Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Buffy Rewatch: Week 31

5.7 Fool for Love
5.8 Shadow
5.9 Listening to Fear

And if you’re watching Angel, this week’s eps are:

2.7 Darla
2.8 The Shroud of Rahmon
2.9 The Trial

As I mentioned last week, “Darla” is a parallel episode to “Fool for Love,” where instead of Spike’s backstory we learn a lot more about Darla; the two overlap in the scene with Spike arguing with Angel in Yorkshire, and during the Boxer Rebellion. “The Shroud of Rahmon” is a bit of a throwaway episode, but “The Trial” is frakkin’ brilliant. I hope some of you are trying that other Joss Whedon show!

But in the meantime, let’s get back to Buffy and “Fool for Love,” one of my all-time favourite episodes, and as I also mentioned last week, in my top three episodes of season 5 (alongside “The Body” and “The Gift”). For now we finally see Spike’s backstory, something that was as anticipated among BtVS fans as Ben Linus’s backstory was to Losties. And wow, did it deliver. James Marsters puts in a fantastic performance as William, the bloody awful poet with a penchant for ridiculous rhyming words… and Cecily. We see that Drusilla was actually his sire, not Angel, as stated back in “School Hard,” (prompting Joss Whedon to explain that Angel sired Drusilla, and Dru sired Spike, therefore that makes Angel his sire… no, hon, that makes him his grandsire, but we’ll forgive you the inconsistency), and we see how quickly he devolves from a lovesick puppy into Spike. The thing is, it puts into perspective his feelings for Buffy… because at his heart, Spike will always be a bit of a lovesick puppy. His bravado is mostly an act – where Xander believes he’s the team’s butt monkey, it’s Spike who is the butt monkey of the writers, always making some grandiose speech before tripping or falling into a grave or getting zapped… He feels so deeply, and as we learned back in “Doppelgangland,” a vampire actually has personality traits from their original host, and Spike shows his stripes far more strongly than the others do. Spike isn’t that far removed from William.

And the parallel between the two of them is made obvious when, at the very end, Spike is crushed by Buffy the same way Cecily destroyed him 120 years earlier. With a flick of her hand and a “You’re beneath me,” she leaves him lying in the street, crushed… and crying, just like William had done years earlier. But Spike has learned something about life in the last century, and where William lumbered off to find peace in the arms of a monster, Spike decides to find his revenge on Buffy and to kill her once and for all. But no matter how tough he pretends to be, the lovesick puppy comes right back the moment he finds her lost and crying in the backyard. Spike sitting beside Buffy, awkwardly patting her back while she cries, is one of my favourite moments of the series.

Well, that and punk Spike on the NY subway. Awesomesauce. (And I can’t remember if this is revealed in this episode or later, but the Slayer that he killed was named Nikki. But of course a rockin’ chick from the 70s named Nikki is the source of his amazing leather duster…)

Buffy is crying because she’s received more bad news about Joyce. This week’s triptych of episodes focuses a lot on Joyce’s condition and where it’s coming from, while introducing Glory, the crazily powerful chick in the red lipstick? Who’s Glory? Keep watching….

“Shadow” is a brilliant episode, because of the extreme highs (Glory and her minion) and extreme lows (Buffy listening to the doctor deliver the bad news).

I ADORE Dreg, Glory’s minion. Or should I say… Marshall Flinkman. ;) Even through the makeup and face prosthetic, Kevin Weisman’s brilliance shines (c’mon, Alias fans, hands up!). His overelaborate adjectives are some of my favourite things this season: “Most beauteous and supremely magnificent one…” “most tingly and wonderful Glorificus...” “Forgive me, shiny special one…” “your elaborate marvelousness…” “your terrifically smooth one…” “Your creamy coolness has honored me by speaking my name. Your voice is like a thousand sweet songbirds that…”

Spike adds more humour when we find him sniffing Buffy’s shirt, and Riley continues to feel helpless around Buffy, and is increasingly pushed out of her life. Spike to Riley: “Least I still got the attitude. What have you got, a piercing glance?” Poor Riley. I really, really feel terribly for him. I think despite everything, he’s such a good guy. He wants to be there for her, but no matter how much of a tough guy he is, she’s tougher. Riley Finn was such a useless character in S4 that he’s stuck being the hated Buffy character for life. It’s too bad, because as I’ve been saying from the beginning of S5, his character really changes this year, and Marc Blucas puts in a hell of a performance.

But the real pain in this episode happens with Joyce. “I’ve got a shadow.” Those four words have always struck dread in me… it’s such a scary moment, especially when Joyce’s voice catches and she says unconvincingly, “Just a shadow.” The directing and writing in this episode is brilliant when the doctor delivers the news to Buffy, and the world falls away as Buffy sits alone, the phrase “brain tumour” ringing in her ears. “One out of three people who get this turn out to be just fine.”

The shadow that’s found on Joyce’s CAT scan isn’t the only one in this episode, however, and when Buffy realizes that Dawn isn’t actually her sister, it creates the about-face in her attitude. Her sister is innocent, and Buffy protects the innocent.

“Listening to Fear” isn’t one of my favourite episodes (the snot monster from outer space always makes me think of Mini-Me as a caterpillar stuck in its cocoon…) but it deepens the mystery surrounding Joyce, shows how Buffy is suddenly having to be thrown into the position of mother to both Dawn and Joyce, and how her life has become so complicated it makes high school look like a walk in the park. Just as S5 is Marc Blucas’s season to shine, so too is it Kristine Sutherland’s, who plays Joyce. She’s amazing in this episode – and terrifying when you put yourself in the shoes of Buffy or Dawn – as she moves from vicious to whimpering in a moment.

This week I’m thrilled to bring back Rhonda Wilcox, aka the Mother of Buffy Studies, to discuss our three episodes and put them within one thematic context. Welcome back Rhonda!

“It’s Not About the Moves, Love”: Conversations in Body Language
by Rhonda V. Wilcox

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
is arguably the pre-eminent work of language in television; one could spend (and this one has spent) thousands of words praising its, well, words. But the series also makes masterful use of body language—part of the group creativity of great television and film, thanks to both actors and directors (and occasionally writers). The set of episodes we are considering this week are wonderful in various ways: “Fool for Love,” in which we learn that the vicious vampire Spike was in his Victorian life a failed, gentle poet (William), is a game-changer for the series; “Shadow” x-rays the long arc of the danger of Joyce’s life-threatening illness (and the shadow that is her second daughter); and “Listening to Fear” is one of the most frightening episodes of Buffy. Among them, there are far too many choices of subject to write on. Confronted with endless verbal possibilities, I decided to focus on the non-verbal. James Marsters’ Spike is a rich study; but I also want to consider some of the genuine successes of the frequently maligned Marc Blucas’s Riley Finn; and these episodes contain some of the high points in the work of Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers.

My title quotation (“It’s not about the moves, love”) comes from the conversation which takes up much of “Fool for Love,” in which Buffy, having almost been killed by a common (but lucky) vampire, asks Spike to tell her about his two killings of Slayers. As part of his price, he forces her to engage in lengthy interaction: they sit over drinks and hot wings at the Bronze; they play pool; they end up sparring in an alley outside. (So long as there’s no intent to harm her, his anti-violence chip doesn’t pain him.) As he tells her his story, we see moments of his past intercut with their present, starting with 1880s London and moving up through the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900 to New York City (Punk Spike!) in 1977. One of the most vivid scenes in all of the series comes in a remarkable set of cuts back and forth between his 1977 fight with a Slayer in a subway (the forceful train in the dark tunnel here again suggesting sexual symbolism—compare North by Northwest) and his “dance” with Buffy in the here and now. The violence and sexuality are intertwined. “You think we’re dancing?” she asks—and “That’s all we’ve ever done,” he answers. This scene has often been analyzed before, so I’ll restrain myself here. But I will say that the moves of the struggle between Buffy and Spike are a dance, and I dare say few in the audience were as surprised as Buffy when Spike leans in for a kiss. And it’s not when she thrusts him back that the real hurt happens; it’s when she flings the money at his prone body, then stalks off—and, even more, when he forces himself to gather the bills and breaks into tears (first) and then fury. For a few moments, we can believe that he could endure the chip’s pain long enough to shoot her.

But when Spike stalks up to Buffy, sitting unprotected on her back deck as she weeps at the knowledge that her mother must go into the hospital for ominous tests, we see one of the most poignant scenes in the series; and we see once again the series’ remarkable ability to show us both eros and caritas (or agape) love. As Buffy raises her bowed head, Spike sees her tears—and he lowers his gun. (Go ahead—think phallic if you want to.) When he asks her what’s wrong, Buffy says she doesn’t want to talk about it. In place of the Obi-Wan eloquence of the “dance” scenes, Spike now simply asks, “Is there something I can do?”—with that tilt of the head so beloved that it became an online sharing file. Gellar somehow manages to make Buffy’s eyes visibly widen; Marster’s Spike gingerly pats her on the back, and the two sit in silence together as the episode closes. One of the most touching elements of the picture is the way Marsters holds his body in this scene. When the Victorian William expresses his love to a lady who rejects him, he sits with his knees up, shoulders hunched. After Spike is turned, we see (in a scene with Angel, Darla, and Drusilla in Yorkshire in the same year) that not only Spike’s language but also his body language has changed; and the Spike that Buffy meets is the smoothest, most rhythmic of fighters. But in this scene at the end of “Fool for Love,” Spike sits once more with his knees slightly up, a faintly awkward fellow who feels too much. And Buffy sits there with him.

I’ll restrict myself to one more moment of Spike-Buffy body language: Near the end of “Listening to Fear,” Buffy and Spike encounter the horrid bug-man creature that climbs around on ceilings. After Buffy has killed it, Spike reaches his hand down to help her from the floor—and the camera focuses in a close-up of first his hand, then the two hands joined, in the center of the screen. When Riley bursts in to attempt rescue, he finds the two of them still, arms outstretched, hand in hand. And when Riley asks Buffy if she’s all right, she just looks at him for a moment, then runs upstairs to check on her mother and sister. The lack of verbal language and the body language as well seem to be moving us away from a connection with Riley and toward a connection with Spike, complicated though that is—and we don’t have time for that talk (that book?) here.

As for Marc Blucas’s Riley: It may be surprising, but there are visual parallels between Riley and Spike. They both frequently wear leather coats. A number of folks (including me) have written about Spike’s long black leather coat (which he takes from the body of a Slayer in “Fool for Love”) and its gender-crossing, dangerous, sexual representation of his identity. What does it say that Riley’s leather is short and brown instead of long and black? Within this set of episodes, there is another parallel. When, as we see in “Fool for Love,” Drusilla turns Spike, she shows her true vamp visage to him before she does—in contrast to Darla, who tells Angel “Close your eyes.” William/Spike, the man of “imagination,” is startled, but fascinated, as she approaches him. In the next episode, we see Riley allow the approach of a woman he knows is a vampire: He sees the vampire visage of Sandie and allows her to bite him. But while Spike goes through expressions of wonderment, then pain, then sexual ecstasy, Riley’s face seems to express distaste. And as Sandie sucks on him, he stakes her. Like Spike, he is connecting sex and death, but not in the same way; we have no hint that Sandie (unlike Slayers) has a death wish. And the moment is made more haunting for those of us who recall Sandie before she was turned by Vamp Willow in “Doppelgangland.” When, in “Listening to Fear,” we see Riley in a dim, filthy house where humans go to be sucked by vamps, the vamp on his arm seems enthralled by him; she doesn’t just suck, she looks up adoringly. But he sits looking away into the dark, seeming faintly disgusted. If vamp-human interaction represents sexuality, then this scene may suggest something about Riley’s. With Spike’s history in “Fool for Love” and Riley’s dark explorations beginning in “Shadow,” we see both the sexuality and the grimness of vampires in a way that Edward Cullen never does in Twinkle—I mean, Twilight.

While Riley’s secret life of suckage is proceeding, Riley—who no longer has a job—is also trying to maintain his relationship with Buffy, and time and again he offers her his help. In fact, in the scene which opens “Fool for Love,” he saves Buffy from the vamp that almost kills her. But throughout this set of episodes, while Buffy is wounded, while her mother is hospitalized, while she and Dawn try to care for her mom at home—Buffy never once calls Riley. Spike, in fact, in one of his snarkier moments, razzes him about it (which results in Riley flinging him outdoors and Spike calling for his “Blanket! Blanket!”—alas that we don’t have time to discuss Spike’s rehabilitation through humor). When, once more uncalled, Riley shows up at the hospital wearing a turtleneck to cover his neck bites, he and Buffy embrace. But she must be brave for her family. As he reaches out to touch her face, she turns away from him. He cannot touch her tears; and it seems he cannot touch the deepest of her feelings. (Earlier in the season, he’s already told Xander he thinks she doesn’t love him.) As she closes the hospital door in his face without a word or a look, I was reminded of the scene at the end of The Godfather when Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone has the door shut in the face of his “Whitebread” wife (Diane Keaton). These moments of body language are all too resonant. And the episode, like the movie, ends with the almost-but-not-quite-loved character standing outside, apart.

Inside the room is the center of Buffy’s focus: Joyce. In these episodes we get some idea of how Joyce could indeed be the mother of our Slayer. We’ve long known she’s almost unfailingly courteous and kind (a quality too many underestimate, as Dumbledore says). The scenes in which she first plays hostess to Spike are some of the most hilarious and charming in the series. Here that kind of courtesy is transmuted to bravery. When, in a wordless scene, Kristine Sutherland’s Joyce, in her hospital bed, is informed of her brain tumor, she turns her head way from Buffy (and toward us) in her emotional pain for about the space of four seconds; then she makes herself turn back to smile at her daughter; the two smile at each other (and my own tears are welling as I recall the scene). Contrast the sudden verbal incursions of her madness, the anger of “I’d rip it in half and stick it in bed with me.” (I almost wrote the whole essay on that sentence—how many characters can we apply it to!) Her silent smile is not just the embrace of the conventional; it is an attempt to protect her loved ones.

The beginning of “Shadow” presents Joyce’s head in close-up as she lies on her back for the cat scan, the shot of her anxious face foreshadowing the shots in a much more solemn scene later in the season. The stillness here contrasts with the wild flailing of Joyce’s head and the tension of her body as she lies in bed at home madly chattering at the bug-man Queller demon that hangs on the ceiling above her—one of the most horrifying sequences of Buffy, and it is propelled by Sutherland’s acting—not only her voice but that strident (if I may use that term) motion of her body. And at the end, after Dawn (what? Yes, Dawn) has mustered up the courage to strike at the creature and actually save her mother, it is nonetheless Joyce who holds “my baby” and strokes her protectively.

While language may be Buffy’s dominant aesthetic force, the series fortunately has many other powerful elements. Much, much more can be said about the camera work and the music (praises be to Steve Halfyard) and the brilliant use of the actors’ voices in this series. But as these episodes illustrate, the actors’ body language is deeply significant as well—just as that language is in our own lives. And so, in some ways, it is about the moves, love.

Thank you, Rhonda!

Next week:
5.10 Into the Woods
5.11 Triangle
5.12 Checkpoint

We’ll be joined by co-hosts Lorna Jowett, and first-timer Bryan Curry, host of the Hellmouth Podcast. And if you’re watching Angel, next week’s episodes are:

2.10 Reunion
2.11 Redefinition
2.12 Blood Money

See you next week!


Marebabe said...

In “Fool for Love”, I’ve hardly EVER been as surprised as when Buffy took a Mr. Pointy stake to the gut. Less than a minute into the episode, and I was already quite concerned for the Slayer! And then the opening credits rolled, and it was very exciting to see the names of actors/characters I’ve been missing for awhile. Reunion time!

Dawn: “When do I get to patrol?”
Buffy: “Not until you’re NEVER!!”

As soon as William asked for a synonym for gleaming, I knew what was coming. Thanks, J.S. And yes, Nikki. I giggled. ;) For the rest of you, wondering what I’m talking about, you sort of had to be there on Facebook last week.

I loved the intercutting between the 1977 subway fight-to-the-death and the scene with Spike and Buffy. Brilliant editing! “Fool for Love” and “Darla” went together so beautifully and told a complete story. Crossover episodes can certainly be just a gimmick sometimes, a tool to boost ratings, but that was not the case here.

Something about “Shadow” sort of reminded me of those last few episodes before the finale in any given season of LOST. Even though “Shadow” is only the 8th episode of this season, it feels like the stage is being set and people moved into position for the real, important stuff of Season 5.

The special effects team had a real hard time with Glory’s snake monster. It reminded me of the (bad) werewolf XF. I know, they did the best they could with the available technology of the time, and with their budget.

My brow was wrinkled up quite a lot during this episode, but the most extreme state of wrinkle was when Riley allowed a vampire to snack on him. What the...?!

It’s amazing, the stuff you can learn from Wikipedia. It’s a little-known fact that the working title of “Listening to Fear” was “Killer Snot Monster from Outer Space”.

Riley seems to have completely given up. He sure looks bummed. :(

The ability to creep along on the ceiling is a fabulous hunting technique. That’s why tree stands work so well for hunters. All mammals great and small tend not to look UP when they’re scanning the area for danger.

It’s hard to imagine that ONLY the Scoobies would be interested in the meteor crash site. I think more realistically that by the time they got there, they would be jockeying for position and shouldering their way past excited astronomers, both professional and amateur, Federal agents named Mulder and Scully, cops with their perimeter tape and “nothing to see here”, and reporters and photographers from both print newspapers and TV news agencies.

Whenever we see Dawn from the back, it reminds me that I would’ve committed murder (almost) to have hair like hers back in the early 1970s, when I was in high school. The fashion then was long, straight hair, the longer and straighter the better. I struggled with my curly hair until curly became fashionable.

Dusk said...

I love the family angle of these episodes, it's one of the reasons it's my favorite season.

Also love the contrast of Riley/Spike Buffy/Joyce, and Buffy & Spike and Angel & Darla.

Yet another reason I love Glory, what other villian just casually walks into Scooby headquaters and back out with nobody thinking anything is wrong, plus also the fact she can do magic (even if the snake was not so great). I wonder what new people think of her so far?

Love the ending of LtF and Xander running away from sterlization, and confident then wobbly Wilow.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Until I can come back and say more (giant thunderstorm upon us)...I have just two words from Spike to Riley: "Blanket, blanket."

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Buffy calls Dawn a `short, annoying man.` If Dawn is short, what is Buffy?

I`m pretty sure that what we see in Fool For Love isn`t what Spike is telling Buffy. Elements of it, yes.

James is doing that odd pulling away when he kisses thing to Dru, that is very similar to when he kissed John Barrowman on Torchwood.

Look at Spike`s arms. Buffy said Riley had good arms?

Ken that played the Chaos demon signs his autograph with little antlers.

I still think Spike`s natural default is to help and he has to talk himself into evil. More on that next week.

The next episode takes place the next day. Buffy recovers very quickly from that gut wound.

I think that Dawn telling Riley that Buffy doesn`t get dramatic over him is the show`s way of acknowledging that the character is boring - just as he starts to get interesting.

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes? (A question I often ask on Buffy - Indiana Jones is smart to stay away from Sunnydale.)

I know they didn`t have a ton of money for special effects - but CGI Buffy riding on CGI snake is a new low.

You know Riley - Buffy`s mom is very ill. It`s not all about you.

I love the look on Giles` face when he finds his glasses. He`s gleeful.

Debbie Lee Carrington (The Queller Demon) is very sad that Nikki didn`t list her in Bite Me. :(

Since when does the doctor come in when you push the button in a hospital? You`re lucky to get a nurse.

I love the juxtaposition of the Queller dripping in the patient`s mouth with the nurse eating a cookie.

Military guy Nick Chinlund played Donnie Pfaster on The X-Files - and he`s scarier than any demon on Buffy.

For someone upset about her mom - Buffy puts on a lot of makeup.

The girl in the kitchen with the knife in the dark with the monster - very `b`horror movie.

Oh, look. More hairy-headed brain surgery.

The Question Mark said...

"Fool for Love" is one of those great episodes that I think really stands out in a series (as well as it's sister episode, "Darla"). To me, it was kind of like the "Ab Aeterno" of Buffy; finally explaining the back-story of one of the most well-liked (albeit mysterious) characters on the show. It was very exciting to say the least. And that ending was brilliant.

Now, I know I'm gonna get a LOT of flak for this, but...I just can't help it:
That scene in "Listening to Fear" when Buffy is washing dishes was supposed to be gut-wrenching...but I just couldn't stop LAUGHING at that MUSIC! I guess Sunnydale has a station called "FIESTA 103: all obnoxious rumba music, all the time!" Even though I felt horrible for Buffy & Joyce, I was in stitches. I could listen to that music on a loop for hours and STILL find it funny :P

JS said...

Efulgent! Yes!!

Fool for Love is definitely one of my favorites, I fell in love with Spike. Thank you Cynthia for your analysis of the body language, Spike uses his body quite well. I would have been happy to read your full analysis, there is so much to say on that episode alone. I loved every minute. Spike stole Buffy's underwear!

Of course everything works up to spikes final fight, and the way the edited it so 1977 Spike is speaking to Buffy was brilliant as well.

And yes, Christine Sutherland really is amazing in these episodes, and this whole season.

Page48 said...

S5 continues to sizzle with another great 3-pack.

Spike and Buffy on the back step, the silence, the tears, the shotgun (hey, it's complicated). This just keeps getting better.

Calling Elvis? Willow pays tribute to the King in shirt form.

Dreg Flinkman's babbling reminds me of Xander's babbling.

Dawn has never met Angel, but she's equipped with memories of he and Buffy's tortured relationship. Those wacky monks did their homework.

Glory is such a handful. I love that girl.

I loved Joyce's moment of clarity with Buffy. She understands that Dawn is important to the world, but she doesn't ask Buffy for any sort of explanation. She just wants Buffy to promise to look after Dawn, the details are secondary.

Xander calls Riley "Captain America". Whedon is bringing Captain America to the big screen in 2012.

@Colleen/redeem147, maybe Indy stayed clear of Sunnydale because of the snake problem, OR maybe it's because of the brutal playlist offered by the local radio station (Buffy, in the kitchen, with dishes).

lyssiria said...

"Fool For Love" and "Darla" are probably two of the best executed... no scratch that... ARE (no probably about it) the BEST crossover episodes of television I have ever seen. And what's also great about them is that you don't absolutely have to see both of them together to completely grasp the storylines of the shows. When I first saw Season 5 of Buffy I was in college and it was in syndication, so they didn't play it right before Angel. And I had never really wanted to even SEE Angel... I guess I was mad at him for leaving Sunnydale. Now I wish I had been able to see these episodes as they were originally intended, first-run. Because how cool would it be to see Spike kill the Chinese Slayer (do we ever learn that poor girl's name?) and then to understand within the next hour why Angelus looked so constipated about it?! I love backstory. It makes the viewer that much more invested in the story story.

Oh poor Spike. He IS the writers' butt monkey.

These are the episodes where I really begin to dislike a certain Riley Finn who will remain unnamed. What is his deal? Doesn't he know that grief makes you do the wacky? And yes, I know Joyce hasn't died, but there are all different kinds of grief. Buffy and Riley are both feeling powerless to affect change on the situation, albeit for different reasons, and neither of them is about to admit that they need the other as much as they do. So what happens? Buffy ends up getting comfort from Spike! Spike! And Riley continues to be forgotten. B's not being a stellar girlfriend this week, is she?

Nikki asks in her book if William isn't inherently a better man (not vampire, just man) than Liam (name coincidence?) because Spike is kind without having to be and Angel is forced to be kind due to his soul-having. I have always thought of Spike/William as a better person than Angel/Liam for a couple reasons. One of them is the fact that we see that William was so sensitive and such a genuinely good person before he was turned, and Liam was, well, the 18th century equivalent of a drunken fratboy. Spike only became what he was after having to 'live' with Angelus for the better part of his formative vampire years. I have more unformed thoughts on this that can wait until we learn more about these two. :D

@Marebabe - I would also have committed many various forms of homicide for Dawn's hair in high school.

WV - nocia (no-see-ya): the name of the spell Tara cast on the Scoobies so they wouldn't see her non-existent demony bits.

Christina B said...

'Fool For Love'--I loved this episode even more the second time around.

THIS was when I fell in love with Spike.
James Marsters was just brilliant in this episode.
The subway scene when punk Spike is talking to Buffy...and the end, when Spike just sits quietly with her, just knowing that's what she needs...
Ah, I heart you, Spike.

'Darla'-- Great episode! I always enjoy going back to learn about the characters and I really enjoyed how 'Darla' mirrored 'Fool For Love'.
I actually gasped out loud when i saw the Master! ;)

'Shadow'-Just so sad. More so the second time around.

'The Trial'--Every hair on my body stood on end and I broke out into goosebumps when Dru walked in!!
What an ending! I'm going to have a hard time waiting for next week to see what happens!
After all the Angel went through to save her, Darla BETTER NOT go back to who she was!
(Yeah, I'm pretty sure she will) ;)

All in all, after struggling through the first season of Angel, the second is really paying off. I'm so glad you all told me to stick with it! :)

(vw: mersho--a vaudeville act that merfolk hold each year under the sea)

Christina B said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that I love Cordy's new hairdo!
She's all growed up now. ;)

Efthymia said...

"Fool For Love":
I LOVE this episode and I LOVE James Marsters!♥
This episode perfectly showcases the contrast between the awesomeness that is Spike and Riley, The Great Idiot.
Poor Spike, he's such a softie...
[Oh, dear, the Irish accent again...]

Riley is pathetic! He feels bad that Buffy is happy and not distressed with him?! A-hole!

"Listening To Fear":
I do find the scene where Buffy is washing the dishes heartbreaking, and for me the silly music makes it even more so; not only is Buffy terribly upset, but she's also trying to ide it and be strong in order to not upset the others.
The Queller is the yuckiest monster we've seen so far (and we'll ever see, if I remember well).

On Riley: Yes, the character has become more interesting for poor Marc Blucas to play, but I most definitely DON'T like him better this season. In Season 4 he was just boring, but you could get that he was more or less a nice guy (he already showed some of his sexist views, though, so he wasn't all that great then, either); now, he's annoyed by Buffy devoting more time to her sick mother and by finding out that he doesn't cause her the emotional turmoil that Angel did, and he uses (and kills) a vampire who showed no intention to harm but was more interested in an interaction of mutual consent. He's horrible!

Missy said...

Oh Rhonda...you got me...tears welled.

Some say Willow is the heart&Soul of BtvS(and while I agree for the most part,she's my fav character so my feelings always filter through hers)
Joyce's storyline puts in perspective what heart&soul truely mean to Buffy and BtvS as a narrative.

'Fool For Love'

William William William such a sweet boy(or Man.Lol has anyone got a lock on his age yet?I've
discussed it with various people over the yrs and noone has a solid guess)
It's noteworthy that Darla,Cecily and Buffy give Angel & Spike the same heartbreaking qoutes.
"Close Your Eyes" & "Your Beneath Me" might be the two singular phrases that show people never change...that time and space is nothing when it comes to Love&Disgust.

We see Spike(AKA William) acquire his accent,scar and leather duster
...& it's such a glorious story.One I adore.
(Also 'Darla' is brilliant and makes this crossover epic)

The Lean in actually did catch me off guard all those yrs ago
..these days I breath deep just befor soo I don't unleash a rant upon BUFFY,Who is selfish...this is why I liked Riley during the original run,I thought she was short changing him at every turn.
But as we'll see next week Riley can be just as selfish
...and that is when my dislike started.I really don't hate him.

The final scene is beyond description even though I know our BtVS Academics enjoy deciphering such scenes.The moment that gets me is when James reaches his hand out halfway,catches the almost shocking nature of the move but continues and as stated pats our Buffy's shoulder in that awkward manner.

Missy said...


Goodness,I hate the stillness of the opening scene. Kristine is such an elegant actress,She infuses every scene in Shadow with a strenght and sadness that is powerful.I'll have more things to say about Joyce & Kristine soon enough...so to abstain from spoiling anyone I'll get to the plot of this ep which is Glory(thanks for spilling the beans Dreg)transmografying(??) a teeny snake into a BIG Snake(Not a Giant Mayor Snake.Lol)to sniff the Key out..and the Key just happens to be Buffy's little sister Dawn..obviously this won't go well
,but just how do our scoobies narrowly escape finding out Dawn's true nature or Her being killed by Glory.Buffy strangled the Snake...to death...wait it was faking it.Lol Snapping it's neck worked much better.
I do enjoy this ep..Glory in all her magnificant Glory.
And that sad Dawnie 10th Birthday party Carousel story.

'Listening To Fear'
My least fav S5 ep...The ep baddie is not a fluffy Space lamb as Anya suggests but a Cockroach?(a cockamouse would have been better)
Really!! had they just run out of Monster Ideas?
Cause it looked as though someone may have been on
hallucinogens when they suggested that fugly looking little Queller Demon.
The only two scenes that make an impression on me are Jewish Santa
...Alyson is just brilliant & When Buffy breaks down washing the dishes.

Mr.Wiseman gets around he's also in the Roswell pilot ;)
But yea I remember him best from Alias..laughed when I realizied quite afew yrs ago that it was the same guy.

Missy said...

3 of my absolute fav Ats eps

The Trial,Reunion and Redefinition.

This is when I fell in love with Darla & Julie Benz.

I'm not sure how to play your little Verification game but I love this one : My word Guari,the wife of Shiva(Meaning Purity&Austerity)Me thinks this would have made a Great other name for Dawnie. ;)

JS said...

I found my notes!!

Buffy 5.7 - fool for love. So much to love, so much. I’ve already commented, and appreciate everyone else’s on how great this is and why we have at this point, fallen in love with Spike. The vamp with a heart of (dried up) gold.

Buffy 5.8 - shadow. I wasn't listening but I am also sure you aren't (right). I do feel for Riley. He wants to be close to the center (Buffy) but the center doesn't need him. She wants to have a normal boyfriend, but she isn't normal, she is called, so she needs someone who understands her, and he doesn't, on a fundamental level. He just isn't special enough. She just doesn't consider him when thinking about what she wants or needs.

I love you Anya, you have grown.

Minion - Most tingly and wonderful glorificus, shiny special one, rip out my inadequate tongue. your elaborate marvelousness, your terrifically smooth one. your creamy coolness. your extremeness, most silky and effervesant.

Spike - It's a predator thing, nothin’ wrong with it. while he grabs a panty

Spike - face it white bread. [she likes guys who are] occasionally bumpy in the forehead region.

Buffy doesn't know what they are dealing with with Joyce, and the scooby's do not know what they are dealing with with Glory. Everyone is feeling lost and powerless.

Why doesn't Buffy have a cell phone?

Sobek looks funny traveling - the CGI is pretty bad. But at least she gets to punch out a snake.

Also, loving Angel at this point. I am almost at the end of Season 5, so I can't wait to go back and rewatch it.

Linda345 said...

Marebabe, the '70s were my best hair years. My worst came right before, when I had to force my straight, fine hair into a droopy bubble by way of sleeping on rollers and emptying cans of Aqua-Net on my head.

There is a minor theme throughout these episodes that can be phrased, "You're beneath me." I really felt Spike's pain more when Buffy said these words than when Cecily did--odd when it would seem he could have expected them from Buffy, who has told him to get lost time and again. But Marsters' tears, followed by that look, that face set in desire for revenge on Buffy for causing such pain--I've been there (haven't we all?).

But "You're beneath me" doesn't need to stated in so many words. Isn't that the message the injured Buffy gave Riley when he offered to take her patrol, and she demanded he take her friends with him? Turns out, he did just fine alone, thank you very much, B.

Xander's attitude toward Anya makes me wonder if she'll ever use her powers to make him shut up. "Now Anya" (he whines), "Didn't we talk about being nice to your boss, blah blah blah." Aaaack. Can it, Xander!

Funny how Spike got his name. William the Bloody, for his "bloody awful poetry. Makes me want to put a SPIKE through my head."

Spike is the best vampire EVER. And his Victorian romanticism, his ambivalence, the writing, the acting, all add up to making Spike one of the truly great TV characters.

vs: surbor. Take your boogie board to where the boats come in, and see if you can catch a wave.

Suzanne said...

I can't express enough here or anywhere how much I love the character of Spike! All of the comments that I wanted to make have already been conveyed in other comments, but I will just add the wholeheartedly agree with all of the Spike love.

As for Riley, I really feel for him this time around. He just isn't Buffy's man, and it is so clear. My heart breaks for him though during his process of gradually realizing this. It is so evident that when he is around Buffy and her friends in Season 5, he is not at home in his own skin. However, as soon as his Initiative friends join him at the "alien" site, he quickly snaps back into his comfort zone. He is a soldier and nothing can change that, which is probably why we saw him appearing that way in Buffy's dream in "Restless."

I find Riley's character, especially in Season 5, to having more layers than some fans credit him with having. He does allow the macho way his upbringing and experience in the military has socialized him to sometimes come off as being "sexist." However, the fact that he loves Buffy as much as he does and tries so hard to fit in her world shows that he is not a stereotypical chauvinist. Instead, I see him as I do many of the Buffy characters as a person with a lot more inside than meets the eye. However, ultimately, he cannot feel comfortable outside of his zone as Buffy can't outside of hers. Luckily for me, Spike is in her zone.

Thank you, Rhonda, for the wonderful analysis of the nonverbal aspects to this week's episodes. I enjoyed reading your post so much that it has inspired me to go back and watch a few of the scenes you mentioned one more time to see what I might have missed.

Tom D. said...

William's "Ow! Ow! Ow!" while being bitten by Drusilla is one of the funniest moments in the whole show, for me. I guess partly because it's so unexpected. I think it might be the only time we ever hear someone sayimg something while being bitten by a vampire. The other big vampire-biting moments have been wordless (on the victim's part) and dramatic and serious -- the Master biting Buffy, Angel biting Buffy, Dracula biting Buffy, Darla siring Angel, Angelus biting that hooker in Innocence, Vampires Willow and Xander killing Cordelia in The Wish ... am I forgetting any? William's more undignified response to the vampire's bite makes me think, yeah, that's probably more like how most people would actually react.

William looks so untroubled when Dru shows him her vampire face before biting him. Does he know she's a vampire, and know what that means, already? Or is Dru hypnotizing him, like she did to Giles and Kendra in season 2? I think the latter.

JavaChick said...

I always liked Riley and I never thought he was boring. He's just a nice guy who maybe winds up being a little bit lost. And I don't think his problem is that Buffy is not paying enough attention to him; it's more that she is shutting him out completely and not letting him help in any way, not even by offering a shoulder to cry. Granted, letting a vampire suck your blood is not a good way to deal, but if you start feeling like your girlfriend wouldn't even notice if you dropped off the face of the planet I can see being a little hurt.

@Colleen re: the "hairy-headed brain surgery" - my brother had a brain tumor removed 3 weeks ago and all they did was shave a narrow strip along his temple. Who knew?

Colleen/redeem147 said...

How's your brother, Javachick?

I guess it depends where the growth is as to how much hair is removed?

Page48 said...

Just caught Ben on this week's "Burn Notice". Later this season, it's Cordelia's turn to hang out with Michael and Fiona.

JavaChick said...

@Colleen My brother is doing great, thanks for asking. :)

I was surprised at how fast the recovery has been - surprised and relieved.

I guess it would depend on what needs to be done. My brother's tumor was at the front of his head and they went in through the jaw instead of having to go through the skull. Sent in a camera so they could see what they were doing. He did have quite a large - and visible - incision down the side of his head, but he still has his full head of hair.

The Rush Blog said...

What do people have against Riley Finn? I never understood the antipathy toward him. Mind you, I thought he would have made a better friend for Buffy, instead of a love interest. But I never disliked him. Nor did I ever regard him as some kind of symbol of sexism either.

Don't get me wrong. I love Spike. But I also like Riley very much.