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A Bang and a whimper

So, Season 8 is all wrapped up. I have mixed thoughts on the last issue (#40).

Before I get into that though, I thought I'd paraphrase tonight's amusing dinnertime conversation with MiAmor and McDiva!

McDiva: You can tell me what happens, because I'm never going to read it.

Rebcake: Okay, well, in the last issue Buffy and Angel — or Twilight or whoever — are fighting in the cave of the Seed of Wonder (whatever that even is)—

McDiva: Wait. Why is she fighting Angel? Isn't he good again?

MiAmor: No. Well, he was, but then, um–

Rebcake: Yeah, he was pretending to be bad, and the world started to end, and then he was good again and fought the good fight, and then the Universe that he and Buffy made took him over or something and then he was evil again. I think. Anyway. Giles goes to get the scythe from Faith in the battlefield, and takes it down into the cave, and Angel kills him.

McDiva: WTF, Joss?

Rebcake: Then Buffy takes the scythe and breaks the Seed of Wonder, thereby ending all magic in the world and breaking the scythe. So Willow's pretty mad.

McDiva: Why do the comics suck so bad? Except for the Bugs.

Out of the mouths of babes, people.

 
Okay, that said, there was some good stuff in this issue, as expected from a Joss-penned (really, really for real this time) issue.

Excellent stuff:

1. Buffy catching the tray on her foot. Glad she's wearing leggings!
2. Dawn asking Buffy if the nightmare she keeps having is the one where Angel and Spike "get it awwn". (Slash puppies!)
3. Surprise Simone!
4. Faith was great, and her taking on the Angel Problem is brilliant. (He's apparently so broken up that he hasn't washed his face in the intervening months since he killed Giles. Nasty.)
5. Harmony on Dancing With the Stars! Also, Spike still sounds like Spike and he's keeping the Bugs!
6. Gargoyle Buffy! Very imposing!

Less excellent, but mainly fine:

1. San Francisco looks weird. The perspective is all wrong. But it's San Francisco! Oh, the plot bunnies I'll have! Eventually. Someday. Maybe.
2. Kennedy looks like Kennedy and she gets the "You super-literally f%$#ed everything up!" line. Forthright. Gotta admire that.
3. The General's explanation/hand wave is pretty much what we got at the end of Season 4. The military gave up because their losses were getting too hot to handle, politically. Or perhaps they achieved their objective. Whatever. It's cool.

In which I am a hater:

1. Giles' will. Apparently the consensus among my people (you guys) is that Giles showed great wisdom and caring in his bequest. I call bullshit. Leaving everything to Faith — aside from the book that he and Buffy first disagreed about — is a cruel slap to the the girl he supposedly loved like a daughter. I'm not saying that Faith should have been cut off, but the guy had two houses, among other assets, and unless there was some sort of evil entail, a la Jane Austen, why couldn't he have left one to Faith and one to Buffy and Dawn? All three girls are orphans, even war orphans, and in need. Giles has seen how badly Buffy floundered in the past when trying to support her family, educate herself, and also keep up with her calling. He's leaving her in the lurch, again.

This feeds into one of my pet peeves, which is the lack of financial support for Slayers throughout time. The Giles family has profited, if not handsomely, then comfortably, from "administrating" the luckless young girls, like Buffy, who gave their lives in service to humanity. While he did help her financially in the past, he and/or the Council certainly never provided anything like enough to live on, or even half that. Now, she's left utterly flat, couch surfing. I am angry on her behalf. (Of course, if she didn't live in San Francisco, she might actually be able to afford a place of her own on barista's  wages. Even so, going to college, working, and slaying is pretty much one thing too many, even outside of the Bay Area. She's never going to get ahead.)

Since Dawn is back in school, it looks as if she has access to resources unavailable to Buffy, and good for her. Perhaps she has scholarships, earned because she has talent and also the time to focus on her studies — time Buffy does not have, since she's, oh, saving the world. Dawn also has a visible means of support in her life (for now) partner, who seems happy to bear a little more of the load at present. He knows that she will probably pick it up later. That's how it works in a normal relationship. Buffy doesn't have the luxury of being able to commit to a partnership of this kind, apparently. (And...I'm not even going there.) 

The only way I can parse this so that it doesn't make Giles look bad, is if his will was drawn up just after his machinations led to Faith being disowned by the Slayers, and while Buffy was in charge of all the Slayer Army resources — castles, helicopters, magic, and all. Then it mightn't have mattered. But now: so, so cruel.

2. I do not hate Buffy. I have a lot of sympathy for her situation. I want her to prevail. But her treatment of Spike is abysmal. There is not a single kind word out of her mouth for him. No thanks, except couched in sarcasm and an intimation that he is ineffectual. She's capable of expressing gratitude; we see her do so with Xander. For Spike, it's all, "Did you come here for any reason at all?" and "Come again!" as of he were a customer she'd rather not deal with. There's no goodbye, just "You're still not invited in!" What did he do to deserve this? Show up, help, lather, rinse, repeat? I'm heartsick. Not just for him, but for her. She won't get far treating her allies that way. It's a relief when he goes off in his Bug Ship, but I am so depressed, knowing he'll be back for more abuse, that I decided against attending the local Buffy's Birthday Bash.

I shouldn't let it get to me. And that, right there, is S8 in a nutshell.
 
This entry was originally posted at http://rebcake.dreamwidth.org/14157.html. Please comment here or there using OpenID.

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Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
snickfic
Jan. 20th, 2011 06:17 am (UTC)
Harmony on Dancing With the Stars!

I would just like to point out that it was my idea first.

Your dinner table conversation was excellent. :)
rebcake
Jan. 20th, 2011 06:57 am (UTC)
ZOMG! jnb's idea is so, so righteous! Of course, I've never actually seen Dancing With the Stars, but her story idea is enough like Strictly Ballroom that it matters not.

McDiva tells me that the other kids don't get to have the same kind of dinner time talks as us. Her friends come away from the table with eyes as big as saucers, and not because they're still hungry...
ms_scarletibis
Jan. 20th, 2011 06:30 am (UTC)
<--still has yet to read it; has no zip file thingy.

I'm sorry that you felt so bad that you didn't go to the local Bah :/

However, I don't blame you, from all that I've heard...

*huggles*
rebcake
Jan. 20th, 2011 06:58 am (UTC)
It's actually a pretty good issue. I just have a few...issues. You know how it is.
zanthinegirl
Jan. 20th, 2011 06:37 am (UTC)
I have to get up in (counts) 5 1/2 hours, so I really should be brushing my teeth instead of commenting. But thanks for the review!

I haven't read issue 40. Honestly from your comments I think I don't want to read it. I love Buffy, but your description of her actions just breaks my Spike loving heart. Of course it also reinforces my "This isn't the real buffy-verse" belief; I don't think canon-Buffy would treat Spike that way after season 7.

And Giles' will is just ouch.

But perversely I do like the idea of barista-Buffy and her couch-surfing ways. Granted I'm the only human in the universe who liked her working at the double-meat palace. I mean it sucked, but it was realistic. I briefly worked at a fast-food place as a teenager and that episode was right on the mark!

It probably goes without saying but Harmony on Dancing with the Stars? Genius!

OK, really off to bed now!
rebcake
Jan. 20th, 2011 07:16 am (UTC)
I'm actually cool with Buffy's Action!Barista persona. I think it makes sense for a certain period of a young person's life. I just don't see how she can keep up the struggle long term. But, hey, who knows what will come down the pike? If she could just go to nursing school...

It's really a pretty good issue, as S8 goes, but Buffy doesn't come off well, vis a vis Spike. He doesn't seem hurt or bothered, and clearly his support affects her strongly, but she's not nice to him. I don't require Buffy to be a "nice" girl, but I have my limit for how dismissive people can be of Spike before I lose patience. I mean, it was funny for the first few years, but let's find a new game, okay? *unrepentant Spike supporter*
eilowyn
Jan. 20th, 2011 08:00 am (UTC)
I've actually been waiting for your take on San Francisco, lol. Maybe it's the coloring that made it seem foreign? San Francisco always looms muted and gray in my mind (because of the fog) except for the occasional bright streak of color, so the coloring struck me as wrong.
rebcake
Jan. 20th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
I'm actually in a sunny part of town, next to the Mission and the Castro, so it wasn't that so much. It was having the very hilly Dolores Park transplanted to the dead flat Crissy Field overlooking the bridge, mostly. Though having the fog start to creep in through the bridge would have been an excellent stroke...
eilowyn
Jan. 21st, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
I'm used to visiting my friend in Inner Sunset, where the do get the fog I guess, so that's what I think of when San Francisco is mentioned. That and Christmas shopping traffic around Union Square, my personal nightmare.
rebcake
Jan. 21st, 2011 04:57 am (UTC)
Oh yeah. My mom tried living in the Sunset and it drove her to an entirely different latitude. I'm on the other side of Twin Peaks, which holds the fog back a lot of the time. It's really cool when it starts to stack up, higher and higher, like a vast wall of clouds held back by some invisible force. Then, even cooler, sometimes the barrier gives way and it starts cascading down the slope like an avalanche. I ♥ my town.
shapinglight
Jan. 20th, 2011 08:25 am (UTC)
Yes, I'd pretty much agree with your review, except that I hate the bugs. The Faith/Angel stuff is by far the best thing in it.
rebcake
Jan. 20th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Hee! The Bugs are so divisive! I vastly prefer them to the bevy of bathing beauties from AtF (though I only read 3 non-consecutive issues of that), but if he can teach them to say "Bloody Hail" I'll be even happier. The inter-dimensional Bugs are sort of the only thing that's given me anything like a plot bunny. I guess they're trapped here now, with the world cut off from magic? Who knows?
shapinglight
Jan. 21st, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
I agree the bugs are way better than Spider and the Spikettes. God, I hate that that's now 'canon.'
rahirah
Jan. 20th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, at this point I'm like, "Spike, Spike, Spike.... RUN! RUN LIKE THE WIND!"
rebcake
Jan. 20th, 2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
That would be nice, but only if he gets to have his own satisfying adventures, and I think you know what I mean by "satisfying".
shipperx
Jan. 22nd, 2011 04:23 am (UTC)
Treated like someone who has a little bit of merit and actual feelings that could possibly be hurt?
rebcake
Jan. 23rd, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
Well, that too...

ETA: That was flip. What I actually mean is that I see Spike's desire to be loved and accepted as key to his ultimate satisfaction. Respect is good, but not good enough. I don't think he's out of line in wanting those things.

Further caveat: It's also important to him that he be loved and accepted by people he respects. He could always hang with Harmony or someone like her, but that would not be enough for him to be fulfilled.

Anyway, that's my less funny take...

Edited at 2011-01-23 08:20 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
rebcake
Jan. 20th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
I totally love Faith, and will be happy if she gets to do something important. She and Spike have a lot of the same things stacked up against them, which are the kinds of things I find interesting. They want to belong, or more accurately to be accepted; they work hard at doing the right thing and their contributions are almost always are dismissed by one or another of the powers that be (Buffy, Giles, or Angel, for the most part). Angel's story is less interesting to me, as it is very inwardly-focused.

Thanks for commenting!
moscow_watcher
Jan. 21st, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
Somehow I missed you review; I saw you mentioning it in my LJ and ran here to read it.

I love your thoughts and I'm very happy that you have San-Francisco-based plot bunnies! Looking forward to your post-season 8 stories!

I disagree about Buffy and Spike's scene, but it's hard to argue here. The scene is like Rorschach's blotches: everyone sees something different.
rebcake
Jan. 21st, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
¡Yay! Except...I don't have any SF plot bunnies yet. But I might! Any day now!

Yep, there a lot of ways to look at the fire escape scene. I've been told over and over by the writers and editors not to look too deep, though, so I pretty much went just one layer down, and it doesn't reflect well on Buffy at that level. I like Coalitiongirls's happiness with the idea that this meeting is a frequent event, I just wish I thought Spike was getting anything out of it but insults...
moscow_watcher
Jan. 21st, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
I've been told over and over by the writers and editors not to look too deep, though,

Not by Joss. I find his dialogues incredibly multilayered.
treadingthedark
Jan. 22nd, 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
I enjoyed your thoughts. I feel the same about the Spike/Buffy scene, although I'm glad some people like it because I have a tiny bit of hope that I'm wrong, and yes, eventually Buffy will stop being so mean.

I mean I'm not just being petty and critical, this stuff just hurts. I admit it, I care way too much about a fictional world. Can't be helped, wish I didn't.

I don't feel this way to rain on other people's parades, I just feel this way because I do. I hope I'm wrong.
rebcake
Jan. 22nd, 2011 01:32 am (UTC)
I think we are right, but only temporarily. The wheel will turn, and either Buffy will get a clue, or Spike will find someone who appreciates him who isn't Harmony. Most likely, he will find someone who appreciates him, then Buffy will get a clue, except that Joss has already written that one a couple of times. Hmmm. Well, that never stopped him before!

Keep the faith. Just enjoy the white shirt and the Cap'n John Hart boots in the meantime. I keep imagining what will happen to those buttons... See? Don't you feel better now?
shipperx
Jan. 22nd, 2011 04:27 am (UTC)
Totally agree on Number 2.

This pattern was neat in Season 5. Now? It's a tired old dance and my feet really, really hurt. And I don't think they are ever going to change and do anything else.
rebcake
Jan. 22nd, 2011 09:47 am (UTC)
I like the dance, but it's more exciting when both partners are fully invested.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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