For discussion of Buffy Season 11!

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But this is why it is messy.  Because in real life there should not be persecution of people because of what/who they are, but that is to some degrees a reality in BtVS.  Demons have been the metaphor for life struggles from the start and they have consistently been shown to be untrustworthy and/or naturally inclined to be evil.  The ones who aren't are the minority.  Sure the greys are there and even if it is for selfish reasons vamps/other demons can be shown to stick to rules and so we can see they should be afforded the right to live if they respect other people's same right.  But the truth of the verse does include that humans and demons are not equal, not fully, because there is something inherently untrustworthy about demons and the soul is firmly established to have meaningful distinction.  Sure, see the greys and stop preemptively killing demons, but the verse has supported throughout all the seasons that vampires shouldn't be trusted.  I don't personally think you can/should change that, even if you are only staking on a 'when/if they step out of line' basis from now on.  But the reality of BtVS doesn't work for real life because in real life there shouldn't be greys over whether to blindly persecute someone or not. :s

True - but can the franchise be allowed to change some of its fundamental positions as established during the TV era?  

I kinda of think it would be a nice change and refresher for the Buffyverse to have demon and supernaturals that are not in an auto category of "evil, untrustworthy, or natural born killers"  - there is established precedent with Clem and Lorne and some of the other non-human character in the Angel series.  

 But the truth of the verse does include that humans and demons are not equal, not fully, because there is something inherently untrustworthy about demons and the soul is firmly established to have meaningful distinction.

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I have to point to Lorne as a contrast to this perspective - he had the capacity and free will to go against his species and cultural patterns.  Are we to go with the premise that having a "non-human soul" makes this character a lesser being?  Or is he simply just different from the Human Model?  Lorne has his own "life force/spiritual qualities"  because they are not human does that relegate him as a sentient life form to a status lower than a human?  Are we really going to be forced to accept the TV era premise that having a human soul is the the demarcation line of life form status of Good or Not So Good, Evil or Intrinsically Destructive?

Let us remember, even with soul having Angel - we had the W&H Lawyer Buffetfest  or ALL the complexities of Angel's "take a stand" decision to take own the Circle of the Black Thorn.

Would Lorne ever have committed murder on Lindsey without Angel's forcing the issue on him?  Of course Lorne had the ultimate free will choice, and there is a reason that Lorne's exit from the TV era is his choice to take himself away from any more connection with Angel.  

The demon supernatural & magical life form prisons, presumably are holding both evil demons and not evil demons - those wiccans and, we can assume, other users of magic can't all be doing evil deeds.  Like the outside camp people and non-humans there are both very evil, sometimes evil, greedy, sometimes greedy, selfish, altruistic , etc etc.  Simone and her gang and now these Prison Worker Slayer show that there are both the Good and Bad and Personal Agenda Slayers. 

We have yet to see the prison life forms in the entirety to, IMO, make a judgement call on the status of all the prisoners.  What I am waiting to see is how CG, Dark Horse and Joss Whedon are going to handled this important question of What Is Right and What and How do Buffy and the Sunnydale Group and Slayers exist in this new world.  

One thing for sure, from my perspective, it's a totally new Buffyverse world with the emergence of the demonic, magical and supernatural now living amongst the human social structures.  Kennedy and her Slayers for Hire were a huge transformation for Slayers.  Where and What are all those Slayers who do not belong to Kennedy's Slayer Organization doing?  One of the things I dislike so much with the loss of Faith in the Angel comic books is that we don't get more story info regarding the European Slayers.  I'm looking forward to Faith's visit and hope it's a very good part of this story. 

cil domney said:

True - but can the franchise be allowed to change some of its fundamental positions as established during the TV era?  

I kinda of think it would be a nice change and refresher for the Buffyverse to have demon and supernaturals that are not in an auto category of "evil, untrustworthy, or natural born killers"  - there is established precedent with Clem and Lorne and some of the other non-human character in the Angel series.  

Oh don't get me wrong, I have no problem with things changing and if we are understanding the supernatural world and community better, are seeing that there is more breadth and even more shades of grey, I'm all for that.  But I'd like it if they do this without disrupting important canon.  If they changed that unsouled vampires should be distrusted then they undermine Spike's journey completely and make the difference he/Angel have with their souls as less important.  They are both too significant characters for that.  And so I think that it has to be understanding of the breadth that is developing rather than uprooting very established truths that have been proven extensively.

Clem I think has been shown to have edges to him in the comics but I can't really remember what is tickling at the back of my mind on that one.  But you are right that Lorne provides a great example of a demon who is able to break from expectations.  Having some demons where this is feasible isn't a bad thing or something that I don't think can 'fit'.  I've said before that the verse can be broadened to understand that with some demons it is just that they have differing practices and these happily can bump alongside humans.  It would make sense that we just haven't been seeing these hitting Buffy's radar much before because they aren't dangerous. 

So yes, the soul distinction then is difficult and I think your point that they differ from the human model is probably a good way of looking at it.  Because no, I don't like the stance that humans are above all other sentient creatures just because we say so.  And I don't think that is something that wasn't somewhat challenged in the show as The Initiative certainly explored attitudes towards seeing demons/vamps as animals and discomfort over treatments which were questionably inhumane.  They also did have demons like Clem/Lorne and in That Old Gang of Mine in AtS they very directly explored the distinction of not attacking demons that weren't dangerous too.

But seeing demons as having equal good/bad distinctions, with something other than the human soul at play for some, can work.  It can also still work then for the fact that it does matter with vampires too, as they are human/demon hybrids.  But the problem is that some demons are established as being evil or murderous by nature and that the gang/humans should be distrustful or wary of them.  So it is difficult to swing to saying that everyone is treated equally and should be when they aren't and they shouldn't.  This is what makes it so awkward in the verse to use demons as a metaphor for 'others' as they are in real life where prejudice shouldn't be accepted.  It isn't that I think it should be unchangeable in the Buffyverse, but I don't think it should swing completely the other way and turn all the early seasons into the actions of psychotic ill-informed bigots because of how readily they were killing demons or change in a way that makes our souled vamp stories weaker.  Some consistency or logic needs threading in with the changes to avoid marring the early seasons heavily or the souled vamp stories and I can't see how that works without keeping some inequality as a verse truth.

You are right that the Buffyverse has changed significantly with demons in society now and I think I said that this is a good time to deepen understanding of the supernatural community because of that.  I just don't want it to pull everything apart because it isn't a totally new Buffyverse and what has come before matters and it would be a shame to totally undermine it and undo what have been some very powerful stories/characters.

Jeanty, who is back for #9, has popped a pencil preview on Instagram. I suppose it is a little bit spoilery, but nothing surprising.  He always seems so enthusiastic for the Spuffy love. :D

https://www.instagram.com/p/BTl3mz9Bz6I/

Stoney sorry for the long delay in reply to your last comment - It's an excellent one - great points. 

Your point on using demons and supernaturals and human practitioners to serve as "general metaphor/symbols" for theme of "social injustice and prejudice and fear & power in political structures" is correct because of established TV era parameters in the Sunnydale realm.  Outside of Clem and the Sid-Morgan Puppet Story, I can't recall any other use of Demons and Supernaturals as being depicted as Good.  The gypsies are a grey area with their magic and curse and taking their revenge on Angelus and Ethan is for sure a human turned evil magic users.  

Ever since the Slayers for hire was introduced - this was, for me, a game changer and I am looking forward to see what is going to be done on this theme.  Unfortunately it's all very complicated and I can't see this theme being done well within the comic book format as it has been used this season - too many difficult questions that are not being set-up for effective exploration.  One very obvious element that is missing is why Jordan is such a hard ass bitch and how did these slayers become involved as Government Enforcers?  What about that last demon thug working to attack Buffy and working with the camp rulers?  Why the hell was he shedding tears - is his family being held as hostages for controlling him?  What about all those poor Wiccans - forcing them to give up their magical powers for their freedom - what's right about forcing them to lose such a fundamental part of their lives and self-identity?  

These users of magic and other non-violent demons seem like they would be the more realistic metaphor/symbolism for what happens in the connection between the fantasy Buffyverse and our Real World.  Except that we are always having to go back to the humans are and have done equal atrocities to any demonic or magical thus far presented in the TV era and the comic books.  

One thing for sure, Buffy and the Sunnydale family group have all had to form new understanding of their former dogmatic Humans over Demons and Supernaturals perspectives and rules.  

It all needs to, IMO, come down to doing what is good to support life and development of life forms vs conduct and rules that  work against the ideals that support a better life for all planet inhabitants.  

It's a really complex subject because there are no easy answers.  It's a complex as those beautiful birds nests that use tiny bits of stems and other objects and make a nest where they will make new life.  Can't help but think of the concept of Life Feeds On Life and we always seem to get both Good and Bad-Positive and Negative.

It's the hearts and minds of men and with the Buffyverse Men & Demons and Supernaturals that need to be transformed or, better still,  that have to make their individual free will choice to do good for life or bad for life.

Cpvers Buffy #7:

Covers Buffy #8:

Covers Buffy #9:

Spoilery review of the upcoming issue #7:

http://wickedhorror.com/comics/comic-review-buffy-season-11-7/

Quick reactions to Buffy #7:

The "solutions" being talked about in the government announcements sound pretty ominous. If I was a magic-dependent being I would be worried. The Nazis' Endlösung ("final solution") comes to mind. Removing the problem (a.k.a. people seen as a problem)  is also a solution.

On the other hand, Riley does sound like he's being honest. Then again, it wouldn't be the first time for him to be deceived by his superiors.

Buffy doesn't seem to have learned the lesson from Helpless, even though she explicitly referenced it as recently as the previous issue. Of course, Spike does believe in her resourcefulness even without her slayer powers.

That werewolf looked more like a werecat.

If Calliope is really going to be Willow's next girlfriend, I hope we learn a bit more about her. So far, she doesn't really interest me.

Nice line about Buffy still being obsessed with clothes and shoes, but what is that face Spike is making?!

I strongly dislike the fact that these days, a hoodie is supposed to give Spike sufficient protection against sunlight. As far as I can remember, it was never explained why this is now possible. I guess we could fanwank it as a consequence of the New Magic.

Will Buffy use the Scythe to get her powers back?


Hey Guys, sorry I haven't been on recently.  I have to say I agree DD that it does seem a little daft that a hoodie is enough.  Or more, that it is enough for standing there chatting without any smoking/sizzling going on at all!  Being in the light is such a major part of Spike's story that the repeated references are always there, visual and text, but he does seem to have been a little reckless this season and pointedly so.  It makes some sense as he's been openly envious of the new vamps daywalking ability, but it could well end up with him getting injured because of it. 

I did see and has been openly commented on elsewhere that we've also had Spike's surname appear now in canon as Pratt, which is cool.  And a big yes on the scythe front DD.  It felt very flagged when Jordan threw it back to Buffy.  The process used to take the power from Buffy may be possible to break because of the scythe's innate connection to slayers, as much as due to its inherent power.  Because they made the point that it was magic mixed with science when they were sneaking around the machine making operation, I have wondered if the draining process is somehow blocking her natural recharge afterwards. Being a slayer is inherent to her in a way I don't think they could 'take' completely.  As you say, Helpless was referenced and that was about supressing her strength chemically.

I thought it was very symbolic when the scythe knocked Buffy back as she 'felt the weight of it' and it seemed a representation of the heaviness in the power and responsibility of being a slayer.  The abuse of power has been a part of the story before and it could be that this applies to what is happening here with the Government strong arming the supernatural community and in relation to the slayers that are willing to hire themselves out blindly to the whims of the authorities.  I thought the scene of Jordan throwing the scythe to Buffy opens the potential of Buffy getting to verbally slap Jordan down later with a 'thanks' for giving her the ability to get her powers back. And potentially sweet if that is what they use, that it would be through the scythe which had been used to give Jordan her power in the first place. :)

I was surprised when I popped by to see that i hadn't posted my initial thoughts on the issue here, sorry about that.  So, in case you haven't seen them elsewhere, I'll stick down my initial reactions to the mix too...

I enjoyed the issue and really wanted to read on by the end. A month is definitely going to feel like a long wait this time. There was plenty going on and it did a fair enough job, for me, in building up some good old fashioned ominous tension. There are still plenty of general questions hanging over what the wider plan is from the Government. Are they really intending to eradicate the supernatural beings that they can't drain? Are they considering those that have avoided detection and detention too at all? Surely they can't believe that anyone involved in bringing the attack about has handed themselves over. Assuming draining the power is the benefit they are seeking from not just annihilating the camp, what are they really wanting to do with the power they are amassing? Is it simply that they need this stored, supernatural energy to power their mystery machine? Will that be able to detect/drain on a mass scale as Willow suggested? Etc.

The visit from Riley raised some more queries too. I mean, why did it matter to the Government to try and persuade Buffy to give up her power and leave? It seems like bringing Riley/Sam in was an extra effort that was totally unnecessary for them to make. I also noted that they didn't disagree with Buffy that she could be targeted by the supernatural and at risk on the outside and the risks that humans pose each other regardless was there in the reference to the second amendment. It isn't the case that the outside is suddenly seen as safe generally or, in truth, now supernatural free.

I'm not sure that Riley was giving all the information he knew to be honest. It could be possible that he knew they would be listened to and he needed Buffy to leave to be able to contact her with further information of course. The visit briefly raised the separation of the Government's actions on the worldwide stage. If the possibility of deporting Spike would truly be a consideration and Riley isn't just being strung along or foolish in thinking it would be considered. But it is hard to decipher if Riley is coming at this from the point of view of believing this response is the best way to handle the current situation the Government have created, or if he believes the response by the Government to the supernatural is the right thing for the greater good. It's possible that he would go along with plans the gang wouldn't, and he openly admits not everyone he is meeting is coming at it from the same stance he is. As much as I think you can trust that he truly believes in his advice and is trying to look out for Buffy, this doesn't mean his judgement will tie with what the others would think, and I still come back to why they felt getting Buffy to agree to be depowered was important enough to send people to persuade her. I'd be surprised if this is the last we see of Riley, but what role he would play is really very open at this point without knowing more about his perspective and the Government's plans.

As I've said before, the separation for Buffy/Spike is going to be tough just because they have been choosing to really intertwine their lives. It worked well that Buffy's reluctance was sustained and the conviction that she/Willow stand a better chance of breaking the camp even depowered on the outside made sense to push her to go. It was nice too though to see Willow's open concern for Spike when asking him to call before they left. If it wasn't for the future covers and the panels released by Jeanty I might have found Spike stopping Buffy telling him she loved him (presumably) with a 'tell me when we see each other again' ominous, but it wasn't on this front. Having said that, there is some foreboding generally there still as the distinction of him not being able to join her because of his nature was obviously played with them leaving without him, emphasised with him stood there in his hoodie (again the sunlight as an indicator for his 'monster' issues). As we know, this is always being used in his story so it could just be that, but it has been on a very heavy repeat this season, boosted with the constant references to his need for blood too through the current situation, and followed Buffy's earlier words about it needing to be something bigger than time apart that could break them up. So there is certainly potential for all of this to be foreshadowing a future event that we'll 'get' with hindsight. Or not, of course. :D

There were some nice lines in the script and I liked that they explored the mix of reactions in camp and a little of what the outside response is to this strategy through the press interview. The rights of asking this of the supernatural, of them being detained at all, and how it is generally being seen by those outside I'm hoping will be shown more next issue when Buffy and Willow are out and back with Dawn/Xander. I'm assuming Giles will have left to have created the possibility of the mini Joss was originally intending to write for him (although still no news on that that I'm aware of).

I have to say I'm somewhat dumbfounded that the other slayers were crowing so much at Buffy and aren't simply alarmed by the fact that she was made to relinquish her power in order to get to leave. Why is that not setting off warning bells for them? But Buffy was given her scythe back and we know it is connected to the slayer power, if only they can use it (and/or other mystical items). Couldn't Jordan feel that connection when holding it the same way that Buffy and Faith could? Perhaps the situation did set off alarms for her and she deliberately made sure Buffy got to keep the scythe, although that isn't where I'd place my bets at the moment to be honest. The fact that Dawn isn't lacking magic was raised too in the issue, so they aren't as depowered and empty-handed as they may seem.

Other little odd bits... I still haven't warmed to Calliope. I'm not really sure why. Also, and despite the line amusing me about his expression of not caring, I have to take issue with the werewolf having a chat with the new vamp during their fight in camp. Werewolves have always been portrayed as being basically aggression-driven animals. Even if there is the implication that they might be driven by the emotions of the human within the mix too somewhat (I'm thinking of Oz attacking Tara/Veruca), that is a huge leap away from being able to stop and have a chat. I'm just going to fanwank that the guy was a hitherto unknown variant, not actually a werewolf per se, but related, and he just refers to himself like that as shorthand. I know, it's a little on the weak side of the scale.  I noted too that the new vamp had red eyes again. That's something the comics seem to keep going to as a variant now beyond just zompires. Oh, also I loved the art on the panel where Willow glares at Lake, brilliantly expressive.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the issue, Stoney!

I thought it was very symbolic when the scythe knocked Buffy back as she 'felt the weight of it' and it seemed a representation of the heaviness in the power and responsibility of being a slayer.

Good one, I like that interpretation.

Also good point about the warning bells for the other slayers. They are putting a lot of faith in the authorities, something Buffy learned early on not to do.

Good to see that Buffy is not that powerless after all, though I wouldn't have expected it to have been like this. Scary stuff.

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