Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 5 Spoiler Forum

Before we get to this week's episodes, I wanted to address a question one of the first-timers had on last week's forum. She asked, why did Buffy suddenly have a lot of power after Xander revived her in "Prophecy Girl"? Was it the Master's bite? Was it her anger? Several people jumped in and chalked it up to her resolve or a new understanding of her purpose, but I think it's something else. Of course... it wasn't the spoiler forum, so I couldn't say what that was, so I'll mention it here. In "Chosen," as Willow does the goddess spell that basically switches on every potential Slayer in the world, Buffy and her slayers find sudden strength in the numbers. It's like the collective strength of Slayerdom flows through them, causing them to be that much stronger. One Slayer = scary. Many Slayers = scariER.

So I think in the moment the Master bit Buffy and her heart stopped beating, Kendra was immediately activated. When Buffy was revived, she was stronger because she had the heartbeat of the other Slayer working alongside her. Notice how much stronger she seems to be when Faith is activated upon Kendra's death in season 3 and is much closer to Buffy.

I could be wrong, of course, but that's my theory for what happened in that scene.

OK, and now onto a few spoilery points:

Nikki’s Spoilery Bits:
• Xander’s “I mock you with my ice cream cone” will later be echoed by Oz, when he is talking about animal crackers and saying the monkey tells the pantsless hippo, “I mock you with my monkey pants.”
• African-American vamps will, sadly, be the show’s redshirts.
• At the end of season 1, Buffy runs away and returns, and she’s harsh. At the end of season 2, she’ll run away and return, and everyone else will be harsh.
• Giles says he’s never heard of a revivification ceremony that worked; wait til he gets to “Bargaining.”
• Cordy’s jerk-back-of-the-head reaction shot to Xander’s brush-off when she was thanking him is brilliant, and foreshadows their strange affair.
• Hearing Giles explain that Spike’s name William the Bloody is because of him shoving railway spikes into his victims is funny now… since we know the name was actually because of something else. ;)
• Joyce looking through the hole in the door is right out of “Restless,” when she’s trapped in the wall in Buffy’s dream and looking through a hole.
• Spike: “You were my SIRE, man! You were my Yoda.” Nope. He wasn’t. Fans came down hard on this line after it was discovered that Drusilla was actually Spike’s sire. Joss came up with the explanation that anyone in the LINE could be considered a sire, and because Angel sired Dru, and Dru sired Spike, Angel was his grandsire. Uh uh. Don’t cover up continuity errors with lame excuses, just say you hadn’t fleshed him out yet because Spike was only supposed to last a couple of episodes before being killed off, and we’ll totally accept that explanation. Grandsire… pfft.


Unknown said...

When we were re-watching "When She Was Bad," I noticed how similar Season 2 premiere Buffy is to Season 6 Buffy. It's like a little capsule of Season 6's trauma in one foreshadowy episode. Death wicked sucks.

Anonymous said...

The vampires trying to bring back the Master foreshadows that there's a ritual for it and it might be possible - and in Angel we'll see it happen with Darla - without bones. Perhaps Buffy shouldn't have been so relieved by the smashing.

Angel won't fight with Buffy. But we'll find out the Buffy gets off on it - and that Spike will give her what she needs.

The vampire in Some Assembly that uses the shovel - though the course of the show vampires will never learn that letting the Slayer get her hands on something long, wooden and breakable is a bad idea.

Cordy and Angel look good together. Though why is he wearing Fonzie's jacket from Happy Days season 1?

The camera, misogyny and the male gaze - There's a recurring theme of women as objects - the sacrifices to come in the Frat House, Warren Mears - but the camera puts another level of dehumanization.

When Buffy says 'I know what it's like to lose someone' is she thinking of her little cousin?

Ah, School Hard. I started watching Buffy much later in the run, so Spike's stalking her as she dances seems pretty sexy to me. And not just me - I have one friend who started shipping them then and was verbally attacked on message boards for it.

How did Spike take out Janice's 'friends' so quickly. There's bite marks on the necks, so he didn't just break them. And if you can drain someone that quickly, isn't it likely that Buffy was suffering from blood loss and not just drowning in Prophecy Girl?

We know the TV works because Spike says they're going to watch it (and we know he wouldn't miss Passions) but Dru has it set to static. Is it just because she's crazy or does the white noise help keep her calm?

Would Angel have bitten Xander? You think he wouldn't, but in Angel he did some pretty bad things to keep up a facade (see Drogyn or Buffy Season 8 comics.)

When Spike mutters 'women' after Joyce clobbers him, it reminds me that love for the Summers women will be his downfall.

And yes, I take notes while watching and wait with bated breath for 8pm on Tuesdays. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention. I love that Spike and Buffy have the same red streak on the same cheeks.


Lisa(until further notice) said...

redeem147, thank you for bringing up the outfit on Angel. Cray cray!!! Do we ever see him in that jacket again??? I hope not.

I have been waiting with baited breath for this episode since the rewatch began. I am quite smitten with Spike and don't mind that his accent is a little off for now. I literally just finished the series as a first timer one week before this rewatch began. To see Spike again, in all his Buffy hunting glory is indeed a good thing. Dru is wonderful, and those dolls with the ribbons over their mouths crack. me. up. She sure made herself at "home" in Sunndaydale very quickly.

When Buffy was "dancing" with Xander in "When she was Bad", it reminded me of that episode where Dawn was all sexed up and "dancing" at The Bronze. BOTH Xander and Willow were checking her out until they realized it was Dawn and then Buffy got all up in her grill about the sexy dance and how wrong it was. Been there, done that.

Question for you paragons of Buffydom: Didn't Spike know that Angel was cursed? I can't quite remember, but do we see any flashbacks of Spike and Angel after Angelus got his soul back? Not to mention that Spike and Angel really hate eachother, and their meeting in the hallway proves their background arc wasn't fleshed out yet.

Blam said...

First I got behind in posting comments — you can blame the lousy Interwebs connection. Now I'm actually late in starting to watch Season Two. I hope to catch up soon, though, and it's great to see so much discussion.

VW: cogwo — n. Despair felt by machinery bits.

Tom D. said...

Regarding Buffy seeming extra powerful after her momentary death in Prophecy Girl: It seems clear to me that her coming back from death is, itself, a supernatural event. It's not actually caused by Xander doing CPR. He does CPR for a little while, pumping on her chest and blowing in her mouth, and then he looks despairing and stops (or at least pauses) doing it... and then, in a very sudden way, Buffy's eyes and mouth pop open and she's alive again. So, while it's a bit subtle, I believe the way that scene is filmed is actually meant to convey that something other than Xander's CPR caused Buffy's return to life.

In turn, I believe that whatever caused Buffy to come back to life (the powers-that-be, I guess, since it's never explained; kinda like how Angel's return from hell is never conclusively explained) also made her more powerful than she was before she died. I mean, she goes from dead to badass in the blink of an eye -- surely she got an infusion of new power from somewhere.

So, in my interpretation, Buffy's new strength isn't related to Kendra being called, because if this sort of thing happened every time a new slayer was called, then there'd be a lot of previous slayers who came back to life moments after dying.

Anyhow, that's just my perception. I'm off to rewatch the first three episodes of Season 2 now. I like to read the blog posts here, then rewatch the episodes with those insights in mind, and then come back here and say stuff. Anyone else prefer to do it in that order?

Tat said...

Oh poor Spike, it all goes downhill from here. Although what he looses in badassness he more than makes up for in snark later on when he realizes his strongest (only) weapon is his forked tongue.

I have to say, one of the reasons that Spike has always been my favorite vampire is the fact that he always seems to live in the time he's in. I wonder what he and Dru ended up watching on the telly. What else was on Tuesday nights back then?

Suzanne said...

Kristen Romanelli, I, too, noticed the similarities between "When She Was Bad" and Season 6 Buffy this time around. I remember not really liking this episode at all the firs time I watched it since the change in Buffy seemed so extreme to me at the time. This time, it seemed more realistic, and I wonder if watching Season 6 prepared me for it or something. One complaint I do have this time around, though, is how quickly she seems to snap back to the old Buffy. In terms of enjoying Season 2 as I did so much the first time and believe I will again, I am glad she snaps back quickly.

I am so glad to be watching Season 2. I think it is my favorite for all of the reasons Nikki mentioned in her post, even though Season 3 is probably most consistent. I am a huge Spike fan, so watching him enter Sunnydale was a real thrill, one I even felt the very first time I saw it, not even knowing what wonders I had in store.

Page48 said...

Oh, I know, it's a regional thing, but green EXIT signs are just wrong.

Spike loves his TV (is that where SPIKE TV got its name?). As redeem147 mentions, he's got a thing for "Passions", as does Joyce, which makes for a nice moment down the road a few seasons.

Dru was cute at first, but she wore me out after a while. Spike, however, is simply an iconic TV character. His hold over me has nothing to do with sex appeal, but I love his journey and he was a brilliant addition to the Buffyverse. That said, his stint in the school basement in S7 was ridiculous and annoying. Not highest and best use of William the Bloody, by a long shot.

Buffy was cruel and unusual to Xander in 2.01, when she asked "don't you wish I would?" (thank him for saving her life), but Xander was equally out of line when he threatened her with the death penalty if anything happened to Willow. This is particularly ugly considering the constant threat of death that Buffy lives with from the people who AREN'T HER FRIENDS. Guys, work it out, please...you're Scoobies for crying out loud.

New season equals makeovers for everyone. Reminds me of S4 of "Alias", when the guys in wardrobe went nuts.

"Some Assembly Required" just got redone on "Fringe" with "Marionette".

I love Willow's reaction to Buffy's lemonade.

I love Principal Snyder's PCP explanation for vampire faces. Hell, I just love Principal Snyder.

@redeem147, Spike's thing for the Summers women (which will eventually include The Niblet) may be his downfall as a ruthless vampire, but those relationships are crucial to his journey toward redemption. I just love these relationships in Season 5.

Dave said...

I love reading the comments in the non spoiler forum about Spike. They see Nikki act excited about his introduction but have no idea why.

A few of my favorite scenes in the series are when Spike goes to Buffy in Becoming part 2 (I think its part 2) and tells him he wants to help her stop Angel and when him and Joyce are sitting in Joyce's living room and she asks if they have met before.

I love that Spike and Joyce get along so well, for instance when he comes back in season 3 and they talk in the kitchen.

I agree with Nikki that season 2 is the high mark of the series and that season 3 is a strong second. The more I watch seasons 4-7 the more they grow on me. But I think Spike carries the show through those seasons. Another example being in season 4 when he goes to Buffy's dorm to kill her but finds a sad Willow instead. Their conversation is one of my favorite scenes.

He also makes season 5 of Angel one of its best seasons. So yeah, Spike is freaking awesome. School Hard is a great episode simply for the fact that its his first appearance.

Tom D. said...

I love redeem147's observation that "Angel won't fight with Buffy. But we'll find out later that Buffy gets off on it - and that Spike will give her what she needs."

I always thought the way she said to Angel, "come on - kick my ass" was sexy as hell. Never saw the connection to her relationship with Spike before. Awesome!

Beth said...

"Angel won't fight with Buffy"--yet! I can see this as foreshadowy of her violent relationship with Spike, but isn't the first thing that comes to mind that later in this very season, Angel will fight with Buffy? Every season has its own narrative arc.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Spike know that Angel was cursed?

I don't know that he ever clued in. The last time (as far as we know) they saw each other (though they couldn't have known at the time) was in WWII on the submarine. Spike didn't know what Angel was up to, but he didn't really get that Angel had a soul.

Spike's thing for the Summers women (which will eventually include The Niblet) may be his downfall as a ruthless vampire

Which is what I mean. I started watching later and it was Spike's journey towards redemption in season five that got me addicted to the show. It was Something Blue that got me watching - my kids had been fans since the beginning, but it was on the same time as JAG... Yeah, I know.

but isn't the first thing that comes to mind that later in this very season, Angel will fight with Buffy?

Well, with Angelus. That's one of my problems with Angel - unlike other vampires he has more than one personality. Don't know if it's the curse or disassociative disorder (he has a third Liam personality too.).

Anonymous said...

it struck me in "when she was bad" how much buffy was and sounded like faith, especially when talking to angel on the street - i guess it's the 'bad slayer behaviour', but it made me think more about faith and why she was like that. buffy died and that's bad, of course, but we don't know that much about faith and her traumas (her watcher was killed - that's bad enough), but it makes me like faith more (and i already appreciate her a lot more after seeing "dollhouse") and now this week i often think what would faith have done in buffy's place. i guess it goes to show once again how buffy is the 'weird slayer', because she has friends and family - as also spike points out in "school hard".

and spike. mmm.

Suzanne said...

Karoliinahv, I thought of Faith, too, when Buffy was acting "bad." It does give insight into Faith's behavior and makes me feel for her more. However, I always wondered why they didn't make any reference to Buffy having also lost her first watcher during the events in the movie (yeah, I am not a big fan of the movie either, but isn't it part of her back story?)

Nikki Stafford said...

Tom D: Excellent observations and theory regarding Buffy's strength. However, I think it's important to think that Xander's CPR *did* actually bring her back (in many shows, during CPR the eyes suddenly pop open... it's overdramatization and I think that's all that's happening here) because an ongoing theme of the show is that Buffy is different from all Slayers before her because she is not alone. So, the other Slayers were not brought back to life because they didn't have friends near them performing CPR. She did. Therefore no other Slayer could actually come back to life, and no one could derive extra strength from the newly-activated Slayer.

Of course, this is reversed in season 6, where Buffy is brought back to life by her friends against her will, and leads to destruction, but that's showing the reverse side of the coin. Another thing that's so brilliant about this show.

Nikki Stafford said...

David Plunk: I, too, am enjoying the "what's the big deal about Spike" convo over on the other board. Of course, I can't say anything yet, but they'll soon find out! I don't know anyone who watches this show and doesn't like him.

Spike is a little like Henry Gale on Lost... when he first showed up he was mysterious but not someone who instantly changed the show. It took a couple of episodes before we realized how amazing he was. Spike's the same way... now, like on Lost, you cannot WAIT until season 2 to get this character on board. It's like the show barely existed before they were there. Rewatchers now watch Henry Gale's introduction and squeal with delight, and Spike fans do the same thing with School Hard. We love seeing them arrive, because their arrival signals the deliciousness that's to come. ;)

Nikki Stafford said...

redeem: Good points on Angel's multiple personalities. To be fair, when he's Angelus, the demon has taken over, and when he's Liam, that's his original crap self. Angel is Liam with a conscience, fighting down the demon within him at every turn. And I think Boreanaz defines each version of those characters beautifully.

And it's this very multiple personality in Angel that actually makes SPIKE more fascinating... William is sweet, Spike is scary, Spike with a soul is sweet and scary. But there's not an obvious difference with them in the way there is with Angel. William was a lovely man, Liam was a lech. Spike without a soul has more soul than many humans... watch how his vamp face instantly disappears when Drusilla walks in. He has the capability of loving and feeling for someone outside of himself even when he's in full vamp-out mode, soulless. That's why, at the time, fans speculated that Spike actually had a soul, too, but because they always say the vamp version of yourself carries a lot of your own personality, that's why Angelus is a total prick, and Spike can actually feel things. Liam was a monster before he was turned; William wouldn't have hurt a fly.

And yes, I'm still a Bangel... but Spike's my favourite. Don't ask me to explain that one. ;)

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Je t'adore talking about Spike. Angel too...but Spike is such a bad boy and he's so much fun. Angel's mopified and oozes tragic all over the place. I don't really start to love Angel until he is in LA on his own show. In comparing the two beautiful vamps, it's Angel who realizes that he and Buffy will never work. Self preservation aside, he loves her and knows that it's not in her best interests to be with him. Yet they both push the boundries of the curse right up to the tragic result.

Buffy and Spike, however, are in a different lot. Spike realizes he loves Buffy, much to his initial disgust, and Buffy, loving the danger, feeling alone and lonely, is just along for the ride and using Spike. Spike just can't leave Buffy alone and continually forces the issue until he hurts her to her very core. It's not until Spike returns with his soul that he realizes he was wrong and brutal. He seems to be able to let go a litt.e He lives with his love, professes his love, but allows Buffy her space. It's enough just to be there for her after his soulification. "Ready Randy?" "Ready, Joan." *swoon*

Anonymous said...

To be fair, when he's Angelus, the demon has taken over, and when he's Liam, that's his original crap self. Angel is Liam with a conscience, fighting down the demon within him at every turn. And I think Boreanaz defines each version of those characters beautifully.

Except that we don't see such a character shift with any other vampire. Darla is Darla, Harmony is Harmony, Lawson is Lawson - albeit without a conscience. Even Spike can be understood as someone who finally has power and wants to use it. But we see with his change of name and such that he's creating a new persona for himself.

Angel flips back and forth into different personalities. Even when he's drugged (which wouldn't be related to the curse.) I think the boy needs a good shrink.

SenexMacDonald said...

I too believe that Buffy would not have returned if not for the CPR that Xander was doing. I like the idea that she pulls strength from Kendra. However, I am still leaning toward this thought - we see how she changes (for better or for worse) when she returns after her sacrifice to save Dawn in season 6. I wonder if, in dying, she goes for the first time to 'the place' she believes she was in during season 6. If that is so, then it might be possible that she was there before. Because Xander did the CPR, she was revived rather quickly. Unlike the ritual that brought her back in season 6, she has no idea of where she was - no feeling, nothing ... just some residual effects like increased strength, etc.

Now this does not excuse her behaviour - but it might explain it. It also might explain why she is back to being regular Buffy in what appears to be a short time - although we really do not know how much time has passed. How you ask? If she was in the same place, and only for a short time, the effects re. her behaviour could wear off quickly. The aspect of being stronger might not being as it is a physical aspect of her and not an emotional one. Her behaviour could be because, intuitively, she got a glimpse of where she was and wanted to stay there. Just as we see in season 6 but more so as she was there longer.

Now since we are into Parent/Teacher meetup time by ep. 3, then it is possible that at least a month has passed by that point from ep. 1. As this is high school, and they generally have two terms so it could be longer.

Maybe all Slayers go to 'the place' after they die. It would be cool to think so. Maybe it is the Spirit World where we meet the First. Does anyone remember if Buffy 'sees' anyone else besides the First in that sequence?

SenexMacDonald said...

Geez - how did I forget Spike?

I love how he is introduced. Just drives into town and makes himself at home. LOL

The chemistry between JM and JL is just great. I doubt they spent extensive time together prepping their roles but how easy they appear on screen together is great.

Juliet just oozes creepy in her performance and yet innocence in some ways when she interacts with the dolls. But she is a creature of the night and shows her strength and power as well ... especially when she does decide to feed off Sheila. Truly wicked!

James has always been a favourite of mine since Spike was introduced. I know that changes re. the vamp makeup will make things easier as the show goes on - but I never did like how he has move his mouth in the makeup initially. Thankfully it gets better.

Spike - love the transition from bad guy to caring guy re. Dru. Wonderful and so sweet!

Glad that he has finally arrived on the scene. Now things get even more interesting! :)

Suzanne said...

Regarding the comments about Spike's entrance in School Hard and the treat that the new viewers might not know they are in for in terms of his importance to the show, I have to say that the first time I saw School Hard, my husband, son, and I all reacted strongly to Spike's entrance. We were blown away by that episode and by the beginning of it. We instantly loved Spike and Dru (but especially Spike) as Big Bads. It was the point in our watching this show where we committed to it fully and decided we were in for the long haul. From that point on, all we could think about with each episode we watched was "will Spike be in this one?" Of course, we loved a lot of other aspects of the show, adored almost every character (maybe not Dawn) for what they brought to the show, but we were all about Spike most of the time! We even loved Season 5 of Angel the best because of Spike. I wonder if any of the other new viewers are feeling the Spike love this quickly? It will be fun to see what they say about it in upcoming episodes.

As for the discussion about Angel's different personalities, I can see both sides of this. First of all, I do think that many of the vamps we have seen exhibit vastly different characteristics after they turn. What about Jessie? We didn't see much of him in the pilot, but he seemed mild mannered and just like an average, nice teenage boy. Then when he turned, he became something very different and kind of frightening.

Also, when thinking about Angel/Angelus, we really need to consider the unique position he holds (at least at this point in the series) of being cursed with a soul. He has been tortured with guilt for a very long time with nobody to confide in about it. I think that many of these factors make his case a little different. However, I agree that the way he changes so much (even in the series Angel, where it seems a different Angel persona appears every quarter of every season at some points in the series)can be annoying. I do think that some of this can be attributed to DB's acting and the way it matured over time. He definitely doesn't have the acting chops of many of the other actors or at least not until much further into the series.

Also, like Nikki, I don't like to think that Xander wasn't the one to revive Buffy. Even though I agree that the scene could have been tighter, believing that Xander did bring her back is very important to the friendship theme, to the idea that Xander is the heart of the group, and to the idea that Buffy is part of a team even though she must assume a leadership role.

Lastly, I also find it hard to fully commit to be a "Spuffy" as much as I love Spike. There is something about the romance of Buffy and Angel that draws me in even though I love Spike so much more than Angel. I kind of like the idea of her being able to have both guys, though! (This is a fantasy show after all. ;) )

Austin Gorton said...

@Nikki: "Uh... for the AWESOME, that's why

Haha! I love it. That's way better than my "shut up, that's why!" response to those kinds of questions.

Liam was a monster before he was turned; William wouldn't have hurt a fly.

I have always been terribly fascinated with this idea. It's such a neat fit for why Spike, even as a soulless vampire never seems *quite* as fiendishly evil as Angelus at his worst.

It's interesting how these early season two episodes are almost like "season one done right". There's a definite shift in quality from season one to season two, but then there's a shift in tone and structure after "Surprise/Innocence".

As result, the first half of season two feels very much like the monster of the week/high school as horror metaphor first season, but jazzed up a little bit. Clearly, Joss and the writers had gotten a better handle on the characters and what worked (and gotten some audience feedback), then tried to do season one style stories with a more deft hand before really blowing things open.

Michael Holland said...

First of all, Ms. Wilcott, so well written. I was reminded of the now famous -- if you’re a fan of this site, though shouldn’t everyone be – debate between Nikki and Professor Pateman, in which Nikki alludes to their spark igniting between his academic approach while hers is more fan based. Both intelligent and well presented – and both necessary to fandom – therefore, both so enjoyable. And here you have both in your grasp.

“When Spike and Dru share that first moment in which he offers her his coat, the world belonging only to them, I felt a pang. That pang, yes, but also the fear that these two would never live up to their initial chemistry. I didn’t trust that two characters could imprint themselves so immediately. I started to miss them as soon as we’d met.”

Cut with --

“Ahh, foreplay. You know, years ago, a woman stepped from the shadows in a bar and I actually had a little up chuck in the bathroom, I was so racked with nerves. We dated for a year.”

Cut with --

“Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs . . .”

Joyce is frustrating, though not in an uncaring way; and perhaps more so as we rewatch than in the show’s initial viewing. Because we’ve grown up since then? Perhaps.

“The Annyoing One.” God, so true. I often wonder if, as Season 1 didn’t yield too much with him, that Whedon & Co solely kept him around – and kept him annoying -- just for the great moment in the cage with Spike.

And then to crystallize the SERIES so well with, “… what may seem like an obscene gap in logic at first … the things we work hardest for won’t be the things we’re ultimately graded on—said the agnostic—[but] are, in fact, the things that ultimately yield survivors and heroes.”


Thank you.

And, Nikki, just have to say, never really thought about why Buffy had more power after reviving in Prophecy Girl. I just chalked it up to, “Hey, you were dead, now you’re not, that’s gotta feel good.” But, knowing the chain -- yes, to quote the great Season 8 issue – that begins there, you make a very interesting point.

Cheers all around …

Michael Holland said...

Also, I hope we're not being too harsh on The Season Openers. I think -- and not just because they're typically Whedon episodes (well, maybe) -- they're all good, for their own reasons, specifically for their own seasons (as they should be).

Without delving into a much longer article, I think "Restless" and "Buffy Vs Dracula" actually make a great two-part episode. Hmmmm, so much so in fact, I might have to write that article. Anyway ...

'When She Was Bad' works for all the reasons everyone has said so well here. And 'Anne' works because how do you NOT detach Buffy that much after what she went through at the end of Season 2? While at the same time appeasing the fans as well as (what every show hopes for) fresh eyes? 'The Freshman' works because it resets the scene for, much like the episode itself, an underrated season (which I only "rediscovered" after multiple viewings). Five, six, seven, same thing, but we'll get there.

A lot of people say that bad Woody Allen is still better than most films out there. Same can be said for consistently good TV. Remember, they're putting these out EVERY WEEK, in this series to the tune of 144 episodes in seven years. That Whedon & Co did so so well that we're here rewatching as fans?

Well done indeed.

Anonymous said...

My understanding was that the Annoying One was toast because the actor was suffering from Walt is getting too big disease.

Chris said...

One thing that is often missed in 'When She Was Bad' is that the bitcaness of Buffy can actually be explained by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Anyone who has dealt with someone who has suffered a grave trauma, and a near-death experience would qualify, would recognize her anger, fear and meanness.

I see this as different from season 6 where Buffy is suffering more from a detachment to the world and a general depression - also potential symptoms of PTSD.

Of course this being television, and Buffy being Buffy, she is able to find catharsis by simply crushing the Master's bones into powder. Real trauma isn't so easily cured.

Nikki - thanks for the re-watch, enjoying it and the comments. Personally, I like seasons 3 & 5 better the season 2 (I first started watching during season 3, so it could be that there were so few surprises when I finally saw season 2).

Anonymous said...

Season 3`s my least favourite - too much Faith and not enough Spike. :)

Though I do love me some Mayor.

zoe said...

I have always thought that the reason the season openers aren't usually the best episodes is that they have a different purpose than the all others. They don't advance the story so much as set the scene and bridge the story from last season. I think that the dual nature - wrapping up an already completed narrative (because just because the story arc is complete doesn't mean you pretend it never happened) and introducing a new one doesn't leave much room for anything else.
Also, dealing with the consequences of whatever happened in the previous season finale always seems the make all the characters cranky, and crankiness isn't all that fun to watch. But the fact that there are emotional consequences (and the crankiness, actually) is a big part of what makes these characters so real.

Michael Holland said...

@ Zoe re the Season Openers --


Cheers ...

Witness Aria said...

Re: Angel/Angelus/Liam.

I've always thought Angel suffered from minister's daughter syndrome. When we get a glimpse of 17-year-old Liam in Spin the Bottle, he's naive and shy and talking about his father saying this and that is evil and sinful. Then when we see Liam a few years later, he's in full-on rebellion mode against his father, drinking constantly, fighting in bars and bedding every woman he can.

Which leads him to Darla and Angelus, the extreme version of that Liam. When he gets his soul back, I think he tries to return to his old innocent self to keep the monster at bay. He is always seeing things as extremes, black and white, when he's on Buffy. It's only once he gets past season 2 of Angel that he starts trying to accept and balance his extremes within himself.

Some other humans who have this kind of binary good/bad way of looking at things who become vampires may have the same dramatic shift as Angel did. Other humans, who see things a little less strictly divided, may not.

Spike, although he was a shy, nerdy mama's boy, was basically a pretty stable person, and a Romantic, so he would acknowledge the dark and the light as not so oppositional. His change as a vamp was just to stop being shy about things and become the rebel I'll bet he always dreamed he could be. He can flip between good and evil because that's not what's important to him.

That's something of how I see their differences. I know the debates about vampires and souls and what each is and isn't in the Buffyverse are fascinating but non-ending, so I don't really want to retread that ground.

Enjoying revisiting season 2 very much.

Suzanne said...

Witness Aria, your insights into Angel and Spike are really great. I, too, never really saw Liam as a monster as much as an immature jerk. He definitely seemed to suffer from issues related to his father, and your analogy to the "minister's daughter" is perfect.

This dichotomy between Angel and Spike would also explain very well the reason why, as someone else mentioned earlier (sorry, I can't remember who), Angel takes the Anointed One so seriously, and Spike mocks him from the beginning. Since it appears that Spike can see the gray areas so much more clearly than Angel, of course he would not be the one to take ritual and prophecy seriously either. This tendency in Spike continues throughout both series since he resists being defined by his "role" and resists allowing prophecy to dictate his choices. Angel, on the other hand, very much allows himself to be controlled by the prophecies, the Powers that Be, and many other outside forces throughout much of both series and maybe until the very end (I haven't read the comics and don't plan to do so, but I don't mind being spoiled about them).

Witness Aria said...

Suzanne, thanks! And I like the extension of that idea to their differing relationships to prophecy. I hadn't thought of it in those terms.

Nikki Stafford said...

redeem: I would argue that we don't see a character shift in the other vampires because they'd never been ensouled. Angel is different from Liam because he's Angelus + conscience. If we had no conscience, no internal voice telling us certain things were bad, what's to stop any of us from becoming monsters? But imagine being asleep for years, only to wake up and realize that while you were unconscious you murdered innocent people and destroyed lives. Your personality would probably change pretty drastically. You wouldn't be the monster anymore, but you wouldn't be your earlier self anymore, either. You'd be a whole different entity. And that's Angel.

Nikki Stafford said...

Senex: Interesting idea that Buffy may have glimpsed heaven! I'd never thought of that before... I like it.

Nikki Stafford said...

Suzanne: Oh, I love your comment about being a Spuffy vs. loving Spike... it's so hard to explain, but that's what I mean. I LOVE Spike... I love him more than Angel. But I like Buffy and Angel together more than Buffy and Spike. Hm. Maybe it's because I want Spike for myself, haha!

Nikki Stafford said...

Zoe: I have always thought that the reason the season openers aren't usually the best episodes is that they have a different purpose than the all others. They don't advance the story so much as set the scene and bridge the story from last season.

Very well put, and I agree completely. It's the case with many shows, actually... there's a wrap-up in the season opener, a new direction in the second or third episode, and then by the fourth it's up and running.

Michael Holland: I agree with you completely about how even a bad episode of Buffy is better than 99% of what else is out there. I used to say that all the time. ;) I'll take "Beer Bad" over... well... anything else on TV right now. ;)

Nikki Stafford said...

Witness Aria: Great analogy to the minister's daughter, I love it! I mean, when we finally meet Liam's father we kind of go, "Huh. Ok. I would have killed the guy, too."

Wait, that was just me who said that? ;)

Blam said...

A couple of general spoiler-forum remarks:

Giles' reaction to Jenny Calendar's experience at Burning Man is just more evidence that "Ripper" is a huge retcon. I'm looking forward to when that aspect of his past is introduced on the show, as well as to Witness Aria's theory surrounding the dichotomy. Maybe I'm forgetting an important part of the big picture, but right now the hindsight all but forces me to believe that Giles has some kind of psychic block altering or confining his personality to the mild-mannered, stammering Giles we see here.

The same is true for Willow to a degree. If her relationship with Tara was a thing unto itself, fine, but the way she reacts when Oz comes back and the fact that her later relationships are exclusively with women make things more "problematic" from a continuity standpoint. I well know that sexual orientation isn't either/or; Willow is more than entitled to self-identify however she likes (or with no label of any kind) and it's not unlikely that after such a transcendently profound relationship as the one with Tara she'd stick to the sapphic side, but the fact is that for every little remark we pick up on early in the series that the writers really *didn't* intend there's gobs of frustrating anti-foreshadowing. Willow's infatuation with Xander could be explained away as a 16-year-old girl channeling her feelings where she thinks they ought to go because she hasn't considered anything other than heterosexuality as even an option to repress, but then there's Oz, not to mention the exchange in "Some Assembly Required" when Xander says, "Look at those legs!" as a gam-flashing gal walks by and Willow replies, in sleepy/singsongy cute Willow voice, "No thanks..." and not in a way that suggests denial.

I know that as long as the stories are good and the characters are ultimately true to themselves in fundamental ways, it's unfair to quibble about consistency in certain areas over the span of a 7-season-long TV series. Plenty of shows have reused actors from limited talent pools in NYC or Vancouver. Heck, Star Trek couldn't even decide on the name of the organization that Enterprise belonged to early on, never mind plenty of other discrepancies over the course of 40 years of episodes and feature films. It's still impossible not to notice this stuff, though, and either try to rationalize it or let it fester in an oddly masochistic accretion of nitpicks.

VW: sumsab — Total enrollment in New York's School of Ballet.

Blam said...

redeem147: When Spike mutters 'women' after Joyce clobbers him, it reminds me that love for the Summers women will be his downfall.

Ha! I always enjoy your thoughts, but this was particularly well put. The actual scene, though, frankly makes little sense except in a "plot demands it" kind of way. The guy has killed Slayers in the past, he's fighting the current one to at least a standstill — with the upper hand, in fact, at the moment that her mom bonks him on the head — and just because Joyce (whose presence, if anything, makes Buffy more vulnerable) shows up he decides to cut out?

redeem147: And yes, I take notes while watching and wait with bated breath for 8pm on Tuesdays. :)

Me too. Except that there's no guarantee that my crap Internet connection will let me post Tuesdays, and the past few weeks were so frustrating that I actually fell behind in starting Season Two. But I enjoy taking notes while watching, checking out Nikki's Bite Me! guide, and reading all the commentary here; it's much more fun to rewatch interactively.

VW: pallysfe — Your best friend's stash of iron ore.

Blam said...

Teebore: It's interesting how these early season two episodes are almost like "season one done right". ...

Yes to all of this... Well put!

SenexMacDonald said...

@redeem147 said... "Season 3`s my least favourite - too much Faith and not enough Spike. :)

Though I do love me some Mayor."

I thoroughly love season 3 ... for the very same reasons you don't. I loved watching Faith disintegrate, but was in awe/disgust at her relationship with the Mayor. It is like watching someone in free fall.

I will discuss this more once we are there but I will say that having met the Mayor (and Mrs. Mayor) - a nicer couple you could not ask for. :)

And then there is J. August ... are we onto Angel yet?? LOL

Hazel said...

What bugs me about "School Hard" is the lack of recognition the name Spike brings to Giles. Surely the name would automatically conjure up the vampire who killed not one but two Slayers (and one of those was in the recent past)?

Anne said...

Well actually Blam, i would say the first time Gay Willow is mentionned is in Doppergangland with Vampire Willow, if i remember correctly, she says, while eying herself, I think i'm kinda Guy and then somebody says, something like shes a Vampire it has nothing to do with you and then Angel starts off on saying that actually a good part of who you are is transfered to your Vampire self...which would mean that the writers thought about it at leat 1 season ahead

JavaChick said...

Re: Willow and orientation, I tend to think that it's not one or the other for her as well. Willow had a good relationship with Oz, but then he left and she met Tara. I tend to think of as having to do with love more than orientation. But that could be due to the fantasy whedonverse in my head where Oz & Willow eventually get back together (Hey, I loved Tara, but she's gone).

Re: Spike, I think he is the first villain I ever really developed an appreciation for. I was always very "villains bad, heroes good", but how can you not love Spike? As far as the whole Bangel/Spuffy debate, I wouldn't say that I am particularly attached to either one but...While I think Spike may actually be better for Buffy, once he gets his soul back (no pesky curse for one thing), Buffy and Angel have that whole "meant to be together" thing going on. Too bad about Riley marrying that other chick, he was a good dude. (As I duck and run for cover...)

Witness Aria said...

Oh, boy, I seem to have gotten myself into a pickle with my choice of words. My "theory" about Giles being so different from what we would expect once we learn of his Ripper days is really more of a dancing demon in my mind, something I use to, as Blam says, "rationalize it" rather than "let it fester in an oddly masochistic accretion of nitpicks."

In other words, it's not a grand theory that makes and backs up a convincing argument or anything. To me it just has to do with our eternal attempts to define ourselves in our own image and decide who we want to be, and how far we'll go to stick to the story and try and ignore or repress bits that don't fit what we think we should be.

So in my logic, that makes the meta fact that the writers hadn't decided on Giles' backstory when he was first created become a grand story about Rupert Giles, horrified with what had happened with Eyghon as a result of his rebellion against his family's plan for him and subsequent delving into the dark arts, getting off on magic, does a 180 and transforms himself into the epitome of a Watcher. He stops all the magic, he cuts his hair and buys tweed suits, he disappears into the Council library and classrooms and becomes Rupert Giles, Watcher, leaving Ripper behind.

He does this so well that he gets assigned the next Slayer. And he's back out in the real world. And at first he doesn't even have to worry about Ripper pushing through into his new persona because he's got him buried under so much Council-y Englishness that he doesn't stand a chance.

So now Rupert Giles has to perform his role and be Rupert Giles in every circumstance of his life. And so Giles doesn't have the experience with women that Ripper does, and how would Ripper believe that someone like Giles acts when romantically interested in a woman? And so on.

Just as almost every character in the show has to learn to integrate seemingly disparate parts of themselves into one, Giles has to eventually accept that he is still Ripper, will always be Ripper, but is not only Ripper. He also will always be Giles. The performance of either is not a true reflection of reality.

So it works for me and avoids the aforementioned masochism, but I don't know if it holds water for everyone. I just imagine early Giles as something of a performance, not for other people, making it come off as fake, but for himself, a part he created to get past the chaos of his younger days, a part he's invested himself in for years before he comes to Sunnydale.