Re: School Hard

Welcome

I love this episode. In large part because I love Spike/Dru so much. I love Spike all the way through, really but there’s no question that he has the most intensity and charm in the opening episodes, where he’s just delightfully evil with none of his sort-of whiny unrequited love nonsense from later episodes. I also love this episode because I think it is absolutely one of the best that shows the balance Buffy has to strike between her responsibilities as a Slayer and her responsibilities as a student. I think you really see her up against a wall in this episode, maybe somewhat wondering if she’s really going to be able to do this at all.

This is a pretty good face to make when you find out someone was stabbed with a trowel.

I do find myself wondering, aside from Joelle’s very good point about Buffy burning down the gym and how that was never actually proven (and how if it had been, probably there would have been a lot more legal problems in the long run), let’s ask another question here. Apparently Sheila stabbed a teacher with a trowel. Yes, let’s repeat that. Stabbed a teacher with a trowel. Now again, dear readers. I have never been to school. I do not much know details about how various punishments and things work outside of things I see in movies. But I do feel like, most often in the world, when you stab someone, there are pretty serious consequences to that. I feel like the stabbing, which is clearly known and admitted to by Sheila, is a bit worse than the alleged burning down of a gymnasium by Buffy (where no one got hurt, btw). I also feel like the consequences would probably not be planning parent/teacher night.  I know nothing about parent/teacher night. Joelle says it doesn’t happen in high school. I am intrigued. I wish for votes on this as well. What’s the point of it, anyway? Do students really plan it? Can a principal do something like this? Like “You two do this and whichever one of you does this better gets to be NOT expelled?” Obviously Snyder doesn’t really work by the rules anyway but I WISH TO KNOW.

Xander proceeds to jinx the whole episode very effectively. This is one of the things about Buffy that made it such a fun thing to watch. In a similar sense as Scream and some other self-aware pop culture, this was the kind of show that would make jokes about how horror worked. It was clever and self-referential when that was just starting to be a thing in some ways and it was awesome.

I love Xander clutching his bag.

 

So let’s head into the Master’s former lair. What I found myself thinking about while rewatching the episode this time is the whole vampire pecking order. How does this work, exactly? I mean, look, it seems fairly obvious why the Master was in charge. He’s like…. the oldest vampire and apparently was stronger than the rest of them and far more powerful or whatever. Had all the nifty mind powers on top of looking like a bat. I understand that. But when the Master dies, why is the Annoying One now in charge? I guess the vampire sect that worshiped the Master is particularly superstitious and so maybe that’s the deal. But honestly, clearly the poor man’s Haley Joel Osmont doesn’t have any particular skills or powers. He was important because of his part in prophecy last year but his place in prophecy is over now. Religious vampires don’t seem to do all that well, to be honest. Anarchist sorts like Spike seem to do better. That said, it’s more complicated than just the Annoying One being in charge. Because they listen to him but the angry vampire says that whoever kills the Slayer will take up the Master’s mantle. Does that mean that he’s like a priest of some kind? And whoever kills the Slayer gets to be King? That’s my current theory. I realize it never ends up mattering but these are the things I think about, okay?

My favorite couple in this season. ❤

Spike gives his fantastic opening speech. Dru gives her fantastic opening speech. Honestly, I could spend this entire thing just quoting Dru lines. I adore original Dru. I feel like after second and third season, they never really get her back to where she was before? They always try to give her those crazy lines again but they’re never as good as they were here. For the first time here I noticed something she said though. “Do you like daisies? I plant them but they always die. Everything I put in the ground withers and dies…” Which is just a line I’ve always loved because it’s so dramatic and insane and that’s what Dru does but it’s also what she says right before Spike says “Me and Dru here, we’re moving in.” I suspect there’s a connection there with the roots they’re putting down in Sunnydale and what it’s going to do and I was kind-of delighted to notice it, honestly. I love still finding new things after having watched this show more times than I actually want to admit.

I completely agree this is definitely a good scene to show Joyce’s worst aspects as a parent. I still love Joyce but absolutely these are her weakest attributes. I think she does want to be comforting in a way, I think she does really want to say the right thing. I think she wants her daughter to succeed and do what she knows she can do and she is undoubtedly still hurt and upset about what happened before. On top of which, I’m sure she’s really worried now that it looks like her daughter could be getting in trouble again and worry makes people do and say stupid and crazy shit that is totally unhelpful. None of this is an excuse and it is a shitty way for her to handle the situation. It’s also a shitty way for the writers to handle the situation because to me it really seems like they heightened these attributes in this scene so that her turnaround at the end will be more impactful. Just saying. I hate the scene too though.

If Spike had been paying attention when he first sent a vampire in to test Buffy, he would have actually seen a sign of the family and friends aspect of the brochure. Angel’s comment about Spike as goal oriented and thorough is total bullshit, incidentally. He flits around like a little butterfly half the time. He’s all impulse and only occasionally follow-through. The point is that, while Joyce’s rescue of Buffy will be the most dramatic example, a tiny thing happens in this scene which is also important. Xander comes running out into the alley, into harm’s way and he calls out to Buffy and tosses her a stake. Spike takes no notice of that, which I find strange. How many other Slayers has that happened with? It matters. It absolutely matters.

During the commotion, Sheila gets picked up by a couple of losers in the Bronze and eventually by Spike. It’s hard to believe that Sheila has survived this long in Sunnydale if she is this lacking in caution. This town is crawling with vampires and she is clearly wandering out with whoever she happens to meet. At least, that’s certainly what her few lines of dialogue seem to indicate? There’s no indication she’s met these guys before. If it hadn’t been Spike, there’s no reason that these guys she left with couldn’t have been vampires. Whatever. She’s now not long for this world.

‘Cause I’m crazy about a Cad.

 

Angel comes in to give them more cryptic warnings. Angel, I HATE YOU. Seriously. Other than the fact that what you say about Spike really isn’t even true (except for the fact that he’s dangerous), you know an incredible amount about Spike. You spent YEARS WITH SPIKE. Do you know what would be really helpful right now? You could actually stay in the fucking room and give them useful information on how to hunt and kill Spike instead of just being like, “Be careful. He’ll never stop. He’ll hunt you down.” *poof* Why can you not just give them this information?

I adore Dru and her dolls. I’ll restrain myself from saying anymore of her lines. I will say that I am skeptical she could have vamped Sheila or WOULD have vamped Sheila. Vamping takes strength and the whole point of getting Sheila for her was because she needed to eat because she was weak. Why vamp her? They didn’t need her for anything, she wouldn’t be useful to them. And I’m honestly just not even convinced that Dru is strong enough to be vamping anyone.

But I just got so bored…

Back to parent/teacher conferences. How does this work? Is it even possible to keep parents away from teachers? Like I would assume that there would be like slated times or something? Also, I would assume a lot of people would complain about lemonade with no sugar in it. Poor Buffy. I had never thought about how Spike would even know Buffy was in the school that night, although it’s an excellent point. I also want to know why Spike thinks the school is a good idea at all. I mean, really it doesn’t seem like the best place for an attack. Tons of doors, tons of emergency exits. Closets, rooms, passages. Seems like there’s not really any way to corral that many people effectively in that kind of space.  And in fact, as it turns out, there’s not. Which is another way to prove that Spike is really not all that effective in his plans. Again, all impulse. It occasionally works out for him and usually when Buffy is around, it goes terribly for him. This is another example of terrible quality in the dark shots.

Buffy does completely kick ass in this episode though. Let’s all take a minute to appreciate just how much she kicks ass. Let’s also take a minute for this.

Giles: Let me help you.
Buffy: Giles, my mother’s in that room. If I don’t make it out of here, I know you’ll make sure she does.
Giles: Bloody right I will.
B: *bawling*

 

So Angel decides to go with his worst idea ever. As Joelle says, it doesn’t make any sense at all. We know he hates Xander but clearly he wasn’t actually planning on vamping or killing Xander. I have never even considered the possibility that sire could refer to like…. a grandsire. I always just assumed it was an inconsistency in the writing, due to the fact that they probably hadn’t worked out the family tree yet. Also because there are about a thousand inconsistencies in this scene. Well, not a thousand but a lot. I love the Anne Rice bit but Angel is not Spike’s sire, Angel absolutely WAS one for company (he traveled with a group for like…. decades). There’s so many things Spike should know that he doesn’t. A lot of it I don’t really hold against anyone because I really just assume that most of that stuff they figured out way later in the writing of the show so right now they were just kind-of making it up as they went along. But honestly? Why doesn’t Xander know what a sire is yet? Why don’t ALL the Scoobies know what a sire is?

Buffy’s mom coming in to save her is absolutely incredibly important. It’s one of the coolest things that it is her mom and not Giles or Angel or one of the other guys. It’s great that her mom recognizes how awesome her daughter is and how much of a worthless little jerk Snyder is. Which of course will be something of a continuing thing as the show goes on. Also, it’s cool that she managed to hit him like perfectly with the flat of the ax. I feel like I would have accidentally… I don’t know…. not hit him with the flat somehow. I feel like that would take talent. Of course, I’ve never hit anything with an ax so I really don’t know.

Here we get our first indications that there is a conspiracy in Sunnydale. Which is great and makes perfect sense because honestly the police would HAVE to have some idea that something was up. But if you look at crime stats on Sunnydale, do they just show an incredibly high rate of PCP gang related incidents? Like is Sunnydale the PCP capital of the US in this universe?

They just look so happy together!

 

I laugh hysterically at the idea of Spike laying down his life because of… well, because of anything, really. Much less because he somehow messed up a ceremony. Does the feast of St. Viggus really increase their power somehow? How does that work, I wonder? And why does it never come up again? And, last but not least, the killing of the Annoying One is just an absolutely fantastic and fun scene. No one will miss him and it’s time for a new leader of evil in Sunnydale.

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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.

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. ❤

When She Was Bad

Well, here we are at last, kids. Time to start up season 2. I’m excited. Season 1 is fun in a lot of ways but it’s all uphill from there! We jump straight in with When She Was Bad, an episode I love because it really deals with the fact that these kind of experiences don’t just disappear and it’s not all fun and games.

“What’s going on guys? Whatcha doing?”

We open on Willow and Xander, wandering through the streets by the cemetery,  quoting movie lines at each other. It amuses me a little bit that Xander is so disgusted by Willow’s Star Wars reference because honestly none of the lines they use are from anything but incredibly obvious movies. Also, no matter how slow of a summer it has been as far as the vampires go, I feel like I would not be wandering around in the middle of the night and I would definitely at least be carrying a cross and such. They flirt and joke and suddenly Xander is overtaken by the moonlight to almost kiss Willow before being interrupted by a curious vampire, who seems to be wondering what they might be doing. Buffy (semi-magically) finds them just in time to save the day and give her only slightly not right greetings.

We are then treated to a brief scene between her parents (hello, absent father) as he confirms what we may have already suspected – something is off about Buffy this year. She’s been distant, she’s been having nightmares, she’s been traumatized. Her poor parents (well, at least poor Joyce. I really have no sympathy for her dad) are stuck wondering what in the world is going on and how to get through to her. Her father compensates by buying lots of shoes.

How adorable is Giles’ mooning face?

Cordelia is back from her summer and more spectacular than ever. No one has suffered as she has suffered and is it possible to have too much character? Giles has an awesome chat with Principal Snyder in which he compares all the students to locusts. Then he gibbers over Miss Calendar for a while. And who could blame him? She looks beautiful and she’s smart and fun with her flirting. The kids run up to say hello. Buffy looks really soft and girly and pretty in this scene. Still, her words are basically all barbed and she’s clearly not interested in talking. Xander wins money from Willow for it being “8 minutes till Giles consults his books.” Except, unless they’re counting from when they got to school, it hasn’t been anywhere near 8 minutes.

I think the training scene is where we really start to see the toll all this is taking on Buffy. She’s brutal and strong in her training but it’s just pure terror. She is having flashbacks and nightmares and this experience  hasn’t left and she’s trying to be strong enough that she won’t have to be so scared ever again and it isn’t working. Giles watches and worries but can’t get through. There’s a lot of not getting through to Buffy in this episode.

She’s so scared. 😦

Then we move to the bad guys. The Anointed has found a preacher to be charismatic for him, presumably because he’s completely incapable of being charismatic himself. Seriously, out of all of the Buffy villains, I can’t think of any more dull than The Anointed. I know his time is pretty seriously limited but frankly it still seems too long. I’m fond of the preacher though. I like the crazy prophecy and doom stuff with the vampires. A lot of them don’t seem to buy in but you always get these basically religious sects of them that are big fans and I find it enjoyable.

I think the Master in tweed is a really weird thing.

Then into Buffy’s nightmare. This is such a really heartbreaking nightmare. I mean, it’s all in here. Her terror of the Master coming back and her mortality but more than that, lingering resentment for Giles not protecting her, her friends not noticing or acknowledging that she’s dying. No one to help her and her inability to fight back. So upsetting. Then Angel comes in. Sneaking through her bedroom window like a creepy, creepy creeper. STOP DOING THAT, ANGEL. She’s a bitch to him and he’s really emotionally immature and baffled by why she’d be doing this. If he hadn’t creepily snuck in her window, I’d feel bad for him but he did and I don’t because he’s just so damn annoying to me. I do feel bad for Buffy though, who is trying so hard to push everyone away from her and be hard and unbreakable and she’s just crumbling. She also has something of a point about the fact that Angel never ever seems to come to just talk to her about anything but grave danger. Also apparently in this season they just decide to totally set aside that whole part where they weren’t going to date? I mean, not yet but soon.

There is a really glaring editing issue in this episode. This is the shirt Buffy is wearing on the way to school. Stay tuned.

He of course disappears creepily before he hears her say that she missed him too. She’s on her way to school and poor Joyce is trying so desperately to get through to her or have her talk to her somehow. Obviously something is up, she’s depressed, she’s withdrawn. Scary stuff for a parent. Teenagers really are insufferable. It must suck to parent them. She steels herself, goes into school and is a raging bitch to Cordelia and pretty much whoever else crosses her path.

Then of course the infamous dance at The Bronze. I love this. I love this a lot. I mean, it’s terrible to watch, of course. Angel is heartbroken, Willow is heartbroken, Xander is clearly feeling incredibly used and uncomfortable in the situation, even before she makes her little parting jab. I think just because I was a teenager really prone to sort-of weaponizing my sexuality and believing that it protected me on some level, I over-identify with Buffy in this episode. Full disclosure: my over-identifying with Buffy will probably be a noticeable pattern as the show goes on. 😛

Oh Buffy.

I adore that Cordelia comes out and tries to get involved. I mean, even aside from the fact that she tells her to spank her inner moppet (which is one of my favorite lines ever), she’s going to put herself out there because she has an idea of what she’s talking about and she DOES care, even if she’s not really admitting it yet. All before she gets dragged away right behind Buffy, whose PTSD issues are apparently dulling out her Slayer senses as well. I enjoy that this is an episode that deals with PTSD in a somewhat real way. At least it acknowledges it. I feel like there are so many movies and shows that I watch where the characters come out of certain experiences alive but all I can ever think is “Great, but now that you’re scarred for life and in need of therapy forever….” I like to see the trauma at least acknowledged.

This is what she’s wearing when she gets to school that day (yeesh, high waisted pants, btw)

The Anointed has everyone come on a field trip to dig up the Master’s bones. I’m not totally clear why in some ways. I mean, why does he want him back so badly anyway? Also, wouldn’t it really make sense to have all the vampires bring shovels, instead of making some of them dig with their hands through the consecrated ground? I mean, I guess it’s to show they obey him no matter what or whatever but still. Also, would it have killed Giles to bury the body a LITTLE further down? I mean, at that depth, I would think even a curious dog might be an issue. How old does a vampire have to be before their bones don’t disintegrate anyway? I’m assuming it’s an age thing.

And here she is wearing the shirt the next day when she confronts Giles. Oops.

Buffy sees the empty grave. Her worst fears are coming true. As Xander and Willow discuss with Giles how Buffy is turning into a bitca, they are assaulted by a very angry Buffy here to lash out at Giles. How could he not tell her? How could he not prepare her? Push, push, push. I like that Buffy’s response to all this is to be mean, to be honest. It’s not a subtle reaction but that’s fair. High schoolers aren’t subtle.

I’m just saying. If it was like a close friend of mine, I would probably know it but I don’t notice Cordelia wearing it in the episode that I’ve watched like a million times. 😛

Vamps throw a rock through the library window (man, that library) with Cordelia’s bracelet. I like that Buffy recognizes it immediately AS Cordelia’s bracelet. I don’t think I would have and it seems like a bit of a leap for them to assume she will but whatever. She does. Against the obviously good advice of everyone, she marches off into danger. Angel trails along behind her, when she yells at him he delivers a line which is terrible even for him. “Why you riding me?” Which is not only a terrible line but is delivered soooo badly. Makes me wince every time. Giggling vampire girl not the bait. Everyone’s going to be captured except Xander. I really don’t understand why they don’t just kill Xander? I mean, I get they’re in a hurry or whatever but breaking necks or taking a bite out of people does not take long. Why leave him alive?

However, leave him alive they do and when Buffy comes to get him, Xander does for the first time one of the primary things that Xander is good at – he calls Buffy out on her bullshit. He’s not always as harsh about it as he is here. This is one of the first times it happens and I think as the show progresses he gets better at it and gentler with it. But obviously this is an extreme situation. Off she goes to torture the vampiress to get some answers. She does this by ripping her cross necklace off (second time she’s done this in 2 episodes) and, when the answers are had, she clips it right back on. How does that happen? Is it a magic necklace?

Every time I see scenes like these, I just think about what horrible headaches they must have, probably even just from filming. I hate being upside down.

Off they go to the dramatic little ceremony. Vampires and their flair for the dramatic. I wonder if it was actually necessary to have them alive to slit their throats above his bones. I always feel like it might send them all into a feeding frenzy or something? I guess I picture them like sharks or something. Buffy has a big fight scene with them. The fight choreography and the dustings are definitely still really elemental but they are definitely a step up from season 1. It’s a pretty fun fight scene. Buffy is kicking ass and working through her shit. There’s something really cathartic about the idea of having something physical to beat and kill and destroy. Like something that you can actually touch and literally work your way through? I don’t know. Seems like more fun than just mental issues. 😛 The preacher vampire comes in and tells her that he will “grind her bones into a sticky paste before he smashes in her face.” I feel like he’s a little confused about how all that would work. Not that it ends up mattering. I like that Xander knows that it’s not over, can still see that she’s got another step or two to go here.

There are periodic times in Buffy where I feel like, because it’s a teenage show, they have Angel do things that I think Giles should do. I actually would have preferred that it be Giles who came to comfort her, rather than Angel. I think this is more of a daddy thing. Oh well. We’ll leave her crying into Angel’s shoulder.

She’s understandably pretty nervous about talking to her friends again. Hard to just apologize for having almost gotten them brutally murdered. Comforting or not, Giles is right. It’s not the worst mistake she’ll ever make by far and I suspect there are a few times coming where she’d like to go back to the simplicity of this one. In she goes to the classroom where her friends handle it wonderfully. BOTH OF THEM, JOELLE. 😛 I honestly think that this is an episode where you see Xander take one of his first tiny steps towards growing up. It’s not a huge one and he still has a long way to go but he handles this perfectly. They throw out the jokes and then he makes the exact RIGHT joke that says things are okay and that they forgive her. It’s hard to accept forgiveness, harder the greater the offense but it’s one of the things that makes a friendship stronger. It’s good for her, she needs it.

What’s with the pinned sea foam green sweater, Buffy? No really. What is with this?

And then of course we have a mandatory final scene of the Anointed being annoyed and who gives a shit. So over him.

Season 1 Overview

I doubt you will find many people who will argue that season one isn’t the worst season of Buffy. There’s no question that the show takes time to find it’s footing and many of the episodes are more camp than heart. Most of the monsters are even more ridiculous looking than future ones will be, the acting is extremely hit and miss, there are a lot of loose ends and plot holes. The fight choreography is abysmal and the dustings look oddly as if the vampires are turning into moss spores. All these things are very true.

However, as has probably come through in the last 12 entries, I still love this season. It’s sweet and innocent and naive and it’ll all go into darker and darker territory as things go on. I felt like I grew up with Buffy (although less so than Joelle, who was practically an infant during this time) and this was perhaps her more childish phase. It’s just sort-of charming and adorable to look back on.

Probably Joelle will do a better job with an overview. I feel like this one is a bit lacking but TOO BAD. 😛

Re: Prophecy Girl

Oh, this episode. I have watched season 1 many, many times in my life. I watch Buffy with people so every time I rewatch it with someone, plus whenever I rewatch it for projects of various kinds (this isn’t the first although hopefully it’ll be the first I finish), not to mention the 3 or 4 times I saw it myself before I had seen through Buffy in it’s entirety. This episode has had me in tears every single time. Really. Every single time. This is arguably a little pathetic but hey, we’re not here to talk about that. Let’s just dive in.

Stop it, Willow. Stop it.

I am certainly frustrated with Xander in the opening scene of this episode but, to be honest, I am almost as frustrated with Willow. Look, I think it’s great that she’ll later stand up to him and be mature and all but come on. She is not just allowing him to test this out on her because she cares about him. She is being extremely emotionally masochistic here. She’s allowing him to test it out on her so that she can sit there, looking mooney and wistful and imagining he’s talking to her and not Buffy. Which isn’t exactly an awesome emotional choice for her to be making. Xander is certainly being an asshole in this episode but neither of them are behaving maturely perse in this scene.

Then we’ll move into Buffy in her element, so to speak. I really love the crazy high drama of this scene. I mean, really for Buffy it’s just another night but you can see the vampire’s eyes widen and he realizes he’s going to die and Buffy is apparently remarkably quiet with her kill so that Cordelia’s make-out session is only slightly disturbed so good for her. Now, I think the line in this scene is “Giles will be so proud.” But for some reason, the line I always hear is “Giles would be so proud” which sounds way more ominous and creepy and like he’s dead. It always throws me, even though I’m almost sure that’s not what she says.

Awwww. Look how happy it makes him.

As Buffy comes into the poor library and eyes the damage from the Master’s earthquake, I find myself wondering how many times they had to mess with and rebuild this set. And also, in the universe itself, how many times does that library get rebuilt before graduation? I mean, honestly. Also, that Buffy’s phrase is “Wow, the damage looks fairly structural.” Wait, what? How in the world would Buffy know that? Why in the world would Buffy say that? I know Buffy is an extremely intelligent girl and she has many things she knows from her uncommon extracuriculars but I don’t think that structural damage is high on the list. Anyway, Giles is distant because he’s so terrified and trying to figure out a way to change prophecy. What makes the weirdly accessible Kodex so damn certain anyway? What’s the point in having prophecies if some are mutable and some aren’t? Was it like levels of prophets? These ones saw like 12 different time lines and guessed which one was more likely, these ones saw the actual future. I think about these things, okay?

Xander finally gets up his nerve, brings Buffy over to a bench, kicks some random off of it and sits her down. It’s time to finally ask. Yes, they’re both straightforward but I am always so bothered by the fact that Buffy acts as if she had absolutely no idea. Buffy is not a stupid girl and Xander is not a remotely subtle boy. I think it’s dishonest on her part to make it seem like she’s totally stunned because I can literally see no possibility of that being the case. Whatever, at least she is really honest with him about the fact that she doesn’t feel that way. He responds really badly, she feels shitty about it. No doubt, it is certainly not one of his shining moments.

Seriously. Why is she so WHITE?

Jenny comes in, demanding information from Giles. For some reason, she is inhumanly pale in this scene. Like I don’t know if it’s the light or what but she is like glistening white and I can’t figure out why. The end is pretty seriously nigh, guys (which is one of my favorite phrases) and also eyes facing inwards is SO NOT OKAY. Her monk has been sending out global mailings. What does that even mean? Is he posting on message boards? Sending messages to everyone on every list? Does it mean anything at all? Either way, she’ll do as Giles asks because he looks so hurt and frantic. Daddy Giles. 😦

Meanwhile, Cordelia and Willow are being a little more friendly than usual. Now I am not a computer nerd so I don’t know but I guess I don’t entirely buy that Willow’s expert as a computer hacker would also make her an expert at setting up sound systems. I presume that’s the connection we’re supposed to be drawing (since we’ve never seen any sign of her having a proficiency for sound systems before) but it just seems like a plot point to me. WHATEVER. She will go in to comfort Xander, as I’m sure she knew she would end up doing. Realistically I think one of the reasons that Willow was so okay with Xander using her for practice is because she always knew he never stood a chance in hell. He’s a dick about it and asks her to the dance and she maturely says fuck off. He goes home to listen to country music. The music of pain. I love that line so much.

Hell no, you jackass.

Just never what you want to see.

Meanwhile Buffy wanders down the completely darkened hall, completely darkened bathroom. JUST PAY A POWER BILL, GUYS. As she goes to wash her hands, unfortunately the sink is full of blood, which is just never what you want to see. Her joy at hearing Angel is pretty quickly overshadowed. Really, guys. You should be careful what you say and when. I think that SMG nails every moment of this really crucial scene. Her quavering “Do you think it’ll hurt?” pretty much destroys me every time. She’s just a kid. She’s just a kid and she’s not ready to die a horrible death for the nonspecific “world.” She doesn’t want to be the next in a long line of sacrificial girls, heading off to meet their fate. She is angry, she is heartbroken, she is terrified. It’s too much to ask. There’s something so incredibly cold about all of it which, of course, as Joelle said, we’ll see more of as we learn more about the council.

Just this face. 😦 😦 😦

So she says she quits and goes home. I think realistically though, she knows that’s never going to happen. She doesn’t think she’ll make it through this, and deep down she knows that she will go in. When Joyce comes in to be mom and to give her an unbelievably gorgeous dress. Granted the gorgeous dress really matches a little overly well with the whole “sacrificial lamb” idea but whatever. It’s a good Joyce scene and in a way the whole drama of it really works in the way that a lot of Buffy in high school works. Lines like “everything is life or death when you’re a teenage girl” are true. The fact that for Buffy all of these metaphorical perils are actually flesh and blood ones just make them sort-of clever. The idea of mom not understanding and the daughter feeling removed and in some ways older than her poor mom who is just trying to help but doesn’t get it… those are legit things. Although Buffy’s “You had your whole life in front of you” sounds a little suicidal and if I were Joyce, my ears would have pricked up a bit. But no one is perfect. On a personal note, it’s interesting to me that she’s never heard (and apparently never asked) how her parents met before. That’s a story from my parents that I know by heart. Not because they offered but because I started asking at a pretty young age and have just kind of kept pushing them for details.

Seriously. Really obvious bloody handprint.

So many broken hearts in this episode.

Anyway. More heartbreak is coming. As Willow and Cordelia come to the school and have a sweet little talk (I’m really fond of Willow/Cordelia), not noticing that the cartoons on the tv are partially obscured by a bloody handprint. Now I’ll let it go for the sake of the plot and the fact that this whole scene plays out really well but this is not the first time that Willow has had people she knows die horribly or have it happen in a room she’s in every day. I’m just saying. Oh well. This is the time it hits. When Buffy comes to see her (looking stunningly beautiful) and she explains, you know what she’s going to do. She knew what she was going to do when she walked into the room. Because, as Giles will later say, “She’s a hero, you see.” Oh, the tears.

Daddy Giles, I love you. I love that you would try to go on your own, that you would do anything you could to protect Buffy, even though you can’t. You can’t fight her battles and on some level you know that. Also, you’re about to get another head injury. I’m glad that she doesn’t have any clever words here. The show is so full of quips and puns and gallows humor but, when it really counts, when the words need to mean something, there’s just nothing to say. It’s another perfect small touch.

Xander, terrified probably in no small part because the last things he said to Buffy were pretty horrible, heads off to save her. Now in some ways, this is stupid because obviously Xander is no superhero and will probably just die with her and maybe it’s some nonsense that he thinks he can save her and he still has these hero fantasies in his head. But if he hadn’t gone, she would have died and that would have been the end of that. Honestly, this is one of the scenes where I understand why Xander doesn’t like Angel and why he somewhat continues to hold a grudge against him. From Xander’s perspective, it doesn’t look like Angel is going to do a damn thing and he treats him like shit for insisting on it. Maybe he’s just toying with him but why the hell do that now? There’s not a lot of time for it and I think it’s a kind-of shitty thing to do.

Really, I just love this picture.

Meanwhile, Giles and Willow and Jenny try to work out where the Master is going to rise. “Where has there been a concentration of incidents?” Oh, I don’t know. How about the one place where almost EVERY SINGLE BAD THING HAPPENS? Oh well, they’re under the gun, we won’t hold it against them. Quick back to Xander and Angel, having what I think is the clumsiest moment of this entire episode. The “don’t check out my neck” always seems incredibly dumb and out of place to me. There’s really no levity needed here and also it’s not really funny.

Perfect shot.

Buffy comes down and the Master tells her that without her coming, he could never have left (a particularly cruel twist in the whole prophecy thing). He mocks her witty banter, he toys with her for a minute and then the moment is there and there’s absolutely nothing she can do. The thrall has hit (I’d like to understand more about the thrall, incidentally. Why do some vampires have it and some don’t? Is it a present after a certain number of years? Cause only the super old ones seem to have it) and her eyes are huge and terrified and she knows she’s dying for nothing, which is pretty much the cruelest possible way to die. The whole scene is filmed very classically in some ways. Reminiscent of like original Nosforatu and such. I love it. So, not to put too dramatic a point on it, the lamb is sacrificed and thrown aside to drown. It is at this exact moment that I am always distracted by how much I don’t like her shoes. It frustrates me that I am always distracted by that but this is a place of sharing.

Drowned rat hair but it’s okay. She’s working it.

Down rush Xander and Angel to save the day. Angel panting as if he just ran a marathon and telling Xander it has to be him because he has no breath…. yeah, okay. It’s hilarious every time. CPR is miraculously successful and she takes a giant gulp of air, before choking out water. I have never drowned but my understanding is that’s not really how it works. Up she jumps, reborn, pure as snow somehow… Also, just curious, how does this affect future prophecies? It’s never really mentioned again. Is she out of the prophecy loop now? Did the prophecies not prophesy that she wouldn’t be staying dead? Look, there’s a lot about the rules of prophecy I want to know, okay?

Off they go. Awesome Buffy theme pounding in the background, her boobs look amazing in that dress, she slays left and right while Angel and Xander just kind-of try to keep up. Meanwhile, Cordy saves Willow and Jenny and they go crashing into the school. Rush into the library! Barricade the doors! What could possibly be wrong with this scenario? When we get to it in season 2, I will point out how it is undoubtedly established that THESE DOORS OPEN BOTH WAYS. Anyway, finally it’s time. The music is playing. There is much screaming, there is much distress. It seems like maybe they’re holding them back until… the giant puppet hellmouth comes out. I LOVE HIM. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. He’s kind of like a rubber prop from Alien or something. All adorable with his flailing and chomping. His chomping always sounds like panting to me, making me feel like he’s just a really ugly and misunderstood puppy.

LOOK HOW ADORABLE AND RUBBERY HE IS!

Buffy is on the roof, interrupting the Master’s dramatic celebration. She then has to say that she flunked the written, which may be my most hated line in the whole season. One badly choreographed fight scene later, she sends him crashing ass first through the giant skylight, somehow managing to get him to land on a stake through the heart. It’s impressive, really. And there he is. Just some bones. Some really, hilariously fake looking bones.

“Oh no worries. They’ll be fine here. We’ll just… come back for them later.”

Then we have the scene where they try to figure out what to do. I mean, what do you do? I love that Buffy starts crying here. There’s something really legitimate and touching about just having that kind of overwhelming rush of emotion. I mean, you know. It’s been a really weird day.

Final note: No. The Master isn’t going to go anywhere. But someone could totally, you know…. come in there? Especially considering that the bones have to be gotten rid of in a certain way and there’s a vague possibility of him rising and… oh, never mind. Just go to the dance. We’ll see you next year.

 

Prophecy Girl

This episode(!!!!). As far as the writing, the action, the heartache, and the wrapping-everything-up factors go, it’s definitely the best of the season. It fills me with love and happiness. When I introduce people to Buffy, I often say that it doesn’t get into its groove until S1’s finale, but that kind of puts people off, you know? The show definitely has a lot to offer before the finale, but this episode is where it truly shows what it’s capable of.

Don’t do this to me, Will.

It opens with Xander and Willow in the Bronze, with Xander once again using my sweet precious Willow for his own benefit, by practicing his “ask Buffy out” speech on her. The blissful, naive, adorable look on Willow’s face kills me. KILLS ME.

I love when Buffy slays happily. This is how it should be!

And then it cuts to an awesome slow-motion fight where Buffy is kicking some vamp butt. (Cordelia is making out in a steamy car in the background. Random comment: I really do love how Cordy’s always in the driver’s seat during her makeout car scenes. Yay feminism!)

 

Giles, meanwhile, is reading the Codex that Angel mysteriously got for him, and he translates it to discover that Buffy is doomed. This is especially heartbreaking because we just found out a couple episodes ago that Buffy’s death is one of his worst nightmares.

THEN EARTHQUAKE. And the Master is super excited about it (near ejaculation, actually, I suspect) and yelling corny things like “GLORY! GLORRYYYY!” Aw, Master, we love you.

He’s just precious.

Buffy’s interaction with Giles in the library is adorable, because she’s complaining that he’s not being attentive enough, when really he’s freaking out because he knows her fate. Giles is a wreck right now and it makes me want to cry.

You tell him!

Xander asks Buffy to the dance. Eww. I do appreciate that they’re both direct here. Xander asks outright; Buffy replies honestly. She tells him she doesn’t want to spoil their friendship and that she doesn’t feel that way about him. Xander, of course, acts like a giant fucking baby about it, but whatever. I want to punch him when he talks to Willow about it later. “She’s still jonesing for Angel, could care less about me.” Well, Xander, no offense, but even if Angel wasn’t in the picture I’m not so sure Buffy is into five-year-olds. This scene is redeemed by Wonderful Willow, who shoots him down when he asks her to the dance. She handles it with grace and maturity and SEE, XANDER, TAKE A MEMO WILL YOU. Willow is basically the most mature person that has ever existed. She will coach Xander, the guy she’s had a crush on for forever, on how to ask out her best friend, she will step aside to let it happen, and then she will turn down Xander’s advances after the fact because she doesn’t want to be anybody’s second choice. LOVE.

😦 😦 😦

And then everything is awful and everything hurts, because Buffy overhears Giles telling Angel that the Codex reads: “Tomorrow night, Buffy will face the Master and she will die.” (But you know, in fancier terms.) I can’t stress how HUGE this moment is, for Buffy as a character and for Buffy as a show. This scene gets me every time. What has always interested me about the language surrounding Slayers is that it’s largely impersonal (and this is directly because the language is controlled by the Watcher’s Council, of course). As we will learn more about in later seasons: the Slayer is the Council’s tool, an instrument to be disposed of and replaced eventually. Buffy is familiar with this language, and perhaps it is the impersonal nature of it that has never really allowed her to face what it means before now. One Slayer dies, another is called. She’s had her turn to be called, and now it’s someone else’s.

“Does it say how he’s gonna kill me? Do you think it’ll hurt?”

😦 😦 😦

Ugh, that line destroys me. We’re reminded with those two questions that Buffy is still a sixteen-year-old girl, and she doesn’t want to die. She tells Giles and Angel that she quits. She doesn’t care, in this moment, about her duties or about stopping the Master. She wants to live. She’s throwing a tantrum in a lot of ways, but who can blame her? (SMG acts the hell out of this scene, by the way, and she gets all the props.)

Joyce’s misinterpretation of Buffy’s mood is adorable. I actually do like Joyce in this scene. She thinks Buffy is upset about not being asked to the dance, and she surprises her with a GORGEOUS new dress (which SMG will later look fantastic in).

Bummer.

AND THEN EVERYTHING HURTS AGAIN. Cordy and Willow discover a whole bunch of dead students in the…I guess it’s the school’s AV room? Buffy goes to Willow’s house as soon as she finds out, and Willow’s explanation of what the experience did to her also always gets me. “When I walked in there, it wasn’t our world anymore. They made it theirs.” In this moment, Buffy knows what she has to do. She can’t let the Master rise. She doesn’t confide in Willow, she doesn’t voice her decision at all, she just gets up, tells Willow to stay in tonight, and goes. She doesn’t expect to live; she’s just going to try and take the Master down with her. LOVE YOU BUFFY.

“As the soon-to-be purple area on my jaw will attest, I did not LET her go!” Fave Giles quote of the season, probably.

Back at camp, Giles is preparing to take on the Master by himself, which is equally stupid and heartwarming. LOVE YOU DADDY GILES. Buffy shows up, knocks him out so he can’t interfere, and heads off to find the Anointed One, after telling Jenny, “When he wakes up, tell him…I don’t know. Think of something cool, tell him I said it.” *love love love*

Xander and Willow find out what’s going on, and their concern for their friend supersedes everything else. LOVE YOU WILLOW and Xander you’re okay. They don’t know where Buffy has gone, so Xander goes to Angel’s house, makes a really stupid speech to Angel, blah blah blah, Xander’s boring. They team up.

If there could be a mascot for S1, it would be Buffy in her white dress and leather jacket, carrying a crossbow. I see what you’re doing here, Joss, I feel you.

see??

 

This doesn’t look fun.

Willow and Jenny start to go to the Bronze, assuming that’s where the Master will assemble his army, but instead get surrounded by vampires as soon as they leave the school. Meanwhile, the Master hypnotizes Buffy and lets her know that if she had never come to him, he wouldn’t have been able to get out in the first place, which is a bummer. Then he bites her and lets her fall face-first into a puddle, and leaves the…church? Wherever the hell he’s been this whole time.

Angel and Xander find Buffy’s body. Yup, she’s all dead and stuff. Angel’s like, “XANDER *HEAVY BREATHING* YOU HAVE TO GIVE HER CPR *HEAVY BREATHING* I HAVE NO BREATH.” Okay, dude, whatever you say. Xander gives her CPR and even though CPR only works, like, 4% of the time or something, of course it works on Buffy who springs to life like a cartoon character. And her dress isn’t dirty at all, and it bothers me. Her mascara isn’t even smeared.

Look at how spotless her dress is.

Cordy drives by and picks up Willow and Jenny, and then they drive into the school and down the corridor to the library, because why not? Vampires begin trying to break into the library through every conceivable doorway, and LOL Jenny is still holding her purse for like 60% of the action.

Then there’s an awesome theme-song march with crappy camera work of Buffy, Xander and Angel heading toward the school.

A demon starts coming out of the Hellmouth just a little bit and starts fucking with people, because, SURPRISE, the Hellmouth is underneath the library. Yay for puppet demons!

Buffy confronts the Master on the roof (how did she know he was up there…?) and they fight. Buffy wins, obviously, and then the Hellmouth demon just gives up.

NO SERIOUSLY her back was filthy not ten minutes ago! If Slayer powers make it so you never have to bathe or do laundry ever again, sign me up.

When Buffy’s looking at the Master’s bones all teary-eyed and Xander announces that she died and everything, and Giles says, “I should have known that wouldn’t stop you,” I WANT TO HUG THEM TO MY BOSOM FOREVER.

THE END.

I am so excited to be moving on to Season 2, you guys! Season 2 is the one that I watched the most as a child and gives me lovely second-grade feelings again. I’ll post my overview of S1 after B’s Prophecy Girl post, and then we’ll be on our way!