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Buffy Season Four


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#1

Scade

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Posted Dec 31, 2003 @ 7:23 PM

In order to continue the Buffy/Spike lovey dovey comedy routine through to the end of the episode, the writers had to explain away why Buffy and Spike didn't get it yet while everyone else did figure out what was going on.


I think that was because Willow's spell affected Giles and Xander on a more physical level. For Buffy and Spike, she altered their minds, so it might not have been possible for them to conceive their faux-love as wrong.

Edited by Scade, Dec 31, 2003 @ 7:28 PM.

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#2

emmanya

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Posted Dec 31, 2003 @ 7:26 PM

First three seasons didn't show it, but now she's getting extremely selfish - both with the Thanksgiving dinner, and then with her attitudes in Something Blue. Even under the spell, it was Buffy first, and everyone else's feelings second. And the EGO... "I must be immune 'cause I'm the Slayer..." wow.


I remember that scene well. However, I didn't think Buffy's comment was because of an inflated ego; it seemed more like a plot contrivance. At that point, Xander finally figured out that what was happening to them -- Giles' blindness, Xander's demon magnetism, and Buffy and Spike's infatuation with each other -- was due to Willow's spell. Xander explained it to everyone in the room, and everyone else finally got it as well. That is, except for Buffy and Spike.


I don't see it like that. The spell has affected Buffy differently to how it has affected Giles and Xander (and Anya). She is feeling something intense. She's in love with somebody. Think of how she (and Dawn and Anya and Willow) act in "Him" they refuse to believe that this is a spell. Dawn especially. Buffy can't com e to terms with the fact that what she is feeling isn't real. So her conclusion is that cos she is the slayer...Willow's spells have bounced of her. It's the most logical conclusion for her to make at that time...What else is she going to say..."Cos I'm Willow's best friend it means...". The slayer idea has magic and mystical conotations which mix in with spellmaking etc...So in my eyes - not ego-tastic. Just wait a few seasons...
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#3

jerry

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 6:34 AM

Anya's quaint little gesture to Xander, one of an Anya kind, for sure!

Cracks me up every time...like, I can't believe I just saw that on television.
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#4

DeeeDee

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 10:18 PM

One of the biggest missed opportunities for me was the invention & execution of the Initiative. The writers had a prime opportunity to truely grey-up the world especially in moving the show to college where perceptions & outlooks are almost always invariably shaken IMO.

But what happens is that they never fully explore the Initiative like they should. For instance Spike a soulless & remorseless killer is fitted with a behavioral modification chip. The chip keeps him from physically attacking & killing humans. Now while seeing all demons as bad or humans always good/demons always bad is faulty, is the operation faulty if it is to some extent protecting humanity? Is experimenting on some demons worth it if humanity is benifitted in the long run? Do Spike & other vampires, killers by nature, deserve to stay chipless & allowed to attack humanity? If Buffy is not able to cover all grounds as the Slayer is it or isn't it humanity's right to defend themselves? Is it wrong to "play God" to some degree if there are some beneficial side effects in the long run? And those are just some of the questions I asked when watching S4 and I still ask myself to this day in retrospect.

It also might've really been an asset to Riley (as a character) and given him some good conflict to have played off given his upbringing in Iowa (simple worldview), proceeding into his Initiative training and then encountering Buffy and her morality/perspective and she his IMO.

But instead what happens is that instead of playing with the morality & gray area the writers defaulted with Adam IMO. ME went back to black/white in having Buffy & the Scoobies fight the "evil" Intiative. I really felt like there was some very very intresting stuff to be mined there. All of the sudden the chip became "barbaric" or "wrong" because it's against Spike's "true nature". Like I said I thought there was some real potential for some meaty stuff with the Intiative IMO.
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#5

Pantokraterix

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 11:50 PM

Now while seeing all demons as bad or humans always good/demons always bad is faulty, is the operation faulty if it is to some extent protecting humanity? Is experimenting on some demons worth it if humanity is benifitted in the long run? Do Spike & other vampires, killers by nature, deserve to stay chipless & allowed to attack humanity? If Buffy is not able to cover all grounds as the Slayer is it or isn't it humanity's right to defend themselves? Is it wrong to "play God" to some degree if there are some beneficial side effects in the long run?


Initially, the scoobies did like the Initiative (which I sort of took as the "I" in Team, btw), they thought they would help. Buffy even joined. The problem was that it was the Initiative that had trouble with grey zones. They saw everything as a problem to be solved and didn't realize that there were grey zones. Take Oz for instance (don't you dare!) - to everyone in the Initiative except Riley, he's just a subterrestrial, but to us he's a real person with a werewolf problem. Imagine if they ever caught Angel? The inability of the Initiative to consider that anyone else might know what was up was the real problem. If they had operated under the assumption that they were not always right, they wouldn't have been so screwed by Adam.
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#6

DeeeDee

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 12:38 AM

I get and understand the points you're making, I'm just saying to me that the Initiative brought up a lot of questions and very debatable issues & areas that BtVS could've explored. I could also see B/W/X/G having four very different but all valid POV's about the Initiative & it's methods. For me the problem was in the execution more than anything. I would've expected a more introspective & in depth approach to the issues brought up in S4 especially since the show was shifting over into college life and everything.


The one thing that amazes me about S4 though is the amount of sparkling standalones (Pangs, Hush, SB, Fear Itself, etc) although the arc leaves a lot to be desired IMO. I'll always wonder if S4 could've/should've been treated/written as a season of standalone eps and ditched or severely downplayed the arc. That might have provided an interesting and different take & challenge unto itself....

Edited by DeeeDee, Jan 2, 2004 @ 12:44 AM.

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#7

Autodidact

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 8:16 AM

It gets worse when you think that S4 Buffy is S1 Angel, and before the big cages really started getting full, you had the nazi demon episode (of which nothing came but the death of Doyle, but still), where there's a real not-all-demons-are-evil tone and all. While it is proved later that all the Sunnydale demons were evil -- they participated in ADAM's evil plot, did they not -- in the midst, there's a point when you'd have to take an Initiative-as-Nazi take on it all.
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#8

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 9:15 AM

What I think ME really needed, was a scene or stretch where a sizable number of demons/non-humans fought alongside the scoobies. Not just Angel, Spike or Oz, and not because there was a personal relationship - but because there was some alliance of "non-destroy all humans" Demons looking to the Slayer & pals to help protect the world.
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#9

Lxndr

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 1:29 PM

Okay, some notes for the four episodes I missed:

1. The Initiative has somewhat grown on me, though I still wish it was more "fly-by-night" and less "government-sponsored." I'm glad Buffy's "I want to join them, whee, yay for my pager!" phase was only one episode long.

2. What's with Tara hiding that sparkly stuff Willow wanted to blow? Is she somewhat demonic and not wanting to let on? I didn't get that. Other than that, I'm enjoying her character. Not entirely sure why Willow is wanting to keep her very existence secret from the rest of the Scoobs, though.

3. Poor Riley. So in tune with black & white, and now suddenly everything's gray. Also, poor Giles, especially in "A New Man" where he was all stomped on by Buffy (both figuratively, and later literally, as a demon). They really need to find him something to do... and how much savings does he have anyway, to live without income for almost a year?

4. I'm concerned about their Spike-treatment too. I mean, yeah he can't hurt anyone, but he's evil, hates them, and even though he can't do the evil deeds directly, he can easily organize others to do the deed (which I noticed long before the Faith episode). Yet they'll still pull tracers out of him, shelter him, treat him as an ally, etc. Xander was right when he said: "We're dumb."

5. Wow. Riley's taken out a whole 17 hostiles, including captures! I'm impressed. Wasn't that the body count by episode four? At least Buffy's still keeping her track record of picking boyfriends who don't really have much in the way of facial expressions, except when they're out of their heads.

6. What's with the initiative guys all calling Maggie "Professor Walsh." Certainly if she's in charge of even Riley (who assumed control after her timely demise) then she's got some sort of official military rank. But using the title EVERY TIME THEY SPEAK HER NAME? Doesn't ring true.

7. How good is the rent on Xander's basement that it's better than moving out? And why the hell can't he hold down the same job for more than a single episode? He's a hard worker, as far as I can tell - pizza delivery, construction, selling energy bars... why won't they let him stabilize?

8. "Oh bugger, I thought you'd gone!" Ethan Rayne is now in the hands of the government, and I'm not entirely sure whether this is entirely a good thing. Watching Giles turn into a demon is interesting, but I'm surprised he didn't at least TRY writing stuff down for the purposes of communicating. I still think of him as Derek Rayne's less accomplished cousin.

9. If Spike has "no electricity" in his crypt (one of his reasons for not accepting Anya's gift of Xander's lamp) then why does he have a TV there in a later episode?

10. So I'm not sure if Maggie Walsh was just interested in Riley 'cause he was her experiment, or if she had some sort of weird attraction to him going on that made her incredibly jealous. Probably both. Either way, I can't believe she was going to lie about Buffy's death when she didn't confirm it. That's sloppy thinking. Too bad Adam killed her - to have her AND Adam as potential threats in the latter half of the season would've been more interesting than JUST Adam.

11. One thing I never got about tracking devices - even if you're being jammed NOW, you still have a fix on their LAST known position, no? On the other hand, their blasters are cool. By the way, who DIDN'T immediately guess that the vitamins were the reason behind Riley's physical condition?

12. Why the hell would the initiative possibly know the "demonic" name for a demon? "Polgara demon" my ass. They've shown an inability to even term a vampire a vampire, so why would they call the Polgara a Polgara?

13. I love Faith's dreams, especially the opening sequence one. The later ones weren't quite as interesting, but the one with Buffy and Faith in the Metaphor Apartment was wonderful.

14. Who the hell did that nurse call when Faith woke up? I saw the helicopter, but nothing more. No "team" in particular. Did FX cut out something that would prove to be rather interesting? Apparently so, since the "recap" points out that the people in Giles' home at the end of the episode exited the helicopter, which answers me "who the hell are they?" question. I guess it's something Watcher-related.

15. I'm willing to forgive any lack of muscle deterioration, etc., in Faith 'cause of the whole "supernatural" part of being a Slayer. But I'm not willing to forgive the notion that the hospital didn't have some sort of sensor hooked up to Faith's medical monitoring devices, and when she took them off the no-more-heartbeats alert wouldn't have gone off.

16. And finally, yay for body switching! I'll see how that actually works out on Monday.

(Btw, I am never, ever using bestbuy.com again. But this is not the appropriate place to tell that story.)
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#10

marlaas

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 1:33 PM

2. What's with Tara hiding that sparkly stuff Willow wanted to blow? Is she somewhat demonic and not wanting to let on? I didn't get that. Other than that, I'm enjoying her character. Not entirely sure why Willow is wanting to keep her very existence secret from the rest of the Scoobs, though.


I asked this same question upthread, and anopther poster told me that this mystery is explained in "The Family", an S5 episode. This really bugged me too, though---I wish it had been addressed earlier than S5!

16. And finally, yay for body switching! I'll see how that actually works out on Monday.


I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this---IMHO, the body switching results in one of the best S4 episodes, or maybe it's just that I was so glad to have Faith back, whether in her own body or in Buffy's!
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#11

HomeGoddess

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 1:49 PM

Ditto with the body switching love. SMG and ED do A+ jobs IMO. The scenes where SMG is playing Faith in Buffy's body are the first time that I ever thought Buffy was sexy. I didn't think SMG could play sexy, but that episode changed my mind big time. Lxndr (and anyone else who wants to chat), come on over to The Meet Market to tell your bestbuy.com story. And by the way, I've been enjoying your comments. After seeing every episode many, many times, it's a treat to get the views of someone watching the first time around.
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#12

valny

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 2:50 PM

At least Buffy's still keeping her track record of picking boyfriends who don't really have much in the way of facial expressions...

Ok, now that's pretty funny. Wait for Riley's "Cowboy Guy" in the last episode. He had some expression going there, for a little while anyway.

2. What's with Tara hiding that sparkly stuff Willow wanted to blow? Is she somewhat demonic and not wanting to let on?

Mwahahaha!

More body switching love here. I remember I couldn't wait to see that one and I wasn't disappointed. SMG's subtle and not-so-subtle Faith gestures where fun to watch. It's still hard for me to find Buffy qualities in ED's performance, probably only in that scene at Giles'. I think SMG had more to work with.
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#13

Autodidact

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 3:00 PM

6. What's with the initiative guys all calling Maggie "Professor Walsh." Certainly if she's in charge of even Riley (who assumed control after her timely demise) then she's got some sort of official military rank. But using the title EVERY TIME THEY SPEAK HER NAME? Doesn't ring true.


Not necessarily. She's probably running at a GS-15 or so, which is about the rank of colonel. Then again, that would assume that ME would have at least the level of military knowledge you'd get by watching war movies on Saturday afternoon when growing up, which I think is clear ME does not have. The only time rank is even mentioned so far, it has been either a "Major Tom" reference from Forrest or some "Captain" reference from Spike or Xander that is far closer to a superhero reference, pointing to Captain America, whose SuperSoldier serum the Initiative seems to be trying to regenerate.

14. Who the hell did that nurse call when Faith woke up? I saw the helicopter, but nothing more. No "team" in particular. Did FX cut out something that would prove to be rather interesting? Apparently so, since the "recap" points out that the people in Giles' home at the end of the episode exited the helicopter, which answers me "who the hell are they?" question. I guess it's something Watcher-related.


OK, did you see "This Year's Girl" and not "Who Are You"? All will be explained. And then, in a few months, you'll be on the Angel board and see the rest of the story.
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#14

HexLover

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 3:03 PM

Well in ED's defense she didn't have as many opportunities as SMG did to use Buffyisms.

Not entirely sure why Willow is wanting to keep her very existence secret from the rest of the Scoobs, though.


That always bugged me too and the only reason that I can come up with is that Willow wanted to keep Tara away from Scoobie related danger for as long as possible. I wish that we could have seen more of Willow and Tara just hanging out and not only doing the magicks.
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#15

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 3:22 PM

What's with the initiative guys all calling Maggie "Professor Walsh"?

The Initiative is supposed to be an undercover, "black ops" kind of outfit, and referring to Professor Walsh by her military title might blow everybody's cover. That's my fanwank, anyway.

And, oh yeah, the Scoobies do suffer a bit for letting Spike live toward the end of the season, though not in the way you seem to be anticipating, Lxndr. Spike doesn't so much organize anything as play head games with them in one of the season's better episodes. And, oops! I'm getting awfully close to spoiling you here, aren't I?
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#16

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 3:26 PM

and how much savings does he have anyway, to live without income for almost a year?


Well, without spoiling you for Season 5, I imagine quite a lot since he follows up his year of unemployment with two big purchases.

At least Buffy's still keeping her track record of picking boyfriends who don't really have much in the way of facial expressions


Hee.

I think that ED did a good job with SMG. The whole "you were inching" thing in Giles' apartment was very Buffyesque.
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#17

JonW81

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 5:36 PM

Yeah, but it sounded so affected. The Buffy Ear Tuck was also way too obvious. ED is great as Faith, but I don't think she's as versatile or talented an actress as SMG.
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#18

HexLover

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 5:36 PM

What is a "stevador" anyway?
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#19

Autodidact

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 5:55 PM

Pretty much a longshoreman.
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#20

shimi

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 6:00 PM

"stevedore"... isn't that a shipyard worker? Whatever it is, it does refer to a hot, sweaty labouring man.

Willow keeping Tara out of the Scoobs... she kind of explains this to Tara in an upcoming episode which leads to a sweet response from Tara ( or creepy, depending on your take on their relationship).
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#21

HexLover

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 6:31 PM

Creepy as in a whole "mistress of pain" way?
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#22

Perfect Xero

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 8:02 PM

Creepy in a, 'stalkers of America unite,' sort of way ... At least it was for me, the first time I saw it.

The thing about Willow not introducing Tara to the rest of her friends strikes me as Willow trying to keep all of the power in the relationship.
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#23

HexLover

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 8:41 PM

You know reading these discussions is seriously destroying my image of the Willow/Tara relationship as sincere and loving );=
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#24

Lxndr

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 10:08 PM

Maybe I'll head over to the Meet Market for the bestbuy.com story. But it's a long story, and I'll likely have to edit it down to meet the characters-per-posts requirements.

Autodidact: Yes, I've seen the first half of the mind-switching pair, with the other half coming in on monday. Btw, my TiVo did some weird sound-glitch thing, so the entire third act of that episode had the sound coming around a second before the actual things in the show. That was surreal.

Either way, I'm looking forward to the mindswitch episode. I've always loved mindswapping as a plot device.

Brahmsian: The military guys I hang out with often refer to others by JUST their last name, no rank at all. That wouldn't seem too out of place at a college. Even so, it doesn't explain them doing so within the white-washed walls of the Institute, unless there's some weird standing order to refer to her as "Professor Walsh" always.

I'm sad to hear the Scoobs only suffer "a bit" for letting Spike live. And the suffering the viewers have to put up with doesn't really make up for it.

Anyway, thanks for the replies. :)
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#25

EONdc

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 10:29 PM

The thing about Willow not introducing Tara to the rest of her friends strikes me as Willow trying to keep all of the power in the relationship.


I completely disagree, with all respect. I think it was all about fear. She was afraid that her friends would reject her, afraid of what she was feeling. I don't think power became a factor in their relationship until it had been going on for over a year or so.
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#26

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 11:30 PM

Lxndr, the first time through, I watched S4 waiting and hoping for "TYG" and "WAY?". I'm sorry about the sound glitch, though. I think you can guess what the deal is with the nurse though, considering 1) she made a call, which ended up with 2) people dressed in black leather (always iconographic in Buffy), who 3) show up at the ex-Watcher's apartment, where 4) he shows signs of recognizing them. I think you'll enjoy the episode. BTW, it'll be on again Monday morning, I think, if you want to chance a better dub.

Last time I went through, FX did a good job in keeping the two-parters together. Too bad.
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#27

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Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 11:44 PM

I can buy that there might've been some fear of judgment involved, but it's not like she was coming out to them by just introducing them to Tara. The idea that she wants to, 'keep Tara to herself,' makes me think that Willow liked that Tara was socially inept and focused completely on Willow, and she wanted to keep her that way.
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#28

Pantokraterix

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 1:45 AM

I can buy that there might've been some fear of judgment involved, but it's not like she was coming out to them by just introducing them to Tara.


Yeah, but then there's the whole "your friends know me but don't know what's going on with us" thing, which happened anyhow for a few episodes. I sort of felt that Willow was going through a big change and wanted to be sure of herself and her feelings before telling her friends. Introducing Tara starts the big reveal. She had to deal with both how she felt and how she thought they might feel. It's a hard transition to make. It's not just introducing a new friend, it's leading them down the path to looking at you differently. This is one of Willow's big fears, that she's really different from what people think. She hates being considered reliable, but I think that she secretly thrives on it. The whole Tara thing changes that. She has to change her perspective about herself, and her friends have to change theirs.

And I believe "stevedore" could possibly be in reference to Giles' stamina. Sorry about that, try not to think about it. Or do!
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#29

HexLover

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 7:40 AM

Well said Pantokraterix! Ans thanks everyone for the definitions.
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#30

Tanker

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 9:21 AM

Someone on the Usenet group back in the day pointed out that a stevedore is someone who is experienced in fitting big cargos into tight holds. Make of that what you will.
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