Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 18

3.16 Doppelgangland
3.17 Enemies
3.18 Earshot
**For more, read along on pages 206-210 of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer companion guide, Bite Me.


Welcome to Week 18 of the Buffy Rewatch, and three excellent episodes that all look at the difficulties of being a teenager... both human and vamp.

First, a slice of cheese from our resident BtVS music expert, Janet Halfyard!

The death motif is building up towards the season finale, specifically in relation to Faith as a threat to Buffy. There are lots of other things I could talk about now, but that would be greedy (and possibly boring). In “Doppelgangland”, right after the credits when the Mayor says to Faith “Let’s kill you little friend”, there is it again, large as life (or death). Then in “Enemies”, it becomes part of an episode theme for Faith: we hear it first when she goes to Angel, apparently seeking help form the one person who might understand what she’s going through; but the music is a big clue that she is not to be trusted, that she remains a threat. The motif is embedded in the theme (its second phrase); we get it again when Faith comes back to try to seduce Angel for the second time; and finally when we discover that Faith has been tricked by Buffy and Angel.

(I know I said I wouldn’t, but right at the end of “Enemies”, the first few notes of the original love theme act as a tag to “This is what is left” when Angel asks if Buffy is still his girl and she replies “always” [sob])

Thanks, Janet! Our first episode this week was “Doppelgangland,” a personal favourite of mine (if only for that adorable quick wave that Willow gives to Oz at The Bronze to assure him she’s not Vamp Willow... Alyson Hannigan puts in a stellar performance in this one, showing how she can play two entirely different characters). A couple of weeks ago you met Suzie Gardner (author of the Glee book), who talked about “The Wish.” Now she’s back to discuss the other half of that episode, “Doppelgangland.”

So, tell us, Angel — how alike ARE vampires and their original mortal selves?: A look at Willow and VampWillow in "Doppelgängland"



VampWillow is back, so obviously, I am, too! Last time around when I wrote about "The Wish", I mentioned my huge love for Willow's alternate self, but in this week's "Doppelgängland", things get even more interesting. Near the end of the episode, Angel starts to correct Buffy's statement that vampires don't retain any of their original human personality traits, which can only get one thinking about just how many similarities there are between a person and their doppelgänger, a human and a human-turned-vampire.

For Willow, it originally does seem like her and her counterpart are complete opposites. The entire first half of this episode emphasizes how Willow is often seen as a pushover, "Old Reliable" as Buffy calls her. She's constantly doing whatever anyone wants of her, be it Buffy, Xander, Giles, Principal Snyder or dumb jock Percy. VampWillow, on the other hand, quickly and easily becomes the leader of a new vampire gang, showing that she's definitely not the type to get walked all over. But nevertheless, Willow did show some inner strength and power by taking on her doppelgänger's persona and attempting to lead the charge in the Bronze. What Willow continued to prove, in fact, is that her leadership and strength comes from a much nicer place than VampWillow's does — while her doppelgänger shows her strength by hunting and killing, the original Willow shows her strength through compassion. Telling Buffy not to kill VampWillow was an incredibly strong and difficult decision, but one that ultimately shows Willow's kind heart, not a pushover heart, but one that's kind and strong in her convictions when necessary. In essence, it seems as though Willow and VampWillow have both developed their strength based on their circumstances and environment — one version could fairly easily become the other, should their situations be changed.

Of course, those of us who have watched Willow's development throughout the seasons as she gets deeper and deeper into the black arts, know that the Willow of "Doppelgängland" and VampWillow have much more in common. While VampWillow shows her strength outwardly with her vampiric abilities, our Willow later moves to showing her strength outwardly as well, just with the help of her witchy talents. In fact, by the time Willow goes completely off the deep end near the close of season 6, we see that her evil-ness has hit the same point as her vampiric counterpart: her last words to Warren before she kills him are VampWillow's trademark, "Bored now." And, just because I can't help but mention it, the line where Willow says that her doppelgänger is "kinda gay", is pure gold when you know that Willow herself will be, too, in just a little while.

In comparing the two Willows, the most interesting scene is when Willow impersonates her evil self and infiltrates the Bronze. Despite her initial attempt to seem set on the kill, Willow soon begins musing about how her mortal self is a weak pushover. By having Willow disguised as VampWillow analyze Willow...well, it's confusing, but also rather brilliant. You can see that our girl is enjoying being in this more powerful role, but it's clear that she's nervous about it, too — her little wave at Oz perfectly shows her mixed emotions. She seems to somewhat envy the strength and confidence of her doppelgänger, but she's afraid, too. There's a definite tease at some future Willow personality development with this episode — we're just going to have to wait and see how much of VampWillow's traits she decides to try to take on.

And, before I go, how about some favourite quotes (because this episode is hilarious)?
Willow: Aren't you sort of naturally buff, Buff?

Willow: No, it's fine. I'm 'Old Reliable'.
Xander: She just means, you know, the geyser. You're like a geyser of fun that goes off at regular intervals.
Willow: That's Old Faithful.
Xander: Isn't that the dog that, that the guy had to shoot...
Willow: That's Old Yeller.
Buffy: Xander, I beg you not to help me.

Giles: She was truly the finest of all of us.
Xander: Way better than me.
Giles: Much, much better.

VampWillow: Well, look at me. I'm all fuzzy.

Willow: Would that mean we have to snuggle?

***

Thanks, Suzie! Next up this week was the episode, “Enemies,” and this week’s guest host to discuss the ep is... me! This episode is easily the turning point, where Faith goes somewhere and can’t turn back, where she once and for all becomes the enemy of the Scoobies. And yet, I can’t help but feel sorry for her. Earlier in the season, Xander joined forces with her to help kill Angel. In “The Zeppo,” they slept together. There was always a sense that she was separate from the rest of the Scoobs and that she might end up bringing Xander with her, but in this episode it’s clear she’s on her own. As I said in my book, the main difference between Xander and Faith when it comes to friendships is, “Xander values his loyalty to his friends above everything else because he has their acceptance, while Faith is so busy craving acceptance that she’ll stab people in the back to get it.” Faith has said her mother is dead, then suggested her mom was a deadbeat (but very much alive) and in this episode she goes with that second one and paints a dark picture of what her difficult life has been like.

As I said to my husband while watching “Enemies” this time, what I love about the Faith storyline is that Joss Whedon not only came up with this entire mythology of a girl who was chosen to be humanity’s safeguard and protector against the forces of darkness, but then showed us an example of one who went bad. It’s inevitable... with that much power comes responsibility, but as we all know, power corrupts.

I have to admit, the first time I saw “Enemies” I was PRAYING that Angelus would return, and when I thought he had (for I, along with Faith and many other viewers, was totally duped), I was thrilled. I’d been getting a little tired of the morose, brooding, Tai Chi-practisin’ vamp and I wanted something with more bite. The scenes of not-Angelus prancing about are very important for the overall storyline, because not only is it fun to catch a glimpse of him again, but it confirms that Angel is very aware of Angelus’s actions when he’s trapped inside the demon body. Not only that, but considering the fact that Angel was actually just pretending to be Angelus in this scene suggests that he actually meant to hurt Buffy with some of those words. He didn’t hold back, even though a slightly less harsh performance probably would have still put one over on Faith. But instead, he let Buffy know how he felt being sent to Hell, and he made sure he snogged Faith every chance he got, probably letting off some steam at seeing Buffy “moving on” at the beginning of the season after having sent him to Hell. He reassures Buffy at the end of the episode that he didn’t mean those things, but she’s caught a glimpse of the monster who terrorized her family and friends again, and has realized she’s been kidding herself if she thinks that monster will forever stay at bay.

Now, as of the writing of this, I’m still waiting on the last entry from our other guest host, so I hope I don’t repeat what she’s going to say by giving you a bit of the background on “Earshot.” (Much of it is outlined on pages 208-209 of my book.) If you were watching BtVS when it first aired, then you remember the series jumped from Enemies to Choices, with no Earshot in between. That’s because on April 20, 1999, two students walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, and shot up their school (killing 12 students and a teacher) before killing themselves. “Earshot,” about a student who’s had it with being mocked and situates himself in the clock tower of the school with a rifle, was scheduled to air one week later, on April 27, and the WB thought it was simply too soon. In the midst of people blaming Marilyn Manson and violent videogames and TV shows and movies for the shoot-em-up (rather than, you know, two disturbed individuals), it almost appeared as though the WB were saying, “YES, shows like this one can definitely lead to shooting up a school, so let’s pull it.” But I think, to be honest, it probably was too soon to show it, and Joss Whedon agreed with the decision.

That said, they held off on showing the episode until September 1999, when it was actually making a very important point about what happened at Columbine, and how painful the high school experience really can be. The show was entirely finished before the massacre happened, so the writers were being pro-active in noting that this teen angst can become lethal, and I wish that, rather than burying it a week before the S4 premiere, they ran it with a splash and opened up a discussion, for this episode pretty much nails the real problem behind a tragedy like Columbine in ways that a bunch of right-wing pundits simply couldn’t.

What I love about “Earshot” is that incredibly important idea – one of the most realistic lines of the entire series – that everyone is in pain. We think the cheerleaders and jocks have it made, but they don’t. They have pressure on them to be popular, and are expected to be clueless and pretty. (And heterosexual.) Nerds are treated like outsiders and constantly picked on and made fun of, which is why it’s always harder to sympathize with the popular kids who bully the underdogs, but they still have their own problems. A nerd might be unpopular in high school, but he or she might go home to a loving family who supports them and helps them ultimately become successful. A jock could be incredibly popular in school, but go home to a troubled home life where he lives in fear.

So, while I agree that it was right to delay the episode, I think it was also one of the most important messages people needed to hear in that moment – rather than look at outside forces like music and TV and videogames and films, why not look at the structure of high school itself? Everyone is pressured and stressed out and having to figure out what they’re going to do for the rest of their lives, and it’s a horrible, hellish place. Of course Sunnydale High was built on a Hellmouth... can you name one high school that isn’t?

Now, I’ve seen “Earshot” over 25 times, for reasons that I’ll explain when we get to the S3 finale, Graduation Day. But for now, when you’re watching “The Prom” for next week’s rewatch, imagine not having seen “Earshot,” and you’ll realize how confused we viewers were when we watched it live in 1999.

Also, considering the Sookie Stackhouse novels were first published in 2001, I've often wondered if Charlaine Harris watched "Earshot" and from this episode, got the idea for a woman who can hear people's thoughts and who falls in love with a vampire.

This week’s third guest, Tanya Cochran, last joined us to recap Bad Eggs/Surprise/Innocence, and here she is again to talk about how Enemies and Earshot come together. Welcome back, Tanya!

“Enemies,” “Earshot,” and Empathy: How Buffy Makes Us Feel

I decided to re-watch only “Enemies” and “Earshot” for this week and see what connections materialized. As usual, Whedon and team demonstrated their wickedly awesome myth-making skills. Purposefully or not, these two single-word-titled episodes work beautifully together, though they did not air side-by-side as originally planned.

Most of you probably know that “Earshot” was set to follow “Enemies” in April 1999 but was delayed until later that year, in September. A week before the air date for “Earshot,” two young men carrying guns and other weapons entered their Colorado high school and opened fire, in the end taking their own lives in addition to thirteen others. The Columbine event shook the United States. In the DVD interview for the episode, Whedon himself says that not showing it was “the right thing to do.” Though I don’t completely agree (keep reading), years later watching “Earshot” and “Enemies” in sequence can still teach us something essential about human pain and the need for empathy.

Each year at my college, we celebrate Peace Week, seven days set aside to focus on the pillars of peacemaking: dialogue, justice, forgiveness, and reconciliation. This year, students and faculty participated in an activity called “Crossing the Line.” In the auditorium, we stood along a duct tape line on the floor. Then a student organizer began to read statements that describe the human experience. If we could say “yes” to anything she read, we were to step over the line. The words came and we moved: “Cross the line if you’ve ever been bullied.” Step back. “Cross the line if you’ve ever felt overwhelming loneliness.” Step back. “Cross the line if you’ve ever been raped or know someone who has been raped.” Step back. “Cross the line if you’ve been called a racial or ethnic slur.” Step back. The point of the activity, if everyone is honest, is to see how alike rather than different we are. The point is to catch at least a glimpse of what it might be like to be someone else. The point is to experience, even for a moment, a little empathy. For me, that’s exactly what Whedon and team do in “Enemies” and “Earshot.”

In “Enemies,” my heart breaks for Faith, the young woman who too flippantly tells Angel, “Mind if I skip past the Mom-never-loved-me part and get right to it?” According to Whedon, Faith is the first human monster Buffy and friends must face. The sad truth is that the monster within her, though it will strike out at others many times, is a self-devouring one. We know how self-destructive Faith is when she confronts a chained-up Buffy toward the end of the episode. She tells Buffy that her mother was essentially absent, bound to a bottle of booze. All Faith wanted was someone or something to love (and love her back, we assume). So no puppy—symbolically, no real childhood—for little Faith. But she survives, she grows up, she finds that she has a calling, a purpose. In Sunnydale, she’s needed. At first. Her perspective quickly changes. She does her job as a slayer, but Buffy is the Slayer. She works even harder to be and do good, but Buffy gets the thanks. Everyone wants to know, “Why can’t you be more like Buffy?” There is so much anger-masked pain in her voice when she exclaims, “You get the Watcher. You get the mom. You get the little Scooby Gang. What do I get? Jack squat.” Most of us watching can understand. Also, Faith isn’t all together wrong in her assessment, which is why we feel good about Mayor Wilkins, evil though he is, loving and caring for Faith: he offers his friendship and protection; he gives her a home of her own; he buys her a sundress, makes sure she drinks her milk, and encourages in her a sense of self-respect and self-discipline. More than anyone else in her life, he wants to make her happy: “Two words: miniature . . . golf.”

In ways that are likely unintentional yet nonetheless profound, “Enemies” foreshadows “Earshot.” In “Enemies,” the interior becomes exterior, what is buried deep is dug up. Faith’s fear, pain, and rage are unearthed; after this episode, there is no doubt that she fights on the side of Mayor Wilkins. Giles calls her what she is: “a rogue Slayer.” Buffy punctuates Faith’s fear when she says, “There’s a word for people like you: loser.” In many ways, “Earshot” is all about feelings of loser-ness being exposed, at least to Buffy. At first, the aspect of the demon that Buffy inherits seems entertaining. Now she can use her thought-reading insight to predict her enemies’ moves, Giles excitedly declares. “Way better than that,” replies Buffy. As Whedon notes, however, the funnish novelty of knowing that Xander is a typical teenage boy who thinks about sex pretty much all the time or looking smart in English class by stealing answers to questions about Shakespeare from the mind of the smarty pants on the front row wears off quickly. The aspect of the demon is no spiritual gift; it’s “something darker,” says Whedon.

As Jane Espenson explains, psychic ability in high school only means being surrounded, engulfed by pain. When Buffy hears a promise of fatal action among the already-overwhelming misery, the coolness of the demon aspect is certainly over. A death threat is serious, serious business. One reason I believe “Earshot” should have aired in order is that it acts as commentary not on school violence so much as on the human experience. The twist in the episode is that Jonathan, as abused as he has been over the years, doesn’t ever consider taking the lives of others. His pain doesn’t require others’ sacrifice. He just wants to stop feeling, stop feeling ignored and bullied and small and weak and stupid and lonely and geeky and . . . Who can’t understand, even for a fleeting second, that a bullet might offer respite.

For me, “Earshot” is ultimately about bringing the ugliness of humanity to the surface—again, the interior becomes exterior. Not just for the sake of doing so. Not just for viewers to gawk. But to make us feel. To feel for each other. The missed opportunities of not juxtaposing “Earshot” with Columbine are that (1) the episode actually raises awareness and empathy rather than glorifies violence and (2) the culprit of the planned violence isn’t a student but a school staff member, highlighting briefly but significantly that the pain doesn’t always go away after high school. “I never knew you had so much rage in you,” Buffy tells Faith in “Enemies.” She might have said the same thing to the cafeteria cook in “Earshot.”

Of course, the rage itself isn’t inherently evil. As Whedon often reminds us, it’s what we do with our feelings that matter. Let’s face it: we all suffer and we all act like we’re not suffering in order to survive. Life’s a stage . . . or a show, and we all play our parts. The hardest thing about life is living. But that’s what we must do. A bullet might seem to offer respite from pain, but it also kills any chance of redemption, any chance at the joy of healing.

In “Enemies” and “Earshot,” Whedon and company teach us something essential about human pain and the need for empathy. A gun shot or poison could end the suffering we experience. But that choice would halt life in the midst of our suffering. Not a very good ending. The more courageous choice is to live, to outlive the pain. To keep on feeling.

Next week: Kristin Romanelli joins us to discuss “Choices” and “The Prom,” two stellar episodes that precede the season 3 two-part finale.

22 comments:

Marebabe said...

Let me guess. “Doppelgangland” is a favorite in the Buffy fandom. Did I guess right? ;) This episode was full of delights, far too many to mention them all. And of course, Miss Willow was the chief delight. I just love her all to pieces!

I enjoyed Willow’s demonstration of “emotional control” with that rapidly spinning pencil when she thought of Faith (and Xander). And I LOVED Xander shaking his cross like it was a pen that wouldn’t write! (“Why won’t this fool thing WORK?!”)

And then the group hug. And then the GILES hug! Purely wonderful. *happy sigh*

In “Enemies”, Buffy said, regarding Faith: “At least now we know.” I was super relieved that Faith was outed as a double agent, rogue slayer, and all-around bad girl. And I was completely hoodwinked by the “dangerous charade” in this episode. I felt tricked and manipulated with the reveal at the end. Anybody else feel manipulated? It will be a completely different experience to rewatch this episode someday, knowing the punch line at the end. I think I’ll like it better. But that’s just me.

In reading Tanya’s segment, I suddenly wondered WHO is in charge of choosing/anointing slayers. Wouldn’t they try to select someone from a healthy environment, a loving and supportive family? If it’s true that Faith’s mom never loved her, it seems to me that that would’ve been evident from her infancy. What, exactly, are the criteria for being the Chosen One? And at what stage in life is one chosen?

“Earshot” reminded me so much of the Mel Gibson movie “What Women Want”, I looked it up to see which came first. (I knew they were close together.) Mel’s movie came out in 2000, so that means the Buffy writers did it first. (Yay, Buffy writers!) A notable difference between the two was that Mel Gibson’s Nick Marshall character could only hear the thoughts of women. Poor Buffy. If the cacophony in her head had continued, the only alternatives would’ve been isolation or insanity.

It was extremely clear to me that it was a FEMALE voice that Buffy heard in the lunchroom, referencing future death and mayhem. I guess the pitch and quality of the voice didn’t register in Buffy’s extremely cluttered and agitated brain, or else the Scoobies could’ve cut their interviewing chores roughly in half, questioning only the girls and women in the vicinity at the time.

I like how Cordelia has absolutely no filter. Whatever she’s thinking comes right out of her mouth!

We haven’t seen Buffy’s flying gymnast moves since early in season one. It was odd to suddenly see them in this episode. I’m not sure how I actually feel about them. In a show with demons and vampires and all sorts of magical stuff, am I really gonna gripe about how Buffy’s somersaulting, anti-gravity moves look fake? I think that if we saw more of them, I’d just get used to it.

Dusk said...

Willow cuteness overload!

I am *not* a vampire!

"You all didn't happen to do a bunch of drugs did ya?"

Oz wave!

Did anyone notice even Angel seemed close to tears when Willow was "dead?" I wonder if it because she gave him his soul back?

@Marebabe: Yes, Faith doesn't seem like an ideal choice does she? There are answerto your questions, but they feature past Season 3. You wouldn't see a tween Slayer though.


The commentary has covered the serious side of Earshot. I'll just say that I loved Buffy's reaction to Joyce's thoughts.

And I respect Joyve and Giles for letting Angel get so close to Buffy with all they know he's done.

Page48 said...

In "Earshot", Buffy got a little slime of the demon on her and developed the ability to hear thoughts.

In "Fringe", it was the unfortunate Simon Phillips, who developed this trait as a result of Walter's Cortexiphan trials. Sadly, for Simon, there was no heart-of-the-2nd-demon cure readily availabe.

What does Sunnydale High think of Wes hanging out in the library all day, everyday?

So much funny stuff in "Earshot":

-Newspaper headline: "Apathy on the Rise, No One Cares"
-the Xander/Larry sessions, always hilarious.
-Wes: "I'm a bad, bad man".
-Jonathan: "You want me to pay attention?"

Willow saves VampWillow and arranges for her safe return to her world ("we send her back to her world and she stands a chance") just in time for Oz to dust her. That just didn't seem fair.

The Question Mark said...

It's a shame about the poor timing of "Earshot": the script is incredibly releveant and it would have been great for people to see that aired in its natural state as opposed to being buried in a sea of reruns towards the end of the summer.

bdegrande said...

Doppelgangland is one of my absolute favorites, I was a guest on the Hellmouth Podcast, an episode by episode recap podcast, for that episode. Alyson is amazing, playing not only Willow and Vamp Willow, but Willow pretending to be Vamp Willow "I'm a bloodsucking fiend, look at my outfit"and Vamp Willow pretending to be Willow, trying to be nice enough to convince Cordelia to let her out of the cage - a truly great performance.

I am also loving reading Bite Me for the first time, it has a permanent place on my iPad as a Buffy reference book.

Tom D. said...

Let me guess. “Doppelgangland” is a favorite in the Buffy fandom. Did I guess right? ;)

It is written and directed by Joss himself. Those are usually the best ones!

EBethToThePowerOf? said...

Doppelgangland is one of my favorites. It's so jam-packed with great moments/lines that you'd have to cut and paste the script to put them all in a commentary, but a few of my favorites (that haven't already been mentioned):
Oz--I’d call that a radical interpretation of the text
Willow (seriously, the second time)--“oh, god, who died?”
Giles--Something very strange is happening
Anya--I’m 1120 years old, just gimme a freakin’ beer! Bartender--“i.d.” Anya (resigned)--“gimme a coke”

That sweater deserves its own guest starring credit during this episode

Vamp Willow is not really as smart as Willow.

EBethToThePowerOf? said...

Two more quickies. This episode strikes me as Willow's "The Zeppo." We come out of the episode with a greater appreciation for her character and it is a moment of maturation and confidence for her.

Is anyone else a Hitchcock fan? For some reason, the plot of Enemies reminded me a bit of the movie Notorious. In it, Ingrid Bergman's character pretends to fall in love with and marry an ex-nazi in order to spy upon him, while her true love and CIA operative, played by Cary Grant, has to watch her pretend to love this nazi guy and suffer, not truly knowing if she is pretending or really falling for him. In this equation Faith=nazi guy, Cary Grant=Buffy, Ingrid Bergman=Angel. Just a random thought I had when watching. The Angst!

StarfuryBR said...

One of the things I love about a good rewatch is noticing little details I've missed before. I've seen "Dopplegangland" at least half a dozen times, but I only just noticed that there's a picture of a little girl sitting on Snyder's desk at 4:50. The picture doesn't look very recent. I wonder who she is?

I'm used to thinking of Snyder as "that twisted little homonculus" (as Giles called him in Gingerbread), as the paragon of ineffectual authoritarianism, the man so uncool he "never ever had a single date in high school," but now that little girl has made me realize: Snyder is a human being. As a teenager, he was probably someone not unlike Jonathan: short, funny looking, not particularly good at anything, with few or no friends, ignored by most, probably despised or bullied by those who noticed him at all. And he has a picture of a little girl on his desk. Who is she? His daughter? His twin sister who died when they were still just children? Maybe it's just the photo that came with the frame, that he bought because it's too unbearably sad not to have a picture of anyone on your desk. But I don't think so. I think there is someone in his life whom Snyder cares about, whose face he wants to see every day. Snyder is a human being.

Efthymia said...

I've been enjoying the episodes so much these weeks that I can't really focus on anything in particular while watching them to take any kind of notes! I ADORE Season 3!

I agree with what everyone has said so far, but I can't believe no one has commented on Oz's thoughts in "Earshot"--priceless, as far as I'm concerned.
A couple more things about "Earshot":
1. I really apreciate that it shows teachers as unhappy as the students. When someone says they are a teacher, everyone goes "Oh, lucky you, with your summer and Christmas holidays" etc, but it's a really tough job. If teachers DIDN'T have all this vacation time, it would probably be them taking down people and killing themselves...
2. During the first three seasons, at least, I've often associated Buffy, Willow and Xander with Harry, Hermione and Ron (respectively), and in this episode, Xander joking about the lunch lady trying to kill them really reminded me of Ron, who is often right when joking.

*I was very excited to see K's Choice in "Doppelgangland": it's the first (and perhaps only, I can't remember) time there was a band I knew on the show, and back in 1999 I would listen to them a lot, so seeing them on BtVS made me quite happy (and nostalgic).

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I was a bit confused at the beginning of Dopplegangland with Faith going from escaping the Council to seeming to be okay with Wes. Or have I forgotten something?

The Mayor says "I'm a family man." Is he married? We don't see his home life. Or is he referring to 'family values'?

How do crosses work against Jewish vampires?

I love Giles look when he gets caught looking at Willow's 'those'.

Cordy seemed pretty overdressed for the library - until I realized she was hoping to run into Wes.

Percy is the poster boy for the effectiveness of tough love.

We know it's been at least a week since the previous episode - the movie cinema's changed the marquee.

Is "safe as houses" an expression about vampires? No chance them attacking you if you don't invite them in.

The Mayor tells Faith to pull her hair back. The Mayor is my mother!!

Buffy makes a Godot reference in Enemies. She surprised me. Unless she doesn't really know what that means.

I think the things Angel said about Xander weren't fake. He really does get annoyed (and probably enjoyed decking him.)

When Angel asked Joyce about her hair, I thought he must have been watching Leave it to Beaver. Eddie Haskell lives!

Angels comment to Buffy about in all their time together never trying chains seemed odd - their one (partial) night together?

Watching Earshot it struck my how much time and money were spent on the demon makeup and costumes - sometimes for only a very brief appearance.

At first I thought Oz was joking about the school paper having obits - but maybe not.

Freddie the paper editor is played by a Canadian actor who used to be on Catwalk.

What is up with Xander's Christmas shirt?

Buffy is dangerous to Angel's health. She didn't bother to close the curtain properly again in his room.

A high school is a bad place for someone with Buffy's telepathic power. Crowded with people with low self esteem. Though maybe that would be true of any office.

Willow grills Jonathan again, like in Go Fish. Did she inadvertently give him the idea to commit suicide?

I love Earshot, but it seems like two separate episodes, psychic Buffy and Jonathan in the watchtower. And I do understand why they pulled the episode - the overall meaning would have been an excellent one, but some of the jokes would not.

Why does Jonathan use a shot gun instead of a handgun? Is it just for misdirection (sniper in the tower) or is he emulating Kurt Cobain?

Buffy is concerned with the external aspects of the demon (horns, tails) when the internal one is so much more damaging.

myeck said...

The pair of The Wish and Doppelgangland is my favorite example of Whedon's habit of showing both the comedic and tragic sides of a situation.

The Wish is a tragic story, but the ending reveals that is was just a "what-if", and the "real" world continues as before, with the exception of new student Anya of course. A plot device that had been done many times before on TV.

Doppelgangland revisits the Vamp Willow character but uses her in a comedy. And then, in a double-reversal, the fun and games turn tragic again when Vamp Willow is sent back to her own horrible reality, which we realize is still going on. Lightened of course by the clear view of her mouth saying "Oh, F-" as she turns to dust.

And all encapsulated by two funny/sad lines just before they send Vamp Willow back:

VAMP WILLOW: This world is no fun.
WILLOW: You noticed that too?

Hunter said...

@Colleen

Jonathan uses a rifle, not a shotgun. Why? Probably just to make it look like he was going to kill everyone. Or, that was the only gun that he could get his hands on.

Suzanne said...

@EBethToThePowerOf, what a great parallel! Notorious is one of my all-time favorite Hitchcock films; I have even taught it in an Intro to Film Studies course before; yet, I never noticed this comparison. I love it!

Marababe, as for your comment about how your viewing of this episode might be different on a second viewing, from my experience it might depend on how long from now it is before you rewatch it, and how much of the Buffy verse (including Angel), you watch by then since the mythology is so dense that details can get lost over time. I can't believe this, but I wasn't actually sure if Angel had actually turned into Angelus or not while watching it again this time. I suspected that he was not Angelus, but I honestly couldn't remember how it was that he wasn't Angelus.

I am finding that with a lot of the episodes, everything is fairly fresh. It is making the rewatch really enjoyable since it is almost like seeing the surprises in a way that is fairly close to the first time while having all of the background knowledge about characters necessary to see beneath the surface of things. I think it also reflects on the high level of quality in the storytelling since the plots are so unpredictable (or maybe I am just beginning to get senile). :)

Suzanne said...

Like Colleen/redeem 147, I was confused by the lighthearted manner in which everyone was treating Faith at the beginning of Doppelgangland; it seemed a bit odd given her most recent past actions. Even though they may have been inclined to forgive her for these actions since she saved Buffy's life in the end, I would think they would have been a little bit more somber around her or at least on edge. It was so confusing to see them acting the way that they did that we checked the episode list online to be sure we were watching the episodes in the correct order (and we were even rewatching the episode, not watching it for the first time). However, like everyone else, I still adore this episode!

StephenC said...

don't have much time, but I just had to say, that I can't believe how much I love this show.

It's not quite up there with Lost for me, but it's not far off !!!

I and was also checking the episode list to check I was watching in the correct order, the gang seemed very relaxed around Faith. I thought that the situation had reached, Faith = enemy territory already, but apparently not :)

Well, I guess it is now.

Just got all my DVD boxsets from amazon, no more crappy megavideo vids for me :)

Missy said...

'Doppelgangland'
Definitely in my top 15,it never gets boring.
Willow vs. Vamp Willow.Theres not a scene involving those two that isn't perfect.
Poor Anya....Can't even get a Beer.
What this reveals about Willow and how people see her(and how she reacts to that) has to be my favourite part.
Percy West,Watching this Originally Percy annoyed me to no end,but I really enjoy his character now.
I feel like 'Enemies' shows why they were very calm and nonchalant around Faith at the begining of Doppelgangland.
I mean I don't think the 'Enemies' plan had been discussed yet...but they were waiting for her to tip her hat.
My fav quote is "I'm so Evil and Skanky....& I think I'm kinda Gay." Willow(Thats why Willow is my fav Scoobie :) )
'Enemies'
I never gave this ep much thought until a few yrs ago...
When out of the blue while watching it I understood how it affects everything that comes after
not just the next episode or the last 4 eps of this season .
It's the 1st step on Angels path to leaving(for his own show)
It shows us how much pain&damage Faith is hiding and gives us perspective in her characters Arc.
Buffy and Angels relationship is fractured Indefinitely.
I don't have a quote so much as a scene I adore(it's possibly one of my fav scenes from all 7 seasons)

It starts the moment Angel/us Says "Morning Sleepyhead" and ends when Faith says "What are you gonna do, B, kill me? You become me. You're not
ready for that, yet."(and the Kiss)

That whole scene in the Mansion is just brilliant.
Though I do love this quote from Xander "Imagine the possibilities.".
I always manage to forget that this is when we learn just how Old the Mayor really is and essentially how long his plan has been in effect.

'Earshot'
Jane Espenson(Via Joss),Black Comedy & Jonathan.
You always know your in for a good time when those 3 things combine.
It's not a fav of mine but I do enjoy it.
For what it has to say on the subject of Teen angst and
how it shows that shooting up your school(or yourself) isn't the right way to deal with your feelings.
Fav quote
"YOU HAD SEX WITH GILES?!"
"On the hood of a police car?!?"
"TWICE!!!!" -Buffy

Suzanne said...

Missy, thanks for pointing out that Enemies kind of makes sense of their actions around Faith at the beginning of Doppelgangland. I see it now. I wonder if I will remember that the next time I do a rewatch? ;)

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I think Enemies explains Buffy and Giles reaction to Faith, but what about Wes? He would be the more severe (and uptight) and he's not in on the plan. Neither is the Council.

Witness Aria said...

I never thought they all were acting that normal around Faith compared to before, but they were giving her the benefit of the doubt. At the end of Consequences, she saved Buffy, then came back with her and agreed to play by the Council's rules to rehabilitate. (Part of which was the tests both slayers were taking at the beginning of the episode.) Buffy and Giles had a conversation about her, saying they thought she'd be okay, but you could see Buffy was still a bit unsure how to act around her. Willow was very uncomfortable around her. Wesley knew his other strategy didn't work (and so did the Council) so was going with this new plan.
I don't think it was until Enemies that they figured out she had turned and become a double agent. Until then they were more worried about whether she could get past the death of Alan and not spiral like she was doing before. I don't think it occurred to them (yet) that she would go so far as to seek out the big evil and join the team.

Anne said...

StephenC said:

Just got all my DVD boxsets from amazon, no more crappy megavideo vids for me :)

I don't know if you are a first time watcher or not but I strongly advise you do not look at the menus for each episodes (close your eyes or ask somebody to set it up for you) as they are very spoilery, also some boxset pictures are also extremely spoilery.

Just and advice, because I got spoiled...Happy viewing.

Efthymia said...

@StephenC:
You remind me of myself 2,5 years ago! I, too, had started watching without any expectations, and by Season 3 I was completely in love with the show and it had gotten very close to LOST, which was (and probably still is) my #1 obsession. I also had started watching streaming videos, and when I got to Season 5 I just went and bought the DVD set.

I'll tell you, procrastination led me to discover some pretty good shows...