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.
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,
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*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.