Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 11: Spoiler Forum

As always, welcome to the spoiler portion of this week's rewatch, where you can openly talk about the episodes in the context of the whole series without worrying about spoiling anything for anyone. I don't have much to add here this week except to ask about Willow's interrogation of Jonathan: interesting how he think she's on to him and the "evil" that he perpetrated, but when she asks him outright if he'd conjured up something to turn the swim team into horrible creatures, he looks perplexed, and says he'd simply peed in the pool. He thought he'd done something terrible, but Willow showed him there was so much more he could have done. Could this have planted the seed in his head that the world really CAN accommodate evil geniuses? Could this have been the moment when the Troika was first formed in his head?

While I'm enjoying discussing this week's episode, I can't wait for Becoming. Squeee!!!


Witness Aria said...

Excellent analysis, Ian, as usual! I like that idea of life goes on in its sometimes banal ways even in the face of the big problems in life. It's also why Joss included the vampire attack in the Body episode. That was a great connection.

I love IOHEFY so much. It took me a couple of times through to really realize that Buffy was identifying with James from the start. She never saw herself as the victimized teacher, but the victimizer.

Something about that aspect of her character strikes home for me, making her real, making her a hero. She's not feeling victimized, even though she has been, she's feeling guilty for what she did to Angel, turning him into Angelus through her own moment of passion. I think she takes on too much guilt, seeing as she couldn't have known what would happen, but the fact that she takes that burden on herself instead of asking for sympathy for her own wounds that came out of the whole situation, that aspect of her personality makes her real, complex, and the first fictional woman I've ever truly identified with.

I have trouble articulating why that affects me so deeply, but it is just a wonderful example of what a spectacular character Buffy Summers is. What a beautiful, haunting episode.

Otherwise this week, I love Xander being identified as Buffy's white knight. But it's in the sense of his relating to Buffy as a leader, not as a courtly lady. So true, even moving on to the comics, he's her right-hand man always.

Go Fish has fun moments, but I still don't get much out of it, placement problems or no. But the idea Ian raised of metamorphosis from within is nicely relevant to the season and the series as a whole, so I abide.

Next week, awesomeness.

Anonymous said...

Angel lying on top of Cordy the way he is makes me think of things to come. Or at least things he will wish happened.

Once again, Joyce doesn't react to the mention of vampires.

When Cordy says, "Tact is just not saying true stuff" it makes me think of Anya. I think Xander has a 'type'.

Verification word "gonich" - rhymes with Go Fish. :)

Angie Hart is singing in the Bronze in IOHEFY. She'll also sing in Conversations With Dead People and in the Firefly episode Heart of Gold.

Willow is asked (in Go Fish) to compromise her principles by an authority figure. That can't be good for her moral development.

Not only will Jonathan turn to the dark side, he'll become a demon caller - the thing Willow accuses him of.

Unknown said...

Witness Aria--wow! You said it so much better than I could, but I feel exactly the same way about IOHEFY. I love the episode and think it is way better than people give it credit for. It's complex and I totally see what you do--that the episode is about her guilt at turning Angelus, and how affecting the episode is, and how she is a complex and identifiable character. Well said--my words are gobbledygook.

Tom D. said...

I really like Cordy's scenes with Giles and Xander in Killed By Death. Giles, seemingly by accident, insults the hell out of her by pointing out that gift-giving is "customary among ... um, people."

She's sexy and confident (as she reminds us by humorously seducing the security guard), but somehow has made the masochistic decision to keep dating a guy who is not just badly dressed, poor, and dorky, but who can't keep his eyes of Buffy's ass even when Cordy's around.

Maybe, in some sense, Cordy's love life is serving as a comedic version of Buffy's love life. They both get involved in these improbable romances with their natural enemies (prom queen:dork :: slayer:vampire) which cause them pain, although the pain of dating Xander is akin to a comedic pratfall whereas Buffy's story with Angel/us is gothic tragedy. The contrast between the two keeps the show in balance.

Xander also acts like a comedic version of Angel/us in BBB: he wants to break Cordy's heart just for the fun of it, like Angelus toying with Buffy's emotions. Also, his turn to the dark side makes him suddenly much more charismatic in the eyes of the female population of Sunnydale, kind of like how Angelus is much more charismatic than Angel in the eyes of the viewers.

See also The Replacement, in which Xander at first seems to be split into good and evil versions of himself.

I hope this made some sense, I'm a bit sleepy right now...

Witness Aria said...

EBethToThePowerOf?: Not hardly. Loved your comment on the other thread. Glad to be in such good company.

Suzanne said...

Did anyone else notice the way that I Only Have Eyes for You foreshadowed what is coming in Becoming Part 2? IOHEFY is really a new favorite of mine after this rewatch since the scene with Buffy and Angelus re-enacting James and the teacher's scene has so many layers. The idea that Buffy is carrying around guilt since she "robbed" Angel of his soul with her impulsive act being a parallel to James's act of murder has already been mentioned in the other forum. However, I also see foreshadowing in her statements to Giles about forgiveness since we all know that she will kill Angel in Becoming. In fact, if you look at the way the scene in IOHEFY plays out, the way that Buffy and Angel are standing and reaching out after she shoots him are very similar to what will come in Becoming Part II.

As Witness Aria mentions, Buffy is an incredibly complex character, and I love her for it. By adding such depth to the layers of symbolism, parallel, and even foreshadowing in an episode like IOHEFY, Joss and Co. can't help but create some of the most layered characters one can see on TV. As many of you have pointed out here, even a small character like Jonathon is having more and more added to his character and to the interactions he has with other characters like Willow, all of which definitely contribute to what we see of him in the future.

Austin Gorton said...

Ian, nice job finding thematic resonance amongst three seemingly-standalone episodes. Very interesting.

"Eyes" is probably my favorite "non epic" season two episode (that is, an episode that isn't "Surprise", "Innocence", "Passions", or "Becoming"). It manages to tell a full story that has ramifications on the characters in the course of an hour, and I really like the gender inversion of Buffy and Angel. Plus, Spike rising from the wheelchair is one of the best "whomp!" endings to an episode.

@Nikki: And yes… I understand the irony here that I have no problem with the swim team turning into sea creatures but I do have a problem with the practicality of Willow being a substitute teacher.

Don't worry, Nikki, I've always had the same problems. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief a bit, but I've always wanted to know more about the mechanics of how, exactly, that came about and works in the context of the school.

Ian said...

@Teebore Thank you!

I agree with your thoughts on IOHEFY. I think it is a perfect example of what kind of episode works best between the epic pillars that characterize this season.

Tom D. said...

This is really belated, but don't you feel bad for the janitor who shoots and kills the teacher while possessed? He's probably going to spend the rest of his life in prison or a mental institution.

Also, I love Witness Aria's comment about the significance of Buffy identifying with James.