Thursday, July 10, 2008

BtVS: 2.06 Halloween

Alisa says:

Continuity issue with the vamp showing up on the video camera in the first scene - I'm sure in Angel there were issues about whether he would show up on video footage ?

So we're still all with the Buffy angst - oh I am a Slayer and I don't get to have any fun. Wah wah wah. And it's Halloween which amusingly in Jossverse is the one night that the evils take a break - it seems this is the only time it's tacky to wreak havoc. According to Buffy, Halloween is the time to dress up as the opposite of what you are and "have a little fun". We see Xander dress up as a soldier and Willow end up as a ghost. Cordelia is a sexy cat woman which I think is her subscribing more to "Halloween is a night to dress up slutty" rather than Buffy's "Come as you aren't". Buffy dresses up as a fair lady from the 1700s - the kind of girl who faints at danger and waits to be rescued by a nice strong man.

So of course the plot twist comes in the form of Ethan - an old friend of Giles' who I always think acts more as a plot device than ever realising the potential that his character could have been. Ethan sets a spell in motion to play, since all the demons are at home watching TV - everyone really becomes the costume that they dressed up in and hilarity, of sorts, ensues. Of course Buffy is totally useless and Xander gets to be the hero that saves the day.

And then we see that of course Buffy likes being Buffy and Angel likes her that way ... awwww

Verdict: "Who is that *girl*?"

Rachel says:

This is the first of the Buffy episodes that broadcast originally (in the States at least) around the time of Halloween each year. Like most dramas, BtVS doesn't react to the outside world apart from the mega-holidays that coincide with screening schedules (the other being Christmas).

This episode keeps a good hold of the tone between humorous and threatening. Gellar's Southern accent is a nice touch although her ongoing "Am I a real girl?" angst is starting to grate.

There is a very intriguing insight into Giles/Ripper's past, but I agree that Ethan is little more than a plot point. It also makes a lie of Giles' earlier claim (in Witch) that he had never cast a spell before.

Other revelations include Cordy learning that Angel is a vampire. "The cuddly kind. Like a Care Bear with fangs." To me this highlights the fact that she never discovered on screen that Buffy is a vampire slayer. During the episode "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" she thinks Buffy is in a gang, after that it is assumed she has learnt somehow of the whole slayer/vampire/demon thing.

Spike and Drusilla return in top form, solidifying their characters - Drusilla has a vision and Spike demonstrates his natural skill in commanding ragtag groups of demons. And yes, the second appearance of Crumpet-Oz!

I find this very satisfying, light Buffy.

Verdict: "Well, this is just... neat."

Friday, July 4, 2008

BtVS: 2.05 Reptile Boy

Alisa says:

Another kind of throw away episode apart from a few lines of important dialogue for metaplot advancement. Some college guys are part of a secret society that's really just minions for some kind of weird and gross reptile creature. As usual with such demons, they need some sweet virgins to sacrifice and our unsuspecting boy-crazy Cordelia and rebellious havoc-wreaking Buffy get abducted to be fed to the ... reptile boy. It's mostly a stand alone episode that feels much like filler except for us really getting the feeling that Buffy wants to be with Angel and is annoyed that he's holding out and also she's gettin' a bit fed up with the whole being a Slayer who has no fun. Course ... as usual the "having fun" bit backfires. Well it wouldn't be Buffy without that kind of a moral ending, would it?

Verdict: "And you! You're gonna live forever and you don't have time for a cup of coffee?"

Rachel says:

I agree that it's a filler episode, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. It sets up camp (no pun intented) in the frat house genre of teen movies without apology, and mostly gets it right. This is a good long look at Buffy as a teenager.

More than I think we've seen before Buffy is wanting to belong to the crowd, seeking acceptance, even love (from Angel) with Cordelia and the frat boys providing the necessary, if hackneyed, peer pressure. Then comes the spectacular backfiring. Not only does Buffy let down Giles (the "father") and all her friends, she nearly gets eaten.

Reptile Boy is unsubtle in its theme, but effective, and nails the behaviour of the teenage girls and the frat boys. The limited special effects are artfully disguised by dim lighting and careful camera work.

Thankfully it's not Xander dating the monster for once.

Verdict: "Who needs a social life when you've got your very own Hellmouth?"

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

BtVS: 2.04 Inca Mummy Girl

Rachel says:

"Who's that girl?"
"No, the eskimo."

The chief attraction of Inca Mummy Girl it that it includes the first appearance of the indie-girl's bit of crumpet, Oz. Which you almost miss entirely on the first viewing, but is so delightful subsequently.

This is a more obvious and straightforward mystery episode than most. It's so blatantly Buffy playing Nancy Drew or the Scoobies playing Famous Five that they even include the reference to a crime club. It is nice to see Giles and Buffy do some planning and action together, but the plot is so obvious that it is near-painful to watch them running around and filling in time before they can reveal the clear culprit.

As an aside, is anyone else even slightly disturbed by the number of kids who go missing from Sunnydale High with nary a police investigation? No? I'm just saying, there could be a memorial wall or something.

Verdict: "Typical Museum trick. Promise human sacrifice, deliver old pots and pans."

Alisa says:

I didn't miss the first appearance of Oz on the first viewing - I loved how smitten he was with her. It's especially lovely after all the angst Willow's been through over Xander, we know that she has someone very cool and desperately in love with her coming her way!

I agree with how painful this episode is - the plot is very dull and there is very little good dialogue to get you through it. I do love the scene with Buffy training with Giles though. And the appearance of Oz and his band (who play a really great song).

Rachel - I love how there is only ever the one reference to the mortality of Sunnydale Highschool students but that is in many episodes time.

Finally, something I did pick up on this reviewing - the VERY FIRST APPEARANCE of Jonathan. For a very long time, my friends and I called him Random Guy cause he is always the random bystander and here we see his very first guest spot as the almost final victim! Yay Jonathan.