Jul. 13th, 2010

infinitejest: (buffy: the wind speaks)
Episode Title: "The Witch"
Written by: Dana Reston
Episode Number: 1.3

The usual spoiler warning applies.

Witch Lore )

Characterization )

Themes

They continue playing up the theme of there being a huge generation gap preventing adults from understanding children and vice versa. However, I'm more interested in the other theme at this time: that of victimization, fairy tale style.

This story is a fairy tale at its root. Beautiful and accomplished woman becomes trapped by her circumstances (saddled with a husband and a baby). Beautiful woman comes to resent her life, and is wronged when she's cast off for another woman. She pours her resentment into her child, eventually stealing her daughter's youth and beauty out of the desire to recapture her glory days. As a witch, she begins a string of gory spells in blind pursuit of her goal and is foiled by a person with genuinely good intentions. She's locked in a prison of her own making for all eternity, and her daughter, returned to herself, walks free into the Wood.

I like how they handle the theme of victimization. While the rest are quick to blame Amy for the terrible and disfiguring spells they think she's committing, Buffy says:

"It's not Amy's fault. She only became a witch to survive her mother."

This is a loaded statement. It points out that a victim can often be driven to do terrible things to escape that victimization (i.e., go against their true nature or commit crimes in order to become that which is desired by the abuser), but it also points out what can happen to the victim over time. Even when the actual abuse stops, it never really stops. It's still going on inside the victim, and this leads to a choice, sometimes one that has to be made again and again: will the victim become the victimizer, become that which she hates, or will she rise above what was done to her and prevent the legacy from continuing? I've been faced with this before, and I was strong enough to rise above it. Sadly, Amy later proves not to be so strong.

Miscellaneous )

Giles' Knock-Out Count

This episode allows the debut of the "Giles' Knock-Out Count" section. Much later in the series, I was struck by Giles' comment to the effect of, "Well, I've been knocked out. Now I know I'm back in Sunnydale." Although he got knocked out a lot, I never realized how much of a running gag it must have been backstage of the show. So I've decided to keep track on the re-watch.

So, this would be Knock-Out #1. Catherine sends a table rocketing across the floor, which crashes into Giles and shoves him hard against the wall. He crumples to the floor, unconscious.

Favorite Quotes

Giles:"You have a sacred birthright, Buffy. You were chosen to destroy vampires, not to... wave pompoms at people. And as the Watcher I forbid it."

Giles: "But that's the thrill of living on the Hellmouth! There's a veritable cornucopia of, of fiends and devils and, and ghouls to engage. ... Pardon me for finding the glass half full."

Xander: "Oh, huh, I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away."

Xander: "First vampires, now witches. No wonder you can still afford a house in Sunnydale."

Links

Analysis of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Movie
Analysis of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Origin comic
Analysis of Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1.1: "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
Analysis of Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1.2: "The Harvest"

December 2010

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