Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 13

3.1 Anne
3.2 Dead Man's Party
3.3 Faith, Hope and Trick

Before I get to this week’s episode, I wanted to print a letter that I got from one of the followers of the rewatch, Eric. I’d like all the contributors to know that our work is really bringing people on board to watch our favourite show with us! Thanks to everyone who’s been sending me personal notes telling me how much you’re enjoying it. Maybe I’ll make the “Rewatch testimonials” a semi-regular addition to the rewatch!
The reason I'm writing is because soon after Lost ended I remember asking you about Buffy and you recommended that if I get through the first season and get to the double whammy of 'Surprise' and 'Innocence' in season 2, then I would be unable to stop watching. Well I watched half of the 1st season and gave up because I just couldn't get into it.

Then when I heard you were doing a Buffy rewatch, I thought I would try again. This time I kept watching and when I did get to the episodes you mentioned I found myself completely hooked. The storytelling and the writing of the show is top notch and I find it to be very enjoyable watching. It is such a smart, fun show done with humor and has an emotional impact where you care about the characters and what they will do next. That, to me, is what makes a show great. Buffy, like Lost, has me caring about the characters and what happens to them to the point that I have become invested in them and I want to keep watching to see what happens with my friends Buffy, Willow, Xander, Oz, Cordy and Giles. I also love to read your posts each week like I did during Lost. You have such a brilliant analysis on shows such as this and it makes the watching experience that much more enjoyable.

I just finished watching the season 3 finale, Graduation Day parts 1 and 2 and all I can say is, WOW what a great season of a show. This show is now up there with Lost for me in terms of favorite shows. I still feel Lost is my favorite of all time, but I am not finished watching Buffy yet.

This week we begin season 3, the one that many Buffy fans list as their favourite one of all (if they didn’t list season 2). Don’t worry… it’s not like the show peaked in season 3 and is all downhill from there. Most of the best episodes of the series are still to come.

For me, “Anne” isn’t one of them. Mostly because, as I’ve said with the season 2 opener, the season premieres are all trying to tie up the loose ends of the previous seasons, and usually show the characters in a light we’re not used to. Buffy was all snarly and awful in “When She Was Bad,” and in this one she’s an LA waitress named Anne. She’s sullen, depressed, and has an air of giving up. Even when she’s kicking demon ass her heart doesn’t look like it’s in it.

“Dead Man’s Party” is a difficult episode for me to watch. It’s not a bad episode – it’s actually a rather good one. But I don’t like it. That party scene just puts me on edge every time. I thought that maybe, years later, rewatching it would have a different effect on me. Nope. The only thing that changed was my attitude to Joyce, as has often happened throughout this rewatch. In the season 2 finale, Joyce suddenly discovered Buffy was the Slayer. I remember being upset with her “if you leave, don’t even think about coming back” ultimatum at the time, but now rewatching it, I’m disappointed in Buffy’s “Have another schnapps” comment to her. Joyce has no idea what’s happening – her daughter just told her that the world is full of vampires and werewolves and she’s the only one who can stop them. Either her daughter is in grave danger, or is in need of serious mental help. In either case, Joyce isn’t in a good place. So now we enter season 3 and Joyce is walking on eggshells around Buffy, trying to be nice to her. Xander makes snippity comments and it’s clear he wants Buffy to hurt, Willow is nervous like she’s just met Buffy and doesn’t know what to do, and Cordelia is, well, Cordelia. So Willow avoids talking to Buffy, scared that if she does she’ll tell Buffy what she really thinks and she doesn’t want to lose Buffy. Xander rubs his relationship in Buffy’s face as if to remind her that his girlfriend is human, unlike Buffy’s dearly departed. And Joyce tries to understand this whole Slayer thing but also wants to give her daughter space. But when it all comes to a head, they all gang up on her and are merciless to her at the party. Every time I see that scene where they all go off – and Xander is SUCH AN ASS – I actually feel my blood pressure go up. Do they have a right to be angry? Absolutely. But none of them is strong enough to talk to Buffy on their own, and instead (as is human nature, granted) they find strength in numbers, ganging up on her. Willow is the only one who has the nerve to say something to Buffy (privately, I might add) and works things out at the end. But even she wades into the fray during the party.

Buffy has saved their asses a thousand times, and maybe they should give the girl the benefit of the doubt and try to get to the heart of what’s wrong. Why would she have disappeared? It had to have been something big. Only Giles – oh how I love Giles – is at once immensely relieved, concerned, and willing to give her the space that she needs. Only Giles suggests that a big party is not a good idea. Only Giles sees her and immediately disappears to another room to simply breathe a sigh of relief and smile, happy that she’s back and willing to wait for her explanation. He alone knows what she must have gone through… and he proves that even more in the next episode.

“Faith, Hope and Trick” introduces the new Slayah from Bah-ston, Faith. I still remember the immediate fan reaction when she showed up – please oh PLEASE let this stint be short-lived. But Faith won people over really quickly, and she’ll become a favourite (if she irritated you in this episode, just give it time). But once again, that moment where Giles draws the real story of what happened with Angel out of Buffy – even after Angel tortured him, he still cares about Buffy’s love for him – is one of those moments that makes me well up every time. Giles is more of a father than he realizes at this point.

• Oz throwing the stake in such a dramatic fashion… and it bouncing off a grave. Ha!
• Buffy on Joyce’s mask after Joyce says it brightens up the room: “It’s angry at the room. It wants the room to suffer.”
• “What about home-schooling? It’s not just for scary religious people anymore.”
• This scene:

Oz: (leans back in his chair) We should figure out what kinda deal this is. I mean, is it a-a gathering, a shindig or a hootenanny?
Cordelia: What's the difference?
Oz: Well, a gathering is brie, mellow song stylings; shindig, (nods to Cordelia) dip, (Cordelia smiles) less mellow song stylings, perhaps a large amount of malt beverage; and hootenanny, well, it's chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.
Xander: Well, I hate brie.
Cordelia: I know. It smells like Giles's cat.
Giles: It's not my--
Xander: (interrupts) And what'll we talk about at a gathering anyway?

• Giles: “‘Do you like my mask? Isn’t it pretty? It raises the dead!’ Americans.
• The return of Ripper when Giles threatens Snyder.
• Joyce to Snyder: “I think what my daughter is trying to say is, ‘Nyah, nyah nah nah nyah.’”
• Faith to Oz: “As long as you don’t cut me or try to hump my leg, we’re five by five.”
• Cordy: “What is it with you and Slayers? Maybe I should dress up as one and put a stake to your throat.” Xander: “Oh please god don’t let that be sarcasm.”
• Buffy suggesting that the vampire lives for taquitos. Haha!!

Did You Notice?
• Willow is dressing more stylishly, yet uniquely. She’s not going along with the fashion plate stylings of Buffy, or the brand name dress-up Cordelia’s got going on. But she’s wearing a cute fuzzy sweater and red pants, and the new shorter hairstyle really suits her.
• The band on stage during the Bronze scene in “Faith Hope and Trick” is Darling Violetta, who would later write and record the Angel theme song.
• Seriously, Buff. He loves Buster Keaton. Grab him!!
• Can you say worst timing ever? Faith couldn’t have shown up in Sunnydale over the summer, filling the hole Buffy had left behind?

This week’s guest is Cynthia Burkhead. I met her for the first time at Slayage 3 in 2008, when a group of people took a shuttle over to a nearby Chinese buffet for lunch (and marveled that no matter where you are in the world, the insides of Chinese restaurants all look exactly the same). She and I sat next to each other, and I fired a bunch of questions at her about the South, which she enthusiastically answered in her lovely accent. She was back at Slayage 4 and gave me the most amazing gift – you Lost fans will love it! It was a Namaste charm bracelet with black and white beads all around, “Namaste” spelled out in the middle, and a little plane charm, a dog bone for Vincent, a skull… it was amazing. (Thanks again, Cynthia!) She is an instructor at the University of North Alabama where she also serves as co-director of the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival. She received her PhD in English from Middle Tennessee State University. Her dissertation, directed by David Lavery, focused on the narrative function of dreams in television. She is the co-editor with Lavery of the forthcoming Joss Whedon: Conversations, co-editor of Grace Under Pressure: Grey's Anatomy Uncovered, and the author of Student Companion to John Steinbeck.

If “a dream is a wish your heart makes,” can we say dark heart?: Season 3's opening dreams, or how a lonely Slayer grows up
Cynthia Burkhead

I hope that watchers and re-watchers alike are sufficiently healed from last week’s episodes, especially Buffy’s “killing” of Angel to save the world once again. For those who watched the original airings on the WB, there would have been a long hiatus adapting to the idea of Buffy gone from Sunnydale and feeling both anger and sadness at her going – much like the feelings of the friends she left behind. For those like me who came late to BtVS and perhaps only allowed for a short refreshment break between seasons 2 and 3 on DVD, the emotions were probably just as intense, just not as long lived. For all of us, the feelings evoked from “Becoming, Part Two” (re)placed the story’s focus squarely and near-completely on the Slayer. And there we begin season 3 ….

Poor Anne … I mean Buffy. For the first time since “Welcome to the Hellmouth,” Buffy is truly the lone slayer, a traditional role she has resisted from the beginning but takes on in “Anne” partly because the slaying-with-friends model proved too harmful to those friends. While quitting school, moving to LA, changing her name, and wearing a diner uniform (especially wearing a diner uniform!) might seem an extreme reaction to the tragedy leading up to and culminating in Angel’s death, remembering that our slayer is an adolescent makes the seemingly extreme more real. Coupled with the trauma that Buffy has experienced, Whedon creates a brilliant opportunity for intense character development of his Slayer. If the most striking development begins at the lowest point possible for a character, Whedon has situated Buffy in the depths from which change will be most remarkable. The loneliness of LA anonymity (and again — wearing a diner uniform that strips her of identity!) is Buffy’s personal hell, self-inflicted perhaps, and Whedon uses, among other devices, dreams to help guide her out and above that hell, leaving us after “Anne,” “Dead Man’s Party,” and “Faith, Hope, and Trick” with a re-developed Slayer.

Dreams occur in the first three episodes of season 3, “Anne,” “Dead Man’s Party,” and “Faith, Hope, and Trick.” Dreams on BtVS typically foreshadow future events, often presented as the Slayer’s prophesy. While the dreams in this week’s rewatch episodes do serve this function, all of the dreams also serve to develop Buffy’s character as they express the almost crippling emotional pain she feels from the loss of Angel and the guilt she feels for his dying at her hands. The effectiveness of these dreams comes from the way in which Whedon manipulates us to witness them only as an expression of Buffy’s feelings. Because we are so focused on her emotion in each of these dreams, and because we have no indication from Buffy herself that they should be read as prophecy, we don’t recognize that they portend anything, making them seem like more traditional literary foreshadowing.

Buffy’s first appearance in “Anne” is in her dream, where she is on the beach and Angel comes to her. She says to him, “Stay with me.” Angel responds, “Forever. That's the whole point. I'll never leave.” He then whispers in her ear, “Not even if you kill me.” The look on her face is one of pained horror. At this point we understand how desperately Buffy misses Angel and, if Angel’s words are read as an expression of her subconscious, how heavy is the guilt she continues to carry for killing him, a guilt that will “never leave.” The overwhelming emotion in the dream is one reason it is not read as a clue to future action. In her “mystical foreshadowing” dreams, such as in “Graduation Day, Part II” (3.22) and “Restless,” Buffy reacts in the dreams in what is best described as a dreamlike manner, moving through them as a visitor with little emotion. For the most part in those dreams, Buffy’s role is as the observer or “vessel” for the information which both she and the viewer must then interpret. In “Anne,” however, the depth of Buffy’s emotions, the sadness and guilt which seem to have transformed the Slayer so much that she must take on the identity of a waitress named Anne, negates our option of reading the dream as foreshadowing. Whedon skillfully achieves character development by pushing Buffy to emotional levels not yet seen, at least in her dreams, and at the same time foretelling plot developments in such a way that we are not made aware of the tease being dangled in front of our eyes.

In “Dead Man’s Party,” Buffy dreams she is walking around the Sunnydale High School campus, and only Angel is there. As character development, this dream magnifies the sadness and guilt exhibited by Buffy in “Anne,” but also indicates the degree to which Buffy feels the loss her choices have created. In killing Angel, she lost the man she loved, but she also came to fully understand the degree of sacrifice required of any Slayer, not to mention one who refuses to give up family, friends, and romance. This is a hard reality, but one which Giles has been trying to warn Buffy about since first becoming her watcher (and one even we reject when faced with the antithesis to Buffy: Kendra). There is a part of Buffy herself that is lost in killing Angel, the part that naively believed she could protect these people she loves. So the Buffy we see in “Anne” and in “Dead Man’s Party” is a lonely Slayer. In “Anne” she believes she must walk her path alone. In “Dead Man’s Walk,” Buffy returns to Sunnydale to reunite with her mother and friends, but they keep her at arms’ length, angry at her decision to run away after killing Angel. She feels as much alone as she was in Los Angeles, and this is supported by her dream which only offers her a dead lover for companionship.

“Faith, Hope, and Trick” finds Buffy reintegrated into her circle of friends, back at school, with her biggest problem being how to deal with the new Slayer in town. The Scooby Gang appears in her dream, suggesting that she no longer believes she is alone. But their position on the periphery of the dance floor at the Bronze, where her friends are witnesses rather than participants in the dream’s primary action, shows there is still a disconnect between them and Buffy. What remains unresolved is Buffy’s guilt for killing Angel, and this is the source of the distance between Buffy and the Scoobies. In the waking action of the episode, Giles continues to ask Buffy how exactly the killing transpired, and she continues to lie to him, an outward manifestation of her guilt. In the dream, as Buffy and Angel are dancing and the claddagh ring drops to the floor in a seemingly final moment of separation, there is a flash of the moment she kills him, and she says to dream Angel, “I had to.” Now bleeding, dream Angel says to her, “Go to Hell. I did.” Buffy’s guilt has finally turned her dreams to nightmare, and this nightmarish guilt eventually leads to Buffy’s confession to Giles that Angel was cured when she killed him, but that the cure came too late, so she had to. She says, “I’ve been holding on to that for so long – felt good to get it out.” When she leaves her ring at Angel’s place, it is a culminating moment that releases Buffy from the dreams and nightmares that are not the mystical dreams of a Slayer but the very personal dreams of a sad and lonely young woman.

In the real world, some of our greatest growth comes out of our greatest pain. I think this is what Whedon is replicating in the Buffyverse with his Slayer. I also think the sympathetic pain we experienced in season 2 and from seeing Buffy at such a low point in “Anne” brought us growth as viewers of this series that matures with each new episode.


Marebabe said...

I got my first big smile of Buffy S3 when I saw in the opening credits that Seth Green is now a regular cast member. I’m so happy for Willow! In “Anne”, I had a case of ominous shivers when Creepy Ken said, “Ricky’s no more dead than I am.” At the time, I thought that was probably the key statement for the whole episode, as in, Ken (and Ricky) were both zombies. My guess turned out to be incorrect, but I still thought the writers were pretty brilliant for crafting the dialogue that way. Kept me engaged, and got me invested in these characters I had just met.

LOL when Buffy said, “Gandhi was really pissed off!” As a Weird Al fan, I immediately recalled Al’s movie trailer in “UHF” for “Gandhi II”. You’ll love it! Here’s the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfvLcozLwtE (He’s back, and this time he’s mad!)

I thought of a couple alternate titles for “Dead Man’s Party”. How about “Welcome to the Hellmouth Petting Zoo”. Or maybe “Dead Man Stomping”? The undead in this episode moved in the classic zombie fashion, all stiff, slow and stumbling. (I was so surprised when I saw the movie “Zombieland”, where the zombies all ran like track stars.) And I liked how Oz defined Gathering, Shindig, and especially Hootenanny: “chock full of hoot, just a little nanny.” Took me back to our discussion of Hootenanny during our LOST rewatch.

It’s funny to notice nitpicky details in a show where you accept vampires and zombies as real, but I couldn’t help it. ANY cat that didn’t want to be dragged out from under the furniture would’ve scratched Giles to bloody ribbons before he could shove it into that cage. I once had to deal with wild 6-week-old KITTENS, and they were fierce little shredders, extremely capable of defending themselves. And upstairs in Buffy’s room during the party, you couldn’t hear the noise of the party at all at first. They gradually brought the sound up so you could dimly hear it WAY off in the background, but still! Amazing sound insulation in that house!

In “Faith, Hope and Trick”, I loved how Buffy’s list of “girly stuff” included saving the world from unspeakable demons. And I liked it when Willow called her B... uffy, I know a guy named Troy whom EVERYONE calls T-Roy. (He also drives a t-ruck. And sometimes his brother is called T-Odd.)

I know that we’ll probably find out the answer to this in the next couple episodes, but I’m seriously wondering WHY the simple action of Buffy leaving her claddagh ring lying on the floor caused Angel to fall naked from the sky. Or was that just an amazing coincidence? I know, I know. Tune in next week...

Paige Y. said...

I will confess that Anne is one of my favorite episodes. I know that many people don't love it, but when I'm in the mood to just watch one isolated episode, this is frequently the one I choose. I love the moment when Buffy retakes her role as the slayer "I'm Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and you are?" There is something about her loneliness that really appeals to me. And I love the Scoobies as they try to cope with the vampires back home.

jamurphy99 said...

My favorite Giles line of all time

Giles: “‘Do you like my mask? Isn’t it pretty? It raises the dead!’ Americans.”

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Season 3 is the start of the new and improved Buffy the Vampire Slayer slogan (stake inspired) during the opening credits. So far, it is also the beginning of flower and butterfly clips in Buffy's expensive looking haircut chock full of high and low lights. Looking good!

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Season 3 is the start of the new and improved Buffy the Vampire Slayer slogan (stake inspired) during the opening credits. So far, it is also the beginning of flower and butterfly clips in Buffy's expensive looking haircut chock full of high and low lights. Looking good!

The Question Mark said...

@ CYNTHIA: Thanks for your post! I've always found the psychology of dreams fascinating (ever since I read "The Berenstain Bears & the Bad Dream". Seriously.) and I really liked your analysis of Buffy's nocturnal adventures!

Good set of epsidoes to kick off Season 3. I REALLY liked "Dead Man's Party". Having all the key characters together under one roof venting their frustrations and feelings must have been very challenging to write, but it was a pleasure to watch. Only Joss Whedon can make characters so likeable that, during the huge argument at the party, I had no idea whose side I was on! I was like, "Go, Buffy! No, go Cordelia! No, go Guy By The Dip!"

The opening shot of the vampire rising from the grave only to be greeted by Slayer-Willow was six thumbs up. Fantastic!

Lisa(until further notice) said...

VW: relsid: accidental double post

Nikki Stafford said...

Question Mark: LOL! I know, poor Jonathan! When are they ever going to learn his name?!

Page48 said...

I didn't mind "Anne", really. I liked having Lily emerge from Buffy's past to help her to awake from her post-Alfalfa coma.

Watching Buffy regain her fighting form while bathed in that white spotlight and sporting her nice runners, eventually striking an iconic slayer pose worthy of the opening credits was enjoyable viewing, IMO.

And her smart alecky remark about Ghandi? After a summer of serving up peach pie, she proved she was a little rusty in the Slayer trash talk department.

Buffy and the others were down in the underground slave camp for 15 minutes or so. Shouldn't they have emerged about a year later up above?

Xander was indeed SUCH AN ASS at Buffy's party. Being an ass is something he's incredibly adept at. Every time he redeems himself in my eyes, he disappoints again.

Who invited all those freaks to the party anyway? Oz, was that you? I did love the guy who answered Giles's phone call, though ("that guy's gotta do a shot").

@Marebabe, all the dead folks did the typical sluggish zombie walk, but the cat wasn't affected the same way. Frisky kitty.

Unless I missed something, the news of Angel's "death" was delivered by Buffy off screen. Seems like that would have been worthy of an on screen moment.

I love the wisdom of Giles. He knew the orb glowed and that Willow felt something go through her, but instead of grilling Buffy directly about Angel's final moments, he finds a way to coax the truth out of her on her own schedule. Thankfully, she chose a Xander-free situation to spill the beans. I don't blame her.

Faith brings the hot and Mr. Trick brings the cool. Season 3 is a thing of beauty.

I'm actually starting to sit up and take notice of the Buffy/Angel music every time it comes along. The first time I watched the show, I didn't even notice it was there.

Tom D. said...

eeing the Season 3 credits for the first time in a while, I noticed that they include the action shot with Oz throwing the stake at the very beginning of Anne. This is quite funny because the first time you see that scene, in the teaser of Anne itself, it leads you to expect a cool heroic moment, but then it comedically fails; but then when you see it again (and again) in the credits, you only see the part where it looks cool.

Perhaps this is a kind of in-joke that the show is having with its audience: Oz looks all badass throwing the stake in the credits, but if you're enough of a fan of the show that you actually remember that scene, then you know that's not really what's happening. Does that make sense?

The Season 3 credits also contain another moment that isn't what it appears to be, but in a far more poignant way: Giles smelling roses. Unless I'm very much mistaken, those are the roses Angelus left for him, with the corpse of Jenny waiting in the bed upstairs. When we first saw that scene, we knew Angelus had killed Jenny, so it was terribly sad to see Giles's happy reaction to those roses. Now that moment is in the credits, stripped of that ironic context, with the Buffy theme song in the background, so that again, only a knowledgeable fan knows what's really going on in that shot.

Just a couple of details, but I had fun noticing them...

Tom D. said...

Buffy and the others were down in the underground slave camp for 15 minutes or so. Shouldn't they have emerged about a year later up above?

Other way around, actually. Ken explains that for every 100 years that pass in that place, only a day passes up above.

Page48 said...

@Tom D., good point re: the time above and below. Like The Doctor says, "time travel, you can't keep it straight in your head".

This week, I did remember to copy to the clipboard before trying to post. Good thing I did, too, cuz first time I tried, it was gonzo.

Efthymia said...

First of all, I would like to confess that I watch the new season credits in every season's first episode, even if I've seen them before (and more than once). I don't know why I do this...

"Anne": Faithful to my tradition of not really liking the first episode of the season -still, it's BtVS, so it's still quite good; I find what happens to those kids in LA very creepy and very sad.
The message I get from the events down in (hell?) is that one person CAN make a difference -you act, and then others may follow- and I really like it (maybe this is nowhere near what the intentions for this scene were, but I don't care, I like my interpretation).
Like I've said before, I love the continuity in the show, here in the form of Chantrelle/Lily.
The Ghandi quote is often mentioned, but I never found it funny. Is there something I'm not getting?

"Dead Man's Party": As if I didn't love Oz and Giles enough, here's an episode to make me love them even more! Oz saying he likes the (formerly dead, stinky) cat reveals a lot about his character, and I believe we understand why he noticed Willow when no one else did; Giles intimidating Snyder. ♥
OK, regarding the people vs Buffy: I'm always on the others' ("Others"?!) side, and now Nikki has made me feel a little bad about it (what with them ganging up against Buffy and all). Still, I will offer my explanation why I too am angry at Buffy and side with the rest of them: the way I see it, Buffy is constantly complaining about how nobody understands her (and this is undoubtedly true, up to a point), but she doesn't seem to make an effort to understand anyone else herself; she doesn't stop to think about how she's treating her friends and if perhaps they have problems of their own -maybe not as grave as hers, but problems nevertheless; she insists so much on their having a choice that she fails to appreciate that they choose to stay and fight; and we always find excuses for Buffy because of her adolescence, but aren't Willow and Xander adolescents as well?
On another note, I find the scene where Joyce's friend visits and chats up Buffy and then Buffy yells "MOM!" as if the intensity of her voive will make Joyce come down faster excellent! It's a pretty accurate depiction of how awkward/uncomfortable it is when our parents friends etc try to make small talk with us.

"Faith, Hope & Trick": I LOVE the disco-dancing vampire! I want to invite him to my parties!

Some comments in general:
Although I still think that telling Buffy to not come back if she walks out the door was a very stupid thing for Joyce to do, I feel very sorry for her, having to live through the worry and the guilt for the entire summer. I generally like Joyce, and I think she is a good mother. The moment Buffy returns, she does her best to avoid causing her any discomfort, to avoid fighting, and to come to terms with her Slayer identity ("Will you be slaying?").

Giles and Buffy's relationship has been established since pretty early on as a father-daughter one, but Giles and Willow have developped a relationship as well that I don't really know how to name. It's not exactly father-daughter, it's not exactly friendship, it's definitely not romantic (although, if they were the same age, who knows?)... Perhaps a favourite teacher-favourite student one? I think it's more than that. I don't know how to name it, but there is a sort of affection and appreciation between them that I find very heartwarming.

Sara Gwen said...

I agree that "Dead Man's Party" is one of my least favourite episodes - not because it's bad, but because it just makes me sad.

But, I wanted to mention that the "gathering, shindig, hootinany" bit is something I refer to frequently. Oz = love

JavaChick said...

I like 'Anne', maybe because it makes sense to me. I have experienced feeling so hurt and sad that I thought I could never be happy again and I did want to run away. I can see Buffy reacting that way, espcially considering Xander's attitude about Angel, Willow's supposed "kick his ass" and Joyce telling her not to come back. I don't think it is so much about shutting everyone else out, it's about feeling so much hurt that you can't deal with it. It can make you shut down.

I feel the exact same way about 'Dead Man's Party' - I always get so angry at how they gang up on Buffy at the party, especially Xander. None of them seem to be at all interested in how Buffy feels or why she left. You'd think after 2 years of fighting by her side, Xander & Willow would know her well enough to give her the benefit of the doubt. To give her a chance to explain instead of attacking her.

As for Faith, I wouldn't say that I love her; I alternate between feeling sorry for her and being frustrated by her. No doubt that it's a good season though.

Marebabe said...

@Efthymia: regarding the line, “Gandhi was really pissed off!”, I think the implication is that he was angry enough to start hitting. And his legacy, of course, is that he led India to independence through peaceful, non-violent, non-cooperation. (Ever see a cranky toddler go limp in protest and magically triple his or her body weight? I always think of Gandhi’s brand of civil resistance when I see that!)

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Angel appeared naked on the ring was because he really wanted the ring. You see, he met this nice demon girl in Hell... ;)

I like Anne. I like Lily. Is it my favourite episode? No. There's some nice contrast between Buffy's isolation in LA vs student interaction in Sunnydale. When we get to the party in the next episode, we see that Buffy can be just as isolated in a room full of people.

Lily once used the name "Sister Sunshine." Sunshine was also the name of Dru's dog.

That was a much better dream analysis than mine, which was that Angel had to show up in the episodes to justify David being a credited cast member. The way it was done, viewers might have been lulled into thinking he would only appear in dreams, which makes his reveal in FH&T even more shocking. And might I say, I quite enjoy that reveal.

Angel in her dreams seems more human than vampire eg the rotting flesh, which a vampire wouldn't have.

While Buffy is isolated from her friends, Willow and Cordy are now openly hanging out.

It makes sense that Buffy would run to LA - it's the city she's lived in most of her life. And somehow, with a minimum wage job and being depressed, she's been able to get her hair cut and streaked recently.

Buffy rediscovers her identity as a Slayer, not in Sunnydale, but in LA where she rejected it.

The Ghandi reference really bothered me. He wasn't quite a religious leader, but see how North Americans would have appreciated it if she'd said Jesus instead.

Is Joyce a shoplifter? She doesn't own the gallery, but she can just take a piece she likes from the new shipment and put it on her wall? The effect of the mask seems pretty far-flung, so would it have been activated had it still been in the gallery?

I liked Cordy's line "This whole Rambo thing is so over" since Charisma was in The Expendables with Stallone. (And Julie Benz would do a Rambo film.)

Buffy has a photo of Xander and Willow by her bed, but leaves the one of the three of them on the shelf.

I bet Joyce picked out Buffy's dress for the dinner party. Doesn't look like something Buffy would pick.

The party is just what Buffy needs - a room full of people she doesn't know who go to a school she can't.

Alyson's new haircut makes her eyes even bigger. I never before realized that she's an anime character.

This really bothered me - why is Joyce putting up with underaged drinking in her home? I know she wants Buffy to be happy, but that in no way would, and it's illegal. It seems very unlike her.

Buffy's new 'boyfriend' Scott is Fab Filippo, a Canadian actor. I went to see a movie he directed at TIFF and his mom and aunt were in the line. His mom was telling people that her son was on Buffy. She was really cute.

In FH&T Faith seems to have a lot of stories for someone who's been a Slayer for less than four months.

I'm not a Faith fan. I realized looking at my DVDs that I rarely watch episodes from this season. The discs are yellow?

Missy said...

The return of my all time fav Peripheral Character
Chanterelle/Lily and finally Anne(Or Annie to us long time Buffy fans)
I enjoy the episode(always have,mostly because of Annie-I have major Girl crush on Julia Lee).
It's nice to see Buffy so self reliant....most 17yrolds aren't...and to be honest I didn't expect buffy to be.
Sure Ken and his dirty bath and what not are lame but in Buffy helping Annie,Annie gives Buffy the strength to packup and go back home.
And the Scoobies doing their part in protecting Sunnydale while buffy's on sabbatical...they do a half decent job and don't die...which is their motto ;)
'Dead Man's Party'
Is funny in places...but not as interesting as 'Anne'(for me)
All I can say in it's favor is Oz Oz Oz....they guy is just UberCool.
Patches(Pet Cemetry?Much Lol)
Giles is brilliant in all of his scenes.
and the final scene between Willow and Buffy is too cute for words :)
'Faith,Hope and Trick'
Well this is it,the appearence of my all time fav Whedonverse Character...Faith.
Where the hell do I start,Eliza Dushku is smoking hot(and is a blast to meet,I met her last june along with some other castmembers)
Faith is Buffy without everything Buffy grewup having....and Buffy has the balls to complain about her the whole episode,It boggles the mind.
Single white femaled?How about Spoilt only child!!!Just saying.
Has said to give Faith time,I'll reiterate...GIVE FAITH TIME,She's a real firecracker.
My love of Faith and in turn Miss Dushku was instantanous.
But I can see why most people wouldn't warm to her straight away.
Scott Hope,I like that he loves Buster Keaton(He gives Buffy a Claddagh ring,how sweet..you know if it wasn't the symbol of her past trauma) but I think of him as the predecessor to a character yet to showup.
Mr. Trick dresses like Prince Lol and enjoys snacking on fastfood workers But I still like his arc.
and finally Kissing Toast...that is one mangled Vamp :/
Also Faith,Hope and Trick is only the 2nd time we hear of a female watcher ;)
The previous being Giles' Grandmother.

Joan Crawford said...

@Marebabe-...I always think of Gandhi’s brand of civil resistance when I see that!

Ha! That's funny because I always say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, Gandhi, let's keep it moving." Whenever my kids do that.

JavaChick said...

Forgot to say - I think Faith, Hope, Trick was the first Buffy episode I ever saw. I remember watching the dream segment and wondering what the heck was going on.

@Efthymia - I kind of don't get what you mean by "she fails to appreciate that they choose to stay and fight". I do get that the Scoobies would be hurt by Buffy just taking off and leaving them to wonder & worry. I think there was listening & understanding required on both sides. It just seems to me that Buffy would have been willing (though she obviously needed a bit of time before she could open up), but the others - Xander in particular - were not.

Jen said...

I have to pipe up and say I think Anne is an enjoyable episode with some key occurrences. (please note I’m a fan of the series but am just jumping into the rewatch with these episodes)

On Buffy’s commitment to her morals and the responsibility of being a slayer: At first she doesn’t want to be bothered by Lily, but when Lily (someone she hardly knows) asks for her help Buffy steps up to the task. Buffy finds out Rickie is dead and Lily tries to blame Buffy by saying that she brought the trouble with her. Even after they fight, Buffy still continues looking for the cause of Rickie’s death. She entered into the situation reluctantly, but she fulfilled her responsibility and saw it through to the end.

Of being a friend and good person: Beyond being a slayer, this episode shows that Buffy is a good friend and that people better themselves by being involved with her. When they are in the hell dimension, Buffy gives Lily the courage to start helping herself when Buffy assigns her to lead the other trapped humans back to the portal. Perhaps this even gives her the courage to take action and push Ken off of the balcony. Buffy also sets Lily up with her apartment and waitressing job before she leaves LA. Haven’t the other scoobies benefited from their association with Buffy? More confidence, blossoming social skills. Without Buffy’s influence would they have been able to handle holding down the slaying fort in Buffy’s absence?

Nik: You say that even when she’s kicking demon ass her heart doesn’t look like it is in it. I disagree and say that kicking demon ass is what BROUGHT her heart back into it. When Ken “gives” her the opportunity to really disappear, she realizes that’s not what she wants. Kicking that demon ass is what starts her journey out of isolation and back to Sunnydale. This is Buffy’s heart returning to the battle.

Of parent figures: Rewatching this episode is the first time I notice the difference between Joyce and Giles as parent figures and I’m interested to watch the rest of the series to see if this episode is indication of how they will continue. Giles jumps to action, looking for Buffy with any lead he gets. Joyce on the other hand commits to inaction. Giles is trying to get himself to Buffy whereas Joyce is waiting for Buffy to come to her. I also find it unfair that Joyce starts the blame game and holds Giles responsible for Buffy’s departure.

Anne is an important episode because it shows the viewer that even though our slayer has suffered a tremendous loss and has had her faith shaken, she is still the hero that we need her to be.

Mike_D said...

Lilly obviously makes a comeback in later episodes of Angel.

Where can we see Cynthia's thesis about the dreams? Sounds interesting!

There are also some interesting parables to the Buffy Season 8 comics as well:

In the last issue of the current series, Buffy is once again a waitress, this time in San Francisco. She even references her Anne identity and her time at The Doublemeat Palace. (I almost wrote Mr Cluck's!) Also, there is a Faith storyline earlier in the "Season" where she gives her alias as "Hope."

Blam said...

I'm so glad that the show finally has a decent logo.

Did the theme song get sped up for Season Three?

Notes on "Anne":

Buffy's friends would be dead. I'm sorry, but even without anyone filing the leadership vacuum among the town vamps, they just would not have survived. At least the previous summer one could rationalize things by assuming that after the events of "Prophecy Girl" the Hellmouth's dastardly energies had to regroup or something; this year there's no reason to expect that life would be any different for the three months the Slayer was gone than it had been for the previous nine, and the people actively patrolling without any special powers or much training would be among the first to go.

I treasure this series, don't get me wrong, but it does drive a stake into the heart of suspension of disbelief with frustrating frequency.

Don't you love how no mystic goop sticks to people in Sunnydale? The Master rises out of that pool of blood (or whatever) not only undead but undyed; the portal of black slop in "Anne" leaves no trace on you; nobody has to get vampire dust out of their clothes, eyes, mouth...

The best line is Larry's: "If we can focus, keep discipline, and not have quite as many mysterious deaths, Sunnydale is gonna rock!"

Notes on "Dead Man's Party":

As soon as Joyce said, "We got a very exciting shipment in at the gallery," Buffy should have packed that crap up, wrapped it in C4, driven it out of town, and blown it to bits — especially after getting a look at those masks. I mean, Hello?!? She hasn't been gone so long that she'd forget that whatever can go weird will go weird, and these things are suspicious with a capital "Duh".

What is up with the shadows over everyone's eyes? It's not just in Principal Snyder's office, although I think I started to notice it there. The whole episode has light falling strangely over the faces of the characters, but not in such stark relief as to be artistically chiaroscuro; it's more like they were shooting during extremely sunny days and had to make sure that the actors weren't blinded yet couldn't just block out all of the natural light. Very odd!

What is up with the constant and contradictory overuse of the good ol' Love Theme? Having it play at Giles' door was weird, because as far as I recall it's mostly used for romantic love and in its original form as a Buffy / Angel motif in particular, but it seemed to be playing even over scenes that had nothing to do with family, friendship, or regret. Janet-Steve the Cheeseman picked a heck of a week to take off.

The best line is Joyce's: "Will you be slaying?"

Notes on "Faith, Hope, and Trick":

Most of my thoughts on this are probably more appropriate for the Spoiler Forum.

How adorable is Willow in this episode? She's the cuteness in general, of course, but here from her making a production about going off campus to the following dialogue she's just divine.

The best line is Willow's: "He wanted to ask you out last year, but you weren't ready then. But I think you're ready now. Or at least in the state of pre-readiness to make conversation. Or to do that thing with your mouth that boys like. [Buffy glares at her] Oh! I didn't mean that bad thing with your mouth, I meant that little half-smile thing that you... (to Oz) You're supposed to stop me when I do that."

[Exact quote from Buffy Guide website... I think that Buffy more sort-of sneers than glares, though, as I took "that bad thing with your mouth" to refer to the look Buffy gives Willow rather than, um, some other "bad thing with your mouth" that the dialogue might suggest out of context.]

VW: impro — Incomplete improv.

Blam said...

@Marebabe: I’m seriously wondering WHY the simple action of Buffy leaving her claddagh ring lying on the floor caused Angel to fall naked from the sky.

I think it's some kind of, you know, nexus of mystical whatevers — the very spot where he left this plane of existence, combined with their joint emotional imprints on the totem, plus twoo wuv.

@Page48: Every time [Xander] redeems himself in my eyes, he disappoints again.


@Efthymia: Giles and Willow have developped a relationship as well that I don't really know how to name.

To me it's really more of a traditional mentor / student dynamic than Giles has with Buffy, who as you say are rather like father and daughter but also indescribable — Watcher and Slayer being sacred duties (not that parenting isn't sacred).

@Colleen: she's been able to get her hair cut and streaked recently

I parsed that in a different way than you meant it on first read-through and wondered when Buffy went running down the street nude. Angel has also managed to keep himself well-groomed in the hell dimension — and for that matter, been streaking, apparently. 8^)

@Colleen: Alyson's new haircut makes her eyes even bigger. I never before realized that she's an anime character.

Willow also has the best... widow's peak... ever.

@Colleen: I'm not a Faith fan.

Neither am I, and for a long time I wondered if it was the characterization that bothered me at heart or just Eliza Dushku — what I refer to as the Riker Condundrum.

I think it's mostly the actor, not the concept, because Faith has been put to good use. The exception is scenes like we get here with Faith that continue the eye-rolling conceit of the unknown-quantity novelty character ("Ted") or the mundane plot option ("Killed by Death") being given the benefit of the doubt over Buffy by those who should know better or just love her enough to hear her out. I'll probably say more on Faith in the Spoiler Forum.

I really liked your rundown of observations, as usual.

VW: squac — A traditional Mexican dip made with avocado, spices, and yellow-crowned night heron.

Blam said...

PS to Mike D.: Nikki has set up a Spoiler Forum each week for remarks that reference future episodes of Buffy and Angel. You'll find it right after the main post (actually time-stamped a minute before the main post so that it does show up "after"). It's awesome to rewatch these episodes in context, but for the benefit of the first-time viewers we try to save discussion of that sort for the comments section of that post.

VW: lubioni — Italian engine oil?

Page48 said...

@Blam: The best line is Joyce's: "Will you be slaying?"

I would give equal billing to Buffy's reply, "only if they give me lip" (referring, of course to Willow and Xander). A rimshot would not have gone amiss.

Missy said...


Joss&Co. asked Nerf Herder to Re-record the theme with a Rock edge to it.

Thats why it sounds different/sped up.