Mark Reads ‘The Chosen’: Episodes 6 – 10

In the sixth through tenth episodes of The Chosen, the group copes with an infiltration, anger issues, heartbreak, and the return of an old friend. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Chosen.

This is neat! I don’t think this is the BEST THING EVER WRITTEN, but it’s certainly a loving continuation of the show. Anyway, let’s continue!

Episode 6: “Where the Heart Is”

  • Unless this is connected to something later in the story, I’m not a fan of this cold open. It’s not something I haven’t seen already, and I don’t know what the point of it is.
  • Of course, as soon as I typed that, I read ahead and discovered that the dream was actually more of a vision, or at least Buffy thinks this is the case. Why would shambling corpses want her help?
  • Ah, it seems this episode is going to address Buffy’s very awkward place in Slayer Central. Since she wasn’t around much since they moved, she’s missed out out on more than just the creation of this place.
  • Buffy’s feeling very left out, and while I can’t blame her for that reaction, it’s unfair of her to just expect the world to cater to her when these people had to develop entire routines without her in them.
  • Shit, I’d never thought that Buffy was “embellishing” in order to get the gang back together again. It’s possible, I suppose. Which is kind of sad when you think about it, you know?
  • I know I’ve said it before, but when these writers get a bit of dialogue perfectly in-character, it’s just impressive. Willow’s lines about being glad and her obsession with the word “but” are fantastic.
  • I did notice a strange habit of the writers. They use weird descriptions for pronouns often, like “the carpenter” or “the redhead” or “the Slayer.” It’s kind of repetitious.
  • Loved the “Can’t beat the classics” / “I hate the classics” lines.
  • Okay, Buffy’s dream is intriguing. What are the zombies trying to say? What are they trying to communicate to her? And why in her dreams?
  • A-ha! It’s the family who died in the car crash! But… why? Why reach out to Buffy? I still don’t get it.
  • The surviving kid is in a coma. THAT’S IT. I GET IT.
  • Oh boy, this isn’t going well, is it? The Slayers aren’t obeying Buffy at all. They’re openly defiant of her, and the writers make sure we know why: Buffy hasn’t been in their lives. To them, she’s either a newcomer, or she’s merely a story, and not necessarily a positive one at that.
  • Faith telling Buffy not to treat them like tools. A neat evocation of season seven and Buffy’s interactions with the Council earlier in the series.
  • Weekly World News publishes actual portents of apocalypses. H E L P.
  • What the hell, Ryan just up and left from the hospital after he woke up? Well, this isn’t good.
  • NO, WILLOW, GET AWAY FROM JUDITH RUN AWAY FROM HER NOW.
  • Wow, Judith’s fight with Hazel is totally re-contextualized. Damn.
  • Judith is SO MANIPULATIVE.
  • Is Buffy really trying to act like the authoritative sister again? Didn’t she learn that this doesn’t work already?
  • God, Xander’s comment about how they’re all trying to hard to re-create the past is brilliant. Good ol’ Xander!
  • Oh. Oh. The whole magic meditation thing is a working metaphor for Willow and Kennedy’s compatibility. Oh, how did I not see that?
  • I still don’t get why Ryan or Ryan’s family is reaching out to Buffy. She seems to know what to do, though.
  • Oh. Ryan is actually at the fucking crash site? This is seriously weird.
  • Without a doubt, the moment Buffy confronts Ryan about letting go of the past is the best written moment of this fic so far. Sweet baby jesus, as soon as Ryan said, “I just want things back the way they were,” the whole story just fell into place. Buffy survived a seven year, hellish ordeal as the Slayer, and she disappeared for months on end, trying to find a way to live again, and now she can’t even fit in with her friends and family. She has been trying to force the present to be the past. UGH, THIS IS REALLY FUCKING GOOD.
  • And right after this, the Scoobies make up, and feelings, y’all.
  • And then right after this, WILLOW DISCOVERS THAT JUDITH IS A TRAITOR. HOLY CRAP, THIS FIC GOT SO GOOD SO QUICKLY.
  • WHAT THE FUCK JUDITH BROKE WILLOW’S HAND WHAT THE FUCK
  • no what did you do to willow WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER
  • GOOD LORD BUFFY IS HERE AND THIS NARRATION OF THEIR FIGHT IS FANTASTIC
  • OH MY GOD JUDITH WAS OBLITERATED BY THOSE WEIRD BEINGS SHE WORKED FOR WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON

Episode 7: “Inside Out”

  • OMG WHY ARE FAITH AND BUFFY FIGHTING COMPETITIVELY AT A TIME LIKE THIS I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO WILLOW.
  • Oh, Willow is checking out of the hospital! That’s good. So she wasn’t mortally wounded or anything. Yay!
  • This whole time, I’ve been reading a few lines and then making a comment. I just read like half of Act I, and it was so interesting that I couldn’t be bothered to stop and say anything. Honestly, the last part of the previous episode really injected a whole lot of fire and energy into this story. Bravo, writers.
  • Hahahaha, I can’t deal with this. There are already so many plot twists. Who is Giles seeking help from???
  • Ugh, this season’s use of Xander is really heartbreaking. The writers play off of his injury at the hands of Caleb, his ongoing sense of feeling useless, and the fear he has of losing yet another person he loves after Anya died. Just… wow, way too many feelings, y’all.
  • You know, I just have to say how impressed I am by the length which the writers go to show that they care about building this world. I’m reading the part where Hazel is learning to cope with the fact that Judith is no longer her roommate, and I’m realizing just how much time must have been spent on organizing this story and then executing it. And look, I don’t want to say that fanfiction is inherently sloppy or anything, but it’s so rare to read something this complete.
  • UGH FAITH’S ENTIRE PART ABOUT ALWAYS HAVING A CHOICE, NO MATTER WHOSE COMMANDS YOU ARE FOLLOWING. She is totally talking about the Mayor. H E L P.
  • Okay, so a character named Robespierre was just introduced. This is really distracting because dude, that name has a very specific historical significance.
  • Seneca’s bookmark fucking rules.
  • GILES REALLY LIKES THE STUFFED OWL. OH MY GOD.
  • Okay, I’m starting to like Kennedy, and this exploration of her usefulness in the context of being Willow’s anchor is really fascinating.
  • I don’t know if I can handle Xander’s sadness anymore. His conversation with Andrew about Anya is painful to read. I just universally feel bad for him, but I also hope that his story goes somewhere else at this point. Well, at least he’s hanging out with Andrew.
  • No more fighting omg :(
  • Oh my god, now Dawn and Buffy are fighting.
  • OH GOD, NOW FAITH AND KENNEDY ARE FIGHTING.
  • Everyone is taking their anger and frustration out on one another. :(
  • Seriously, Faith, what the hell is going on?
  • The “other things” Giles is bringing back is A PERSON. RIGHT? RIGHT?
  • SWEET HELL, NOW DAWN AND GILES ARE FIGHTING. Make it stop!
  • Well, at least Xander and Andrew’s argument isn’t as bad as the others. (Personally, I liked Storm the best, too.)
  • Oh, shit. Willow just admitted that she doesn’t find Kennedy to be that important to her. Holy fuck, y’all. :(
  • Okay, I’m calling foul. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? Why are all these characters so quick to brutal honesty? It has to be an outside force. Why would this all happen at once?
  • I WAS RIGHT. SOMETHING IS GOING ON. How were all their inhibitions removed???
  • For real, the Buffy/Faith fight is narrated BEAUTIFULLY. I know it’s sort of a thing of mine to praise well-narrated fights, and I’m not stopping now.
  • WHAT. WHAT. KENNEDY DID THIS????
  • And on that note, it’s horrifying to me that whatever is happening doesn’t negate what these people are saying. It appears everyone is speaking the truth, sort of like an angrier version of the spell in “Once More, With Feeling.”
  • Okay, OVERWHELMED WITH FEELINGS when Buffy tells Faith she’s glad she’s around.
  • I will say that this episode is a bit too close to “Once More, With Feeling” once you get down to it, but the execution of it is great because this time, you don’t actually realize there’s a spell at work until everything is a mess.
  • Holy shit, Willow broke things off with Kennedy. I suppose I’m not actually surprised? Still, how sad. :(

Episode 8: “Refrain”

HAHAHAHA THAT FUCKING ENDING ARE YOU KIDDING ME

  • “Ooo, did he bring me a surprise?” BUFFY YOU ARE BEING JUST LIKE ME. DON’T SAY THINGS LIKE THIS, YOU ARE SO UNPREPARED.
  • Oh no, what’s wrong with Xander?
  • What the hell is this scene with the dead people???
  • Whoa, what the hell, it’s the gyrating people from earlier??? WHAT?

Act I video

  • Oh, this is just great, isn’t it? BLESS THIS PLOT DEVELOPMENT CONCERNING GILES. I already like Hannah. MORE PLEASE. Oh god, she agreed to give an embarrassing story about Giles’s past. YES.
  • Okay, I THINK I AM ACTUALLY PREPARED FOR A PLOT. Parth is totally like a Siren of some sort? Yes??? If I’m wrong, I’ll be so embarrassed.
  • I really enjoyed the scene where Willow did her best to explain to Dawn that she didn’t break up with Kennedy because Kennedy was an awful person who made her unhappy. I appreciated Willow’s honesty.
  • NOOO, XANDER HAS BEEN TRAPPED.
  • So, I see that the men affected by whatever Parth is doing aren’t just inattentive, they seem to have their energy sucked right out of them. Hmmmm.
  • Wow, Buffy really has been the longest living Slayer. Though, technically, do her deaths count?
  • Given how speechy and inconsiderate Buffy was in season seven, you can see how much she’s grown when she gives that speech to Shelly. Also, I’m enamored with the fact that this fic just accepts the seven seasons of the show as canon and works from them, instead of changing things to fit the story.
  • Who to marry? What history does Hannah have with the Council???
  • HAHAHA WILLOW IS TOTALLY RIGHT. Hannah’s appearance is some prime soap opera plotting. I love it.
  • Okay, what the hell is happening during this spell???
  • Okay, so Madrigan and his folks put up an extremely strong blockage spell. Hmmm. So how are they going to find them?
  • Robespierre just said a lot of things I don’t understand. Are they the Assemblage? Or the Shrouded Circle? And what is the Antideluvian?
  • So it’s the name of the two groups? Robespierre’s people are the Assemblage, Madrigan belongs to the Shrouded Circle?
  • It’s fascinating that Willow was comforted by Dawn, and Kennedy does the same with Faith. Well, she’s necessarily comforted, but that’s who she opens up to.
  • I just realized that something neat about this fic is that the writers can choose to spend more time with each of the characters every episode than the show sometimes does. One of my big complaints for season seven is how characters like Giles, Dawn, and Anya were all shoved into the background for long stretches of time. The Chosen visits every character in every episode, and that’s awesome.
  • DAWN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO KENNEDY? Stop it! You’re being a big meanie face :(
  • Oh god, thankfully she’s just being awkwardly direct.
  • They’re sharing a moment. SOMEONE GET A CAMERA.
  • A-ha! Immortal beings who do not age and leave dead families behind! I am so totally prepared for once.
  • HAHAH OH SHIT, I TOTALLY GUESSED SHE WAS A SIREN. I KNEW IT OMG EVERYONE, RECORD THIS MOMENT IN HISTORY. I PREDICTED SOMETHING WITH COMPLETE CERTAINTY.
  • Oh my god, Faith is reading the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series. L O L.
  • NOOOO, XANDER, NOOO, DON’T DO IT.
  • Oh shit, Xander woke up. UGH. This is making me nervous.
  • WHAT? HOW IS XANDER STANDING UP TO THEM???
  • You know, in theory, I like the way that Xander defeats the Sirens, but in execution, it’s kind of a letdown.
  • I like Hannah. She’s good for Giles.

Episode 9: “Ex Post Facto”

  • HAHAH WHAT THE HELL IS THIS COLD OPEN? A flashback to Faith’s more rebellious days???
  • Poor Xander, seriously. Is he ever going to catch a break in this season?
  • Jesus, Giles is busy.
  • Oh lord, is this all going to be a giant Faith flashback episode? YES, PLEASE. PLEASE.
  • I take it back. I TAKE IT BACK. THIS FLASHBACK IS NOTHING BUT PAIN AND SORROW. OH MY GOD, I TAKE IT BACK.
  • “You’ve come home!” WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON, I HAVE TOO MANY FAITH FEELINGS RIGHT NOW.
  • Okay, there is no way this isn’t going to end in a total disaster. What exactly was Faith involved with back home in Boston? A gang of some sorts?
  • Oh, fuck you, I cannot deal with that scene where Willow heals herself partially in front of the sapling. That represents Tara, doesn’t it? H E L P.
  • Shit, Faith was part of a gang of thieves. That’s what she used her Slayer power for when she first got it? Goddamn.
  • Whoa, the first mentions of Angel, Riley, Joyce, and Spike. AND IN THE SADDEST WAY POSSIBLE. Oh my god, what is this fic doing to me?
  • Ugh, Buffy is feeling guilty, and it is destroying me.
  • No, stop it, make this scene stop. It is written so well, and it hurts. GILES AND BUFFY HUGGING.
  • WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT ENDING TO ACT 2. NOPE. WHAT THE FUCK.
  • Is this for real??? Can Willow seriously grow Xander’s eye??? I mean, didn’t she just come to the realization that this magical regrowth thing is complicated and lengthy? I don’t know that she should start using this one someone else yet!
  • Man, I’m all for Xander’s distrust of this. It feels wrong. Oh god, this can’t end well.
  • So why is Faith unhappy? If Roxi is correct and this is what drew her back to Boston, why?
  • Roxi is like a smaller version of Faith. It’s unsettling.
  • Dare I say that Kennedy taking on so much is a bad idea? Yes? Okay, glad we all agree.
  • What’s the context for Xander being at the school selling his wood carvings? That still isn’t clear to me.
  • Whoa, Xander might have a job? That’s cool!
  • Okay, what the hell is Faith doing? I like the parallel with the previous flashback and the glass bottle, but I’m confused. I NEED MORE INFORMATION.
  • So, I’ll admit I’m intrigued by the notion of people doing whatever they can with what they have. I wish this was explored more because I think it’s what gives this backstory of Faith’s more depth. She has no father, her mother is a violent alcoholic, and she’s left to her own devices. That doesn’t excuse her crime or absolve her of responsibility, but it explains who she is, and that’s important.
  • WILLOW IS READING AMERICAN GODS OMG.
  • Oh, Xander was a fair! Probably a crafts fair? Something like that.
  • Okay, the moment where Xander talks about becoming someone he likes is one of the best-written passages in this whole project. It’s incredible, and it works extremely well with Faith’s story, too. One of the things Buffy (and Whedon in general) is good at doing is drawing parallels between disparate characters/plots, and this feels very Whedon-y.
  • ELM-ENTARY. DONE. 100% DONE. OH MY GOD.
  • ALL THESE PUNS. OH MY GOD, I LOVE PUNS SO MUCH.
  • Y’all, I love the end of this scene. Bless the writers. This is fantastic.
  • Oh god, I hope Giles is happy. :/
  • NOPE, 8 BILLION PERCENT DONE WITH THIS FIC BY THE END OF IT. OH MY GOD, HAZEL. That’s Faith’s reason. That girl is her anchor. That’s the evidence that she has done good in this world. H E L P.
  • It’s awesome to me that this episode had so little to do with any supernatural plot or the series’s general mythology, yet it was still very entertaining.

Episode 10: “Waxing and Waning”

  • Can we retire the word “exotic” when referring to non-white people? Thanks.
  • Go on, Buffy. Keep admiring butts. Tina Belcher would be proud.
  • I like Kennedy/Dawn bonding time. It’s got a rad dynamic somewhere between reverence and irritation.
  • I don’t get why the writers keep focusing on the band. It’s kind of distracting.
  • OH.
  • OH, THAT’S WHY.
  • OH MY GOD, IT’S OZ????????
  • True story: I used to think that if all you needed to connect to the Internet was one of those AOL CDs. That’s it. I was like 14 SHUT UP
  • WHAT. There’s something left in Sunnydale??? Seriously?
  • Wow, this is cute. Oz and Willow, that is. Very cute.
  • GREAT, WHO IS FOLLOWING BUFFY AND XANDER.
  • Well, great. The werewolves are feeding, meaning that Buffy and Xander’s suspicions were correct. Damn.
  • In one sentence, Buffy and Willow’s talk takes a nosedive into EXTREMELY DEPRESSING. “I guess when you’ve found The One… moving on isn’t as easy as it sounds.” Wow, WOW, the writers just punched me in the face with Tara.
  • Haha, Toby, you can’t even hide the fact that your group runs from town to town.
  • Thank you, Xander, for pointing out that Buffy had a boyfriend at seventeen, and he was 14 times her age.
  • Oh shit, Oz really hadn’t met Dawn before!
  • IS THAT A BENDER. Willow, bless your heart.
  • CALLING IT: Toby was the one who ate the teenage kid the night before.
  • Why didn’t the show ever say that Buffy was strict with Dawn because those monks hardwired her to naturally want to overprotect Dawn? That is an incredible explanation for Buffy’s behavior!
  • I’m totally into Dawn and Kennedy hanging out. This is great.
  • Okay, so maybe someone is using the residual power of the Hellmouth? Maybe?
  • Wait, Jemma was the wolf? Is this what the end to Act 2 is suggesting???
  • No, wait, I was right initially. It was Toby. I don’t like this Eddie character at all.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever read a fic that so frequently punched me in the heart. Kennedy led Willow to Tara’s memorial tree and told Willow that she would give her as much time as she needed to get over Tara. Now I really like Kennedy. AND THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING.
  • Robin Wood! He hasn’t been around since he left for Canada.
  • Oh. OH. Now the Slayers are flat-out disappearing? Like POOF, they’re gone? Oh shit, what the hell is going on?
  • I bet Faith will love Finding Nemo when she finally watches it.
  • Wow, I didn’t expect Oz to tell Jemma and Toby to leave, but it’s really the only sensible option left. But what’s that shadow that chases after her? Is this the same shadow that followed Buffy and Xander earlier in this episode?
  • …………………
  • ………………
  • DID I JUST FALL FOR THIS SHIT AGAIN.
  • I DID. OH MY GOD.
  • EDDIE KILLED THE KID TO GET JEMMA TO COME WITH HIM?!?!?! What a frightening, manipulative asshole! But why is Toby acting so strange, too??
  • WHAT THE FUCK HE BIT TOBY WHAT THE FUCK
  • Okay, I didn’t even think about the fact that Oz had to lie to Jemma to get her to go to Eddie. This is fucked up.
  • A great, happy ending to this story. Like, it’s actually happy! There is joy! And contentedness! Good things! That must mean everything will be horrible soon, even if Whedon isn’t writing this. I’m experienced enough to know there is no lasting joy in the Buffyverse.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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