Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 10: Spoiler Forum

Welcome to this week's spoiler forum, where you can discuss anything regarding this week's episodes -- "Phases," "BBB," and "Becoming" without fear of spoiling any new viewers. I don't have too much to add, other than how difficult it was to find a YouTube clip for "Close Your Eyes" that didn't feature pictures overlaid with Buffy plunging a sword into Angel. Sheesh. I do like the symmetry between Passion and Becoming (probably why those are my favourite eps of season 2) and I'll be covering that in more detail in my season 2 writeup, but for now, we can chat about this week's episodes.


SenexMacDonald said...

Phases … of the moon, of our lives. This ep sets things up so nicely. I do have to say that this is the Best opening EVER!! I loved Oz looking at Amy’s mom’s trophy - in which we know that Amy’s mom actually lives. "It’s like its' eyes follow you everywhere." Oh, we know, Oz, we know!

We learn that Oz is a werewolf and he became one when his little cousin bit the tip of his finger. So it runs in his family and they are very open about talking about it ... just loved the phone call to his aunt. It’s okay, Willow, Oz has a lot to deal with.

Not that originally we weren't led to believe it was Larry - who was bitten by a 'dog' which is why Xander believes that Larry is the werewolf. So what does Xander discover? Larry is … gay. Finally he admits it - to Xander of all people. A werewolf in love. When WAS Teen Wolf btw?

Alright - who of you did not suddenly scream when Oz tells Willow, "Oh, don’t worry. I mean they might not look it but bunnies can really take care of themselves." I did not remember him saying this before. Oz - have you met Anya? Or do you also know something that we have never had fully explained to us? Love the foreshadowing that Joss and Co do.

Interesting how the other students let Buffy into the Bronze and then shut the door. Do you think they know what she does? LOL

Angel and the werewolf - in a faceoff. Okay - stop(!) yelling “Twilight”. It is not the same thing. Another foreshadowing of Angel being almost torn apart by a different werewolf - after being turned into a ‘wee, little puppet man’. Not unusual. LOL

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered Best bits: Oz finding Buffy naked and the look on his face once she changes back from Buffy rat; Angel’s reaction to Dru ‘loving’ Xander; Dru wanting Xander and offering to make him immortal; Joyce’s reaction to Xander; Jenny and Amy fighting over him; even the Lunch Lady!! Just lots of fun, this ep is. :)

On hearing the voice over again, I have to disagree. It is NOT Angelus, it is Angel. Angel has to exist somewhere inside Angelus. If he did not, then putting a soul back into Angelus, would not have given us Angel. It would have given us a souled Liam who might not be remorseful. Angel is neither Angelus nor Liam. He is his own entity born of both. The voice over just does not sound like something that Angelus would say. It is also not spoken in the way Liam speaks - so it has to be Angel.

Angelus still wants/loves(?) Buffy. Very creepy then, feels even more creepy now.

Jonathan!!! We’re moving more towards your episode…

Jenny trying to make up to Giles. So sweet…

Sometimes I wonder who dresses Xander…

Love the look on Angelus’s face when he can’t get into the Summer’s house.

Jenny - fatal mistake, you should have told Giles what was up.

Angelus and Co took a lot of time to set up Giles’ place. Man, he is cruel!! It's okay, Buffy gave it to him good. Not enough to kill him, but good none the less. :)

redeem147 said...

Oh, I think the narrator is Angelus. He understands passion. He just doesn't feel it. "To kill this girl you have to love her."

Willow is "an evil mastermind." Not yet.

Willow is wearing a fawn t-shirt. Later she'll kill a fawn.

Werewolves revert to human form when you kill them (which is why the endangered species club plans on eating Nina alive on Angel.) So how does Cain skin them?

Xander says "in a parallel universe" - which is how Anya shows up.

Spike shows his first stab at poetry. "What rhymes will lungs?" Hit - not effulgent.

Amy rats Buffy, then will later rat herself. Karma is a bitch.

Angel makes it clear he doesn't want his soul back - Spike will later fight to get his.

Joyce shouldn't be so coy about her teenage sexual experience - I've seen Band Candy.

Page48 said...

@SenexMacDonald: We learn that Buffy 'dressed' Xander for the Valentine's Day bash, and for that..shame on you, Buffster.

Every stitch of clothing Xander owns should be burned, IMO.

Tom D. said...

The guest-hosts' commentaries strike me as being particularly awesome this week.

I was struck by this observation in David Kociemba's linked essay on Passion: "This episode presents the first moment that the series itself and the fan relationship to it were fair game. This intimate connection to it, perceptually and emotionally, can be violated."

The idea of creating drama/horror/entertainment by violating or subverting the relationship between the fans and the series is very interesting to me. I hope it gets discussed in this rewatch in relation to Dawn's arrival, Joyce's death, Buffy's second death, Spike's attempt to rape Buffy, and Tara's death. (I started watching the show at the beginning of season 5, so I somewhat remember the fan reaction to those developments. It would be interesting to look back at them now with the aid of Nikki and these very perceptive guest-hosts.)

Tom D. said...

It was interesting to watch Xander gradually figuring out how the love spell has gone wrong. First he finds that Cordy is unaffected by it; then Buffy starts coming onto him, and he realizes that the spell is affecting her. At this point he thinks (and the audience is likewise supposed to think) that the spell is affecting just Buffy, because she and not Cordy is really Xander's heart's desire. Then Amy interrupts, and Xander is blatantly trying to blow her off and get back to Buffy. He knows that Buffy is under the spell, but he hasn't yet resolved to be a gentleman about it -- he wants to get back to her so she can keep coming onto him and, I guess, see where things go from there.

But then, before he can get away from Amy, the realization sinks in that it's not just Buffy who is under the spell. At which point he gets out of there, goes home, and meets Willow who is also under the spell, which thoroughly weirds him out. My theory is that it's the shock of seeing Willow under the love spell that makes Xander really understand the wrongness of what he has done, and thereby puts him in a frame of mind where he can resist Buffy's raincoat maneuver.

So basically, Buffy at the end of the episode gives Xander a lot of credit for not taking advantage of her -- but she doesn't realize just how close he was to taking advantage of her in the first scene where she was coming onto him.

Tom D. said...

BBB is, of course, the first episode in which magic is seen as a corrupting influence on one of the protagonists. I think it's probably not coincidental that this theme is used in the episode right before Passion, since Passion is where the seeds of Willow's journey into witchcraft are planted. Joss likely knew he was going to do a whole "power corrupts" thing with Willow and magic, although not the specific ways in which it would play out.

The first couple of times I watched this episode, it seemed questionable to me that Amy would have gotten into witchcraft when less than a year ago she was the victim of some pretty horrible witchcraft by her own mother. But on the other hand: invisible homework? How many high school kids wouldn't have at least tried that spell out, if they were able to figure out how to do it? At least, I'm pretty sure I'd have done it, and I was a huge goody-two-shoes in high school.

Which illustrates the point, I guess: on this show, witchcraft is such a terribly seductive temptation that even someone like Amy, whose mother did a terrible thing to her with witchcraft, still becomes a witch herself. (Heck, even after spending almost three years as a rat due to her own spell, Amy will go right back to witchcraft.)

Like a lot of fans, I think Joss's handling of the witchcraft theme has been questionable at times. It gets used as a heavyhanded metaphor for lesbian sex in season 4, and for alcohol/drugs in season 6. But I love Willow, and I love the basic idea of her working to get control over this complex force that is very useful and empowering but also threatens to change her personality such that she ceases to be the adorable Willow we know.

There's probably a lot that could be said about how this all relates to the ending of Season 8, with the disappearance of magic from the world and Willow's loss of her powers. That was pretty heartbreaking for me.

There are probably also some future thoughts to be had about how the whole "power corrupts" thing plays out in Buffy's and Faith's character development, as compared to Willow's. Of the three, Buffy seems to be the least corrupted by her power. Perhaps this is related to the fact that the power feels like such a burden to her. But I'm just scratching the surface here...

Suzanne said...

To pick up on Tom D's comment about BBB being one of the first episodes about magic's corrupting influence, I have always liked the consistency between this early demonstration of the anger and extreme irritation Giles shows towards Xander's arrogance in using magic for his own personal reasons like this and thus putting everyone in danger and the way that Giles reacts later when Willow becomes involved in magic. This moment is like a little window into the moment much later in the series where Giles lectures Willow in Buffy's kitchen about her arrogance in thinking she can control the witchcraft she is using. The connection his reactions have to his own past connections to arrogance in using magic (Dark Ages) is wonderful since it is almost as if he sees himself in Xander and later Willow and the guilt he feels comes out strongly in the tone he uses to scold them; in a sense he is scolding his young self.

Teebore said...

One of the things I love about this rewatch is how, via the guest writers and commentors, thematic links between otherwise-grouped-by-dint-of-the-calendar episodes emerge. I'd never really thought of these three episodes having much in common beyond some broad strokes, but it's clear now that all three have a lot in common.

I love "Phases" and especially "Passion", but for whatever reason, "BBB" has never been a favorite for me. I love Xander, but generally, I'm not a huge fan of his episodes (like "The Zeppo", which I enjoy more for the tongue-in-cheek world saving going on around Xander than for the Xander plot itself). I think I just like him better when bouncing off everyone else than on his own.

how the tiresome Karofsky Glee storyline was handled with grace and humor a decade earlier with Larry here?

While I don't necessarily agree with it being tiresome (as on Glee the storyline was far more involved than Larry's here), I did refer to Karofsky as "Larry" for several episode before I bothered to remember his names, since the plotline reminded me immediately of Larry's on Buffy

@Redeem147: So how does Cain skin them?

Very, very carefully, and very, very messily (and painfully, for the wolf) I imagine. ;)

redeem147 said...

The reason I asked is that Cain says something about killing them then skinning them - which on Angel would lead to a pretty icky pelt.

Tom D. said...

I vaguely recall that at some point on Angel (likely in the first episode with Nina in it), it is mentioned in passing that there are different breeds or types of werewolf. I remember thinking that this was likely intended to allow for werewolves to look and function a bit differently on Angel than they did on Buffy. (And rightly so -- Nina as a werewolf looked way better than Oz or Veruca ever did.) So the thing about whether they revert to human form after dying in werewolf form is probably one of those differences between types of werewolf. The werewolves previously skinned by Cain weren't of the same type as Nina, so he was able to kill them before skinning them.

redeem147 said...

Tom D, I love you. What a great explanation. :)

Anonymous said...

Steve - love your music notes - I can't wait to hear what you say about Hush. Hope you noted that in the much reviled Bad Eggs ep (wrongfully I think), that as Buffy and Mom stroll through the mall, the Muzak version of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nacht Musik is playing over the mall sound system. Hee - that is just plain scary. Spikez_tart