"Time of Your Life", Part III
Script: Joss Whedon
Pencils: Karl Moline
Inks: Andy Owens
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft's Jimmy
Cover: The incomparable Jo Chen
Note: Hah, I remembered to include Spoiler warning: Spoilers present.
Page 01: We open on a pile of books with a voice over saying "Nothing."
Page 02: The voice over belongs to Buffy. She is looking out of a window onto the cityscape that is Fray's future world. She is lamenting. In 2003, Buffy changed the world by creating, and these are her words, "a race of Slayers" to make a better world. Now, in the books she's read in Fray's library haunt, there are only a few references to her or her friends, and these only a maybe. There is nothing about Slayers the world over - not a word. And, the world she sees before her doesn't look like it got better, at all, in her opinion.
Commentary: I'm disturbed by the choice of wording here. If Buffy thinks of the Slayers as a different race from humanity, then how can she remain connected to those she is supposed to be protecting? It is very subtle, but when added to her 'victimless crime' of bank robbing and the way that the Slayers were walled off in the Scottish castle, far from human populations, I'm definitely getting the feeling that she has lost touch with humanity. As I've stated in prior reviews, I think Buffy's "lesson" this season has been the dangers of removing herself and her Slayer-army from the 'common folk', and little details like the above seems to point to that fact. Where Buffy has struggled before with shutting herself off from her friends and her family, now she seems to be putting herself and her fellows above and separate from human-kind, and that could have dire repercussions in how she treats people and how humanity responds toward the Slayers.
Page 03: Fray returns from a walkabout to report that Gunther told her there has been some activity they might want to check out. Some lurks have been seen in the high rises of the elite, and they don't usually haunt the upper echelons of Haddyn.
Page 04: In New York, Willow and Kennedy discuss the situation with Buffy's disappearance through the time portal. Kennedy innocently asks if the contact that pointed her in the direction of the time ripple could help her now. She doesn't realize that the contact is an other-dimensional entity that Willow has basically traded sex for mystic knowledge with.
Willow knows she must, but she feels guilty about returning to Saga Vasuki with Kennedy's 'help', considering that past.
Page 05: In the forests surrounding the now leveled Scotland HQ in present time, there is more sexually charged banter between Xander and Dawn that is high disturbing. I present:
Xander: "How're you feeling?"
Dawn (after having galloped hard to get away from attack): "Like I was ridden hard and put away wet."
Xander: "Agh! Dawn, that's dis- - oh. No. It's just true."
Commentary: Yiiiiieeee-ech. I'm disturbed. I'm very disturbed... and (FUTURE ME) I'm even more disturbed when their vague unconscious flirting here doesn't end.
Dawn wonder what the hell they're going to do now.
Page 06: Dawn and Xander's discussion about how to get back to the Slayers is interrupted by forest spirit-folk, who informs them the forests are forbidden to humans and therefore they must die!
Page 07: Dawn and Xan are unimpressed. In fact, Dawn is insulting to them.
Meanwhile, back in the future, Gunther hears a tap-tap-tapping on his see through ceiling.
Page 08: Gunther finds that his tapper is Harth and a gang of minions. He's rather unhappy at finding that the merman has been feeding information to his Slayer sister about what he is doing (i.e. meeting with Dark Willow in the 'Uppers').
Gunther finds himself unimpressed with Harth and tells him to leave before he kills them, which doesn't seem like the right tack to take to me.
Page 09: Harth tries to intimidate Gunther, but the fish-dude tells him it can't be done. He warns the vampire that if his goons crack through the glass into his tank, the room will be flooded with ultraviolet light, flash-ashing them.
What he doesn't realize though, is that the vampires already have gained access to his home. They're swimming up behind him as Harth reminds him that lurks don't need to breathe, either.
Page 10: Elsewhere, Buffy and Fray are flying an air sports car. To gain access to the Uppers of Haddyn, you see, you have to possess the proper clearance. Buffy is trying her hand at driving and Melaka tells her she "drives like a spaz".
Buffy: "And that phrase stood the test of time?"
Page 11: Buffy wonders what they're looking for exactly, and Mel points out a medical supply van. She says there isn't a clinic in the complex, meaning the 'delivery' is in the wrong place.
As they close in, they see that the van was actually filled with vampires (Weirdly in mummy bandages... I think the idea is that sunlight makes it through to the upper reaches of the city, while those at street level live in perpetual shadow. That would explain a lot about how the lurks seem to wander freely in Fray's neighborhood and why she stated they rarely bother those in the upper levels.)
Melaka wants to jump in and save the people being rounded up, but Buffy says no - that they need to follow them to their lair.
Commentary: Let's look at this again - BUFFY says no to saving people in order to look at the Big Picture. Buffy!? Are we now all on board with my contention that this season is about the Slayer losing contact with those she's supposed to save (in addition to the Twit-light mess)? I think that this development in Buffy's attitudes can also go a long way to explaining (FUTURE ME ALERT) why later she so easily jumps Angel and goes off to her dimension of hot sex -- she's losing the ties that bind her to humanity, making it easier for her to simply turn her back on us when she doesn't stop and think. Here she's willing to do something she never would have before - allow people to be slaughtered in order to pursue a larger goal.
Page 12: Melaka Fray, however, is more Buffy-like than Buffy these days and she says a big 'screw you' by jumping out of the air car and going on the attack of the lurks.
Commentary: Okay, I'll admit I see Buffy's point: sacrificing the few for the many is logical, as Spock would say. But, I'm really on Fray's side here.
Page 13: Fray is angry at Buffy and tells somebody off screen that there is something wrong with her. That someone is Dark Willow, who warns Fray that if she hates her, Buffy will be that much harder to kill (sounding very Angelus).
Page 14: Meanwhile, present Willow is in the midst of powerful-orgasm magic.
Commentary: Okay, I have to ask here, what is it about women's climaxing that is powerful enough to work the hoodoo? WATCHERS had also already employed the magical orgasm. How come you girls work magic, while us guys just make a mess? That doesn't seem fair.
So, using the energy of her 'moment', Willow transverses dimensions to speak with Saga. She accuses the serpent-bodied witch of lying (Well, duh - she has a snake body!) to her, but the other witch tells her it isn't that simple. Willow also demands to be told how to get Buffy back from where she went.
Page 15: Saga Vasuki asks Willow if she can't just cross time and get her, but Willow states she doesn't have that sort of power.
Commentary: Vasuki answers Willow's denial of being able to access that level of power with, "Is that so" and later tells Willow that she was told about the portal by "Someone I trusted" seemingly indicating that she's aware of Will's future-identity and has been in contact with Dark Willow. Whether this is indicating that Vasuki was misled by Willow in the future, whether she simply didn't understand Willow's changes, or just doesn't care about Willow's transformation to Dark Willow isn't referred to, but is interesting.
Vasuki tells Willow the portal will re-open later that night, but demands a promise from her....
Page 16: That promise involves Willow retrieving Buffy. She's told that when the portal opens, Willow can reach through and grab the Slayer, but she is not to look on the other side. Willow tries to ask why not, but all that Saga will say is that it is because she asked her so.
Willow's orgasma-magic begins to fade, and she starts to leave Vasuki's realm again, but promises to see the other again, soon.
Page 17: In her and Kennedy's room, Willow looks guilty, but Kennedy is just satisfied.
In the future, Fray identifies Dark Willow as the 'madwoman', which Willow doesn't deny.
Page 18: Buffy is nowhere to be seen, so I think she's meant to have taken off after the transport van while all of this is going on.
Anyway, Dark Willow is attempting to recruit Fray to fight Buffy for reasons unknown.
Commentary: Interestingly, she compares Fray with Buffy in that both have 'most important men in [their] lives' who are vampires, equating Harth with Angel.
Page 19: Dark Willow summons a tiny stream of magic and when Melaka threatens to cut off her hand, she tells her she can't muster more than that bit of mojo so not to worry. She tells her that she just wants her to see something....
In the meantime, we do find out that Buffy followed the medical delivery van that held the attacking vampires back to their lair.
Page 20: Sometime later, Buffy returns to Mel's apartment, but she isn't there. Erin, however, is. Buffy quickly fills her in, telling her she couldn't attack the lurk lair because it's massive and she'll need some serious strategy to get into it.
Page 21: Erin asks after Melaka, and Buffy complains that she wouldn't listen and attacked a group of vampires they were supposed to be following. They bond over the pain that are little sisters who don't listen, while waiting for Mel to return.
Page 22: Unfortunately, Melaka does return - but she shoots Buffy!
Now, as we know, they don't use regular guns in the future, so Buffy is only knocked out by the zapper. Erin makes it pretty clear that Melaka had already contacted her earlier about keeping Buffy distracted just for this purpose.
Somehow, it relates to what Dark Willow showed Melaka about the past and what would happen, or about Buffy's future and how it would change Mel's timeline. Melaka tells Erin that they they had to disable Buffy in order to save [Fray's] world....
The Good: The mystery of Dark Willow continues to interest me.
I also like the unclear connection between present Willow, Saga Vasuki and Dark Willow.
The Bad: Nothing is badly done.
The Score: I just don't have anything much to say about this issue beyond what I've already commented on. I do find Buffy's progression interesting in that she's really sounding more like Travers... only toward baseline humans, rather than Slayers, the way she's willing to use them to advance a greater goal. And, I like that Fray is more like Buffy used to be.
3.0 out of 5