maggie2: (Default)
maggie2 ([personal profile] maggie2) wrote2010-09-01 01:14 pm

#36: Initial reactions

Full spoilers below the cut.  Read at your own risk.

There's a recap up at Whedonesque,reposted by [ profile] sueworld2003 .  I will take up the points in the order they are raised by the issue.

1.  Angel's story.  It was both a shoutout to LOST -- the plane Angel saves is an Oceanic airline --, and I'm guessing Superman (he uses "ma'am and is told that comes with the superpowers).  I suppose I'll have to do some superman wiki at some point.  In any case, the voice behind the dog becomes a voice behind a passenger, and she tells Angel that the superpowers he has just landed are a reward, one that makes Shanshu look like a sack o' crap.  Passenger-dog gives Angel big thanks, and not for saving the plane.

The thanks and the 'reward' read to me like they come right out of Lilah's playbook from Home.  The aspect of Shanshu that's a 'reward' is becoming a real boy; and Angel is now further away from that than ever.  And since the world ends up destroyed as a result of Angel's powers whoever is happy about it can't be one of the good guys.

It's still hard to see how this keys into Buffy's own power-up.  We've gotten such a jumble of explanations for what's going on.  Giles and Willow seemed to think it was to do with Buffy.  This is to do with Angel.   So in the cosmic scheme of things, what exactly was the first domino here? 

2.  Spike comes in through a dimensional hole similar to the one Angle came in through.  Instead of super-powers, Spike has a super ship, and is glorious leader to a bunch of space bugs.  Looks like he was in the middle of some kind of fight before he got pulled to the dimension.  And his first task back 'home' is to find out what's been going on.  That puts paid to the speculation that Spike's a bad vampire for having known all along about the world upside down and not having done anything about it.   He tracks down info and comes to help as quickly as he can.  The other good news is that as Spike reads about Buffy-the-terrorist, he doesn't seem all emotionally fraught.  This is a good thing given what follows.  Spike's established a life for himself and has moved on a bit.

3.  Having crashed in, Spike gets folks boarding his ship while Angel and Buffy fight demons.  And here we get a 100% validation of Bangel.  Buffy says she doesn't trust Angel, but he has her heart.  Angel is worried that Buffy might wish Spike had shown up before the space boink, but Buffy seems perfectly happy that he didn't.  She's had the bestest wierdest best day of her life.  She can't describe our pronounce what he's done for her.  He gave her perfection and gave it up -- he's not just the love of her life, he's the guy she wants to spend her life with.  Too bad about the timing, he's going to have to go.  But Angel says he'll find Buffy soon, and Buffy says he'd better.  Cookies baked.

So that's the text.  I could do my usual riff about how OTT this is, but who knows.   I don't think we're going to go with glow juice or anything else whacked out like that.  I think this is Buffy.  And she's not the Buffy I really want to know.  It's an interesting move to reunite the epic true love lovers in a way that makes them both look so terrible.  They've destroyed the world, and it's Buffy's best day ever.  Can we put that on her tombstone beneath "she saved the world a lot"?  I'll have to think more about what I think about Buffy in all of this, or what Joss is going for.  Is it just a simple story of personal happiness is 100% at odds with what's good for the world?  There's something skew about that.  Or will it get upended going forward?  At present I find myself not caring all that much because of the next point

4. Buffy has known all along that Spike is back.  She hasn't contacted him.  It's not for the Spuffy-fic staple line about her being hurt or mad.  She was just too busy.  She thanks him for being crazy studly saving them from the uber vamps and interrupts him before he even has a chance to spit out a you're welcome, going on to the need to know what's going on now.

Well we could get wrinkles on this, I suppose.  But pretty much this Buffy is why I call myself post-Spuffy.  To be a bit personal about my own emotional investment in this story, my Spuffiness wore away the last few years because I just couldn't quite believe that Buffy really meant it in the hellmouth.  If we take this as written, with no layers hidden away underneath, she obviously didn't mean it.  This is the first time Buffy has clapped eyes on Spike since Chosen and she immediately whisked off to fight demons with Angel and tell him her cookies were baked.  In my emotional zone this leads to stories in my head where Spike moves on or has moved on, and Buffy gets together with Angel, destroys the world and is pretty much miserable.  Spike even gets in my line on this about how it wouldn't be Buffy if she weren't boinking the bad guy.  It's an emotional place where Spike doesn't get what he wants but lives pretty well, and Buffy gets what she wants and is pretty miserable.  The only difference is that this Buffy doesn't have the moral depth to be even emotionally conflicted -- she's destroyed the world with Angel and it's the best day of her life.  That makes it even easier to say sayonara to Spuffy.

5.  Happily Spike doesn't get all emo about any of this.  He makes the one snark about Buffy stinking and boinking bad guys, but then he's right down to business. 

6.  Spike's news?  More plotty mcplot bizarreness.  This is all coming from some seed, back in the helllmouth.  The seed of wonder.  Sunnydale is the heart of all magic.  It's built over a house of worship that got swallowed up by the earth.  They are heading for the heart to get the seed from which all this comes, but which can some how stop all this.  Maybe I'll get some thoughts about this going forward.

7.  Willow briefly turns Angel into a frog, and the reason Buffy sends Angel away is because he'd be too distracting to everyone.  Buffy does see that Angel has done a lot of damage and that people have good reason to be pissed at him.  Still, it's her best day ever.

So for me the big question that has kept me invested in the comics is pretty much answered.  Buffy didn't love Spike, at least not in any way that cashes out in actual behavior that could be called loving.  I think now I can kick back and just read the rest as a more disinterested party.  Unless Buffy's character is somehow salvaged here, Angel is more than welcome to her.

ETA:  The blurb refers to Spike as a former vampire.  This may be a misprint -- but I thought it was worth mentioning.  We see him in space -- so if he's a former vampire, it may have happened on re-entry the way that Angel's powers did.  But I'm still more incined to call it a misprint.  Stay tuned for further developments....

ETA2:  Further development -- it was a misprint.  Spike's still a vampire.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Um, wow. I can safely say I'm done with any further "stories" Whedon has to tell in this 'verse. I needed, at least, some emotional conflict from Buffy -- not necessarily about Spike but about the consequences of her and Angel, Angel's deceptiveness, etc. But, no, this Buffy is more shallow than she was at 16.

Wow. Just wow.

I'm glad at least that he doesn't have Spike torn up about this.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Very glad he's got Spike being clear about what matters. Spike still seems safe.

But now I really don't see how to salvage Buffy as someone I can respect.

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:36 pm (UTC)(link)
To quote myself:

"Also, my opinion that season 8 is one big meta is further reinforced, what with the Master back, the whole thing back to Sunnydale, Buffy swearing undying love to Angel, Spike "having a ship", seed of wonder which is Sunnydale (the creation of Whedon and the beginning of the Buffyverse), etc.

On the Buffy/Angel note, i refuse to believe that Whedon writes a story about free will - only to have the major romantic couple be predestined.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:37 pm (UTC)(link)
I have to read your meta!

Can't begin to speculate about what Joss is up to on the B/A front. We'll see what percolates up as I ponder...

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Sorry It's ended up being like this love as I know you were very invested in this series. :(

As you already know I always thought bloody Whedon would go this route.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:38 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm emotionally OK -- I've had a post-Spuffy space well-carved otu for just this eventuality. What I'm surprised about is how Buffy is being portrayed here. Spike so far is the hero of the piece, and she's, well, not.
snickfic: (Default)

[personal profile] snickfic 2010-09-01 05:39 pm (UTC)(link)
This clearly has no relationship at all to the characters I know. Not that we thought it did before this issue, but I thought I'd restate.

Thanks for reporting back to us all this time.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:40 pm (UTC)(link)
You're welcome! Spuffy fandom will have to part company with the story at this point, I think. My own heart is focused on Spike, and so far he's looking good, so I have that. But Buffy? Story isn't over, but whoa has Joss burned his creds on the feminist front.

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for writing this. I was waiting for your review of things to form an opinion on.

I will read the issue for myself, probably even give the last few S8 issues a glance but I think this has officially pushed me off my fence, I was sitting very wobbly lately anyway.

The story sounds monumentally lame, not thought through and boring, so there's nothing that salvages the thing here.

And the emotional stuff seems just wrong and what I used to love about Joss was that that particular stuff was what he was really good at. But this? Buffy becomes a person that I find shallow and horrible in this. It's not about her being in love or not, it's about her being a terrible friend and that's not how I want to keep her in mind.

Spike on his own is certainly interesting to me, but the story needs to be engaging too and this one isn't.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:42 pm (UTC)(link)
The story can still be interesting in lots of ways. I just don't know how we salvage Buffy's character in all of this. I look forward to your take when you get a look.

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Best day of Buffy, the perfection, is destruction of the world?

Is she for real?

Run Spike, run before she'll eat you alive.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, seriously -- I don't want him near her.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks so much for this--I was waiting for your thoughts as you and Emmie are the people whose opinions I value most re: the comics.

It may be too early to say this, but I think I may have reached my "fully disengaged" point. Up till now, I cared even though I didn't want to. Now, though, I'm pretty much just rolling my eyes. The caring may catch up to me at some point and I may get furious, but for now I'm totally over it. It's a good feeling.

I'm glad for your sake, though, that Spike comes through relatively unscathed. I can't be happy about that because Buffy is my other favorite character and I just can't be happy for only one of them (not that they need to be together, but I need them both happy and sane to be happy myself).

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 06:01 pm (UTC)(link)
I feel for my more Buffy-centric friends -- and I can't wait to hear from Emmie. This is so not the Buffy she loves (or at least I don't think she is).
quinara: Spike and Buffy approaching 'their' tree in AYW. (Spuffy tree)

[personal profile] quinara 2010-09-01 05:50 pm (UTC)(link)


I just...

My Spike and Buffy are awesome people. Why would Joss stop them being awesome?

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:51 pm (UTC)(link)

Unless Buffy's character is somehow salvaged here, Angel is more than welcome to her.

Yeah, that's been my take on it for awhile. This character has no morals, empathy or spirit. Who is she? I don't even think I've read Bashfic that portrayed as so self-involved and childish.

I have a theory or two about what Whedon might do to save that character, but given everything in the books, I don't know if that's his plan. It seems like he has gone out of his way to paint her as unsympathetic as possible in the comics.

I don't know about Spike. Given the way he's utterly trashed the two main characters of the 'verse, I'm very sketchy Spike will remain unscathed.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 05:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I'd love to hear your theories.

On closer reading, Spike took off the top of Big Ben with his space ship and called it funny, so who knows? That's minor, though, to calling the end of the world the best day ever.

There's also a weirdness in the blurb at the start that I missed. Spike is referred to as a former vampire. I wonder if that's a misprint?

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 06:03 pm (UTC)(link)
We've gotten such a jumble of explanations for what's going on.

Which is basically the comic in its entirity.

Buffy has known all along that Spike is back. She hasn't contacted him. It's not for the Spuffy-fic staple line about her being hurt or mad. She was just too busy.

Thanks Joss! I mean, you know, for nothing. But, hey, he totally gave us everyone reacting to Spike having sought his own soul and stuff... off screen, and related to wet towels and with Giles trying to kill him (but not having tried to kill Angel. Curious that). And, you know, Joss made sure that Spike got a lot of credit for having sacrificed his life, what with Buffy smiling, and Angel saying Buffy did all the work, and people voting to have him exorcized so I guess nothing there too. But, hey, at least we get... er...his resurrection. Which was about Lindsey playing games with Angel's head.

Right. Thanks Joss. We can always depend on you for a payoff. ::eyeroll::

They've destroyed the world, and it's Buffy's best day ever

Don't you understand? They're special, special snowflakes. The most special snowflakes ever! Their love is epic and worth the destruction of the universe. Because they're special. Don't you know anything? [/snark]

Spike's news? More plotty mcplot bizarreness. This is all coming from some seed, back in the helllmouth. The seed of wonder. Sunnydale is the heart of all magic. It's built over a house of worship that got swallowed up by the earth. They are heading for the heart to get the seed from which all this comes, but which can some how stop all this. Maybe I'll get some thoughts about this going forward.

Just curious (but not really expecting an answer because, apparently, the comics are WYSIWYG that doesn't require things like plot, purpose, or answers.) But where did he get this info?

7. Willow briefly turns into a frog, and the reason Buffy sends Angel away is because he'd be too distracting to everyone

Okay, uh... what? I just... what? ::shakes head:: Twangel doesn't have any pertinent information to impart? Nothing from his years months of plotting? No explanations to make? No exposition dump to let out? No Twangel reasoning to impart? Minions to call off? Anything? Anything at all> Anything, y'know... useful?

Seriously, is this comic anything but a series of jumbled plot points?

This reminds me of a Dana Scully quote about the ridiculousness of Plan Nine from Outer Space.
Scully (to Mulder): You've seen this movie 42 times? Doesn't that make you sad? It makes me sad.

Perhaps Season 8 needs the sountrack of the SouthPark Mormon episode "dumb, da-dumb, dumb, dumb..."

Buffy didn't love Spike, at least not in any way that cashes out in actual behavior that could be called loving

When I was saying this a few years ago, I was being labelled a "Buffy hater" for it.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 06:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Spike has been tracking down info, we're not told how or from whom.

A lot of your other reaction I understand, but don't quite agree with. This issue has Buffy explicitly saying that Spike saved the world in Chosen (not some clean up thing or whatever). We've got Buffy pledging her heart to the guy she just destroyed the world with. That they are not sufficiently impressed with Spike's soul is not exactly a textual endorsement of his actual unimportance.

What got crushed here was any picture of the tender Buffy the more Buffy-centric Spuffies see.

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 06:19 pm (UTC)(link)

Oh, my theories are wild and nutty. LOL

Basically, I think the first arc is in a lot of ways representative of the whole comic. The Long Road Home could be a rather condensed version of the whole thing. At the end, like in that eComic, Buffy wakes up from the nightmare. In a lot of ways, IMO, nightmares are a big theme in the comics.

So my guess is Buffy is under a spell of some kind, thus her actions. She ruins all her relationships and finally, when the seed is destroyed, comes back to herself and has to deal with it all and is left alone. Symbolically waking up both from and to a nightmare just like the Sleeping Beauty arc.

Just my guess. Joss loves tying together premieres and finales and I could see him doing this. But again, given the way this stuff sounds, it's just... Ugh.

I wonder if that's a misprint?

I've not read it yet. After your review, I really don't know if I will. I don't know if I like the idea of seeing my fav character executed before me.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 06:21 pm (UTC)(link)
Whoops. Hit the wrong reply button. :P

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 06:22 pm (UTC)(link)
I haven't read it yet, but based on what I read so far, Buffy sounds weird. Something is probably affecting her -flow or whatever. Perhaps those superpowers are doings something to her brain.

I'm so glad Spike is still cool though. And Willow seems to really hate Angel -something Buffy should do at the moment.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 06:29 pm (UTC)(link)
I do hope we get more story about how Buffy became so soulless -- indeed, it has crossed my mind that she literally has lost her soul somewhere along the way.

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 06:37 pm (UTC)(link)
So basically the Bella/Edward/Jacob cover was completely unironic?

Thank you, Season 8, and goodnight.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 06:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, Emmie's making the big "it ain't over til it's over" pitch -- and she's got a great point. Buffy is being absurdly trashed here.

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 06:49 pm (UTC)(link)
It's built over a house of worship that got swallowed up by the earth.

It's built over like forty of them... though continuity with the layout of Sunnydale as played out just about as well as the continuity and characterization in the comics.

(Anonymous) 2010-09-01 07:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks maggie for posting this..I was thinking of getting this issue, but now I won't. There's no need for me to spend money on something so horrid, and has Buffy as a callous, unfeeling b****. Sorry but that's what she is IMO. Joss has totally destroyed her character. I don't know what else he has planned but this is beyond the pale. I don't recognize this Buffy at all, and I certainly don't admire her. I agree with this 100%
The only difference is that this Buffy doesn't have the moral depth to be even emotionally conflicted--she's destroyed the world with Angel and it's the best day of her life. That's just mind-boggling.:( And they deserve each other, no sane person would ever want to be with either one of them. Thank your lucky stars Satsu and Xander and Nina and Spike. I don't know if I'm over my Spuffyness yet, cause I do love them'll have to be in fanfic only and after I don't feel so depressed.

I'm Spike, Spuffy, Buffy and two of those have just been destroyed. I wasn't expecting much in the way of Spuffy, but damn...she doesn't love him(something I was sure that she meant in the Hellmouth), she's known he's been back, but couldn't care less and she's still as immature and in love with Twangel as if the last 4 yrs of the show didn't exist. Wow . Just Wow... My heart is literally breaking and I don't know why cause I was sure that Joss would screw us Spuffies again, but it really hurts and I'm so friggin upset and mad at myself for being upset.:(
Well at least Spike so far is being portrayed OK.(i hope that continues but it probably won't) And thank god he's not being all woobie sad Spike, that I couldn't deal with.I LOVE that he's all snarky to her, but he's willing to stick around and help her ungrateful ass so he's a real Hero (unlike Bangel). I still think he should RUN as fast as he can away from this user...all my Buffy love is gone at the mo. I still don't know if Joss can salvage her at this point...we'll see. Joss feminist cred has flown out the window with this tripe. And he's destroyed one of the best pairings in the Buffyverse for what? Bangel again. Whatever Joss. The former vampire thing has me curious...wonder if it's just a mistake.

I think after this even more people will be dropping this comic...who's left really but the special, special Bangels? *iz petty*


[identity profile] 2010-09-01 07:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Read what Emmie has to say. She's posted on Whedonesque and Buffy Forums. I can't go there emotionally myself -- but it is all bizarre right now, and hard to believe that Joss really thinks Buffy hearts Angel and can see the end of the world as not interfering with her best day ever.

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 07:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for posting youe recap, Maggie.

I don't know what to think of this.

On one hand, both Joss and Allie know how incredibly populat Meyer's stories are - and this may be the crucial factor in the paradigm shift in Buffyverse. Several issues earlier Dawn apologized to her tormentor to make her problems go away, so maybe this is the new BtVS with new rules.

OTOH, maybe Buffy's strange behavior means she's still under the influence - and she'll get rid of glowhypnol only when the egg will be broken.

Haven't read the issue yet, looking forward to it.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 07:57 pm (UTC)(link)
It's hard to make sense of, isn't it? I'm baffled. And also tired of being baffled.
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[personal profile] rahirah 2010-09-01 07:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Y'know, I really hate being proven right.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 07:59 pm (UTC)(link)
The story isn't over, but yeah -- it's not looking good for the case for optimism.

What's bizarre is how trashed Buffy is -- and that's why I think Emmie (currently carrying the flag for the optimists) ought to be listened to.

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[identity profile] 2010-09-01 09:40 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm planning to pick up my comic tomorrow morning. Why do I have the feeling it's going to make me cry? I think I'm done with them.

[identity profile] 2010-09-01 11:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Not sure you should pick it up. It's only OK if Emmie is right. I've been singing Emmie's tune for a long time, but am no longer emotionally able to go there (though my head still thinks it's easier to think that she's right than that Joss really sees his characters this way).

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[identity profile] 2010-09-03 01:21 am (UTC)(link)
I just got the issue tonight (no comic book store where I was staying, and couldn't get to one!) and it was torture to avoid reading the reviews. I haven't read Emmie or hayes' takes yet so this is pure me (so far):

I wrote a long review (kind of long-winded). I'm agnostic on the subject of Buffy. Buffy seemed very, very harsh to Spike on a first read, but on a reread it read differently. It's possible--just possible--that Buffy is post-Spuffy too; that she is trying to disengage emotionally from Spike because she knows she's already made her choice. So the curtness is Buffy-logic for protecting Spike. We saw how kind Buffy was to Riley a few issues ago, and we know she doesn't love him. So the difference is either because of super powers, or because she thinks (wrongly) that Spike is still in love with her.

Spike ramming into Big Ben made me pretty uncomfortable. (It reminds me of Willow: "Did I mention the random destruction of property? The Magic Box is not so much a box now.") But I guess the point is: Spike rams into Big Ben, does a lot of obvious damage, but no one gets hurt and it's just a building anyway; Angel and Buffy are being superheroes who are super and think of themselves as heroes and they are nearly destroying the world. I still say that Spike shouldn't have killed Big Ben though. (Also: Spike/Giles parallel! Both kill Bens!)

Note also that the bugs refer to Spike as royalty ("Your Majesty"), so he might be "the prince." Whereas Angel is not the prince; Willow turns him into a frog (he looks like the prince, but is actually a frog--reversal of the fairy tale).

All that said, I don't blame you for being disengaged. Buffy looks really bad in this issue. She looks so bad that it's absolutely deliberate; no one besides Buffy thinks that Angel is in any way okay. Why Buffy is being trashed so hard I'm not sure. Angel--he's always being trashed, here just more than usual. So dunno.

[identity profile] 2010-09-03 01:45 am (UTC)(link)
ETA: if Buffy was trying to spare Spike's feelings by being a bitca, this is more evidence that she's screwed up in all emotional interactions, not that she's validated. But I can actually kind of imagine Buffy thinking that way.

(no subject)

[identity profile] - 2010-09-03 03:54 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] 2010-09-03 03:35 am (UTC)(link)
Happy to know that I was absolutely right and this is completely worthless crap. Thanks, Joss, for the excrement! Glad that no actual human beings are involved in any part of the production.

[identity profile] 2010-09-03 03:53 am (UTC)(link)
I'm afraid I've revised my opinion.... I think it's all good. See next post if you're interested.

What we don't know

(Anonymous) 2010-09-06 03:40 am (UTC)(link)
Hmmm. Am a Spike and Spuffy fan, and I gave up on the comics a long while back. Just got bored with the story.

But I heard about your blog and kept my eye on it, to see what happened with Spike's return. And actually- I'm not at all worried that the Buffy you describe is "really real Buffy." Something is going on; doesn't sound right at all. I think there is plenty of reason to be optimistic on that count.

However, to quote Willow, I am even more "bored now." There is very little reason for optimism on that score. Same old, same old, same old. I gave up on "Lost" for the same reason. Ther were too many mysteries, and it was too endlessly boring waiting for explanations and the pay-offs.

I'm not at all the type who has to have "instant gratification," but enough is enough. Do I think that we'll eventually learn that Buffy does not see Angel as her one and only, does not think it was the best day, and has feelings for Spike that are at least as strong as they are for Angel? Actually, yes. But do I care? No. Not anymore.

Re: What we don't know

[identity profile] 2010-09-06 05:36 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for reading! The one big failing even the PtBs will admit is that the pacing this season was way off.

I remain invested, obviously. I think that future folks who can sit down and read the completed work will think season 8 is one of the best ever. It's just so thick. And nervy. I had your reaction to lost. This didn't get to me because there is a lot of meat to think about, whereas for Lost I just found that thinking about it led to one dead end after another, and I stopped caring.