“Angel” 3×05 – Fredless

I wasn’t sure how much I liked Fred until this episode. While her jittery persona still needs a little getting used to, Amy Acker is absolutely incredible in bringing this character to life.

In Fredless, in particular, her reunion with her extremely normal, nice parents is one of the most heartwarming moments I’ve seen on this show. The writers are also respectful enough to give us an ending that feels tremendously earned: instead of having her Texan parents go back to their hometown all of a sudden, they decide to stay for a couple more days and get reacquainted with their daughter. And how lovely was that final scene of the entire gang (plus Fred’s parents) painting over her bedroom walls?

Thank God the writing on this show is good because I can say pretty much the opposite about its weekly villains. Not only is the giant cockroach ridiculously laughable and nasty to look at it, but its presence in this episode provides the show with the absolute worst action sequences I’ve literally ever seen. They were too embarrassing to watch, I honestly had to skip a few scenes. Atrocious!


Favorite Scene

Fred reuniting with her parents was so well-done and performed. Kudos, Amy Acker. I’m starting to like ya.

Bits

– Cordelia and Wesley imitating Buffy and Angel in the opening teaser has to be one of my favorite scenes of all time.

– On that note, I’m so disappointed we don’t get to see Buffy and Angel reuniting. Perhaps it happens on Buffy?

– Loved the Alien: Resurrection reference, which was written by Joss Whedon.

– Fred explaining her own version of the fairy tale she lived on Pylea: kinda breaks your heart, doesn’t it? But please let’s not have an office romance between her and Angel.

– Another good moment: the gang mentioning how lovely Fred’s parents are after they take her away.

– Can we stop with the disgusting, gross demons? That severed head with cockroaches crawling after it was too much.

Quotes

(imitating Buffy and Angel)
Wesley: Oh, I love you so much I almost forgot to brood!
Cordelia: And just because I sent you to hell that one time doesn’t mean that we can’t just be friends.
Wesley: Or possibly more.
Cordelia: Gasp! No! We mustn’t.
Wesley: Kiss me!
Cordelia: Bite me!
Angel: (walking in) You can both bite me.

Fred: I got lost. I got lost, and they did terrible things to me, but-but it was just a storybook. It was just a story with monsters, not real. (keeps shaking her head) Not in the world but – but if you’re here and you see me then – then it’s real! And it did happen.

Cordelia: Voila! That’s French for “I think we stopped the bleeding”.
Fred: Thanks, Cordelia.
Cordelia: Next up.
Angel: (excited) Oh, it’s my turn! Oh yay!
Cordelia: Dork.

Rating
B-

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 3×21/3×22 – Graduation Day

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 literally explosive, near-perfect finale brings a tightly plotted and perfectly executed season to an end.

I’m still impressed by how Buffy’s season finales are always so definitive, making each year feel like one big story told across several episodes. While Graduation Day might not have been as epic as last year’s finale, it was still one of the most meticulously executed hours of television I’ve ever seen.

First, there’s the Buffy/Faith fight sequence that I had been waiting for ever since Faith was introduced this year. Eliza Dushku has been nothing short of brilliant in this role, and I’m already devastated she won’t be back, but I can gladly report that she had a fascinating storyline on this show. The two slayers’ final faceoff was an incredibly executed, pulse-pounding sequence that’s undeniably the highlight of this two-parter finale. The fact that it culminates in Buffy stabbing Faith with her own knife is icing on the cake. Amazing.

The other big moment in Graduation Day is the final, 10 minute-long fight between the Scooby gang, the entire senior class, the mayor and the vampires. It’s a thrilling, relentless scene unlike anything this show has ever produced as every single character pitches in (Cordy even kills a vamp!), and the result is absolutely glorious. My only complaint is that the mayor’s ascension ends up relying solely on the special effects department, which ends up being the show’s most horrendous attempt at CGI yet, depriving this finale of a perfect grade. How sad.

Finally, there’s no other way I would have wanted this season to end than with the Scooby gang saying one last goodbye to this now-burnt place they’ve called home for the past four years. The final shot as everyone gets up to move on to their next big adventure is bittersweet as the camera pans around to a remaining yearbook lying half-burnt on the ground with the words “Sunnydale ’99, The future is ours!” inscribed on it. What a poignant and powerful ending to an incredible season of television.

Ascensions & Quotes

– The mayor has been an incredible Big Bad this year. I still think I prefer Spike because he got a lot more to do last year, but there’s no denying that the mayor’s visit to the library in the first hour was one of the most chilling and terrifying scenes ever made.

– Hilarious detail: “rat Amy” is still alive and Willow has her in her bedroom!

– In other news, Oz and Willow have sex! Woohoo, I’m still rooting for these too.

– Seriously, the Buffy/Faith fight was just riveting, I did not want it to end. From the two of them smashing into the glass and jumping onto the balcony to Buffy cleverly chaining her opponent to her, it was all nothing short of brilliant and reminded me of the Sydney/Francie fight in Alias‘s epic season two finale.

– Angel biting Buffy in the opening scene of the second hour was harrowing. I can’t believe how long that scene lasted; my jaw dropped for TOO long!

– Loved the camera moving outside Buffy’s hospital room and revealing Faith and the mayor in the adjacent room. Chilling.

– Goosebumps-worthy moment: the reveal that every single graduate is also in on the plan to take down the mayor. Let’s just say I fist-pumped the air pretty hard.

– So long, Principal Snyder! I never liked you, even in your final moments alive.

– There really was a dramatic irony behind Sunnydale High burning to the ground just as our gang is graduating.

– Heartwarming moment: Giles handing Buffy her diploma outside the school, telling her this was worth saving. God, I love these two.

– Angel leaves Sunnydale in the final moments of the hour. I’m so glad he gets a goodbye (sort of) as opposed to him wanting to leave abruptly after the ascension. His and Buffy’s silent exchange was more poignant than anything words could have added.

– If this is also the last time we see Cordy on Buffy, then I’m very disappointed. She deserved some sort of sendoff as well!

– I’ll be watching/reviewing Angel next season as well, so make sure you don’t miss my thoughts on that! Let’s hope I love it as much as I have grown to enjoy Buffy this season.

– Anya: You’ve never seen a demon.
Buffy: Excuse me, killing them professionally for four years running.

– Buffy: Mom, I know sometimes you wish I was different.
Joyce: Buffy, no…
Buffy: And I wish I could be a lot of things for you. A great student, a big athlete, remotely normal… I’m not. But there’s something I do that I do better than anybody else in the world. I’m gonna fight this thing. But I can’t do that and worry about you.

– (after Faith hits Angel with an arrow from afar)
Vampire: Missed the heart.
Faith: Meant to.

– Buffy: Okay, you ready? On three. One…
(She immediately tears the arrow out)
Angel (screams in pain): I knew you were gonna do that.

– Wesley: You can’t turn your back on the Council.
Buffy: They’re in England. I don’t think they can tell which way my back is facing.

– Buffy: That’s the basic plan. So, am I crazy?
Willow: Well, crazy’s a strong word.
Giles: Let’s not rule it out, though.

– Buffy: My god, he’s gonna do the whole speech.
Willow: Oh, man. Just ascend already!

– Mayor: It has begun. My destiny. Little sooner than I expected… (looks through his speech notes) I had a whole section about civic pride, but…

– Buffy: My brain hasn’t processed anything yet. It’s not really functioning at the higher levels; it’s pretty much “fire bad, tree pretty”. Anything more complex…

– Giles: There’s a certain dramatic irony in the way things turned out. A synchronicity that almost borders on predestination, one might say.
Buffy (confused): Fire bad. Tree pretty.

– Oz: Guys, take a moment to deal with this. We survived.
Buffy: It was a hell of a battle.
Oz: Not that battle. High school.

Grade: A

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 3×13 – The Zeppo

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 horrendous Xander-centric hour outlines everything that’s wrong with this show so far.

Boy, that was dreadful.

As much as I have been enjoying this season of Buffy with all its forward momentum and lack of silly, wacky villains, there’s still something keeping it from becoming must-see television for me. I enjoy watching several episodes a day, I love the Scooby gang and the fight sequences have grown on me (a lot), but once an episode is over nothing really sticks with me. Unlike Dark Angel, I don’t sit around pondering what I just watched; it might be the drawback of binging this show instead of taking a week break between episodes, but I also find that the writers haven’t done a great job building its world properly. Vampires exist in this universe, but they’re mostly hit-and-miss and are only seen at the graveyard where Buffy patrols. There are witches and werewolves, but I don’t feel the importance of their presence either because they’re only there to conveniently help the slayer when she needs it.

That’s what made The Zeppo a lot less riveting than it could have been. Granted, I don’t think I would have enjoyed a Xander-heavy episode regardless of the flaws I mentioned earlier, but had the show’s world been constructed better I certainly could have found all the car shenanigans more amusing. Plus, the fact that Xander’s storyline was given more importance than Buffy trying to save the Hellmouth from reopening is just ludicrous, especially with the very little amount of screentime our protagonist gets here.

Joyrides & Quotes

– I liked the teaser with Buffy, Faith, Willow and Giles all working together to slay some vampires.

– So I guess we won’t meet Buffy’s new watcher anytime soon? Talk about missed opportunity.

– Faith and Xander have sex. It was the most sudden and random thing I’ve seen all year, and I have zero interest in this subplot.

– Buffy: Uh, what do we do with the trio here? Should we burn them?
Willow (smiling): I brought marshmallows. (Everyone looks at her) Occasionally, I’m callous and strange.

– Cordelia (to Xander): Boy, of all the humiliations you’ve had that I’ve witnessed…that was the latest.

– Xander (pointing to the car): It’s my thing!
Willow: Your thing?
Buffy: Is this a penis metaphor?

– Xander: Where’s a slayer when you need one?

Grade: C

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 3×10 – Amends

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 perfect final scene finally has me rooting for Buffy and Angel.

What an ending.

For the past two and a half seasons, there have been many reasons for me to tune back into this show, whether it’s for the witty dialogue, the always amusing Scooby gang or occasionally for some vampire-slaying action. Never has Angel and Buffy’s complex relationship been of great interest to me. Until Amends.

The last ten minutes of this episode alone are simply glorious, and one of the many reasons I’m in love with television. Buffy’s depiction of this always-complicated, never-ending bond between the vampire slayer and the vampire is absolutely riveting here, making this a truly epic love story in my books. The crown jewel of this moment is indeed Sarah Michelle Gellar who gives what is undoubtedly the best performance in her career. The way she cries, begging Angel to come back inside before sunrise and telling him that he deserves better than to treat himself as a monster, is gut-wrenching and beautifully written and performed. It all culminates in a perfect moment once the two stop fighting and realize that it’s snowing in Sunnydale on Christmas Eve, something that almost never happens, and it’s the most impeccable way to bookend this hour.

The writers masterfully lead up to that moment with several brilliant hints scattered throughout the hour, from Xander randomly mentioning that it is increasingly hot to Cordelia making jokes about Sweatydale, and it subconsciously makes us live the unexpected snowy moment along with the characters and residents of Sunnydale. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Buffy is one of the smartest shows I’ve ever come across on television. Boy, I’m impressed.

It also helps seeing Jenny in an evil form here as her presence inevitably adds tension. Angel’s flashback dreams are also predictably harrowing, where each one gruesomely reveals the different matters in which he killed humans. It’s quite incredible how little emotional attachment we have to newcomers Daniel and Margaret, whom Angelus kills in both of his dreams, and yet it’s absolutely gripping and devastating to watch him get away with his ploys.

Even Willow and Oz manage to squeeze in some screentime. While Will attempts to seek forgiveness in the form of having sex, I like that Oz shoots her down because he doesn’t want it to happen that way. Telling her that she’s done trying to prove herself in the end was also heartwarming and very in-character; I’m glad these kids worked it out.

Snowy Bits & Quotes

– It finally happened: I’m extremely sick of Xander’s passive aggressiveness towards Angel. The writers seem to agree because, for once, they have him reluctantly help Buffy fix whatever demon is trying to kill Angel.

– It was quite the intriguing twist to have Buffy’s dreams collide with Angel’s. Talk about freaky.

– I love Faith in much bigger storylines, but I can’t say I didn’t smile when she arrived at Buffy’s home for Christmas. What a cute little family, right?

– Buffy and Angel’s sex dream was quite gratuitous, wasn’t it? Can’t say it wasn’t amusing.

– Best pun this show has ever produced so far: Joyce holding an angel and a star while decorating the Christmas tree, and asking Buffy (who had recently come out of her sex dream) “So, angel’s on top again?”. Buffy’s startled facial expression: priceless.

– That ending might be a little cheesy in a Christmas movie kind-of way, but I still grinned.

– Angel: What do you want?
Evil Jenny: I wanna die in bed surrounded by fat grandchildren, but guess that’s off the menu.

– Buffy: I’m not seeing him anymore. I’m trying to put all this behind me, and I’m not gonna be able to as long as we’re both doing guest spots in each other’s dreams.

– Buffy (reading): ‘A child shall be born of man and goat and have two heads, and The First shall speak only in riddles…’ (turns to Giles) No wonder you like this stuff. It’s like reading The Sun.

– Evil Jenny: You think you can fight me? I’m not a demon, little girl. I am something that you can’t even conceive. The First Evil. Beyond sin, beyond death. I am the thing the darkness fears. You’ll never see me, but I am everywhere. Every being, every thought, every drop of hate.
Buffy: Alright, I get it. You’re evil. Do we have to chat about it all day?

– Angel: It told me to kill you. You were in the dream; you know. It told me to lose my soul in you and become a monster again.
Buffy: I know what it told you. What does it matter?
Angel: Because I wanted to! Because I want you so badly! I want to take comfort in you, and I know it’ll cost me my soul, and a part of me doesn’t care.

– Angel: I’m weak. I’ve never been anything else. It’s not the demon in me that needs killing, Buffy. It’s the man.

– Angel: Am I a thing worth saving, huh? Am I a righteous man? The world wants me gone!
Buffy (tearing up): What about me? I love you so much, and I tried to make you go away. I killed you and it didn’t help. And I hate it! I hate that it’s so hard, and that you can hurt me so much. I know everything you did…because you did to me. Oh, God. I wish that I wished you dead. I don’t. (whispers) I can’t.
Angel: Buffy, please. Just this once…let me be strong.
Buffy: Strong is fighting! It’s hard, and it’s painful, and it’s every day. It’s what we have to do. And we can do it together.

– Buffy: If I can’t convince you that you belong in this world, then I don’t know what can.

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” 2×08 – 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” 2×02 – Some Assembly Required

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Seeing as how I had 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 meets Frankenstein in a dull, standalone episode.

I really wanted to like this one. While there are some minor improvements over last season, Buffy still suffers from developing any story arcs that could sustain several episodes. Instead, we’re treated to another standalone-ish hour of forgettable villains that move the story absolutely nowhere.

It’s funny how much Daryl, the weekly villain, resembles Frankenstein, the fictional monster everyone knows about, but at least the show doesn’t try to hide the resemblance. Sadly, though, at the end of the hour he’s nothing other than another weak obstacle in Buffy’s face. It’s all so dull and uninspiring that I don’t even have the energy to write about this subplot. How disappointing.

In other news, there were love sparks flying all over this episode from Giles and Jenny to Angel and Buffy (and Angel and Cordelia) to Willow and Xander (for a brief moment). The surprising thing is, I didn’t mind any of it at all. I usually can’t stand teenage romances being depicted on screen (I tried 90210 for a total of 10 minutes), but Some Assembly Required luckily never becomes too contrived. Even more shocking is the fact that I kind of enjoyed the hints at a possible Buffy/Angel/Cordelia love triangle, if only becomes it would mean more screentime for Cordelia.

Speaking of everyone’s favorite cheerleader, I’m extremely disappointed how Cordelia is constantly the one kidnapped and awaiting Buffy to come to her rescue. I know this is Buffy’s show, but in the span of 14 episodes Cordelia has been held captive at least three times, and that’s just darn unacceptable. I need the writers to give her something more original; maybe become Buffy’s badass sidekick? Unlikely, I presume.

Monsters, Bits & Quotes

– The scene where Cordelia is trying to escape from “someone” in the parking lot felt like straight out of a horror movie! What an intense sequence; sadly, it ends up falling flat with the reveal that it’s Angel and not some creepy vampire out to kill her. Can this guy get any more stalkerish?

– Speaking of Angel, his new outfit is very weird. What’s with the jacket?

– It was strange how much time the writers spent on the villains this week. In fact, I found that the more we saw those guys, the less terrifying they became. Horror movies, after all, spend so much time building up to a “monster” because once they’re revealed there’s nothing scary about them anymore, is there?

– Why is Willow turning into a robot? I couldn’t stand any of her scenes tonight.

– The way the fire started at the abandoned building was way too contrived.

– Xander blowing off Cordelia who was thanking him for saving his life: NOT cool, dude.

– Is this one of the very few episodes that ends without any cliffhanger?

– Cordelia: Boy, I wish I knew we were gonna be digging up dead people sooner. I would’ve canceled.

– Buffy: I was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and the women have the babies.

– Buffy: Sorry to interrupt, Willow, but it’s the bat signal.

– Buffy: She’s a techno-pagan, right? Ask her to bless your laptop.

Grade: C-

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 1×06 – The Pack

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Seeing as how I had 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.

Pig-eating, hyena-possessed bullies? What am I watching?

Oh dear lord, this was atrocious.

Once again, the show introduces a new type of creature (this time hyenas) and decides it’s a good idea to make them the center of the episode. Xander and four other students become possessed, gradually showing behavior that resembles hyenas, and start preying on the rest of the school. The fact that they actually end up eating a pig (which is the school’s new mascot) is both shocking and utterly disgusting. However, them eating the principal as well in a horribly edited, cringe-inducing scene becomes the tipping point. If this was a show I was watching back when it aired, I know for a fact I wouldn’t want to watch any other minute of it.

It’s a terribly written storyline, and that’s a little surprising seeing as how the writing was probably the best part of this show in the past couple of episodes, but killing the principal like that with absolutely no consequences is just ridiculous. Plus, let’s not forget that the zookeeper (who turns out to be the mastermind behind this entire possession) screams out one sentence in Masai, and voila: conflict is over. Plain laughable.

If there’s one tiny thing I did enjoy about The Pack, it’s Buffy. She hasn’t been my favorite character so far, but she gets a ton of masterfully performed scenes here from scaring off Xander after he mercilessly breaks Willow’s heart to her badass fight sequence on the roof of the car. In fact, she reminded me so much of Max Guevara here (from Dark Angel, one of my all-time favorite shows) with her witty attitude and sarcastic responses. I just need Sarah Michelle Gellar to become much more convincing in the role or else I think I’ll find myself being one of the few people in this world who doesn’t truly love Buffy.

Hyenas, Bits & Quotes

– The teaser is kind of chilling. I think. But sadly it’s preceded by the zookeeper telling Buffy and Willow, in a very ham-fisted scene, about the hyenas which makes it less chilling.

– Highlight of the hour: Giles training Buffy in the library. Seeing him sweat while she hardly even cares was a nice touch.

– A pig mascot, though? Really?

– The dodgeball game scene was nicely shot, especially as it ends with Xander and the bullies suddenly turning on their teammate instead of trying to take out Buffy. Seeing the gang from the poor kid’s point of view from below made it much more chilling.

– I found the hyena-possessed humans spitting the hot dogs because they were “well-done” a hilarious little detail. Who likes their meat well done anyway!?

– The slow-mo montage, on the other hand, was horrendous. What was the point of that exactly?

– When Alyson Hannigan cries, we all cry.

– Tor: Do you ever wonder why nobody cool wants to hang out with you?
Buffy: Just thankful.

– Xander: We just saw the zebras mating.
Willow: It was like the Heimlich. With Stripes.

– Buffy (to Giles): I cannot believe that you, of all people, are trying to Scully me.

– Willow: Why couldn’t Xander be possessed by a puppy or some ducks?

Grade: D+

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” 1×05 – Never Kill a Boy on the First Date

I recently decided to bingewatch Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Seeing as how I had 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.

The Vampire Slayer tries too hard to create drama but fails repeatedly in the fifth episode.

Oh boy, this was a tough one. I was ready to really like this episode almost halfway through, especially as it became clear the show wasn’t introducing a real “freak of the week” this time and relying on actual, dangerous vampires instead of monsters and creatures that paraded the past couple of outings.

Sadly, though, Buffy had a much more serious problem in Never Kill a Boy on the First Date. Because the show focused on useless villains in the previous episodes, none of the characters feel quite developed anymore (as opposed to what I previously thought of the characters in the pilot), so it was hard to stomach Buffy’s overly dramatic reaction over choosing between her boy or her “slayer” work. This is obviously something the show is going to tackle again in the future and there’s possibility for it to be heart-wrenching, but not this soon into the first season and certainly not when the characters are so poorly developed still. Plus, the status quo still has not been established very well, so when Buffy claims that Xander, Willow and Giles “know what it’s like” and “are careful” around Buffy every time she’s out doing vampire-related stuff, it comes off as forced and unrealistic. These are people you just met, Buffy, and so did we. The writers should have given this a lot more time and space.

Even the Master, clearly the season’s Big Bad, gets ridiculously poor material this time around. All of his scenes are exposition-heavy and lame, and I still don’t know what The Appointed is (nor do I want to). The ending does intrigue me, however, as the Master seems to have found a young little boy and will probably use him to take down Buffy.

At least the wittiness was still present here, to varying degrees of success. I’ve never watched a show with so many one-liners before, but the overabundance of these jokes can easily become tiresome, especially when timed incorrectly. Luckily, Xander and Willow practically salvaged this entire episode from completely flunking; their scene at the party where they pretended to double-date with Buffy and Owen, as short as it might have been, was still a series highlight so far. These two have so much chemistry, and it would be a shame for the writers not to pursue it (or to pair Xander with Buffy instead). Everything I said about Willow last time seems to be completely unfair here as she enticed the hour with a lot more energy than Buffy, who for once relied more on soapiness and contrived drama. Maybe it’s the performance (I’m still not loving Sarah Michelle Gellar, sorry) or simply another case of adding drama at the expense of character development.

Bits & Quotes from the Funeral Home

-Hilarious little bit: Owen handing Buffy an expensive-looking gold watch, followed by Xander’s disappointment after he looks at his own kiddy watch.

-I’m getting a little tired of Giles finding everything he needs to know about vampires from books.

-At one point, I do wish the show stops putting one of its main characters in danger every single episode while waiting for Buffy to come to the rescue. It’s happened with Willow, Cordelia, Xander and this time Giles – and we’re only five episodes in!

-Giles: Alright, I’ll just jump in my time machine, go back to the twelfth century and ask the vampires to postpone their ancient prophecy for a few days while you take in dinner and a show.
Buffy: Okay, at this point you’re abusing sarcasm.

-Giles: You know what they say. 90% of the vampire slaying game is waiting.
Buffy: You couldn’t have told me that 90% ago?

-Giles: Oh, very well then. Follow your hormones if you want. But I assume I don’t have to warn you about the hazards of becoming personally involved with someone who’s unaware of your unique condition.
Buffy: Yeah, yeah, I read the back of the box.

-Buffy: A cranky slayer is a careless slayer!

Grade: C-