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RIPOSTES 2006-09 (Sep)

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hellcat writes...

if the series was not canceled would lex and brooklyn have been able to find mates

Greg responds...

Yes. And the series is now of course UNcancelled as a comic book. So if you're still wondering, check it out. Be patient. We'll get to all of this eventually.

Response recorded on September 07, 2006

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Vashkoda writes...

Your ramble on "The New Olympians" got me wondering about the magical islands in the Gargoyles Universe. There almost seems to be a theme that all islands inherently have something "unnatural" about them (and often are home to the last surviving gargoyle clans). This would include the obvious ones like Avalon and New Olympus, but you could even include Scotland/England, Ireland, Queen Florence Island, Easter Island, Japan and Manhattan itself (I might even include Atlantis since you say it exists in the Gargoyles Universe in some form). Was this a conscious theme, or did islands simply get the spotlight in the Avalon Tour due to the easy access by skiff?

In a semi-related question, one of the big mysteries that you never really touched upon in the show is the nature of the Bermuda Triangle. In the Gargoyles Universe, does it have anything to do with one of the islands named above? Your comment about being disappointed that the New Olympus shield looked like a fog bank from outside got me thinking, since that is often how people are described getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle. Yet Avalon, too, seems shrouded in mist. Any comments?

Greg responds...

It's not so much a theme -- and yet not merely a matter of convenience either -- but a factor of geography. Islands ARE more isolated, which gives rise to possibilities.

But it's not limited to islands. A remote locale like Tibet isn't an island, but might as well be, if you get the drift of my skiff.

I honestly haven't gotten to the Bermuda Triangle in my own head yet, vis-a-vis the Gargoyles Universe. For those of you who attended the 1997 Gathering, and saw the Radio Play that year (Rain of the Ghosts), you know I have another original property that covers that territory in some detail. So I haven't yet turned my attention to what approach I'd take for the Triangle in the Gargoyles Universe -- since I'd want some differentiation between Gargoyles and Rain. But all things are true.

Response recorded on September 07, 2006

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mari-ann writes...

j like gargoyles palun saadeke mulle golitah ,brookyln , lexi ,broadway.ühe groupis

Greg responds...

Um... thanks.

Response recorded on September 07, 2006

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Fllay Allster hater AND Kira Yamato hater writes...

1. After "Metamorphosis", where did the Mutates go before "The Cage"?

2. Did they had any adventures or was it just daily struggles to eat/sleep/shelter/hide?

3. Did they met aynone?

4. Did they contribute, intentionally or not, to the gargoyle urban legend?

5. Was there other reasons than the cure that made them return to Xanatos?

Greg responds...

1. Off stage.

2. All of the above.

3. Unavoidably.

4. Possibly.

5. Nothing is without its complexities.

Response recorded on September 07, 2006

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Fllay Allster hater AND Kira Yamato hater writes...

Just a comment: I couldn't help to notice that detective Ellen Yin from "The Batman" has the same the color schemes as Elisa Maza.

Greg responds...

I've noticed that too. But I have to assume it's a coincidence. Red, black, blue isn't exactly an exotic choice for either character. I've worked on both series, and certainly, no one on The Batman has ever snuck up to me and whispered, "Ellen's a tribute to Elisa, you know."

Response recorded on September 06, 2006

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Todd Jensen writes...

Thanks for the ramble on "The New Olympians".

I've always had a soft spot for this episode, largely because I really like the notion of a whole society of "Greek mythology creatures/beings" out somewhere. I still hope that you can get to explore it some more later on; that spin-off sounded like a lot of fun.

Despite your mention of avoiding the actual gods for character models for the New Olympians (since the Greek gods were famous for looking too human to provide dramatic designs in the same way that a minotaur or centaur would), I did notice in the crowd scene (at the point when Helios is exaggeratedly coughing and retching in Elisa's presence) a woman carrying a bow who did bear a strong resemblance to Artemis (at least, as she's customarily depicted in myth-based art).

Ekidne at times struck me as almost channelling Demona in her cries of "Treacherous human!" and her eyes glowing red when angry. (Of course, Demona strikes me as another good case of "bigotry bringing about more bigotry", so it fits.)

Helios and Kiron's participation in the riot struck me as even worse than that of the other New Olympians; these guys are police, and should be discouraging such displays rather than encouraging them. (Whatever else you can say about Taurus, he had the decency to break up the demonstration outside Elisa's cell.)

Proteus struck me as a fun villain, with such lines as "They really don't like you, do they?" or his habit of tormenting Taurus by shape-shifting into his father. (I agree with you that Proteus doesn't seem to bother to do his homework; I'd caught all three of the flaws in his performance as Goliath that you'd mentioned - saying "Who's that guy?", providing a weak excuse for why he doesn't turn to stone in the daytime, and wanting to blow up New Olympus, which last - again - sounds more the sort of thing that Demona would do.) I also caught a moment when he's waving at Taurus with what appears to be an extra-large hand (which I assume is part of his shape-shifting again and not an odd-looking piece of animation).

One of my favorite bits is Elisa empathizing more with Taurus after discovering what they have in common - both police, and both have fathers who are police. Especially the bit where she wonders aloud how she'd respond if Peter Maza were to be killed in the line of duty.

Knowing your interest in Theseus, I certainly can't say that I'm surprised that one of the main New Olympian characters in the story would have a link to him, in the form of being descended from his most famous adversary. (Or that you'd do another take on Theseus and the Minotaur when you wrote an episode for Disney's animated Hercules series.)

The "humans of legend" bit reminds me slightly of a short story by J.R.R. Tolkien, "Farmer Giles of Ham"; in one scene, a giant is telling many other giants and dragons about his excursion into human territory, giving an exaggerated account of the food to be found there and of how little resistance one can expect from the local humans. The dragons promptly say eagerly "So knights are mythical, after all!"

Re your remarks about Talos - I wonder whether Talos could be described as truly prejudiced, being a robot rather than a flesh-and-blood being. (He certainly seemed the most pragmatic of the lot, as you put it.) Though, then again, maybe I'm displaying a bit of prejudice against robots and machines in not believing that they can develop feelings as humans and other flesh-and-blood beings can.

I'd caught the similarity of Goliath's "I cannot wage war upon an entire island" line to the earlier line "I cannot wage war upon an entire world" in "Awakening" - what made it most stand out to me is that the original line was spoken to Demona, and here he's saying something similar to Demona's daughter.

A neat little detail: the flying cars on New Olympus have little eyes painted in the front, just like those on an ancient Greek trireme.

Another of my favorite bits is Elisa's run-in with Helios, where she tells him about how Proteus is planning to blow up the island, leading to:

HELIOS: And you had to attack me to tell me that?

ELISA: Would you have listened to me if I'd just called you over?

HELIOS: Frankly, no!

Somehow I never spotted the hint of a spin-off at the end of this episode as I did for "Pendragon" - at least, not until I found out about the Master Plan. Now I find it an appealing idea, as I said above.

50 episodes down and only 16 to do. You're really making good progress on this one, Greg. Thanks.

Greg responds...

I think I've only got three left now. Try to get to those soon.

Response recorded on September 06, 2006

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Harvester of Eyes writes...

I have a question concerning half-breeds. Perhaps you've answered it, but I've perused most of the questions concerning the third race, Oberon's children, and Fox. Anyway, if Merlin is the offspring of Oberon and a mortal human, does that make him immortal? Arthur seems intent on finding him at the end of the episode "Pendragon." Would this also mean that Fox, being the offspring of a similar union, is immortal? Does whether or not the immortal parent is male or female have any bearing on this?

Greg responds...

The gender of the immortal parent has no bearing.

As for the rest, I've never said that Merlin was immortal, so you can't make assumption based on facts not in evidence.

Questions about Fox and Alexander's status have yet to be revealed.

Response recorded on September 05, 2006

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Laura (Ackerman) Sack writes...

I was reading your answers to the Oberon/Titanina Family trees (November 2004) and two things caught my attn:

"Lord Oberon married Titania (who became Queen Titania after Mab was overthrown). (Note: Oberon intentionally did not take the title of King. Retaining his "Lord" title is his semi-skewed attempt at being more... egalitarian.) "

-When you say that Titania 'became' queen while Oberon chose not to 'take' the title king- do you mean that Oberon's claim came from Titania and not from Queen Mab or his conquest of her? (Queen Mab is his mother, right?) Is Titania queen or queen consort?

I know in many cultures that seem to have inherited kingship the facts are actually differnt. Take Macbeth, for example: Luach was probably the first son to directly inheret a crown from his father in Scottish history. Macbeth's claim was as good as Duncun Canmore's, but Gruach came from an older line than either. Are Oberon's children similarly not straight forward? With near imortality succession probably doesn't come up all that much anyway.

You also wrote:
"Oberon also has at least two sons by mortal women: Merlin and the changeling boy from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". "

I cannot believe I didn't notice you saying that before! When I read/saw Midsummer, (one of very few plays I can't get into while reading but love to watch), I always assumed the boy was the mortal child of a beloved, all-to-mortal, devotee of Titania's. The complete disregard for the boy shown by Oberon stealing him away (both physically and magically from Titania's attention) always left Oberon a bit too scummy for me to be fully happy with the 'all the couples were reunited and lived happily ever after." (Though, I'm told if my knowledge of mythology were more complete I would know the royal mortal couple don't end so happily, or at least longly, either.)

If the boy was in fact Oberon's, than the disregard might be feigned as a ploy to get him from Titania. Oberon is immediately made less scummy.

Barage of questions:
1.In the Gargoyles universe, how true to the Shakespeare is the 'true' story?
2.Was Titania aware that the child was her husband's?
If so, was her care for the boy as innocent and real as they seem (to me) in the play?
3.What made Oberon father a child with a worshiper of his wife? Coincidence? Meaness? Was she a worshiper of Titania at the time or did that come after?
4.I think, but do not remember clearly, that the woman did not die in childbirth. What did she die of, and could Oberon have been of help preventing it? Did he try?
(My pet theory is that Titania has tried to help Renayrd out a bit in his illness, but there is only so much she can do without being obvious. And even if she were to use blatant magic, there is still only so much she can do. Medicine and healing, though we take it for granted, is still 'big magic'.)
5. What ever did happen to the changling after the events of the play? Or, if you don't want to go into specifics, is he alive or at least have a unnaturally long life?

Apropo of very little- last summer I caught a rather good preformance of Midsummer in a Shakespeare in the Park(ing Lot). (Not as good as their Richard II that they seemlessly reordered to make the first half as flashbacks during the second.) Uneven. but with real flashes of brillance. Instead of dual roles, they had the traditionally dual roles played by exchangable pairs. The Oberon and Titania I caught had fantastic presence.

thank you

Greg responds...

Titania is Queen Consort, technically, but it's also a position of not a little authority at the top of the feudal pyramid, answerable ONLY to Oberon... and even he is somewhat reluctant to order his Queen around. Note that when the Weird Sisters report that everyone but Titania and Puck have arrived for the Gathering, Oberon immediately states that Titania may come and go as she pleases.

In any case, Oberon's claim to his throne comes from both being the son of Mab and being the one who took Mab down. It does not come via Titania.

As for your Midsummer Questions, this is a story I hope to tell one day, so I'm going to be stingier...

1. We'll have to see.
2. I prefer to leave the answer to this ambiguous.
3. She was already a worshipper. His motives... are also best left ambiguous for now.
4. I'm not revealing this now.
5. Ditto.

Response recorded on September 05, 2006

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Once AGAIN, I'm wasting my semi-valuable time (and hopefully yours) to bring you the latest update in my attempt to catalogue the most significant characters in the BUFFYVERSE. Previous CUMULATIVE updates covered the first, second and third years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After that, the task became more complicated as Buffy's fourth season aired simultaneously (day and date, literally) with the first season of Angel. So the Year Four update included Buffy S4 & Angel S1. Year Five covered Buffy S5 & Angel S2. Year Six, Buffy S6 & Angel S3. And now, Year Seven, which covers Buffy S7 & Angel S4.

As you may recall, I've tried to inform this subjective task with an objective formula. I tried, as much as possible, not to allow my knowledge of future events to influence the current standings. Still, I won't deny that subjectives have played a role. It's hard not to take extra notice of a character, whom you know is going to be important later. And ties were broken based entirely on subjective criteria.

The idea behind a cumulative tally is to mimic the original experience of following the Buffyverse. It's a horse race. Some of the winners and losers are decidedly predictable. Others are a bit surprising - surprising enough that it's become absolutely clear that my system is flawed. I've since dreamed up a new system, but it's too late to implement it. Someday, LONG after I've finished this first survey (but ONLY if I prove truly insane), I might just start over and see what the results are with OBJECTIVE SYSTEM 2.0. But for now - assuming you haven't nodded off - you're stuck with System One.

I have a list of ALL the characters that have appeared in both series up to this point. It's so long (including everything from leads to ridiculously minor characters) that I haven't even bothered to count how many there are. But my list of MOST significant currently tops out at 245 characters. (There will be one more update after this one, covering Year Eight, i.e. Angel Season Five, and maybe at the end of this silly game I'll do a countdown of all 245+ significant characters.)

But for now, I think listing the top 40 is both pleasantly traditional… and plenty. Or largely. I just want to note a few characters introduced (or revisited) in this set of episodes, who haven't yet or never will make the top 40, but whom I believe are memorable enough to merit honorable mention.

Starting with…


#235 - Knox. Scientist at Wolfram & Hart, intro'd here. The only one of the W&H Tour Guides in the Angel Season Finale that has a major role to play in Season Five.

#234 - John Stoler. The first poor bastard to see the real Jasmine.

#228, 229, 242, 243, 244, 245 - Girl at Bat, Trailer Girl, Japanese Girl, School Girl, Indian Girl, Potential with Power #2. This was of course the season that introduced all the potential slayers. Those that survived actually become Slayers at the end of the season, as did a number of girls out and about in the world. The most memorable of the latter is the little girl playing softball and perhaps the Trailer Park girl, who will not be beaten anymore.

#226 - Bruiser. Lorne's "prison guard" in Las Vegas. Makes the list only because they kept the character around across two episodes.

#212 - Delivery Guy. Wesley's arms-supplier and "Q" in a couple episodes. [That's a James Bond reference, not a Star Trek reference for the geek-confused.]

#205 - Guardian. The woman in a crypt, who had been waiting centuries to explain the Scythe to Buffy - and still largely failed to do so - cuz Caleb killed her while she was busy being cagey. The anti-Watcher, I guess. Seemed like a former Slayer to me, and the notion that a Slayer MIGHT live a long life - and break the rules, might have been both interesting and helped explain how Buffy came up with her multi-Slayer solution, but…

#200 - Young Woman. The woman that Spike bit, killed and sired across two episodes, while he had a chip and thus theoretically shouldn't have been able to harm anyone.

#190, 237, 238 - Connor's Dad, Mom and Kid Sister. After Connor acquires his new revised life (ala Dawn) we briefly meet his new family. The parents at least, return in Angel Season Five.

#181 - Virgin. The innocent girl that Conner and Cordelia murder (over Darla's dead body, so to speak) to bring Jasmine into the world.

#172 - Spike's Mother Anne - Spike turns out to be a mama's boy. He loves his mother. Sires her and then has to stake her - cuz she's just too darn upsetting.

#158 - Rachel. Rachel appeared at a party in a previous season, but they brought her back to force Anya into confronting her redemoning. I give them credit for using an existing character instead of creating a new one. I wish they had done this more. Though perhaps I'm the kind of guy, who overdoes it. I know I'm almost making a point of overdoing it in the Gargoyles comic. It's just more for me that way.

#156 - Lissa. Latest in a line of Demon's that Xander dates.

#115 - Wu Pang. The Monk who removed Angel's soul to bring forth Angelus.

#110 -The Ubervamp. Mr. Tough-to-Kill had an army of fellow Ubervamps in the Hellmouth who turned out to be much less difficult to slay.

#105 - Cassie Newton - A high school student, who predicted her own death - and later had a memorable turn as the First, who tried to trick Willow into suicide (when actress Amber Benson proved unavailable to reprise Tara as the First).

#78 - Gwen Raiden. An actual X-Men-esque mutant with electrical powers in the Buffyverse. I thought she was being set up as a potential love interest for Angel, but she wound up being a brief love interest for Gunn, before vanishing forever - or going on to co-star in Pitch Black II.

#53 - Caleb. The First's big bad misogynist faux-priest, better known as Mal Reynolds in Firefly/Serenity. He was great at REALLY making you hate his guts.

#49 - The Beast. Pre-Jasmine's right-hand creature. A real tough monkey to kill, with some nice moments too. But what was the purpose of most everything he did? Why was he or any of his actions necessary to Jasmine's birth?

#44, 52, 63, 75, 85, 138, 140, 145, 165, 174, 178, 236 - Amanda, Rona, Molly, Vi, Chloe, Shannon, Caridad, Injured Girl, Eve, Annabelle, Colleen. A list of all but one of the potential Slayers. Amanda was the nerdy Slayer from Sunnydale high. She had ten appearances and died in the Hellmouth - the one "meaningful" slayer death in that battle. Rona had eight appearances. She was the one who was supposed to be keeping things real, I think. Molly was one of the three original potentials. Caleb killed her. She had been around long enough that we were supposed to feel something there, but her death was overwhelmed by the loss of Xander's eye in the same battle. Cho An was the potential who spoke no English. Largely used for comic relief. Vi had six appearances. She was kinda goofy, but really took to becoming a Slayer at the end. I liked her. Chloe, who had three appearances, is the potential that committed suicide. She also got a scene as the First. (And she went on to play a second banana in Lizzy Maguire on the Disney Channel.) Shannon, in the first of her three appearances, is used to introduce us to Caleb. Caridad also had a trio of appearances, but is most noteworthy for being one of Xander's fantasy dream girls. The Injured Girl appeared twice and was indeed injured. Eve is noteworthy because we never met the REAL Eve. She was already dead and replaced by the First before we ever laid eyes on her. (In fact, she's the only identity the First took on in this season, where we hadn't yet met the person who the First was impersonating or personifying or whatever.) Annabelle is the commonsense Brit potential - one of the first three that we meet -- who panics and is the first potential to die in Sunnydale. Colleen is noteworthy mostly for going on to star in some prime time soap I don't watch and for being another of Xander's fantasy dream girls.

#41 - Jasmine, a.k.a. the Beast-Master a.k.a. Cordelia Chase. The big bad of Angel Season Four. While possessing Cordelia, I'm not really sure if all her various and ultra-complicated manipulations track. But she sure was fun once Gina Torres of Firefly took over the role. Oh, and one other point of interest. Peter Renaday did the voice for the Beast-Master in Angelus' head. Peter voiced a few minor roles in the five-part Gargoyles pilot ("Awakening") and was - briefly - the voice of David Xanatos. He replaced Jonathan Frakes, and then was in turn replaced BY Jonathan Frakes.

And before we start, a fond Top 40 farewell to the Master (now at #45), the Groosalugg (#47), Gavin Park (#42) and Forrest Gates (#43).

Abbreviations for previous rankings…
Y1 - Buffy Season 1.
Y2 - Buffy Season 2.
Y3 - Buffy Season 3.
Y4 - Buffy Season 4/Angel Season 1.
Y5 - Buffy Season 5/Angel Season 2.
Y6 - Buffy Season 6/Angel Season 3.
NR - Not Ranked that year.

#40 - Graham Miller. Y6: 32. Y5: 28. Y4: 22. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley Finn's second best friend falls eight rankings. And yet it's amazing he's still in the Top 40 at all. Graham, in fact, does a great job - right off the bat - at demonstrating the flaws in this original scoring system. He had a ton of screen time in Season Four of Buffy, and then came back more than once in Season Five. And despite no appearances, since, he's totally coasting on that old screen time (which was clearly too big a piece of the original formula) as opposed to true significance.

#39 - Glory. Y6: 34. Y5: 30. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Year Five's big bad drops 5 more rankings. I'm bummed that some of the season-long Big Bads like Adam and the Master aren't staying in (or in Jasmine's case even cracking) the Top 40. It feels like Big Bads deserve to be here. But again, a system skewed toward screen time is gonna favor supporting characters over villains. But I'm still glad Glory is hanging on.

#38 - Kennedy. Y6: NR. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Kennedy, potential Slayer, eventual Co-Slayer and Willow's new main squeeze - or I should say squeezer - enters the countdown at 38 with a bullet. Of course, Kennedy is no Tara, but I think that was the point. So I certainly don't begrudge her knocking Groo, Gavin or Forrest out. (But I miss the Master.)

#37 - Maggie Walsh. Y6: 31. Y5: 27. Y4: 18. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. And Maggie Walsh? Maggie? Really? Adam doesn't make it, but his creator Maggie does, though she's dropped 6 slots in the ratings.

#36 - Mayor Richard Wilkins III. Y6: 33. Y5: 29. Y4: 19. Y3: 14. Y2: 40. Y1: NR. The Mayor loses only 3 rankings, thanks to some appearances by the First in Mayor guise, which gave him partial points. (Figuring out scoring for the First in its various glamours was really hard.) Gotta love the Mayor.

#35 - Ben. Y6: 30. Y5: 26. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Glory's alter ego drops five places. Again, like Maggie being ahead of Adam, there's really something wrong with Ben being ahead of Glory. It's about screen time, not actual character significance or OOMPH.

#34 - Jenny Calendar. Y6: 29. Y5: 25. Y4: 17. Y3: 13. Y2: 11. Y1: 15. Jenny also falls five rankings. Says something about Jenny's original significance that a non-regular like her is holding on for so long. And of course she was pretty much the first character we ever saw as the First, way back in Y3.

#33 - Harmony Kendall. Y6: 28. Y5: 23. Y4: 25. Y3: 20. Y2: 26. Y1: 18. Harmony also falls five rankings this year to her lowest point yet, thanks to two consecutive years without an appearance. Of course, Harm is poised for a resurgence in the last season of Angel.

#32 - The First. Y6: 143. Y5: 120. Y4: 85. Y3: 52. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. The original evil hasn't shown its face since Season Three. So it jumps up a whopping 111 ladder rungs to #32. I was never satisfied with the First, especially in the Season Finale, but I can't deny that he/she/it belongs in the Top 40.

#31 - Warren Meers. Y6: 36. Y5: 82. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Warren actually jumps up 5 rankings, which is a pretty neat trick for a dead guy. Credit the First, Willow and some flashbacks for keeping him "alive" and hopping.

#30 - Kate Lockley. Y6: 27. Y5: 22. Y4: 23. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Angel's cop friend is gone and largely forgotten now… She falls three rankings.

#29 - Lindsey McDonald. Y6: 26. Y5: 21. Y4: 29. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lindsey has hit the road, and having also been absent for two seasons, falls three rankings too. But like Harmony, watch for a comeback in Angel S5 (a.k.a. Buffyverse Y8).

#28 - Daniel Holtz. Y6: 25. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Captain Holtz, Angel's Big Bad for the previous Season (or surrogate, if you're counting Connor as the finale's final big bad) falls 3 rankings. His influence still very much felt.

#27 - Francis Doyle. Y6: 23. Y5: 20. Y4: 15. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Doyle falls four ranks. I'm surprised he got not even a mention in A4, given how Cordelia's fate largely is a result of his actions. But Jasmine-as-Cordelia was a bit of a mess in the does-this-really-track department.

#26 - Principal Robin Wood. Y6: NR. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Talk about bullets. Robin Wood, son of Slayer and Spike-victim, Nikki Wood, enters the countdown at 26 with a bullet. This is a character that I would have LOVED to have seen a spin-off built around. D.B. Woodside is great; Wood has no super-powers, just training. And I would like to know who Robin's dad was and what happened to him. And the fact that a Slayer could survive long enough to have a kid… Loved this idea.

#25 - Jonathan Levinson. Y6: 24. Y5: 33. Y4: 24. Y3: 17. Y2: 19. Y1: NR. Jonathan, killed in his first appearance of the season, still manages to hang on - thanks to flashbacks and the First - to the Top 25, dropping only one ranking. Jonathan, you will be missed.

#24 - Andrew Wells. Y6: 37. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Andrew, the definite third wheel of last Season's Evil Trio, jumps 13 rankings to #37, passing both Warren and Jonathan in the process. (It helps to be the only one actually left alive, I guess.). Really comes into his own this season… and one of the few Buffy characters (beyond Spike) to actually make an appearance in Y8.

#23 - Principal Snyder. Y6: 21. Y5: 18. Y4: 12. Y3: 9. Y2: 10. Y1: 12. Snyder falls two ranks but nevertheless manages to stay ahead of Principals Wood and of course Flutie (who, in case you were curious, is now down at #69).

#22 - Drusilla. Y6: 19. Y5: 16. Y4: 16. Y3: 11. Y2: 8. Dru has a few nice flashbacks and First appearances, but still falls three rankings and out of the Top Twenty for the first time.

#21 - Darla. Y6: 18. Y5: 19. Y4: 28. Y3: 23. Y2: 23. Y1: 11. Darla also loses three rankings and again falls out of the Top Twenty, despite a great ghost scene with Connor. Love Darla.

#20 - Lilah Morgan. Y6: 22. Y5: 31. Y4: 31. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lilah climbs two more positions to finally crack the Top Twenty. Dead now, she'll peak here, but this was really a great season for her. She finally seems to be a woman IN CHARGE. A creature of depth and poignancy. Particularly after her death.

#19 - Faith. Y6: 20. Y5: 17. Y4: 13. Y3: 10. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Faith, back with a vengeance in both Angel AND Buffy, rises one ranking. But she's done too now, I think.

#18 - Connor. Y6: 41. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Connor enters the Top Twenty after jumping 23 rungs. He's a huge pill this season, but he'll be much more fun in his limited appearances next year.

#17 - Riley Finn. Y6: 15. Y5: 12. Y4: 11. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley falls two more rankings. There was an opportunity, as Buffy and Spike revisit the Initiative to have brought him back, but I think they wisely thought that would be too distracting and off-point.

#16 - Tara Maclay. Y6: 13. Y5: 15. Y4: 20. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Tara moves down three rungs. According to the extras on the DVD, they wanted her to appear again as the First, but she wasn't available. But what the heck has Amber Benson been up to since? I never see her, and she is still so missed.

#15 - Lorne. Y6: 17. Y5: 24. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lorne finally becomes a regular and jumps a couple rankings.

#14 - Joyce Summers. Y6: 14. Y5: 11. Y4: 9. Y3: 8. Y2: 7. Y1: 7. Joyce appears as the First and maintains the exact same ranking.

#13 - Daniel "Oz" Osbourne. Y6: 12. Y5: 9. Y4: 7. Y3: 7. Y2: 12. Y1: NR. Oz falls one more ranking to his lowest point yet.

#12 - Winifred "Fred" Burkle. Y6: 16. Y5: 50. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Fred climbs up 4 positions, but she's still got room to climb, I think. Can she pass Dawnie next season?

#11 - Dawn Summers. Y6: 11. Y5: 14. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Dawn plateaus at 11.

#10 - Charles Gunn. Y6: 10. Y5: 13. Y4: 37. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Gunn plateaus at 10. Can he pass Anya next season?

#9 - Anya Kristina Emanuella Jenkins. Y6: 9. Y5: 10. Y4: 14. Y3: 22. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Anya plateaus at 9, but being dead and on a cancelled series, I'm not sure if she can maintain.

#8 - Wesley Wyndam-Price. Y6: 8. Y5: 8. Y4: 10. Y3: 15. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Wesley plateaus at #8. I know it must seem like everyone's plateauing this high up, but wait for it…

#7 - Spike. Y6: 7. Y5: 7. Y4: 8. Y3: 12. Y2: 9. Y1: NR. Okay, STILL plateauing. But trust me… (And Spike's crossing over to Angel, so he may have somewhere to go still.)

#6 - Rupert Giles. Y6: 5. Y5: 3. Y4: 3. Y3: 2. Y2: 2. Y1: 2. Giles does not plateau. He falls one ranking, which this high up is quite significant.

#5 - Willow Rosenberg. Y6: 5. Y5: 6. Y4: 6. Y3: 4. Y2: 4. Y1: 4. Willow switches places with Giles, returning to the Top Five for the first time since Season 3. She'll peak here, putting her behind both Cordelia and Xander, which surprises me. As she was a Big Bad. And as she really should be equal with Xander, it demonstrates another significant flaw in the system. But at least she's in the Top Five.

#4 - Cordelia Chase. Y6: 4. Y5: 5. Y4: 4. Y3: 5. Y2: 5. Y1: 5. Back to Plateauing. Cordelia of course spends half a season as the Big Bad, but as she was pregnant in real life, she then spends the end of the season in a coma. They basically destroyed her character this season. A combination of the real life pregnancy, bad hairstyles and a coupling with Connor that's just too creepy and off-putting to even work as the actions of a villain. But she'll be back for one wonderful final appearance next season.

#3 - Xander Harris. Y6: 2. Y5: 2. Y4: 2. Y3: 3. Y2: 3. Y1: 3. Xander drops down one ranking. He's never been out of the Top Three and I think he'll PROBABLY finish here.

#2 - Angel. Y6: 3. Y5: 4. Y4: 5. Y3: 6. Y2: 6. Y1: 6. Angel moves up one ranking, finally passing Xander. And he has another season, and Buffy does not. Is it possible that by the end of Year Eight… that Angel might even pass Buffy to become the most important character in Buffy's own 'verse?

#1 - Buffy Anne Summers. Y6: 1. Y5: 1. Y4: 1. Y3: 1. Y2: 1. Y1: 1. Duh. But now that she's done… can she hold the top spot forever?

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Todd Jensen writes...

Thanks for the ramble on "Eye of the Storm", Greg! This is another episode that I'm very fond of, especially because of the Norse mythology elements (which I've long been interested in, ever since reading the d'Aulaires' "Norse Gods and Giants" as a boy). While I had from the start taken a strong interest in the Eye of Odin on account of its name, I had not even suspected, before this episode aired, that this really was the very eye that Odin had given up for a drink from Mimir's well. And the revelation that it was definitely excited me.

I'd suspected that the Sturlissons were named after Snorri for some time; thanks for confirming it for me.

This episode answered one question that I'd had about the Eye for some time. I'd noticed the dark effect that it had had upon Fox and the Archmage, but I also knew that both of them had been "bad guys" before they ever donned it. So I was wondering what impact the Eye would have upon a "good person" who donned it, and whether it would corrupt them or not. This episode definitely answered my question, and made it clear that nobody was safe with the Eye except for Odin himself.

(As I mentioned in an earlier remark here, the Eye in this episode reminds me a bit of the One Ring in "The Lord of the Rings". Odin is attempting to recover his Eye for (more or less) the same reason that Sauron was attempting to recover the Ring; much of his power had passed out of it when he parted with it, and he needed to regain it to recover his old strength. And the impact that the Eye had on Goliath paralleled the element of how anybody who would try to use the Ring to defeat Sauron would become corrupted enough by it to become almost another Sauron. There's even the "eye imagery" in both cases. Of course, a major difference between the two stories is that giving the Eye back to Odin turned out to be the right thing to do - not to mention that Sauron definitely wouldn't have apologized to Frodo afterwards for all the trouble that he'd caused in trying to get the Ring back.)

I still find it a bit ironic that Odin would be ruefully admitting, at the end, that he was out of practice in dealing with mortals; in the original Norse myths, he was the only one of the Aesir who regularly interacted with humans much. All the other gods seemed to have dealings mainly with the other mythical races (dwarves, frost giants, etc.); Odin alone took part in human actions, often turning up in the human-centered sagas in his "old wanderer" disguise (such as thrusting the sword meant for Sigmund and Sigurd in the pillar of the Volsungs' hall, advising Sigurd on the correct means of slaying Fafnir, or engaging in a riddle-game with King Heidrek and winning when he asked a riddle - "What did Odin whisper in the ear of his dead son Balder?" - that only he knew the answer to). I can't help but think that if Odin's getting rusty in dealing with mortals, it's a good thing that Goliath and Co. didn't run into any of the other Norse gods while they were in Norway.

As I've also mentioned before, I was initially a bit disturbed by both Odin and the "Odinized Goliath" wearing horned helmets, since the series had shown earlier, in its character designs for Hakon and his Viking followers, that Vikings didn't actually wear those helmets, so my response was one of "The animators know better than that." I've come to accept this more, however, since both Odin and Goliath are "fantasy beings" rather than human Norsemen, and could be expected to dress more in accordance with popular notions about how Vikings dressed.

I hadn't picked up on the callousness of how Goliath spoke of transporting Bronx and Angela, but I did notice a couple of other acts of Goliath's while wearing the Eye which did, for me, serve as "danger signals". One was the way that he spoke when he was eagerly talking about seeing the sun for the first time; he delivered it in a very "over-the-top" fashion, almost straight out of Sevarius's style. (Though "over-the-top" in a good acting way, of course.) The other came when he, while reassuring Elisa that he was under control, patted her on the head in a very patronizing fashion.

(One thing that I'd really like to know was how conscious Goliath was of his motivations. Was he aware that his goal was to dispose of Odin so as to remove his chief rival claimant to the Eye, or did he believe that he was doing it to protect Elisa and the others, with his true motives buried deep below the surface without his being conscious of them?)

Perhaps the one thing about Odin getting his eye back that I find a bit of a pity is that his having one eye (and, as per the cartoon, in the original Norse myths, this was a feature that he had no matter what form he took on) was a major distinguishing feature of his; Odin having two eyes again feels to me, well, just a bit like Owen's stone hand returning to normal. But it certainly provided a great way to write the Eye of Odin out of the series.

Greg responds...

I don't think the Eye-influenced Goliath was very self-aware at all.

As for Odin regaining his eye, I'll admit to a pang or two visually. But change is inevitable, and I think that the difference is that we KNOW Odin as one-eyed. Giving him back his eye is in fact change. Giving Owen back his hand is not allowing change.

Or at least that's how it feels to me.

Response recorded on September 01, 2006

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