Re: The Harvest

Okay, I would like to start out by mentioning something that I somehow neglected to mention in the last bit, even though it absolutely cracks me up every time I watch the show. When Luke is reciting the prophecy to Buffy and it’s all this intense, formal language and then it ends with “and hell itself will come to town.” Was he adlibbing? I mean, do you adlib prophecy? Because that really did not fit with the rest of the prophecy which sounded old and rehearsed and somewhat believable. Hell itself will come to town sounds like a shitty metal lyric. I’m just saying!Oh, kicking and fighting. I think that in later seasons there are some totally kick-ass scenes in Buffy and in all the other Joss shows but yeah, the beginning leaves a lot to be desired. But I agree that it’s charming.I actually noted the interesting beginning story as well. And also, totally never connected the how the first Slayer was made thing with that, so that is awesome and go Joelle. Teehee. Vegan demons.I will totally agree that Xander is super frustrating in this scene. Unlike Joelle though, I love Xander. I mean, not so much in this scene but in general, I think I love him really becauseof his fairly serious flaws. I think he’s complex and interesting and I think he pretty much remains that way. But yes, I wanted to punch him in this scene.

Calm and in control, comforting Willow

However, what I most wanted to focus on here is what’s happening with the group. Certainly it’s mildly amusing that they are weirdly unconcerned about Jesse but what I’m really seeing here is the dynamic forming. This is really the first time that we ever see Buffy as a general, which is essentially what she is. She knows what she’s doing, she is a quick and creative thinker. She doesn’t hesitate or even really miss a beat. She takes in that she has new people on board and, while she’s not inviting them to jump in and help yet, her mind is on the battle ahead. She assigns jobs, she is fairly kind about correcting people but she doesn’t hesitate to do it. This is Buffy in her element and it’s something we’ll only see strengthen as the show goes on, until season 7 when she actually is being a general of troops. I love that this is brought in so strongly and so early because I think it’s really important. What makes this show work (and pretty much every other Joss show) is the character dynamics and I love that he is able to nail that so quickly.

Okay, Joelle likes Angel and I hate him most of the time and that will probably be very apparent. But let’s be clear here. He doesn’t just “appear.” He’s been hanging out, in that crypt, for who knows how long, just waiting for her to show up. This is another example of very mild concern for Jesse, incidentally since she stops to have a prolonged chat with him before going in. Obviously we’re not talking Edward levels of stalking here but let’s be clear, this is stalkery behavior. Just saying!

Quality fencework here.

Sidenote: Students DO go off campus while school is in session, just only if they’re seniors. And let’s say that we have absolutely no evidence that Buffy can jump that high from a flat start at anywhere else in this show. JUST SAYING. Also, bug eye glasses.

I agree that the twist of Jesse being a vampire is great. Again, there’s just total subversion of our expectations and honestly, who could be sorry he died? Not even his friends, really. Eric Balfour has gone on to do many things and he’s a perfectly decent actor but he always annoys me and I honestly think it may be because of Jesse. 😛

Am I the only one who has always really wanted to know the end of the story and how she killed the thick necked man with an exacto knife? They NEVER tell us and it always bugs me. Incidentally, this is a scene where Xander is comforted by her being strong and being a superhero. I don’t actually feel like most of his rage in this episode is about her being a girl; I think it’s about how terrible Xander is (consistently) at feeling like he’s not making himself useful. He needs to feel needed and important and yeah, that can be a super frustrating trait but I think it’s a very believable one.

Okay, yes, I have a clown issue but dude!!!

I actually find the whole chase through the sewers thing a little creepy. Which is weird because I do not typically have that issue in Buffy but honestly, the one shot of the vampire looking like an insane clown makes my skin crawl a little. Again, I like the way that Buffy knows exactly what to do. Xander is freaking out (and understandably, I think) but she can both protect them from the angry monsters, deal immediately with the fact that Jesse is a vampire, tell Xander what to do and find a way to get out of there. Nothing is going to slow her down and it is awesome.

But here is another truth that the show sets up early. Buffy absolutely does need her friends. If she had gone down there alone, would she have made it? I mean, honestly, I’m not so sure. There are several instances where it is Xander being there that enables them to get out. He pulls her out of the sewer, somehow her superhero strength is not enough to close the door without his help (okay, I thought that was silly but it supports my point so I’ll go with it). It is having other people there that allows Buffy to survive so long. Often she really doesn’t need physical help but it’s these ties that enable her to survive. She really isn’t meant to work alone and the fact that Slayers almost always have is probably why they’ve died so young.

I always just perceived Xander’s distrust of Angel to be because of how he liked Buffy and she liked Angel instead, to be honest. I mean, I guess Jesse could factor into it but because it’s never mentioned, I always just assumed it was about that. Then after Angel became Angelus and did fairly terrible and appalling things, it seems pretty rational to me to never really want to trust another vampire. But the idea that there’s some seed of unspoken Jesse in there is interesting.

Say you're sorry...

Here we have displeased Master. Which is somewhat understandable. I actually really love this scene. The Master is a legitimately awesome villain in a super camp kind of way and the way he handles this is just fairly awesome. However, I always have something of an issue with him poking the guy’s eye out and how there is absolutely no sound. Like obviously that would not kill the vampire and I can’t imagine how a finger through the eye would stop you from screaming, so I really feel like there should be a shrill scream of terror here instead of just an ominous music beat. It is totally arguable that I am splitting hairs, I realize but seriously. They still feel pain.

We have a brief scene here of Willow and Giles which, again, sets up their dynamic so early. There’s immediately a connection between these two characters and I love them so much. That connection is going to be so important through so much of the show and the set up is early and very believable.

Next the rather homoerotic ceremony to make Luke the vessel. I’m just saying that “My body is your instrument” makes me giggle every single time. Maybe because I’m secretly 12 but seriously, it’s funny.

The tapes all say I should get used to saying it

Again, I do not hate Joyce in the way that Joelle does. I actually really like Joyce. Yes, she’s being frustrating in this scene but I think there is something in it about how Buffy has been raised. I mentioned in my last entry how it seemed like she had probably been something of a spoiled only child and I think this really supports that theory. Her mother is not used to telling her no but she is totally understandably really freaked out by the fact that her 15 year old daughter (it is really hard for me to keep in mind that she is supposed to be that young) is staying out basically all night long, is already having the school call home… I mean, what parent wouldn’t be kind-of terrified, especially if your daughter already has something of a troubled past? I don’t know that she handles it the best way possible but I honestly think that her “If you decide to stay up here and pout, I won’t hold it against you” is not at all a bad mom thing to say and I just like to see how hard she tries to be a good mom, even when she doesn’t succeed.

Communion... weapons?

Also, I just have to mention that when Buffy is looking in her trunk of weapons, she has a giant cylinder of COMMUNION WAFERS. Why does she have communion wafers? I mean, I get that they are also part of a sacrament or whatever but there is never the slightest indication that she has ever used them. Did they just feel the trunk wasn’t full enough and that they had to put something else in there? Also, it’s very full, so clearly she’s not exactly using it. I realize this is a dumb thing but there will probably be a lot of those so my best recommendation is to get used to it. Someone tell me why they are there!!!!

The idea that everyone in Sunnydale immediately forgets everything is pretty insane. On the other hand, this town has been on the Hellmouth forever. I mean, Buffy’s arrival did not start that, it’s always been there. So I kind-of have to assume that people have been dying left and right for a long time and that maybe the entire town has ended up actually looking something like a crazy house and you have to be in completely unbelievable levels of denial to live there unless you happen to be fighting monsters. Okay, I don’t have to believe that at all, but that’s my only stab at an explanation. Also, I’m not sure a cymbal would behead a vampire.

I guess you can kind of see cherries

So yeah, things work out, Buffy wears a really adorable cherry dress (remember when cherries were on everything?) and has a sucker in her mouth, just like she did when her watcher first approached her. I think she’s settling in to enjoy a new life which is looking more bearable than she expected because hey, there are at least friends. Giles is excited by all of the possibilities for upcoming evil, which is excitement that I think is mostly crushed in the next episode, which is good. I mean, not good for Giles but good in general because you probably shouldn’t stay excited about the things that will make people die and because it’s hard to protect yourself or people you care about from things you’re not properly prepared for. The point is that for this one, blissful moment, you see them hopeful and happy about a future together. This is about as carefree as it’ll ever get, kids. Enjoy it!
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2 thoughts on “Re: The Harvest

  1. joellejots says:

    The reason I attribute Xander’s reaction in PART to Buffy’s femaleness is because he’s the one that brings up gender in the first place, in saying “I’m less than a man.” True, maybe he didn’t mean it that way, but I think most (all?) mentions of gender in this narrative do hold weight.

    Also, I only *partly* attribute Jesse’s murder to Xander’s Hatred of Vampires. I do think his dislike of Angel is primarily due to his crush on Buffy, which is extremely problematic and something I’ll get into when the time comes. 😛

    • Well, yeah. I mean, he really is just sort-of an angry little boy and this scene absolutely did make me want to hit him in the face. I just didn’t think it was as much about gender as I got from your entry, which I totally could have misread. 😛

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