10 Days of Giles: Day 10 - Favorite Scene
5.22 “The Gift” - Giles kills Ben/Glory
Giles: Can you move?
Ben: Need a … a minute. She could’ve killed me.
Giles: No she couldn’t. Never. And sooner or later Glory will re-emerge, and … make Buffy pay for that mercy. And the world with her. Buffy even knows that… and still she couldn’t take a human life.
Giles: She’s a hero, you see. She’s not like us.
I thought for a very long time about this decision. I thought of all the snarky scenes Giles has and the heart warming ones, all of which are great, but I think this scene captures the true essence of who Giles is better than any scene in the entire show. Now let me explain what I mean before you start saying I’m accusing Giles of being a sociopath. First let’s get one thing straight, this is Giles that kills Ben. It’s not Ripper, or any other form/alter ego of Giles. When Giles puts his glasses on that is his way of saying, this is me, the tweed clad, tea drinking, stammering librarian. Giles isn’t out of control, in fact he’s very much in control. Everything he does is calculated. He doesn’t feel as if what he’s doing is wrong, this is evidenced by the way he looks at Ben and the manner in which he kills Ben. He’s looking into Ben’s eyes, when most people commit a murder they feel shame, they can’t look into their victims eyes, they don’t want to have to see what they’re doing. Giles doesn’t want to hide from what he’s doing, that’s not the kind of man he is, he’s going to face it and take responsibility for it. He also suffocates Ben, with his bare hand. It’s a very personal way of killing someone, very hands on, he will literally feel Ben’s last breath. He knows in his mind that this is something that has to be done, and the he has to be the one to do this. He is the watcher, he is forced to look at the bigger picture, he is forced to make decisions that Buffy can’t and shouldn’t have to make. This is a scene in which Giles is very much so playing the anti-hero, he makes a heroic gesture (protecting Buffy and the world) and does it in what is scene as a very unheroic way (kills a human). When you think about it, Giles is saving the world by doing this, just because Buffy thwarted Glory’s plan this time doesn’t mean she won’t keep trying. Giles fixes that, there’s only one way Glory can be killed and Giles is the only one willing to do it. In a way, he’s also protecting Buffy. He knows that while Ben is still alive, Glory will be a threat to Buffy. It doesn’t matter in which way you interpret the Buffy/Giles relationship, I think it can all be agreed upon, that Giles does love her in some way. One of the things I find truly heart breaking about this scene is how he in some sense kill Ben to help protect Buffy, and the next we see of Giles he’s watching as Buffy leaps off the tower. I just think this scene, however little dialogue there is, reveals a lot about who Giles is a person. That has a lot do with the subtext, and the brilliant acting Anthony Head brings to the scene. It’s a scene that I feel gets overlooked quite often simply because of what the next scene contains (Buffy’s death). It’s kind of like “oh my god, Giles just killed someone” then two seconds later, “I can’t believe they just killed Buffy”. Buffy’s death scene is obviously going to have more weight than Ben’s death scene. I could literally write pages about this scene, my interpretation of the action, etc. but I don’t feel like boring you any more than I’ve already done. So with that I’m just going to post now.