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I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
Top Fives meme: Buffy 
5th-Oct-2013 12:27 am
Angelus/Dru: you raised me to be cruel
Okay so I found this post from a million years ago, finished it, and posted. SO MUCH TALKING ABOUT BTVS. I AM SO HAPPY.

vlorahp asked for my Top Five kickass!Willow moments.

5. Killing a vamp with a pencil in Choices. She is so brave and resourceful in that episode, and this is just the pinnacle of that. And I love that this episode seems to be when she decides to stick around in Sunnydale and fight the good fight.

4. “Get the hell out of my library.” This is still a very young Willow, who values social harmony over pretty much all else and never tries to lead. But she’s grown, and it’s an emergency, and Buffy and Giles need them, so she totally takes charge and demands the Scoobies get down to work. <3

3. “I’m very powerful. And maybe it’s not such a good idea for you to piss me off.” I love it. I love that she actually says that, so coolly, to Giles. Especially considering how much they care for each other and the way gender roles figure in her S6 journey, particularly with the “Daddy’s home” line and the following duel when Willow’s desire to take Giles’ power/role for herself reaches its apex. I just. Someday I have to write meta about the Willow/Giles relationship, especially in S6.

2. The booksuck in Villains. As an image of the power of words and knowledge, it couldn’t be bettered - the texts and diagrams sliding onto her skin and sinking in is one of my favourite visuals in Buffy, and I love how Willow, a very academic witch (unlike earth-mother Tara or heir to dark magics Amy) comes to take this power for herself.

1. Resurrecting Buffy. SO KICKASS. Not just her performing this enormous, intense spell, but the way she holds it together and passes the test and makes it happen even when they’re interrupted. Also I love the words of the spell, which I think she must have written. Here lies the warrior of the people. Let her cross over.

writcraft asked for my Top 5 Spike quotes/moments.

5. “I just like them. They make me feel all manly.” This is such a great line in Spike’s first episode. His slightly meta sense of humour is on display, but so already is an element of playing with gender: acknowledging that masculinity requires props undermines the myth of natural masculinity straight away. And there’s something thrilling, of course, about their first fight having that moment of throwing away weapons in favour of something a little more raw.

4. “Take a long look, hero. I’m nothing like you.” I just. I really love this moment. Spike in early S5 of AtS is kind of a pain imo, because there’s too much of him and the ensemble as a whole gets short shrift. But I just love the moment he turns all that stuff - all the “you should be more like Angel, you are always Angel’s inferior” that’s come from different people, including at times himself - and says no.

3. “I did a stupid thing last night/ I called you/ a moment of weakness/ no not a moment, more like three months of weakness. /I’m one step away from crashing to my knees / I’m one step away from spilling my guts to you.” Now I have no Dru moments, but I had to include this because it just makes me wriggle with joy. They’re the lyrics to the song playing when Spike sees Buffy for the first time and watches her dance. And it sums up for me the gorgeous serendipity (as well as enormous talent and work) that went into making Spike’s story, and his story with Buffy, so great. At this stage he was meant to be a Little Bad who’d die before the end of the season, but in this first scene we get him watching her dance - and dancing became such an important motif in their relationship - and watching her all evil-like, with scary villain music playing. But underneath, you can hear the other song, those lyrics. I’m one step away from crashing to my knees.

2. “Made a promise to a lady.” He doesn’t have a soul, but the personal bond - a promise - that’s what matters. Perfectly encapsulates Spike for me. I love the chivalrous-knight element of this - Romanticism with a capital R, Spike defining himself that way. I love that it doesn’t work at all, because chivalry’s all wrong for BtVS. I love that horrified moment between Spike and Dawn: when he looks at her and she looks at him and they’re terrified for each other, and he whispers “no” and then she screams as he falls.

1. “I’m not good, and I’m okay.” It’s a lovely moment of friendship with Dawn and really shows how their close-but-no-cigar status re: membership of the Scoobies has brought them closer. The heroes couldn’t have given Dawn that kind of consolation, but he can. I love the movement to stroke her hair and him then jerking his hand back when she turns around: what, nothing to see here. I love that sentiment, none of his poetic musings, and the essence of where he is at this point: he’s not good. But he’s okay.

pola_bear asked for my Top 5 seasons of Buffy.

Okay, so the top four vie for my favourite on any given day, but I will sort of try to order them anyway.

5. Season 2. This is a fantastically structured season: every throwaway storyline in the first half sends us inevitably to the enormous shock of Surprise/Innocence. I love that its big bad is probably the most perfect we ever get in terms of fitting in with the metaphors-for-real-life-horror thing and the feminist ethos. (I mean, what does Glory symbolise, exactly?) I love that we get the story of a young woman losing her virginity and her boyfriend going bad - and her world not ending, and her fighting back and being good enough to win. Plus this is the series that gives us Kendra the Vampire Slayer, Spike, Dru, Oz, Xander/Cordelia, Giles/Jenny, and too many great episodes to count.

And Angelus is a fantastic villain. All the subtle foreshadowing and the thematic focus of the season comes to fruition, and all the Monsters of the Week are eclipsed by this grand treatment of a boyfriend gone bad. Angelus and Buffy is still the most famous storyline of BtVS, and for good reason.

4. Season 5. Again, fantastically structured; the development of the characters arrows perfectly towards the roles they take in The Gift. I am glad The Gift wasn’t the end of the programme but I love it so much. Every character has a significant and well-chosen role, it is tragic and tense and beautiful, it is utterly fantastic. I like where pretty much all the characters are - mid-S5 is my Buffy happy place. Spike as the grey-area nasty vamp in love, Willow as the mage growing enormously in power and juuust beginning to be corrupted, Tara happy and gaining confidence, Xander finding a place for himself in the world, Buffy grappling with her Slayerness and strong and beautiful and big-sisterly, Dawn as the girl grappling with her identity. (Yep, I love Dawn.) And Joyce is actually a pretty good mum instead of the worst mum. Also this season has The Body and Intervention and Crush in it.

3. Season 4. This season gets a lot of stick but I love it. It has a lot of brilliant standalone episodes - Hush, Something Blue, Who Are You, and of course Restless. If I am randomly watching a Buffy episode it is quite likely from S4. I also love a lot of the emotional arcs: however much they fall apart in S5, I actually love S4!Buffy/Riley. I think they’re cute, and Buffy is happy, and I like Riley’s arc of learning to question and to control himself even if it isn’t very well done. Also “you’ve got a lot to learn about women, Riley” - “you gonna teach me?” just delights me.

And then of course there’s the Willow/Tara storyline, which is cute and great. There is Xander’s feeling of being stuck and failing to make a go of adulthood, which I connect with soooo much these days. There’s Giles kind of trying and failing to make a life outside the Scoobies, and Spike getting chipped, and just. Yay! Also I LOVE the Scooby fights

2. Season 3. FAITH. THE SEASON WITH FAITH IN IT. FAAAAITH.

I love Faith, and I am fascinated by Buffy’s interactions with her. I also love characters mirroring each other, and doppelgangers and shadow selves. Which I get from Faith & Buffy, but it’s also a major theme of the series: Buffy/Anne, the Wishverse, Wishverse!Willow, Giles/the Mayor, Giles/Mrs Post, etc etc etc. I love the way the Watchers Council is really problematised and challenged for the first time - most obviously in Helpless but also with Mrs Post, who is really just an extreme version of Travers, and with Wesley who has been horribly ill-prepared for his post. The bit where Buffy rejects the Watchers, and “I prefer to think of it as graduation”, is the best thing. And we get the theme of people coming together to fight the man - established in the awesomely left-wing “Anne” (Buffy throwing the sickle across the room as the workers fight the owners, fuck yeah!) and then brought to fruition in that perfect, perfect moment when the students fling off their robes and fight The Man.

The Mayor is a great villain in himself and another thematically resonant one - the establishment pretending to celebrate the future, but really come to consume the town’s youth to survive himself, the supposedly friendly patriarchal threat - and I love his relationship with Faith. And Faith, of course, is my favourite. I love the lesbian subtext with Buffy, I love the jealousy and the love, I love the fightscenes and how much she wants to be special and loved and how hard she tries. FAITH.

1. Season 6. I find this series completely engrossing; it’s the one that made me fall in love, when I discovered BtVS when I was fourteen or so. I love the exploration of depression and that Buffy is allowed to stay depressed, and to not get better all at once. I love the dark, complex thing that goes on between Buffy and Spike. (Until Seeing Red, anyway.) I love the story of Willow’s increasing corruption, I love the Tara/Dawn relationship, and I love all the Dark Willow episodes. I am always glued to my screen when I watch them. There’s just so much going on and I love it, however dark it becomes.

pola_bearasked for my top five Buffy episodes that aren’t about the big bad arc.

5. Bad Girls - Okay, obviously there is a vital scene that is very important to the big bad arc in this episode, and I love that scene. But it is not at all why I’m choosing this episode. I am choosing it because I love Buffy and I love Faith, and this is the episode that has them being friends and having fun, and Faith getting to feel like Buffy has chosen her, and also lots and lots of subtext. I love the dancing scene. I love it like cake. Actually I don’t love cake that much - I love it like hoisin duck pancakes. Also Faith drawing a heart on the glass and grinning at Buffy.

I never claimed to be deep.

4. Intervention - This episode has great moments for pretty much everyone. I love Tara’s “are you kidding? she’s nuts” and the Scoobies’ various reactions to the news that Buffy’s bonking Spike. I love Dawn’s “Spike built a Buffybot to play checkers with.” The Buffybot makes me laugh. I like the Buffy/Sineya conversation, and the canon confirmation of some level of mystical guardianship in Giles’ relationship with Buffy.

And then there is the Spike torture scene. I love it. This episode gives the best hurt/comfort I’ve seen outside fanfic, frankly, and I remember being fourteen and seeing this episode and... yeah. I like that we get a torture scene that is filmed for the female gaze and is about sexualised torture of a man by a woman - I mean, I don’t want retribution for the crap women go through onscreen, but it’s still a nice reversal to see shirtless Spike getting thrown on a bed by the female villain. I like Spike’s snark and his utter grit and determination, and then. THE FINAL SCENE. It is gorgeous. Just. Gorgeous.

3. Something Blue - Really excellent Willow characterisation here: this is a very big sign of what will later cause her to wipe Tara’s memories. She wants control, and thinks magic should be a way to fix everything, including emotional problems. We again see Giles’ instinct to hide it when he’s scared, in pain or having any kind of problem, until he can’t hide it any more. We get the adorable Giles/Buffy moment where she asks him to give her away. DADDY AND DAUGHTER AWW.

But mostly it’s just UTTER HILARITY. It kills me with how funny it is. Not so much Spike and Buffy - though that’s incredibly funny, don’t get me wrong - as everyone else’s reactions. Giles makes me DIE with laughter, and - “Can I be blind too?”

“It’s all right. I have more scotch.” are words to live by.

2. Once More With Feeling - I love musicals! I love Buffy! I would always have loved this. But the songs are so so fantastic and so character-revealing. I love the differing styles according to which character is singing them. Dawn’s getting cut off is perfect. And I LOVE the climactic scene. “Well that depends on if they let you go” makes me well up every time.

Also, on a shallow note, Buffy is SO PRETTY in this episode. SO PRETTY.

1. Who Are You - My favourite episode of all. Buffy and Faith are my favourite characters on the show separately, and I passionately love their shadow self/mirror characters thing when they’re together. So this is just everything I love. And it’s so great that after our protagonist Buffy getting to merge with her shadow self and foil Faith and take what she needs in their shared S3 dream, Faith is given the chance to do the same thing here.

I love Buffy’s fight against the Watchers, and the way that situation very quickly makes her somewhat Faith-ish: although she is still Buffy, and can’t kill a helpless human, they’re both Slayers and have certain reactions to being threatened. Also both actresses completely knock it out of the park: the Buffy/Giles scene never ceases to amaze me, with Buffy’s gestures and cadence coming out of Faith.

AND FAITH. OH FAITH. Her insanity is very obvious: the flashes of violence, the laughter playing in her head as she stares at herself. So is the damage she’s doing to other people - that immediate bath is both realistic and rather creepy, and she rapes Riley. (I know there’s no real-life equivalent, and more importantly Riley never identifies it that way; but I don’t care, because there is no way he could give meaningful consent without her telling him who she is, and she doesn’t.) She is so broken, and you can really see how this is followed by her attempted suicide-by-vamp. And she breaks my heart. “What do you want from h-her?” The scene where she pounds on her own face - “you’re disgusting! Murderous bitch!” :(((

I love that we get to see who she could be, if it weren’t for the timing - the way she leaves her chance to escape to save the people in the church, the way “because it’s wrong” goes from a mockery to a motto. I love that she is the POV character during the fight. I love the way she fucks with Spike. I LOVE FAITH OKAY.

Buffy in this episode is also fantastic - resourceful and brave and adorable (“can’t you just look into my eyes and be all intuitive?”) Giles’ “tiny, tiny babies!” as he waves his arms to cause a distraction cracks me up. And this is probably my favourite Riley episode - and I like Riley - just because of the sheer delight I get from HE WAS JUST LATE FOR CHURCH.

I could STILL TALK MORE about this episode but I will stop. (Squee welcomed in the comments!)

pola_bear asked for my top five BTVS hilarious moments

5. The Joyce/Spike scene in Becoming Part 2. Maybe it’s because it comes amidst so much angst and high drama but I LOL every time. “So, do you live here in town?”

4. Gingerbread. “I’m a rebel. I’m having a rebellion...And I’m dating a musician. I worship Beelzebub. I do his biddings! Do you see any goats around? No, because I sacrificed them! All before Satan! Prince of Night, I summon you. Come fill me with your black, naughty evil!”

3. Crush. The bit where Dru mouths “Blondie bear?” at Spike kills me.

2. Checkpoint. The whole sequence of the Watchers questioning the Scooobies is awesome!

1. Something Blue. How can I choose a moment??? ALL OF IT IS HILARIOUS. Wait, I know: “this is the crack team that foils my every plan? I am deeply shamed.”

teprometo asked for my top five BtVS villains

5. The Trio. They’ve got a terrible reputation as villains, but I honestly don’t think it’s deserved. Aside from an important role as manifestations of Buffy’s depression, they mirror the Trio and their individual darknesses perfectly, they all each mirror parts of Willow and foreshadow her Dark Willow turn, AND they’re a nice study in resentful youth gone awry which is kind of perfect for BtVS at that stage.

The reason I’ll defend them as fabulous villains, though, is Dead Things. Because seriously, “sex robots” or controlling Buffy with a mind-control-sex ray thing has always been one of their goals. And they’re nasty, but they’ve got pathos in their patheticness and they’re really kind of sympathetic and they just do not have the stuff to be archvillains at all. And I just love how it builds: these kind-of-sympathetic villains (I mean, I have no sympathy for them, but I think I did on first viewing) who have always been obvious about what kind of people they are actually go there. And they think it’s fun, they think it’s funny, they think it’s a joke. Jonathan and Andrew aren’t squicked until they find out Katerina is Warren’s ex - you’re doing this to a real person, not some toy of a girl you don’t know? And then Katerina actually screams, “it’s not a game, you freaks, it’s rape!”

Just. Yes. And then Warren’s murder and Andrew and Jonathan’s complicity. The whole thing is completely horrible, but then it needs to be. For me, it’s some of the most real treatment of misogyny and rape culture Mutant Enemy gave us.

4. Maggie. There's seriously so much to say about her, and I'm so sad she got killed off when she did. I totally get why people find it annoying to have someone who is so very second-wave feminist positioned as a villain, but I still get something cool and fitting out of third-wave Buffy facing down her forebears. And everything about her gender presentation fascinates me. She's brusque and short-haired, a scientist working within the military - her milieu and appearance are masculine. And yet she chooses the callsign "Mother". Significant both in that it's a very female callsign and that it comments on her storyline - she is "mother" to a Frankenstein's monster, sees herself as "mother" to Riley. After all the absent or abusive fathers, this monstrous mother fascinates me - particularly given the tinge of sexual interest to her interactions with Riley. And having a woman turn to creating life in the style of Frankenstein - a guy who textually does it that way because he's terrified of women and their physicality - just. I still feel like I don't get half of what was going on there, but Maggie is so interesting! And the choice of name for her HAS to be significant - which is especially interesting given Thatcher's position as Britain's first female PM and a famously unfeminist - even antifeminist - powerful woman.

3. The Watchers’ Council. I totally think they function as villains (bringing the bad thing in, weakening Buffy, firing Giles, refusing information) and they’re a lovely interrogation of the paternalistic ‘protection’ Giles and his ilk provide, the male authority they purport to have over Slayer heroism. The male gaze isn’t helpful, isn’t protection in the end. And okay, S7 is full of stupid retcons and ill-explained plot stuff. But the implication of Chosen that it should have been more than one girl, that the proto-Watchers’ Council chose one girl to be allowed the power that should have been the birthright of so many more? That fits perfectly with everything we know and makes me have a YAYFACE for “can have the power, will have the power.”

3b. Mrs Gwendolen Post. She’s FASCINATING to me in the way she both opposes and encapsulates Watchers Council stuff. Like, she’s hyper-feminised herself, which is a really interesting reaction to the Council’s very boys’-club-academia vibe. She shows signs of being an excellent Watcher to Faith - certainly Faith responds very well to her - even as she’s even more GO BOOKS than Giles. And she brings Travers’ philosophy of the Watcher being the hero and the Slayer merely a tool to its logical conclusion - she wants to remove the Slayer and take that role for herself too. The Slayer is manus - the hand - and Mrs Post wants the glove to give her the physical power to compete with the Slayers on their own terms.

2. Willow. I agree with the majority fandom opinion that the drugs angle and the magical crackhouse was STUPID. But I love Willow’s villainous episodes. They’re the culmination of six (five-and-a-half?) seasons of character work. I don’t mean it was all intended from the start or anything - I mean that ‘Dark Willow’ is a perfect culmination of what we know about this character and who she is and how she’s changed. Also, personally? Dark Willow’s not my favourite villain and those aren’t my favourite episodes, but I find them the most compelling. Turn them on and I can’t look away. I can still remember my utter shock and fascination when these episodes appeared on the BBC when I was fourteen.

1. The Mayor.

SO. FABULOUS.

Obviously I am biased towards him because I love mirror characters and his role as mirror for Giles is excellent, and also he loves my girl so I approve, and I could watch a million episodes of the Faith and the Mayor show. But I love him even before that. He’s another excellent metaphor of a villain: the friendly-seeming patriarch, the ‘family man’ local authority who doesn’t like swearing but will actually destroy the adolescents, eat the future to ensure his own. Perfect as a representation of a certain teenage fear. (Also collectivism *\o/* - I love that the future-threatening governmental authority is fought back by youth coming together.) And he’s just. so. funny. His to-do list is the best thing.



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This was originally posted at http://lokifan.dreamwidth.org/271522.html. Comment wherever you like :)
Comments 
4th-Oct-2013 06:05 pm (UTC)
Your list is AWESOME. Let me love it.
4th-Oct-2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
Haha. I thought you'd like, just because our Buffy and Faith feelings are so similar. SLAYERS FTW!
4th-Oct-2013 06:26 pm (UTC)
You know, I still have a conflicted feelings about Faith. Like I hate her so much for WAY and I still ADORE that episode and everything about it and I love the complexity of her mental state in that moment while I'm freaked out by the body thing ... I don't know. It's a difficult character for me, but that's also the interesting thing.
8th-Oct-2013 07:08 pm (UTC)
I totally get that. What she does in WAY is terrible (like, she didn't know what the thing would do - but she wasn't required to do a bunch of terrible things with Buffy's body, either) and it's such a huge deal for Buffy - "no one has ever made me a victim". She IS a difficult character.

2 things make me able to love her totally, though. One is that WAY showcases her vulnerability and crazy, the best and worst of her - violating Buffy and Riley, leaving her chance at escape to rescue people. Second is that I never doubt that Faith understands the gravity of what she did - it's her low point and immediately followed by what I think is a mostly-unconscious attempt to get Angel to kill her.
4th-Oct-2013 09:01 pm (UTC)
The Mayor is my all time favourite Buffy villain too! I love all your favourite scenes, though I'd have to add the one from Family, where the gang face down Tara's family -- awesome.

Also, my favourite Spike quote (I think - there are so many) is You made a bear! Undo it! Undo it! Love the humour is this episode

Mind you, there's very little I don't love about Buffy

Edited at 2013-10-04 09:02 pm (UTC)
8th-Oct-2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes! I LOVE that scene sfm. Gorgeous. And yeah, the Mayor is just great. "And boys? Let's watch the swearing." And I'm always on team People Who Like Faith.

Heeee. I love Pangs forever. And not just because my headcanon that Angel saw Spike looking all starved and woebegone and told him where Giles' house was seems totally plausible.

4th-Oct-2013 11:34 pm (UTC)
I love just about everything in this post but this really stuck out for me:

“Made a promise to a lady.” Perfectly encapsulates Spike for me. I love the chivalrous-knight element of this

because it's so true and it's why I love Spike all the more (and why I find him much more interesting than Angel!).

And Faith!! All the love in the world for Faith!! ♥♥
8th-Oct-2013 07:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks :) I do really like Spike's chivalrous side, all the more because terribly sympathetic but not unambiguously heroic - it's usually ineffectual, though not always, and does tend to go with his slightly solipsistic way of defining himself around women.

FAITH FAITH FAITH. Bringing out all most of my awesome Faith icons for this post!
10th-Oct-2013 01:39 am (UTC) - Wednesday, October 9
User oni_9 referenced to your post from Wednesday, October 9 saying: [...] Top Fives Meme: Buffy [...]
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