PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE. If your diet requires you to dine on Buffy Spoiler-free ... good luck with that.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

You Think You Know What's to Come, What You Are. You Haven't Even Begun.

Series Stats:

Dead Humans - 101
Dead Undeads - 179
Dead Flashbacks - 7
Giles Unconscious - 12
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 13
Buffy Breaks a Door - 19
Evil Reveal - 41
Unevil Reveal - 14
Shenanigans Called - 94
Apocalypse Called - 6

Season Four Stats (including comparison to previous season):

Dead Humans - 23 (-6)
Dead Undeads - 43 (-27)
Dead Flashbacks - 0 (-2)
Giles Unconscious - 0 (-4)
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 2 (-3)
Buffy Breaks a Door - 4 (=)
Evil Reveal - 5 (-5)
Unevil Reveal - 1 (-4)
Shenanigans Called - 20 (-3)
Apocalypse Called - 1 (=)

Overall a marked decrease on all fronts from the previous season. We've still got more Dead Undeads than Dead Humans, so go Team Scoobies, and Buffy continues to break doors at a regular rate, but Giles managed to stay unconcussed for the entire season, and you must admit, that's a little strange. In fact, none of our stats this season were an increase on Season Three's stats - the best they could manage was to break even, with apocali and door breakage, but even our shenanigan count was a bit down. Season Five, we're counting on you to raise our numbers! And if not, well ... Giles has more Scotch.

Zelda's Thoughts:
Okay, so part of the reason we took so long to getting around to writing up our Season Four roundup is how damn long it took us to even get through it. This isn't a reflection on the season, but more on the behind the scenes drama we've both been dealing with. In any event, it's a bit hard for me to sit here and look back on the season with the same kind of coherent unity I've had for the last three seasons, because we had so many breaks. But, you know, I'll try.

I think Daniel and I both said at the beginning that we like this season more than the general consensus seems to, and I'm sticking to that. It boasts some truly strong episodes in the canon, including the Emmy-nominated Hush. And I think the finale (I'm counting both Primeval and Restless here) stands firmly with the series's tradition of strong season endings.

I think the arcs of our principal characters are, for the most part, organically crafted, and honest about how friendships and roles change after high school. Daniel has said, and he's right, that it sucks watching our Scoobies grow apart and not communicate, but they're all feeling massively insecure about these various changes, and worried that if they acknowledge them, their friendships might change or even disappear. So while it sucks to see Xander as listless as he is, or Giles at rather loose (if amusing and musical) ends, it makes sense - they've both lost the grounding daily presence of both the school structure and of having Buffy rely on them, to varying degrees. And as Willow finds herself more in magic - and in her relationship with Tara - she worries if this will pull her further away from Buffy, and so barely mentions either. Buffy, meanwhile, flirts with the idea of a whole new group of friends whose interests are specifically hers - slaying demons - even if their methods differ dramatically. This goes hand in hand with her new boyfriend, who is pulling her, deliberately or not, away from her old high school crowd.

So this is all fun to explore, but it would be ultimately very depressing if they were to end the season as isolated as their arcs seem to be directing them - and as Adam and Spike maneuver them - so it's of course satisfying and heartwarming to have them reaffirm their bond both emotionally and metaphorically as ScooberBuffy (patent pending). But I also like that this conclusion and kickass battle is chased by Restless, where they dream - still in isolation, even with their reaffirmed connection - and we check in with each character, to see how they've grown over the past four years (and especially this year), and where they stand now - their fears for their futures. Willow still worries that she's the same pushover geek she was before she came into her power. Giles has concerns that he's given up the possibility of a real life and family, in taking Buffy on as his surrogate daughter - a daughter, moreover, who doesn't even seem to need him anymore. Xander, still listless in his vocation and scared of climbing out of the basement to become his parents, sees himself as a brother to Buffy, a sexual object to basically every other female in his life, and someone who will never be a son to Buffy's surrogate father (that place being held, evidently, by Spike - har har har). And Buffy - dear, brilliant, strong Buffy - Buffy's dream is more fraught with premonitions, because that's what Slayers do, but she's clearly concerned with the source of her power, the question of what makes her who she is - something that gets explored in a variety of ways (Dracula, Dawn as an extension of Buffy's innocence, even the question of Toth splitting Buffy into Slayer and Civilian).

Okay so um that last paragraph is stuff I guess I didn't say enough of in our Restless post. Sorry about that.

Lest you think I love this season unequivocally, arc-wise in terms of overall story, Season Four is kind of a hot mess. And it's too bad. I think I already discussed this, but I remember being SO EXCITED the first time I watched this season, realizing the dichotomy that was being set up.between Buffy the plucky individual, destroying evil with fairly simple tools and her wits, and the Initiative, this large government-run lummox of an organization, trumping Buffy in both manpower and technology, but lacking in subtlety and any understanding of how to outsmart a demon. And that was going to be so cool. It was going to be really exciting and a celebration of the individual and then, well. And then Adam happened. And instead it was about him. And just. Yuck. So even if they managed to shuffle everything along into that satisfying finale, they missed so much potential, and I shake my head in disappointment.

But then I console myself with remembering Who Are You and Superstar and even New Moon Rising and try desperately to forget that Where the Wild Things Are was a thing

I try, anyway.

Daniel's Thoughts:
Ditto.  Pretty much.

Tune in next week for Daniel's Essay: In Defense of Riley Finn, or  Why Riley Finn is the Perfect Boyfriend.

Yep.  You read that right.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quiet! You'll Miss the Humorous Conclusion!

Episode 4.22: Restless. Original Airdate 5.23.00
Men with your...SALES

"Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles experience dreams in which they are pursued by a mysterious figure."

Zelda's Thoughts:

  • Oh, no pre-credits scene. I forgot about that. Weird.
  • Awww remember VHS you guys?
  • "It's the feel-good movie of whatever year it was."
  • D'awwww they're all asleep they're so cute my babies.
  • Oh right that was the teaser, get all the credits out of the way before the dreams begin.
  • Man, this episode is so good. So many different textures.
  • Also the music. So good.
  • Awwww it's Oz. My Oz!
  • The lockers and the late bell here at the University of Contrivance are the first clues about Willow's concern that she's still who she was in high school
  • AAHHHHH I LOVE THIS SEQUENCE (apologizing now, there's so much of this ep that I love, I'm going to try to do analysis, but I may just flail a lot)
  • "Your whole family's in the front row and they look really angry!" I love how much fun the actors are clearly having in this, SMG as the flapper, MB as Cowboy Guy.

  • Giles as the director is perfect.
  • "It's about hiding ... It's all about subterfuge." Hey remember when Buffy had that dream at the top of Hush that spelled out that we would be exploring communication in that episode?
  • Props? No. Props? Yes.

  • I fucking love it. I love it so much. I forgot how much I love this sequence because most of what I remember of Willow's dream is the Tara stuff.
  • Oh look it's the Cheese Man, Joss's biggest laugh at his audience he ever achieved.
  • "The play's already started, that's not the point." I wanted to say something really thought out and interesting about this line, because it's always struck me, and I am just blanking. I have been staring at the screen for half an hour, blank blank blank. But maybe it was something about how in Willow's mind, it's not just that she's been pretending for years to not be who she used to be, but that she's convinced everyone else is pretending too, at least on some level. She still doesn't know everything about Tara, Buffy doesn't share when things get hard, Oz left and she doesn't know if she'll ever see him again, Giles is the patriarch but he's been so directionless this season, and here he is a director who can't seem to give a coherent speech. Oh look I said a thing after all. Okay, go me!
  • "I've coming lookin' for a man. A SALESman."
  • This is the best acting Riley has done all season.
  • Buffy's rant. Perfect.
  • Also who's the dead guy on the floor? Just curious.
  • "You must have done something." // "No, I rarely do anything. I'm very seldom naughty." Willow's lack of self awareness, ladies and germs! We'll see it out in full force in season six.
  • Aw little baby S1 Willow! Even the hair!
  • "It's exactly like a Greek tragedy." - shout out to the Scoobies' performance at the end of Puppet Show, the last time Willow attempted acting.
  • Oh man I love the fake Apocalypse Now script. "Men? Oh my god, what's happened to my men? Aaaaaaaaah!"
  • "I remember that it gets better." Xander about his liiiiiiiife.
  • "What's her deal?" // "Big faker." Buffy summarizes the fear inherent in Willow's dream in two words, that nothing she does is the real her.
  • "It's all about the journey, isn't it." Heyo, thesis for Xander's life (since it's certainly not about actual achievements, is it)
  • Poor Xander. All doors lead to the basement, the one place he's most desperate to escape. "That's not the way out." I quote this line a lot, for no particular reason beyond I like the cadence of it.
  • "Go on, put your back into it! A Watcher scoffs at gravity!"
  • The simple absurdity of Giles and Spike on swings is just so charming to me.

  • Also that was totally a Parking lot! Do a shot! scene.
  • I suppose it makes sense that now that Xander knows about Willow and Tara, they'd show up in his dream and make out.
  • "I've figured out how to steer by gesturing emphatically." If I could do that, I might finally get my drivers license.
  • This scoooooooooooooooooore as he climbs through the set - back to the basement. Poor Xander.
  • "I know what's up there!" Yeah, his dysfunctional family, the thing he fears to become, which will come back into play in S6. It's so upsetting.
  • "These will not protect you."
  • I love that we are still trying to explain things through the dream. "It's because of what we did, I know that." Within each subsequent dream, the other dreams are acknowledged and the Scoobies are still trying to solve it. I love it I love it and also sneaky way to give the audience a modicum of exposition in case we're completely lost because what the fuck is the cheese man.
  • I remember enough French to know that Giles just called Xander an idiot.
  • So this sequence is all Apocalypse Now-homage, yeah? Yeah
  • "Where you from, Harris?" // "Well, the basement, mostly." Poor Xander. This sequence is making me feel really bad for Xander. He so clearly feels doomed to mediocrity.
  • "Well, I'm supposed to meet Tara and Willow ... and possibly Buffy's mom."
  • I seriously I just I love Snyder so much.
  • It's the great connector-set sequence! All the sets are connected!
  • But it still leads back to the basement.
  • Oh hey apparently Xander's dad is Healy from Orange is the New Black! Also that dude from True Detective which I just watched in one day a few weeks ago. True story.
  • "This is the way women and men have behaved since the beginning." It's both birds and the bees and the history of the Watchers and Slayers and I'd rather go with the latter so we don't go Greek tragedy with the Buffy/Giles relationship, 'kay? 'Kay.
  • Buffy as the cute precocious daughter is the cutest effing thing.
  • "Buffy you have a sacred birthright to protect mankind. Don't stick out your elbow."
  • Oh oh Buffy's got the First Slayer face paint on.
  • Spike striking poses, so cute. Kind of weird and random as part of Giles's psyche, but ... I dunno. I still enjoy it.

  • "I wear the cheese, it does not wear me."
  • "Honestly, you meet the most appalling sort of people." feels like an Alice in Wonderland allusion
  • The Bronze! Haven't seen you in ages.
  • Anya's joke. Is just. Yes. "Quiet! You'll miss the humorous conclusion."
  • "I have a gig myself, you know." YES GILES WILL SING
  • "That used to be us." // "Don't get linear on me now." metaaaaaaaaa
  • YES
  • YES
  • Everyone agrees with me
  • If only he would clean those glasses he just took off
  • Giles is an actual rock star. It's a thing now.
  • Buffy's turn!
  • I wonder what the significance is of Anya being in Willow's bed. I mean, Joss may have just randomly wanted Anya to be there instead of Willow, because Willow is mostly with Tara now, but I still don't really get why she would be there? She and Buffy are never close. Whatever. This episode is inciting me to over analyze.
  • Aw Buffy's old bedroom.
  • It makes sense that most of the intentional foreshadowing is in Buffy's dream. She used to have all those prophetic dreams back in S1.
  • Poor Joyce in the wall
  • "Coffee makers that think."
  • "A lot of filing, giving things names" gonna take that as a shout  out to biblical Adam
  • "This could be trouble." / "We'd better make a fort." Reference to the boys and their toys, and to their complete lack of understanding of the scope of what they're fighting. Buffy has to be the grown up. "Wait, I have weapons!" she whispers after them.
  • This is so pretty. Buffy in her sweet floral dress and sandals, against the desert mountains, alone in the harsh sunlight
  • Tara's getting a lot of work this episode. Just ... not as herself.
  • "You're not in my dream." // "I was borrowed."
  • "The Slayer?" // "The first."
  • I love Buffy's speeeeeeeech.
  • "That's it, I'm waking up." Yeah, was the Cheese Man the last straw for you, Buffs?
  • Here's how you know Buffy has truly defeated the dream that's trying to kill her - rolling her eyes and breaking out the sass.
  • "You're not the source of me. Also, in terms of hair care, you really wanna ..."
  • "I said there could be dire consequences." // "Yes but you say that about chewing too fast"
  • I love their look of dawning horror when Buffy refers to the Cheese Man. Like it might actually have been significant. Meanwhile Joss is cackling to himself.

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • No teaser. Straight to the credits!
  • Last episode with “Emma Caulfield as Anya”! Cause she’ll be in the credits!
  • Hey Joyce! Remember her?
  • Did Xander just call Buffy’s mom “Joyce?”
  • Hey videos! 90s thing! If we were still tracking 90s things…
  • Buffy snorted in her sleep :)
  • Willow’s dream first:
  • This is really sexy, this scene. I love the drawing on Tara’s back. It looks so cool.

Tara just looks so gorgeous here

  • I love the way Joss writes dreams. He’s so good at it. I have such a problem with the way people write dreams. It always reads false but this is so good.
  • OZ!
  • "Spells" is code. For Lesbian sex.
  • Harmony!

  • Buffy looks amazing with a black bob. --->
  • He’s cowboy guy!
  • Cheese man! – Because there’s always that one thing in dreams that doesn’t need to make sense.
  • “I come looking for a man. A salesman.”
  • Omg, this whole Buffy monologue. MEN WITH YOUR SALES. Omg, I love everything about this episode.
  • The rooms turn into other rooms and the scenes turn into other scenes because that’s how dreams work!
  • Wow. The costumes are so good. Kudos, wig department. Willow looks exactly like season 1 Willow.
  • Even dream Xander is a dick.
  • Oh man…well that’s a fear….ex boyfriend and current girlfriend getting it on….

  • Xander’s dream! Xander in Apocalypse Now!
  • Joyce in a nightie. Ahh…and it comes back. He called her Joyce and then corrected himself to Mrs. Summers. I guess that opening “Joyce” was on purpose.
  • Stop being sexy, Joyce!
  • Hahahah. I love that moment….Xander going to the bathroom and the initiative watching.
  • Spike and Giles on swings!
  • Like a shark with feet, but much less fins. Is that a play on words regarding Riley Finn? Probably not.
  • I love this moment of Xander watching himself and the really bad fake greenscreen.
  • “I’ve been thinking of getting back into vengeance”. A fear of Xander's.  Unintended foreshadowing?
  • Oh the straight male fantasy that lesbians are somehow interested in them.
  • You can write a dissertation on the fact that when the women are interested in Xander, you can hear them speak without them moving their lips. It's like he's putting words in their mouths; the words he wants to hear. It's also interesting that Buffy calls him brother and Anya, his current girlfriend doesn’t proposition him at all.

  • Oh the French! The purposeful bad dubbing like the bad green screen. It’s cool because it’s a reference to all the movies Xander watches. I wish I studied French more. I understood some of that.
  • And more of the bad greenscreen. Apocalypse Nowish.
  • IT’S PRINCIPAL SNYDER! I’m so glad Joss found a way to bring him back – even if it was just for one dream episode.
  • Oh, the doors and the sets leading to one another. This must have been fun, yet really really hard for the set people to set up because it’s just one long shot. It’s Brilliant.
  • Interesting that the first time we see Xander’s dad is in a dream. The line, “Are you ashamed of us” is telling.
  • Giles’s dream!
  • Giles hypnotizing Buffy. Guilt from Helpless.
  • Olivia! It’s so cute, Giles thinking of He and Buffy as a family. With Olivia in tow.
  • Hey! The Bronze!
  • Yay! Anya’s joke! "Quiet! You’ll miss the humorous conclusion!"
  • Yay! Foreshadowing for Giles singing!
  • Giles’ dream is a bit deeper.
  • Buffy’s dream!
  • The first two people Buffy meets in her dream is Anya & Tara which I think is interesting.
  • “You think you know…what’s to come…what you are…you haven’t even begun.” What a great line to let the audience know if they love Buffy, they ain’t seen nothing yet.
  • Mom in the wall, metaphor for leaving her home all season.
  • Adam out of costume!
  • “The demons have escaped. Run for you lives.” Heh.
  • Xander appears briefly but he, Willow & Giles barely enter Buffy’s dream which is telling. Because losing them is the one thing she’s so terrified of.
  • And Buffy’s the one that realizes she’s dreaming.
  • The music is so good in this fight scene.
  • “I’m going to ignore you and you’re going to go away.” That’s how you kill Freddy too! At least in the first one…

Favorite Lines:
Daniel: "But what else could I expect from a bunch of low-rent, no-account hoodlums like you? Hoodlums, yes, I mean you and your friends, your whole sex. Throw 'em in the sea for all I care. Throw 'em in and wait for the bubbles. Men, with your groping and spitting. All groin, no brain. Three billion of ya' passin' around the same worn out urge. Men... with your sales." - Buffy
Zelda: "I walk. I talk. I shop, I sneeze, I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There's trees in the desert since you moved out, and I don't sleep on a bed of bones." - Buffy

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

    • First appearance: The First Slayer, Xander's Dad (recast later)
    • Recurring: Joyce, Tara, Miss Kitty Fantastico, Oz, Anya, Harmony, Snyder, Olivia, Adam
    • Foreshadowing (intentional): "You don't know everything about me" (Tara), "Oh that clock's completely wrong" (Buffy's death clock), "You think you know, what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun" (Buffy's interaction with Dracula, but also the origins of the Slayer line), "Be back before Dawn" (No clue, any ideas?), "We're not demons."/"Is that a fact?" (more on the Slayer origins)
    • Foreshadowing (unintentional): Spike's Randy Giles suit, being like a son to Giles, and a shark with feet, much less fins, and on land, Anya thinking about going back into vengeance
    • Reference to Willow's intention to take a Drama class. 
    • Apparently the bag that Buffy gets the mud to paint her face with is the same bag Principal Wood brings, from his Mother, with the Slayer's heritage (we think?)
    • Reference to Madame Butterfly, Willow's old nightmare, as well as to a Greek Tragedy, her only experience with performing.
    • Joyce flirting with Xander as a callback to Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
    • Giles hypnotizes Buffy (reference to Helpless)
    • Reference to the bed Buffy made with Faith in Faith's dream

    Anya's Hair - blonde, honey-colored
    Xander's Job - Ice Cream Truck Driver (within the dream)
    Dead Humans - 0
    Dead Undeads - 0
    Giles Unconscious - 0 (Dreams don't count)
    Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
    Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
    Evil Reveal - 0
    Unevil Reveal - 0
    Shenanigans Called -0
    Apocalypse Called - 0

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    That Good Old Kamikaze Spirit

    Episode 4.21: Primeval. Original Airdate 5.16.00

    "Having gained control of Riley's mind, Adam sets in motion his plot to create an army of unstoppable soldiers and destroy the Initiative."

    Daniel's Thoughts:

    • Riley! No! Stop being all controlled and stuff! I…really had nothing to say about that scene.
    • Adam’s make up is so good. That’d make an excellent Halloween costume.
    • Poor hungover Giles.
    • Anya is so sweet. The way she tries to make Xander feel better. First she tries her Anyaness, all blunt and stuff but then she sees he’s really hurting and her words are wonderful. And Xander so doesn’t appreciate it. Stupid Xander.
    • Zombie Maggie Walsh! I’m surprised the Lindsay Crouse agreed to come back to be a glorified extra.
    • Look at all those wired phones!
    • Forrest looks awful, but at least he’s not wearing a turtle-neck. Upside.
    • Mayor call-back!
    • I’m glad Buffy brought the original four back together through realizing that Spike is dick. Why haven’t they killed him again?
    • Hey! Xander figured out what to do!
    • Shenanigans! The door…to the top secret initiative frat house was just…open?
    • “I think we all sort of drifted apart this year…” Yeah…it’s the point of this season, but I still hate that about this season.
    • Aww, this reconciliation is amazing.

    • “Must See TV” – 90s thing….if we were still doing 90s things.
    • Come on Spike. You can’t be killed by Forrest.
    • “Including the secret lab?” “ INCLUDING EVERYTHING…What secret lab?”
    • “I’m the slayer. You’re playing on my turf.” FUCK YEAH
    • This is like that scene in Cabin in the Woods when all the monsters are released!
    • I wonder if Xander called Anya, & Willow called Tara before all this to say goodbye or I love you or something.
    • Fight Choreographer must have had fun with this scene.
    • Riley’s got huge meaty fingers....ladies.
    • Neat effects, turning Adam’s arm into a machine gun.
    • Scary eyes, Buffy!
    • Hahah, Forrest got all blowed up.
    • Buffy turned a bullet into doves! So cool!

    • Dead Adam!
    • Yay! The big bad is dead! Season over? Nope, just one more episode.

    Zelda's Thoughts:

    • Adam and Riley. Such wooden acting.
    • Adam's shoulder things freak me right out.

    Most people's neck-to-shoulder line isn't ... triangular right?
    That's just the makeup right? REASSURE ME.

    • heh, Spike's realization that his Yokoing didn't quite work out properly. "Hang on. I think I might've detected a small flaw."
    • Aw formerly Drunk Giles is now Hangover Giles
    • But see Willow showing up at Giles's place for the laptop and discs? That's why our Scoobies are still the best - even when they're fighting, they know there's work to be done.
    • That's a really stupid place for your TV, Buffy

    • Forrest looks cool as a demon, but it hasn't improved his acting any.
    • I'm gonna go ahead and guess that the zombie makeup they put on Professor Walsh is revenge for her leaving the show early and forcing them to change the arc of the season.
    • "Well, Spike can be very convincing when ... I'm very stupid." Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiles
    • "Spike's working for Adam? After all we've done. .. nah, I can't even act surprised."
    • You know, much as I hate on Adam and the confusion of S4's arc, his plan of mass carnage and building an army of demon/human/cyber soldiers is still better crafted than anything The First came up with in S7. [Amen. -D]
    • "Does anybody else miss the Mayor?"

    • Aw this is the scene with all the hugs! Yay. They're acknowledging how they've grown apart, and why, but reaffirm their commitment to their friendship.
    • Man, Spike just sucks at being a minion. He separated the Scoobies, but then they couldn't get into the Initiative. He got them back together, so they could get in, but there Buffy is, not isolated from her friends. No raise for you, Spike.
    • "Including the secret lab?" // "Including EVERYTHING! [very long pause] What secret lab?'
    • Heh, I love that the Scoobies are united in sassing Col Whatsit.
    • Oh man are we going to fail at getting an accurate kill count for this episode.
    • You know, for a low budget show, the mass fighting in the Initiative is pretty well done. There's a lot going on, and it's kind of awesome.
    • I was about to say what a cool season finale this is turning out to be, but ... IT'S NOT THE FINALE.
    • The Scoobies' run across the giant space, full of fighting, so exciting.
    • "Buffy, I still don't like you going in alone." // "I won't be." FEELS
    • "I've never really been one to toe the line." // "(pause) Oh. Kill her." Okay, I laughed.
    • Yeah, calling a big shenanigan on Riley, paralyzed by a chip attached to his central nervous system, is still able to 1, remove the damn thing, and 2, not die in the process. I don't know from science, but I know a shenanigan when I see it.
    • Yeah Buffy! Kill that Forrest! Do it!
    • You know, it's not discussed, but it must kind of suck for Riley, that he has to kill his best friend, even if it's his best friend in demon cyber psycho form.
    • Oh dayum Buffy broke the skewer arm.
    • Oh double dayum he has a machine gun arm.
    • I really love this spell. I love the UberBuffy. I love that it's a combination of the strengths of all the Scoobies, that it's a metaphor for them reuniting after a year of distance, for the connection that cannot be severed. I love the metaphor of it. But also she's super BAMF and I love that too.

    • Forrest go boom.
    • She turned a rocket into doves.
    • I'm renaming her from UberBuffy to ScooberBuffy. Patent pending.
    • The level to which Spike is just not important to the Scoobies ... like he betrayed them all with the end goal of their deaths, and they just let him leave.
    • "Well, then, everything's all right and we all get to be not staked through the heart. Good work, team."
    • This weird epilogue scene of the Initiative bureaucrats is weird. But I guess it allows us to montage the rest of the fighting.
    • So Riley and Graham are the only two named Initiativers who survived, yes?

    (this discussion happened via Instant Messenger, on some of the weak guest actors on the show)

    Daniel: (re: actor playing Dracula) Eh, I don't hate him. I mean...he's going for the classic dracula-ness. No emotion and
    yeah he's bad
    that's tough
    I mean, I think that's the choice the actor playing Adam is making.
    He's a being with no emotion
    Unfortunately, it just makes for a bad villain
    Zelda: ugh adam
    so baaaaaaaaaad
    I would argue that he's not interesting enough to make interesting choices within those confines
    I do see your point
    Daniel: well again - I mean - it's mostly the character, I think. I never had a problem with Adam until you pointed him out - but I did find him completely forgettable.
    Zelda: But he's still a weak actor. If he had done something remotely interesting when he was fully human in Restless, I might be more forgiving. But also he's a stupid stupid villain with a stupid face.

    Favorite Lines:

    Daniel: "Including the secret lab?" // "Including EVERYTHING! ... What secret lab?" - Willow/Col McNamara
    Zelda: I tried and tried and couldn't find one that I liked. Can I just choose ScooberBuffy destroying Adam?

    Arc/Continuity Stuff:

    • Recurring: Sunnydale High (man, this cgi burned out school is getting a lot of play), Adam, Tara, Anya, ZombieWalsh, ZombieAngleman, DemonForrest, Col McNamara, Graham
    • That photo of Buffy and Willow and Xander from season one is back! 
    • Buffy refers to Riley telling her that Adam's power center is a uranium core near his spine - something we learned from Jonathan in Superstar.
    • Giles speaks Sumerian
    • Xander refers to when Buffy took French
    • Bureaucrat says the Initiative will be filled with concrete. S7 will reveal that they never got around to it.


    Anya's Hair - short, straight, honey colored
    Xander's Job - Unemployed
    Dead Humans - 7
    Dead Undeads - 7
    Dead Flashbacks -
    Giles Unconscious - 0
    Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
    Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
    Buffy Breaks a Mirror - 1
    Evil Reveal - 0
    Unevil Reveal -  0
    Shenanigans Called - 2
    Apocalypse Called - 0

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014

    A Chosen One and Her Friends

    Episode 4.20: The Yoko Factor. Original Airdate 5.9.00

    "After joining forces with Adam, Spike drives a wedge between Buffy and her friends. Meanwhile, Angel's return to Sunnydale leads to a violent confrontation with Riley."

    Zelda's Thoughts:

    • Yay I can't wait for drunk Giles!
    • But ask me how much I care about the military briefing. Ask me.
    • Daniel just audibly groaned in disgust when Xander showed up in the credits.
    • I don't know who Tony Robbins is. Oh
    • I like this callback, Spike's recognition that Buffy having friends/family is part of what makes her strong, harder to kill. It was his first lesson after meeting her in Sunnydale, when Joyce clocked him with the axe in School Hard.
    • Daniel and I were sitting here wondering why Buffy looked so depressed when she entered her dorm. We finally remembered that she just got back from her crossover appearance on Angel, where she went to hunt down Faith. This is what happens when you don't have previouslies, DVDs!
    • "But to be fair, it's not him you hate, it's the curse." In one sentence we see just how little Riley understands of anything. For one, without the curse, Angel would never have a soul, and would have been staked long long ago. The curse is the only thing that makes him tolerable in Xander's eyes. [See, I think this is a writing problem.  I think what Riley meant to say was the curse of being a vampire, not the gypsy curse.  Meaning it's the vamp he hates, not the person. - D]
    • Xanderrrrrrrrrrrr you had to have figured out Buffy didn't tell Riley the whole truth about Angel. Bad Xander, bad.
    • I just screamed "YAY" really loudly because Giles is singing. I'm not sorry.
    • Mmmmmmmm.
    • And then his little yelp when he sees Spike.

    • Spike's insight is also strong - his playing of Yoko for the group wouldn't work if they weren't already fragmented. Step one: remind Giles of his directionless and lack of influence over Buffy this season.
    • Also he pours a drink while talking to Spike. It's my headcanon that he keeps drinking until the big fight.
    • It's a sure sign of how far Willow's come that she idly suggests taking Drama - callback to her stagefright in Nightmares.
    • The awkward in this scene is hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. Riley Riley Riley, jealous boyfriend is not a good look on you.
    • Step two: emphasize the uselessness of Xander.
    • I like the acknowledgement of how much class they cut in high school
    • Spike's accent is kind of all over the place this ep.
    • Sigh Forrest. Go away, Forrest.
    • Oh the show listened to me! Forrest is dead now. Sadly, he's still gonna come back, because no one's death is ever their final appearance on this show.
    • Yep, Giles is still drinking.
    • Step three: Cotton to Willow's relationship with Tara and play on that insecurity too.
    • "Easy as really difficult pie."
    • He's actually quite good at this, the manipulation. Because he keeps acting like it's not the important part of the conversation, which makes them want to drag more details out of him.
    • So I have to ask ... why did Angel think this was a good way to come back to town? Like "Hi guys, how many humans can I beat up today?" It's just kind of stupid and feels contrived so we can get to a fight between Angel and Riley.
    • Also we're not actually supposed to suspect that Angel's gone bad, so ... what's the point of him being extra dicky? I call shenanigans on this whole set up. Like, a lot.
    • And they could have played it differently. They could have made it clear that Angel wanted to pick a fight with Buffy's new beau. They could have done that, and I would have rolled my eyes, but I would have bought it. I don't buy his behavior here. I don't. And I don't feel it's that consistent with what's going on over on his show. But then again, that crossover consistency is at its worst at the end of S7 ...
    • "You're hurt." // "You too." Subtext, I see you.
    • "Running a car into a tree is an accident. Running your fist into somebody's face is a plan." PREACH, Buffy.
    • Petty Angel is funny. Petty Angel is probably the only time I ever enjoy Angel.

    • Well, also dancing Angel. The rest of it I can do without.
    • D'aw Riley. "Not movin' a muscle." I like you there. Not most of the rest of the time.
    • Buffy is my faaaaaaaaavorite. Calling Angel out on all his petty bullshit.
    • Oh wow is DB bad at laughing. Like that's some bad.
    • "We don't live in each other's worlds anymore." Hey, at least you're still on the same network. Wait til S6.
    • Buffyyyyyyyy so matuuuuuuuuuure I love yoooooooou.
    • Sorry, I'm just kind of annoyed with everyone else right now so I'm enjoying how she's the best Buffy to ever Buffy. Deal with it.
    • "Since we've got all our ducks in a row, and not talking to each other."
    • "Xander? Oh he's the deadest man in Deadonia."
    • "He's not bad." // "Seriously? That's ... a good day?" I love when they make fun of Angel. It is my life's blood.
    • I actually really like the trick of this moment. It looks like Riley gets up to leave, because he's upset that Forrest is dead, but it's actually Adam summoning him, which we won't realize until the end of the episode.
    • Giles, still drinking.
    • "You never train with me anymore, he's going to kick your arse. Sorry, was that a bit honest? Terribly sorry." DRUNK GILES
    • "I am no Alfred, sir. No, you forget, Alfred had a job." Seriously, DRUNK GILES
    • I really love this scene. Like it's upsetting to see them all fighting, but so well done, this fight! I love it. I love it.
    • "You two are the two who are the two."

    • Giles fell off the chair. GILES.
    • So this is like the only scene of just Tara and Anya ever. That's kind of sad. [There's one later where they talk about the internet.  But I agree that there should be more. -D]
    • And then Giles throws his sweater on Xander's head. Seriously, you guys. Seriously.
    • "It's not today. Buffy, things have been wrong for a while, don't you see that?"
    • Oh but now it hurts because Buffy's getting mean. Dammit show.
    • Oh look, Riley and Adam together. Boring plus boring equals boring stew!

    Daniel's Thoughts:

    • Hey, A Spike episode. There’s the remote...go on
    • Wow, I don’t remember this scene at all – with the people at the initiative on skype, or a skype like thing.
    • Spike is trying to make Adam more interesting. It’s not working.
    • Zelda ewww’d that Angel is in the credits. I was happy.
    • Spike’s comparison of Adam and Tony Robbins:


    • “To be fair, it isn’t the guy that you hate – it’s the curse” – the difference between Riley & Xander.
    • Awkward…I guess Buffy didn’t tell Riley everything, specifically how Angel became evil.
    • Giles singing! Anthony Head has a nice voice. Also, he has kind of an American accent when he sings.
    • OK, this first part. Giles. That was convincing….the seeds have been laid.
    • Miss Kitty Fantastico!
    • How about drama class? Foreshadowing for Restless.
    • Ugh, that ugly sweater that Buffy sometimes wears.

    Burn it, Buffy.

    • Riley still looks cute with those stupid clown pants.
    • No hug/kiss hello. That says something.
    • The chip works on intent, Spike. You can’t hurt anyone.
    • Part two: Xander. This one is a bit more forced with the military thing. It’s sad that Xander thinks that Buffy and Willow would “have a laugh” talking about him joining the army. But he is definitely self-conscious.
    • I’d like Forrest/Buffy bantering more if Forrest wasn’t such an asshat. He’s always just so angry; he blames her for everything despite everything he’s learned about the Walsh situation.
    • Well…I guess that’ll be the last argument they have… Bye Forrest.
    • Hey! Forrest died in a forest!
    • Giles is still drinking!
    • Part 3, Willow: Come on Willow, stop believing it, But again, ok, I buy it a bit because Willow’s all self-conscious about her new life. With Tara. With the witchininess. But it’s just the way it’s done. It was just way too easy.
    • And OMG, the wicca/lesbian metaphors are just…
    • Hey Angel! Meet Riley.
    • Ugh. Men. Stop measuring. I’m sure you’re both…adequate.
    • You guys…stop fighting….!
    • Interesting that Angel needed to be invited into the dorm room. (Spike needed it back in the beginning of the season.) Buffy lives there…and I guess she had to sign something but she doesn’t own it. I’m assuming the same goes for rented houses/apartments..
    • Buffy: "You’ve got to be kidding me." Seriously.
    • Riley’s like 12. “I’m not leaving this room.”
    • SHENANIGANS! Why is no one walking the dorm hallways. Is it because it’s late? Cause that never stops anyone. Also, if it is late, why isn’t anyone leaning out of their doorways telling the fighting exes to shut the hell up because they’ve got an exam in the morning?
    • “If you’re gonna break my heart, do it fast”. Awww. “Because I’m so in love with you, I can’t think straight.” Double awww
    • I hate when the Scoobies fight. Things are said, people get hurt. But this is better written than previous fight scenes and more believable.
    • I love how Anya & Tara just sneak off to the bathroom.
    • Xander: ”I knew you hated her.” This was a secret?
    • I hate that Giles and Xander find out about Tara this way. Xander should have known by now. I know it’s another example of how the group has grown apart this season, but it seems so… I dunno.

    David Boreanaz's name in the credits
    Z: UGH
    D: Aww

    Favorite Lines:
    Zelda: Everything said by Drunk Giles, but mostly when he goes to sit in a chair and just falls down.
    Daniel: (to Angel & Riley) "Okay, that's enough.  I see one more display of testosterone poisoning and I will personally putt you both in the hospital." ~Buffy.   And she can totally do it, too.

    Arc/Continuity Stuff:

    • First appearance: Miss Kitty Fantastico
    • Recurring: Col. MacNamara, Adam, Sunnydale High, Tara, Anya, Forrest
    • Buffy just got back from LA, where her encounter with Faith and Angel did not go well.
    • Angel follows her back like the petty guy he is.
    • Riley tells Buffy (without Faith in Buffy's body at the time) that he loves her for the first time.
    • Xander and Giles now know that Willow and Tara are a couple.
    Anya's Hair - short, curly, honey-colored
    Xander's Job - references to past jobs at Starbucks and a phone sex line
    Dead Humans - 1
    Dead Undeads - 0
    Dead Flashbacks - 0
    Giles Unconscious - 0
    Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
    Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
    Evil Reveal - 0
    Unevil Reveal -  0
    Shenanigans Called - 2
    Apocalypse Called - 0

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    Formerly Dangerous and Currently Annoying

    Episode 4.19: New Moon Rising. Original Airdate 5.2.00

    "Oz's return to Sunnydale leads to his incarceration by the Initiative and complicates the relationship between Willow and Tara."

    Daniel's Thoughts:

    • The title has the word Moon in it, because….Oz.
    • That’s how I feel about cats, too, Willow.  I’m more of a dog person, but I’m not like ‘death to all cats’.
    • It’s really cute the way Willow is over-helping by trying to include Tara.
    • Hey, it’s Oz!
    • Amber Benson’s really good here.  Her face speaks volumes.
    • It’s odd that no one has put two and two together, with Tara & Willow.
    • Man, this show likes turtlenecks….here in….southern California…
    It got down to 70 today!

    • Wow, Riley still doesn’t know about Angel?
    • I do like the continuity.  Oz left with a purpose and he went through with it.
    • Ok, I admit, Riley’s being a dick – but I mean…it’s not like Buffy’s been completely honest with him.
    • Buffy’s reaction to Willow’s coming out is cute.  She’s a bit shocked and doesn’t know what to say at first.  Sure, it takes a few minutes – but she proves she’s a good friend.  It doesn’t matter to her.
    • Adam’s part human, but Spike can hit him anyway.  I guess the demon part overpowers the human parts.
    • Tara is just so incredibly sweet.  It’s obvious she’d do anything for Willow, even if it’s just stepping aside.
    • This part, I don’t like.  I don’t like Oz’s reaction to Tara.  I understand that he’s upset – I just hate that he’s so angry.
    • Hey, it’s that one classroom that they have…on campus.
    • I wish Riley acknowledged Tara as more than just a victim…I know it was a quick scene, but he was acting like he didn’t know her.  A simple, “Tara, we got this” would have sufficed.  And vice-versa, if Tara said Riley’s name.
    • Guys, it’s 2000.  Stop with the pagers…We don’t have a 90s factoid stat anymore
    • Naked Oz is very very pink.
    • I love how Willow and Buffy are wearing lab coats like that’s some sort of disguise…
    • Slap my hand now!  In celebration!  Ow!
    • Spike’s clothes….he looks like a reject from Star Trek.
    Beam me up, Dru

    • I’m glad they brought back Oz for some closure, even though there are parts of this episode that I don’t really like.  It’s still nice that Oz is leaving, happy for Willow.
    • Yay, aww. Willow brought Tara a candle cause bitchez love candles. 


    Zelda's Thoughts:

    • Tara and Willow, I hate to break it to you, but cats are evil. Sorry guys. It's just a truth.
    • Parking lot! Do a shot!

    • "Buffy doesn't make her quota? Bad Slayer!"
    • How come Willow's acting like this is Tara's first time at a Scooby meeting? She's been going the last two episodes.
    • Oz! It's Oz.
    • How come Oz knew to come to Giles's apartment? Did he try the dorms first? Imma retcon he tried the dorms first. Because this seems like an odd first stop.
    • Also he just opened that door without knocking. Rude. Giles really should lock his door. Anya told him that months ago. Giles, learn you nothing in your leisure time?
    • Aly's eyes are huge. She has the hugest eyes.
    • Aw Tara. Trying to give Willow space to figure things out, and to spare them both the awkwardness.
    • Parking lot (again)! I'm getting liver poisoning over here.
    • Hi Alpert crypt!
    • Oho there is subtext to Buffy bridling at Riley judging Willow for dating a "dangerous" guy. I HEAR STRAINS OF ANGEL, DO YOU HEAR STRAINS OF ANGEL.
    • These characters have the most ridiculous coats on this show.
    • Willow's happiness for Oz, being able to keep his wolf down during a full moon. It's so sweet. But also it HURTS.
    • It's so sad, you know. Oz achieved his goal - he can keep the wolf down during the full moon, through keeping calm (and herbs and chanting and charms and whatnot) but the horrible side effect, as we see later, is when he gets upset, really upset, the wolf can come out independent of the full moon. He's in control, and he's horribly not in control. He's become the metaphor for the abusive boyfriend (or ex-boyfriend) he never wanted to be.
    • Poor Willow, this is so awkward. She wants to tell Oz what's new with her, but the most new thing with her, the most important, is Tara, and she can't tell him, because she doesn't feel ready to tell anyone yet.
    • Oh poor Tara! The hurts! Her stutter's back. And Oz is friendly because he doesn't understand. "I saw you at Giles's yesterday!"
    • He senses something is up, but he can't think what. So he moves on.
    • Hey, Buffy's wearing the same black leather pants from Who Are You! Faith's back?
    Hide your kids! Hide your Riley!

    • Wouldn't it be easy for Buffy to just say "Werewolves aren't evil and are also human for most of the year so back off"? I wanna say I don't get this fight between her and Riley except that the fight is actually about Angel and she's afraid to tell him about Angel so fine okay whatever subtext wins out over actual text.
    • Yay Willow came out to Buffy!
    • Here's what I like - yes Buffy gets kind of freaked when Willow comes out, but as soon as Willow confronts her on it, she immediately gets over it. She loves Willow, and she's glad Willow confided in her. Best friendies!
    • Look at Spike sleeping under a blanket in his crypt. In what looks like pretty direct sunlight.
    The blanket has magical sun-blocking powers. And uh ...
    he's wearing sunscreen?

    • "No, it's okay. I always knew that if he came back - " sadface
    • Taraaaaaaaa. She just wants to be supportive, knowing how confused Willow is, even as she's in so much confused pain herself.
    • "Life was starting to get so good, again, and you're a big part of that."
    • This is so painful. "Are you two involved? Because she never said anything to me, we talked all night."
    • And then he starts to turn. "Run."
    • The return of really bad werewolf makeup! They never did figure that one out in a satisfactory manner. At least this is our last werewolf of the series.
    • And back on the pendulum Spike swings, joining Adam's side.
    • "When it comes to the fighting, she does have a slight tendency to win."
    • "They took Oz. I tried to tell them, but -" I have a stutter. #awkward
    • Oh man, and when the wolf turns back to Oz and he's so small and naked and vulnerable, in a cage surrounded by giant commandos, in a giant facility.
    • I mean, yay Riley is on team Don't Torture Oz, since he actually knows him, but it's still awkward and kind of reminiscent of homophobes suddenly not homophobing when it turns out they've known a gay person all along. But maybe we can count it as character growth. It's too hard to tell with Riley and character growth, what with MB being dull as a table lamp.
    • "How'd you get in?" // "Door was unlocked. You might want to watch that." WASN'T I JUST SAYING THAT.
    • They've gotta be desperate/not thinking straight to buy Spike's story that he suddenly remembers how to get back into the Initiative, since that was the only reason they were keeping him around in the first half of the season and he was exactly zero help to them.
    • Yay Riley busting Oz out of prison. Okay fine, growth.
    • Oz is so tiny next to Riley.
    • "Slap my hand now! ... Ow." Her timing is so perfect.
    • "Talk later, stealthy escape now."
    • Aw, I actually find it quite sweet that they're hiding out in the old high school.
    • "It was my fault. I upset you." This line hurts, it's too much like the mantra of people in abusive relationships.
    • "I missed you, Oz. I wrote you so many letters, but I didn't have any place to send them, you know? I couldn't live like that." "It was stupid to think that you'd just be waiting." That at least is a better farewell than they had last time. I'm glad we got closure.
    • "I was waiting. I feel like a part of me will always be waiting for you." I don't quite know what to do with this sentiment, because it certainly doesn't feel true in later seasons, that there's any part of her waiting for Oz, and (granted, it's been a while) I don't remember any sense of that closeness remaining when he returns in the comics. I really don't remember the comics though, so feel free to correct me.
    • "You have to be with the person you love." // "I am." TWOO WUV. I wish I liked her more, I do. Because this is so freaking d'awwwwwwwwwww


    Willow: Let me just freshen up (grabs toiletry bag and leaves dorm room)
    Z: There's a sink right there.
    D: Yeah, but you don't wanna brush your teeth in front of people. I don't like brushing my teeth in front of people.
    Z: (side-eyes D)

    Favorite Lines:

    Daniel: "I'll have the less confusing waffles right now." - Willow
    Zelda: "Slap my hand now! ... Ow." - Anya

    Arc/Continuity Stuff:

    • Oz is back! It's Oz!
    • First appearance of Colonel McNamara
    • Recurring: Tara, Anya, Graham, Forrest, fucking Adam, the remains of Sunnydale High
    • Shoutout to Devon
    • Willow comes out to Buffy.
    • Adam recruits Spike to his cause, promising to help remove his chip.
    • Riley has officially left the Initiative.
    • Buffy (off screen) tells Riley about her history with Angel (well, some of it)
    • Oz's last non-dream appearance.
    Anya's Hair - short, straight, honey colored
    Oz's Hair - red
    Dead Humans - 1
    Dead Undeads - 1
    Giles Unconscious - 0
    Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
    Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
    Evil Reveal - 0
    Unevil Reveal -  0
    Shenanigans Called - 0
    Apocalypse Called - 0