Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 15

3.7 Revelations
Lover’s Walk
The Wish

This week’s trio of Buffy episodes were about pain, pain, heartbreak, pain, SPIKE, one of the best what-if scenarios I’ve seen, WILLOW AND XANDER AS VAMPIRES WHAT?!, pain, love, loss, one of the cruelest camera tricks I’ve ever seen, pain, and more pain. Love these three.

“Revelations” is the first episode where we see a break between Faith and Buffy. There’s clearly some tension between them, but despite us siding with Buffy because we’ve been through so much with her, the writers do create a lot of sympathy for Faith. That dingy motel room, the comments about her mother dying, her inability to connect with everyone (unless it’s with Xander out of a mutual hatred) and her harsh exterior and vulnerability are all adding up to one helluva character development (and yes, I hope this isn’t considered a spoiler, but she will go in amazing directions this season). Xander once again goes back to being the ass he was in “Dead Man’s Party”... there’s just something about the way he does it, that voice, the inflection, those eyes, the flair, the way he pulls out that chair for Buffy to sit in it with not-very-well-hidden delight... Nick Brendon plays him so wonderfully in these scenes. And yet while there are moments where I’m yelling, “Shut UP Xander” at the television, my disappointment in him never lasts long. I love that character too much to hold a grudge.

For me, the moment that always stands out in “Revelations” (other than Faith kicking Angel’s ass, an image that I always coincide mentally with that ep title) is Giles talking to Buffy in his library study. Xander once again likes to publicly humiliate Buffy, relishing in bringing her down while knowing he’s also doing something behind everyone’s back; Willow attempts her “I” statements and wants to help; Oz backs up Willow; Cordy is, once again, Cordy. But just as he did in “Dead Man’s Party,” Giles refuses to join the “let’s beat up on Buffy bandwagon,” and instead he keeps things one-on-one. His words are not meant to humiliate Buffy, but to wake her up to the reality of what she’s doing. When he tells her that she has no respect for him or the job he does, it hurts me every time. She stands there silently, and knows that he’s right. All the Xander insults in the world won’t make her turn her back on Angel, but knowing how Giles feels might.

“Lover’s Walk” features the brief return of our beloved Spike and his now infamous line, “I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it.” In this episode, every pairing falls apart. Xander and Willow take things too far and get caught, and thus endeth their fling along with their relationships with Oz and Cordelia. Buffy says goodbye to Angel, and in the midst of everyone else’s misery, Spike realizes what a wanker he looks like and vows to go it alone. Who needs Drusilla? (Oh Spike... we look forward to you coming back again someday!)

Some notes:
• Pez witch!!
• I loved Giles momentarily believing Buffy when she says her mom’s head spun around after seeing Buffy’s SAT results (who’d have thunk Buffy was the savant?)
• Spike returning in a drunken, bastardized version of his first arrival, hahahaha!! (Watch for a twist on that Welcome to Sunnydale sign falling over in season 7.)
• Did you notice the magic shop owner was the woman who played the phony psychic in “Tricia Tanaka Is Dead” on Lost? (She also worked at the employment agency in the sideways world in season 6.)
• Spike pouring his heart out to Joyce makes me laugh every time... I love that he’s using the same words he used to tell Willow, like he’s one of those weepy lovelorn people telling the same story over and over and over again. The scene becomes even better when Angel shows up at the door and Spike stands behind Joyce, taunting him by pretending he’s going to bite her. Oh Spike, I ♥ you and your wacky serial killing.
• Spike: “Oh god... we killed a homeless man on this bench!” LOL! (Drusilla must have had a thing for homeless men... remember the one she said who got stuck in her teeth?)
• That cut to the funeral – making us think Cordelia was dead – is one of the cruellest jokes the writers have ever played. The first time this episode aired I screamed loudly and freaked out completely... to the point where I didn’t actually HEAR Buffy and Willow saying she was OK. When we backed up the tape (yes, I was recording it on VHS back then) and realized what had happened, we laughed. But it was nervous, confused laughter. Joss you are evil.
• Notice how Buffy never flaunts Xander’s indiscretion to him in a cruel way despite everything he’s said about her love life.
• “Bored now.” One of my fave lines from the entire series. (I even bought my daughter a shirt that said that... the daycare workers used to wonder what exactly the statement on the 2-year-old’s shirt referred to!)

“The Wish” is hands down one of my favourite Buffy episodes. It’s sad, poignant, and that slow-mo ending (God, they ALWAYS get me with the slow-mo!!) brings me to tears every... single... time. What makes this so powerful is that relationships that are so meaningful to us as viewers (as a result of watching those relationships develop over three years) simply vanish, replaced by new relationships between the same characters. That end scene is amazing, where we see Oz angrily dispense with Willow, Buffy thoughtlessly shoving a stake into Xander, and Angel turned to dust before Buffy’s eyes as she not only doesn’t care, but walks through the dust to her next kill. In another life, these paths don’t cross, making you wonder if, in another life, that stranger who passed you on the street could have been your best friend.

But not everything is different in the other world. Willow and Xander, the two people who have hurt Cordelia the most in the primary reality, are the two who kill her in this one. Vamp Willow throws matches at Angel’s chest, and in the primary reality she was the one who re-ensouled him, creating a different kind of burning in his chest... that of love and remorse. Larry from S2 (the guy who came out to Xander after bullying him relentlessly) is a white-hat along with Oz and Giles, and all three of these guys are the good ones in our reality. Buffy is a mix of Faith (tough on the exterior, wearing army pants) and Kendra (“I don’t play well with others,” getting the job done and moving on), and there’s very little of the Buffy we’ve come to know and love still there, making one wonder exactly what terrible thing happened to her in Cleveland. The soaring music at the end of the episode always gets to me, especially when Anya challenges Giles by saying, “How do you know the other world is any better than this one?” and Giles responds in a desperate voice, “Because it has to be”... just as Buffy’s neck is broken by the Master. It’s a scene that still makes the hairs on my neck stand on end. Gorgeous, gorgeous writing.

This week we have two guests, and the first one is new to the rewatch. I first met Suzie Gardner when she sent me a proposal in late 2009 for a book on the TV show Glee. About a week before or after (I can’t exactly remember the order now) I got a proposal from someone named Erin Balser for a Glee book. Both of them had great proposals, and I remembered thinking if I could just convince them to do a mashup of their ideas, we’d have a fantastic book. And then I thought what the hell, let’s ask... so I did, and they did, and the book was awesome. The book, Don’t Stop Believin’: The Unofficial Guide to Glee, came out last fall and if you’re a Gleek, there’s no better book out there. Aside from her blog, Gleeks United, Suzie has written for Quill & Quire, Imprint, and Sweetspot. She was filmed as an expert on Glee for a British documentary on the show. She is also well-versed in the marketing world, particularly with social media and online promotional techniques, with experience publicizing everything from books, to conferences, to mayoral candidates. When she’s not busy writing or twittering at @suziegardner, you’ll likely find her with her nose deep in a book or her mouth stuffed with a cupcake. When I was initially putting together my eclectic cast of wonderful people for this rewatch, I thought of her, but wasn’t sure if she watched the show. We were at a literary launch together, and I asked her and she went completely nuts with happiness. So I’m so glad she’s a part of it, and watch for her in a couple more weeks when she’ll cover the other side of “The Wish” in her write-up for “Doppelgangland.” Take it away, Suzie!

“Just Friends”: Buffy/Angel and Willow/Xander in “Revelations” and “Lover’s Walk”
(and also some commentary on “The Wish”)

“You’re not friends. You’ll never be friends. You’ll be in love ‘til it kills you both. You’ll fight, and you’ll shag, and you’ll hate each other ‘til it makes you quiver, but you’ll never be friends. Love isn’t brains, children, it’s blood – blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it.”
— Spike, “Lover’s Walk”

“What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.”
— Harry, When Harry Met Sally

It seems a bit strange to pair the two together, but it seems that Spike and When Harry Met Sally’s Harry are two of pop culture’s most astute commentators on male-female relationships. Really.

In “Revelations” and “Lover’s Walk,” the show’s romantic relationships take centre stage as both Buffy and Angel and Willow and Xander try to remain “just friends,” despite both pairings’ instincts to act otherwise. Both couples are also entranced by the forbidden aspect of their relationships – Buffy and Angel know that if their relationship goes too far, there could be disastrous consequences, and Willow and Xander know that if their secret gets out, they’ll be breaking both Oz and Cordelia’s hearts. Relationships are always complicated on Buffy, particularly when there’s a supernatural element involved, but what makes the drama in these two episodes ring particularly true is that the complications boil down to the most basic question: Are you friends, or are you lovers?

Due to their romantic history, Buffy and Angel really don’t stand a chance at the whole “let’s just be friends” thing. They were star-crossed lovers from the get-go, and despite the risk of Angelus returning should Buffy “give him a happy,” these two aren’t ever going to be buddies. Spike’s speech in the magic shop (as quoted above) is dead-on accurate, and at least he’s man enough to admit that he’s love’s bitch. Angel may be in his 240s, but he’s still incredibly teenager-esque when it comes to his relationship with Buffy. It’s remarkable how these two can be so mature when saving the world, yet so youthfully naive when dealing with matters of the heart. Whether they like it or not, Buffy and Angel are either lovers or enemies, but nothing in between.

Willow and Xander, however, are a very different story, because they were friends first. And they still are friends...they’re just also secret lovers. Watching this storyline is always one of the most painful ones for me – part of me is cheering for Willow and Xander for finally mutually realizing their feelings for each other, while the other part of me is crying for Oz and Cordy. This storyline is a perfect example of how well Joss Whedon understands high school relationships and all their messiness. Although Buffy and Angel may have trouble establishing if they’re friends or lovers, viewers can tell that given their history, they’re much more likely to fall on the love side of the line – Willow and Xander, on the other hand, aren’t that clear-cut. Friendships that blossom into romance are always risky, especially when it’s a friendship that’s been around as long as Willow and Xander’s. The line between being friends and being lovers is completely blurred for these two, and Joss makes it clear that the mess that they’ve gotten into definitely isn’t going to be an easy one to get out of.

Now, let’s travel back to Spike and Harry. Both of their musings on men, women and sex are perfectly applicable to the more straightforward Buffy/Angel relationship, and, although their relationship is more complicated, Harry’s message rings particularly true for Willow/Xander, as well. Harry thinks that men and women can’t resist their hormones, and for a pair of confused teenagers, this couldn’t be more accurate. Spike and Harry: relationship gurus.

And now for something completely different!

Originally, I chose this set of episodes because of my love for VampWillow...but then I got to thinking about the relationships in the other episodes instead. So, here I go making a few quick notes about “The Wish”:
- Is there anyone who doesn’t love VampWillow’s “Bored now!”? “Bored now” and “Five by five” are my two favourite Buffyisms to quote in real life.
- One of the most interesting parts of this episode for me is the characterization of our favourite Scoobies in the alternate universe. I see Willow as being very Drusilla-like, Xander as the Spike to Willow’s Dru, and Buffy as a blend of Faith and Kendra with her jaded, hardcore-slayer ways. Giles, interestingly, is probably the most similar to his real world self, with his endless optimism and faith in a better world.
- Also interesting to note is who kills who in the final battle scene: Oz kills Willow, a reversal from Willow shooting Oz with the stun gun in “Phases”; and Buffy kills Xander, an interesting choice considering that Xander was the one that brought Buffy back to life at the end of season 1.
- The reference to Cordy’s “come bite me” outfit feels particularly relevant right now, in light of the recent comments from a Toronto police officer, suggesting that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. Toronto’s answer to this was an event called SlutWalk Toronto – what could we call the vampire biting alternative that Cordy should lead?

Thank you, Suzie! And now on to Stacey Abbott, who I’ve been working closely with over the last month as I edited her new collection of Supernatural essays (of which she is the co-editor along with David Lavery). Stacey last joined us on the Rewatch when she talked about “Bad Eggs,” “Surprise,” and “Innocence.” **As before, for the rewatchers, if you see a section where a sentence stops and white space follows, that's because I've covered a spoiler for the first-timers. If you take your mouse and highlight the white space, you'll see the words I was covering up. (This is the invisible ink I was referring to in a previous post.) There are a few of those sections in the following essay.

The Vamps are Back
Stacey Abbott

In my previous entry for the Great Buffy Rewatch, I mentioned that season 2 was my favourite but season 3 is the best. As I rewatch this season, I stand by that assertion. With Buffy surrounded by Giles, Angel, Willow, Xander, Cordelia, and Oz, the ensemble cast is at its strongest. These are carefully developed and complex characters who share bonds that will fortify them against the senior year traumas ahead (demons, vampires, Prom, Graduation…you know, the usual). As much as I love Anya, Tara, Spike and Andrew, the season three cast will always represent the show at its peak because they capture high school at its best. They are much like the friends you had when you were in high school, you may grow apart, break up and find new friends, but the memories of them define you and stay with you forever. More importantly each of the actors has grown into these roles so that they stand as three dimensional characters with increasingly complex relationships, all undergoing their own dark journey to graduation. Furthermore, the introduction of Faith provides us with a dark reflection of what Buffy could be like without her friends and family but also serves to expand the slayer mythology, preparing us for the onslaught of potential Slayers in season 7. The Mayor gives us the most charming, disarming and disturbing of Buffy’s Big Bads. In this week’s episodes, we only catch a glimpse of the Mayor in “Lover’s Walk”, but it is tantalising taster for the evil that is to come and it is a pleasure to watch this character unfold slowly but surely.

The standalone demon-of-the-week episodes of season 3, of which this week’s episode are examples, are nicely self-contained and sharply written (no “Bad Eggs” this season) but they also gently sow the seeds of what is to come. Gwendolyn Post is in many ways an easy to forget power hungry human (along the lines of Ethan Rayne but nowhere near as fun) but the way she undermines Giles and manipulates Faith establishes an underlying distrust for the Watchers Council that while not justified in this case will be in season 3’s “Helpless” (3.12) and season 5’s “Checkpoint” (5.12). She also prepares us for the arrival of Faith’s new Watcher, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce who, while being clearly less evil than Post, will actually cause more damage to Faith. Similarly “Lover’s Walk” uses Spike’s observations about Buffy and Angel to comment upon their complicated relationship that will continue to grow more complicated until Angel’s departure for LA in “Graduation Day, Part 2.” “The Wish” introduces Anyanka (aka Anya), a vengeance demon who wants to punish Xander for hurting Cordelia, only to conclude with her being made human where she will eventually replace Cordelia as Xander’s love interest and later suffer her own, even worse, heart break because of Xander. Everything is interconnected.

What this season also does is move Buffy beyond the realm of the vampire and into a broader supernatural landscape. Since season 1, Buffy has confronted numerous supernatural ghosts, demons and monsters but the show’s Big Bads have always been the Vampire – The Master, Darla, Spike, Drusilla, and of course Angelus. This week’s episodes reintroduce the vampire as villain, if only to allow Buffy and her friends to confront them, embody them, and then move past them before facing an even more formidable foe.

“Revelations”, along with next week’s “Amends”, is the episode that allows the Scooby Gang to come to terms with Angel’s return and we are reminded of the trauma he has caused and the damage he has done. Much like for Buffy, it is easy for audiences to forget his crimes because we are pleased Angel is back after the pain of “Becoming Part 2”. But the fear and anger expressed by the Scooby Gang during their intervention of Buffy is a telling reminder that all cannot be forgotten so easily and that Angel has a long way to go to make amends -- a theme that will be returned to in “Amends” and will be a defining theme of Angel (in fact many key elements of Angel are established in season three – too many to list here). In particular, we see a return to the Xander who withheld Willow’s message to Buffy about re-ensouling Angel in “Becoming Part 2”. Blinded by his hatred of Angel/Angelus and his inability to forgive him for the death of Ms. Calendar, Xander sees only a murderer and cannot accept that Angel has changed. He, like the others, is not prepared to see the moral ambiguity that surrounds Angel but by reducing Angel to a simple demon-of-the-week monster to be destroyed by rival slayer Faith, Xander nearly brings about disaster as the gang become blinded to the greater and all too human evil among them. This episode tells us that the real evil of season 3 won’t be so easily spotted and will present itself in the guise of a human figure of authority. [Not able to resist another Angel reference, Xander’s anger at Buffy for consorting with Angel nicely foreshadows Buffy’s fury with Angel and blindness to Faith’s rehabilitation in “Sanctuary” when she finds Angel comforting Faith in LA(Angel 1:19)].

“Lover’s Walk” sees the return of Spike and this glimpse of Spike is a nice segue between the murderous Spike of season two and the increasingly ambiguous, and sympathetic Spike of seasons 4 through 7 (plus season 5 of Angel). He brutally murders the Magic Shop owner, reminding us that he is still a force to be reckoned with [she’s not the first magic shop owner to die violently and won’t be the last begging the question, why would anyone own a magic shop in Sunnydale? Ask Giles]. Later Spike lecherously threatens Willow but also visits Buffy’s Mom. While he taunts Angel by threatening to bite Joyce from behind her back, there is no evidence that he goes there for any other reason than to get a bit of motherly love (not to mention hot chocolate with the little marshmallows) and share his pain about Drusilla. This scene is partly there to remind us how moral tables on Buffy continue to turn (to borrow a sentiment expressed in Angel everyone is born capable of great good and great evil) but it also establishes Spike’s human side in that he demonstrates his developing soft spot for Summers women. Here we see a glimpse of the Spike who will protect Joyce and later Dawn, and will bring flowers to mark Joyce’s death, explaining “I liked the lady…she was decent. She didn’t put on airs. She always had a nice cuppa for me and she never treated me like a freak”. This is the only brief glimpse of Spike in season 3 but it does provide us with some closure to his story line (at least so far) as he drives out of Sunnydale, singing along to Sid Vicious’ “I Did it My Way”.

Finally, we come to “The Wish”, a dark variation on the “It’s a Wonderful Life” formula in which we are provided with a glimpse of what the Master’s Hellmouth version of Sunnydale would have been like if Buffy hadn’t moved to town and stopped him. Much like George Bailey’s alternate Bedford Falls, “The Wish” presents us with a dystopian vision, not because vampires rule or because of the Master’s plans for vampire industrialisation – which doesn’t really make sense as it seems like lot of effort for one wine glass of blood. Instead, it is dystopian because there is no hope. Xander and Willow, the heart and soul of the Scooby Gang, have not only been turned into vampires but rather than find their inner strength through their friendship with Buffy they have escaped their future as lonely nerds and geeks by replacing Luke and Darla as the Master’s favourite, most sadistic vampires. Attempts by the White Hats to protect the town are futile, saving Cordelia only to have her murdered right in front of a helpless Giles a few hours later. Even when Buffy does arrive, she is a bleak version of herself, showing none of the personality and humanity that we expect. She has no interest in uncovering the mystery surrounding Cordelia’s claims about another reality. Instead, she simply looks to kill vamps with an even darker-than-Faith-style pragmatism. What this shows is that it isn’t simply her absence that changes the fate of Sunnydale but rather the absence of the relationships she was destined to forge. These episodes confront us with vampires once more and present a dark vision of our most beloved characters as vampires before we are forced to watch the Scooby Gang destroy each other in an apocalyptic battle to the death. While an alternate reality that is, thankfully, destroyed while innocence and normality is restored, the battle in “The Wish” remains a haunting vision of a potential fate for the Scooby Gang, turning on and destroying each other. The final image of Buffy, Xander, and Willow laughing together, oblivious to their narrowly avoided fate, reminds us that friendship and hope is what keeps apocalypse at bay in Sunnydale.

Next week:
3.10 Amends; 3.11 Gingerbread; 3.12 Helpless, three absolutely stunning episodes. Guest hosts will be Rob Wiersema and the always entertaining Janet/Steve Halfyard.


Marebabe said...

Just a few observations this week. First of all, have they mentioned the “Council” before? (It’s very likely that they have, and I’ve just forgotten.) But now I’m wondering just how organized and governed the Slayer/Watcher business is. And who is sitting at the top, overseeing the whole thing?

There was lots of fighting in “Revelations”. Unfortunately, most of it looked REALLY choreographed. In the same way that there were different writers and directors for the various episodes, I wonder if they had different fight trainers and choreographers. It would explain some of the glaringly obvious dancing around that happened in this episode.

If I stopped to make a note of every quippy line I liked while watching episodes of Buffy, I would never get through them. But I really liked Buffy’s line to Spike in “Lover’s Walk”: “You’re not even a loser anymore. You’re a shell of a loser.” This episode was a real showcase for Spike. I like how he is so in touch with his feelings, even if he is a bit of a whiner. And I never thought I’d see one vampire stake another. They’re not especially loyal to their fellow vamps, I guess.

I agree with you, Nikki. That funeral fake-out near the end was SO NOT FAIR! Way to string us along and get people worked up for no reason!

The burning question I had all through “The Wish” was WHAT is Anya? As near as I could tell, there were two possible answers given in the episode: A) bad fairy or B) Granter of Wishes. (And then I discovered Stacey Abbott’s label of Vengeance Demon. That has a nice ring to it!) I thought this episode was a wonderful twist on “It’s a Wonderful Life”. As soon as Cordelia spoke her wish, I had a bad feeling about it and wondered who-all would be dead because Buffy wasn’t around to save them. They quickly showed us. Vamp Xander and Will were SO like Spike and Dru! What fun they must’ve had playing such different versions of themselves! I enjoyed the heck out of this episode.

JS said...

Really loved this set of episodes. The Wish was really powerful as the relationships we have come to love and rely on are gone. It really evoked sadness for me, and the realization that I really do care about these characters. I will be looking for ways to work in "bored now" into conversation.
I loved Spike and I have to agree that his line about being love's bitch was great.
And I screamed at the television with the fake out funeral. I love Cordy! I felt so hurt on Oz and Cordy's behalf.

I keep watching ahead (just watched The Initiative) so I have a tough time keeping track of what I am not supposed to know yet. I'll have to work on that.

Page48 said...

That Buffy got to stake Xander was very satisfying in light of the way that Xander treats her like crap every 5 minutes. Maybe a stake in the ribs of real Xander every now and then would provide some much needed attitude adjustment.

Giles drives the same junker in the Buffyless Sunnydale.

Spike hasn't changed clothes since he left Sunnydale with Dru. But he has changed his hair.

Boobies hanging on the wall of the Magic Shop. Were they magic boobies?

Buffy calling Giles, Jeeves? I love it.

Giles saying "better world" makes me think of the assassin in "Serenity". Good on Giles to follow up on Cordelia's claim that he was supposed to be Buffy's watcher. Watcher muscles, indeed.

How did dark Buffy get to Sunnydale so fast? Giles only placed the call a minute earlier.

Puppy's chains weren't very restrictive. Seems to me he could have throttled vamp-Willow with ease.

The Mayor practicing his putting with The Masters thingy was very timely, with The Masters being contested this weekend.

"The Wish" was the highlight of these 3 episodes for me, but I loved seeing Spike again (and benefiting from his relationship wisdom), and I always love when BtVS brings the emotional pain as it did in "Lover's Walk".

Sara D. said...

I remember knowing that Cordelia wasn't dead when I watched "Lover's Walk," because I knew she was later on "Angel." Still, I can imagine how shocking that must have been for viewers at the time! Almost as cruel as a few certain jokes the writers play come season 6!

I heard that Joss's original vision was for the Big Bad to be a vampire every season, and that the original Big Bad for season 3 was going to be Mr. Trick. Is this true, does anyone know? I'm so glad they took the show in the not-just-vampires direction instead, because it opens the door for so many great Big Bads down the line!

Tom D. said...

Marebabe asked: Have they mentioned the "Council" before?

In Faith, Hope & Trick, Giles talks wistfully about how he has never been invited to the annual watchers' retreat in the Cotswolds. That never made any sense to me, but at any rate it does strongly imply the existence of an organization of watchers.

We also previously heard about Kendra's watcher, Mr. Zabuto, but I can't remember if the Council was specifically mentioned in relation to him.

Efthymia said...

In Season 1, Sunnydale is described as a very small town, but if it actually was that small, wouldn't its population have died out by now? It has 12 cemeteries! What, new people keep coming to the town-where-everyone-dies-a-horrible-death? Anyway...
Willow is SO sweet! "I" statements...

"Fool For Love":
Spike AND the Mayor! :)
The scene between Spike and Joyce is simply magical (and the subsequent teasing of Angel)! Spike is indeed a quite different vampire.
Cordelia's "I fell" makes me think that it's not just a statement for what just happenned; she fell in love with Xander and then she fell from the delusion of what she thought of her relationship with Xander, and then she literaly fell.
Having watched LOST -where ANYONE can die at any moment- before BtVS, I thought Cordelia had really died and I was (briefly, thankfully) shocked.
Buffy and Angel are presented as this great love, but out of the 3 couples (them, Xander & Cordelia, Willow & Oz) they are the one I care about the least.

"The Wish":
I believe this was the first episode where I reaised that I don't just like this show, I LOVE it!
I feel so sad for Cordelia... She has no friends.
Do the ones who are most innocent become the most psychotic vampires (Drusilla, Willow)? Could it be that the demon inside lets all the repressed negative feelings, thoughts and behaviours loose, or is it just the contrast that makes these cases look worst?
Those final moments in the alternative Sunnydale, with the music, and the voice-over and the dying always gives me goosebumps! Even just thinking about it gives me goosebumps! This is TV at its best...
I wish there was a commentary for this episode! It would have been great.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Marebabe,when Giles finds Anyanka in one of his books, I'm pretty sure he mentions she's a demon and grants revenge for wronged women.

I have a lot of comments for these episodes, but most are spoilery.

I think Revelations may have been the first Buffy episode I ever watched a few scenes from. I was at a church women's meeting, and I got bored and wandered into the family room of the house where the kids were watching this episode. (It was near the living room - I wasn't casing the joint or anything.) Even so, it's one of my least favourites. This may be why it took me a while to watch more Buffy. And is that fake watcher Kristin Scott Thomas' sister?

Faith comes up to Buffy in the Bronze and says "We're just good friends" - and the femslash writers go wild.

Buffy says, "Another Tuesday night in Sunnydale" - which is the night the show aired.

Giles is generally an insightful man, but he distrusts Angel when he's okay, and trust Gwendolyn when she's not. He's as good as checking creditials as Sunnydale High is.

Xander manipulating Faith to use her as a weapon is another disturbing thing he does. He says that Buffy's "blinded by love" - the one thing that Faith doesn't believe in.

Of all the bad stunt doubles the Faith one is the worst.

Now that people have explained SATs to me, can they explain what a good score is? Is Willow's for one subject and Buffy's for everything?

Spike has a nice voice. James should join a band. ;) (Actually, Ghost of the Robot has reformed, and they're working on an album.) On that musical note, James told my daughter that when he swung the big candlestick, he was trying to recreate the cover of The Clash's London Calling.

I love Buffy using the piece of Giles' camping equipment to check out her hair.

Spike is pretty wasted in this episode. How much alcohol does it take to get a vampire drunk?

If the Mayor knows about Spike, it's pretty fair to assume that he knows about everything paranormal going on in town.

I love watching James' curls try to escape from his gel. I'll never understand why he (and not just Spike) prefers it straight.

Buffy tells Spike that he's 'not famous for keeping his promises' - but he did help her against Angel. Is it because he left before the end of the final battle?

Angel knows how to push Spike's buttons - he says Dru "is kind of fickle" when he was the one having the affair with her in the previous season.

I love the end of LW when it looks like Oz is playing the music on the soundtrack, but he puts down his guitar and you see he isn't.

I'm I the only one to look at the demon at the beginning of Wish and think "Hey, Cthulu!"

Cordy had a bar stuck through her body and she was back to school the next week? Is she secretly a Slayer? It's obviously giving her more pain than she lets on, but still...

Since when are vampires attracted to bright colours? Do they mean mosquitos?

Another sound track trick - I love how Angel moans after the blackout and you think the scene was over.

While the Factory is action packed, Giles actually saves the day in the comfort of his own dining room.

Sorry, Angel fans, but vamp Xander is definitely the hot one. ;)

Okay, I had a few more non-spoilery comments than I though.

I'm late posting, btw, because I was out at an excellent reading last night by Rob Shearman, writer of the Dalek episode of Doctor Who.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Sorry, I attributed something Ms. Post did to Xander. Well, neither of them are very nice in this episode. ;)

Tom D. said...

Colleen/redeem asked: Now that people have explained SATs to me, can they explain what a good score is? Is Willow's for one subject and Buffy's for everything?

At the time these episodes aired, the SATs consisted of a verbal section and a math section. A perfect score on each section was 800, so a perfect total score was 1600. (They've changed things since then.)

Willow got a 740 on the verbal section -- this is good for a normal person, but weak for a very smart person like her.

Xander remarks that Willow's 740 closely resembles his total score. This pretty much has to be hyperbole on his part: as I recall, it would have been almost impossible to get a total score that low.

Buffy's 1430 is damn high for someone whose grades have repeatedly been mentioned as not being very good (though likely still lower than Willow's total score, even with that 740 verbal). I guess Buffy's intelligence is of a sort that deals well with standardized tests but not so much with high school classes.

Incidentally, I love Xander's joke about how he's going to lose all credibility as a stud when people find out he's dating a brain (Cordy), and her grinning retort that she knows how to cover these things up.

Nikki Stafford said...

Marebabe: Yes, without spoiling anything, Anya is a vengeance demon. Her job has been to go through the centuries finding scorned women and helping them wreak vengeance. That was her goal in this episode, but Giles screwed it up by smashing her necklace.

Colleen: Yes, the actress playing "Gwendolyn Post, Missus," is indeed Kristen Scott Thomas's sister.

Tom already answered Marebabe's other question: As he said, Giles has mentioned a group of Watchers, and if they haven't been mentioned already, then yes, they are the Watcher's Council. It seems strange at times to think there's an entire council of people to watch the Slayer, when there's only supposed to be one Slayer in all the world. Hm. But considering the expiry date on former Slayers was pretty short, they perhaps need various Watchers to keep sending out into the field. As we know with Faith's Watcher, they can be killed pretty easily. Good thing Giles has that whole Ripper thing goin' on. ;)

Suzanne said...

@Colleen/redeem 147, you asked the following:

Buffy tells Spike that he's 'not famous for keeping his promises' - but he did help her against Angel. Is it because he left before the end of the final battle?

I asked the same question when watching it with my son (who catches everything and remembers well with his 10-year old mind), and he reminded me that Spike promised that he and Drucilla would leave town if Buffy helped him overcome Angelus never to return again. My son pointed out that he had not kept his promise by coming back to Sunnydale.

Suzanne said...

As Nikki mentioned last week, this is an excellent string of episodes that we watched this week. I hadn't remembered that they followed one another in the way they did from my first time watching them. I remembered loving "The Wish" and "Lover's Walk," but I had very little memory of "Revelations." I found it to be a fascinating episode and even watched it twice in a row since my hubby didn't get to watch it with me the first time. I enjoyed the surprise of finding out that Gwendolyn Post was the villian very much since I hadn't remembered that, and the episode leads up to in a way that is very surprising. I also enjoyed seeing the relationship between Buffy and Faith a lot more this time around. One question I always have about this episode, though, is a nagging feeling about why Buffy hid her knowledge about Angel from the others and why she felt she needed to do that. I wish she hadn't! I often feel she doesn't trust Willow and Giles as much as she should. Now, Xander is another story; I can see why she would feel the need to cover up when dealing with him and his extreme reactions to things.

Of course, being the huge Spike fan that I am, I adore "Lover's Walk" for all of the reasons mentioned already. Spike's relationship with Joyce illustrates his strong human side so well and his need for human relationships of all sorts in a way that we don't see other vampires displaying. However, the writers also do a great job of drawing a fine line between the funny adorable moments we see of Spike and the truly terrifying moments when Willow appears to be in great danger of him seriously harming or even killing her. As soon as we begin to become complacent about Spike, we are quickly shown how dangerous his evil side can be.

"The Wish" is simply incredible! I am a big Sci Fi fan, so I have seen many types of parallel universes in my day. This is one of my all-time favorites. Vamp Willow and Vamp Xander cannot be beat, especially Vamp Willow.

The Question Mark said...

As soon as I heard Magic Shop Lady's voice, I thought it sounded familiar, and then BOOM! It's Hurley's fake psychic! Good thing she didn't ask Spike what kind of animal he was, or he might have REALLY flipped.
That ending with Spike driving off into the sunset really cemented him as a great, classic character :) For those of you who aren't familiar with the world of "Smallville", that show is worth watching if only to see James Marsters' AMAZING performance as the evil alien Brainiac.

The whole Xander/Willow love-a-thon really didn't sit well with me. They both have such great boy/girlfriends, and then they go & ruin it all. Crazy lustful teenagers. :P

Liz said...

if anybody is interested on potentialcast.blogspot.com they have a contest in wich you can win the complete Buffy series all you have to do is send a picture of yourself dressed in the Buffy 90s fashion

all the details our on the website
our you could join the facebook group

Good Luck all

thks again Nikki for orginising this

Anne said...

Suzanne said:

why Buffy hid her knowledge about Angel from the others and why she felt she needed to do that. I wish she hadn't! I often feel she doesn't trust Willow and Giles as much as she should.

To me this is why Buffy keeps everything to herself in the begining of the season. In my opinion, Buffy thinks she can't go to Giles because of what Angeleus did to him (killing Jenny, torturing him), she knows she would only give him pain and he would probably not understand her feelings for him. Also she can't go to Xander because like she says in "Dead man's party" he made his feelings for Angel pretty clear and she knows he would not be supportive and probably be mean to her (make her feel guilty for what Angelus did). Finally, i think she would have gone to Willow if Xander would not have lied to her because throuhout season 2 she showed nothing but support for her twisted and complicated relationship with Angel. However, When Xander gives her "Willow's message" she thinks that now even Willow wants Angel dead now so in her mind everybody is against her and nobody understands what she is going through.

The Question Mark said...

Also, Willow's confounded expression while Spike pours his heart out to her = My Highlight of the Week

Unknown said...

colleen/Redeem: regarding Cordelia's injury and recovery, you know they make a point of saying how it missed everything, so if all it needed was a series of stitches then she very well could have been back at school the next week. I had an abdominal hernia repair this summer requiring three separate layers of stitches around my belly button and was up and at 'em in 2-3 days. With large painkillers of course, but week 2 she'd definitely be back at school.

I agree. Mmmm, vamp Xander. . .

Tom D. explained the SATs pretty well, but I wanted to add that it would be possible for Xander to score that low because the SAT deducts fractional points for wrong answers, so that means if you don't know the answer and guess "c" you can actually end up losing some of the correct points you earned answering questions correctly. I, like Buffy, did well on the SATs despite my mediocre GPA, so some people just test well, but I've often wondered if she could have done so well when there were so many scenes showing her as someone who struggled with vocabulary and basic academic skills. She would at least have to be strong in those areas. I actually teach standardized prep now so I find this topic disproportionately fascinating;)

Suzanne--I'm also a big scifi fan and think The Wish is one of the best alternate universe eps I've seen. But I (like Nikki) am watching Dr. Who for the first time and really enjoyed one that I just saw from Season 2. It's no "The Wish" though:)

The Question Mark: I'm with you on Willow/Xander. I wasn't feeling the love, I just wanted to smack 'em both.

Suzanne said...

@Anne, your explanation for why Buffy feels alone and has a hard time telling her friends and Giles about Angel makes a lot of sense. That darn Xander! (I do love his character, though.)

@EBeth To The Power Of?,I have been considering watching Dr. Who for awhile (I have seen a couple of episodes) and now between you and Nikki recommending it, I may just have to give it a solid try. Just what I need -- another t.v. show to watch! ;)

Missy said...

'Revelations' & a s4 episode that shall remain nameless are the only two eps I can't rewatch.

'lover's Walk' is Great
and the funeral fakeout annoys me still(12yrs after the fact)

'The Wish' is an all time fav ep of mine(and the entire fandom)
In light of recent events,everyones deaths are meaning full.
VampWillow & VampXander kill Cordy.
Oz kills VampWillow.
VampXander kills Angel
Alt-Buffy kills VampXander.
and The Master kills Buffy a la 'Prophecy Girl'.
Also Anya is one of my fav characters EVER. :)

Missy said...

That was meant to be

Fun Fact
Charisma Carpenter fell onto a piece of rebar(A pool was being remodeled) when she was a young child ,So they made an effort to make this rebar go into the same spot so the scar you see is legit.

Exact same they did with James' eyebrow scar (he was mugged in NYC afew yrs befor getting the role of Spike on Buffy).

Liz said...

Interesting facts Missy, could i ask you why you can't rewatch revelations?

sorry i'm just curious, call it human nature

You can answer in the spoiler thread if you don't mind answering

Becky said...

I may be a bit late to the party but I have to say how much I loved these episodes, especially The Wish. I love alternate universes and this one was definitely one of the best I have ever seen. Vamp Xander and Willow were amazing and it was great to see a completely different side of Willow, though a little creepy!
The only thing I was a little, not annoyed, but surprised about was why Cordy was killed off so early in the episode. It didn't seem right as I thought it would be all Cordy centric. Having said that, it was still amazing and the final slow-mo scene was breathtaking. I had to rewind it and watch it again-several times!

Now being a newbie I do have a query about vampires and about Spike. Are there different types of vampires? We have the mindless and seemingly idiotic ones that usually attack buffy in the graveyard, the clever ones, Trick and Darla, and the really psychotic ones like Dru. Then there is Spike. I don't understand why he is so emotional and as if Angel only feels love and emotions because his soul has been restored, then how can Spike feel any emotion? Every other vampire doesn't seem at all like him. So is the difference in vampires 'personality' due to how they were m, or age or is it just random and I'm just over thinking it all?

Being from the UK I had no idea about SATS so thanks for the explanation Tom.D!

@the question mark
I am a huge Smallville fan so I second this, James Marsters is amazing in Smallville, and he also appears in Torchwood if any Doctor Who fans are interested.

Xander's personality change also really annoys me. He can be sweet and funny and really heroic. Then the next minute he acts like a complete jerk. I really love his character but this constant back and firth of nice Xander and jerk Xander is really confusing! Unless he has a split personality...hmmm that would be an interesting storyline!

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Becky, I don't think there's anybody else like Spike. :) Of course, I'm a biased James fan...

Page48 said...

OT: regarding the "Game of Thrones" entry, I've been noticing that George R.R. Martin and Damon Lindelof have been having a public pissing match of late, having to do with the ending of "Lost".

Public pissing matches are, after all, the spice of life, aren't they?

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Damon might want to bring up the last season of Beauty and the Beast. ;)

Unknown said...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the most viewed series in 2008. And still I am hooked up with this show.