Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 28

4.22 Restless

Read along in Bite Me, pp. 244-246.

If you’re watching Angel, this week’s episode is 1.12 To Shanshu in LA, a brilliant first-season ender. For everyone who’s stuck with it through season 1, this episode is the payoff…and season 2 is even better.

Now, before we discuss “Restless” here in the non-spoilery post, I just wanted to remind people that while “Restless” is notable for foreshadowing much of the coming seasons, please don’t talk about any of that unless you’re over on the spoiler board below. We’ll keep this board as a discussion of the references made to previous episodes, and the other board will be where you can talk about “what is to come.” (In my book, I actually included "Restless Moments" throughout for the following episodes, talking about the events that happened that had already been foreshadowed in "Restless.")

Ah, “Restless.” As I mentioned last week, this is an episode unlike anything else in the Whedonverse. In season 1, with “Nightmares,” Joss showed that he has an incomparable grasp on conveying dreamscapes in a way we can all identify with. The “oh my GOD I’ve had that dream too!” feeling that accompanies many of the scenes is repeated in several other dream sequences that he builds in season 2 (the one in “Surprise” where Buffy is walking through the Bronze, hearing snippets of things that had been said in previous episodes), season 3 (the Faith/Buffy dream “counting down from 7-3-0” – a line that will have immense significance in season 5) , and season 4 (the more Faith-perspective sequel to that dream in “This Year’s Girl). But nothing compares to “Restless.”

In this episode we see the innermost thoughts and subconscious of our four main Scoobs – Buffy, Willow, Giles, and Xander – through their dreams, which are at times frightening and funny. Interestingly, Xander’s is the one we might expect to be the funniest, but it’s not. As with many goofballs, he’s a funny guy on the outside to cover the torment that he deals with every day, and his dreams show that. He moves in and out of Apocalypse Now, but always ends up in his bedroom, which is clearly not the way out. We see his father for the first time, albeit briefly, and it’s not a happy moment.

Willow’s dream is a bit of a repeat of the one in “Nightmares,” but this time around she’s not so much worried about having to walk out on stage, but that every day she’s wearing a costume and pretending to be someone she’s not. As many people watching can attest, you can slough off the trappings of being the school nerd or browner, but you’ll always carry those taunts with you.

But seriously, how much do you love the production of Death of a Salesman? Even I loved Riley as Cowboy Guy.

Giles’s dream is where we begin to break through to what is really happening. Oddly, while I love Giles’s dream, watching it this time through it seemed like the least dream-like to me. Giles is in complete control throughout the dream, shrugging off everyone and not looking confused or perturbed by anything happening around him. The scene on the stage is BRILLIANT, and the line, “And try not to bleed on my couch, I just had it steam-cleaned” is so hilarious I laugh out loud every time I see it. (This is why Joss had to do the musical in season 6…) If the dreams are Alice in Wonderland-like in feel and terror, Giles is the White Rabbit, believing he’s late for everything and things have passed him by.

Buffy’s dream is the most prophetic for reasons I won’t go into here. In case you didn’t notice, the other agent sitting at the table with Riley is the guy who played Adam… in one piece instead of a mish-mash of demon-ness.

But for all the intertextual subsconsious-y goodness at work here, what many people want to know is the significance of the Cheeseman (“I wear the cheese… it does not wear me”) and as I said in my book, and still say, he doesn’t mean anything. It’s one of those wacky things you see in your dream and wake up to think, “WTF was THAT?!” Why does he appear in all of their dreams? For me, it’s just because of the interconnectedness of the group… and possibly an aftereffect of them all coming together to do the spell.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s move on to the cheesiest man I know (ha-HA, how’s THAT for a segue!) When I initially wrote my entry for “Restless” in Bite Me I said that an entire dissertation could probably be written on this one episode. And then Matthew Pateman one-upped that and wrote most of a book on it. I’ve mentioned his book, The Aesthetics of Culture in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, several times before, and we last encountered him in his “Beer Bad” recap (he was the hatiest of the hate camp) and in week 3 of the rewatch. You may know my nemesis... the devil himself... this know-it-all... the British wanker... my dear friend as the guy who went head-to-head with me at last year’s Slayage conference.

Because he’s basically written the ultimate analysis of “Restless,” I wanted him to cover this week, obvs. But by that same token, it’s like asking me to say a few words on Lost: when you’ve researched something as much as this, how can you speak generally about the topic? But he came through, as always. If you’d like a really fantastic, and occasionally (chuckle) academic look at the episode, I’d recommend his book, but first, here he is:

“Restless”: Not adventurous, but kind of accurate*
by Matthew Pateman

‘Restless’ is many things, and many of the things it is have been discussed me at interminable length in the book which I am really hoping Nikki plugged in her preamble! [I have no idea what book he’s talking about. — Nik] Let’s get the simple things out of the way first – though their simplicity should not be mistaken for being unimportant: it is an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the 78th); it is written and directed by Joss Whedon (the 15th such one to this point); it is the last episode of season four (the fourth finale episode to this point – yes, obvious, I know, but pertinent). A few less simple things (all that I just wrote by the way, is open to dispute: surely ‘Surprise’ is a finale of sorts; isn’t the unaired pilot also an episode?, how are we defining ‘written’)... Be that as it may: a few less simple things – it concludes season four; it is an episode made up of a series of dreams; it is highly allusive; it reflects back on much of the previous myth we thought we knew; it offers hints (if only we knew) about some things to come – as a spoiler free discussion, this cannot engage with those, but phew!, have we got some stuff coming!

I want to leave the detailed discussion to the board – few episodes provide more cud to chew than this one, and few allow for so many points of entry, baffled questions and wonderfully elaborate answers.

So, I will propose an idea about the episode, which is that it operates (among its many other modes of operation) as an essay on interpretation. It is an episode that freely plays with a range of hermeneutic possibilities, and does so both to expand the kinds of discussions that television can be thought to allow, and to offer a warning against an excessive over-determination of interpretive engagement.

In terms of interpretation, the first question it poses is: what is this episode meant to do? It’s the last of the season, so surely it will sum up what’s happened, provide answers, conclude stories. But that happened already in ‘Primeval’. So, what function does this have? Maybe it will start season five early? Nope. It alludes, certainly (but only in a way that can be made sense of after the event, again questioning our role as interpreters), but it does not begin. Perhaps it will offer a stand-alone character episode. Again, nope. Each of the acts is focussed on a character but not in a way that adds up to systematic character episode (unless the character s the First Slayer, but then her introduction is so cryptic, allusive, gnomic that this seems unlikely).

The question remains unanswered at the episode’s end. Indeed, it’s possible the question is even more pronounced, more angrily vented: ‘what the hell was that?’; ‘what just happened?’ and so on.

And what did just happen? Well, Riley left, Joyce went to bed, the gang were left alone and we have the very last time the ‘original’ Scoobies will be like this: three kids and an adult hanging out watching movies. Except they don’t. They fall asleep. Except it’s more than sleep – what, though, is it? Then they wake up and ponder about the dreams they just had (except they were more than dreams)."

What these sleep-visions are is not entirely clear. The presence of the First Slayer is not accidental or unmotivated (even if it is cryptic until the Buffy’s act); indeed in many ways the visions seem to need to be read as manifestations of her spirit. Tat poses many unanswered questions: how does she get in their minds? How dos she know which memories, ideas, desires, thoughts to stimulate? Or does she simply promote a dream that she is then able to inhabit, in addition to being able to make somatically present that which is seemingly only in the mind?

And if she only prompts dreams, why would each of them dream of the cheeseman? Is he simply the sign of her presence, a kind of dream-glitch, necessary for her to be able to work? Or is he, as I maintain, an authorial joke – Whedon studied film, knows the literature, and will have sat through the psychoanalysis lectures. Cheese man in this case is a purposefully exaggerated site of the possibility of both over-interpretation in dreams, and the over-interpretation of the episode. By over-interpretation I mean the desire to read the episode as some kind of psychological truth either about the characters, or (worse) Whedon.

The dreams / visions / manifestations cannot be ‘truths’, but as mini narratives they do offer us a different way of thinking about the character from ‘inside’ as it were. Their acts (whether motivated by the First Slayer or just inhabited by her) draw from the character’s histories, events, relationships, and as such offer reflections on these. These reflections at the level of character also reflect upon the aesthetic practises and narrative trajectories of the show itself: complex, multi-faceted, witty, playful, intense, ambiguous, over-lapping.

I spent half a book offering my ideas about what these might be, so will not bore people by repeating those here. However, it is worth saying that the title is also a reflection of this kind. Whedon as writer, producer, director is always restless; he never sits on his laurels, simply repeating what has succeeded before. “Restless” is not just a wonderfully ambitious, bold and brilliant attempt to structure a four-act drama in a new way; nor is it simply a visual tour-de-force; neither can it be praised solely for its cultural references, homages, pastiches and formal innovation; and it is not merely a staggeringly sophisticated re-statement and pre-diction of the show’s history and future. It is all of the above, and more, but it is also a manifesto: the enactment in artistic form of an artistic belief and this belief is that art is not simple, that Buffy is art, that art requires audiences to work, to interpret, but that interpretations should be challenged, questioned.

“Restless” is an essay about interpretation (though as this is my interpretation / summation I imagine some strong counter-views to such academicism!) . It is part of an on-going declaration that popular culture, popular aesthetics are deep, rich, textured... and it is a perfect ending to a season that took Buffy to University where spurty knowledge and the interpretation and re-interpretation of self is so central.

(*In case Matthew’s title seemed strange, it’s because I emailed him to ask what he wanted to call it. He replied simply, “‘Restless.’ Not adventurous, but accurate.” The second part of that note was simply his own comment, but I took the whole thing to be the complete title. When I stared at it for a bit, thinking, “Really? You don’t think the episode is adventurous?” it suddenly dawned on me that it wasn’t the subtitle. I told him what I’d done and we both laughed a lot, and then he said we should keep it. So there it is!)

Next week: We enter season 5 of Buffy, season 2 of Angel, a brilliant year of television.
5.1 Buffy vs. Dracula
5.2 Real Me
5.3 The Replacement

2.1 Judgment
2.2 Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
2.3 First Impressions

Your hosts will be Cynthea Masson and Stacey Abbott! See you next week!


Marebabe said...

I enjoyed “Restless” so much, I watched it twice! And as soon as I read that someone had written a whole book about this one episode, I knew that anything I would have to say about it would come off sounding extremely lightweight and trivial by comparison. Nevertheless, I shall say a couple things about it, because that’s why we come together here every week. ;)

I liked how the stream-of-consciousness quality of dreams was shown by the sets flowing from one location to another. It was odd in the sense that, to a spectator, it was just a little bit jarring, but to the dreamer, it was merely a sequence of events. It must’ve been such fun not only to act in, but also for the crews that built and dressed the sets.

Spike striking poses was the Number One highlight for me! The runner-up highlight was Xander’s reenactment of “Apocalypse Now” with Principal Snyder. Brilliant! And by that I mean that Joss Whedon is brilliant. But you knew that.

Of all the dialogue in this episode, Tara’s words in Buffy’s dream were the most captivating to me. Haunting and cryptic, I was struck by the weight of every syllable, the simplicity and directness. I’m sure I’ll be able to make better sense of it all someday. I look forward to rewatching this after I’ve seen the whole series.

TomWill said...

This might be my favorite episode so far! Marebabe beat me to most of my comments. Xander and Skinner in "Apocalype Now" ROCKED!

Nikki: '... it’s like asking me to say a few words on Lost ...' - Does this mean we will need a sleeping bag for your keynote in New Orleans?

Nikki Stafford said...

TomWill: I've been told I have 90 minutes. Bring caffeine. ;)

(But in all seriousness, I won't be talking for even close to that! I think it would be a lot more fun to talk for a bit, and then all of us discuss various aspects of it... it would be like a blog post!) ;)

Colleen/redeem147 said...

This is one of my favourite episodes. So much stuff.

Though in support of Matthew's thesis - Heart (Broken)

I love how quickly they dismiss Riley (except his dream appearances, which I like - George is pretty when he's all himself.)

Xander has illegal tapes and they show the FBI warning. Is this another nod to the theme of individual freedom vs government that we often find in Joss work (and throughout this season?)

I like to look at the dreams as the point of view of the characters.

Willow sees Harmony as a milk maid - is that a metaphor for the thing she most noticed about her? Buffy has a diatribe about men - is that because Willow has given up on relationships with them (a growing recognition that her heart lies with other women).

Both Willow and Xander's dreams start with erotica, though Xander's dreams (Joyce, Willow/Tara) are unconsummated.

Spike and Buffy both have a father figure (Giles) - but Xander has a sexualized mother figure (Joyce) and no trustworthy actual parental figures.

I like Anya's little Mandrake reference (gesturing empathically)

Giles sees Buffy as a child, and Olivia as a mother figure with an empty carriage - his duty vs actual familial ties? A surrogate father but never an actual one?

Spike is inactive ( a model) yet has purpose in that, while Giles feels he is without purpose throughout the season.

It's rather obvious, but the First Slayer attacks each of them through their purpose in the spell - sucking out Willow's life force (spirit) ripping out Xander's heart and scalping/debraining Giles (head). She also wrestles Buffy (hand) but cannot defeat her. Buffy wins even when her friends have been incapacitated in the dreams.

Buffy's dream takes her to the Initiative (as does Xander's in a bathroom way), the place where the spell was cast.

BTW, I LOVE avatar Tara's outfit!

Colleen/redeem147 said...

And I forgot to mention, there's a very significant reason for the inclusion of the Cheese Man. Buffy likes cheese.

Suzanne said...

This was my second viewing of Restless without Joss's commentary and also my second viewing of it with Joss's commentary (if that makes any sense). I enjoyed each of these rewatches immensely and got so much more out of the episode than on the previous viewings. One thing I noticed about watching it this time around is how much I just enjoyed viewing the images without really worrying about the question of "what is happening here?" When I watched it the first time without the commentary, I knew it was brilliant, but the nagging question of "what is happening" kept me from enjoying it as much as I did this time around.

Here are some of my favorite visual images from the episode:

1. I love seeing Giles and Spike dressed alike and swinging on the swings more than anything! I don't know why, but I just find the image of them so compelling to watch.

2. I love the scene with Riley in the extreme foreground in a cowboy costume and Buffy talking at him from a perspective that makes her appear so much smaller than him than she already is. In fact, there are several scenes where she appears a lot smaller than usual -- in the sandbox, holding Giles hand at the carnival, and in the shot looking down on her in the desert.

3. The scene of the kitten playing with red yarn in Willow's dream is also amazing.

4. Willow in the red curtains is another favorite, and I really like how Buffy is the one to take her hand and bring her out of the curtains even though she quickly seems to abandon her.

5. Xander and Anya talking in the ice cream truck as fake scenery passes them in the background is really fun since it seems to fit their relationship in some odd way.

6. Giles caught between looking at Spike striking hilarious poses and Olivia crying is interesting since it seems to symbolize the way he is trapped in his life at the moment.

Of course, there are so many more incredible moments in this episode and so much meaning to them all. I am having trouble interpreting meaning without spoiling, though, so I will leave my comments as they are for now.

Christina B said...

I'm always the only one talking about Angel here! ;)

To Shanshu in LA--

Finally. FINALLY!!

THAT'S what I've been waiting a whole darn season for!!
Great plot, fast-moving, loved the characters...and the ending!
Oh. Em. GEE!!

I actually gasped, then cursed out loud, then started laughing uncontrollably with joy and glee!

Thank GOD I stuck with the horrible season 1 (Okay, it had two or three good episodes) because this pay of was SO worth it!!

And now I shall sneak over to the spoiler post to talk more about 'Restless'. ;)

Tom D. said...

Christina B, because I love Angel (the show), I'm very pleased you made it to the end of season 1. I hope you'll enjoy season 2 as much as I did the first time around!

Out of the million things one could say about Restless, here's what I noticed this time. Willow's and Xander's dreams are very much about themselves, their own fears. (Which are kind of opposites of each other -- Willow fears that everyone's looking at her and laughing, whereas Xander fears that everyone has turned their back on him and left him behind.) By contrast, Giles's and Buffy's dreams are primarily about trying to save Willow and Xander.

Arguably, this difference makes W and X's dreams the more interesting ones to watch. Those dreams are just Joss playing around with W and X's subconscious minds until they both get attacked by the First Slayer. But Giles's and Buffy's dreams have actual plots, so there isn't as much room for playful/revelatory messing around.

It would have been fun to go on a trip through Giles's subconscious, sort of like what we get in Xander's dream. But then maybe that's kinda the point -- W and X are adolescents, but Giles is a grown-up, so his dreams aren't as driven by intense fear or sexuality; things are more low-key, and he's closer to being in control of what's going on.

As for Buffy, she's an adolescent, but she's also far more grown up than W and X. She's been killed, she's killed Angel, run away, come home, been betrayed, sacrificed herself again, and all the rest of it. She's so strong now. And so her dream is about her going on a quest to save her friends, and asserting her power over the First Slayer to do it. It's badass. Riley keeps calling her "killer," but she defeats the First Slayer by sheer force of personality, not with a stake.

Incidentally, this leads me to think of one reason why season 4's big Adam/Initiative plot doesn't have the dramatic power of the Master or Angelus or Mayor/Faith plots -- because it doesn't shake Buffy to the core the way those earlier plots did. She's stronger in season 4.

Stacey said...

"To Shanshu in LA" is a fantastic episode and a great pay-off to an uneven season as Angel found its footing. But more importantly it is a sign of things to come. Angel is only just getting warmed up.

Efthymia said...

I remember when I first watched BtVS, and after "Primeval" had ended I remember thinking "Adam's dead, the Initiative is over, what the hell is there left to show in the last episode?". Hmmm...

"Restless" is a unique episode, not just regarding the show, but television in general. It's actually kind of sad that you can never watch it with fresh eyes again once you've watched the entire series.

Oz and Snyder: oh, how I've missed you both!

Missy said...


If I commented about Ats aswell I'd be here all night ,so I don't.
There was this kids show about a decade ago called 'In The Box',I bet you can tell just from the title what happened in the episodes and why I'm mentioning it.
Alittle bit of the opening theme song
"whats in the box, whats in the box, open the lid and play...",Were YOU surprised by what was in the box?

And onto 'Restless'

Restless is one of those rare episodes of television I could watch over and over again A Clockwork Orange style.
It's beautiful in it's epic strangeness and as previously mentioned the prophetic material is abundant.

Olivia,Oz and Snyder all showup for some First Slayer Dream/Nightmarey Goodness.
It's always fun to see old characters come back.
It wasn't until my 3-4th DVD rewatch(Which was barely months after the series had finished for good,Yes I was/am Obsessed) that I noticed Olivia is pregnant in those scenes with Giles.
I've been reading for yrs that Amber(Tara) was a last minute replacement for David(Angel) who was suppose to be the FS conduit,do you know for sure if that was the case?
(IMO Tara being the conduit works better).

If I continue writing I'll slip into spoiler territory,Sooo I'm really glad the newbies loved 'Restless'and lets see how they take s5 ;)

Dusk said...

I read a possible meaning for the Cheeseman. Think of the phrase "The cheese stands alone" And the First Slayer is all about "No Friends" but Buffy won't stand alone, and shakes the slices off he face, refusing to cover up like her origin.

Blam said...

I haven't seen "Restless" in too long.

Many thanks yet again for doing this, Nikki! Why no slices of cheese from Janet/Steve Halfyard this time around, though? It would seem like there's no better episode, although last week's installment was quite welcome, as of course were Michael's insights here.

The best single line is...
Buffy: "You're not the source of me."

And my favorite exchange is, from the scene in the Initiative bunker...
PA: (calm) "The demons have escaped. Please run for your lives." ...
Riley: (determined) "We'd better make a fort."
Adam: (even more determined) "I'll get some pillows."

I hope that Xander popping in a VHS tape doesn't strike newer or younger viewers as too old-fashioned. Not only is the VCR key to how I first watched Buffy — and indeed how I've had to watch most shows I record until more or less this month (we finally switched cable providers, so I finally have DVR capability) — but, since the time period of the show is now unavoidably dated to modern eyes, it's easier for me to conflate the Scooby Gang's time together with my own teenage years, which came about a decade earlier, and I fondly recall movie marathons with a stack of VHS. Does that make any sense?

As others have mentioned, the First Slayer sucks out Willow's spirit, then takes Xander's heart, and then goes for Giles's mind — per their identifications in the spell from "Primeval" and indeed the way we would shorthand their contributions to the group system.

Joss Whedon's commentary on the episode is very erudite in his offhand way, but unfortunately like most of the commentaries and even some of the featurettes have been it's also spoilery for those doing a first watch.

Blam said...

Happy Bastille Day, folks! Now moving along...

As Mr. Pateman noted, "Restless" is both begging for and rather defiant of interpretation, that rascally beast called "authorial intent" included, but I will share some of Whedon's remarks for the benefit of those newbies who've avoided the track or just didn't have access to the DVD.

First and foremost is that Joss says more than once that the Cheeseman has no meaning — he's there just to drive home the dreamlike nature of the experience.

Joss praised a staff member for coming with a poem of Sappho's — the ancient Greek poet who lived on the isle of Lesbos, and, like her home, is now associated with the love that in civilized cultures finally dare speak its name — for Willow to calligraph on Tara's back. It's such a tenderly hot scene.

He also mentions how later in her dream Willow finds Tara backstage, amidst the warm, red folds. He doesn't mention the fact that Harmony is carrying, well, two big milk pails. He likewise should be praised for not just having Willow run through a Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition.

Joss on Xander in the bathroom: "I think that's probably the best use of the Initiative we had all year."

VW: reedions — 1. Tall marsh plants with net electric charges. 2. Nickname for the so-called "unstable molecules" discovered by Mister Fantastic for use in his team's uniforms.

Blam said...

As Joss pointed out, likewise Nikki in her book, and those of us who've seen other featurettes et al. knew, that's Chistophe Beck, who scores Buffy, on keyboards in the band when Giles gets onstage.

Joss said that he wrote Giles's exposition, then set it to basic music; Beck arranged it for the band, which onscreen at least otherwise consisted of the musicians who stood in for Dingoes Ate My Baby. What's so brilliant to me is that the passage just nails that "rock opera" sound at its most humorously generic.

The lighters... oh, the lighters...

VW: unedeci — A raw manuscript in pidgin Italian.

Blam said...

I love the whole desert scene, but especially the fight — both awesome in its action and tongue-in-cheek tacky with the slo-mo and '70s/'80s brass-'n'-bongos score. The great expansive, cinematic vista is the perfect counterpoint to the mostly claustrophobic habitrails of the previous acts.

The dichotomy between the First Slayer and Buffy is almost set up as masculine vs. feminine as well as primitive vs. (for lack of a better word) cultured, which is a little strange since one suspects that the purer in her devotion to her cause the Slayer is in traditional terms the more virginal she's likely to be.

First Slayer, as voiced by Tara: "I live in the action of death — the blood cry, the penetrating wound. I am destruction, absolute, alone."

Penetration is a pretty male, or actively male/female-union, way of looking at things, and despite Buffy's miming during "Hush" it's really only occurring to me now how the Slayer (or, admittedly, anyone) staking a vampire is almost a "mine's bigger than yours" retort to the (barely) metaphoric bloodletting by fang that has always been discussed so prominently as part of the (sometimes erotic, sometimes violent) sexual dimension of the myth.

Yet here not just Buffy's evolved social nature but also her relative innocence is contrasted with the savagery of the First Slayer — who's a lot more like Faith (or really, Faith is a lot more like her) in her all-fight, all-kill, all-win attitude — as evidenced by a dress with cherries all over the place, unless, and I find this hard to believe, that the dress was just an accident; Joss doesn't mention it in his commentary, but even if it began as just a dress someone on this show would've said something, so the decision at least had to be made to leave it in.

As others have pointed out, the real division between the First Slayer — and indeed the other Slayers we've seen, from the by-the-book, loyal Kendra to the rogue Faith — on one hand and Buffy on the other is that she does rely on her friends. The entire series seems to vacillate over ("examine" might be a nicer way of putting it) whether Buffy's extended family, the Scooby Gang, the Slayerettes, are actually part of why she's outlived her calling's life expectancy — and had a better quality of life in the doing — or whether they've held her back from her ultimate (pardon the term) potential, her survival more dependent on spurning them and going it alone when she needs to or reluctantly accepting them back into the fold because, having involved them both physically and emotionally, they've become a permanent weakness that she can't afford not to convert to a strength. Maybe, but only maybe, and without spoiling future plotlines, the answer lies in her rescue/resurrection in "Prophecy Girl" as contrasted with her death in "Doppelgangland".

VW: spale — What is cast by Southern-American Wiccans.

Blam said...

I hate to give short shrift to the Angel Season One finale, "To Shanshu in LA", but I'm about at the end of my broadcasting day and still have replies to comments to paste in. [None of the young'uns here brought up in a 24/7 culture even understands the reference, but local TV stations actually used to shut down at night.]

My favorite line from that episode...
Cordelia: "I ever meet those Powers That Be I'm gonna punch 'em in the nose. (pauses) You think they have a nose?"

I'm really glad that Angel is finally getting its footing and turning into the series that I joined (and heartily enjoyed) in later seasons.

@Marebabe: I enjoyed “Restless” so much, I watched it twice!

Yay! It's so much fun getting to see the reactions of people experiencing Buffy for the first time, and I get a particular kick out of your comments as a newbie, just as I do Colleen's insights as a veteran, eagle-eyed rewatcher. Heck, I just enjoy both the level of discourse here and the outright enthusiasm so much, which is why I hate being away so frequently; the fact that Nikki attracts fans and scholarly types who rarely become overly pedantic is a rare, precious thing on the Interwebs.

@Christina: I'm always the only one talking about Angel here! ;)

I've been watching Angel too, but I haven't been able to post — and as I said above, unlike Buffy I'm watching it for the first time, when it comes to most of these early episodes, although having seen the last couple of seasons complete when they aired it's more like these early days are serving as a prequel to the scenarios that hooked me.

@Missy: It wasn't until my 3-4th DVD rewatch ... that I noticed Olivia is pregnant in those scenes with Giles.

I'd never noticed it before at all, to be honest, but I have wondered if her crying over the empty stroller in Spike's crypt was supposed to represent her having lost a baby. And in that case, this being Giles' subconscious, he either would have known about it (if it actually happened) or he would have feared such a thing; alternately, yes, it could represent Olivia wanting to have a child with him and Giles feeling some pain over having broken her heart in that regard.

VW: Proupsi — Sparkling cola beverage unsuccessfully marketed to admirers of the author of À la recherche du temps perdu.

Marebabe said...

Ah, Blam is back. *smile*

You brought up some great stuff, not pedantic at all.

Missy said...

One of my favourite pieces of dialogue is:

BUFFY: I am not alone.

BUFFY: I walk.
(Side shot of the three of them.)

BUFFY: I talk. I shop, I sneeze. I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods
roll back.
(Shot of the First Slayer lifting her chin in anger.)

BUFFY: (offscreen) There's trees in the desert since you moved out. (The
First Slayer shakes her head) And I don't sleep on a bed of bones.
(Shot of Buffy's face.)

BUFFY: (firmly) Now give me back my friends.

Oh and @Blam I remember when the end of broadcasting day signal appeared,that was always my sign to head off to bed.
I'm sooo glad there isn't that weird 4-6hr gap of NO TV anymore.

karoliina said...

My favourite is:
"A watcher scoffs at gravity!"
I should have it engraved somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Giles’s dream is where we begin to break through to what is really happening. Oddly, while I love Giles’s dream, watching it this time through it seemed like the least dream-like to me. Giles is in complete control throughout the dream, shrugging off everyone and not looking confused or perturbed by anything happening around him.

There is a lot about Giles' dream that makes me wonder if these are illusions on his part. I wonder if he liked to believe that he was in control of everything, when in reality he rarely was.

Anonymous said...

It's rather obvious, but the First Slayer attacks each of them through their purpose in the spell - sucking out Willow's life force (spirit) ripping out Xander's heart and scalping/debraining Giles (head). She also wrestles Buffy (hand) but cannot defeat her. Buffy wins even when her friends have been incapacitated in the dreams.

Buffy "wins" because she believes she has. Her victory is an illusion.