Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Willow One-Shot (or Tara vs Kennedy)

Joss Whedon and Karl Moline back together. I’m glad that Joss is working with his Fray partner on a non-Fray project. I hope that the two of them will do more together. I kind of wish Karl Moline were working on Angel over at IDW (I don’t hate the artist they have, I just like Moline’s likenesses better).

SPOILER ALERT: I’m about to screw this up for you if you haven’t read the issue.

The title is the untold story of Willow’s journey to find someone to guide her in the use of abundant power. In the story Willow meets some guides who tell her that she already has a guide in mind.

I was going – “Who does she have in mind?” I turn the page and there she is: Tara.

I don’t know about you, but I was as happy as Willow seemed to be (of course Willow refused her as a guide).

It got me thinking. I watched season seven, I eagerly read each new issue of season eight, and I know that Willow is with Kennedy now. Still, I always think of Willow and Tara as a unit.

It turns out I’m not the only one. Most of fandom feels the same way about Tara.

For me, I got to know Tara for almost three seasons. I met her family, saw her through good times and bad with Willow, watched her take care of Dawn, saw what Glory did to her, and watched her die in Willow’s arms. By the time Tara died, I loved the character.

Kennedy came to us as a Potential. Her character had to compete with a bunch of new faces to get our attention. In season seven, Willow was healing from Tara’s death and almost destroying the world with her grief and rage. As fans, Willow’s continuing sense of loss echoes our own sense of loss.

The only thing Kennedy does of value in the relationship in season seven is talk Willow down when a spell makes her take on Andrew’s attitude and actions (the same ones that led to Tara’s death).

But, for the most part, Willow comes to the relationship with Kennedy after her addiction to magic, after she’s helped save the world more than once, and when she’s more secure with who she is and her position as a Scooby. And Kennedy brought no visible baggage. She is the no-nonsense, tough, loving Potential who (along with the rest) became a Slayer. Kennedy never suffered from a lack of confidence or a traumatic back story.

On a personal note – having met the actresses that play Tara and Kennedy I like the characters a lot more.

Still, I prefer Tara.

That said, I understand how Kennedy is a more appropriate girlfriend for Willow right now.

I think that when Willow’s power was weak and she was still unsure of herself, Tara was perfect for her. Tara herself was not only insecure but her power synched and boosted Willow’s power. During Willow’s addict behavior, Tara was there for Willow as much as she could. Do you really think Kennedy would have put up with that – she’d be gone for good at the end of Tabula Rasa. Tara never gave up on Willow.

At the beginning of season seven, Willow’s power is massive but she’s gotten the best training and she’s no longer an addict and no longer a mass of rage and grief. Willow is a whole person. In that way, she’s perfect for Kennedy who, herself, is a whole person. I’m just saying that Willow couldn’t have dated Kennedy first then ended up with someone like Tara when the smoke cleared.

Still, I prefer Tara (did I already say that?).

I guess my Tara-lock mostly comes from Kennedy not being in most issues and when she is, she doesn’t really add to the story. She mostly appears to remind us that she’s still with Willow and Willow’s brought her up a few times to make the same connection for us.

But that’s just my take. You’re reason for liking Tara over Kennedy or Kennedy over Tara is probably different.

Why Can't We Be Friends?

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