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Restless: Leaving Childhood Behind
by Shadowcat


Introduction: Leaving Childhood Behind
(* All quotes are taken from Psyche Transcripts. I also quoted from three amazing responses to my original thread: Linda De Lurker, Rahael, and Leslie. Thanks ladies - you enriched this analysis.)

Before I start this analysis, a quick apology to those who so astutely pointed out that the Apocalypse Now reference in Restless is not about Spike or Willow, it's about Buffy. They are right. It hit me like a load of bricks this morning on the train while reading Heart of Darkness. In the movie Lt. Willard is on a boat with a group of companions, one is a seasoned skipper, one a young rookie, one a fairly intellectual type who appears to read a lot and hates violence, and a farm fed surfer boy. During the journey, each of these companions is slowly stripped away from him. The first to go is the young/hellbent rookie. Then - the seasoned captain. Finally Willard is left with two companions - the intellectual and the surfer boy when he enters Kurtz's domain, the Heart of Darkness. The intellectual is killed off. The surfer boy joins Kurtz's band. Willard is alone at the end with Kurtz and leaves the jungle more or less alone. (I'm not positive - but I think the surfer boy leaves on the boat with him after Kurtz is killed, changed by the experience as well. But the surfer boy in no way aids him in his battle with Kurtz or the darkness. The two are separated and remain more or less separated even as they travel back down the river together. No longer companions so much as just fellow travelers.)

It is important to note that two episodes before Restless - in the Yoko Factor - our gang was successfully split apart by innuendos spread by Spike. The innuendos he uses to split them apart relate to their life goals, significant others, and insecurities about how each of the others see them. They only get back together in Primeval because of Spike. He hints to Buffy that he spoke to each of them and that is the reason they split apart. Spike, however, knows something the Scooby Gang don't - that he really had nothing to do with it. As Spike puts it in his speech to Adam - their split is inevitable. It's not a matter of if, so much as when. (Edited for length. Yoko Factor, Btvs Season 4)

Spike: It's, uh . . called the Yoko Factor. Don't tell me you've never heard of the Beatles? The point is, they were once a real powerful group. It's not a stretch to say they ruled the world. And when they broke up everyone blamed Yoko, but the fact is the group split itself apart, she just happened to be there. And you know how it is with kids. They go off to college, they grow apart. Way of the world.

Yoko Factor is the key to understanding the dreams in Restless. In Yoko Factor, each character states to the others their fears and Spike expertly picks at them and forces them to the surface, using them to break the gang apart. Here are the insecurities in the order of the analysis:

1. Willow: Spike indicates that Xander and Buffy think she's being trendy and into the new thing, you know "wicca". Willow - sees that as meaning Tara. And states very clearly two important lines: "It's not today! Buffy, things have been wrong for a while! Don't you see that?" and " Well, they certainly haven't been right, since Tara. We have to face it. You can't handle Tara being my girlfriend."

2.Xander: Spike indicates to Xander that his friends think he's an idiot who wouldn't make it in the army. And Xander states three important lines: "No! It was bad before that! Since you two went off to college and forgot about me! Just left me in the basement to-- (turns on Willow in shock) Tara's your girlfriend?" "And if I did join the Army, I'd be great! You know why? 'Cause they might give me a job that couldn't be done by any well-trained border collie." " (to Buffy) Just because you're better than us doesn't mean that you can be all superior!"

3. Giles: Spike tells Giles that she no longer needs him, treats him like a retired librarian without a job. Giles gets drunk.

4. Buffy - Spike doesn't try with Buffy, he knows she can see through him. But Buffy - says two things, first I'll do it alone and second, I always knew there was never a prophecy about a chosen one and her friends. Then Willow says a very important line: "Oh, great. And then when you have your new "no arms" we can all say "Gee, it's a good thing we weren't there getting in the way of that!"

Remember these lines, because these are what's in our characters heads when they do the Primeval spell and call on the essence of the first slayer and these are the insecurities the first slayer uses against them in their dreams. At the heart of each statement is the character's own deep fear of inadequacy, a fear that echoes our own.

In the beginning of Restless, our gang is still happily ensconced in the comfort of the old days, of childhood, when they joined forces, defeated the monster and returned hand in hand to their nice safe haven to unwind. Comfort TV at it's best. They are in fact ensconced in front of one. Their safe haven? Buffy's house. Buffy's Mom has just provided them with treats. Riley has just left to be debriefed. Tara, Anya and Spike are nowhere in evidence. It is the "fab four" - without any of those annoying little things that almost split them apart in the Yoko Factor, such as new friends, jobs, or annoying significant others that don't quite fit in with the group. They just joined their essences to save the world for the hundredth time. They are wired and the scene is reminiscent of the good old days of high school.

Then they put in the tape - and it is telling that the tape they decide to watch is Apocalypse Now - which Xander describes as "a gay romp" and Willow describes as "heart-of-darkness-y". They barely make it past the FBI Warning label before falling fast asleep.

The dream is often used in film, television, and literature to show us a glimpse of the characters' interior lives, what they are thinking, what they fear, it also can be used to foreshadow future events. In Restless - our fab four's dreams do all of the above, they also depict the strengths and weaknesses of each of the Gang. As has been pointed out on numerous occasions, the fab four represent four key strengths of the slayer : animus (heart), spiritus (spirit), sophus (intellect), and maus (hand). It's a bit like a band: drums, bass, vocals/composition, rhythm piano. You need all four to make music and you need all four to defeat monsters. But in life, there comes a time in which you need to define yourself separate from the band and find a way of incorporating all four in yourself - as the members of The Beatles did with differing results. Apocalypse Now states somewhat the same thesis - Willard knows from the outset that there will come a time in which he will have to act alone, he may even have to fight against his companions. Buffy realizes the same thing, but resists this knowledge, in the same manner that John Lennon may have resisted it for a while.

Part I : Willow's Dream : A Trial of Spirit

(Warning: there may be Future Spoilers ahead, but I will endeavor to avoid them, partly because I have now gone off spoilers for good, so know nothing past what was released five weeks back - which I more or less had already guessed on my own.)

Willow has always fascinated me, partly because she was me in school as my dear old mother recently reminded me. (Dang! I so wanted it to be Buffy. And something tells me so did Willow.) Her dream on the surface appears to focus on her fears, both real and imaginary. Yet, when we dig deeper, we start to see other things, small, apparently inconsequential things come to the surface.

Let's start with Tara. Tara is an interesting character - but oddly underdeveloped. It wasn't until Season 5, that we ever really got a sense of her. At first I thought this was a fault in the writing, now I'm beginning to wonder if it might not have been deliberate. She seems to mainly be used as a guide or to represent the spirit in Restless.

When the dream opens - Willow is in her dorm room writing in Greek on Tara's back.
First: "Tara's nakedness is a sign to us of her truthfulness and lack of costume. While Willow, (as you will see) worries about her 'costume' and her part in the play, Tara appears as someone with no hidden motives. All she is clothed in is a beautiful poem about love."(credit to the amazing Rahael on the ATP board.) Rahael went on to provide me with information on Sappho, the author of the Greek poem on Tara's naked back - "The fact that its by Sappho is equally significant. She lived in the island of Lesbos around 6BC. It appears that women in Lesbos had an unusual degree of freedom there. Sappho was famous as a great poet, though now we only have one complete poem, and many little fragments. A lot of the poems were about women's love for women, so hence the terms 'Sapphic' and 'Lesbian'. But Sappho appears to be bisexual." For more information on Sappho see : http://www.tufts.edu/org/hellenic/kazazis/sappho.html.

Linda De Lurker provided the translation of Greek poem on a thread in B C & S -it's too long to do all of it here, so go to www.buffyguide.com/episodes/restless.html, under the "Notes" section to read all of it. Here's the part I want to emphasize: "And if she does not receive my gifts, she will give; And if she does not love me, swiftly she will love; Even against her will." Linda states: "Willow only writes the first few lines on Tara's back. I always though that it was a love poem to Tara…Tara is the one who left the "golden house of her father" to stay with Willow in FAMILY. Also there seem to be some references to Willow playing with Tara's memory." (By the way I bow to Linda in analysis of Willow - she did an amazing post on it a while back on B C & S board.) The references are definitely in those last few lines - which oddly enough aren't in the poem reproduced on the Sappho site, different translations? I think Btvs probably meant it to be the translation on their website, so I'll analyze it from that perspective. But before I do I want to reiterate - the point is Willow is like Sappho, in probably every way in this scene. And as is clearly stated in Yoko Factor, she is very uncomfortable with how her friends may be viewing this. Tara on the other hand, only cares what Willow thinks. Which is ironic - considering Willow uses magic in future episodes to control Tara. She doesn't do it to bend the other's wills so much.

"And if she does not love me, swiftly she will love, even against her will." We've seen Willow consider this approach in the past with OZ in Wild at Heart. She actually does it in Something Blue (on the SG, Season 4) and in All the Way (Season 6) on Tara. Using magic to make the world outside similar to the one in your head. This reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode where a little boy bends reality forcing his family and friends to conform to whatever is in his head. From the moment Willow meets Tara their relationship is founded on magic. It starts from an erotic power charge they get from blocking the Gentlemen in Hush. In fact if you closely examine most of the episodes regarding Willow and Tara - you'll see them practicing some form of magic. Willow is usually generating the magic and Tara is guiding or regulating it. Willow was pretty powerful before Tara - Something Blue certainly proved that. But unregulated. She couldn't control her magic. Tara supplies that control. With Tara's help and possibly moral compass - Willow is able to harness and control the magical forces within her. Only one problem with this - Willow is starting to rely on Tara to provide that compass, what happens if the moral compass or guide is stripped away? Will Willow choke on the emotional overload?

Another thing I'd like to point out about this scene is how they are lying: Tara is on the bed and Willow is over her, painting on Tara's bare back. They are side by side, dark and light lying together hand in hand. Tara is the thought, the light, the order in this relationship while Willow is the dark, murky, chaotic emotion. Odd. Up until Season 3, Btvs - I always thought of Willow as light. Peel the onion and we find Vamp Willow underneath in Dopplegangland in Btvs Season 3. Peel it again - and vengeance demon Willow in Something Blue, peel it again and we get DarkWillow in Tough Love, Season 5 and again and we get PowerWillow in Bargaining Part I Season 6. In each case, except Bargaining - Tara's magic was not present. The struggle here is not so much one between good and evil as much as one between order and chaos. Before we go on - there are two other mystics who bear comparing: Giles and Ethan. Ethan worships Chaos. Giles worships order. There is good and evil in both men. In Halloween (Btvs Season 2), what does Giles say when he discovers the source of the chaotic magic spell?

Giles: Janus. Roman mythical god.
Willow: What does this mean?
Giles: Primarily the division of self. Male and female, light and dark.

In this episode, we see the path Giles did not take, but his chum did. Ethan Rayne. As he later states in a New Man (Btvs Season 4):

Ethan: We used to be friends, Ripper. When did all that fall apart?
Giles: The same time you started to worship chaos.

Back to Willow's dream. She is in her dorm room with Tara, safe. It is dark; they are on the bed.
TARA: I think it's strange. I mean, I think I should worry that we haven't found her name.
WILLOW: Who, Miss Kitty?
TARA: You'd think she'd let us know her name by now.
WILLOW: She will. She's not all grown yet.
TARA: You're not worried?
WILLOW: I never worry here. (Smile) I'm safe here.
TARA: You don't know everything about me.
WILLOW: Have you told me your real name?
TARA: Oh, you know that.(Willow smiles, reaches for something.)(Shot of a paintbrush dipping into ink jars.) They will find out, you know.(Shot of Willow's face.)About you.

What is fascinating about this scene is who appears to be in control and who really is. Willow is painting on Tara and appears to be inflicting her will on her submissive partner. Yet Tara is obliquely pointing out all sorts of troubling things to Willow - something she continues to do throughout Willow's dream. Who are you Willow? What is your name? Where are you going? Do you really think you can stay here forever? Willow believes she's safe in the room, just as she's safe in Buffy's house, she's safe with Tara - nothing can hurt her here. But Tara is pointing out that that is not true. (Following is edited for length.)

(The camera pulls back so we can see Tara is lying face-down on her bed, naked, and Willow is painting on her back.)
TARA: You've never taken drama before.(Shot of Willow dipping the paintbrush again, moving it across to Tara's back, which is covered with Greek symbols.) Might miss something important.
WILLOW: I don't wanna leave here.
TARA: Why not?
(Willow stands up, looking down at Tara. She turns away toward a dark red curtain. Walks over to it.)
WILLOW: It's so bright.(Pulls back the curtain to reveal a brightly sunlit desert. The light falls on Tara, who looks over.)And there's
something out there.

Direct reference in the camera work to the light and dark in this scene: Tara is the light and Willow is the dark. (Willow stands up - looking down at Tara. She turns away toward a dark red curtain…When she pulls open the curtain - the light falls on Tara.)
Willow opens the window - Tara is exposed to whatever is out there. Willow doesn't want to leave the room, doesn't want to leave the comforting darkness for the blinding light. Tara keeps telling her she has to. You have to exit into the light. But to do what? To take drama? Drama is class on artifice - role playing. You can hide on the stage behind a character or role. The audience doesn't see you. You're hidden beneath makeup and costums and wigs. Yet Willow fears her drama class, she is avoiding it. Why? Is it because she's already hiding, already role-playing? And who is Tara to Willow? Her lover? Her safe-haven?

The dream shifts to Xander and OZ who are portrayed in a high school setting. (Interesting Willow has gone back to high school to perform, her nightmare takes place in the high school setting, while the safe place is in a college dorm room.) Xander makes fun of Willow's magic to OZ as well as her relationship to Tara. "So whatcha been doin'? Doing spells? (To Oz) She does spells with Tara." Then later: "Sometimes I think about two women doing a spell ... and then I do a spell by myself." A sexual reference which relates back to the Yoko Factor where Spike tells Willow that Xander said her whole "wicca" thing with Tara was just dabbling. (Of course Spike is referring to the whole gay thing - which is what Willow clearly picks up on.) It wasn't important. It was "Trendy". And of course we know Xander is shocked that Tara is Willow's girlfriend. In the dream Xander almost appears to making fun of her. And in Season 6 - again we see Xander not really taking the magic thing all that seriously. In Older and Far Away - he actually suggests Willow try it. And in Once More With Feeling - he actually does one himself. He does however take her relationship with Tara seriously - at least in later episodes. It's magic he seems to shrug off. Neither appears to have a great deal of respect for magic, although in Xander's defense he really only plays with it twice: 1.Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered and in 2.OMWF. Both times it is the result of relationship insecurities. But Willow clearly perceives him as not taking her seriously.

Now we come to the most difficult part of the dream to analyze. The play. It is interestingly enough Death of A Salesman - which is about a salesman who is no longer at the top of his game. He has been at it too long and the world as well as his family have moved past him. But he refuses to give up his wonderful past and his own mighty image of himself - even if it means the destruction of his family and himself in the process. He refuses to see the world as it is. It is an ironic play about the death of a man's spirit, his hope. The irony is that it is the salesman who kills his spirit not the people around him. Willow is in a similar situation - she is in danger of killing her own spirit by her increased dependence on dark magic to make herself look better, to enhance her own image. She like Wily Loman in the play is relying on exterior elements to define her self-worth.

In her dream - the play is chaotic. There is no order. Although several characters repeatedly try to enforce order on the proceedings. Giles - the head honcho of order - as has already been established in Halloween and A New Man, is the director, but he appears to have no control. Willow attempts to instill order - by stating that this isn't Death of A Salesman - there's no cowboy in this play. But she is pushed aside and congratulated on her costume. What's interesting is Willow is the only one not in costume. Or so she believes. Willow at this point doesn't see herself as hiding.

Each of the characters in the play can be analyzed on at least two levels - first as archetypes and second what they reveal about the actual characters:

1.Buffy/Flapper Girl - she has been analyzed on several threads as Sally Bowles from Caberet -but the transcript describes her as dressed as the lead character in "Chicago": short straight black hair, short tight black dress. This is a dim blond named Roxy, who killed her lover, got arrested and made a big splash. Fame through murder. The classic femme fatal archetype, the ditz who gets away with murder. No brains - but boy can she kill you. I think Buffy actually fits this description far better than the Sally Bowels image, after all she did kill Angel right after Willow cured him. Who's having the dream? Willow. It is through Willow's subconscious that we see Buffy. Willow has always seen Buffy as not incredibly bright - remember Willow had to help her make it through high school. Also Willow may see Buffy as flitting from one man to the next, as being a "flapper" or gay chicky who just happens to be the hero. The super strong superhero who struggles with school. That cheerleader, us smart girls loved to hate. Buffy appears in three guises in Willow's dream: flapper, Buffy her pal, and the slayer. Also it is Buffy who rips away Willow's clothes and forces Willow to deal with the insecure girl underneath. It is also Buffy who tells Willow that her whole family is in the front row and that Willow is in costume, that her clothes and exterior image aren't real. "Ohmigod. The place is packed. Everybody's here! Your whole family's in the front row, and they look really angry. Your costume is perfect. Nobody's gonna know the truth. You know, about you."

2.Cowboy Guy/Riley. When Riley shows up in the dream, he tells Willow that he got to play Cowboy Guy. "Well, you showed up late, or you'd have a better part. (Smiling) I'm Cowboy Guy." Five lines later " I showed up on time, so I got to be Cowboy Guy." He says this twice. And Riley truly is "cowboy guy" as an archetype. The stalwart good guy in the white hat - who rushes to the rescue. John Wayne! Or Dudley Do-Right! With his white horse or rather helicopter, guns that well, don't work, and nifty devices. Yet - in the scene with Buffy and Harmony that later follows - he appears to be forsaking both women. Harmony is sobbing and Buffy is railing at him. (It could as easily be Spike as Riley in this scene. In fact, oddly enough Riley appears in Willow and Buffy's dreams but not Xander and Giles while Spike appears in Xander/Giles but not Willow and Buffy's - slight digression I know but worth noting for later. Especially since I think the two characters have been metaphorically combined somehow in the dreams, with the girls giving Riley dominance, and the guys giving Spike dominance - well that's a whole other essay by itself. End digression.) Cowboy Riley rides into town to find a man - a sales man (read dealer/ read Spike) and that is his sole purpose, after all he is John Wayne, rid the town of the villain and ride away leaving the women sobbing in your wake. Cowboy guy.

3. Giles/Director - this is the only time Giles appears in Willow's dream and here his role is as director of a play that seems Puppet Show - I can see why she put him in the role in her head - Giles was the director of the variety show where poor Willow was forced against her will to perform way back in Season 1. She left that stage in terror just as she leaves this one. Giles also tells her : "Acting is not about behaving, it's about hiding. The audience wants to find you, strip you naked, and eat you alive, so hide." And that's what Willow is desperately trying to do throughout her dream, hide. Giles, she sees as the Director of this catastrophe as well as the one advising her what to do: hide. Makes sense when you think about it. After all wasn't it Giles who introduced Willow to magic? And isn't it through magic that Willow found the means to hide? To change her world by enforcing her own sense of order upon it?

4. Harmony/Milkmaid and Vampire: Sweet & friendly surface with a biting nasty brat lurking below. Remember - in Graduation Day Part II - Willow mentioned the fact she'd miss Harmony? And wanted Harmony to sign her yearbook? Also when she sees Harmony in the alley - she lets down her guard long enough for Harmony to actually bite her? Harmony is sweet on the surface to Willow but biting underneath - sweet milkmaid, biting vamp. Here's her first line in Willow's dream: "Isn't this exciting? Our first production! I can't wait till our scene! I love you! Oh! (Hugs Willow. Suddenly drops the fake friendly act.) Don't step on my cues." (A poster, who I cannot remember the name of mentioned - that Harmony may also represent Willow's disapproving mother. She tells Willow not to step on her cues, just as Willow's mother pushes Willow repeatedly aside in Gingerbread (Season 3 Btvs.))

Tara continues to act as Willow's guide during this episode, flitting in and out, like a spirit guide. She reminds Willow that the play isn't the point. (What happens with Riley and salesman is not important - hmmm, are the writers trying to tell us that As You Were wasn't as important as it looked? Not sure. But I digress - that whole salesman scene with Riley/Buffy/Harmony reminds me of As You Were. Particularly Buffy's speech: "But what else could I expect from a bunch of low-rent, no-account hoodlums like you? Hoodlums, yes, I mean you and your friends, your whole sex, throw 'em in the sea for all I care, throw 'em in and wait for the bubbles, men with your groping and spitting all groin no brain three billion of you passing around the same worn-out urge. Men! With your ... sales!" Makes me think of Spike and Riley and Spuffy sex this season, but filtered through Willow's eyes. More evidence that Spike/Riley may be combined in the dream. And Willow remember is "gay now" - as she even states in Bloodties when Buffy states "no more men, don't need them", Willow - "preaching to the choir here.") Tara tries to tell Willow the point is: "Everyone's starting to wonder about you. The real you. If they find out, they'll punish you, I ... I can't help you with that." Who is the real Willow? Does Willow even know? She's so busy trying to hide it, that she may have lost track of it. Then Tara is suddenly gone and Willow is running from the first slayer again, until she runs smack into Buffy and this time it's high school Buffy. High School Buffy tells Willow she must have done something to make the slayer come after her. But Willow states: "No. I never do anything. I'm very seldom naughty." Then Buffy asks why she's still in costume. Willow and the audience are clueless. Until Buffy
strips it off. "BUFFY: Oh, for god's sake, just take it off.
(Spins Willow around and rips her clothes off.)(Shot of Willow in her nerdy schoolgirl outfit and long straight hair from BTVS first season. Holding some paper.)"

Poor Willow is now relegated to the role she played when she first met Buffy. The girl that Cordelia describes as getting to know the softer side of Sears. That girl is always present in Willow's head. Amy gets her to go out in Smashed by stating - "Or ... maybe ... you'd rather sit home all night, alone, like in high school." Willow would do anything not to be that girl, as she tells Buffy in Wrecked: "I mean ... if you could be ... you know, plain old Willow or super Willow, who would you be?" This is something Buffy can't understand - which Willow knows - Buffy is flapper girl and slayer girl…she doesn't see Willow. Tara does, but Tara and OZ in the last scene of Willow's dream are laughing sniggering. "OZ: (to Tara) I tried to warn you." And Xander is acting like she's unimportant, that what she does - doesn't even matter. And who put her front and center - who ripped off her costume? Buffy. And it's Buffy who does nothing to save her when the first slayer rips out her soul.

A few final dream points:

1. Willow is doing a report on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. As Willow herself states: this book has many themes, not just the obvious ones. It's a childhood book with a Witch and a Lion doing battle. The Witch is symbolic of Chaos while the lion, Aslan, represents order. When the Witch is in control -it is cold, white, demons reign, and the world is chaotic. Aslan by sacrificing himself, in a very Christ-like crucifixion scene, restores order to the chaos. Once again we have Janus - order/chaos.
Another possible interpretation of this book was presented by leslie on the ATP board, and I almost prefer her analysis to mine: " Just within this dream, Willow and Tara have been discussing their shared pet, Miss Kitty--the "lion." Part of Willow's self-identity confusion revolves around her use of magic--the "witch." And even more so, around her anxieties about acknowledging her lesbianism--coming out of the closet, the "wardrobe." All of these are the things she shares with Tara, the things she earlier had said she liked having just to herself, not sharing with the SG--yet in her dream, she has to report on them to her whole high school class. Yet, although this part of the dream seems to cut to her most vulnerable aspect--dressed in her geeky high school clothes (high school never ends)--what she is actually saying to them, if they would only hear it, is that she is *not* this geek they see before them: she's a lesbian and a witch, she's powerful, and she doesn't need the men who have rejected her (Xander and Oz)." (Amazing post - and I think probably what the writers intended, since all they state is the title of the story and the line: this book has many themes. Also everyone interrupts her with laughter. I give full credit to leslie on the ATP board for this one.)

2. The Bald Man Or Cheese Man- is also about enforcing a sense of order onto chaos. He mentions to Willow in the midst of the chaotic play: "I've made a little space for the cheese slices." (He shows her a table with slices of American cheese laid neatly in a row.) His little orderly place for the cheese Willow dismisses out of hand. Willow's dream is chaotic, restless, while on the surface Willow even in her dream appears to represent order, calm.

3. When the dream ends - Willow is literally choking on the chaotic emotions inside her, the order her spirit had imposed on them stripped from her by the first slayer.

In Willow's dream we see the duality of several characters. Buffy is both the ditzy flapper girl and the hard slayer saving her friends. Xander is the smart alec friend and the cruel classmate. Harmony is the sweet friendly milkmaid and the biting social climber. Riley is the Cowboy and the cardboard actor with no substance, rushing to the rescue but leaving chaos in his wake. Giles is the director attempting to install order yet losing control by his inability to understand the actors needs, the absentminded professor if you will. Tara is the spirit guide, kind supportive, yet also judgmental and forcing Willow to face what's inside. And finally Willow - Willow is the geeky nerdy girl doing the book report and the girl controlling Tara with a spell. Janus - the duality of male and female, light and dark lying side by side. Even Willow's book: the Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe expresses this theme of dark and light - in the Witch (female dark chaotic) and Aslan - the Lion (male light order.) The question posed at the end of Willow's dream is will she be able to incorporate both or will the chaotic emotions boiling up inside destroy her spirit and consume her light?

Part of growing up is learning how to deal with past transgressions and one's identity, whether that be sexual, spiritual or mental. Willow has never figured out how to do this. She either bottles it up inside or lashes out. In fact - the source of her power, may be all those dark bottled up emotions boiling up inside her. Instead of dealing, she hides or represses under a sweet facade, bottling up even more.

On her journey - Willow slips into the pitfalls of Kurtz in The Heart of Darkness. Or the surfer boy in Apocalypse Now - who looks forward to the trip but can't deal with the pain he finds on the other side. Like Kurtz and the surfer boy, Willow is an idealist. She believes the world should be a bright and rosy place and worse, believes she has the power to make it so. She doesn't. The problem with trying to save the world - is sometimes it's a chore just trying to save yourself.

It's ironic really - because Willow always came across as the most moral and non-judgmental of the group. She accepted everyone - even Faith, at first. Her spirit held them together. But beneath all that - are some heavy duty fears that date back to her childhood. Like all of us, Willow has chaos/emotion and order/spirit battling inside her. She hasn't figured out how to incorporate them yet partly because she's still carrying her childhood on her back. As she puts it to Tara about Ms. Kitty -"I don't know…she's not fully grown yet. I have time. " In Willow's mind she has plenty of time. But does she? Really?

Thanks for all the responses. If I misquoted anyone, please let me know and I will correct it as quickly as I can. Same goes if you want me to use your full name instead of your board name.

; -) shadowkat