What I love best about the Buffyverse is its ambiguity; unlike a myriad of other TV shows, the writers rarely if ever tell you what to think. The world Buffy inhabits has as much room open for alternate interpretation and discussion as it does for monsters and apocalypses. I mean;
Is the Slayer line a sacred birth rite empowering women to defend themselves against dark forces they’d usually fall victim to most often? A liberating force given to women to defy the folklore status quo in which women are more often than not simply damsels in distress? Or is the Slayer line a sick, misogynistic ritual sacrifice of young women, enslaving girls (who usually never live to see womanhood) into forcibly fighting for their lives in a high risk, no pay, no recognition job in which they are laid like lambs to the slaughter whilst still essentially children on behalf of the overwhelmingly patriarchal watcher’s council?
Speaking of the Watcher’s Council, are they a well meaning, crusading organisation doing the best they can with whatever tools they have in the all-important fight against evil, or a authoritarian, cult-like regime which claims ownership over a innocent young person’s entire life for their own agenda?
Is Xander Harris a omnipresent supportive friend who stands by the Scooby Gang throughout seven years of being dismissed, underestimated, and overshadowed by them due to his unconditional loyalty? Or is he a petulant, immature figure who betrays and turns his back on his closest allies the moment they reject him or make a mistake, more a hindrance than a help to Buffy?
Is the Cordelia we see roaming the halls of Sunnydale High a ruthless, apathetic, ego maniacal bully who abhors any deviation from social norms however inconsequential? or is she a smart, quick witted teenager doing her very best to cope and survive in a nightmarish world where students mysteriously disappearing is a weekly occurrence, always ultimately doing the right thing when it really counts?
Are Angel and Angelus two separate entities, two entirely different personas to the point where they even dress differently, speak differently, have different taste in music, or just two sides of the same coin, a way Angel can dissociate from and ease his guilt for his past wrongdoings?
When Buffy intended to lead the potential Slayers back in battle after a crippling defeat, was she being a optimistic and pragmatic leader who firmly believed her actions were for the greater good having had to make brave sacrifices herself in the past, or had she become just as dictatorial and totalitarian as the Watcher’s council who had controlled her previously, treating the lives of girls as young as fifteen as expendable pawns?
Is Spike and Drusilla’s relationship a sweet romance in which an otherwise heartless demon develops understanding, admiration, and love for a woman usually mocked and misunderstood for her mental illness, or an obsessive and possessive man taking advantage of a mentally ill woman for his own ends?
Does the shy Willow Rosenberg grow into a indomitable goddess, wielding great power and strength that she shares with hundreds, perhaps thousands of women the world over through her endurance and bravery, or a sociopathic, power-hungry control freak who only loves the people around her on her own terms?
And much, much more.
The Buffyverse is subjective beyond description, and that’s what makes it so rich and fascinating. Embrace the ambiguity. Enjoy it. It’s what makes a story about vampires and hellgods and demons so very real.
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