Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Some lies are necessary.


You know, it’s strange. When you’re a kid, lies are strictly a “get my butt out of trouble” gig. Whether it’s lying about doing your homework, or whether parents will be at the party you’re going to that night, or even what grade you got on that big Calculus test (ugh. Calculus. *spit* Let us speak of it no more!), the end result is that you don’t get your ass beat, and thus, life comes up roses.

But then you grow up, and the lies you tell are much more complicated, and sometimes, yes, they are “necessary.”

And this is what poor Buffy learns in this episode.

Perhaps as a by-product of her desire for a normal life, Buffy harbors resentment for lying about her Slayerdom, which is only noticeable in her relief and happiness when she finds out that she doesn’t have to hide it from her old friend Ford.

This is another person she can treat like Willow, Xander, and Giles. She doesn’t lie to them (most times), and they don’t lie to her. It’s an unspoken agreement. They’re the people she can be herself with, and it’s understandable that she would feel more betrayed if they were to lie to her than say… Ethan Rayne. She doesn’t expect it from them, and she doesn’t feel she should.

Unluckily for her, everybody lies. And everybody in this episode lies… except Spike.


And what’s worse, the lies are to protect her. Is there any excuse less comforting than “I did it to protect you”? I mean, sure, maybe it’s flattering in a way, but seriously? How about not assuming I can’t protect myself? Or letting me decide what I need to know and not know? Or hey, how about not selling me out to my enemies for a dubious reward?

However, it’s hard to stay mad at the gang (but not Ford. Fuck Ford, really) for too long because it’s far too easy to put ourselves in their shoes. Growing up, as Giles tells Buffy in the truly brilliant final scene, means dealing with complexity. People aren’t always recognizably good or bad, and even actions can be interpreted in many different ways, depending on your perspective.

Ford’s actions were wrong, yes, but understandable. I don’t know what a nest of tumors feels like—and I wouldn’t want to, thanks—but I can imagine how it fucks with your moral center. In the end, Ford was a scared guy being cheated out of a life. Unfortunately for him, that doesn’t excuse his cheating everyone else out of a life, and it means Buffy has to stop him.

Growing up sometimes really sucks.


Stray observations:

  • “What? Whatting a what?”
  • “I’m not supposed to have boys in my room.” Ah, Willow… I did love you once upon a time…
  • “Really honed my brooding skills.” Angel’s funny! Who knew?
  • (Source)
  • “It took one of my books!”
  • “I’m a bad, rude man” was the sound my computer made when I signed off. Yes, I really am that big of a geek.
  • Imagine—actually making someone insane and then turning them into a demon. I don’t think “yikes” is a strong enough word…
  • I see we’re doubling down on that flawed definition of “vampire.”
  • Wow, they bury people quickly in Sunnydale.
  • And because it’s perfection:

Buffy: Does it ever get easy?

Giles: You mean life?

Buffy: Yeah. Does it get easy?

Giles: What do you want me to say?

Buffy: Lie to me.

Giles: Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.

Buffy: …Liar.

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