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I Blame the Dutch mpoetess
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Musings on 'missing scenes' and a quote


The scene where Xander and Buffy discuss Spike moving in... I'm not sure what people think is missing. For all dramatic purposes, we *saw* that scene. We saw it in the extrapolation of the invitation scene. There's nothing that would've happened between them when the subject was brought up, really, in emotional dynamics, that didn't happen onscreen. It wasn't a casually mentioned thing where the real drama happened offstage already -- because we saw that same drama in the argument while Xander was inviting him in.

The scene where the gang find out Spike has a soul? Another story.

This isn't a Spike apologista thing. This isn't viewers wearing Spike-goggles who want the plotline that's important to *them* to be important to the Scoobies, because we can't tell the difference between our omniscient POV and their limited ones, or our desires and theirs. Check it: I know that Xander, in-character, is not going to start loving on Spike because of the soul. I find it unlikely that even if Xander had been the one to walk into the church and see Spike babbling, see him burn himself on the cross, that he would evince any outward signs of caring beyone "Man, he's a nutcase" or possibly "Good, he deserves it."

Yeah, Spike-hos are wistful that we didn't get to spend time on it onscreen. Dawn's relationship rant (Xander did bad things with a soul! People can do bad things with souls! From beneath you it devours!) was a bit of a sop (though annoying in its own right, as people have pointed out, because yeah, Xander leaving Anya at the altar is definitely the Big Evil that shows that people with souls can still be terrible). It pales in comparison though to the Big Scooby Revelation Scene that the summer had us anticipating. We got a Buffy Revelation, but not all of us are about Spike/Buffy. Some of us are about how does this change the way Spike relates to *other* people -- because we already *knew* how he felt for Buffy.

But. That one moment when they find out? When *anybody* finds out -- besides Anya and Buffy, who we saw, and which provided great dramatic tension and connection to their characters -- we didn't get that with the others. *Now* that they know? It's not out of character for them to be either not discussing it at all, or saying "No big deal" or "What does that change?" But that it would *never* be a moment of surprise, or something they would need to think about, something each of the scoobies and Dawn would have a potential emotional reaction to... Nuh-uh. *That* was a piece of drama that wasn't capitalized on. Wasn't reflected in their later "ho-um whatever" comments. So, something that yeah, we Spike-lovers are emotionally invested in seeing, didn't get shown, and we're perturbed -- but it's something that has dramatic meaning for the series, that didn't get shown.

Here's my Thing: those of us who are wondering where it is and why it didn't happen? We're not (all) stupid. We *get* that ME have something in mind. That they have a dramatic purpose in offstaging it. Well, *I* do, anyway. I dunno what it is, but I'm interested to find out. I don't know if it's going to pay off for them, if what they're not showing is going to be a reasonable sacrifice for what's around the corner -- but I'm not displeased.

So what I'm mostly annoyed with is the spoken or hinted-at "Get over it, everybody's life is not about Spike" floating out there in fandom/production-land. (Possibly more production than fandom.)

Hi. I'm a smart cookie. I was aware of that. If I talk about how I didn't like seeing Xander beat on a defenseless Spike in "Normal Again," you can bet I'm talking about it in context, comparing it to how Buffy acted even in Season 5, pointing out that Spike was baiting him and that Xander was just as emotionally destroyed as Spike at that time... and not rewriting the show's dynamics around one character.

If I say I see something missing or worrisome, it's not because I'm All. About. Spike. It's because I see something missing or worrisome.

And a quote, from RJA at the Cross & Stake Spoiler Board, which pretty much says it for me today: "If ME want the fans, like the Scoobies, to underplay the significance of Spike going to get a soul, don't make it the cliffhanger of the last scene of the season."

ladycat777

2002-11-07 08:46 am (UTC) (Link)

*Grovels at feet of mistress*

Thank you. Cause that was irking me unbelievably but I didn't want to say anything since I'm well known for being a Spike-whore. But this isn't about being a spike-whore, it's about good story telling.

If it was still Joss, I'd be fine with it, knowing that something to tie this all up was coming. Problem is, I don't trust Marti. So. . . I hope, anyway.

mpoetess

2002-11-07 08:58 am (UTC) (Link)

*Pets*

Yeah -- this offstaging isn't necessarily a *bad* thing -- it's just a nervous-making thing. Because these days, I don't Trust In Joss anymore. I recognise his (and his people's) talent -- but I don't trust them not to drop the ball.

10 Over and over and over and over
20 Goto 10

kita0610

2002-11-07 08:55 am (UTC) (Link)

I guess I just don't see it as being UNDERplayed. The scene in Beneath You, if anything, was overplayed. Marsters kicked its ass, of course, but it's not like anyone could say it lacked in drama.

If you mean in terms of missing scenes- well, ME is fucking *famous* for those. We get an apocolypse every May, and we never see aftermath, because by Sept. when the show starts up again, everyone is swell. While AtS is infamous for exposition, Buffy as been much better at the "draw your own conclusions (or, write your own fanfic) method of storytelling.

Yea, it would have been an interesting scene- maybe. Xander probably snorted, Willow probably did a wide eyed thing and Dawn probably tried really hard to believe it was meaningless. Eh. Don't get me wrong...if it would have taken time away from Buffy straddling the senior I woulda been all for it. Erg. That was kinda creepy.

But, yea, I'm sure ME has reasons and plans for just about every omission, including the Spike one. I, like you, hope they get with it quickly, but for different reasons: If I have to watch one more pointless homage ep, I may throw up.

mpoetess

2002-11-07 09:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Yeah - and I'm down with the subtlety of missing scenes. Which is why I think it would've been ridiculous overkill to show the missing "Spike should move in with you" discussion.

And yeah, parts of Spike's Beneath You script were overkill too.

I'm not so disappointed that we didn't get to see reactions we could probably predict, as much as, since we didn't get to see them, and *now* they're all blase about it, there's this general miasma of "Nobody cares, it's no big deal," hanging over the way they relate to him. And that's *natural*, but not having seen the moment when they found out, and at least for a split second would've been ineterested, it makes it ... hmmm. Makes it *feel* more significant that they don't care? Gives it an artificial weight of importance?

(no subject) - kita0610, 2002-11-07 09:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mpoetess, 2002-11-07 09:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kita0610, 2002-11-07 02:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)

elfgirl

2002-11-07 08:59 am (UTC) (Link)

*happy dance*

Thank you. I said pretty much the same thing on Monday, and then saw all the other posts and wondered if maybe I *was* just being Spike-centric. Your explanation was much more cogent than mine.

mpoetess

2002-11-07 10:16 am (UTC) (Link)

I was looking at your wildfeed freakout just now, and your post about not wanting to post it. Yeah -- I empathize.

Every time a Spike scene happens onscreen that's pretty much superfluous (like his appearance in 'Help,' to me) I cringe, because as much as I like seeing him, I can see the boards and the LJ's lighting up with "God I'm so sick of boring babbling Spike, the empty-headed Spike lovers must just be eating this up." Likewise, feel like I can't complain when something about his caharcter is glossed over or ignored, because it's obviously me and my Spikecentric goggles.


stakebait

2002-11-07 09:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Excellent points! I'm, if not all, then largely about the Spike, but separate issue from the rest of the Scoobies needing at least a reaction shot to something which is Big News.

For that matter I don't see why Spike even needs to be in that scene. We have his development. We need theirs. It's Buffy telling the gang, forced into this weird position of apologist for the guy who hurt her because of their skepticism, and I think it's a squandered opportunity for angst and Angel references. Or possibly even that's offstaged, and its Dawn talking to Xander about why does Buffy even believe him, and Xander chiming in with "and what difference does it make, it doesn't undo what he did". But something.

Especially since Dawn and Spike used to have a relationship of their own. If they want to play it that Seeing Red destroyed that forever, okay, but I'm thinking she's gonna be a bit more thrown and conflicted than most -- and possibly more vehement because of it.

I had the same issue last year on Angel when Cordy became a demon and we didn't find out for weeks whether or not she'd even mentioned it to anyone else, by which point it had (IMHO, implausibly) become a total non-issue. And god knows I could not be less about last season's Cordy, but a gaping plot hole is a gaping plot hole.

Mer

mpoetess

2002-11-07 09:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Yeah - I was actually thinking, if there was only one Scooby to pick to show the "Buffy tells" reaction shot, it would be Dawn. Not Xander, despite my obvious bias for caring about his interecations with Spike.

Because we *know* what Xander's attitude toward Spike is going to be. Dawn's is so much more complex. Or maybe not more complex - obviously Xander's vampire/jealousy issues are fairly deep -- but more tangible and full of immediate angsty dramatic potential.

(no subject) - stakebait, 2002-11-07 09:22 am (UTC) (Expand)

poisoninjest

2002-11-07 09:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Very good points.

It's definitely not just a Spike-fan thing. While I've always loved Spike, I'm not crazy about how he's being portrayed this season (getting sick of the babbling and finding souled!Spike kind of boring), so I'm not gunning for more Spike screentime for screentime's sake. But it is strange how much of a non-issue his ensoulment seems to be thus far-- in fact, how everything is a non-issue this season except for "high school bad" and "something evil coming." In the same vein, I can't believe how little attention Willow is getting at this point, given the events of last season-- and as someone who's never considered myself a Willow fan per se, that means it's kind of a glaring omission.

Unfortunately, the show has shown in the past that 1) actions often don't have consequences among the notoriously forgiving Scoobies, and amends often cannot be made if you're not a Scooby and 2) big revelations are occasionally glossed over, i.e. Buffy telling Riley about Angel. Yes, certain ensouled and darkmagic chickens will probably come home to roost... but we might never get the kind of payoff we want.

mpoetess

2002-11-07 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Word, on Willow. STSP, granted, was all about her, but i want more. I want more than "It's not a game or an addiction" - I want to know what it *is*. Want to know what Willow's magical ethics are supposed to be now.

Want me some Giles.

(no subject) - thebratqueen, 2002-11-07 10:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - poisoninjest, 2002-11-07 10:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - elfgirl, 2002-11-07 11:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stakebait, 2002-11-07 12:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - poisoninjest, 2002-11-07 12:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stakebait, 2002-11-07 01:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - poisoninjest, 2002-11-07 01:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)

miss_edith

2002-11-07 09:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Well put.

Also, love the new icon. =)

mpoetess

2002-11-07 10:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you, pretty Bunny Lady!

(no subject) - stakebait, 2002-11-07 12:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)

thebratqueen

2002-11-07 10:45 am (UTC) (Link)

No spoilers here -

I think we're being bitten on the ass because they don't know if this is the last season or not. So Spike and Willow get put into that narrative limbo land of "if we don't say anything onscreen then we don't paint ourselves into a corner later". Hence why we're getting no Willow magic explanations or Spike soul explanations. ME can beat the drum of "this season is already planned! we know what's going to happen whether or not it ends!" all they like but they're obviously lying. Spike and Willow would be two key characters for any non SMG involved series and ME is hedging its bets. Bastards.

mpoetess

2002-11-07 12:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

I think you're right, in that they won't commit to major revelations for either of them -- it's all mysterious this and that and smoke and mirrors.

(*Wonders if the spoilers that you aren't mentioning are the same as the ones I'm not mentioning, or if we're both just spoilerslayer's little whores and we know exactly the same things.*)

(no subject) - thebratqueen, 2002-11-07 03:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)

mpoetess

2002-11-07 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)

O yeah. Bigtime. Well, I cringe at the sheer volume of people who are probably going to try it -- but yeah.

Sigh. I've been Jossed, bigtime, since my human!Spike fic was basically going to have this happen, though 5 years down the road. Y'know, assuming I ever get off my ass and write anymore on it.

narcolepticcat

2002-11-07 11:03 am (UTC) (Link)

was there like, something, in the teaser that i missed? i get to be in class on tuesday nights from seven to eight-thirty so i'm fucking beholden to my vcr, and the timing was screwed up because monday night the power had gone out and i had had the clock set perfectly before, but now it's all fucked and so, my vcr started recording right as dawn launches her tired-ade about souls not making difference between evil/good, etc... was there something before that? something that showed any of the spike moving in with xander? anyway, just curious, and you seem to be the person who knows.

*also, still your minion ;)*

mpoetess

2002-11-07 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Holy motherfuck. um, yeah. try for the recap!

Re: - narcolepticcat, 2002-11-07 12:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)

naomichana

2002-11-11 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hmmmm. I'm probably not the last person anyone would call a Huge Fan of Spike, but I'm pretty darn low on the list. That said, I'm really cranky about not seeing Spike-has-a-soul reaction shots from Willow and Xander, not only because Spike's soul is a much more interesting subplot than Dawn's Teen Angst, but also because there were so many interesting parallels with Anya in "Helpless," and because there's supposed to be some sort of consistent cosmology on Buffy, not to mention Angel.

Y'know who we can still hold out (probably vain) hope of a reaction from? Giles. Now there's some great fanfic material. ;)

mpoetess

2002-11-14 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

That's a good point - we know they're somewhat in contact with Giles, but have they told him this, knowing the Scoobies' penchant for out of Sight Out Of Mind when it comes to informing people about big stuff going on in their lives?

(Of course, I somehow suspect Giles doesn't know about Seeing Red, either. He knows she was sleeping with Spike, but... my brain sort of implodes at the thought of what Giles might do if he knew Buffy had been assaulted.)