response from punkinpuss to Rabid's 'Seeing Red' essay

    I especially like the idea that the AR strips these two down to their essential selves: a man and a woman, not The Slayer and The Vampire (and I would say Inconvenient, Very Inconvenient, but I'm just being contrary, don't mind me!).

    It's such a deeply personal betrayal that Buffy simply cannot react to it as the Slayer, as she does everything else in her life. It strikes her at the core of her being as a woman. And that may be the first time since she was chosen that an event (and a man) have not been experienced thru the prism of Slayerhood. It had to be this way because it's about Buffy the woman and Spike the man. Not about the Slayer or the Vampire.

    And it's deeply ironic when you consider that one of the hallmarks of Buffy's Slayerhood is that she has always struggled against that identity, that she always wanted to be just a girl. In a shockingly ironic way, she got just that.

    And of course it's also deeply ironic that that moment is brought about by the person she has most emphatically denied as a man, as a person. For the first time, she's forced to see herself and Spike as just a man and just a woman. Because the AR was a very human loss of control, a very human mistake.

    You see, I have come to believe that the AR will be the point where the Buffy the Woman begins to integrate with Buffy the Slayer. It's a parallel with Spike's own dichotomy (man vs monster), only fitting since Spike is Buffy's Other, her shadow self.

    Buffy's "role" as the Slayer is killing Buffy the woman. Remember in "Intervention" Spike tells the Buffybot "No programs, just be Buffy," when ironically the real Buffy doesn't even know how to be Buffy any longer.

    And the reason she feels for Spike is that their dance is something so elemental, so primal, it transcends the roles they've adopted as Slayer and Vampire. And she needs that. She needs to be as sure of herself as a woman as she does being the Slayer. For a little while, Spike gave her a taste of that as no one else has done in a long while. Not Angel, not Riley. Not her friends, not Dawn, or Giles. Well, except Joyce. Her mother was her last connection to a life that had nothing to do with being the Slayer. Hmmm, connections. That theme again.

    I think it's much more interesting to discuss where the AR will lead Buffy and Spike than to continually rail against it (as so many boards have done). I think you're absolutely on target that it was the beginning of something, not the end. Very illuminating. Thank you, Rabid!