Dopplegangland (Buffy, Season Three, Ep 16) Post One


Scenes in which a character has a mysterious double are a classic of Hollywood cinema, and in this episode the situation is played to brilliant comic effect. Anya, seeking her powers back, recruits Willow (now that Amy is a rat, and thus magic-less for the moment) to perform a spell. Willow breaks the spell at the last second with the consequence that her vampire double from Anya’s preferred demon world gets transported to Sunnydale. The vampire Willow is dazed and confused at first, as are Willow’s friends when they find out what happened to their beloved Wiccan.

I still love the look Willow’s vampire self adopted, although we had seen it before. Still — I wonder if dominatrix Willow helped provide inspiration for the Mord-Sith in The Legend of the Seeker? In any event, the costumers — and make up artists — outdid themselves. Especially the scene in which vampire Willow gets locked in the library cage and dressed as human Willow — that garish contrast of green vampire eye shadow and pink human Willow sweater was perfect. (So was Cordelia’s talk in that scene.)

In this episode we get the clearest intimation that Willow is going to be the gay character — presumably now that Xander and Faith slept together. (Although I’ve known plenty of gay men who’ve slept with women, accidentally or pre-coming out to themselves.)

We also hear vampire Willow utter the famous and impeccably delivered line, “Bored now.”

Boredom, like the inability to see options which we explored with Cordelia, is also a Spleen issue. In this case, however, boredom is more of a sticky, irresolute wallowing in uncertainty. Something isn’t right, something isn’t entertaining, but what can be done about it? All the options seem foggy, and besides, you can’t do what you want because of this excuse, or that excuse — or a whole pack of excuses.

You’ve become bogged down with all the signs and symptoms of a damp pathology. (No surprise that a vampire, given her liquid diet, would end up with a weakened Spleen due to the accumulation of dampness.)

The treatment is to bring the person back to the centre and start clearing out some of that dampness, which is likely about to turn into phlegm.  The base formula is classically Si Jun Zi Tang, while the two phlegm herbs are Chen Pi (to regulate qi) and Ban Xia (to scour phlegm).

Ban Xia is also good for those sorts of people who are extraordinarily picky about details which they and only they, because of their highly developed senses of perception (often far exceeding their powers of analysis) and equally formidable powers of articulation, can detect.

The result off adding Chen Pi and Ban Xia to Si JunZi Tang is Liu JunZi Tang. Adjust it a touch by adding a bit of Huang Lian for what Bensky terms an “indefinable epigastric discomfort” — and you have a formula for exactly the sort of feeling boredom can provoke in people. Indeterminate restlessness in which nothing satisfies.

Acupuncture-wise, a simple TaiYin treatment can help regulate the system and clear out any accumulated dampness. If the person needs a little fire added to their lives, choose the two ying-spring points — LU-10 and SP-2 — and add some moxa to warm up the feet (so the patient can go out and move around) and hands (so the patient can make good use of her opposable thumbs instead of grunting like pre-hominid in search of food).

The next post, still treating this episode, will look at human Willow’s reliable doormat reputation.

As always, this post is for entertainment and theoretical purposes only.  If you feel you need a change, and that Asian medicine would be good entertainment, seek out a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage! (And practice safe hex!)

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