Villains (Buffy, Season 6, Episode 20)


Events really begin to pick up pace as the Scoobies try to come back together:  Xander tries to save Buffy (Willow removes the bullet from Buffy once she’s in hospital), Buffy and Xander try to disuade Willow from going after Warren; Buffy tries to get Spike to help (but he’s left Sunnydale); and Anya tries to stop Willow when she goes to the magic shop to gain power.  Dawn is left alone to find Tara’s body.  The two poetically together as the ones who don’t quite fit in with the others, reminiscent of an early episode in Season 5, but tragically different.  At one point, Xander says he’s had blood on hands all day.

Initially, Xander, Buffy, and Willow chase a decoy:  a Warren Robot.  That robot ends up with a deviated eye, before being dispensed with.  Ultimately, Willow disappears on Xander and Buffy, finds Warren, and chases him through the local forest.  After briefly and mildly torturing him, Willow flays him alive, thus rendering us unable to treat him using the sinew vessels…

The Jia Yi Jing mentions a sinew vessel treatment for deviated eye:  foot yang ming with hand tai yang.  If the deviation is due to heat, the sinew will be slack and there will be inability of the penis to produce an erection.  If the robot was made for Andrew, who hinted he was in love with Warren in the previous episode, heat symptoms are unlikely to be present.  Arched back rigidity is a feature of both cold and yang tension in the sinew, and needling with a red-hot needle is indicated.  Yin pathology features a forward bending posture with an inability to stretch out, as in the case of acute appendicitis.  Therefore, to treat the robot, use hot-needle, or in this case, perhaps electro-acupuncture, at tender areas along the ST and SI meridians, particularly as they meet on the face and at the extremities.  In a human subject, the goal is to warm wei qi enough to expel the wind-cold causing the deviation of the eye, which is often accompanied by deviation of the mouth.

The real treatment which needs to be done, however, is to resolve Willow’s pain over the loss of Tara, or rather, the horrid twist of fate that stole Willow’s hopes just as they were tender in the bud.  That pain is a stagnation of qi, blood, and body fluids, and Willow’s rampage can be seen as an effort to get all those humours flowing strongly again.  In a sense, what we see in her transformation is the yin stagnation of all humours suddenly transforming into a very powerful and outward directed yang magic.  Since the humours have already begun their transformation, the appropriate strategy would be to drain the yang, or otherwise hasten the complete transformation of yin into yang, so that the body can then be regulated once again.  In the meantime, a decoction of dan shen, mo yao, ru xiang, and dang gui (15g each) may be effective at relieving pain and opening the collateral vessels.  In Willow’s case, I would add strong exterior releasing herbs:  Ma Huang is the strongest of these; Jing Jie is useful for its blood moving properties and thus would blend with the formula easily; Ge Gen or Fang Feng help move fluids upwards and outwards.

The other herbal treatment I would suggest is for Warren.  The Chinese pharmacopeia contains several herbs specifically indicated to regenerate or restore flesh.  The top two most well known herbs for regenerating flesh are Huang Qi and Ru Xiang.  Huang Qi is often combined with Rou Gui and Dang Gui for this purpose, while Ru Xiang is either applied topically with Xue Jie (Dragon’s Blood, a resin), or internally with Mo Yao and She Xiang.  Zi Hua Di Ding is also an appropriate addition, as it’s penetrating action is most effective at resolving clove sores; however, given Warren’s total lack of flesh, this would be more appropriate once tissue was actually in place.  The formula used for Willow, thus would also be a good formula for Warren, with the addition of Huang Qi and She Xiang, if consumed internally.  Externally, powders of various tree resins — myrrh, frankincense, pine tar, and dragon’s blood — are appropriate.

The internal formula, because it also invigorates the collaterals, may be an effective one to use for people who have ‘thin skin’, both in the emotional sense, and in cases of sarcopenia.  In the latter case, Rou Gui, Jin Yin Hua, and Lian Qiao may be good herbs to add, as a preventive against developing fire toxins.  Fire toxins in the case of sacropenia will quickly lead to the development of clove sores and cellulitis.  The combination of Huang Qi and Jin Yin Hua, meanwhile, mildly generates blood.

As always, these posts are for entertainment and educational purposes only.  If you or a loved one have had their flesh flayed by a dark witch or warlock, please see a qualified practitioner to restore your skin to its usual thickness.

Happy Slayage!

Huang qi, ru xiang and zi hua di ding.

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