Buffy #38 - summary and thoughts

Nov 05, 2010 02:24

The whole issue is basically an endless set-up for everybody betraying everybody. Angel gets a visit from Kitty Twilight aka his newborn daughter aka a new universe. After accusing Angel of being a bad parent ("Abandoning me. Your child. Your new world." BAM! "Mother rejected me for the lack of conflict...") Kitty Twilight turns Angel into her puppet (at least that's how it looks) and sends him to the Hellmouth to find the Seed and bring it to her.

Meanwhile in the Hellmouth Willow allies with The Master to protect the Seed. She doesn't tell Buffy about the option of destroying the Seed and stopping all magic. Instead she says that maybe she could make the Seed "to heal the earth" and "to make the world better". She stays at the Seed Chamber (the future "betrayal" place) together with the Master and starts incantations. She doesn't utter a single word about healing - instead, she asks to "let [the Seed's] sworn protector stand against [the Seed's] enemies".

Meanwhile the General, Amy and Warren escape; they split and general goes to the army headquarters. In Hellmouth, Dawn gets injured; Xander brings her up to the army headquarters; as Dawn gets medical help (she's more or less okay), general asks Xander to destroy the Seed to stop the apocalypse. (Xander doesn't know about Willow's plan to use the Seed to heal the universe).

While Giles leaves Buffy and Spike to fight the demons and goes somewhere, despite Buffy's plea to stay with her. "I can help, but not here," he says. "I'll see you when this is over". DUN, DUN, DUN.

On the last page, Angel arrives, pumped up with power, his eyes blood-shot. He hits Buffy in the face, backhands Spike into the sunlight and calls himself Twilight.



I understand why people feel underwhelmed. The issue is mostly a set-up and exposition; it ends on another cliffhanger. After 4 months of waiting we got practically nothing but flashbacks and exposition in #36 (actual plot consisted of everybody boarding Spike's ship and heading toward Sunnydale), more exposition in #37 (as they're on their way and fiinally arrive in Sunnydale) and here is another issue in which chess-men assume their positions on the board. And all that time DH people were hyping something earth-shattering to come. Fandom is tired. Imagine watching "Becoming 2" one act a month. Imagine that you finished watching act 3 that ends with Whistler telling Buffy she has one more thing to lose, and you have to wait anoher month to find out how exactly it plays out.

The good news is the exposition is over. The next issue will feature the final face-off/betrayal/shit-hits-the-fan stuff (the last issue must be another set-up - for season 9). Since the exposition is over, I think it's safe to assume that season 8 reduces the slayer empowerment spell to a mistake that has led to the end of the world. In this issue Buffy reiterates: "All this started when we shared the power. We changed the world. Bound to be some casualties." So, Buffy's fall seems inevitable. It will be interesting to see how Joss manages to keep BtVS' feminist cred intact.

There are many references to season 2 and "Becoming". Willow is doing some magic thingie with a mystical orb. Angel is possessed by an evil thingie, and, again, he and Buffy have a face-off. Spike helps Buffy, but he's just a distraction. There is a lot of new mythology elements introduced at the eleventh hour. I wonder if The Master's resurrection has anything to do with the plot, or it's just part of "let's resurrect as many dead characters as possible" plan?

Angel and Twilight. In #33-35 it was unclear how much free will Buffy and Angel have when they start their space-frak - but here, in #38, we're given a clear indication that Angel is not in the driver's seat. So, he gets in advance a pardon of everything he'll do in the next issue. Again, Joss has the cake and eats it. Those who want to read season 8 as a romantic story about star-crossed lovers, can argue that pre-#38 Angel was doing it for Buffy's good, and post-#38 he's not himself - so Angel only guilty of credulity. Those who want to see a cautionary tale about power abuse, can argue that Angel has been seduced by power, manupulated the woman he loved, tried to keep her for himself in the artificial paradise, separate her from her friends who were in mortal danger, and, in the end, became a puppet of Power and... insert what happens in #39.

The possession cop-out cheapens the impact of the season's climax, but it's the only way to keep Angel's hero status intact. Like in season 2, Angel gets a doppelganger to blame.
Shippy thoughts:

Nothing romantic on Spuffy front. Willow's line "It's not like you and Spike were always B.F.Fs" implies that they are B.F.F.s now. Spike basically plays Xander's role here: he's loyal, supportive, occasionally snarky ally and friend. But, if we look at the bigger picture - we've been shown that Buffy has has feelings for Spike; it's obvious that Buffy/Angel's current arc comes to an ending. I think it's pretty much a given that The Triangle status quo will be kept forever. Buffy loves and will love both vampires. Angel hurts her more and she loves him more - because Joss always goes for the maximum pain for her. As to Spike - the question is, will Joss try to balance a Buffy/Angel arc in season 8 with a Spuffy arc in season 9? And if yes, how could he make Buffy hurt by it?
Predictions (although I suck at them :) :

The scene between Buffy and Giles sounds like a farewell. Given how many references to "Becoming" we get, looks like Angel will finish what he had started in that episode. Giles will die heroically and reunite with Ethan Rayne in the dreamspace.
Xander will destroy the Seed. A perfect metaphor of humanity not needing superheroes to defend itself. Knowing Joss, I won't be surprised if Xander will smash the Seed exactly when Willow will be finishing some incantation with indefinite consequences - to make fans argue ad infinitum if Xander saved the day or destroyed some wonderful prospects for humanity.
As soon as the Seed is broken, all magic disappears, including Buffy's glowhypnol residuals. It's the moment we saw in #10 flashforward.
And then, somehow, Angel will send Buffy to a hell dimension. I have to confess that I base this prediction on Joss' confession that his wife figured out the ending as soon as he told her that Twilight is Angel. As much as I want Spike to follow Buffy wherever she goes, I doubt that it can happen. Most likely, both Angel and Spike will leave to their own ongoing series.

Bits and pieces:

General to Xander: "You could even be mistaken for a soldier". Nice reference to Xander's transformation in "Halloween".
Buffy wears a cross in this issue. Somebody checked the flashforward panel.
"This is @#$*# " -- I wonder what Kitty Twilight actually says. Veiriti, you're right - it's not a Kitty's line; it's a pre-lap of Bug#1 speaking.
Lettercol includes a letter from a Cordelia fan.

Interesting reviews and tidbits on #38, so far:

Shadowcat67's review of #38;2maggie2 's reactions; stormwreath's review (recap and some specs); buffyfestblog 's review; Five-minute 38 reax by local_max; Interesting discussion in shipperx' journal.

Discussion on Whedonesque, Buffyforums,Buffyboards,Slayalive.


Is it December, 1 already?

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