Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Buffy Rewatch: Week 38

6.04 Flooded
6.05 Life Serial
6.06 All the Way

Follow along in Bite Me!, pp. 281-286.

This week’s Angel episodes are:

3.04 Carpe Noctem
3.05 Fredless
3.06 Billy

Follow along in Once Bitten, pp. 202-209.

I’m writing this in 10-minute spurts over several days leading up to rewatch night as I recover from heart surgery (don’t tell my cardiologist you saw this), so forgive me if it’s all out of order and rambling. (I’ve already had to cut and paste a bunch of things to move them around when I realized I wasn’t making any sense…)

I’ll say this off the top of season 6: where I said outright that season 4 was my least favourite, but contains some of my favourite episodes, and season 5 is my second favourite season after season 2, but it’s not so much for individual episodes as the way they all come together to tell one long story, I like the arc of season 6 a lot, but it contains a lot of hokey episodes. The season goes up and down and has problems finding its place, but it’s always held a strong place in my heart, because I LOVE the end of this season, and the ways it shows the harshness of growing up. The season 6 finale is my favourite of the series (after season 2, of course). ;)

The one thing I do like about the placement of these episodes is how light they are – while on the one hand the comedy seems out of place, on the other, considering how unbelievably dark the first trio of episodes of season 6 are, it’s a welcome change. But I will add to this that the reason Flooded has always bothered me is because of the way everyone looks at Buffy like she has to solve the issue. Um, hi, Willow? You and Tara have taken up quarters in the largest room in the house, and you’ve been living off Joyce’s insurance money, and you haven’t gotten a job? Did you bring Buffy back because you loved her or because you needed a worker bee in the house to pay your bills? Sell the house, get an apartment. Cripes.

But besides that irritation, I really enjoyed Flooded, and I thought Sarah was great in it. And Willow redeems herself when she lamely attempts to piss off Buffy. Hilarious.

In the not-so-hilarious but wonderful category is Giles returning. I melt whenever I see the look of fatherly love on his face, but also the way she closes her eyes and falls into his arms, as if she knows that FINALLY someone is there who might be able to help her, rather than relying on her to solve the situation. And then the flip side of that scene is the one where he confronts Willow. For me, that’s always been one of the most painful episodes of the entire series to watch. Willow has always occupied a soft spot in Giles’s heart, right from the beginning. When Buffy was young and impetuous, Willow was the one who listened to him and helped, who had a connection to Jenny Calendar like Giles did. And now he faces her and calls her stupid and a “rank, arrogant, amateur.” And if that isn’t difficult enough to watch, she threatens him menacingly at the end of the scene. Beautifully acted by both of them, but that scene drives a stake through my heart every time.

Flooded and Life Serial introduce the evil trio of nerds: Jonathan, Warren, and Andrew. When these episodes first aired, the Evil Trio, who became known as the Troika within the fandom (and I believe Joss nods to that later in the season when one of them refers to themselves that way) were reviled among fans. Not all fans: there were many out here in the fandom who actually thought they were very funny, and posed a serious threat to our Slayerettes. And I was one of them. I thought they were hilarious, and frankly, as much as I love The Big Bang Theory, I’ve often thought that show stole a lot from these guys and their antics in season 6 (yes, in case you thought they were a one-off… they are not). But other fans thought they were too goofy, not menacing enough, and detracted from the darkness of the season. Perhaps it’s because their true menace won’t be apparent until later. Or because they were all regular joes who appeared on the series before. Or perhaps because Jonathan was so sweet (he gave Buffy the UMBRELLA!!!) and now he’s turned on her after she saved his life. OK, I’ll give you that one… that always bugged me a bit.

But without spoiling, I will say this: these guys will be a menace throughout the season, but they are not the season’s ultimate Big Bad. You’ll have to wait a bit longer to see that one. And when you do… it’s a doozy.

Life Serial is a tad disjointed, but it has some great moments: Buffy drinking alcohol is laugh-oud-loud hilarious to me, and Jonathan’s Magic Bone makes me giggle every time. And kitten poker!! And Clem!! And the James Bond smackdown. And that snarky mummy hand.

Oh, and this scene:
BUFFY: I don't really know how to say this, but it's a little like having Mom back.

GILES: In this scenario, I am your mother?

BUFFY: Wanna be my shiftless absentee father?
GILES: Is there some sort of, um, rakish uncle?

Oh, Giles. ♥♥♥♥

And that brings us to All the Way. Featuring Amber Tamblyn before she was Joan of Arcadia or on House or in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, this is my least favourite of the three Halloween episodes. But it’s important for opening up two storylines: Xander and Anya’s engagement being rife with anxiety, and Willow playing with magic against Tara’s wishes.

This week I’d like you to welcome Graham F. Scott to the Rewatch! I didn’t actually know Graham prior to the Rewatch, but he came to me with interest in participating, and I was thrilled to have him be a part of it. Graham is a writer, editor, and designer based in Toronto. He edits This Magazine, Canada's premier magazine of progressive politics, opinion, and culture. This is his first venture into amateur Buffyology. His website is here and he tweets @gfscott. Take it away, Graham!

The secret of comedy: timing

Graham F. Scott

When asked by a colleague what politicians fear most, British prime minister Harold MacMillan is recorded (apocryphally) to have said: “Events, dear boy, events.” Meaning that any plan, no matter how careful, can be sideswiped by sudden, unpredictable occurrences. Based on the start of Buffy season six, I would say the same applies to TV production.

Both Nikki and Elizabeth wrote last week about the ways that 9/11 loomed over the premiere of the sixth season of Buffy. I’m a latecomer to the Buffy party: I watched my first episode in 2009 and burned through the whole series in about six months. So I can only imagine in retrospect how eerie it must have been to tune into Buffy the Vampire Slayer in early October, 2001, and see so many echoes of September 11, some implicit (a darker, more graphic, more apocalyptic tone), and some unintentionally overt (um, a big collapsing tower).

What I mean by bringing up MacMillan’s old trope about “Events” is that TV producers, like politicians, are often at the mercy of larger social and cultural shifts, and even a show about a wisecracking vampire hunter and her plucky sidekicks isn’t immune.

Season six would have been outlined sometime the previous spring; scripts written soon after; and I understand shooting started in June or July, months in advance of the attacks on New York and Washington. There was no way for Joss and Co. to predict that the darker tone they were establishing for the new season would resonate so chillingly with current events. Sometimes you just catch the zeitgeist, no matter how much you might prefer not to. (An interesting side note: Fox’s high-concept terrorism fantasia 24 also began shooting during summer 2001, and began airing in early November. There is probably no show that better encapsulated the post-9/11 cultural moment, but just like Buffy season six, it was pure coincidence.)

Season six is notable for being somewhat uneven in tone and quality, veering haphazardly from grim pathos to cheerful absurdity and back again. I think the first six episodes, last week’s and this week’s, starkly illustrates the trend.

In the first three episodes we got a comprehensive array of horrors: Buffy as decomposing corpse; Buffy having to claw her way out of her own grave; biker demons tearing the Buffybot’s limbs off with motorcycles; the same biker demons threatening the female Scoobies with rape and genital mutilation; a possessed Anya slashing her own face with a knife; the revelation that Buffy has been ripped from eternal bliss and now regards her old life as, literally, hell on earth; plus a little snake-vomiting for good measure.

But take a look at this week’s episodes: three light, comic confections, goofy diversions as things settle back into some sort of routine. In “Flooded,” Buffy meets her match in the form of utility bills and property taxes, while newly introduced self-styled supervillain doofuses “The Trio” summon a demon to rob banks for them (with wacky results). In “Life Serial,” Buffy tries to get a job but is foiled by the Trio’s meddling (more wackiness). And in “All the way,” Dawn inadvertently goes on a date with a vampire on Halloween (terminal wackiness achieved).

Outside, the real world of autumn 2001 had morphed into bad fiction — a sinister mastermind in an actual mountain lair plotting global chaos — while on TV, we have three nerds in a basement playing mean pranks on an unemployed single parent with money problems. This is the flipside of catching the zeitgeist: really, really not catching it.

Don’t get me wrong: “Flooded” and “Life Serial” are enormously entertaining episodes, showcasing Sarah Michelle Gellar’s underappreciated gifts as a comic actress and the kind of snappy banter and winking fan-service that makes Buffy so great. (“All the way,” however, must be the worst Halloween episode Buffy ever did, from the fakeout creepy-old-man premise to the lame vampire-makeout twist. I don’t know what else to say about it.)

But the tonal shift from the dark and violent first three episodes of the season to the comparatively frothy fun of the next three is, I would say, a tad jarring in itself; the effect is heightened in a cultural context that’s abruptly turned threatening and paranoid. And that’s always going to be a risk with a cultural product that takes six months to make it from idea to broadcast. In this case, it meant true villainy flooded the news, while Buffy introduced the goofiest, least intimidating villains the Scoobies have ever faced.

The goofiest, least intimidating villains for now, anyway. I don’t think it’s a spoiler at this point to say that things are going to take a turn for the worse; this is a Joss Whedon show, after all. Among all the fun and games — such as “Mr. Drippy,” “evil lint,” drunk Buffy, kitten poker, mummy-hand hijinks, Death Star-airbrushed van (“That’s a flawed design!”), and “Stop touching my magic bone!” among many other lulzworthy moments — the introduction of The Trio is important in one key respect, which is that this enemy is not supernatural.

Sure, The Trio use demons and magic and far-out technology as means to an end, but they themselves are three ordinary human beings with a taste for power and Star Wars trivia and not much else. That’s a subtle but significant difference from the vampires and demons and gods and rogue slayers that have played the role of Big Bad so far. It implies that the threat is closer to home, something terrestrial and banal and icky and human. Without a supernatural big bad, it’s no longer a clash of good and evil; it’s just a bunch of people trying to murder each other.

In other words, perhaps it caught the zeitgeist after all.

Thank you, Graham!

Next week: Everything comes to a head with the fantabulous Buffy musical we’ve all been waiting for!!!! And trust me, both the episode and the Rewatch itself is worth the wait. (Next week’s Angel episode will be 3.7 Offspring.) See you next week!


Marebabe said...

It’s inevitable, in TV and movies, that if leaky plumbing is shown, there will soon be water spraying from SOMEwhere. But nobody ever expects a car wash in their basement! Score 1 for the writers of “Flooded”. They totally got me.

Giles’ arrival and the Buffy-hug was perfect in every way. I felt like thanking the writers and EVERYBODY for giving us such a beautiful scene. And I’ve spotted a trend, here. Have you ever noticed how often the most heartfelt, sweet and emotional scenes include Mr. Giles? It’s like he’s their go-to person when a moment calls for warm fuzzies.

I never expected to see anything like the vengeful (and hilarious) Triumvirate of Evil, the Crime Lords of Sunnydale! With a mission statement! And a To-Do list! (“Take over Sunnydale” reminded me of the Mayor’s “Become invincible”.) The moral of the story seems to be that you’d better not be mean to evil geniuses! You reap what you sow, and oppressed geeks can really turn on you.

By the time we got to the end of “Life Serial”, I was willing to bet that some fans didn’t like it much. It wouldn’t have seemed out of place for that no-nonsense officer from “Monty Python” to interrupt the proceedings with a stern “Stop that! This is becoming SILLY!” That said, I enjoyed this episode very much. The “Groundhog Day” repetition was great fun, IMHO. Also, Buffy’s “blech!” reaction to the whiskey. (Same as mine.) Also, gambling for kittens. Inspired lunacy!

Favorite line. Inebriated Buffy, to Spike, in the game room full of demons: “Which one do I kill for information?”

Halloween Buffy episodes are among my favorites. In “All the Way”, they started us right off with the fun and busy scene in The Magic Box. And the sweet, adorable toddler-witch = toxic cuteness! Seriously, anything that cute should come with a warning label.

I’m not usually one to dispense unsolicited advice, but I’ll make an exception in Xander’s case. He’s so twitchy and nervous, he needs to find a way to settle down and just be happy with Anya. Come to think of it, Willow also apparently needs a multitude of counselors, since she seems to be disregarding the wise counsel of her friends. I agree with Tara, Willow should reign in the casual magic. She is seriously overdoing it.

My heart really went out to Dawn in this episode. She’s not the first 15-year-old to boldly rush into a situation she’s not ready for, only to quickly find herself way out of her depth. (Show of hands? Yeah, my hand is up.) Was that the first time Dawn ever dusted a vamp? Good for her, for stepping up to the challenge and doing what was necessary. It’s just too bad that she was attracted to him. For a lot of people, an experience like that would cause a sudden gust of maturity. Will Dawn now grow up some and be less annoying?

Regarding Angel this week, “Billy” was amazing. WESLEY was amazing (and chilling). I see what all you Angel fans have been talking about with Season 3!

Marebabe said...

What's this I hear about heart surgery?! Be well, and get waited on hand and foot!

Dusk said...

Speedy recovery to you Nikki!

My short thoughts:
I also find the money issue odd, but I understand Willow & Tara didn't want t cause even more upheaval in Dawn's life and they have the obligation of containing the Hellmouth, so their options to move would be limited.

Ok, I understand how/why they think Dawn scewed up, but why is her sister so surprised? Buffy did the same thing with Angel even let him in the house, and unlike her, Dawn actually dusted her vamp, unlike her sister. And yes, it wss her first vamp kill.

Also I love Fredless, for Fred. And I also love the mocking of Bangel, it's almost perfect, if only they added on the music to Graduation Day Part 2.

Also, Billy shows how far Cordy and Wes have come since Sunnydale.

If any newcomers were surprised by the Warren hate commments in Fool For Love, this is the year most of them come in.

Dusk said...

Warren hate in I Was Made To Love You, I mean. Always mix the titles up.

Page48 said...

I, too, ripped through Buffy in about 6 months back in 2009, so 9/11 never factored into my viewing experience.

Xander and Anya getting married, and all the angst that accompanies that = bored now. Get married, don't get married, get a room, whatever! Let's get back to the slayage.

I despised the Troika the first time around, Warren in particular. Knowing what I know now, I was able to kick back and enjoy the humourous side of these idiots instead of just wishing they would go away.

Spike: "C'mon, someones gotta stake me"

As kitten currency scatters: "the money is getting away"

Drunk Buffy to Spike: "Also, I think you're drunk". Ha!

Clem (a atar is born).

I liked watching Buffy think her way out of the "Groundhog Day" loop. I remember a short-lived series a few years ago called "Day Break" that was based on a similar loop. Canceled before it was resolved as I recall.

Giles's verbal assault on Willow surprised me. Struck me as a tad over the top considering what the Scoobies have been through over the years. It's not like Giles hasn't benefited from Willow's dirty tricks before. And surely, in the back of his mind, he must have had an inkling that this might happen. Is he angry that he didn't try to stop her. Is he feeling a little guilty about being thrilled to have Buffy back?

Vamps take Halloween off, which frees them up to watch "The Great Pumpkin". Oddly enough, on that most sacred of vampire holidays, we witnessed one of the better vampire free-for-alls in recent history.

KleptoDawniac staked her vamp and got to keep the jacket. That's how ya do it.

Nikki, best o' luck with the heart issue.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I`m having trouble getting beyond the heart surgery part! o_O

Okay, I love season six. I got addicted in season six. And those three nerds - if you go to as many SF cons as I do, they`d just be what guys are like. Well, some guys. And possibly sometimes me.

You know, Spiderman did want to charge at first. He tried to use his power to win money at a wrestling match and let the man who would kill his uncle get away because there was nothing financial in it for him. Just saying.

What`s a loan officer? Do Americans have bankers who just handle loans? I work in a bank, and the bank stuff on TV always bugs me (like the idiot in the vault who gets shot on Lost because he fights back.) Are there banks who still keep money in tills? Very unsafe. And why should they give money to this kid with no credit history? It`s not that she doesn`t have money, but she has no prospects of paying it back. Rant over. ;)

I`m not surprised that Willow overdoes the magic. She`s always had self-esteem issues and now she thinks she has a way to be in control. To be special.

Real staircases break you.

Buffy calls the demon a `mook`. She really did watch a lot of old movies with her mom.

Did Buffy and Angel`s meeting go badly because of his growing realization of his feelings for Cordy?

How was Buffy planning to pay for school? She can barely pay for groceries.

Every time I hear Warren talk it makes me want to hear Adam sing. His group Common Rotation is great.

Andrew has quite a large piece of the Deathstar there. How long was Warren under the van?

These guys can build robots and bend time. They could make a lot more money not trying to be evil geniuses.

They manipulate Buffy`s life like they were playing an RPG. Disconnect from reality.

Buffy DOES look like Gidget. So, who is Moondoggie? :)

Horror! Buffy smashes Giles`glasses.

Clem, come on - Spike has tight skin.

It`s very rare for James Marsters to break in a scene - but watch his face as the Danny demon runs away.

Danny Strong went from semi-naked nerd to Emmy nominated writer. That`s a success story.

I wonder if All The Way was made to try and make Dawn seem more grown up after writing her too young the previous season.

The Sunnydale jacket looks like a Smallville High jacket and vamp boy looks like Tom Welling. `Who are you- Superman?`

There are a lot of teen horror movie trops in ATW and Michelle T will be in Black Christmas.

I have to admit - my husband and I once went to a Halloween party as Luke and Leia.

Verification word `fordoto` or Ford Ò TO. Unlike Buffy, he claims not to like gravy.

Suzanne said...

Nikki, I hope you recover well and easily from your surgery. Iam having trouble thinking about the rewtch, too, since my only cocncern is for your health. Take care.

My only comment is that we love laughing at the ner dialogue in our house since we are huge Sci Fi fans. I find a lot to like in season 6. There were some great exchanges between Spike and Buffy, too. I like this early part of the season when they hang out as friends. It is fun seeing her interact with a "new" friend.

The Question Mark said...

Nikki, all the best and a very speedy recovery to you!!!

I have a question, fellow Buffy-fans: when Buffy died at the end of last season, due to the whole Slayer Rule, does that mean that there's another new Slayer who popped up and is now floating around someplace? Or does it not count because (technically) Faith is the "new" Slayer and she's still alive?

Oh, and Wesley at the end of "Billy"...chilling & heartbreaking.

Nurse Brian said...

Wishing you a speedy recovery! Hope the whole procedure went as smoothly as possible.

I won't say I was applauding Giles when he called Willow "arrogant", but it was a moment I needed to see in the show because I felt that no one on the show really showed disapproval of what Willow did.


Colleen/redeem147 said: "I`m not surprised that Willow overdoes the magic. She`s always had self-esteem issues and now she thinks she has a way to be in control. To be special."

Good point!

On a lighter (and slightly immature) note, I still laugh whenever I hear "magic bone".

Colleen/redeem147 said: "The Sunnydale jacket looks like a Smallville High jacket"

haha, it definitely does!

Booze-face Buffy (and that "bleeehh" sound she makes) totally made my evening.

"I like Timothy Dalton." :HIT HIT HIT:

In "Life Serial," The Trio references the only X-Files episode I can remember clearly ("Monday"). Must be my love of time travel fiction. ;)

Team Angel totally tries to turn a profit with helping the helpless, but I guess the Scoobies (save Anya) are all about the pro-bono, "let's buy/fix/build Buffy furniture" gig.

"Fredless" is full of Amy Acker goodness, so this week was a good one for me!

That last scene in "Billy" breaks my heart. Wesley's so ashamed of himself over what he did and what he said to Fred.

@Marebabe: Oh, if you're loving Angel S3 right now, strap yourself in for the next couple of weeks. It's gonna get nuts.

The Question Mark said: "when Buffy died at the end of last season, due to the whole Slayer Rule, does that mean that there's another new Slayer who popped up and is now floating around someplace?"

This thought popped into my head during the rewatch too. I did come to the same conclusion that since Faith is already "activated" she's the new Slayer by default.

Missy said...


I for one like this episode,not because of the actual flooding(which don't get me wrong is HI-larious,Dawn being FlashFlooded is a highlight)but because Giles is back and it would appear everything is going back to normal.
Except as we know Giles isn't to thrilled at the risks Willow took to bring back his beloved Slayer.
And a war of incrdibly spitful words ensues...I was momentarly scared of both Giles and Willow in that kitchen scene(when it originally aired of course,now I know whats coming and I'm more overcome with anxiety than anything)

MmmmmCookies(Fashnik) just might be the precuser to a demon in next weeks rewatch...their both ocean-y looking.

And yea I have issues with the gang throwing Buffy back into the fray sooo quickly and with something as trivial as bills.
They really should got jobs...moochers.

'Life Serial'

This is my fav of this weeks 3.
I love Buffy attempting to be a Retail Girl,A Construction Girl and a College Girl...it just serves to prove she's meant to be a Slayer.
CLEEEEEEEEEEM!!!!!And Kitten Poker..if you newbies take anything away from this awesome season it should be Clem & KittenPoker.
The Trioka are a real smack in the face ,huh?Sometimes I wish I could smack them in the face.

And Drunk Buff is too cute.
And Spike with this gem "You're not a schoolgirl. You're not a shop girl. You're a creature of the darkness, like me. Try on my world. See how good it feels."

Soooo enticing.

'All The Way'

Dawn&Janice are mischievious.Lol

And the engagement cat is out of the bag...lets see how this goes,high hopes newbies?
I do love the reveal and Buffy thinking for some ridiculous reason that Xander was talking about Dawn?!?Lol
And we finally learn WHY Giles constantly cleans his glasses.
And the dance of capitalist superiority..have I mentioned how much I just adore Emma/Anya?Lol

Missy said...

'Carpe Noctem'

Not a fav...but Lilah thinking she was getting groin-y with Angel and somewhat being disappointed when finding out it wasn't him..is some good insight into her character.
Being a huge Fred fan I was almost crying in the elevator with her..Amy acker is brilliant.
And I do love the extra whack to the head she gives Marcus.Lol

Now this is what I live for...it's almost perfect(if it weren't for the epic mislead about the Burkle's).
Fred likes Icecream and the Sewers..their homey to her.
But then her rent's showup and she wants to run..se doesn't want them to see how ruined she is...she doesn't want to acknowledge that BAD! things happened to her in pylea and that she might not be what her folk want anymore.
All of which just kills me ...because she's beautiful and her folk's still looooove her nothing could change how they feel about their little girl.
(even if they did rent out her room.Lol)
The toaster comes in handy..Fred is a whiz.
And I do enjoy Angel and Roger connecting and Gunn assuming the paper mache head is NOT real(did he forget what kind of world he lives in?Lol)
Plus everyone misses Fred even though they thought she was weird.
Gotta love Lorne helping Fred out even if her niavety included insulting his club.Lol
Row Row Row your Boat indeed.
The Speech Fred gives in the Bus Station is heartbreaking.

The most vile hour of Whedon television to ever air.
Billy is a DICK!
Wesley is legitimately scary...because most of what comes out is real repressed feelings.
Seeing Lilah scared is eye opening...considering she usually comes across sooo together.
(though I've never bought her tough act)
Gunn is actually smart in this ep what with telling Fred to run(I've always taken that as he knows how dark he is without the added boost,that if he ever got near her there would be hell to pay).

Cordy is stepping up to the plate(being that it is her fault Billy's free) ...she's still grown remarkably strong the last few eps.

Bring on next weeks episodes
3 of my fav from both seasons.YAY

Missy said...

Nikki,I HOPE you feel better soon and that the surgery was a success.

Christina B said...

Nikki, feel better soon! ♥

I liked this weeks Buffy episodes. I didn't LOVE them, but they were fun.

I love the Troika. I'm in the corner that finds them hilarious. C'mon, the Monty Python skit about the mummy hand? That was awesome!

Giles return was definitely a wonderful scene, but it's making me sad that Buffy is putting everything on his shoulders. :(

Over on Angel--

Carpe Noctum was just okay. It had some fun scenes, but too many of the little things bothered me.
How did the guy lure the other men into the Home if he couldn't leave?
Stuff like that.

Fredless was great. I LOVED Fred's parents! Finally we see some NORMAL parents! Although that made me suspicious of them at first. That's probably a bad thing, right? ;)

Billy broke my heart. I found it so very hard to watch.
I didn't like that side of Wesley AT ALL. It disturbed me more than it probably should have!
I guess I've grown to love him more than I realized.
The ending was just so, so sad. Poor Wesley. :(

I'm not sure yet how I feel about Wesley and Fred. I didn't see that coming at all.

But I KNOW how I feel about this chemistry I'm seeing between Cordy and Angel. I HATE it!

I'm REALLY looking forward to next week! OMWF is my very favourite Buffy episode!

Batcabbage said...

I have nothing to say about Buffy, but get better soon Nik! Both Bats' Cabbage and Kitty wish you well!!!

Efthymia said...

Nikki, heart surgery? When you talked about the hospital, I assumed you had an acute stomacheache or something. I hope it sounds more serious than it really is, and that you are just fine now. If such thing as good vibes exists, I'm sure you're getting the best vibes from us.

Giles! He was only gone for a couple of episodes and I had already missed him so.

Willow trying to piss Buffy off is so adorable! It's so nice to see that known and loved side of her character, although it makes her behaviour towards Giles (and, in the next episode, Tara) seem so much worse and painful.
It saddens me so to see this evolution of Willow. She became an instantly favourite character from the very beginning, and one I often associated or agreed with, and I hate that her gaining confidence had to equal her becoming mean. I think the word that best describes Willow at the moment is 'hubris'.

Once again I'm going to talk in Spike's favour, but I just hate how it is usually argued that Angel was Buffy's one true love or that Riley was the best guy for her! Angel fell for her when she was hardly 16 years old while he was 240 and had a soul for about a hundred of them; he was as emotionally immature as she was, and was all "I like you-I can't be with you-I'll take you to the prom-I won't take you to the prom-Oh! How I love you!-Oh! How I shouldn't love you". He was a problematic guy even when he wasn't evil. And even so, he was still better than Riley, who couldn't handle Buffy being stronger than him and desperately wanted her to be dependent on him, who didn't care who Buffy was but was more interested in what role she was supposed to perform as his girlfriend, and who tried to emotionally blackmail her ("either you beg me to stay or I'm leaving"). But Spike, he expressed his feelings clearly, he took care of her family, and he accepts her for who she is, and the guy HAS NO SOUL! I'm not saying Buffy should be with him, because he has been a creep (chaining her up so that she would tell him he has a chance, ordering the Buffybot) and a stalker, but he is certainly no worse than the other two guys, as he is often treated.

"So... You guys wanna team up and take over Sunnydale? -OK." - Personnaly, I love the trio!

Question: Willow can resurrect Buffy but she can't fix a coffee table or a lamp? Are we ever given an explanation as to why that is?

Efthymia said...

Ah, it's one of these days when I'm blabby...

"Life Serial":
You know, Social Constructivism is really tough! I don't like how they make it look like any old university course that it's just Buffy who has trouble with it because she's been away from college for too long (mostly because it makes me feel stupid for always struggling with it).
I'd LOVE to have been a poker playing demon in that scene! All those kittens!!! *___*

On the Trio: I love them and I find them hilarious, but I don't underestimate the threat they pose. It's one of the few cases where I find it hard to express myself as if I were a first-time watcher, so I will only say a couple of things; one, I was so disappointed to see Jonathan involved in this, because I liked and fell sorry for him all this time, and I believed that after the events of "Superstar" he had learned his lesson and he was genuinely sorry for what he did; two, I find it disconcerting that they are humans who see everything they do as a game. Also, I believe the trio serves to show that it's not just butch, macho guys who are sexists.

"All The Way":
That old man sure is creepy, regardless of him ultimately being a victim and not a villain.
I really enjoy the discussion in front of the car when Dawn and her vampfriend are caught. :)
"Still ruggedly handsome." -Oh, yes!

On Giles: Poor Giles! Although very worried, he is so happy to have Buffy back, and she treats him as a way out of her responsibilities. Apart from the initial hug, Buffy's interaction with him is mostly "OK, now YOU handle this". And Willow... From early on, they shared a special connection, and I think one of the reasons why his words to her are so harsh is that he worries so much about her because he cares so much about her. It's not only that she risked bringing back a 'faulty' Buffy and all the consequences such a thing would have, it's also that she put herself at risk. And then she talks to him like that! He came back only to have both his 'daughters' mistreat him. It breaks my heart...

karoliina said...

Be well, Nikki!

When I first watched s6, I thought the Trio was fun, but I was waiting for the real bad to appear - they seemed too light to be a serious threat. Then later on I thought this season is all about the bad things people do to each other and only later I read about Joss saying that in a way 'life' was this seasons Big Bad - I guess it's the same thing.
I've been thinking about it a lot (as I don't see many people agreeing with me), but I have to admit: s6 and s7 are my allfavourite Buffy-seasons. So what if it's dark and gloomy - that's life. And I like the hero-stuff.

Stacy said...

Heart surgery? I had to skip the rest of the post to see if I missed anything. Yikes. I'm mainly a lurker and a HUGE fan of your books, but just wanted to come out to say I hope you feel better soon!

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I didn't get the Wesley love from Billy. In fact, he's one of my least favourite characters, though Alexis makes him fascinating to watch. What I did get from this episode was my Fred/Gunn love, and it never left me.

Wes and Willow both have self esteem issues. Those crazy kids should get together. ;)

Marebabe said...

@Question Mark and Nurse Brian: You both asked about the rules of Slayer succession. Nikki laid it out very neatly a couple weeks ago. Go back to the Week 36 post, dated 9-6-11. In the comments, scroll down to find Nikki’s entry dated 9-9-11 at 2:51 p.m. It’s good. :)

Nikki Stafford said...

Oh my goodness, I said "heart surgery" so flippantly because I didn't want anyone to worry, and now I realize that sounded very serious! It was minor heart surgery, really. Honestly. Truly. I'm still being forced to lie down (which makes typing VERY difficult) and I'm terrible at taking it easy. I'm totally fine now, the procedure was last Wednesday and I was home by Thursday, and it's just been lying still that's the tough part.

But thanks to all of you for your concern; this is why I didn't mention it in the first place! I don't like worrying people. ;) I really am OK. xox

Stacy said...

I'm glad it was minor Nikki.
@marababe- I was TICKLED to find out Wes and Willow are married in real life. I just figured that out a couple of months ago...

Marebabe said...

@Stacy: Let me get this straight. Alexis Denisof and Alyson Hannigan are MARRIED?! I didn't know that, and I think it's wonderful. YAY for them! (I did see a short interview with Alyson awhile back, in which she talked about the joys of motherhood. But I had no idea who - if anyone - she was married to. Y'know. Kids today.) Thanks for sharing!

JavaChick said...

Nikki – glad to hear you are doing well after your surgery. As for the rewatch: I’m with you on:
- wondering about Willow & Tara helping out with expenses; they do live there after all
- enjoying the Trio; they bring a lot of humor to season 6. Though I was also thinking last night that there is just never a moment where Warren is a likeable guy; Jonathan and Andrew have their moments but Warren is pretty much always a jerk.

Life Serial is one of my favourite season 6 episodes because of the entertainment factor.

As a re-watcher – and I hope it’s okay to say this here – I find All The Way a bit painful to watch because you can see the downward spiral coming. Ouch.

@Efthymia – Though I liked Riley and didn’t see him as you describe, I have often thought that Spike was good for Buffy in a lot of ways.

Suzanne said...

@Efthymia, of course, I am in your corner when it comes to Spike – no surprise. Even though I definitely get the romantic notion of Buffy and Angel, and I even see the connection between them that seems to be the strongest she has with anyone (see the grave-side scene after Joyce’s death), I still think that Spike proves himself to be best for her on so many occasions. Given the horrible things he does, as you mentioned, which I am willing to excuse since he is afterall pure demon when he does these things (chip aside), he is still the person who consistently tries to be his best for Buffy and who sees her as she is, not as he thinks she is or should be. (Spike is so much more amazing than Angel when you think about all of the ways he develops himself as a demon without even having a soul.) I think that Angel and Riley are both guilty of reacting to their relationships with Buffy through the lens of how they view her rather than how she really is. Spike seems to get her just as he seems to get a lot of situations with his insights. I also love his friendship with her beginning in Season 5 and in the way it fully develops in this early part of Season 6, as I have mentioned before. Even though romance is very important in the initial stages of a relationship, the factor that will make it last long term is true friendship.

@Colleen/redeem147, I love Fred and Gunn together, too. I haven’t caught up with Angel this week yet, so reading your comment made me excited to watch it tonight, looking forward to some Fred/Gunn love.

Philippe De Thrace said...


About Dawn's first slayage in "All the way" : The more i watch BTVS (and when i say "more" i mean it), the more i see the structural anti-sexist point. BTVS is the opportunity to - visually - reverse the man domination. So when Dawn appears first passive and the guy being on the top until we realise She got the stake in him, the symbol is almost too strong !

Like coleen/redeem 147, Season six is my favorite. Some of you find the money issue (in Life serial, but it's not over) and the three nerds don't fit very well in BTVS, but as season 6 is to me precisely about those little real life things, who get to be really big finally. In s5, Buffy said something like "I can slay villains but mum was the strongest in real life". That is what s6 is about (i think), and the trio looks like the basic, not so frightening but so largely shared, masculine domination - or wish of traditionnal domination. Those guys are led by images of masculinity from pop culture, and in their mind, the only way not to be losers, is to be like those men. I think they're what Xander would have become if he never met buffy (assuming he wouldn't have died before from hyena curse or bad insect teachers or inca mummy or...)

Philippe De Thrace said...

I forgot to apologise for my blur english - this is not my mother language.

And by the way, does somebody has an explanation for the french obsession threwout BTVS ? It's to frequent to be innocent...

Marebabe said...

@Philippe: Could you give some examples of the French obsession? It may be because I'm still new to the world of Buffy AND that my memory is somewhat faulty, but right now I can't think of a single thing. Merci!

Blam said...

Nikki: as I recover from heart surgery

From the what now?!?! Geez, Nikki, I hope that you're resting up and that everything's copacetic. I'm not asking you to share anything you're not interested in sharing, so we'll leave it at that, but I felt all the blood drain from my face without a vampire in sight.

VW: botica — The study of 'droids and other 'tomatons.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

I adore it when Buffy goes to talk to Spike about her problems in the crypt. No one else understands, or seems to at this point. The look on Spike's face as he watches her talk is utterly beautiful. Oh how I adore thee, William.

My favorite scene in all Buffydome is the kitten poker scene. When I watched it for the first time last year, I could not stop laughing. At all. Seriously. The dialog kills me:

Buffy: "You play for kittens?"

Spike: "So, who'se gonna advance me a tiny tabby, get me started?"

Clem: "I had no idea that was there...I could have leaned on that days ago."

Buffy: "I'm not going to fight to defind your right to gamble for kittens, which by the way is stupid currency."

Green dude: "They're delicious."

What more could a viewer ask for??? Buffy and the whiskey is such greatness. Blech... I'm with ya Buff.

As for this week on Angel, I am ok with the budding relationship between Angel and Cordy. I mean, she's right. Who else are they ever going to find that understands what they go through on a daily basis?

When "Billy" came up in my queue, I put off watching it for a few days because I didn't want to relive seeing Wesley behave as such a scary, evil, murderous person. I got through it, but have always been shattered by his utter dispondence at the end of the episode. I am a huge Wesley fan and find this difficult to watch. Kudos to Alexis Denisof for making it so believeably scary, and then heartbreaking.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Sorry: dialogue

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Oh...off topic, but a couple of squee moments during the Hawaii Five-0 series premiere. Victor Hess was back (James Marsters doing an irish accent), Terry O'Quinn was on...hope he's there for a while. It was awesome seeing him be notLocke. But the big surprise was seeing Penny's boat, the Searcher. Soooo cooool.
I miss LOST. Tomorrow is September 22nd, y'all.

Dusk said...

Fun facts: Alyson and her daughter have the same birthday, and part of the reason she gota main role on HIMYM was because theyloved Willow over there.

Christina B said...

@Lisa(until further notice)--'budding RELATIONSHIP'?!
There's going to be a RELATIONSHIP now?! Bah!

Dusk said...

@Christina: While still respecting the spoiler rule, let me say they key word at this point is *budding* they aren't fawaning over each other. I want to say more, but I'm using my self-control.

Blam said...

Graham: Without a supernatural big bad, it’s no longer a clash of good and evil; it’s just a bunch of people trying to murder each other.
In other words, perhaps it caught the zeitgeist after all.

Hmm… You make an interesting observation about a sad reality.

Buffy 6.4 "Flooded"

Dawn: "If you don't let me look at the pictures, I'm gonna learn everything I know about demons on the street."

I have to ask — not for the first time, by a long shot — how / why Buffy's house isn't protected by mystical barriers against demons or even just anyone who'd do the occupants harm. Ditto the magic shop, and Angel's hotel. At the very least you'd expect alarms. There has to be a way; no matter how rare the charm or hard the spell (to keep us from wondering why every single relevant character's home wasn't demon-proofed), it'd still be more believable in the show's mythology than the facts that these places are left so unprotected and, by extension, that even more intruders don't bust in. If they could erect defenses against Glory they could certainly do something about your less-godlike menaces.

Dawn: "So what do we do?"
Buffy: "Easy. We burn the house to the ground and collect the insurance. Plus: Fire… Pretty…"

VW: miFYI — Info about the third note in the solfège scale.

Blam said...

Dawn: "You can't charge innocent people for saving their lives."
Anya: "Spider-Man does."
Dawn: "He does not."
Anya: "Does too!"
Dawn: "Does n— Xander?"
Xander: (pauses painfully) "Action is his reward."

… although as Colleen pointed out, Spidey does try to cash in on his powers before that act manifests the tragedy that will become integral to his realization that "with great power there must also come great responsibility." In fact, Peter Parker regularly sells photos to The Daily Bugle of Spider-Man that were taken by an automatic camera he set up prior to joining some crime-busting melee. Still and all, Xander quotes his 1967 theme song correctly, and Spidey never put his financial needs ahead of his superheroic obligations after that fateful origin story.

Willow: "Since you've been back you haven't exactly been big with the whole range-of-human-emotions thing."

Oh the Giles and Buffy reunion... I think that B/G 'shipping is kinda icky, since there's so clearly a parental feel to his mentoring of her, but the relationship that they do have is powerful.

Willow: "Ooh, I could do a locator spell!"
Me: "Do you need the clown makeup for that? I mean, really, the Halloween episode isn't for another couple of weeks yet."

The Giles and Willow scene in the kitchen, by contrast, was as heartwrenching as the reunion was heartwarming. Willow needed to hear Giles say that, for all the good it seems to have done, and moreover we the viewers needed to hear Willow hear Giles say it. It's a measure of how confident, if not overconfident, Willow's become that she talks back to him — menacingly, at that — because not that very long ago, the long-haired jump-suited Willow that stood revealed in "Restless" as the insecure self whom she was afraid everyone would discover she truly was would have been meek and contrite after Giles' tongue-lashing. "I know," I can hear her saying, on the verge of tears, as she bared her feelings about how hard it had been without Buffy, ending with a Whedonesque witticism like "If it's any consolation, every time I burp I taste snake."

VW: colifou — French bacteria strain that takes your sanity.

Dusk said...

On the money issue: Angel can charge some people because he has a business and people come to him, and if people don't pay it comes back on them, (eyeballs in back of the head family).

When Buffy saves people it's during the immediate danger, once she dusts, or snaps the baddie problem over, it's not like she can sue or has a 555 SLAY number.

Blam said...

Buffy 6.5 "Life Serial"

Patron: "I'm not leaving until I get a mummy hand."

I love the hand being all antsy, tapping and ready to pounce.

I also love the Star Wars theme horn on the van, the dry-erase board of the Trio's goals, and the different skill sets that each member brings to the table — although I remain (as a re-watcher, knowing how it plays out) terribly ambivalent about several aspects of the mini-supergroup of evil. One of those aspects is the general premise of the Trio, which is at once kinda brilliant and hard to take seriously, and another is Jonathan's involvement (given his past appearances and lessons seemingly learned); the aspects that specifically involve Andrew and Warren are too spoilery to mention now.

I also have big problems, in terms of this particular episode, with the localized nature of the inhibitor thing at the school and, slightly more rationalizable (?), of the time loop at The Magic Box.

Why didn't Tara notice that Buffy was standing there in the hallway for so long? Why did everyone in the courtyard just walk by her and even kick her when they were moving faster than she could see — so to them she'd just be lying there — and not the other way around? Why didn't it look to the Trio like she was staring down at the inhibitor in her palm in slow-motion?

How is time looping for only Buffy? Even if the spell localizes the time loop you wouldn't think that the woman would keep coming back into the shop. I understand that it's magic, so therefore logical ground rules don't automatically apply, but given that the Trio could observe what was going on from the van the spell must've localized the loop to the vicinity of the shop and therefore those in the shop would've eventually noticed that some time had slipped away while they were (unknowingly) repeating their actions.

Buffy: "The only person I can stand to be around is a neutered vampire who cheats at kitten poker."

And on another note I think we're a little late in the game for the gang, and Giles especially, to dismiss what Buffy has experienced, even given what she's been through lately.

The Trio bought Acme cartoon binoculars?

Buffy: "Uh… Is this all research or just some kind of stress test for the table?"

Blam said...

Buffy 6.6 "All the Way"

Anya: "How about you? Ever play 'Shiver Me Timbers'?"
Tara: "I'm not really much for the timber."

OMG! Amber Tamblyn is so young!

Buffy: "So much easier to talk to when he wanted to kill me…"

Isn't that the way it always goes with girls and boys? Once they realize that the fighting is flirting it stirs up all kinds of weird feelings.

Giles: "Brooms all around, then."
Willow: "Or I could whip up a jaunty self-cleaning incantation. It'll be like Fantasia."
Giles: "And we all know how splendidly that turned out for Mickey."

You do kind-of wonder why Willow couldn't do more to fix up the Summers house if she can manifest those party decorations. Then again, I suppose her comment out how "biodegradable" they are leads to the common explanation that the magical effects and/or creations are temporary and therefore no permanent solution.

[Xander and Anya smooch hard.]
"Did you know about this?"
Giles: "No. Unless I blocked it from my memory — much as I will Xander's vigorous use of his tongue." (removes glasses; wipes them on his cuff)
Buffy: (pauses; bugs eyes; has epiphany) "Is that why you're always cleaning your glasses — so you don't have to see what we're doing?"
Giles: "Tell no-one."

VW: oxorber — Collector of bovine eyeballs.

Blam said...

Angel 3.4 "Carpe Noctem"

Fred: "And even though he didn't talk a lot it was still okay — i-it was comfortable; it wasn't that awkward kind of quiet. (giggles) You know that awkward kind of quiet?"
Wesley: "…"
Fred: "…"
Wesley: "… No, that's never happened to me."

So on a show like Angel, when a buff sex machine says "It's good to be young," is that not, like, a neon billboard flashing in front of the viewer that reads "Dude has cast a spell to get this way"?

Marcus as Angel: "Romance with Fred? So I'm a… (looks at what he's wearing) Obviously."

I get that Marcus — or whoever might be in Marcus's body — has talked about being "a 24-year-old stud" and that this version of Los Angeles is infested with strange goings-on, but retirement communities don't as a matter of course have isolation wards or restraints, nor do the residents lack their own phones.

David Boreanaz is a very handsome man, but, jeez, when he's playing somebody else taking over Angel's body (and playing it for all it's worth) it's like he really comes into his looks. I guess that's a testament to him normally making Angel a bit reticent and less confident when it comes to being social.

Marcus's body having a heart attack with Angel's consciousness inside it = irony.

VW: ovelypno — The effect of being mesmerized by a squalid Cockney dwelling.

Blam said...

Angel 3.5 "Fredless"

Angel: "So how you doin'?"
Fred: "Oh… Fizzy. Kinda weird and fizzy. But excited. A little sad. Thankful. Sorta cautiously happy. Relieved and worried at the same time; slightly nauseous while still being hopeful."

Do you love Fred yet?

Angel 3.6 "Billy"

Cordelia: "I'm sort-of getting used to being creeped out and comforted at the same time."

Gotta go!

VW: ermend — Fix someone up in the trauma center.

Philippe De Thrace said...


In "Suprise" (s2) , Buffy dreams about Willow talking in french to Monkey/Oz ("Le Hippo t'a piqué ton pantalon"), several times in s2, Buffy is shown having difficulties in french class. When Xander in "restless" (s4) sees Anya and Giles in the university in his dream, they speak french to him - and he doesn't get it. Xander insect crush in s1 was The substitute Mrs French, In s5, Anya realises that she's american and says that old and french customers are unamerican - because they buy nothing.
I never seriously collected those thigs (maybe i should) but very often, when something is so strange you can't understand, it's french.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

@Christina B, I did not provide a spoiler. I am sorry that you appear upset. When I say "budding relationship", I am referring to exactly the way it appears right now. The intimate scenes in which Angel and Cordy are practicing swordsmanship remind me a great deal of how Angel and Buffy would practice ti chi together after he returned from the hell dimension. Cordy appears to be more and more comforted by Angel's presence, and it's no secret how he has been starting to feel about her as previously discussed on this forum. Be not afraid...you will not be disappointed.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

That Angel and Cordy sword fight stuff was pretty sexy.

Hello, Salty Goodness!

Marebabe said...

@Philippe: Wow, that’s quite a list! One could theorize and guess all day, but right now I’m thinking that if you ever go to fan conventions like Comic-Con, this would be a great question to put to Joss or any of the Buffy writers. There might be a fascinating story behind it. (Or if you know of some Buffy blogs that are moderated by someone connected to the show.)

Philippe De Thrace said...

I knew i would appear like i'm the one obsessed :^) Wich could be true. On my next reviews, i'll write those things down and i think it will be a little more substantial. Or completely ridiculous.

Blam said...

Marebabe — Toxic Cuteness is my new band name.

Colleen: What`s a loan officer? Do Americans have bankers who just handle loans? … Are there banks who still keep money in tills?

I will say with relative confidence that the answer to the first two questions is, basically, yes. As for the last, I know that my bank has tills (or safe-drawers along the same lines) at each teller's station with a limited amount of cash; usually I withdraw money from the ATM outside, but if I'm making a deposit and getting cash back or, rarely, changing a $100 bill for smaller ones, I do that at the counter and the teller doesn't have to go anywhere.

Colleen: Andrew has quite a large piece of the Deathstar there. How long was Warren under the van?


Colleen: These guys can build robots and bend time. They could make a lot more money not trying to be evil geniuses.

You've hit on a very common conundrum in superhero stories and the like — so common that it's occasionally commented upon, although writers have to be careful of exposing/acknowledging tropes like that in non-satiric stories lest the point just lie there without any good answer. The Joker is, generally, crazy, which explains why he'd go to great lengths to set up some grand spectacle either for its own sake or to display panache in pulling of some heist that will get him even more money to accumulate even more toys. Many supervillains, though, have tech that they've invented themselves or even just stolen that could bring them either a fortune in royalties or just a better quality of life than the money they're attempting to steal would provide. Of course the Trio has a vendetta against Buffy, as does Lex Luthor against Superman (and so on), so the money isn't everything; it's the power, the pursuit, the personal stake in things.

Colleen: The Sunnydale jacket looks like a Smallville High jacket and vamp boy looks like Tom Welling.

I thought the same thing about the jacket, although not so much about the actor. What's particularly interesting is that the episode was written by Steven S. DeKnight, who after working on Angel would become a writer/producer on Smallville.

VW: paligen — A disease-bearing microorganism that reads the same backwards as forwards.

JS said...

I'm gone for a few weeks and now there's heart surgery? And you tell us a scene puts a stake through your heart?? I really hope you are recovering well, AND that it is so routine a surgery that you continue to use heart damage metaphors as lightly as ever.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I guess, Blam, it's the difference between Lex Luthor and Mr. Fantastic. Well, evil genius scientist Lex, not industrialist politician Lex.

At my bank, we have account managers that handle loans and every other specialized thing a teller can't handle, and we keep our money in a machine. Tills seem so - exposed.

Marebabe said...

@Blam: I’ve got a good one for you. I thought of you this afternoon as I was deleting old emails at work, when I ran across a really juicy band name that I found in some long-ago book review. Get ready. *ahem*

Anomalous Phenomena.

That is all.