There are some times where I’m not willing to suspend disbelief, where I want my SciFi a bit more Sci, a bit less Fi. I want a kind of logic to my fandoms – regardless of how convoluted that logic shakes out to be. There are some times, then, where you tell me that one of the Great and Powerful is a hawk on a perch and I’m probably going to shut the door in your face.
But not in Buffy. In Buffy, I’ll just go, “yeah. Okay. Hawk. Perch. Underlings to do the typing because it’d be hard to – literally – hunt and peck. Cool.”
And that’s how we met the masterminds behind the Tincan link to a Hell dimension. And, yep. I’ll believe it.
Apparently, the receiving end of Tincan’s technology is somewhere bright white and staffed by frogs in jumpsuits. Why not, right? The representatives of Wolfram & Hart are willing to deal with traitor Elder Koh, but it’s going to take a moment to figure out who betrayed him – it was millennia ago that he was imprisoned, you know. Ignoring questions about the processing speed of demon computers, the search delay conveniently gives Buffy time to come up with a plan to destroy the servers and save the prodigy (all while taking down the demon and penciling in a little bit of time for “surviving the evening” as well).
First, she needs to revive Kennedy – and does so in a nicely depicted way. I like the kind of “fade in to clarity” thing that Jeanty does here – it’s a small moment, but it’s one that feels like authenticity amidst tentacles (and could serve as a metaphor for later realizations – a storytelling device, then, in addition to looking cool).
A freshly conscious Kennedy takes a few minor swipes at Buffy, but they’ve all been said too many times before to have much sting left. Buffy is selfish. Buffy focuses on the universal and forgets the individual. Buffy destroyed the Seed and all Kennedy got was this lousy T-shirt.
Buffy responds like we’d all want to respond – she’s heard this all before and, really, isn’t it time for Kennedy to get over the Willow thing? Kennedy isn’t playing nice, though, and isn’t going for the small swipes anymore. Maybe it was the fact that she was knocked out by a supposed ally. Maybe it was the fact that she’s been lying in a puddle of tentacle goo. Maybe she’s just having a bad day in general. Whatever the reason, she goes in for the kill and lays the blame for Giles’ death squarely at Buffy’s feet.
On the List of Ways To Seriously Piss Off Buffy, I’d imagine that ranks fairly high.
While the black eye that Buffy gives Kennedy might be the most dramatic response to the accusation, it won’t be the longest lasting. Kennedy manages to hit a nerve with Buffy (obviously) and snaps her back to focus. Things happen. Dramatic things. Tense things. Slayers-climbing-tentacles things. But even during Things, Kennedy’s accusation resonates.
They overheat the servers and cut off the link just before Koh finds out who betrayed him. There’s also time for one more Very Special Moment where Buffy schools Koh on the importance of moving on and letting things go. Sadly, there is no time for a Very Special Lesson on Hypocrisy for Buffy since the building is now on fire.
Koh teases at something larger, telling Buffy that he’s involved in something that she’ll never understand – but slides down a tentacle and into the night before explaining. Undoubtedly, he’ll be back – there are too many links tying him to these characters for this to be the last of Elder Koh – but for now, Buffy has less tangible things to fight with.
For me, the drama with Koh, with Theo, with the whole of the Tincan/Wolfram & Hart link hasn’t been the payoff – I mean, obviously, these players will come back in a big way and soon (and possibly in any or all of the other Dark Horse Buffyverse books). But for me? The payoff started with Kennedy getting punched and ended with Buffy turning down a check – a big check – for bodyguard services rendered. This is the moment that we’ve been (slowly) dragging toward: does Buffy chose the secure life, the opportunity to live like a normal person (albeit an exceptional normal person hired to protect the ridiculously rich), the chance to turn away from her destiny?
Of course she doesn’t, because she’s Buffy – she just needed a slapdown and a wake-up call to remind her of that fact.
So, Buffy Season 9 #13 ends with Buffy – a bit battered but patched up, eyes clear and focused – asserting herself once more. Because this Buffy?
She’s “The Slayer.”
And all was right with the world.
Well, at least until next month when we get the much-buzzed addition of Billy, Vampire slayer.