Asta 2

I Actually Accomplished What I Set Out To Do

In other words...thoughts on 'Damage'...

"Is pathological idiot an actual condition?"

In my experience, yes. But, most of you have read my comments regarding the people I work with. So, on with the show instead. :)

Before I get into my semi-coherent, deep thoughts, a few brief observations:

* Dana is River. The only other individual I've seen mention the striking similarity is ascien3. Dana had the same physical appearance, mannerisms, and speech patterns as River. I was half expecting to hear "Two by two - hands of blue.". River could have been Dana had she not been rescued by Simon and surrounded by people who cared about her. Rescued by her sister Slayers, could their be a gliimer of hope for Dana too?

* First episode this season in which Lorne had an actual purpose - a reason for being there. Let's hope the trend continues.

* "She's not a demon Wes. She's a Vampire Slayer." Damn cool revelation even if unspoiled folk probably saw it coming a mile away. One question though, wasn't Dana's ability to channel past Slayers a new development? Sure, Buffy had dreams of the Primitive, but beyond that, she didn't seem to have any memories of her predecessors.

* "I don't think so. I don't know. Does she?" I thought this brief exchange with Andrew summed up quite well the Spike's conflicting emotions regarding Buffy. Hope mingled with despair; curiosity mingled with panic. If Andrew had said yes it would have confirmed Spike's worst fears - she doesn't love him, doesn't care that he's back. It also reinforces his fear of letting her know he's back.

* BTW - "My therapist thought I was holding on to false hope..." So it was Spike and not Xander that Andrew was in love with? ;)


The Thing About Magic, There's Always Consequences

Angel to Spike: "Shouldn't you be out on the streets, you know, protecting the city from people - like you"

Gee, Angel, I thought that was your job. Has saving people become an afterthought? Has overseeing contract negotiations, budget concerns, and employee decapitations superseded why you agreed to the deal with the devil? We hear at the beginning of the episode Gunn dismissing Fred's concerns regarding joining W&H by reminding her of all the good they have done, people they have helped. Funny, I'm hard pressed to recall much of that lately.

And when did Angel lose sight of his purpose? When did the murky water he already seemed to be wading in get even more polluted. The mindwipe perhaps?. Still, I don't see the consequences we are encountering as a result of the magic used. Whether it's giving Conner a normal life, bringing Buffy back from the dead, or activating hundreds of Potentials, it's not the magic that has consequences, but the actions of the individual behind it that do.

I've seen many individuals comment that Buffy's poor decision in 'Chosen' has come back to haunt her, them, and us. I can't really agree with that. Maybe it wasn't the best decision, but when you are facing the end of the world in the next 24 hours or so, you do the best you can at the time. Did she think of the Dana's out there - the ones who wouldn't be able to handle their new found power? No. But on the flip side, I saw a dozen very strong women emerge form the shadows to stand strong behind Andrew. If Buffy can be blamed for Dana's predicament and the resulting bloodshed, give her credit for trying to clean up the mess she had a hand in creating.

Angel, on the other hand, had the time and resources to make an informed choice. He chose his son over everyone else. He chose to make one life more important than many and I think we are only beginning to see the ramifications of that. Gunn is the most obvious result of his actions. And while my concern is still for Wes, the Gunn we are seeing is not the Gunn we know. A Charles Gunn that most likely wouldn't exist without the choices Angel made.

"Andrew double crossed us? That's a good move."

Let me repeat, Andrew double crossed them. Andrew. The logical part of my brain knows that Tom Lenk was the Buffy cast member willing and available to make a guest appearance. It was also easy to assume that Angel & Co. would do most of the work in locating and capturing Dana. All Andrew had to do was monitor the situation amd swoop in with the girls to collect her. Yet, the scene in which Andrew confronts Angel with the harsh truth, would have been lessened had anyone else delivered it:

"Nobody in our camp trusts you anymore - nobody. You work for Wolfram & Hart, don't fool yourself, we don't work on the same side."

Angel has been rationalizing his decision, trying to convince himself he made the right choice. He's already felt isolated from Fred, Wes, and Gunn. He's had Spike call him out on the choices he's made. And now he finds out that the Scoobs, and more importantly Buffy, want nothing to do with him. He's apparently back among the bad guys (rather than the allies) in the Council files. This devastating blow is delivered by a third party he didn't even know a few hours before; a man that Buffy and the others trust more than him. (And while Andrew is still prone to falsehoods exemplified by stating that it was he and Spike who saved the world together, his final comments are spoken with too much sincerity to be dismissed.)

But, this revelation is just the final example of a much larger problem - the total breakdown of communication between Angel and Buffy. While I admit I'm a Spuffist all the way, I'll also concede they may never reconcile. However, as season 5 plays out, I fail to see how anyone can have any hope of Angel and Buffy reconciling either.

One of Buffy's biggest issues was trust, most of which can be tied to feeling of abandonment and betrayal, starting with her father, and continuing with every other man in her life. Now she doesn't trust Angel. While I can understand not sharing intimate, personal details involving their separate lives now, they are failing to share information that goes far beyond involving just the two of them. It would seem Buffy found out about Angel's alliance with W&H from some source other than Angel. Angel, in turn, found out from Andrew about the empowering of the Potentials. This was all information they each needed to know but refused to share. How they can get beyond this and form any sort of relationship in the future is beyond me.

One Good Day

I never believed for a second that Spike was Dana's abductor and torturer. Sure, I believed him capable of torturing his victims, perhaps even for days. But months? His attention span is far too short for something like that and his patience too thin. That's not the point though. The point is Spike isn't able to see hisvictims. They're all dead. And there was always some excuse not to dwell on the pain he inflicted. He's a vampire, it's what he does was his excuse pre-soul. Post-soul killings were the result of being manipulated by the first. Even now, he appears very non-chalant about his past kills and deeds absolving himself of responsibility by reiterating he didn't have a soul back then.

Spike's had two real epiphanies in his life. The first, his near rape of Buffy which compelled him to get his soul. The second is now. With the soul, without the distraction of supernatural forces or his attentions focused on Buffy, he sees before him what could have been one of his victims. The pain and damage that he did, if not to Dana, to others like her. In turn, he becomes the victim, seeing himself through Dana's eyes.

There's been a lot of debate as to why ME had Spike go in search of his soul. Many felt ME was telling us Spike couldn't be good without one. I never quite felt that way and I think ME is now trying to show us that.

"For a demon, I never did think much about the nature of evil, just threw myself in, thought it was a party....never did look back at the victims.

Spike is now looking and with clear eyes and a conscience. Spike doesn't need the soul to do good. He doesn't even need it to *be* good. But, Spike finally felt Dana's pain, he empathized with her suffering, he saw his past as being more than just the actions of a demon. And while I don't feel he'll opt to wallow in the guilt as Angel does, he, at last, seems to see himself and his actions as others have seen and has awareness he did not have before.
  • Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
Excellent points. Spike didn't need the soul to be good, or do good, but he did need it in order to feel empathy. There's hope for him yet (and no, I don't believe he is redeemed at this point, but he has a chance now).

As for Buffy - at the end of Chosen, she and everyone vowed to find all the slayers; in her calmer moments, I'm sure she understood they would not all be well adjusted, or in good places. But she made the choice and is willing to accept the responsibilties it entailed. No one knows if Dana will ever be okay, but she's better off with her sisters than with a place full of demons and Angel, who's moral compass is spinning - how's that for a kick?

A kick right in his gut, buy a woman who loves him, but has never really trusted him. Buffy may have been willing to accept "any port in an apocalypse", but when things are back to what passes for normal, she will only trust herself and those around her.

It's interesting how Buffy and Angel reacted when faced with the loss of their loved one - Buffy would not sacrifice Dawn, but died in her place to save her and the world. Angel would not sacrifice Conner, but twisted the memories of his friends, which may start to have dire consequences, if they haven't already. What does that say about them?

In seeing Spike interact with Andrew - he seemed comfortable for the first time this season - he was with friends. While embarrassed when Andrew was hugging him (how sweet!), he didn't push him away, so I have to think Spike wasn't all that unhappy to see him ;) Loved his reaction to Buffy - it sounded much more real than his talking to Harmony about it. Like you, I have no illusions for a Spuffy ending, but it heartened me to see he still cares.
One question though, wasn't Dana's ability to channel past Slayers a new development? Sure, Buffy had dreams of the Primitive, but beyond that, she didn't seem to have any memories of her predecessors.

It might be a new thing. Interestingly enough, the dreams of past slayers (or the lack of them, actually), is a big deal in Joss's future slayer Fray comic book. It could be a side effect of Willow's spell if it's a case of Joss wanting to make Fray an official part of canon. Buffy's scythe thingie started out in Fray as well.

In the flashback to Buffy being Called, didn't Merrick mention something about her having dreams? They never specifically stated what the dreams were about, so who knows, the first dreams she had could have been about her predecessors. Or, it could just be the case of Dana being crazy. That always adds a certain special something to one's perception. ;)

By the way, you definitely weren't the only one thinking about River. That was my initial thought the second she opened her mouth. Joss sure loves his wacky brunettes, doesn't he?
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Interestingly enough, the dreams of past slayers (or the lack of them, actually), is a big deal in Joss's future slayer Fray comic book. It could be a side effect of Willow's spell if it's a case of Joss wanting to make Fray an official part of canon. Buffy's scythe thingie started out in Fray as well.

That's a really interesting point. It is possible that when Willow helped release the power of the Slayer, the dreams or memories of past Slayers came with the gift. A gift with purchase Anya might say. ;)
One question though, wasn't Dana's ability to channel past Slayers a new development? Sure, Buffy had dreams of the Primitive, but beyond that, she didn't seem to have any memories of her predecessors.


The movie version of Buffy had dreams of her predecessors. That's almost canon, right?

A Charles Gunn that most likely wouldn't exist without the choices Angel made.

I've never quite thought about it that way, but you're right. That's one more thing on Angel's conscience.
I think they said that the channeling past Slayers part was due to her craziness. Wes (I think) said something along the lines of the other Slayers always just dismissing the visions as dreams, but Dana's condition made them real to her.
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I didn't have a problem with the visions of demons and such. We know of Buffy's prophetic dreams. I just found it a bit odd that Dana seemed to be channeling the Slayers Spike had killed.

Like amylala said, it could be a side effect of Willows spell to empower the Slayers. I can buy that.

I've seen many individuals comment that Buffy's poor decision in 'Chosen' has come back to haunt her, them, and us. I can't really agree with that. Maybe it wasn't the best decision, but when you are facing the end of the world in the next 24 hours or so, you do the best you can at the time.

I tend to think of it as a decision that has the potential to have truly disastrous long-term consequences. But I don't think Buffy's morally at fault for making it. She had to do what she had to do to save the world, and empowering the slayerettes was the best option at the time. Like many such actions, it's easy to second guess it in hindsight, and there will probably be many lessons to learn from it so that the same problems don't arise again. . And ultimately, the Dana's were unlucky, but so be it, because it saved everyone else.

Likewise, Buffy does deserve credit for trying to clean up the mess, I agree, and again Buffy is not at fault. But that doesn't ease that niggly little fear that an army of super-charged girls just can't be good. Would anyone be cheering if it were any army of empowered men?

Spike is now looking and with clear eyes and a conscience. Spike doesn't need the soul to do good. He doesn't even need it to *be* good. But, Spike finally felt Dana's pain, he empathized with her suffering, he saw his past as being more than just the actions of a demon. And while I don't feel he'll opt to wallow in the guilt as Angel does, he, at last, seems to see himself and his actions as others have seen and has awareness he did not have before.

Perfectly said.

And a great review!
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She had to do what she had to do to save the world, and empowering the slayerettes was the best option at the time. Like many such actions, it's easy to second guess it in hindsight, and there will probably be many lessons to learn from it so that the same problems don't arise again. And ultimately, the Dana's were unlucky, but so be it, because it saved everyone else.

Exactly. Obviously Buffy's solution has some flaws. And I'll admit to the scary possibilities of having an army of Slayers out there.

Maybe I'm giving Joss too much credit, but it seems that we are seeing a parallel being drawn between the fallout from Buffy's decision as we are witnessing the consequences of Angel's decision to align himself with W&H. If Dana's life were made worse by the empowerment (and I'm not certain it was) what about Gunn's download courtesy of W&H and, therefore, Angel? And while we are not there yet, I'm still waiting for the mindwipe to be addressed.

And a great review!

Thank You! :)


Good call on the River connection. Didn't even occur to me.

One thing that I have never gotten is why people were so pissed off that Buffy activated all the other slayers in Chosen. Of course it's not an ideal choice, but the world will end unless something is done. I have yet to see someone come up with an alternate plan that would work.

Of course, in the end it was Spike that saved the day, but there was no way of knowing that would happen when they planned for the apocalypse.

Excellent points about the entire episode. Much to mull over...
Once again, excellent review. You see so much!

I just wanted to quickly touch on a few things:

*The Dana/River connection - at one point I was wondering if Dana was being played by Summer Blau the characters were so similiar. Poor Dana. What happened to her was horrible and makes us realize how lucky River was to have Simon.

*The deep entrenchment into W&H's world. This scares me. The characters we knew have been altered drastically by their foray into the legal world and its creepy. Gunn especially is virtually unrecognizable. How can we rely on their supposed goodness when even Buffy and the Scoobies have separated themselves?

*Lastly, when Andrew hugged Spike the following song came into my head and I haven't been able to purge it since: "Reunited" by Peaches & Herb.

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at one point I was wondering if Dana was being played by Summer Blau the characters were so similiar.

I was wondering if it was possible that Joss wanted Summer to play the part originally since Dana was so similar to River. Then again, it would have been very confusing to the audiance. Even I may have begun to wonder if River was a Slayer.

The deep entrenchment into W&H's world. This scares me. The characters we knew have been altered drastically by their foray into the legal world and its creepy. Gunn especially is virtually unrecognizable.

Exactly. Gunn is nothing like the Gunn we use to know. And it's been a slow progression. I'm going by memory here, but I did not recall him being as he is now immediatly following the brain dump.

Wes, too, I am concerned with. The changes are subtle, but he just doesn't seem quite like the Wes we knew - neither the dorky Wes of season's 1 and 2 nor Dark Wes of seasons 3 and 4.

Only Fred seems reasonably untouched. On the other hand, she seems far mor confident than she use to be.

*Lastly, when Andrew hugged Spike the following song came into my head and I haven't been able to purge it since: "Reunited" by Peaches & Herb.

LOL! At least it wasn't 'Wind Beneath My Wings'. ;)

You make a lot of good points. I particularly like you observation that Angel seems to have lost sight of his purpose.

Re Spike:
There's been a lot of debate as to why ME had Spike go in search of his soul. Many felt ME was telling us Spike couldn't be good without one. I never quite felt that way and I think ME is now trying to show us that.

I got the impression that we, the audience, could infer that Spike could be good without a soul. But the scoobies did not feel that way. I believe Buffy believed he could be good without a soul, but she used his lack of soul as an excuse to keep him at arm’s length. She did not want to admit to herself or her friends that she was in love with a soulless vampire.

Spike, on the other hand, thought he could be good without a soul and then as you said Spike's had two real epiphanies in his life. The first, his near rape of Buffy which compelled him to get his soul.

And I think he just got tired of not measuring up to Buffy’s expectations, so getting a soul was the final thing he did to win her approval. But getting the soul changed him, made him stronger, and when he returned he was no longer seeking her approval. He just wanted to help.
Having at last got round to rambling my way through my own thoughts, I've finally found time to read everyone else's reviews! Your thoughts here are all so interesting I think I'd go on forever if I commented on everything that I wanted to comment on. :)

First episode this season in which Lorne had an actual purpose - a reason for being there. Let's hope the trend continues.

Hee! Yes! Wasn't it wonderful to see him do something?

I thought this brief exchange with Andrew summed up quite well the Spike's conflicting emotions regarding Buffy. Hope mingled with despair; curiosity mingled with panic.

Oh yes, didn't it. I thought it was a beautiful scene: very nicely judged, and played exactly right. It told me everything I felt I needed to know.

So it was Spike and not Xander that Andrew was in love with?

Clearly back in his pre-watcher days Andrew didn't feel he could raise his aspirations as high as Spike. :) His newfound confidence and authority is what has inspired him, I'm sure. :) (But he did mentioned that Xander had sent him a present from Africa, which I loved to bits.)

If Buffy can be blamed for Dana's predicament and the resulting bloodshed, give her credit for trying to clean up the mess she had a hand in creating.

Yes, and that was always Buffy's job, and always her burden. She always had to make decisions, to exercise her power, and there were always confidence. What made her a very special Slayer was she would always take responsibility for the consequences of her actions - when she decided to save Dawn in The Gift, she saw the consequences of that decision through to to the end.

But, Spike finally felt Dana's pain, he empathized with her suffering, he saw his past as being more than just the actions of a demon. And while I don't feel he'll opt to wallow in the guilt as Angel does, he, at last, seems to see himself and his actions as others have seen and has awareness he did not have before.

Oh yes, that's exactly what it was about. It wasn't about guilt; it was about empathy. Spike's always empathised with the people he cares about, but to feel empathy for a stranger, and to be able to relate that to his own actions in the past, is a new step for him, I think.

Thank you lots for sharing your thoughts. :)
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I loved your rambling away btw. :) Unfortunately, I was reading your post at 11:30 last night when my brain was incapable of replying coherently. I'm still waiting for my brain to get it's act together. :p

Clearly back in his pre-watcher days Andrew didn't feel he could raise his aspirations as high as Spike. :) His newfound confidence and authority is what has inspired him, I'm sure. :)

Hee. And now that his true love is back ;), I think Andrew will find it very difficult to contain his joy. I'm sensing a very pissed off call coming from Rome one of these days. :)

that's exactly what it was about. It wasn't about guilt; it was about empathy. Spike's always empathised with the people he cares about, but to feel empathy for a stranger, and to be able to relate that to his own actions in the past, is a new step for him, I think.

Excellent analysis. Spike was always very intuitive when it came to Drusilla and Buffy. When Buffy came back from the dead, he seemed to be the only one who really sensed something was wrong. But, he only cared because he cared about them.

Now, what moves him from the evil vampire doing good for the love of a woman to the souled vampire with a conscience to being a good man is the ability to feel everyone's pain. The moment Spike made the connection between Dana's ordeal and what he put his own victims through was a very important one in his continued growth. I can now foresee him playing the role of champion not because people keep telling him it's the right thing to do, but because he'll want to save as many individuals as possible from Dana's nightmarish existence.


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Unfortunately, I was reading your post at 11:30 last night when my brain was incapable of replying coherently.

Hee...I was writing it at 4 in the morning, so I'm sort of stunned if anyone could understand it. ;)

On a completely random not, I just noticed in my comment here I wrote "confidence" when I meant "consequences"...you'd be amazed how contrary my fingers are. My brain tells them to type one thing and they interpret that at will. ;)

And now that his true love is back ;), I think Andrew will find it very difficult to contain his joy. I'm sensing a very pissed off call coming from Rome one of these days. :)

Oh, yes! That would be worth seeing. ;)

Now, what moves him from the evil vampire doing good for the love of a woman to the souled vampire with a conscience to being a good man is the ability to feel everyone's pain. The moment Spike made the connection between Dana's ordeal and what he put his own victims through was a very important one in his continued growth.

Oh, you've summed that up so beautifully. Yes!