I seem to be on a roll
X-men 3, just came back from watching it and loved it.
Could give you a thesis on why and which characters I liked and so on, but that'll have to wait due to me not feeling like it right now*g*
I followed another su_herald-post and jgracio came up with the old chestnut: "If there's a chance for a normal, nothing too special about him/her, vamp to not be evil, then any time Buffy kills a new one, heck, any time she kills a vamp without first checking it's background, she might be commiting murder. You're watching a show about a mass murderer. Joss Whedon's empowered female icon is a mass murderer."
And I got thinking, what's wrong with actually dealing with that? What's wrong in daring to actually make things complex instead of just hinting at it and then ignoring it when it really comes down to the point. What's wrong with instead of just having Buffy refuse to be called a killer, that someone actually confronts her with the idea that what she's doing might well be wrong.
Yes, it would mean that Buffy has killed vampires who might, someday in the future, not be evil. But then is it right to stay stuck in the black and white perspective of good and evil, humans good, vampires evil? Doesn't it ruin the show that this issue is never truly dealt with?
Is Buffy wrong to stake a vampire who comes fresh out of the grave?
In my opinion, no.
Would Buffy have been wrong in staking Spike in s4, even with the chip, actually, no. She'd have been well in her right, seeing as even harmless at that point, he's still a potential threat. She didn't know enough about the chip to know about its effects on Spike. In fact, had Buffy staked Spike in Pangs, I could have fully well sided with her doing what at that point seemed to be the right thing to do.
Of course, looking back, with what we now know about Spike, it most probably would have ended with the destruction of the world, due to Spike's lack of being there. But the fact is, with the information she had at that point in time, it would have been the right thing to do.
Buffy's like a soldier, fighting a war in the frontline. She's the first line of defense. So yes, she could give every vampire a chance, she could go on assuming that every vampire ought to have a chance to prove him or herself, before she does something. But if she did that, then those vampires, even the ones with the eventual potential for good, would have killed innocent people.
Much as I love Spike, he killed thousands, tenthousands, hell possibly hundreds of thousands innocent people. He spent a 120 years killing innocent people. And every vampire that gets out of its grave, that gets past Buffy, could end up killing the same amount of innocent people if they aren't stopped.
Is a soldier a massmurderer or someone who protects the innocent?
Soldiers too make mistakes, soldiers, like Buffy, are likely to kill hostile fighters that if left alive have the potential to be good men and women who could go on to bring peace and hope. But if that soldier doesn't do his or her duty, those hostile soldiers will potentially kill him or her and all the people that he or she is defending. And that's why a soldier shoots.
Not because the enemy is evil, but because there are people who need to be protected.
Showing that vampires have a potential for good does not make Buffy a massmurderer, neither does it do that for Willow, or Xander, or even Riley. It just makes it more complex, it makes it clear that every vampire she slays was once a victim, an innocent person who got turned into the enemy. And personally I much prefer the complexity over the childish simplicity of good and evil with nothing in between.
To put it in the words of Whedon himself:
Buffy: Does it ever get easy?
Giles: You mean life?
Buffy: Yeah. Does it get easy?
Giles: What do you want me to say?
Buffy: (looks up at him) Lie to me.
Giles: (considers a moment) Yes, it's terribly simple.
They start walking out of the cemetery.
Giles: The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are
easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we
always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody
lives happily ever after.