Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Buffy Rewatch: Week 51

7.19 Empty Places
7.20 Touched
7.21 End of Days

Follow along in Bite Me!

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

4.19 The Magic Bullet
4.20 Sacrifice
4.21 Peace Out

Follow along in Once Bitten.

Before we move on to this week’s episode, I said in a recent post that I would continue on with S5 of Angel for everyone who has been watching and wants a forum in which to chat with other Angel fans about the episodes. And because S5 is my favourite of the Angel seasons, I’m not going to leave you hanging. So I suggest this as the schedule:

January 3
5.1 Conviction
5.2 Just Rewards
5.3 Unleashed

January 10
5.4 Hell Bound
5.5 Life of the Party
5.6 The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco

January 17
5.7 Lineage
5.8 Destiny
5.9 Harm’s Way

January 24
5.10 Soul Purpose
5.11 Damage
5.12 You’re Welcome

January 31 (aka the Emotional Rollercoaster Week!)
5.13 Why We Fight
5.14 Smile Time
5.15 A Hole in the World

February 7
5.16 Shells
5.17 Underneath
5.18 Origin

February 14
5.19 Time Bomb
5.20 The Girl in Question
5.21 Power Play

February 21
5.22 Not Fade Away

As I mentioned in that post, I won’t be commenting each week because unfortunately I’ve made other commitments at the beginning of the year that prevent me from doing so, but I hope to make a comment or two and just open the floor to all of you. (And if there’s any Buffy Rewatch contributor out there reading who wanted to write anything for one of those weeks, please let me know!)

But now on to this week’s trio of episodes, containing the top moment of the season for me, and the lowest. We start with “Empty Places,” where Sunnydale clears out and leaves only our Scoobies, the Slayer, and the Potentials behind. As if Buffy weren’t lonely enough already… This is a wonderfully written episode by Drew Z. Greenberg, filled with great dialogue, lots of sight gags, and then… that ending.

Things I loved:
• Clem!! Oh Clem. This is the last time we’ll see him, and James C. Leary, who plays him, is just wonderful. I haven’t talked about him enough in this rewatch, but from the Dorito taste test to kitten poker, every scene in the series with this guy is gold. I remember several years ago being at some fan convention at a signing table, and I was seated between Harry Groener (The Mayor) and James Leary. They were lovely, and between autographs they were flipping through a copy of my book (this was the second edition with Buffy and Angel on the cover) and they flipped to the colour photos in the middle, and began snickering at the photo of David Boreanaz. “He looks like he’s in a boy band!!” they laughed. Leary just kept going on about how he couldn’t believe his name was in a book. I think the guy is brilliant, especially in this episode:
Clem: “We've seen some bad stuff in this town before but, you know, this time, it's like it just seems different, more powerful. (shakes his head) I don't think anyone's gonna be able to stop it. (catches himself) I mean, I'm sure you'll do fine. Complete confidence in you. Heh. Uh, if anyone can do it, you can, because you...rock! If you save the world, I'll come back, we'll have drinks. When! When, I mean. When you save the world. (Buffy nods) It's gonna be great with all the... rocking. Maybe... maybe you should just get out of town this time.

• The hospital scene between Willow and Xander. Every time I think of Xander losing his eye, I picture this scene, and Willow desperately trying not to cry while wringing Xander’s hand, and joking about parrots and peg-legs while Xander begs her not to cry. It breaks my heart every time. I love that this close to the end of the series, we come to the friendship that was there before anything else was.
• Anya and Andrew conducting the tutorial for the Potentials, especially Andrew writing “breakup sex” on the whiteboard, haha!

And now for the thing I don’t love: that end scene. The first time I saw it, it infuriated me. The second time, same thing. Same thing the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh… In this rewatch, many scenes have felt different to me. I’ve felt sympathy for characters who grated on me the first time through, I’ve changed my mind about certain character decisions, plot points, arcs, even entire episodes. But my feelings the first time I saw this episode have not changed. I hate all of them for doing what they did. Willow, how could you go along with it? Xander?! You’re the one who gave the speech in the previous episode about why we need to trust Buffy. She’s always saved you, you guys freakin’ pulled her out of Heaven and she forgave you and came back to save your asses AGAIN (oh yeah, I’m THAT guy in this scene, “Oh really? You want to rag on my speeches and say I effed up? YOU PULLED ME OUT OF HEAVEN, dillweed.”) and yes, she made a mistake, but she turned out to be RIGHT as we discover at the end of the next episode. You ungrateful, lousy S.O.B.s. I’ve always hated the scene of them ganging up on her in “Dead Man’s Party” and even that didn’t seem quite as bad this time around, but this? Nope. I can’t forgive a single person in the room for what they do to her. YES her speeches have been grating (honestly, I know a lot of people found them rousing but I just hated them, and I really disliked Buffy whenever she gave one because they were always overly dramatic and annoying) and yes, a lot of people were hurt and killed when you went to the winery. Caleb is terrifying and he is going to kick your asses. So yeah. Go ahead and kick out the one person who might be able to save you. I mean, who needs HER?

And BTW, while I’m on this rant, here’s my fantasy stage direction:

DAWN: I need you to leave. This is my house, too.
[Buffy punches Dawn in the throat.]

Ah. That would have helped a bit. Like, REALLY Dawn? This is your house, too? What after-school job are you working to help pay the bills? Buffy should be spending all of her time planning a way to avert the apocalypse but she’s down at the school working a full-time job on top of being a Slayer all night long (like, seriously, the writers never built SLEEP into her schedule) so she can keep all of you in cutesie pajamas and cereal. Anya? Willow? Dawn? NONE of you are working, just Buffy. So no, Dawn. No. This is NOT your house, too. SHUT UP.

OK, rant over. (I would recommend to all that this is an episode you should NOT watch with me. My poor husband has seen me freak out on the television one too many times with this one. SO ANGRY.)

OK! On to better things. Because guess what? Spike totes agrees with me. (Of course he does. He’s my boyfriend.) “Touched” is one of my favourite episodes in the final season, and this time through, despite being an Angel/Buffy shipper (yes, fine, I said it) for many, many years, every time I see this episode I’m instantly a Spuffy. Forget Angel, Buffy: SPIKE is the guy you need in your corner. He’s wonderful and amazing and sticks up for you when the rest of your Benedict Scoobies are turning their backs on you. (Sorry, there I go again.) In fact, let’s just look at that scene in all its glory:

(walks toward Spike, wringing her hands, nervously) Uh...while you were gone, we all got together and t-talked out some disagreements that we were having. Um... and eventually, after much discussion, Buffy decided that it would be best for all of us if she took a little time off, a little breather.
(stares in disbelief) Uh-huh. I see. Been practicing that little speech long, have you? (Willow looks hurt and walks away) So, uh, Buffy took some time off right in the middle of the apocalypse, and it was her decision?
Well, we all decided.
Oh, yeah. You all decided. (chuckles) You sad, sad, ungrateful traitors. Who do you think you are?
We're her friends. We just want—
 Oh, that's ballsy of you. You're her friends, and you betray her like this?
 You don't understand—
 You know, I think I do... (disdainfully) Rupert. You used to be the big man, didn't you? The teacher all full of wisdom. Now she's surpassed you, and you can't handle it. She has saved your lives again and again. (the others roll their eyes and avoid eye contact with Spike) She's died for you. And this is how you thank—
 Hey. Why don't you take it down a notch or two? The time for speech-giving is over, bat boy.
 (crosses his arms) Oh, is that right?
 Yeah, that's right. Save your lack of breath.
 (shrugs) All right. (punches Faith)

YES!!!! You Go, Spike! Pffffft on the rest of you. I hope the First finds you and eats all of you.

Ok. Breathe. Rant officially over. Let’s instead look at the other brilliant Spike speech, which for me is my favourite moment of the entire season. Buffy has hit her lowest, and she’s beginning to believe what everyone is saying about her. And then Spike comes to remind her who she really is.

You listen to me. I've been alive a bit longer than you, and dead a lot longer than that. I've seen things you couldn't imagine, and done things I prefer you didn't. I don't exactly have a reputation for being a thinker. I follow my blood, which doesn't exactly rush in the direction of my brain. So I make a lot of mistakes, a lot of wrong bloody calls. A hundred-plus years, and there's only one thing I've ever been sure of: you… I'm not asking you for anything. When I say, "I love you," it's not because I want you or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You're a hell of a woman. You're the one, Buffy.
BUFFY I don't wanna be the one.
 I don't wanna be this good looking and athletic. We all have crosses to bear.

Tears!! Just reading that makes me well up. Marsters pulls it off beautifully, as does Gellar, who has to sit there and react, and she’s a master of letting that one big tear well up in her eyes for the longest time before letting it drop at exactly the right moment.

“Touched” is a brilliant episode, where Spike touches Faith’s face by punching it (hehe), and touches Buffy’s heart by telling her what she means to him. The First laments to Caleb that it’s not able to touch things, and Buffy realizes that touching is exactly what allows Caleb to get the upper hand – don’t let him touch her, and she wins.

The end, where she sees the scythe (which was introduced in Joss Whedon’s Fray comic as the weapon used by Fray, a vampire slayer from 500 years into the future), is epic.

Did I mention I ♥ Spike?

And then we come to “End of Days,” with Buffy prying the scythe out of the stone like it’s Excalibur and Anya’s terrible bedside manner with the wounded Potentials (oh yeah, I forgot to mention the ingrates got blowed up real good) and Buffy telling Xander he is her strength despite him turning on her so recently (seriously, Nikki, LET IT GO) and we finally discover what happened to Miss Kitty Fantastico (a comment I’ve always despised… NOT funny, writers) and the wheelchair fight and the Guardians… and the return of Angel.

Remember how I told you about the party I had for the S6 finale and everyone cheering and screaming when Giles showed up? When you hear, “Hey!” behind Caleb, I still remember my husband going, “YEEEAHHH!!” and leaping off the couch. I’ve NEVER seen him do that since (if you know him, you know he’s a super low-key guy). So that’s a highlight for me, just because of his reaction to it.

And now, we prepare for… the end.

The last featured guest host of the entire Rewatch (sniff… I can’t believe I’m typing that!) is Cynthea Masson, who has brought us a lot of gems throughout the rewatch with her comments on “Lie to Me,” “The Dark Age,” “Beer Bad,” “Who Are You?,” “Superstar,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Buffy Vs. Dracula,” “Real Me,” “The Replacement,” “Normal Again,” “Entropy,” and “Seeing Red.” I’ve always loved her insight on these episodes, and I was very touched (ah!) when I read her comments on this week’s episodes. Thank you, Cynthea. I don’t think I could have possibly gotten a better compliment than this one.

Take it away!

The Great Buffy Rewatch and the “End of Days”
Cynthea Masson

We are nearing our own “end of days” here at the Great Buffy Rewatch. What an extraordinary task and remarkable achievement this has been for Nikki Stafford! And what a pleasure it has been for all of us—fans and scholars who were given an opportunity through Nikki’s generosity of time and exuberance to discuss at length one of the most intellectually engaging television shows of all time. Several years ago, I told my brother I would never watch a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “Buffy”—the name I had opposed—evokes a mere “girly girl,” as Caleb calls her in “End of Days” (7.21). Even the Guardian (one of the women who forged the ancient scythe), upon learning Buffy’s name, responds with “No, really” —a splendid moment in which Whedon and company remind us of our own early prejudice against the series’ title. But, as Caleb discovers, this “girly girl” can “King Arthur” ancient weaponry “from solid rock” (“End of Days”). Time and again, from “Welcome to the Hellmouth” (1.1) to “Chosen” (7.22), Buffy consistently defies expectations. The entire series certainly defied my expectations. After watching a few episodes, I became a Buffy fan; after a few seasons, I was en route to becoming a Buffy scholar. Who could have predicted a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer would inspire dozens of academic books and hundreds of articles? Who would have predicted, eight years after the series ended, a community of Buffy fans and scholars would participate in a year-long forum for critique and discussion? Thank you to Joss Whedon and his creative team for Buffy. Thank you to Nikki Stafford and her creative team for the Rewatch. Thank you to all the contributors and to all the followers who have posted comments and responses week after week. None of us could have created the breadth of the Great Buffy Rewatch alone.

In “Empty Places” (7.19), a monk shows Spike and Andrew an inscription once hidden within the walls of the mission: “It is for her alone to wield.” For her alone—these words about the scythe and the Slayer hearken back to the beginning of the series: “Into every generation a Slayer is born. One girl in all the world. She alone will….” Alone—this word reverberates through the final episodes. In “End of Days,” Faith tells Buffy, “I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life.” She is referring to her role as leader of the Potentials, the role she assumed during Buffy’s imposed absence. As Buffy emphasizes in her response to Faith, being alone is “the price of being a Slayer”: “I guess everyone’s alone. But being a Slayer, there’s a burden we can’t share.” Buffy’s conversation with Faith may best be remembered for Faith’s clever retort (“Thank God we’re hot chicks with superpowers”). However, in view of thematic concerns of the final episodes of the series, the repeated focus on “alone” is arguably the more significant aspect of their conversation. Buffy is not alone, not really—but this is what she must come to understand. Faith’s existence as a Slayer confirms that the precept “one girl in all the world” is not, as the saying goes, written in stone. I would contend (though not in detail here because of spoiler concerns), this brief conversation between the Slayers is a critical juncture on the path leading to Buffy’s primary choice in the series’ final episode, “Chosen.” To me, the title “Chosen” refers not to Buffy as the “chosen one” but instead to the decision Buffy chooses to make despite her prescribed role. By the end of the series, Buffy challenges what she has repeatedly been told and repeatedly believed— [spoiler]:Buffy chooses not to remain alone as a Slayer.

The three episodes leading up to “Chosen” deal on various levels with the concepts of being alone and being together. “Empty Places” opens with a shot of a man adjusting the “closed” sign on a door. Vehicles are lined up; residents are slowly making their way out of Sunnydale. The Scooby gang (and their growing band of Potentials) will be left alone to conquer the hoard from the Hellmouth. While briefly alone in her office at the deserted high school, Buffy picks up a framed photo of Xander, Willow, and herself; they are several years younger and appear to be happy together. The shot of Buffy holding the picture is poignant; it epitomizes the problem that will lead to her expulsion from the group—Buffy believes she is alone; being happily together with her friends is an image within her grasp but a reality currently outside her reach. She has been friends with these people for years, yet by the end of this episode they will abandon her. Indeed, even before she is forced to leave her companions and home, Buffy complains that others are not supporting her. Having learned that Spike has been sent away, Buffy protests to Giles, “You sent away the one person that’s been watching my back—again.” Though Giles assures her, “We’re all watching your back,” Buffy responds, “Funny, that’s not really what it feels like.” Buffy feels alone, and that feeling is about to become manifest.

When everyone, including Giles, Willow, and Dawn, gang up on Buffy and challenge her leadership, Buffy replies, “I don’t understand this. For seven years, I’ve kept us safe by doing this—exactly this. Making the hard decisions. And now, what, suddenly you’re acting like you can’t trust me?” (“Empty Places”). When I first saw this episode, I agreed with Buffy completely. What are they thinking? I still find the scene difficult to watch because, for me, the decision to oust Buffy lacks any sort of logic. But I am now also willing to accept the scene on a symbolic level—that is, pushing Buffy away, forcing her to be alone in a different way than she has ever been before, helps her to begin her journey toward [spoiler]: her choice not to remain alone. “We have to be together on this, or we will fail again,” asserts Buffy (“Empty Places”). Giles responds, “We are clearly demonstrating that we are not together on this.” Buffy is right—they must be together, but first she needs to be alone in order to fully understand what it means to stand together in the final showdown.

For one thing, Buffy needs to realize that part of her loneliness stems not from the behaviour of others but from her own attitude and choices. When speaking about the Potentials to Spike (who has searched for and found Buffy alone in a stranger’s home), Buffy says, “I cut myself off from them. All of them. I knew I was gonna lose some of them, and I didn’t—You know what? I’m still making excuses. I’ve always cut myself off. I’ve always—Being the Slayer made me different. But it’s my fault I stayed that way. People are always trying to connect to me. And I just—slip away” (“Touched” 7.20). Equally as important as this admission is Buffy’s choice not to be alone on this particular night. She asks Spike to stay with her and then adds, “Will you just hold me?” In this moment Buffy reaches out for someone rather than cutting herself off once again.

Meanwhile, the concept of being “alone” is likewise emphasized with Faith. When the First visits Faith in the guise of Mayor Wilkins, he tells her, “nobody will ever love you” (“Touched”). In other words, she too will be alone. Shortly thereafter, when Robin Wood enters the room to speak with her, Faith rebuffs him at first. He responds, “I'm gonna leave you alone,” at which point she immediately admits that the First had visited her. In other words, when he offers to leave, she invites him to stay. As they talk, he sympathizes with her: “Listen, nobody wants to be alone, Faith. We all want someone who cares, to be touched that way.” The scene eventually evolves to include sexual intimacy between the two of them. Thus in both the scene with Buffy and the scene with Faith, we watch a Slayer who feels alone reach out to and be comforted by someone else. Add to this mix the sexual couplings of both Willow/Kennedy and Xander/Anya, and a focus on being alone is gradually replaced with a focus on being together.

In “End of Days,” when Buffy meets the Guardian and asks who she is, the Guardian replies, “One of many. Well—time was. Now I’m alone in the world.” This ancient woman despite surviving hundreds (thousands?) of years, dies “alone in the world.” Like the scene in which Faith and Buffy discuss being alone as Slayers, this scene presents Buffy with another opportunity to think about what it truly means to be alone. Will the Slayer, like the Guardian, die alone? Is being alone the destiny of the Slayer? Or is being alone a choice? “End of Days” provides a counterpoint to being alone through an emphasis on Buffy’s connection with others. For example, Spike confesses to Buffy, “All I did was hold you and watch you sleep, and it was the best night of my life.” “Were you there with me?” he asks her. “I was,” Buffy confirms. Xander also speaks of his connection with Buffy: “I just always thought that I would—I would be there with you, you know, for the end.” These relationships with others, emphasized through the dialogue, help Buffy to understand that, unlike the Guardian, she does not have to be alone. Next week, in “Chosen,” Buffy will make her choice—one from which we can all glean a moral lesson.

In “Empty Places,” Caleb says to Buffy, “History’s gonna look back at you, at me, at this place, and they’re gonna see the glory.” I read these as metafictional words—that is, as an expression of Whedon and company’s faith in the series rather than merely a vaunted expression of Caleb’s plans under the First. The people who look back on the Rewatch will see something that I consider glorious: an extended text that academics and non-academics chose to create together. As both a fan and a scholar, I believe we need more such projects in this world. Thank you again, Nikki Stafford, for helping us to make this choice. You did what Buffy would do.

Aw. Blushing. Thanks again, Cynthea.

Next week: We come to the finale. As I mentioned last week, next Tuesday night I’ll be posting my own thoughts on the finale and the rewatch and the entire series of Buffy. That will be followed by several guest posts, poems, haikus, videos, and artwork by many of our contributors. I’ll be rolling those out on December 28 starting at 9 a.m., one every hour at the top of the hour. You are in for some amazing treats, I can tell you. I LOVE what people have done! Unfortunately, poor Angel’s finale will get short shrift. Join us here next week for our final Buffy chat. Sniffle.


Marebabe said...

Some random observations. In “Empty Places”, I noticed that Faith and Kennedy were wearing the same (or similar) square pendant necklaces. Any significance? There was never any mention of it, so I guess maybe it was just a coincidence.

One doesn’t normally expect cops to be murderous hired goons.

Favorite line. Spike, to Andrew, following their brief discussion of onion blossoms: “Tell anyone we had this conversation, I’ll bite you.”

Witnessing and hearing all the dissent in the big meeting with Buffy, Faith, the Potentials, the Scoobs, Giles, and Robin, I suspected that things were playing out according to Caleb’s design. Does he wield that kind of power? Or would he merely have been thrilled to learn that Buffy had been banished by the people who should’ve been most loyal to her? Meanwhile, I was thinking, “How COULD they?!”

Marebabe said...

What was up with the jiggle-cam at the beginning of “Touched”? (Very distracting. I hate that.) At first I thought maybe Andrew was shooting more video? But, no, he was still hangin’ with Spike at the mission, much to Spike’s dismay.

After all the bone-headed moves and chaos we’ve seen lately, I really needed a beautiful, wonderful scene. Spike’s declaration of love touched Buffy’s heart, and touched mine, too. Maybe that’s why the title of this episode was “Touched”.

They showed three rather passionate sex scenes in this episode. No question, I preferred Buffy and Spike snuggling to all the heavy breathing.

The countdown on the bomb at the end totally sucked me into immediately watching the next episode, even though it was late.

Marebabe said...

“End of Days”. Anya does NOT have the most soothing bedside manner.

Willow. Dear, sweet Willow: “I can hardly do a locator spell without getting dark roots.”

Spike, talking about the night spent holding Buffy and watching her sleep: “It was the best night of my life.” Me: *happy sigh*

The wheelchair fight was fun. There were a lot of light, fun, sweet, and goofy moments in this penultimate episode, and I’ll admit, I was surprised. They all served to temporarily ease my sense of dread about the approaching end of the series. But I also had the feeling that, for every uplifting moment in this episode, there will be even greater pain still to come.

Dawn, it’s VERY risky to taser the driver of a moving vehicle. Just FYI.

I’m deeply concerned that the Angel who showed up wasn’t really Angel. Would Buffy be able to tell the difference? Also, there was an extremely brief crossover moment awhile back when Fred called Willow and asked her to come to L.A. If Angel had left L.A. for a visit to Sunnydale, whether by someone’s invitation or his own idea, I think they would’ve shown that in an Angel episode. (Or not. All the better to pull the rug out from under us.)* Anyway, Buffy sure bought that it was really Angel, as she threw caution to the wind and leaned in for that passionate “I’ve missed you so much” kiss. I’m pretty sure that no good can come from this, especially since Spike saw the whole thing.

*[Update: Since watching this episode and writing the above, I learned that I had simply watched the end-of-season Buffy and Angel episodes in the wrong order.]

Marebabe said...

A few days ago, I overheard a snippet of a conversation at work that included the word ‘jealous’. I perked up my ears because I thought I’d just heard someone say ‘Angelus’. Shows where my head is these days. ;)

This week, in “The Magic Bullet”, the instant I saw Patrick Fischler as the shopkeeper, I (mentally) yelled, “F**k you, Phil!” (If you weren’t around for Nikki’s LOST rewatch, I hope you will forgive the rest of us as we giggle and snort.)

I loved the entire Fellowship Hall sequence, with Open Mike Night. On a scale of one to awesome, that was just GOLD! Lorne was born (spawned?) to be an emcee. And everyone who shared was absolutely delightful. (I know all of those people!)

While watching “Sacrifice”, I got to thinking about Joss, and how he wasn’t doing much writing or directing on Buffy or Angel this season because he was so busy with Firefly. Yet somehow, Nathan Fillion found time to play Caleb, and Gina Torres was able to portray Jasmine. I guess there must’ve been a break in the shooting schedule for Firefly. I’m so glad, because they were each perfect in their roles in the Buffyverse.

In “Sacrifice”, we learned that Jasmine could be defeated if someone were to speak her true name. Even before starting to watch “Peace Out”, I thought how great it would be if her name sounded like the Thermians speaking in “Galaxy Quest” when their translators weren’t working. (Remember Laliari in the back of the limo? High-pitched alien squealing.) And then that’s how it went down! (Although, I think it would’ve been more fun if Angel HIMSELF had spoken Jasmine’s true name.) I also loved Gunn’s line right after he succeeded in kicking open the door to their prison cell: “Never give up, never surrender!” Clearly, Gunn is a fan of Commander Peter Quincy Taggert and the fine crew of the NSEA Protector!

Um, hello, Lilah? Or perhaps you would rather be called The First? (My theory: Because The First was doing so well in Sunnydale, he decided to open up a new store in L.A.)

Page48 said...

In “Empty Places,” Caleb says to Buffy, “History’s gonna look back at you, at me, at this place, and they’re gonna see the glory.” I read these as metafictional words—that is, as an expression of Whedon and company’s faith in the series rather than merely a vaunted expression of Caleb’s plans under the First....Wow, I like that.

Clem driving a late model VW. Must have set him back a few kittens.

Nikki, you were hoping Buffy would slap Dawn silly, I was hoping she would drop-kick Kennedy's ass. Then later on, I was hoping the demon with the death grip on Kennedy's neck would finish the job. Sadly, both opportunities were wasted.

Andrew writing "breakup sex" was one of the most LOL scenes of the entire series for me. Andrew is rocking Season 7.

I loved Andrew confiding to Anya that he expected to die, but was ready to go out doing what was right. Good anya Andrew.

Don't tase me Dawnie!!

The whole house turning on Buffy. You guys ought to be ashamed of yourselves. And, you, Rupert Giles??? When did you become such a shadow of your former manly self? It takes an undead vampire with a soul to talk sense to this crowd, and even then, they don't get it.

Buffy get tossed out of her house, so she goes to another house and tosses some poor slob out of that house.

Andrew dons Dawn's football helmet and rides bitch with Spike while they talk food. Ha!

Great to get one more look at Mayor Wilkins...and Angel before BtVS (gulp) fades to black.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Marebabe, Firefly had been cancelled before Gina and Nathan showed up.

And you're saying Faith and Kennedy are vengeance demons? That explains so much!

Buffy staked the Ubervamp in the chest and nothing happened. I guess she needed a little more 'oomph'.

It's Nerf Herder! After seven years of playing the theme song, they finally play the Bronze. (The blond one sold me my Nerf Herder teeshirt at a concert here.)

"I think Faith had the floor" - Wood is trying to take control - male privilege is a theme.

Buffy's wrong in thinking she's a general - she does better on her own.

Loved the evil girl scout line - Mercedes (Harmony) played a girl scout in the Addams Family movie.

Do people still drink TAB?

Kennedy pushed for Faith as leader - then didn't want to listen to her.

Spike is very good at calling people on their sh*t - it's his superpower.

Spike smelling Buffy's trail - gross and handy at the same time.

Buffy goes from flinching at Spike's touch to holding him all night - they were never closer, and are emotionally closer than any couple that night who are getting more... thrusty.

If the First is intangible how can it smell like perfume? Does it really work by stimulating the brain to make people think it has a presence?

Where ARE all the girls? Did they lock them all in the basement? Throw them in the backyard?

Buffy leaves a note and inspires a lot of fan fic.

Was the Bringer so chatty specifically to lead Faith and friends into the trap?

I like that the ticking goes on into the credits.

Buffy, the true hero, rushes to save the girls who betrayed her.

Anya is vitalized by a mission.

Nice scythe - pre-Christian enameled stainless steel?

Xander mentions Eye of the Beholder - classic Twilight Zone episode.

Faith finally empathizes with Buffy.

Spike makes Monty Python references in two episodes in a row.

The symbol over the temple is Egyptian, but the woman looks Celtic - where are they, the Island?

I think Buffy's breakdown in communication with Giles is symbolic of her breaking links with male dominance.

That Guardian died pretty easily for a near-immortal. Her job was done?

I think Angel's persona in the episode indicates that they really are separate shows. He's very glib here, and yet the woman he loves is in a coma and he's lost his son.

Stupid pandering to the fans. (my rant.)

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Oh, and Nikki - the convention was Primedia being held at Fan Expo. Must have been Saturday before J. August arrived.

Page48 said...

Buffy tells Giles she "King Arthured" the scythe out of the stone...and then, before ya know it, Giles turns into King Arthur's Daddy.

Dusk said...

To all 1st timers, if you want chronolgical order, then watch the Angel finale before Buffy You don't have too but it will make more sense as to why Angel is in Sunnydale.

OK, I had a nuts exam/holiday prep week so I wasn't able to gather all my thoughts until way later then I wanted too last week, so some of my thoughts for then will be threaded into here.

I don't like the end of EP but I see several weaknesses in the writing and reasons to defend many of the Scoobies here. I defend, then say my problems with the writers.

Xander is cited by most as the heart/humanizing everyman of the show, and the one who speaks emotionally most of the time. After such a permenant and gruesome injury, and spending time defending Buffy in the last DG, it's not surprising he speaks out of his own hurt here, and Buffy's (brainless) plan is to basically do again what just cost him and eye and girls lives, because she has a hunch. When have they ever acted on a hunch? Usually they do reasearch or talk out a battle plan like with Glory, they can't do research and Buffy refused to see the illogic in her scheme. I do understand him here.

Willow's ego has obviosuly been bloated by Kennedy, (what were the writers thinking making a main character love intrest also into one of the biggest announces of all season? Scrath that-What were they thinking with Kennedy in gerneral?). And after Buffy's ppearing to shrug of Xander's injury and behaviour problems all season (e.g. Everybody sucks but me speech) She has little reason to have faith in Buffy right now. I sort of understand her Also, the Scoobies had no way of knowing she was in Heaven, if anything they thought she went to Glory's home.

Dusk said...

I've always had issue with Buffy turning her back on Giles, when will she realize you never really stop learning? True, I do think Giles' ego was bruised after so long of being the one with the answers and Buffy shrugs him off, but I do think Giles has had valid concerns with Buffy recently. Buffy always has had a weak spot for vampires with souls. Because she let Angelus get away, Jenny died and Angelus used Dru to toture Giles with her image. And while the show doesn't spend much time on Giles' lovelife, I assume his time with Jenny is something he remmbers very fondly. Now Spike has a soul, another vampire with Buffy's heart, and this one also had a chip which was the only thing that rendered him harmless for years. Now he's killed with soul and chip in place, making him as deadly as any vampire. Then Buffy has the chip removed instead of repaired despite the First's recent hold on him. Then Giles meets Robin, living proof of the harm Spike ccan cause Slayers and the girls Buffy is trying to protect, and Buffy wants him strong and in the house. I hink Suzzanne asked how could Giles not see planning Spike's death as a betrayal like Helpless? In S3 he purposly put Buffy in danger powerless. Now, he sees killing Spike as something for Buffy's own safety, as well as that o the Potentals. H probably sees little difference between that and killing Ben. Since Buffy has acted without sense in his eyes, and cut him off, I understand why he wouldn't support Buffy.

Faith never tried to takeover as lead Slayer, she saw the girls turning against Buffy, and did her best to get them in a good mood again. Buffy cannot enforce her authority with threats or violence, that would be halping the First, the girls need to be at least somewhat in a goo mood to listen to anyone at all, they aren't trained to follow orders and don't want too. Buffy's not a general, she a young woman leading an army of girls that don't want to be there in a town, not a war zone. Part of the problem with S7 is it spent to much time foussing on the Army aspect, which isn't something Buffy is cut out gor imo, it takes away the connection the viewers feels with her somewhat. Faith tries to immediatly aplogize on the balcony. Also, Spike thiks he can stamp out Faith? The Slayer that held her own toe-to-toe with Angelus recently? (Intentional coma takes away some points I admit) Oh... sssurreee you can Spike.

Anya's words her would make perfect sense from a Potential, since they haven't seen much from Buffy, and Buffy orginally got to powers from random calling. But after S3 when Buffy took out a pure demon that Anya especially would be scared of, or a hell god in S5, you would think Anya would respect that. Even in S4 to be the strength for the Adjoining spell. S1 she was lucky from CPR, you could argue S2 was uck with the ensouling spell. But from S3 onwards Anya hould know it wasn't luck it was skill they used to respect from Buffy.

Dusk said...

With Dawn, eh..when was the last time we actually saw Buffy go to the high school to work? Also since Sunnydale is a ghost town, they can take anything they want now. The only reason I can really think Dawn would turn aganist her would be the First getting inher head that one time, but they way it plays out doesn't add up. Can't see her side either.

Now, I have issues with the writing too. The only reason Buffy's illogical plan worked is because the Bringers went after Faith's group. Had they been there Buffy would have died, and to build up Buffy straining her relationships to the point of getting kicked out almost the entire 2nd half of the season, only for things to fall apart for Faith that quick wasn't a pay off that was very belivable.

Dusk said...

Also the entire deus ex machina of the scythe just to prove Buffy right is just shotty at best, as it the concept of the Guardians that just happen to set up right in Sunnydale but Buffy neer noticed. Also, a major theme was the Slayers overcoming the opressive men like the ones in Africa or the mostly male Watchers. The entire concept of a group of women just suddenly pulling the strings not only is illogical, but undermines one of the main themes since they sent all these hundereds (thousands) of Slayers to their deaths.

Having a deus ex machina this big, as well Buffy only living through her brainless plan that failed an episode ago (that a group failed but she pulled off), because of being kicked out is too contrived.

Dusk said...

Also, I think Xander may have apoligized when Buffy told him to take Dawn away. Also, Buffy has known to secretly grind a few axes (Faith and her boyfriends, if anyone attacks Angel, hiding Angel from Riley and Spike from the gang in S6. ) I don't think it's so much forgiveness as strength all the SG excel at putting things aside to protect each other.

SG is good at putting past issues aside to work on the present problem, but is not so great at getting over things.

AI is good at putting the past behind them but let problems of the present fester and create massive holes.

More on Angel S4 later.

Christina B said...

Sheesh. I'm crying buckets just reading THIS post. What am I going to be like next week?!
Cynthea, you rock. :)

Empty Places is SO hard for me to watch. Like you, Nikki, I was pretty much yelling at my TV.
"WTF, Willow?!"
"Xander, how could you?!?"
"Giles, you SUCK!"
"No, Dawn, YOU get out!"

I love Touched. I'm a Spuffy to the end (although I also adore Angel...maybe I'm a Spanuffy? Er...Yeah. Lets go with that.) ;)

Yep, cried at Spike's speech. The 'demon' is more human than any of them.

The End of Days is a great lead into the finale. It's quiet, not rushed. It's touching and it has it's lighter moments...but the sex scene between Willow and Kennedy made me gag.

Over on Angel...

The Magic Bullet was just...odd. Like the previous Jasmine episode. Odd.

Sacrifice was where this season FINALLY started getting interesting again! Sheesh, it only took a WHOLE season, almost!
Those bug demons were creepy!!

Peace out was almost great. I FINALLY understand why Connor is the way he is...and I actually feel for the poor kid.
The story he told about Holtz tying him to a tree (in Magic Bullet), and living in a life full of lies? For once, I want to hug him instead of hitting him.

When Connor killed Jasmine, I was confused.
Okay, the big bad was dead...so what the heck is the finale going to be about?!
Then, BOOM! Hello, Lilah!

Next week is going to be an emotional rollercoaster for me! :(

I'm so looking forward to the Angel finale because you all said that would make this whole season worth watching...but it means the end of Buffy and the rewatch. :(

Yep, next week is going to be ROUGH.

Efthymia said...

First of all, @Dusk: We apparently view things from the same perspective, and most of what you said could have been expressed by me! Even though it's always interesting to read (and try to understand) different perspectives, it's nice to not fell alone in yours.

"Empty Places":

Clem is just SO adorable!
Drew Goddard said in the commentary for "Dirty Girls" that people sent him letters saying 'I love Clem' and nothing else, just that. And, you know, OF COURSE they did! :)

I love that they still make some time to show the special relationship between Willow & Xander.

[At this point in my notes I have written 'Shut up, Buffy!', but I don't remember why...]

OK, hate to (maybe) disappoint you, but the inscription does not say that. In fact, it's gibberish.

"Democracies don't win battles" -spoken like a true dictator.

Kicking Buffy out of the house is stupid! It's pointless and it's cruel, and it makes them look like they're wrong when they are right.


Mayor! =D Even if it is the First...
Actually, maybe it wasn't such a smart move to show the Mayor at this point. It makes painfully obvious how charmless the First is as a villain compared to nearly all the past Big Bads.

This must be one of the most beautiful love speeches ever!

OK, so the name of the episode was quite litteral, then...

Efthymia said...

"End of Days":

Of all the people in there, it's only Andrew who thinks of the hospital?

Is it just me, or did that First-beast/demon/whatever look a lot like Moloch?

"Everyone's asking me to lead and I feel so alone" -Is Faith channeling Jack?

"You are the perfect woman! -I've often thought so." -Now, that's the attitude! Empowerment in under a minute.

"...trying to do what's right. So, wheelchair fight?"
(This doesn't even need a comment.)

"And the Watchers watched the Slayers, but we were watching them." But who watches the Watchmen?

Well, miracles never cease to happen, because I'm about to cheer Dawn! Xander was right, he should be by Buffy, with Buffy and Willow and Giles, at the Big Fight, no matter how it ends! He has always been there! And did Buffy really think that they'd rather be safe and survive without the rest of them than die with all their friends and family?

Even though I never really cared about Angel, it's good to see him. We deserve to get a bit of a reunion now at the end. If only Cordelia could also be there...
(In my wishful thinking, Season 4 of 'Angel' never happened, and neither did the Angel+Cordy=♥)

Missy said...

I havn't posted the last two rewatch weeks,because generally I adored or meh'd the episodes.

But this week has two of my absolute favourite episodes ffrom both series.


Is a perfectly beautiful ep,everyone gets one last tangiable moment of happiness befor the world implodes or if by chance they manage to save it the beginning of some great forward momentum in afew peoples lives.

'The Magic Bullet'

Is pretty much the same but because AtS is 1 or 2 seasons behind BtVS' happy ending(?) it ends hopeful but each character is still slightly down,but UP is the only way to go from here.

BTW Lilah & Angel both the REAL versions ;)

I'll definitely post next week..'Chosen' and 'Home' are brilliant.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I'm a Spuffy to the end (although I also adore Angel.

Oh, me too. I just don't love him with Buffy. I really don't love him ON Buffy, either. I think giving him his own show was the very best call and let the character develop so much beyond what he was. Though, to be honest, I love David best as Agent Booth.

The inscription isn't exactly gibberish. It's Latin written in Greek capital letters, which is just odd.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

I'm off to spend another over-crowded and crazy Christmas with the family. But before I go...

Being such a fan of Spike, of course I adored "Touched" and Spike's speech. Watching them sleep in eachothers arms was much more satisfying than watching the other couplings. When Spike tells Buffy in "End of Days" that it was the best night of his life, it's wonderful to watch. The way James Marsters cocks his head just a little is so perfect and endearing. FINALLY Buffy seems to be on board with him as well. Yes...she was there with you. Don't get me wrong. I love Angel, unlike my husband. But there was absolutely no future there for Buffy because of his curse. Spike is certainly more available. And often much more clear headed. But even I enjoyed seeing Angel show up for her Caleb take-down. Just sad that Spike had to see THAT kiss. I like Angel over on Angel the Series much more, as he's in charge and doesn't have to butt heads with the Scoobies and Giles. It's his gig.

It makes much more sense to watch Angel's "Peace Out" and the season finale "Home" before watching "End of Days", but it's probably too late by now for most of the newbies on that front.

Anya and Andrew add some very needed and appreciated comic relief. Tom Lenk is fabulous. He needs to be in a series right NOW.

When Buffy is questioning the Guardian and asking her if it (she, the temple, the weapon, etc.) had been "here" all along, and therefore how could they have not know about it, it certainly reminded me of LOST's Lighthouse. I guess they just weren't looking for it ;)

Over on Angel, I love watching Stephanie Romanov play the "back for more" Lilah. It's a real treat.

VW: emote. Really.....

Suzanne said...

The semester has ended and all of my grading is complete; please forgive my long-winded this week!

Empty Places –
Reading your comments Nikki made me feel good knowing how much you, too, are bothered by the treatment Buffy receives in this episode. I am not bothered by the Scoobies’ concerns about her plan or even about the way they are questioning her decision-making process this season. I can see good reasons for them to do so. Xander definitely has a right to wonder if this is a good idea after what happened to him and what he saw happening to the young girls he was trying to save when it happened. Willow bothers me a bit more since I haven’t seen her be as supportive towards Buffy as she always seemed to be in days of old. When that darn Kennedy has the nerve to whine “you always take her side,” I wished Willow had turned to her and said, “of course, I do, she is my best friend.” However, that was not to be and instead Willow absolutely broke my heart by turning on Buffy. I know she was concerned about Xander, and the writers had planted the fake moment where Buffy seems uncaring at his hospital bedside (I can’t see Buffy acting like that) to prime Willow’s reaction. It all just seemed so forced, really.

The person who upset me most in the whole scene, though, honestly, was Anya. How dare she call Buffy “lucky”! The whole series has shown how unlucky Buffy is in so many ways and how being the chosen one is really a prison sentence and then a death sentence in many ways. Yet, Buffy has fought and stayed with her friends, and loved and cared even when we saw in The Wish (yes, Anya’s evil doing) that Buffy could have been much different. Anya, on the other hand, chose evil for centuries, and she has the nerve to speak to the woman who forgave her for this and welcomed her back into the group as recently as this season in this way. It really bothered me. Of course, the writers set up a fake situation to explain this earlier in the season when they had Buffy talk so meanly to Anya when she said “what do you do?” something I could never see Buffy saying. Really, so many of the situations and lines that characters speak in these episodes of Season 7 seem far too contrived in order for the writers to have the outcomes they want to convey and the overarching themes they are trying to highlight. Season 7 has some great moments, but I am really seeing during this rewatch that this is by the far the weakest season overall.

As for Robin and Faith in the kicking Buffy out the house scene, I didn’t blame Faith at all (for once). She really didn’t seem to be stirring up trouble. In fact, she seemed to ready to defend Buffy when she first got the house and later she just seemed to be just wanting to provide the girls with some fun. I think Buffy knew this, which is why she reacted to Faith in the way she did in the porch scene. As for Robin, I thought his line “Faith has the floor,” or something to that effect, felt forced. He had never spoken to Buffy like that before even after Lies My Parents Told Me; however, I can justify his reactions to Buffy by thinking about what happened in that episode.

As for the potentials (especially Kennedy and Rona), I really wish them all (except maybe the one played by Felicia Day, Chow Ann, and the one from Buffy’s counseling days) a miserable death. They are just awful to her. I don’t know who ever thought this was a good idea to have them intrude upon the final season in this way. The first time I watched the series I liked the idea of them better than I do this time, but many of them bugged me even the first time through. Now, I just can’t stand them. Buffy’s big mistake was ever thinking she should involve them in the fight in the first place. She should have stuck them in the basement for the entire season and put a guard out front to watch them (possibly Clem and Andrew for humor) and then have been done with them.

Suzanne said...


Spike! I adore this character more than just about any other I have seen on television. James Marsters is an amazing actor. The minute Spike walks into Buffy’s home (not Dawn’s – the intruding key who should disappear from the show with the potentials), I knew he would give these people a piece of his mind and that it would be great. I absolutely loved the way he dealt with them. I couldn’t believe that Willow actually tried to lie to him, but of course, he saw through it. As for his scenes with Buffy, what can I say that hasn’t been said? They are amazing; SMG and James Marsters bring such real, strong emotion to the lines and to the facial expressions.

Like Christina B., I have a hard time choosing between Buffy/Angel and Buffy/Spike. Scenes like this one make me a diehard Spuffy since I believe that Spike and Buffy could really have a chance at something real and lasting; Spike seems more willing than Angel to change and grow for a partner. He seems less self-centered than Angel, enough so that he thought of a way around the whole soul thing that never seemed to occur to Angel who was too busy moping about the situation. However, that being said, when Buffy ran into Angel’s arms at the end of End of Days and planted a romantic kiss on him, my heart fluttered in a way it never did for Buffy and Spike (in Season 7 – no the moment in Season 6 under the stairs at the Bronze with “Goodbye to You” playing in the background is another thing entirely). There is definitely a romantic spark between Buffy and Angel that doesn’t exist between Buffy and Spike. Lastly, Angel has shown that he can be there for Buffy in the same Spike always is when he came to the graveside after Joyce’s death. So, there it is; I just can’t choose. Can’t she have them both! I do believe that person can love more than one person, so maybe there isn’t an answer and never will be.

Suzanne said...

End of Days
I loved Nathan Fillion in this one. His evilness had turned into the kind of hilarious evil that I love on Buffy (something I didn’t see as much in his first appearance). My favorite is when he is trash talking her right before she pulls out the Scythe and then he quickly changes his tune.

One thing I didn’t understand from this episode, though, is why they didn’t show Angel (and even Spike for that matter) join the fight with Buffy against Caleb. It was as if the writers were trying too hard to be sure that Buffy didn’t look like a damsel in distress who needed her guys to help her out. Yet, in so many of the great episodes throughout all of the prior seasons, Buffy looked strong and capable with men fighting by her side. We have seen Buffy and Angel as well as Buffy and Spike fight side by side many times in the past, and it never made her look weak. They should have had a really kick-ass fight scene that involved all three of them giving Caleb a beat down. Wouldn’t it have been great to see four of our favorite Whedon actors in a scene like that.

Lastly, I want to thank Cynthea Mason for her great commentary this week (and for all the prior weeks in which she has been involved in the rewatch). Your comments about the importance of what Nikki provided for us this year were awesome. I am a community college English professor who really values critical analysis and thinking and who constantly strives for opportunities to engage my students in discussions like these. Sometimes it isn’t easy to get them to see the value in delving into a subject deeply or the value in discussion for discussion’s sake (with no grade attached). However, Nikki’s Great Buffy Rewatch (as well as her Lost Rewatch, which first attracted me to her site) has really shown me that people do like to discuss subjects in an analytical way as long as you can find a way to engage them and provide opportunities for them to do so. Thanks Nikki, Cynthea, and all of the wonderful participants in this rewatch (including all of those who comment regularly) for showing me the importance of projects like this one and for giving me the opportunity to use it as an example in my classes of how academic discussions can be fun!

Quarks said...

We have a really good week of ‘Buffy’ episodes this week as we build up to the finale. I suppose the best place to start in my comment this week is the scene at the end of ‘Empty Places’. It seems that I’m in the minority, but I am always on the side of the Scoobies at this point. Buffy’s been seriously annoying me for weeks, and I think it was right that the Scoobies stood up to her rather than staying quiet and not trusting her, which would have probably got them all killed when they went into battle.

Before I get into the details of why I support the Scoobies, I just want to say that Buffy’s plan was ridiculous. She was obviously going to be right because she’s the titular character, but seriously? “The bad guys are hiding something they don’t want us to know about at the vineyard. That’s why they lured us there and brought it to our attention instead of keeping it a secret. Let’s go back out there and Xander can lose his other eye.”

Now, I do think that the Potentials were getting a bit too big for their boots (Kennedy and Rona in particular) and I don’t think it was necessarily right to kick Buffy out. But I do think that the Scoobies (Willow, Xander, Giles especially, and to a lesser extent Anya and Dawn) had a right to stand up to her. Aside from kicking her out, I don’t think they treat Buffy any worse than she has been treating them all season. She has been acting as though she saved Sunnydale single-handedly for the past 7 years, but in reality there is no way she could have done it without her friends. If it weren’t for them she would still be lying dead in the Master’s cave. There’s no way she could have beaten the Mayor, or Adam, or Glory without them, and it was Xander who saved the world last season, but she has been treating them like hindrances all season.

Also, whenever I hear Buffy’s plan I can’t help but remember something Faith said in ‘Orpheus’ over on ‘Angel’: “You know what the definition of insanity is, baby? Performing the same task over and over and expecting different results.” Buffy seems practically unfazed when Xander loses his eye and some of the Potentials die, which is evident by the fact that she plans to send them all back in. The reason Buffy manages to get the scythe from Caleb in ‘Touched’ is because she is alone and thus can avoid his blows, which would certainly not have been possible had they all been there. Instead, more girls (‘children’ as Buffy calls them after Faith takes them to the Bronze) would have died. Faith’s plan does actually make sense, but because the show is called ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ rather than ‘Faith the Vampire Slayer’ it was always clear whose plan was going to succeed.

Moving on from that, there are many other things about ‘Empty Places’ which I love. Clem’s appearance is, as always, fantastic. It’s a shame he hasn’t appeared slightly more this season. I also love the scene between Willow and Xander at the hospital: it feels very much like an earlier season conversation between the two, but also manages to include emotion from what has happened in the later seasons.

In Anya’s presentation about the Ubervamps we find out (although we already had a fairly good idea) that they can be dusted by sunlight like normal vamps, but that knowledge is skated over fairly quickly. Surely that is a weakness that they could exploit? Back in Season 5 (before she became crazy powerful) Willow was working on a little ball of sunshine spell. Now she’s super-powerful, couldn’t she perfect that and supersize it, and then dust all the Turok-han at once? Just a thought.

Quarks said...

I do like ‘Touched’ as an episode, although at the moment all the episodes tend to blend together. Part of the reason I like it is because Buffy finally realises the mistakes she has been making all season, but the scenes between Buffy and Spike are also really good. I don’t ship Buffy/Spike (or Buffy/Anybody for that matter) but we do get to see the depth of Spike’s feelings for her here, with some great dialogue.

I love Anya: “We're all on death's door repeatedly ringing the doorbell like maniacal girl scouts trying to make quota.”

Why does Buffy pick the one house in Sunnydale which is still occupied to move into? Also, as everybody is leaving Sunnydale, why don’t some of the Potentials move into the neighbouring houses to Buffy (and Dawn)’s house, instead of all being cramped in the one building as they are (I think) at the moment?

Dawn’s language skills are seriously impressive. A couple of weeks ago she was reading Ancient Samarian, now she’s reading Turkish spell books (in Turkish) for fun.

I also love the reappearance of the Mayor in this episode. He was probably my favourite Big Bad, and even though it is the First it’s great to see him again. That is one of things I do like about having the First as the Big Bad; we get to see some great past characters return (sort of).

Robin tells Faith that because the First visited her she’s “really in the game now”. I was trying to remember, has the First appeared specifically to Buffy yet? I know it appeared to all of them as Annabelle and Chloe, but as a one-on-one encounter like it has to Dawn, Andrew, Willow, Robin, Spike and Faith?

I normally like the wordplay on Buffy, but I hate the line “Foreplay was threatening to turn into twelve-play”. It’s ‘fore’ not ‘four’! And even if it were, why ‘twelve’? Why would twelve-play be so much worse than four-play? Admittedly, my hating of this line probably has something to do with the fact Kennedy says it.

I do feel sorry for Dawn and the Potentials in ‘Touched’. They must all be cramped in Dawn’s room and the living room listening to, as Anya put it, “an a cappella concert of people moaning and groaning” from Buffy’s room, Willow’s room, and the kitchen.

Quarks said...

‘End of Days’ is another fantastic episode this week, and like the others has the main role of building up to the finale next week. The appearance of the scythe does feel a bit like a deus ex machina (score one for ‘Lost’ that I actually know what that means), where the writers have realised that they’ve dug themselves into a big hole by introducing all these incredibly powerful bad guys and they need to find some way to level the playing field. Still, even if we’ve never heard of the Guardians before, it is nice that the good guys now have some way of holding their own.

After Faith and the Potentials are blown up, Buffy says: “You guys, it was a trap. It's not her fault. That could've just as easily happened to me.” Yes, it did. That’s why Xander has no depth perception.

Buffy’s line “The good guys are not traditionally known for their communication skills” says a lot. It says “I’m sorry for the mistakes I’ve made over the last few weeks and I accept your unsaid (but perhaps implied) apology for the mistakes you’ve made.”

The scene between Andrew and Anya in the hospital is one of my favourite in the series. The writers always manage to write emotional dialogue for Anya really well, combining the emotion she’s trying to express with the attitude she is known for. We see in this scene that even though she is no longer especially close with any of the Scoobies (except Xander, and even then less than she was) she is still going to stay and fight because it’s the right thing to do. And we also get to see how Andrew feels about the upcoming battle and his acceptance that he may not survive. And then the scene closes with the hilarious wheelchair fight. Perfect.

I also love the Guardian’s reaction to Buffy’s name. As was the point of naming the main character as such, Buffy is such a ridiculous name for a hero and right from the start the show could break from what you would expect. The only problem I have with the name Buffy is that I can’t imagine Joyce, who seems fairly traditional, naming her daughter Buffy. But nonetheless, it is a well-chosen name for the show.

Overall, we have another great week of episodes here before next week’s fantastic finale. I can’t wait.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Joyce was a HUGE Family Affair fan.

I will chalk the ending of Empty Places up to people who are exhausted, undernourished, terrified and smelly (one bathroom? Really?) doing stupid things.

Marebabe said...

@Christina and Suzanne: It was in reading your discussion of who you like better with Buffy – Spike or Angel – that a series-long nebulous thought crystallized for me. Once again, something about Buffy (you guessed it) reminded me of something else.

Do you know (and love) the 1955 musical, “Oklahoma!”? There’s a great bit of dialogue between Laurey and Ado Annie that goes something like this (I’m paraphrasing):

Laurey: “Well, who do you like better?”
Ado Annie: “Whatever one I’m with!”

I’m pretty much like Ado Annie where Spike and Angel are concerned. Maybe just a tiiiiiiny bit more in favor of Buffy and Spike together. After all, Spike has the advantage of not having that pesky Gypsy curse on him, so there was always much more hope of a happily-ever-after for Spuffy.

Efthymia said...

@Colleen/redeem147: I just saw the greek letters and assumed it was supposed to be something in greek, which it obviously (for greek-speaking people, anyway) wasn't. Latin with greek letters really IS weird. And what did they do when it came to letters that don't have an equivalent? Or, even if you use the computer keyboard substitution, the greek alphabet is still two letters short. Weird...

Dusk said...

OK now I realize I haven't said any of the things I love.

Wheelchair fight, Anya's words in the hospital.
Andrew was actually funny in Storyteller, except for the joke when he is focusing on the windows, too obvious.
I like how he finally shows humility and admits his role in Johnathan's death & will probably die. The long-term effects of Johnathan's death were handled well. (Unlike Tara).
Willow/Xander scenes in the hospital.
Nathan's venom filled accent.
Andrew writing make-up sex.

One last Buffy gripe for this week: I see the Slayers and Potentials as a mystical family so Faith/Robin makes my skin crawl.

Dusk said...

Also love Spike speech like most people even if to get it we had to deal with contrived writing to set it up.

Now on to Angel.

The entire concept that Jasmine has been planning everything since at least The Trial in Season 2 takes away the value of many stories, if you take Skip seriously. So W & H bringing back Darla as human, Dru remaking her, the pregnancy, Holz, Sahjhan, Angel trying to smother Wesley, the 3rd retcon on how Fred went to Pylea/Lorne left, and Gunn's whole childhood was a big Master Plan? Does not sit well with me. Also, shouldn't that mean events of Amends, Becoming, Graduation Day etc, also fall in this bracket as well?

And if Jasmine has been planing this for years why didn't the other Powers send a warning or try and stop her if they are supposed to be able to see the world, you would think they could at least send a warning when "Cordy" snuggled with the Beast, or if they can't see LA, send Angel someone else similar to Doyle to check in? The writers confirmed the Powers sent a true form of Darla for Connor, if that's the best they can do, their timing really sucks and it really calls into question how much they really guided AI at all.

Also, it's always been annoying that Buffy stuff gets referenced so much on Angel, (Once Bitten has a section on it for the episodes) but the last time we mention Cordy in Sunnydale is trying to describe Glory, Wesley's transformation is never shown or mentioned, or the sun being blotted out 2 hours away you would think be worth noting but no. Also it's doubtful the Scoobies have even heard of W & H.

Dusk said...

have issues with Spike/Buffy and Angel/Cordy never gets off the ground but I think the reason I personally lean towards them more then Bangel is because Angel and Buffy both develop so much past S3 it devolves them if their just ready to start making out again the instant they see each other. At least Spike and Cordy were their while the other two grew up and changed. Buffy and Angel aren't the same as they were in S3. Buffy's stronger, Angel's got a funny side now and wouldn't be content to just brood in the shadows again.

Also it irritates me a lot that Buffy never once has to deal with even the idea Angel had other relationships then her. Faith and Willow don't mention Connor at all, the only one who knows Darla came back is Spike because Dru mentioned it in passing. Cordy isn't a snob anymore and also meant as much to Angel if you take the happiness fantasy into consideration.

Meanwhile, Angel here about Buffy with Parker like a day after it happens, he makes a special appearance in Season 4 just to but heads with Riley. And for all Buffy knows he's been sitting around playing kitten poker until he has reason to see her again. Not cool.

Dusk said...

Now I am not a TV writers but I know what S4 did to Cordy digested a lot of people and many think it ruined her. Here's how I would have done it:

Have Angel and Connor get into an argument and Angel gets really pissed at Connor. (Like he is most of the season). End the episode with "Cordy" comforting him and set it up like they might sleep together.

Next episode give us some misdirection to make us think they did (Like "Cordy" looking freaked out when she woke up with Connor.) We know Angel wouldn't go soulless because of his anger at Connor.

Have the Beast come out like it did, and instead of sleeping with him "Cordy" lifts up Connor with words and maybe more glowing like S3. Then have her ask if she can count on Connor in the future if she needs help sometime, he promises so, and as "Cordy" says she's glad to here it-they do a zoom up of her eye and inside we see the higher plane background with Jasmine looking out and she finishes "Cordy's" sentence. Maybe having Jasmine also holding a bloodied unconscious Cordy in the shot as well.

Cordy tells Connor Angel is the father, and not to tell anyone, and also mentioned how they somewhat considered killing pregnant Darla. And she needs him to protect her and his half-sibling, another impossible birth, and to make sure nothing like Holtzgets the child.

Have the rest play out like it did, Connor spending time with her, killing Lilah, being the Beastmaster, vs. Willow, etc.

When the pregnancy is revealed to everyone, they think it randomly happened like in the Expecting episode. Then have the gang figure it out and attack her, Connor saves her, flashback and show Angel/Cordy didn't have sex. Then have Darla appear and Connor starts of with how Angel and Co. might have killed her and him before he was even born.

It lets us in on it Cordy isn't herself early on, and also gives Connor a clearer reason for not trusting Angel. And keeps the rest of the stoylines we got in the season intact I feel.

On the bright side, the finale of Season 4 is pretty good and very surprising.

Suzanne said...

@Marebabe, I haven't seen in Oklahoma in a very long time, probably not since I was a small child living there while my dad was in the army, but I enjoyed your comment. That is the perfect quote for the situation. I agree that Buffy has more chance at happiness with a vamp who can't lose his soul from being happy. I think Spike really knows who she is (the good and the bad) more fully than Angel does, too.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I think Spike really knows who she is (the good and the bad) more fully than Angel does, too.

I think both Buffy and Angel see idealized versions of each other, and those versions are still set when Buffy was in high school.

To me, that's what the kiss was about. Two people going through very stressful situations trying to grasp a time when things were, if not easy, at least simpler.

Nikki Stafford said...

Dusk: How can I go back in time and get you in as the S4 head writer on Angel? ;)

Dusk said...

Thank you! That just made my day!

Blam said...

And now for the thing I don’t love: that end scene. The first time I saw it, it infuriated me. The second time, same thing. Same thing the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh … I can’t forgive a single person in the room for what they do to her.

You sing it, Nikki!

DAWN: I need you to leave. This is my house, too.
[Buffy punches Dawn in the throat.]

Okay, I grant you that that's hilarious, but as this Rewatch's resident Dawn apologist (or at least one of them) I have to point out that every character is acting entirely stupid in this scene. More of my thoughts on this in my episode-by-episode quotes 'n' comments...

I forgot to mention the ingrates got blowed up real good

I think that the word you're looking for is "punished". 8^)

we finally discover what happened to Miss Kitty Fantastico (a comment I’ve always despised… NOT funny, writers)

For what it's worth, I've always taken that line to be either humorous hyperbole or at best (worst) merely reference to an "incident" rather than an actual cause of death.

You are in for some amazing treats, I can tell you.

Cool! I'm really looking forward to it.

Thanks, Nikki, for the Rewatch — and thanks, Cynthea, for your insights as well as for eulogizing the Rewatch so well!

Blam said...

Buffy 7.19 "Empty Places"

I love how First-as-Buffy is losing her voice this episode just like the real thing is.

Buffy: "The short lack of consciousness was nice. I feel rested."


The scene at the house with everyone — including Giles, Xander, Willow, and Dawn — turning on Buffy makes no sense. And I say that not because I'm a fan whose sympathies lie with Buffy, but because I'm a viewer who's been watching the series. I just don't buy it.

At first I wrote more, but it's really that simple.

In part this problem hearkens back to an old conundrum: Early in a series, the characters are whatever the writers say they are; at some point, however, it becomes valid for viewers (and actors) to complain about characterization of the moment contradicting previously established patterns of characterization. When that is, when the characters come into their own, can be a sticky spot to, well, spot, especially if it's the same writers responsible who laid the groundwork and now have viewers crying foul.

Buffy 7.20 "Touched"

Andrew: "I feel used and violated and... I need a lozenge."

First / Mayor: "It's the end of humanity, Faith, not the end of courtesy."

Buffy 7.21 "End of Days"

Giles: "Ooh! Jaffa Cakes!"

I had never heard of Jaffa Cakes before this episode and have not heard of them since. A quick search confirms that, as you'd surmise from Giles' excitement over them, they're a British delicacy — apparently stocked by a Sunnydale grocery store. I love that the Wikipedia page on them has a subsection titled "Cake or biscuit?"

Anya: (to Chao-Ahn, sweetly) "Oh... Trying to talk will just kill you sooner."

Dawn: "I don't leave crossbows around all willy-nilly — not since that time with Miss Kitty Fantastico."

Well I think it's funny, and I'm a cat person.

Faith: "Maybe that's why you and I can never get along: We're not supposed to exist together."
Buffy: "Also you went evil and were killing people."

Faith: "Thank God we're hot chicks with super-powers."

Andrew: "So... Wheelchair fight?"

Wheelchair fight!

How much cooler would it have been if David Boreanaz's credit hadn't appeared at the start of the episode and his appearance was really a surprise the way Giles' was at the end of last season?

VW: pundie — Humorous wordplay fail.

Blam said...

Angel 4.19 "The Magic Bullet"

Jasmine: "Your mustache provides you great strength and dignity."

Bookstore Guy: "We don't need to use the evil tools of {air quotes} 'the man' when we have {air quotes} 'the wuh-man'."

Does anyone else feel an eerie similarity between Gina Torres, as Jasmine particularly, and D.B. Woodside, playing Robin Wood over on Buffy? They have similar lips, teeth, and sly smiles, as well as similarly smooth voices.

The good and bad news is that the shot of Angel and Connor singing "Oh, Jasmine" to the tune of "Mandy" is pretty much the high point of this storyline.

So how come nobody sang Seals & Crofts' "Summer Breeze" ("... makes me feel fine / blowin' through the jasmine in my mind") or, more cheekily, Carole King's "Jazzman"?

Angel: "... [S]tranger things have happened."
Fred: "Like Cordelia giving birth to a beautiful ebony goddess?"

Connor: "Where are those people?"
Jasmine: (beatifically)"I ate them."
Connor: "Cool."

Wesley: "I'll get him. I've kidnapped him before."

Angel 4.20 "Sacrifice"

Radio: "In related news, the LA Archdiocese has stated to the press that it will remove all false idols from its churches, replacing them with images of She Who Walks Among Us. Way to go, Catholic Church."

Lorne: "Soccer Mom, 12 o'clock!"

Hey! A portal! That's never been a problem before...

Angel 4.21 "Peace Out"

Jasmine: "It doesn't matter. Just know she's alive and... well, comatose."

Newsman: "What can we do to show our love for you?"
Jasmine: "You don't have to do anything except love one another. Although... A temple would be nice. Something massive, and awe-inspiring — yet warm, and nurturing, celebrating the gentle pleasures of a peaceful, precious coexistence where violent behavi—" [Lightning crackles; Angel emerges from an interdimensional portal.] "Kill him! All of you, kill him now!"

And so we all learned once again how superficial people are. Jasmine is the ultimate in peace and love until you realize that her face is all kinds of maggoty.

VW: merment — 1. A fleeting instant at sea. 2. A garment worn by mermaids (or mermen).

Blam said...

Marebabe: A few days ago, I overheard a snippet of a conversation at work that included the word ‘jealous’. I perked up my ears because I thought I’d just heard someone say ‘Angelus’.

Joss Whedon has mentioned, by the way, that he always meant for "Angelus" to be stressed on the first syllable — Angelus, not Angelus (rhymes with Vangelis; cue the Chariots of Fire theme).

Marebabe: the instant I saw Patrick Fischler as the shopkeeper, I (mentally) yelled, “F**k you, Phil!”

Yay! He was also Jimmy Barrett on Mad Men — deserving of a similar refrain even though his wife stepped out on him with Don Draper (who's the very essence of an audience rooting for a protagonist because he's the protagonist in spite of what he does).

Page48: Must have set him back a few kittens.

is one of my favorite lines of the entire Rewatch.

Colleen: Do people still drink TAB?

Vengeance demons do.

Colleen: I think Angel's persona in the episode indicates that they really are separate shows. He's very glib here, and yet the woman he loves is in a coma and he's lost his son.

Yeah, Angel actually sounds like Angelus there. On the other hand, I can relate to all sorts of sadness going on and the lift that you get from seeing a beloved someone (or even something) from your past.

VW: puttions — Short-range golf clubs with a net electric charge. [FYI: The word verification algorithm really likes the suffix "-ion".]

Blam said...

Dusk — You have some solid reasoning behind your defense of the Scoobies (Giles included if not especially), but that scene still feels wrong. It's too sudden and too public, with Buffy's friends and mentor totally undermining her in front of the Potentials when they've all privately told her how much she's grown, how sorry they are to have drifted apart, and that they've come to realize that they can't understand the singular burden that she's under. The whole thing plays very much like a standard set-up in "genre" TV dramas where some insidious force has infected everyone but our chief protagonist and made him/her question his/her own position or just drive him/her away and leave everyone more vulnerable. As it turns out, there's nothing supernatural going on here; it's just natural doubt and concern coming too quickly and neatly to a head at the wrong time for Buffy. Like I said above it's at the "right" time for conflict in the narrative, but it doesn't pass believability muster for me.

Blam said...

Dusk: the concept of the Guardians that just happen to set up right in Sunnydale but Buffy neer noticed

I agree that the Guardians feel a little shoehorned-in — that's even acknowledged with the "last surprise" line — but at the same time I rather like the reinforcement of Sunnydale's Hellmouth as being a particularly big deal amongst all of the supernatural stuff going on in the world, and particularly a particularly big deal at this point in time, as if this apocalypse of all the apocalypses was most pivotal in the grand scheme of things with Buffy fated to play an essential part in the history of the Slayers. It makes me feel better about why it's okay for Buffy to be and stay where she is for the duration she's there — although it makes one wonder how many times the world would've ended had she not burned down that high-school gym in LA.

Christina B: maybe I'm a Spanuffy

You watch on Telemundo?

Efthymia: Is it just me, or did that First-beast/demon/whatever look a lot like Moloch?

I know what you mean. Mostly, I was just disappointed in seeing it — less because of what it looked like than because it should just remain unseen. So much of why the First Evil has been so ominous is the mystique of it only appearing as dead (or "having died") people, which makes sense; "the First Evil" shouldn't have any kind of corporeal form comprehensible by the human mind.

Efthymia: But who watches the Watchmen?

Zack Snyder fans? People hoping beyond hope that it could be done justice as a movie? The poor guy in the projector booth who has to see Nite Owl and Silk Spectre having sex to the strains of Leonard Cohen again and again?*
[*Okay, I realize that most theaters don't have people hanging out in the projector booth the whole movie long anymore...]

Efthymia: Well, miracles never cease to happen, because I'm about to cheer Dawn! Xander was right, he should be by Buffy, with Buffy and Willow and Giles, at the Big Fight, no matter how it ends! He has always been there!

And if Dawn happens to die in the big battle that's just a bonus?

Colleen: The inscription isn't exactly gibberish. It's Latin written in Greek capital letters, which is just odd.

On a mission in California. It's like the turducken of ancient inscriptions.

VW: hemizend — Where East meets West.

Blam said...

Suzanne: When that darn Kennedy has the nerve to whine “you always take her side,” I wished Willow had turned to her and said, “of course, I do, she is my best friend.”


Suzanne: so many of the situations and lines that characters speak in these episodes of Season 7 seem far too contrived in order for the writers to have the outcomes they want to convey and the overarching themes they are trying to highlight

Thanks for saying what I was trying to say earlier so much more concisely... 8^) I'm not sure that this is actually the weakest season, but contextually — because we do know the characters so well by now and it is the final season and there's so much manipulation going on for the sake of conflict or endgame machinations when the gang should really be past that — it might be the most disappointing relative to what it could or should have been. And I say that loving a lot of it.

I'm agreed with your take on Faith and Robin, too. Robin speaking up doesn't click at first, given the reverence that he has for the Slayer lineage, but then you remember that Buffy's involvement with Spike and her words to Robin after the situation in Robin's "Just Crucifixes" outlet store of a workshop color her judgment in his eyes — Faith's ends-justify-the-means attitude is more his style and, hey, she's a Slayer too.

Quarks: Back in Season 5 (before she became crazy powerful) Willow was working on a little ball of sunshine spell. Now she’s super-powerful, couldn’t she perfect that and supersize it, and then dust all the Turok-han at once?

I was always disappointed that the idea was never revisited. And ever since we saw the Turok'han crawl back down into his hidey-hole after Buffy escaped him earlier this season, I've wondered why Buffy and the gang didn't not so much try to destroy them but just round 'em up and confine them somewhere topside until sunrise.

Happy Chanukah, Joyous Winter Solstice, and Merry Christmas to all!

Quarks said...

@Blam: It is inconceivable to me that somebody could not know what a Jaffa Cake is. Until your comment I didn't realise they weren't a common occurrence outside of the UK.

As a side note, the 'cake or biscuit?' discussion (or in some cases argument) is a conversation which I think everyone in the UK has had at some point.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Jasmine is the ultimate in peace and love until you realize that her face is all kinds of maggoty.

Isn't that a visual representation of her true evil? Though Anya might think, "Hey! She'd make a great bridesmaid!"

less because of what it looked like than because it should just remain unseen.

Not the first time we've seen the First though (Willow's spell, for instance.) Maybe that's not really what it looks like, but what the human mind translates it to.

It reminds me of the devil in Doctor Who: Impossible Planet. Then again - RTD, Joss fan.

Dusk said...

@Blam: I agree with much of what you said about the end scene of EP but I blame that on writing, most apparent with Anya.

Other then Willow in 7x03 when have any of the others said they don't understand the burden she's under? Giles does often offer sympathy but that's because he's the Watcher so he should understand Slayerdom more then most.

The First as the Big Bad is mixed for me, but I'll say why after Chosen.

Page48 said...

@Quarks: never heard of Jaffa Cake.

And, without The Doctor, I wouldn't know what Jammy Dodgers are, either. I do, however, know what a fez is (and that they're cool).

Beth R said...

Very late in commenting:
1. Thanks to Giles, I tried Jaffa Cakes when I was in England last summer. They are indeed memorable.
2. Nikki wrote:
“Touched” is one of my favourite episodes in the final season, and..., despite being an Angel/Buffy shipper (yes, fine, I said it) for many, many years, every time I see this episode I’m instantly a Spuffy.
Right there with you!

Cynthea said...

I have a few minutes before my Hanukkah party, so I thought I'd read some Rewatch! Thanks Christina B., Suzanne, and Blam for your comments about my comments! Blam--I laughed at your reference to "eulogizing" the Rewatch! :)

Tonight is the final night: Are we ready to make a choice? Enjoy!