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05 April 2003 @ 04:29 pm
Vampire Starfish and LMPTM  
Herself and I were talking about vampires and amputation the other day. (Of course you were, Anna.) Our positions can be summed up thusly: Herself--AmpuYay! Anna--AmpuNo! Not in a kink way, of course, but in a consequences way. (And yet see me run away from her and hide.) So here are some of my thoughts on that, and I'm gonna make her post her own here if she wants to refute me. {g}

Re Spike's scar, I said: Yeah, [it's odd that he has it] though I've always thought that since he got that from a slayer's sword, the weapon might have been specially blessed or something. I used to like to think the scar was in the shape of a cross, which might explain it also, but I'm not sure that it is. I haven't studied it for a while and don't know where I got that idea. I wrote a snippet--posted it recently--where Giles tells Spike that holy scars are psychosomatic. Then again, you know, Spike might simply have been so proud of a scar left by a slayer--might have wanted to be able to point to it in bars and brag about where he got it--that he had Dru carve it fresh again and again until eventually it stopped regenerating.

Re: canon and regeneration for vampires. (Herself: Do I remember something about a vampire girl being a virgin every night, or is that from fanfic?)

That's gotta be fanfic. Heh. Well--I could be wrong. It's not from Buffy, but I suppose it could be something from Angel I don't recall. There's not much in canon about regeneration, except for Spike in the wheelchair. And really, if a *spine* can regenerate, there's no reason not to think a limb could. It'd probably be very slow, though, which still lets you have your limping Spike for a long while--would also be facilitated by regular feeding (so that if he didn't feed well, it might never grow back), which of course helps explain why there'd be so little evidence of amputee vamps--most of them wouldn't have anyone who cared enough to hunt for them and would be killed as useless, or caught, or starve into a husk, or get knocked off by demons, or whatever.

Moving on.

And now, finally, my few, scattered thoughts on LMPTM, because I actually did make notes and was just too lazy to post. I was a bit feverish, so the tone of breathless excitement in the following bits dates back to that night. {g}



My immediate post-game analysis:

Am I the only one who is just...guhhhhhhh. I just want someone to lean against, prop me up for a while as the adrenaline rush wears off. I'm almost literally shaky. I'm kinda turned on. Testimony to writing and acting and some-ineffable-wonderful-effulgent-thing, let me tell you, because that wig, man, could have killed a blind girl's love.

On the ending:

That was so amazing, that they allowed that. I guess we can be damn sure now that Giles isn't an agent of the first, if we were still in doubt. (Though, still--if this is the extent of his ambiguity arc, I am falling into the "lamest attempt at a fake-out *ever*" camp.) And, hello, Jossed *again*, this time by, well, Joss, because--is it terribly tacky to get excited and yappy when one's plotlines parallel canon? nah, screw it--because I was going to do the exact same freaking thing with the noir, eventually, and am only saying so now because I pretty much abandoned the idea a while back. But Giles and Angel were both going to end up in Sunnydale, and conspire with Xander to kill Spike--they plot together and then corner him in an underground cave off the Initiative, and when Buffy finds out she flips her lid and rips the three of them a new one, putting herself in front of Spike to protect him in one of those bursts of Buffy loyalty and fierce love that can leave us all breathless once in a while.

But fuck. I prefer having someone else write for me and push my buttons--especially when it's Mutant Enemy and they film it for me too.

Buffy! She didn't *need* to declare her love in so many words, because it was so fucking there. We're going back to the beginning indeed--she acts with Spike now just the way she used to with Angel and doesn't even realize it. I'm not sure anyone else quite gets it either. Giles, for instance, sees the emotion, but doesn't see its depth; but he also sees *only* the emotion and doesn't see that she has maturity now and would in fact sacrifice Spike if she had to, along with anyone else, e.g., Dawn. She's amazing. I can't believe Giles underestimated her. She's already a fucking general. I guess he was the one who learned that lesson.

And Spike...man, is he fucking perfect for her or *what*? The beauty of those last several conversations--Spike talking to Wood, Spike to Buffy, Buffy to Wood. It was just...utterly perfect. I can't even put into words how much it hit home, hit this nail right into my nerves. I mean, there's this whole type of story, this gestalt of characters and situation--it's one hundred percent pure kink mainlined in to the vein. The story has to have imprinted on me deeply at some point because I recognize it: the battle is nearing, the hero is gearing up, and her lieutenant is this dark antihero despised by everyone, recognized as necessary and valuable only by the hero herself--he's the demon on a leash ("our strongest warrior") and he tolerates the abuse of her people until one day he snaps and comes into his own and says no more of this shit, and instead of turning on him, the hero backs him up. God. That whole thing where he'd kill Wood, and she'd *let* him--that's so fucking sexy it gives me chills. It doesn't matter that she would hate him if he did; you don't have to think about that, because it's not that Spike would kill. It's the *license* she gives him, her own personal demon, to stride about freely and to defend himself--with that free will he was talking about. It's all about actualization. Which is a dry term, but describes what happened tonight perfectly.

God. Apparently I am capable of blithering at length. Trying to describe all the stuff in my head about what I just watched I feel eroticized with words.

On the nature of demons:

It's interesting that you used Holden as an example that gives lie to the party line [no true vestige of the personality remains], given that Spike sired him. One might find that particularly interesting after last night. Maybe there *is* something special about the boy. Have we ever seen anyone else that Spike has sired other than the staggeringly well-actualized Holden?

And here's a question: what the fuck? Why Sleeper? Why make Holden? Why the trigger? There is still no real point to that significant chunk of Spike's S7 arc, in my mind. In fact, it hasn't stopped bugging me how little sense that ep makes, taken for what it is so far--all of it, about having Spike kill again so soon after resoulment. Last night helped clarify things a bit in my mind, as I realized that they'd had him kill under the FE's sway while enchipped so that taking the chip out would be a lesser decision for Buffy to make--i.e., what difference does the chip even make when he can *already* kill by whim of the FE? Might as well go, since it's killing him. Still, the point of it all remains nebulous and I think that there's got to be a whole slew of revelations to come beyond what we got last night--about what his role was supposed to be for the FE, maybe even about vampire nature, and his in particular.

Other things I jotted that night but never got around to collecting into a post:

Who are Buffy's truest fans?

  • Those who want a spin-off *now goddamn it, now*!
  • Those who have learned from the X-Files and are crossing themselves and praying there will never be a spin-off, and do we really want to see Spike age any further anyway?
  • Those who have learned from the X-Files and are crossing themselves and praying there will never be a spin-off, but who fucking know they'd be there every Tuesday *anyway* until the bitter, bewigged end.

    That was not decaf TV. I am wound UP.

    Giles stalls Buffy the way Angel stalled her back in S2. Funny she still falls for that--this time because she trusted him. Giles has "turned," however, the way Angel turned to Angelus, and though she's long past losing her innocence, she she will lose something else because of this. So, Giles is Angel; Robin Wood is Dru; and Spike is in the role of Kendra. The swapping out of Robin and Spike is fascinating, given that Spike takes the place of a black slayer, while Robin takes Dru's place as deliberate killer. Spike does have more of an affinity with Nikki even now than Robin ever would have had.

    Poor Robin--if his mother hadn't died, if she'd stayed around for another ten years or so--he'd have grown up to be one fucked-up son of a bitch, I think. I bet he'd have rebelled against her at some point. Like a preacher's son, he might have sought to be the antithesis of everything his mother stood for, repudiated the mission and acted out all the terrors of a teenager, but to the tenth power. Might even have succeeded so well in being bad that he sought out the company of vampires, gotten in over his head, and eventually gotten himself turned. Instead, grief fired him up, tempered him and made him a hero, albeit a vengeful one.

    I thought it was amazing that they worked so many dramatic strands together into the conflict, one of which had to do with slayer nature, about how the mission comes first, above everything and everyone else. And they cut no slack--Nikki wasn't what most of us would want in a mom, but Robin was way too young to really get that, and he can't extrapolate now to what his life would have been like.

    Giles: I was really afraid that Giles was just going to trick Buffy outright until it was too late, and that perhaps he would play it so that she never found out his involvement. Instead, he used the time to try and prepare her for what was going to happen; he made his culpability very clear. I imagine people are incensed at what he did, but we know that the capacity for ruthlessness is there--it's not just "Helpless" we should look to of course, but "The Gift." It could be a huge rift between Buffy and Giles; it's also possible that in time she'll acknowledge that he was trying to do what he thought was right, in the same way that Robin *had* to try and fulfill his own drive for vengeance against what killed his mother. I mean, the lesson Giles was trying to impart was exactly what Buffy already knew, so their philosophies are aligned--it's just that Giles chose the wrong end to demonstrate his means.

    [And there ends my incoherently organized blather, for what it's worth.]




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    in search of a clever byline: flannel10zlaine on April 5th, 2003 04:48 pm (UTC)
    You know, I seem to recall a something or other about regenerated hymen--and I don't think it was *not* fanfic, and I'm not a multi fandom reader of the fanfic in general.

    Now, for the complete regeneration? Well, I guess the argument could be made that in the smashed spine, those broken bits are still there to mend, whereas in an amputation, that part is gone.
    Dreagodreago on April 5th, 2003 04:51 pm (UTC)
    Those who have learned from the X-Files and are crossing themselves and praying there will never be a spin-off, but who fucking know they'd be there every Tuesday *anyway* until the bitter, bewigged end.

    *sob* That's me. There I said it. I'm fucking doomed. X-files popped my fandom cherry and the trauma of that relationship has fucked with my head permanently. I once posted a break up letter to the x-files. This is probably the reason I am watching and posting about Angel the Series. A show that has its moments but in general is one mindboggling confusing soap opera. I feel like it's a show with potential, but it never gets actualized. I have a horrible feeling that another spin-off would be the same way.

    Potential is a horrible thing to waste. Please God/Joss, just tie the mythologies together and give us some closure in a nice two hour ending. Or possibly, maybe, leave openings for small mini-series like movies throughout the year...like what they are doing for Farscape.
    Herself_nycherself_nyc on April 5th, 2003 04:52 pm (UTC)
    That's my feeling--gone is gone. Humanoids are not starfish. I had no trouble with his spine healing, because yes, it was still there, and we know that vamps have great powers of healing. But there's got to be a limit (it seems to me.)

    BTW, I don't have an amputation kink or anything. I just get these ideas and then I need to play with them. But: icky.

    And in the lawless jungle of the Night, no vampire, once disabled like that, is going to survive, unless he's got a support system, like Spike had when he spent those weeks in the wheelchair. Otherwise, he's not going to last a day.
    Anna S.eliade on April 5th, 2003 05:00 pm (UTC)
    BTW, I don't have an amputation kink or anything.

    No, I know! See, this is what happens when I'm trilling too terribly off-the-cuff. {g} I just meant that you were in favor of amputation having consequences, whereas I am all for the magic, baby. But you are much more aligned with realism, I think, in your writing (than I am in mine).

    Re regeneration--on a cellular level, isn't it potentially all the same thing? Like, if cells can knit themselves up, can't they knit a new trouser leg from what was a ragged hem? I mean, magically speaking. It just makes sense to me.

    I'm just a big wuss, is what it comes down to. I don't like to think of Spike ever being that helpless and that permanently wounded.
    (no subject) - 10zlaine on April 5th, 2003 05:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - herself_nyc on April 5th, 2003 05:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - eliade on April 5th, 2003 05:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - herself_nyc on April 5th, 2003 06:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - peasant_ on April 6th, 2003 04:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
    Melycoffeeandink on April 5th, 2003 04:54 pm (UTC)
    Wow. I expected us to interpret things differently, but not *that* differently. That's interesting.

    I'm still back at "Conversations with Dead People," need to write up that. But basically--no, I don't get love from Buffy. I'm actually kind of terrified (and moved, and terrified, this show does that to me) that we're a good ways toward Wishverse Buffy, Buffy so cold and cut off from everyone, running so hard from the desperation of "The Gift" that she's ended up in the opposite worst place, willing to give up Dawn and love and life and everything. That ending, sitting on Dawn's bed, brushing back her hair: She still loves her sister. But she's decided it doesn't mean enough. And maybe that's the rationale behind the Giles characterization, they are both actually in the same exact place, nothing means as much as the mission, including the children they've grown to love (Dawn for Buffy, Buffy for Giles).

    And I think this is a terrible tragedy. Everything in the show has set it up as that. Buffy-as-general is the Buffy who's renounced all the attachments that made her special as a Slayer, and I think that's going to play into the First's hands.

    Re: Spike on Nikki: see, my immediate reaction was that Spike didn't know what he was talking about, and my current reaction is the same one. It's a typical Spike comment, in that (a) hits unerringly at his opponent's major emotional weakness; and (b) is *total projection*. Spike doesn't know enough about Nikki and Robin to know whether the mission was more important than Wee Robin; he does know that the mission is more important to Buffy than Spike is, and it hurts like hell.
    Sophia: james(fannish)sophia_helix on April 5th, 2003 05:43 pm (UTC)
    How to say "ITA" without actually saying it?

    I

    don't see love either. I used to back when it was early S6 and I had just started watching the show, but now I just see ... a sort of leftover feeling that Buffy views as part compassion and part weakness. She feels tenderness towards him because of lingering intimacy, and because of what he's going through right now, but she also knows that it's problematic for her to feel that way, and that it could be a problem (though I think she's in denial about that). I see alliance, and understanding, but it doesn't feel like her first choice to me.

    Totally

    with you on it being a tragedy that things have come to this sad pass. But is it a planned tragedy which will eventually end in a redemption that brings us back to the happy place of the early seasons, or is it an experience in dark fiction that's gone awry?

    Agree

    with you that Spike at the end was wrong wrong wrong, and it turns my stomach to think that the show seemed to back up his version of the truth. I think all of the conclusions that scene came to (Spike shouldn't apologize, Spike's mom loved him, Wood's mom had other choices, Spike is better than Wood) were completely off the mark, and I doubt they'll be altered. Grr.

    .m, sneaky

    Sophia: pas de dork (goofy)sophia_helix on April 5th, 2003 05:44 pm (UTC)
    Er, that should be "an experiment in dark fiction," obviously.

    .m, careless
    (no subject) - coffeeandink on April 8th, 2003 12:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    Anna S.eliade on April 5th, 2003 06:06 pm (UTC)
    Re: Spike on Nikki: see, my immediate reaction was that Spike didn't know what he was talking about, and my current reaction is the same one.

    Huh. I agree that it's quite possible that Spike would project and lash out--and I think that his whole "my mother loved me" think is all about what *he* wishes were true. He may be right, he may be wrong. Or half wrong, if his vamp-mom was mixing the worst of both demon and host.

    But when it comes to slayers and the mission and all that jazz, I think he was right. Oh, not about his mother being in the game, and so it was okay to kill her--that's bull, though I do love that he feels no remorse for it, as I think that's more in character for him right now.

    [tangent] Still waiting for him to show more explicit remorse over other deaths he's caused, though--but who knows when that will come? If Angel can wail and beat his chest, and then kill for a few more years before the guilt kicks in hard enough to send him to an all-rat diet, then Spike's own journey could consist of many hills and dales before it evens out. [/tangent]

    But back to slayers and the mission--I think he was on the mark. I think that what we saw of Nikki was evidence of that, and that he totally *gets* Buffy as few other people do.

    I'm not saying it's healthy-happy-puppies. It's dark and twisty and different. But they're on the same wavelength.

    It's interesting to me how people differ on Buffy and the concept of sacrifice--Kat, for instance (iirc--Kat?), has mentioned before how ticked she was by Buffy's willingness to sacrifice the fate of the universe for one person, Dawn. There's pretty obviously a viewer schism over "the needs of the many, needs of the few" concept. I tend to fall on the side of General Buffy, because I think that's the more realistic and mature realization to reach, even if it does make her harder, even if does have tragic potential. I mean, we've seen the pure power of love triumph and save the universe--but that just doesn't always work. It wouldn't be unreasonable if this season's lesson was about war and sacrifice.
    (no subject) - eliade on April 5th, 2003 06:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - swsa on April 5th, 2003 08:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - eliade on April 5th, 2003 09:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    This is the way I pray: Badass.zyre on April 5th, 2003 05:22 pm (UTC)
    Erm. Fork!Guy, from season one had a forky hand deal instead of a hand, which leads me to believe that external wounds can heal while amputations probably can't.

    Also, in In The Dark, when Angel is being tortured by the Mozart fan, the fellow looks Angel's torso over and says "There is so little damage," which sort of goes along with that - some wounds must be bad enough to stick. :)

    2.5 cents, there. (Erm, also! a random aside, here, but you may be interested in checking out btvsangel_canon. There is a webpage slightly affiliated with it, also, let me see if I can find it...here you go.) :)
    Anna S.eliade on April 5th, 2003 05:28 pm (UTC)
    Erm. Fork!Guy, from season one had a forky hand deal instead of a hand, which leads me to believe that external wounds can heal while amputations probably can't.

    Oh yeah--fork guy. I wonder if anyone remembers what ep that is.

    There is a webpage slightly affiliated with it, also, let me see if I can find it...here you go.) :)

    Yes! Great page. I'd seen that before, but it's been a while. I should bookmark it.
    (no subject) - carta on April 5th, 2003 05:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - runpunkrun on April 5th, 2003 05:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    Re: - zyre on April 5th, 2003 11:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    Re: - zyre on April 5th, 2003 11:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    Estepheiaestepheia on April 6th, 2003 01:25 am (UTC)
    zyre beat me to mentioning the Angel epi in which the torturer Marcus comments on the few scars on Angel's body.
    In my own twisted little universe vampire bodies scar very faintly. Amputated body parts would not regenerate, but I see no reason why a vamp couldn't be patchworked, i.e. have other dead body parts sewn on. Ewww.

    As for LMPTM - Spike's comments on Nikki loving Robin or not, I believe those words are supposed to be accepted at face value. Spike is an authority on one thing: slayers and how to kill them. If Nikki had truly loved her son from the depth of her heart she would have killed Spike. According to FFL he was able to kill her because she wanted to die, because her ties to the world were not strong enough. Nikki probably loved Robin, but not enough to fuel her wish to live. She was probably overwhelmed by the demands of family and duty and by the everpresent miasma of death that is part of the life as a Slayer.

    I agree with you Anna, that Giles chose a very open way of betraying Buffy, telling her his reasons while distracting her from his hidden purpose. So, there should be a possibility of reconciliation.

    I too think that at the end of the show we will see love conquer all, and not military planning.

    I also think that Buffy loves Spike but would sacrifice him without hesitation - not as a precaution or pre-emptively, like Giles would, but in a real emergency that requires such a sacrifice. Spike knows that and accepts it.
    He may have complained about her martyr complex but ultimately IMHO he is drawn to that part of her that is able to make that sacrifice. Sometimes I think he admires her as a shiny sharp weapon.

    Other vamps Spike has sired: the black girl in Sleeper, maybe Sheila in School Hard (although it's possible that was Dru). He also sired Billy Fordham. I always thought the bookish vamp who's name I've forgotten was sired by Spike, although there's no evidence to support that fond belief.

    The reason for "Sleeper" is quite simple. Spike's S7 story line is a re-telling of the Pinocchio story. The trigger episodes cover the whole Stromboli part of the story. The storyline starts the moment when Spike gets his Jimini Cricket, i.e. his conscience/Soul. The story arc is pretty isolated from previous seasons. I am not sure what Buffy's story is. I'm certain there is some kind of storyline at her core. Joan of Arc's? After all, it starts off with prophetic dreams.

    It is quite possible that S7 is a mix of three storyline strands being intertwined: Pinnochio, Joan of Arc and a fast-forward retelling of earlier seasons. Just my two cents.
    Hepcatnwhepcat on April 6th, 2003 09:55 am (UTC)
    I have read Pinocchio a bunch of times; it's one of my alltime favorite childhood books, and I've done some writing about him as a grownup. One thing I always love to point out about the book (so much darker and scarier and sadder than the Disney) is when he got sick of being yapped at by his conscience, he got a hammer and squashed that cricket flat.
    (no subject) - nwhepcat on April 6th, 2003 09:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
    Anna S.eliade on April 6th, 2003 10:08 am (UTC)
    The reason for "Sleeper" is quite simple. Spike's S7 story line is a re-telling of the Pinocchio story.

    Oh, wow. You are smart! I went and read some of the original story and there are some fascinating parallels.

    But is the song trigger = cricket conscience? I am not sure I can make that work in my head. I guess it kind of does, if it brought memories of his mother, which were eating him up more than anything else. But how does having the FE drive him to kill play in? Especially via the trigger itself? Confusing...perhaps the analogy just doesn't hold up that closely.
    (no subject) - estepheia on April 6th, 2003 01:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    Melycoffeeandink on April 6th, 2003 01:14 pm (UTC)
    As for LMPTM - Spike's comments on Nikki loving Robin or not, I believe those words are supposed to be accepted at face value. Spike is an authority on one thing: slayers and how to kill them. If Nikki had truly loved her son from the depth of her heart she would have killed Spike. According to FFL he was able to kill her because she wanted to die, because her ties to the world were not strong enough. Nikki probably loved Robin, but not enough to fuel her wish to live. She was probably overwhelmed by the demands of family and duty and by the everpresent miasma of death that is part of the life as a Slayer.

    But I don't think you *can* use FFL to support the view of Nikki's death in LMPTM, because they both suffer from the same narrative unreliability: in both cases, we get Spike's interpretation of why he could beat Slayers, and in both cases he argues that the Slayer just didn't fight hard enough. If he argues that Nikki lost because she gave up, because her will to win was less than Spike's, than he's triumphed because of his own innate qualities. If he keeps to the argument he made elsewhere in FFL ("All it takes is one good day"), then it lessens his emotional/psychological accomplishment. He could argue that he was physically stronger than she was, but that's not a form of machismo that would serve him in FFL, when his physical strength is restrained. He needs to prove to himself and to Buffy that he's still *emotionally* the bigger animal, the one with the stronger life force, and all his arguments and recollections are shaped towards that end.

    What I dislike most about the argument that Spike won because Nikki gave in is that it seems to me to be blaming the victim--and yes, it does bring out all those sorts of real world associations for me. In the real world, when women get raped, abused, or killed, it is rather more often because the perpertrators are physically stronger than they are--not because the women didn't love their lives enough.
    (no subject) - estepheia on April 6th, 2003 01:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - coffeeandink on April 6th, 2003 03:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    Hepcatnwhepcat on April 6th, 2003 09:52 am (UTC)
    Giles: I was really afraid that Giles was just going to trick Buffy outright until it was too late, and that perhaps he would play it so that she never found out his involvement. Instead, he used the time to try and prepare her for what was going to happen; he made his culpability very clear.

    This is a wonderful insight, one that had passed me by the two times I watched. Giles always must be Buffy's Watcher, always prepare her for what is to come, even if that ends up taking her away from him. Even though I have a real fear about what's coming between them, this makes me love him ever more.