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Mama Deb
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Thoughts on This Week's Buffy

Lois McMaster Bujold's Countess Cordelia Vorkosigan said that when you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action. This week's Buffy was all about consequences springing from actions. And, perhaps, on forgiveness or atonement, or what happens if that's not quite possible.

Last year, three characters we mostly like performed reprehensible actions - Xander left Anya at the altar; Spike nearly raped Buffy; Willow nearly destroyed the world and did kill Warren. All were awful, all made me hurt and cringe and cry. All left the other parties damaged. Anya was so hurt she reverted to old patterns, and the results have been very bad indeed. She's dealt out, even in her current ineffectual manner, more pain than Xander gave her. To whit, she was humilated badly, but she also got, as she deserved, all the sympathy.

All last season, the Spike/Buffy foreplay has been violent, and frightening, and starting with Buffy saying "No" before allowing him to. Service. Her. This does not excuse what he did. She made it clear that this time her "no" was serious, and he chose to ignore it. Unlike Anya, though, Buffy hasn't chosen to let this make her bitter. She hates Spike. She has every reason to hate Spike - I loved that his touch brought *that* back, not any other times they'd had sex. And she just went on. Perhaps because she defeated him. Or maybe because that's what Buffy does, or should do - go on.

So Spike turned the consequences on his himself. His rape made him choose another action - to get a soul. And he has one, and it's tearing him apart. He can't get forgiveness from Buffy. He can't get it from himself. He can only. Try to find a way to not be the sort of person who could do it at all. And a soul isn't the answer - Warren was evil. He was an attempted rapist and a murderer. And he certainly had a soul. (I suspect that Warren did use Andrew for sexual relief, too, making him believe he was loved.) I don't think Spike knows what it is. And now he's nuts.

And now there's Willow. Willow hasn't paid for anything yet. She's spent the summer with Giles and the Coven and learned about herself in ways she couldn't do on her own. She's still waiting for consequences. And there's no one to ask forgiveness of, either. No way to atone for a murder. The best she can hope for is for her friends to not shun her completely. And so, she's lost in limbo, with only the knowledge that she's needed to bring her home.

Anya can't forgive; it's not in her nature. Buffy can't forgive, either, so Spike finds his own way. Willow is looking for redemption in a world that can't give her any.

Bleak world Joss is giving us. Bleak, but powerful and with much potential.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

Arguably Spike didn't consicously know he was going to get a soul. Of course, you'd think he'd know by now that one should be very, very careful how one phrases what one asks for; and it's possible that on some subconscious level, he wanted to change into someone Buffy could forgive or love; but consciously at least, he was asking that demon for the power of revenge, to give Buffy "what she deserve[d]"...

I'm not sure that Buffy can't forgive him. Spike's attempted rape was appalling, yes -- but a lot of things are appalling in that world. Willow brought Buffy back from the dead, and in so doing accidentally wrested her from something like heaven -- the best of intentions, but hurtful. And I can totally see Buffy forgiving Willow, in time; so I'm also open to the possibility that she might forgive Spike, if he can prove that he's chang(ed)(ing).

I'm not trying to equate Spike's attempted rape with Willow bringing Buffy back from the dead -- not at all. I'm just saying, Buffy may weight things differently than most of us would, given the level of pain and destruction her life as a Slayer seems to involve.

If Buffy *does* forgive Spike, and yes, that's possible, it's going to take a long time and a lot of effort from Spike. But yeah, it *is* possible.

It's the Xander/Anya stuff that's going to show the way. Taken by itself, what Xander did was awful. The Talmud says that when one humiliates someone, it's akin to murder, and he certainly humiliated Anya.

However. She's alive. She had her store and her money and all her friends were supporting her emotionally. And. Her reaction was too much. More to the point, while she's granted the wishes of a number of scorned women, the person who hurt her is still. Whole.

He's not happy. He's alone. He probably misses her. But he doesn't seem to regret his choice, and otherwise he's doing well. He making his own money, driving a nice car, wearing nice clothes, running construction crews and doing it well. The class clown and school ne'er do well is doing just *fine*. No suffering at all. So what has becoming a vengence demon done for Anya? She's not even enjoying it.

I'm just hoping her abilities will be of use come the end of the season.

Meanwhile, it's all futile. It's Anya carrying a big wad of hurt, no matter how justifiable, and letting it destroy her. And others.

And Buffy just might be able to look beyond herself and see that. I don't know if she likes or loves Spike, or ever has, but he needs her now. She doesn't have to forget to forgive, and she can let go of the hate while still acknowledging what he tried to do.

And I still don't know what's going to be about Willow. But I'm glad they're not letting her powers go to waste anymore.