I was rewatching Season 2 of Buffy last night and it occured to me that the Surprise / Innocence episodes are perhap the true dark heart of the series. Much is made of the search for the truth of the First Slayer but that only explains one aspect.
The major underlying theme of Buffy is losing control and insanity, for instance the “Earshot” episode where she can read everybody’s thoughts which begins to make her insane and that creepy episode in Season 5 where she imagines that she is in the insane asylum. There is a perfectly good rationale for this to be real as well.
Buffy’s grip on sanity is tenuous at best. The Spike and Drusilla partnership reflects Buffy and Giles. I had thought it was Buffy and Angel but Angel is the locus around which Buffy and Dru circle, taunting each other with their respective states of sanity. In the extended family Buffy and Giles look after each other whilst Spike and Dru exchange parental places. The dream sequences bear this out whilst Buffy and Drusilla circle around each other in Buffy’s dreams and then both hold parties which resemble each other’s in size of crowd and warehouse location.
Perhaps its a comment on the difficulty of holding down a secret life, one which Buffy must admit Joyce to once Angel turns into Angelus. Eventually it will take its toll and the balanced person will retain their sanity. Alternatively, sometimes you just have to run away. Drusilla unnerves Buffy because she is the older and darker version of her; she is clearly her nemesis and potential being. Its all part of growing up.
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