Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 50

7.16 Storyteller
7.17 Lies My Parents Told Me
7.18 Dirty Girls

Follow along in Bite Me!

And if you’re watching Angel, this week’s episodes are:

4.16 Players
4.17 Inside Out
4.18 Shiny Happy People

Follow along in Once Bitten.

Oh! Well, hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the third last week of the Buffy… reWATCH. Pull up a chair, and settle in as we talk about Andrew, who finally comes into his own in this week’s episodes, the return of Faith, and that nasty sonofabitch preacher that we must refrain from calling The Hammer.

Oh, and Nikki the Freakin’ Vampire Slayer. YES!!! Thank you thank you to the person in the writer’s room who named her! (Can I just mention the squeal that escaped my lips when I did an image search for “Nikki the Vampire Slayer” and MY picture came up before the image I’ve posted above?! I think I woke up the neighbourhood… heeheee!)

This week I have two excellent commentators, so I’m going to keep my own comments very short. “Storyteller” is one of my favourite episodes of the series, mostly because Andrew is just SO damn funny, and I think Tom Lenk is a comic genius. (Why doesn’t this guy have his own show yet? Why isn’t he a regular on The Big Bang Theory?!) “Storyteller” almost acts like an extended “previously on Buffy” episode, bringing people up to speed who apparently are watching the show casually and missed a few things. Like, oh, I don’t know, the end of season 6.

Of course, Andrew is the most unreliable of unreliable narrators, so you can’t believe a word of what he says. And the show is funny ONLY if you’ve actually seen the previous episodes. Show this to a new viewer and they’ll actually think Andrew was strong enough to overcome Dark Willow. Ha! Everything Andrew says is fake, so it takes Buffy scaring the bejesus out of him to actually bring out something genuine… and when she does, it closes the seal. (Just one note: when you see the quick flashes of the dream sequence, watch for the Cheeseman’s reappearance!)

“Lies My Parents Told Me” is another Spike flashback, the sequel to season 5’s “Fool for Love.” In this one, we see who Spike’s first kill was, and once again it’s implied that even though Spike had to go through many trials at the end of S6 to be re-ensouled, he really had a soul all along. A monster wouldn’t react to his mother being so cruel to him, and would probably relish it. But William/Spike has his heart broken by her, and realizes the horrible mistake he’s made. I always feel so sorry for William in this, but also for Robin. I don’t like the way Spike tells him that his mother didn’t love him. That’s bullshit. William’s mother loved him, but when he turned her, she became evil. Now he’s taking his horrible mommy issues and projecting them onto Robin. Nikki the Vampire Slayer (oh YEAH baby!) loved her son, didn’t give him up, but she had a job to do and she couldn’t shirk it. It’s not like quitting a job at The Gap… it’s her friggin’ CALLING. She can’t walk away from it. And she pre-arranged that, should anything happen to her, she’d leave him in the single safest place she could think of. Don’t listen to him, Robin.

Just for the record, when this episode first aired, I totally thought Robin was going to kill Spike, and I was crazy with fear. I can watch this with a lot more ease now!

“Dirty Girls” is where we first see Caleb, Hell’s misogynist preacher. Andrew retells the Faith story so she attacks a Vulcan, not a volcanologist (how much do I love the cheesy Star Trek music that accompanies that scene!!!) and it’s another episode filled with great lines:

And you're certain this is the best course of action? You don't even know what this man has of yours — if he, in fact, has anything.
It could be a girl, a potential trying to get to us.
Could be a stapler.

I don't care if it's Godzilla. (raises a huge sword) I want to get in this thing.
Godzilla's mostly Tokyo-based, so he's probably a no-show.
 Besides, if Matthew Broderick can kill Godzilla, how tough is he?
 (whines) Xander... (crosses his arms petulantly)
 Matthew Broderick did not kill Godzilla. He killed a big, dumb lizard. That was not the real Godzilla.

(looking around) What is this place?
Looks like an old vineyard.
An evil vineyard, huh?
Like Falcon Crest.

Here’s my only question: Why wasn’t Will at the winery? It made no sense to leave her behind when the Potentials were about to face their scariest foe. At the very least, Willow could have helped with a protection spell or forcefield.

Oh, Xander… SOB. Watching S7 this time around, I noticed how many times Xander said, “I see everything” or someone comments on how he’s the one who watches. And of course I couldn’t say anything, because, as River Song would say, “Spoilers!”

Before I move on to the guest contributors, I just wanted to mention that Ensley Guffey (who has been involved with the Rewatch covering "The Body" and "The Zeppo" weeks, will be featuring the various books written about the Whedonverses on his blog tomorrow, so be sure to tune in here to get some Christmas ideas for the Whedon fan who has it all. ;)

First up guest hosting this week is David Lavery… and like Giles, he’s brought pictures!

“Storyteller,” Buffy the Vampire Slayer 7.16
Rewatched by David Lavery

(40) “Stop. Stop telling stories,” Buffy screams at Andrew at the end of “Storyteller,” as part of her scheme to elicit his tears, which are needed to close the seal of Danzalthar. “Life isn’t a story.” Andrew seems to take her admonition to heart, for at the end of “Storyteller” he abruptly turns off his video camera, pointing his remote at the camera and at us.
(41) Now “Life isn’t a story” would be a startling, self-referential assertion in any serial narrative, but coming as it does in a series created by an “angry atheist” who nevertheless espouses his continued belief in “a religion in narrative” (see Lavery), it seems especially problematic.
David Lavery, “Apocalyptic Apocalypses: The Narrative Eschatology of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2003)"

When “Storyteller” originally aired in February 2003, the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was still three months away. For the second half of Season 7 I had been receiving in my e-mail shooting scripts for each episode, and because I am a bit of a Spoiler Whore (non-promiscous, but willing), I read them. So days before Anya and Andrew would have this dialogue . . .

ANYA: For God's sakes, Andrew. You've been in here for 30 minutes. What are you doing?
ANDREW: Entertaining and educating.
ANYA: Why can't you just masturbate like the rest of us?

. . . I was already prematurely laughing at the signature naughtiness, but my illicit script did not prepare me for actually watching “Storyteller’s” hilarious teaser, which gave us Andrew (Tom Lenk) Alistair-Cookeing-it in a velvet smoking jacket (and choking on pipe smoke) before a raging fireplace. “Oh, hello, there, gentle viewers,” he greets us in the episode’s outermost frame. As he pats the thick, ancient volume he has been reading, he acknowledges “You caught me catching up on an old favorite” and then announces the episode’s theme: “It's wonderful to get lost in a story, isn't it?”

“Adventure and heroics and discovery—don't they just take you away?” Andrew asks, and then invites us in—into his episode: “Come with me now, if you will, gentle viewers. Join me on a new voyage of the mind. A little tale I like to call: ‘Buffy, Slayer of the Vampyrs.’”

But Anya interrupts—the first of many breaks—in the “documentary” Andew is making, and we realize he is not in a room of one’s own (a traditional, very British study with Star Wars posters adorning the walls) but on the toilet in the much-in-need only bathroom of the Summers house where he is engaged in narration instead of onanism.

Like Jonathan, the Troika member and south of the border bedmate he killed in “Conversations with Dead People” (7.7), who (thanks to a spell) assumed control of the narrative “Superstar” (4.17), Andrew seeks to take over BtVS and make himself its writer and director and perhaps star. It is the School of Whedon’s almost-always-brilliant Jane Espenson, the episode’s writer (and also the author of “Superstar”), and television-director-for-hire Marita Grabiak (who would return in May as the helmer of the series’ penultimate episode, “End of Days”) [read my interview with Grabiak here], who are credited with actual control of the story, but behind them showrunner Joss Whedon—who has acknowledged that Masterpiece Theatre was the most influential television show of his youth (Lavery and Burkhead, Joss Whedon: Conversations 51)—is having his say as well.

Still, Andrew doesn’t give up. Much of “Storyteller” screen time is seen through the viewfinders of his camcorder, his hyperactive imagination, or both. (The to-ing-and fro-ing of between frames in “Storyteller” results in more than a few continuity errors, catalogued by Keith Topping in The Complete Slayer [624].)

We are treated to Andrew’s version of recent events—actually a kind of nerdish white board-on-top-of-a-washing machine-beside-an-ironing board iteration of the customary “previously on”. . . .

Awkwardly, shyly, Andrew brings us up-to-date on the Seal, The First, the dreaded Über Vamps . . .

. . . “very mobile for blind people” Bringers.

The “actual” moments being captured on film by Andrew (like the one above) show the “Record” indicator in the upper left-hand corner of the frame. But a slow motion cereal Buffy is pure fantasy . . .

. . . as are Spike and Buffy posing (in Andrew’s imagination) for the cover of a romance novel while an intrusive Anya gobbles the grapes.

These light-saturated frames alert us that we are, as in the opening Masterpiece Theatre teaser, inside Andrew’s “mindscreen” (as Bruce Kawin called it in a 1978 study of “first person film”).

Spike’s subsequent angry vampire shtick is more real than Cereal Buffy, but still staged, as we realize when Andrew asks for a reshoot . . .

SPIKE: I thought I told you to piss off with this bloody camera, yet here you are again with that thing in my face. Would you sod off before I rip your throat out and eat—
ANDREW: OK, Spike. The light was kind of behind you.
SPIKE: Oh, right. Uh, what? Is this better then? I thought I told you to piss off with this bloody camera, yet here you are again with that thing in my face. Would you sod off—?

Other shots, covered by Andrew’s gossipy narration, are more or less real—this one, for example, of Willow and her possible new love Kennedy . . .

Here and elsewhere Andrew’s attention is often drawn to significant moments of character interaction—a moment between the bent-on-revenge Principal Wood and Spike (who killed his mother), for example—which he entirely misconstrues:

Check out Spike and the Principal. There's something going on there. Sexual tension you could cut with a knife.

Andrew is a highly unreliable narrator, especially when he speaks of his own “dark past” as a criminal mastermind, the leader of the Troika . . .

. . . a cabal that, in Andrew’s recollection, was well-nigh divine:

We are gods. Oh, we are gods. We are as gods. We are as gods!

Legend-in-his-own mind scientist Andrew has all the answers—about both physics and wardrobe:

WARREN What'll [the latest super weapon] do to Buffy?
ANDREW Make her super magnetic!
JONATHAN Wow, she won't be able to get out of her car.
WARREN And knives and other sharp things will fly at her.
ANDREW We could walk right by her, and she wouldn't be able to stop us.
WARREN Unless we were wearing metal belt buckles, then we would stick to her.
ANDREW In my plan, we are beltless.
JONATHAN Wow, you're the best, Andrew.

In Andrew’s warped memory he even vanquished Dark Willow, though we know the narrative truth—that he and Jonathan ran in fear of her all the way to Mehico.

Although this is an Andrew-centric episode, “Storyteller” has much more to offer. It is a chapter of the Buffy saga in which we learn (from Buffy herself) the difference between a dream and a vision: “You're running to catch the bus naked? That's a dream. Army of vicious vampire creatures? That's a vision.” We find Principal Wood using Buffyspeak: “I may be concussed.” Xander and Anya “still spark” (and sleep together). Andrew reveals his drink preference: “Can’t I have a cool refreshing Zima.” Jonathan made a promise to Andrew during their Latin American sojourn: “Jonathan has been a good friend to me here in Mehico. He said he'll buy me a burro.” Also, in Mehico, the Cheese Man from “Restless” (4.22) makes a brief appearance in a shared Andrew/Jonathan nightmare.

“Storyteller” would be Jane Espenson’s next-to-last episode of Buffy (she would co-author “End of Days” [7.21]) before going on to write for Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Gilmore Girls, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, and Torchwood: Miracle Day. For Buffy fans “Band Candy,” “Earshot,” “Pangs,” “A New Man,” “Superstar,” “The Replacement,” “Triangle,” “I Was Made to Love You” had demonstrated beyond reproach her quirky sense of humor and delightfully playful characterization. (If the quite awful Torchwood: Miracle Day showed her to have feet of clay, then it was not unprecedented, for Espenson had also authored such forgettable Buffy episodes as “Listening to Fear,” “Harsh Light of Day,” “Intervention,” and “Doublemeat Palace.”)

When “Storyteller” originally aired on February 25, 2003, BtVS viewers would need to wait a full month before the season resumed with “Lies My Parents Told Me” on March 25. (Today’s multi-platform viewers, of course, need not wait, and they can rewatch it now with Lorna Jowett right here on Nik at Nite.) On May 20th, Buffy the Vampire Slayer would, after 144 episodes, “stop telling stories,” unless, of course, you count the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight (and Season Nine and . . .) comics.

Thank you, David! And next up, to discuss the next two episodes, Lorna Jowett, author of Sex and the Slayer:

“It will only hurt for a moment”
Lorna Jowett

As David’s post concentrated on “Storyteller,” I’m going to be focusing on “Lies My Parents Told Me” and “Dirty Girls”.

Highlights: flashbacks (I love flashbacks); Xander’s fantasy about the Potentials potentially being Dirty Girls; Andrew’s version of Faith’s backstory (go, Spock!); Anya telling it like it is, inconsistencies and all; Faith and Spike bonding in the basement; wine crashing across the cellar floor in “Dirty Girls” like blood in The Shining.
Lowlights: annoying Potentials; Caleb, one of the worst Bads ever (Nathan Fillion deserves better).

Spike and Robin Wood face their past in “Lies My Parents Told Me” just as Andrew was forced to do in “Storyteller”. Each of these episodes is about telling stories, stories that may be lies. It’s also difficult to know who’s telling lies. Past episodes suggest that Spike is an unreliable narrator. David talks about how the visual aesthetics of “Storyteller” highlight Andrew’s point of view and we return to this in both Xander’s fantasy and Andrew’s retelling of Faith’s history during “Dirty Girls”, but here it’s more complicated. Are the flashbacks to Spike, Nikki and Robin Wood’s past here lies my parents told me or lies I told about my parents? I didn’t include Spike/ William’s backstory in the highlights because if it’s a highlight, it’s a pretty disturbing one. The more the story unfolds, the more creepy it becomes (“all you ever wanted was to be back inside,” William’s mother mocks by the end). Even the insane Drusilla can’t believe that new vampire William wants to bring his mum along on their hedonistic vampire killing spree, so we know there’s something toe-curlingly wrong. Spike relives part of his past where he sired his mother and then staked her – well, we knew he had issues When he tells Wood that the things his mother said to him after she was turned don’t matter because it was the demon talking, we’ve seen enough of vampires by now to know this is doubtful. His mother crushes William’s argument that he’s changed now he’s a vampire, saying, “Darling, it’s who you’ll always be. A limp, sentimental fool.”

But even if this account of Spike’s past is tangled up in lies, revisiting it does rid Spike of the First’s trigger. Wood finds it harder to let go his mother. Wood has nursed the pain of Nikki’s death for years and now the fact that he’s expected to work beside the vampire who killed her becomes too much for him. Is he seeking vengeance for Nikki’s death or satisfaction for himself? Can he even tell the difference?

Wood’s dilemma is whether to accept Spike has changed and fight alongside him for the greater good, the sake of the mission, the same mission his mother died for. Buffy’s dilemma is whether to do anything about the fact that Spike may be dangerous because of the First’s influence. But just as Buffy (and Spike) take the decision out of Wood’s hands, so Buffy’s ability to decide what is best for Spike and the group is taken out of hers. Thus, the episode title also refers to Buffy. Surrogate father Giles, not just Wood, lies to her and she serves him notice of her adult status at the close of the episode in a devastating dismissal: “I think you’ve taught me everything I need to know”. About lying? About how people you trust betray you? This episode highlights again how male characters unite against the female Slayer, with good intentions or bad. We saw it with the Shadow Men in “Get It Done” [spoiler]: and there’s more to come as the season draws to its close. One of the reasons Caleb is an unconvincing villain is that he’s too obvious in his rants against “dirty girls”, but his tone is part of a broader resurfacing theme about gender and power.

There’s another lesson in “Lies” – about what it means to be close to a Slayer. Buffy, we have been repeatedly told, is unusual in keeping a circle of family and friends around her. That makes her, she argues, a better Slayer. It also takes its toll, on her and on her loved ones. In this situation, across both these episodes, we see Buffy getting conflicting advice from those around her and having to decide for herself what to do. Spike, Wood and Andrew face their past; Buffy has to face the present and the future. Faith, returning to Sunnydale fresh from Angel, has spent some time facing her past actions and seeking redemption for them by serving a prison sentence. When she’s needed, first by Angel and then by Buffy, Faith puts the present need above atoning for the past because it might secure the future. Yet what kind of a future can a Slayer have? Are Buffy and Faith just facing an endless succession of apocalypses (we never did find out what the plural was) and then a violent death? What kind of future can the Potentials have? Only one of them ever has a chance of being Chosen, and that’s only when a Slayer dies. In other words, where are they taking this story and how can it end?

When Giles tells Buffy in “Lies My Parents Told Me”, “it’s time to stop playing the role of general and start being one”, his words are compromised by his dubious positioning in the episode. And when Buffy tries to take his (and Wood’s) advice during “Dirty Girls” she makes a mistake that costs untested Potentials their lives and Xander his eye. [Spoiler]:It will cost Buffy and the group more in days to come. Buffy isn’t a general, she’s a Slayer. Slayers have been, until now, solitary warriors, as Spike reminds Wood in “Lies My Parents Told Me.” Maybe the question is not can she be a general but can she afford to be a general? Remember what story this is. It may not be Buffy, Slayer of the Vampyrs, but it’s still Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Right from season one this story asks, what does it mean to be the Chosen One? What does it mean to be the one girl in all the world with a mission to fight vampires and demons? Can Buffy make choices or is she stuck with being Chosen?

The biggest lie: It will only hurt for a moment.

Thank you, Lorna!

Next week: I can’t believe we’re at the penultimate week of the rewatch. I’m so sad! How quickly this year has flown. You will see the speech that ties with Xander’s in “Potential” for its ability to make me cry (♥♥♥) in “Touched,” and you can feel the anticipation for that huge finale about to come around. And just a hint of what you’ll be seeing in two weeks’ time: The finale night will be December 27, and it’ll be a post by me that night, and then starting the following morning and continuing throughout the day on December 28, I’ll be posting one post an hour looking back on the rewatch, on all of Buffy and featuring many of our commentators, and a few new ones! I hope you guys all like it. ;)

But until then, next week’s episodes are:
7.19 Empty Places
7.20 Touched
7.21 End of Days

And if you’re watching Angel, those episodes will be:

4.19 The Magic Bullet
4.20 Sacrifice
4.21 Peace Out

See you then!


Marebabe said...

Aw, Nikki... BLESS YOU for including so many pictures of highlights from "Storyteller"! This was such a fun outing.

From the first instant of the “Masterpiece Theater” opening of “Storyteller”, I was IN! Even before I saw who the host was. And I’ll go on record right now by saying that, in my opinion, Tom Lenk, who played Andrew, is a comic genius! It wasn’t just the camera panning across the leather-bound books and the music that I loved. When I looked at that scene again, slowly with much pausing and studying, I noted lots of Evil Genius paraphernalia, a Silver Surfer comic, and a couple Star Wars posters. A great intro for our humble narrator.

The slow-motion shot of wind-in-her-hair Buffy and shirtless hunk Spike looked just like the cover of a romance novel. I couldn’t help noticing, our Andrew has quite the vivid imagination. :P But it was when he flashed back to his days as a sharp-dressing criminal mastermind (“In my plan, we are beltless.”) that I really started seeing him as Ralph Phillips. Who is Ralph Phillips, you say? Gentle readers, I have prepared the following documentary which will acquaint you with the legendary Ralph Phillips. (I can think of lots worse ways to spend 7 minutes.)


OK, 14 minutes!


I took a quick peek at the Wikipedia article for “Storyteller”, and I really enjoyed how whoever-it-was said that Andrew was “blithely re-imagining current and past incidents in an idealized and incorrect way.” L.A. police sergeant Joe Friday could not have said it better. (“Just the facts, ma’am.”)

I have no words that could possibly do justice to Andrew’s prancing “We Are Gods” fantasy with the unicorn and the stacks of gold bars. Andrew, Andrew...

It seems that all of the funny Buffy episodes have a way of turning a corner and ending on a very serious note. Even before we got to the end of this one, there was a pretty grim moment when Robin ALMOST staked Spike. That was a close call!

I loved the most excellent resolution, with Buffy doing what was necessary to produce a copious flow of lachrymal fluid (tears) in order to close the Seal of Danzalthar. It shocked Andrew out of his make-believe world, made him look straight into the eye of the camera and call things by their right names. What a sad day for our gentle host and videographer. Will he ever be able to indulge in fantasy again?

And hurray for the Mutant Enemy monster SINGING to us at the very end!

VW: uptuat - Well, OK, if you're sure you feel uptuat.

Marebabe said...

Sometimes when I’m watching a Buffy episode for the first time, I get all the way to the end and find that I have not picked up my pen once. With “Lies My Parents Told Me”, I finished watching, then read Nikki’s chapter on that episode, and still had nothing. I went and read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia and couldn’t come up with anything to say. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the episode, I can appreciate the intricacies of the plot (with the flashbacks) and everyone’s performances. It’s an important piece of the story, and it fits very well into the whole series arc. I think maybe what happens to me at these times is that I feel intimidated by the thought of the dissertations, past and present, of the various Buffy scholars in attendance on this blog. (You know who you are.) They/you have already made such a thorough study of all things Buffy, that I sometimes feel like a drooling idiot making comments of the “Ooh, I just loved it when xxxxxxxxx!” variety.

Nevertheless, I shall offer a few observations for your amusement.

Couldn’t Nikki Wood have gotten a babysitter for little Robin?!

I never imagined the deep, overwhelming tragedy of William and his Mother. Dare I hope that Spike can ever find happiness and peace? Actually, I DO hope that for him, because he doesn’t have a Gypsy curse on him, like Angel does. If Spike ever finds a happy ending, it will be safe for him to just BE happy, or as happy as anyone can be in this sad and imperfect world.

Marebabe said...

My writer’s block was instantly cured at the very beginning of “Dirty Girls”. THERE’S Nathan Fillion! (Like Felicia Day, I’d been waiting for his appearance.) There was no waiting, however, to learn that Caleb is evil. Holy crap! Gimme an E! Gimme a V! Gimme an I! Gimme an L! What’s that spell?


There was one thing in that opening scene that stood out for me as way too ridiculous and unbelievable. Shannon made no effort to push Caleb’s branding iron ring away from her neck! Her hands were free. She didn’t even flinch away from it. She just took the pain and the abuse, apparently accepting it. I know she couldn’t open the door and jump out right then, but there were several things she could’ve done to keep some distance between the searing-hot metal and her skin.

Xander’s dream/fantasy starring a houseful of Potentials was one of THE BEST funny bits of the entire series! And you gotta love Andrew’s voiceover, regarding Faith: “For years and years, or to be more accurate, months..." I laughed so hard I nearly choked! I had just recovered from that when we saw that Geeky Trekker Andrew had confused volcanologist with Vulcan. Ohhh, MERCY! *wiping away tears of mirth*

I loved how Xander delivered his big, moving speech. (Glad Buffy got to hear it, too. Warm fuzzies.) I was wondering if Faith would ever be told about all the stuff she missed, that Buffy died twice, etc. I really wanted Faith to know how “cool” Buffy is.

I hope Xander didn’t lose his eye, although it sure looks like he did. That was so grisly to watch!

WHAT is Caleb??

Marebabe said...

Watching Angel this week, I got drowsy, nodded off, and missed a big segment out of the second half of “Players”. I was tempted to just skip it and move on, but I’m very glad I went back and saw it all. Even though it didn’t have much to do with the bigger story, it was an excellent showcase for Gunn, and a good resolution for Gwen. I’m glad I saw it.

In “Inside Out”, NotCordy’s job of programming Connor was so easy, because he is predisposed to believe any and all trash talk about Angel. She almost didn’t need to say anything, because he was already on her team.

The huge download of information we got from Skip was unexpected and most welcome! I’ve gotten so used to feeling confused and mystified this year. For once, the fog cleared a bit, and it felt good. (Assuming, of course, that Skip was speaking the truth.)

What a hero moment for Wesley, hitting the bulls-eye on Skip’s head – his one vulnerable spot – when it really mattered. Nicely done, Wes! It reminded me of Bard the Bowman shooting Smaug, the dragon, in “The Hobbit”. One shot, one kill.

In “Shiny, Happy People”, I had an uneasy feeling about Jasmine the whole time, just because. Jasmine “hath power to assume a pleasing shape.”

Marebabe said...

My apologies to David Lavery. Now, having read every word of tonight’s Buffy Rewatch post, I realize that I should’ve been thanking YOU for all the pictures from “Storyteller”. That was great! Thanks for the excellent analysis. And Lorna, your essay also ROCKS!

Nikki, how much do I LOVE that your picture showed up in a search for Nikki the Vampire Slayer! I did a quick search, but didn’t see your picture. I did, however, see a shirt company called “effulgentcolors”. So, y’know, that was fairly enriching.

Page48 said...

Caleb aims to misbehave.

You gotta have Faith a Faith a Faith. Welcome back to Sunnydale and welcome back from the Dark Side.

Faith seems to "remember" Dawn. The spell is still in effect.

Nice ride, Willow. Is that a rental?

The world is about to end, but let's get the school library straightened out while there's still time.

Buffy's had it up to here with Dawn. She's now ready to sacrifice the Niblet to save the world. Is that before or after she's done showing Dawnie the world?

Oh, Giles! Conspiracy to commit slayage. Now who's evil? Say goodbye to the trust.

Xander's "leg cramp". Whatever you do, don't rub it.

Andrew is on fire. Now that Andrew is on fire, how many first-timers remember Tom Lenk as Cyrus from Harmony's gang in 5.02? I never made the connection until the re-watch, when I recognized his voice.

Ken H said...

Thanks for providing this great setting for rewatching the episodes this year. The commentaries were enjoyably diverse.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Dr Lavery - Jane wrote the best episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day (Immortal Sins.) And heck, it was no Children of Earth, but I liked it.

The camera pans over the Fantastic Four comic with the Silver Surfer, herald to Galactus, destroyer of worlds. No, I didn't dig through my comics to check which issue it was, but it is foreshadowing of an apocalypse.

Andrew speaks for the fans when he comments on Buffy's motivating speeches.

In his version, Warren thinks Andrew is handsome.

Andrew seems to have a crush on Xander (his concentration on the window frames, mouthing Anya's dialogue.)

Why didn't we see the seal under the old school? The hellmouth opened a few times.

Nobody noticed that dagger in the cutlery drawer? Andrew reads the language written on it, but didn't recognize it as script?

Did Angel leave the hockey stick at the school? :)

Xander's cute when he wiggles his feet in Spike's bed. But talk about an imposition... The guy has to sleep there.

Spike and Nikki fight in the rain, while Robin watches. Pathetic fallacy.

Were the 'Spooky doodas' that Robin liked to play with the shadow puppets?

The string choir vs the marching band reminds me of the Glee club vs the Cheerios. :)

Angel ate his family out of hate - Spike turned his mother out of love.

The First haunts Robin, then Robin passes that temptation to Giles - First by proxie. Not only is the First done with Spike, it wants him dead. So Giles is quite wrong.

I think Buffy makes speeches because she has no idea what to do.

I think that Spike's mother may have said those horrible things so that he'd kill her - like Spike did with Buffy in the basement. I'm not convinced she meant any of it, even as a vampire.

Spike's speech to Robin about killing him out of free will is similar to Angel's pillow speech to Wesley.

I LOVE Caleb. Well, in a twisted, would like to see an American Psycho cross-over sort of way. Nathan's just NASTY. (And he wrote 'You are dirty' in my copy of Bite Me.) He has some pretty explicit talk about girl parts ('gaping maw' for one.)

The girls in Xander's room are Colleen and Kelly. My friend Kelly and I ran a Buffy fan fic list, and for a while we wondered if Drew Goddard was reading it - but they're the names of his mom and sister.

Spike and Angel are nothing alike because they have 'very different colouring' - like Faith and Buffy.

Rachel Bilson from The OC plays Colleen.

Are Andrews Star Wars posters foreshadowing? "It's a trap!"

The Question Mark said...

What a treat it was to see not one but TWO "Firefly" alumni gracing the screen during this week's Buffy/Angel rewatches, even though Gina Torres plays a terrifying unknown creature with a Messianic complex, and Nathan Fillion plays a twisted, evil d**k who mutilates poor Xander. The Whedonverse has converged into one glorious nexus!

Speaking of which, I've yet to see any of "Dollhouse". Has anybody seen it? Is it as cool as I think it is?

Colleen/redeem147 said...

And one question - if William's mother didn't let him and Dru into the house, who did?

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Speaking of which, I've yet to see any of "Dollhouse". Has anybody seen it? Is it as cool as I think it is?

I had to watch it twice to think so. Hated it at first.

Page48 said...

I soooooo wanted to love "Torchwood: Miracle Day", but I found it to be a substantial letdown after the awesomeness of COE.

"Dollhouse" got off to a brutal start and, IMO, didn't begin to pick up until after the proverbial writing was already on the wall. They just wasted too much time on Echo's weekly sexcapades instead of getting to the interesting stuff, which did eventually arrive. I watched DH before my first time thru BtVS, so the only Whedonverse faces I recognized were those of "Firefly" actors and Peyton from "Alias".

Page48 said...

Since Buffy brought it up first, how about some P!nk, getting her party started!

Christina B said...

WooT! It's like a Firefly reunion up in here! (I'm so, so sorry. No grown woman should ever say 'up in here'. I won't do it again.) ;)
I knew Nathan Fillion was on Buffy, but I had NO idea Gina Torres was on Angel!
It's good to stay unspoiled! :)

Loved Storyteller! Again, I just keep loving Andrew more and more!

I hate what Giles did to Buffy in Lies My Parents Told Me. It hurts me to see him hurt her like that!

The first time I watched Dirty Girls I was so shocked at what Caleb did to Xander, I just sat there, staring.
This time, I had a VERY odd reaction! The same exact reaction I had at the end of this seasons Walking Dead mid-season finale (No spoilers!).
I was sitting there...I THOUGHT I was prepared for what was coming...and then as Caleb's thumb went into Xander's eye, I suddenly, without warning, burst into tears! Again, this just reiterates that Xander has become my favourite Scoobie because of this rewatch.

Over on Angel--

(Please picture the Tenth Doctor now.)




(Okay, you can stop picturing Ten now. If you want. Although he's REALLY hot, so I don't blame you if you keep his face in your mind for awhile!)

You know, I kept saying to myself, throughout these rough weeks of Angel, "It can't get any worse, right?"
Well frak, was I wrong.

I mean, I love Gina Torres....But this whole plot is just horrid!

I'm hanging on by my fingernails here, everyone. I'm sticking in and I trust you all, but I will never, ever watch this season again!

There was, however, a tiny bit of good this week.
Players was okay and it was great to finally see Gunn being Gunn again! I LOVE Gwen and hope she returns!

I was so sad to find out Skip is a bad guy! I loved Skip! :(

And Gina's characters face (I hope they name her, eventually?)is horridly gruesome!

(vw-jingler. Fitting for this time of year, no? Ha!)

Page48 said...

Christina B, don't you know it's 3:00 in the morning?

"Firefly" reunion? Ha, it ain't over till it's over. Brace yourself for more of same in S5 of "Angel".

Efthymia said...


This just might be my favourite episode in Season 7 (including the finale).
And even if some people think I'm crazy, tasteless and/or not a true BtVS fan, I'm sticking to my opinion that Andrew is the best thing about Season 7.

I'd love to have a Tom Lenk and Jane Espenson commentary on this episode. Why isn't there one?

"Why can't you just masturbate like the rest of us?" - It's not just the content of the phrase, it's not just how naturally Anya says it, it's also Andrew's 10-year-old-who-heard-a-naughty-word reaction to it. Amazing!

"Sexual tension you can cut with a knife" - maybe that was Andrew's problem all along: he mistakes agression for sexual tension.

And this is how Bringers come to be?

I really thought Xander & Anya would be together again... :(
(Oh, how immature of me.)

@David Lavery: I didn't know 'onanism' existed in the english language, so thank you for this new information.
Although it did get me wondering why it is written with an 'o' instead of an 'au', since the greek word is αυνανισμός.

Efthymia said...

"Lies My Parents Told Me":

I understand the reason why, but it still kind of bugs me to see a different person as the NY Vampire Slayer (who has the awesomest of names, of course).

Ah, Giles and his books... One of the many reasons why I love him so!

Yul Brunner was SO NOT boring!!
OK, I really don't know whether he was boring or not, but he sure did look cool.

Poor Drusilla... I never thought I would feel so sorry for her. This is probably worse than what Angel did to her! ;)

Vamp mama-Spike is super icky!
Although it has been pointed out through the course of the show that one's vampire personality is an exaggeration of one's human personality, I don't believe that Spike's mother really thought and believed all these things. The way I see it, her worries about her son's chances of marrying etc mutated into... that.

When I first saw this episode, I wanted to smash Wood's face (Spike pretty much did that for me) and I felt betrayed by Giles. BUT, I was affected by my love for Spike. Having given it some thought, I can't really blame them. Wood doesn't really know Spike, for him he's the monster that killed his mother, the monster he had been looking for for years in order to avenge his mother's death. Nikki might have had a calling, but Robin didn't: from his point of view, he was a boy whose mother was taken away from him. And now he has to be OK with co-existing with his mother's killer, watching him wear her coat and say casually that he got it in New York, as if he had bought it in a shop and not gotten it off of her dead body?
And Giles, we've always applauded him for making the hard decisions (killing Ben, for example), and just in the next episode we see that his thinking proves to be the right one. Now he's facing Spike being triggered by the First - a trigger so powerful it affects him despite his soul - and knows that the First has claimed to not be done with him yet, therefore having unknown future plans for him.
Buffy's reaction annoyed me even in my first viewing, when I felt betrayed by Giles: she claims that she wants Spike around because he's the strongest worrior, but that is not true -not only has she told Spike that she's just not ready for him to not be there anymore, but that same strenght would (or should) make her consider what would happen if the First used it for its own purposes; and then she's so cruel to Giles, as if he's less important than Spike, and his mistakes can't be forgiven while Spike's can!

This has nothing to do with the episode, it's just something I noticed in the commentary, but I have to say it: James Marsters has one amazing giggle!

Efthymia said...

"Dirty Girls":

"Angel's dull as a table lamp, and we have very different colouring!" indeed...

Personally, I love that the First's -aka the Most Evilest Evil Villain's- right-hand man is a misogynist priest, but maybe that's just me.

Ah, Season 3 flashbacks... How I love that season!

Chao An may be my favourite Potential :)

Ugh, I want to slap Buffy in this episode so very much! The fact that you're still here even after having died twice is due to these people that you're so easily dismissing right now, lady!

No, not Xander, NO NO NO!!!
I can watch many gruesome things, but I have this thing with eyes... I can't stand even hearing about them being damaged in any way, I've never used an eye-pencil or an eyeliner out of fear that by some freak sequence of events I would end up stabbing my eye with it, and I certainly can't watch eyes being poked! And now to have this happen to Xander... I'm shaking just thinking of it!

I have a fiery hatred for Caleb! I find him a far more interesting villain than the First itself.

By the way, I had a dream just last night that my LOST posters had fallen of the wall, and as I was trying to fix them Xander came to help me, and I somehow was Buffy and not myself at that point. Hmm...

THANK YOU, THANK YOU Ensley Guffey, I SO wanted a list like this!
It's the second confirmation in 4 years that Santa really does exist.

Shimon said...

Ok quick show of hands: would anyone be interested in a synchronized watching of the finale while we simultaneously comment over twitter?

Lisa(until further notice) said...

These episodes make me wish that Andrew had been a scooby throughout the series. And Wood is certainly nice to look at. He's also a very strong person to be able to (eventually) work alongside Spike.

I don't think I've heard any dialogue from Dawn in at least two episodes. Am I right?

As for Willow being left behind in dirty girls, I get why Buffy did that. They've been down the bait and switch road before. But Buffy tells Willow she's her most powerful weapon in one instance, and then she tells Giles that it's Spike in another. Which is it? It sure isn't Kennedy.

Faith is a welcome addition as Buffy has been so annoying and out of character.

Who is going to pay all the potentials' hospital bills? I just got a doozy of a bill for my son and I don't think Buffy would have been able to afford it. Maybe Willow will have to sell her sweet ride.

Richard Castle's hair is better than Caleb's.

Methinks if Willow had just waxed Warren's chest rather than flaying him, there would have been close to the same amount of pain without the death.

Over on Angel, I find it interesting that the "disturbed" or somewhat "crazy" individuals are those that are able to see Jasmine for her true self, just as they were on Buffy in season 5 when they were able to see Dawn for who she truly was. A little bit of continuity.

Love how Angel wears pastels and yellows now that he is under Jasmine's spell.

I find it most disturbing that Wesley is unable to see through Jasmine.

Charisma Carpenter did a great job making Cordy so unlikeable and evil...and in a much different way than she did when she was "affected" Cordelia in Sunnydale.

Quarks said...

This week is where, for me, the season starts to pick up again after ‘drooping’ slightly of late. I think part of the reason for that is that we are now very near to the finale, so I don’t find it unreasonable for the show to focus on the plot so much. All three episodes this week are quite good and, although I do have a couple of issues I’ll talk about later, I feel like I’ve been complaining a lot about ‘Buffy’ recently so it is nice to be able to say lots of positive things about these episodes.

‘Storyteller’ is a fantastic episode, and brings some much needed humour back into the series in a season which has become very serious. Whoever it was that decided to bring Andrew back after Season 6 is a genius, and he really comes into his own in this episode. I think there is only one whole episode in the Buffyverse that has me laughing more, and that’s to come in ‘Angel’ Season 5. I don’t think I stop laughing through at least the first half of ‘Storyteller’; from Andrew’s commentary to Anya’s comments to the ‘flashbacks’ there is so much that makes me laugh in this episode.

One of my favourite things about ‘Buffy’ is its ability to combine humour, emotion and a great plot together seamlessly, and ‘Storyteller’ is the perfect example of this. Although it is primarily a funny episode, by the end it does become serious and deals with Andrew’s feelings regarding what he did to Jonathan.

I always like it when shows make fun of themselves, so I love Andrew’s reaction to Buffy’s motivational speeches.

The other plot thread in this episode is dealing with Xander and Anya’s relationship. It was exactly one season ago that Xander left Anya at the altar, and since then they have both tried to move on from their relationship, with little success. So here, they finally sit down and talk about where they are now. Part of me wishes that we had had a bit more resolution here, with either them getting back together or finally moving on from each other. Perhaps to a certain extent we did get the latter, but there are still very clearly feelings between them. However, I appreciate that feelings aren’t things that can be turned on and off, so some kind of concrete resolution was unlikely.

Robin: I don't know why any of you should trust each other. You've all been evil at some point, right?

Buffy: No, that's not true. Yeah, Willow had a bad patch, but I've never been.

Yes, because knocking your friends and family out, tying them up and locking them in the basement with a demon isn’t the slightest bit evil.

Quarks said...

Now we move onto ‘Lies My Parents Told Me’, which unfortunately is where the issues I mentioned earlier come into play. I wouldn’t say that I dislike this episode, but I do have a couple of problems with what actually happens in it.

The main problem which I have with this episode centres on Giles. Now, I do like Spike as a character (although not to the same extent that I know some people do), but I don’t have a problem, per se, with Giles trying to kill him. I mean, it’s not his shining moment, but I don’t think it’s any worse than Xander telling Buffy to kick Angel’s ass instead of about Willow’s plan back in Season 2. My problem with this episode is what it does to the relationship between Buffy and Giles. The father-daughter dynamic of their relationship was always something which I liked in the early seasons, so it upsets me that they are essentially destroying it now, especially so near the finale when it will be hard to resolve it satisfactorily in such a small amount of time. Also, because Spike is such a popular character, it does feel as though the writers are deliberately trying to turn the audience against Giles, which again upsets me as he has always been one of my favourite characters.

The other problem I have with this episode, or more generally this season, is how Buffy is pulling away from everybody and becoming the archetypal Slayer. In this episode we see her relationship with Giles completely break down, and all season she has been pulling away from her friends. In many ways, the only person she really has now is Spike, and even they aren’t as close as they have been in the past. What frustrates me is that Buffy’s success as a Slayer has always been in a large part down to her friends. Indeed, she would be dead twice over if it weren’t for them. So I do think that in part Buffy’s decision to pull away from her friends is not going to be good for them, and perhaps if Buffy still treated them like she did a couple of seasons ago they wouldn’t have suffered such a defeat in ‘Dirty Girls’.

Linked with this, Buffy admits in this episode how she would now be willing to let Dawn die for the greater good, and I don’t understand why this is almost portrayed as a positive character development. Another quality about Buffy which was commendable in the earlier seasons was her loyalty to her friends and family, and her reluctance to do any harm to them whatever they did. She took weeks to give up hope on restoring Angel, and she was even reluctant to seriously injure Faith. Even just going back one season, I don’t believe that she would have been willing to kill Willow unless there was absolutely no other choice. But in this season, she quickly decides to kill Anya in ‘Selfless’ and would be willing to let anybody die if it would save the world. Spike seems to be the only person exempt. I mentioned back in my comment on ‘Selfless’ that I felt the events of ‘Help’ had a large impact on her decision to kill Anya, and I think they also had a large impact on her attitude towards death in general. It forced her to acknowledge that sometimes death is inevitable, and from that that sometimes it is ok to sacrifice people if it means saving the world.

Those were my main complaints this week, so now I’ll move on to some of the things I did like about this episode. I did quite enjoy the Spike flashbacks this week, more than I did when I initially watched this episode. From 6 seasons of ‘Lost’ I feel I am now quite an expert in ‘daddy issues’ or more generally ‘parent issues’, but Spike’s situation with his mother is something very different and quite creepy. And yet, still slightly less creepy than Connor and Cordelia.

Robin’s mother has got the same name as that character from ‘Lost’! :)

Quarks said...

Although I did love ‘Storyteller’, I think ‘Dirty Girls’ may be my favourite episode from this week. Like I said earlier, we are now so close to the finale that an episode furthering the plot and the Big Bad doesn’t feel entirely out of place. Like on ‘Angel’ I do like the return of Faith to the series, bringing some more humour to the show for the scenes Andrew and Anya aren’t in, but also because she is growing on me as a character. I really like the scene where Faith meets Buffy at the cemetery, and also the scene with Spike and Faith in the basement, and I like Faith a lot more now she’s fighting on ‘our’ side (and I think Caleb’s “Your Cain to her Abel” is quite a good description of Faith).

I do feel slightly left out as I haven’t yet watched ‘Firefly’ (although I do recognise Nathan Fillion from ‘Castle’), but that should be remedied soon as the DVD box set is at the top of my Christmas list.

Although some of characters do have problems with it, I do agree with Buffy’s plan (at this point). The potentials need some field experience, and they can’t just wait around for the First to make its move. Admittedly, it was clearly a trap but it did give the gang a chance to judge their enemy’s strength so that they could theoretically do better against them next time. Of course, it didn’t go to plan but I think the principle of what Buffy was trying to do was right.

As for why Willow was left at home, Buffy mentioned in the episode that she needed somebody strong to remain at the house in case it was a trap to lure all the powerful people out of the house and then the Bringers could kill all the weaker potentials. Also, in terms of a writing decision, I imagine that the writers wanted to show just how strong the First’s forces were, and they didn’t want Willow there as she would probably powerful enough to stop them. I believe it was for a similar reason that Willow got knocked out fairly quickly in the fights in ‘Never Leave Me’ and ‘Get It Done’.

Xander (telling the potentials what to do if they come across a demon in the battle): Go for the centre— brains, heart, eyes. Everything's got eyes.

Xander having his eye gouged out has to be both one of the most gruesome and shocking scenes in the whole of ‘Buffy’. It’s the first time that any of the main main characters has been really seriously permanently injured (aside from Buffy’s deaths, but they were never really permanent). The question is whether that is because they are now facing an enemy which is much stronger than any they’ve faced before, or because Buffy’s ‘strategy’ of facing this enemy is different than before.

Overall, this week is a really good week of episodes as we approach the end of ‘Buffy’ (the TV series at least). I may have various problems with this season, but I do really like it from here on and there is a lot to look forward to in the next couple of weeks.

NB Like the situation with ‘Orpheus’ last week, next week’s ‘Angel’ episodes don’t entirely fit chronologically with next week’s ‘Buffy’, as the finale of Season 4 of ‘Angel’ technically takes place before 7.21 of ‘Buffy’, but like last week there aren’t (as far as I can remember) spoilers for either series. But if you’re wondering about the timings, it’s just something to be aware of.

Marebabe said...

@Shimon: This is the second time you’ve suggested synchronized watching of the finale and simultaneously commenting on Twitter. So far I’ve not seen any responses to your proposal, so I’ll start.

I’m not interested in doing that, so you can put me down as a NO vote. I’m not on Twitter, and I have no plans to ever start. Also, I’ve always thought that dividing one’s attention between watching and tweeting would cause a viewer to miss at least some of the story, and that would be unacceptable as far as I’m concerned. (Some LOST fans used to do that, live-blogging, but I never participated.)

Even though my response was negative, I hope you prefer that to being ignored.

Shimon said...

@marebabe thanks for the response. (almost anything beats just being ignored) totally understand your perspective of not wanting to miss any detail.

Christina B said...

@Page48--I often don't comment until after 3am. I watch all 6 rewatch episodes on Tuesday nights. I often don't finish until after 2am. ;)

@Shimon--Sorry, I'm with Marebabe.
I can't tweet and watch at the same time. My full attention needs to be on the TV so I can cry my heart out. ;)

Colleen/redeem147 said...

but I don’t think it’s any worse than Xander telling Buffy to kick Angel’s ass instead of about Willow’s plan back in Season 2.

Actually, I think that was really, really bad.

Add me to the no twitter vote please. I do sometimes go to twitter on my computer (Ricky Gervais is very chatty), but I don't have a smartphone and the TV is on the other side of the room.

On the commentary track they mention that the original idea was to kill Xander and have him be the First, so he got off pretty light with the maiming. Still - ew!

Quarks said...

@Shimon: I'm afraid that I'm also a no for watching and tweeting at the same time or two reasons. 1) Like Marebabe, I'm not on Twitter and currently have no plans to join and 2) there's the issue of time difference as I'm watching in the UK. The reason my comments are usually several hours after Nikki's posts is because it's 1am over here when they appear, at which point I am usually in bed asleep.

@Colleen/redeem147: I didn't mean that it wasn't, but in the grand scale of bad things which the characters on 'Buffy' do it doesn't really compare with slaughtering half of Europe, for example. And really what I was saying there is that people have forgiven Xander for that (or at least I have) and, although I'm not really sure how much Buffy was listening in 'Selfless' when Willow exposes the lie, Buffy and Willow seem to have forgiven him, so what Giles actually does here deserves the same 'forgiveness'.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Off schedule:

My husband is on his own rewatch and last night he watched season
3's Amends (where Angel is waiting for the sun to come up so he can die, but it snows instead and the powers that be keep the sun from coming up). When he was done, all he could do was rub his eyes, moan and lament about how much Angel ruins every decent episode with all his "crying" and "whining" and such. He said watching Angel is like watching "Queer Eye for the Vampire Guy." He loved the episode before: Wish, sayint that Xander and Willow are the best vampires on the series during that episode, especially how they locked up Angel locked in the cage and they would screw with him like he was a puppy and flick cigarettes at him, etc. It was truly so funny. He despises Angel, and after every episode he again asks me and wants to know when he is leaving Sunnydale as he can't wait.

Shimon said...

@Quarks well aware of the time zone issue as I am even two hours ahead of you... nevertheless if I can make this work i shall be willing to play vampire for one night :)

Suzanne said...

I agree that this week's episodes were much better than some of recent ones we have viewed. Of course, I love the funniness of Storyteller and agree that Andrew is a great edition to Season 7. In my eleven-year old son's eyes, he is the absolute best aspect of Season 7, and he would have loved to have seen Andrew in all of Buffy. I like him a lot, too, but I have to say that on rewatch, I found the episode to continue to be delightful, but not quite as much of a laugh riot as it was to me the first time through.

My slightly changed feeling might be because in older funny episodes like Tabula Rasa, usually all of the characters would add humor with their dialogue. In this episode as well as other Season 7 episodes, it just doesn't seem as if the writers are using some of the funny characters as much as they used to use them. Take Willow for instance, she used to really have funny lines, but this season not so much; they are too busy focusing on her annoying relationship with whats-her-name (unfortunately I actually do remember it since they won't seem to let us forget it). Another example is Spike. He used to always have a one-liner here or there to crack me up. This time, the scenes focus on Andrew almost exclusively (except for Anya's hilarious line about his bathroom time) when they could have a character like Spike or Willow throw in a funny line. A prime example would be in the scene when Andrew is going over the white board. It seems to take too long and be too painstaking as he went through it. Since it occurred in the basement, I would have loved to have seen Spike throw in a line from the background to taunt Andrew -- something along the lines of "can't a bloke get some rest around here?." They wouldn't have even needed to show Spike, but it would have helped the pacing. It isn't that I didn't like and appreciate the humor in this episode because I really did, but all season, I have just felt that the pacing is off in comparison to previous seasons.

Suzanne said...

I actually enjoyed Lies My Parents Told me quite a bit more than it seems a lot of people did given the comments. I found this episode to be incredibly revealing when it comes to showing who Spike truly is and how he managed to have such a strong soul even as a vampire. I attribute this to the extreme love and support he was shown from his mother. Unlike a lot of people, I don't see his real relationship with his human mother as being twisted. I truly believe that she loved and adored her child and simply wanted to support him. She probably saw that he was different than other kids from the time he was young, and she felt determined to provide him with the encouragement that others wouldn't give him. When he turned her, the demon inside of her took any subconscious feelings of resentment she might have had for her own missed life opportunities (feelings any mother, good or bad, devoted or not, would have inside of her) and twisted those feelings beyond all proportion. I also believe that the demon mother twisted the relationship that she and her son had to make it seem grotesque when it really was not that way. The expression on Spike's face when she describes his relationship to her in the horrible way she does speaks volumes to me since he seemed horrified and shocked, even as a vampire.

I felt that the ending of this episode really allowed Spike to come full circle and to come to terms with feelings of inadequacy and loss that he had been dealing with for hundreds of years after what happened with his mother. It was a beautiful moment to me when he was able to listen to the music that usually triggered him and realize that he had nothing to fear from it. My one regret was the bitter way in which he treated Robin by making Robin feel that his own mother did not love him. I don’t agree with Spike, nor do I condone his actions, but Spike, much like Xander, is flawed and often uses words against others when he is hurt by them (like mother like son). Robin had physically hurt him and had treated him like a “monster” instead of a “man,” which I believe is the reason he wanted to get back at him by hurting him with his words. Maybe Spike already knew that he wouldn’t go through with killing Robin and words were the only weapon he could use to get back at him.

Dirty Girls was good overall. There were many good moments throughout it, especially Xander’s speech about Buffy and the conversation between Faith and Spike. However, this time around, I wasn’t thrilled with Caleb (since it wasn’t such a surprise and delight to see Nathan Fillion as it had been the first time around), and I seriously questioned Buffy’s decision to take the potentials into the situation this time. She really seemed to rush in to the situation in a way she never would have done with Glory in Season 5. I am having a hard time understanding why she is reacting so differently this time from the way she did in Season 5 to a similar impossible threat, unless it can just be chalked up to her death and experience in the afterlife. One realization I had this time around that I didn’t the first is that the reason she is alright with the idea of Dawn dying this time is that she knows Dawn will go to that wonderful place of peace that she went to after her death in Season 5. This must make it easier for her to feel alright about Dawn or even the potentials dying, knowing now what they will face in the afterlife.

Suzanne said...

One last thought that I had about Giles and his role in Lies. It is disappointing to me that he would be so willing to blatantly deceive Buffy in the way he did in this episode after the fall out from his role in what happened to her in Helpless. Doesn't he remember how hurt she was by his betrayal in that episode? How is this different from that in his mind? Didn't he realize that his betrayal this time would be the last straw for her? I do have to say, though, that Buffy's stubborn behavior when it came to refusing to at least chain Spike up again or limit him in some way until it could be determined how to deprogram him was kind of hard to take. How could she willingly subject her friends, her sister, and the potentials to the threat of danger Spike represented in his brainwashed state in the way she did? It seemed out of character for her, really. The writers just don't seem to get Buffy this season for some reason. She seems so off much of the time.

Blam said...

Marebabe: It shocked Andrew out of his make-believe world, made him look straight into the eye of the camera and call things by their right names.

It's the
Eye of the cam'ra
Takin' pics of the fight
As the Slay-er dusts Sunnydale vam-py-urz
While the Xand-man's new window
Makes his lens zoom in tight
Andrew's watch-in' it all with the eyyyyyyye
Of the cam'ra

To be continued (the comments, not the song)...

VW: healinc — A medical conglomerate.

Blam said...

Questions, comments, and quotes...

Angel: "Easy-Bake, flopapalooza, whoosh, pop. I don't skulk."

I wanted to note last week, but couldn't, that we got flashbacks to New York, 75 years apart, the same week (as aired) — in Buffy 7.17 and Angel 4.15.

Who but Andrew would choke on cigar smoke in his own reverie?

Did anyone else notice that SMG has some serious lip-glossin' goin' on in "Storyteller"?

Am I the only one amazed that nobody's yet made a snarky comment about the name Robin Wood? Not Xander, not Spike, not even Faith have let out so much as a "How'd it go against the Sheriff of Nottingwam?"

Gunn: "I spent most of this year trapped in what I can only describe as a turgid, supernatural soap opera."

Yeah, Andrew wasn't the only one speaking for the fans.

Drusilla: "Such a pretty 'ouse you 'ave, Sweet Willie. Smells of daffodils — and viscera."

I have to assume that Bernard Crowley, Nikki's Watcher, is a name-check of occultist Aleister Crowley, although Wikipedia has quite the list of other notable Crowleys.

The sly reference that really got my attention, though, came when William asked his mother if he should "send the coach for Dr. Gull". Sir William Gull was a personal physician to Queen Victoria and has been theorized by some — including Alan Moore, in his and Eddie Campbell's brilliant graphic novel From Hell — to have been Jack the Ripper, perpetrator of the infamous Whitechapel murders less than a decade after Spike was turned. Some Buffy comics have stated that Jack the Ripper was in fact a vampire who encountered Spike, Drusilla, Angelus, and Darla.

Spike: "Not much for self-reflection."
Wood: "Yeah. Makes sense."

Gunn: "Wait. So the big nasty inside of Cordy is gonna give birth — to itself?"

Andrew: "She wrapped evil around her like a large, evil Mexican serape."

I couldn't watch Firefly when it aired, so although I knew he'd starred on that show my first real exposure to Nathan Fillion was as Caleb, Son of a Bitch of a Preacher Man, on Buffy and I really had to adjust my perception of him in later roles. Now of course I love him on Castle, know from interviews that he's a heck of a sweet fella, and highly recommend the film Waitress — starring Keri Russell and co-starring Fillion (a duo that would later reteam for the direct-to-DVD Wonder Woman as the title character and Steve Trevor); as I remember, Waitress came out right around the time he appeared as Dana Delaney's character's husband on Desperate Housewives, where as in Waitress he played an affable gynecologist.

Affable Gynecologist is my new band name.

Fred: "There's been an awful lot of dismembering going on in that basement lately if you ask me."

So do you think the apocalyptic ultimate evil on Angel is upset at the one on Buffy for trying to get all ultimately apocalyptic first (and vice versa)?

Last but not least: Oh, that yellow striped shirt...

VW: coaggas — Yo, like, clots, yo.

Blam said...

Marebabe: I did, however, see a shirt company called “effulgentcolors”.

Do they use William the Bloody's poetry on their clothing?

Colleen: The girls in Xander's room are Colleen and Kelly. My friend Kelly and I ran a Buffy fan fic list, and for a while we wondered if Drew Goddard was reading it - but they're the names of his mom and sister.

... That's just wrong.

The Question Mark: Speaking of which, I've yet to see any of "Dollhouse". Has anybody seen it? Is it as cool as I think it is?

Colleen: I had to watch it twice to think so. Hated it at first.

Same here. Except for the first part. 8^) I hated it at first, due to having a very low tolerance for Eliza Dushku and not being able to wrap my head around how the very premise was not absolutely horrible. Some of the mythology was interesting, as was "Epitaph One", but I fell behind at the start of Season Two and still haven't gone back to watch it. The fact that those within the whatever-it's-called corporation are set up as somewhat heroic, at least in contrast to greater evils, just made me sick in terms of who and what I was being asked to root for. On the other hand: Amy Acker!

Christina B: The first time I watched Dirty Girls I was so shocked at what Caleb did to Xander, I just sat there, staring.

Isn't that kind-of rubbing it in?

Efthymia: Although it did get me wondering why it is written with an 'o' instead of an 'au', since the greek word is αυνανισμός.

In English at least it comes from the Biblical figure Onan, a son of Judah. His name in Hebrew is אוֹנָן [don't know if that will come through right] and "Onan" is the simplest transliteration (although of course "Aunan" would work too; English is ridiculous with the variety). Onan was deemed wicked for spilling his seed on the ground — not through masturbation, the context in which "onanism" is now used, but through withdrawal before climax while having relations with his late brother's wife (something that he was supposed to do, to provide heirs for his brother; Onan pulled out because he didn't want to create children who would not be his own heirs).

Efthymia: It's the second confirmation in 4 years that Santa really does exist.

Here's another. [You can skip the first several paragraphs to get to the real story.]

VW: raviness — The essence of she who played Claire Littleton on Lost.

Blam said...

Quarks: My problem with this episode is what it does to the relationship between Buffy and Giles. The father-daughter dynamic of their relationship was always something which I liked in the early seasons, so it upsets me that they are essentially destroying it now, especially so near the finale when it will be hard to resolve it satisfactorily in such a small amount of time.

Agreed. I want to say more on that, but it will have to wait until next week, as it's spoilery of them; I shan't even say if it's an "although" or an "also". Your observations after the above are also on point, however, and it is particularly frustrating in light of how many times it seems Buffy has been divided from the Scoobies, or the Scoobies all from one another, including Giles, only to realize that letting themselves drift apart or quarrel is detrimental to them not only as people but as a fighting force. "Restless" is a particular moment that you wouldn't think would be written off, even if being pulled away from loved ones by circumstance or disagreement is after all only human.

Quarks: The question is whether that is because they are now facing an enemy which is much stronger than any they’ve faced before, or because Buffy’s ‘strategy’ of facing this enemy is different than before.

While that's a good point, it's also a hard question to even tackle appropriately since the "real" reason is that the series is barreling towards a conclusion and life-altering (or -ending) things can be done with the core characters that couldn't when their involvement in future episodes was a consideration.

Marebabe: @Shimon: This is the second time you’ve suggested synchronized watching of the finale and simultaneously commenting on Twitter. ... I’ve always thought that dividing one’s attention between watching and tweeting would cause a viewer to miss at least some of the story, and that would be unacceptable as far as I’m concerned.

I'll chime in with the same problem. Any show that I care enough to talk about I want to give my undivided attention while I watch. I was asked to help beta-test a new thing for Entertainment Weekly (not that it was all that exclusive; I think that any Front Row Panel members were invited) wherein you live-blog or text/Twitter your thoughts on favorite TV shows as you view them, and my reply was, well, what I just said. Part of that is just common sense to me — I've always liked to watch favorite shows and movies at home with the lights off, attention undivided — and part of it is that now I have concentration problems that make multitasking all but impossible; as it is, I often have to rewind something to get what's being said or done.

Suzanne: One realization I had this time around that I didn’t the first is that the reason she is alright with the idea of Dawn dying this time is that she knows Dawn will go to that wonderful place of peace that she went to after her death in Season 5.

Nice observation! I don't know if that actually fed into the writers' thinking, but I'll definitely grab hold of it as a rationalization.

VW: subtr — Take away the last few letters of a word. (You can then put them in a test tube and separate them in a — wait for it — subtrfuge.)

Shimon said...

Wow, you guys are a truly devoted bunch :)
considering that the last week of the rewatch only consists of one episode it is not inconcieveable to watch it once without distractions and then again with....
anyways, seems the folk over on twitter are slightly more enthusiastic about this prospect so it may actually go down, in case any of you change your minds!

Marebabe said...

@Blam: There are several items on today’s agenda. First of all, I bow once again to your lyrical greatness. You got me humming a little ditty about ‘Sunnydale vam-py-urz’, and I just couldn’t be happier! :)

B) Nice history lesson about Jack the Ripper. A sly reference indeed! I can’t help thinking about how LOST fans would’ve jumped all over something like that, slicing and dicing it, and squinting at it through a microscope from every possible angle to discern ALL of its possible meanings. Those were the days, weren’t they?

Thirdly, let’s hear it for Blam’s wordsmithing prowess! I didn’t know I needed one before today, but I’m now shopping online for a good used subtrfuge!

D) I loved your testimony that Santa really does exist! When I clicked on the link, I had no idea where it would take me. But as soon as I saw that I had landed on your blog, I knew that I wouldn’t DREAM of skipping the first several paragraphs. It was a sweet and wonderful story.

As a rule, I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. (What’s the point?) But with the realization that I had missed seeing your Santa story for a whole YEAR, it occurred to me that I would do well to start checking your blog, if not daily, at least several times a week. The better to not miss your writings, my dear.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

The fact that those within the whatever-it's-called corporation are set up as somewhat heroic, at least in contrast to greater evils

You might want to watch the rest of the show. The second season is much stronger IMHO, and then rewatching showed me it was all more cohesive and pointed than I first thought.

Nikki Stafford said...

@Shimon: I think watching and live-tweeting the finale is a fantastic idea! Unfortunately I don't have the time to do it, but good luck with getting people to do it with you on Twitter! I'll be checking in to see it. :) Will you be using a specific hashtag? If so, let me know what it is and I'll try to remember to mention it in this week's rewatch. :)

Shimon said...

@nikki looks like the live-tweeting will most likely take place some time next Monday evening, exact time TBD. Hashtag will be #GBRfinale for anyone interested.