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BTVS Episode Poll: 6.18 Entropy

And now, it's time for everything to fall apart -- and Spike and Anya to get it on -- in Entropy!




Poll #1967666 BTVS Episode Poll: 6.18 Entropy

1. Spike's new obsession with Buffy telling her friends about their relationship -- what do you think?

Totally arbitrary and ridiculous
0(0.0%)
Speaks importantly to his state of mind
9(56.2%)
He's right, she should tell them -- deception is bad for the soul
0(0.0%)
He's completely off base here. Part of being an adult means NOT necessarily sharing all the details of your sex life with everyone you know
3(18.8%)
Eh, whatever
2(12.5%)
Other
2(12.5%)

2. Xander and Anya have their first post-not-wedding conversation, which escalates until Anya tries to curse him. Who is being the unreasonable one here?

Anya
2(12.5%)
Xander
6(37.5%)
Both
4(25.0%)
Neither
0(0.0%)
It's complicated
4(25.0%)
Other
0(0.0%)

3. Anya's curse is to wish Xander was never born. Imagine a BTVS world without Xander.

Shhh.... I'm having a beautiful moment here.
5(31.2%)
Buffy would have died at the end of Season 1, so, no.
3(18.8%)
Eh, he can be a jerk, but I still like him as a character.
3(18.8%)
He's an important part of the chemistry that makes the show work.
4(25.0%)
Xander is my favorite. No way.
0(0.0%)
Other
1(6.2%)

4. Anya's quest to get one of Xander's friends to curse him. What do you think?

Hee hee hee.
3(20.0%)
Understandable, but she should know it won't pay off.
2(13.3%)
Proof that her heart isn't really in it.
3(20.0%)
Pretty thoughtless toward them, actually.
3(20.0%)
Other
4(26.7%)

5. Xander's first thought is that the camera in the yard is Spike's doing, in spite of the nerd trio being a much more obvious pick for a thing like that. Why?

Plot expedient, nothing more.
0(0.0%)
Xander is obsessed with Spike. Obviously!
5(31.2%)
Everybody keeps forgetting about The Trio as a threat, even the other characters.
11(68.8%)
Other
0(0.0%)

6. Spike says, "The way I feel about you -- it's different. No matter how hard you try to convince yourself it isn't. It's real." Buffy says, "I think it is -- for you." What do you think?

Buffy is absolutely right here. Spike's feelings obligate Buffy to NOTHING and he needs to realize that.
5(31.2%)
She's right, if not entirely honest.
7(43.8%)
It's her call, of course, but I still think she's trying to hurt Spike a little.
1(6.2%)
Ouch. Buffy, that's cold.
3(18.8%)
Other
0(0.0%)

7. Spike and Anya getting drunk together and complaining about the other Scoobies -- I love the scene, of course, because how could you not? But their complaints -- are they justified?

Yes, absolutely. Xander and Buffy in particular are both way too uptight and judgmental for their own good.
2(14.3%)
Kind of. But they're the same complaints you might have about any tightly knit social group.
10(71.4%)
No, of course not. They're just upset and lashing out.
0(0.0%)
Not being entirely honest, are they? Nobody made them join the gang. If they hate the Scoobies, what they really hate is themselves.
2(14.3%)
Other
0(0.0%)

8. Spike and Anya having sex after getting drunk together. What do you think?

YES!!!! IT'S SHIPPER TIME!!!!!
3(18.8%)
It makes sense for the characters at this point, but I don't really ship them otherwise.
10(62.5%)
Fine.
2(12.5%)
I don't buy it for the characters at all.
1(6.2%)
Other
0(0.0%)

9. Xander's axe-happiness followed by his "you let that thing touch you" speech. What do you think?

Jeez, what an asshole.
5(31.2%)
An asshole move, but at least the script seems to recognize that it is an asshole move.
3(18.8%)
Terrible behavior, but understandable -- he's reacting irrationally from pure emotional pain.
1(6.2%)
Not good, but not any worse than what Anya was trying to do to him, with the cursing and all.
0(0.0%)
It's amazing how far he will go to avoid accepting responsibility for his own screw ups.
3(18.8%)
The lad protests too much. YOU CANNOT HIDE YOUR SEXUAL ATTRACTION TO SPIKE, XANDER.
0(0.0%)
The jerky words toward Anya are bad enough, but then he also tries to cut off Spike's head with an ax. That's kinda beyond the pale, don't you think?
2(12.5%)
Other
2(12.5%)

10. Quotes!

BUFFY I tried to kill my friends, my sister, last week and guess how much they hate me now? Zero. Zero much.
1(6.7%)
TARA And Buffy's okay too? Enjoying the refreshing sanity and so forth?
0(0.0%)
ANDREW He's got that same look on his face, the one he had that time I highlighted in his Babylon 5 novels -- right before he told his mother on me!
0(0.0%)
ANY I wish you felt the pain of a thousand searing pokers boiling your heart in its own juices! I wish you had tentacles where your beady eyes should be!
0(0.0%)
ANYA I wish your intestines were twisted into knots and ripped apart inside your lousy gut! XANDER They are. ANYA Really? Right now? Does it hurt? XANDER God, yes. ANYA Those are metaphor intestines! You're not in any real pain!
3(20.0%)
BUFFY I am. I'm the embarrassing mom who tries too hard. When did this happen?
0(0.0%)
BUFFY I don't think he could feel any worse. ANYA Let's test that theory.
0(0.0%)
DAWN I never use that word anymore. ANYA Coagulate? DAWN W-i-s-h.
1(6.7%)
ANYA God! What kind of lesbians are you?! If you love men so much, go love men!
1(6.7%)
BUFFY What the hell is that creepy little thing doing in my yard? Did Willow put that there when I was dead? 'Cause if I had known, I would have crawled out of the grave sooner.
1(6.7%)
ANYA I think I know just the thing to help. Eases the hurt, Makes the sun shine a little brighter, even makes boring people seem more interesting. Ah. here. (Slams a bottle of Jack Daniels on the counter.)
2(13.3%)
ANYA I'm off my guard. Happy. I'm singing in the shower and doing my sexy dance SPIKE Exact -- I have no dance.
1(6.7%)
SPIKE I saved the Scoobies how many times? And I can't stand the lot of you. ANYA Me either! I hate us!
4(26.7%)
SPIKE Drusilla was always straightforward. Didn't have a single buggering clue about what was going on right in front of her, but she was straight about it.
0(0.0%)
SPIKE Please. It's no wonder they couldn't deal with the likes of you and me, Luv. We both should've been dead hundreds of years ago -- and we're the only ones that are really alive.
0(0.0%)
SPIKE He'd have to be more than just the git he is, Anya. He'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to want a woman like you.
0(0.0%)
Other
1(6.7%)

11. Rate this episode

Mean: 7.20 Median: 7 Std. Dev 1.05
0
0(0.0%)
1
0(0.0%)
2
0(0.0%)
3
0(0.0%)
4
0(0.0%)
5
1(6.7%)
6
3(20.0%)
7
4(26.7%)
8
6(40.0%)
9
1(6.7%)
10
0(0.0%)

Comments

( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
mcjulie
May. 10th, 2014 09:55 pm (UTC)
1. Completely off base, although the first time through it seemed more arbitrary than it does now -- he is turning into a creepy stalker ex boyfriend, which might be sort of expected for vampires, but it's a bit unsettling for one who has been playing the hero so long.

2. Both. I think there's a tiny sliver of a chance that they could have patched things up here, but Anya is too angry and Xander is too defensive.

3. He's an important part of the chemistry that makes the show work. Yeah, he can be kind of a self-involved jerk. So can my real-life friends.

4. Proof that her heart isn't really in it. I think on some level she knows she won't be able to get Xander's very best and closest friends to really curse him. She wants to hurt him, yes -- but not really in the permanent, totally out-of-scale way of vengeance demon curses. I think if her original curse had worked, she would have instantly regretted it.

5. Everybody keeps forgetting about The Trio as a threat. Because, seriously.

6. She's right, if not entirely honest. I feel like her response to Spike is just a little too… I don't know… pithy, maybe? She doesn't love him -- she's telling the truth about that -- but I don't think she's acknowledging the true depth and complexity of her feelings for him. This is more like the Buffy of "The Crush."

7. What they really hate is themselves. I like how this scene makes the parallels between Spike's story and Anya's story really obvious. Spike and Anya were villains who had their power to do evil taken away by outside forces, and in that power vacuum, they fell in love with the the good guys, a part of themselves hating themselves for it. But the lack of consent at the start of the journey continues to hang unresolved over their heads. Are they truly good, truly evil, or do they just go whichever way the wind is blowing?

8. YES!!!! IT'S SHIPPER TIME!!!!!

9. An asshole move, but at least the script seems to recognize that it is an asshole move. Everything that Anya says to call him out on it, for example, is dead on. He doesn't have the right to judge -- anyone, ever, pretty much. But he's hurt and lashing out.

Incidentally, I think that Buffy and Xander are both reacting at least in part to how they found out about Anya and Spike -- they're responding as if the video show was something Anya and Spike (Spanya? Anyike?) did on purpose to rub their faces in it, not something where they feel just as betrayed as everyone else.

10. SPIKE I saved the Scoobies how many times? And I can't stand the lot of you. ANYA Me either! I hate us!

11. I give it an 8. Spanya forever!






trepkos
May. 10th, 2014 11:22 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure what Spike thinks will change if Buffy tells the others about their relationship, but I feel it's wrong of her to pretend nothing's happening. Presumably it's because he's a vampire; if she didn't want her friends to know for any other reason that he couldn't do anything about, it would be wrong, so it's wrong here too.
mcjulie
May. 10th, 2014 11:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, in real life, it's nearly always a jerk move to be publicly ashamed of the person you're sleeping with.
itsnotmymind
May. 10th, 2014 11:39 pm (UTC)
2. I thought they were both unreasonable, but I give the unreasonable award to Anya because she, you know, tried to curse him. Kind of drowns everything else out.

6. I think in a perfect world she could have phrased it better, but since she was, y'know, trying to keep Spike from STALKING her, I give her a pass.

8. I totally stopped shipping Buffy/Spike temporarily.
mcjulie
May. 11th, 2014 02:01 am (UTC)
"8. I totally stopped shipping Buffy/Spike temporarily."

Yes! I have been waiting for this moment since season 4, when Anya and Spike have a lovely moment in what is otherwise my least favorite episode ever.
kikimay
May. 11th, 2014 12:29 am (UTC)
1. It speaks about Spike's state of mind. He wants some kind of recognition.

2. I went for it's complicated because they are both unreasonable, but how you can be reasonable after being left at the altar?

3. I went for "other", because they first one made me laugh and titlilled that part of me that doesn't like Xander, but to be fair he has his moments. I just can imagine him being replaced.

4. Understandable but it wouldn't pay off.

5. Xander is obsessed with Spike! Dude, stop thinking about that!

6. She's right, but not completely honest. Of course Spike can't hear her words but I guess that nobody just been dumped could hear a similar speech. It takes time to accept something like that and he's hurting.

7. It feels like normal complaining about people.

8. Fine. I love Spike and I love Anya. the black bra is really sexy and they are both lovely. It's kinda eeeww because the trio and the others are watching though. Just stop with the filmed/made public sex BtVS!

9. It's amazing how he can be so fucking judgemental after what he did. This is one of Xander's lowest points ever to me.

10. I like Tara's joke about Buffy but ultimately I went for Anya and Xander's dialogue because it so iconic for the episode. It doesn't have memorable lines though.

11. 7
mcjulie
May. 11th, 2014 02:03 am (UTC)
"This is one of Xander's lowest points ever to me."

I think so too. I think one of the Season 6 themes is that all three of the core characters -- Buffy/Willow/Xander -- basically hit bottom at some point during the season, sometimes more than once.
rebcake
May. 11th, 2014 02:45 am (UTC)
1. I think that Spike believes if she tells her friends, it will make it somehow more real to Buffy. She's been drifting, which isn't good for her. She needs to face reality, and part of that is being honest about what you want. Of course, he'd also like to get with her again, and if her friends do reject her, it might help effect that. I doubt he thinks they would reject her, though, so I'm not sure how much that plays into it.

3. For me Xander is an important avatar in the series for the guys we love (brothers, uncles, cousins, etc.) who disappoint us over and over again with their biases and lack of insight. We can't just blow them off, but they make it hard sometimes, you know? I think the show is more believable with him in it, even when I'd like to strangle him.

9. Words hurt plenty, but being decapitated hurts far worse. And is out of proportion with the "crime" of sleeping with someone you yourself rejected. Asshole. Worst moment for Xander, ever.
mcjulie
May. 11th, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC)
"I think the show is more believable with him in it, even when I'd like to strangle him."

Yes. One of my favorite BTVS things is the way it shows people with really tight bonds who also disagree and act like jerks to each other and get on each other's nerves a lot.
rebcake
May. 14th, 2014 12:02 am (UTC)
I'm back! I just had this realization about how "beyond the pale" Xander trying to kill Spike is in this scenario. People get angry when their exes move on sometimes, but it is hard to imagine Xander trying to kill, say, Richard from work or Giles or even Jonathan for having consensual relations with the woman he just cast off. The only reason this impulse occurs to him is because Spike is "other". In what other situations do men get the death sentence for trifling with "our" women? When they are from outside the tribe, of course. We have a long history of lynchings in this country, and the excuse was frequently the honor of women, whether they complained or not. This action of Xander's is most likely why he is accused of bigotry. There really isn't another explanation.

There is a whole other set of circumstances wherein policing the sexual/reproductive lives of women results in women being killed for having the temerity to have unsanctioned desires, too. That's another discussion, I think.
mcjulie
May. 14th, 2014 03:29 am (UTC)
Xander has always been very up front and unashamed about his anti-vampire prejudices. So, yeah -- if he'd caught Anya getting it on with, oh, I dunno, a newly returned Giles, working off their chemistry during Tabula Rasa, he would have been hurt -- but probably in a more comical, less ax-murdery fashion.

That might bear examining in a meta-fashion, especially because Buffy -- and I believe she is ultimately the show's viewpoint character -- obviously has a very different reaction to vampires. What do vampires mean in this show? Why does Xander seem to hate them in a visceral way that goes far beyond their physical threat to him?
red_satin_doll
May. 11th, 2014 12:52 pm (UTC)
Quote: All of Tara's dialogue in the last scene. I bawl like a baby.
mcjulie
May. 11th, 2014 05:00 pm (UTC)
Me too!
kikimay
May. 11th, 2014 11:54 pm (UTC)
I forgot that Entropy is also the episode with the big reunion Willow/Tara. Silly me! Tara's final speech is amazing.
red_satin_doll
May. 12th, 2014 12:38 pm (UTC)
Tara's final speech is amazing.

I remember watching that on repeat many, many times. The glory of instant streaming - I don't have to worry that I'm going to mess up the VHS tape the disc.

The thing is though, the first time through I cried and was so happy about the passionate kiss, about the reunion - because I was watching the entire show on a marathon run and you'd THINK I would have remembered the whole mindwiping incident, right? Willow's dress from OMWF is hanging right on the door between them to remind me. And Tara is wearing a long black leather coat we've never seen her in before - the Long Black Leather Duster of Sex and Death (Spike, but also Buffy wore one in OMWF.)

So big red flags all over the place but instead of yelling "Tara, no! Insist on couples counseling first!" I just fell for the easy emotions - partly because lesbian couples are so rarely depicted that I did the same thing a lot of lesbians do - any crumb is fine if you're starving, thank you.

I haven't been able to rewatch that scene in a while.
kikimay
May. 12th, 2014 12:51 pm (UTC)
I noticed Willow's dress (Btw, I love that dress) just recently and it really feels like a warning. In the end the responsible for Tara's death isn't Willow, but it feels once again like a cosmic punishment. I'm also like "kiss!" and maybe it's the immature thing to do, but also life is so short - um - and it's really human to just want to be happy for a moment. I don't see it as a stupid decision, from Tara's point of view, but a human one.

the Long Black Leather Duster of Sex and Death


OH GOD. SO RIGHT.
red_satin_doll
May. 12th, 2014 03:36 pm (UTC)
it's really human to just want to be happy for a moment. I don't see it as a stupid decision, from Tara's point of view, but a human one.


SO MUCH WORD.



I've seen so many friends regardless of gender or orientation go back into unhealthy relationships then break up again, etc, or stay and be unable to break up despite all the perfectly good reasons to do so. It's human to believe that you will never find love again because the person you are with is your "soul mate" and you just have to try harder; or that you don't deserve better.

I suspect that for lesbians in the real world, there's the added pressure of a much smaller "pool" of potential partners than for straight men and women.

Also, I honestly believe that in fandom, Willow's abuse of Tara and Tara's death are linked together, because that's an implied/possible reading of the show itself. If it's unintentional I don't know; again, the presence of Willow's dress in Entropy complicates matters. But Willow does get blamed for Tara's death a lot, and that's unfair, just as I think it's unfair to blame Buffy for the AR. Because all of these events happen in a single season and thus are rushed together, it's hard to avoid that reading.

OH GOD. SO RIGHT.

And it starts when Angel gives Buffy his coat in S1. Even in Band Candy, when Joyce wears the long feathered coat that Giles/Ripper steals for her, except that the feathers give it a frivolous quality; unlike the serious leather coats (second skin) the feathers imply comedy but also that Joyce's sexuality and desires are a joke, and not to be taken seriously.
kikimay
May. 12th, 2014 09:08 pm (UTC)
But also human emotions are complex. You can still love someone who hurt you. It happens all the time. Love just doesn't stop even when it should and it takes time to process complex emotions (Love mixed with rage) I can understand Tara's decision. Or at least, I can empathize with her.

The fandom seems really unfair to me when it blames Buffy for the attempted rape (And I read something like that) and when it blames Willow for Tara's death. Okay, hubrys and abuse but she didn't pulled the damn trigger!
red_satin_doll
May. 12th, 2014 09:33 pm (UTC)
I can understand Tara's decision. Or at least, I can empathize with her.

OH god, yes, absolutely I understand from her point of view. It's the writers I'm not sure of here.

Okay, hubrys and abuse but she didn't pulled the damn trigger!

THIS, EXACTLY
mcjulie
May. 14th, 2014 03:40 am (UTC)
One of very few things that I actually liked in the Season 8 comics was Willow contending with her sense of guilt over Tara's death, in a very specific way -- Tara, simply by being a girlfriend of a Scooby gang member, became a huge potential target -- and so anybody else she dates, she has to consider that just being in the Scooby orbit is dangerous.

And of course Season 7 has a rather messy episode (The Killer in Me) that attempts to deal with survivor guilt.

But those are the only guilt types I think are valid -- the kind of guilt a person might feel, but not the kind of guilt that means "yes, it's actually Willow's fault." A murder is always the fault of the person choosing to commit it. Full stop. (And this applies in real life, too, but I don't want to get involved in a big discussion of the George Zimmerman case.)
red_satin_doll
May. 14th, 2014 11:39 am (UTC)
One of very few things that I actually liked in the Season 8 comics was Willow contending with her sense of guilt over Tara's death, in a very specific way

Me too! (I also thought the death of a certain character was very well done, if disturbing on a meta level.) I thought that was beautifully done, as matter of fact - even the small visual detail of Willow rubbing circles in the dirt with the toe of her shoe, the longing, etc, it worked emotionally for me very well; it felt real and relatable and made sense. If the rest of S8 had been up to the same level I'd have liked it better.

Going slightly OT, there's a lot of not-sense making in btvs the series, or orphan black, but they both speak to certain emotional truths that make sense to me. The gift? forget sense, I just bawl like a baby and am willing to overlook the gaps.

OTOH the one off issue with Buffy having a nightmare about Spangel and getting married to Warren, where at the end Tara as the bridesmaid says "I still blame you" makes sense that Buffy would also blame herself, but that's never been stated in canon up until then, hasn't been built up to in any way and just feels gross - it's played as a joke. Which is not too far off from Xander slut-shaming Buffy for Angel going bad in S2 (or any instance of "blame the victim".)

Season 7 has a rather messy episode (The Killer in Me) that attempts to deal with survivor guilt.

I look forward to that poll because it drops the ball on one big level, but there are other aspects of it I like, probably more than fandom does in general.

A murder is always the fault of the person choosing to commit it. Full stop.

THIS, so much.
red_satin_doll
May. 12th, 2014 12:58 pm (UTC)
Tara's final speech is amazing.

I remember watching that on repeat many, many times. The glory of instant streaming - I don't have to worry that I'm going to mess up the VHS tape the disc.

The thing is though, the first time through I cried and was so happy about the passionate kiss, about the reunion - because I was watching the entire show on a marathon run and you'd THINK I would have remembered the whole mindwiping incident, right? Willow's dress from OMWF is hanging right on the door between them to remind me. And Tara is wearing a long black leather coat we've never seen her in before - the Long Black Leather Duster of Sex and Death (Spike, but also Buffy wore one in OMWF.)

So big red flags all over the place but instead of yelling "Tara, no! Insist on couples counseling first!" I just fell for the easy emotions - partly because lesbian couples are so rarely depicted that I did the same thing a lot of lesbians do - any crumb is fine if you're starving, thank you.

I haven't been able to rewatch that scene in a while.
mcjulie
May. 12th, 2014 02:53 pm (UTC)
I interpreted the OMWF dress as being there to remind us of the strength of their love, not the things that drove them apart.

I think Tara's speech is her announcing that she wants to work on their relationship within their relationship, rather than outside it. The turning point was Older and Far Away -- when she saw Willow as seriously committed to going without magic. Whether cold turkey was ultimately the right way to deal with her magic problem or not, from Tara's perspective, Willow followed through on an important promise even when it was really difficult. Willow earned back some of the broken trust, and they're still hot for each other, so Tara is willing to act on that.

Anyway, the upshot is that I actually think Tara is doing the right thing for herself here. "Couples counseling" might be the right thing to do in the real world, but there are two problems with it in BTVS world -- one, is that sensible real-world behaviors rarely make for exciting drama, and two, even in Sunnydale, where would you find a counselor who could help you with a relationship problem based on magic abuse?

We are being set up -- I mean we the audience -- but I think we're being set up to think they're going to make it work.
red_satin_doll
May. 12th, 2014 05:13 pm (UTC)
I interpreted the OMWF dress as being there to remind us of the strength of their love, not the things that drove them apart.

That's probably how I read it too because I wanted them to get back together when I was marathoning it. But it's one of those "once you see it you can't unsee it" deals. Again, Tara is also wearing the Long Black Leather Coat of Sex and Death (TM) for the first time in the series so yeah, confusing much.

if they wanted to emphasize the strength of their love then an outfit Willow wore prior to AYW/OMWF/TR would have done the job better. Maybe the dress she wore during Tough Love (and their first arguement...Oh, wait.....) So I honestly don't know what the writers intended but the two aspects are absolutely intertwined in my mind at this point. So either the writers are sending a subtle warning or they honestly don't see Willow's problems accurately either.

from Tara's perspective, Willow followed through on an important promise even when it was really difficult. Willow earned back some of the broken trust, and they're still hot for each other, so Tara is willing to act on that.

That's very realistic because that's how people's minds work IRL well. She wants to see the good in Willow. Buffy and Xander want to see the good in Willow; unfortunately for them that means ignoring/overlooking the bad. Giles overlooks the bad for several seasons when if anyone should see it coming it's him because he's been there. So it's all very believable. This is a show about dysfunctional family dynamics.

But it's another example of me as a viewer having to try to figure out what the writers are trying to say here. (See also, Normal Again, and the show's entire treatment of Buffy's depression/PTSD, aka "She just needs to pull herself up by her bootstraps and get over herself!")

There's theoretically a difference between Tara thinking that within the story and the writers communicating that on a meta-level. But that's been true of the show since the beginning (are we really meant to see Xander as a truth-teller way back in the early seasons when he's such a jerk, or in ITW? Are we really meant to take Riley's comments in AYW at face value? Are we really supposed to believe that Buffy just needs to "get over herself"? etc etc) Ambiguity is a good thing, but there's limits, especially when I'm uncertain if the writers are aware of the ambiguity - or indeed if I'm crediting them with ambiguity that doesn't exist because I don't want to believe the show is saying what it's saying at times.

Tara is doing the right thing for herself here.

She's following her needs - but she's also demonstrated at the college that she has friends and resources that don't involve Willow, She's in a stronger position in that sense than Anya is (who can only return to the demon world). It's a band-aid. Need is a powerful force.

sensible real-world behaviors rarely make for exciting drama

Every tv show is about taking the ordinary and making seem extraordinary, or at least interesting enough to watch - or trying to. Parks and Rec, the Office, Mad Men, Barney Miller, Scrubs. Being a cop is mostly quite boring and yet there are HUNDREDS of cop shows, hundreds of legal procedural shows. The entire premise of the early seasons was "high school is hell" - cheerleading tryouts, talent contests, PTA conferences, being grounded for sneaking out of the house, the prom, bad boyfriends, bullies, hormones, etc. None of these things on their own make exciting drama. And in my experience counseling can be a VERY dramatic experience

There's no reason the writers couldn't have made it interesting IF they wanted to; they chose not to. There are reasons for that in-story, but there's still that "what are you really saying about therapy?" vibe that comes from Normal Again, which follows old tropes and stereotypes about psychotherapy and mental health treatment as a "snake pit".

but I think we're being set up to think they're going to make it work.

Oh yeah we are being "set up" - and not in a good way. Had Tara not been killed however I have no problem imagining them breaking up again, if remaining friends. I can go either way with that and either way is plausible.
mcjulie
May. 13th, 2014 02:42 pm (UTC)
but there's limits, especially when I'm uncertain if the writers are aware of the ambiguity - or indeed if I'm crediting them with ambiguity that doesn't exist because I don't want to believe the show is saying what it's saying at times.

I tend to resist either the most flattering (to the writers and their intentions) or the least flattering interpretation, when things are ambiguous. Going into attack mode -- this COULD be interpreted in a really negative way, so it MUST be -- or defense mode -- I like this thing, so it is WITHOUT FLAW -- tends to shut down conversation.
red_satin_doll
May. 13th, 2014 04:40 pm (UTC)
Going into attack mode -- this COULD be interpreted in a really negative way, so it MUST be -- or defense mode -- I like this thing, so it is WITHOUT FLAW -- tends to shut down conversation.

Well isn't that what ship wars (and all fandom wars) are all about and how they are conducted, essentially?

mcjulie
May. 14th, 2014 03:45 am (UTC)
Indeed! And I don't really like fannish disagreements once they become wars. I want to have an interesting conversation, which does involve conflict. But I don't want people to be getting really MAD at each other, because that stresses me out.

I have a weird thing where I really like argument -- in the more abstract "oh, it could be that, but have you considered this?" way, but I can't take serious angry interpersonal conflict at all. If people are mad at me I either want to run away fast or get into a fistfight with them. I just can't deal. i think I overproduce adrenaline or something.
red_satin_doll
May. 14th, 2014 12:43 pm (UTC)
Oh so much WORD and YES to all of this.

i think I overproduce adrenaline or something.

Yep, "fight or flight". You don't need to be in the same room as someone else, just reading words on a page or a screen can cause the same reactions in the body as facing down an opponent in the same room.

I'll tend toward flight (and the few times I don't, I tend to regret it); we're really not taught how to handle interpersonal conflict in healthy ways (or at least I wasn't.) I'm trying to learn how to de-fuse situations but oh boy is that an art. (Mostly I find that that "agree to disagree" and a sense of humor go very far.)

I think the internet has it's own challenges - we're seeing words on a screen without facial expressions, body language, or the presence of the other person to ask questions and remind us that is another human being there. Getting angry at words on a screen is so easy.

frelling_tralk
May. 11th, 2014 01:20 pm (UTC)
1. Honestly I think that Spike was being a bit disingenuous in making out that Buffy telling her friends would be all for her own good, I think it was a lot more about Spike being sick of feeling like the dirty little secret and thinking that if they could force their relationship into the open then maybe it would have a better shot. But he must have known that Xander and Willow would freak out on Buffy and it would just make everything worse for her

2. For me it's typical Xander to just assume that they can go back to dating with no commitment right after he broke up their engagement and left Anya at the altar, even his friends in the previous episode thought that he was being very naïve about that

4. Pretty messed-up really, it's interesting that the show wasn't just playing Anya's past for comic relief, but also her returning to being a demon and actively trying to torture and kill in the present. I think it says a lot that the writers never took her seriously as a threat before season 7 and acted like it as just bitter woman hijinks, while at the same time spending so much time on redemption arcs for Angel and Spike and treating it seriously over whether they could ever be good without a soul, ever be redeemed for the past etc. Yet Anya was treated as a complete joke mostly whenever she did horrible things

9. He's an asshole, especially when he was trying to act like this was some big manly dual and he wanted to goad the defenceless vampire into fighting him back urgh. Not to mention telling Anya that she made him feel sick, what a charmer

Edited at 2014-05-11 01:28 pm (UTC)
mcjulie
May. 11th, 2014 05:11 pm (UTC)
"I think it says a lot that the writers never took her seriously as a threat before season 7"

True. I think it's partly because Anya without her powers is simply a human, while Spike is still a vampire. And partly because Spike and Angel both have a direct relationship to Buffy, while Anya is only related to her through Xander. But you could also argue that it's some of what Foz Meadows talks about here, http://fozmeadows.tumblr.com/post/85170060941/gender-orphan-black-the-meta-of-meta, where female villains and antiheroes often don't get the same treatment as male villains and antiheroes.

Although to be fair to the BTVS writers, I do think Faith has been getting the full-on moral complexity antihero treatment, so it's not like they simply had a blind spot when it comes to female characters. But they were missing it for Anya, and I appreciate that they finally started dealing seriously with the moral implications of her vengeance demon past.
red_satin_doll
May. 12th, 2014 01:40 pm (UTC)
But you could also argue that it's some of what Foz Meadows talks about here, http://fozmeadows.tumblr.com/post/85170060941/gender-orphan-black-the-meta-of-meta, where female villains and antiheroes often don't get the same treatment as male villains and antiheroes.

EXCELLENT meta, thank you! And I'd throw in Fozmeadows "Hush" rewatch, which points out that Anya's behavior and sexuality are played for laughs in very sexist ways (she's sexually aggressive, nagging, etc.)
http://fozmeadows.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/buffy-rewatch-hush/

they were missing it for Anya, and I appreciate that they finally started dealing seriously with the moral implications of her vengeance demon past.

But after Selfless, the writers seem to lose interest in Anya entirely. So one episode is about all we get compared to Spike and Angel.

S7 seems to make the point that it is VERY important for Spike to intergrate his light and dark sides but also in the end to "be his own man" and separate himself from hanging around a woman (Buffy in this instance); whereas Anya is never allowed full intergration. She's never "her own woman" entirely but "my girl" (Xander) in the end.

On the series the "demon" was not just an evil thing to be defeated but increasingly a metaphor for the darker sides in all of us, the shadow self as they say; it's interesting that Anya has to reject this side of herself entirely, rather than being allowed to honor and embrace the good aspects of it, the strengths of it (power, knowledge, etc).

I do think Faith has been getting the full-on moral complexity antihero treatment, so it's not like they simply had a blind spot when it comes to female characters.

eilowyn also wrote an interesting meta recently about Sarah in Orphan Black as anti-hero and compared her to Faith, but the distinction in my mind is, Sarah Manning is the protagonist; Faith (and Willow) are not. They are supporting characters and as such have an "escape valve" in the actual hero/protagonist: Buffy. (The anti-hero was defined as a central character/protagonist who was the more complex alternative to the flawless always good and right "Superman" ideal.)

So as supporting characters, Faith and Willow are allowed a certain amount of "darkness" or just ordinary flaws that Buffy is judged more harshly for. So, the writers had, if not a blind spot, then a certain amount of myopia.
mcjulie
May. 12th, 2014 03:06 pm (UTC)
On the series the "demon" was not just an evil thing to be defeated but increasingly a metaphor for the darker sides in all of us, the shadow self as they say; it's interesting that Anya has to reject this side of herself entirely, rather than being allowed to honor and embrace the good aspects of it, the strengths of it (power, knowledge, etc).

It's true -- although I think a number of metaphors become a little confused in S7. I think it's got a lot of good stuff going on, but also a lot of moments that left me thinking "wait, is that really where you meant to go with that?"


red_satin_doll
May. 12th, 2014 05:19 pm (UTC)
but also a lot of moments that left me thinking "wait, is that really where you meant to go with that?"

Ha, I just sent you a LOOOOONNNNGG reply to the Willow/Tara issue that basically is trying to say this exact thing. But it's not just the later seasons, although the car crash of ambiguity gets a bit headache-inducing when you examine S6 & 7. Did you mean to communicate from the start that Xander is a Nice Guy (TM) or a possessive assholr? That he's a truth teller and everyone is right and Buffy's wrong in Dead Man's Party; that Anya's sexuality is a big joke in S4 etc etc. just as off the top of my head examples.

mcjulie
May. 14th, 2014 03:48 am (UTC)
Series TV presents some unique challenges that way, too. It's so collaborative -- multiple writers, and all the different creative people involved -- things changing not when the writers want, but when other things like networks and actor schedules dictate -- etc. etc.
red_satin_doll
May. 14th, 2014 11:43 am (UTC)
Series TV presents some unique challenges that way, too. It's so collaborative

*nods* There are actually a lot of things in btvs that I can make sense of in story but everyone has a different point of "no, can't fanwank this one".
infinitewhale
Jul. 7th, 2014 01:17 am (UTC)

Yeah, the metaphors were always a case-by-case basis on the show. Fighting=Sex...sometimes. Magic=Sex...sometimes. Are we supposed to think the Slayer spell in Primeval is some kind of orgy? No. At least I don't think so.
infinitewhale
Jul. 7th, 2014 01:13 am (UTC)

Also, I think it's important to point out that the Scoobies have no first-hand knowledge of Anya's 'work'. They don't remember The Wish. Anya is basically like Angel in S1 for them. S7 is where it's put out in the forefront and they actually see it for themselves and have to deal with it.
pocochina
May. 11th, 2014 07:51 pm (UTC)
1/4: I kind of think Anya and Spike are both playing "if I can't have you no one will" games on some level? Partly they're impulsive creatures who are lashing out emotionally, but there's also social power plays going on. Anya trying to implicate the Scoobies in her vengeance quest is, I think, more about a very demon-y attempt to feel like she has allies than it is about the outcome. And Spike knows that socially, he wins either way if Buffy tells her friends: either they accept him and he feels far more secure in his place in her life, or they reject the relationship and it drives a wedge between her and her friends, and she is back where she was mid-season, isolated except for him.

9: An asshole move, but I do have a lot of sympathy for him. He's spent the last few years swallowing Spike's attempted murder of him because of Spike's loss of his power, and now Anya's regained superpowers and spent the last few days trying to use them against him. Xander's jealousy is so nasty and realistic that it's hard to defend, but at the same time, it tends to gets that nasty in response to very real threats to his safety, against which he has no means of protecting himself (see also Angel). So....I don't know. It's complicated.
mcjulie
May. 12th, 2014 02:58 pm (UTC)
"It's complicated."

Indeed! Actually it seems that Xander has spent the last couple of episodes really desperate for a way to direct his anger outward, instead of inward where he knows it belongs. It turns him into a deeply unpleasant person.
red_satin_doll
May. 12th, 2014 03:16 pm (UTC)
Spike knows that socially, he wins either way if Buffy tells her friends: either they accept him and he feels far more secure in his place in her life, or they reject the relationship and it drives a wedge between her and her friends, and she is back where she was mid-season, isolated except for him.



Right, and this pokes a hole in the belief that "he only ever wanted what was best for her/ever acted in her best interests". He's made that point time and again (esp in FFL); he knows that about her. A part of him does want what's best for her; the demon inside him doesn't care. And the demon can't imagine why being "in the dark" with him isn't something she'd want. (See also Dead Things.)
red_satin_doll
May. 12th, 2014 04:27 pm (UTC)
What, no bonus essay questions?

1) Privacy, it's a thing - unless you're the "one slayer with friends and family", in which case the trade-off is their possessiveness of one another; kwritten and infinitewhale express it better than I can.

Basically it's her right to tell or not tell anyone she wishes. If he wants to tell her friends, then that's his right. But she doesn't "owe" him anything at that point. OTOH I almost answered arbitrary and ridiculous - maybe because I didn't ship them - I cheered when she broke it off because I loved the friendship aspect. I loved their interaction in Hell's Bells so I didn't want to go back to the fucked-up-ness. So I wasn't certain why the shift back - or rather, I get why, it's just that it's never communicated well, just shifts back and forth as the wind changes.

2) I chickened out and put "it's complicated" - but if I were more honest, I'd say it's Xander bugs the hell out of me here. He left her at the altar, which immediately cut her off from friends (his'), forced her to move out of what had been her home, etc. It's actually a very good example of what can happen when someone makes their spouse/partner the center of their world. But somehow, I don't see why we're supposed to have sympathy for Riley in S5 and excuse his activities but none for Anya - except that she lacks A Penis.

"that excuse gets old fast" - given that it happened mere weeks or months ago, that's bullshit IMO; he doesn't get to decide when her anger should "go away" - ie, when he wants it to., (Also given that he's now speaking to a vengeance demon with a thousand plus years of history, so I'm pretty sure that she has a different concept of "time" than he does.)

And granted that nothing Xander says is out of character for him; it's no different to him deflecting the revelation of The Lie in Selfless by slut-shaming Buffy. Or blaming her for Angel going bad; or his treatment of Cordy. Xander is someone who is not very good with self-reflection, and often doesn't take responsibility when he fucks up in big ways. That's part of his character right alongside the caring friend so it makes him interesting and real. But I wouldn't want a Xander in my life.

3) Since Angel had no "breath" with which to revive Buffy in PG and she's my favorite character, he gets a pass on that alone. But in reality? The 1st, 2nd, and 4th options are all equally true. (And btw - that moment WAS beautiful.)

4) Tie for options 3 7 4 - although thoughtfulness and empathy were never defining characteristics anyway, and it's totally understandable. What she is really looking for is sympathy, for an ally - but again it's the problem of what happens when you make someone else's world your own with nothing outside of them. And I tie option 3 with the events of Selfless - how she's trying to commit "suicide by slayer" because she knows damn well what Buffy will have to do.

5) Option #3 - that's a theme that gets hammered home all season "What are you trying to do, annoy me to death?" (Buffy, Gone) Maybe a little too much so - when Willow and Tara are putting off researching the Trio in favor of make-up sex, then it makes Tara's death look subsequently a bit (unintentionally) creepier on the part of the writers.

red_satin_doll
May. 12th, 2014 04:27 pm (UTC)
6) My friend just started watching btvs S1, and one of the reasons she dislikes Xander is that she's been on the receiving end of too many guys who think she should like/love them just because they want her to. I'd say the same of Spike here, and this is where he and Xander are somewhat similar but again, it's a running theme throughout the show even when the writers aren't clear what they're saying. is it complicated?
Oh yeah. I don't think she fully knows what she feels or how she 'should' feel, but she's not deceived him on that account either. She never made any claims that she loved him, he knew that.

Hoping that she'll eventually change her mind and return the favor is madness (and people do it all the time). I've seen that in friends, in my mom: "if I love him then eventually he'll..." No. that's not how it works.

7) They hate themselves. The SG didn't open the door wide and say "Come on in!" Spike and Anya chose to return to Sunnydale, they both pursued Buffy and Xander, persistently and aggressively at that.

And it's canon that for Spike at least, the chasm between the man and the demon is becoming increasingly intolerable; what they also hate is that part of themselves that is drawn in the opposite direction from their demons.

8) great scene but I don't ship them otherwise. Mostly thanks to the way Anya is back to her S4 aggressiveness with him in S7. "Well it's my bone!" In character but really skeevy, and it assumes Anya has made no character growth whatsoever since S6. Again, it's that flatness in the writing of Anya in S7.

9) Option number 2 - for once in the damn series he's actually called out on his asshatery by Anya - something that I kind of wish Buffy had said to him several seasons earlier. Because it's absolutely true, every word of it. I don't see it as beyond the pale per se because I don't believe he'll actually do it; Xander is a lot of bluster, like when he said to Buffy in WSWB in S2 "If Willow dies, I'll kill you." And it is as lostboy pointed out "a fucking violent show"; going after a vampire who at one point nearly killed you and plotted against you with an axe is not beyond the realm of the everyday in SD, to be honest.

10) Already answered - Tara's closing monologuwe *more sobbing*

11) I think I gave it a 7? It's an episode I honestly haven't rewatched in a while, so I'm not sure I could rate it accurately.
mcjulie
May. 13th, 2014 02:49 pm (UTC)
he doesn't get to decide when her anger should "go away" - ie, when he wants it to

He pulled the same thing on Willow, in the S4 episode Something Blue. He wanted her to be over the Oz breakup and got downright petulant that she wasn't. Oh, and Dead Man's Party -- same deal. He wants Buffy to be over Angel, like, now, and has zero patience when she's not.

And isn't that Willow's problem too? She tried messing with the memories of both Tara and Buffy because she wanted things to go back to normal instantly.
red_satin_doll
May. 13th, 2014 04:29 pm (UTC)
He pulled the same thing on Willow, in the S4 episode Something Blue. He wanted her to be over the Oz breakup and got downright petulant that she wasn't. Oh, and Dead Man's Party -- same deal. He wants Buffy to be over Angel, like, now, and has zero patience when she's not.

And isn't that Willow's problem too? She tried messing with the memories of both Tara and Buffy because she wanted things to go back to normal instantly.


kwritten has talked a lot about the possessiveness of the SG in general, and she's not wrong; but it's true of a LOT of the characters. Folks in the Buffyverse have a HUGE problem with other people's free will in general. Xander, Willow, Riley, the WC; Angel in S2 getting a declaration of love from Buffy before he'll tell her about Drusilla, then asking if she's still "his girl" in Chosen; Xander turning to Willow as a "consolation prize" in Prophecy Girl (which she thankfully puts a stop to, you go girl); Willow upset that Buffy wasn't there to talk to about her boyfriend issues the summer after Becoming.....and so forth.

Or the opposite, people giving themselves entirely to someone else, then regretting it later, or things not turning out as planned - Tara's "I am you know - yours"; Spike devoting himselves to his ladies while still trying to manipulate how things turn out (without seeming to actually do so if that makes sense?) Buffy shutting down or hiding rather than risk being open with her friends (because we all know how well that turned out the last time...)

We could spend all day making a list of every instance, the pattern is so ingrained.

She tried messing with the memories of both Tara and Buffy because she wanted things to go back to normal instantly.

Oh yeah - Willow has a boatload of motivations here, she's much more complex than Xander (sorry dude...) She wants peace, she wants everyone to be happy - genuinely but also for the sake of appearances, she wants power but isn't ready for the responsibility that comes with it (because the parental modeling just isn't there in her life), she wants to avoid other people's anger or blame; she's terrified of arguing because her parents didn't argue but she must have heard a lot of anger at Xander's house that was no doubt terrifying; and she argued with Tara before glory mindsucked her in TL, so the takeaway is that arguing is a bad, bad thing and should be avoided.

Edited at 2014-05-13 04:34 pm (UTC)
uly
May. 12th, 2014 11:33 pm (UTC)
3: I feel like you could have written the "Shhh.... I'm having a beautiful moment here." answer just for me!

10: I went with Dawn spelling out "w i s h" ('cause that was awesome) but I love a bunch of the Anya quotes.

Also, Spike and Anya getting together was great.
mcjulie
May. 13th, 2014 02:44 pm (UTC)
Anya's quotes were really hilarious this episode.
livejournal
May. 14th, 2014 08:12 pm (UTC)
Tuesday, May 13 - Wednesday, May 14
User oni_9 referenced to your post from Tuesday, May 13 - Wednesday, May 14 saying: [...] BTVS Episode Poll: 6.18 Entropy [...]
sophist
May. 15th, 2014 03:06 pm (UTC)
I interpreted Anya as seeking validation for her pain from Willow, Buffy, and Dawn. None of them really gave her what she wanted, but Spike (!) did. That's IMO at least part of why she hushed his wish at the end.

Looks like I rated the episode higher than anyone else. But geez, Anya is hilarious, her whole interaction with Spike is fantastic, and the ending is so wrong in so many ways, but so wonderful too.
mcjulie
May. 16th, 2014 04:14 pm (UTC)
I interpreted Anya as seeking validation for her pain from Willow, Buffy, and Dawn. None of them really gave her what she wanted, but Spike (!) did. That's IMO at least part of why she hushed his wish at the end.

Excellent point!
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