Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 33

5.13 Blood Ties
5.14 Crush
5.15 I Was Made to Love You

Follow along in Bite Me!, pp. 262-266.

This week’s Angel episodes:
2.13 Happy Anniversary
2.14 The Thin Dead Line
2.15 Reprise

Most hardcore fans of long-running television shows can rattle off their favourite seasons, in order, from best to worst. And whenever I’m asked to do that, I always begin, “Season 2, followed by season 5…” And yet, season 5 is the only season of the entire series where I can’t distinguish one episode title from the next. Sure, certain ones stand out, and I could tell you exactly what the plot was in that episode, but much of this season feels like one very long story told in 22 parts, with a few little diversions along the way (and those diversions, the standalone episodes, are the ones that usually stick out). So for me, watching the show each week in season 5 has been an “Ah! It’s THAT episode” kind of experience for me.

“Blood Ties” is where Dawn finds out she’s the key, and she goes through hell. This episode is the one that changes her from annoying childish sister into annoying depressive sister, and yet, the poor kid’s got good reason to be a wee bit miffed. (But I have to admit, a former work colleague and I would use the phrase, “Get out Get Out GET OUT!!” all the time. She was particularly brilliant at it, and the two of us would dissolve into peals of laughter every time. Our boss thought we were high.)

Using Dawn’s non-humanness as a metaphor for adoption, the writers play with a child’s re-evaluation of everything they know, and the standard process of beginning to question everything they thought was true. What I find really interesting in season 5 – something I didn’t really notice until this rewatch – is how Buffy doesn’t play the role of the older daughter, but the role of the father. Joyce frets the way any mother would, while Buffy holds her back and tells her to give Dawn space, normally the father’s role.

And wait… Ben is Glory? Glory is Ben? Yep, somehow Joss found a guy and girl who aren’t related but look EXACTLY alike (like seriously, their eyes are really far apart and they have the same nose and lips… how did he do that?) and now we get the intrigue of figuring out why they’re one and the same, what they have to do with each other, and why no one can remember that Ben is Glory and vice versa.

“Crush” is a showpiece for Spike once again, after the brilliance of “Fool for Love.” I love this episode, for the most part, although I’ve always been annoyed with Spike at the end for the way he treats all the women (which is the point, I get that, but… yeah). He lusts after Buffy, threatens to stake someone he’s spent a century with, and tosses poor Harmony away like she’s garbage. But Spike has always reacted to situations without always thinking, and that’s what he’s doing here.

What might be difficult to grasp now, especially with all the Spike love in this Rewatch (my pro-Spike comments being a big part of that) is that when the series first aired, there was a lot of Spike hate. You’ve probably heard of the Bangels versus the Spuffies, and that was a debate that raged like wildfire at the time. The Bangels – pronounced like Angel with a B on it, not Bangle like a bracelet, which is how many Spuffies purposely mispronounce it – were the ones who thought Buffy was better off with Angel. The Spuffies were the ones who wanted Spike and Buffy to get together. I’ll never forget going to a sci-fi con and attending a panel of Spuffies versus Bangels… I wasn’t on the panel (I wanted to leave the convention with all my teeth, after all), but I knew it would be fun to watch. And it was VICIOUS. The insults being thrown from one side of the room to the other were beyond rude, and it was like all politeness and camaraderie went out the window. I’ve been rather afraid of shippers ever since. When one person on the panel finally pointed to the back of the room and said, “Nikki Stafford is here… which side are YOU on, Nikki?” I thought I was going to pee my pants. I coughed and mumbled something in another language – it may have been elvish – and refused to answer the question.

The BtVS writers KNEW this debate was raging in the Buffyverse, and so they stoked it. They gave us pro-Angel episodes, and pro-Spike ones. They made Spike an evil bastard at times, and charming as hell the rest of the time. I had the pleasure of interviewing David Fury, the man responsible for creating Spike and the one who was brought in to write many of his lines, and I asked him exactly what he thought of the debate. Fury is known for not mincing words, and he told me flat out (I only published part of what he said in my book, because I feared what might happen to him if I published the whole thing!) Unfortunately I can’t say exactly what he said here (there are season 6 spoilers in his response) but the short version is, he saw Spike as a killer, and couldn’t figure out why people loved him as a romantic lead. Um… was he watching the show?

But anyway… regardless of how disgusting Spike is at the end of Crush, he’s still brilliant in the rest of the episode, and VERY funny. If you’re not watching Angel, this episode was a carryover from an episode that started over on Angel. See (spoilers for earlier season 2 Angel episodes ahead!), there’s this evil law firm, and they used a spell to bring Darla back from the dead, but she’s no longer a vampire. But then Drusilla shows up and takes care of that, siring Darla. Darla had originally sired Angel, who sired Drusilla, and therefore Darla has been Drusilla’s Grandma Vampy for over a century, but now Drusilla is Darla’s sire… this family tree is getting really confusing. Meanwhile Angel’s becoming dark, like Harry Potter in the fifth book dark, and he no longer has any sympathy for anyone who came before him. He lures Dru and Darla down to an abandoned warehouse that he covers in gasoline, and when they’re standing near it, he flicks a cigarette at them and they go up in flames. Darla manages to whack a hydrant with a sledgehammer and the two women are able to douse the flames, but they’re burned and scarred, and they realize that Angel may be even more soulless than they are. (All good stuff.. you should really be watching Angel!) So that’s where Dru’s at when she comes to town, with just a few scars left over from the attack.

And finally we have “I Was Made to Love You.” With all of the amazing Glory stuff going on, taking a breather to focus on the sexbot storyline seemed a bit off when it first aired, but April is intriguing, and it plays into Buffy’s sense of loss post-Riley and helps unburden her of the idea that maybe, if she’d just been a better girlfriend, she could have kept both Riley and Angel around. And it introduces us to... well, I'll save that for another post.

For me, though, this episode has become almost excruciating to watch ever since the first time I watched the season through. Because I know what’s coming. I know that Joyce is going to spin around in that dress, that Buffy and Dawn will rib her, that she will get out there and find happiness again, that I will absolutely adore her throughout the episode… and then that ending is going to happen. This time, it was worse than before. Just seeing Buffy in the now-infamous red shirt as Xander was fixing the window was enough to make the lump begin to form. And when she walked in the door and you could see Joyce in the background, the sobs just leapt from my chest. I didn’t even feel them coming, I just choked and made this weird noise.

I don’t think it’s much of a secret for the first-timers what is coming next. There’s a reason I put next week’s episode on its own and not ganged with any others. And the title – “The Body” – is a bit of a giveaway. I cannot wait to watch it with you and hear your reactions to it.

But until then, let’s focus on this week’s episodes. First up, returning just a couple of weeks after she last told us about her sister meeting Marc Blucas, is Tanya Cochran!

And the Energy Became Flesh: Thoughts on Language, Knowledge, Power, and Family
Tanya R. Cochran

I’m going to try to do something I have difficulty doing: write a shortish response to a profoundly rich text. To do so, I’m sticking to just one episode. So without a clever or catchy or cleverly catchy introduction, here it is—the point: “Blood Ties” not only highlights the relationship between language, knowledge, power, and family but also compels us to consider the advantages and disadvantages of knowing, the differences and similarities between reality and fantasy.

Some form of the word know is spoken over sixty times in “Blood Ties,” so it’s clearly important. It stands out. In fact, I heard it so often during my rewatch (which led me to count) that I began to wonder if writer Steven DeKnight deliberately repeated the word to send us a message. Early on in the episode, Dawn voices what she’s been feeling for a while now. She’s often out of rather in the know: “Oh. Right. Of course. Can’t let Dawn hear anything. Fine. I’m just gonna go to bed. That way I won’t accidentally get exposed to, like, words.” She knows that there’s something Buffy and the others know that she’s not supposed to know.

Later, unbeknownst to Buffy and Joyce, she climbs out of her bedroom window to pursue answers. And where does she discover what she knows she doesn’t know? In a book. Giles notebook, filled with handwritten language. And what does the notebook say? The scene unfolds with layered significance as Dawn begins to read aloud and Spike takes over. The words on the page, words brought to life by their voices, themselves bring knowledge to light as the sentences and paragraphs narrate the transformation of energy into flesh. Now Dawn knows, understands what she is: a key. But what does that mean? Soon the whole gang also knows that she knows.

Interestingly, this new knowledge does not comfort Dawn—or anyone else. Rather, it threatens to destroy her reality. Is she flesh and blood? Is her family real? Can she even trust what feel like her own memories? No reason to get an education (another form of knowledge); blobs of energy don’t need one, she spits at Joyce. She destroys her journals, the Dawnmeister Chronicles, symbols of what she now perceives to be fantasies and lies. But as Buffy says later, Dawn deserves to know who she is, where she came from, and why she exists. These are the “big” questions we all ask at some point, and not knowing is often worse than whatever reality we discover by asking: “She needs to know. Or it’s just gonna eat away at her,” says Buffy. Eat away at her in more ways than one! On the run, Dawn finds Ben who soon morphs into Glory who asks, “Don’t I know you?” As long as Glory can’t answer that question, the key remains safely tucked away in ignorance.

In many ways, “Blood Ties” (even its title) reminds me of “Family” because Buffy has been wrestling with the questions of Dawn’s origins, her placement in the Summers family, and the nature of the connection between the “sisters.” Buffy, too, has questioned her memories, debated their authenticity. Are false memories really false? Can a very real mystical key also be a very real, annoying baby sister? Apparently so. Just as in “Family” when Tara’s father threatens to take her away, Buffy (and the others) must make a decision and put that decision into words. Clearly, there is power in articulation; words can create reality. When Buffy finds Dawn, knowing what Buffy knows about Glory, she growls, “Get away from my sister.” This declaration of Buffy’s reality, of what she is now certain about in her heart is exactly what Dawn needs to hear. To be sure Dawn and we get the message, after a brief brawl with the “hell-bitch” Buffy takes blood from her own wound and blends it with that of Dawn’s, from the cut Dawn self-inflicted earlier. “It’s Summers blood.” Finally, Dawn believes her when Buffy says that she loves Dawn, that Dawn is her sister. Not unlike two little girls performing a ritual on a grade school playground with straight-pin pricked fingers, Buffy and Dawn declare their sibling relationship, a bond created through blood.

I had the pleasure of watching this week’s trio of episodes with my best friend Wendy while visiting her in San Francisco. After “Blood Ties,” we talked a little bit before moving on to “Crush” and “I Was Made to Love You.” Wendy said something I found worthy of pondering, and I hope you find it worthy also. She said that the relationships among ideas, experiences, and people will always tell us more about reality than considering them separately. In other words, reality manifests in connectedness. I know, maybe that’s not a novel concept. For me, though, Wendy pinpointed anew what any Buffy enthusiast knows: Whedon and his team really, really, really believe in chosen family and investing in deep, meaningful relationships because family is the “real stuff” of life—even if family can be lost or taken away. In “Blood Ties,” I think Buffy finally realizes that she doesn’t have to fear what she doesn’t know or understand about Dawn; they can find out the answers to the big questions together. What’s important is that the energy became flesh, the flesh is Dawn, Dawn is her sister, and they are family. By the end of “I Was Made to Love You” (a title we might read to refer to April and Dawn as the Is, Warren and Buffy as the Yous), I think we all realize that more than ever before Buffy needs all of the family she has—blood and chosen.

And that’s the long shortishness of it.

Thank you, Tanya! Our second guest is Kristen Romanelli! Kristen, who is engaged to another Buffy Rewatcher, David Kociemba, last joined us to discuss “Choices” and “The Prom,” and is the editor of Watcher Junior. This week, she’s here to talk about Robot Sex. ;)

Love, Loneliness, and Robot Sex
Kristen Romanelli

There’s so much awesome spoilage in here that I can’t write this without huge swaths of text getting hidden. Like, many paragraphs worth. I’m just going to not mention any of it, because those of you who know… you know. Those of you who don’t: You’ll see.

Season 5 tends to get a bum rap. I know that it’s probably because of the Dawn-ness of the season, but I’ve always been quite fond of it (Dawn-ness included). Perhaps it’s because of the increased role of Spike (Boo-boo!). The perpetual argument that occurs in the Romanelli-Kociemba household revolves around “Angel or Spike?” You think I’m kidding. Digression aside, I like to think that I enjoy this season because the mature turn it takes. Joyce is facing health problems! The Big Bad is a god! Riley gets all weird and leaves! Robot sex!

Robot sex? Buffy always featured love and loneliness (and being alone) as themes, and it had even touched on the concept of robot sex (and killer robots) in the past (remember “Ted” in Week Eight of the Rewatch?), but the three finally converged in “I Was Made to Love You.”

The two episodes preceding “I Was Made to Love You” — “Blood Ties” and “Crush” — prepare us with the emotional complexities of both love and loneliness (romantic and familial). Dawn, already feeling alienated due to being a “fourteen-year old hormone bomb,” accidentally learns that she is the Key — that “blob of energy” sought by both the Scoobies and Glory. Who is with her during this moment of discovery?

Love’s Bitch, himself. Spike is wrapped in his loneliness, created by his fixation with Buffy. He did this as William with Cecily, and also in his relationship with Drusilla. Spike fiercely romanticizes and idealizes the women he loves. He puts them so far up on a pedestal that he isolates himself.

Outsider and outsider. Spike, who had already found himself, oddly, in a big brother position with Dawn, now has a commonality with the little bit. He now has sympathy for her. When Buffy storms into his crypt and demands why Spike “let [Dawn] find out like that,” he tells her, “You didn't think you could keep the truth from her forever, did you? Maybe if you had been more honest with her in the first place, you wouldn't be trying to make yourself feel better with a round of Kick The Spike.”

He’s not wrong.

Buffy redeems herself and repairs her relationship with Dawn, however, when she shows up just in time to save her sister from getting her brain sucked by Glory. At the end of the battle, Buffy reminds Dawn that she’s still her sister and she loves her regardless of her mystical origin. She tells her that she has “Summers blood.” “It's just like mine. It doesn't matter where you came from, or, or how you got here. You are my sister. There's no way you could annoy me so much if you weren't.”

Spike doesn’t get so touching a resolution. Not even in Buffy’s Valentine’s Day episode. He tries. He really does. He tries pleasantly chatting with Buffy at the Grand Re-Opening of the Bronze; he buddies up with Dawn and Joyce; he even takes Buffy on a slay-date! Okay, sure, she didn’t know it at the time…
BUFFY: What ... is this? The late-night stakeout, the bogus suspects, the flask? Is this a date?
SPIKE: A d- Please! A date? You are completely off your bird! I mean— Do you want it to be?
BUFFY: Oh, my god.

As Buffy wigs, Spike spills his guts to her (as he may have some trouble baring his soul). The honesty he, himself, had recommended in the prior episode backfires terribly and he finds himself alone again. Until Drusilla emerges from the shadows, still showing the burns from her encounter with Angel in L.A.

The series of events that follow are so misguided and desperate of Spike, that I can barely write about it without stopping to headdesk. In fact, his ruse to cajole Buffy into admitting love for him by sacrificing Dru for her backfires even more tremendously than the slay-date. Buffy rejects him (and has his “invitation” blocked from her home), Harmony grows a spine and beats him up (“I gave you the best ... bunch of months of my life!” ::crossbow slam!::), and even Drusilla leaves, telling him, “Even I can't help you now.”

What’s a guy this lonely to do?

Meet April! April is perky, and happy, and programmed to be a perfect girlfriend. Or at least Warren Mears’s idea of the perfect girlfriend, which seems to be a blank slate, devoid of agency, that he can fill with phone numbers, 13 sex-related programs, and the desire to please and praise him. When she first appeared, I turned to David and said, “This poor girl was obviously dressed by a guy.”

In very little time, April’s single-minded, persistent mission to find her boyfriend Warren, combined with her incredible display of strength when she throws a naughty-mouthed Spike through a window, causes the Scooby gang to come to a conclusion:
BUFFY: So, what do you guys think she is? I mean, this may sound nuts, but I kinda got the impression that she was a—
TARA: Robot.
XANDER: Oh yeah, robot.
BUFFY: Yeah, I was gonna say robot.

In all fairness, they’ve had robot (and cyborg) experience in the past. However, Katrina, Warren’s human girlfriend, doesn’t hesitate to jump to the “that’s a robot” conclusion after as she watches April take on Buffy. She immediately rejects Warren and runs away in disgust.

I think this exchange summarizes it nicely:
ANYA: Why would anyone do that if they could have a real live person?
WILLOW: Maybe he couldn't. Find a real person.
BUFFY: Oh, come on. The guy's just a big wedge of sleaze, don't make excuses for him.
WILLOW: I'm not, I'm just saying, people get lonely, and maybe having someone around, even someone you made up ... maybe it's easier.
TARA: But it's so weird. I mean, everyone wants a nice normal person to share with, but this guy, if he couldn't find that, I guess it's ... kinda sad.

Of course Spike places an order. He’s the epitome of lovesick, depraved, and lonely.

I can’t leave this without mentioning Joyce. Poor Joyce. In these episodes, she was recovering from her health scare and being the supportive mom, even after finding out that her youngest daughter is a “glowy key thing.” In “I Was Made to Love You,” Joyce, long past her own robotic experience, has a date with the unseen Brian. Joyce fusses about preparing for the date, and when she comes home, she’s practically giddy — to the point where she teases Buffy about leaving her bra in Brian’s car (no, in the restaurant… on the desert cart!). It seems like everything is finally coming up Joyce.

I told David that I wasn’t planning on quoting him, but I think that, after all, I’ll have to mention something he wrote in his chapter of Buffy Goes Dark (“Understanding the Espensode”): “Buffy helplessly watches April the robot girlfriend ‘die’ just moments before she walks in on her mother’s own dead body. … Buffy promises to stay by April’s side as she dies, while Buffy’s mother dies alone.”

Even after an episode of zany sexbot antics, it’s all about being alone.

Whew… thank you, Kristen! (I can feel that lump growing some more now!)

Next week: Joss Whedon’s masterpiece, “The Body.” I will be talking about the episode along with husband-and-wife academic team Dale and Ensley Guffey, and a featured appearance from my best friend, who will bring a personal story to the episode. Prepare yourself… we only have one episode next week, so that will allow you to watch it three times. ;)

And if you’re watching Angel, next week’s episode is “Epiphany.” See you then!


Marebabe said...

At the beginning of “Blood Ties”, when I realized it was almost Buffy’s birthday, my instinctive response was *dread*. But it turned out to be relatively OK, in fact, the happiest birthday celebration we’ve seen for the Slayer.

There’s something about Glory and Ben sharing a body but neither one being able to remember the other’s activities that reminds me a lot of the sideways world in S6 of LOST. Both situations are so weird, unique, and totally alien that I’m full of questions, mostly of the “How exactly does that work?” variety.

As gods go, I find that Glory is severely limited. Also vulnerable.

Moving on to “Crush”. I think the Favorite Line winner for this episode is Xander, (to Spike): “Hey, Evil Dead, you’re in my seat.”

I was wondering when Buffy would become aware of Spike’s achy love for her. I never imagined that Dawn would just flat-out tell her. A very efficient storytelling device.

Apart from the camera move and horror-movie music, I could see nothing at all creepy about the doll in the overhead bin on the train. And then the story veered sharply away from the train-murder mystery. (Dangling plot thread #1 for this week.)

In Angel this week, in “The Thin Dead Line”, I don’t know why I should’ve been surprised when they said the Z-word. With the multitudes of vampires, demons, and monsters of every stripe in Sunnydale and L.A., I somehow never expected zombies. And certainly not zombies who looked so healthy, normal and presentable, with no sign of disgusting, rotting flesh. Once again, they re-invented the fictional, undead, nonhuman bad guys in our story.

WTH!! – Wesley got gut-shot! Our heroes have sure been taking a beating lately. Buffy and Angel both have super-human healing abilities. But the run-of-the-mill Scoobies can’t just shake things off so easily. I was deeply concerned about dear Wesley.

This was a big week for dangling plot threads. DPT #2 was the girl with the big, ugly eye in the back of her head. She was introduced, and Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn promised to “get right on that”, and then... nothing. No time was spent showing us how the team dealt with this weirdness, but in the next episode, they were figuratively dusting off their hands, problem solved. All I can figure is that the girl or her family will have some importance down the line. Or not.

Marebabe said...

Back to Buffy, “I Was Made to Love You”. LOL at Puffy Xander! That was so cute. And when Joyce was modeling her dress and twirling on command for the girls, I flashed back to some of my earliest memories. My parents used to occasionally hire a babysitter and go out dancing, and Mama had a fabulous, dark purple taffeta dress with a full-circle skirt, perfect for twirling. She always did a few spins for me whenever she wore that dress. Such (girly) fun!

I sort of thought that, after “Ted”, we wouldn’t see any more super-lifelike robots. I guess I was wrong. And April was so adorably cute! Like, Willow and Dawn cute.

Giles to Spike (very quietly): “Move the hell on.” Every now and then, we get to see some new aspect of our beloved characters. When Giles told off Spike, he had some real fire in his eyes. (Spike, I’d move the hell on, if I were you.)

The fact that Joyce was going to die got spoiled for me AGES ago, from those ever-present Top 10 Most Saddest lists that keep popping up online. But I had no idea when it would happen. Even so, when I saw Joyce lying dead on the couch, I could feel my heart racing and thumping. The impact was still very strong, even though it wasn’t a total shock to me. I’ll tell you something else. There was NO WAY I was going to wait even a few days to see the next episode. None of the other stuff I had to do on Sunday mattered to me as much as watching the next episode of Buffy right then. And we’ll talk about that next week.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

The introduction of the Knights reminds us that we rarely hear of God on Buffy - gods, yes, crosses, churches...

At first Anya seems greedy at Buffy's party - until I realized that she's probably never had a birthday party. Possibly never a birthday present.

That cake had REALLY think icing.

Dawn keeps a diary - like Harriet the Spy.

Xander is still wearing some sort of bandage on his wrist - nice continuity, if a still too quick healing.

I like the contrast of Spike in neutral brown so that when he puts back on his black we know he's EVIL!

Vampirism in Crush is a drug metaphor - Spike is hanging out with the good kids, when someone from his old crowd drags him back into the darkness. It was previously used as the same metaphor with Riley.

I don't have a zoom on this DVD player. Is the railroad worker reading Captain America? Cause that would be funny.

Tara is wrong about Quasimodo - he's the only one who really loved Esmeralda and tried to protect her. She's being very judgmental about non-pretty guys.

When Spike mentions Buffy he pulls out a ciggie - stress much?

James gets to sing a wee little bit. Yay! Recently his band has gotten back together and they're working on a new album.

After the 'date' Spike is crying again.


Dru calls Angel 'Angelus'. She doesn't see a difference (and she has reason not to.)

What's up with Willow's scarf? Was she bitten by a vampire? Trying to cover it up?

Spike has some of Angel's drawings of Buffy in the crypt. And Sarah's head shot.

Poor Spike must be sick of arrows.

I like Joyce's Wonder Woman spin.

Am I the only one April reminds of Sarah Palin?

The first time I saw Nick Brendon at a convention, a bunch of pre-teen girls found out Xander was in the hotel and went knocking on all the doors looking for him late into the night (they had to move him to another hotel.) April reminds me of those girls.

Ben gave Buffy Glory's number? How stupid is he?

Spike, meet Ripper.

Katrina is clearly unconscious - but she walks to the bench. April squashes her solar plexus, but she holds her throat. You can hear something pop, but she seems to run around okay.

Buffy's nicer to the robot than she is to many sentient beings. When Spike is knocked unconscious trying to fight Glory, Buffy mocks him for it.

Was I on that Spuffy vs Bangel panel?

Lisa(until further notice) said...

@Marebabe said: "Apart from the camera move and horror-movie music, I could see nothing at all creepy about the doll in the overhead bin on the train. And then the story veered sharply away from the train-murder mystery. (Dangling plot thread #1 for this week.)"

Mystery solved: All of that was for us as viewers to realize that it was Drucilla who was the vamp who killed all of those on the train. She must have taken the train from L.A. Do you remember Dru's dollies way back when we first met her and she was talking to them and telling them that they were "bad" and covering their eyes up with ribbon? So...mystery solved. Dru's back and she ate a train full of Sunnydale visitors or returning Sunnydale residents. The conductor was desert. I love bats*@# crazy Dru.

JS said...

I agree Nikki that each episode flows into another almost seamlessly. Most of my comments for this week are too spoilery to put here since SO MUCH of what we see will be important later (n00bs, you'll just have re-watch to know what I mean...). Suffice it to say, Joyce was just too happy to not have anything happen to her.

Warren is a dick, and Katrina is annoying. They’re so good together.

Sadly, there was only one superlative I noticed for Glory - your inconceivableness - which immediately brings to mind Vizzini (played by Wallace Shawn) in The Princess Bride – in-con-THEIV-able!

Thank you for pointing out that while Buffy was with April while she died, Joyce died alone. I hadn't noticed that juxtaposition before. And that's why we re-watch together.

JS said...

Oh, and I have been watching, but not yet rewatching, Angel. Just finished season five last week. Season 2 is my favorite, after Season 3.

TomWill said...

Marebabe - I'm with you - After "I was made to Love You" I could not do anything until I saw "The Body".

When it was first broadcast I can't imagine the anguish of waiting a week after that cliff-hanger.

Looking forward to next week's discussion.

Nikki Stafford said...

TomWill and Marebabe: I'm really looking forward to discussing that episode with you next week. I hope it had the same impact on you as it did on me at the time. I've got a LOT to say about it.

I also forgot to mention (thanks for reminding me, Marebabe) about the fact that we see Ripper again this week. It's not the last time we'll see him this season.

Unknown said...

Marebabe, I'd think Glory smashing up Xander, Spike,and almost killing Dawn would constitute a pretty bad birthday! To quote Season 4 Buffy: "You could smash in all my toes with a hammer and it would still be the bestest Buffy birthday bash in a long while" :)

Anya totally is adorable at the birthday party. I have a four year old and she pretty much acts the same way at birthday parties, which is so spot on for a new human who has probably never attended or had their own birthday party. I also love Giles' throwaway line "I'm pretty sure I wasn't" (thinking that he wanted it)

I know I can't believe Buffy was oblivious to Spike's feelings for her. I thought it was pretty obvious at the end of Fool for Love, ya know?

Colleen/redeem: I have wondered the same thing about thick old Ben--why does he give Buffy his phone number, does he really think he's going to have a normal dating life? I guess we don't know what his "deal" is and the whole Ben is Glory is Ben thing is pretty confusing.

I know "I was made to love you" is sort of a throwaway episode in many ways, but April really touches me, and I always tear up at her death, regardless of what happens afterward. I once had a boyfriend break up with me in a rather traumatic fashion that sort of called to mind the events of this episode (not that I was crazily following him across state lines knocking on doors in the middle of the night, but he did that incredibly rude method of just not ever contacting me again in the hopes that I would get the message, which, I did, but. . .RUDE!) So I guess this one really hits me in the heart. Warren is just such an unforgivable pig.

Christina B said...

First, Buffy--

Blood Ties: I love Spike's relationship with Dawn. He's so good with her. He's like a sweet big brother...with fangs!

Crush: I love this episode. I love Spike in this episode. 'Nuff said. ;)

I Was Made to Love You: Right after watching this episode, I wrote on Nikki's Facebook wall, "It's bad when you cry at the end of an episode because you're anticipating the next episode, right?
I think next weeks rewatch might just slay me...again."
Thanks, Nikki, for letting me know I wasn't the only one, and that it's not a bad thing. ;)


Boy, do I feel silly. I JUST realized this week who Anne is! I had NO idea last week that Anne was ANNE! Sheesh!

Okay, it's about time I said a little something about Gunn.
I've been avoiding mentioning him for a reason.

I WANT to like him, and secretly, I DO like him..but I'm TERRIFIED to like him because of what Joss did to Doyle!
Someone please tell me that it's safe to like Gunn?

Happy Anniversary: "And the British boy? He's going to be playing a HUGE...."
Ahhhh! A huge WHAT?! When?!
Damn you, Lorne (who I really, really love)!

The Thin Dead Line: Kate annoys me.

Reprise: I LOVED this episode. It was brilliant!
I loved watching Wesley with Virginia and just as I was thinking, "It's so nice to see Wesley happy.", BAM! She breaks up with him!

I'm really not a fan of Lindsay. I don't like that bit of the story at all.
I'm hoping it gets better.

I haaate where Angel is right now! So dark and just plain mean!

The scene in the elevator with Holland? Perfection. I loved that scene...the doors open and...!

The end! Angel! Darla! Nooooooo!

I think I might be the only one NOT looking forward to next week.
On the first watch, I could barely see through my tears during The Body. I don't think it's going to be any easier the second time around. :(

The Question Mark said...

Both "Buffy" and "Angel" ended on such intense cliffhangers this week!

First we've got poor Joyce. That haunting image is going to hurt me forever, but what hurts me even more is Buffy saying "...Mommy?" in that quiet, terrified voice.
Then, over in L.A., we've got Cordelia about to enter mortal danger, Kate almost literally at the end of her rope, and Angel getting his...happiness.
Next week is gonna hurt, isn't it?

Quick thoughts:

-"Happy Anniversary" is possibly my favourite "Angel" episode so far. Lorne is my hero.
-Angry Giles = TERRIFYING.
-At the risk of sounding as bad as Warren, I've gotta say: April is one sexy robot.
-Glory: (realizing she's been teleported thousands of feet above the ground) "Oh, sh-"

QUESTION: Did Anya adopt a last name when she became human, or is she just Anya, like Cher?

The Question Mark said...

P.S.- To all the Spuffies and Bangels out there:
Scott Hope all the way :P

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Question Mark - have you watched the whole series? :)

Fab is a cutie, though. A Canadian cutie at that.

Delvin Anaris said...

Question Mark asked:
"QUESTION: Did Anya adopt a last name when she became human, or is she just Anya, like Cher?"

The former, which was revealed in Checkpoint in last week's rewatch. "Anya Christina Emanuella Jenkins, born on the fourth of July, and don't think there weren't jokes about *that*!"

Marebabe said...

@Lisa(ufn): Thanks for the reminder about Dru and her dolls. I had COMPLETELY forgotten about that.

@JS: LOL at inconceivable!

Batcabbage said...

Nikki muttering at scary shipper panel:

Scary Shipper: Nikki, what do you think? Who's side are you on?

Nikki: N'uma beth. En ie' tanya nat'! (runs)

Nikki Stafford said...

ChristinaB: Um... YES... it's, uh... TOTALLY safe to, uh, like Gunn. Yes... go ahead. No... really.

OK, I'm just messin' with ya. I don't want to say for sure one way or the other, but I will say Gunn was someone I wasn't sure about in the beginning and then he grew on me quickly. And I'm glad he did. ;)

Nikki Stafford said...

QuestionMark: "Mom... Mom....?


I don't think another line has ever slayed me like that one. In one word, Joss Whedon demonstrates how, when you lose your mom -- whether you're 16 or 66 -- you revert to feeling like a child again. An orphan, no matter how old you may be. For me, my sobs were in part anticipating the next episode, but also anticipating that word.

Marebabe said...

@Batcabbage: That was perfect! LOL

Efthymia said...

"Blood Ties":
Ben turning to Glory - I didn't see THAT coming!!! (at least not during my first watch). Sad, because Ben seemed quite likable.
Giles' exasperation with Xander is always fun to watch :)

Spike is just adorable! "Do you want it to be?"
What never ceases to surprise me in this episode is that the one who's actually right is Harmony...
I occasionally feel guilty for liking Spike as much as I do, but it goes away pretty fast.

"I Was Made To Love You":
I miss Oz too :(
Maybe it's because I, as a viewer, love Spike so much, but I think they're crueler to him than they should. I mean, the guy said that he loves her, not that he wants to murder her family!
I think this episode is a very good metaphor for spousal/partner abuse: the woman is made to believe that she is worthless without her husband/boyfriend, and that she is responsible for his behaviour and if she is patient and forgiving the abuse will stop and everything will be OK (but it won't...).

Regarding ranking the Seasons:
Personally, I definitely consider Season 3 to be my favourite, but for a while Seasons 2, 5 & 6 tied for the second spot. I decided that I probably rank Season 2 a bit higher, because it's the original gang, and Oz (♥), and Spike is introduced, and they're still in high-school, and because of the lack of Dawn and Riley, but Season 5 & 6 still fight each other for the third place; every time I watch each of these seasons I say "Well, THIS is the one I like best".

@Colleen/redeem147: Well, I'm not sure Quasimodo LOVES Esmeralda, and even if he does, it doesn't redeem him from not caring the least bit about all the other people he kills. And it has nothing to do with him being ugly, because Phoebus is supposed to be gorgeous, but I find him one of the slimiest and most horrible fictional characters ever.

Nikki Stafford said...

Efthymia: Your comment made me LOL because it's true; we all watch that scene and think they're SO mean to Spike, after everything he's done for them.

But then I try to imagine a guy chaining my best friend to a wall and saying, "You either tell me that you love me or I'm going to sic a monster on you who will murder you in cold blood." And I realize I probably wouldn't be very friendly to him the next day, either. ;)

The Question Mark said...

@COLLEEN/REDEEM147: Nope, never seen the series before. I caught about 4 Season 4 episodes back when they originally aired, but that's it. So every week I'm super-anxious, and I cannot WAIT for "Once More With Feeling", which I've heard is nothing short of mesmerizing.

@DELVIN ANARIS: Right, I forgot about Anya's secret alias! LoL thank you!

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I need to read Hunchback of Notre Dame again. I just remember hating Phoebus and the cleric who 'raised' Quasimodo, who I loved. And crying at the end.

Austin Gorton said...

@Nikki: Most hardcore fans of long-running television shows can rattle off their favourite seasons, in order, from best to worst. And whenever I’m asked to do that, I always begin, “Season 2, followed by season 5…”

I know I've been absent of late, and I apologize if you've already made this clear elsewhere, but I love that you put season 5 second on that list. It's probably my favorite season, overall (it's the most superhero-y/comic book-like, and the season that initially sucked me in to the show). Even though I'll freely admit other seasons may be better (based on slightly more objective principles of criticism and whatnot),I love season 5, and it's nice to see that someone else, especially you, holds it in high regard as well, cuz it seems to get unfairly maligned by fans and critics.

Page48 said...

I realize that sometimes less is more, but I kinda like it when big stuff happens on screen. On "Fringe", Charlie Francis was killed by a shape-shifter and doggonit, it should have happened on screen, or at least on surveillance footage.

So, here we have Buffy breaking the news about Dawnie being The Key, and we don't get to see it, don't get to see that WTF look on the Scoobies' faces. Oh well, what's done is done.

"Blood Ties" was my fave of the week. So much to love about that eppie: the whole Dawnie/Spike relationship, Spike with the bent box of chocolates lurking outside the Summers house as is his new normal, the ease with which Dawn convinces Spike to help her break into the Magic Box, Spike doing his nails, Dawn finding out the truth, Ben morphing into Glory. It's just all good.

I've got a hate on for Warren so IWMTLY is not a tough one to sit through, especially being the 3rd of 3 episodes for the week. One thing I noticed in that episode is that April dresses like it's July, while Buffy dresses like it's, well, April.

Dawnie 'remembers' Ted. Monks. Thorough.

Spike's woman troubles with Dru, Harmony and Buffy were not his finest hour. I feel his pain, but can he really be so strategically challenged?

Giles's final words to Joyce were simple, but very appropriate: "Bye, Joyce".

Efthymia said...

@Nikki: I write my notes as I watch, and it didn't occur to me that occasionaly I may need to specify which moment in the episode I'm referring to.
So, I was talking about everyone's overreaction to Spike's declaration of love BEFORE he chained Buffy up. They have every right to be very upset with him after that event, of course...

Missy said...

Busy Week.

'Blood Ties'


Lol that reveal was so disorienting the first time.
But it's one of my fav things now.


DRU is back in SunnyD!!!!YAY
And Spike gets mindf**k by the 3 women in his life.
I <3 Spike.

'I Was Made To Love You'


I feel BAD for Katrina(I really like her)

And my god after TED I never thought I'd love a Robot as much as I ADORE April.