“Never Kill a Boy on the First Date” (Buffy, Season 1


Ah, the dating game.  Those strong, silent, solitary types who brood and carry an air of mystery always get one’s attention, don’t they?  Unless they can’t carry on a conversation — which sometimes happens on first dates.  Luckily, Owen doesn’t seem to have that problem.  In fact, he’s quite willing to express his love for Emily Dickinson.  Strong, silent, and literary?  So what’s the problem?

In fact, that has been my question.  What, or whom, should I diagnose?  Come up with a prescription to relieve first date jitters?  (That might make me some money, and I should probably explore that at some point.)  Giles seemed a bit eager and behaviourally erratic in this episode, and we could probably give him something to restrain his energy and smooth it out.  Some of that Sang Piao Xiao from the previous episode might be nice.  Add a little Zhi Zi and Zhi Shi, and we might have a smoothly functioning Minister Fire.  But I have another idea.

This post is for theoretical and entertainment purposes only.  Please do not self-diagnose or treat except under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

Owen mentioned he liked E.D. because of her morbidity, her loneliness.  He jumped at the chance to visit the morgue.  I wonder — does he have a split pulse?  This split can either be in terms of width or in terms of depth, and it is distinct from blood spreading out beneath ones fingers (which indicates a different pattern, and is by far more common).  According to Contemporary Chinese Pulse Diagnosis, the rarely encountered split pulse can indicate someone who focuses on death, either suicidally, or because of caring for terminally ill patients.   Usually, it means that some option in a person’s life has been closed off at some point.

Perhaps that is what has happened with Owen.  Seeing options and acting on them can be seen as a function of the Spleen; not seeing options can be viewed as either dampness (although this might be seeing so many options that one is overwhelmed) or SP qi deficiency.  While treating the SP may not brink back the options closed by the departure of a loved one, it may help one to see the options available at the present moment.

The herbal medicine I would select is Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang.

This medicinal has the effect of bringing a person to the edge of their centre, of helping them see the view of what’s out there.  The Huang Qi and Sheng Ma are upward and outward moving herbs, perfect for someone not quite willing to go out on a limb at first.  Shen Nong states that Sheng Ma might even prevent premature death — certainly a plus in high-mortality rated Sunnydale.  Chai Hu, in contrast, “weeds out the old in order to bring forth the new,” and may encourage the realisation of new opportunities.  Certainly, as an herb which goes to the Shao Yang channel, it can aid in helping a person see the choices and decisions they have on either side of them.  Bai Zhu will remove the dampness weighing one down, and Chen Pi will smooth out any tightening of the diaphragm that would impede the movement encouraged by this medicinal.

I might consider using another herb in place of the Ren Shen, since Owen is still a teenager, and I would exercise caution in giving young men such powerful tonics.  Perhaps Dang Shen is an appropriate substitute.  Besides, Ren Shen is a very centring herb, and we may not want to over-centre Owen.  If we want to make sure he doesn’t come off-balance, increasing the dosage of Gan Cao might be an effective remedy.

By the end of the episode, Owen has definitely gone to the edge.  This might be a case of extreme yin turning into new yang — jue yin springing forth in shao yang.  Increase the emphasis on Chai Hu, add some Huang Qin and definitely give the kid some Gan Cao.  We don’t need more ruffians in peaceful Sunnydale.

As for acupuncture, Owen mentioned that encountering death made him feel that much more alive.  One could consider using three forbidden points which give the patient the feeling that they are dying.  These can be used in cases where the patient doesn’t feel like there is anything after death (and I don’t mean as a philosophical position on life or metaphysics), as sort of loss of faith.  I am told the points make someone hyperventilate, but since they are so powerful, I won’t list them here.  If you are interested in this strictly theoretical knowledge, contact me directly.

As always, the information contained in this post is for theoretical and entertainment use only.

Happy Slayage!

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