“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 2×16 – Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Since I’d never seen a single episode prior to this viewing, there will be no spoilers (or possible foreshadowing) discussed. Click here for the rest of the Buffy reviews.

Hysterically funny and entertaining from start to finish.

This was positively the funniest episode of Buffy so far. Much like the show itself, this episode has a ridiculous title and yet is full of a complex, rich premise.

When our beloved Cordy breaks up with Xander on Valentine’s Day, he decides to use the help of a fellow schoolgirl who knows witchcraft in order to cast a love spell on his ex-girlfriend. The funny thing is, I was certain the witch was going to be the villain of the week because of how she was introduced; therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when the show subverted my expectations and simply turned this into a fun, painless episode. Color me impressed.

It’s no secret I’ve been enjoying Xander and Cordelia together this season, so I was mighty cheerful when this episode focused heavily on their relationship. They’ve always provided the show with some extra comical energy (not that it needs it), but to have the entire female population go crazy over him made this even funnier. I don’t think I’ve seen anything funnier all year than that herd of hormonal women running and screaming after Xander and Cordelia at Buffy’s house while Buffy herself, who turned into a rat (!), was trying to escape from a hungry cat. Absolutely hysterical.

There’s also a great message behind this one (no surprise there) about not trying to impress other people and simply being yourself. It’s a positively happy note, and Buffy doesn’t try to spoonfeed us anything. I can certainly see myself watching this one over and over again.

Spells, Bits & Quotes

– I’ve arrived at a point in my Buffy bingewatch where I’ve started humming the theme song even when I’m not watching. Think I’m addicted yet?

– The Angel/Dru/Spike love triangle is also positively hilarious/compelling here. Spike gets his “pet” a necklace while Angel hands her a warm girls’ heart. Angel 1, Spike 0.

– I was so annoyed at those mean girls shunning my Cordy! Glad she showed them who’s boss in the end. Adios, Harmony, I hope we never see you again.

– Heartwarming moment: Cordelia was actually wearing the necklace Xander got her, even though she pretended to take it out of her locker. I actually squealed “aww” in my fangirl-iest voice ever.

– Nifty little detail: the score this week was freaky and extremely fitting with all the witchcraft and spells! Kudos, show.

– Buffy looked very sexy in that black raincoat. Did SMG get another haircut this week? She sure looks blonder now.

– Even though Buffy seducing Xander was probably my favorite (and the funniest, without a doubt), I love how there was so much history in Willow and Xander’s seduction scene in his bedroom.

– Loved that we spent a couple seconds from the perspective of Buffy as a rat. The trap with the cheese on it? Priceless.

– Awesome twist: Drusilla saving Xander from Angel because, obviously, she had the hots for him. It’s amazing when this show brings every single character into a structured and well-plotted storyline. I’m beyond impressed.

– Nifty visual sight: Dru knocking the kitchen door open with one punch. Talk about badass.

– Hilarious scene: some girl reaching into the basement window, breaking stuff and screaming at Xander “please let me touch you!”.

– Buffy: Go ahead. You know you wanna say it.
Willow (grinning): My boyfriend’s in the band!
Amy: Cool.
Buffy: I think you’ve now told everybody.
Willow: Only in this hemisphere.

– Angel: Dear Buffy…I’m still trying to decide the best way to send my regards.
Spike: Why don’t you rip her lungs out? It might make an impression.
Angel: Lacks…poetry.
Spike: It doesn’t have to. (thinks) What rhymes with lungs?

– Cordelia (looking at the necklace): Xander…thank you. It’s beautiful. I wanna break up.

– Amy: I don’t know, Xander. Intent has to be pure with love spells.
Xander: Right. I intend revenge. Pure as the driven snow.

– Giles: Look, here’s another. Here. (reading) “Valentine’s Day. Angel nails a puppy to the–”
Buffy: Skip it!

– Amy: I know what his heart wants.
Buffy: Funny, I know what your face wants. (punches her, hard)

– Drusilla: Your face is a poem. I can read it.
Xander: Really? It doesn’t say ‘spare me’ by any chance?

– Buffy: I remember coming on to you, I remember begging you to undress me. And then a sudden need for cheese.

– Cordelia: I do what I wanna do, and I wear what I wanna wear. And you know what? I’ll date whoever the hell I wanna date. (Xander smiles) No matter how lame he is.

Grade: A

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“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 2×15 – Phases

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Since I’d never seen a single episode prior to this viewing, there will be no spoilers (or possible foreshadowing) discussed. Click here for the rest of the Buffy reviews.

Werewolves and teenage hormones take over a fine episode of Buffy.

Following up on Innocence could not be an easy task, but while it had its bumps I still thoroughly enjoyed Phases.

It’s actually a wise choice not to show Spike or Drusilla at all in this episode. Their existence still largely looms over Buffy, and that’s just as terrifying as anything their physical presence could have achieved. Even keeping Angel to a bare minimum was quite clever; other than killing an innocent little high school girl, Theresa, and turning her into a vampire, he doesn’t do much here – and that’s okay. The show still very much acknowledges that he exists, and it would be pretty unrealistic to have Buffy face off against her enemies every single week, wouldn’t it?

The biggest thing that happens in Phases is that it provided Oz with a lot more backstory than just being Willow’s sweet new boyfriend. As it turns out, he’s a werewolf (did we know they existed in this show’s universe before now?), and that adds an extra layer of complication to his and Willow’s relationship. Let’s hope this wasn’t just a one-time thing and the show continues to develop this human/werewolf impediment in future episodes.

Another thing I really enjoyed is Cordelia and Willow’s girl-talk at the Bronze. The two discuss the fairly unusual men in their lives and the “phases” they go through. It’s a perfect metaphor to the episode as a whole: humans turning into werewolves for three days a month is a great parallel to teenage hormones acting up. And almost every single character was acting up this week.

Werewolves, Bits & Quotes

– Awesome continuity: Oz looking into the cheerleader trophy and mentioning that he sees eyes following him inside of it. I bet you do.

– Thanks, Willow, for reminding us all that Xander once turned into a hyena. I was just about to get over it.

– It happened offscreen but Willow apparently told Buffy about Xander and Cordelia kissing.

– There were definitely some Buffy/Xander sparks flying around in this episode! This is gonna get complicated, people.

– Hilarious running joke this week: Giles being so fascinated by werewolves. Buffy’s indifferent reaction was priceless.

– Hilarious detail: right after Oz wakes up from his “werewolf” state, he starts calling family members and asking them if they were werewolves.

– Willow: I’ll give Xander a call. What’s his number? Oh, yeah, 1-800-I’m-Dating-A-Skanky-Ho.
Buffy: Meow!
Willow (smiles): Really? Thanks. I’ve never gotten a ‘meow’ before.
Buffy: Well-deserved.

– Giles: Yes, I must admit, I am intrigued. Werewolves, it’s…one of the classics. I’m sure my books and I are in for a fascinating afternoon.
Buffy: (after he leaves) He needs to get a pet.

– Willow: I like you. You’re nice and you’re funny. And you don’t smoke. Yeah, okay, werewolf, but that’s not all the time. I mean, three days out of the month I’m not much fun to be around either.

Grade: B-

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 2×14 – Innocence

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Since I’d never seen a single episode prior to this viewing, there will be no spoilers (or possible foreshadowing) discussed. Click here for the rest of the Buffy reviews.

Game-changing and unforgettable, this was Buffy at its best.

Good lord, that was jaw-dropping.

I love game-changing hours of television, and Innocence was just that by turning Angel into a villain. It’s a brilliant twist that doesn’t undo any of the previous development for the character; Angel is without a soul now, but he still very much remembers who he was and who Buffy is. The added conundrum that this was all Buffy’s fault (having sex with him) made this all the more gripping to watch.

The shocking twists and meticulous writing paired with some stellar performances across the board all made for a perfect combo. Sarah Michelle Gellar has certainly earned my trust now, once during her gut-wrenching performance after returning to her room devastated by the Angel reveal and again during her BADASS fight sequence with said villain/love-interest. I sure wish their fight lasted just a tad bit longer, but nevertheless I was extremely impressed. Unlike their somehow dull confrontation in last year’s Angel episode, every kick and every punch felt perfectly satisfactory and expertly executed here. Are we finally over the Buffy’s-lame-fights phase? Judging by this hour alone, I think so.

Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give this show now is how it effortlessly weaves so many different characters together into one carefully-constructed storyline. Willow finds Xander and Cordelia kissing (which leads to a heartbreaking yet beautifully written scene, quoted below), and that leads us to Oz who becomes of more help than anyone could have imagined. Also, Xander’s soldier costume from that great Halloween episode brilliantly helps him break into an army base and hand Buffy her birthday gift: an enormous rocket launcher! Even a dubious Giles gets lots to do here by kicking Jenny out after finding out she’s been sent to make sure Angel and Buffy stay apart, and his heartwarming conversation with Buffy at the end of the hour was icing on the cake.

If it’s been a while since you’ve last seen this episode, I recommend you watch it again soon. Simply unforgettable.

Rocket Bits & Quotes

– Love the title of this episode. So fitting.

– The opening teaser perfectly delivers a shocking, jaw-dropping moment with Angel attacking an innocent, young woman and biting her to death.

– I know Willow seeing Xander and Cordelia kissing should have seemed soapy and melodramatic, but something about her later exchange with Xander was so perfectly sad.

– Do I sense some jealousy in Cordelia’s tone when she tells Xander he would die for Buffy? I would love if the show acted on this more in the future!

– Angel being one step ahead of Buffy, killing Jenny’s uncle (?), was also quite unexpected. The message he leaves her with his blood on the wall (“was it good for you too?”): harsh.

– The gang even have a van now (thanks, Oz)! They really are becoming the Scooby gang, aren’t they?

– I loved Oz’s rejection to making out with Willow (also quoted below). I am definitely rooting for these nerds!

– When Giles tells Jenny to leave the room, I really got teary-eyed. Solidarity to the real Scooby gang, people!

– I tried not to notice, but the special effects were beyond atrocious. It didn’t make this episode any less epic, but I certainly cringed at the explosion scene and everything Judge-related.

– Spike and Drusilla continue to be quite the fascinating villains. With Angel (and possible The Judge’s arm) on their side? Things are about to get ugly.

– Goosebumps-worthy moment: the slow-mo after Buffy fires up the rocket launcher and Angel and Drusilla jump for their lives.

– I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect ending to bookend this hour than to have Buffy and Joyce, with a birthday cupcake, watching an old black-and-white movie.

– Spike (rolling his eyes): When do we destroy the world already?

– Willow: Xander’s right. My God, you people are all… Well, I’m upset, and I can’t think of a mean word right now, but that’s what you are, and we’re going to the factory!

– Judge: There’s no humanity in him.
Angel: I couldn’t have said it better myself.

– Cordelia: You were too busy rushing off to die for your beloved Buffy. You’d never die for me.
Xander: No, I might die from you. Does that get me any points?

– Xander: Let’s get this straight. I don’t understand it, I don’t wanna understand it, you have gross emotional problems, and things are not okay between us. But what’s happening right now is more important than that.

– Cordelia: This is great. There’s an unkillable demon in town, Angel’s joined his team, the Slayer is a basket case…I’d say we’ve hit bottom.
Xander: I have a plan.
Cordelia: Oh, no, here’s a lower place.

– Cordelia: Does looking at guns make you wanna have sex?
Xander: I’m seventeen. Looking at Linoleum makes me wanna have sex.

– Oz: So, do you guys steal weapons from the army a lot?
Willow: Well, we don’t have cable, so we have to make our own fun.

– Oz: Sometimes when I’m sitting in class…you know, I’m not thinking about class, ’cause that would never happen. I think about kissing you. And it’s like everything stops. It’s like, it’s like freeze frame. Willow kissage. (Willow smiles) Oh, I’m not gonna kiss you.
Willow: What? But freeze frame!
Oz: Well, to the casual observer, it would appear that you’re trying to make your friend Xander jealous or even the score or something. And that’s on the empty side. See, in my fantasy, when I’m kissing you, you’re kissing me. (looks at her) It’s okay. I can wait.

– Buffy: Pick up the pieces and keep them separate.
Cordelia: Pieces? We get the pieces. Our job sucks.

– Giles (to Buffy): Do you want me to wag my finger at you and tell you that you acted rashly? You did, and I can. I know that you loved him. And he has proven more than once that he loved you. You couldn’t have known what would happen. The coming months are gonna be hard, I suspect, on all of us. But if it’s guilt you’re looking for, Buffy, I’m not your man. All you will get from me is my support. And my respect.

– Joyce (points at the candle): Well, go on, make a wish.
Buffy: I’ll just let it burn.

Grade: A+

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 2×13 – Surprise

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Since I’d never seen a single episode prior to this viewing, there will be no spoilers (or possible foreshadowing) discussed. Click here for the rest of the Buffy reviews.

Buffy’s seventh birthday turns out to be a fantastic nightmare.

Spike and Drusilla are finally back to celebrate Buffy’s birthday with the gang, and I couldn’t be any happier.

These two have an eccentric, frightening relationship which makes their dynamic all the more fascinating to watch. While I have enjoyed every single one of Spike’s previous appearances, I’m glad he’s being shoved to the sidelines a little bit now to make room for Drusilla. I can’t wait for Buffy to faceoff with her soon; both Sarah Michelle Gellar and Juliet Landau have been delivering top-notch performances this season, and I’ve been eagerly waiting for a female villain on this show ever since the pilot.

Of course, another part of what makes Surprise work is the tension. The episode opens to a dream sequence where Buffy painfully watches Drusilla killing Angel, and as the episode moves along everything else from Buffy’s dream starts coming true. It’s a brilliant ploy to raise the stakes and elevate the suspense, and I was thoroughly captivated by the various twists and turns (Jenny is a what now?!). In addition, Buffy seemed terribly affected by these constant nightmares as she feared for Angel’s life, which provided these two with several heartbreaking, as well as game-changing, moments.

The Judge ends up being a painfully useless villain, however; the episode spends more time trying to “build” this monster than actually having him alive. Luckily, though, this meant more screentime to develop Angel and Buffy’s relationship. It’s not clear whether or not they actually have sex in this episode, but I could easily see their hot makeout session turn into something more. Plus, why did Angel wake up screaming in agony before the words “to be continued” appeared on the screen? That’s one helluva way to get me to watch one more episode…

Birthday Bits & Quotes

– Bone-chilling moment: Drusilla wishing Buffy happy birthday before making Angel disappear into dust in the opening dream sequence.

– I loved the several hints of lost virginity that are incorporated into the dream sequences: Joyce breaking plates, Buffy wearing a white gown and then dropping rings on the floor. Very neat; well done, show.

– How amazing is the chemistry between SMG and David Boreanaz? I loved all of their tender moments here.

– I didn’t notice that there has been no mention of Willow’s unreciprocated love to Xander for a while until Buffy mentioned it.

– So, Jenny is a gypsy! What a shocking twist, especially since the show doesn’t treat it that way – there’s too much information dumped at us, all at once, and it’s all overwhelmingly stunning. What is she up to?!

– Nice to see Oz included more in the group. How long till he finds out Buffy is a slayer?

– Still loving the Xander/Cordelia dynamic. They don’t get to do much this time except banter a little – not okay, writers!

– When Jenny tells Buffy that Giles had a change of plans and was meeting her elsewhere, I was afraid she might do something to hurt her or Angel (who knows what she’s up to these days?). I honestly sighed when she was just taking her to the surprise birthday party at the Bronze.

– Angel and Buffy finally say “I love you” to one another. I’m really starting to root for these two…so naturally, they’ll probably break up soon, right?

– Buffy: You think he’s too old because he’s a senior? Please, my boyfriend had a bicentennial.

– Oz: I’m gonna ask you to go out with me tomorrow night. And I’m kinda nervous about it, actually. It’s interesting.
Willow: Oh. Well, if it helps at all, I’m gonna say yes.
Oz: Yeah, it helps. It creates a comfort zone. Do you wanna go out with me tomorrow night?
Willow: Oh! I can’t!
Oz: Well, see, I like that you’re unpredictable.

– Cordelia: I have to cook! And everything.
Xander: You’re cooking?
Cordelia: Well, I’m chips-and-dips girl.
Xander: (gasps) Horrors! All that opening and stirring.
Cordelia: And shopping and carrying.
Xander: Well, then you should have a person who does such things for you!
Cordelia: Well, that’s what I’ve been saying to my father, but does he listen?

– Giles: Is everything in order for the party?
Xander: Absolutely. You ready to get down, you funky party weasel?

– Giles: No, you won’t [cancel the party]. We’re having a party tonight.
Xander: Looks like Mr. Caution Man, but the sound he makes is funny.

– Angel: They call him The Judge.
Giles: The Judge? This is he?
Angel: Not all of him.
Buffy (raises her hand): Um, still needing backstory here.

– The Judge (to Spike and Drusilla): You two stink of humanity. You share affection and jealousy.

– Giles: Seems Buffy needed some rest.
Angel: Yeah, she hasn’t been sleeping well. Tossing and turning. (everyone looks at him) She told me! Because of her dreams?

– Angel (sternly): Leave her alone!
Spike: Yeah, that’s work. Now say ‘pretty please’.

Grade: A-

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 2×12 – Bad Eggs

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Since I’d never seen a single episode prior to this viewing, there will be no spoilers (or possible foreshadowing) discussed. Click here for the rest of the Buffy reviews.

Another weak standalone episode with multiple freaks of the weak.

Buffy seems to have a tendency to be extremely slow-paced in the first 15 minutes, which are often used to set up the premise of the episode, before things really kick off. In Bad Eggs, I felt like nothing really kicked off. It was 40-something minutes of setup, and then the hour stumbled under its own premise and unsystematic storytelling, leaving a sour taste in my mouth.

There isn’t a real explanation to why all those eggs were cracking and producing a ghastly-looking creature that possesses humans. While I did appreciate a couple of the twists that were brought up throughout the last 10 minutes, including the reveal that Willow, Cordelia, Giles and even Buffy’s mom Joyce had been affected by this thing, the writers never really knew what to do with these developments. Sure, it was kind of amusing to see Buffy and Xander work together on this, being the only two unpossessed, but so much was crammed into the final 2 minutes of the episode that nothing really stuck at the end.

It’s a miracle that this episode actually also introduced two other villains in the form of Lyle and Tector Gorch. These two hillbilly vampires actually had plenty of hilariously dull moments, but once again they were scattered around messily across an episode that felt largely overcrowded. I’m glad one of them survived though, and definitely hope we’ll see this peasant again soon!

Hatching Bits & Quotes

– The first fight between Buffy and the cowboy vampires at the arcade store was awesome. So many satisfying kicks and punches, it was all just exhilarating.

– How disgusting was that creature though, seriously? I almost threw up.

– How awesome are Xander and Cordelia sneaking around together? Such an unlikely pairing and yet it’s brilliant! More of them, please.

– Jaw-dropping moment: Cordelia and Willow, obviously affected by this thing, smashing Buffy and Xander unconscious.

– It was weird how the final fight between Buffy and the “momma creature” was all done offscreen. Then Buffy emerges with blue ink all over her body, everybody affected becomes normal again and it’s over. So anticlimactic. Tsk tsk.

– Loved the final shot of Buffy and Angel kissing, separated by her bedroom window. Now that Buffy is grounded, it’ll be interesting to see how she’ll go about saving the world from her four bedroom walls.

– Lyle: This ain’t over! (escapes)
Buffy: Oh, sure. They say they’ll call.

– Xander: You gotta take care of the egg. It’s a baby. You gotta keep it safe and teach it Christian values.
Willow: My egg is Jewish.
Xander: Then teach it that Dreidel song.

– Xander: ‘Nuff said. I propose Buffy slays ’em. All in favor?
Willow (raises her hand): Aye!

– Buffy: Giles?
Xander: Giles! He must be out somewhere.
Buffy: Well, he picked a helluva time to get a life.

– Cordelia: Did I hit you?
Xander: Yes. Everyone hit me.
Cordelia: Good. Well, I don’t mean good because I hit you, but I didn’t wanna be left out.

Grade: C-

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 2×11 – Ted

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Since I’d never seen a single episode prior to this viewing, there will be no spoilers (or possible foreshadowing) discussed. Click here for the rest of the Buffy reviews.

What could have been a dark and psychological hour ends in a messy and dull final act.

I was really enjoying where this episode was going, up until the last 15 minutes. It’s sad because there was clearly so much potential, but the writers let it all go to waste to infuse some unnecessary fantasy in the plot.

Joyce’s new boyfriend Ted (played by the late John Ritter) is certainly not who he appears to be after he threatens Buffy during miniature golf, and after a heated argument in her bedroom where he finds out she’s a vampire slayer, Buffy pushes him down the stairs and he dies. It’s a daunting and terrifying scene, unlike anything this show has done so far, as Buffy realizes she just killed a human.

Unfortunately, the writers ruin this entire premise by turning Ted into a robot. Instead of using this opportunity to examine Buffy’s psyche post-murder, they take the easy way out and it’s awfully tiring to watch. It’s a cheap twist, having Ted not be human and thus clearing Buffy’s name from any villainous act, but I really wish they’d gone down a different route. It was compelling to watch Buffy realize she’s unable to control her slaying when it comes to humans or men involved in her mother’s life, even if that only took up an extremely small portion of the episode. I guess we won’t be seeing anti-hero Buffy anytime soon.

I do hope we get to see Drusilla and Spike wreaking havoc again sooner rather than later; in the meantime, I’ll just pretend this didn’t happen.

Robots, Bits & Quotes

– Glad to see Giles and Jenny have resolved their issues! Nice to have you back in the Scooby Gang, Jenny.

– Cordelia and Xander are still making out in secret! Are they becoming the next Chandler and Monica?

– It was strange to see John Ritter in such a mean role. I’m used to him as the lovable father from 8 Simple Rules!

– Ted slapping Buffy: shocking and NOT okay!

– Look, floppy disks! How nostalgic.

– Cordelia’s “ugh” after Xander reminds her that they kissed is priceless.

– Giles: Uh, Buffy, I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming, uh, text.

– Jenny: I know you’re concerned. But having you constantly poking around, making little puppy dog eyes at me, wondering if I’m okay… You make me feel bad that I don’t feel better.

– Angel: Kiss me.
Buffy: Finally something I wanna do.

– (after Ted slaps her)
Buffy: I was so hoping you’d do that. (punches him in the face)

– Buffy: He was a person. And I killed him.

– Cordelia: Buffy’s the Slayer. Shouldn’t she have…
Xander: What, a license to kill?
Cordelia: Well, not for fun. But she’s like this Superman. Shouldn’t there be different rules for her?
Willow: Sure, in a fascist society.
Cordelia: Right! Why can’t we have one of those?

– Cordelia: I guess you should know, since you helped raise that demon that killed that guy that time?
Giles: Yes. Do let’s bring that up as often as possible.

– Joyce: Do you wanna rent a movie tonight?
Buffy: Sounds like fun.
Joyce: Just nothing with horror in it. Or romance. Or men.
Buffy: I guess we’re Thelma and Louise-ing it again.

Grade: C+

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 2×10 – What’s My Line? (Part 2)

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Since I’d never seen a single episode prior to this viewing, there will be no spoilers (or possible foreshadowing) discussed. Click here for the rest of the Buffy reviews.

Funny, dark and expertly executed: this is Buffy‘s first perfect episode.

What an incredible hour of television. This is the Buffy I could fall in love with.

The second part of What’s My Line? impeccably puts Buffy front and center again after spending the first half of the season trying to find balance between her calling and her social life. The fact that all she needed was another slayer (Kendra) for Buffy to realize that while her emotions can cloud her judgement sometimes, that’s exactly what makes her unique was a brilliant touch. I’m just so glad Kendra wasn’t killed off in the end (as I was expecting) because now we can still hopefully see her stop by whenever she can.

Kendra’s appearance also had drastic effects on the rest of the gang; everyone was on their A-game in this episode with hilarious one-liners and priceless expressions upon learning that Buffy wasn’t the only Slayer. Giles being fascinated by Kendra and her refusal to get distracted by meaningless, petty things (social life who?) also gave Buffy the opportunity to admit she was jealous of the lack of attention she was now receiving. Excellent and hilarious.

Even the ’90s setting I’m starting to love even more now than ever before. As nostalgic as Stranger Things may have seemed to everyone else this year, Buffy feels much more authentic (of course because it actually aired in the period it’s set in). You can really buy Xander and Cordelia’s helplessness as they’re stuck in that basement for hours because this is a time where no one had cellphones within reach at all times, so there’s no need for the writers to come up with a contrived reason to lock them up alone. And the fact that this leads to some unexpected makeout sessions between these two also felt realistically nostalgic. God, I loved this episode.

Of course, the crown jewel is the epic 5-minute long fight sequence that bookends the hour. Everyone from Buffy, Kendra, Giles, Willow, Xander and Cordelia gets their true shining moment here, and Spike and Drusilla make terrific villains (unlike the disappointing Master last season). That was truly one of the finest scenes I have ever seen on television so far.

Plus, what a shocking cliffhanger with the Spike/Drusilla roles now reversed (her being the powerful one, him being weaker)! I can’t wait for the next one.

Stakes, Bits & Quotes

– How fantastic was that opening scene (quoted below)? I love that the episode starts exactly where the first part ends, with Buffy finding out that Kendra is also a vampire slayer.

– Hilarious and spot-on: Buffy calling Kendra “she-Giles”.

– Love how Kendra tried talking Buffy out of saving Angel because he’s a vampire.

– That female officer taking out her gun and shooting on school campus (on career week): jaw-dropping! She almost killed Oz too!

– On the Oz front, I’m glad we got more of him and Willow together.

– I like this Willy guy. Sure, he’s a bit comical, but how he continued to betray Buffy and Spike was entertaining. Can’t believe he got out of there alive, of all people!

– Series’ highlight visual: Kendra and Buffy agreeing to switch spots in the middle of their fight scene, followed by Kendra actually rolling on Buffy’s back in full-on assassin mode. EPIC.

– I kind of cringed a little as Kendra’s accent worsened throughout the episode. I usually swoon over female characters with exotic foreign accents, but this one got a little worse by the end. Don’t overdo it, writers!

– Loved Kendra and Buffy’s final exchange outside the cab (also quoted below). In fact, this one was jam-packed with unforgettable quotes!

– Nifty final twist with Drusilla now taking over as the strong, powerful villain and picking a weak Spike up from the ashes. This is going to be epic, people!

– Buffy: Okay, one more time. You’re the who?!
Kendra: I’m de Slayer.
Buffy: Nice cover story. But here’s a tip: you might wanna try it on someone who’s not the real Slayer.
Kendra: You can’t stop me. Even if you kill me, another Slayer will be sent to take me place.
Buffy: Could you stop with the Slayer thing? I’m the damn Slayer!

– Kendra (hostile, to Willow): Identify yourself!
Buffy: Back off, pink ranger! This is my friend.

– Buffy (to Kendra): Look, no offense, I really don’t mean this personally, but I’m not dead, and frankly having you around creeps me out just a little bit.

– Kendra: We can return to your Watcher for our orders.
Buffy: I don’t take orders. I do things my way.
Kendra: No wonder you died.

– Buffy: Wait, handbook? What handbook? How come I don’t have a handbook?
Willow: Is there a t-shirt too?

– Cordelia: You should be thinking up a plan.
Xander: I have a plan: we wait, Buffy saves us.

– Willow: Hey! Your hair…is brown.
Oz: Oh, yeah. Sometimes.

– Buffy: I’ve had it. Spike is going down. You can attack me, you can send assassins after me, that’s fine. But nobody messes with my boyfriend.

– Giles: There are 43 churches in Sunnydale? That seems excessive.
Willow: It’s the extra evil vibe from the Hellmouth. Makes people pray harder.

– Kendra: Did anyone explain to you what ‘secret identity’ means?
Buffy: Nope. Must be in the handbook. Right after the chapter on personality removal.

– Buffy: When this is over, I’m thinking pineapple pizza and teen video movie fest.

– Kendra: You always do that.
Buffy: Do what?
Kendra: You talk about slaying like it’s a job. It’s not. It’s who you are.
Buffy: Did you get that from your handbook?
Kendra: From you.
Buffy: I guess it’s something I really can’t fight. (smiles) I’m a freak.
Kendra: Not de only freak.
Buffy: Not anymore.
(Awkward silence)
Kendra: I don’t hug.
Buffy: Right, no! Good. Hate hugs.

Grade: A+

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 2×09 – What’s My Line? (Part 1)

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Since I’d never seen a single episode prior to this viewing, there will be no spoilers (or possible foreshadowing) discussed. Click here for the rest of the Buffy reviews.

A slow and uninteresting episode, salvaged by that great Kendra twist at the end.

I have mixed feelings about this one. While it certainly had its moments, it was awfully slow-paced and can be seen as a set-up for Part 2.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about What’s My Line’s first hour is the introduction of Kendra, another vampire slayer. Kendra is instantly introduced as a strong, badass, foreign fighter, and I’m very excited at the prospects of Buffy crossing paths with her more in the future. Judging by her reaction at the end of the episode, it definitely looks like Buffy isn’t thrilled by this revelation.

Angel and Buffy’s relationship continues to develop nicely in this episode after Buffy kisses him in his vampire-state for the first time. It’s a tender moment and it feels very earned after he saves her from that human-looking creature.

Finally, Willow and Oz meet when they’re both recruited by a major software company. I’m not exactly sure where this storyline is going next, but I sure hope it leads to some intriguing development for our poor old Willow because she’s become largely dull as of late.

Stakes, Bits & Quotes

– Everyone gets a career test and is appropriately matched as follows: Cordelia as a personal shopper and motivational speaker, Xander as a prison guard and Buffy as a cop.

– Xander refers to the group as the Scooby Gang! Awesomeness.

– Xander: Cordelia Chase, always ready to give a helping hand to the rich and the pretty.
Cordelia: Which, lucky me, excludes you. Twice.

– Buffy: Note to self. Religion: freaky.

– Buffy: They had tools, flashlights, whole nine yards. What does that mean anyway? “Whole nine yards”? Nine yards of what? Ugh, now it’s gonna bug me all day.

– Buffy: Excommunicated and sent to Sunnydale. There’s a guy big with the sinning.

– Buffy: Come on, don’t make me do the chick fight thing.
Kendra: Chick fight?
Buffy: You know… (digs her nails into Kendra’s hand)

Grade: C+

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 2×08 – The Dark Age

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Since I’d never seen a single episode prior to this viewing, there will be no spoilers (or possible foreshadowing) discussed. Click here for the rest of the Buffy reviews.

We finally find out what’s up with Giles – and it’s strangely uninteresting.

After two awesome episodes, I’m sad to report The Dark Age was a step back.

Apart from the absence of amusing one-liners (as apparent by the very few quotes I jotted down below), this was just a very strange and poorly executed hour. I sure hoped that the show would delve deeper into Giles’ mysterious background, but I was surprised the writers revealed everything about the “Ripper” Rupert so soon after the Halloween episode. Honestly, it wasn’t as compelling as the show was making it out to be.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like the whole demons/possessed thing. These kind of storylines always require a certain amount of fantasy that I find very hard to connect to. I did enjoy the twist that Jenny became possessed and the multiple ways the show had me believe she was really going to die, but the resolution to this ordeal was predictably easy. I simply rolled my eyes at whatever was happening to Angel after he attacked the demon, and the writers offered very little explanation to how this thing is defeated or what the Eyghon really is. In other words, this entire episode was forgettable.

It was interesting, however, to see Giles in another light: drinking, sleeves rolled up and in full-on attack mode. Plus, his final conversation with Buffy was extremely relatable. It’s always nice to see this show explore a character in an unusual way, and Giles has been the Watcher for way too long; it was nice to meet Giles the human for once.

Demonic Bits & Quotes

– Oh look, the opening voiceover is back! Man I really should not have jinxed it last time.

– Another strange thing about this episode is just how eerily calm and quiet it is. The pace is abnormally slow and Cordelia doesn’t seem like herself here, offering to help and staying with Willow and Xander in the library on a Saturday night. Was the Bronze closed that day?

– Buffy: So, what’s on tap tonight that’s so important? Uprising? Prophesied ritual? Preordained deathfest?
Xander: Ah, the old standards.

– Giles: Is everyone alright?
Cordelia: Super! I kicked a guy.

– Cordelia: Do you know what you need, Xander, besides a year’s supply of acne cream? A brain.

– Buffy: It was scary. I’m so used to you being a grownup, and then I find out that you’re a person.
Giles: Most grownups are.
Buffy: Who would’ve thought?
Giles: Some are even, uh, shortsighted, foolish people.
Buffy: So after all this time, we finally find out that we do have something in common. Which, apart from being a little weird, is kind of okay.

Grade: C

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 2×07 – Lie to Me

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Since I’d never seen a single episode prior to this viewing, there will be no spoilers (or possible foreshadowing) discussed. Click here for the rest of the Buffy reviews.

Dark, complex and terrifying, Lie To Me just might be my favorite episode of Buffy so far.

Well, that was brilliant.

As much as I have been enjoying Buffy’s sarcastic and fun side, it can’t become excellent in my opinion until it truly embraces its dark and gritty elements. Luckily, Lie to Me is the show’s first dark hour, and it’s absolutely captivating.

Having recently finished binging The Good Wife, undeniably one of my all-time favorite shows on television, I’ve become obsessed with rich, layered storytelling. Therefore, I found myself absorbed in the introduction of Buffy’s old friend Ford who is hell-bent on turning into a vampire in order to become immortal. The writers don’t stop there, but instead offer us a really deep character with the reveal that Ford is dying in 6 months. His conversation with a disapproving Buffy is gripping because the script expertly provides both sides with enough weight and complex reasoning that really makes you think about your own reactions if you had an expiration date and there was a way to prevent it.

I also find that Xander and Willow can bring an episode down a little and I’d much rather appreciate them as supporting characters. They have very minimal roles in Lie to Me with Angel consuming a bigger portion of the episode, and everything we learn about Angel’s past with Drusilla is shocking and expectedly terrifying. The more we know about Angel, the less we want to, and that makes him an even more fascinating love interest to our protagonist.

This show still suffers from anticlimactic resolutions. This episode skillfully built up to a possible epic Buffy/Spike fight, but that ends up being second-rate to everything that preceded it. Much of that is due to lack of creative direction in fight sequences and the often TOO obvious stunt doubles, but at least it looks like the show has become more serialized than ever before and I, for one, cannot wait for the next episode.

Lies, Bits & Quotes

– That was one of the creepiest, most terrifying opening scenes I have ever seen with Drusilla approaching a young boy who lost his mother. Thank God Angel was there to rescue him at the last minute.

– Looks like the show has removed the repetitive opening voiceover. Good riddance.

– Buffy spotting Angel and Drusilla talking and immediately rushing to conclusions was a bit soapy for my taste.

– When Buffy realizes she is trapped in the basement with all those people who want to turn into vampires, the scene turns so claustrophobic I had to sit up straight. So intense!

– The heartbreaking conversation between Buffy and Ford about right and wrong is the first time I truly loved SMG. Her performance was stellar in this entire episode.

– I love that Buffy had the upper hand in the basement, threatening to kill Drusilla in exchange for Spike to release the rest. Her escaping and locking them all down there was brilliant even though it didn’t last very long.

– Buffy and Giles’ scene over Ford’s grave was heartbreaking and very beautifully written (read the entire exchange below).

– Ford returning as a vampire for one last second: scary.

– Giles: How will I know what to wear?
Jenny (looks at his suit): Do you own anything else?

– Xander (about Buffy): Jeez, doesn’t she know any fat guys?

– Giles: A book! [The vampire] took one of my books!
Jenny: Well, at least someone in this school is reading.

– Ford: I wanna be like you. A vampire.
Spike: I’ve known you for two minutes, and I can’t stand you. I don’t really feature you livin’ forever. (to Drusilla) Can I eat him now, love?

– Ford: I’ve got maybe six months left, and by then what they bury won’t even look like me. It’ll be bald and shriveled and it’ll smell bad. No, I’m not going out that way. (Buffy turns away) I’m sorry, Summers, did I screw up your righteous anger riff? Does the nest of tumors liquefying my brain kinda spoil the fun?

– Ford: I don’t have a choice.
Buffy: You have a choice. You don’t have a good choice, but you have a choice! You’re opting for mass murder here, and nothing you say is gonna make that okay!
Ford: You think I need to justify myself to you?
Buffy: I think this is all part of your little fantasy drama. Isn’t this exactly how you imagined it? You tell me how you’ve suffered and I feel sorry for you. Well, I do feel sorry for you, and if those vampires come in here and start feeding, I’ll kill you myself.

– Buffy: It’d be simpler if I could just hate him. I think he wanted me to. I think it made it easier for him to be the villain of the piece. Really he was just scared.

– Buffy: The more I know, the more confused I get.
Giles: I believe that’s called growing up.
Buffy: I’d like to stop then, okay?

– Buffy: Does it get easy?
Giles: What do you want me to say?
Buffy: Lie to me.
Giles: Yes. It’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.
Buffy: Liar.

Grade: A-