Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 6: Spoiler Forum

As always, this is the place where you can post spoilery comments about this week's episodes. Please go to the post above this one if you've come here directly, and read many more insights (I just post the purely spoilery ones here).

Nikki’s Spoilery Bits:
• Willow’s playing with a stuffed frog, but later we’ll find out she had a very dire frog fear; I wouldn’t think she’d be playing with a toy frog like that if she was terrified of the thing (you won’t see me playing with an African Zuni doll!!)
• Willow and Oz are my favourite couple on the show (even though I really do love Tara) and so I’m so excited to see him for the first time this week.
• Reptile Boy: And now I’ll begin to defend my Bangel-ness. See, Buffy can sense when he’s there, but she can’t sense Spike. He’s just problematic to her later, and she only turns to him for cold comfort. Being with Spike makes her feel guilty and dirty, but being with Angel gives her comfort and happiness, even if it almost kills her. Maybe I’m just a romantic, but that’s why I always preferred her with Angel. (Even though, as I’ve said, I prefer Spike of the two vampires.)
• Willow is SO angry that Buffy lies to Giles in Reptile Boy, and Buffy says no, she just didn’t fill him in on everything. Watch how later Willow will keep a few little things – like, oh, bringing Buffy back from the dead – from Giles in much the same way.
• This one’s for the Glee fans: How many people think the Dave character on Glee (the closeted football player who bullies Kurt while secretly wanting him) has his precursor in Larry? The moment I saw the guy on Glee I thought, “Hey, that’s just Larry all over again!” As with Dave, Larry will be Xander’s bully and we’ll find out he’s coming over all macho and muscle because he’s secretly gay. Joss makes it seem less tragic, but the seeds for Dave’s character are still here.
• I liked the black cat superimposed over Willow’s face as she looked through the window, and the suggestiveness we can see now, whether or not she was intended to be the Wiccan at that time.
• In the Watcher’s Diaries, they look at the girl in the entry for 1775, and Willow says Angel would have been 18, and still alive. Um… nope. They change Angel’s age by the end of season 2, and we’ll see him get turned in 1753.
• Ethan says, “Showtime!” the same way that Sweet says it in Once More, With Feeling.

And here once again is Chris's piece, this time with the spoilery bits not whited out, and an interesting comparison photo with season 2 of Angel.

“Not-you is you … but not you.”
By Christopher Lockett

Hello, all! It is a great pleasure and honour to be counted among Nikki’s band of luminaries and to take part in this collective re-examination of what is one of the best television shows of all time. It was often uneven, to be sure, and but was also the site of some utterly sublime episodes, deeply textured and nuanced characters, and one of the most innovative reimaginings of the vampite genre specifically and the gothic generally. I share the sentiments of some here (including Nikki) who mourn for the dilution of Joss’ brilliant vision by subsequent banal and toothless and inane sojourns into the vampire realm (I’m looking at you, Stephanie Meyer!).

That being said, I must confess that returning to early Buffy is a bit of an odd experience. There is an element, rewatching the early episodes, of datedness. When I first became a fan, the show was something of a revelation—basically, that a high school-based drama (that involved vampires, no less) could be so cheekily and unapologetically smart and well-written, not something that exactly proliferated on the tube at the time. The X-Files was one of its only contemporaries, really, at least in terms of possessing irreverent self-aware humour that at once set the show apart and tipped a wink to the viewers, even as it addressed pretty weighty themes and issues. Then came The West Wing, and then my inauguration into the HBO-centered “quality TV” revolution. I have in the past few years been working on a series of articles about HBO, and thus am frequently immersed in Deadwood or The Wire or The Sopranos. All of which means that when I return to early Buffy, I have an impossible standard in my head—it is not fair to measure Buffy by the yardstick of The Wire, for the simple reason that those series pioneering the unmapped territory of intelligent and indeed intellectual television back in the mid-late 90s didn’t have the freedom to do whatever the hell they wanted.

(As an aside: if I were a high-ranking producer at HBO or AMC or Showtime, I would be backing a Brinks truck up to Joss Whedon’s house, unlocking it, and leaving a note that said “Fuck Fox. Do whatever you like. We’ll air it.” Why hasn’t this happened?)

I was a late convert to the Whedonverse, only really getting into the show mid-season three (in my defense, I was in the early stages of my PhD and didn’t have cable at the time). When I had the opportunity to go back and watch the first two seasons from the beginning, the experience was a little incongruous: the show really did not, in my opinion, hit its stride until midway through season two, when it started to depart more confidently from the somewhat simplistic allegories of Monster=Adolescent Development. So when I saw the roster of episodes that Nikki posted, I leapt on these three because they do an excellent job of highlighting this transition. “Inca Mummy Girl” and “Reptile Boy,” as indicated by their very titles, exhibit the tendency toward allegorizing elements of teenage life by way of the supernatural, the former paralleling Buffy’s feelings of exclusion and difference with the titular Inca mummy girl, and the latter refiguring the sexual predations of frat boys on teenage girls with ritual sacrifice. Which is not to say that these are bad episodes, necessarily, though both harp a little overmuch on the theme of Buffy the put-upon slayer who really just wants some “normal” girl time. This theme is never far from the center of the Buffy narrative arc, but on returning to the earlier episodes one finds it repeated with rather tiresome frequency.

Conversely, “Halloween” is an episode that is thematically very complex and plays some interesting games with questions of identity and desire and the subjective self. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we have Spike and Drusilla featured rather prominently, or that we are introduced to Giles’ erstwhile nemesis Ethan Rayne—having the conjunction of such villains with the identity-game of Halloween makes for all sorts of potential goodness, and Joss Whedon certainly rises to the challenge.

Basically, this is an episode that operates as a series of inversions: everyone (or most everyone) becomes the person they think they want to be, by way of Ethan Rayne’s spell that turns everyone into their costume. Buffy, possessed of the idea that Angel would be more into her if she were more like the aristocratic women of his youth, dresses as a noblewoman; Willow attempts to be sexy, but chickens out at the last moment and hides herself in a ghost costume; and Xander, who suffers the humiliation of being rescued from a bully by Buffy, dresses as a soldier. It’s worth noting that in this episode the triadic friendship of Buffy-Willow-Xander, so crucial to the series as a whole, is flipped, with Willow as the pivot point. Buffy becomes the helpless, fainting eighteenth-century damsel versus Xander’s no-nonsense hypercompetent soldier. It is Willow, of course, who figures out the source of the curse, in the process having to shed the obscuring shroud of her ghost costume and become (relatively) unselfconscious about her original, skimpy “costume”—which Buffy had harangued her to wear:

Buffy: It's just ... You're never gonna get noticed if you keep hiding! You're missing the whole point of Halloween.
Willow: Free candy?
Buffy: It's "come as you aren't" night! The perfect chance for a girl to get sexy and wild, with no repercussions.
Willow: Oh, I don't get wild. Wild on me equals spaz.

Later on, Buffy describes Halloween as “the night that Not-You is you … but not you.” Which really works as a neat summary of this episode’s theme: personal identity is put into play in truly elemental fashion by Ethan Rayne’s curse: all three of the series’ best friends become the “not-you” they are all chasing at the start of the episode, with varying results.

Xander’s transformation is the most straightforward. Though in season four he deliberately dresses as James Bond on Halloween in case they all get transformed into their costumes, he does pretty well in this episode (and it stands him in good stead in episode 2.14, when he liberates a rocket launcher from the local army base). His quasi-helplessness at the beginning of the episode, when Buffy has to rescue him from a bully, is salved by his transformation into a soldier while Buffy herself shrieks and runs from cars, and in her simpering state sees him as a better protector than Angel. To a certain extent, this episode presages his future role in the Scoobies, best summed up when Buffy defends his role to the Watcher’s Council in season five as having logged more “field time” than any of the watchers. Xander whispers to Willow that that is “Riley speak,” but really it reflects the role he discovers in this episode, as Buffy’s loyal soldier.

Willow’s transformation anticipates her evolution into a sexual being. Though this is not actually realized until the consummation of her relationship with Oz in the finale of season three, it does mark a break from her (undeserved!) status to date as Buffy’s frumpy friend. There is an essay to be written on Willow’s sexual development (actually, I’m probably showing my ignorance here—it occurs to me that there are probably several), especially taking into consideration the Anya-based alternative reality in which she and Xander are vampires. But here for the first time we see Willow as possessing sexual agency, even if she does not herself—capped at the end of the episode with Oz noticing her as she crosses the street in front of his van, having shucked her obscuring ghost costume.

And yet in Willow’s un-substantial being, there is a troubling of her sexualized ensemble, as she is not afforded the choice of covering up with her costume, but must walk about in the outfit she ultimately did not want to display. Her choice at the end of the episode to leave the ghost costume behind is an empowering choice—but one she did not have previously.

Finally, Buffy’s desire to embody an archaic femininity is ironically almost catastrophic, allowing Spike to very nearly bag his third slayer. But I say “ironic,” because we see the original of the model for her “noblewoman,” sketched in the Watcher Diary she and Willow filch from Giles’ office, appear some time later in Angel 2.07.

As has been remarked here previously, Darla’s later return and her narrative significance on Angel makes her brief appearance in season one of Buffy both pregnant and poignant. I cannot of course know if the figure sketched in the Watcher Diary was intended to be Darla, but the fact that her first encounter with Angel in flashback on Angel so perfectly matches the image Buffy tries to replicate speaks at the very least to a very shrewd writer/director (good on ya, Tim Minear!). Further, it means that we retrospectively look at Buffy’s desire to emulate the aesthetic of a woman she imagines Angel would be interested in with a somewhat more critical eye. At the end of the episode, Angel dismisses the noblewomen of his youth, saying “They were just incredibly dull. Simpering morons, the lot of them. I always wished I could meet someone ... exciting. Interesting.” Let’s take a moment and think about that, shall we? Starting with the fact that we now know Angel was a working class Irish lout who wouldn’t have gotten within three city blocks of an actual noblewoman (so perhaps this description he offers Buffy is from his experiences as a vampire?). More importantly, this seems a bit of Angel protesting too much: seeing as how his pre-vamp Irish lout found someone exciting and interesting in the person of Darla. Hence, Buffy’s desire in this episode to embody an aristocratic femininity based on her perusal of the Watcher Diary in the hopes that it would “interest” Angel is actually quite astute, if for all the wrong reasons. And I suppose that’s a good thing: it would have been a very different episode if Ethan Rayne’s curse had turned her not into a “simpering moron,” but Darla.

In an episode all about identity, the most surprising, and satisfying moment is our realization that Giles isn’t quite the buttoned-down stuffed shirt we have thus far seen. “Halloween” is the first episode in which we first meet the Ripper, Giles’ younger self, the occult-obsessed badass conjured here by Ethan Rayne. On watching this episode again, I felt a twinge of regret that he sends Willow away as soon as he sees Rayne—though we meet the Ripper here, it will be some time before Buffy &co. come to appreciate his badass side. But really, that makes his epic beat-down of Ethan even more priceless. While we see his young charges realizing (ambivalently) the identities they desire, we see Giles confronted with the one he has tried so hard to leave behind him.

By way of conclusion … I am grateful for the excuse to return to these early episodes of Buffy. It is easy to forget how innovative Joss’ vision was—and how smart many of the episodes of this series (and his others) are. Halloween, some theorists might be inclined to tell us, is all about drag. About the performance of identity. What I love about the Whedonverse is how it takes that complex of desire and grafts the transformative magic of fantasy on it.


SenexMacDonald said...

I have always felt that Inca Mummy Girl was a weak episode. However, seeing it back to back with the previous eps , it has suddenly become an ep I think I love! I liked how the Mummy’s life echoed Buffy’s; how she wanted to be a normal girl like Buffy. Except for the having to suck the life out of someone - Buffy and her could have been great friends - maybe?

I liked how she resisted kissing Xander and even when they did kiss, she found she could not take his life. She cared for him - and I felt that Xander genuinely felt the same way. Not just being driven by his hormones or by lust as he has been with Buffy. They made a really cute couple - for a bit.

Cordy not seeing through her exchange student - seeing him for what he was and how one of her group made that discovery. Cordy missed out as he might have been a really nice guy.

OZ!! I love how he zeros in on Willow from the stage and not other girls in the Bronze and how he just misses meeting her. Xander’s loss!

JONATHAN!! I had completely forgotten that this is when we first meet Jonathan and not later when he is armed in the school’s tower. For such a short scene, his character goes on to such bigger things. Joss must have been impressed even at this stage - or already knew where Jonathan was heading even then. Who would have thought it at this point?

SenexMacDonald said...

I am doing each episode for this week's rewatch as a separate post:
Reptile Boy - my highlights!
Classic horror opening with a girl in the white outfit being chased by boys with robes. Joss - watch horror movies much?

Cordy telling Xander in the hall about his future. All I could think of was “You die, and he goes on - even with one eye.” Am I bad for thinking that?

Giles trying so hard to look like he really can fight - except for the fact that he is truly able to handle himself. Can’t wait until the Ripper shows! Then we can finally see the genuine Giles.

Product placement! Xander and his coke… Xander - give it up for goodness sake! We get the picture, and your saying that you want Buffy with your words and your eyes - give it a rest already. Oh, and before I forget - Didn’t Cordy tell Buffy not to wear black to the frat house?

Is it my imagination or does Willow look more mature in this ep for some reason. Xander’s entrance - loved it! But, oh, my, he also looks more mature. Interesting …

Now that curly headed frat guy that Cordy took a shine to - who else thinks he would be perfect as a ‘sparkly’ vamp? Did you see his hair! Doesn't it make you think of Robert Pattinson (aka Edward)? Really - look at his hair!

Jonathan … again!

SenexMacDonald said...

Hallowe’en - one of the best episodes for Season 2. It was a complete package and such a great ride. I loved it then and I love it even more now. I felt like I was watching it for the first time and yet anticipating all the fun parts as I watched at the same time. Cool.

My thoughts: At the Bronze with Angel and Cordy - too early, girl, you need to be patient. He will come … to see you differently soon enough.

Willow and Buffy looking at the ‘book of Angel’. Darla in ink … and Buffy wanting to be like her - except she has no idea at this point what that book is really talking about. Maybe she should have read more of the book BEFORE she got in to deep.

Ethan Rayne - wish we had seen more of him, especially with Giles. This is a role that needed to be explored more, if not to allow Giles/Ripper to be fleshed out. It has always been a shame that the Ripper series never did get off the ground. I think it would have been great.

The complete flip with Buffy being the "victim", Xander being the hero (and using his new found skills to great advantage later) while being more confident, taking charge - and so buff!, and lastly Willow starting to take her place as the 'go to' girl on the team.

Giles’s reaction when Willow appears through the wall. I can understand how he would feel - I am sure I would not react much better if someone came through the wall. LOL

A dream come true - Xander to the rescue; protecting Buffy and saving the world. Since meeting Buffy, this is what he’s always wanted.

This was a fun, and yet scary episode. Well written, acted, and directed. A great jumping off point for the rest of the series. :)

Suzanne said...

Thank you, Christopher, for the wonderful analysis this week. I really like your observations about the Halloween episode and the themes that come through because of the identities they choose to inhabit with their costumes.

The photo of Darla next to the drawing from the Watchers' diary was really amazing. Even though I have recently watched the entire Angel series, it didn't even occur to me to think of Darla until I saw the photos side by side. There is even an irony in Darla being the one in the photo, though, since she was donning a new identity by shedding her prostitute persona in favor of that of a "lady." Apparently, she sheds identities easily since we learn in a Season 1 episode that she assumed at least one more before choosing her Catholic school girl image.

Nikki, I totally had the same reaction to seeing Larry bully Xander as you did. I said to my son and husband, "hey, it looks like Glee took their storyline for Kurt and his bully from Buffy!"

I also love Willow and Oz more than anything even though I like Tara's character very much. It was so much fun to see Oz again and to realize that it takes a few episodes for him to be slowly introduced. I like the way Willow's image begins to change when viewed through Oz's eyes. Suddenly, she is the girl of mystery rather than the wallflower. I adored Willow from the first episode I saw, so having Oz come on the scene and see what so many of us see in Willow was awesome.

Tom D. said...

She cared for him - and I felt that Xander genuinely felt the same way. Not just being driven by his hormones or by lust as he has been with Buffy.

I feel compelled to respectfully disagree with the idea that Xander is ever merely "driven by his hormones or by lust" towards Buffy. Yes, he notices her incredible hotness, but at the same time he almost always acts like a true friend. Even after she rejects him in "Prophecy Girl." Even after she is a complete bitca to him in "When She Was Bad." OK, the time in "Becoming Part 2" where he lies to her about what Willow said is a low moment which is seemingly driven by jealousy, but there are few other such moments. To me, he comes across as quite mature -- arguably even unrealistically so, for a teenage boy -- in his ability to have a genuine friendship (as opposed to a fake one driven by ulterior motives) with a hot girl for whom he has strong romantic and sexual feelings.

On an unrelated point, I totally agree that the show should have done more with Giles/Ripper over the years. Joss didn't give the character enough to do after Season 3. That was a missed opportunity.

Page48 said...

"Halloween" stands out as the best of this week's episodes. It's downright hilarious at times and who doesn't love the emergence of The Ripper.

While the rumour of that Ripper series stubbornly continues to surface from time to time, I don't think I'll hold my breath.

I think "Halloween" is the first BtVS episode where Seth Green is directed by Bruce Seth Green (I've never even met a Seth).

More fizzy product placement (full screen Dr. Pepper, diet no less...blech!)

About 8 minutes into "Halloween", Buffy says (to Willow in the cafeteria) "yeah, it's too bad that stuff is private", Willow's hands are not on her Dr. Pepper. Suddenly the camera faces Willow and her hands are wrapped around her Dr. Pepper. Before she finishes her sentence, camera is back on Buffy and Willow's hands are, once again, nowhere near Dr. Pepper.

Buffy (SMG) is gorgeous.

Giles: "Buffy. Excellent"
Buffy: "Nothing, Hi" (very smooth, Buffster)

Buffy and Willow can't find a more comfortable spot to check out the Watcher Diary than sitting on washroom sinks.

Who dresses Xander?

Xander is, once again, very rude with Buffy after she prevents his pummeling.

What's the official word on vampires showing up on film? I Googled but it's hard to get a definitive answer.

Angel asks the Noblewoman Buffy for a stake so he can put away the other vamp. Didn't the other vamp require an invite to enter Camp Buffy? Maybe it wasn't a vamp?

While Giles is talking to Willow about her ghost costume ("the ghost of what exactly?"), the box behind his head shows the number 206. "Halloween" is episode 2.06

Anonymous said...

Page, Diet Dr. Pepper is my favourite.

Xander's relationship with the Mummy continues his ongoing relationship with demons. Even in the comics he's now with Dawn who used to be a glowy key. I know it's a running gag, but at some point an explanation would be nice.

Xander offering himself to the Mummy reminds me of him offering himself to Willow in the season 6 finale.

I'd forgotten how many episodes Cordy was openly attracted to Angel. In Halloween, when he's with her at the Bronze, he actually seems to be getting comfortable with her, genuinely laughing at her joke. Shades of things to come.

The staging when Buffy leaves Angel in the Bronze is almost identical to Buffy leaving Spike's crypt in As You Were.

Buffy's 'It would be wrong' is the same reading as the line as Faith impersonates Buffy later on.

Ethan = Chaos/ Giles = Order
Spike = Chaos/ Angel = Order

"You're never gonna get between those two"... well...

Buffy says to Spike, "Honey, I'm home." In season seven, he'll be living in her house.

This rewatch is just... neat.

I was late posting tonight because Glee's back. So yeah, I got the Larry thing too. :)

Page48 said...

Season 3 of "Fringe" is channeling BtVS.

As Blam mentioned last week, the recent "Fringe" episode "Marionette" was eerily reminiscent of Buffy's "Some Assembly Required".

This week's "Fringe" episode, "Concentrate and Ask Again" stirred memories of Buffy's "Earshot". Characters 'gifted' with the ability to read minds were overwhelmed by the constant din of other people's thoughts to the point where they were basically unable to function.

Buffy's ability came as a result of being infected by the blood of a demon, while Simon's ability resulted from Walter's Cortexiphan trials.

Efthymia said...

I love that I'm not the only one who favours the Willow-Oz pairing! Tara was OK - she actually is the character I most identify with - but I was never crazy about her. I can't really explain why. Maybe because I already adored Oz and she came next. Very possibly because Willow was still the sweet, awkward Willow who had immediately become a favourite character when she was with Oz, while her relationship with Tara found her in her lowest moments. Whatever the reason, Tara's loss affected me because of the effect it had on the others (mostly Willow) on the show but Oz leaving affected me because I would really miss him as a charcter. I love that Oz notices Willow when she is not confident about herself, and I think he is partly responsible for her gaining confidence.

And Jonathan! Who would have guessed that the almost-victim boy on the stairs would come to be such a significant character! Rewatching the show, I love these first inconspicuous glimpses of future characters.

I never minded that they never really delved into Giles' past as Ripper - I found Giles very interesting anyway. I mean, we got that information about him and saw how it had influenced his present identity, so I didn't need anything more.

Unknown said...

I love meeting Oz in this episode--to answer a question raised in the non-spoiler forum, yes I was about as excited to see him as I was Spike last week! I love that we learn that Oz has discriminating taste in women, so when we learn he likes Willow, we know he sees what we see in her:)

Re: Jonathan's first appearance. Love it! I also want to know more of the backstory of how he became a more major character. Did he acquit himself so well in Inca Mummy Girl that they just kept bringing him back?

Also great glimpsing Larry's first appearance. I love how confident Larry is when he does come out, and that he generously wants to help Xander, too!

I also forgot that there was such a strong Cordy/Angel attraction from the get-go, and in Halloween we see that maybe, there was some chemistry for him, too? It's funny seeing it after everything, when it's not so obvious that maybe Buffy and Angel are "destined", at least by the writers.

I HATE the line "When you kiss me, I want to die." and it was a big reason I was never a bangel, but I'm not spuffy either. I love Spike so much, but I don't think that's a great match-up either. She's cookie dough.

Speaking of Buffy's romantic life, Reptile Boy is the beginning of a long tradition on BtVS of introducing male romantic possibilities for her that turn up evil. They always make them seem really nice and charming so we don't think she's dumb or foolish for falling for them. But seriously, is it something wrong with Buffy herself as Anya posits after Riley leaves? Or is it something about trying to find love on the hellmouth, as our trio discusses at the end of "Teacher's Pet"? Or is it a cheap trick used by the writers to thwart Buffy? ARGH! No matter what, I think this is the first time we see it (well, outside of Angel who is not all that charming when we first meet him, all smarmy in his crushed velour shirt!)

Can any uberfans explain the origin of calling the Scoobies that? Did it start with the fans and then get picked up by the writers, or was it in the show first?

JavaChick said...

I'm another fan of Willow & Oz. When Oz left in season 4 it broke my heart. When I started to see where they were going with Willow and Tara my reaction was: Oh no! I did grow to love Tara as well, but still feel like Willow and Oz are meant to be.

And Jonathan! I had forgotten too, his parts are so small in early episodes.

Anonymous said...

When I started watching the show they had introduced Tara and I loved her and Willow together. I like Oz, but I'm more into Robot Chicken. ;)

My daughter, however, stopped watching when Oz left because he was her favourite character. Then I started watching again when I got into it and Tara was one of her favourites too.

Honestly, I thought Willow and Riley had much more chemistry than Buffy and Riley (ptui). Maybe Willow has chemistry with everyone!

Anonymous said...

I meant 'she' started watching again. Darn lack of edit button.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

VW: conar

Vincent Kartheiser before he was Pete Campbell

Suzanne said...

I, too, am a huge fan of Willow and Oz. I really liked Tara's character. I also liked Willow and Tara's relationship, but I think I would have liked them better as very close friends. Even if it was necessary for them to become more than friends, I always wished that Willow and Oz could have gotten back together after Tara died rather than having her end up with Kennedy. I am not into that pairing at all!

SenexMacDonald said...

@Tom D. said...(from my posting) "She cared for him - and I felt that Xander genuinely felt the same way. Not just being driven by his hormones or by lust as he has been with Buffy."

(Tom's response) "I feel compelled to respectfully disagree with the idea that Xander is ever merely "driven by his hormones or by lust" towards Buffy. Yes, he notices her incredible hotness, but at the same time he almost always acts like a true friend."

Tom, I am not disagreeing with you that Xander was not a friend to Buffy and that he had her back. What I am saying is that in these (still) early eps, he is a typical guy with the hots for the pretty girl. Just look at the way his eyes open up really big every time he sees Buffy. He has done that occasionally with Cordy - depending on how she is dressed - but, at this point, has never given the appearance of doing that with Willow who he sees as his friend and nothing else.

For example, it is Xander's hormones and his early "teenage" lust for Buffy, augmented by the hyaena in him, that leads him to go after her in The Pack. It is this undefined lust that, as the leader of the pack, would drive him to want to mate with the strongest 'alpha' female around. That would be Buffy who he knows is the Slayer and therefore, the only candidate for mating.

As a group, they are starting to mesh together. They now have all the appearance of the 'Scoobies'. But keep in mind, they met partway through the last school year and, again at this point, they are only partly through the current year. Xander has still not been able to put that part of himself away in relation to his male response to Buffy yet.

It will begin to happen once he finds himself in the relationship he and Cordy will have. Then he and Buffy will come together even more as friends, companions and protectors of each other. It is already showing signs of beginning in Hallowe'en when Xander becomes Buffy's protector - even if it is under a spell.

n: fraye - another of Joss Whedon's Slayers

Tom D. said...

Senex, I see now that you're quite right about Xander. I posted my previous comment before rewatching Inca Mummy Girl and Reptile Boy, and while watching those episodes I was surprised at how much of a teenage-lust element there still is, at this point, in the way Xander relates to Buffy (in both the writing and Nick's performance).

EBeth wrote: Re: Jonathan's first appearance. Love it! I also want to know more of the backstory of how he became a more major character. Did he acquit himself so well in Inca Mummy Girl that they just kept bringing him back?

I just rewatched David Greenwalt's DVD commentary on Reptile Boy. It's not a very insightful commentary, but at one point Greenwalt does say something to the effect that yeah, Danny Strong did good so they kept bringing him back.

Also: HATE the line "When you kiss me, I want to die." and it was a big reason I was never a bangel

Greenwalt takes credit for writing that line, and says that Joss loved it. I can see it being the sort of thing Joss would love. I think I've always had mixed feelings about it. It's kind of overwrought, but on the other hand, it's also pretty concise and forceful. I'd be interested to see what others think of it.

Suzanne said...

To Tom D, and others, I am not crazy about the line "When you kiss me, I want to die" either even though I do like Buffy and Angel together. I have been thinking about a lot of the complaints people have made about how they have no interest in Buffy being with Angel because of DB's lackluster early performances. After thinking about it, I have to agree that I didn't love the Buffy and Angel pairing on my first viewing. In fact, I remember thinking that I couldn't wait for Buffy and Spike to get together (unfortunately, I had read a few spoilers accidentally). What I now realize, though, is that I came to love Buffy and Angel together much later. The first time I felt it was when he came to her after Joyce's death and sat with her under a tree all night until the sun was about to come up. Then the time it hit me the most was in the Angel series when they had an episode where Buffy and Angel were able to be a "real" couple for a brief amount of time since he became "human" as a result of a curse. If it hadn't been for these later Buffy and Angel pairings (after DB's acting was vastly improved), I don't think I would have ever felt the love for Bangel. I guess that is the romantic in me!

However, I still stand by an earlier statement I made that I kind of like the idea that she can be paired with both Angel and Spike at different times in her life. I don't think you have to be all Bangel or all Spuffy; you can like both! (I felt this way about Kate/Jack and Kate/Sawyer in Lost, too.)

Page48 said...

Buffy and Richard Alpert have a thing.

Tom D. said...

I don't quite know what to make of the fact that, not only in previous episodes but even in Halloween itself, Giles still acts all nerdy/awkward/befuddled until he is confronted by Ethan and the Ripper side of him comes to the fore. Early in the episode, when Buffy is bullshitting him about Jenny calling him a burning hunk of something or other, he's anything but suave about it. Likewise when Ghost Willow comes through the wall and he comedically tosses the card catalog in the air. I guess Giles has really repressed the Ripper side of himself and completely embraced the tweedy stereotype persona so that even in his most unguarded moments, that's how he behaves.

Buffy's accent when she turns into her costume is fairly appalling. But I guess it just reflects Buffy's own idea of what an 18th-century young noblewoman would talk like.

It's fun to notice the chemistry between Angel and Cordy, as pointed out by redeem147. Cordy manages to stay quite cool and witty when things go crazy -- which, again, reminds me of some of her better moments on Angel.

Note the vampire who somehow gets inside Buffy's house, who Angel ends up fighting. Who invited that guy in?

I like Drusilla's line, "Do you like my insides?" It's an endearingly monstrous way of expressing something we've probably all felt at times.

Austin Gorton said...

@Nikki: How many people think the Dave character on Glee (the closeted football player who bullies Kurt while secretly wanting him) has his precursor in Larry?

Definitely! When the whole plot with Dave Karofsky started on Glee, I had no idea what his name was, and referred to him on my blog as "Larry", since he reminded me of Buffy's resident bullying-because-he's-secretly-gay character.

"Halloween" is easily one of my favorite stand alone episodes, and a great example of the show's metaphoric power (and the show's ability to be metaphoric and still tell a rip roaring story).

Wonderful point about this batch of episodes being the start of Willow coming into her own. "Halloween" is obviously the zenith of this early migration towards self-confidence and superherodom, but the previously two episodes definitely show Willow growing stronger and more self-assured.