Now I know we all love Whedon and would never speak a word again mighty Joss for fear of being staked or sent to a hell dimension but that being said I feel there were some good stories he left open ended that I always wanted closure to. Of course me being a Xander fan the story I wanted but never really got around to was a Xander Buffy confrontation from the end of season 2.
Buffy never called Xander out on the whole soul restoration thing/kick his ass thing. Even as late as season 7 you get the idea that Buffy never got the whole picture. Now I don't think this would have been the end of there friendship but I think it could have been a good story to have Buffy know the truth once and for all. Xander defending what he did and Buffy telling him it wasn't his place to make that choice.
What story lines did you feel Whedon never reallly finished that you would like to see finished?
I don't know that for me it's a matter of story elements left unfinished but more of HUGE MORAL QUESTIONS pertaining to the characters. Plot elements were used to develop episodes that had really important moral choices made by the characters and then those choices were entirely ignored. We ended up with a lot of "let's pretend it never happened" and this applied to just about every character.
Since you bring up Xander - one of the most egregious plot element was the calling of Sweet in OMWF - Egypt could have become a continent with the amount of denial in the episode.
Dawn pushing that student down the stairs in "Him" - not a great amount of damage to the student, but the implications for the character and the morality of messaging to young viewers regarding the quest for popularity and getting of boy friends - No So Good. Even if played for comedy, what young teen suffer from the "popularity" and "self-esteem" issues - those are very real problems.
Keeping on the Dawn theme - talk about plot elements used that just go into "Neverland" - Spike taking Dawn to get those demon eggs to bring back Joyce. Buffy should have staked Spike without a seconds thought for that little party - it's like no one thought to question Dawn how she came so close to resurrecting her mother.
Buffy and Spike in the brutal alley attack scene followed by the birthday party. Buffy taking the moral high ground or at least the victim moral ground when she shared equally and, IMO, equally in the abusive relationship with Spike.
Giles beating on Ethan as Ripper - That is one of the worst scenes of violence by what is suppose to be the Good Guys in the entire series -
Over at Angel - the Darla and Drusilla "eat the lawyers feast" by Mr. Good Soul himself.
Buffy sending that powerful magical Amara Ring to a vampire who is vulnerable to losing his soul and turing into the rutherless killer Angelus with the power to become almost invincible. Willow telling Xander to not make a "deal" over Buffy's decision. Where was Giles when this great feat of logic was taking place?
Spike and his attempted rape - a truly terrible choice of plot device that destroyed Spike and his entire journey of transformation and heroic sacrifice for a great many viewers. Spike will forever be seen as a total scum bag by a great many viewers irrespective of any other acts and development of the character.
And the GRAND DADDY 800 LBS. GORILLA - Buffy turning into an attempted murderess with full capacity and intent to take the life of Faith as sacrifice for the life of her lover, Angel. And what made it if worse is that idiotic line of "nobody messes with my boy friend" as if the character had not gone down the darkest path possible - becoming a willing killer.
After the events of Buffy Season 8 - I guess nothing the characters decide to do and their moral choices matter much is the service of Plot Elements and Story.
Wow where to start. I have to say a lot of your points are right on target. I think Buffy tried to justify what she did to Faith by saying it's okay cause she is the bad guy and by choosing to save Angel by killing her she is doing the greater justice. When 4 years later she is telling Xander that Warren shouldn't die at Willow's hand cause there are human laws that he needs to answer to and not Willow's place to decide.
Playing devil's advocate here (Hate doing this cause this makes me defend Angel) But Buffy did feel it was justified cause this wasn't a demon or monster that would be his undoing. It was Faith who had infected him so balance would accordingly call for her to pay what ever price needs to be paid to fix him. Now this argument loses Credibility if you consider Angels Undead life to be of less value then Faith's life. Which I actually do.
Another point I wanted to make was what you said about the Gem of Amara. In the previous post I mentioned season 2 and how Xander lied to Buffy. It seems to me Xander lost a little of his voice for a little while after that Giles said 10 seconds before that the ring was a powerful weapon that any vampire who got there hands on it could be unstoppable and 10 seconds later Buffy proclaims Angel should have it. And Willow don't make a fuss. It bothers me I guess that it is just this is the way it's done I am the slayer and what I say goes.
It is funny though that you mention all the stuff that just gets forgotten about. Oh hey Buffy remember last week when tied me up in your basement then sent that vicious demon to kill us.
Or hey Jonathan you made us all believe in a world that wasn't real and totally mind screwed all of us but hey no harm done. (Buffy even moans his name at the end of the episode as she's making out with Riley What the hell is that)
Lastly as I was reading through all your points one more came to mind. You mentioned Giles beating the hell out of Ethan. What about Giles killing Ben. You don't really get much darker that that.
IMO that is darker then what Willow did when she went all Evil. Willow had dark magic running through her. She had revenge on her mind but Giles killed Ben. Ben was fairly innocent if you think about it. Giles could look him in the eyes and end his life. That i a pretty big moment of question.
One of the things that bugged me was how they handled the whole thing about Dawn being, basically, an orphan after Buffy's death. I think they came up with some sort of excuse, if I remember right, to keep Dawn there, but I thought that the whole thing was unrealistic. They could have written it where it was decided by a court that, because of the emotional trauma of losing Buffy, she was better off if she was left in her own home. I know that Hank was written as a dead beat dad to basically get him out of the picture so they didn't have to bother with Buffy's other parent learning about, and dealing, with her calling. When Buffy died, though, it just wasn't realistic to have Dawn live in a vacuum like her father would never have been notified. I mean, who paid for the house while Buffy was dead? If Giles, Xander, Willow, and Tara were all sharing expenses and paying for stuff, how come Buffy had all the financial stuff fall in on her head after she came back? Couldn't they all keep doing whatever it was they were doing? Also, as much as I love Spike, how realistic is it for Xander, and Giles, the way they felt about Spike, to allow Spike to babysit for Dawn.?Helping them fight demons and other vampires was one thing, and I think they did that rather begrudgingly. It seemed that maybe the only reason was an implied one that Buffy had given Spike her trust, and Dawn also trusted Spike, and was emotionally attached to him, to a point, so they begrudgingly trusted Spike because Dawn wanted Spike around. Still it wasn't very realistic that a social worker never showed up until after Buffy was resurrected. Also, what did they do, bury Buffy in the backyard, but buy her a tombstone anyway? I know that they were trying to go on like Buffy wasn't dead, and let the Buffybot take her place, with mixed results on that one.
This is one of the troubles that occured when they put the characters in real life situations that couldn't be reconciled with the fantasy aspect of it. It's kind of like the argument against season eight, in that things worked better when they didn't have to be reconciled with how the whole world would react to things in the Buffyverse as opposed to just in Sunnydale, where it was established that there was a whole lot of denial, and out and out hiding facts going on.
Now it ends up that Giles had plenty of money to add even more to the confusion of the Buffy Season 6 money problems treatment. Giles must have really be into the "tough love" economics philosophy to account for how he would have left Buffy to deal with all the financial burdens.
We know the metaphor of Buffy having RL drag her down - everything from love to working for subsistence wages, which would never have allowed Buffy to keep running her home.
Another big plot hole was, since you brought up Joyce's death lulurose, is the scene of Dawn finding out about her mother's death right in front of those students - There is no way that people would not have known her mother died because there would have been questions about Dawn's breakdown in the hall.
LOL - just think how impossible it would have been to follow RL logic and still have been able to present BtVS.
One of the elements of BS9 that I am looking forward to is the story of why Giles made his choice to leave all his estate to Faith and only the Vampyr book to Buffy.
I think it makes for a more interesting plot device(although be it unrealistic) That Giles leaves everything to Faith. Leaves questions open like did Giles hold a grudge for Buffy closing him out in season 7 when she closed the door on him both literally and metaphorically. Still though I think the plot device sucks because there are more then two characters in this story. Are you really telling me that Giles would leave nothing to Willow or Xander Dawn. Years of working close and they just get a giant steaming cup of FU.
Same time though I always felt it sucked a little that Giles had this position as Watcher and was taken care of where as Buffy got squat. I know that it's the whole higher calling argument and such but for everything Buffy went through. Add to that when Giles was fired as her watcher and later reinstated it was Buffy who went to bat for him and got him his job back and retroactive salary. But they couldn't afford to give her anything? I like Giles but felt his attitude on the show could be distant and down right cold at times. I get that he was to be the voice of reason but that doesn't have to equal uncaring. I do believe he cared and that was shown but I also think there was a lot of times he could have done more but chose not too.
Hi. There's a lot of interesting points here in this thread. Most of which I've thought about before.
But a really big issue and sticking point for me is something that comes up from the last few posts. It really really bugs me that as a supposedly feminist show created by a feminist man about female empowerment - that Watchers get paid a wage and Slayers don't. That doesn't just majorly suck big time, it totally morally wrong and horrendously sexist. (yeah, there are women Watchers, but over all it still feels very male dominated and led, and of course, all slayers are women).
Now, I think that Joss was deliberately painting the Watcher's Council as a controlling Patriarchal organisation, very much conformed in season 7 when we find out how the first slayer was created. And when in season 3 Buffy tells the Council via Wesley to get lost ( um parahrasing, been a while sine I watched s3) and season 5 when she stands up to the Council and tells them they're the ones that needs her - well that's very empowering and assertive and is so obviously about resistance to and independance from a big symbol of Patriarchy in the show.
The Council very much seems to consider that slayers belong to them, and unquestioning obedience seems to be expected - look at Kendra and the way she is brought up and trained, and how they seem to find Buffy a real thorn in their side. They also expect slayers to only last a couple of years or more, Buffy being one of the longest surviving. So if they are often the legal guardians of their Watcher in Kendra fashion then I expect they provide financially for them like a parent. So why doesn't Giles do this for Buffy then once Joyce is gone?
If he is not going to do that, then obviously she should be paid. Well she should should anyway, especially once she reaches adulthood, she should be financially independent.
Why the hell should she have to hold down a full time job - whether a crummy gross burger flipping one or one that she likes - to keep up a mortgage and support her sister while also being the full time Slayer, while Giles gets comfortably paid for being a Watcher. No concern is given by the Council how she's gonna pay for housing or support herself.
And now it turns out that Giles had two properties in the UK, plus horses and other finances to leave.
yeah, I'm very much - how could he leave nothing to Buffy? But I'm more so - how can he be so financially well off when Slayers are paid ZILCH !!!!!!
Of course, the Council will happily kill a slayer off if she's not their fulfilling her duties - I'm sure there were others pre-Faith. So why would they care about paying them? But why doesn't Buffy fight against this? Demand equal ( any!) pay? Maybe she's wanting to be completly free of them, but she has no trouble with Giles being reinstated and back paid, so if he's officially her Watcher again after that, isn't she back in with the council too?
And what about Nikki Wood? She also obviously lived a good few years, she had a child Robin, and looks a bit older to be in her early 20s. She would have needed financial support. She also seemed totally kick ass and liberated and like she wouldn't take shit from anyone. Wouldn't she have demanded wages?
Ah, got my rage on, rage on - big feminist rant here cos it's something I've often thought about but never discussed online.
I think Joss is definately a feminist at heart, creating an empowering role model, inspired by his mum and obviously a liberal, but he has some big fails in the area of trying to be a feminist, this one that made me rant being a big blind spot.
ok, despite the length of this, I'm gonna coment on a couple of the other things above. I pretty much think Giles was justified in killing Ben. I've never thought it was wrong of him to do it - difficult yes, and sucks for Ben, but not the wrong choice. It is morally dubious. But I actually think Ben was way too complicit with Glory, not trying to stop her at all. And I very much agree with you Cil that the morally right thing for Ben to do would have been to end his own life - I mean , he knew a hell god was brain sucking people and gonna bring hell to earth/ make all dimensions collapse. I wouldn't value my own life above stopping that. I also think that Giles didn't have any other choice. They knew of no other way to stop or kill Glory - I don't think he could just let Glory/Ben go in the distant hope that they might one day find some magic that could destroy Glory while keepng Ben alive.
And the other thing - I totally think Buffy trying to kill Faith and putting her in a coma was treated way too lightly. That is majorly dark, but Buffy's hero status isn't challenged. And I don't think it's justified cos Faith shot Angel with the arrow, it's still murder - pure revenge.
Sometimes I do think that maybe as the viewer we are expected to question the hero's good guy status and see their dubious or downright dark moral decisions even if it isn't addressed directly in the show. Like the Buffy/Faith thing or others, I don't think Joss & the writers were blind to the moral black hole, but maybe the fact that the Scoobies didn't address it means that they are morally dubious too? Or yeah, just they had other things they wanted to do on the show so didn't spend time going there.... that is often the real reason as you suggest Xander Hoffman in your original post.
But I do think the Angel/roomful of dead lawyers thing was treated pretty seriously and an indication that Angel was going down a very dark path, showing that was possible even with his soul.
ok, that was huge, will stop now. :o)
Great post blood and peaches - wish you would join us more often.
If I were giving out Points on the feminist perspective as applied to Buffy - beyond the physical strength and her inner strength as The Slayer and her guide model for Spike - pretty much everything else would get poor marks from me. We understand that Joss Whedon and his writers were not doing a modern day feminist social and political show, but a lot of people gave the series that description and touted it as being a role model from strong and independent woman. And if Buffy, the woman, not Buffy The Slayer, is this great female role model - all I can say is She Has A Long Way To Go. And I would hate for any woman I know, hell any woman, to suffer the pains and arrows of Buffy in Love.
What was done to the women in Buffy Season 8 was appalling. They gave us Angel, the friggin heroic model, who obviously will not suffer great consequences from his persona as Twilight in the long haul. We had women being physically abused by the male hero model, we had the prime female hero model ignoring all the abusive attacks, destruction and death caused by same male hero model and then fall into his Sweet Words and Loving Arms minutes after she was trying to kill him for those actions. Buffy, was, IMO, basically mind raped. But Joss Whedon created this female character who was so weak and vulnerable that she would be emotionally vulnerable in the first place. Buffy the Slayer maybe great, and Buffy the guide for Spike, definitely a great role and metaphor - But Buffy the young woman in love - that is a woman's nightmare love relationship. I still cringe every time I even think about the treatment from she goes through in "As You Were." Sure, I get the metaphor and the dreamscape nightmare that was her emotional state, but Buffy in that pathetic going after Riley mode. If the idea was to degrade their heroine role model - they certainly were successful. That episode took Buffy from pathetic left behind girl friend to a female brute that used another person like they were little better than a live sex toy.
Finally found this - I spent a long time trying to find where I had stored it - hope you like Just for XanderH -