Buffy 7×19: Empty Places

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Drew Z. Greenberg | Director: James A. Contner | Aired: 04/29/2003]

With only four episodes left in the entire series, I have to express my disappointment that an episode as troubled as what we have here exists. At a point when the series should be burning brightly in one final burst, what we instead have is a candle flickering wildly with a wind that keeps threatening to blow it out. “Empty Places” isn’t a disaster, but it’s an unfortunately problematic episode that culminates in an awkward sequence in which there’s a rare display of out-of-character behavior at a critical moment. This sequence is so surprising because the episode gets so much of the character material correct earlier on, which suggests to me that perhaps several writers had their hands in this script, despite Drew Z. Greenberg getting the credit for it.

The theme of “Empty Places” is, expectedly, tied to the title. This is represented in several different ways, from the literal meaning of everyone leaving town and the high school being empty to the more emotional meaning of how Xander’s injury is impacting the heart and spirit of the group to Buffy being kicked out of her house and left all alone again, linking us back with the slayer issues explored in “Conversations with Dead People” [7×07]. To the episode’s credit, there’s a handful of effective character scenes that are actually quite affecting. So without further ado, I’ll just jump into it!

The scene with Xander in the hospital is suitably touching. Even with what happened, Xander is still admirably cracking jokes. Willow’s breakdown, although expected, was moving nonetheless thanks to the wonderful Alyson Hannigan, who sadly hasn’t had much to do since earlier in the season. I feel pretty awful for Xander, and have to admit that Buffy seems a little cold to him. But we soon find out that she’s just concealing her pain, because “The mission is what matters,” not spending buddy time with a hurt Xander. Buffy is staying focused on the ultimate goal of defeating the First. So, while a little difficult to see in the hospital scene, Buffy’s muted, yet present, reaction to Xander’s injury is very much in line with the themes and development of the season.

With that said, I really appreciated the scene where Dawn tries hard to pry information out of Buffy over Xander’s state. Buffy just keeps her head down and Faith can see that Buffy is distressed about it and wisely hints that Dawn move onto another subject. Buffy simply softly responds “okay.” In this brief moment and the subsequent scene — Buffy looking at an old photo of her, Willow, and Xander together — it’s increasingly obvious that Buffy’s working really hard to hold back her pain over what happened to Xander. It’s nice to see Buffy’s care for her friends reinforced amidst a season where she’s had to put aside her personal feelings to lead a group of girls into battle.

The ‘education’ scene with Anya and Andrew, while somewhat humorous, is also kind of stupid. Anya oddly assumes the Potentials are super strong. I think she would be briefed well enough on what’s going on to know that the Potentials are not super strong and that even Buffy herself didn’t push hard enough on the ubervamp in “Bring on the Night” [7×10] to actually dust it. Amanda then says that apparently “nothing” will help in fighting Caleb. What!? I know they all got beat down pretty hard in “Dirty Girls” [7×18], but come on, they have in no way tried everything! Their attack strategy against Caleb was essentially Buffy’s usual ‘brute force’ method, and that really didn’t work out very well. There are other strategies to try. These comments and reactions don’t feel realistic to me and sadly show cracks of sloppy writing on the wall.

At the school, Buffy has another encounter with Caleb. I find myself a little confused as to the point of this scene. We know Caleb’s exceedingly strong, and we already know he’s a misogynistic crazy person who uses religion only as his costume, completely ignoring its values. So we gain exactly what by seeing him knock Buffy unconcious again? Caleb is already becoming a one-note villain, and he sadly stays that way.

Poor Nathan Fillion gets stuck with an uninteresting character, although I give him props for playing Caleb creepy to the max. In “Dirty Girls” [7×18] he was new enough to be intruiging, but now we’ve already seen that there’s nothing more to him, and that’s a real shame. This is furthered by the scene where he talks to the First in what’s an annoying case of the evil villains spouting off their plans to the viewers. Ugh! Scenes like this make me dearly miss the colorful villains of times past, from Angelus to the Mayor to Glory to even Warren. Warren was a misogynist yet was also a more complex character with some real issues and development underlying his madness.

Buffy and Giles have a rare quiet moment to catch up with each other when she returns from the school. Although Buffy has due cause to be a little peeved at Giles’ actions a couple episodes ago and to be cautious surrounding his decisions regarding Spike, her comment about Spike being the only one watching her back is truly uncalled for. I know she’s tired, I know she’s frustrated, but to slap all her allies in the face with a comment like that isn’t fair. Note that I’m not saying she was out of character, but rather just that she behaved poorly. It’s also intruiging to note how Buffy and Giles’ roles are somewhat reversed at the end of the scene, with Giles taking the position that the girls needed to let loose a little bit and Buffy being the one who thinks it’s unacceptable in a time of crisis. Oh the delicious irony.

The scene at the Bronze, with many of the girls getting drunk and then fighting some hellmouth-infused cops, is a little excessive (pun most definitely intended). I understand blowing off a little steam, but it seems to me the only reason why this scene existed was because the plot gods wanted it to happen, thereby giving Buffy a valid excuse to be peeved at the girls (and Faith) thereby setting up the troubled scene at the end of the episode. The plotting here was far too transparent to even have a remote chance at succeeding.

One good thing to come of that scene, though, is the resulting discussion between Buffy and Faith. Buffy is overly aggressive and not remotely in the mood to listen to what actually happened, but Faith is also unfair trying to use what happened at the vinyard — a plan Faith supported — as an argument against Buffy. Buffy smacks Faith down, and in a new display of behavior from Faith (on BtVS that is), we see her not retaliate. This not only shows the growth of Faith as an individual, but also the self-awareness that she stepped over the line with her comment and kind of deserved it. As Faith tells Wood later, she didn’t hit back because “other things matter more.” This is a wonderful continuation of Faith’s multi-series arc.

Ah, and then there’s the revolt scene. Buffy explains a plan to the entire group which requires a return to the vinyard. First of all, Buffy’s logic makes sense to me but she’s got absolutely no proof — something Faith and Giles correctly point out. It’s all conjecture, and you can’t go running back into Caleb’s lair with just conjecture. So the extremely unenthusiastic response from everyone is completely justified. Buffy loses further ground with defensiveness around this very risky plan and then throwing the Spike card out there once again. Besides Giles and Wood, I don’t understand why Buffy thinks anyone is trying to work behind her back or undermine her authority. I’m quite baffled by why she continues to think that only Spike has her back in this episode. With all this said, the group — especially Giles — did throw this leadership role onto Buffy, telling her ‘it’s all up to you now’ back in “Never Leave Me” [7×09]. It’s not entirely fair to throw this burden of leadership onto her only to swipe it away from under her feet when things get rough.

The major thing that bugs me about this scene, though, is how Willow and Xander in particular are so quick to claim that Buffy’s judgement is impaired without even trying to quickly pull Buffy aside, maybe outside the house, and have a more personal chit-chat about what’s going on. It felt very unnatural to me to have all of these final decisions and judgements made so abruptly (on all sides) without anyone even attempting to suggest taking a step back and really talk it out. Well, anyone besides Faith. Good on her for suggesting a little breather and not at all intending to take over Buffy’s leadership role. I actually found it to be fairly touching when Buffy, tearfully, hands the reins over to Faith without the slightest hint of anger or jealousy — just sadness and concern over what all her previous work might end up leading to.

Anya even throws herself into the mix, having a little fit about Buffy not necessarily deserving her leadership title. This just shows how little she understands the nature of the Slayer and all it entails. What she says to Buffy has got to be painful for Buffy to hear because it’s so, so untrue. Buffy’s in no way ‘lucky’ being chosen to be the Slayer, which is something she’s verbalized on countless occasions. Being the Slayer has a few neat benefits and a whole lot of huge drawbacks!

It sits with me just fine that the Potentials would revolt against Buffy and even choose Faith over her, but for Willow and Xander (and to a lesser extent Dawn) to do it is out-of-character and a little absurd. Trusting Faith to lead over Buffy!? The same Faith who almost killed Xander with her bare hands and put a knife to Willow’s throat in S3? I know Faith’s changed, but that change has occurred on Angel and hasn’t been personally witnessed by anyone on this side of the network pond. Sure Willow saw Faith help Angel a bit, but that’s hardly a reason to so quickly call Buffy’s judgement impaired and put her stock in Faith. Wow. I’m not used to seeing such blatantly poor characterization on this show, but here it is! If you’re wondering why the score is as low as it is, thank this scene. Thankfully the character problems are largely isolated to this episode.

To sum all this up, I suppose the end result is that “Empty Places” simply fails to come together. Between the barebone plot, schizophrenic character writing, and overall sloppy feel, this is quite the troubled episode — more so due to its proximity to the final episode of the series. Thankfully it’s not all bad though, and a number of quality character scenes and discussions keep the episode relevant beyond the basic plot points. It’s a mixed bag, but one that manages to just have enough merit for it to remain afloat.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Buffy’s reaction when Clem says that he thinks no one can stop what’s happening. It’s all in SMG’s eyes. Insta-chuckle for me.
+ The concept of the Hellmouth’s energy causing the cops to go overboard with their sense of “justice.”
+ Andrew’s drawings of Anya’s ‘education’ of the potentials. He even writes down ‘breakup sex’ on the board. Haha.
+ Andrew’s burning anger at Faith for stealing his hot pocket.
+ Andrew and Spike sharing their love of the blooming onion. Perfect.
+ Faith and Wood hitting it off.
+ Xander’s return to the Summers’ home with the warm welcome.

– How would the cops know Faith has returned to Sunnydale? We know they’re incompetent and Faith hasn’t exactly been strutting around town making a ruckus. What gives?
– Despite the throwaway comment, I was still a little perplexed seeing so many people dancing around at a club when pretty much everyone is flocking town due to, one would assume, rampant murder and shadowy people roaming the streets.
– Anyone want to slap Rona for her stupid comment after Buffy gets kicked out? It’s not out of character for her, but it’s so downright cruel that I have to list it here.


[Score]

64/100

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249 thoughts on “Buffy 7×19: Empty Places”

  1. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    Great review and I totally agree with you. Can I also add that I find this episode a bit slow, too? But my main problem is the final scene, it makes me scream and shout.
    Maybe I´m a bit bias but I´m with Buffy all the way. I mean, yeah she makes big mistakes but hey, she didn´t ask for this huge responsability and she is always being blamed for everything. It´s totally unfair to her. And I can´t shake the feeling that this is an ambush. I mean, what is Wood doing here? And Anya is being unfair and ungrateful.

    One thing that you forgot to mention, mike was how Buffy was being a little out of line with Faith saying to the girls that she was a murderer while Faith was being totally cool with her.

    Keep it up!

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  2. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    Excellent review!

    I would have be a little harsher on this episode, the revolt scene always make me cringe as hell!!!

    How on earth can they believe kikcing out Buffy (out of HER house) will be a good thing?
    Like you said, there is bad characterisation all around, and it also seems like everybody lost the slightest common sense. How can anyone think that separating themselves to the Slayer in an apocalypse would be good, for them and for her. At the moment, they aren’t strong enough to win the fight, and they let go Buffy? Oh yeah, get the group weaker is surely gonna help, and if there is someone that always find a way to win, isn’t that Buffy?
    I really don’t understand what the scoobies thought at the time. And about the Potentials, well, I don’t expect any level of faith in Buffy from them, but if they can’t stand her, they just have to go away! Who cares, them all seem suicidals anyway!

    Ambush, you pointed out the perfect word.

    However, I disagree a little about Xander in this scene. I was strengely satisfied with his characterisation. He’s so quiet and all, he did’nt attack like everyone els. He did’nt support Buffy as well, but…the guy is so shocked, it’s really understandable.
    What save the ep were Faith, the scoobie-sad moments around Xander, and Buffy’s lack of bitterness regarding Faith. Those were good things, but not enough to make the ep a good one, just a bad but not lame one.

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  3. [Note: Ursus posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    Great review. I think you pretty much nailed it.

    I can understand what the writers were *trying* to do, but the way they realized it was sloppy. The last 3rd of Season 7 is one big mess of a plot, punctuated only by some nice moments of character and dialogue.

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  4. [Note: jarppu posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    The last 3rd is a mess? More like the last TWO 3rds are a mess. The show is pretty much crap after CWDP with the exceptions of Storyteller and Chosen. I’ve mostly agreed with Mikejer’s reviews with season 1-6 but for season 7 he gives too much credit for the show. But I guess it’s good that at least someone enjoyed the season. Most people (like me, obviously) don’t like the show after CWDP.

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  5. [Note: Ursus posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    Jarppu: I agree the season never lived up to the potential shown in CWDP, which is the biggest damn shame ever. However, I still found it fairly entertaining right up to the point they introduced Caleb, the cardboard cut-out villain.

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  6. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    I don’t think the “revolt” is quite as out-of-character as everyone else does, it seems. Buffy really hasn’t done a good job at all so far. The Potentials hate her, and she just got done leading them into a terrible loss. Everyone is terrified for their lives, and their faith in Buffy has been slowly waning the whole season. After losing a Potential or two in that last battle and Xander getting seriously, irreparably hurt, of course they are going lose whatever little bit of faith they had left.

    Before Faith arrived, they had no choice but to accept Buffy as the leader–she was the only Slayer available. But with Faith–a newer, more sane, etc., Faith–they see another choice, especially after Buffy’s constant bungling.

    I’m not trying to Buffy-bash here. I feel for the girl this whole season, I do. But you have to admit that she goes about her leadership role completely wrong. She just ends up driving everyone away.

    I think the problem with the scene is that it’s not necessarily out-of-character at this point, but it IS poorly executed.

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  7. [Note: Woohoo1729 posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    I’m glad you found the revolt scene poorly executed, mikejer. I find more of Season 7 unwatchable in this similar fashion than you have expressed, but this revolt scene really makes the list and we both agree! I truly enjoy your reviews, and I am eagerly awaiting the last few episodes.

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  8. [Note: Jason posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    Hey, great review as usual! I’m usually onboard with your opinions when it comes to these Buffy episodes even if I don’t agree with every point, but I’m gonna have to say that I think you graded this one a bit too harshly. I know you’re a big fan of characterization and I agree that it’s essential in making Buffy the amazing show it is, but sometimes people DO act out of character…and usually they do that when the situation demand them to. More on this later, but first I’d like to point out that Anya’s question regarding the strength of the potentials always smelled a little funny to me, but I chalked it up to the writers (or maybe the execs) informing new viewerer and/or former loyalists that these potentials are powerless, as we gear up for the final episodes. The potentials remarks about trying EVERYTHING on Caleb never rang untrue to me though. Teenagers always speak only in absolutes (hypocrisy intended). So I get it. Makes sense to me, but the Caleb scene was totally whack!

    Now on to that mutiny scene… I totally disagree with you here. Here’s why…. I really feel that the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been before. Sunnydale is a ghost town and Buffy has been a totally closed off, ice cold bitch to everyone. She is doing this because she knows she’s going to watch many people she loves die (As you noted, Xander should be dead during this scene). She’s closing herself off in ways we’ve never seen before. I feel everyone rejecting her plan outright, in the manner in which it happened, was right in step with how a group of people might respond to this situation. Not WIllow, Not Xander, Not Dawnie, but a group of diverse people. Now it’s common to see people as fixed personalities–their behaviors are linked to this and thus predictable but time and time again research proves that people are dominantly social creatures, in that we operate based on situations and not some notion of personality, in most situations. We feel compelled to cheer when other do, or stand in appreciation when we see others doing it first, we are more inclined to laugh at jokes on the television if we aren’t alone– basically situational forces beat out individual forces more often than not. This is an uncomfortable truth and it makes people, well, uncomfortable, but what I’m getting at is that Buffy has been making no friends, no alliances, and has done nothing but damage the relationships with the people who trust her the most. Her sister doesn’t even think Buffy knows she’s alive. She’s rejected the advice and wisdom of her watcher. She continually draws a divide between her-the superior, and everyone else-the minions. Then she makes a call and many people die, Xander loses an eye–and still she reads cold. Not only that, she demands that they all risk their lives for the same EXACT plan. No questions or explanations…just orders. Again, she knows people will die….and she expects them to lay down their lives. I see their rebellion as a way of putting Buffy in check, reclaiming some of their own power that they’ve relinquished to elect buffy the commander and chief of their war. For the potentials it’s sweet victory, but for the others it’s a way of letting Buffy know that one of the risks of being the detached hardened leader is that you might become a little to careless with the lives of the people you’ve chosen to dehumanize. Does this mean they are throwing their support behind Faith, heck no! It means they have muscle, but what they need is better planning! I think they group (or Willow, Giles, Xander, and Dawn to be specific because I believe others had different motives) acted the same way most anyone would act in that situation….with caution, fear, and eventually rebellion.

    Buffy: “Hey, remember that plan that got people killed. Let’s do it again…c’mon Xander maybe you can actually die this time?” ”

    Um, no…..

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  9. [Note: Guido posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    I’d forgotten about the scene with the zealot cops. I suppose the Hellmouth-influenced behavior of Sunnydale’s finest could have been intended to set us up for the wacky game of Jumping to Conclusions, played at Buffy’s expense, but the later just came across as a rush to judgement for weak reasons, and to no lasting effect other than to disappoint.

    Kicking Buffy out indeed felt like a plugged-in plot contrivance to heighten the drama over the challenges of leadership. Although I like Season 7, overall, this episode highlights what I believe is the season’s major flaw: too many ideas and characters introduced too late in the story to be fully developed. Besides the new void in Xander’s head, this episode is one of the emptiest places in the season.

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  10. [Note: Dave C posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    This is, by far, my least favorite episode of BtVS. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s objectively worse than “Where the Wild Things Are” or “I Robot, You Jane,” but those episodes are, overall, inconsequential to the arc of the show. But like “Wrecked,” this episode is extremely important to the overall arc, and therefore it’s massive failures are far less forgivable.

    I don’t for a minute buy that, even with all that happened previously, Xander and Willow would just up and dump Buffy for Faith or that Dawn would actually kick Buffy out of her own house (perhaps if the distrust for Buffy that the First was trying to instill in Dawn in CwDP had been further explored this could have been more believable). Consequently, I can’t feel anything but loathing for this episode. The only redeeming feature of the “revolt” is that it leads directly into the (mostly) sublime episode “Touched.” I can’t wait for that review. 🙂

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  11. [Note: Shannon posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    @jarppu – I’ve come across many of your comments while reading through Mike’s reviews, and they tend to be both uniformly negative and prone to sweeping declarations about the the show and the people who watch it, as well as being often rude to others or derisive of comments others have made. E.g. “the show is pretty much crap after CWDP” “Most people don’t like the show after CWDP”, and in another comment thread from S5 that particularly struck me, “I’m not fan of the ‘Spike, the cool vampire’ that the show transformed into starting from this season”. Some questions for you… So in one place you say you don’t like the show after CWDP, and in another you say you don’t like the show from S5 onwards. Which is it? Do you even like this show? Do you have anything positive or insightful to add to the discussion or do you prefer to just dismiss things as “crap” and insult other posters here? And finally, are you simply a victim of the Great Hyperbole Enabler (a.k.a. The Internet)?

    I for one really liked Season 7, even after the holy grail of Buffy episodes, CWDP. Yes, it had some serious problems, but so did the whole first 2/3 of S2, and most of S4, and a lot of S6. Overall though, the issues from any of those seasons don’t diminish my enjoyment of the show as a whole, or overshadow the many brilliant things I love about Buffy, and the same applies to S7. This episode was definitely one of the weak points of the season (along with the Killer In Me – yech), but I thought the last stretch of episodes from Get It Done to Chosen was otherwise pretty cool.

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  12. [Note: MissKittyFantastico posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    Great review!

    I always want to smack Dawn (who became so much more fun in this season!) when she says “It’s my house too.” Every time I hear that I think, “Oh, so you started a full-time job at the doublemeat palace/counseling on top of your regular duties in order to pay the bills? So you deal with all the insurance and repairs? You make the telephone calls and fill out the tax forms?” Ungrateful cow! >.>

    I agree that it’s completely in character for everyone to be mad at Buffy–but as Mike and other people have pointed out, there are reasonable ways to deal with issues, and the last scene in Empty Places is not one of them. Kicking Buffy out of her own house in the middle of an impending apocalypse? If any of my friends did that to me, I’d have difficulty speaking to them ever again. I prefer to imagine the end of Empty Places didn’t happen; instead, everyone had a reasonable intervention with Buffy, and she left for a night to cool off (thus laying the ground for Touched, an episode I enjoy). 🙂

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  13. [Note: MissKittyFantastico posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    I also agree with DarthMarion about Xander in this episode. He could be such a jerk earlier on in the series, and he’s matured so much over time to become a likable and loyal friend. I would have reacted the same way as he did in Empty Places (again, without the let’s-kick-the-slayer-out part).

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  14. [Note: Marshal posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    How did Joss ever let this crap into slip under the radar and into the script? That sickening thud is the sound of the ball being dropped. You hit the nail on the head all the way, though I totally love Nathan as Caleb.

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  15. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    How about this thing about the problems between Joss and the crew? I’m so not sure about that, but did’nt Joss take this storyline from this experience?
    Maybe this is why this storyline seems a little bit forced and contrived, because Joss wanted the story to be in this place, but the wind blowed in another direction, and the writers in general did’nt manage to pull those two things together. And we get this feeling that the characters were sacrified in order to take the story there.

    @Jason, it’s interesting what you say about group dynamics. However as MissKittyfantastico said there were potential reasonnable results for such a group dynamic.
    And I will argue that the core scoobies have they own group dynamic, since years (and e pretty close group dynamic to other…see the difficulty for Tara to be included in the decision process and all) and I don’t think it’s in character for the scoobies to get themselves in what I’m gonna call th Potentials group dynamic rather than let work their scoobies group dynamic to handle the problem with Buffy in a more….I don’t know if I can explain it in english…intimate way? private way?

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  16. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    Oh, about something not terribly important–I don’t get Spike liking onion flowers. They weren’t around when he was human (not that I know of, anyway), and he can eat them now, but he can’t really taste them…so how can he go on about how much he likes them in this episode? It doesn’t really make sense.

    I can understand the booze and cigarettes he consumes, because that’s more about their effect rather than their taste. Though I think it takes more to affect vamps, doesn’t it? I don’t think they’ve ever been quite clear on that matter. And the Wheatabix is added to his blood for texture rather than taste.

    The writers have specifically said before that vampires can eat human food, but they just can’t really taste it. Granted this was mostly pointed out in Angel, but still…both shows exist in the same universe, so the rules should apply in both.

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  17. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    Isn’t that adresses in IWRY? With ice cream?
    I just understand from that that if Spike were human, he probably would like onionflowers even more. Or not.
    IMO, it’s just that vampire sense of taste is different, after all they like blood, ew. And maybe their sense of taste is a little less intense than human’s, like…a little bit dead.

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  18. [Note: Ian posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    I just watched this episode last night and I do wonder about Buffy’s plan. She might feel she is right in her hunch that there is a reason to go back, but the previous attempt was disastrous. To go back again there had to be some different plan of attack, some new basis for believing in a more successful outcome than before. Without some clear indication that the fight might turn out differently the second time around, nobody could logically follow Buffy back into the hornets nest. Nothing previously had indicated any chance of success on a repeat attempt. And if nobody could logically follow Buffy in that plan, either Buffy had to stop and listen to the objections, or Buffy couldn’t continue as leader.

    If one accepts that the problem was due to a stubbornness and obstinacy in Buffy’s character, an inability to recognize that she might be making a mistake, then the outcome was in many ways unavoidable rather than a weakness in the writing.

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  19. [Note: Guido posted this comment on August 13, 2009.]

    I think Buffy’s role in this is undeniable, but as others have said, there were better ways to handle the disagreement. A mutinous brawl or sit-down strike would have been more believable than the oddly draconian eviction.

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  20. [Note: Tara posted this comment on August 14, 2009.]

    The final scene in this episode drives me crazy as it reeks of plot contrivence. Even if I could believe the Scoobies would choose Faith over Buffy, kicking her out of her own house is simply too much. Even Dawn, who is family, doesn’t have that right. Not only is it completely out of order, Buffy is still physically their strongest fighter and they are fatally weakening their force by driving her out. It just seems a further stretch of implausability to drive Buffy into that ‘poor me’ place.

    Also, I cannot for the life of me believe that Xander (especially in light of his beautiful speech in Dirty Girls, which here is promptly ignored), Willow or Dawn would genuinely support Faith over Buffy. They have always remained loyal to Buffy, even when things were seriously going to shit in Spiral. In that episode, Buffy flat-out told them she didn’t have a plan and wasn’t strong enough to beat Glory and they were still behind her, even when it looked as though Giles might die. They’ve been through even more with Buffy since then, so to completely disregard all that history and former loyalty? Sorry, but I don’t buy it. That’s just poor writing.

    Also, it’s Faith for God’s sake! Faith, who Willow completely hates and who tried to kill Xander. The Faith who Giles characterised as ‘unstable’. The Scoobies saw first-hand the havoc she wreaked in Season 3, and okay, she’s changed, but I cannot buy into the idea that they would trust her so quickly. Giles was ready to kill Spike for being a liability, but he’s a-okay with placing the lives of the Potentials in Faith’s hands. But then agan, Giles has been a pretty cold bastard throughout this Season so maybe it’s not too much of a surprise.

    The thing I hate most about this scene (aside from the sad sacrifice of character to plot) is that I felt it knocked an irrevocable dent in the Scooby gang. Watching the next few episodes left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, because things never felt right between them afterwards. Buffy seems okay to get things back to normal, but if the friends of seven years had undermined me (and kicked me out of my own house!!) my trust in them would be seriously shaken.

    As for the Potentials, it doesn’t surprise me one jot that they would happily ditch Buffy. Bunch of ingrates.

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  21. [Note: spateswife posted this comment on August 14, 2009.]

    Can I just say how very much I do NOT like Rona? I just feel like she is whiney…even whinier than Dawn was in the beginning. I can’t hardly stand her. And I agree Mike, her comment made me want to punch her in her face…lol.

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  22. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on August 14, 2009.]

    @ Ian, Buffy seems quite open to strategy and tactics discussion in this scene. She’s not really saying “let’s do like yesterday!” she says they must go to the vinyard again, and, ok, that’s not a cheering thought, but as she’s convinced that’s what must be done…and she says they must make a better plan and she’s open to discussion on strategic topic, but not on the decision to return….which is harsh enough but not as much as you said I think.
    That’s also why it so feels like an ambush, it’s like, whatever she can say, they already decided to kick her out, no matter what, in a way I find it a very puerile behavior, excpected from the Potentials, but not from the scoobies.

    @ Tara, I’m like you, if my friends have done such a betrayal on(?) me, I would’ve be a lot more bitter than Buffy. However I always found that girl have an really really huge ability to forgive, she’s one of the most forgiving person I’ve ever seen, in TV like in real life.

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  23. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on August 14, 2009.]

    @Shannon, I agree. The negative aspects of this and the other seasons do not diminish my enjoyment at all. I still love it to death and well, nothing is perfect.

    About Buffy being kicked out, there is one thing that bugs me afterwards. It just seems no one apologised to Buffy on their behaviour, like a “Sorry we kicked you out, it was a mistake”. I love the talks she has with Faith and Xander, but all we got from the Potentials was Amanda saying that they were being punished and I would like to see an apology, at least.
    Am I wrong?

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  24. [Note: Emily posted this comment on August 14, 2009.]

    No, buffyholic, you’re totally right. I could accept this scene if I stretched my imagination- A LOT- but to never receive an apology? I can’t accept that. I always believed that Buffy got the brunt of everything, and the Scoobies always expected her to take even more. Especially Xander and Dawn.

    How I deal with this scene usually depends on my mood. Sometimes, I stretch my imagination and my logic and tell myself that it *somewhat* makes sense. And sometimes, I just ignore it. Like it never happened.

    Great review, Mike!

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  25. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on August 14, 2009.]

    I agree with all those in opposition against the final scene of this episode (and frankly, I’m surprised that anybody would be ‘for’ it).

    I didn’t have a problem with the mutiny itself. Harsh words were said, some out of character (Wood, Anya, Dawn). I understand why Willow and Xander would choose not to follow her on her new, heady plan. They had followed her for a long time, but permanant injury at the hands of her carelessness was enough to sway the scales out of her favour. She did herself no good by isolating herself from the group and saying they didn’t have her back.

    Has anyone read the IGN interview with Joss, around June 2003 just after the show finished? He talks about his time working on ‘Roseanne’, and shares a life philosophy of his that in times of crisis, humans either connect or isolate. He goes into detail about how Roseanne isolated herself from the writers on her staff, and how she threatened to fire them all if they spread rumours about her to the press. He reflected how at that moment she chose to threaten her staff, she could’ve easily gone the other way and said “come on team, we can beat em!” She could’ve connected with them and not made their lives a living hell. I think this experience of Joss’s heavily influenced this episode in particular. Buffy chose to say Spike was the only one who had her back, and as such, she got her ass kicked out of her own house for it. Interesting.

    What I really HATE about the final scene of EP is the Scoobies’ decision to make Faith their leader. Right, just after Anya made a big speech about how Buffy has no right to be the leader because she’s the slayer, they chose Faith to be their next leader because she’s shown so much sublime leadership technique in the past?? It’s so stupid. It would’ve been much more interesting if the Scoobies had decided to work as a democracy. We don’t need to see Faith *be* a leader to know she’d be an awful leader.

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  26. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on August 14, 2009.]

    Incidentally, Mike, great review. Probably would have given it a lower grade myself. Most of it utterly failed to interest me. Out of every episode of the Buffyverse, I think this is the definitive ‘padding’ episode. Almost nothing actually *happens* until the final scene. We get the scene at the school, we get the scene at the Bronze, but as you noted in your review, neither scene serves much or any purpose. And then around those scenes, we get useless exposition by Spike/Andrew or Anya in the basement, and lots of sitting around. It’s a wasted hour when we could’ve gotten something in place of it, like a Xander/Anya episode earlier on in the season. 😦

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  27. [Note: wytchcroft posted this comment on August 14, 2009.]

    Well, this is just a blight.
    Episodes like this give S7 its somewhat unjustified reputation.
    Nothing works at ALL, even the oh so artficial Faith fight scene is super lame.
    I hear what Jason is saying but the characters are out of character through the WHOLE episode, not just at times, and their actions while OCC are profound and significant and, oh, pointless and dreadful. And Caleb gets a poor showing here compared to the other episodes.

    Feels like an ungodly piece of filler and coming after two great episodes that’s a kick in the nuts.

    Moving swiftly on…

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  28. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on August 15, 2009.]

    But I think that had nothing to do with leadership or even Faith, they just wanted a change. Don´t forget in the next episode, Faith is being treated as the enemy already by the Potentials. Being a general or pleasing everyone is hard. Faith was viewed as someone cool, someone anti-Buffy and anti-rules but as soon as she steps in, Faith is immediately viewed differently and already having hostile comments by the Potentials. So, what the hell do they want? I´m thinking they wanted to rule themselves.

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  29. [Note: llinnae posted this comment on August 15, 2009.]

    ‘He(Joss)talks about his time working on ‘Roseanne’, and shares a life philosophy of his that in times of crisis, humans either connect or isolate’

    I think this is one of Joss’s philosophies that appears time and time again during the series and on Angel. In this episode, I think we can take it even further and say that in times of crisis people not only sociologically behave this way (especially when they’re scared shitless) but also in the context of this show, may be prone to the Hellmouth’s mystical energy that would rile them up and cause ‘either/or’ reasoning. The dark energy from the Hellmouth has always been spoken of when an apocolypse approaches and since the First Evil is here this time it seems likely that its power would be all the more intense. To me it makes perfect sense that this magic would contribute to, not only Buffy’s rash decisions but all of the group’s, however that definitely does not excuse the episode from all of its many problems.

    I think everyone’s mentioned pretty much what I dislike about this episode but just one thing to add about Anya’s comment in the last scene (about Slayers being ‘lucky’). I dont think she meant that Slayers are lucky because of their job, super strength, the lives they lead etc. I think she was referring more to the process of a slayer being chosen. She was making the point that (although Buffy’s experiences *after* becoming Slayer may make her ‘superior’) the fact that she was chosen to be slayer doesn’t mean anything about her personality, it was purely by chance or ‘luck’. I think by ‘lucky’ she meant ‘you were chosen at random not because you’re innately (before becoming Slayer) more powerful or intelligent’. Personally I found this completely in character for Anya and thought it was an interesting (albeit brutally honest) point to bring up. Maybe its just me, but I can’t think of anytime on the show when the process of being chosen as slayer is completely explained so Ive often wondered: Was Buffy
    chosen at random, by magic, or consciously by the Powers That Be because her pre-Slayer personality was well-suited to the job? I find it hard to believe that her pre- Slayer attitude and experiences qualified her as someone up to the job. It seems much more likely that someone with Faith’s background (anger, rejection, lonliness) would make a much better choice and far more powerful weapon if only becuase of the fact that anger and lonliness are more likely to drive someone towards violence and ruthlessness. If the Powers somehow saw potential in Buffy and other slayers, despite their pre-slayer personalities, is the show trying to say something about the whole Nature vs. Nurture question? Id love to hear your takes on how slayers are chosen (and sorry in advance if Ive missed something really obvious on the show that explains this).

    BTW, Mike, thanks for another review! I dont know what I’ll do when you’re done reviewing the whole show 😦

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  30. [Note: Jason posted this comment on August 16, 2009.]

    Call it crap, but Buffy is a show that is constantly changing. It’s subversive… Just because characters do the right thing time and time again, doesn’t mean they always will….Joss doesn’t make anthologies. The last scene and this last season was about: What do people do when they have to go to war? And sometimes, even the greatest of people…turn on their lead when they are afraid. Period…i think exploring those themes are more important than canonizing these characters….that’s just me. Personally, I’m surprised they didn’t explore these ideas earlier. Buffy is a great leader, but sometimes that isn’t enough and the people you count on might not be as strong as you’d like them to be. That appears to be a quiet theme this season….the consequence of exploring the concept of strength is that you discover weaknesses..no?

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  31. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on August 16, 2009.]

    Maybe Mikejer will adress this chosen topic…in Chosen? ^^

    Personnally, I really think there was a potential in Buffy and in the other chosen girls, this discussion always reminds me of the few flashbacks we have about Buffy, she always appear like someone who wants to protect others (like in the Weight of the World – but there’s also the sister factor…)
    And I think that Anya really meant lucky, she clearly said about the random selection “That does’nt make you better than us, that makes you luckier than us”….

    oh and I did’nt think of the effect of the Hellmouth! well thaht makes me feel better, but it’s like…an easy trick or something…

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  32. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on August 16, 2009.]

    @Jason: A few thoughts…

    i think exploring those themes are more important than canonizing these characters….that’s just me.

    Yep, that’s just you. I prefer Buffy to Angel (and shows like Battlestar Galactica) precisely because it doesn’t sacrifice its characters to make grand thematic statements. The themes and the story should naturally evolve out of the development of the character. But that’s just me. 😉

    The last scene and this last season was about: What do people do when they have to go to war? And sometimes, even the greatest of people…turn on their lead when they are afraid.

    You’re right here, this is a theme explored this season, but my primary issues with the mutiny scene are that (1) we had people doing things they wouldn’t do at that moment in time, based on what came before, and (2) very, very little build-up or development up to that moment. More importantly, the fact they elected Faith over Buffy is a complete slap in the face to viewers who have loved the series for its great consistent character development. I could buy the theme here if there had been several more episodes involving Buffy making critical mistakes and Faith wasn’t elected in Buffy’s place. But the turn around was all but one episode!

    After Xander’s beautiful speech in the previous episode, I just couldn’t stomach the quick turn-around. What does that say about the strength of their friendship? Willow was trying to incinerate the planet in the previous season, yet Xander was still there to offer his hand out in help.

    Buffy as a series is better than this scene. It always laid the proper groundwork and foundation for major shifts in character behavior. That’s precisely why this scene sticks out like a snowstorm on a hot sunny day.

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  33. [Note: Jason posted this comment on August 16, 2009.]

    Didn’t the group lose like three young innocent girls and the eye of a very valued “seeing” person before the group rebelled against their leaders (MAJOR life changing (ending!) things separate the speech in Dirty Girls and the decision made in Empty Place) rash decision to ‘drop’ her friends into ‘the hornets nest’. Again, I stress they weren’t backing Faith over Buffy, they were making a collective statement against Buffy’s orders in a symbolic way.

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  34. [Note: Ian posted this comment on August 16, 2009.]

    One thing you can observe in real life is that groups sometimes make dumb, irrational decisions; decisions that the individuals comprising the group would never make on their own. Everyone in a group wants to be part of the team and therefore no individual speaks out when an obviously wrong choice is being made for fear of being seen as an outsider.

    Sometimes for fiction to be true to life it has to be really true to life and not have its characters always behave in the logical and expected manner in every situation. Real people don’t always behave that way, so why should fictional people?

    In this case Buffy is the only one with the strength of character not to submit to the group mind. She says “I can’t stay here and watch…”, to which the response is “Then you can’t stay here”. Therefore Buffy herself sets the stage for her departure. She was not thrown out, but she could not stay under the circumstances prevailing. There was an indication of character growth there too. Sometimes you have to lead gently not forcefully, and allow people freedom to make wrong decisions and learn from them.

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  35. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on August 17, 2009.]

    @Jason:One of the things I really like about this season is how they all seem to distrust one another, even close friends like these. Throughout the whole season, there´s been distrust not only with the Potentials regarding Buffy but also the gang and Dawn. This has not been an easy season.

    @mikejer: I don´t feel the scene is OOC, imo. It makes me mad as hell, but I don´t think it´s OOC. Sure, Faith did awful things to the gang but Buffy is putting them into a difficult position. She says that she is the only slayer available, the only one with power but there´s Faith, someone who did despicable things and tried to kill them, but she is someone who is a slayer and someone who they think will be different than Buffy. I love Buffy to death and I mostly agree with her, but she gets me so mad when she says that she is the only one strong enough, so we should follow her.
    btw, I am so glad you put on that comment by Rona. I really hate her.

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  36. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on August 17, 2009.]

    Except that the strenght Buffy refers to is’nt the physical one that the Slayer has, it’s the mental one, the sense of mission, the confidence in the rightuousness of what she does(is that even a word?) etc… that drives the Slayer. And Faith never was a slayer in this way. Sure they got someone who is a slayer, but not someone who is THE slayer and by now it makes a huge difference for me, and it should for them, in seven years we have the right to excpect them to see the difference.

    But, yeah, irrationnal decisions and all…It’s very difficult to know if they are so OOC or not.

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  37. [Note: Jason posted this comment on August 17, 2009.]

    @buffyholic–I’m with you 100% This has always been a painful scene to watch, but I’m always so fascinated by it. I like that Willow makes the wrong call and that Xander is so overwhelmed. The entire lot is so exhausted, paranoid, distrusting, and just utterly scared that they respond to Buffy’s rash and fatal mistake by matching it. It creates such a powerful scene where Anya’s true feelings come out–and everyone seizes on a much needed moment of catharsis–in their rebellion. A direct response to the weight of living beneath Buffy’s nearly dictatorial leadership. –Don’t get me wrong, I love Buffy–she is my favorite character, but she clearly doesn’t always do the right thing, but I can appreciate it when I understand WHY she is doing what she does and still love her anyway.

    pssst Chosen is coming and she’s about to be free!

    @Ian–I totally agree with you–Your comment succinct and well thought out! Kudos!

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  38. [Note: Ursus posted this comment on August 17, 2009.]

    The writers were visibly trying to get us to the “mutiny” scene for half a season. Buffy’s speeches annoy everyone. Everyone feels Buffy is blinded when it comes to Spike. Buffy sours her relations with a lot of people – Giles, Wood, Anya, Xander. And The First tries to sow seeds of doubt.

    So I can appreciate what the writers were trying to do. The problem is they simply hadn’t worked hard enough for the scene to come across as completely credible. Perhaps if The First had been better used since CWDP. Perhaps if the Slayer/Potential dynamic had been better explored. Perhaps if Buffy had made more mistakes or taken bigger risks. There just wasn’t enough invested for the scene to pay off.

    And the idea that Buffy’s friends would immediately turn to Faith is ludicrous. If anybody should have replaced Buffy as General, it should have been Giles at watcher, or even Willow as super-witch. Either rout could have been really interesting.

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  39. [Note: Christian posted this comment on August 17, 2009.]

    BTVS always left me guessing what would come next… but this I wouldn’t have expected ever. I’m not sure if I like it or not. I like to imagine that with so much chaos going on and the Hellmouth rising up EVERYONE got taken away by negative feelings. If it happened to all of Sunnydale, cops included, why would everyone in the Summer’s house be excluded from the effect? If this was the reason for everyone acting so out of carácter, the only flaw would be that the writers didn’t emphasize enough that this was the motive.

    I really like the Willow/Xander scene at the hospital… so sad. I cried my eyes out… Allison Hannigan always has that effect on me.

    I also thought that the main reason the writers had everyone choose Faith as the new leader was to close the Faith storyline. Following the events in the next episodes, Faith finally realizes what it’s like to be THE Slayer. She tells Buffy that even though she’s surrounded by people and all of them depend on her… she’s never felt so alone in her life… and that’s Buffy everyday. She no longer wishes to be like Buffy, she doesn’t see her life as something so negative anymore and she can finally close that chapter in her life and move on.

    I’m also a Faith fan so it didn’t hurt to see Faith having her moment… as sad as it was for Buffy

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  40. [Note: Guido posted this comment on August 17, 2009.]

    The shooting script posted on Buffyworld, and the episode’s TV spot on YouTube both have Dawn kissing Buffy just before she kicks her out, and the script has her being much less abrupt. I’m not sure why this stuff was cut out, but it adds a little. From (http://www.buffyworld.com/buffy/scripts/141_scri.html):

    BUFFY
    Guys. We have a chance to end this.
    All of us. I can’t just stay here
    and watch Faith lead you off into
    some disaster.

    Dawn, silent till now, approaches Buffy and tenderly KISSES her on the cheek.

    DAWN
    Then you can’t stay here.
    Buffy — and everyone — is shocked.

    DAWN (cont’d)
    Look, I love you, but you can’t be a
    part of this. You can’t be here. I
    don’t think… I don’t think you can
    face this at all. This one you have
    to sit out.

    Buffy is utterly devastated. The final betrayal.

    DAWN (cont’d)
    I’m sorry. It’s my house, too.
    Either you let Faith handle things…
    or you have to leave.

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  41. [Note: Sunburn posted this comment on August 18, 2009.]

    I keep being first convinced by Mike, then Jason, then Mike again. GAAH.

    In the end, I would go with Jason and Ian’s point about individuals making terrible group decisions, especially when panicking and deeply upset and shocked. On the other hand, I totally agree with Mike (although it hadn’t occurred to e before) that choosing Faith as a leader was unlikely and that WIllow or Giles would have been a far more obvious choice.

    Having said that, Faith is wonderful and it WAS good to see her arc close as it did.

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  42. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on August 22, 2009.]

    Having watched EP again, I think it’s safe to say Drew Greenberg was the worst Buffy staff writer since the woman who penned Beer Bad and WTWTA. To me only ‘Him’ and maybe ‘Entropy’ really stand out as anything above subpar. I’ve noticed, besides those episodes, his dialogue is pretty uninspired as well, not many Buffyisms in his scripts. Which is a bad thing! lol

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  43. [Note: Jason posted this comment on August 24, 2009.]

    I’d like to point out that something very crucial occurred to me. I think I made it clear that, yes, I love this episode and in particular the last scene. Maybe part of that comes from enjoying seeing my favorite heroes beat around emotionally just so she realize greater truths about life and existence, and in this instance power. Earlier I said that I don’t think the group chose to back Faith as they rejected Buffy’s leadership. They were assuming with her gone, a more democratic process would stabilize the war they were waging. Now, Buffy is a great hero and amazing friend, but the episode is suggesting that leading and being a hero are two very different. And while Buffy is gone, Faith is elected as the leader of the girls–this whole story arc, is after all, at it’s core about the Slayers, and everyone else is along for the ride, in varying degrees.

    What irks me however, is people saying “Well Faith was an evil terrible person who did these things yada yada yada.” But I don’t buy it. In a season all about power and how people use it….it’s very clear to me that Faith was at one time corrupted by her own power. Faith is/was neither good nor bad, but she has done good and bad things, as a result of trying to cope with possessing overwhelming power. She’s clearly on a road to redemption. Kicking out Buffy aside, why shouldn’t someone redeeming themselves be allowed to lead? Do none of you watch Angel? I think a more fatal mistake Buffy’s friends and family could make is to assume that Faith is somehow inept or not deserving of leadership, in fact that flies in the face of everything Buffy herself has stood for.

    I’m trying not to pontificate on these points so I’ll leave it at that. People have the right to rebel against orders with which they don’t agree. I love the statement being made, and I really can’t agree that it’s OOC–a statement I really can’t get behind completely—as I know, that I do things which can be considered out of character ON A DAILY BASIS…I can only imagine how I’d react to hasty planning, dead girls, and one eye.

    It’s also worth pointing out that when Buffy (overwhelmed with her leadership role) rushed her girls into battle with deadly results. The next day, Faith took them out on the town to ‘blow off steam’ after a lot of their friends died, and they were offered the chance to get down and dirty and surmount a life-threatening situation using their wits (much like the scooby’s season 1).

    Also, someone mentioned “Well Hey! What happened to the core group dynamic, why didn’t just get together and make things end prettier.” To that, I say Buffy made it clear over and over again that everyone must fall in line. She is the leader…as in follow-the. 🙂 There’s no core group anymore, Buffy rules. Getting kicked out turned out to be a good thing actually, as many trying events can be. It leads Buffy to a wonderful revelation: Power sucks! …All of your mistakes are magnified, the responsibility makes you cold and hard. People are so quick to judge and assume they could do better and sadly sometimes they rebel against and vilify you. And it’s a slap in the face when you’ve sacrificed so much and the people around you don’t..no actually, *can’t* understand. Just look at how we judge people who hold power. I mean, we nearly impeached a President over a sexual indiscretion! Generally, we hold people with power to higher standard than we hold for ourselves. Luckily, Buffy realizes that she’s been hoarding the power, and power is dangerous…power needs to shared. This is a big, and maybe it wasn’t executed as well as some of you had hoped, but I think it resonates.

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  44. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on August 26, 2009.]

    Jason, regarding your second paragraph, there’s a HUGE step between being deserving of redemption and being deserving of the immense power that Faith was handed. Faith abused her physical power and used it for heinous crimes, then handed herself over to the cops because she wanted to pay. Does she deserve redemption? Of course, because she repented. Does she deserve to lead people into battle? Hell no, because she’s already proven she can’t handle great power. She might not use it for evil anymore, but her incapability to cope with great power is an inherent part of her character. It’s for this reason the Scoobies should’ve been more cautious in assigning their next leader. Instead they went with her because she’s a Slayer, which I find awfully hypocritical given that none of them disagreed with Anya’s rant about how Slayerness should equal automatic leadership.

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  45. [Note: Jason posted this comment on August 29, 2009.]

    Wilpy, couldn’t agree with you more! The rest of the group should have realized that very thing, but they were emotionally overwhelmed and made a fatal mistake and this humanizes them (esp. Willow and Xander)..as people, thoughout history, make these sort of mistakes over and over again. In the end though, Buffy realizes that everyone should lead….Buffy ended her person journey as *part* of the group, an equal. This is in direct opposition of her aloneness throughout the series…this scene sets up that payoff. It think it works beautifully.

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  46. [Note: wytchcroft posted this comment on September 2, 2009.]

    Did my comment get removed because of the word ‘reductionist’? if so i apologize, i just meant that simplifying arguments and stating flatly that was/is a single ‘point’ to a season denies us the chance to explore th text and themes that the show and these reviews offer.

    If the tone or wording of my comment caused offense then (again) i’m sorry –
    i may have come across as angry, which is never a good thing on threads like these.

    I’ve certainly enjoyed reading this discussion!:))

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  47. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on September 2, 2009.]

    @wytchcroft: I haven’t deleted any comments on this review. Either you submitted your comment incorrectly or there was a glitch in the comment system.

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  48. [Note: Tranquillity posted this comment on September 3, 2009.]

    Agree with Guido, the shooting script is well worth reading and actually puts the eviction in quite a different light, perhaps even makes it more understandable. So i think the major problem with this episode was editing.

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  49. [Note: Jaden posted this comment on September 7, 2009.]

    I don’t know. I agree that there could have been some better setup for the character gang up besides the vinyard but Buffy’s general attitude this season (well this half of the season) has been so “do it my way” that I think her kingdom was just waiting to crumble.

    Plus the suddenness and non-justification of the characters volt against Buffy is the point: they love her in Dirty Girls and hate her here; fickle much? Buffy would very easily feel the competitiveness with Faith and allow that to let her make opposing decisions for the sake of doing so and the group are so fickle it makes sense that they’d jump straight to Faith after Buffy fails.

    I think the main problem with this episode is it exists merely for the purpose of showing the aftermath of their loss and then the mutiny. Not much else=yawn. The club scene actually felt like a breath of fresh air from an otherwise BORING episode.

    However I do have one problem which is just the worst in a long, long time: how the hell does Dawn get off telling Buffy to leave the house which BUFFY OWNS?! I mean Buffy pays for Dawns education, food, clothes everything and then she kicks BUFFY out? Just because there are a bunch of squatters in there to back her up? That was just too stupid…

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  50. [Note: Rosie posted this comment on September 11, 2009.]

    I have a problem with your review. I get the feeling that your emotions are getting in the way of understanding what really happened or the breakdown of relationships between Buffy and the others. I especially had a problem with the following:

    “Although Buffy has due cause to be a little peeved at Giles’ actions a couple episodes ago and to be cautious surrounding his decisions regarding Spike, her comment about Spike being the only one watching her back is truly uncalled for. I know she’s tired, I know she’s frustrated, but to slap all her allies in the face with a comment like that isn’t fair. Note that I’m not saying she was out of character, but rather just that she behaved poorly.”

    You act as if you had expected Buffy to forgive Giles for his actions in “Lies My Parents Told Me”. The series has gone beyond the period immediately after “Helpless”. Not only did Giles betray Buffy, he has failed to show any remorse. Of course her resentment and anger toward his is going to continue.

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  51. [Note: mosesman posted this comment on September 14, 2009.]

    You know, the way it was done was a bit out of character for Xander, Willow and especially Dawn- I think a quieter scene between the main characters would have been better than involving everyone. But I still enjoy the hell out of the mutiny scene. Buffy becomes such a selfish, cold, arrogant unlikeable character in this season, I couldn’t help but enjoy the hell out of everyone finally standing up to her- particularly since again and again, while others try to compromise, Buffy continually makes it all about her and her way. What especially gets to me about her reasoning (and this is one of the reasons season 7 is less enjoyable to me than the earlier ones) is that she claims that she has led Scoobies to victory time and time again, as if in a sort of dictatorship. This is not the case in the early seasons. Buffy is the one all the characters rally around, but they are all equals; they all defeat evil together, as a team- that was the whole point of Primeval. Buffy is pretty much completely in the wrong this entire episode (and most of the season), and I feel next to no pity for her when her friends finally get tired of her treating them like crap.

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  52. [Note: medslave posted this comment on October 14, 2009.]

    I don’t really understand why people hate this episode so much. I’ve been watching seasons 2-7 over the past month or so and I can definitely say that this is not one of the worst (see “Where the Wild Things Are” and the one with the mummy).

    First, I love the story line with Faith in this episode. Faith is one of my favorite characters in the whole series and it’s mainly because you never know what she’s going to do. You see glimpses of the faith everyone thinks they know, when she alludes to being in jail, going out dancing and drinking, but at the same time you see a more mature version. However, the most important aspect of her character development is the reaffirmation of why faith is NOT Buffy and is in fact “the OTHER slayer”. Even she knows it, and when the power is handed to her, the fact that she takes it is THE most out of character part of the whole episode. The fact that Buffy gives it to her is not.

    Also, I actually loved the last scene. A lot of people say it’s difficult to watch, etc, but I think that’s exactly the point. Buffy’s whole story makes us want her to be a hero, but there are so many aspects of the Slayer that make her very un-heroic. We find out her power itself comes from demons and that she is essentially a killer/hunter. Up until this point, Buffy has only had minor slip-ups in the barrier that exists between the demon power and the human power of the slayer. The First’s real power lies not in destruction but in its ability to make the very guardians of humanity lose themselves and in turn the humanity they are guarding. That’s why the First never takes a corporeal form and is so much scarier that Glory and Adam (who both beat Buffy up bad). It’s eating at her from the inside and the last scene is a physical manifestation of Buffy losing faith in herself. She jumps on going to the vineyard because the just wants something to hang on to, she orders people around because she knows they are starting to doubt her which is why her commands are so empty.

    Also, Willow and Xander are not necessarily out of line either. They’ve both been going through the motions this whole time, waiting, because there really isn’t anything they can do. Also, in every other situation they’ve been in, Buffy has only had to lead them, not a whole group. The original scoobies grew together, matured together, became stronger, so the idea that Buffy may not be the one in charge is not something that should never show up. Furthermore, it’s not totally unreasonable to say that like Buffy, Willow and Xander are as much in charge of the potentials and probably know more and understand them more.

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  53. [Note: Wendy posted this comment on November 4, 2009.]

    Mike, like everyone here I really like your reviews and they helped me enjoyed the show that much more. one thing I would to comment about you said about Spike being the only one always watching her back. Spike IS always watching her back even in his pre-souled days. So much so that Buffy entrusted her mum and her sister in his hands. She let Dawn goes to him even after the attempted rape incidence. That’s how much trust she has in him. Although the chip still at play here but we know Spike can hit if he bears the pain.

    Buffy knows that from ‘Intervention’ Spike would rather die than see her being sad when Giles and others were telling her to kill Dawn. I feel Spike truly deserves what she said here.

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  54. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on January 7, 2010.]

    The Caleb/Buffy fight was good, as was the ending scene. Agree that it seems strange that Buffy would be given the leadership role only to have it taken away the very first chance. And Rona really pissed me off with that last comment after Buffy left the house – her house. On a side note, was Rona a survivor in ‘Chosen’ because she was the only visible black Potential? I think it’s possible as the series never had many black people shown to live in Sunnydale. Mr Trick said this in Season 3.

    I agree that there was many out of character scenes and the scene with all the cars leaving gridlocked in the tiny main street was just funny. Not in a good way.

    ‘Person’: Sarah must of had a cold as she sounded the same in the first scene as she did in ‘The Killer in Me’. Seems the scenes were shot around the same time.

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  55. [Note: wytchcroft posted this comment on February 11, 2010.]

    Wow, i just popped back to this site for a re-read and there are a whole bunch of comments in my name that i didn’t make.

    e.g. the fake baby news thing on this review and other comments elsewhere.

    Has this happened to anyone else?

    I don’t have time (or the heart frankly) to go checking every page but it’s a shame to discover that yet another Whedonverse site seems to have gone to the trolls.

    I won’t comment again because how will people be sure it’s me??? – but i will take one last opportunity Mike too thank you for all these reviews and the hours of reading i’ve enjoyed here.

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  56. [Note: Sam posted this comment on February 11, 2010.]

    Wytchcroft, you should TOTALLY keep commenting here. Once the trolls are discovered, they usually go away, so now that you’ve cleared up the confusion, it should not be an issue. Please stick around. 🙂

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  57. [Note: Shannon posted this comment on February 12, 2010.]

    That’s bizarre. And yes, stick around – most of the people who comment regularly will be able to tell the difference (e.g. the buffyholic imposter) or will ask.

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  58. [Note: sacundim posted this comment on April 3, 2010.]

    I think that the way the plot tossed the leadership role to Faith was badly handled, but I don’t agree with a few of the commenters above that it was just a bad idea. It really looks to me like Whedon wanted to do some more character development on Faith, so a way to make her the leader had to be put into the plot, but the writing was just badly handled.

    The first issue some people have raised is: what’s a good reason for Faith to be made leader, as opposed to Giles or another of the Scoobies? I think the seed for that is already in the plot, but should have been made clearer in the writing: the Potentials wanted Faith to lead them, because Faith’s treatment of them has made her more popular than Buffy. Buffy herself points this out in the episode. The Potentials are wrong that Faith would be a better leader, but it’s what they want.

    The second issue is: why would the Scoobies go with Faith? That one is fairly simple once the first one is dispatched: they might do it just because they think the alternative is worse. At this point they certainly strongly disagree with Buffy’s alternative. They might not agree with making Faith the leader, but if the Potentials simply won’t have anybody else as the leader, then they may well help her.

    Once you have these two in place, I don’t think it would have been terribly hard to pull off the Faith leadership plot turn more gracefully. We could have had scenes that emphasized the Potentials’ immature insistence on having Faith lead them, and the Scoobies’ reluctance to go along. We could have a scene where Faith, who is certainly not a very willing leader to these girls, recognizes this privately to the Scoobies and asks for their help, which they agree to provide.

    So no, I don’t think it’s an unbelievable plot point. I would say that it got handled poorly, though.

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  59. [Note: Smallprint84 posted this comment on April 28, 2010.]

    “Cons: Anyone want to slap Rona for her stupid comment after Buffy gets kicked out? It’s not out of character for her, but it’s so downright cruel that I have to list it here.”

    Luckily Dawn puts her at her place after: Dawn “SHUT YOUR mouth!!”.

    I also want to slap her. Rona was the most annoying potential imo.

    I liked the continuity of the old picture of Buf, Xander and Willow.

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  60. [Note: G1000 posted this comment on June 3, 2010.]

    What a disappointing episode. The revolt scene is one of the worst individual sequences I’ve ever seen this show do.

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  61. [Note: Aisha posted this comment on June 8, 2010.]

    I agree with mosesman!

    As a response to Mike’s take on Buffy’s comment, I agree that Anya’s personality does prevent her from seeing the heart of Buffy’s Gift/Curse, however, in this instance the core of her argument is true. Buffy generally does not take criticism or suggestions well. She honestly does think that she is better than the rest. She is certainly stronger, but she is still a person as well as the Slayer. She does not necessarily have the ultimate gift of problem solving and strategizing. Buffy definitely threw a tantrum when the group decided that they wanted to take a different direction. Faith brought up a great point when she said, “Can you follow?” I honestly think Buffy could have stayed and helped, but her ego got in the way. I mean, this maybe the fault of the writers, though Buffy has been incredibly defensive about her role as the Slayer in the past. I don’t know. They could have used all the help they could have gotten. Buffy leaving was not helpful.

    Mikejer, I think the fact that Willow and Xander did not take Buffy aside and have this conversation is because Willow and Xander have seen Buffy make too many snap decisions and after Xander lost his eye, this was the last straw. I’m not sure that Willow and Xander intended to FOLLOW Faith, they just didn’t want to blindly go along with Buffy’s plans. I think Dawn had a similar reaction as Will and Xand did. She was clearly taken aback by Buffy’s unwillingness to acknowledge Xander’s condition and Dawn is the most neglected member of the group. Even though Faith teases her, she probably hopes that she could get some recognition for the valuable work she puts. That hasn’t been coming from Buffy. Maybe the three felt it was well past the point and there was no time for quiet discussion.

    Buffy herself escalated the situation by saying she couldn’t stand by and watch Faith lead them somewhere bad. I am not sure that it was strictly a popularity contest that led to the Potentials choosing Faith, but rather an alternative. Faith is just a strong as Buffy as a Slayer, but may offer them something different. They are just hoping it’s something that doesn’t get them killed. Of course they have no way of knowing this, but it’s choice.

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  62. [Note: Aisha posted this comment on June 8, 2010.]

    Also, Jason you continue to make excellent points.

    I think it’s interesting to contrast Buffy’s leadership skills with another leader, Angel. Buffy and Angel are both well aware that not everyone can survive in all out war, but in this case, but in the final battle of Angel as opposed to Buffy, Angel really gets express permission or approval in a strange to lead his group to imminent death (Not Fade Away). He explains his plan and they accepted. Buffy just expects everyone to do it because she says so by asking them to go back to that vineyard. Buffy explains her plan albeit the same failed one and the group rejects it. Angel was not always cool-headed, but in these similar situations, there is a clear difference in styles.

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  63. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on June 29, 2010.]

    I´ve just noticed something: this Buffy that we see here, cold and detached, is exaclty what Buffy feared that her slayerhood was doing to her in “Intervention”. That being the slayer meant being cold, detached and here she almost becomes that.

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  64. [Note: Wolven posted this comment on August 18, 2010.]

    I don’t quite see it that Buffy is being cold and detached as we saw in season 6 but that in fact she is trying to be the General.

    I really think she has shown emotion but in a subtle way, as was pointed out by her interaction with Dawn at the end of Lies My Parents told me and I think she was just hit hard by the losses in Dirty Girls.

    Dirty Girls was like a blow to the stomach that winded her, she is trying to show some strength/be the General by not breaking down in front of the potentials and others because she needs to do that for the morale of the group but they take that as she doesn’t care so much about their lives and that she is reckless.

    I totally agree with those who mentioned that the revolt scene was cringeworthy and painful to watch. Buffy’s approach was wrong to expect them to jump back in without hard evidence but time and time again Buffy is proven to be right with so many things that others though she was wrong about (ie Ted, Living conditions and other situations).

    She has inherited the power but yeah, it’s not lucky. It’s more lucky to be a regular human with not even the knowledge that any demons/evil etc exists in this world. She has a hell of a lot of experience and learnt so much. I say Buffy is perfect, she is… in the sense that she’s learnt so much as we’ve followed her, grown and matured so much.

    I can understand Xander’s quietness and reaction, I would probably feel the same and I agree with Aisha, I don’t think they intended to follow Faith rather than to voice their concerns. I think their reaction, rather than taking Buffy and talking in private was because it was in the heat of the moment. Everyone is so demoralized after the battle and loss against Caleb that they are fed up and lost faith in Buffy’s judgement but most of them just don’t know.

    What really gets to me about this scene are the Potentials in particular Kennedy and Rona, I haven’t liked Kennedy since she stepped in. She seems the type that thrives on assuming power and control, whereas Buffy has inherited it and never sought it. She wants to be a leader but she doesn’t have what it takes… Buffy on the otherhand IS a leader, she never sought to be… that’s why she is. Kennedy came into the season thinking she’s all that and taking charge thinking she’s superior to the other Potentials… Buffy thinks she is better than everyone else, yeah, she’s admitted that… I think many of us can relate to that reality. She feels she’s better than everyone else and as a result of that she feels lower than everyone else (can’t remember which episode this was explored in).

    So I didn’t like Kennedy’s behaviour and Rona saying “ding dong the witch is dead.” I hated that comment so much but i respected Dawns reaction to it, even though she let Buffy go.

    I don’t think Dawn meant anything bad towards Buffy, she loves her, but the group need ‘unity of purpose’ and Buffy can’t be there if that is to happen, so it was right what happened after that scene. I agree that Buffy was very graceful in giving the reins to Faith as well.

    It just bugs me about the potentials. Buffy takes them into her home, she protects them, they don’t understand that as general she has to deal with various issues at the same time and she can’t hold their hands and guide them individually. They were so ungrateful to her, granted that they were living ordinary lives and just recently realised they are ‘potential slayers’ and they are preparing for an apocalyptic battle.

    None of them get that there will be casualties in the war, Buffy, Spike and the few knew this but the potentials didn’t really see it and the battle with Caleb hit them hard so I guess the revolt and the bahaviour of everyone is a result of being demoralized, experiencing their first losses and being on the hellmouth.

    I thought it was a good episode but very painful to watch. Sad to see Giles become like this and have this kind of power struggle with Buffy in the last 3 episodes, I always liked him.

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  65. [Note: Wulvaine posted this comment on August 18, 2010.]

    “Anyone want to slap Rona for her stupid comment after Buffy gets kicked out?”

    Yes. But then, I just sort of want to slap Rona in general. Ugh. I actually like the rest of the Potentials, it’s just her I hate.

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  66. [Note: TK posted this comment on August 22, 2010.]

    I for one, have to say I completely bought Willow and Xander’s decisions to throw Buffy out; it seemed totally in character and actually inevitable to me- I’d suspected something of the sort might happen ever since Get It Done.

    Firstly, Buffy herself has been doing her classic (though neccesary) thing of isolating herself. We get glimpses that tell us how truly affected she is or inform us of her thought processes, but that doesn’t neccesarily mean that the characters do too. That alone might not persuade her closest friends to give up on her, but they did have their own specific reasons too.

    Xander, for one, has just had his eye gouged out. This is really the first time something that serious and permanent has happened to one of the core Scoobies, and as far as he can see it’s Buffy’s fault. As his speech in Dirty Girls shows, he’s still got Buffy on a bit of a pedestal- not as much as before S6- and sure, she’s earned it, but in this case she flops. It’s basic human nature for him to want to go with the herd when they start talking about deposing Buffy.

    Also, let’s not forget that people have been pointing out here and there that Xander is Buffy’s second banana, (remember how he reacted to being called Buffy’s ‘boy’ back in STSP?). Yet he increasingly doubts her judgment, especially after Entropy in S6 and her general attitude towards Spike. In getting the girls at the vineyard killed, it seems to him like Buffy’s finally fallen into irrationality, and he finally has the confidence to step out from under her shadow, which he kinda always wanted to do?

    Willow’s decision seems a little harder to explain away, that is until you look at the Dirty Girls Debacle more closely, as well as having a read of Season 8. In the vineyard battle, Kennedy is thrown into a cask of wine, and comes out of it with some nasty scrapes. Sure, she didn’t die, but Willow’s still very much affected by Tara’s death, and her fresh new romance nearly got squashed.

    And again… it was Buffy’s fault. In Season 8 she’s kept Kennedy away from the Slayer Organisation, and I’m pretty sure that subconsciously she’s acting on the same impulse. To her it seems like Buffy’s being single minded and irrational, and that might lead to her losing another lover. Plus, her oldest friend who she knew long before Buffy just got seriously hurt. Again, if she were alone in this she might not assert herself, but the power of the mob is not a force to be underestimated. Add to that the fact that Giles was, in hindsight, right about the raid on the vineyard. Post S6 Willow has a lot of respect for him and his opinions, and I think that to side with Buffy would feel like more of a betrayal than to side against the person who just got a bunch of girls killed.

    Now Dawn, that’s another story; it seems completely out of character for her to just sell her sister out like that, even after the First’s little lightshow in Conversations With Dead People.

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  67. [Note: Jason posted this comment on September 17, 2010.]

    I agree with the review 100%. The last scene is pivotal and awful. One of the series’s biggest single missteps.

    Not only is it dumb and out of character for Xander and Willow to turn on Buffy so unilaterally (as mentioned in the review), it’s equally dumb for Dawn to just say “get out”. What does that mean? She can’t even plan with them anymore? They’re not going to coordinate anymore? Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

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  68. [Note: MrB posted this comment on October 23, 2010.]

    This episode is a mess. They had a dramatic plot point (Buffy has to be thrown out at the end, and say that great line to Faith at the end) and they broke a bunch of character traits to do it.

    This is what other shows do all the time. This is what BtVS avoided like the Plague until the last season. They thought they could play around a bit, because ti was the end.

    Big mistake.

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  69. [Note: James posted this comment on October 31, 2010.]

    I agree with the majority that the final scene is absurd. A rare case of failure to properly represent the characters given everything we know about them. The scene would have at least stung a little less if this is how it ended:

    ——-

    DAWN (cont’d)

    I’m sorry. It’s my house, too.

    Buffy takes it in for a moment. Takes one last look around the room. A resolute but newly informed look appears on her face.

    BUFFY

    And I fall for it every-single-time. When am I going to learn my lesson? I’m not talking about being baited into a trap, although this time it’s perfectly obvious to anyone with a brain that I’m absolutely right…I’m talking about being turned on in my hour of need, by those closest to me. It’s all just a little bit of history repeated. Whether it was Angel, or Dawn, the Initiative smackdown or Spike – At the times when I’ve needed you most, and incidentally been my very best, you’ve never been there for me. I save the world, a lot, and my reward is being ripped out of heaven and being spat on by my friends.

    Anya – is this luck? Fighting for my life, all my life, spending nights nursing the bloody wounds of my daily battles. And that’s just the physical ones. Sure. There are perks. I could probably win the Sunnydale’s women’s benchpress championship. Bully for me. The death and torture and pain and suffering means nothing when I can backflip like I can right? But on the subject of luck, and death and torture, I’d say you were the last person to be giving lessons on morality. You’ve probably killed more people in your life than I’ve saved, yet you’re still here mouthing off on ethics and entitlement? That doesn’t make you less lucky than me, it makes you more of a murderer than me.

    Which leads me to you Willow. You’d think with the understanding, the open arms, the patience and forgiveness I’ve shown you for trying to slaughter us all not even a year ago you’d treat me with a little more respect and understanding. God, even a little humility you ungrateful little witch. How short all our memories are!

    Xander. I’m sorry about your eye. I truly am. But you don’t have the monopoly on loss. I’ve lost, died, and fought more than any of you could possibly imagine, so spare me the moral high ground. Giles…since you got back here a few months ago you’ve either been pessimistic, fatalistic, treacherous or useless, spin the wheel. Who knew it would take a mutiny for you to actually have something to say?

    Wood. You don’t get an opinion. Girls…I asked for yours; but I’m starting to think whining and squabbling and lack of experience isn’t worth listening to either. I’m nothing but your babysitter. And I think I’m just about done with it. Faith can have you. Faith who tried to cut Willow’s throat, choke Xander, who yesterday Giles and Dawn welcomed into the house like they would Caleb. Hell, you can all kill each other, I suddenly lost the will to care.

    Which leads me to my dear sister Dawn. Dawn, who I was willing to sacrifice the world for a little while back and now is throwing her weight around like she’s done anything to earn it. But you see Anya, everybody, I have earned it. Over the last seven years, I have earned it. Count the times. [To Dawn]…*I* have to leave? Technically, it’s not your house too, no. You don’t pay the bills, you didn’t give up your last shred of dignity to sling burgers at the Doublemeat Palace so we had a room for you to kick us out of on a weekly basis. So I want you all to listen to me very carefully, cause the boring speeches are about to be over. I want you to take your new leader, your sleeping bags, everything, and each and every one of you, can get out of MY house, you ungrateful, backstabbing traitors. Good luck.

    END SCENE

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  70. [Note: Susan posted this comment on November 7, 2010.]

    I know I’m pretty late in commenting on this, but I just finished re-watching the episode (my fourth or fifth time through the series) and I’m still befuddled concerning two things. First of all, I really think that mikejer’s review is terrific and really hits the nail on the head concerning the problems with the final scene. And I love the rewrite suggestion from James (comment # 79). I can see the point of view of those who feel that the final scene was not so terribly out of character for the Scoobies given previous events in this season (Buffy’s aloofness with the wannabees, her superiority leading to Anya’s reference to the “everybody sucks but me” speech) although I’m still with mikejer on this one. What I don’t understand is why no one ever seemed concerned about where Buffy was going to go when they threw her out of her own house. We, the viewers, saw what happened, but none of them seemed to care where she would go. And, as others have pointed out, there was never any resolution of this whole thing when she did come back. No one apologized, no one said thank God you’re okay, we were so worried about you what with all the evil stuff that’s been going on and the fact that you were knocked out in a fight with Caleb just prior to our tossing you out. Neither of those issues was ever dealt with. While I love the scene she has with Spike in the next episode, I don’t think that it really makes up for what was lacking in this one.

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  71. [Note: Jermzy posted this comment on December 12, 2010.]

    I’m actually in disagreement: the revolt scene felt VERY in character. I was actually pleasantly surprised at just how thought out each character’s justification for it was.

    Wood is fuming at Buffy undermining his attempt to kill Spike, Giles is angry at Buffy not trusting him, Faith is riled about Buffy hitting her and talking down to her at the Bronze, Anya is bitter about her lack of power and jealous of Buffy’s, Kennedy wants to be in the alpha position, Xander just lost his eye because of Buffy and Willow is even more shaken up about it, Dawn has been generally treated like she is powerless and just the research girl all season and the potentials have seen her as a cold, unsympathetic figure who got Molly killed.

    And I really LIKED Season 7- I think it should be switched with Season 3 on Mike’s season review list (Season 3 was an emotional void and was kind of a limbo period for Buffy, a little like 6 but without the good). People wanted this season to be more epic in scale instead of a regular build up but I liked how it stayed centered in character’s normal lives: this season has the best stand alones in my opinion.

    If I had to rank seasons I’d probably put it as 5, 7, 2, 4, 6, 3 (I won’t put in one because it was just campy fun which I don’t want to judge harshly).

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  72. [Note: John posted this comment on January 4, 2011.]

    This episode was probably hands down one of the worst of S7 for me.

    I simply could not buy Xander, Willow and Dawn turning against Buffy the way they did. They’ve all questioned each others’ decisions before, that’s not anything new, and I have no issue with that. But to not only hand over leadership to someone who had yet to prove herself to them again, but also kick Buffy out of the house?

    Buffy, the one who sacrificed her LIFE for Dawn, someone who was placed into her life artificially and who Buffy loved as a sister nonetheless?

    Willow, whom Buffy has been very close to for seven years, and has gone through an incredible amount with her?

    Xander, who throughout everything has never really given up on Buffy and his love for her?

    It was infuriating to see these characters apparently forget seven years of trials, tribulations and triumphs and not only turn on Buffy but eject her out into the cold. This very nearly ruined S7 for me; I thought it was quite good, personally, but this episode was absolutely intolerable thanks to the ending.

    As you said, in a show that is so amazing because of how it handles its characters, seeing them mishandled this badly is quite simply incredibly painful.

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  73. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on January 22, 2011.]

    This episode can be summed up for me with 4 words: I DON’T BUY IT. I think this has all been touched on but I just don’t believe that Buffy’s friends would do this to her after everything that has happened over 7 years. And Dawn? Come on now. Just terrible.

    I can actually understand Robin turning his back. He hasn’t been through thick and thin with her and she told him that she’d let Spike kill him. I can understand the Potentials not having faith in Buffy although it is ridiculous how quickly they follow Faith given that they were ALWAYS skeptical about Buffy. I can even understand Anya given that she is not prone to just following her emotions and has no problem saying what she thinks bluntly.

    But the rest of them? Now Buffy has not blameless in all this. Maybe she was a little reckless in going to the vineyard but her intentions were good. She hasn’t been a great leader (she’s been a pretty bad one actually) but that’s natural because she has never really had to lead. but her actions did not deserve what they did to her.

    Yes, Xander lost his eye but he always knew that there was danger that is associated with helping the Slayer fight evil, especially as a mere mortal. I find it hard to believe that his incident changed his view 180 degrees from the speech he gave about trusting Buffy the last episode to basically telling her to go away the next.

    Giles and Buffy obviously hadn’t been getting along up until this point. And I know that Buffy has rejected hims several times over the last couple of episodes but I still find it totally out of character that Giles would just give up on Buffy like that.

    Willow was probably the most in character. She was the only one who actually seemed concerned about Buffy. She just was questioning Buffy’s judgement. However, given how quickly Buffy forgave Willow for her past transgressions, you would think that perhaps Willow might stand up for Buffy.

    As for Dawn, just totally horrific writing for her. Like she would ever order Buffy out of the house. Not even for a second did I consider that a remote possibility from her and there was nothing that really backs up why she did that. I mean, Buffy DIED for her! Good god!

    I can’t tell you how angry this episode makes me. And not in a good way. If I felt that the writers had done a good enough job to make me believe why they would turn their back on Buffy, I would still be upset at them but in a good way because the episode could make me feel so strongly. Like in Angel whene Angel turns his back on Wesley (tries to kill him actually). I was upset because I love Wes and knew he was just trying to do the right thing but I could totally understand Angel’s point of view. Not here. Terrible.

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  74. [Note: NK posted this comment on March 18, 2011.]

    I find it funny how many people seem to dislike the second half of Season 7, because on the whole I much prefer it to the first half – I felt the return to the High School was a regressive step, as though the writers had lost faith in being able to break new ground after the emotional whirlwind of Season 6. That said, I’m not crazy about the whole epic battle between The First and The Potentials either – what I really wanted was a season of character portaits along the lines of ”Selfless” and ”Lies My Parents Told Me”.

    As for this episode, I don’t really understand everyone’s objections to the revolt scene – with the exception of Dawn, who I’m willing to believe is putting aside her personal feelings for what she views as the good of the wider group, I don’t feel anyone in the scene acts particularly out-of-character. But judging from the other comments here, a lot of people perceive the characters’ stances differently to me. For example, I thought that only the Potentials wanted Faith as the new leader, and that only Dawn wanted Buffy to leave the house – the former because they hadn’t experienced the old Faith first-hand, and the latter because she thought it was the best way of giving everyone a chance to cool off – whereas others seem to have interpreted these as mass views held by the entire group. I thought the other Scoobies were just raising their individual issues and the heat of the moment sort of created a situation where everyone venting turned into everyone ganging up against Buffy (just like in ”Dead Man’s Party”).

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  75. [Note: Conor posted this comment on March 30, 2011.]

    “The major thing that bugs me about this scene, though, is how Willow and Xander in particular are so quick to claim that Buffy’s judgement is impaired without even trying to quickly pull Buffy aside, maybe outside the house, and have a more personal chit-chat about what’s going on. It felt very unnatural to me to have all of these final decisions and judgements made so abruptly (on all sides) without anyone even attempting to suggest taking a step back and really talk it out.

    It sits with me just fine that the Potentials would revolt against Buffy and even choose Faith over her, but for Willow and Xander (and to a lesser extent Dawn) to do it is out-of-character and a little absurd. Trusting Faith to lead over Buffy!? The same Faith who almost killed Xander with her bare hands and put a knife to Willow’s throat in S3? I know Faith’s changed, but that change has occurred on Angel and hasn’t been personally witnessed by anyone on this side of the network pond. Sure Willow saw Faith help Angel a bit, but that’s hardly a reason to so quickly call Buffy’s judgement impaired and put her stock in Faith. Wow. I’m not used to seeing such blatantly poor characterization on this show, but here it is!”

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    I’d like to take you to task on the above comments. First of all, it is quite clear that Buffy is making reckless decisions out of an increasing sense of desperation. Her plan, as you’ve noted yourself, relies on conjecture. It is totally indefensible under the circumstances and this – along with other controversial decisions made by her in recent episodes such as her plan to attack the vinyard and her display of excessive faith in Spike (at a point when such faith was objectively unjustified) – has clearly left her followers increasingly wary of her leadership. Xander has just been horrendously injured and it’s taken a significant emotional toll on him. This is self-evident from his behaviour in the hospital and later. Willow has also been deeply affected by what happened to Xander, and both blame Buffy to an extent – completely understandable under the circumstances and irrespective of their long-standing friendship. Her last plan cost lives and nearly got everyone killed. This latest one amounts to little more than reckless endangerment. This is abundantly clear to everyone present but her. And she simply won’t stop to take heed of the others’ opinions – opinions which are every bit as valid, and undoubtedly more safety-conscious, than her own. She has become a type of tyrant, ruling the group by order and decree. This approach does not and cannot work. Faith may be many things, but she is no longer a killer, and despite whatever reservations Xander and Willow might have in relation to her leading the group, they know things cannot continue the way they have been going up to now. Besides, support for Faith appears to emanate more from Wood and the Potentials than the original Scoobies. Xander in particular seems noteably mute throughout the entire scene – no doubt a result of the emotional and psychological trauma that the severe injury he recently suffered is still having on him. As for Dawn, she’s no longer a child and realises the foolhardiness of Buffy’s behaviour. The Slayer has become immune to criticism or reasoned debate. In her mind, her word is law. This is not the way it should be and the group was right to call her out on this attitude. The burden she has carried for so long is no longer just hers. It’s shared by everyone in that room. Until Buffy acknowledges that and learns to take the views of the others into account, she is not fit to be their leader. Her explusion, though painful to watch, was both necessary and deserved.

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  76. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on March 31, 2011.]

    Conor, I agree with your description of the situation, and when I watch that scene I feel positively furious with Buffy. (I do understand why she’s acting the way she does, though, which other commenters and Mike himself have described in detail.) But I also can’t imagine, after everything they’ve been through together, Xander, Willow, and Dawn allowing the group to kick Buffy out (or, in Dawn’s case, initiating it). I could *maybe* buy that it happened in the heat of the argument, but afterward they let Faith be the new leader and made no attempt to track down Buffy (as Susan pointed out in comment #80).

    Buffy needed to be called out. She didn’t need to be kicked out of her house; by that point it was pretty clear that no one was going along with her plan. What’s more is that, even if *I* thought it needed to happen, I still wouldn’t buy Willow, Xander, and Dawn doing it. (Giles I’m not so sure of.)

    Then again, there is something to be said for the power of the group dynamic, which other commenters have pointed out.

    Also, I very much agree that Buffy’s burden is, at this point, no longer her own, or at least no longer entirely her own. (Actually, it was never entirely her own; part of why she lived so long was that she had the Scooby gang to share a bit of that burden with her.) That’s part of what makes Anya’s comment, “You’re not better than us, just luckier,” very interesting. On one hand, it’s a slap in the face of how much Buffy has sacrificed over the previous six years (including, twice, her life). On the other hand, everyone there is in that fight, and Buffy’s strength does make her more likely to survive. In a way, you could even read this comment as foreshadowing Anya’s death in battle, something she chose to fight even though she didn’t have the strength and skills to win.

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  77. [Note: Conor posted this comment on March 31, 2011.]

    Interesting point about Anya, fray-adjacent. She has always been very forthright in conveying her strongly, oftentimes controversially-held views. And her feelings towards Buffy have never been anything other than conflicting.

    As for the core Scoobies going along with Buffy’s expulsion, again I think it’s necessary to look at matters as they stand at this precise moment in time. Giles’ relationship with Buffy has been very strained since the events of “Lies My Parents Told Me” and they have not been as close since perhaps as far back as Season 6. It seems that, in his absence, the two have grown apart, the parent/child relationship more ill-defined than before. Addionally, he is clearly very strongly opposed to her new plan and hasn’t been satisfied with the decisions she’s been making for quite some time. As such, it’s not difficult to see why Giles was willing to support those wishing to see her removed from her leadership role.

    When it comes to Xander and Willow, again I think the former’s disfigurement and the sense of shock that such a horrific – not to mention painful – injury is likely to incur played a significant role in their condemanation of Buffy’s stance. I honestly don’t think Xander had the energy or emotional stability to defend Buffy at this point, and Willow retains a deep connection with him than transcends even that she shares with Buffy. Seeing Xander getting hurt in this way has impacted greatly on her, as evidenced by her tearful breakdown in the hospital. It’s still only a year since she lost Tara, and the near-loss of her best friend has undoubtedly left her shaken and unwilling to support any foolhardy acts such as those advocated by Buffy.

    Let’s not also forget that the relations between these three have not always been rosy over the years. Willow’s relationship with her friends was in a state of disrepair at the start of this season, when she wasn’t even sure they’d take her back. So the bounds of friendship, though formidable, do not guarantee absolute loyalty – and to be honest, only someone absolutely loyal and wholly unquestioning would concede to Buffy’s plan so soon after suffering such a brutal defeat.

    The mutiny depicted here was instigated by the Potentials and those less closely connected with Buffy. Her closer friends weren’t in a position to offer any counter-arguments or any credible defence of Buffy’s objectively erratic behaviour. And they knew this. Supporting her expulsion must have been difficult, but it made sense at this moment, in these circumstances. Dawn’s ‘betraylal’ is a profound acknowledgement of her newfound maturity. She once looked up to her sister as the one person who could make everything right and keep the monsters at bay. Now, with increasing age and experience, she is as aware as every other person in that room of just how out of sync Buffy is with the group dynamic and how unreasonable her demands have become. As her only blood relative, she was courageously assuming responsibility for the painful duty which someone had to carry out to formally expel Buffy from the team. I think she should be commended rather than condemned for facing up to such a heart-wrenching task.

    As for the ‘kicking her out of her own house’, I think this ties in with the thinking behind her expulsion. Buffy has completely alienated her allies and is no longer capable of functioning as a component of the group. It therefore follows that she can have no further role in this battle. Had she remained in the Summer’s house, she would have remained an integral part of said group simply by default and, given her status as a perceived liability at this point, this was not permissable. Moreover, since Faith was always the most obvious successor (and it’s hard to imagine Buffy ever accepting orders from Faith), asking Buffy to leave was likely the only way in Dawn’s eyes to avoid a future showdown (of a potentially violent sort) between the two slayers. And Dawn knows just how much they used to irk each other (to put it mildly).

    As for not attempting to track Buffy down, I think it’s important to remember that a very short space of time passes between this and the events of the next episode. It’s not as if Buffy has been gone for days or weeks. Plus they sort of have their hands full trying to figure out their next move and probably aren’t sure what they’d say to Buffy if one of them did track her down. “Hey, Buffy? How’s things? Sorry about booting you out on the street like that, but Faith’s doing a really great job…really”. They really have nothing to say to her at this point and the awkwardness attached to such a scenario likely inhibits them from seeking her out. Personal experience has taught me that after a major conflagration of the sort we witness here, the conflicting parties have a tendency to keep their distance from each other for a while. This is human nature, and that’s exactly what’s on display here.

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  78. [Note: sacundim posted this comment on April 6, 2011.]

    fray-adjacent@86, Conor@87: you’re all accepting Susan@80’s claim that nobody tried to track down Buffy. It’s not true. In “Touched,” Faith tells Giles, Willow, Dawn and Xander to track down Buffy and check that she’s alright while she takes the Potentials to the arsenal:

    FAITH: Enough. Okay, I need you four to suss out the low-down on B.

    (She turns to Giles, Willow, Dawn and Xander.)

    FAITH (cont’d): I don’t want you talking to her, getting in her way, or, for that matter, letting her know you’re there. Just do a little recon.

    DAWN (to Faith): What are we looking for, I mean, is there some reason we should… spy on Buffy?

    FAITH: We’re just making sure she’s okay.

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  79. [Note: A posted this comment on April 10, 2011.]

    I actually thought the whole mutiny thing made sense. I don’t like the scene (I sort of maybe skipped it the first time I watched it because it was too painful) but it did work.

    Buffy literally shut Giles out at the end of LMPTM. And he clearly thinks she’s unable to make good decisions.

    Xander just lost an eye, and he’s kind of freaked. And Buffy’s basically shutting everyone out, so he can’t really tell that she cares. He just knows that he’s permanently disabled and that can’t be an easy thing to deal with. It’s one thing to say you can give your life, but for the last seven years, Buffy’s always gotten him out of it, and this time she didn’t. And I agree with the person who said that he’s ready to “get out of her shadow.” He put all the faith in her earlier, and then people died, so he might also feel guilty.

    Willow’s pretty weirded out after what happens to Xander, and because of Kennedy, she also has a closer tie to the potentials. She might also feel that Buffy is treating them as expendable.

    Dawn… Dawn hasn’t really trusted Buffy in awhile, I don’t think. There’s only one or two moments where I remember them actually being sisterly, especially since the potentials arrived and Buffy’s been dealing with them most of the time. And since the ghost (who she still believes was Joyce) told her that Buffy would turn on her… I think it makes sense.

    The “dissention in the ranks” thing has come up a lot. In season four, when Spike split them up, season five when Buffy basically says that if Dawn dies she’ll kill the rest first (and when Knight Whatshisname talks about the ‘dissention’ of Spike and Xander, and she punches him.) In season six, Willow is the one that they’re /fighting/. There had to be at least one time when they really did break off.

    And look at Faith in here. She takes them to the Bronze. She seems level headed. Reasonable. They think of her as more a friend than a leader, and so, personal history aside, I think they feel that they’d get more say in what happened with Faith in charge. I’m not sure the decision is just their belief in her leadership skills.

    Point is, anyway, I think this has been building for awhile.

    But Rona is seriously annoying.

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  80. [Note: Myke posted this comment on April 13, 2011.]

    Really, this episode is such shit…the end where everyone turns on buffy is so out of character and just random. I can see the writers thinking there isn’t enough conflict, we need to do something–so they end up making shit up that doesn’t flow. I love this series because it doesn’t fall into that crap, but I guess not. Why did it have to happen so close to the series finale though?

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  81. [Note: A posted this comment on April 17, 2011.]

    Myke… read above post. It makes perfect sense and it had to happen some time. You don’t have seven years’ dedicated loyalty.

    Like

  82. [Note: BuffyFanX100 posted this comment on April 21, 2011.]

    This episode is surely one of the most controversial in the entire show. It has caused a great deal of anger in the Buffy fan community and justifiably so. No one wants to see the characters that we have grown to love go through damage their relationships and destroy the group dynamic.

    We also need to be careful that this does not turn into what I would call, a “fan-wank”. By fan-wank, I mean using actions in this episode (or others) to justify attacking specific characters or seeking to elevate a favorite character.

    I think it is important to understand what the writers were attempting to do. They wanted to create a conflict between the characters that created tension, advanced the plot and set up a situation where they could bring the characters back together for the big finale. Leaving aside some of the many plot holes, the writers succeed. Buffy gets the “Scythe” and some alone time with Spike, the rest of the team gets a chance to do some things on their own, which does not work out, and everyone comes back together with Buffy being the acknowledged leader and having the full support of all parties. With the tension resolved, the full group can now get on with the business of saving the world.

    I am not sure how this could have happened without the existing tension being resolved and have the show still be “Buffy”.

    Let’s look again at the situation. As Jason@36 has pointed out, during the first attack on the Winery, three (3) potentials are killed, at least that many are seriously wounded, based on subsequent hospital scenes, and Xander is maimed! I have all of seven seasons on DVD and I cannot think of any other single battle that had losses that high. That had to have taken a toll on all of the participants. For the people who have contended that Willow and Xander should have pulled Buffy aside, I have to contend just the opposite. Xander has just returned from the hospital and is still so unsteady that is being supported by Willow and Anya. Numerous mentions have been made in the show about his “meds” so I have to wonder just how clearly he is able to think. Connor@87 has alluded many times to the psychological toll that injury had to take on Xander. I am amazed at the people who act as though he and others should have blithely tossed this off and immediately fell in line when Buffy made her demands.

    If we are going to say that Buffy is the unimpeachable “leader” then we have to hold her accountable for recognizing the mental state of her troops and taking the necessary steps to get everyone on her side. In fact, in “Showtime” 7×11, she does just that. Buffy meets with Xander and Willow separately (using a never seen again mind link) to strategize and come up with a plan to defeat the Ubervamp and to inspire the potentials.

    What is even more interesting is in the very next episode after this one (“Touched” 7×20) Buffy responds to Spike’s criticism of Faith with the statement, “It wasn’t just Faith, it was all of them – and it’s not like they were wrong.” Whoa! Sounds like Buffy is admitting that maybe she did not handle the situation well.

    As we analyze Buffy as a television show, it is important to review what the characters say and do as well as our feelings toward what is happing. Buffy is the star and the one who has to make the ultimate decisions and sacrifices, but she is only successful as a result of working with and through her support structure. Her friends have decided to leave their normal lives and to work with her. They can never be the Slayer but they are an integral part of the team who deserve to be respected. The writers make that very clear early on. If we have Buffy walk in and say, here is the plan, fall in line and all of the characters do just that, then we are now watching a show more akin to “Walker, Texas Ranger” and not Buffy.

    This episode is certainly heart-wrenching. It has generated a tremendous amount of emotion in us, the viewers, that unfortunately could not be resolved in the time remaining. However, I think that the writers accomplish their goal of resolving the tension created by disastrous attack on the Winery. Would I have like to have seen something less traumatic? Yes. However, the ongoing trauma in Buffy was what made it a special show.

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  83. [Note: Zarz posted this comment on May 9, 2011.]

    Oddly enough, I am a fan of the last scene. I honestly wish that it didn’t have to happen (although I loved seeing Faith in a leadership capacity, so it almost made the entire mini plot arc worthwhile) but the problems that led to the scene came from before this episode. Simply enough, Buffy’s attack on the Vinyard was ridiculous. “Testing the potentials in battle” means rousing up some Bringers and killing them, it does not mean storming a death trap with no end goal at all. In more movies than I can count heroes have rushed into places that they knew were traps because they had noble reasons, but the Buffy writers didn’t even give Buffy one at all. She risked her life because an evil being told her “I have something of yours?” Ok, believable if he had kidnapped one of the potentials maybe, but as it stands it was the lameness taunt ever, esp since he never intended her to find out about the scythe. I cannot believe that Buffy fell for it. Admittedly, her character has a history of making rash decisions and attacking the enemy at the first opportunity possible, but I still wish the writers had justified this attack a little more believably.

    A brief not on the Potentials now: I don’t mind the potentials, but the writers should have introduced them, or at least some of them, earlier in the season, like in the first episode. Then a few of the more interesting ones could have had some opportunity for character development so that we understand where they are coming from, both when the First manages to terrorize them psychologically and during the mutiny scene (although Eve, as annoying as she was, did set up this scene – just far too early in the season with little follow-up). With more development, the potentials could actually be characters instead of annoying screen-wasters.

    By the time we get to the mutiny, the Potentials are just trying to get rid of Buffy. They’ve heard the Faith stories, but Faith has only shown her fun side they met her and they have no reason from actual experience to distrust her. Ultimately, they just want an alternative to Buffy.

    And here’s the controversial part: I believe that the Scoobies are in character too, but only because they did not mean the mutiny as a refutation of Buffy as a person or even as a leader, they knew that returning to the Vinyard was pretty much the stupidest idea possible. Sure, it turns out to be the right decision when Buffy goes to retrieve the scythe, but only because she went by herself. She had figured out how to dodge Caleb, something none of the potentials would be capable of. If she brought an entire army, Caleb would have spent the entire time picking them off. All of the scoobies are trying to save the lives of themselves and the potentials by warding off Buffy’s clearly insane attempt to keeping attacking the Vinyard until something, anything, happens. Throughout the history of the show, reckless attacks have only ended in disaster (think of the early onslaught in season 3 that Buffy and gang launches on the Mayor which almost costs Willow her life). Unfortunately, due to Buffy’s stubbornness, the only way to persuade Buffy from launching the attack appears to be kicking her out for the time being.

    The only out of character part of the episode is that Dawn of all people asks her to leave the house. This entire speech comes out of nowhere. If anyone, I’d think that someone who had been at the Vinyard the first time, like Xander or Kennedy, would do so. Willow is also a likely contestant. Her girlfriend almost died the last time, and she has “betrayed” Buffy before when she felt like it was the right thing to do. An example that come to mind is when she went behind Buffy’s back and worked to help Cordelia win Homecoming Queen against Buffy. Obviously the gravity of this betrayal is a lot greater, but at that point in their lives, turning on a friend like that, even if only out of guilt, and helping Cordelia because she “needs this more” was an extremely hurtful thing to do to her best friend. Back then, Willow still lacked a lot of the self-confidence that she has been gaining the entire series, and she still had the courage to work against Buffy when she saw the need.

    Again I ask, why Dawn?

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  84. [Note: joaquin posted this comment on August 18, 2011.]

    i love this chapter..is very human

    humans are like this, and leaders are reject

    giles want to be with faith, because faith will listen him more

    dawn in this same chapter is ignored by buffy

    the same for xander and willow

    all is shown perfectlly for that last scene

    in the moment that buffy started to be a leader, she forgot of the others and lost the battle with his friends, is in that moment that they turn their backs

    Like

  85. [Note: serenissima posted this comment on November 8, 2011.]

    i hated this episode. aside from everything Mike said about the out-of-character-ness of the whole situation, when the cops attacked them in the Bronze, I found myself actually ROOTING for the cops. i wanted them to kick those spoiled little potential brats asses and kill them all.

    not a good sign.

    and idc what the situation is, the Scoobies and Dawn would never, EVER kick Buffy out of the house. even if they overthrew her as their leader (which is a STRETCH. they brought her back from the dead to be their leader only one year ago, they needed her so badly) why would they kick her out of the house with The First and Caleb, who’s now kicked her ass a fair few times, out there? were they trying to murder her? shoddy writing.

    and as another commenter said, lack of character continuity and just overall sloppy writing were the two biggest flaws of this season, imo. for example, why would keeping all of the Potentials at the Summers home even be a good game plan? the First obviously knew where Buffy lived and all of their sleeping schedules (as evidenced in Get It Done), why wouldnt he just blow up the house like he did the Watchers Council? Slayer threat eliminated. shoddy writing.

    this season and this episode in particular PISSES ME OFF

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  86. [Note: serenissima posted this comment on November 8, 2011.]

    another thing: how the HELL did all those girls even fit in the Summers house? there’s like 50 OF THEM! they were ALL crammed in the basement? this whole boarding school portion of the season rubbed me all kinds of the wrong way, in case you guys hadnt noticed lol

    Like

  87. [Note: Alex posted this comment on November 9, 2011.]

    Couldn’t agree more, serenissima. There were just WAY too many of them and as well as being highly illogical to keep them in one place, it also meant that none of them got any real character development. I think it would have been so much better if there had been smaller groups of Potentials. For example, Giles had brought back a few ex-Watchers too, and then the Watchers could each have taken a little band of Potentials to live somewhere in Sunnydale. Then they could all still have trained together, and Buffy could have just had half a dozen living with her who could have been properly developed as characters.

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  88. [Note: keekey posted this comment on December 1, 2011.]

    Okay, I see what the writers’ were trying to do with this episode–having our hero hit her lowest point before pulling herself back together and going on to triumph, the darkest hour is just before dawn, etc. but I agree that having Willow, Xander, and Dawn participate in kicking Buffy out of the house just doesn’t ring true at all. Wood, Faith, Anya, and the Potentials? Okay, I buy that. I even sort of buy Giles’ reaction (although it seems petty), but not Xander, Willow, and Dawn. Having read that Xander was originally supposed to die in the last episode, I can’t help but think how much better this scene would have played if Xander had, in fact, died in Dirty Girls. Xander, who has been Buffy’s most eloquent advocate so far this season, would be gone, and I can see Willow and Dawn being so devastated by Xander’s death that Buffy’s proposal to go back to the Vineyard would drive them to boot her as the group’s leader. Also, Giles’ reaction would make more sense because I think he would be genuinely concerned that Buffy is acting rashly out of a desire to avenge Xander’s death rather than out of strategic considerations. So, I get the sense that this episode suffered as result of the decision to spare Xander in the last episode.

    That said, I’m glad Xander wasn’t killed in the previous episode. I’ve never been a huge Xander fan so I was surprised by how traumatized I was when he lost an eye. I know it seems odd to say this about a show that’s killed its own heroine twice but I think the ending of the series just would have been too dark if Xander had been killed as originally planned.

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  89. [Note: x factor posted this comment on December 22, 2011.]

    I agree completely with Myke and keekey. This episode to me actually deserves an F to me, not a C+, another failure in the miserable line of failures that characterize season 7.

    No one who has followed Buffy from WTTH would find this episode believable in the slightest.

    Like

  90. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on December 29, 2011.]

    -Seeing as how the Turok-Han are so easy to kill in ‘Chosen’ the writers should not have had Anya bring up the fight Buffy had with one in ‘Bring on the Night’. Like driving wood through solid steel!! Hearing this only three episodes from the end is bad.

    -One of the cops with Faith was the actor who played Billy in the self titled “Angel” episode.

    -Faith showed she is still not right by saying she actually “wanted” to kill Buffy for punching her. Wow!

    -Dawn telling Buffy she cannot stay in her own home! The vision of Joyce in ‘Conversations with Dead People’ saw this coming. She knew a sister would turn on the other, she was just wrong about which sister was the betrayer.

    Like

  91. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on February 13, 2012.]

    For me, its Anya and her statement regarding Buffy and her being luckier than the rest of them. Its probably the first time i’ve heard Buffy’s slayer qualities being considered luckier. Buffy herself time and again has thought of her duties as the slayer as a chore, a burden. Wanting and wishing for normality. Yes the enhanced healing and slayer strength, speed, agility etc would be great to possess but nobody gets things for nothing. I wonder if Anya would considered herself lucky if she was the Slayer, having died twice, being cut off, loosing people and going through the turbulent times Buffy has? Or if its more her being jealous?

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