Can they just skip it?

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Can they just skip it?

Postby LGold » Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:23 pm

This is something that's bugged me ever since I first saw Entropy; in fact, ever since I first heard about the "Just skip it" speech.

Would Willow and Tara's relationship have worked?

I don't think it's even a question that Willow's reactions and subsequent recovery in the aftermath of Tara's death were essential in forming the character we see in subsequent seasons, especially in The Chosen. The question I'm asking is: what would've happened if none of the season ender from Seeing Red on had happened? Forget about Buffy and her depression for the moment, forget that Warren even existed. Foccusing just on Willow and Tara, would they really have been able to skip over all that magic abuse, mind-wiping, lying and so forth? Would that have been a healthy relationship? Sure, we see them being all kinds of good in Seeing Red, but equally we see how Willow reacts to Tara's death. It doesn't really seem like she understood the magic and such until Lessons at least. If Tara had gone back to Willow as in Entropy, with no working up to the relationship, wouldn't Willow have been deprived of the chance to truly understand the problems with magic?

Apologies if this is a little (or a lot) incoherent, I'm feeling a little tired. But yes. Discuss!
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Postby counterpunch » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:36 pm

Good question.

There was an essay I read somewhere in reguards to this. The basic idea was that Willow tried the hard way to get Tara back - she followed the rules. All her life Willow was the good girl, good student, good example, didn't really step a toe out of line. When she screwed up, she went back to those rules because they'd served her so well in the past. A rule was broken, there was an appropriate consequence, it was understood, it fit.

But when the universe stopped playing fair, all that got thrown out the window. If the universe wasn't going to play by the regular rules, then fuck, Willow wasn't going to either. Acting good didn't save Tara, so what was the point?

On the other hand, I can understand exactly why the post-Seeing Red Willow path was so necessary to her complete end of addiction/misuse of magic. Maybe crashing the car hurting Dawn wasn't the bottom for her. Maybe, hitting rock bottom for Willow was trying to end the world. But, honestly who knows? If Tara hadn't died(oh, god, if she hadn't died) maybe that would have sufficed. It's one of those things we'll never know.

But one thing(I believe) is for certain: Willow and Tara are it. There's no one else for Willow besides Tara and no one for Tara besides Willow. So lets say Willow fell off the magicwagon after Seeing Red, I think whatever would have happened would have been bad enough for it to be The End for Willow and magic. If not one thing, then the other. I just can't imagine a world where they wouldn't have ended up old, wrinkly and together.
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Postby Dana5140 » Mon Sep 15, 2008 4:55 am

The point of Seeing Red is to mimic the experienc of an addict who has made a recovery and then faced a horror in his or her life. The problem with answering the question (which of course has no answer) is that the entire reason Seeing Red was written the way it was was to give Joss Whedon the artistic license to take Willow back off the wagon- that had been his plan for at least two years prior. What I think is clear, given development since in Joss's universe, is that had Willow and Tara survived the events of Seeing Red, he would have found some other way to throw severe tension/angst into their relation, since he believes that happy relations make for boring writing. This is why he regularly kills people, predictably kills them. And in fact, that is getting old.

But if these were real people? And had emerged from addiction and separation as they had in Entropy? I believe that this would have strengthened their relation. Willow never cheated on Tara. She went through a very hard time with her addiction, but she beat it, and Tara was there- whether physically there or only psychically there, to help Willow all along the way. Tara never really left Willow emotionally; she left her physically in order to force Willow to face what she had become. But even during their separation, we saw evidence that Tara kept an eye on what was happening with Willow, stood up for Willow (ie, when Anya wanted her to use magic to get out of the house in OAFA), sent energy her way. Having beat the beast, they'd have been inseparable after.
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Postby Kerkevik » Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:28 am

Hi,

I realised, as part of a general re-examination of many things, that I have believed for some time, without actually being aware of it, that I don't think Tara should have forgiven Willow when she did.

I have experienced abuse, through family, and via the experiences of some of the women I've known and, given Tara's character development in S6, it was a major regression for her to go back to Willow.

Willow's actions, after Tara had given her a second chance, particularly given her knowledge of what Tara had gone through, through the actions of not only Glory but her father and brother as well, make her invasion of Tara's mind unforgivable.

Even if Tara's actions were understandable, given her love for Willow, for her to forgive Willow's actions vis-a-vis her friends, were less understandable. They do not fit in with Tara's beliefs, as they were portrayed in the series.

As to whether they would have ended up together eventually. I find myself hoping that, despite what I have said, that they would have done. They had been good for each other. I just feel that Tara went back way too soon.

But then, my own feeling - that they should be together - totally clouded my feelings about the abuse until recently, so who am I to say whether she was right, or not.

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Postby Dana5140 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:31 pm

Ray,taking her back does not mean that everything returns to the way it was. I think they'd have had to sit down and talk- the real problem, though, as we saw, is that Willow had not worked through everything, which is why when she lost Tara she went completely off the wagon. Tragedies happen every day, but not everyone tries to destroy the world when it does. More likely, they try to destroy themselves, but Willow projected her pain outward. She was not done with her recovery. Is it possible that Tara taking her back played a role in that? Perhaps. But we cannot fault Tara for that; Willow was not the only person who was suffering.
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Postby Kerkevik » Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:40 am

Hi,

"Ray,taking her back does not mean that everything returns to the way it was. I think they'd have had to sit down and talk- the real problem, though, as we saw, is that Willow had not worked through everything, which is why when she lost Tara she went completely off the wagon. Tragedies happen every day, but not everyone tries to destroy the world when it does. More likely, they try to destroy themselves, but Willow projected her pain outward. She was not done with her recovery. Is it possible that Tara taking her back played a role in that? Perhaps. But we cannot fault Tara for that; Willow was not the only person who was suffering."

Dana, actually I agree with much of what you say here. My point is that Tara, as much as I might wish she was perfect, proved that she was just as 'addicted', in her own way, as Willow was. Also yes they were both suffering. This only makes me think that she jumped the gun, in a big way, in going back to Willow when she did.

It's not her fault that Willow was not over her recovery, but she should, given her own history, have known better - they need each other too much. Her decision did however, coming when it did, play a part in what Willow did when she was killed. But Willow could have chosen to respect her love for Tara and not given in to the pain.

The decisions they made were, at the time they made them, perfectly understanable. This doesn't mean they weren't wrong however.

Tara had made a huge amount of progress since she'd had the courage to leave her home and should have seen that Willow still had a long way to go; Willow should have asked for the help she needed, not only from Buffy, but from Giles, and especially from Tara.

But neither woman was talking about the things they needed to talk about. Instead of talking about what had broken them up, all they seemed intent on was how to get back together as quickly as possible. They were too close to the problem, as 'twere.

I love Tara, and I love her and Willow as a couple. I do believe that they belonged together but, if truth be told I don't think they should have gotten back together, as a couple at least, for at the very least another six months.

Willow should have gone to England, rather than sought to handle the problem on her own; Tara should have made Willow really know what had hurt her so much. Their love for each other was, in the end, the biggest barrier - the monster they could not overcome.

In the end it destroyed them, as a couple, and nearly destroyed everything that Willow had claimed to love; everything she had decided to fight for at the end of Season 3.

As Dawn pointed out in 'Same Time, Same Place' (and I apologise if I'm misquoting), 'When is anyone going to ask for help?' - well, it was something along those lines anyway; none of the scoobies was very good at talking with the people they called friends - not even the supposedly talkative Anya, evidence, 'OMWF & Hells Bells', or the apparently insightful Dawn.

What could they have done differently? In the context of the show, probably not a lot. If they'd been a couple in real life. Well, one would hope, they'd have gone to counsellors, which surely, an institution like UC Sunnydale would have been able to provide. Though, being Sunnydale, maybe not...

As I said, my own experiences of abuse and the effects of addiction on people I grew up with, are definitely colouring my opinion, as are the fact that I always loved Tara far more than I loved her with Willow.

Time to stop I think, and let somebody else have a say. Still, it's all proves, I think, that, however much we may find fault with the decisions Joss made for his creations, they certainly create discussion on issues of all kinds.

Just a silly show, with a silly title, about a cheerleader who fights monsters... I think not.

Take care,
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Postby rmsgrey » Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:05 am

I can't help thinking that, while Willow and Tara skipped ahead to the kissing, had Tara not been killed so soon, within a week, they would have been going back and having those conversations. Tara knew what needed to happen for the relationship to work, and the woman who had the strength of character to walk away from the love of her life when she recognised that she needed a kick in the butt, that woman, I would expect to have the courage to make sure that those conversations happen, even if she borrows sometimes from the future they haven't yet built.
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Postby Jet Wolf » Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:39 pm

I'm inclined to agree. I think that however moving the speech is, there is no skipping. Tara had a moment of weakness in going back to Willow when she did, and I think that Will was destined to for disappointment a few days later when the heady rush of togetherness died away and Tara sat her down for The Big Talk.

They had to have that talk. They had to. Willow violated Tara's trust, utterly destroyed it, and it has to be rebuilt from the ground up. There are rules now. Rules that were taken for granted as existing before and have to be explicitly said now. Tara has to understand why it happened. Will has to know the consequences if it happens again.

I love the sentiment of "just skip it". But Tara's a different person now, and so is Willow. If they have any chance of working, they have to start from the beginning. No shortcuts.

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Postby Dana5140 » Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:46 pm

Yes. Tara was not a classic enabler. Instead, she was actually pretty strong, though I am not sure her friends saw her that way, or she saw herself that way. A lot of what happened, happened outside of Tara's knowledge, at least for the more personal things that happened, like Willow messing with Tara's mind. When Tara found out, that's when she acted, and swiftly- she gave Willow one chance to do things right. Willow failed, and Tara bailed. It had to be done. And during their separation, Tara was kept aware of what was happening with Willow, at least within a few weeks (I am not sure she ever knew what happened with Amy, for example, but she was kept aware of Willow's recovery through people like Buffy and Dawn). And she saw Willow improve, and she helped her (by, for example, standing up to Anya in what really was a dire situation). Given what she saw, and her own pain, that she was ready to re-enter the relation should not be a surprise, or one we should fault her for. But no question Willow was not done, and we know that addicts do not recover in short periods of time. They would have sat down- Tara would have made them sit down for what would have been a very difficult talk. But they never got the chance.
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Postby Kerkevik » Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:40 am

Hi,

" Yes. Tara was not a classic enabler. "

Yes, that's what made, or I should say makes her behaviour at the end of 'Entropy' seem so out of character, to me at least.

Tara's whole development, from her arrival on the show, in 'Hush', even before we became of it, explicitly at least, in 'Family', was leading from away from the decision she made at the end of that ep. The Tara I thought I'd come to know would have had, as Jet Wolf puts it, 'The Big Talk', before she gave Willow any real hope, beyond that which Willow failed so badly at hiding, that they might get back together.

The writing in 'Entropy' & 'Seeing Red' makes her look like an enabler, which was just a complete turn-around in behaviour (to me there's a similar thing happening to Willow's characterisation in the comics). They've done it before though; if you go back over the history of the show, and look at how Cordelia's characterisation regressed after the break up with Xander, seemingly to prepare for a repeat of the development she had gone through on Buffy, on Angel.

That said, and taking the re-interpretation of Tara's characterisation in to account, her behaviour at that point seems to indicate that Tara has an 'addiction' of her own to deal with, one that she was obviously unwilling to confront.

I think that could be seen as a product of her mother's, implied, unwillingness to confront Tara's father. Tara would, in that interpretation, not be willing to accept that she, after she had gone through so much herself, could behave that way herself. I've certainly seen that behaviour in others, as well as myself. It could be seen as being 'in character', if that is what you see as a correct interpretation of where Tara was at, mentally, at the end of 'Entropy.

I don't agree with that, because, as I said, she seemed to have developed her own self-belief to a point where that wouldn't be a decision she would be likely to make. Joss, obviously, saw things differently; a decision that broke the spell his creations had developed over me.

A good thing? Probably, but I'd rather Tara hadn't been killed. I have many such qualms over his creative decisions. Largely over the waste of characters, such as Cordelia and Oz; the decision to give Spike a soul, rather than have him struggle with his conscience, which had not, I would argue, been destroyed (or 'gone' as Angel put it in the first season ep named after him), but merely buried. There are others, but they're not really relevant here.

But then it should be remembered that Tara was never seen as anything other than a secondary character by her creators. That she developed into such an important character, for the show as a whole, and not just to Willow's character development, was something they just did not foresee happening. so, I suppose, we should be grateful for the depth of characterisation she was allowed. Most TV shows wouldn't have even begun to come close to that.

Quoth I, " Just a silly show, with a silly title, about a cheerleader who fights monsters... I think not. "

" (I am not sure she ever knew what happened with Amy, for example, but she was kept aware of Willow's recovery through people like Buffy and Dawn).

I think it unlikely that Dawn, in particular, wouldn't have made Tara aware of what Willow had been doing with Amy. It seems out of character for her not to do so. Buffy? I'm not so sure. If Tara had pressed? Maybe, but until the ep where they're trapped in the house, it seems unlikely that she would do so and, after that ep, she might not have cared enough to ask.

It's amazing to me that a character on a TV show can still be so much a part of me; so important to how I look at characters (and expect from them) - what? - seven years after she disappeared from our screens. A product, not only of what Joss, and especially Marti Noxon (who saw something he didn't when Amber Benson was being cast), but also in the way that Amber Benson played her, and the chemistry she, so quickly, developed with Alyson Hannigan.

They created something magical, and for that, though I may disagree with how they handled the character at the end (though not, if you regard Jet Wolf's Season Eight, as opposed to the Season 8 comics, as canon - as I do), I am grateful.

~~~~ The following word were written as part of a comment on another story, but apply particularly to how much regard I have for the work that Jet Wolf has produced, so I'd like to reproduce them here. ~~~~

" I'd also like to point you towards a few lines from a song I have been listening to a lot lately. The lines, from an album by Seattle-based singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, but written by band member Phil Hanseroth, go as follows:

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
(The Story from the album of the same title)

I think these lines speak to the universal need for stories that speak to us, as your storytellers words spoke to a nascent need in Clara. They also speak to the great proliferation of fanfiction inspired by Joss Whedon's characters. That same need is inspired by your fanfic.

~~~~ (That last sentence is aimed particularly at you (as is the one following), Jet Wolf - assuming your reading this) ~~~~

great stuff, as good as anything written by the great man himself. "



Take care,
Ray.
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