her in anyway does he? Happy to be corrected here as i can't remember all their conversations.

                      The only time I think Buffy is closed off to people is when she’s going through some really, really traumatic shit (her depression/PTSD over Angel in early-S3; her mother’s illness and protecting Dawn throughout a lot of S5).
                      I agree, and this is why she is the way she is, because the potential death of Joyce is the most traumatic thing she's ever been through. There is no roadmap for this, no way for Buffy to know that talking or leaning on others will help her. That's why it can't be compared to any other situation she's been in. So even if I accept that Buffy is an emotionally open person, it doesn't really have a bearing on this particular situation.

                      She cries about her prophecised death to Giles in “Prophecy Girl”, she cries in front of everyone while breaking The Master’s bones in WSWB, she cries to Giles and vents to him, Willow and Xander about Angel in S2, she cries in front of everyone in “Dead Man’s Party”, she vents and then later cries to Giles about her lost powers in “Helpless”, she cries to Willow about the Faith situation in “Consequences”.
                      Buffy did cry in all these situations, then she stops crying and deals with it. She did cry about her mum, but she did that by herself in the kitchen while listening to terrible salsa music, then she stopped crying and got on and dealt with the motw.

                      I would also say that facing your own death is very different to facing the death of the person you love most in the world. When Angel was dying in S3 she didn't cry, she went out and she dealt with the situation. Yes Buffy has had moments, especially when she was younger, when she broke down and cried in front of people, but as she aged she stopped doing that. By Season 7 she was cutting down a potential who'd killed herself, and buried her in the park, without breaking down in tears. So maybe it's a thing Buffy's learnt with age, as you mention.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Priceless View Post


                        Buffy did cry in all these situations, then she stops crying and deals with it. She did cry about her mum, but she did that by herself in the kitchen while listening to terrible salsa music, then she stopped crying and got on and dealt with the motw.
                        That's a recurring theme on the show. Buffy is never really allowed to process her baggage. She always has to suppress it in some way to fight the big bad. That goes back to Prophecy Girl and is carried on in eps like When She Was Bad, Seeing Red all the way through the end. It is, perhaps inadvertently, brought to the forefront in S7 with The First. When Buffy expresses doubts about their situation to Xander, the First quickly uses that to convince a girl to commit suicide.

                        I think bespangled nailed all my thoughts on the Buffy/Riley relationship. I don't think Riley is a bad guy. He wanted different things out of a relationship. Buffy isn't someone who runs to another to protect her. That's not who she is. I disagree that she emotionally shut him out. She just wasn't dependent on him. When he's there and there is time for comfort, she takes it. It could easily have been Riley instead of Angel in Forever. We see a similar scene in the hospital with Joyce, with Riley holding her.

                        The relationship ended in a dramatic way which I guess was the point.

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