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Date Posted: 07:46:48 10/12/07 Fri
Author: LittleBit
Subject: Re: Potential For Evil
In reply to: Trent 's message, "Re: Potential For Evil" on 21:37:09 10/11/07 Thu

I think, though, that had demons been initially shown as a diverse group morally. with both good and evil then we would have missed much of the journey that Buffy traveled in her maturing, and so many others with her. By beginning with the "all demons are evil" premise as she was taught by first Merrick and then Giles Joss was able to show that Buffy brought her own judgment and morality to what she did, refusing to blindly follow without thinking. In that process, she brought Giles with her, and we saw his outlook on evil and demons change radically over the years of the show. Wesley underwent a tremendous change in his outlook (possibly the most compelling journey of any of the characters in my opinion). Spike would have been long dead if Buffy hadn't insisted that "no threat" means "not dead". Clem would have been killed on sight, and Anya would not have lived long beyond her re-demonizing. Nor would there have been any chance of Anya as demon having the epiphany she did and choosing the path she wished to follow. Harmony would not have been able to compromise by refraining from human blood. The revelation that the Slayer was infused with demon essence would not have had the same importance. And in the final scene of Angel it would not have been remarkable to see two (souled) vampires, an Old One -- albeit changed -- and only one human. Or that there could have been a fifth, also demon, had Lorne not reached the breaking point where he had to walk away rather than continue to kill. For what it's worth, the only demons that were routinely killed were vampires intent on feeding and the turok-han who were massing to eliminate humanity and overrun this world.

At the same time, the "humans are oriented toward good" concept was also explored and shown to be just as erroneous in it's concept. Warren is the most obvious example of a 'plain' human whose moral compass wasn't exactly pointing toward 'G', but certainly not the only one. The vast majority of the humans at Wolfram & Hart clearly knew what the firm was all about. Willow's growing obsession with power and control reached (for me) its most frightening point not in the "destroy the world in grief" episode, but in the Bronze with Amy, casually manipulating lives for her own amusement. And then we saw her struggle to turn away from that. We are even shown the majority of the Watchers' Council destroyed in part due to their inability to accept and work with a Slayer who doesn't fit their concept of what a Slayer should be.

Had the premise of the unambiguous nature of demons not been challenged throughout the course of both series, and shown to be erroneous, I would agree with your comment. (Not sure I'd agree with the Judeo-Christian aspect in its entirety. As applied to Joss and his religious background, yes. As applied to the concept of Good and Evil in religion, I don't think it's limited to Judeo-Christian beliefs. And I also think that the Good-Evil spectrum is less a religious commentary than a commentary on 'otherness'). It's the establishment of the black & white Good Human - Evil Demon concepts and the systematic dismantling of it over the seven years of Buffy and the five years of Angel, the slow but inexorable graying of both concepts and the ultimate realization that demons are as diverse as humans, that both have tendencies for good and evil, and that each should be viewed and judged as much as possible as individuals that helps to give the show the metaphorical depth that made it so very interesting.

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  • Re: Potential For Evil -- Charles Phipps, 02:24:29 12/28/07 Fri

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