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» Friday, May 03, 2002
Exit, Stage Right (warning--spoilers for two movies and the 2002 Buffy finale!)
Did you notice that there's always a point in some dramatic movie, especially an action picture or a Western, where one of the good guy supporting characters starts talking about his future? He's gonna go straight, or marry his longtime girlfriend, or move to that dream house, etc. Or, occasionally, he does something positive: makes up with his wife or repairs the longtime rift with his kid or an old friend. Right away it dresses him in the stereotypical Star Trek "red shirt." Sure enough, before the movie ends, he's dead.
James and I have a peculiar term for this syndrome.
It started back in 1971, when both of us separately saw the movie Big Jake. In this Western flick, John Wayne is Jake McCandles, a cattle baron whose grandson is kidnapped. With the help of his two grown sons, an attack-trained collie, and an old friend, they go to deliver the ransom (really to give the kidnappers their comeuppance).
His old friend is Sam Sharpnose, a Native American scout who, obviously by the dialog, shares a long relationship with Wayne's character. Before the climactic firefight, Sam and Jake share a few words. When they finish up, they're going elk hunting in Montana.
Sure enough, Sam is killed.
Cut to 1990. Together James and I see The Hunt for Red October, in which the executive crew of a Soviet submarine decide to fake a nuclear accident aboard the sub in order to defect. In one scene, the captain and his exec are talking about what they want to do in the United States after the defection. Vasily, the exec, talks dreamily about having a "fat American wife" who will cook him rabbits. He also wants an RV so he can travel from state to state. But the state he wants to call home is...Montana.
Sure enough, poor Vasily gets offed by the hidden KGB agent aboard. His last words are "I would have liked to have seen Montana."
So there we were Tuesday night watching things go to hell for Our Heroes on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The only positive moment: Tara and Willow meet, talk, and at the end, make up with a great flurry of kissing.
Now, we've both heard all the spoilers for the season finale: Tara is killed and Willow goes berserk with black magic. But who believes all these rumors?
But after seeing that scene? The poor girl is headed for Montana for sure.
[05/07/2002: Yep, Tara copped it in the final scene tonight. No ifs, ands, or Buttes...]