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Buffy — Season Eight: Willow & Turbulence

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fill•er (‘filər)


-material used to fill a cavity or increase bulk

That’s pretty broad — could be anything.  Could be good, like the gooey scrumptiousness hiding inside your standard Boston cream doughnut.

Or the pizza-stuff magnificence comprising the innards of a calzone.

Or, filler could be bad — like in the centrepiece of this classic prank.

But the word, of course, also has another meaning:

-an item serving only to fill space or time, esp. in a newspaper, broadcast or recording

Or a TV show run (you just can’t have 22 amazing episodes every year . . . that would defy the laws of the creative process — part of what makes a show great is how little of the inevitable filler there is).  Both Buffy and Angel had definite ‘filler’ episodes, though few, and they were mostly entertaining; unfortunately, that habit, slight as it was, carried over to their respective comic-continuation series, and also unfortunately, filler seems to stick out a lot more in comics than on TV.  Maybe it’s because there’s only one issue a month, so the wait for the next non-filler stuff is a lot longer than the week it would take TV; maybe it’s because it’s being read and not just observed.  Regardless, it’s something that’s sort of become the Achilles heel of B:S8 — something I’ve been complaining about since nearly the beginning, here, here and here.

And for the last two months, since the end of Retreat, this is what we’ve again been given, although surprisingly both were written by Joss Whedon himself.  The only question is — do you want to shove them into your mouth, start chewing and roll your eyes to the heavens, or do you want to stamp them out with your slipper and then yell and shake your fist at the no-good, trouble-making neighbourhood kids?

Willow — Goddesses and Monsters

Is it possible to write an entire comic book where literally nothing happens?  I wouldn’t have thought so before reading this, but apparently if anyone can do it, it’s Joss Whedon.

This was a one-shot issue where we were supposed to find out about the green snaky chick that Willow’s been cavorting with (so scantily) off and on throughout the series, and by ‘find out about,’ of course I mean ‘find out why she’s relevant.’  Well, we find out who she is — Willow’s ‘guide’ on some ‘magical finding oneself quest’ — and her name — Aluwyn — but as far as I can tell, we’re not given one single iota of possible relevance to anything anywhere.

The only possible thing may be some vague hints thrown down by the Black Knight guy that Willow is supremely bad in some way, but it’s still not 100% whether he’s referring to what she did in Season 6 or something she’s destined to do, probably relating to her being ‘dark’ in the future (see Time Of Your Life).  But since we don’t know yet why she was dark, and if she even did do anything horrible to get that way, it’s basically impossible to draw any conclusions.

Yes, Joss gives so many of the fans what they’ve been clamouring for for years — something of some closure with Tara.  But, overall, I don’t think there’s enough here to really make this all that interesting or pertinent; unfortunately, in terms of filler, this one is just a big ‘ol bag of poop.



First, a grouse: would Twilight really leave without Buffy and Willow and Xander and only take Giles and Faith and Andrew?  I mean, I know there were three giant goddesses stomping around, but his forces had seemed to have won the day, and he was right there . . . why wouldn’t he search for Buffy until finding her?  Seems like another case of plotting for the sake of convenience instead of for what the characters would probably actually do, which I hate.  But after that . . .

It’s all great.  It’s everything filler should be: funny, and with necessary personal stuff.  The whole scene between Buffy and Xander had me howling, and it brings up so many things-left-unsaid which have been around with these characters from the very beginning.  It’s issues like this that really make me connect S8 back to the TV series, as opposed to stuff like a giant robot Dawn in the streets of Tokyo and submarines and WWII-style battles, which decidedly do not.

And — in the scene with Oz and Willow — even a hint of some ‘cataclysmic mystical event’ to come.  You know what that is?  That’s a bit of relevance to the overall, ongoing plot . . . and all this from a filler issue!  Fantastic!

Yes, I thought this issue was great — very entertaining and highly enjoyable to read.  And the giant goddesses are pretty damn cool.  So calzones for everyone!  And doughnuts for dessert!

Now one piece of shitty news.

I know who Twilight is.

A little while ago an image revealing his/her identity was leaked, and until this point I had done a pretty good job of staying away from seeing it, mostly because anyone who posted it had been kind and smart enough to give spoiler warnings.  But then, while I was searching around for pics for this post, I came across a blog where some cock-ass had it up on his front page, and not after a jump where it should have been, and I had seen it before I even knew what it was.  I’m vastly disappointed that I had this ruined for me.  Stupid internet assholes.  I only hope the story that surrounds it is now able to make up for the lack of surprise.  ‘Nother couple months to go.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. tgjkennedy permalink
    Wednesday, February 10, 2010 12:47 am

    Once I finally read this, and saw the last panel I very nearly googled “Who is twilight?” and just had it over with. I was desperate to know… luckily for me I got distracted and by the time I remembered that I had decided to do that I was a little more clearheaded. It will be better if I wait, right? I hope it is, anyway.

    Even writing that makes me wanna go google it… No! If Twilight turns out to be Jonathon I’m going to be disappointed.

    I think I’ll have a better idea whether I like where things have gone once this arc is over. Right now I’m kind of “meh” about the whole thing. The reveal of where Buffy is getting her powers is kind of cool.

    Yes, the Willow off-shoot was kind of not necessary. You learn absolutely nothing. Maybe this will tie in somehow, or be expanded, but right now it’s just kind of like, “Okay, pretty, but boring, naked snakes and all.”

    I am very much looking forward to the next chapter. I’m also looking forward to Season 8 being finished so I can go back, read them all, and decide whether it’s good or not.

    • Saturday, February 13, 2010 11:09 pm

      It’s really hard for me to guess whether you’ll be disappointed with Twilight’s identity or not. But yeah — I just want this thing to be over with at this point.

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