On Apr 27, 11:30 pm, "One Bit Shy" wrote:
> Anyway, it's a fun episode that I happily rate Good, though I remain a bit
> puzzled at the extravagant love it seems to get from some quarters.
It gets compared a lot to "Superstar," which also wraps up a few
serious points amongst a big ball of over-the-top comedic tropes. And
I'd apply your words to that one. I like "Storyteller" slightly
better of the two - seems more personal.
> I mention that because Giles is too smart not to know that. This is not the
> surreptitious throat slitting of Ben that Buffy may not know of even today
> and likely would find easier to accept if she did. Spike is a universe more
> important to her than that. Combined with the sneak assassination attempt
> behind her back in direct defiance of her expressed wishes, it could not
> help but feel like the worst sort of betrayal. Indeed it was. Giles would
> understand that too - no matter how much he prates on about how generals win
> wars. There are many reasons why I think this culmination of the
> estrangement between Buffy and Giles falls short, but the clincher for me is
> that Giles could never be so stupid as to believe this would improve things.
> Much is absent going into this
> episode. Most of all, I think, an existing schism between the two so
> evidently vast, and an urgency to deal with Spike right now so great, that
> Giles would truly feel there is no choice. Instead we get a hasty decision
> that seems built out of momentary pique over not getting his way in a short
Can't disagree there.
> When Buffy tells Robin, "The mission is what matters," she repeats the last
> message we hear Nikki give her son. That's what makes Robin's head jerk up
> at those words. It can be easy to miss if the earlier lines from Nikki have
> receded from your memory. Evidently it has an impact. Wood pretty much
> sticks with the mission from here on. Just doing what mom told him.
I didn't remember that from last time. Yeah, most of Nikki's
particular dialogue, especially the stuff in the middle of speeches,
doesn't stick with me, so I don't notice when it gets quoted back.
> Poor Xander. The fight is a terrific scene, but for me, the defining moment
> of the episode is Xander's speech to the Potentials about Buffy's heart.
> It's one of my favorites from Xander, who's had his share of big ones.
> "I've seen her heart, and this time—not literally. And I'm telling you,
> right now, she cares more about your lives than you will ever know. You
> gotta trust her. She's earned it." In a season often aimed at summing up
> the series, this is a high point for summing up Buffy's quality across the
> years. It also sums up Xander's attitude - a recap of the lesson he learned
> from Revelations that Giles has forgotten. It's about retaining faith in
> her even when it's hard to see the reason.
They go together. Reaffirming these bonds and shattering them is what
the episode's all about, and the one part doesn't have as much impact
without the other. You question where that understanding of Buffy's
persistence, loss, recovery,e tc. goes next episode. But I'm okay
with this shattering his and Willow's resolve because it's not like.
The main characters face insurmountable odds and win, the sheer power
of their hearts is what wins battles, and when people die or get hurt,
it's in stupid random accidents, not as part of a decisive defeat.
I'm not certain that Xander (especially him) does have a total
understanding of what he's getting into throughout the series, until
this moment. His shock is the viewer's.
> But [the other characters] didn't get to see as much
> as we did, so the complaint always made me want to cry out that it was all
> driven by the largeness of Buffy's heart - the class protector writ large.
>> Season Seven, Episode 19: "Empty Places”
>> The early scenes of “Empty Places” are among the best in the episode,
>> whether we’re saying goodbye to Clem
> I don't really care for the Clem scene. It doesn't tickle my funny bone.
> But I will say this for it, when I saw it originally, just the notion of
> people abandoning Sunndale like that really brought home how the series was
> careening to its end.
It's not just a jokey scene, although it has jokes. And Clem! A big
part of its agenda is to show off dead Sunnydale, and make the viewer
think about endings.
> There is something about this scene that really bothers me, however. It has
> nothing to do with Caleb's characterization. Buffy's big realization is
> that Caleb is guarding the vineyard rather than the hellmouth, so there must
> be something at the vineyard. OK. But how does she conclude that by being
> knocked out by Caleb at the school? It seems to me that the most recent
> evidence doesn't have him holed up at the vineyard. Oh, well. This kind of
> plot logic commonly isn't BtVS's strength.
Plus it's more of a winery than a vineyard. And the Slayer's weapon
doesn't look much like a scythe.
>> On a
>> related note, each Andrew joke gets one or more repetitions more than
>> it needs – it can’t be a good sign when someone who’s always more or
>> less “gotten” Andrew starts thinking “c’mon, could anyone really be
>> that oblivious to the world?” Everything’s just a little… overdone?
> I didn't notice that with Andrew. I rather like him this episode. "I'm
> Andrew. I'll be your bad cop this evening."
So the Hot Pockets scene doesn't make you roll your eyes the longer it
goes on (especially since the fact that he's supposed to be annoying
everyone else basically is the joke, ha ha)? And the blooming onion
doesn't seem like, to use SM's terms, starting to more from continuity
porn to masturbation?
> I struggle to explain exactly why it hits me so wrong. But it doesn't feel
> real to me at all. The way the conversation keeps jumping ahead of itself
> leaving thoughts behind and unconsidered. The notable lack of natural
> counter thoughts that I would expect from these people. (Such as I
> discussed in Dirty Girls.) The lack of alternate ideas and silly obsession
> with certainty. A lot of this I might very well accept in the context of an
> all out fight where the anger of the moment overrides judgment. (A common
> element to many past BtVS fights.) But most people affect a manner of calm
> and reason here that poorly fits what is said and done, largely ruining the
> excuse of ill considered pique. That probably is most expressed by Dawn so
> lovingly booting Buffy from the house in a particularly excessive jump in
> logic and non-believable manner.
> I think you may hit on part of it by noting how "the episode is wrapped
> around itself trying to push events towards the prescribed ending." So, for
> example, the follow-up requires physical separation, so somehow she has to
> leave. Related to that is that there are times in the argument (such as
> Anya's part) that seem more about overtly connecting to prior setup than
> providing natural conversation.
I think we have some of the same problems after all. What I'm talking
about applies to both EP as a whole and that scene. The argument has
a specific purpose for the plot, it's motivated by that, and in a
hurry to get there, regardless of whether it has anything resembling
conversational flow or whether what anyone said follows logically from
what comes before once you take into account "natural counter
thoughts" and so on. I don't hate it nearly to the degree that you do
except for the very end, but I share some of the complaints.
> As one responsible for a few too many of the short novels, I can't tell you
> how much more difficult it is for me with you generating four reviews at a
> shot. You're a very evil man.
Just aspiring to be like Joss. (Um, I meant to say that after all the
novels that've already been generated, I just don't think there's
enough to write about most individual episodes as seen from my
perspective that'd justify a second separate thread for each one.
Maybe with some fresh blood, or even just someone else who emphasizes
different things than I do.)
> You asked me to hold that thought earlier. As I recall, I believe I said
> that its objective is to enslave humanity. I suggested that Joss's idea of
> ultimate evil may be oppression.
> The allegory goes much further than a battle with the stodgy representatives
> of official patriarchy. It's looking at an entire cultural paradigm where
> everybody is both victim and oppressor. The battle between Buffy and the
> Scoobies and Potentials that comes to a head on this CD speaks to the
> resistance of the oppressed to their own liberation and their tendency to
> self enforce the status quo.
The WC and Shadow Men definitely are not the direct
> agents of the First or evil in general. But they none the less serve its
> ends through their part in perpetuating cultural oppression. Which they do
> with conviction. Ah, the madness of conviction. Here is the connection
> with Caleb. He holds no illusions over the brutality of his deeds. How can
> he with so much meted out by his own hands? But he believes in what he does
> every bit as much as the Shadow Men and WC. He's just a more direct
> enforcer of the natural order as he knows it.
There are a few advantages to that interpretation of the story. One
is that it lets the First both be the enemy from within the self and
draw on outside contractors like Caleb. I was going to ask about the
First's predilection for appearing to people in the faces of their
dead loved ones, but that kinda fits here if you treat everyone as
partly oppressor. Then the obsession with a person's past and the
insistence that s/he can't change, will always be haunted by past
things becomes part of the First's agenda of holding people back.
Sometimes through fear as I pointed out earlier, but that'd just be
one generally useful tool.
Now, is this something that came through clearly to you on early
viewings, or something you had to try to tease out? I ask because as
a metaphor, it's a hell of a lot quieter than the feminist theme that
S7 so often uses (which in your explanation becomes one example of the
greater idea, I suppose).
>> It hadn’t occurred to me until listening to the commentary that Marti
>> was the one who wrote the basement Spike/Faith scene in “Dirty Girls,”
>> but now that we know, doesn’t it seem obvious?
> Because of the chains? It's just a florid imagination. I'm sure Marti
> would be a chaste and proper date.
The whole scene, not the chains. A rapid spin through mocking some of
the foibles of men and sex, with a wry detached tone. Very much a
Noxon scene. I can only shrug my shoulders (and be rather confused by
the joke) about what she's like outside the scripted page.