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Buffy Season Eight: Safe

Faith: "So tell me howcum the slayers have a sanctuary in the middle of a Dracula flick?"

Synopsis:

Faith and Giles rescue a reluctant new slayer named Courtney from a vamp. Courtney mentions the Slayer Sanctuary, a place where slayers don't have to be slayers. Giles says this is a place they need to check out.

Giles, Faith and Courtney board a train to Hanselstadt, apparently in Transylvania, although no one actually says that. They see lots of vampires huddled outside of Hanselstadt, unable to come into the town. The three are welcomed by the only other surviving Watcher from the old Watcher Council, Duncan Fillworthe, who is in charge of the Slayer Sanctuary and meets pretty much every train. He takes them to a hotel or boardinghouse, whatever.

As Giles talks with Duncan at the dinner table, Faith and Courtney are sent to the town library to meet the other slayers. As they walk through town, Faith and Courtney notice there are no children anywhere. Faith realizes that it's a trap, but she and Courtney go into the library anyway. Faith is met by three fierce vampires. One of them seems to be Kakistos, her first real nemesis, whom she and Buffy killed in "Faith Hope & Trick." I think. (Please post something and tell me if I'm wrong.)

As Faith is in the fight of her life with the one I think is Kakistos, all Courtney sees is Faith fighting the air. The two of them are apparently alone in the darkened library, except for a huge demon with zillions of green tentacles that neither of the slayers can see. Faith is defeated by her vampire foe, and bitten. Courtney discovers that her mother and father, who have bitterly divorced, are back together and there in the library, ready to take her in their arms. That is, tentacles.

Back at the dinner table. Duncan tells Giles that a demon used to live in Hanselstadt. It fed on children, on the expression of their fears and regrets. Duncan says children don't have adult coping mechanisms, they're pure need... like vampires. In fact, this demon is the one that is keeping the town safe, keeping the vampires out. The Slayer Sanctuary doesn't exist; it's a trap for girls that can be sacrificed to the demon. Duncan sees it as his job, sending slayers to their deaths to save the townspeople. He tells Giles that Buffy loved a vampire, after all, and it caused the death of Jenny Calendar, so Giles should feel the same way.

Giles dashes to the library to save Faith and Courtney, and Duncan follows with a crossbow. Faith, who has revived and apparently knows what's going on now, attacks the many-tentacled demon. Giles saves Courtney, the demon gets Duncan, and Faith gets the demon.

Giles, Faith and Courtney leave the library. The townspeople are waiting outside, terrified that the vampires will come and kill them now. Courtney thinks the people deserve to die, and she's probably right. Faith says that it's a slayer's job to save people from vampires, even if the people don't deserve it. And Faith does her job.

Review:

Another standalone episode. But at least I could get into this one.

There is no safe place out there for slayers. If you're a slayer, you're on the front line, whether you want to be or not. The idea of slayers having a sanctuary where they could be normal girls -- I could see it as being very tempting, sort of like holy ground on Highlander. It was in character for Faith not to be tempted. I think Giles was interested mostly because he was hoping to recruit some reluctant slayers, although maybe he knew something was wrong right from the beginning. Maybe the fact that the Sanctuary was in Transylvania was a great big clue.

At one point, Courtney said Faith and Giles were acting like an old married couple. Faith and Giles together feel right. Faith really needs him, and it's clear that they're getting along.

There was yet another mention of vampires going mainstream. Which is the core theme of the HBO series True Blood and the bestselling Southern Vampire novels. I wonder if that's why the Buffyverse decided to go the same way, because it's the hot new thing? And if so, shame on them.

Bits and pieces:

-- Beautiful cover. Although it shows Faith with absolutely enormous boobs. Par for the course with comics, I suppose.

-- A side note: there are four pages of letters at the end of the issue about the Buffy-Satsu liaison. Four freaking pages. Many were upset about it while others thought it made sense, given Buffy's romantic use 'em and lose 'em inclinations. I was sort of in the middle. Buffy did use Spike rather shamelessly because she knew he loved her, so what she did to Satsu was in character. But I also thought it was mildly out of character for Buffy to have sex with a woman when she was initially so thrown when Willow came out.

Quotes:

Faith: "First thing she's got to learn, G., is not to keep her mouth open when she slays."

Duncan: "Why protect a humanity that now hates and fears you, and resents that you ever tried to save them from vampires and demons?"
Faith: "You know, you sound so much like I used to. I'm starting to feel at home... which I left the first chance I got."

Faith: "What is it with watchers and keeping slayers in libraries? This really obvious trap feels like a trap."

Faith: "That was your last meal, octobitch. Choke on it."

Courtney: "Faith, I'm just... I haven't trained..."
Faith: "There's only one lesson, kid. Aim for the heart."

On to the next one,

Billie
---
Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.

9 comments:

  1. I'm actually wondering if we'll get an issue that references True Blood.

    I liked this issue a lot more than the previous three but I think I have a blind spot for Faith and Giles.

    Vampires are regret personified was a strange concept though. Courtney was adorable though.

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  2. I had to chuckle at your comment about Faith's enormous boobs. As soon as I saw the cover at the beginning of your review I was thinking, "Man, those are some huge knockers on Faith. I don't really think Eliza's breasts were that big." Too funny that you noticed that as well.

    Thanks for keeping up with the comic reviews, Billie. I know they aren't your favorite medium. They aren't really my thing either, so I like being able to follow along with the Season 8 happenings through your reviews. I especially appreciate the synopses.

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  3. Nice review. I'm sure they'll reference True Blood at some point. This issue was better then the last ones.
    Anna

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  4. Kakistos was also featured in the Buffy Videogame Chaos Bleeds, which takes place at season 5 (Buffy's Birthday)

    I did not read the comics, but I realy like to read your recaps and reviews Billie. So even the stand-alones can't be hat bad.

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  5. Thanks for the encouragement, guys. I'm planning to keep reviewing at least until the end of "season eight."

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  6. I've really enjoyed these reviews. For a long time, I thought my favorite critic simply didn't want to review (or couldn't get into) Season 8. I'll be the first to say that after the Fray-future arc, this one-shots have been harmful to the overall season. Hopefully it gets back on track.

    It just seems necessary that you review these since your reviews for the series informed my rediscovery of the show. Hopefully, after the season's over, you go back and re-read and give a deeper analysis.

    Love your work.

    Mike

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  7. What a lovely comment, Mike. Thank you so much.

    I'm sure it's obvious that I'm struggling with this medium. I probably shouldn't have taken such a long break from it, either.

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  8. I find that a lot of people find reading comics easier if they read them by trade paperback volumes. They come out in five issue blocks, and read more like a single TV episode, with the issue breaks being like commercials.

    You also don't have to deal with advertisements which fill half of a normal comic. You also get both cover arts for each issue. The book itself is also much better quality and you don't have to worry as much about it getting bent or torn like normal comics.

    They've released the first four volumes already and the fifth is on its way.

    The only downside for some people is that they come out later, but if you don't mind that, the benefits are obvious.

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