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Vampire "brothel" in Into the Woods

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  • #16
    I do get what you're saying. I mean, in regards to her staking the vampire when she was fleeing/had her back turned, that in itself isn't unusual as we've seen this before. In Buffy VS Dracula the vampire is running from Buffy when she hunts him down, in Showtime The Bringer is fleeing from her when she hurls a knife into his back, and in Anne even Oz tries to stake a fleeing vampire but has decidedly less luck lol ("that never really works"). But the difference in Into the Woods, IMO, is the fact that Buffy gives the vampire the impression she is going to let her live and of course the personal element as well. They also play up the whole "vampire trembling in fear" which probably isn't all that different to what the vampire in Buffy VS Dracula or The Bringer in Showtime was feeling but they just didn't emphasise it in those episodes.

    I personally don't interpret it as Buffy lashing out, though. In my opinion, SMG plays it as very "matter of fact" rather than an act of passion or anger. After the vampire is dusted she has a rather blank expression on her face (as opposed to an angry one) and is staring off into the distance. To me it always comes across as Buffy not getting any satisfaction from it at all and feeling even a little uncomfortable about it herself. She seems to be having to take a moment to compose herself before Xander appears.

    I do think there's an element of uneasiness and darkness about the fact that Buffy gets to kill her boyfriend's "mistress" which may be a dark desire many people have but, unlike Buffy, they don't have permission to do so. In the past I've argued similarly about Xander in Angel and how how his insistence that Buffy kill Angel, his romantic rival, comes across as quite dark to me because it's something most high school boys could only fantasise about whereas Xander gets to vocalise this desires out loud and mean them ("Let's look at this calmly and objectively. Angel's a vampire. You're a Slayer. It's obvious what you have to do")
    "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina


    • #17
      Yes, this is an interesting detail. The fact that a vamp is fleeing shouldn't keep Buffy from chasing after them. It basically is what she does every night on patrol. Chasing after vampires. And we even have to make excuses for her for not chasing after Drusilla in Crush because it is rather unusual behavior. It's not that we say "Oh, Drusilla was running away and therefore Buffy was not allowed to go after her." Still, a stake in the back of a vampire who is running away, maybe even hoping to have been spared is somewhat sneaky. It's not Buffy fighting vamps face-to-face the way we are used to seeing her fight.

      I wonder if we would feel as uncomfortable about this scene if the vamp who run away had been male.

      ................................ Banner by buffylover


      • #18
        Originally posted by flow View Post

        I wonder if we would feel as uncomfortable about this scene if the vamp who run away had been male.
        Great point.

        Honestly, I don't think we would. I do think that the sight of a trembling female vampire illicits a different reaction from the audience than a male vampire would. There shouldn't be any objective reason for that but I know for me it feels different.

        I don't think people would think much of this scene if Buffy had been in mid battle and dusting multiple vampires at once and then she skirmished this vampire without pause. It's more the fact that she recongises the vampire as being the one who Riley was with, the vampire is depicted as trembling, Buffy gives the impression she's going to spare her, and then kills her from behind. But I personally do believe that Buffy genuinely changed her mind here and wasn't "playing" with the vampire or anything.

        "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina


        • #19
          Originally posted by bespangled View Post
          While it doesn't bother me that Buffy killed the vamps, I'm actually with Giles on this. Monitored, and in once place, this is a better arrangement for the thrill seekers. The question is a version of - do we supply clean needles for addicts, and a safe place to shoot up?

          I would imagine the regular clients are still addicted. At least some of them are bound to go looking for the thrill that the bite gave them, and they are far more likely to end up dead or turned. IMO, destroying the brothel doesn't solve the problem of the addiction. While accidents can occur, they would be known to the addicts. So those who were paying money to be bitten are at a much higher risk now that their safe source is gone.
          As the bite houses are feeding an addiction where there is another party in the mix too, the vampire not being a dealer who is distanced in the transaction but part of it (the bite house owner is the dealer), I'm not sure how it compares against managed drug addiction. Or even how much safer a place it is. It could be that the bite houses facilitate an addiction that they make the participation in possible, if you see what I mean. If we take Riley as the example of how someone might be intrigued about being bitten, taking the risk the first time would often be the last time someone tried. He was an experienced demon hunter prepared to take out the vampire that he allowed to bite him. So how many average people first get to try and so enter this addiction because the bite house exists?

          I also wonder if there could be an increased risk of being turned rather than killed, as regulars might build up a relationship with specific vamps too. The knock on impact then on their families, who vampires are said to regularly kill when first turned exceeds the suffering of addict's families (who I do appreciate often experience a lot of distressing fall out from their relative's addiction too).


          • #20
            I think addiction always starts with some idiot telling another that they won't believe how great the high is. The source of the high changes until there's just one that will do. If there's already word that the bite is a great high then there are already vamps willing to cash in. There doesn't need to be a bite house involved as we saw with Riley before he found the house. Riley is so addicted that he leaves Buffy's bed after sex and goes to the bite house The other humans there were in worse shape. It's clear that their addiction has cost them a lot - but it's a price they are willing to pay.

            Let's say the bite is the heroin. The vampire can be whether or not the heroin will get you high or kill you, and/or give you a communicable disease - the risk factor in other words. Is the fact that drug dens exist the reason heroin addicts exist?

            There's safety in a drug den. If you die someone will call it in - as they leave. Authorities will be notified, and they can find out which dealer is responsible. I'd say that if someone dies in a bite house other vamps will be happy to finger which vamp killed him. The police won't be involved but as you said the bite house is a business. The owner and the workers have good reason to make sure that people don't get killed or turned. It's bad for business. They want the repeat customers, those that bring in new custom. I'd figure if a customer can't walk out then a vamp gets staked. Clearly it's not safe, but it is safer than going up to a strange vamp and asking if they will bite you but not kill you for cash.

            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.


            • #21
              Originally posted by flow View Post
              I wonder if we would feel as uncomfortable about this scene if the vamp who run away had been male.
              For me it's not so much about her being a woman (though I might have an unconscious bias), but rather the fact that she was the "prostitute" being "used" by Riley. I think I would've reacted the same way if said "prostitute" had been male.

              Also, what differentiates it from other times she stabbed monsters in the back is, ironically, the fact that she hesitates. Somehow it puts more weight to it.
              What a challenge, honesty
              What a struggle to learn to speak
              Who would've thought that pretending was easier


              • #22

                Fire: consuming and being consumed.

                The rightness of Buffy’s charge is incomplete.

                The brothel/crack house is not only a view of Buffy’s “morality.” The free will of humans is intersecting with vampires in social dysfunction; no one is gonna die in the desire for relief, but in the manner in which it is expressed. A. the purchase of using another being as mere object; B. addiction.

                The idea of “using” people/beings for ‘just sex’ isn’t about the “just sex.” (Again, a person will not die for lack of ‘just sex’ in itself, let alone with another person when masturbation is any option. It is the idea of requiring the social interaction of sex without regard for the person providing it—the idea of person as “body parts”/ ‘meat’ and not in the idea of humans, who can face each other, and who get ‘naked’ for other reasons than clothes removal.

                Second, the idea of addiction suggests that the relief from pain becomes pain itself and that requires other social availabilities because the literal brains of the addicted are being changed physically, not just in the psychological and, thus, emotional reasons for the manifestations that maintain addictive needs and behaviors.

                Buffy’s choices that advance “gray area” thinking is actually not as “gray” as this would suggest. It is difficult, yes, but “yes” and “no” are rather the active result of choice in “how far” until actual “life and death” are the absolute result. Buffy is “life and death” in service to HUMANS.

                So, Buffy’s “job” is to protect humans, but she is not positioned in any way to be a social worker, medic, or psychologist.

                Most human social orders are positioned to protect the youngest first, not people of “age of consent”—and the real fact in USA is that the protection of property is a higher call than the “free will, age-of-consent” people, who need available measures of support when their self harm actually does harm the society—even if considered “petty” or misdemeanors.

                A lot of crime goes on behind closed doors and even an “act of Congress” doesn’t seem to bring light to it. See all things Me, Too and other abuse. Buffy isn’t even a “cop” whose job is to ARREST-stop. She stops or kills. Buffy has the mandate to kill the vampire, the demon, and she has found that ‘potential’ even in this world is possible because ‘once upon a time’ she met and loved Angel, further, these were human beings, some she knew. Buffy has such a need for “the good” to actually be seen as the “change she makes in the world,” she treats vampirism like a serious illness, or a problem of the truly mad. She hopes. She also can’t lie forever and be true to herself, as both slayer and human.

                I think that burning down the building was not only a slayer thing, a personal convenience to actually prevent the on-going opportunism of creating and maintaining actual dangerous addiction, but it forces the notion of “moral order” in the rest of society to ‘pay attention” to possible potential here.

                It also means Buffy upholds the value of a person, an idea she struggles with, in her ‘place in society” and within her own introverted heart how she views herself. She does stand up for how one expects one’s own person to be respected when shared, as well as the well-being of one’s partner.

                I also think “reality’ offers a “get help” opportunity for humans, to “take note” what they are doing and how they are being “sucked dry” in self and in resources and from doing better things, but it is “notice” to the wider social order, who seems to consider “real estate” as the shaper of neighborhoods and their own behavior, rather than their own ability to change the use of these spaces for better purpose.

                IF, this abuse on both physical and emotional support is being allowed—not merely in the notion of charity, but in actual concern that the health of all does indeed provide a kind of ‘herd protection’ as well as a foundation for greater freedoms and actualizations of independent adult, THE LACK is also the groundwork of cults, and stultifying imprisonments, for that which is easily tolerated becomes the norm for social ‘moral’ order, for many reasons. See marijuana debate, see gender roles, see religious overreach in education and empowerment of “enforcers” by the self same oppressed in whatever the heck is of “family values,” nationalism, et al. See the simple reality of the “local bar” in ‘Booniesville’ NE, in which cops literally wait just off the parking lot to arrest people for ‘driving under the influence’ when there is de facto no other way to get there than to drive. And why does the bar owner provide a parking lot? Why was providing ‘food’ forced on the independent businessman who has but one duty: profit? Why can he now be sued for ‘allowing’ over indulgence, when he is neither doctor nor has provided any scientific test that would actually “stand up?”

                Because people in pain seek relief, not death, and those situations where ‘death is allowed’ harm the whole of society’s notion of human connection/obligation to all other humans: morality.

                So, however Buffy felt about any of it, she did the right thing, even if she felt bad about it, and can’t quite justify why she isn’t “just slaughtering” every demon/vampire et al in sight. She met Angel. She held out hopes for his soul and it was returned to him. She recognizes ‘the stain of humanity’ that holds her intuitive interest in Spike and she recognizes the mad. In the human world, this hope for human * potential * means we don’t kill humans, but there is no “system of justice” for demons, other than the slayer, and no system of “mental health” for their mad.

                I am sorry that even we humans are stumbling around in the dark in our ability to cure all ills, in the time we live and learn, but, as Buffy did go to kill Angelus, finally—and a human’s jealous reasons don’t change the objective fact—it was also another human (Willow) that gave answer to a being (Angel) who really couldn’t figure out how to suffer enough—until he did.

                Buffy should have staked Spike, Dru, and Harmony. Comedic relief doesn’t warrant zero effort against serial killers who are against humans. As many point out, there are alternatives and that is a ‘hallmark’ to being human: finding them. Vampires ‘naturally’ don’t. They only have hierarchies of power and that convenience.

                Those creatures who live apart from humans or with whom humans must respect ‘nature’s laws’ and boundaries are warned to listen carefully to that “rule of law” or face self extinction. We are ‘connected’—but reality says “morality” is a whole lot of (human) POV under the scrutiny of different kinds of “law.”

                I recall ‘In the Heat of the Night’ actor Carroll O’ Connor’s lines regarding the death penalty for humans, and it was that a man about to be executed would be told he had been spared. When the smile of relief washed over his face, to put a bullet into the back of brain (he’d be dead before he hit the floor). So that says, killing a vampire that thought it had been spared, was not cruel, but de facto obeyed the “law” of a being who wouldn’t or couldn’t change until the pattern of behavior was “all too sad, too bad, and too late.” (And that self-doubt in considering personal vengeance didn’t miss “the point” of “death penalty” only justice, but is actually dealing with “absolutes” Buffy always fought to balance in her compassion and in her duty to self and to the whole of the world.