BSV Forum - General - Episode Discussions

"Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest"

Jan 18 2008 08:28 pm   #1Guest
Discussion on these two episodes that started the series begins Tuesday the twenty-second.

Ready. Set.

Watch!

And um..debate/post on Tuesday.

~Scarlet
Jan 18 2008 08:29 pm   #2Guest
Are we going to go with everything we see and interpret from watching, or do we also listen to the commentary and take what is said as truth?  --GLINDA
Jan 18 2008 08:43 pm   #3Guest
I think it's fair to say that commentaries from those episodes can come into account as well, to clear up any discrepancies. 
Jan 18 2008 08:52 pm   #4Nika
Has anyone ever watched some of the episodes with the commentary?
"Perhaps a great love is never returned."

-Dag Hammersjold
Jan 18 2008 08:57 pm   #5Guest
I never watched any commentary because I always felt it might be baised towards the characters the writers preferred.
Jan 18 2008 09:17 pm   #6LindsayH
Season 1 doesn't have commentary, does it?  My S1 dvd's just have interviews with Joss on most of the eps.  I have watched a few eps with the commentary, and it doesn't do much for me. 
"Do you like my mask?  Isn't it pretty?  It raises the dead!"--Giles, "Dead Man's Party'
Jan 18 2008 09:35 pm   #7Guest
I don't think watching the episodes with the commentary would be a good thing. Everyone sees things differently. You might see a scene differently than the writer's do. At the risk of sounding to Star Wars, truth is a point of view, a matter of perspective.
Jan 18 2008 09:57 pm   #8Guest
I think if we took everything the writer's said as truth, half of us might be Bangels, since not many of them were friendly to the Spuffy relationship, 'cept maybe Jane Epenson.
Jan 18 2008 10:01 pm   #9Izzy
Perhaps I've blocked out the commentaries I've heard and disagreed with, but those I remember were fun and informative. It was more behind-the-scenes and what led to an idea or remarks on acting ability than dictating what they felt the audience should think. A few times there was more than one person doing the commentary and listening to them go back and forth was great. I really enjoyed it. In particular Joss Whedon doing commentary for the musical "Once More with Feeling" was fantastic. The commentary for "The Body" was fantastic and greatly increased my appreciation of how the episode was planned and done. Maybe the commentaries for Seasons One and Two were different, I haven't heard those in a while.
In general, I think it's worth listening to the commentaries and drawing your own conclusions about things you disagree with, because after all it's also what the audience makes of what they see, not a book with exact words and meanings.

Jan 19 2008 01:02 pm   #10SpikeHot

 

My season one DVD has commentaries, but I don't like listening to them, anyway.

 

I just finished watching both episodes, and here are things I found interesting, Angel's
personality is odd here, he's not the broody vampire we know, he's a little bit like Spike, isn't that peculiar?

 

Xander seemed more heartbroken by Jesse's death than Willow was. It also hit that

Xander was more scared for Jesse's wellbeing throughout the episode, while Willow

didn't seem to care much. Does that mean that Willow wasn't as close to Jesse as Xander was?

 

 

 

Xander: "I don't like vampires. I'm gonna take a stand and say they're not good." Giles: "You listen to me! Jesse is dead! You have to remember that when you see him, you're not looking at your friend. You're looking at the thing that killed him." Now it's obvious where the vampire hate came from.

 

 

 

Willow's vengeful side was presented right in the first episode when she made Cordelia delete her essay on purpose.

 

 

What the hell is wrong with Darla? She's acting less scary than Harmony.

 

 

Do you think Angel telling Buffy that he has no friends was the reason she became

attracted to him? Because up until now, she couldn't stand the sight of him, but right after this scene, she couldn't wait to throw herself at him.

 

Jan 19 2008 01:30 pm   #11nmcil
Should  we watch or discuss the commentary after our own discussion? 
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Jan 19 2008 03:50 pm   #12Nika
I think it might be easier to watch the commentary after the discussions, cause the few times I've tried to watch them I've found them a bit distracting.

And maybe Buffy was going through that phase of 'I don't like him because I'm attracted to him.' Plus, Angel was also suppose to be a throwaway character and only be in those two episodes, so maybe after he got a positive reception from viewers the writer's changed his personality a bit and the relationship between them.
"Perhaps a great love is never returned."

-Dag Hammersjold
Jan 19 2008 06:06 pm   #13SpikeHot
Of course, that's the real reason, Nika. I just want to forget the writers and actors and just focus on the story. Buffy in Welcome to the Hellmouth and The Harvest can't stand Angel, it was until he said that he didn't have friends that she felt a connection between her and him, and then attraction started to build. Because next time Buffy sees Angel she's basically crushing over him.
Jan 19 2008 06:23 pm   #14Eowyn315
Angel's personality is odd here, he's not the broody vampire we know, he's a little bit like Spike, isn't that peculiar?

Angel's personality is pretty different throughout season 1. I know you said you want to forget the writers, but that is in fact the reason. Angel was just supposed to be "mystery guy" and never meant as a romantic interest for Buffy. Although, now that I think about it, if he hadn't become a romantic interest, his brief appearances on the show would've seemed random and pointless. He didn't truly develop the brooding, tragic personality until season 2, when they fleshed out his backstory. He doesn't show a lot of remorse for his past (which we don't even know much about), and he doesn't show any particular attachment to Buffy (which he ought to, if he'd truly been in love with her since L.A.). I think when we get to "Prophecy Girl," we'll start to see the change, because at that point, I'm sure they knew they wanted Angel back as a regular character for the next season.

I noticed a similar change with Darla. In fact, the first time I watched A:tS, I wasn't even sure if it was the same person playing the role because she seemed so incredibly different from those few episodes of Buffy season 1. I think, again, she was meant to be a throwaway character - just someone who had a bit of history with Angel, and it wasn't until Angel got a backstory that Darla did, too. And of course, Darla's character and history got much richer and more developed once she was brought back on Angel.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jan 19 2008 06:23 pm   #15nmcil

my preference would also be discussions without the commentary - we can discuss the commentary after -

” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Jan 19 2008 08:29 pm   #16SpikeHot
I think the change in Angel's personality will accur in his next appearence which is The Witch (the episode he gives Buffy his jacket), as I remember he found his broody nature the same episode Buffy found out she liked him.
Jan 19 2008 11:20 pm   #17Eowyn315
No, I think Angel is different for most of season 1. He's got a self-confidence that he loses in season 2, when it's revealed that Buffy is his salvation, that she - and not revenge, as he makes her believe in "Angel" - is the reason he is fighting the good fight. He calls the shots - he tells Buffy only as much as he thinks she needs to know, no matter how much she tries to get it out of him, and except for the one time he slips up and kisses her, he keeps her at a distance. And while he might seem moodier as the season goes on, he never reveals the weight of guilt that he has in season 2, which is the great cause of his brooding. Overall, he's just a lighter, simpler character.

In season 1, he seems to have his own purpose - he fights vampires because he is driven to do so, and actually has a clearer idea of his purpose than Buffy has of hers. Every time he gives her information, it's with this expectation that she do something about it - and he shows that expectation with the attitude of someone with experience, coaching a new recruit (which is actually the case, as he's been a vampire for 250 years and she's been the Slayer for probably less than a year). But he loses that in season 2 - Buffy is now the one in charge, the one who calls the shots, both in slaying and in their relationship, and Angel follows her lead. And I think we see the beginning of that in "Prophecy Girl," when Angel is at a loss about how to stop the prophecy, and we see Buffy taking the lead in first quitting, and then assuming her duty.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jan 20 2008 10:46 am   #18SpikeHot
I agree with you. What I meant was that Angel's broody attitude was not presented in the first two episodes, but it'll feature suddenly in episode three, which was a bit odd.
Jan 20 2008 05:40 pm   #19Scarlet Ibis
Well, I know I was the one who set the date and all, but since this is the official thread and it isn't going anywhere, and other people already started, I figure there's no harm in posting my thoughts--everyone will get around to it eventually.

Angel--

Do you know what it's like to have a friend?”

The facade, the suit Angel's been wearing of what he think he needs to be in order to help Buffy, instantly slips. We see the loneliness he's been through (albeit, we don't know how long it's been). Buffy, in turn, instantly softens towards him, feeling sorry for him. It's not that he's all cryptic guy, but the “been alone” factor, which she's recently familiar with. I'm assuming her nightly activities at her previous school effected her social life, and she loses them, and all that she had in that regard. She's lonely too.
 
And all those “daddy issues,” and the fact that Angel's older, probably has something to do with that as well. A man, who's destined to leave...just like dear ol' dad. Perhaps that's jumping the gun as well, but I stand by my former point of the whole loneliness factor.
 
Xander-- It seems that the poor boy has always felt inadequate. I don't recall the exact quote, but he feels less than a man from point one, and this continues all throughout the series. He finally feels better about himself in season five when he's separated into two entities, loses it again with the Anya, not-a-wedding debacle, and finds it again with work, and then loses it again with his eye, and Buffy sends him away from the final fight. Anyway, watching this again reminded me why I liked Xander so much.
 
Jesse, we used to be buds. Don't you remember?”
You're like a shadow to me now.”

Then there's the whole Jesse referring to himself in the third person when Xander calls him out by name, and the exclamation of “I'm a new man!”
 
In spite of Giles' warnings, Xander still tries to reach out to his childhood friend (though I did find it weird he and Willow's concern beforehand was more for Buffy than the guy they grew up with...). I think that is what makes him prejudice against vamps, and not just what Giles had to say. It kinda solidified it being true—his BFF turned on him once he was turned. If someone so close to him couldn't have an iota of feeling for him, regardless of them being different species now (even though that isn't always the case with newly turned vamps, as we know), it'd make me bitter and prejudice too.
 
Darla--Is not atypical for her character exactly. She's used to being superior, except in regards to the Master. She comes across Buffy, who's wicked strong, and she gets flustered. How many slayers has she come across exactly? A big fat zero (though I love her use of guns—that was wicked awesome). Her school girl outfit is also not out of the ordinary—we learn later how she loves to dress the part (this seems to be a theme—her, Angel, and in a way, Buffy).

Willow—wow, she's so...blase about her best friend being dead. This shocks me, cause she nearly has a nervous breakdown at the death of Ms. Calendar. I'm confused. No lip tremble? Watery eyes? A soft “no,” or something? Huge oversight, I think. It's like she's a robot. And following some strange man into a cemetery, and then following that up with a crypt? Really something someone with an iota of common sense wouldn't do. I know, I know—carpe diem cause tomorrow you might be dead or whatever, but still, it's Willow. Dancing with him, maybe even letting him take you to a dark corner in the Bronze, but it seems atypical to me.

Buffy--Was a lot more quippy and sarcastic back in the beginning. Also, I suspect they (the costume people) padded SMG up. I don't have much more to say about her character, unlike the others. The changes in her that come along are overt and easily explainable, so I'll focus on the others.

Joyce--Boy, was that woman oblivious. Although, this may be jumping the gun, since I watched “The Witch” as well. That woman was all about work, which is understandable cause hey, single mother and all, but she kinda rebuffs Buffy when she tries to spend more time with her.

Giles-- Reminds me of Wesely.  Yeah, that's all I got out of him

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jan 20 2008 06:40 pm   #20Eowyn315
I think, as far as setting a date to start discussion... since most of us have seen the episodes before, and are rewatching them at different times, discussion is inevitably going to start as soon as you start the thread, so saying, "Here's a thread you can post on in 3 days," just isn't gonna work. We can use the episode discussion thread to pick the next episode and the date to watch by, and then someone on that date starts the thread for the next episode.

Interesting observation about Angel and the daddy issues. I think what makes Angel appealing is that he IS so mysterious and hard to pin down (which, as we find out later, is a lot like her father). I mean, other than him being cute, why would she like him? She doesn't really have a whole lot of personality to go on - and what she does have isn't very appealing. He's cryptic, kinda bossy, and has no friends. Yeah, sounds like my kind of guy, lol.

I definitely think the Jesse thing feels a little slipshod. It's an awkward balance to introduce a character that will be killed off so quickly - it's hard for the characters to dwell on grief for someone the audience has no connection to (as opposed to Jenny Calendar, who we knew for two seasons), but if you're going to sell this guy as Xander's best friend, his death really ought to have some impact on Xander and Willow. I think by not mentioning Jesse ever again, the writers missed a chance to really emphasize how Xander's early experiences with vampires shaped his opinion of them forever after that. And yeah, Willow should've shown more emotion, as others have pointed out.

As for Willow going off with a strange guy... I don't know, that didn't bother me so much. When you consider that Willow is someone who's never been on a date in her life - she's sixteen years old, and this is probably the first guy to ever show an interest in her - I can see her thinking, "Well, this is kinda creepy, but who knows when I'll ever find another guy who likes me."

Also, regarding Joyce - I think she was probably a lot busier in those first few episodes, since they'd just moved and she was trying to get the gallery started and all. I mean, if she didn't get the gallery off its feet, they'd have no source of income (except Hank's child support) so I can see why it'd be so important to her in the beginning. I think she does ease up on the work stuff as the series goes on, and definitely tries to spend time with Buffy later. Another thing that occurred to me is that maybe she's a little angry at Buffy. Not necessarily blaming her for the divorce and the move, but, well... it is kind of her fault (having to move, at least... the divorce probably would've happened eventually anyway). And until they've settled in, and it looks like they're going to be okay, I can understand Joyce maybe having a hard time with Buffy.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jan 20 2008 08:51 pm   #21nmcil
Great Point - she has found someone that can relate to her life as The Slayer - this feeling of separation can maybe be countered with Angel. 

I shall watch the episode today --
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Jan 22 2008 05:16 am   #22nmcil

It was great seeing these episodes again. Plus having so many more Whedon scripts in these early seasons will be great to have as references. I fell in love with Cordelia all over again, she was always one of my favorite characters – they wrote such great lines for her. And I had a wonderful school flash back moment and smile when I realized that I wore the same style of jumper that Willow is wearing.

Eowyn315:

"I think by not mentioning Jesse ever again, the writers missed a chance to really emphasize how Xander's early experiences with vampires shaped his opinion of them forever after that."

I agree - especially since WTTHM established his sense of loyalty to friends and joining the battle even without any special powers and Jesse’s being killed and turned was his introduction to vampires.

I was reminded that from the start, Buffy's connections with the Scoobies made her work and duties as The Slayer more effective, and extended her life.

 

"I think what makes Angel appealing is that he IS so mysterious and hard to pin down" Plus your statement regarding "having a friend and connecting with the loneliness" makes an excellent point.

 

It’s a good thing that he took on a different persona and personality because this Angel would have lasted as "interesting" for a tiny bit of time. He was the mysterious older man to Buffy but not to the viewers. He may have had interest as The Handsome Male Lead Man to younger audience but not so much for the more mature viewers. They all look so young, beautiful and handsome – and how about Giles with that dark hair.

I plan to watch all the Whedon episodes this week.

” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Jan 22 2008 05:43 am   #23nmcil

Here is my primary question, and I cannot believe that is made such a point of, at the very first and second episodes, and then given such a different treatment throughout the entire season. Granted that there is probably an explanation later in the season but I have not watched these earlier ones in a long time.

WHEN AND WHERE do we go from Demons having and using souls to Demons are EVIL-NO GOOD CAN EXIST because of the not having a soul-Vampire have no souls. Is this all explained later in the season? Does the Buffy Data Base have this information?

Considering how much Buffy and Giles and the Scoobies make of the all important Having A Soul – is what they really meant - only having a human soul? I am pretty sure that the Master and Giles both give out statements about Demons using and passing on souls. Or did I just get it all wrong –

Why, if Angel is suppose to be a big helper to Buffy, does he not join the battle – I guess we are to presume that if Buffy is about to be killed, only then would he actually join in the actually fighting.

I have to go watch these again, make sure my paints didn’t cause ear or brain damage.

 

” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Jan 22 2008 06:07 am   #24Nika

I always wondered that myself. Giles and the Master did say that demons, vampires had souls in the beginning and I always wondered why that changed, to 'demons cannot love and have no soul.' Maybe when the writers decided to make Angel a love interest of Buffy's?

Even Darla in the episode 'Angel' clearly states that vampires can love. I think it went something like, 'the saddest thing in the world in loving someone who use to love you.' That seemed pretty clear to me.

But maybe they did mean only a human soul, and the Master and Giles are talking about a demon soul or essence.

I also agree that Jesse should have been mentioned again. Willow and Xander don't even seem to grieve for him. We're shown them grieving for Buffy, and apparently they had known Jesse a hell of a lot longer than Buffy. But not even a tear was shown for him.

"Perhaps a great love is never returned."

-Dag Hammersjold
Jan 22 2008 06:17 am   #25Scarlet Ibis
When Luke becomes the Master's vessel, he says "your body is my body, your soul my soul, your blood my blood" or something like that.  It is clear, however, that the human soul is removed once a person becomes a vampire (I'm not going to delve into other species of demons who have been shown to be harmless and so forth--just vampire and human relations), but perhaps the demon is a soul for them.  I think the best way to look at vamps in order for it to make sense is another species--a sometimes violent, viscious species in regards to humans, but they usually travel in packs, have families (vampires they care about, live with, will die or kill for, etc.), even religions.  Not all vampires brutally kill the humans they eat--some just suck blood.  If the human dies in the process, well...they're the food source, and it happens.  But there are many who enjoy the kill--the "rush and the crunch."  And I totally forgot about that loving Angel comment (we see more of her love for him when she's resurrected).  There's clearly something there--not a human soul, but I don't think it's accurate to say it's nothing but some demon with a bloodlust, and cares for nothing but survival.
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jan 22 2008 06:54 pm   #26nmcil

The last pure demon created the vampire hybrid and the demon soul and human blood create the vampire – the human soul must then go into the ether or another dimension. It is a very interesting question, this vampire hybridization. The vampire clearly retains memories of their human life – is human life made up of only earth bound memories and the soul a spiritual/universal force that only? If the vampire forces out the human soul, and the human form retain the memories, then the eliminated human soul must lose that earth bound connection.

I don’t see the logical connections:
 

Demons take over the human as a vessel,
human memory remains in the hybrid,
Vamp has totally taken over the human,
Vamp are soulless, (demons, it as been established have a soul)
Vamps, as soulless creatures have no capacity for being creatures of goodness and light.

If Angel is possible, he would be possible in the system of reincarnation – the universal force that creates and then returns the human  to the earthly plain (without previous memories of human life) how do we have Angel with human memories in tact if his human form was killed and his soul lost to exist as a spirit or universal force. It seems to me that the series got stuck in the "have your cake and eat it to" with their position on Soul equals the separation between capability to reason concepts of Good/Positive Life Force and Evil/Negative Life Force.

This having to ask and trying to answer question of mythic and religious ideas has always been the most interesting and important thing in the Buffyverse.

While I am thinking about it, I also want to get back to Riley Finn and the future arc of The Initiative. I do think that Joss Whedon is making connections to the real world and political currents in our society and world. His reference to Black Plague used as the first biological warfare, IMO, speak to our world. He had countless possibilities to reference with that teacher, but he chose this very particular theme.

 

” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Jan 22 2008 08:12 pm   #27SpikeHot
That's a good catch about demons having a soul. That's weird.

I also agree that Jesse should have been mentioned again. Willow and Xander don't even seem to grieve for him. We're shown them grieving for Buffy, and apparently they had known Jesse a hell of a lot longer than Buffy. But not even a tear was shown for him.

Xander's angry reaction as well as angry view on vampires is grieving enough to me. Remember this is the boy who barely cries. When he's in pain, he either lashes out or revert to jokes.
Jan 22 2008 09:51 pm   #28Scarlet Ibis
As for the memory sharing between vampire and its once human form, they are sharing the same brain, and since the brain is "undead," it's still functioning, I presume.

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jan 22 2008 10:28 pm   #29Nika

Well, in season three, can't remember what episode, when Willow's vampire self from another dimension came around, Buffy tried to tell her that the person she is isn't that vampire. But that was clearly untrue because later on we saw a lot of Vampire Willow in human Willow, when she was evil and not the least her relationships with women.

Also, Angel tried to say that the person being destroyed when the vampire set in wasn't true, he started to tell Willow that but Buffy cut him off with a look. Personally I've always felt that a vampire is the person, and that the soul is sort of a metaphor for a 'conscience' and that who you are as a vampire is who you would have been as a human, uninhibited and your darker instincts brought forward. William's ability to love as a human is shown enhanced with Spike, with his mother, Drusilla, Buffy, and even Dawn. Liam's cruelness and callousness as a human is unencumbered without the little conscience he had as a human. Drusilla is still somewhat the same, turned insane as a human and kept insane as a demon. If it was only memories and a demon took over, then wouldn't the vampire Drusilla be sane, as sane as a cold blooded killer can be? Harmony is pretty much the same shallow, self absorbed girl she always was, and a pretty bad villain when it comes down to it.

"Perhaps a great love is never returned."

-Dag Hammersjold
Jan 22 2008 10:37 pm   #30Scarlet Ibis
I think with Drusilla...mentally, she was gone, right?  Her brain was damaged because of Darla and Angelus.  When the demon took over, it shares the same mind that the human once had.  And Angelus says something along the lines of "let's make her suffering eternal," as if putting a demon inside of her doesn't necessarily change who she is, but will just prolong her insanity.

I agree that the demon is just a darker version of what the human once was.  If the person was already an evil individual (like...that vamp used for the cruciamatum in "Helpless", then the demon only really effects the surface--the typical vampire vulnerabilities, and now the need for blood to survive.  That evilness or whatever is alreay there.  But if a human can be evil without the aide of a demon, then it's possible for a demon to be good without the aide of a human soul.  That whole "it's just black or white" point of view is nothing but poppycock.

Even so, killing humans for blood (I don't mean for torture,--strictly biting in a food sense here) when you're a vampire, is that really evil, or just nature?  IMHO, I think it's nature.
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Jan 22 2008 10:50 pm   #31Guest
Lots of times this is compared to animals. Like, if a vampire is a wolf and a human is a deer, the natural food source, there is nothing evil in trying to feed itself. Cruelty is a human concept that has nothing to do with animal instincts- even a cat playing with a mouse doesn't do it to enjoy having the power over someone weaker or to enjoy causing fear; it's an object that can move, so more fun to bat around than a ball of yarn. I think the evil in vampires is the evil from a human, not the demon. The demon part just makes it easier to show.
Another thing is how the Master treats being a vampire. He says they are more than humans and talks about lives meaning something and taking one is important- not humans' of course. He gets everyone to follow honor and penance and human tradition like from knights and the Middle Ages, not revert to animal-like slavering for blood or holing up in a cave with a feral pack.
Jan 22 2008 11:38 pm   #32Quark
While I agree with that the idea all black/white is poppycock, I don't think only already dark or evil people are the only ones that made evil vampires nor do good people make for neutral vampires ripe for leading back to the light.  At least not with what we are shown in the series.  For example, Liam was shown as an unambitious drunken layabout.  Angelus was a ambitious evil genius.  While I do think the personality of the person does translate somewhat to the vampire it isn't an adequate measuring stick.  At least, that is what I'm going to take from what we are shown from the series.  While the human soul/demon soul debate is a good one, I'm going to save my thoughts for when we are discussing season two.

Getting back to "WTTHM" and "The Harvest" - I think it's a very good opening episode despite the obviousness of the writers trying to find their footing in terms of a background world (the complexities of magic, vampires, demons, etc) and a good indicator of what to expect from the series.  The roles of the core characters are firmly established very quickly and while I think it might have been accidental or just a lucky twist of the pen, there is plenty of foreshadowing to what we see in later episodes, later seasons.  Angel starts off from the very beginning stepping back and not following Buffy into danger, Xander sticks beside her no matter what, etc.

Angel's introduction is of course a great scene, along with Buffy's conversation with herself  (possibly my favorite moment of the episode) in the mirror followed closely with her conversation with her mother (in WTTHM).  Overall though, I think the tone for the entire series is set at the end of "The Harvest."  It's full of action, quips, lots of humor and pain rolled into one.  We see Buffy ready to take the weight of the world on her shoulders and her friends following along behind her to help hold her up.  We see Xander stake his best friend - accidentally - while being trying to save someone despite the odds.  We see Buffy setting up Luke and taking him down - the good guys are smart; the bad guys aren't smart enough.   The final scene sums it up - unsung heroes surviving, saving the world and living as normal lives as possible.  It's a great start for a series despite the floundering in the mythos area.

The only glaring issue, which has already been mentioned, is Willow's lack of reaction to Jesse's death.  Big miss there.  It made sense that Buffy wouldn't have much of a reaction, she barely met the guy, but supposedly Jesse had been part of a friendship with Xander and Willow back to their crayon days.  Definitely should have had her at least sniffle, throw a book, something.  With the foreknowledge of how she reacted to Jenny Calendar's death it seems like a huge mistake in the episode.

~ Q
~ Q
Jan 23 2008 12:09 am   #33Guest

I don't think that's it's only evil people who make evil vampires. William was a good man, and Spike despite everything he will do later on in the series stemming from his love of Buffy, was evil. Drusilla was almost pure innocence and she's evil. But I also think that a vampire is the person, just without a conscience and all their darker thoughts and maybe some of it is the influence or changes the demon brings to the body that it keeps animated.
 

Jan 23 2008 01:33 am   #34Eowyn315
I think it's more than just "evil people become evil vampires." While there are certainly *some* people who are turned and don't become evil, the vast majority are.

The reason, perhaps, is that becoming a vampire, as Spike tells us, offers freedom from society's rules. It offers power - both physical and emotional (fear). It offers the ability to do whatever you want, take whatever you want, and kill whoever you want, without guilt or consequence. It's easy to see how even good humans would be corrupted by that temptation. It's like Lord of the Flies to the extreme, except with an entire species of weaker beings to prey on - that in fact *need* to be preyed on, for the vampires' survival.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jan 23 2008 04:47 am   #35Quark
It's easy to see how even good humans would be corrupted by that temptation. It's like Lord of the Flies to the extreme, except with an entire species of weaker beings to prey on - that in fact *need* to be preyed on, for the vampires' survival.

That's a good comparison.  I remember reading that book and just being both fascinated and horrified by the events. 

Overall, I think the writers of the show tended to bend the world to fit the story not the other way around because it made for better story telling.  One of the great things about fiction written by fans is those ideas (the soul issue, what makes a vampire cross over from just eating for survival to evil, etc) can be explored and expanded to a greater extent.

~ Q

Wow, it's really obvious I focus on the writing a heck of a lot more than anything else.
~ Q
Jan 23 2008 10:06 am   #36nmcil

Why this theme of Soulfulness in vamps and humans is particularly significant in its connection to the later events in the Buffy/Spike relationship and the Scoobies/Spike relations.   It is certainly true and  reasonable that the writers change the Buffyverse world to allow for the story they want to tell, but I do wish that this theme of souls had been better attended to.  This having of a soul is such an important theme of the entire series and to the rules of engagment of the two major characters, The Slayer and her guide Watcher.  With such importance given to the lack of a soul of the vampires, the theme of Good vs Evil, and the soul as a measure of the "right to life," there should have been a better connection to the first and second season. 

Watched Angel tonight and I was reminded of how important the theme of Young Girls and Young Love was to the earlier seasons.  Young people love just as hard as any adult - and Buffy was so taken with Angel.  Interesting to see again how much passion and heart she has, even to the point of offering her neck  to  Angel.  That offering of her neck and life will sure backfire on her first sexual encounter.  

 

” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Jan 24 2008 03:25 am   #37Spikez_tart

To completely change the subject to something I've been thinking about in a lame way for some time ---



In Welcome and Harvest, we see the beginning of the New Man – Bad Man – Good Man theme that crops up continually throughout Buffy and Angel.

To be a New Man is not a good thing:

Jesse: (jumps up) Okay... Let's deal with this. Jesse was an excruciating loser who couldn't get a date with anyone in the sighted community! Look at me. I'm a new man! Harvest B1

Eve to Gunn: I can see why the senior partners chose you. (hands Gunn a business card) Have fun. You'll feel like a new man. (Gunn gets sent out for a new brain and makes a deal with the devil to become a hot shot lawyer without having to crack a book. He will pay for his hubris.) Conviction A5

Giles is a new man in town when the show starts. Willow states that he is the new librarian. By the end of the season, he’s managed to guilt trip Buffy into getting killed. Eventually, his earlier life will be exposed and he will betray Buffy and the others more than once. By Season 4, in A New Man, he becomes a thuggish sort of demon that no one can understand after he goes on a drinking and sulking spree with Ethan Raines. He tells Ethan that he is “twice the man” that Maggie Walsh is and takes childish pleasure in frightening her.

You could extend the metaphor to Angel who becomes the new “man”ager of Wolfram and Harte, a bad move on his part and ultimately disastrous for Spike, Fred, Wesley and Gunn and for himself if you assume that none of them walk away from the final battle.

To be a New Man can also mean graduating into the world of successful sexual relations. Spike is the prime example. It is painfully obvious that he is a Mama’s Boy and a virgin. Drusilla makes him a vampire and apparently initiates him in sex as well, both in the alley where she’s giving him a hand job and later in their romp on his mother’s couch.

Cordelia shuts the fumbling and awkward Human Jesse down in Welcome:

Jesse: (coughs) Listen, uh, you know, you wanna dance, you know?
Cordelia: With you?
Jesse: Well, uh, yeah.
Cordelia: Well, uh, no! C'mon, guys.

But, after Jesse becomes a vampire, he becomes more forceful, confident and sexually acceptable:

Jesse lowers his hand, takes hers and leads her back onto the dance floor.
Cordelia: Hey! Hello! Caveman brain! What are you doing?
Jesse: Shut up!
He begins to dance with her.
Cordelia: Well, just one dance.

Xander, who has not become a New Man, says: I'm inadequate. That's fine. I'm less than a man. He’s not talking about his sexuality, but I think ‘inadequate’ takes on a double meaning here with the man reference.

Spike describes the attraction to being a new man:

Becoming a vampire (read New Man) is a profound and powerful experience. I could feel this new strength coursing through me. Getting killed made me feel alive for the very first time. I was through living by society's rules. Decided to make a few of my own. Fool for Love, B5

Closely related to the New Man is the Bad Man. Willow equates vampires to the Bad Man. (This might also be a first hint of her sexual orientation to women).

Willow: Well, we don't have to say vampires. We, we could just say that there's a, a bad man.

Bad Man status can be self-confered: Here Wesley berates himself for being sexually interested in Cordelia, who is a minor, and Spike, who has shown a bit of temper to the crazy Drusilla apologizes to her by identifying himself as bad. Giles, who is stuffiness personified, sings a song that reveals his understanding of his own hidden and very angry character.

WESLEY: (Voice Over) Look at Cordelia. No! Don't look at Cordelia! She's a student! Oh I am a bad man. I'm a bad, bad man! Earshot B3

SPIKE: The bird's dead, Dru. You left it in a cage, and you didn't feed it, and now it's all dead, just like the last one. (Drusilla cowers and whines) Oh, I'm sorry baby. I'm a bad, rude man.

GILES: (sings) No one knows what it's like / To be the bad man
Where the wild things Are B4

Insane Spike remorsefully identifies himself as a Bad Man, even when he’s helping to save the life of Cassie.

SPIKE: Yes. There's evil. Down here. Right here. I'm a bad man. William is a baaad man. I hurt the girl.
Help B7

(Spike attacks Peter, despite the chip zapping him with each punch)
PETER: Who are you?
SPIKE: I'm a bad man.


When a good character, in this case Xander, says you’re a Bad Man, you can count on it being true:

JACK: Relax. It will wear off in a day or so.
XANDER: In a day or so someone could get killed. You're a bad, bad man.
Beer Bad B4

Other times, when a character is labeled a Bad Man, by a character who is bad, it means the opposite. Spike, who has finagled his way into Buffy’s house for a chat with her mother is gleefully taunting Angel and taking advantage of Joyce’s confusion:

ANGEL: Joyce, listen to me.
JOYCE: You get out of this house, or I will stake you myself.
SPIKE: You're a very bad man.
Lover’s Walk, B3

Which leaves the Good Man. Buffy articulates it as the Man who makes his own choices and finds the right way for himself. When Riley goes AWOL from the Initiative, he’s lost without someone to give him an order.

BUFFY: It's a choice. Go back in there and make some changes from the inside. Or you can quit the team, fight demons in your own way.
RILEY: You make it sound so simple. I don't even know what my way is.
BUFFY: Well, it's time to find out.
RILEY: I'm a soldier. I got a way, which one of them?
BUFFY: Good man.
This year’s girl B4

Buffy, feeling the depth and significance of the deep changes that Spike has undergone, supports him against Giles (who’s proved himself to be a traitor and a Bad Man on several occasions.) She also indicates that becoming a Good Man is a process and one that may require help or “a chance” as she puts it, from others.

BUFFY: He can be a good man, Giles. I feel it. But he's never gonna get there if we don't give him the chance. First Date B7

William says it best. The Good Man knows his weaknesses, but isn’t falsely modest. He appreciates his own inner worth.

WILLIAM: I know I'm a bad poet but I'm a good man. Fool for Love B5

His sincerity shines through and we believe that William is indeed, a Good Man.  
 

If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?
Jan 24 2008 05:43 am   #38nmcil
Which leaves the Good Man. Buffy articulates it as the Man who makes his own choices and finds the right way for himself

This is the rite of passage into free will and passing into the realm of the adult - and for all of Buffy's I don't want to be the slayer from the very first episode Giles marks her sense of duty and acceptance of her heroic role.  She made her choice to do her duty - and I think that Angel ,in contrast,  turns away from his duty from the moment that he makes the choice to give into his sexual urges and kiss her.  He believes his desire for her is wrong, and in his role as helper and as a fighter for The Good side, this is not a good choice, not the Good Man choice.  Whistler and TPTB sent him there, and his accepted the role as Helper to the Slayer, not as a potential lover to a very young woman.  It is easy to get caught up in the Tragic Lovers Tale, but that Buffy and her friends are very very young is made clear by their girlish behavior. 

Buffy of course has all the instincts that will make her one of the best Slayers of all times, we see this when she accepts that her role as a Slayer does not allow for being with a normal male like Owen.  Getting back to making the Good Choice - with Owen and knows what her duty and Good Choice requires, with Angel, the young woman gets caught up in very Bad Choices - Angel, the Older and Experienced Adult denies his accepted role and duties.   I have to concede the point that their love and attraction did make a good story. 

After the discussion of Angel and how their age difference was not necessarily a bad thing, I tried to be more opened minded, but after watching these early episodes again, I am still on the side that Angel was wrong to accept her first overtures for a sexual relationship and that he totally made bad choices as the Helper/Fighter for the Good Side slips into the Buffy/Slayer/Lover.

Thanks for your post -
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Jan 25 2008 02:29 am   #39Spikez_tart
Buffy, Willow and Xander and all the rest are intensely young, physically and mentally.   Why would an adult Angel want to put up with their silly jokes and their word games and their giggling and all the rest? 

Angel told Whistler that he wanted to help Buffy.  What help does he actually give?  He creeps around, stalks her, refuses to go down into the Hellmouth with her when he knows exactly who's down there and how to help her.  He knows Darla is in town, does he hunt her down and dust her?  Nope.  Does he kill the Master or any of his minions?  Nope.   When he sees Drusilla late at night in the park about to kill a ten year old boy, does he off her?  No!  Does he go after Spike? No.  (And Angel has certainly beaten Spike many times before, he ought to be able to do it for real this time.)  Does he help Buffy train - no.  Does he help her patrol - no.  Does he get her in trouble with her mother?  Yes! 

He knows very well that their relationship is a dead end, even without the whole curse thing - what can he possibly give her - a nice home to live in? marriage?  children?  She makes it very plain that being "normal" is important to her and he can offer her none of the things she needs and wants and has the right to expect.

And, when the going gets tough - Angel gets going right out of town.  He could have gone away for a little while and come back to help her like he said he would.  He could have stayed and sucked it up, even if it was hard.   He could have done a lot of things, but he didn't. 

I think I was wrong.  When Spike says to Angel "you're a bad bad man" he's right.  Angel's intentions are good; his actions are neutral or bad. 
If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?
Jan 26 2008 01:01 pm   #40SpikeHot
After this rewatch, do you think you've gained more information about the characters? More insight into their character traits in the future.

I simply discovered more depth into the Buffy/Angel relationship. I don't think it's as shallow as some believe, Buffy couldn't care less about him when she first met him, but then she started to connect with his loneliness, and from that the attraction started to form.

Jesse was mainly Xander's friend. Willow just tagged along, or maybe Willow and Jesse had Xander in common, but they weren't really friends.

Xander's bravery and loyalty appeare when one of his friends is in danger. He just learned about vampires, yet he didn't care. All he thought about was saving Jesse.

On the other hand, Willow could barely move when she learned about vampires. She was so frightened. Contrast this with Xander and Willow in Tabula Rasa. Xander was such a chicken in that episode, way different than the brave boy we see in Welcome to the Hellmouth. Willow, on the other hand, was braver and stronger.
Jan 26 2008 04:17 pm   #41Eowyn315
Why would an adult Angel want to put up with their silly jokes and their word games and their giggling and all the rest?

Well... he doesn't, really. How many times do we see Angel with the Scoobies? Never in season 1 that I recall, maybe a couple times in season 2 when it's absolutely necessary (Lie to Me, to find out about Ford, or Buffy's birthday party in Surprise). He doesn't fit in with them, and he has no desire to be a part of their world, but he makes the sacrifice in order to be with Buffy. Plenty of people put up with their significant other's friends, just to make the other person happy.

Angel told Whistler that he wanted to help Buffy. What help does he actually give? He creeps around, stalks her, refuses to go down into the Hellmouth with her when he knows exactly who's down there and how to help her. He knows Darla is in town, does he hunt her down and dust her? Nope. Does he kill the Master or any of his minions? Nope. When he sees Drusilla late at night in the park about to kill a ten year old boy, does he off her? No! Does he go after Spike? No. (And Angel has certainly beaten Spike many times before, he ought to be able to do it for real this time.) Does he help Buffy train - no. Does he help her patrol - no.

I think it's more complex than that. First of all, part of it is a result in Angel's character shift between season 1 and 2. The whole "Angel wanting to help Buffy" bit didn't come out until the flashback at the end of season 2. In season 1, it's strongly implied that Angel's doing his own thing, fighting vampires as something of a vengeance gig, and he just drops by to give Buffy info when he thinks she needs to know something. It's not really about helping Buffy, it's just that the two of them have similar goals, and Angel seeing the opportunity to use the resource of a Slayer to accomplish what he knows needs to be done.

In season 2, he does help her patrol (although, granted, it generally turns into a make-out session), and in season 3 he helps her train. He mixes it up a lot more with vampires, not afraid to fight, even saves Buffy's life a few times. I think that's a direct result of the decision to make Buffy Angel's motivation to do good, rather than just "it's the right thing to do." He becomes more directly involved in helping her and keeping her safe.

Also, it's interesting that all the vampires you mentioned Angel didn't kill are his family. As I mentioned, Angel does kill his share of vampires in the series, but I can see why it would be extraordinarily difficult for him to kill his own family. I simply cannot see Angel just going out and staking a member of his family without provocation. He only killed Darla because she was a direct threat to Buffy - and I'm sure he'd have done the same with the Master, Spike, or Dru, if they'd been in a similar position, but he's never really around when they get into fights with Buffy. I mean, you could just as easily turn it around and say that Spike knew Angel was in town (in season 2) and yet never tried to dust him, even though he was obviously working with the Slayer, and therefore against Spike. It's not until Spike discovers that he needs to kill Angel to heal Dru that he even thinks about hurting his family.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Jan 26 2008 06:49 pm   #42nmcil

Good Point - this also helps explain his comment of "she got it done) (sorry for the need to paraphrase) - unfortunately with the very the extremely dangerous mission Buffy and The Scoobies took on, Angel's comment came across like he had very little, if any concern, about her safety, even her life.

Going back to watch earlier episodes we need to keep the timeline of the series in mind.

” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.