Friday, May 20, 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Homecoming

Episode 39.
airdate: 3 November 1998

This is the one where Mr. Trick and his lackeys try to kill the Slayers at the Homecoming Dance, mistaking Cordelia for Slayer #2 as they're going to the dance together and running against one another for homecoming queen. Another of Buffy's attempts at being "normal" Scott and running for queen. Oops, except Scott breaks up with her because she's "distracted all the time" i.e. emotionally unavailable.

First sighting of the Mayor!!! I heart the Mayor. Joss' patented witty evil, for the first time perfected. The Master wasn't really that funny.

This is also, regrettably, the episode where Xander and Willow start fooling around. I'm not ready! It is an abomination! I don't get it. They're just all-of-the-sudden attracted to one another? No.

So, the limo gets hijacked by Trick and his boys for Slayerfest '98. So, at the time that Buffy has infiltrated Cordy's world by running for queen, Cordy is inadvertently thrown into Buffy's world by being hunted as a Slayer. This is Buffy and Cordelia's bonding episode.

At the end, neither Buffy nor Cordelia win the crown and the Mayor hires Mr. Trick and it is revealed that he's officially an evil guy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Beauty and the Beasts

Episode 38.
airdate: 20 October 1998.

It's Oz' time of the month and he may have gotten out one night. Suspicions arise because of a student murder. It's actually just domestic violence on a very special episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Xander sleeps through his Oz-watch. At the beginning of the ep, Faith boils it down to, "All men are beasts...they're all just in it for the chase."

Buffy has to go to a shrink because of her running away thing and the guy is surprisingly, to Buffy, cool.

Buffy finally sees Angel. He's totally savage, of course, 'cause he's been in hell and this episode is called "Beauty and the Beasts". Anyway, so at this point you're also wondering if Angel is the killer of the student. Buffy chains him up. Buffy, of course, doesn't tell anyone she's found Angel.

Giles: In my experience there are two types of monsters: the first can be redeemed, or more importantly, wants to be redeemed, and the second is devoid of humanity, cannot respond to reason, or love.

Scott, Buffy's new boy, is totally charming and funny. Too bad Angel's back. Not really; I want Angel to have redemption and shit, but he sure is effed up and broody, when Buffy could date the totally quirky-cute Scott instead. I guess when I was 16 I would have done the same thing. Darkness is interesting when you don't know any better.

Buffy lays out a huge confession to her new therapist and does her Emmy-worthy crying thing only to find that the guy has been mangled. So that effectively rules out Oz-as-werewolf and Angel the Vampire. It is immediately revealed that it's this chick Debbie's bf. He's been drinking some weird potion that makes him all veiny and testosteroney. And she puts up with him. He says typical abusive-male things like "I'm all you've got." and "You know what happens when I get mad." etc.

Pete the abusive boyfriend gets it in his head that Oz was hitting on his gf and tried to kill him but he turns into a wolfy and fights back while Buffy and Faith go after them both. Angel comes to Buffy's aid while Faith and Willow take on Oz, eventually shooting him with a tranquilizer gun. So Angel isn't a total beast then. He deserves, or rather WANTS, redemption. Yep.

"...and from the depths of a forest, the call still sounded."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith, Hope, and Trick

Episode 37.
airdate: 13 October 1998.

Time for Faith! The Hope is the last name of a boy Buffy is a little interested in. The Trick is a man who works for the Maypr, who is the Big Bad of this season.

Buffy keeps having dreams about Angel. The first two this season were with him in the daylight and the one in this ep is Angel in a white shirt bleeding from the mortal wounds she inflicted upon him.

Giles is left-handed! And he disapproves of Willow's heavy magic usage, from the beginning.

I have some sort of viscerally bad reaction to Faith. I dislike her and call her a "slut" in my head...not sure what my issue with her is...perhaps I secretly view myself as the heroine of this tale and I'm threatened by her presence. But, when I dream about Buffy I'm usually Willow. Well, I was when I first watched the series. Perhaps I should pay attention to my Buffy dreams from now on and see if my role has changed. Maybe I've become the tough main character in my subconscious. That'd be cool.

Giles keeps asking questions about how Buffy killed Angel and of course she, secretive Buffy, hasn't told anyone Angel had his soul back when she killed him.

Uh-oh! Scott gives Buffy a claddagh good!

Buffy tells Giles and Willow the truth at the end of the episode. Big Buffy speech and then she walks off, makes a date with Scott, and takes her claddagh to Angel's old place (I guess? I don't recognize the building, but why would she go to a random spot to leave the ring? It's definitely indoors in an art deco-y place, and Angel likes that kind of decor, so it has to be somewhere he lived...) and leaves it on the ground in a big symbol of letting Angel go...then the last shot of the episode is a freaking naked Angel falling out of the sky...just as she lets the boy go.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Dead Man's Party

Episode 36 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
airdate: 6 October 1998.

Buffy's home and there will be consequences of awkwardness and mistrust from her leaving. Xander, Willow, Oz, and Cordelia have gotten pretty good at the slaying while Buffy was gone, too. She's all shocked.

Giles is very relieved. Willow stands up Buffy...everyone has had to adjust without Buffy.

Joyce has a scary mask that reanimates the dead; first a cat, then a whole bunch of people, and they're all headed to the Summers household during a "hootenanny" everyone planned for Buffy that involves a TON of people. What's the metaphor here? Zombies equals disconnection with friends and family? Fun fact: Zombies don't eat brains in the Buffyverse.


Xander: You can't just bury stuff, Buffy. It'll come right back up to get ya.

It's really sweet how everyone chips in with the helping when the zombies attack. And they were all fighting a moment earlier. Everyone hugs at the end and Giles threatens Snyder and it's super hot.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Anne.

Episode 35 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
airdate: 29 September 1998.

The gang (Xander, Oz, and Willow) is fighting without Buffy as she never came home. Buffy has run away to some nameless town and is living in a sleazy apartment with a job as a waitress. She's going by her middle name: Anne. And when a guy smacked her ass she didn't even kick his! So sad. Oh, and Spagetti-Os out of a can...really sad. Buffy's also wearing white tennis shoes with hosiery...yikes.

Willow looks instantly more mature with shorter hair...weird how that works.

This episode is Buffy's last attempt at running away from her destiny, at least physically.

So Buffy's friend Lily's boyfriend turns up missing and Buffy finds him dead...and an old man. Intrigue! Turns out its a cult-thing: derelict-kids get lured into a facility reaching out to homeless people. They get taken to an alternate dimension where time moves differently and they're made to be slaves throughout their lives, even though it's only a few days in the Earth dimension. They're told repeatedly that they are "nothing" so when they're old they get released back into the streets and they wander around all crazy repeating, "I am no one" over and over. So, this whole experience leads Buffy to realizing who she is again, of course. Yeay!

Giles finally cleans his glasses!!!

The moral here is that disappearing and attempting to run from who you are won't work. When the demons ask the slaves who they are, they say "no one" or they get knocked out by a big troll hammer; when they ask Buffy, who has heretofore been referring to herself in this town as Anne, she says, "I'm Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and you are?" in a great moment of renewed sense of self. There's some good hero shots in this ep.

And at the end, Buffy goes home. Yeay!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Becoming, parts 1 & 2.

Episodes 33 and 34.
airdates: 12 and 19 May 1998.

Ok, so there's this ancient artifact dug up and Giles is super-interested...guess who else is super-interested? Angelus. Ooooh! It's Acathla, this big evil Apocalypse-bringer . Buffy has to stop Angel/Acathla and Willow's trying to restore Angel's soul. Long story short: Acathla is awakened and the only thing that can stop the Apocalypse is the death of Angel...he gets his soul back JUST as Acathla wakes up, so Buffy has to kill him when he's all confused about what's goin''s super-sad and there's Sarah McLachlan playing as Buffy wanders away into the distance at the end of the second episode, obviously leaving town.

Becoming, Part 1:

"There's moments in life that make you"...

So this moment that Buffy had to kill Angel really fucks her up. She's dark forever after this moment. Angel's "moment" is when he meets his Mother to Darkness, aka Darla. What was my "becoming" moment? I'll have to think on that...

I like the Buffy vampires' teeth. They're very feline. All six of the front ones are pointy in places.

You know how you can tell when Angel's evil? When he has white makeup on his lips and a little red under his eyes. His lips are all pink when he's nice. There's a lot of Angel backstory from the 1700's in this ep...when he was changed, when he tormented/sired Drusilla, his later path to redemption and interminable stalking of Buffy. With Drusilla's second sight, I wonder if she was a Potential Slayer before she became a vampire. Perhaps the writers never explicitly thought of that, but it would make sense.

Another of Angel's defining moments was when he got his soul back, of course. Restoring Angel's soul is one of Willow's defining moments. Xander's being black and white "Angel-needs-to-die" boy in this episode.

Kendra's back! because a "very dark power is about to rise in Sunnydale". Spike is still keeping his secret of being able to walk from Angel and Dru; not sure why...

So, apparently, Angel was wandering around being pathetic like Louis from the Vampire Chronicles for a freaking century, when he met Buffy...another "becoming" moment for him. Wow, I'm like totally getting the deepness of this episode! So, Angel was stalking Buffy for more than a year before they met. Oh, and when Angel first sees Buffy, it is the moment she finds out she's the Slayer...another "becoming" moment. This whole episode is full of them. Joss knows how to stick to a theme, man!

Why do vampires and demons always want to end the world? Wouldn't it be more fun to terrorize the innocents on Earth without the destruction of mankind in one fail swoop? It would take all the fun out of being evil, wouldn't it?

Buffy's wearin' her brown pants...that means she's serious, bitch! While Willow is doing the spell for Angel, the first time, Xander is conspicuously there but not helping in any way. Oh, man, Drusilla has killed Kendra already, and they've kidnapped Giles. And Drusilla didn't even drink Kendra's blood when she killed her?!?! WTF? She's got Slayer-blood!

Becoming, Part 2:

The cops catch Buffy with Kendra's body and attempt to arrest her, but she evades them. So, on top of Kendra's death, Giles' kidnapping, Willow trapped under a bookshelf and Xander unconscious, Buffy's wanted. And to mark her fugitive-ness, she's wearing that black beanie that makes her look like a gangster. Willow's in a coma from head trauma. As if there's not enough shit going on, Angel is about to torture Giles. I hate this!

Spike's first alliance with good! He wants Buffy's help because he doesn't want an Apocalypse, he just wants to get Drusilla and leave town. Spike's black-painted nails are all artfully chipped. Hot.

Xander tells Willow he loves her and she awakens from the coma, just like when he tells her he loves her at the end of season 6 and keeps her from destroying the world! OMG, I never realized the parallel here! Amazing! I love this show!

Angel just cleaned Giles' glasses for him, though he hasn't done it yet himself on the show. I keep watching for it.

Joyce is about to find out about Buffy being the Slayer! A defining moment for her as a mother, I'm sure. Spike and Joyce have an awkward little moment in their living room. OMG, and a defining moment for Spike is him coming to Buffy for help; aligning himself with good, foreshadowing his inevitable sway towards good. Joyce is freaking out. She tells Buffy if she leaves the house, "don't even think about coming back!"

After her coma, Willow decides to retry the spell. She sends Xander to tell Buffy that she's trying it again, but he gives her the message as, "Kick his ass" instead, possibly ruining the whole thing. If Buffy had known, she could have stalled longer and possibly prevented the whole mess. Xander's jealousy and inclination towards moral absolutism possibly caused this very horribly painful moment in Buffy's life, turning her forever into darkness. She is never the same after this moment.

And Snyder has just expelled her! Wow. What more could happen in these episodes? Everything is so dramatic! She's kicked out of the house, the cops are after her, and she's expelled and she's going to have to kill her first love in a minute because one of her best friends has betrayed her by not telling her what her other BFF is up to...sheesh!

OMG, another parallel! Angel's blood is the key to awakening Acathla and starting/stopping the Apocalypse. Later, Dawn's blood is the key to starting/stopping the Apocalypse. Buffy was willing to kill Angel, but the pain she felt after doing so was so overwhelming that she vows to kill anyone who gets in her way if the ritual involving Dawn's blood starts. Buffy later (in season 5) is willing to let the world end instead of losing her sister. Here, she is not.

I can tell you, this is a moment of becoming for me in my Buffy writings, because I was about to give up on the summarizing/shownote-taking, but if I hadn't been doing this, I wouldn't have made all these realizations...I'm getting better and have renewed energy for the task! Wa-hoo!

Even though I never liked Angel and Buffy together, it still tears me up to watch her face when she both realizes Angel's soul has returned and when she realizes she has to kill him. Sarah McLachlan, bring the house down! Sarah plays at the end of season 6 too...end of season parallels everywhere! I will never be able to hear McLachlan's "Full of Grace" without thinking of the terrible heartbreak at the end of this season and Buffy walking down the street in her frayed baggy jeans leaving Sunnydale. She can't go home, she can't go to school...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Go Fish

Episode 32.
airdate: 5 May 1998

Here's a nice palate-cleanser after the extreme emotionalness of the last episode and before the last two SERIOUSLY drama-filled episodes to end the season. This is just a nice traditional episode about fish-boys on a swim team, drugged by their coach with some kind of fishy steroids.

I'm not sure I'll have much to say about this episode except, yummy Xander in a Speedo. I'm not really into Speedos, but he looks nice topless and wet.

Buffy almost broke the nose/wrist of a swim-boy who tried to take advantage of her. The excuse of the swim-boy..."I mean, look at the way she dresses!" and the swim coach says, "Try to dress more appropriately from now on." I remember THAT from high school. Dressing innovatively and/or with some skin showing equals "asking for it" and being called a slut. Oh, I remember that very clearly.

Buffy's wearing her brown stretchy pants again!

Cordelia has this really sweet speech when she thinks Xander's a fish boy about how she'll give him bath toys and still date him, etc. Cuteness.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: I Only Have Eyes For You.

Episode 31.
airdate: 28 April 1998.

This is one of my favorite episodes. There's a poltergeist spirit in the school. It's of a young boy who was in love with a teacher during the '50s during the time of the Sadie Hawkins' dance. She breaks it off with him because, you know, it's wrong to date a student and he flips out and accidentally kills her, then kills himself. People at the high school keep getting possessed by the spirit of the boy and girl and playing out the last moments of their lives throughout the episode. At the very end, Buffy goes into the school and Angel follows her in. Everyone is worried that Angel will kill Buffy in the poltergeist scenario, but instead, Buffy is possessed by the boy's spirit while Angel acts out the girl's part, but this time the story plays out differently because Angel's a vampire and can't die the way that the woman died. She, as Angel, comes back into the school and forgives the boy, therefore, the boy's spirit can finally move on from repeating the death scenario over and over again. It's really a very moving episode. By the end, you know the lines and you're watching like it's a play, with the added bonus of the quite literal Joss gender role reversal. And you get to see Angel and Buffy kiss again, which I guess was exciting for some, but of course it totally fucked Buffy up, since she's all trying to get over him and shit.

Pushing play:

Buffy has WAY too many crucifixes. And her suede go-go dress with the severe slit up the leg would never have flown at MY high school!

Oh, man, I forgot about how Giles is convinced at first that the poltergeist is Jenny. Buffy is all irrational hating on the boy-spirit just like Giles is all irrational thinking it's Jenny. The pain of losing their loves has made them both irrational, just like losing his love made the boy-spirit all crazy. Ah-ha!

And while Buffy is being all boy-hatey, she doesn't know she'll later be possessed by him. This is the first episode where we see Willow really getting into magic.

Xander: Oh, yeah, baby, it's snakealicious in here!

...he was, of course, referring to the cafeteria filled with snakes.

Giles: To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy, it's not done because people deserve it. It's done because they need it.

Buffy: No, James destroyed the one person he loved the most in a moment of blind passion and that's not something you can forgive, no matter why he did what he did, no matter if he knows now that it was wrong and selfish and stupid. It is just something he's gonna to have to live with!

Xander: He can't live with it, Buff. He's dead.

(Buffy storms out.)

Cordelia: Ok. Overidentify much?

Buffy's going in! The plague of wasps parts for her entrance back into the school. James' spirit has been beckoning her throughout the episode. The parallel between James and the teacher-lady is eerily like Buffy and Angel's relationship...well, duh, but it's still really dramatic and powerful. I love it when Buffy calls Angel a bitch. This episode gives me chills.

And then we find out Spike's healed, but he's hiding it from Angel and Dru.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Killed by Death

Episode 30.
airdate: 3 March 1998

Buffy is sick...she's all sniffly and feverish. She ends up in the hospital seeing a demon that sucks the souls of (mostly) children who can only see him when they're feverish. The hospital looks really dark and dingy. Buffy hates the hospital because her BFF when she was 8 died in one.

Xander is all cute and stays at the hospital watching out for Angel. They have a confrontation when he shows and Xander's manly bravery, even though Angel could kick his ass in three seconds, is so heroicly hot.

Giles: Cordelia, have you ever actually heard of tact?
Cordelia: Tact is just not saying true stuff...I'll pass.

One of my favorite Cordelia lines ever. She's terribly insightful. I love that Xander dates tactless blunt babes, even if they are meant to be audience surrogates. I like audience surrogates, apparently. I was dreading this episode, but it really has a lot of good moments between the not-Buffy characters. Xander is all stalwart and protective of Buffy, Cordelia acknowledges Xander's obsession with Buffy playfully and eventually accepts his want to protect her.

Buffy looks cute when she's feverish. She looks young and they've really underplayed her makeup and wardrobe. She looks beautiful and almost luminous.

Oh my gawd, there's a cacophony of children screaming! Ok, so this episode was cute...except for the cacophony of kids screaming, of course.