Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 6

2.4 Inca Mummy Girl
2.5 Reptile Boy
2.6 Halloween

First of all, thanks for all the very kind comments about my daughter's Very Dramatic performance of "I've Got a Theory." I've got many more videos where that one came from... maybe one day I'll post some of them. :)

And here we are… we’ve finally reached that moment in the Great Buffy Rewatch that I’ve been looking forward to — the week where it starts to get really good. By week 9 (the March 1 week) it’ll go from really good to spectacular, but for those first-timers out there, I hope you loved “Halloween” as much as I did. What a glorious episode.

Now, it was preceded, of course, by the unfortunately named “Inca Mummy Girl” and “Reptile Boy,” both episodes that had that monster-of-the-week feel — the first drawing a parallel between Buffy sacrificing her life for the good of mankind and a similar sacrificial virgin thousands of years earlier who was killed for the good of her people… and the second being a metaphor for how frat boys are a bunch of pigs who are ruled by a penis (that second one was a wee bit less subtle).

But Halloween is where everything turned. I squealed with delight when we saw the first moment of “Ripper,” and I hoped that the newbies sitting at home were thinking, “Wait… WHAT?” I would have loved to have seen your faces. Who is this Ripper? Wait til next week to find out more…

• Inca: Buffy: “Have you ever done an exchange program?” Xander: “My dad tried to send me to some Armenians once; does that count?”
• “What he lacks in smarts he makes up for in lack of smarts.”
• Giles: “You are the Chosen One.” Buffy: “Just once I’d like to be the overlooked one.”
• OZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
• Devon: “What does a girl have to do to impress you?” Oz: “Well, it involves a feather boa and the theme to A Summer Place.”
• Xander to Buffy in her overalls: “And where are you from? The country of white trash?”
• Willow’s Eskimo outfit (complete with spear!) has me giggling every time she’s on screen. Alyson Hannigan has never been cuter. From staring at the cheese to that befuddled and wide-eyed look on her face, it’s not just Oz who fell in love with her… he’ll have to fight me for her first.
• Buffy to Giles: “One of these days you’ll have to get a grown-up car!”
• Reptile Boy: I LOVED the Scoobs watching the Bollywood movies, and the fact that Willow could follow everything. I used to watch them all the time, even though I had no idea what was actually going on in any of them.
• Cordy: “Oh Buffy, it’s like we’re sisters! With really different hair!”
• Willow unleashing on Giles and Angel: “And YOU! You’re gonna live forever and you don’t have time for a cup of coffee??” These are the episodes where we begin to see Willow come into her own.
• Willow: “Some guy’s attacking Buffy with a sword! Also there’s a really big snake!”
• Halloween: Buffy: “Gee, I would love to sign up. But I recently developed carpal tunnel and can tragically no longer hold a flashlight.”
• Two classic Cordy lines: First when she calls Angel a “Care Bear with fangs,” and then her line, “When it comes to dating, I’m the Slayer!”
• Buffy fainting when she sees the monster.
• "She couldn't have dressed up like Xena?" Haha!!! One of my all-time favourite lines (mostly because the first time I watched this episode, my Xena book — my first book — was still at the printer, and I was a massive fan of the show).
• Giles's reaction when Willow walks through the wall. I backed that up and watched it a few times. Never ceases to slay me.
• Buffy asking Angel if he has a musket, haha!!
• Ripper beating the hell out of Ethan. YES!
• Buffy to Spike: “Hi, honey. I’m home.” CLONK!

Did You Notice?
• Inca: I’m only just noticing this now, but Buffy’s eyebrows have been tweezed to a fraction of their season 1 size. It’s completely changed her face.
• Now, while I’m not out to demonize her, I must say that it’s when Joyce is embarrassing her daughter in front of other people that I don’t like her as much. I didn’t like her talking to this stranger in their house going on about how beautiful she was and why couldn’t she take her daughter out with her and teach her a thing or two? It just bugged me.
• Reptile: Don’t you love how it took hours to do the investigation of the frat boys, the trial, and the conviction? Wow, the justice system moves swiftly in Sunnydale… and the victims don’t even have to be questioned by the police!
• Halloween: Again, watch how Joss undermines the baddie at the beginning of the episode: The Big Bad is so menacing he can’t even remember to charge the batteries when they’re low for his all-important video.
• When Oz tells Cordelia she’s like a great big cat (I don’t know why that line makes me laugh every time, but it does) look on the locker behind her, and you’ll see a big WP sticker. Rumour among the Buffy fans throughout the series was that the recurring WP sticker was short for “Willow Power.”
• Ethan leaves a note for Ripper that says, “Be Seeing You,” a reference to the late 60s TV show, The Prisoner (a show often referenced on Lost.

And now it is my very happy pleasure to introduce you to Christopher Lockett. Despite him being an assistant professor at Memorial University in Newfoundland for the past five and a half years, I didn’t actually meet him at Slayage. Chris and I first met when we were both taking our Masters degree in English Lit at the University of Toronto. We were in the same Victorian Literature and Gender course and we both arrived early one day. As we sat outside the classroom on the bench, I made some comment to him about the class, he laughed and answered with a line from The Simpsons. I looked up, responded with another line from The Simpsons… and a long friendship was born predicated on pop culture, literature, Monty Python (any British humour, really), and Buffy. And Lost, and The Wire, and Deadwood… OK, on a lot of stuff. He went on to do his PhD at UWO (which is where I’d done my undergrad) and becoming a director of various Shakespearean plays before moving out to the Rock to become a prof. I went on to write companion guides to TV shows. Each of us was envious of the other’s job.

He is currently at work on a book on HBO’s vision of America (he wrote an essay on HBO's "Rome" that appears in the Journal of Film and Television that is pictured here), and writes a regular column at FlowTV.org as well as a personal blog, An Ontarian in Newfoundland. He vows to come to Ontario to visit me more often.

Read to the end of Chris’s excellent analysis of this week’s episodes (with a focus on Halloween, natch) for a fun vampire-themed activity on his blog! There are a few spoilers ahead, so be prepared for white, but I’ll repost the full spoiler-filled post on the spoiler forum below if you’d like to read it without the white space, and with one crucial picture (warning: it’s a spoiler if you haven’t watched Angel Season 2).

“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, Stephenie 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 Xander's 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.

[go to the spoiler forum below to see the photo that should be posted here]

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.


Thank you, Chris! And I wanted to add that if you go here on Christopher’s blog, you’ll find the vampire cage matches, which began last summer, and then halted at a very crucial moment…

Here, in Chris’s words, is how it began: "The cage matches started when I took a bunch of my students out for drinks after the exam, and they took turns ripping into Twilight. I speculated on who would win in a fight between Edward Cullen and Spike (the answer is obvious), and one of them said "Hey, you should write that!" At the time, an online SF magazine was staging fantasy cage matches to the death between the heroes of SF and fantasy novels, so I borrowed that model and did it with vampires. It stalled at the semifinals for various reasons, and so has been on hiatus for some time ... but I've been wanted to finish it off for a while, and this seems like a great time to kick start it again!"

So, who would win in a cage match between Spike and Angel, or Eric Northman and Blade? (Please let’s get Spike and Eric in a cage together… with me included?) Go here to join in the fun and vote.

Next week: The lovely and talented Cynthea Masson writes about Lie to Me and The Dark Age. And Ripper is back…


Marebabe said...

It’s often said that “Buffy” is mostly all about growing up, and I really saw that in a big way in “Inca Mummy Girl”. More than once I was reminded of “Sixteen Candles”, when Willow and Buffy both observed how quickly Ampata was fitting in. Remember when Samantha in “Sixteen Candles” said, “The Donger is here for five hours, and he’s got someone. I live here my whole life, and I’m like a disease.” Ah, the pain. The adolescent angst!

I liked seeing Seth Green show up in the cast, but it’ll be some time before I am not instantly reminded of Scott Evil or Chris Griffin whenever I see him. I need to get to know this Oz character.

I loved Willow’s Eskimo costume, but that harpoon! These days, if a kid innocently carries a pocketknife to school, they’ll wrestle him to the ground, expel him from school, and maybe press criminal charges. The nineties were evidently a much more lenient time!

I used to skip the end credits, but I now let them roll so I can see the Mutant Enemy monster go stomping across the screen. I love his menacing “Grrr! Argh!” Anyway, in the end credits for “Inca Mummy Girl”, I noticed “Peru Man” and “Peruvian Boy”. An odd detail to notice, but I think it’s an odd inconsistency. I just want to fix it, and make them both “Peruvian”. I can’t help it.

At the beginning of “Reptile Boy”, as soon as I saw the brown-robed frat boys chasing the girl, I thought the Omegas (from “Animal House”) had graduated from “Thank you, sir, may I have another!” It’s like everything I see reminds me of some movie.

My suspension of disbelief was tested in this episode by A) the thought that ANYONE would tolerate Cordelia’s shallowness, meanness, and her quest to marry money, and B) that anyone as beautiful as Buffy could ever be a neglected wallflower in a room full of horndog frat boys! Sorry. I’m not buying it. Nor am I buying the news item that Xander was reading aloud, apparently the next morning: “They’ve all been sentenced to consecutive life sentences.” What, is Judge Dredd patrolling the streets of Sunnydale?

In “Halloween”, my favorite line was Willow saying, “She couldn’t have dressed like Xena?” Fabulous! And I love how Oz is so smitten with Willow. This episode was a great showcase for Xander and Giles, who got to do some really different stuff for a change. Everyone’s characters are growing and evolving, and I can’t wait to learn more. Getting to know them is intriguing, entertaining, and fun!

Suzanne said...

To Marebabe, your Sixteen Candles reference is great! You had me smiling just remembering that scene, and it is reminiscent of this Buffy episode.

AEC said...

I thought this was a great week!

I'm really hoping that band boy who has a crush on Willow will finally meet her for real- I was very excited to see someone taking an interest in Willow! And I especially loved that he noticed her when she was in her adorable Eskimo outfit!

And poor Xander, why does he always seem to be in the middle of things? Whenever some girl likes him, you can pretty much count on her to be the bad guy.

I love, love, loved the Halloween episode! I was kind of surprised at the beginning when the vamps showed up on the video camera. For some reason I would have expected them not to show up on film...

I was also very jealous of Buffy's princess dress- I'm usually not a very 'girly girl' but I've always wanted to dress up in one of those big, beautiful gowns!

I also loved the part where Willow came through the walls of the library as a ghost and Giles dropped all the cards!

Page48 said...

I read somewhere on the internet that the WP stickers were a reference to the jam band "Widespread Panic".

I've never checked out their stuff, but I suspect they have nothing on the Stafford Singers.

Anonymous said...

Inca Mummy Girl - I questioned, since Cordy has a book with photos of all the exchange students, why Buffy didn't want to look up Ampata since she was so interested. Or why Xander didn't. Were copies available for all the students? Then again, it would have been a short episode.

Where does the bodyguard come from? Is he mystical? Does he get paid by the tour? (Yes, we know our Mummy can come to life but she's a big money-maker.)

Where did the Mummy get her lovely Incan outfit? All the clothes in the luggage were boy stuff.

Yes, lots of continuity and logic errors in this one. She tells Buffy she doesn't have any lipstick in a scene following the one where she's putting on lipstick.

I do really like this episode, though. There's some genuine feeling between the Mummy and Xander. Again, another more dimensional monster. And she reminds me a bit of Rogue.

If you listen to Greenwalt's commentary on Reptile Boy, you'll see that they're watching an Indian soap opera, not a Bollywood movie. I'm a Bollywood fan, but thank goodness for subtitles.

Giles seems to be taking on more of a fatherly role than just a Watcher one. "Don't dawdle with your friends."

I find that line "When you kiss me I want to die" incredibly lame and not in the least empowering. And David's acting is still pretty insipid. This is perhaps one reason I could never be a Bangel.

Cordy tells Buffy not to wear black to the party, but she does anyway. I wonder about the discussion when she got into Queen C's car.

When Buffy found the bracelet in the cemetery, why didn't she assume it was the result of a vampire attack? I know it wasn't, but isn't that an obvious assumption?

I've met Robin at conventions. Machida was supposed to have lines but couldn't talk in the costume. And if you really want to give him an acceptable sacrifice - offer him a TWIX bar.

I was surprised that Cordy mentioned Bizarro World. I wouldn't have taken her for a Superman fan.

Halloween - Snyder is so twisted he thinks bobbing for apples is delinquent behaviour.

The timing seemed odd. Who trick-or-treats at 4pm? Even when I was little we wouldn't go out before 5. No point starting until the candy is out.

Cordy was so checking out Army Xander's shoulders. That's okay. So was I.

Marebabe said...

@redeem: Regarding exactly WHEN trick-or-treating takes place, I've found that different communities have different customs. In Wichita, Kansas, my hometown, kids and their parents always wait until it's dark, or at least dusk, for the eager ones. But we lived on Long Island, New York one Halloween, and trick-or-treating happened at around 3:00 in the afternoon. It was a safety thing. People there just didn't feel safe going out after dark.

@AEC: I agree about the huge, lovely gown. Playing dress-up is fun, and I've always loved the feel of big, full skirts. I guess I'm a girly-girl!

Lesley C said...

Oh, what a good week! Halloween was brilliant!

@Redeem: You mentioned so many things I noticed as well! I, too, wondered about the Incan bodyguard. I also hated the "When you kiss me I want to die" line. Blech. And I wondered what Cordelia said when Buffy showed up wearing black against orders. ;)

Other random thoughts:

From 2.4 -

The mummy had already fed on the soul of one victim (what's-his-name who defaced museum artifacts) so why was she still in mummy form when she kissed Ampata at the bus station?

Is Oz's appearance viewed with as much delight by the re-watchers as Spikes appearance last week?

From 2.5 -

Giles gives Buffy a lot of crap about not taking her Slayer duties seriously. Could we infer that if she had been patrolling the night Callie almost escaped from the frat boys Buffy would have seen her? And possibly been able to save her?

The whole drugs in the drink scenario was a little too creepy for me. Shudder.

From 2.6 -

Great question by AEC: If vampires don't have reflections, how would they show up on video? And how would they shave? J/K!

Will we learn more about Drusilla's visions?

I got the feeling that the costume shop owner was a creep-o as soon as he gave Buffy a "deal" on the dress.

CanNOT wait to learn more about Ripper... and Giles' (apparently) complicated history! I'm also looking forward to seeing more of Ethan Rayne (I thought at first Ethan and Rupert might have been brothers...).

The Question Mark said...

"Inca Dummy Girl" and "Reptile Boy" may have been Freak of the Week episodes, but Whedon & his crack team of creators certainly have a way of keeping them interesting and fun, so I've got no complaints here.

"Halloween" was genius. What a brilliant idea, making everyone turn into whatever costume they were wearing!
of course, the most exciting aprt of it for me was meeting Ethan Rayne, and learning that there actually is a Murdoc to Giles' MacGuyver! I like this rivalry already, and I hope it goes on for the rest of the series.

Missy said...

I can't speak for everyone but
14yrs later I still get Giddy watching 'Inca Mummy Girl' because of Seth Green.

Efthymia said...

Echoing Nikki:

@Lesley C: Oz in general doesn't generate the same excitement as Spike, but I personally adore him! The fact that when I was a teenager Seth Green was a huge crush of mine (I'm a strange person...) has something to do with it, but I love Oz as a character anyway.

"Inca Mummy Girl": First Oz appearance, therefore some happiness, but the episode has quite a few faults. Mainly, for me, the mummy communicating so well - OK, she listened a lot, but how can she know the visual representation of what she has heard throughout the years? And once again I have an issue with the what-happens-next-that-we-aren't-shown regarding the real Ampata: Aren't his people back home going o be looking for him? Didn't the school notice anything?
I do love how natural fake-Ampata's laugh is when she is with Xander.

"Reptile Boy": This for me is one of my least favourite BtVS episodes, but that Greg Vaughn (Richard) is really really ridiculously good-looking!

"Halloween": This episode, I do love! I have been covered by most previous comments, I'd just like to add that I find it very amusing that Cordelia doesn't believe that Angel is a vampire.
Giles I love to death anyway, Ripper past or not.
Something unrelated to the episode: I'm pretty sure the boy that turns into the red demon/monster/whatever is the animal reaper in Dead Like Me, but since he is not credited I can't check it and it's been really bugging me!

Lisa(until further notice) said...

"Inca Mummy Girl". At first memory, I really didn't want to rewatch this episode. But then it started and I was reminded that it is so witty and rich in character development. OZ!!! Love him, but not the mustache. I adore Xander in his south of the border-Clint Eastwood inspired-spaghetti western costume. Willow is adorable in her Eskimo costume. Buffy makes white trash look good.
JONATHAN. Cordy can really be too much of a bitca sometimes. I was reminded of the John Cusack movie, "Better off Dead" and poor Monique who was Little Rickie's exchange student. Cordy would talk to him the way Rickie's mom would talk to Monique: squishing her face and yelling "FRAUNCH FRIES". I need to watch that movie again soon.

I've got nothing on "Reptile Boy" but this. How on earth was that thing going to eat those girls with that ridiculously small mouth? Also, sometimes I tire of Buffy's low self esteem (seeing Angel with Cordy @ the Bronze and again at the frat party). Is it just me?

"Halloween" was a wonderful episode. I love Cordy running up to Buffy with some real concern, "Buffy, are you ok?" one second, and then general disdain in the next, "enough with the clingy" or something along that line. I think I also swooned when Angel picked Buffy up to get her out of the alley. Totally diggin' soldier Xander, the upper body, the tough guy fighting, and the attitude in general. Cordy saw it too :).

Well, that was fun. Now back to reality.......

JavaChick said...

I always love those first sightings of Oz and Halloween is one of my all time favorite Buffy episodes. Fantastic week of rewatch-ing!

Unknown said...

I find the continuity errors in Inca Mummy Girl and Reptile Boy annoying. I worked in the museum field and I'm so sure they have this ancient mummy just out, uncovered, in the middle of the exhibit! Also, like no one else noticed the braces after she life-force sucks Rodney? Finally, I also agree about the makeup--she doesn't have lipstick, and every other scene prior she has full, heavy makeup on? I call BS on that.

I think in "Reptile Boy" we see a bit more of Cordelia's insecurity and complexity. I just love her line reading of "I just. . .HATE you guys!" when they rescue her. Absolutely priceless.

Also a great acting moment is AH's line in "Inca Mummy Girl" when she says "Well, I didn't choose yet" when she and Buffy are talking about Xander's attraction to other women. Absolutely heartbreaking. And relateable for anyone who has been stuck in an unrequited crush.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize anyone would trick or treat before dark. We always had to wait until Dad was home to take us out (which would explain the high school students helping). But in homes where both parents work, who would hand out the candy that early?

For early Seth Green/Alyson Hannigan, check out My Stepmother is an Alien.

I would assume vampires would shave the way blind people do.

Nikki Stafford said...

Hello everyone! First of all, I should say that yes, the appearance of Oz does elicit a lot of excitement from the rewatchers. Perhaps not quite as much as Spike, but a lot. I ADORE him. Adore. And I can't say why or anything more than that for fear of spoilers, so I'll leave it there.

Re: how the vampires shave: I always wondered how Angel got his hair moussed and coiffed just so?

Marebabe: Great Sixteen Candles reference. Re: Willow's harpoon: she's actually in the Bronze when she's wearing it, not at school, so maybe they allow it there. ;) (it wouldn't be the weirdest weapon they've seen!)

Lisa: AH!! Oh my goodness, I can't believe you just referenced "Better Off Dead"!!!! That's one of my favourite movies from the 80s; I've seen it so many times I've lost count. "We'll serve Fraunch fries, Fraunch bread, and Fraunch dressing!" ;)

And to think... Ricky went on to create iCarly. ;)

I agree, by the way, with redeem questioning the early trick-or-treating time. I also thought it seemed very dark at 6pm, but then again, maybe LA gets as dark as Toronto does at that time. But yes, I also agree with her question about who's actually around at 3pm to hand out candy? Do you just hit retirement homes?

Nikki Stafford said...

Page48: Yes, the stickers are actually Widespread Panic ones (I probably should have mentioned that!) I could be wrong on this, but it might have actually been Alyson, way back when she used to chat on the message boards with fans, who said what they stood for. Fans still loved to speculate the double-meaning of Willow Power, and watch how they'll always feature more prominently in episodes where Willow really stands up for herself. ;)

(And you're right; they've got nuthin' on the Staffords.) ;)

Nikki Stafford said...

EBeth: LOL! I totally agree about the museum comments. My husband and I were making the same comments throughout, even though we've both seen this ep a bazillion times. The mummy case is open? And no one noticed the plate was broken? And Giles could sit, unsupervised, for hours on the floor gluing an ancient plate together and no one would ask him what the hell he's doing? Who's running this museum, that hyena guy from the zoo? ;)

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Nikki...thank you for the full line from BOD. It's my mom and stepdad's favorite movie. I love the reindeer costumes and all the TV dinners wrapped up as gifts.

I also noticed that when Giles is gluing the plate back together, parts of it from the underside are sparkling white, brand new, and the larger piece is all old and dirty looking.

I love Oz on BtVS like I love Daniel on Lost.

Suzanne said...

Halloween is definitely one of the funniest episodes. The little boys who turned into real demons and grinned so devilishly to one another and later followed Spike and his gang with glee really cracked up my son and I so much every time we saw them!

Beth said...

Once I realized that Snyder & the police were in collusion over what was REALLY happening in Sunnydale ("School Hard"--"The usual story? Gang related? PCP?"), I just started chalking up all insane administrative (police, museum guards, etc.) behavior to the "Sunnydale effect."

Anonymous said...

re: early darkness - i just watched the next two episodes and without wanting to run ahead or spoil anything, somebody there looks at his watch and says: "6.27. sunset."
i guess with sunnydale being hellmouth and all the sun doesn't have to behave normally there:)

JS said...

Holloween was fun

Giles: I enjoy cross referencing


Sara D. said...

I remember watching "Halloween" after being told by friends that "the series really gets into its groove about halfway through season 2." After seeing "Halloween," I knew I had reached that point, and I was just overwhelmed with excitement about the awesomeness that was sure to ensue!