Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Headscratchers/Season 5

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Headscratchers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Spoilers abound.

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The Monks Were Assholes.

  • Now, it's known that all of Dawn's memories were made by the monks. So why did they give her abandonment issues and make it so Buffy left her completely unable to fend for her life. If I were them I would have made it so she would have understood people leaving her wasn't her fault and more importantly, have had Buffy train her so she could deal with things trying to kill her.
    • More like the Monks were Morons. Since the Key needs to be activated under very specific circumstances it's not like her bleeding a little here and there would be a problem. It's not like a bloody nose is gonna get us sucked into hell. Why didn't they install I dunno every known martial and magical art into her. . .maybe some super strength as well? Something where the concept of self-defence wouldn't be entirely outside her abilities.
      • Given that Glory was right outside the door when they cast the spell, it was most likely just a case of them not having time. If they'd had longer to cast the spell they would probably have been able to include specific details like that.
        • They reshaped reality, and included "Buffy refuses to teach her anything." Why not instead have it be "Buffy teaches her a bunch of stuff because she's not a fucking moron"?
          • I don't think the monks had that much control over it. All they did was change reality to add "the Slayer has a younger sister" and then throw the Key into the role, and they barely got that done before Glory smashed her way in. Everything else about Dawn, including her being emotionally needy and useless in a fight, just comes from how her life and personality would have naturally developed.
      • They didn't reshape reality, they just affected people's memories. Maybe combat training is just too difficult to synthesize.
        • They also gave Dawn school records, a medical history, a birth record and they changed the Summers family's financial records along with everything else that would legally clue them in that Dawn's not a real girl. And they did it all in one spell, presumably without actually knowing in advance the names of every classmate Dawn would've befriended, or the California state tax rate for a divorced self-employed mother with two dependents. They might not have actually changed the past, but "reshaped reality" is a pretty fair description of what their spell did to the present-day world, as much so as it is for what Jonathan did in "Superstar" or what Wolfram & Hart did for Connor.
          • Much moreso than with Connor, as Connor's "rewrite" didn't seem to effect anything but memories.
            • For Connor to be going to college post-rewrite, Wolfram and Hart must have created a legal history for him, same as the monks' spell did for Dawn. You can't get into college without legal documentation that you exist. Of course, with their wealth and connections it would have been trivially easy for W&H to create any amount of fake ID and faked transcripts for Connor without even needing to use magic. After all, they did exactly the same thing when they faked up a paper trail for Gunn in Angel season 5 saying that he'd been to law school and passed the bar exam, despite his never having actually done either.
      • While I agree that a minimum amount of combat training should have come standard with the package, Dawn's helplessness is probably a part of why Buffy tries so hard to protect her. Dawn was created to be something she would defend with her life without hesitation.
    • When you are trying to hide a being who's spilled blood opens gateways to various Hells, it's probably a good idea to program her to run away from fighting.
      • At best it's ambigious if the monks knew her blood was the key to her powers. Glory certainly didn't know until it was almost too late. And Dawn bled prior to that. It's safe to say she has to be bleeding at a certain place at a certain time to get the effect. Programming her to be self sufficient would probably have worked better than what they did.

The monks were morons

Okay. I've got a macguffin. Instead of storing it in say a helpless infant or an adult anything more emotionally stable than a teenaged girl. Really? She could have put into Buffy's father, probably into any of the main cast. We don't have any information on any of the limitations for what the key has to be. Clearly it doesn't HAVE to be a living being as it was formerly a ball of swirling green energy. It's possible that the key could have been put into a brick in King Tuts tomb or satellite. It could have been Bob Barker. Glory claims it couldn't be him because he's old and the key is new. The thing is that the spell that was used for Dawn is the similar to the Superstar spell. It rewrites history. There is no more reason why Bob Barker couldn't have been six months old with decades of memories rewritten to remember a television show than there is reason to believe that Dawn couldn't be six months old with a decade and a half of imaginary history. They chose pretty much the WORST option for what to put the key in. Sure they could have put it into a male adrenaline junkie but that aside they made a fantastically horrible choice. Not to mention the fact that as strong as the Slayer is she's not the strongest thing on the planet. Given their desire for the apocalypse to happen on their terms giving it to Wolfram & Hart would have been a better option. Or Drogan the Battlebrand and adding one more coffin. Heck all information we're given it doesn't really make sense that Glory had managed to key in on the location and that the Slayer had it within the six months she was given. We know that locator spells are accurate enough to give you a block by block thing. I really should stop thinking about this.

  • We really, really don't know how much the monks knew. We know they knew of the slayer (though perhaps nothing of Buffy, particularly, or even anything about slayers beyond the whole one girl in the whole world schtick); we know they knew of Glory; we know they knew of the Key, and Glory's plans for it. Beyond that... well, most of these other options for keepers aren't exactly well known, and their eventually revealed motives are even less well known. Human form was, IMO, chosen because the energy of the Key was relatively easy to reshape into a soul-equivalent without destroying it, something that may not have been true of an inanimate form. Glory's insistence that they key was recent was wrong, but sixteen years was as good as sixty as far as that goes, and probably easier to pull off. And Bob Barker is (probably) less well protected from supernatural threats than the slayer's sister.
  • Both this and the above really just boils down to the fact that the monks were desperately rushed and didn't seem to really know that much about the state of the world. There are two important facts about the Slayer: one is that it's a legendary warrior whose reputation greatly precedes it, judging by the Beast's disappointment in Faith and the fact that even a hellgod like Glory knew what a Slayer was. The other is that it's eternal; Slayers may come and go, but there is always a Slayer, because with each Slayer dead, a new Slayer is called. The monks can conceivably know of the existence of the Slayer, they can trust in the Slayer's ability to protect the Key with her extremely hyped-up combat prowess, and they can trust that there is a Slayer somewhere in the world today, no matter where that Slayer may be. No other candidate can meet all three of these conditions. As to the specifics of why Dawn is what she is, it's unlikely the monks actually went through and hand-crafted every facet of her existence, especially given the rushed nature of the spell. By their own admission, all they did was make her human and send her to Buffy in the form of a sister. The spell itself probably filled in the specifics, following the most reasonable course of history for the alteration introduced to it. Why is Dawn a pushover? Because her sister is the Slayer. She's never had to defend herself when Super-Sister is there to solve all her problems. Why is she whiny? Because her sister is the Slayer. She has massive inferiority issues living in a shadow she can never step up to. Etc. etc.

Why didn't Spike tell Glory about the Buffy bot?

Granted it probably wouldn't have let him keep the Buffy bot and it definitely wouldn't have let him get the recognition from Buffy as someone who honestly cared about her but Glory probably/possibly would have let him go if he'd simply said that wasn't Buffy it was a robot that looked just like her. I have a perverse interest in the slayer come along now I'll show you.

  • She probably wouldn't have believed him. Her minions saw the Buffy bot talking with Xander and Anya and everybody was convinced that it was the real Buffy, and she most likely would have assumed that the robot story was an absurd lie.
  • She probably wouldn't have let him go. She probably would have killed him.

Robot roll call

  • Both the Aprilbot and the Buffybot are technological wonders. How come no one thought to Cut Lex Luthor a Check ? I can think of tons of applications to that technology.
    • Warren considered April a failure, and probably didn't see Buffybot in any better light. Warren was a huge asshole: he didn't see them as being quasi-sentient humanlike artificial beings, he saw them as sex toys, and the fact that he didn't find April to be that much fun meant that she was a defective sex toy, and thus not one that he could effectively sell.
      • Just because Warren's an idiot does not mean that everyone who interacted with his robots was an idiot. Spike could have thought of making money that way.
        • Spike doesn't know all the coding and inner workings of the Buffybot. I don't think you can patent it if you have no clue how it works. The only person who had a shot at plagiarisig the Buffybot and making a killing is Willow, and even she didn't fully understand how it worked.

Glory's magical nail polish.

  • In "Tough Love," Ben is transforming into Glory. You get a close-up of his hand. No nail polish on his nails. He becomes Glory. Nail-polish on his nails. Why? It's not like they change clothes when one takes over.
    • Glory's body is artificial, there's no reason to suggest that the nail polish (or other make-up) isn't just part of it. The clothes don't count presumably because the monks didn't think about it.
      • The monks thought of nail-polish and make-up? I like that answer.
        • They're the ones who worship a lady called Glorificus. Maybe the vanity isn't new and they thought it was deep enough that she'd be fine with exhibitionism as long as she was properly primped beforehand, or something.
      • The monks didn't create Glory's human form, her rival gods indirectly did when they banished her. I think her appearance and mannerisms are part of Glorificus being described as a creature of vanity. Whatever that means in her own infernal realm (probably some blinding Lovecraftian appearance that would shatter the minds of mortals), that quality manifests itself in her human form as a beautiful blonde woman wearing nail polish and makeup. Remember, the other hellgods weren't expecting Glorificus to have any form of her own once they'd sealed her inside a human body: what we're seeing is Glory hijacking Ben's body and changing it as much as she can without killing them both.

Dawn as Innocent.

Within the show, Glory mentions that the key has to be someone innocent. Throughout the show Dawn self-mutilates, engages in kleptomania, and other things. Then in the comics she cheats on her boyfriend. Question: if the key is supposed to be an innocent, how could she do these things? Or does her engaging in the actions mean she's no longer technically the key?

Dawn is Made of Me

  • So, in "The Gift" Buffy's suicide closes the dimensional portal even though Buffy is (as far as we know) not a Key and Dawn is still bleeding. Isn't that case of You Fail Logic Forever? Even if Dawn is made of Buffy, a conclusion that Buffy pretty much pulled out of her ass, this still wouldn't have made Buffy a Key, would it? Isn't Dawn a combination of a mystical Key energy and a human? Presumably the Key part comes from her energy days, not Buffy. In other words, the cause and effect chain is in the opposite direction - if Buffy was made of Dawn she would have a case but not vice versa. And even if Buffy was somehow a Key, the blood of Dawn was still flowing when the portal closed. It would have been nice if Buffy had tried to, you know, put some bandages on Dawn first and see if that wouldn't close the portal...
    • I like how Anya lampshaded the confusion in a later episode, remarking that she never really figured it out either. But here's my take on it. Since Dawn opened the portal while she was still in human form, with her blood, the portal was attuned during its opening to Summers blood (had the Key been in its energy form during the opening, that wouldn't have been the case - it happened only because Dawn stayed human through the process). So Buffy's blood resembled Dawn's enough to either work and close the portal, or to at least make the portal go haywire and collapse. Either way, the world gets saved. As for how Buffy thought of it, it was just a crazy guess, like "hey, if it wants her blood and she's my sister now, maybe mine's close enough". She wasn't going to kill Dawn, and the world as we know it was about to end, so she didn't have anything to lose by giving it a try.
      • And personally, I like to think Buffy made the portal go haywire and kablooey, that her Dawn-like blood didn't so much close it as it threw a monkey wrench into the dimensional gears and brought them grinding to a halt. To me at least, that makes more sense than her blood having exactly the same power as Dawn's, and it has the same visible outcome (the portal vanishes and everything goes back to normal).
      • Regardless of why it worked, Buffy knew it would work because suddenly all of the prophecies and portents she'd been seeing and dreaming made sense.
        • Also, the portal going haywire and kablooey explains why it KILLED her when all the demons and crap it was transplanting were getting through just fine. The energy in the portal was obviously survivable given that other things survived it just fine, but the portal having a massive cosmic Blue Screen of Death was not.
        • She didn't just die from jumping face-first off a crane, then?
          • She's visibly in a lot of pain as she falls through the portal, then suddenly she stops wincing and her face goes still. She is already dead as she hits the ground.
            • Could it be that the monks, knowing that Glory was kicking down the door maybe they put a tiny tiny fraction of the key energy into Buffy so that if Glory DOES get the main key, that tiny bit of energy can short out the portal. Buffy doesn't have enough power of the key to be noticeable or open the portal but enough to short out the portal. As for her death, maybe it ripped her soul out and sent it somewhere.

Out-of-Date Order

  • Why is the Order of Byzantium so completely stuck in the Middle Ages that they use chain mail, swords and horses where they could use bulletproof vests, guns and cars? And more importantly, how no-one pays any attention to this, or the large number of horses the keep around?
    • Rule of Cool
    • In-universe, my impression was that the Order was from another dimension, and the "God" they worship is one of Glory's two enemies. Although, as someone mentioned in His Dark Materials, if you've got access to a multiverse you should probably recruit minions from a technologically advanced world.
    • This is kind of a staple of Buffy. Despite all sense and logic, despite the example set by the Initiative and despite Wesley and Gunn's gang proving the effectiveness of firearms on the supernatural, the cast and the vast majority of their enemies just refuse to use modern technology. It's a quirk of the show, infuriating as it may be. It's also probably why Angel Investigations fares just as well (if not better) than the Scoobies, despite being less powerful in every way - they're willing to break out the flamethrowers, tranquilizer guns and pistols.
    • While I guess your answer makes MORE sense I always got the impression that Joss kinda screwed up in Season 5 and a lot of it doesn't make sense. If Glory for example was only on Earth for twenty odd years why does she even KNOW what a slayer is. Why was an ancient sect of monks guarding the Key? Wouldn't it make more sense for it to be the Initiative or at least the Watcher's council?
    • Buffy's been a slayer for five years. That means that there was another slayer for the past fifteen, it's possible Glory encountered one of them. The Initiative was interested in demons, not artifacts, and the Watcher's Council wasn't even aware of Glory or the Key until Giles gave them a call.
    • Also, Glory was not on Earth only for the past twenty-odd years. She's been on Earth for centuries; it was only very recently that she managed to find where the Key had been stashed - and an ancient order of monks was guarding it because, most likely, they were the ones who were around when the Key first got tossed out onto Earth. Remember, the Quellar meteor has been summoned multiple times - always when Glory's brain suck-fests start getting out of hand, which makes it sound like her search for the Key was done on a cycle; she'd surface for a few months every fifty years or so, maybe.
      • No, they never said Glory's been on Earth for centuries. Ben's only twenty-something years old and Glory's been trapped inside him his whole life (and it's only recently that she graduated from being a voice in his head to full-on bodyjacking). If he dies, she dies (and that's not just an assumption by Ben or Giles - Glory says it herself). So, by that logic, she couldn't have been trapped in anyone else before him, or she would have died when they did and that'd have been the end of it. The Quellar meteor had indeed been summoned several times already - over the past few months by Ben, as he said to Jinx. That said, Glory was a hellgod for eons, so she probably knew about the slayers from her pre-human days. As for the Order, I got the impression that they were the keepers of the Key, not just from Glory but from anyone who might try to steal it. Also, keep in mind that there are two different groups involved in Season 5. The Order of Dagon were the monks who guarded the Key and created Dawn, but it's the Knights of Byzantium who are riding around on horses attacking Buffy.
    • The Order is a group of religious nuts -- with an emphasis on nuts. They're also obsessed with playing Knight Templar to the hilt - which includes dressing the part. As for "how they get away with it", well...they could always say they're a SCA group and skate by on that.
    • While the armor can't easily be excused, swords and other melee weapons have proven to be far more useful in fighting demons and the undead than firearms (at least in the Whedonverse).

Dawn Gets No Cool Power Despite Being Mystical Energy

  • Dawn really got screwed over. Every other avatar of a primordial force in the Buffy universe can at least do something a normal human couldn't (see: Illyria, Glory, arguably Cordelia etc.). Dawn's blood opens a single particular portal, and for some reason that also makes Buffy's blood close it. You think as a manifestation of the Key she'd at least have the ability to magically open and close any lock, door, portal, or gate anywhere at will or something along those lines.
    • If that were true, let's hope the First and Forsaken Lion doesn't find her.
    • At the beginning of season 6, Dawn doesn't believe she's the Key anymore. Presumably it was a one-time thing and she had exhausted all of the mystical energy. By the end of the show, Dawn was pretty competent in combat and could perform magic by herself.
    • Since there is nothing we've been told that makes me believe that Dawn is abnormally hard to kill I don't think the key is indestructable like a good majority of Mac Guffins there has to be a reason why the monks didn't just turn the Key into an egg and break it. If it HAD to be human for whatever reason make into a girl from the Knights. For that matter make it into a suicidal girl.
      • The monks didn't want the Key destroyed, they could have just done that themselves. They were trying to protect it. The last surviving monk tells Buffy the Key is innocent and needs her protection, if they'd wanted Buffy to eliminate it they wouldn't have turned it into her sister.

Buffy jumping into the hell portal

  • Buffy jumped into a hell portal. Shouldn't this have sent her to hell and not just kill her and drop her to the ground? Why did the portal kill her anyway? It's a portal, not a deathtrap.
    • Presumably hitting the ground was fatal. Slayers are tough but not that tough.
      • However, that would make her death natural and therefore she wouldn't have been able to be revived by Willow's spell. And also, Spike survived the fall, and Buffy is supposed to be tougher than a vamp. Plus, if the fall had killed her, she should have been at least a bit more disfigured than she was.
        • While, yes, Buffy is meant to be tougher then a vampire she still has the disadvantage of being human. Spike is a vampire so the only things that can kill him are a stake through the heart, sunlight, beheading...So him surviving a fall is perfectly logical - Buffy, while yes tough, can die from head trauma of a fall or her body smashing into the concrete etc. Regardless, I think it was the portal that killed her and not the fall.
  • Back to why the portal killed her: it was pure energy. Why was Glory planning on jumping into something like that? In my opinion, the portal was very unstable because the ritual wasn't done properly; it was interrupted by Buffy when she killed the demon (Doc?).

Help Glory go home

  • I know it's not standard operating procedure to HELP the villian nor to do their homework for them but it seems to me that as anti-climatic as it would have been they could have just helped. It would look like this.

Buffy: Glory I have the key, I can bring it to you can you explain how to use it? I figure in exchange for you not ripping off my arms I'll help you open the portal and then close it as soon as you're through.
Glory: You know what blondie I like it. Minion! Bring her to the books.
Minion: Yes your most most beautaaus Glory may your radiance blind lower beings.

    • Were you not paying attention when Giles pointed out that opening the doorway between dimensions would've unleashed Hellish chaos upon them?

Buffy: That's it? That's Glory's master plan? To go home?
Gregor: You misunderstand. Once the Key is activated, it won't just open the gates to the Beast's dimension. It's going to open *all* the gates. The walls separating realities will crumble, dimensions will bleed into each other. Order will be overthrown and the universe will tumble into chaos. All dark. Forever. That is what you were created for.

    • The problem is that clearly wasn't the case. Unless Glory's portal was specifically the last one for some reason clearly the portals opened, and opened wide enough that a dragon and some other stuff had gotten out (and I guess were just sucked back in after the portal was shut). And maybe that wouldn't have worked but it's on that list of things that bugs me that they didn't even make an effort. Clearly Dawn did not have to die to close the portal and it seems a lot of us are in agreement that Buffy dying really shouldn't have worked if for no other reason than Dawn was still bleeding. Who knows, maybe there was some other way to get Glory home. This is why bad guys should explain their plans to the heroes if said plan doesn't NEED the hero dead or inconvienced in anyway.
      • How was it not the case? The school changed into a hive of cenobite-style demons, dragons appeared in the sky and the world was sinking into chaos. Those things weren't just emerging from the portal, the portal was actually zapping things from a distance and changing them. It just didn't happen everywhere instantly, and Buffy closed the rift before the effect could spread around the world and become permanent. As for helping Glory, the only way to do that would have been to let Dawn open the portal and then kill Dawn to close it again, and Buffy wasn't about to do that. Glory asked for the Key over and over again. Buffy said no, not just because she hates helping the bad guys, and not even just because it'd be the end of the world, but because it meant killing Dawn.
      • Problem being amongst other things that the spell was so ill defined that Glory and her minions were literally researching how to USE the key up until the end. It is literally not until "The Weight of the World" the 21st episode of the season that Glory figures out that Dawn's blood is the key to the key. The blood thing we all accept because it's cannon but Glory is clearly surprised to find out that the Key was made into a person. No good reason why couldn't have been made into a lego and lego's don't bleed. That plus the fact that Glory employs minions too stupid to work at Wal-Mart vs Willow and Tara as actual quality magic users, particularly when we factor in what we learn about portals from Angel, that it is entirely plausible that there were other ways to return Glory home. There are other ways to open a door than firing a rocket launcher at them after all. Add in that killing Dawn was not necessary to closing the portal (and what did close the portal barely makes sense to most of us) perhaps STOPPING THE BLEEDING would have closed the portals in the same way that closing a window stops the breeze from coming in.

Tara/Willow First Onscreen Kiss.

  • It bugs me that the first Onscreen kiss of our Lesbian Couple is not one that is adorable and loveable, but one in a high stress, high anxiety, sad episode.... just my personal belief.
    • The execs would have promoted the shit out of it otherwise and Joss didn't want that.
    • I thought it was kind of a mind-screw for horny male viewers. Any other time a kiss between the two would have been a sexual thing. Here you aren't allowed to like it because it's a tragic episode.
    • I loved the first kiss. It was touching, tender and real, in a medium that too often exploits "two girls kissing" for titillation effect.
    • I think that putting their first onscreen kiss as a "Shut Up" Kiss in "The Body" is a reaction to the fact that Willow and Tara were not allowed to kiss for many episodes because of Executive Meddling. If the kiss had been made a sweet, memorable moment, it would have implied that that was the couple's actual first kiss. By making it a comforting gesture in a stressful situation, it shows that these two are incredible comfortable with one another, just like any other loving couple would be after the amount of time they'd been together.

Tara's Family Line and Inbreeding

  • Wait, if the women in Tara's family are supposedly demons, and the father was making that claim, does that mean Tara's family is inbred?
    • In Tara's mother's family. It's probably assumed that Tara's mother had told her husband the tales of the women in her family.
      • Tara actually isn't part demon. Spike punches her in the nose and it causes the chip to hurt him, proving that there is no demon in her. It was just a lie to keep the women in line.
      • Better question. WHY DID TARA'S LITTLE SISTER CHEERFULLY GO ALONG WITH ALL OF THAT CRAP?! You'd think she'd either think it sucked or angst about it, but she seems very chipper about the whole "I'm part demon and need to be kept in isolation" arrangement.
        • Beth is Tara's cousin, not her sister. If she went along with it then she's probably Tara's paternal cousin.
        • It's also possible that she goes along with it because she sincerely believes that she's part demon and therefore needs to be isolated. Occasionally people are willing to go through personal privation to help the world, c.f. recycling, composting, and using public transit.
        • And for a more self-centered motive, if Tara doesn't come back to be her relatives' housework slave then Beth is the likeliest next person in line to get stuck with that job.
    • He's an anti-magic bigot, so it makes sense that they'd be persecuted for being evil witches. Which is ridiculous, 'cause wicca's good and love the earth and woman power I'll be over here.
    • It seems the idea was that it wasn't supposed to make any sense, just like most forms of sexism.
    • It's surprising what some people will embrace. The opproessed group aren't always *all* angry, rebellious, and fighting against their repression. Lots of girls were told that feminism was silly, by their *mothers*. Lots of slaves embraced slavery, and so on. When you're in the repressed group, it's sometimes easier to tell yourself you like it there, so build your identity around the fact that you never really wanted equality, and that you're happy like this. After that, you get angry at anyone who tries to take that idea away from you.
      • And historically, some of the strongest supporters of the oppressive regime have been members of the oppressed class who have managed to claw their way up to a slightly more favorable position, and are absolutely incensed at the idea of anybody else not having to suffer through all the same shit they had to suffer through because what makes them so special? If they had to go through it just to claw out what little they could, like hell anyone else gets a free pass! Envy and spite are poisonous, stupid things, but very human.