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  • Willow's Regret For Throwing Buffy Out

    Do you think Willow in particular should have shown more regret at throwing Buffy out of her house in Empty Places?

  • #2
    Absolutely, yes.

    It's one of the few times in the series where I legitimately find the characters to be written OOC. Nobody will ever be able to convince me that it makes sense that Willow has no regrets, concerns, or heck, even an opinion, about throwing Buffy out and that she would carry on in Touched like it hasn't even happened. I honestly don't believe it for a second and I don't even recognise the character here at all.









    "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina

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    • #3
      Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
      Absolutely, yes.

      It's one of the few times in the series where I legitimately find the characters to be written OOC. Nobody will ever be able to convince me that it makes sense that Willow has no regrets, concerns, or heck, even an opinion, about throwing Buffy out and that she would carry on in Touched like it hasn't even happened. I honestly don't believe it for a second and I don't even recognise the character here at all.
      Colin on Pop Culture Role Call highlighted this issue on their last episode, and he felt exactly as you do. I have to say Willow's reactions don't bother me, but I wondered if others were shocked by her lack of regret.

      I think part of it is that Buffy doesn't react to what happened once she's back in the house and re-accepted as leader.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Priceless View Post

        Colin on Pop Culture Role Call highlighted this issue on their last episode, and he felt exactly as you do. I have to say Willow's reactions don't bother me, but I wondered if others were shocked by her lack of regret.

        I think part of it is that Buffy doesn't react to what happened once she's back in the house and re-accepted as leader.
        For me it's not even so much her lack of regret but her lack of a reaction at all.

        Honestly, as much as it would upset me, I'd even have preferred a scene of Willow talking about it and saying "good riddance to that bitch" then the writing not even bothering to address it. At least then it would be evident that the writers still remembered the significance of the Buffy/Willow relationship and that it needed to be addressed. It was the episode's total and utter disregard of these characters and their history together that I found so unbelievable.
        "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina

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        • #5
          Yup. I've long argued that Empty Places makes sense. It's the follow up that creates the bother.

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          • vampmogs
            vampmogs commented
            Editing a comment
            Completely agree. I think Empty Places could've been written a lot better (I prefer the Shooting Script by far) but I can make sense of it. It's the aftermath that's the real problem.

        • #6
          Buffy's lack of reaction makes everyone else back off. They'd want to rush to her and beg forgiveness, but because she's more bothered with winning the war and not her friends feelings, they take the same tack. Obviously everything's forgiven and forgotten by the end, so I think 'less said soonest mended' was the way to go.

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          • #7
            But we're talking about Touched not End of Days.

            "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina

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            • #8
              It could have been an extra scene, of course, but from what we got from Touched I'm not sure when Willow could have shown regret (if she actually felt any)

              We open with the group arguing, so not appropriate there. Then the lights go off and everyone goes into the basement, fear of imminent death takes over and again, not the time to raise regret. Plus she has to watch over Kennedy, who's pushing Faith. I think Kennedy is part of the issue, in that Willow can't raise feeling of regret over Buffy infront of Kennedy who's already annoyed and angry.

              I think the way Willow approaches Spike on his return does show a little embarrassment at the situation, and possibly a bit of regret. But once again she's surrounded by the gang and is probably worried about alienating them and starting more arguing. The last thing they need is more fractions breaking off and dissent in the ranks.

              They're all involved in the capture and questioning of The Bringer, and that takes a while. Then Willow has snuggle time with Kennedy, and once again there is no way she can bring up any residual feelings about Buffy with Kennedy, knowing Kennedy is Buffy's harshest critic. Plus Willow's got her own worries about how her powers will affect her. It's a romantic moment, or meant to be I think, and it's just not the right time.

              I just don't see any time that Willow could or would raise any issues about Buffy. Also, I'm not sure Willow did actually regret throwing Buffy out. She was perhaps too cowed by the group to say anything, but Willow could always get her point across and the fact that she doesn't say anything makes me think she didn't feel the depth of regret people would like her to feel.

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              • #9
                Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                It could have been an extra scene, of course, but from what we got from Touched I'm not sure when Willow could have shown regret (if she actually felt any)
                But what we got from Touched is entirely dictated by the writers so the "there wasn't enough time" really isn't an excuse because the writers could have simply made the time. It's the writers who decide what they want to prioritise in an episode, after all. As you say, they could have added an extra scene, or, heck, they could have had written one. single. line. of Willow and Xander talking about what had happened.

                For instance, instead of "snuggle time with Kennedy" the writers could have instead used the space in the episode to have a scene of Willow and Xander talking about Buffy couldn't they? Let's face it, Kennedy was extremely unpopular with the audience at the time and one of the most consistent complaints people have with S7 overall is the amount of screen time the Potential Slayers got over characters they actually cared about. So I'm sure the majority of the audience would have much preferred a scene of Willow and Xander discussing Buffy then a Willow/Kennedy scene.

                And, again, my issue isn't predominately about Willow showing "regret." It's about Willow having a reaction AT ALL. Willow just threw Buffy out of her own house, in the middle of an apocalypse, in Bringer-infested Sunnydale, and with Caleb on the loose. I don't believe for one minute that Willow would not be concerned about Buffy's - her best friend of 7 years and chosen family - safety at all. That's not only OOC for the previous 6 seasons but it's even OOC in comparison to how she was written just several episodes earlier when she defended Buffy, checked up on her, was worried sick about her being lost in another dimension, and risked her greatest fear of going dark to save her.

                The episode doesn't address Willow or Xander's POV about what happened at all. Not one measly line. Instead, Xander spends the episode cracking jokes and Willow is squeeing about getting a bedroom to herself. There is no mention of Buffy even once and no concern about her safety, no regret, no conflicting feelings, no sadness at what has happened etc. You mention the Spike kitchen scene but it's even more glaring that after Spike causes a big scene, accuses Buffy's loved ones of being "sad, sad ungrateful traitors", publicly shames them and accuses them of betrayal, the characters then carry on as normal as if this scene never even happened. If you'd just thrown your best friend, surrogate daughter, or hey, sister, out of the house, and someone publicly shamed you for it, don't you think this is something you'd be thinking about afterwards? Something you may wish to discuss with her other loved ones? Or express guilt about? But none of them even mention it.

                Their characterisation simply makes no sense. It's the BtVS equivalent of Team Angel randomly forgetting Cordelia even exists and not even bothering to mention her again or her death after You're Welcome. Xander and Willow love Buffy. They'd never leave her alone in Sunnydale and not give a sh*t if she's alive or dead or how she's coping.



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                • #10
                  But what we got from Touched is entirely dictated by the writers so the "there wasn't enough time" really isn't an excuse because the writers could have simply made the time. It's the writers who decide what they want to prioritise in an episode, after all. As you say, they could have added an extra scene, or, heck, they could have had written one. single. line. of Willow and Xander talking about what had happened.
                  Of course, but the writers/producers/directors decide what they want to be seen and if the script overruns, something has to be cut. They decided that if Willow does feel any regret the audience don't need to see it, they need to see other things for the story to continue as they wish it to.

                  For instance, instead of "snuggle time with Kennedy" the writers could have instead used the space in the episode to have a scene of Willow and Xander talking about Buffy couldn't they? Let's face it, Kennedy was extremely unpopular with the audience at the time and one of the most consistent complaints people have with S7 overall is the amount of screen time the Potential Slayers got over characters they actually cared about. So I'm sure the majority of the audience would have much preferred a scene of Willow and Xander discussing Buffy then a Willow/Kennedy scene.
                  They could have, but see above. They didn't think it was necessary. Kennedy wasn't popular with us, but she was with Willow and it's Willows story they were trying to be true to. Listening to the PCRC podcast has made me far more aware of Willow's feelings toward Kennedy, as shown by Colin's perspective, (so take with a pinch of salt) but Willow loved Kennedy at this point and the WPD wanted to show that rather than Willow and Xander moaning about how awful they'd been to Buffy. When eventually we see that Buffy doens't even care how they felt, she's here to do her job, no matter how they feel.

                  And, again, my issue isn't predominately about Willow showing "regret." It's about Willow having a reaction AT ALL. Willow just threw Buffy out of her own house, in the middle of an apocalypse, in Bringer-infested Sunnydale, and with Caleb on the loose. I don't believe for one minute that Willow would not be concerned about Buffy's - her best friend of 7 years and chosen family - safety at all. That's not only OOC for the previous 6 seasons but it's even OOC in comparison to how she was written just several episodes earlier when she defended Buffy, checked up on her, was worried sick about her being lost in another dimension, and risked her greatest fear of going dark to save her.
                  I agree that Willow may have worried about Buffy, but Buffy is the Slayer and Willow is worried about everyone including herself. She also resents her for the way she's treated Xander and how she seems to have minimised his injury, and how she argues with Kennedy, who's become her lover. Willow's got other friends she cares about, possibly more than she cares about Buffy at this point.

                  The episode doesn't address Willow or Xander's POV about what happened at all. Not one measly line. Instead, Xander spends the episode cracking jokes and Willow is squeeing about getting a bedroom to herself. There is no mention of Buffy even once and no concern about her safety, no regret, no conflicting feelings, no sadness at what has happened etc. You mention the Spike kitchen scene but it's even more glaring that after Spike causes a big scene, accuses Buffy's loved ones of being "sad, sad ungrateful traitors", publicly shames them and accuses them of betrayal, the characters then carry on as normal as if this scene never even happened. If you'd just thrown your best friend, surrogate daughter, or hey, sister, out of the house, and someone publicly shamed you for it, don't you think this is something you'd be thinking about afterwards? Something you may wish to discuss with her other loved ones? Or express guilt about? But none of them even mention it.
                  I do see your pov here, and you are right in some ways, but all I can say is that it doesn't bother me. We are at war, there are bigger things at play. We do see Willow (and Dawn) show some remorse in the way Willow tells Spike what happened and that's enough for me.

                  As for Spike's behaviour, he's in love with Buffy, she's his whole world, he couldn't/wouldn't react in any other way. His actions/words ring totally believable to me. Afterwards, the scoobies have never cared for Spike, his words don't mean anything to them. They've had little or nothing to do with him this season, and I cannot for one moment see Xander saying Spike had a point.

                  Their characterisation simply makes no sense. It's the BtVS equivalent of Team Angel randomly forgetting Cordelia even exists and not even bothering to mention her again or her death after You're Welcome. Xander and Willow love Buffy. They'd never leave her alone in Sunnydale and not give a sh*t if she's alive or dead or how she's coping.
                  They are grown ups with issues of their own. Xander's wounding is still uppermost in their minds, and they resent Buffy's reaction to that, and her drawing away from them. Willow is closer now to him and Kennedy than Buffy, so it doesn't surprise me that she puts them first. Of course she's worried about Buffy but she knows Buffy can take care of herself, her worries are for the people in the house and I think that's rational.

                  I understand some fans wish Willow had said more, shown more regret. But I am fine with what we got. We're only a few episodes from the end, with so much going on that this become unimportant to me and by the end they are friends again and none of the ill will between them means a damn really.

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                  • #11
                    Priceless, I'm happy to agree to disagree as we're likely to go around in circles about this.

                    I will say, though, that I feel you're making a lot of inference about what Xander and Willow are thinking (that they're still resentful over Xander's injury, that they're sure Buffy is fine, that Willow is unhappy with how Buffy argues with Kennedy etc) without any of this actually being supported in the text at all, which is my point in a nutshell. Which isn't to say you may be incorrect, they could all be valid character motivations, but the text doesn't bother to tell us or give us any insight into what Xander and Willow are feeling whatsoever so this is purely guesswork on your part. IMO, it would have been a far stronger story to actually address this in the episode itself and give voice to these issues rather than making guesses to explain what the characters must be thinking because the episodes themselves are no longer interested in exploring it.

                    From what I've gathered, the purpose of this podcast is for the participants to be very in tune with what their characters are thinking/feeling by only watching scenes that the characters feature in. The fact that this Colin was yearning for more from Willow in regards to the Empty Places fight is probably a testament to how undeveloped she (and Xander) were here and how little - or in fact no time - was devoted to them in regards to what had happened and how they felt about it etc. His intuitiveness about Willow and how he'd expect her to be acting at this point, in contrast to how she's written (or lack-thereof), has actually piqued my interest enough to consider listening to it. So that's something I guess!
                    "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina

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                    • #12
                      I've not watched the sequence of episodes recently enough to delve into this as knowledgeably as I'd like, but I'm reading with interest to consider it all as I rewatch the season (forum rewatch aside, I'm at LMPTM on another watch I'm doing).

                      I have it in my mind that the issue of Xander's injury and Buffy's distancing when he's in hospital followed by the suggestion to go back could have been a bit of a barrier for Willow that made sense to me as feeding into Buffy's expulsion and Willow's lack of immediate response. I'm also not so sure that they'd worry about Buffy being in Sunnydale on her own. Giles assured Dawn in the immediate fallout that Buffy would be fine, when Dawn seemed to be feeling mixed about what had happened, as I recall. I think that is a likely feeling the others would agree, that Buffy would be fine alone. Then after Spike returns and clearly goes after her too, that would help to relieve any sense of concern a touch perhaps too. I think Buffy's conversation with Spike when he finds her shows how much her distancing in leading is significant in what happened, and the idea of both her and the others needing a time out from each other works alongside that. So Willow not openly expressing concern about where Buffy is, what she is doing, doesn't seem so strange. But especially after Spike goes after her, when she might have later started to worry about Buffy being isolated. That we then see Buffy, Willow and Xander all seeking comfort and escapism with someone else, just really emphasises that need for space and time away perhaps and works with the general shift in dynamics between them as they've gotten older. But this is in great part reliant on feeling they wouldn't be concerned for her safety either from general confidence in her and/or the feeling that she hasn't ended up alone because Spike went to find her. The next day, with the plan the others made going badly and Buffy returning with the scythe, I think there's just an acceptance that making the right choices is just really complicated and everyone has a better understanding of that. In that way I suppose I lean towards them accepting each other back, Buffy willingly rushing back to help them, creating a situation where everyone involved is happy to let it smooth back over and would rather do that than churn it all up again.

                      EDIT: I've just caught up on reading the more recent posts and have to say I thought Willow's issue with Buffy leaving her/Xander at the hospital was very much in the text by her expression when Buffy doesn't stay with them. Coupled with Xander's reference to not being able to see Buffy's point in Empty Places because "I guess it must be a little bit to my left", I think it was made pretty clear that Xander's injury and Buffy's distancing were clashing points that are influencing the distancing between the friends.

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                      • Priceless
                        Priceless commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I agree that it was Buffy's reaction to Xander's injury that really put a wedge between them and is why their reactions to Buffy seem believable to me

                    • #13
                      Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                      Do you think Willow in particular should have shown more regret at throwing Buffy out of her house in Empty Places?
                      No...I have no problem with how things panned out. In terms of symbolism and plot discourse, it had to happen in the way it happened and, ultimately, they had bigger fish to fry. Sometimes things are best left unsaid because - what do you say...sorry? What does sorry even mean? Sorry...I've spilled wine on the carpet? Sorry...I've run over your cat/your child? Empty Places is not just about spatial emptiness - it's about empty language (language itself is a "placeholder". Look at the place-mats set out in Touched). Look at Spike's speech in Touched. It's all been said before (and there's a reason there's a tape-recorder on the chair (?). Speech can be mechanistic. Look at Buffy's speechifying...often ignored. Look at the "what does it mean" exchange in End of Days. Season 7 is about both the paucity of language and the excess of language. For me, as long as they "know" in their hearts, in their guts...as long as they "feel" no resentment, "feel" nothing needs to be said, "feel" they each understood the other's perspective, then it doesn't need to be said. I felt they felt comfortable. I'm okay with that.
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                      • #14
                        Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                        It could have been an extra scene, of course, but from what we got from Touched I'm not sure when Willow could have shown regret (if she actually felt any)

                        We open with the group arguing, so not appropriate there. Then the lights go off and everyone goes into the basement, fear of imminent death takes over and again, not the time to raise regret. Plus she has to watch over Kennedy, who's pushing Faith. I think Kennedy is part of the issue, in that Willow can't raise feeling of regret over Buffy infront of Kennedy who's already annoyed and angry.

                        I think the way Willow approaches Spike on his return does show a little embarrassment at the situation, and possibly a bit of regret. But once again she's surrounded by the gang and is probably worried about alienating them and starting more arguing. The last thing they need is more fractions breaking off and dissent in the ranks.

                        They're all involved in the capture and questioning of The Bringer, and that takes a while. Then Willow has snuggle time with Kennedy, and once again there is no way she can bring up any residual feelings about Buffy with Kennedy, knowing Kennedy is Buffy's harshest critic. Plus Willow's got her own worries about how her powers will affect her. It's a romantic moment, or meant to be I think, and it's just not the right time.

                        I just don't see any time that Willow could or would raise any issues about Buffy. Also, I'm not sure Willow did actually regret throwing Buffy out. She was perhaps too cowed by the group to say anything, but Willow could always get her point across and the fact that she doesn't say anything makes me think she didn't feel the depth of regret people would like her to feel.
                        It wouldn't have taken any major rewrites. All it would have taken was Willow being the one to suggest doing the locator spell to find Buffy instead of Faith (who only did it out of paranoia). I think it's a fair point that they're all a little ashamed when Spike confronts them, but I never felt that was in question.

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                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                          Buffy's lack of reaction makes everyone else back off. They'd want to rush to her and beg forgiveness, but because she's more bothered with winning the war and not her friends feelings, they take the same tack. Obviously everything's forgiven and forgotten by the end, so I think 'less said soonest mended' was the way to go.
                          I don't believe everything is forgiven, and certainly it's not forgotten. And I don't think it should be. Working together to defeat the first was a holding pattern for their emotional lives, but even at the end of the series Buffy is facing away from them and not answering their questions or engaged in their quips. She's fundamentally alone even with them there.

                          She didn't want to have to fight alone so she needed to return and fight with the others, but now that the fight is over I don't see Buffy ever really having the same degree of comfort and security that she had before her two best friends encouraged a group of scared teens to kick her out. I can't see how she could ever trust Giles completely, either. I haven't read the comics but from what I understand they all sorta go off to different continents. That's a metaphor for the complete break up of the friendship they once had. Yes, they may still like each other but I can't see it ever being the same.

                          I've just caught up on reading the more recent posts and have to say I thought Willow's issue with Buffy leaving her/Xander at the hospital was very much in the text by her expression when Buffy doesn't stay with them. Coupled with Xander's reference to not being able to see Buffy's point in Empty Places because "I guess it must be a little bit to my left", I think it was made pretty clear that Xander's injury and Buffy's distancing were clashing points that are influencing the distancing between the friends.
                          I agree, and I find it astonishingly petty. If Buffy had stayed to play a hand of cards then she would have been allowed to stay safe. If Buffy had put aside being the general that Giles told her she had to be, then Willow would have...what? Decided they were still friends? It wasn't enough that Buffy had supported Willow through her darkest times, and took her back in when Willow had no place to go. It wasn't enough that Buffy encouraged Willow and believed in her. Because Buffy didn't stop to play cards, then Willow and Xander helped send her out into danger with no one to watch her back.

                          My visual for this episode is always Willow sitting next to Anya , showing no reaction while Anya attacks Buffy on a personal level. It's baffling to me why she didn't even frown, or look like she thought Anya was going too far. What I would expect is for her to take the lead - tell everyone to go off to bed and they could talk in the morning. That's what Giles should have done, and since he didn't I'd expect it from Willow. Then, if they want to kick Buffy out, at least she would be safe. To just sit there through personal attacks against Buffy - not against her ideas - shows a real difference from the Willow I've seen for seven years. Season 6 did some serious damage to their bond is all I can guess.

                          I agree that Willow may have worried about Buffy, but Buffy is the Slayer and Willow is worried about everyone including herself. She also resents her for the way she's treated Xander and how she seems to have minimised his injury, and how she argues with Kennedy, who's become her lover. Willow's got other friends she cares about, possibly more than she cares about Buffy at this point.
                          As far as I'm concerned, that's actually the problem. I don't recall any time when Willow sent anyone out to face danger alone. Yes, Buffy is the slayer but she was beaten unconscious earlier that day. If Willow's afraid of offending Kennedy by speaking up for Buffy then there is something seriously wrong with that relationship. Even if Willow has other friends she cares about more, she's lying to herself about the real danger Buffy is facing. I don't care if Buffy is at the very bottom of the list of her friends. Had it been a potential that nobody liked it would bother me to see Willow taking part in kicking her out. Buffy may have more power but Caleb and a few bringers can kill her just as dead. If we - the audience - can see that then it's canon enough that everyone there can see it.

                          Well, we were angry and didn't care doesn't excuse it. That describes the problem. I'd say all sorts of resentments built up over season 6 but they were never aired. Those same resentments came into play as season 7 wore on. The fractures were already there. I don't see them ever going away.
                          Last edited by bespangeled; 29-02-20, 03:14 AM.
                          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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