Reviews for The Chosen Episode 15: Second Chances
Willaber chapter 5 . 5/1
Hey there,

first and foremost, I realize this story is incredibly old, so constructive critique is kind of futile. However, I have this urge to get some stuff off my chest.

First, I reeeally like this story up to this episode (so far). Trillium is a wonderful set-up to continue the Buffyverse. Your narrative structure is very close to the original. The characters are mostly spot on and you even thought of whedonesque subversion, symbolism, and metaphors. I appreciate the focus on the Scoobies (a little less focus on Buffy to give room to the others is very much appreciated. Solo-protagonist!Buffy irritated me a bit in the last two seasons) plus Faith and Kennedy as well as Spike's absence. Snerk. The plots are nicely staged, with clever foreshadowing and increasing suspense toward a most-likely thrilling climax. I also admire your writing "craftmanship", how you use words to make the world and characters alive. A perfect balance between spot-on dialogue and narrator who is luckily not too dissolute and omniscient. The fragmentation into four acts and teaser like the original is very clever.

I love your Willow (my favorite), Xander, Buffy, Dawn, Faith, Giles, and Kennedy. I love your Buffy/Willow, Buffy/Xander, Willow/Xander, Willow/Giles (!), Xander/Giles etc. etc. Much better than the ugliness from S06 & S07. Snerk.

However, this episode is the first time that I feel a bit repulsed and where I clash with the implied author. It concerns worldbuilding and Willow and Tara's moral motivation and Buffy, Xander and Giles's characterization.

First about worldbuilding: I think it's implausible that Willow was in danger of damning herself to hell. The show is pretty clear that human soul's and their fate are detached from the supernatural unless there's an active condition that binds them to it. Like, Angel was in hell not because he was damned due to Angelus' actions but because he was sucked into the Acathlas' portal. Spike and Angel are damned because their souls are tied to a demon. Humans forfeit their souls to a supernatural fate not by merely being "evil" but when they sell their souls off (e.g. Gunn selling his soul for his truck, Wolfram & Hart employees signing a contract) or when they get into supernatural crossfire (Fred ending up in Pylia, Connor ending up in Kor'Toth). It's left open if Buffy's heaven was the real thing or just a dimension under thousands she got to via Glory's multi-dimensional portal. Since the show is fairly agnostic and subversive to religion, I'm inclined to believe the latter. All of Tara's claims based on her Wiccan religion remained unfounded or were plain wrong.

Sooo, Willow is human. She's *still* human when she's scary and veiny. Giles's borrowed magic sparked the remains of Willow's humanity (read: soul), so she was close to losing it completely (read: *Willow* was close to death. What had been left had been an empty shell) There's no hint that dark magic in itself has the quality to condemn a human soul to any particular fate. Just doing dark magic and doing evil doesn't suffice, unless she'd make a pact with a higher being (like Cordelia or Giles with Eyghon) gets sucked into a portal, or transfers her body into a demon. There's no suggestion where Jenny, Tara, Warren or Rack ended up. In the S08 comics, future Dark Willow (around 200 years old courtesy of dark magic, who is more world-worn than actual evil) from a different timeline brings Buffy to her dimension to orchestrate her own death (Buffy kills her on demand). I didn't get the impression that her soul would go to hell, which would be a weird motivation for suicide, to begin with. So from a worldbuilding POV, I thought it flawed, and Giles the "Exposition Man" (well, when he's not angry) seemed a bit out of character because he didn't object to the notion.

The next is a moral issue. Tara has by no means, whatsoever, *any* justifiable right to be Willow's judge and executioner about whether Willow lives or dies. Even if I'd entertain an eye-to-eye mentally, *then* Tara *maybe* had a right to mindwipe Willow twice and to commit similar crimes in Willow's name to make it even. Tara is justified to morally judge Willow, tell her she's disgusting and never wants to see her again, lay a criminal complaint on her and the like. But there's ZERO moral causality between Willow mindwiping Tara and committing some atrocities in her name and Tara righteously killing Willow. The only criterium that decides whether Willow lives or dies is whether the danger to the world is too great just because Willow is alive or not. However, Tara is biased and thus shouldn't sit in the jury for that decision.

I get that from a characterization POV when it comes to Willow and Tara. Tara is prone to unquestioned obedience towards non-existent "fates" that are at home in her religion (or of they exist, they should not be trusted let alone worshiped because that's the way in the Buffyverse with *all* gods and higher entities. That humans are solely on their own is one fundamental point of the show) and is generally vulnerable to religious dogma that clouds her judgment and occasionally lets her act like an authoritarian, callous jerk (e.g. Forever, Tough Love, Bargaining, Older And Far Away to pick a few). I can see that by repeatedly showing her Dark Willow's atrocities, her immense power, and again and again spouting stuff about some fates, incent sticks and Wiccans that took some oaths hundred of years ago that Tara would actually start to believe that crap. Willow is so self-loathing and guilty that I believe that *she* believes Tara had a right to kill her, too. It's emotional comprehensible but morally *not* justifiable. Tara would have become a murderer. Plain and simple. However, I'm not sure if it's just correct characterization or also authorial opinion, because, again, I missed Buffy, Giles and Xander's objections to Willow's idea that Tara had a right to kill her.

Phew, sorry, I had to get that off my chest. I'll continue to read, of course (because it's still awesome!) but I hope this Willow/Tara dysfunction will be addressed and dealt with. I admit, the story in this episode soured me a bit. However, you are an incredibly talented writer and I take you at your word and hope you'll someday accomplish your self-imposed goal and finish this story up to S10. Again, much, much kudos. Fandom needs more writers of your caliber! :-)
Jet Wolf chapter 5 . 9/23/2004
Thanks very much. Though the mention of "Tyrannosaurus Rex" versus " " was very much intentional, referring to the groups original incarnation. But we quibble over old group names. :)
sparky24 chapter 4 . 9/23/2004
Another interesting episode. You seem to have the charachters down pat, one quibble though, Giles would never, ever say Tyranasaurus Rex. Mark Bolan and co. have been and will be known as .