In this episode Cory and Laine discuss the finer points of pronouncing the name “Deidre,” catching the ooze train to Jenny town, and how we wish Giles had more agency in this episode.
On a more serious note, we discuss gendered stereotypes in witchcraft and how that has affected us personally. We’d love to hear your thoughts as well!
Thanks for listening to Season 2, Episode 8- The Dark Age.
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Music for this episode is “Digging a Grave,” by Shadows from the Underground, and is used under license from Magnatune.
3 thoughts on “Episode 23: The Dark Age”
I was really intrigued by your discussion of Giles in this episode, and of Giles and Jenny. I don’t think I ever really looked at this episode to critically, but it is kind of a let down, Ripper-wise, after what we saw in Halloween. Giles’ behavior never particularly bothered me, but again I don’t think I was looking at it with as much of a critical eye, so I just kind of thought he was being ridiculous but excused it without real reason to.
I always liked Jenny, and felt that she got kind of an unfair amount of criticism from fandom in general (and this could be because her primary position was that of a love interest for a beloved main character, I don’t know). I mean, I think the criticisms in general are fair, but there are many other characters on both Buffy and Angel that I feel skate by doing worse things. I also feel like (SPOILERS for anyone reading) her death was arguably the most traumatic death on the show, from everything that led up to it to everything that followed it, and the fact that it was the first major (Jesse notwithstanding) death on the show and was given an incredible amount of weight when it happened. Then, aside from ‘Amends,’ the show barely mentions her. I don’t know if this was because of fan reaction, or just because they couldn’t get Robia LaMorte to come back, or what, but I always felt kind of like she got short shrift.
That said, I really like the points you both made about her interactions with Giles, and about Jenny ‘poking holes in the tweed’ (and this never really bothered me when watching it before, but I think that’s more because the portrayal of a lot of romantic relationships – on Buffy and other shows – in the 90s really wasn’t great, so I was just kind of used to it by that point). Your whole discussion reminded me of a quote from Guillermo del Toro that I adore, from a discussion about The Shape of Water. He said, “Love is understanding, not transformation. And if you find somebody that doesn’t understand you, at whichever point in your life, run. Love them as they are or leave them be.” In fiction I feel like we get a lot of tropes where people challenge each other, or ‘make each other better,’ but honestly, it can be a fine line between that and just plain not actually liking or loving who a person IS. Not that people can’t love each other and challenge each other, but what del Toro’s talking about has to come first.
And thank you for bringing up the dynamic between Xander and Anya. When the show was airing, I remember a lot of people in fandom were like “well, he’s right to talk to/about her that way. She’s an ex-demon!” And there’s a very simple response to that – he doesn’t have to date her. But he does date her and is with her for a long time, and it’s not okay to treat your partner that way, or anyone you’re dating. He tended to put Cordelia down sometimes as well, and I’m not saying their relationship was great, but Cordelia held her own in a way that made watching their scenes much less uncomfortable for me than watching Xander and Anya.
Finally, your Giles and Jenny discussion made me think of the instance of ‘not actually liking the person you claim to be interested in’ that bothers me the most in Buffy: Riley in the fourth season episode “Doomed.” He legit spends a solid portion of the episode lecturing Buffy about why she should date him (when the answer ultimately comes down to: because he wants her to), finally calling her stupid when she continues to reject him. I don’t hate their entire relationship, but I have always been completely baffled as to why she ever dates him in the first place, especially after that episode.
I feel like I don’t get a chance to respond to all your comments but I SOOOO appreciate them! Thank you for bringing up Jenny’s death, that gives me more to think about for how Giles acts in the episodes following that- I’ll definitely be watching for how her death is brought up and when it comes up (or doesn’t) on the show.
And yes to Xander and Anya! I’ve always been someone who doesn’t care much for Anya’s character due to how she’s written like a alien who doesn’t understand our Earth ways, but I’m very ready to give her another chance and explore their relationship more.
I totally agree with you about people dating and saying they love each other when they don’t actually like each other. Especially when it comes to Riley! I’ve always thought he was a good guy, but just not good for Buffy. And even though one could argue that Buffy didn’t actually like Spike, I think why it works is because she actually does like him but tortures herself by telling herself she can’t because it’s wrong and because he’s a vampire. But that’s a whole different discussion, haha.
Aww, thank you! I’m honestly getting so much from your and Cory’s discussions and analyses – it’s making me consider episodes I’ve seen way too many times in new ways. I just want to say I agree re: Buffy/Riley vs Buffy/Spike. I never personally shipped Buffy with anyone (I was way into Willow/Oz for a while, though) but out of the three major relationships she has, the one with Riley is the one I just didn’t get. I mean, I know what they were trying to do with that relationship, but it was just never going to work. He thought she was mysterious and that drew him to her, and over the course of their relationship realizes she’s just a person; a person who’s more independent than he wants her to be. Their relationship never really felt balanced because I never felt like he really saw her.