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|Joyce loves her daughter,
but she doesn't always know what's best for her. Before Joyce
knew that Buffy was the slayer,
she was very adept at ignoring the
level of trouble her daughter seemed into. After she found out
the truth, she often pretended the dangerous aspects of Buffy's
life didn't exist.
repressing. She's getting pretty good at that. I should start
worrying." -- Buffy, BBB
In WttH, we meet a woman who reads parenting
manuals and is uncertain about herself as a mother, but who is
also often distracted by her own activities. Highlights of the inconsistent Joyce:
- decides to to ground Buffy for skipping
classes... just as she is going to stop the
- tells Buffy she got kicked out of school
because she "just
fell in with the wrong crowd",
then despairs when nagging Buffy about it sends her off in a
- can't remember what activity Buffy was
trying out for (The Witch).
- wants to support Buffy's participation
in the talent show.
- comforts Buffy's fright (Angel, TPS).
- reassures Buffy of her parent's love and
devotion to her (Nightmares).
- mistakes Buffy's fatal-destiny angst for
sadness over not having a date to Spring Fling and gives her
a dress. Oh well, it gave Buffy something totally impractical
to wear to defeat the Master ("I may be dead, but I'm still
- Joyce and Hank worry about how they can't
get through to Buffy, and Joyce tries to reach out to her (WSWB).
- nags Buffy about irresponsibility, but
mainly out of ignorance of Buffy's real responsibilities.
- praises Buffy's bravery
and resourcefulness when she glimpses the slayer in action during
a siege at the school, but not before saving her life by hitting
Spike over the head with an ax:
"Nobody lays a
hand on my little girl!"
- The repressive Joyce and Buffy's violence:
the "killing" of Ted
- criticizes Buffy's irresponsibility in
the mall when Buffy had been doing her duty and had saved a life.
- can tell Buffy's troubled before she "explains"
her problems with Angel(us), and shows deep concern about her
daughter losing her virginity to an older, "unstable"
man. But when Giles calls about Jenny's death, Joyce hugs Willow,
not Buffy (Passion).
- keeps a vigil over Buffy when she's in
the hospital (KBD).
- Joyce's weakest moment: Buffy's revelation in B2
- welcomes her wayward daughter home with
a hug. Joyce still worries about protecting her daughter, but
now says "Will
you be slaying?" the way she used
to say "Will there be boys there?"
- admits she handled finding out that Buffy
was a vampire slayer badly, and she's still beating down zombies
while Willow and Xander hide behind the bed.
- seems intent on getting Buffy into a college
with "keg parties
and boys", not "hellmouths and vampires".
- gives hot chocolate and sympathy to the
"man" she once had to
hit over the head with an ax.
- When Joyce finally appears to be facing
the realities of Sunnydale, she is only
under a demon's spell.
- wanders outside the house when she hears
a noise, even though she knows the town is overrun with monsters,
and gets kidnapped by a vampire set
on killing her daughter (what did Joss say about counteracting
the stereotype of the blonde walking dumbly into danger?)
- Doesn't it bother Joyce that Buffy was
questioned in the death of the Deputy
Mayor and that the details of the crime point to a vampire
- won't sit with mind-reading Buffy despite
her worry because she's afraid Buffy will find out what
happened with Giles in Band Candy.
- tells Angel to
- offered to stay in town with Buffy even
after she heard about a killer demon at Graduation. Then she
actually did as the slayer said and left.
- gives Buffy a pep-talk about not avoiding
intimacy to protect herself from being abandoned.
- still has "faith"
in her daughter's love--and her slayer instincts
- is a real trooper even with a big two
teenage-girls-in-the-house headache. Especially after they get worse.
- gets Buffy to promise she'll care for
Dawn if Joyce dies, even after finding out Dawn isn't her birth
- Tries to comfort
Dawn when the girl discovers she's
more than human. She's the Key.
- just when it looks like Joyce might be
getting her life back after her illness, shit happens. The morning
after Joyce's first date in years (?), Buffy finds
her mother dead (RIP,
|Computer science teacher,
The morally ambiguous
Oz: Daniel Osborne has a little
condition that turns him from a laconic musician with cool hair
into an unthinking predatory creature
(let's call this creature "Oz-wolf"). Unless he is
locked up, Oz-wolf could kill.
Other than worrying about killing Theresa,
Oz seemed to take finding out about his
wolf status pretty well. And while he feared he might have
killed Jeff Orkin in B&tB, he was all too happy to use his
transformation to fight off Pete.
Oz-wolf's only confirmed human kills are ambiguous at best
(Jack in The Zeppo, who was already
dead, and Veruca-wolf, while wolfed
herself), but this is the result of dumb luck and being locked
up by his friends. The "wild dog" attacks on people
in Phases indicate that Oz-wolf would kill a human being if given
Oz hides his feelings so well one wonders
sometimes whether he has any at all. Willow scolded Oz for being
unemotional even in the face of the Ascension. But don't let that
taciturn exterior fool you. Being a werewolf troubles Oz deeply.
Sure, Oz didn't react when Cordelia
said (of Angel), "Oh,
you mean 'cause of how the only guy that ever liked [Buffy] turned
into a vicious killer and had to be put down like a dog?" He tries to hide his fear of his wolf-side from
his friends. But this fear is evident in Fear,
Oz thought everything was fine as long as
Oz-wolf only came out three predictable nights a month. Veruca
helped him realize that the wolf is always there in some form,
all the time. So Oz left to figure out just how much of him is
wolf, and what to do about it. He returned to town after learning
how to control his transformation.
He could be what Willow needed him to be now--a full-time human
with all his Oz-ness intact. When he found out Willow had moved
on, though, it brings out the wolf
that is still inside him.
Is Oz a legally responsible
for the actions of Oz-wolf?
How would the law look at Oz and Oz-wolf's
Alternative theory: there is no moral ambiguity in Oz. sweik's
== EVIL!!! and Oz
== EVIL!!! Part Deux (--these links don't work. I keep
them up for sentimentality's sake. *sigh*)
I've never understood Oz
= evil, Oz is cool and a good man, if slightly wolfy (joss, Aug
23 12:34 1998).
Should Oz be
Oz's finest moments
of a bizarre cross between Cordelia and My Favourite Martian
(Llewellyn, Oct 19 19:26 1999).
"Oh, yes... Make fun
of the ex-demon. I can just hear you in private: 'I dislike that
Anya. She is newly-human and strangely literal.'"
Anya is an ex-demon
struggling to live in a human body. Though she was originally
human, she is more than a bit confused about that humanity thing
now, since she spent a millennium being callous and unforgiving
for a living. Her redeeming feature--she seems to genuinely care
She's not like a child
discovering a whole new world... because she's got a basis for
understanding things and 1000s of years of knowledge. She is
more like someone who is seeing for the first time -- all the
emotions and the feelings of experiencing all the things she's
only observed for centuries is ... overwhelming... and... she
is fumbling her way through it all (MeeB, Oct 28 07:22 1999).
- The evil of Anyanka
- Anyanka found the alternative timeline
in The Wish "exciting", while mortal Anya finds life
in Sunnydale boring. In Doppelgängland,
Anya not only wants to restore her powers, but the
evil timeline as well.
- A 700-year old Anyanka partied a few times
with Count Dracula, and Anya still
has a bit of a crush on him.
The metaphysics of Anya
The morally ambiguous
- walking the thin
feminist line in The Prom.
- asking Xander to the Prom: "Men are evil. Will you go
- When Xander refuses to leave with her
before the Ascension: "You
know what? I hope you die. Aren't we going to kiss?"
vs. Cordelia: They both lack inner voices distinct from their
outer voices. But they are very different girls. Cordy would
never talk about sex like Anya does. I also think Anya thinks
about others more... observing them and this strange new life
she's living, while Cordy was more self-focused in this way (Jane
Espenson, ATS/BTVS writer, Jan 30 21:16 2000).
- Does Anya want
to be a demon again?
- Does Anya have
a human soul?
- calling Xander a directionless loser when
he's already down.
- facing her mortality
in The Replacement.
- keeping the crystal
where her ex-boyfriend is trapped
- constantly reassuring herself that Xander's
dancing with Buffy and attraction to April
means nothing 'cause he loves her only.
- despite "not understanding"
Joyce's death, Anya has some painful
insights about mortality.
- Rude much? Giles is dragging his heels
leaving Sunnydale, but Anya steps on
them more than once while she waits to take over the Magic
- Should Anya be striving
harder to be more "human" and not freak her fiance
- getting a bit hot-headed
and irrational from claustrophobia in Older and Far Away
- searching Spike's room for evidence that
he's a whacked-out serial killer, then pretending that she's
there for sex when Spike wakes up. Would she have gone through
with it if Spike had wanted to?
- playing bad-cop to Xander's good-cop in
order to find out what Andrew is doing
back in town buying blood in NLM. She smacks Andrew around,
wildly demanding answers. How much of that is acting?
- getting jealous when Xander
has a date with another
return of Anyanka... sort of
"You wish it, I dish
the AntiAngel... corn fed & earnest and...well...bland (newfan,
Jan 19 21:02 2000).
Riley Finn. The guy just didn't seem to
have many flaws. All-American
Iowa boy goes to church, grades
his papers, fights evil, and wants to "court" Buffy,
rather than do a drive-by.
- At first, he did seem a little dull, attending
to his teaching assistant duties when he should have been looking
at hotties. But some of those duties involved suiting up and
barking orders as a big butch marine officer. Who is the real
Riley? Joe regular?, Teutonic demon-hunter?
Or is he like our Buffster, a little
Riley was clearly built
on the Captain American model of comic archetypes (soldier, drug-enhanced
strength, model of moral rectitude) - almost certainly as contrast
with the Batman subtext in Angel (David S.. May 11, 2000 11:16
- Riley was a soldier in Special Ops until
he was plucked out for Sunnydale duty. If he is a military officer,
he probably has a bachelor's degree, which means he is a qualified
university teaching assistant.
metaphysics of Riley: Riley isn't a test tube baby. He
had a mother/father in Iowa. Walsh just started changing him (and the others) once he was in
the Initiative (gazoo, Feb 15 23:49 2000).
More Riley metaphysics
Chinks in his armor
Riley's story is a little tragic, when you
think about it. He's a good guy with
a job he loved, and then he met a girl
who shared his enthusiasm for it. Shit happened, as it does sometimes,
and he lost just about everything--his career, his enhanced abilities,
and slowly but surely, the girl as well. And Iowa, born and raised,
found himself teetering on the edge of Crazed.
- It started with his jealousy of Buffy's
thang for broody immortals like Angel
and Dracula. There's nothing worse
than a psychology grad student: Riley calls Buffy's thrall over
Dracula "transference" from Angel, and he wants to
run psychological experiments with the two halves of Xander's
personality as subjects.
- Then Riley lost his super-strength,
and Buffy began shutting him out of her slaying and her family
- Riley's response was to go to Willy's
every night and drink among demons
who knew he was the slayer's boyfriend and a demon-killing ex-member
of the Initiative. Then a chance encounter there with a pretty
vampire introduced him to whole different outlet for his frustrations--getting
bit for the thrill of it.
- This helped, for a while, until Spike
rat him out to Buffy. Eventually,
Buffy realized that Riley was a guy the Slayer could depend on.
But by then it was too late.
Goodbye, Iowa. For now.
Riley's return: Riley and his new wife Sam come
to the Hellmouth to track down Suvolte demons and "The
Doctor", who plans to sell their eggs on the black market.
Riley barely blinks an eye when he finds out Buffy is sleeping
with Spike. And when Riley finds out Spike is the Doctor, he and
Buffy foil Spike's plans and he lets Buffy decide Spike's fate.
This shy witch has been practicing the craft
all her life, like her powerful mother before her. Up until Goodbye
Iowa, though, Tara just seemed sweet, if a little bland for a
- she wanted to perform a spell to help
people talk in Hush,
- followed Willow's lead in trying other
- made overtures of love and friendship
But when she sabotages Willow's
demon-finding spell, we started to wonder--does she want anything
more than to love Willow and help Willow's friends?
- she helped Buffy get her
body back from Faith and
- helped rival Oz when he was captured by the Initiative
- wanted the Scoobies
to include Dawn in their work, but didn't seem overly eager to
break into the Gang herself. Willow told her she was "one
of the good guys", but Tara didn't seem to believe that.
- Would you, if your family has been telling
you you'd show an evil demon side
at age twenty? When the time arrives, Tara panics and casts a
spell with nearly deadly consequences. But Tara does reverse
the spell when she realizes its deadly effects, even though it
would have "revealed" her secret.
- did some dumb stuff after her mom died,
like lying to her family and staying out all night.
Tara may be human, but she is also a powerful witch. And as her back-firing
spell showed in Family, that's a big
responsibility to have in the Buffyverse. Should Tara show
more concern over Willow's irresponsibility
- Was Tara's decision to leave
Willow after the Tabula Rasa spell too hasty? Should she
have stayed and tried to help Willow instead?
- After weeks of flirting, Tara makes an
impulse-decision to reunite with Willow, who seems to have her
magic addiction under control. When Tara dies, though,
Willow faulters... big time.
Tara's finest moments
Dawn's self-image and self-esteem have always
been precarious. First, when she thought she was the overlooked
younger sister of a vampire slayer; later, when she found out
she was an ancient energy transformed
into a 14-year old girl and not "really" a member of
the Summers family at all. Joyce, Buffy, and Buffy's friends all
genuinely care for and love Dawn as family, but Dawn must learn
that for herself. It's not easy for her to believe that she is
anything more than another mission for the Scooby Gang--the Key
to an apocolyptic fate it is their duty to prevent.
Deeds of the Littlest
the klepto: In Intervention, Dawn
steals Anya's earrings from Xander's table.
...the two other times
we've seen her steal/break in somewhere (In Blood ties she wants to break into the magic shop, and sees
Spike stealing a couple of little items- even luring him there
with the comment "wanna steal some stuff?" In Forever she steals the books and potions
from the magic shop, not to mention the egg from the Gohra demon.)
Maybe she's gotten a bit addicted to the rush? Plus, she saw
Spike knicking stuff and we know she thinks he's pretty cool
(Wiccagrrl, 23:28 4/24/01).
- ditching school after her mother's death
- believing that Spike and Tara and other
Glory-victim's pain is her fault.
- finding life
without big sis just a little too difficult
- claiming to understand Tara and Willow's
troubles, but still trying to push the two of them back together
before their differences have been worked out.
- Dawn's grades have slipped from frequent
tardiness and absences in the year since her mother's illness
- is increasingly
doubting Buffy's love for her, and with reason. Her sister
is never around and distracted when she is.
- gets a bit sullen with Buffy when she
finds out Buffy withheld the news that she saw Spike in the Sunnydale
- threatens Spike
with "wak[ing] up on fire" if he hurts Buffy again.
- Dawn's behavior
under the influence of an infatuation spell doesn't seem
so unusual, you know, for her.
- fights a poltergeist-alicious
entity for the chance to speak
to her dead mother
- is envious of
the proto-slayers--until she becomes
one for an evening.
- a brave brat to the last: Dawn doesn't
let Buffy send her out of town before the final battle against
the First Evil.
Dawn's finest moments
Snyder | Spike | Jonathan
| Willy | The
Gypsies | Faith | The
Mayor | The Watcher's Council
| Maggie Walsh/The Initiative |
Ben | Principal Wood | Lindsey
| Kate | Lilah
| Lorne | Holtz
| Jasmine | Eve
| Knox | Magic
| What does Joss have against |
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1997-2000 The WB Television Network
Screen shot credits
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