Mar 25 2013 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Hoopjumping for Joy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Checkpoint, Giles

“Checkpoint” by Doug Petrie and Jane Espenson

“Checkpoint” opens with the Scoobies meeting about Giles’s fact-finding trip to visit the Watchers. They’ve learned something and have decided to deliver the message in person, which thrills Buffy not at all. Dawn is trying to eavesdrop on them, no doubt hoping to glean a little knowledge about the whole key thing she overheard last week.

Buffy’s deeply stressed, about the Watchers, the eavesdropping, about the everything. But she’s doing better than Glory, it turns out, who’s so deep into one of her need-a-sanity-fix fits that she’s pretty much helpless. Dreg and Jinx feed her a local mailman, who staggers off in a demented state to look for his hat. Jinx then mentions that time’s getting short if she wants to use the Key. Glory’s all cheery, though; she figures Buffy knows where it is and she can just wring it out of her.

So, you know, not a dumb villain. I’d say she’s brighter than Angelus.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Checkpoint, Glory

After the credits, Quentin Travers and six fellow members of the Royal PIA club show up and shut down the Magic Box. Anya has concluded she doesn’t want them to know she’s an ex-demon, and attempts to lie herself up a cover story. Travers and Co. are doing their usual thing, which is being snotty to Giles about his store, the inexperienced mages shopping at same, the quality of the tea, and especially the crap (as they see it) job he’s doing as Buffy’s volunteer Watcher. Then they gleefully announce there has to be a review before they will choke up the Glory info.

Buffy doesn’t know this for the moment because she’s in class, getting reamed out by a history professor who is unwilling to entertain the notion that Rasputin might have been some kind of unholy hard-to-kill fiend. From this I guess we can deduce that American educators can be snotty too. And that knowing history hasn’t exactly made Buffy more fit for academia.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Checkpoint, Watchers

(Which, in a sense, is too bad. I can see a whole alternate future version of this universe where Buffy gets a Ph.D. in something, possibly archaeology, and is, like, a tenured evil-fighter. You’d watch that, right?)

Professorman is annoying enough to send her off on a trip to the graveyard to pummel whoever shows up. This made her feel better when it was the snake-monster and the Queller demon, so it seems a reasonable anger management strategy. But Spike intervenes in the slayage. For this he gets told, among other things, that Buffy will never need him. Words to live by, or perhaps eat later.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Checkpoint, Buffy, Spike

(Spike strikes back with some cutting snark about how she can’t keep a boyfriend and is losing her looks. Nice.)

Also on the subject of pummelling, that’s what Jinx the minion gets when he asks Ben for Buffy’s home address. (Jinx the minion! Awesome band name!)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Checkpoint, Ben

Buffy heads back to the Magic Box and gets the thrilling news that the Watchers want to evaluate her. Quentin lays out the plan and, before she can become too violently opposed, threatens to have Giles deported if she doesn’t play along. What a swell guy.

Then, having established to their satisfaction that they rule all roosts supernatural and know totally everything, the Watchers start interviewing Scoobies about Buffy. Anya continues to pretend to have been a human, lo these several years. WillTara reveal that they are lesbian, gay type lovers, and also are friends of Buffy. Xander tells them about the end of season four essence-combining spell in which he was the Heart, and their response is “Really, she needs that much help?”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Checkpoint, Willow and Tara

Because, you know, the game is rigged. They’re there to find fault, not facts.

Spike, meanwhile, is having sexy flirtage with the female Watcher who wrote her dissertation on him. I say this is the funniest moment in the episode.

Then the real games begin. They blindfold Buffy and pretend they think she speaks jujitsu, setting up a wacky combat scenario in which, eventually, the practice dummy she’s supposed to be protecting gets axed.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Checkpoint, Buffy

Since that went badly, she heads home for dinner before the Inquisition portion of the exam, which is worth eighty percent of her final grade. . . and there she finds Glory waiting.

Apparently it wasn’t that hard to get her street address after all. Glory, of course, wants the Key, who is still Dawn. She’s come to tell Buffy to ante up. In the process, she actually gets a look at Dawn, but doesn’t see her essential keylike nature. There’s some threatening, but no violence, and then Joyce comes home.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Checkpoint, Glory

“Pack a bag,” Buffy tells Mom, and sets about needing Spike after all by dragging her women to the tomb and begging the Bloody himself to watch over them. This works for Joyce, who has gotten addicted to Spike’s favorite soap opera, Passions. What Dawn does with the evening is anyone’s guess.

Back at the Magic Box, the Scoobies are sulking, the Watchers are being obnoxious and Buffy is tardy. But wait! Out in the alley, just for kicks, what do we have? Is it Jinx? Or Dreg? Or even a vamp of the week? No, it’s a flippin’ guy in sort-of-medieval armor. Bet you weren’t expecting that. I know I wasn’t. He’s brought several of his Knights of Byzantium friends to make it more convincing.

But not enough friends to defeat Buffy in armed combat.

Sir Orlando is, in defeat, a pretty chatty guy, you have to give him that. Perhaps sensing that we are all thinking: “What? A Knight?” he confesses all. The Byzantos have figured out the Slayer’s got the Key, which is apparently a killing offence. They’re going to number up and come for Dawn. He predicts victory.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Checkpoint, Buffy

What Buffy takes away from this encounter—besides his sword—is a wonderful wonderful epiphany. She trundles off the Magic Box and tells the Watchers how very mistaken they are if they think she’s gonna dance to their tune anymore. Do your jobs! Hire Giles back! And shut up! Did anyone not cheer when she threw the sword at Nigel?

Spike’s biggest fan objects to this paradigm shift on the grounds that WillTaraAnXander are children and Buffy replies: Witches, ex-Demon, and Xander’s just plain useful. Xander is proud to have clocked field time. They cheer openly when Quentin backs down.

And finally he opens his big Watcher file, which Buffy was polite enough to not pluck from his hand to reveal: Glory’s not a demon. She’s a deity.

Squee! That’s upping the stakes, isn’t it? Remember when the meanest thing in Sunnydale was an undead eleven year old?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Checkpoint, Buffy

The wheels do turn on our big plot with “Checkpoint.” Glory not only shows up but gets some face time with Buffy, and we and the Scoobies finally learn something about her. The Knights make their first appearance, Dawn gets a look at the thing that wants to kill her, and the only thing missing is Buffy should’ve asked the Watchers to give her a damned salary, too. And maybe to swing by prison and apologize to Faith. Covering Joyce’s hospital bills might be too much to ask, but I still feel would be awfully gracious.

Though not a primarily comic episode, the Scooby interviews are chucklesome. And even though, in dramatic terms, this confrontation has superficial similarities to the one between the Scoobies and the MacLays in “Family,”  I can’t help but love that sense of a bill coming due. The Watchers have been needing comeuppance. That they get it direct from the sacrificial teen they’ve been happy to think of as ‘their instrument’ only makes it sweeter.

Next time: Another Bloody Birthday

A.M. Dellamonica has kaboodles of fiction up here on! Her ‘baby werewolf has two mommies,’ story, “The Cage,” made the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2010. There’s also “Among the Silvering Herd,” the first of a series of stories called The Gales.

Now you can read her novelette, “Wild Things,” that ties into the world of her award winning novel Indigo Springs and its sequel, Blue Magic.

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Constance Sublette
1. Zorra
Those knights -- one of the big fails of this season. Their presence screams, "Writers, flailing." All they accomplish is getting the Scoobs out of town so somebody(ies) get to write a very looooooooooooong proooooooooooooolooooooooooooonged action episode. Other things happen too, sort of.

By the way, Alex? That Faith "5x5" thing? I started re-watching after many years Babylon-5. In the first ep of the first season, one of the B-5 Station communications / control personnel says, "5x5" in response to some space craft position or logistics or something.

This was 1994. Eliza Dushku says she pulled "5x5" out of the air one day while shooting. She might have seen this -- her first appearance in Buffy was third season, 1998.

OTOH, I'm a third of the way through the B-5 first season and haven't noticed another utterance of "5x5" since.

Love, C.
2. Catherinef
The knights had potential for an interesting storyline - they want to save the world by stopping Glory: so they're Buffy's allies; they want to kill Dawn: so they're Buffy's enemies. Their lack of interest in The Key's humanity is a nice counterpoint to Buffy's insistence on valuing Dawn above herself. But I found the execution too (presumably unintentionally) Monty Pythonesque to be a worthwhile addition. Having said that, I do like the scene in Spiral where the General explains to Dawn what her purpose is and what she's the Key to.
William Frank
3. scifantasy
where Buffy gets a Ph.D. in something, possibly archaeology, and is, like, a tenured evil-fighter. You’d watch that, right?

Paging Professors Jones and Croft to the white courtesy phone...

Zorra@1, "five by five" is radio slang, so it would have been popular with, for example, CB users such as truckers...whom Faith, as a practiced runaway, might have come into contact with. I can't speak to Dushku herself and the "where she pulled it from" aspect, but I figured it for that.

It is also used by the military--hence its use in B5.
Risha Jorgensen
4. RishaBree
This is not an episode I particularly enjoy, overall. But Buffy's speech at the end is my favorite of her's from the entire series. (Damning with faint praise, I know.) It's justified, accurate, puts the annoying people firmly in their place, accomplishes her goal, and has a nice rhythm to it. All that with a bonus sword throw that makes you laugh without taking you out of the moment.
Robert Evans
5. bobsandiego
5 by 5 is radio jargon. it refers to signal strength and signal clairty on a five point scale. so 5 X 5 means a strong signal that is very clear, 1X5 would a weak signal, but it is clear, and 5 X1 a strong signal that is unintelligable.
Annoyned the hell out of me in Aliens when the pilot says that they are in the groove 5X5.
6. build6
what I got from the episode when I first watched it was that Buffy was actually, really, seriously *smart*. And not just booksmarts (though there's that too - oh to have had her SAT grades...). If I'd had a bunch of Englishmen plus some strange demon-chick who I can't beat come and tell me I'm weak and useless, I'd be too busy feeling weak and useless to see through the bullshit.

And yeah! What's with this "only watchers get a salary" business? Who's doing the real work, here?
Marie Veek
7. SlackerSpice
@4: "I'm fairly certain I said no interruptions."

Gotta agree, though, that after this point her speeching goes not so much downhill at some points, so much as speeding off a cliff. "Get it Done", anyone?
Constance Sublette
8. Zorra
@3. scifantasy

Thank you!

And here my dad was a ham radio guy, my spouse is a radio artist even, and I've never noticed. Some things ... it seems ... I actually don't pay attention to .... Eeeks. :)

Alyx -- Also, accept my apologies for misspelling your name. I do know better!

Love, C.
Constance Sublette
9. Zorra
Agree with you all about that great speech of Buffy's.

Also, she does show us she's really intelligent when it comes to book learning too -- if she chooses to be. There were times in season 4 when she hit the research for herself in the university library, which made my reader-librarian-researcher's little old heart twitterpat. :)

And the watchers get a salary but the Slayers don't never made any sense to me. It's as though the Watchers Council from the very beginning in Africa with the emergence of homo saps expected the Slayer to always be dead long before adulthood.

Love, C.
10. Gardner Dozois
This makes even less sense in the next season, where Buffy has to spend time she could be spending saving lives and preventing Armageddon working in a fast-food restaurant to earn money because the Watchers won't pay her a salary. Since they're totally useless without her, that they get paid and she doesn't seems not only unfair but short-sighted. Penny-wise and pound-foolish. So if some supernatural menace gets by her because she's working at the chicken place and destroys the world, they're going to be happy as they die because they saved some money by not paying her?

In the later seasons, Buffy ALWAYS turned to Spike for help and advice and somebody to unburden herself to, even while insisting that she didn't need him at all.

Yes, the Knights were silly, the weakest part of the season, and yes, they reminded me of Monty Python, probably not the reaction they wanted. If they were going to have a religious order devoted to stopping Glory, they should have dressed them like everybody else. That they're wearing armor (particularly obviously fake, crappy-looking armor) is absurd.
Chris Nelly
11. Aeryl
I have a nice fanwank for the issue of Buffy getting paid. In my mind, they did pay her, after this ep(since she had quit working before she graduated, she never drew a salary previously). But she was only drawing money for awhile, which at first went towards SHOEZ, but after Joyce died that was her income.

After she dies in The Gift, the WC stops paying, cuz well she's dead. So when she's resurrected, of course she has money problems, she hadn't recieved a salary cuz "dead" isn't on the worker's comp forms, but the bills had kept coming, and the two worst roommates ever weren't helping, aside from groceries(I'm assuming, because obvs Dawn didn't starve). So, now she's alive again, and they start paying her again. But, she still in some debt, enough that the money Giles gave her(this one and only time, STILL MAD ABOUT THAT!!!) and her salary from the WC, isn't enough to cover it. So she's gets a part time second job for a temporary burst in income. By the time summer comes around, she's caught up, so she ditches the DP. By the time school's around again, she's doing ok money wise, which is why she takes the part time job at the school.

It nicely explains why Buffy's money troubles never return in the story until S8 & S9, when there is no more WC issuing paychecks. And it makes you feel a little better, and isn't contradicted by the show from what I can see.
Alyx Dellamonica
12. AMDellamonica
I was all ready to say I have the idea that "5 x 5" is MarineSpeak, or perhaps pilotspeak, because they also use it in Aliens. But others know more. Not a shock, with this well-informed group.

The lack of salary always makes me crazy--perhaps more than it should--for all the reasons you guys cite above. Really? They're gonna let her flip burgers when they can afford ancient tomes and to pay Quentin?

If that's how you want to play it, make the Watchers Council broke, utterly dedicated volunteers who all have to maintain day jobs of their own so they can afford to save the world by hassling Slayers.
13. Dianthus
I always figured the whole Slayers not getting paid thing was more meta commentary. After all, look at other important things women do for no pay, like keep house and raise kids.
Otherwise, yes, the objections make total sense. As I've said before, if you need tools/weapons to do your job/fight evil, then get the best you can and take good care of them. It's one thing in a barter economy to trade Slaying for whatever, but it sure doesn't pay the bills.
Having a Slayer distracted by money woes does seem "highly illogical" (I've been watching original Star Trek on Hulu).
Lydia's response to Spike makes perfect sense to me!
Buffy needs Spike, and trusts him too (despite her denials). Joyce and Dawn are the two most important people in her life, and Spike is "the only one strong enough" to protect them when she can't.
How adorable are Spike and Joyce? Their all-too-rare moments together sparkle like precious jewels.
It's a "boatload of manly resposibility" having them there, but Spike is ready to accept it with a minimum of fuss. Again, pretty impressive for someone who became a vampire to ditch his responsibilities.
The scene with Our Wiccas still makes me cringe, what with all the awkward.
The "no interruptions" bit: priceless.
14. mannz
I remember reading that Joss's first conception of the story was Rhonda the Immortal Waitress--someone toiling in a low wage, down on your luck kind of job who was really someone extraordinary. I think that original idea is partly why they chose not to compensate Buffy when they clearly could have. I also think they wanted to push the depression and capture what it's like to be in your early twenties and have that kind of job. But they didn't handle it was well as they could have. When viewers see that Buffy had leverage with the Watcher's Council, or that Willow didn't pay rent, or that Giles only gave Buffy and Dawn money once (onscreen), or that Hank disappeared and became a deadbeat dad for plot purposes, it becomes a distraction, taking our attention away from what the writers wanted us to pay attention to. IMO of course. And thanks for the great reviews, Alyx--I don't comment usually, but I read every week.
Emma Rosloff
15. emmarosloff
Love the interview portion of this episode. Anya is delightfully awkward with her heavy-handed attempts to cover up her demonic past. Willow and Tara are painfully adorable when they proclaim their love only to realize they could've avoided the topic altogether. And Spike's blase attitude during his interview cracks me up every time.

He rarely gets to look cool these days; the grin he gives his interviewer when she admits she wrote her thesis on him is just priceless. I also love that his impulse is to slander Buffy ("She's been slipping; she can't keep a man"), but in the end he asks in earnest how her review is going. It's just another teeny hint that underneath his pervasive persona he really does care.

@13: Just wanted to echo your comment about Spike and Joyce. I like that he doesn't phase her, that she treats him like anyone else. That they can share something as ridiciulously frivolous as Passions. And that he appreciates it too -- he admits as much after she's gone.

Otherwise, the biggest thing I took away from rewatching this episode is that Quentin Travers is a pompous ass. Were it not for the below-the-belt threat of Giles deportation, I would've been surprised that Buffy took his shit at all during this epsiode. With Glory on her back she's got way bigger stuff to deal with than the Watchers' feelings of inadequacy.

I wouldn't have put it past her to put Travers in a headlock and force the information out of him. The fact that he and his overly British gang question her methods at all is insulting. She's still alive, isn't she? She hasn't lost anyone in the field, not really. And how many apocalypses has she fended off? How many supernatural forces outside the realm of Vampires? C'mon, guys. If ever giving slack was called for, now would be the time.

But, it's been established that the Watchers are not reasonable people -- too mired in their traditions and feelings of superiority. Thankfully, Buffy comes to her senses by the end of the episode and finally gets to put them in their place.

In a way, it's part of her coming into adulthood -- realizing that the figures of authority in her life are flawed people just like her, with their own reasons, motivations and agendas. That she doesn't have to follow them just because they tell her to. That no matter her sacred duty, her life is hers to command.

And so she does. Although I agree with everyone else -- she deserves to get paid. Overtime. With benefits.
Chris Nelly
16. Aeryl
Regardless of what the writer's intentions were, it needed to be addressed by the characters, especially if they were trying to make a point about the devaluation of women's work, cuz that'd be awesome. Buffy doesn't get paid? Fine, but keep it consistent with her always needing money, or establish, onscreen, a source of income(stipend through the Magic Box, SOMETHING!!!).

Giles treatment of Buffy in re money is a sore spot with me. He gives Anya half The Magic Box when he leaves, setting aside some of it for Buffy was apparently TOO much. I know Anya worked for the shop, so it could be argued that she earned her share, but it is stated in the show that Anya is compensated for her work, so it's not like it's owed. And without Buffy's personal interest in the health and well being of the propietors of the Magic Box, it's likely they would have ended up like the previous propietpors, and IMO, THAT'S worth something, like oh, financial security?

S8 Spoilers

And then after he dies, he leaves EVERYTHING to Faith? Don't get me wrong, she too deserved it. But Good Fucking Lord Man, it's not like you didn't have enough to go around, YOU'RE RICH!!!!
/Still bitter at Giles abandonment
17. Dianthus
@14. I agree. Very distracting. They make a big deal about Buffy not being able to hold a 'real' job. So she can't do 9 - 5 at a cube farm? So what? There's gotta be something she could do. Something less... conventional.
Even after Giles gains control of the Council's assets post-series, money's still an issue. Absurd.
I can understand with the vamps. Need money? Kill somebody and take it. The CoW would've had investments, property, something.
@16. I couldn't help wondering. It'd make things too easy, tho'. Can't be having with that.
18. Gardner Dozois
Even ignoring Armageddons, imagine how you'd feel if you were someone whose spouse was killed by a vampire because Buffy wasn't around to save him because she had to spend those hours working at the chicken shack instead. Think you'd have every right to be pretty pissed off at the Council of Watchers. There's actually an interesting storyline there, although not one they ever persued.
Emma Rosloff
19. emmarosloff
Okay, now that I'm thinking about it, why the heck didn't Buffy just work at the Magic Shop? Anya didn't have to be there every day; they could've split the time. Yeah, I know Buffy helped out when things were slammed (and so did the others), but I mean... really... c'mon... I don't see how this idea was never bandied about between her and Giles. I guess it's possible she could've refused him out of pride/not wanting to feel pitied by him, but she doesn't get the chance to feel one way or another. It just never comes up.

And what about the others? Maybe Xander's not rolling in it and has his own bills to pay, but Buffy's the Slayer for eff's sake. He could've thrown her some cash. I mean, I guess he helped her out in other ways. With Dawn, and her excess of broken furniture and windows... stuff like that. But even so. They're a family.

And Willow and Tara? If Willow was still presumably getting some sort of money from her parents (for college), couldn't she have pitched in when she was living under Buffy's roof? Maybe she did... maybe it's just not addressed, but I feel like if they're going to show us Buffy's money troubles then that's opening that whole can of worms, isn't it? These are justifiable details to address.

Again, maybe Buffy would try to refuse the money, but she never really gets the chance. There's only that one scene with Giles where he gives her a check (and she takes it) and he looks super uncomfortable the entire time, like he's really conflicted about it. I guess there was this undercurrent of him feeling like he was a crutch and she needed to stand on her own, but at the same time I'd expect he'd get some satisfaction out of playing the father she never had, when it's clear he probably won't ever have a child of his own.

I feel like that was a missed opportunity -- I know Buffy was heavy into her depression at that point, but the way she just sort of blatantly uses him at that point in the story never sat well with me. I get it -- she's numb with the shock of being torn from heaven, but her callous treatment of him always felt a little heavy handed.

Whenever he was around, trying to help, he always looked like he felt very out of place, like he didn't fit, when really, he should, at least to an extent. I get that there was this weird boundary when it came to who should be in charge of Dawn... and I don't really blame him for trying to push Buffy to step up, but at the same time, I don't know. He's in this, too. They really are a family. I guess I feel like there could've been more nuance there. It's hard to put my finger on how, exactly. I mean... I LOVED Giles song in Once More With Feeling; it was perfect. So maybe my problem wasn't with him and how his character was written, but with Buffy.

Regardless of that, it would've been really interesting to me to see the other Scoobies (at least try) to pitch in.
20. build6
I think if once a Slayer dies you automagically get a brand new one (who's going to listen to "guidance" and "advice" and not give you as much lip as an experienced one would), the Watcher's Council is probably less concerned about keeping their Slayer happy. It's been established since S7 that the slayers are people who are *used* by the WC anyway, so it all fits that they would care about paying the watchers but not the one actually doing the work.
21. mannz
@Aeryl, I completely agree that these money issues should have been tied to character, particularly where Buffy and Giles are concerned. I remember they talked about her getting some kind of day job (cop) in "What's My Line." Dawn also tells Xander in Season 6 (Doublemeat Palace?) that she feels sorry for Buffy who will never be able to hold down a good job because of her slaying responsibilities. You would definitely think that given the responsibility of Dawn that's been thrust upon her, Giles, having the means to do so, would make sure that she had enough money. They do imply that she should have asked him for help when he returns at the end of Season 6, but surely he had to know before he left that Hank had disappeared and that Buffy had absolutely no way of earning enough money to keep Dawn in a middle class suburban lifestyle, Slayer duties aside. You would think that as her father figure he would be concerned about her staying in college or having some kind of path to independence. It's a shame the way they soured the relationship between Buffy and Giles at the end of the series, and it makes the closeness between them this season so bittersweet.
Comics spoiler
Not only do I hate the will issue in the comics, but it also seems like there's more to the distance between Buffy and Giles, and they have never addressed it. They don't even talk to each other on the phone--she has someone else call him. They were speaking at the end of Season 7, so you really have to wonder why. Was it disapproval over the Swiss vault heist, which also seems out of character for Buffy AND unnecessary, given that it's strongly implied that the Watcher's Council had vast resources. And if that implies a further split between Buffy and Giles, that she did it to avoid having to answer to him, then that's important story that should have been developed.
@Emmarosloff--I think Willow and Tara still had to pay for their dorm room. That's where Tara goes when she moves out, and where Willow returns to after what happens to Tara--that's my reading anyway.
Chris Nelly
22. Aeryl

I don't necessarily find fault that this patriarchal relationship w/ Buffy and Giles have falls apart, it's a recurring theme in Whedon's work that patriarchs aren't to be trusted. After Restless, Giles abandons the partriarchal Watcher role, but moves into the patriarchal Father role. That role, while entwined with genuine care and affection for Buffy, is still about limiting her agency to some extent, for example, when he kills Ben. He denied Buffy the chance to make a decision about Ben/Glory's fate, pre-emptively deciding he "knew best". So with these things, you can see the seeds being sown for their future estrangement

Continue Comics Spoilers

My understanding is that the distance came about because of Giles' fear of Buffy. It's stated by him that he was afraid the whole Twilight thing was real, and had been looking for a weapon capable of killing a god, which Buffy was turning into. So it seems that the basis for this distance was his fear of what Buffy was becoming, but even if you buy that(and I will for purposes of storytelling), it still doesn't explain why he left her to fend for herself.

The heartbreaking thing, is that I think Faith was kinda right, he felt that Buffy was capable of taking care of herself without his help, and that Faith wasn't, and that's why he did it. But that doesn't excuse his behavior, just makes it more reprehnsible, IMO, because he left her the book. If that was his way of telling her "You're the Slayer" like Faith said, he was only perpetuating the fucked up system of the WC, by demanding she do it in poverty, while ensuring Faith, not The Slayer can live a comfy life.

These actions really play into the idea that Mark Field over at Unpaid Sophistry puts forward, that being the Slayer is a metaphor for being an adult, and that Faith, by accepting the assistance, isn't truly an adult, and Buffy, who has to go it without this financial support, is an adult.

But if the show and comics have shown anything, it's that metaphor has to serve the story. And in this particular case, to make Giles' will serve the purposes of metaphor, they sacrificed the story.
23. Dianthus
@20. Yes, it's much easier to control someone who's lacking financial resources. Ultimately, controlling the Slayer is more important to the CoW than saving the world. Crazy.
I always thought Anya (with her Day Trading and all) could've been helpful with Buffy's money woes. Give her a small stake, help her invest it, then recoup the stake (maybe even with a bit of interest). She might not have come up with the idea on her own, but Xander could've suggested it.
The only reason I was willing to accept Spike as 'The Doctor' in AYW is b/c he wanted the money for Buffy. He's the only Scoobie who's doing something about her financial problem. Not that Buffy would take money from a black market deal. It's just him and his grand gesture fetish.
Others have posted about the treasure trove he uncovered while searching for the Gem of Amara. Why didn't he just go back there?
Of course, I think the writers didn't want to lose a useful plot point. Just like Angel never did anything about his little problem.
I forget where I saw it, but someone posted a "copy" of Lydia's thesis.
Also, I've seen the KoB referred to as The Knights Who Say 'Key."
Chris Nelly
24. Aeryl
Yeah, I've heard to them referred that way before as well, it's HILARIOUS.

What Angel problem are you referring, btw?
25. build6
@23,24 - "Knights who say Key" - first time I heard of it, and omg I laughed so hard, sooooo true

and Spike trying to muck about with the eggs to raise money for Buffy... I hadn't thought of that, but that seems right!!!! I mean, what else would Spike want money *for*? at the least he'd be able to buy a box of non-beat-up chocolates to give her
26. Dianthus
@24. The little matter of his soul. He didn't know about the loophole in the curse to start out with, and that's fine, but once he found out - once he was souled again - he did nothing to fix the problem. I dunno if there's anything he could do, but he never even tried. He was prepared to wait for the Shan-shu to fix it.
That's a big complaint of mine. Angel does nothing proactive about his problem. Buffy doesn't do much to solve her problems (in s6).
Spike is the only one who sees his problem and does something about it. But, I think it's b/c he was nominally still Evil, so he had to (per the writers). He had to change to be Good.
In a sense, he changed so Buffy didn't have to (IMO).
Chris Nelly
27. Aeryl
@26, I suppose I can see that, I just always thought he felt that was just, that he should suffer without love and happiness, and so that's why he never tried to solve it. To him it wasn't a problem that needed solving.
28. Gardner Dozois
I'm becoming glad I never read the comics.
Chris Nelly
29. Aeryl
I'll beat this drum every time someone hands it to me, Gardner, but they are good. They are VERY tonally different from the show, which was more focused on empowerment, and IMO the comics are about backlash. They are flawed, they did some things I didn't like, like this stuff with Giles, and they do kinda go off the rails with !!!!WE CAN DO ANYTHING NO BUDGET!!!!!

But I think they have something interesting to say about our world much like the show did, and while I don't like what Giles did, I can still see it as totally within character and within the themes of the show to do what he did. So, for whatever that's worth.
Robert Evans
30. bobsandiego
Buffy made her decision on the Ben/Glory question, she decided on mercy, backed by a threat. Giles didn;t rob her of the chance to make her call, he just made a seperate call on his own. He bloodied his hands to keep hers clean. You can argue that he should have respected her call and left a mad god on the loose on our plane of existence, but he did not deny Buffy, he simply took other actions.
Chris Nelly
31. Aeryl
@30, You are correct, I forgot that part where she threatened Ben. But to say he didn't deny her agency is incorrect. He did not respect her decision, her choice and imposed his own. And he did it for her own good, to as you said, "keep her hands clean". That's like the dictionary definition of "denying agency".
32. DSchwartz
@5 Bobsandiego

The Aliens referance you refer to always meant to me that they were locked in to a radio traffic control system and the guidance signal was 5x5.
Michael Ikeda
33. mikeda

He didn't kill Ben to "keep Buffy's hands clean". He did it because he felt it was the only thing to do that wasn't unacceptably dangerous. As he told Buffy earlier "I've sworn to protect this sorry world" and he doesn't have an obligation to always follow Buffy's lead in how he tries to do that.
34. Gardner Dozois
Personally, I always thought that Giles was right--Glory was much, much too dangerous to be left alive in the world. Who knows what she would have been capable of or gotten up to if she'd been allowed to recover from her beat-down and regain her strength? Even without the threat of opening the dimensional gate, she makes an extremely formidable foe, perhaps the most potent one Buffy ever faced, and there's no guarentee that Buffy would be able to put her down again the second time around. Buffy was too kind-hearted to kill her outright once she was helpless, potentially a huge, world-threatening mistake, but Giles was made of sterner stuff--he knew his duty, and he did it. It's always been one of my favorite moments of the series.
Chris Nelly
35. Aeryl
I don't necessarily disagree with any of that, in re Giles decision about Ben/Glory. At the same time, Giles entire problem is that he wants to have it both ways. He wants her to take the lead, be an adult, make decisions. But as soon as that lead isn't where he wants to go, she is too independent of him, or makes decisions he doesn't like, he undermines her or actively works against her. It's the classic trope of the father who can't let go, which is why their relationship was doomed down the road, as sad as it was.
36. Dianthus
Angel may have felt that he shouldn't be allowed happiness, but the problem is that when he loses his soul, other people tend to lose their lives. Even if not so he and Buffy could be together again, he should've at least tried to close the loophole. It's totally a problem worth solving, except the writers didn't want to give up their binky.
FYI, there is nothing anyone can say or do that would "enhance" my enjoyment of the comix. William the (Bloody) Vampire Slayer would buy some forgiveness, but that's about it.
s8 was self-indulgent madness, and s9 has (so far) been consumed by a plot-eating virus not unlike the one that threatened the end of s7.
You wanna get mad at Giles? How about LMPTM? He only goes behind her back to help Robin get his vengance on and remove Spike from Buffy's life. Oh, sure, his intentions are good, but we all know where good intentions can lead you. Spike was (by then) an even more valuable ally and someone Buffy trusted implicitly (proven by having had his chip removed).
Chris Nelly
37. Aeryl
I completely agree about his actions in LMPTM, but the topic under discussion was money, so I confined myself to that.

You can not like the comics all you want, I'm not trying to change your mind, nor anyone else's really. You have your fandom hill you'll die on, I have mine. I also admit I'm not the best judge of what is a good comic, as parents have their own hills, so it wasn't a medium I was exposed to until I had my own money and by then, well I could use the internet to keep up with plots. I never read comics until Buffy came out, so I learned how to read comcs with Buffy, so I read it a lot, and found what I could of worth. But once I started looking at it as a story about backlash, I found it made more sense. The Dawn stuff in S8 was wildly off base, but its come back nicely this season. S9 was much better when it had Spike, but he's gotta wrap up on A&F before he comes back. A&F is actually better than Buffy in a lot of ways, because a) it's getting to use old Ripper material for plots and b)Angel isn't as hampered by the real world effects of his actions like Buffy is because he's caught up in his own redemption(again, BTW which SUX) and Buffy is, and it's boring and it feels like everybody's beating up on Buffy, like Dead Man's Party and Empty Places x1000. But it's almost done and the new stuff getting set up looks neat.
38. Dianthus
@37. Gee, I wonder where I get all these crazy ideas from?
***s8 SPOILER***

Sadly, Angel didn't even have to lose his soul (this time) to be indirectly responsible for the deaths of 200+ Slayers and directly responsible for the death of Rupert Giles. Somebody oughtta just stake the b*st*rd already and put him out of everyone's misery.
He's been 'suffering' for over a century. That's beyond self-indulgent. It's time for him to quit wallowing.
Chris Nelly
39. Aeryl
Well, it makes for good drama, so they got to keep him around. But yeah, it really pisses me off that he's only dealing with the consequences of ONE thing he did, whereas Buffy's been left to clean up the whole mess, by herself. Not that she's not partially responsible, but Angel's a lot moreso.
40. Dianthus
Even good drama is debatable at this point (IMO).
Buffy always gets the fuzzy end of the lolipop. That's how this works.
Robert Evans
41. bobsandiego
@31 But to say he didn't deny her agency is incorrect. He did not respect her decision, her choice and imposed his own.
I would still polietly disagree with you here. He did not berate her for her call, he did not undermine her authority with the rest fo the gang on her call. He recognized that Buffy has moral limits to her actions (yeah for Buffy's moral limits.) and that in this case that left a massive danger to the world. I would agree with you that he'd be limiting her agency if he used the action to 'put her in her place' or some other similar hogwash. but because a character has a different take on how a situation should be resolved is not the same thing.
And while we are getting ahead of ourselves on the rewatch - he speech to Ben made it clear that Giles could do things Buffy could not because she is the hero and he is not.
to Slayers and pay
it's damn damn stupid to not pay your slayers well. Imagine a slayer like Buffy with a sick mom and no medical insurance, this is a slayer ripe to bribing by an evil.
42. build6
@41 - re: pay-for-slayers

how I see it:

The watcher's council maintains their "wetworks" group, and it seems clear re: what happened with Faith (including that episode in AtS I forgot the name of) that if the going gets too tough *they just kill the Slayer*, since they get a new one anyway -

The implication would be that this wasn't the first time or a one-off. They'd always considered the possibility that their "instrument" was "unmanageable", and that though they may not be able to kill demons, vampires etc., heck they can always manage to kill their "instrument". A free one's gonna pop right up.

If they paid her at all she'd be alerted to the whole concept and get her thinking along the lines of "is this fair? what's going on?", which leads to more problems in relation to the whole watcher-council-to-slayer hierarchy; whereas if they sidestepped the whole issue they could put it off until they need a new Slayer. Esp. since the Slayers are all called pretty young and, well, when you're young you're not as clear as to how power and ruthlessness work in this world.

The difference here is that Buffy is, well, special, and in fact better/faster/stronger/smarter than the previous Slayers, and the watcher's council *found out* they *couldn't* manage to kill her, or even those she chooses to protect (i.e. Faith). *That* was something they wasn't expecting.
43. build6
"that was something they wasn't expecting" omg

to read makes our speaking english good, indeed.
44. Dianthus
@41. I could not agree with you more. A desperate Slayer is a corruptible Slayer.

Back to the comix for a mo' (sorry, I know this isn't really the proper venue, but I gotta vent). So not only does Buffy get the fuzzy end of the lolipop, but Spike once again slips on a banana peel for the care and feeding of a certain subset of fans I like to call Angel-babies (after the song Angel Baby).
Spike tries to make time with not one, but three different women in the latest issue of A&F (#20). After he gets shut down by all of them (Faith I could sorta understand), Angel texts him Harmony's number. This would be what then? A booty call? A pity f*ck?
It's just more of the same old 'boys will be boys' attitude. Plus, weren't we supposed to be outraged by Spike's prior treatment of Harmony? How is this any different/better?
What is wrong with these people?
Robert Evans
45. bobsandiego
hell the WDC paying the slayer would be one MORE cord binding the slayer to them. Do what we want or no more cash. It makes no sens in thise material world to expect the slayer to be motivated solely by duty....
Chris Nelly
46. Aeryl
It does suck how Spike is mistreated by people around him. I was never so happier for him(not the story though) when he left Buffy in S9 to get away from her can't make up her mind shit.
Chris Nelly
47. Aeryl
@41, In many ways that act is open to interpretation, because we never got to see the fallout of it, because Buffy died. But, just because Giles is able to offer reasonable justification for his actions, does not mean it wasn't denying Buffy's agency. Anti-choicers can come up with all sorts of reasonable justifications for their beliefs, that doesn't mean at the end of the day, it all doesn't boil down to denying women the agency to make their own decisions. Giles continually pretends to offer Buffy space where she makes the decisions, but as soon as he doesn't like that decision, he works against it. It would be better if he did confront her in front of the group, like he did about Dawn, but this whole sneak around and hide it is deceptive, and really points to his inability to accept her as an adult.
48. Dianthus
@47. Which goes back to the whole Bad Dad/Evil Patriarchy thing. Second verse, same as The First.
Why/how Spike became the Rodney Dangerfield of the Jossverse is something of a mystery to me. All I know is that I'm finding it quite tiresome. Spike was possibly the most Feminist not actually a woman character they ever gave us. He could even be friends with a woman (Joyce, Fred).
Can someone say Persecution Complex? I'm lookin' at you, Joss.
Robert Evans
49. bobsandiego
I think we'll politely disagree on the intrepretation of that scene. I respect your arguments.

Really? Spike the feminist? This is the Spike that said 'It's no good if they don't cry.' right?
Chris Nelly
50. Aeryl
@49, That's cool. I don't even disagree with what Giles did was correct.
51. Dianthus
@49. Yeah, you read that right. Spike the Feminist. For someone with such a phallic moniker, he's very in touch with his anima. "It's no good if they don't cry" came from his pre-soul days (and Angel). Follow his journey, esp. s6. Spike is essentially the girl in his relationship with Buffy, and he undergoes a similar transformation as women (and minorities) in his journey. Small changes add up to him making a big change despite getting no support from those around him.
52. build6
How much should a Slayer be paid?

Is it more or less than a Watcher?

What about "senior" Watchers? Head of Council?

Salary is not just about paying the bills. It's also about an assessment of value and ranking. Start giving the Slayer money and you start making her think about who, what, where and how, and these are things you as the WC do NOT want them to start thinking about. You want them too busy with "omg demon! omg vampire!" to start thinking about iniquities or exploitation.

Much better to have Slaying be an unpaid "public service". And then you kill the Slayer if she gets troublesome.
53. Dianthus
@52. Slayers aren't gonna think about those things anyway? Especially the more modern ones? It's like the Womens' Movement never happened.
Slayers aren't easy to kill. OTOH, if she already trusts you, it makes the Betrayal that much sweeter.
More evidence that the CoW is ultimately more interested in controlling the Slayer than fighting the good fight.
Alyx Dellamonica
54. AMDellamonica
Okay, I should come clean about not having read the comics, except Fray, and I'm losing any interest in doing so. What I'm learning is not tasty and tempting. I hear you banging that drum, though, Aeryl.

Wow. Why has it never occurred to me before that Angel had a moral obligation to get his curse taken care of before he went and caught another case of the happies?
55. Dianthus
@54. I really wish I had better news about the comix. I wanted to like them, and thought I would. I read about them in EW, caught their excitement, and was disappointed almost right from the get-go.
As I've said before, comix aren't really my medium. The latest issue of A&F, suggesting that Spike can't even get laid w/o Angel's help is just the latest insult to our collective intelligence!
I'm truly embarassed how long it's taken me to make some of the connections I've made since the series ended. I've had some help, tho', over at The Soulful Spike message board. I used to post there quite often.
56. Gary S. Jordan
Are all of you people too young to have ever watched a Beach Movie, like with Frankie and Annette? Five by five is Surfer Slang. It refers to five toes next to five toes, hanging off the nose of the old style surf boards. A "pipeline" is that tunnel a wave makes as the crest curls over, and surfers shoot the pipeline, which means riding with water overhead as well as below.

Hence (in Aliens), "In the pipeline, five by five."
57. Dianthus
@56. LOL! Sorry, I've only seen clips. At least I recognize the names. That counts for something, right?
Too bad the Beach Boys never put it in one of their songs. Still, I heard none of them were actually surfers.
58. build6
@53 -

not if they're too busy trying to save the world. In which season of the series did Buffy start thinking "maybe I should be paid?"

the impression I got is that they've killed Slayers before. why else maintain the wetworks team?
Chris Nelly
59. Aeryl
@58, The very poor incompetent wetworks team. I think they've thought about killing Slayers. It's left up to the imagination if they were ever successful.

Once again this speaks to the shortsightedness of the WC. So what if the Slayer demands to get paid someday. Just do it, she'll likely be dead, with no help from you ,soon ANYWAYS!!! Then you can start all over with some impressionable girl who's caught up in Slaying for the righteousness of it instead of the pay.
60. Dianthus
@58. I still think the Slayer might find herself wondering, in btwn monsters, why she does what she does. Why she isn't deserving of more than a pat on the head. Especially, as I said, the more recent Slayers. There was/is a Womens' Movement in this and other developed countries. No matter, Whedon's got his agenda, the facts be damned.
61. Dianthus
@59. You're right. Killing a Slayer ain't easy, especially if her Watcher has a psuedo-parental attachment to her. Giles also defied the Council in sympathy with Buffy. If a Watcher/Slayer team went rogue, seems to me there's not much the CoW could do about it. Or, if the Slayer had (for instance) an ally like Spike - resourceful, cunning, morally ambiguous - things could get really fun really quick.
Alyx Dellamonica
62. AMDellamonica
You know what would be fun? Wetworks Team vs. the S7 Potentials.
63. Dianthus
@62. Oh Yeah! Part of the problem was always that the Slayer stood alone. Maybe her Watcher wasn't so much him/herself a tool of the Council, but even then, the Slayer had nowhere else to turn. Having a "support group" is what made Buffy different. I just have a hard time buying the concept that she's the first ever Slayer to think of it. Doesn't say much for the Slayers who came before her, does it?
Alyx Dellamonica
64. AMDellamonica
Maybe the Watchers were better at isolating Slayers in the earlier days.

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