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Missed Opportunities: Unexplored Stories in Buffy

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Giles flirts & has sex with Joyce in Band Candy and dates Olivia for a good portion of Season 4.

Edited by Dee
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Olivia & Giles were together through Hush.

That's roughly half of season four, so whether or not their relationship occurred onscreen or not, is irrelevant. She was friends with Giles prior to the two becoming romantically involved and she (not Jenny) plays a significant role in Giles Restless dream, which definitely solidifies her status as a "genuine love interest."

And seeing as Jenny & Giles spent way more time apart (they barely dated) than together considering her a 'real' relationship for Giles doesn't really wash.

Edited by Dee

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On 10/16/2016 at 10:36 PM, Petunia13 said:

Buffy's dad

Oh God yes. I understand why Joss felt that Giles was the father figure in story terms but it really was poorly handled by the show and it doesn't help that the Buffyverse is flooded with awful fathers anyway so turning Hank into such a deadbeat felt like overkill. I might not have had such a problem with it if he had been treated as off the grid since day one but we saw Hank onscreen and he was a seemingly an okay guy who was worried about his daughter.

I never thought about the First adopting the guise of Kendra but yes that does seem like a missed opportunity.

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The. Staking. Of. Spike.

And how nobody on the show would give a damn.

Giant missed opportunity on that one.

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I too would have liked to see Xander find Cordelia at the height of her heroism and concern for others.

After rewatching the show recently, I think the First Evil could have worked if the show had actually taken advantage of its powers. Have it graduallyseduce the whole town by appearing as all the citizens' lost loved ones, and actually making them believe that they had returned. What's the point of an evil that can appear as any dead person if everyone already KNOWS it's not really them? The only time it's even mildly effective is in CwDP when Willow and Jonathan actually think they're talking to ghosts. 

Instead of acting through the Ubervamps and Bringers, have the First convince ordinary people to do things by gaining the town's trust and making them believe their departed loved ones had actually returned. This would create a much more interesting conflict for Buffy than "I can't punch the First but I can punch all of it's ridiculous stand-ins."

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A proper Buffy/Angel crossover event that is along the lines of Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Angel, Cordelia and Wesley teaming up. They face off against a villain as a group, and the story crosses over to Angel and the villain follows Angel and co. to LA and the scooby gang go to LA. Missed opportunities to see everyone interact, especially Cordelia with everyone post Sunnydale.

Dealing with Jesse's death. I think the fact Buffy season 1 was a short season can make sense. But I wished they went deeper into it. Maybe I would of liked Jesse to have not died after 2 episodes, but been a recurring villain in season 1, ending with Xander killing him at the end of season 1. Then they go have him and Willow dealing with his death early in season 2.

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This isn't the question, but here are a couple of things I wish they had done:

1) When Spike was resouled, I would have liked him to be William. Angel's soul return was a curse, but Spike's was an earned reward. I think it would have been a much better dynamic to see him as the nervous kid he had been rather than what he actually was. And maybe even un-vampired, like Angel was in that episode of his show. That would have been a much neater dynamic than what they actually showed -- a human being having to deal with the shit Spike did, and trying to make a degree of amends. 

2) And I would have ended it with Buffy going back in time and killing the last demon left on Earth, the one that spawned the first vampire and created the need for the Slayer. The creepy eye thing said the universe was out of whack because there were two Slayers, and that was allowing the First a foothold. But instead of offering to die again, Buffy decides to take out the problem at its origin. This would have created huge moral cunumdrums -- what about Angel? What about Spike? What about Dawn? if the gap is sealed once and for all, and these big bads can't slip through, then are they willing to pay the price in their own lives for saving the world from what magic and the bleeding of hell into our world has done? Buffy decides because Buffy always decides and they all go back for the  Big Epic Battle with the First Evil and a giant demon and magic or whatever, with everyone duking it out to end the menace that the world can't handle. And then have her win, have it end, and return to the recreated world. They'd have their memories of what happened but that would be it, and Buffy would have not only fulfilled the destiny of herself, but of all Slayers. That would have been a cool way to end it. You could loophole it if you wanted so Angel could have its last season, but cutting off the source of the bad would have been a better way for it to end than just having Sunnydale drop into the earth. 

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12 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

Or to have them at least mention him again. I mean, he was supposed to be Xander's best friend from childhood, but after the pilot he is never mentioned again.

He was supposed to be in Conversations With Dead People (or at least the First appearing as him) but the actor wasn't available. It's why Xander wasn't in the episode either.

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Honestly I am mostly happy with everything that happened on Buffy (with a few minor and major storyline exceptions) however I do think it was a missed opportunity for the show not to explore the Giles/Joyce relationship further.   

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The Tara return. We've all heard the story about Buffy's one wish from the PTB. 

I would've given anything to see that actually happen.

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Joss actually wanted her to do that, and they discussed it. She felt though, that it would betray the very essence of who Tara was. She couldn't bring herself to do it.

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I absolutely love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Good seasons, bad, love her. Cannot believe it has been 20 years since first episode aired. 

Every time I hear the opening credits it just gets me in the edge of my seat. Love it. Best opening credit for any show ever.

Enjoy some netfilx flashbacks this week. Buffy the Musical. Yeah.

And, perhaps to be a little controversial, I was not a Willow fan. Buffy forever.

Edited by missyb
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The season 4 premiere with Sunday.  Originally she was supposed to be a former slayer who became a vampire. Yet they dusted her right away.  I'd thought for a long time that an interesting story would have been to see what happens to a slayer who turns into a vampire, then I found out that was an idea they had and scrapped.  What a wasted opportunity!!

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I would've liked to see Drusilla be built up a lot more as a character in season 2. They could've cut a few episodes and replaced them with Drusilla-related episodes, such as Ted and Bad Eggs. 

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The most obvious one to me is that Xander should have been part of The Initiative in Season 4. Season 3 ends with Xander using his military guy skills to train and lead the Senior class against the Mayor. Then Season 4 starts up with an entire story based around the military in Sunnydale, but he's not involved in that story at all? Lame.

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Back to Sunday... I remember hearing that the character proved unexpectedly popular, kind of like a female Spike, so they had toyed with the idea of making her quintuplets that had all been turned (or had turned each other in like a 'vampire pact' kind of thing). They'd be named Monday, Tuesday, etc... and they'd each get dusted one by one, but not before creating a great deal of confusion for Buffy and the Scoobs, and wreaking a lot of havoc in Sunnydale. 

I loved that idea almost as much as the Buffy's Wish/Tara Returns idea.

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Was Buffy's wish idea ever a real idea or was that Joss just trying to spin backlash over Tara's death?  I mean,  love her, but its not as if Amber was super busy or anything. 

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Who's to say what was really going on, but Joss put it out there like it was an actual plan at one point. I don't recall why they ultimately decided not to use it. Something about it cheapening the impact of Tara's actual death... or maybe that was when she didn't want to return as The First.

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I'm all for Tara coming back somehow, but after having to sit through Season 6's entire message of how much happier Buffy was being dead and how much being alive and with your friends and family sucks, it would be kind of ridiculous for Buffy to be the one to bring her back to life.

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I didn't become a fan until years after the show ended but what I have read about Joss's alleged plans to bring Tara back gave me the strong impression he was lying to placate the Tara fans. I mean, Buffy has a wish and wishes for Tara to come back? Not for, you know, Buffy's own mother? Or, as mentioned above, refuse to resurrect anyone at all, to keep it consistent with her (IMO incredibly stupid) "it's better to be dead" attitude of season six? Lastly, Whedon has had a decade now to resurrect Tara in the comics and hasn't done it, even though there have been plenty of resurrections and retcons in them, I think it's safe to say he has no interest in doing that and probably never had.

Anyway, I am a big Tara fan and I am more than fine with that - considering what has passed for character development ever since season 5, I am pretty certain Tara would have been character assassinated just like everyone else. We saw some signs of that in season 6 already with Tara's inexplicable tolerance for Spuffy even when she learned that Spike's chip doesn't work on Buffy.

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The most obvious one to me is that Xander should have been part of The Initiative in Season 4. Season 3 ends with Xander using his military guy skills to train and lead the Senior class against the Mayor. Then Season 4 starts up with an entire story based around the military in Sunnydale, but he's not involved in that story at all? Lame.

It was indeed lame how Xander conveniently forgot those skills but to be fair, why would the Initiative recruit some guy who couldn't prove his military experience? He couldn't very well show up and say "Well, I wore a GI Joe costume on Halloween and there was a spell, you see..." Of course, the Initiative storyline was a mess, so his inclusion wouldn't have been any more unbelievable than many other parts of it but still.

Edited by Jack Shaftoe

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5 hours ago, Jack Shaftoe said:

It was indeed lame how Xander conveniently forgot those skills but to be fair, why would the Initiative recruit some guy who couldn't prove his military experience? He couldn't very well show up and say "Well, I wore a GI Joe costume on Halloween and there was a spell, you see..." Of course, the Initiative storyline was a mess, so his inclusion wouldn't have been any more unbelievable than many other parts of it but still.

Well, instead of his Kerouac misadventures, he could have enlisted in the Army, and they assigned him to The Initiative because he lived in and knew Sunnydale. He could've demonstrated some nice hand-to-hand demon-killing and -capturing techniques. 

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9 hours ago, Jack Shaftoe said:

It was indeed lame how Xander conveniently forgot those skills but to be fair, why would the Initiative recruit some guy who couldn't prove his military experience? He couldn't very well show up and say "Well, I wore a GI Joe costume on Halloween and there was a spell, you see..." Of course, the Initiative storyline was a mess, so his inclusion wouldn't have been any more unbelievable than many other parts of it but still.

It's not exactly hard to get into the military if you're an able bodied young person with a clean record. I got recruitment calls from both the Army and Navy when I was an 18 year old who had no immediate plans to attend a college.

Xander's military guy skills/memories could have made him stand out quickly along with his being an actual Sunnydale resident drawing the interest of The Initiative.

We also know that the government was monitoring Sunnydale and recruiting SHS students as far back as Season 1 (Marcie in Out of Mind, Out of Sight). Presumably the guy who managed to break into a military base and steal a rocket launcher that was used to blow up a demon in a shopping mall and then helped train/lead a group of students in a fight against a horde of vampires and a giant snake at their high school graduation could have been on their radar.

Edited by Perfect Xero
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RE: Slayer who becomes a Vampire:  I think there was a book (name escapes me) which had one as a main character.

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Of course it's not hard to get into the military but The Initiative was supposed to be some sort of an elite group of commandos, not just any random bunch of soldiers. As I said, Xander ending up as a member of it wouldn't have been more implausible than much of the stuff that did end up happening but still it would have been quite contrived indeed. Mind you, it would most likely have been a big improvement compared to the "Xander the buttmonkey" sorry excuse of a storyline he ended up having in S4, but that's not exactly much of an achievement.

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But which made for good story in Buffy season 10 when Dracula returned, again. 

Are we including the comic books in this conversation, because I recently went back to them and loving them hard.

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4 hours ago, Jack Shaftoe said:

Of course it's not hard to get into the military but The Initiative was supposed to be some sort of an elite group of commandos, not just any random bunch of soldiers. As I said, Xander ending up as a member of it wouldn't have been more implausible than much of the stuff that did end up happening but still it would have been quite contrived indeed.

I don't agree that it would be particularly contrived. Like I said, Xander stole a rocket launcher from a military base and it was later used to blow up a demon in a very public place. He was then out front leading and shouting orders to a group of high school students fighting an army of vampires at their graduation. I think it's very plausible that either or both of those things would have got him on The Initiative's radar. They could have also, if we're rewriting storylines a bit, been aware of Buffy being the Slayer and gone after Xander specifically to get an inside track with her.

On another note, if I'm writing Xander in to the Initiative, I'd also write Riley out of it. Make Riley exactly what he seemed to be at first, a nice normal guy who Buffy could meet and date in college after her crazy tortured high school romance with Angel.

1 hour ago, Willowy said:

But which made for good story in Buffy season 10 when Dracula returned, again. 

Are we including the comic books in this conversation, because I recently went back to them and loving them hard.

Turning Xander into Dracula's butt monkey was exactly the sort of thing that caused me to stop reading the comics, I put up with crap like that on a show that I watched for free, I wasn't going to pay $4 an issue to be see more of a character I like continue to be treated like shit by the writers.

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Xander triumphs in 10, and he and Drac part as friends.

Is this supposed to be a good thing? In my opinion, the only way to salvage that trainwreck of a storyline would have been to stake Dracula but Joss once again has the protagonists  let the serial killer live for no good reason. He can't even bring himself to kill off Harmony...

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I don't agree that it would be particularly contrived. Like I said, Xander stole a rocket launcher from a military base and it was later used to blow up a demon in a very public place.

Wouldn't that be a reason to send Xander to jail rather than to an elite commando unit?

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11 hours ago, Jack Shaftoe said:

Wouldn't that be a reason to send Xander to jail rather than to an elite commando unit?

Not if they think he could be more valuable as a member of that unit.

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Well... I thought it was a good thing, Jack. Whether you do or not is none of my business. 

It was really well done and kind of lovely and maybe you should read it before judging?

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Make Riley exactly what he seemed to be at first, a nice normal guy who Buffy could meet and date in college after her crazy tortured high school romance with Angel.

But then Hush wouldn't have had the same impact and that episode is nearly perfect as is.

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9 hours ago, Jsage said:

But then Hush wouldn't have had the same impact and that episode is nearly perfect as is.

Riley's involvement in Hush is pretty far down the list of things I remember about the episode, honestly.

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On 22/04/2017 at 11:00 PM, Delphi said:

Was Buffy's wish idea ever a real idea or was that Joss just trying to spin backlash over Tara's death?  I mean,  love her, but its not as if Amber was super busy or anything. 

I remember seeing Amber Benson in person (she was opening the Salt Lake Library back in 2004) and she was asked this question (since the show was still pretty fresh on everybody's minds at this point.

I can confirm she said she was offered by Joss to return as The First for CWDP and she turned him down for the reasons stated above. I am guessing with her turning down the role in CWDP, it nixed the future ideas Mutant Enemy toyed with Buffy using to bring her back with her wish (I recall it being something along the lines of Buffy alluding to using it on boots, Willow was exasperated at the idea of wasting a wish on boots, only for Buffy to say 'no silly' and step aside and have Tara standing behind her).

The one I recall the initial plan with Maggie Walsh was that she suppose to have a much bigger role in Season 4 (and be the big bad). And other then being Buffy's mentor, was to be seen as another Mother figure to Buffy, thus the season was suppose to end with Buffy having conflict dealing with a Good Mum vs Bad Mum scenario (Joyce was to have a bigger part). Of course the actress Lindsay Crouse quit (I think she was only a day player and under no contract), thus having to rewrite the storyline with Adam (who was suppose to be a Monster of the Week deal) as the Big Bad.

That would've been quiet interesting in theory as Maggie would've been a human big bad with no magical or supernatural elements (only trying to control them) and thus her Big Badness came from a very human place. (being misguided in her beliefs and human failings as opposed to be twirling her mustache while tying Pauline to the train tracks while cackling loudly)

I have to wonder how many potential storylines where canned due to actors not being available. I biggest clearly would've been Kate Lockley in Angel due Elizabeth Rohm getting a role a leading role in Law & Order and thus her storyline ending very suddenly (it had an ending (abiet open-ended), none the less it was very sudden).

I remember Eric Balfour and Bianca  Lawson having active film & tv careers during that period which may of caused issues with coordinating them for a return appearance on the show (this is just in theory - I have no idea if Mutant Enemy ever tossed around the ideas  bringing Jessie and Kendra back for an episode of two).

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8 hours ago, Robert said:

Of course the actress Lindsay Crouse quit (I think she was only a day player and under no contract), thus having to rewrite the storyline with Adam (who was suppose to be a Monster of the Week deal) as the Big Bad.

I don't recall Lindsay quitting.   She gave an interview for the Watcher's Guide book about how she was very excited about her character so she went up to Joss to ask about her character arc and what she was going to do next and how he gleefully told her that Maggie was going to be slaughtered by Adam. 

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3 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

 

 

As for the Tara wish story, I think that was an idea that Joss might have toyed around with in his head at the time, but I don't think he was ever serious about the idea. If anything he probably said it to be the "hero" at Comic Con or wherever he said it.

This makes so much sense. I have always wondered at Amber Benson's objection at playing Evil!Tara if Joss tried to sell her the pay-off of Good!Tara returning.

Saying that, since most TV actors seem to relish playing a one off evil/mirror universe version of their characters (thinking Nana Visitor in Deep Space 9 as the best example), it is interesting, if rather refreshing, for Amber Benson to have taken a rather holistic position on it, even if it costs her money.

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13 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

They only did the Pylea arc on Angel, because Christian Kane and Julie Benz were not available for the final episodes of the second Angel season.

What a shame.

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For what it's worth, I once had a third-hand connection to someone who worked on Buffy, so I'd occasionally have access to snippets of behind-the-scenes info. I did hear that Tara was supposed to come back from the dead for real in season 7 -- and I heard this before Joss went public with the "Buffy's wish" storyline. So I don't think that was just Joss lying to make nicey-nice.

As I understand it, while Benson may have been uncomfortable with the idea of playing First-as-Tara, she would've known that it was intended to lead up to the real Tara's resurrection, and the reason she didn't return had more to do with the parties just failing to reach an agreement on terms -- scheduling or salary or what have you.

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On 12/15/2017 at 9:59 PM, nosleepforme said:

She was also not available at the time, so it was kind of a mixture of both, not wanting to play evil Tara and not having time to do it. Additionally, there was a lot of controversy around Tara's death, because it was the Lesbian character that got killed, so she got a lot of feedback by people who were upset that she died, since she was one of the few Lesbian characters on TV at the time. However, the one thing that she said she would have liked to have done on the show, but never got the chance to, was to have a fight scene.

I hung around The Kitten Board back in the day. I remember the dead lesbian controversy way too well :/

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Not a missed storyline, but Deadpool 2 coming out soon has reminded me that I've always wanted a peek into an Alternate Universe where Ryan Reynolds took the part of Xander when it was offered to him.

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On ‎25‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 1:08 PM, Robert said:

I hung around The Kitten Board back in the day. I remember the dead lesbian controversy way too well :/

Yeah, that did seem to be a recurring theme, Dark Angel etc. 

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Xander was done, for better or for worse after "Kick His Ass."

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2 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

Anybody think Xander's development would have been handled differently if Ryan Reynolds would have been cast ?

I think so, for a few reasons.

1. Reynolds strikes me as the type to be far more likely to push back and fight for his character/image than NB was.

2. If they didn't give him better stuff to do, he'd have probably dropped of the show the same way that Seth Greene did in Season 4 or 5.

3. If he did make it to the UPN years they'd have found a lot more excuses to have shirtless Xander.

 

2 hours ago, Dee said:

Xander was done, for better or for worse after "Kick His Ass."

With a certain segment of the fans? Maybe. Considering some of the things other characters on Buffy/Angel did and then managed to stick around/become even more important, Kick His Ass doesn't even seem like that big of a deal to bounce back from.

Not addressing it or doing anything with it (until it randomly came back up 5 years later for one episode), was definitely a missed opportunity.

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It was that moment that solidified Xander as a perpetual lightning rod for the fans and nixed any future potential pairing with Buffy (and to a lesser extent Willow) imo.

I'd go so far as to argue it was that moment that eventually led to the never-ending horror that was Spuffy.

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7 hours ago, Perfect Xero said:

I think so, for a few reasons.

1. Reynolds strikes me as the type to be far more likely to push back and fight for his character/image than NB was.

2. If they didn't give him better stuff to do, he'd have probably dropped of the show the same way that Seth Greene did in Season 4 or 5.

3. If he did make it to the UPN years they'd have found a lot more excuses to have shirtless Xander.

 

With a certain segment of the fans? Maybe. Considering some of the things other characters on Buffy/Angel did and then managed to stick around/become even more important, Kick His Ass doesn't even seem like that big of a deal to bounce back from.

Not addressing it or doing anything with it (until it randomly came back up 5 years later for one episode), was definitely a missed opportunity.

No, I can't imagine anyone but Nic in the part, he was such a good looking and endearing character yet he succeeded in selling his simultaneous geekdom, it's an interesting parallel with Alysson, you buy her as the cute nerd even when FHM vote her the 11th sexiest woman in the world. 

 As for the famous moment  it was a necessary sacrifice, much like Giles killing Ben or lying to her about why he needs the details of defeating Acathla or Wes lying to the Pylean rebels or Illyria pretending to Wes at the end. 

7 hours ago, Dee said:

It was that moment that solidified Xander as a perpetual lightning rod for the fans and nixed any future potential pairing with Buffy (and to a lesser extent Willow) imo.

I'd go so far as to argue it was that moment that eventually led to the never-ending horror that was Spuffy.

Deep inside I still hope for Xuffy and even Xillow (thought I was in luck with the season 8 comics but alas). as for Spuffy it was giving in to a small but vocal minority of fans. The girl needed some monster in her man (as Get It Done explained) and I think the fandom did too, as Riley demonstrated.   

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