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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Body

It was with some trepidation that I sat down to rewatch The Body. I'm teaching it, so I had to. And I'm teaching it on purpose - on of our texts refers to death as the thing that will "define the creation for the created" and I immediately thought of it. But it's a doozy, as far as I remember. I haven't rewatched it since I saw it the first time, but I remember how shaken up I was by that first image of Joyce on the couch. In addition to the power of the episode, there are obviously some memories there. No surprise, then, that while I'll be suggesting that we watch future episodes as a community, I have no intention of trying to watch The Body with my class.

But enough stalling.

I'd hoped to Rewatch at an accelerated pace and work my way up to here, but that obviously didn't happen, so I'm watching it out of context.

Mom. Mom? Mommy?

It's jarring to see the slayer looking so helpless, but that's the point - actual, normal, human death is the thing that the slayer helpless against (even in the case of her own, it's not her who has any power, and the power that's used has horrible consequences that suggest it maybe shouldn't have been).

Word vomit "good luck"/real vomit.

It think it's well done that it's like it doesn't sink in until Buffy says "the body" herself. Earlier, she corrects the person on the phone and, when she say "the body, " Buffy says, "No, my mom." When she finally yells at Giles, "We're not supposed to move the body!", that's when it really hits her, and she begins to cry. (That's also when I started to cry.)

The pieces of this are so perfect. All of the random things you freak out over, finding the perfect shirt, wanting to know what's expected, wanting to think it's just not true, wanting someone to blame...and then Emma Caulfield (Anya) just breaks it down. But Willow's response, which is less talked about, is also great:
Willow - "We don't it works...why..."
Because that's really the problem, isn't it? We know, more than we know anything else, that it's coming. We don't know when, really. And we don't know how it works. IF you truly believe that it's just a cessation, even that's mysterious, because we can't truly imagine what it is not to have our consciousness anymore. So our brief lives are bounded by

displacement - I don't even know if I"m here

Buffy - Was it sudden?
Tara - No, and yes. It's always sudden.
My problem isn't with Dawn wanting to see, it's with not just saying, "I want to see." Why pick the dumbest way possible? Oh, because you're that character. If you lived in Sunnydale, why would you *ever* go into the morgue unattended, given how frequently people don't stay dead? You know that on any given night, there's got to be some vampire rising in the morgue.

And what, exactly, does Dawn think she's going to see? Or accomplish by seeing? I know this is an impulse for some people, but it's just not one that I share. I've seen the bodies. It's not a comfort, and it only gives you an unpleasant visual to remember. They don't look like the people you loved, and for exactly the reason Buffy gives at the end. "It's not her. She's gone."

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