Francine - harvest
I Blame the Dutch mpoetess
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Plot Holes, and falling into them while you're busy singing
*All* spoilery for "Once More, With Feeling," so let's just cut here and save time.

Okay, I'm half over the euphoria, and have enough mental stability back to actually talk about plot. And I have to say this:

Xander? *Xander* cast the spell? Xander, who truly seemed to learn from his mistakes in "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," unlike Amy? Xander, who sounded worried about the people combusting, but didn't sound as if "Oh my god, that's my fault?" Xander, who got the "consequences" speech from Spike, and was the first of them (even before Tara) to give it some credence, and worry about Willow's magic?

Huh?

Huh?

I could see it, if it were Dawn. She's innocent, to an extent. She's very young, and has mostly seen the good effects of magic. It would be a lesson to her, to have people have died from something silly she did. But Xander should bloody well know better; he's *learned* that lesson, with himself and Cordy almost getting killed in BB&B. Yes, it's sweet and all that he just wanted everybody to be happy, dancing, singing, etc. -- but it makes him look *very* stupid. I feel like he's been used as the butt-monkey again, when I think the character is at a point when he would have been smarter than that.

Bad Joss. <--- Amy says something that invites flames.

I won't judge yet, though, not really. The fallout from this ep is gonna last a while. Next one is supposed to be full of such, and I hope the writers deal with this. I wanna see Xander take responsibility, in words, without it being blurred past by an entertaining song that's open to interpretation. I don't think he has to be *punished* for it, literally -- but I want them to show him realizing that he was at least partially responsible for those deaths. Not just la la la.


*sings* "La, la, la"


Of course, somebody offered the theory that he might have taken responsibility because he was covering for who he *really* suspected had cast the spell: Willow.

It works on one level -- Willow just wants everybody to be happy, too, and is willing to mess about with their lives to do so. And Xander would do *almost* anything for her. So I can see him taking the fall, and taking her aside later.

But... Willow isn't that stupid either -- she doesn't *want* everybody's secrets out in the open, because then she'd have to tell hers. And she's had the second-biggest one, after Buffy's.

So... do we have a big characterization plothole? Or a sneaky something that we haven't been shown yet?

zortified

2001-11-08 06:03 am (UTC) (Link)

I vote for something sneaky, because I want it to be explained. But I have my doubts. Joss has a tendency to not deal with secondary characters' issues beyond their initial episode. Allude to them, maybe, but not deal.

How much of Xnader's past has ever been dealt with? OK, so the show isn't "Xander, Assistant Vampire Slayer", but even in the normal course of Buffy's life, you'd think someone would mention "hey, you ever get over that X that happened?" to someone other than Buffy.

Or maybe I just want the show to be about Xander... ;-) Xander and Spike and Giles, all living together.

wolfling

2001-11-08 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)

I had the exact reaction about 24 hours after I'd seen the ep for the first time. It was the one thing I didn't like about it.

And it really doesn't make sense because if Xander *had* done it, wouldn't he had been acting more guilty and furtive -- even before they realized people were dying?

I've been trying to reconcile it in my head, and the only way I can (though I hadn't thought of him covering, which sorta works too, because of them all, Willow seemed the least alarmed about it when it was happening) is that he didn't mean to or realize what he was doing. Like picking up a magic lamp that grants wishes and not knowing it and making an idle "I wish he would just die". If all you had to do is be holding the necklace and make a comment/wish that people were happy, or you knew what someone really thought, or even that wouldn't it be neat if life was like a musical, then maybe I could buy it.

But it's still a rather weak resolution. Seems more like Joss wrote himself into a corner and fell back on using Xander as the fallguy to get out of it.

Anonymous

2001-11-08 09:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Y'know- I'm glad to see that someone else thought that Xander was just covering for Willow... another justification: this ep was all about the music bringing out hidden things that the Scoobies experienced but would never ordinarily say. Buffy admitted that she was really in "heaven," Xander and Anya admitted each others' annoying habits, and Giles sang of his insecurities in his relationship to Buffy. Anyone notice that Willow sang the least? She never had an exposition song... hence, she never had to say what's really on her mind.
Covering guilt.
I think she cast the spell for good reasons- she wanted to help Buffy get over the memories of what she tought was hell, and she wanted to smooth over things with Tara... but when things went awry, she remained virtually mute.
So yeah- I concur. I think Xander definately loves Willow enough to cover for her, and let's face it, his excuse for casting the spell was very lame and cover-up-y.

~Chris

mpoetess

2001-11-08 11:26 am (UTC) (Link)

I wonder, if Willow *was* really responsible, whether she was cloaking herself from the effects somehow - so that she only sang when absolutely necessary to the group, and never had to reveal any of her own secrets. That would be a good reason for Sweet to have made his comment about sensing power from her. And also, when she was singing her line about "I've got a theory we should work this fast..." because something bad might happen, she was *saying* it, but the look on her face was that she wasn't taking it seriously, like she didn't really *think* it was dangerous.

I'm not in denial here; I've got no problem with Xander having cast the spell, if he did, and I'm not hoping to blame it on someone else. I only have a problem with the lack of consistency that seems to be displayed, for the reasons we've all listed. If Xander did it, then I want to see some reaction to that, on his part, besides "Oops?" Because he's way too much of a guilt-monkey for that.

cicirossi

2001-11-08 10:54 am (UTC) (Link)

I'll throw in my me too. That plot hole was big enough to drive a truck through. Xander does guilt in the worst way when he's done something even remotely bad. And he was concerned. He was upset about secret spilling during song. But he wasn't guilty. Long before he "owned up" at the end, the normal Xander would have been blurting "This wasn't how it was supposed to be!"

Practicalies

Anonymous

2001-11-08 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

A purely practical reason Willow didn't sing much--did anyone else notice that of all the characters, she *definately* has the weakest singing voice? Giles and Tara were the two strongest voices in the Scoobies (Giles was no surprise, but I wouldn't've pegged Amber Benson for having such a good voice). Xander and Anya fell somewhere inbetween, and Dawn didn't sing much either, though she sounded better than Willow.

Spike, of course, rocked, but the actor has been known to do cover shows a local nightclubs in Santa Monica. So again, no surprise.

Anyhow, just wanted to note that perhaps part of the reason Willow didn't sing much is because she *can't*.

Or maybe it is all a sneaky plot twist, and the fact that the actress can't sing just fit in nicely.

Re: Practicalies

mpoetess

2001-11-09 05:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Yeah, I knew/know that AH can't carry a tune in a bucket. But even the few lines she *was* given to sing revealed nothing. She also had a completely irreverent attitude almost all the way through -- of all the 'I've got a theory' songs, hers was the most innocent one, as if she didn't think anything bad was afoot.

It's all just speculation, though, about Willow. I'd just rather think there's something clever going on than that Joss has left us a truly bad characterization as the explanation for a very fun episode that nonetheless required us to stretch our credulity to the limits.

journalkitten

2001-11-10 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm with Wolfling on the whole "magic Lamp" issue. Personally, I think Joss just wanted to have some fun with the demon having been called by someone other than a hopeful bride-to-be. Xander *was* concerned, genuinly freaked, the whole episode. I'm thinking of this senerio...Xander's in the Magic Box and is checking out all the doo-hickies that abound within...He spots the amulet and reads the incantation on it idly (remember Superstar's libris incinderous?) and thinks "huh...dancing and songs...cool". Drops it down again and it's out of his memory. Seeing Dawn wearing it and hearing Sweet's explaination of events brings back his memory...oops...butt-monkey strikes again.

I've got a theory

Anonymous

2001-11-14 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

I didn't realize what was bothering me about that episode until I read the comments on that site. All I knew was..something didn't feel right. (Besides my X/S objection Re: Spike/ Buffy kiss.)

But then with Tabula Rasa, when Xander stepped on the crystal and did that little hysterical laugh it hit me. And your comments only solidified things.

Xander seemed to be the first(even before Tara) to realize:
Willow + Cyrstal=Amnesia. What if he was covering up for her in OMWF and then was incredulous that she would mess with forces this big again, and put them all in that type of danger. He realizes he's been enabling her.


1) The charm is in the shape of a necklace, which signals to me, that being female is part of what triggers the invocation; sexist, but given how old it looks, I can't really see guys of 'ole wearing something that delicate. It looked designed to attract women.

2) The demon's claim ' no one can claim this ended well ' - maybe he didn't need to take anyone back with him, because by leaving the perpatrator in their midst, it'd leave them ripe for more trouble (see you all in hell)

3) Willow has a history of 'unknowingly' causing her friends grief (the my will be done spell). And remember how Anya's old boss said she had all this potential for causing pain.

4) Willow was in total shock hearing Buffy had been in heavan. I think Xander would have wanted to spare her additional pain.

5) TR shows an increasing pattern. If Willow did cause the 'musical' to soften reality for Buffy so she could adjust from being in Hell - then wiping Buffy's mind clean of heavan in order to alleviate her[Willow's] own guilt is the next logical step.

6) I don't remember seeing Xander in the montage at the end of TR. But I do remember thinking, someone has to be helping Tara move all those boxes...and where is she moving to ? My first thought was Xander & Anya's (actually my first thought was that Xander was loading the boxes :)

~Witchwillow~