My AP English teacher Mrs. Kasper derided my belief that television and movies can convey the same rich symbolism and metaphor that books do. I never said all television, and I never said all the time, but, just like books, audio-visual entertainment sometimes has great ways of opening one’s mind.
Of course my example here is from where you know it will be from: Buffy. I didn’t expect this, I didn’t go looking for it, I just happened to watch the season 4 finale today and I was just blown away. In it the four main characters, suffering the after effects of calling forth the great primal force of the slayer to defeat their unkillable enemy, each have linked dreams, haunted by the force of the “First Slayer,” that reveals their fears, insecurities, and doubts about the future.
Three times through Xander’s dream he finds himself back in his basement: a place of non-existence for him with no way out and no future. When he tries to venture out he finds himself facing things he could never achieve. He finds Giles and Spike in a playground where Spike is becoming the Jr. Watcher he could have been. Buffy calls him ‘big brother,’ eluding to the fact he could never achieve a romantic involvement with her. His endless list of futureless jobs. What is critical in this scene is Xander, in the ice cream truck, looking out on Xander standing in the playground. He and Buffy are completely still, not moving and we hold on this as Giles and Spike clime ever higher in their swings.
This isn’t my analysis. It comes, believe it or not, from a complete dream analysis site set up by another fan. Wow. 🙂