Re: Some Assembly Required

Well, I’m sure that B won’t be the only one to blame for the slowness of this blog from here on out. Work, school, and sociability is pretty much ruining any serious free time I used to have. So. Yeah. This blog is a work in progress but one that I really really like and don’t plan on giving up on. 🙂

I don’t have the strong dislike for this episode that B seems to have, but then, I haven’t ever watched it critically either. So we’ll see!

Really quickly, OMG YO-YOS ARE SO 90s. And Buffy has a trig class? And I am impressed with both of these things.

I would agree with B that the theme of this episode seems to be “love makes you do the wacky,” and since she did an excellent job of summarizing, I’ll focus this post on the wacky kinds of love that appear here.

Buffy/Angel

I know this was always Joss’s intention for BtVS, but I really love that Angel doesn’t swoop in and save Buffy during fights. In fact, in the beginning of this episode, he tries to swoop in and promptly gets knocked down with a shovel, giving Buffy room to jump in and actually do the killing. I think, as Buffy fans, we might take moments like this for granted–but honestly, how often does this happen in TV shows or movies? Just casual, “no thanks, guy, I got this” girly-type awesomeness? Without the addition of spandex, cleavage, or lesbian make-out scenes, I mean.

I do agree that Angel is annoying in this episode…though I don’t think it’s totally his fault. Buffy did dance with Xander solely to make him jealous, after all, and some of the things Angel is peeved about (her grinding on Xander to bother him, her constantly bringing up his vampirism in fights) is valid. The difference is that Buffy is sixteen years old…a mature sixteen years old, sure, but still very much a teenager. Angel is 241. So yeah, the immaturity/jealousy/whatever is a bit more jarring on him. This is actually an issue I have with the writers quite often. I don’t think Buffy and Angel’s relationship is immature on its own…it is of high school, but it’s never seemed like a typical high school relationship to me (which I’ll get more into at the end of this season). I think the writers do some sloppy things to remind us that Buffy’s young and this is her first serious relationship, though. And I think for the most part, it’s heavy-handed and out-of-character for both of them, and doesn’t do their relationship justice.

Also, Angel has been out of the dating game for awhile. He’s actually been out of the socializing-with-human-beings game for awhile so it makes sense that he’s sort of…stunted, emotionally, and therefore sort of on the same maturity level as Buffy? It’s possible he’s never grown very much–emotionally/romantically–from the eighteen-year-old he was when he was vamp’d, because he’s never really had the opportunity (with a soul) to do so. This is just a theory, of course. Mostly I think it’s probably just sloppy writing.

IT IS SO WEIRD THAT ANGEL FOLLOWS CORDELIA and says he’s looking for Buffy and it’s something I never really noticed before? Like, Cordy is very obviously not Buffy, ever, but she’s extra not-Buffy in this scene. Angel does say “I wasn’t sure it was you at first”–so it’s possible he realized it was Cordelia pretty quickly, but followed her to ask her if she knew where Buffy was? It’s also pretty weird that Cordy calls out, “Xander Harris, if this is some kind of joke–!” Like, I know Xander sucks right now, but how often does he actually stalk Cordelia in dark parking lots? Weird, weird, weird, all of it.

I really love the little moment they share at the end of the episode,

d’aww

actually. Angel fesses up to his jealousy and the ridiculousness of it, and I’m not really bothered by his “He gets to see you in the sunlight” comment. Because seeing Buffy in the sunlight means more than, you know, creeping on her. He’s upset because he can’t truly be a part of her life–her normal, human life and, well. That’s reasonable to be upset about. And then Buffy offers to walk him home and he takes her hand and awww. They’re cute.

Giles/Jenny

Oh, Giles, you are so awkward.

Giles is the cutest thing that’s ever lived. Watching him practice flirting with a chair, and then awkwardly flirting with Jenny, and then going on a date awkwardly, and oh my heart it’s too much. I’ve always loved the Giles/Jenny pairing. They compliment each other so well, I think, with Giles’ social anxiety, stuttering, rigid ways, and total geekiness, and with how cool and collected and outgoing Jenny is…it just works really, really well. I love that Jenny takes him to a football game, of all things. And I love that Giles goes because he’s super into her. It’s all just so sweet and perfect, okay.

I love HOW MANY SNACKS they have and how Giles is carrying them all.

Willow/Xander

This is a ship I will hate and fight until the end of time, especially when it’s actually more relevant and soul-destroying in S3, but dudes. There is such a poignancy to Xander’s mini-monologue here:

People don’t fall in love with what’s right in front of them. People want the dream, what they can’t have. The more unattainable, the more attractive.

my heart my heart

It’s especially awesome and sad because he’s clearly talking about his crush on Buffy, but Willow is right next to him and looking at him and oh, it breaks my heart. She’s attributing those words to him, and Buffy understands it from both points of view, and ugh. DEEP.

Chris/Daryl

It’s not just romantic love that makes people do the wacky in this episode. Chris’s actions, to reanimate his dead brother, to try to connect with his mother, and to be totally creepy in order to build  a girlfriend for his brother, are all done out of love. This storyline always makes me really sad, especially seeing his mom smoking in an armchair, watching videos of Daryl playing football and ignoring Chris (which I get the feeling happened when Daryl was still alive, too). Just sad, man.

Eric: Scream all you want, we’re in an abandoned warehouse. Cordy: AHHHHHHHHH! Eric: Okay, that’s enough.

It’s important to remember that there are definitely downright BAD things going on here, no matter why they’re going on, and there’s no justification for chopping up dead people in order to reanimate the parts or, you know, cutting the heads off of living people. Also, Eric’s motivations are not done out of love, and are totally gross.

At the end of the day, it’s made very clear that what Chris and Eric are doing is wrong, wrong, wrong. And that’s important to drive home. Just because something is done out of love (in Chris’s case) doesn’t mean it should be done. There are definite, important limits here.

I don’t really want to discuss zombie love, because I’m not sure zombie-Daryl is capable of it, or if it was just a matter of sex, or what. But during this viewing, I thought of something I hadn’t thought of before: has Chris or Eric tried to get Daryl a regular girlfriend? Because when Cordy is promising to be with Daryl so that they won’t kill her, he says, “When you’re finished, you won’t go out. You won’t run away. But we can hide together.” It makes me think that they may have kidnapped a living girl to be with Daryl and she ended up escaping and UGH, so SO creepy.

Favorite quotes:

*Giles practicing asking Jenny out on a chair*
Buffy: Boy, I guess we never realized how much you liked that chair.

Xander: You know, this might go a lot faster if you femmes actually picked up a shovel, too.
Giles: Hear, hear.
Buffy: Sorry, but I’m an old-fashioned gal. I was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and the women have the babies.

Angel: What I saw didn’t add up to three whole girls. I think they kept some parts.
Buffy: Could this get yuckier?
Willow: They probably kept the other parts to eat!
Buffy: Question answered.

In conclusion, Giles is perfect.

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Some Assembly Required

For the record, how long it often takes between blog entries is entirely on me. I don’t have extremely awesome excuses. I’m busy, it’s been a rough couple of months, blah, blah, who cares. The point is that it is all my fault. 😛 I would say that it won’t happen again but that’s bullshit and I won’t say that. What I will say is that I will keep plugging away at this blog, even if it’s slow, because I do really like it. I keep looking and seeing people still check this thing and then I feel both terrible and good at the same time because people want to read it and I’m not keeping up but at the same time, people are interested and that’s awesome. Anyway. It took a 5 day vacation, but I’ve finished this entry at last. Here’s hoping the next one comes a BIT sooner. 😛

I have never much liked this episode. Something about the whole Frankenstein angle just really bores me and the extreme high school jealousy nonsense between Buffy and Angel makes me very much want to break my television. That said, I had a little more fun watching it for this project than I’ve typically had watching it just cause. So yay, I guess?

We open in the graveyard as Buffy waits for a vampire to rise. Now there are times later where they will actually go straight into funeral homes and such. Which actually makes a lot more sense. I mean, if you think about it, if a vampire is rising the night after they die or even a night or two later, surely there can’t be that many of them clawing their way out of the ground? Hasty burials were a big deal and not unimportant in olden times but this is the present century and in the present, death has a little bit of time. I would say maybe the don’t rise until they’re buried but then we know that’s not true either, as we’ve already seen at least one rise in a funeral home. I’m left to conclude that somehow it must differ from vampire to vampire but if that’s the case, how does she know he’s going to rise tonight? I mean, if you take vampirism as some kind of poison (which, okay is from Twilight but it’s in other vampire stories too) then maybe it takes longer to work on some people than on others but in that case, you would think you would always have a window of a few nights when vampires could potentially be rising. Unless it’s part of her Slayer powers to know. I don’t think it is; I just think this is something that they never actually explain. Actually I never really thought about it till writing this right now.

I’m not jealous. What? No. Just grumpy and 12 years old.

Angels skulks out to whine for a while. Look, I know that so many people are really big fans of Angel but surely everyone has to admit this is just awful, right? I mean, for heaven’s sake. Man up. Either admit you were jealous of the 16 year old boy that the 16 year old love of your eternal life was dancing sexy with (so many things wrong…) or don’t come out there to begin with but don’t come out to act all aloof and stupid. Whatever. They have a really dumb fight and he tries to sweep out dramatically. She cunningly stops that from happening by falling into the giant open grave. I do wonder how exactly she had been sitting in the graveyard for who knows how long and hadn’t noticed the open grave. I also wonder why Angel, who was just giving us the tips and tricks of climbing out of a grave, thought that this gaping hole looked like another vampire might have come out of it. I mean…. it’s a big hole. It’s not like caved in on itself. It was clearly dug up. I guess jealous Angel is dumber than normal Angel. So. Bodies being dug up.

This definitely looks like a grave someone clawed their way out of, right?

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNNN.

Poor Giles. Practice at home.

This episode is full of men acting like fools. I guess that’s the common thread or something. Love makes you do the wacky? However in some cases, like in Angel’s, it’s excruciating to watch. In other cases, like in Giles, it’s so adorable that I just want to hug him forever. Come on, Giles. Not in the library. Don’t practicein the library. I mean, we know no one else ever goes in there but you know who does? The only people who will make fun of you for this forever and ever. Come on, hun. You were Ripper not so long ago. You are super hot. You can do this. I want to pep talk him. I think I would do a much better job than Buffy and Xander. They talk about graverobbing for a while and how awful that is. Although honestly, on the scale of Sunnydale crimes, it seems like that one would be way down the list. I mean, for now. Once they figure out the devious plot, I imagine it would shoot up there. Also, I feel like the tiny bits of information they give about zombies in this episode imply that they have a different understanding of zombies in the Buffyverse than I have always had? But I care so little about zombies that I just can’t be bothered to dissect that. 😛

I just like seeing Willow talking to other people sometimes. She looks so cute.

Next homeschooler question: Is there a mandatory science fair? Or participation in a science fair that is mandatory? I don’t really understand the whole science fair thing anyway. It’s one of those concepts that I don’t think I actually believe exists outside of teen melodrama. I never had a friend tell me about participating in or going to a science fair. I simply don’t remember ever coming in contact with it IRL. TELL ME, PEOPLE. Creeper runs around taking pictures, which do not come back with the faces they were making when the flashes went off, incidentally. Away they rush towards the “bat signal.” I know they think they’re being covert here and it’s adorable and all but what do other people think that the bat signal means? I mean, I feel like by the end of high school we’ve more or less confirmed that yeah, the high schoolers aren’t that dumb and they’ve had some ideas on what was happening this whole time. Do they just let them pretend to be sneaky? Cause that would be funny.

Giles “deals with Cordelia’s pain” which should be mentioned because it’s just so awesome. Then later, in the graveyard, Willow tries to explain what happened to Darren. “He was a running…. he was a person who runs.” It’s really impressive when there’s anyone who actually knows less about football than me. One of the things I love about the graveside discussion is when Willow matter-of-factly addresses the sexy dance. We’re not going to pretend that didn’t happen or didn’t hurt or wasn’t crappy. We’re not going to have something we can’t talk about or dance around (no pun intended). We’ll acknowledge it and acknowledge it sucked and poke fun at you for it. That’s cool. That’s a pretty good friend. Also, other bodies are missing.

“Look, I love you. But yes. That was pretty shitty. No more of that, k?”

Meanwhile, Cordy comes out from her cheerleader practice, berating her team for not being quite cheery enough. They walk way out into the very, very deserted, very, very darkened parking lot (really Sunnydale? not even STREETLIGHTS are really in the budget here?) and soon she is alone attempting to get into her car. Personally, I feel like after what I’ve seen, if I was her, I’d be parking basically like… next to the front door if I was going to be there after dark. Like literally. Who cares if I get a ticket? I’ll be alive and stuff. But no. Someone is coming. Someone is stalking her through the darkened parking lot. Frantically she tries to get into her car, instead wildly throwing her keys underneath it. Okay, seriously now. This is a thing that happens in movies and shows not super infrequently. I have dropped my keys many times. I am clumsy and it happens, especially if I’m in a hurry to get into my car or house. But keys don’t roll well. They’re not roll-y by nature. I am trying to imagine the truly phenomenal feat it must have been for those keys to have rolled so far under the car that she actually couldn’t reach them. I mean, even if you’re on an incline (which she wasn’t) that doesn’t seem that likely. She runs as fast as she can, diving into the nearest trash can. But, surprise! It’s just Angel. Wearing really weirdly light colors (for him).

I have dropped the keys SO FAR UNDER MY CAR. HELP!!!! Seriously. I just can’t believe this has ever happened to anyone.

He claims to have thought she was Buffy, which is really weird on many levels. It’s weird because Cordelia is taller, and has much darker hair than Buffy. It’s weird because even if Buffy wasn’t digging up bodies in a cemetery, why would she be at the school? It’s weird because, if he thought it was Buffy, why didn’t he call her name? It’s weird because Cordelia was very clearly wearing a cheerleader uniform, which Buffy would clearly not be wearing. It’s weird because Angel has predatory senses, which include a keen sense of smell, so we know she wouldn’t have smelled like Buffy. It’s weird because Buffy doesn’t have a car, so why would she have been walking to one? In short, I am forced to live in my own world where Angel was just stalking Cordelia for reasons of his own. If someone has another explanation, please let me know.

Here’s Cordy. Looking absolutely nothing like Buffy in any capacity.

As Angel helps her out of the dumpster, which would smell like way more than your typical dumpster, given the fact that it is full of rotting flesh, Cordelia gets to pull up an arm and give one of her excellent screams. She really is great at that. Then presumably she sat in the parking lot, while Angel dumpster dived to find all the parts and lay them out. Still keeping his weirdly light clothes spotless. Oh, to be a vampire. So many superpowers.

And where do you think YOU have been all this time, young lady?

Cordelia finds new clothes and she waits while Angel stands there, trying his best “And where do YOU think you’ve been, young lady?” when Buffy walks in the door. Shut up, Angel. You’re not her father. Yeah, she probably shouldn’t have lied to you but it is also a very good argument that she does not have to tell you her every move and just shut up because I want to hit your stupid face all through this episode. During this discussion, they eventually decide that it must be students killing girls because they’re throwing away the body parts near the school. It seems odd to me that they would choose the school dumpsters still. I mean, aren’t there other dumpsters? Why would you throw away body parts right next to a school? Why did students from different schools get buried in Sunnydale anyway? Off they go to search the lockers of the students smart enough to dissect bodies. In a scene that has the worst quality possible. I don’t know if something happened to the print or what but I have shot better footage in the dark on my handheld camera.

Worst quality ever. What happened to this footage?

Now we are let in on the deep, dark plan of our boys here. Apparently they’ve been sucked into the plot of Bride of Frankenstein, with only a few less homosexual subtexts and they’re going to make a bride for Chris’s not as dead as everyone thinks he is brother, Daryl. This is one of those plans I would really like to hear the conversation leading up to it. I mean, how did they get to this point anyway? How was this plan formed? It seems like it was not part of the original bringing his brother back to life plan but more of a “I’m so sorry I brought you back to life but here, I’ll compensate you by making sure you have someone to have sex with” thing. I’m just saying it would have been a peculiar conversation to hear. The important things we’re supposed to gain from this conversation obviously is that Daryl has a soul but is morally torn because of how much he loves his brother and Eric has no soul and no moral reservations whatsoever. Presumably he doesn’t think he’s going to get to have sex with this girl but I theorize he imagines if this works, maybe he’ll get to have a crack at the next one.

I will take a moment here to note that in this next scene in particular but in the beginning of this whole season in general, I am a big fan of Buffy’s make up and look. I think they go out of their way to make her look really soft and pretty and I just like how she looks in these scenes. Oh, SMG. I heart you. Or at least you as Buffy. My feelings on SMG herself are a different story that don’t necessarily belong in this entry. And I’m moving on now.

Despite Buffy’s well intentioned but not super helpful attempts to help Giles ask Miss Calender out, it is the glorious Jenny herself who beats him to the punch. “What? You have something to ask me? Well, I’d love to talk. Yes, you go ahead and pick me up and we’ll have dinner and it’ll be awesome and sure, let’s go ahead and do that.” Bless you, Jenny. You’re not just going to hang out and wait for poor Giles to steel himself. He would eventually but it would probably be painful to watch and she’s not a sadist. She knows what she wants, after all.

How can anyone not love Giles?

Also, is Sunnydale any good at football? I feel like it’s never mentioned in any other episode. Obviously Daryl seems to have been a really good football player but there’s never much indication that Sunnydale has any special skills besides attracting demons. Still, the stands are as packed as any Dyllon Panthers game and that just seems so unlikely if they’re not really good? I do not know. I don’t care about football, high school or otherwise so I’m not one to judge. It just seems odd to me.

This strip of metal is clearly helping…. keep absolutely nothing in place.

Was Daryl this much of a dick before he died, I wonder? Treating his brother like dirt? I mean, there are clues he might have been, I guess. He says something to Cordy about how he didn’t treat her very well before and he would now and such. I’m just wondering if it was being dead that made him super insane and thereby super rapey or if he just always was. Eric loves to facilitate rape though, so off they go to make dreams come true. Also, every time I watch this episode, I look at Daryl, trying to figure out how exactly he had to “sew” Daryl together to make him look that way. It’s not making a whole lot of logical sense but I like his random and seemingly useless strip of metal on his arm.

Buffy comes in and tries to bond with Chris, still not understanding what’s really going on. She tells him she has lost someone close to her too. My immediate question was who has Buffy lost that she’s close to? But actually just as I’m typing this right this moment, I remembered her cousin who will come up in later episodes, so I guess that’s a thing. Also, I don’t remember if she lost people in the movie, because I don’t remember the movie super well but maybe she did. I would also like to note that “industrial strength therapy” is one of my most frequently used Buffy phrases.

I would like to take yet another brief sidenote and ask how exactly Chris managed to bring his brother back? Look, here’s the thing. According to the incredibly brief description we have of his death, he was rock climbing and fell or whatever. I guess they don’t seem to need to get him immediately to bring him back to life but they do need him before the formaldehyde thing happens so how did he get the body prior to the funeral? Also was Chris already working on this? Like was he already hanging out in his basement, pondering how to create life, reading Frankenstein over and over again? Or did he manage to put this together incredibly quickly after his brother died? How did Eric get involved in this bizarre little plot anyway? It’s not like he seems like an incredibly amazing lab assistant. I WANT DETAILS.

Moving on and back to Giles date with Jenny. Jenny who is being ridiculous and claiming that football is the national pastime (it’s baseball, sweetie) but oh well. The date is interrupted by Xander and Willow who are… just being mean? I mean, come on. They are not this dense. Seriously. We know they are not this dense. Just leave them alone and let them have their date, guys! 😦

JUST LEAVE THEM ALONE! Look at poor Jenny’s face. 😦

Oh well, no date is to be had and they must rush off to save Cordelia from an admittedly pretty gruesome fate. Certainly I would never have wanted anything to happen to her but I have always wondered a bit what would have happened. How would the body have worked? It’s all Cordy’s brain, obviously so I assume she only would have remembered being Cordy but would she have like muscle memory from the other girls? I don’t know, I wonder things. The convenient fire is started and enraged and saddened Daryl, unable to live without the idea of getting laid again, mounts his sewn together corpse to die in the flames. Ew.

There’s some talk about how screwed up Daryl was and how “love makes you do the wacky.” What absolutely no one discusses is the fact that Chris FIGURED OUT HOW TO CREATE LIFE. Big picture here, guys. Big picture. I guess maybe it wouldn’t work off the Hellmouth anyway but really? No one is even going to look into it? Also we’ll never hear from Chris again. Hopefully he went off to get some industrial strength therapy.

Angel at lasts admits to his jealousy. Congratulations, Angel. You stupid, annoying child. “He gets to see you in the sunlight.” Oh, you’ve gotten to see her in the sunlight too, Angel. Just in way more creepy and stalker-like kinds of ways. What you mean is “He gets to see you in the sunlight not through a pair of binoculars or a spray painted window.” But whatever. Not the time, I guess.

Buffy will walk Angel home at the end of the night, which is a tiny little touch that I do really love. ❤