After reading angearia
's excellent meta, Season 8 is an Epic Fairytale
(which I would strongly recommend you read before looking at this), in which she references "After These Messages... We'll Be Right Back" (#20) in passing, I kept thinking to myself, Hmmm
. In fact, I was talking to angearia
in gchat at the time, and actually typed that more than once. Anyway, after I started going through the issue page by page with comments of "!!!!," she encouraged me to post my own meta about the issue.Warnings:
I will talk about the Secret Identity of Twilight behind the cut. This is also incredibly image heavy
(20 images), so if you're on a slow connection, you might want to let it load for a while.
At the time I read it (aka, in the same afternoon I read everything from #1 to #26), "After These Messages... We'll Be Right Back!" seemed like filler of the good ol' fun variety. However, in light of the revelation of Twilight's identity, this issue is suddenly starts to look a lot more important. As quick recap, "After These Messages" comes directly off the Time of Your Life
arc, so killing Willow in the future? Definitely still actively on Buffy's mind. And our minds, I'm sure. So, when I was reading this - and when you were reading this - I'm pretty sure that what we weren't
reading for was Twilight, or Angel-as-Twilight's significance in the larger arc.
Hence, this meta!
The very beginning of the issue opens with several panels of Buffy slaying different monsters, each time saying, "Can't say I didn't warn you!"
Buffy's exhausted, hasn't slept in quite a while, and still kicking ass... a girl's got to wonder.
(What was it like when she was one girl in all the world
Naturally, the moment her (dirty, exhausted) head hits Xander's pillow, she's headed straight to dreamland.
She wakes up in Season 1 Buffy's bed, and life - now with added Dawn. Joyce is hollering up at her from downstairs, trying to make sure she's awake for class.
"Buffy? Are you listening to me?
The meta writes itself, kids.
Skip through several pages of ZOMG it's Season 1, Cordelia is a bitch, Snyder is an asshole, Principal Flutie has presumably been eaten by this point, Xander is adorably clumsy, Willow is adorably geeky and shy, and Giles... is tweedy and bitchfacey.
Giles is raining on Buffy's blast from the past.
Giles is talking, blah blah blah.
But wait, hold up. "The Disciples of Morgala
are fairly unique, even for vampires." Geez, we've never seen a "unique" vampire on BtVS! "Unlike most of the bloodsucking variety - these actually worship someone or something
.' " We've totally never seen any vampires who have anything to do with deities of any kind. Totally
Now, at this point, we're back in Season 1. There's no Spike. We've got boring evil vampires, and we've got...
one boring good vampire
Angel. Is Angel going to show up in this issue? You betcha.
But not yet.
At the time, I was kind of WTF GILES KNOWS WHO HARMONY IS, HAS HE BEEN CLEANING UP AFTER gabrielleabelle
'S FANFIC, but then I remembered that #21 is "Harmonic Divergence," so this is probably alluding to that.Now
we're getting some meat. This scenario could be every scenario in Season 1, ever. (I mean, there's a reason that we get the apocalypse in "The Zeppo" later on.) But, at the same time? It's also clearly referring to the events of "Chosen."
Could upsetting this "balance of good and evil" have been a consequence of the spell in "Chosen"? Could it have something to with why Angel has become Twilight? Gee, I wonder.
Of course, Buffy still thinks that she can handle this problem like every other problem she's had to handle.
The first explicit connection between Buffy's role as the Slayer in her Season 1 dreamworld and her role in Season 8.
It's not Buffy's role as Slayer that she needs to be taking more seriously. It's her role in the dreamworld
Speak of the devil...
"You can always come home again" seems like some pretty heavy foreshadowing. Could we be talking about undoing the Slayer spell? Bangel? So many possibilities...
If you had ANY doubt that this issue was about Twilight, and the Season 8 arc as a whole? Uh, gone now.
Angel's not just Angel-pre-Angelus, of course. He's also Angel pre-Twilight. Also, Buffy's attitude toward Angel is pretty important to note here - she's not exactly looking for him the moment she shows up in Season 1. He follows her around in the dark just like he always used to do back then. Much like in Season 1, he's largely a dark, broody, mysterious, handsome obstacle between her and the party she's heading to.
Angel is always cryptic. Also, his cheekbones are really crazy here.
Now, at the time this came out - so Time of Your Life
! And, clearly, Buffy is thinking of Willow. But this is also Angel before Angelus 2.0, and Angel before Twilight. It's also Buffy before the Slayer spell. These are some heavy questions.
Uh, yeah. PARALLELS ANYONE.
Is Buffy too late? Too late for what
Look, Buffy's flying again! Yeah, totally not foreshadowing anything at all.
I hope that this meta has convinced you that "After These Messages... We'll Be Right Back" is worth a second look. I also think that it comfortably buttresses the analysis angearia
has laid out so painstakingly in her most recent meta. If Angel is Twilight, any issue in which he has a substantial presence has to be taken under some serious consideration. In addition, the title is totally hanging a lampshade on the way this issue sticks out - as a dream issue, drawn in a totally different/tv show animation style, with a cutesy/easily wrapped up plotline that gives Buffy a little time for introspection. It seems like filler. But actually, it gives us some of the best information about Twilight and the greater arc of Season 8 that we've got.
I'll leave you with the very last page...