November 12th, 2002

A Good Insight

I'm writing this note to myself so that I don't forget it. It applies to my Honours thesis.

(Oh, yes. I had a meeting with Dr. MacLaine and he was quite pleased with my progress to date, looks forward to the section on "Barometer Rising," et cetera.)

There's is a progression, in the three novels (Ringuet's Thirty Acres, MacLennan's Barometer Rising, Atwood's Surfacing): In Ringuet's traditional Canada, the culture is a typical Western peasant culture that stands out only by virtue of its isolated in a peculiarly dynamic continent; in MacLennan's Nova Scotia, a class hierarchy loosely linked to ethnicity does exist, but group barriers and identities are much more fluid than either in French Canada or in Nova Scotia's source societies; in Atwood's Canadian Shield, the narrator comes from the dynamic core of Canada (southern Ontario), but arrives in a marginal French Canadian-populated village deep in the wilderness and comes to term with the problems of late 20th century global capitalism by herself. A kind of Stoic meditation on the self, after Foucault.


Buffy and Angel last night [SPOILERS]

I watched Buffy and Angel last night.

"Conversations with Dead People," on Buffy, was an excellent episode for the following reasons:

  • To have Buffy meet up with her fellow Sunnydale High alumni (the Dartmouth psychology turned vampire was inspired genius. It would figure that sooner or later, she'd meet a vampire who she knew before he'd been sired, or at least could plausibly claim to have known before said siring. And the combination of psychological knowledge with, well, demonic evil works wonderful: People liked The Silence of the Lambs for a reason.

  • Dawn acquitted herself quite well, I think, given that a demonic entity of horrible force seemed to be abusing the angelic spirit of her much-loved and late mother. She has guts. Last year Dawn was annoying; but then, last year, she was still recovering from the death of her mother, and the temporary death of her sister who killed herself so that she could live, not to mention the whole package of problems associated with adolescence. She's got guts to do what she did.

  • So: Jonathan and Andrew finally come back to Sunnydale, hoping to set things right and join the Scoobies. Oh, and they've been having the prophetic nightmares--"from beneath it devours," or in the mangled Klingonese in which they dream it, "it eats your beginning with your bottom"--too, even in Mexico.

  • It was nice to see Cassie Newton's character again, particularly to see her talking to Willow. The two characters would have made good friends had they met in real life. As it was, I'd almost cried when Cassie told Willow that she was Willow's intermediary with Tara, and when Willow wept with joy and sorrow on learning that Tara was with her, watching her.

  • The continuity was excellent. Buffy learning that Scott from Season 3 was also one of those relationships that never could have worked out was one; Dawn's willingness to use magic to achieve her specific ends was also good, reminiscent of her Season 5 attempt to resurrect Joyce; Willow's dialogue with Cassie not only referenced the musical episode "Once More With Feeling," but the flat statement that Willow couldn't see Tara again because of the murders and mayhem she committed in Tara's name afterwards fits in quite well with Buffy's self-consistent and rigororous supernatural world. Everything has consequences, everything that happens remains a factor.

And then, there were the other reasons, the Collapse )

"Spin the Bottle," on Angel, was also quite good. The whole concept of a magic spell gone awry has been used before, but this time regressing all of the characters to their personae at 16 years of age was great fun. I'd missed Season 1 Cordelia Chase; Fred as a conspiracy theorist/stoner works with her modern excitable dimensional-physics self so well; Gunn's just as distrustful and impulse-dominated as he was when we first saw him; Wesley, of course, is an insufferably knowledgeable young Watcher in training (head boy in his class in the Watcher Academy in southern Hampshire, now less); and, who can forget the layabout Liam? (It's particularly interesting how, without any prior knowledge of his actions as Angelus, Liam in vampire mode becomes as evilly playful in his pursuit of Cordelia Chase as Angelus when he pursued Jenny Calendar in Season 2 of Buffy.)

Oh, and have I mentioned how, upon finally recovering her memory, Cordelia ran away from everyone to try to come to terms with the (presumably incredibly evil) things that she remembered?

Combine this with the stated facts that Angel is going to revert to Angelus, and that Faith is going to reappear for eight episodes in Angel and then cross over to the final five episodes of Buffy, and I think that we're going to see a pretty good cross-over. What's acting up beneath the Hellmouth in Sunnydale is also manifesting itself in Los Angeles, and--as the First Evil said as a parting shot to Willow, after cruelly describing what she would have liked Willow's suicide to become (candles lit, the Go-Gos playing, her cradling Tara's photo in her bloody lap)--it appears to be playing for keeps. Oh, and someone's going around killing Slayers-in-Training and assaulting the Watcher's Council.

Joss Whedon had intended that Buffy would last for only five seasons, presumably culminating in Buffy's sacrificing her own life so that her sister could live, but when he learned that it was popular enough to last another two seasons he did so. These last two seasons ran the risk, I think, of becoming as basically superfluous as the final season of Babylon 5 and for the same reasons, though I'm a greater fan of Season 6 than most people. I think we can say, now, that both Buffy and Angel are definitely on track and heading for a very powerful climax in the 2002-2003 season, and I'm definitely riveted.
  • Current Music
    Angel Theme Song