Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

BtVS rewatch : SEASON 2

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • BtVS rewatch : SEASON 2

    Here's the new thread for the Season 2 rewatch. For reference, below are those signed up to do the initial reviews and as always I'll keep an episode list below that which links to each initial episode as they are posted.

    I assume everyone is happy sticking with two episodes a week, falling roughly at the start/end of the week. The first episode would, therefore, be due at the beginning of next week. So I'll pass it over to King.

    ____

    2.01 When She Was Bad - KoC
    2.02 Some Assembly Required - Dipstick
    2.03 School Hard - Stoney
    2.04 Inca Mummy Girl - Dipstick
    2.05 Reptile Boy - Sosa Losa
    2.06 Halloween - Stoney
    2.07 Lie To Me - Rihannon
    2.08 The Dark Age - Dipstick
    2.09 What's My Line (Part 1) - Stoney
    2.10 What's My Line (Part 2) - TimeTravellingBunny
    2.11 Ted - Stoney
    2.12 Bad Eggs - Sosa Losa
    2.13 Surprise - Reddygirl
    2.14 Innocence - Reddygirl
    2.15 Phases - KoC
    2.16 Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered - KoC
    2.17 Passion - Stoney
    2.18 Killed By Death - Dipstick
    2.19 I Only Have Eyes For You - TimeTravellingBunny
    2.20 Go Fish - Sosa Losa
    2.21 Becoming (Part 1) - KoC
    2.22 Becoming (Part 2) - TimeTravellingBunny



    SEASON 1 thread
    SEASON 3 thread
    SEASON 4 thread
    SEASON 5 thread
    SEASON 6 thread
    SEASON 7 thread


    SEASON 2 episode links
    Last edited by Stoney; 19-10-19, 09:08 PM.

  • #2
    ... she was AWESOME!

    Episode 2.01, "When She Was Bad" (a reference to Longfellow's little girl with a little curl, of course) is really the essential season premiere for the "Buffy" as a televised series, "Buffy" overall including the comic continuations, and unless you feel pretty strongly about one of the five "Angel" premieres, pretty much the entire IP. It not only builds intricately upon where Season 1 left it really lays out almost all the paths down which the season will go in ways you can only really stand back and admire after seeing the whole season.

    I'll discuss some of what I feel are the signature "BtVS moments", a few of the iconic scenes, and a general overview of the characters.

    The "Buffy" of it -- the little touches

    One of the great things about this episode is that it very quickly reminds us that high school deals in metaphor far more human and mundane than we need monsters to discover -- as shown marvelously while Armin Shimmerman's Snyder (unknowingly) narrates two of his adult faculty meeting up and flirting and being totally distracted from the purpose of school... while ridiculing exactly that as the rubric of the students he hates so much. Because like the song says, high school never ends.

    Another favorite of mine comes from the ultimate in foreshadowing -- Buffy giving Angel crap in the alley and trying to goad him into a fight. Not only does her speculation tease the ultimate showdown of the season, Buffy vs. Angel(ish), she even says what come close to qualifying as Arc Words, kick my ass.

    A few even more brief but all the more precious moments both because of their Whedony flavor or just the great acting choices -- the whole crowd awkwardly looking about after Willow megaphones about Buffy killing a vampire, and also Giles total "eff you" face when Xander (obnoxiously) announces he won the "consult the books" pool. Also love Giles' ick-face at his soda, and I"ve always loved the little headshake by Xander after his "horrible conversation piece?" line.

    Iconic Scenes

    For me there are really three, I'd say --

    1) Buffy's dream sequence. This is especially delicious because since everyone in it is Buffy's subconscious describing them to her, basically, but also how she reacts to her inner version of them. First, Xander makes a lewd comment to her, which she takes with a smile. To me, this equally suggests she does more or less see Xander as a hornball, but does take his bit as more flattering than anything else. Her subconscious treats Willow's crush on Xander as being a lot more obvious than she usually makes it in the real world -- and her Xander and Willow eidolons are so ridiculously in tune they trade food without discussion, even. They also, of course, smile and wanly ignore Buffy being strangled to death in front of them. That whole part of it suggests she has a strange sort of approach/avoidance about Xander and Willow dating; she simultaneously wants them to get together because DUH, but she doesn't object to the status quo of Willow likes Xander likes Buffy and may even fear being completely cut off from them if they were together.

    That, though, overlaps with the Giles/Master of the nightmare -- what cuts her off from Willow and Xander isn't just Willow and Xander, it's also the Slayer aspects of her life. The most telling fact of the dream in terms of what it reveals about Buffy's subconscious is that Giles is the Master. Giles, the Watcher and Slayer and history and lore and legacy and power, is what's killed her before and will kill her again. The whole Slayer existence is a danger to her no matter what face it wears.

    2) "Sugar Water" -- from the start of the song all the way to and through Cordy lecturing Buffy. This is, IMO, one of the sexiest scenes they ever put on screen in the series, and it's the music, it's certainly Sarah (not to mention the costume supervisor), it's even her chillingly distant proto-Katherine Merteuil posture. But it's just... again, very revealing about Buffy, and her subconscious attitudes toward all of those people, or at least how well she understands how to hurt them all in one drop-the-mike bitchfest. Angel and Willow are both jealous as hell -- him sort of seething, her sort of broken, as according to their natures -- and it does play on the fact that both of them do have a fear of exactly the sort of thing she's teasing them with (Angel will later admit to jealousy of Xander's place in Buffy's life, and Willow of course afraid that Buffy will suddenly feel about him the way she herself does and have him instantly). Xander, of course, she seems to want to punish most of all. Her final goad, about thanking him for saving her life, this damn near "I"m sorry, had I forgotten to have sex with you out of gratitude yet? my bad" show she's putting on... leaves him standing looking about 45 years old and haggard. I've always interpreted it as her punishing people for the crime of loving and trusting her as much or more than just trying to make them stop, and since she knows his feelings are the most, she punishes him worst. And then just strolls out like it wasn't a thing.

    Loved Cordelia standing up to her, though, the clearest indicator that they were turning a corner with that character (although hinted earlier when she actually... was just being social).

    On a side note about this scene, I should say that while I usually just flat out don't care much about this, it did occur to me that this is really the first time I can think of in the series where the Male Gaze plays straight from a directorial standpoint -- it's not just that Sarah is put in that dress and workin' her hips on Xander, it's that it's actually shot in this indulgently sensual way, from the very first pan up from her foot (Joss Whedon dafuq feet) as she steps (down? I still don't get that) into the Bronze. And it's Joss directing the episode. Just stuck out to me, they don't really go there with the lens itself providing the Male Gaze in this series, they let our male eyes find their targets through a very uncooperative lens much of the time Maybe it's to stick the scene as having mostly been within Xander's POV? Since he had been gawking at the door waiting for her?

    3) Buffy returns to the Library. I consider this iconic personally because of the confrontation between her and Xander and him just laying into her for having put them in that position. I have always taken his threat at face value, don't think I could be talked out of it. He was pissed.

    Character arcs

    Mostly worried about the Buffy/Willow/Xander of it here --

    Buffy, obviously, was going through a lot of pain. It's actually all there from the very first moment she's on screen, she is passive aggressively joking, and her jokes could very easily be taken as having been intentionally mean-spirited but it's subtle enough they give her the benefit of the doubt. I think it's kind of to Giles' discredit that he didn't spot and act on Buffy's troubles very early on, when she comes unglued while training. She just ratchets up the intensity from the first scene to the end -- I'm very fond of her pre-cathartic "I'm going to kill them all, that oughtta distract them" delivery, sort of dry and homicidal. Once it's out of her system, she's the Buffy of old, but it's a sign of just how tightly wound she can get.

    This is actually a pretty great Xander episode, good and bad for him, very layered, and makes me wistful for a time when the ME writing team gave this much of a damn about making him dynamic. I watch that first scene with him and Willow and actually love and hate him at once -- because he's very candidly still into Buffy but at the same time more than willing to act on the attraction to Willow he has realized, but obviously also in a very conditional way, like he can pick her up and set her down at his convenience. It's a dickish thing, but it's a very human and believable thing. But then right off that he is heroically giving himself up to face the vampire to let her escape; he values her safety more than his own life, but still also sees her as essentially a romantic chewtoy (so probably fitting his chihuahua runs into Buffy's rottweiler later on). Does he contradict himself? Very well then, he contradicts himself. I find it funny, though, that either Xander has a real conflict about his chances with Buffy, or the writers were just inconsistent about both him and others -- the dance thing as torture for him, Angel, and Willow only works if all three of those people think that, at least for the space of a dance, that Buffy could be coming onto him very strongly... but then when the subject is raised in as many words, not only does Willow not think it's credible, neither apparently does Xander, thus making a sort of illogic fall on the scene in the Bronze. I mean, surely we aren't meant to think that Angel and Willow's pain was on Xander's behalf that Buffy was carrying on? Angel wouldn't care enough, if nothing else. Does Xander think he has a shot or doesn't he, though?

    I also can tell that back then they really liked to push the brutal pragmatism with Xander -- he was first to go to Cordelia being dead already and not focusing on rescuing her in the face of a trap, he's very hard with Buffy after she walks into said trap, etc. And he's also the one to immediately shine to the fact that Buffy needed one more thing there at the end.

    Willow in this episode sort of jumps back and forth between shrinking violet and strong, sort of her yo-yo swinging wider each time from last season. The straight up pitiful cream-on-the-nose thing hurts to watch every time, because it's her trying to be forward and get what she wants, but in this silly and not altogether self-respecting way. But she's also very strong and assertive on matters of business by getting upset at Buffy's attitude and even the mocking tone of Buffy not recognizing the trap for what it was.

    Every thing I type makes me think of a couple more things, so I'll just shut down the review here. 5/5 stars, one of the finest episodes of the entire series and my personal pick as your best season premiere.
    Last edited by KingofCretins; 21-04-14, 06:54 AM.
    sigpic
    Banner by LRae12

    Comment


    • #3
      When She Was Bad isn't my favourite season opener (*cough* Bargaining *cough*) but it's a damn fine episode. An interesting episode tonally, though, as I feel the series has grown exponentially between S1-S2 and is a lot closer to resembling what, I think, most people imagine when they think of BtVS, but it hasn't quite shaken all of it's S1-ness. There's still the cheesy vampire makeup, the frightfully dull villains, and some incredibly corny dialogue ("the ground is consecrated! It burns!"), but it's in the mix with the new tone established in Prophecy Girl. And Buffy herself has changed drastically from her S1 incarnation with this somewhat hardened persona, her isolation becoming more pronounced and an air of maturity about her that sets her apart from her friends. Not to mention the slightly slimmer physique and blonde hair which is the image I'd think most fans would have in their head when visualizing Buffy as opposed to the 'earthy' brunette she was in S1.

      Whenever I try and summarize Buffy's character in this episode I borrow a phrase from Xander – "She's mad as hell and she's not going to take it anymore." Buffy is traumatized but she’s also pissed. She died for these people and she's got a boatload of resentment about it. I like King's interpretation of Buffy's dream but I also think it's symbolic of how Buffy feels these people helped kill her. With Giles it's pretty overt ("I killed you once it shouldn't be too difficult to do it again") because he's the Watcher and the guy quite literally sending her out to face death every night. But I think Xander and Willow sitting by and watching as Giles strangles her, with smiles on their faces, is very much about how Buffy feels all three of them expect her to lay down her life for the world and, well, them. And they crack jokes and party and it's all in good fun but they're quite content with watching Giles squeeze the life out of her. Now, obviously in reality it's much more complicated than that. Willow has been of great help with her computer abilities and Xander brought Buffy back to life, after all. But it very much tracks with the disconnect Buffy feels from the gang because at the end of the day she had to go into the sewer alone and she had to lay down her life.

      It's the same reason she tries to hurt Angel. Much like Giles, Angel has been a pretty instrumental force in pushing Buffy towards her duties. The very first time they met Angel handed her a crucifix and told her what she really wants it to "kill them all" despite Buffy actually wanting to just be left alone. He then spent much of the season steering her towards various dangers and intruding on her date with Owen which was Buffy's big attempt at normalcy. But not only that Angel is a vampire (with direct lineage to the Master). He's the thing that kill her, he represents death, and it's not surprising that Buffy chooses to consistently insult Angel about his vampirism throughout the ep.

      I'll actually refrain from discussing B/X/W too much as King already discussed it at length and I know it'll be of particular interest to others. So, focusing on Buffy/Angel for a moment I do think this episode sets up a lot of interesting stuff. First, I think a big theme of S2 is showing how Angel/Angelus are two sides of the same coin and Whedon does it masterfully here. Buffy awakes to find Angel in her bedroom and although he's come (mostly) to talk business it is a little creepy. It's also eerily similar to Angel sneaking her room during Passion and watching as she sleeps. How long was Angel in her room before she woke up? Well, we can't exactly say. And whilst I doubt he was sitting in there for an extended period of time stroking her face and sketching pictures of her or going full Edward Cullen, it's still the fact we don’t know for sure that makes it a tad creepy. It's a nice piece of foreshadowing along with Buffy raising the idea of the two of them fighting.

      I do feel badly for Angel when Buffy is so hostile in her bedroom. His soft "I missed you" and the way he's too shy/hurt/uncertain to look at her in the eye makes me feel for him. It must have been pretty deflating to have Buffy be so cold after spending 3 months waiting for her to return and I just imagine him going home and spending all night trying to understand what it is he did wrong. It's the rare occasion where I feel the power balance was heavily tipped in Buffy's favor.

      I do love Buffy's "You know stalking isn't a really big turn on for girls!" line. On the one hand, I'm glad that despite her attitude Angel was still looking out for her, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of Buffy calling him out on that. That said, I think it reflects well on Angel that he doesn't just abandon Buffy when she tells him to stay out her way and still follows her to the Bronze. And look, despite the ominous warning signs of what's to come this season, I do think Angel being there for Buffy to sob into after smashing the Master's bones is what she needed that time in her life.

      I have plenty more to say but I do have to leave it there for now

      ~ Banner by Nina ~

      Comment


      • #4
        I haven't watched the episode yet, but I wanna comment on something: S2 is my favorite SMG season looks wise, love her hair and figure and face. She was just perfect in S2. Whenever I wanna show someone a picture of Buffy, I pick S2.
        Made by Trickyboxes
        Halfrek gives Spike the curse that will change his entire life. Teenage Dirtbag

        Comment


        • #5
          Awesome review, King of Cretins! Way to start the notes off with a bang! I love the chew toy/chihwawa/rottweiler spectrum of B/W/X. Hee! WSWB is my favorite season opener. It's actually my favorite Buffyverse opener by a lot- with Deep Down in a distant second place. Since King handed out acting badges for tiny moments, I LOVE ASH's delivery on, "Oh, I don't know. I mean, (chuckles) I've killed you once, it shouldn't be too difficult to do it again." He delivers the vicious line with such milder-mannered, civilized Gilesesque charm- but with a VERRRY subtle current of menace underneath for anyone really paying attention for it to mirror how Giles's face is just a mask for The Master in the dream.

          Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
          It's the same reason she tries to hurt Angel. Much like Giles, Angel has been a pretty instrumental force in pushing Buffy towards her duties.
          Giles and Angel are quite mirrored in this ep, aren't they? Buffy rode them both hard over their counsel/intelligence or lack of thereof. She punished them for not being up to the snuff of their particular Choseny supernatural roles in her fight- while she leans to pushing out civilian Xander and Willow entirely. When she gets back to her old self, she chooses Angel as her guy to cry into and Giles as her counselor on how to apologize to Xander and Willow and relies on these older guys to get her into the headspace of interacting with her friends. Heck, Dream!Giles *was* a vampire. It's interesting to consider when Angel will do his level best to destroy Giles this season. At this point, Giles has a firm toe-hold in Buffy's life whether she likes him or not. She has to work with him since he's her Watcher and has all of the books and languages. Even if Buffy resists falling in love with Angel out of hostility and guardedness, Angel has all of the powers of obsession with Buffy, a need to redeem himself and do *something* and super-strength and underground information. Moreover, Hank left Buffy with such Daddy-issues that she may pout and yell at Giles and Angel- but she'd never *definitively push them away*.

          By contrast, especially at this point, the Buffy/Willow/Xander connection is built entirely on those three loving each other. Aside from Willow's computer skills, Willow and Xander don't come in with special skills or Choseny destinies that DEMAND Buffy's cooperation. Willow and Xander fell HARD for Buffy- but it wasn't skidded by the fact that she's their slayer piece of their Watcher destiny or the blonde shiny symbol of their redemption. It means that the B/W/X is the most fragile of the major Buffy-relationships. Unless B/W/X is committed to this Trio out of love above anything else that may get in the way from crush-jealousies to indolence about the slaying mission, it'll collapse into nothingness. However since B/W/X is undiluted human love and connection above all else with no destiny-agendas, it's crucial and this ep paints it as the final puzzle piece of Buffy healing from last year's trauma.

          Normally, I LOVE THE XANDER but I actually have big-ass issues with him in this ep. Although, it's issues along the lines of King of Cretin's praise that this ep has such a layered, complicated Xander. In this ep, Xander is a d*ck, he's compassionate, he's down to earth, he's melodramatic, he's powerful, he's vulnerable- he's All Temperature Xander! Xander displays the same inclinations that I critiqued in Prophecy Girl- he gets tunnel-visioned about singular objects of his feelings to the point of extreme thoughtlessness to everyone else- but in this ep, they flip between Buffy and Willow.

          In the opening he was so obsessed with having Buffy back, this happened:

          BUFFY
          So, how did you guys fare? Did you have any fun without me?

          XANDER (at the same time)
          No.

          WILLOW
          Yes.
          I can understand Xander just not being into Willow romantically. However he goes a step beyond that and takes Willow so much for granted as a friend, that he feels at liberty to piss all over their shared times and Willow's feelings and act like being with her is a drag right in front of Willow. It's a continuation of Xander not just practicing asking out Buffy on Willow but having to add, "There's never been anyone else but you"- pissing all over the Xander/Willow friendship.

          However the pendulum can swing the other way:

          XANDER
          If they hurt Willow I'm gonna kill you.
          On one hand, this instance shows that when it's dire, it *can* hit Xander how much Willow means to him. However, Buffy didn't deserve a death threat for making a mere error in judgment that she was clearly already regretting and panicking over, even if it was an error in judgment that came from a snit (that came from genuine trauma). Realllly dark moment for Xander.

          The irony here is that Xander REALLY cares about both Buffy and Willow. Hence, how either of them can become his tunnel-visioned obsession. However, he has trouble expressing both strong feelings of love at the same time. It contributes to a dynamic where Willow thinks that she's not important to Xander, so much as a place-holder for the time that Xander would rather be spending with Buffy or Insert Pretty Girl Stranger Here. It adds fuel to Buffy's deepest, darkest dreams where Xander and Willow may hang out with her- but when the going gets tough, they'll lean on their old childhood connection and leave her out to dry. It causes quite a bit of sympathies to AGAIN revert to Xander because B/W are SO important to him- they have the power to make him this mean tunnel-visioned guy. However, he does such a piss poor job of expressing that he cares about both of them at the same time that he gives Buffy and Willow reasons to emotionally withdraw from him.

          On another note, I'm unsure how much of a point Buffy had on taking Giles to task for the Master's crew resurrecting the Master. On one hand, I don't hold it against Giles for not knowing that the Master was dug up just last night. On the other hand, Giles clearly knew that resurrecting the Master was a risk and he appeared to just douse the ground with Holy Water (and presumably consecrate the ground to make the Holy Water's effect stay even if it was evaporated). Pretty weak. It was only even a *little* impediment because the stupid Masterless minion vamps didn't bring enough shovels. And even then, it didn't seem like very strong Holy Water. It just caused itty-bitty smoke effects and a whole lotta whining from the vamps. Giles couldn't have burned the bones into ashes with fire or conventional magic? Or smashed them into dust like Buffy did at the end of the ep? Or scattered the bones/ashes in undisclosed places?

          Plus with the Giles/Angel mirroring, Buffy was harsh and mean in how she expressed her emotions but Angel *is* kind of a stalker who doesn't respect Buffy's privacy and wishes. Giles *is* kind of a space-cadet as a Watcher. Buffy didn't just pick these gripes out of the clear blue sky- she's just usually too nice to harp on them but on these days, she's feeling just mean about them to have zero mercy in how she rubs it in Angel's and Giles's faces.

          I even get Buffy's frustration that Willow and Xander don't have to put their lives down- but suddenly they're part of the gang when there's conflict and palace intrigue afoot! I detest people who are full of advice and counsel but don't pull their weight when it comes time to actually *do* stuff. However, I think it's much less understandable than Buffy's gripes with Angel and Giles. Xander and Willow are in a position where their yak-yak about slaying sometimes comes out more than the actual slaying because they're not slayers. Even though, they try very hard to fight out of their weight class and in Willow's eventual case, move up a bunch of supernatural weight classes to help more.

          Even in Buffy's purely angry mood, Buffy is torn by The Facts of Life with her friends. She resents them for not having to lay down their lives. However, she's angry about being indebted to Xander and him saving her life and she lays down a gauntlet in the library that they just get in the way of her fighting and can't join her in combat. Buffy does a push and pull where she resents Xander and Willow for not having all of her violent, deadly burdens- but she also understands that they don't have the healing and strength to cope with everything that Buffy copes with on the field.

          Then, Buffy also resents Xander and Willow for pushing themselves more onto the field because Buffy doesn't want to babysit them or cope with the guilt of losing them or losing a serious mission on account of babysitting them. But when they don't push their way into Buffy's life of dangerous burdens and prophecy deaths (even though a prophecy will never be written about them because they're not Choseny), they're the grinning a*sholes who cheerfully watch Buffy die in her nightmares. No one is winning here.

          Though, Willow actually believes that Buffy may have legitimate reasons to end their friendship even Buffy had been acting like a b-i-t-c-h. Buffy was very vulnerable and unsure about whether Xander and Willow would take her back at the end. Willow was vulnerable and unsure over whether Buffy would want to be their friend again and it comes out in how Willow asks "Saved you a seat" and her grin of relief when Buffy banters back with them. IMO, Buffy's "grow up" and "little less civilians" rebuke stung Willow because Willow thinks there's truth to both and it's cause for Buffy to dump her as a friend even if Buffy has gotten back to being the swoop in the save day heroine who falls into swoony Angel's arms to cry because Buffy has big time legitimate pain. IMO, Xander is the only one of the three in the last scene that is confident that he and Willow want to be Buffy's friend and Buffy's contrite over her behavior and still wants to be their friend and they can all put it behind them so he led the reconciliation.
          Last edited by Dipstick; 21-04-14, 09:07 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Fantastic analysis so far.

            My comments are brief.

            I love the symetry of the opening epi of 2 and the finale: here Buffy arrived back to Sunnydale from LA and finds it very hard to express her feelings to her friends. In Becoming 2 Buffy leaves for LA because she finds it very hard to express her feelings to her friends.

            I know that some fans believe the rift between the Scoobs in the later seasons sort of came out of the blue but in WSWB we can see the roots of the problems with communicating the Scoobs had/have.

            Xander's harsh words to Buffy that he will kill her if anything happens to Willow underscore just how much Xan loves Willow, even if he's not sure what kind of love he has for her yet, but it also highlights how much Xander needed Buffy to be on a pedastal. He was partly angry at Buffy because she wasn't living up to his, at that time, image of a hero.

            Imo, this is a terrific epi, my second favorite after Bargaining, like Vamps.
            sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              Great post King. I'd probably go for Bargaining as the best start to a season but WSWB certainly is up there with Deep Down as clearly the best of the others. Loads has already been covered by everyone more clearly than I could manage. I really enjoy the foreshadowing in this episode for the season ahead and at a stretch can draw a smile at Snyder talking about students destroying everything in their desire to exist when the school doesn't fair too well from the students fighting to survive in S3!!

              The episode covers a lot of ground for Buffy. Her anger at her duty and her lack of a right to live her life is shown so very well. The whole scene of the dance does it more than any other single moment for me in showing the fury that she has of the expectations on her. The unfairness that she should even have the sense of feeling that she should say thank you for being brought back to deal with the trauma of what happened and then be back in a world she has to fight and sacrifice herself for. Of course she doesn't appreciate this the second time around either when she is resurrected but the two feel similar but with different underlying tones to them. Then it is more about losing a sense of completion. Here she is back to facing her fears and resenting the stress/pressure of her daily existence. She is fighting the fight itself rather than being dragged down by it and it creates this ball of indignation. As has been noted, she is struggling with feeling Giles is sending her to her death and Xander/Willow are simply watching. But she doesn't have it easy, her life isn't fair. Heck, even the return to school as described by Snyder fits more to Giles' reality with him seeing Jenny and flirting than what Buffy feels and gets to experience. Her love interest is intense, a little creepy and something she feels she has to fight against at this point.

              I find it hard not to be mightily judgemental with Buffy at how far she takes her anger during the dance at the Bronze. It is such a cruel course of action against all those there who care about her. It is done for maximum all round hurt and I think rather than there being the potential that it is real to any of the three it hits (X/W/A), it is actually about them knowing damn well that it isn't real and, as such, is about her not caring about the hurt that her actions will have on their feelings. I do find Buffy hard to like sometimes and this is definitely one of those times. But I remind myself that she has gone through something appalling that haunts her and it isn't like she gets to deal with it as an isolated event. The threats will come for her again and again until she falls. The reality of her duty after S1 should/does hit her viciously and it was important for the depth of, and for belief in, the character that they showed this. So I adore that the episode ends with Xander and Willow showing her that they are able to put it aside. She is lucky to have them.

              The storyline with The Master runs neatly from Nightmares to Prophecy Girl and then now into the fallout in WSWB. And we are back to fears and how they affect you. Angel pins it down when warning her to not underestimate The Anointed One because he has power over the others. Like her life there is an acceptance she has to find in the risks and expectations but, to a degree, she is the master of how this pulls her down or has her waging an internal battle as she is in this episode. We are back to the words of The Master from Nightmares
              But fear is in the mind. (puts his hand on the cross and holds on while it burns) Like pain. It can be controlled. (lets go) If I can face my fear, it cannot master me.
              The Anointed One has power because he is feared, revered and it is given to him (until someone comes who breaks the mold ). Buffy has to take control back from the fear that her life as a slayer, a life that can be prophecised about and a life that can be brutally taken has caused. She is angry at those that encourage her to remember her duty (Giles/Angel), those that don't fight it (Xander/Willow) and those that need her to do it (Cordelia).

              This episode really did remind me that I do like BtVS Cordelia. No CC is not my favourite actress by a long shot, but I think she was pitched at the right level in BtVS (as opposed to trying to pull off the leading lady in AtS). I love her confrontation with Buffy outside the bronze because, as overly simplified as it is, it does get down to the nitty gritty of it all. Buffy does need to figure out how to get over it and it feels like Cordelia is really her inner voice here and it is really to her credit that she walks out and speaks to her about what she has witnessed. A cracking Cordelia moment, possibly my favourite of hers in fact.

              I like the way Hank and Joyce represent Buffy's displacement because of her calling. They are there as part of a life that is Buffy's but is so external to her reality that their conversation bears little factual accuracy. Hank makes a comment of saving Joyce from the back-to-school clothing nightmare because that is the truth of one of the things to manage that may have been playing on her mind. Not quite the level of nightmares that her daughter deals with and not one that she even had to face in fact. These levels of concerns are on a whole subterranean level compared to Buffy's life. Hank just covered it for Joyce, it was no big, clothing bought. Hank comments that he felt like he knew how to handle Buffy better when she was burning stuff, he knew what to say and yet we know that they had no understanding of what was really happening then either. So this is Joyce's world where she struggles to understand Buffy, she can't get her to talk to her about what is wrong so she is guessing but the end result is that she will be happy if Buffy makes it through the year (which of course she won't). Her daughter just died and she doesn't even know about it. That is a pretty horrific reality, but she is clueless and really she won't press or guess at the problems but focus on wanting Buffy to show that she is fitting in, doing what she should, getting her grades, getting through the year and those will be her markers that everything is fine even if she doesn't 'get' her.

              A final little aside, I adore Snyder as a side character and AS plays so well against ASH. I love this for the accuracy and humour...
              Snyder: There're some things I can just smell. It's like a sixth sense.

              Giles: No, actually that would be one of the five.

              Snyder: That Summers girl. I smell trouble. I smell expulsion, and just
              the faintest aroma of jail.

              Comment


              • #8
                Crap, I forgot all about Hank and Joyce. The show was much more adult and realistic when Hank was allowed to be a decent human being, and that scene between the divorced parents is the proof. Didn't need to even see him around again, what they did to him in exposition was a crime.

                I really don't see what's hurtful to Angel or Willow about watching Buffy dance up on Xander like she's about to drag him into the ladies room unless it's operating on their own insecurities that she could actually go that direction. Without that, it's them being hurt by... what? Her embarrassing and mocking Xander? Her embarrassing herself? The former, Angel at least, would not give a hot damn, and the latter... that doesn't hurt nearly as bad for either of them. She's showing Angel what choosing another man over him looks like, showing Willow that Xander is all hers if she wants him, and showing Xander what he can want but not have. She even pairs it with telling Angel they aren't a thing, and by making a big point of luring Xander out right in front of Willow. That's the three-hit combo going on there, those are the most (cry your pardon) cruel intentions she can have in that scene.

                That Cordy would follow Buffy out does say a lot about Cordy... either she cares more about Buffy already than she wants to admit or she's actually offended on Willow's and Xander's behalves. I almost feel like watching this (and I've watched ahead a couple eps) that if you were giving Charisma/Cordelia the little piece of paper with her character's "secret" on it at the start of the season it's that... she actually has grown really fond of the gang. Her first scene in the hallway she's just being genuinely social, even if she's 'tuding it up a smidge, and Buffy absolutely shuts her down ("... a little too good"). Then she holds a one woman intervention as Buffy threatens to break up her circle of friends. Cordy loves the Scoobies, like Anya loves humans.

                EDIT: Reddy's point about Xander not knowing how he feels about Willow is a good one... one wonders what would have been different had that vampire not shown up at all that night. Xander and Willow would have kissed, maybe even a nice make-out in the park there, and that's how Buffy would have spotted them undoubtedly. Pretty interesting to contemplate how the social dynamics might have shifted around that axis.
                Last edited by KingofCretins; 22-04-14, 02:35 AM.
                sigpic
                Banner by LRae12

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                  I really don't see what's hurtful to Angel or Willow about watching Buffy dance up on Xander like she's about to drag him into the ladies room unless it's operating on their own insecurities that she could actually go that direction. Without that, it's them being hurt by... what? Her embarrassing and mocking Xander? Her embarrassing herself? The former, Angel at least, would not give a hot damn, and the latter... that doesn't hurt nearly as bad for either of them. She's showing Angel what choosing another man over him looks like, showing Willow that Xander is all hers if she wants him, and showing Xander what he can want but not have. She even pairs it with telling Angel they aren't a thing, and by making a big point of luring Xander out right in front of Willow. That's the three-hit combo going on there, those are the most (cry your pardon) cruel intentions she can have in that scene.
                  It doesn't require it to be Xander for Angel to be bothered. He is just upset seeing that she can have simply got over him and is happy grinding up against someone else in front of him and is willing to hurt him doing so. It is hurtful to Willow that she would use Xander specifically to flaunt/tease/flirt with when she absolutely isn't interested in him and wouldn't actually bother with him because it totally disrespects Willow's feelings. Equally it is hurtful to Xander to be teased when he knows that she has rejected him and doesn't actually want him so is being callous that this would be almost mocking his interest in her as well as the friendship they have. They can all believe totally that she is doing it to make a point and it be hurtful that she is doing that to them and using their feelings like that, as a weapon against them. They don't have to feel it is real and it would be less hurtful if she genuinely was interested.
                  Last edited by Stoney; 22-04-14, 03:39 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just diametrically disagree on that Someone I'm into as either the dancer or the dancee in that situation... it's just a eyerolling joke if I know it's just a performance, just artifice. Real suffering comes from feeling like it's not only a real possibility but that's it happening right in front of me, like that guy in "Minority Report" whose wife and her lover fall into bed not realizing he was sitting on the floor beside it -- except for how much worse it would be if they did know and did it anyway. And not to bury the lede, but Angel manifestly was jealous of the B/X of things after-and-because of that display, whether he blows off his vexation by dismissing Xander as "just a kid".

                    Of course, as I discussed, the episode itself plays around with screwy logic of it because of the cafeteria scene that follows and Willow in particular -- who since certainly as far back as "The Pack" has had this fatalism about Xander's interest in Buffy (her mindset seems such that, even while Buffy says Xander needs to wake up and smell the hottie that is Willow, Willow's attraction to Xander is the sort of thing that she figures Buffy could "wake up and smell" at any point, even while Buffy and she would both say he had no chance -- ack, skipping ahead again there, that's 2.04, but, coming after Buffy sandblasting Xander's feelings for her that might have been the point at which Willow really did start to believe it inside, that she wasn't going to "lose" him to Buffy at some unannounced future date). I will touch upon the Buffy/Xander relationship quite a bit during this season's discussion because this is the season, apart from 8 and briefly in 7, it really seemed like there was an intention by the authors to set the stage even if it wasn't ultimately followed through.
                    sigpic
                    Banner by LRae12

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                      Just diametrically disagree on that Someone I'm into as either the dancer or the dancee in that situation... it's just a eyerolling joke if I know it's just a performance, just artifice. Real suffering comes from feeling like it's not only a real possibility but that's it happening right in front of me, like that guy in "Minority Report" whose wife and her lover fall into bed not realizing he was sitting on the floor beside it -- except for how much worse it would be if they did know and did it anyway. And not to bury the lede, but Angel manifestly was jealous of the B/X of things after-and-because of that display, whether he blows off his vexation by dismissing Xander as "just a kid".
                      Well Angel's ongoing jealousy doesn't require Buffy to be interested it just requires someone who is interested in her to be an accepted and important part of her close group of friends. Territory and all that. He doesn't need to think she might date Xander to not want him around her showing an interest.

                      Anyway, as far as the dance is concerned for Angel it is the display of 'I am over you and moving on'. He doesn't have to believe that she is going to drag that guy home (or to the ladies if you prefer, yuk), just that she is showing him she doesn't care and doesn't care if he sees her flirting/playing the game. That doesn't make it an eye rolling joke and performance that she is giving a display and example of how little she cares what he thinks and feels. But for Xander and Willow the hurtfulness I personally think is greatly increased by her disregard for their emotions/friendship by doing something that they both know is meant to hurt them and that is the pure purpose of it. The cafeteria scene follows.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with King of Cretins that the power of the dance is that Angel and Willow think there's a possibility that Buffy could choose Xander in the future. Not so much because of anything that *Buffy* has done. Buffy hasn't really signaled that she wants to date Xander. However, Angel and Willow have their own reasons to assume that Buffy will one day realize that Xander is her guy. For one, Willow is pretty smitten with Xander and believes that he has a pretty universal appeal because he's sweet and brave and funny, you know if you go for that kind of stuff. </Fred voice> Moreover, Buffy seems to have decided that she can't date a normal guy whose out the slaying life and she's dragging her feet about dating Angel since Angel is a vampire. That adds more fuel for Willow to believe that at some point, Buffy could be lonely but not resigned to a slayer dating a vampire and she'll go for Xander. Angel is painfully aware of his drawbacks as a suitor and he believes that Xander has more of what Buffy is/should be looking for. Even if Buffy can't date a normal guy who doesn't know about her line of work, Angel still can't quite believe that Buffy wants to give up on daytime dates or cuddle in with a body that has murdered millions of people. Xander is the guy who knows and fights along alongside Buffy, but can still be with Buffy in the daylight and share normal times together.

                        I agree with Stoney that the "spank your inner moppet" is arguably Cordelia's best scene in the 'verse. It is interesting how Cordelia basically did an about-face on the gang from reviling them in OOM,OOS to trying to break in and mediate their conflicts in WSWB- in just three eps. IMO, Cordelia can protest but she does value saving lives as this point and the Scoobies do that. Cordelia does think that Buffy is important because she's saved the world on occasion. Cordelia also seems a little touched and won over by how nice and helpful Willow's been- see Cordelia's uber-friendliness to Willow for helping hook up the dance's sound system. IMO, Cordelia realized that the unpopular kids *can* react like Marcie to her treatment so Cordelia was a little heartened by Willow reacting the other way and maybe even a little interested in killing some of her past bullying with some kindness to ensure that Willow doesn't have enough sour grapes to pull a Marcie in the future. And obviously, Cordelia doesn't know Angel but she does think that a guy that gorgeous and cool deserves respect and attention. Ironically, Cordelia's reasons for liking Xander aren't as clear- but they are developing a germinating heat based on their parrying.

                        Yet on the other side, I also think that Cordelia is drawn to DRAH-MAH and it's a big part of her Hero's Journey on BtVS and AtS. Cordelia likes to make a busy out of melodramatic conflicts and be the sassy talk-show host STAH in resolving those conflicts with snark, pointedness, and usually, a black and white stance because that lends itself to pointed snarkiness. Cordelia's not anxious yet to research or do the legwork in being a Scooby. In the next ep, she haughtily refused to go on the grave-robbing expedition or research. In the ep after when the Scoobies saved her life again, she whined and bitched about having to carve stakes for a few minutes. It takes until The Dark Age for Cordelia to proactively volunteer to work to help someone else (in that case, Giles). Cordelia is more interested in hopping into the verbal conflicts because that's where Cordelia eats, it's her place of business! </Josh Lyman voice> Actually, Cordelia would deserve a little bit of Buffy's "This is slayer stuff. Can we have just a little bit less from the civilians?" that Willow and Xander didn't deserve.

                        Moreover, Cordelia is competitive with Buffy. Hence the, "I'll just ask Angel if he'd like to dance". On one hand, Cordelia is starting to compete with Buffy on a battlefield of goodness- who treats their friends better and deals with their pain more effectively. That's progress for Cordelia. On the other hand, Cordelia is declaring victory on that front already because traumatized Buffy has been behaving meanly for a day. Plus, Cordelia is interested in melodramatic conflict so she can be the STAH of something interesting and juicy and sometimes salacious. However, Buffy by design, is the STAH of this series. A lot of Buffy v. Cordelia conflicts boil down to who's the real Leading Lady star- and Cordelia is still fighting that battle over on AtS. Buffy melodramatically reinforced her STAH position by strutting into the Bronze and having a show of 'tude of epic proportions and forcing Angel and Willow to watch and Xander to basically be a watchful participant. (I liked King calling it a "drop-the-mike bitchfest".) Cordelia tried to take the spotlight by being the sassy talk show host that convinces Buffy to stop being a jerk with Cordelia's attitude and wit. However, right at the end of Cordelia's speech, a vampire grabbed her to be a human sacrifice. And all members of the audience that ever read a novel or watched a movie or TV show knew that Buffy would eventually be one to save Cordelia. Because this is a show about heroism- and Buffy, the Heroine is the definitive and ultimate STAH.
                        Last edited by Dipstick; 22-04-14, 01:17 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Brief thoughts because I think you guys covered everything about this episode:

                          - S2 is probably the season when Xander starts showing signs of being attracted to Willow. One would argue that I Robot You Jane hinted to that attraction because Xander was jealous of Malcom, but I think he was mostly upset for Willow's sake and the loss of her devoted attention. This is the first time Xander starts flirting with Willow and those looks he gives her. Apparently not having Buffy around seems to have opened his eyes to notice the girl pining for him and the possibility of dating her. I believe Xander didn't know about Willow's feelings before The Pack, and without Buffy around, he probably started to consider going for it.

                          He leans in to kiss her, then he stops, he hesitates, and the extensive blinking is a sign of Uh-oh what the hell am I doing? He withdraws and Willow stares at him with confusion, why isn't he going for it? Xander stopped the kiss from happening before they noticed the vampire.

                          - Adding my voice to what King said about Buffy's parents. I really hated the direction they took with Hank after S2. I know it's easier bring down the angst and torture Buffy more if her father was a scum, but IMO that was just lazy writing.



                          Originally posted by Dipstick View Post
                          However, Buffy didn't deserve a death threat for making a mere error in judgment that she was clearly already regretting and panicking over, even if it was an error in judgment that came from a snit (that came from genuine trauma). Realllly dark moment for Xander.
                          Obviously the death threat wasn't solely about Buffy making a mistake in judgement, it came out in a burst of an anger that has been repressed for a while. Buffy's behavior after returning from LA was what triggered Xander's anger. He let her mean shots at him and the dance of cruelty slide even though they hurt, which was why having Willow kidnapped because Buffy prefered to act alone instead of listening to their warning the straw that broke the camel's back. I honestly don't think Xander's threat was in any way literal. I don't think he meant it or was being malice about it. He was just angry and snapped. That's it.
                          Made by Trickyboxes
                          Halfrek gives Spike the curse that will change his entire life. Teenage Dirtbag

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sosa lola View Post
                            Obviously the death threat wasn't solely about Buffy making a mistake in judgement, it came out in a burst of an anger that has been repressed for a while. Buffy's behavior after returning from LA was what triggered Xander's anger. He let her mean shots at him and the dance of cruelty slide even though they hurt, which was why having Willow kidnapped because Buffy prefered to act alone instead of listening to their warning the straw that broke the camel's back. I honestly don't think Xander's threat was in any way literal. I don't think he meant it or was being malice about it. He was just angry and snapped. That's it.
                            I agree that Xander's outburst was partly his anger over how Buffy had treated them since returning to LA and Xander had been holding it in but he exploded when Willow was kidnapped. That's why I said Buffy's error in judgment sprang from her snit which sprang from her trauma. I also don't think Xander would kill Buffy, if push came to shove. However, it *was* malicious and hurtful. Xander was making a point that *Willow* is his lifelong buddy and Buffy isn't, and therefore mistakes of Buffy's that land Willow in mortal peril deserve death threats. Xander had a little time from when the gang kidnapped the group from when Buffy arrived to think about what he was going to say to express his anger- and he chose "If they hurt Willow, I'm going to kill you". It was a blow designed to deliver the most hurt to Buffy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dipstick View Post
                              I agree with King of Cretins that the power of the dance is that Angel and Willow think there's a possibility that Buffy could choose Xander in the future. Not so much because of anything that *Buffy* has done. Buffy hasn't really signaled that she wants to date Xander. However, Angel and Willow have their own reasons to assume that Buffy will one day realize that Xander is her guy.
                              Potentially in the future isn't about then and there though and that is what I'm talking about. I don't think either of them think that she is going for it with Xander at that very point and I don't think Xander thinks that either. He looked pretty pissed off to me, fighting for control because her actions were arousing for him but he is pretty aware it isn't on a level so he is looking pretty tense at being played with. He is stood rigidly and is really rather unresponsive and I think that is because her behaviour is flooring him and because he doesn't take it at face value and not reacting is hard for him, basically he really doesn't know what to do. Both Willow/Xander have been witnessing and commenting on Buffy's odd attitude/behaviour so although Willow maybe thinks that Buffy might wake up to the perfection she sees in Xander in the future I don't think she fears it there and then. But she is very hurt that Buffy is a) using Xander's feelings and b) disregarding hers in this way to continue working out some of her issues that she isn't talking to them about. I was talking about the there and then feelings for them and I just don't think either of them really think at that point it is genuinely happening at all. The cafeteria scene I think makes that clear. Buffy is being an uberbitch and part of it being so callous is because it isn't genuine (regardless of what fears are being exposed, or played to), it is what makes it so cruel because it is just nasty/mean towards all those involved and is openly about hurting them with a really obvious disregard.

                              I think that Xander's threat to Buffy is about him getting to a breaking point as Sosa says. Even so it is out of line, unnecessarily aggressive and utter tripe anyway, well I don't believe him. So it's pretty nasty and just shows how pissed he is. Personally I was more distracted at the moment he was saying it by how unbelievable it was that the vamps wouldn't have just killed him and taken the others.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X