Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Thoughts on Season 2

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

  • Thoughts on Season 2

    As I have just started my re-watch of this season, I thought I'd start a new page to discuss. I put off starting because I've never been a fan of When She Was Bad. I feel for Buffy here, and understand all she went through last season has left its mark, but I don't like her very much. There is a melancholic pall over the episode that I find quite affecting and actually hard to watch.

    There are some great moments in the episode though, with all the characters being re-introduced. I especially love Snyder and Giles together and wish we'd seen more of that. Buffy's nightmare of The Master in Giles face attacking her is still shocking, as is 'that dance' with Xander.

    So many great episodes to look forward to this season, and some fun new characters in Spike , Dru and Oz

  • #2
    I agree. Buffy has a lot of pent-up and not-so-pent-up rage and resentment at her calling. She’s faced death and knows that is her lot, so she’s gone from avoiding that to experiencing it. That’s not necessarily going to make it easier for her.

    I loved Cordelia here, warning Buffy that being a bitch didn’t come naturally to her. That’s her POV, of course, and I think this episode reminds us that Buffy can be very mean-spirited. But also why she acts that way. As you say, Pricey, I found her hard to like but I could understand her reasons. It’s really well done and sets the template for a complex character development.
    You know what I am. You've always known. You come to me all the same.

    "There's a lot of comedy to be gotten from the world's doom spiral right now." Tracey Ullman, June 2018

    Comment


    • #3
      School Hard is the best of the first four episodes for me. Spike and Dru just add so much to the show, they are exciting to watch, funnier then the vamps we've seen so far, and they are a couple who seem to love each other. Angel's relationship with them, slowly built up over the first part of the season, is so well done and makes Angel a far more interesting character.

      Comment


      • #4
        Oh Pricey , I had such high hopes for us . Then you disrespected 'When she was Bad' .

        I love it so much , love the Whedonness of it all ...but then I do tend to enjoy the openers more than most folk .

        I actually like the darkness and the PTSD vibe , even if it is resolved a bit too readily .

        Xanders' 'well we could grind our enemies into talcum powder with a sledgehammer , but gosh , we did that last night ' at the end is one of my favourite moments of Scoobage . I love how BTVS will repeatedly use humour to normalize the daily horror of their lives . The interplay of light and dark is one of the things that fascinates me as a viewer.

        Snyder and Giles scene is a classic , really well done .

        I used to think that 'When She Was Bad' was the first truly great episode but to be honest I think Puppet Show , Angel , WTTH , and Prophesy Girl were all displaying this 'next level' quality that becomes the norm in season 2 .

        Easily a top 20 episode for me , possibly top 10 .

        If I had to find something to criticize it would be 'the sexy dance' . I hate how Buffy cant even dance with a bloke without it being a big thing .


        School Hard is of course , an awesome episode , easily makes my top ten , will have plenty to say about that later .

        Comment


        • #5
          Yes Spike and Dru are a really interesting addition generally. But really their relationship becomes far more so when the complication of Angel is fully realised when he returns to the mix and the cracks between Spike and Dru are seen, rapidly widen and the dynamic between Spike and Angel gets far more interesting too. So much of what comes in later seasons on BtVS and between Spike and Angel across in AtS either informs S2 in hindsight or understanding comes from it. Such key elements across the vamp relationships in the season.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Hunga Munga View Post
            Oh Pricey , I had such high hopes for us . Then you disrespected 'When she was Bad' .

            I love it so much , love the Whedonness of it all ...but then I do tend to enjoy the openers more than most folk .

            I actually like the darkness and the PTSD vibe , even if it is resolved a bit too readily .

            Xanders' 'well we could grind our enemies into talcum powder with a sledgehammer , but gosh , we did that last night ' at the end is one of my favourite moments of Scoobage . I love how BTVS will repeatedly use humour to normalize the daily horror of their lives . The interplay of light and dark is one of the things that fascinates me as a viewer.

            Snyder and Giles scene is a classic , really well done .

            I used to think that 'When She Was Bad' was the first truly great episode but to be honest I think Puppet Show , Angel , WTTH , and Prophesy Girl were all displaying this 'next level' quality that becomes the norm in season 2 .

            Easily a top 20 episode for me , possibly top 10 .

            If I had to find something to criticize it would be 'the sexy dance' . I hate how Buffy cant even dance with a bloke without it being a big thing .


            School Hard is of course , an awesome episode , easily makes my top ten , will have plenty to say about that later .
            I'm so sorry I've disappointed you @HungaMunga I agree, there is a lot to love in When She Was Bad, a hell of a lot, but the overall feel is so sad that I find it a difficult watch. I feel this is the episode that is preparing us the Buffy's future depression, a depression that started over the summer she spent with Hank in LA and that wouldn't fully lift for another five years, till she was staring into the Sunnydale crater. It's too much for me.

            I also love The Puppet Show, Prophecy Girl and Angel, and agree they are the level that Season 2 is aiming for.

            I find the sexy dance so difficult to watch. All the music in this episode is so downbeat and dreamlike and that affects how I feel about the dance. It's not really sexy, it's a cry for help (sorry Xan!) I hate to say this, but it doesn't help that Buffy is not a great dancer. She can never seem to let herself go enough to be a good dancer. (Strangely enough Faith is a fantastic dancer and I always put it down to their character traits showing up in dance rather than the abilities of the actors themselves to dance)
            Last edited by Priceless; 18-03-20, 06:43 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Stoney View Post
              Yes Spike and Dru are a really interesting addition generally. But really their relationship becomes far more so when the complication of Angel is fully realised when he returns to the mix and the cracks between Spike and Dru are seen, rapidly widen and the dynamic between Spike and Angel gets far more interesting too. So much of what comes in later seasons on BtVS and between Spike and Angel across in AtS either informs S2 in hindsight or understanding comes from it. Such key elements across the vamp relationships in the season.
              Very much agree Stoney and I am doing this re-watch alongside AtS when we get to Season 4, something I've never done before, and I'm sure that will highlight a lot of things for me.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well you could argue that the 'sexy dance' was the first bit of Xuffy foreshadowing that they never did anything with . I'd kinda glad Xuffy was never a thing . BTVS thrived on subversion of expectation and Xander 'getting the girl' would have been disloyal to the spirit of the 'verse , in my opinion .

                I do kinda groove on Xuffy as a fan , but as a viewer I'm glad they didn't go down that road .

                Comment


                • #9
                  Season 2 is my favourite season

                  Out of the first 4 episodes I really enjoy WSWB, Schoolhard and Inca Mummy Girl. I think Some Assembly Required has some great moments but it's definitely the weakest episode of the bunch IMO.

                  I guess my unpopular opinion would be that I consider Schoolhard somewhat overrated and Inca Mummy Girl very underrated. Which isn't say to say that Schoolhard isn't the stronger episode because it absolutely is but I do think Inca Mummy Girl is slept on as an episode and that it's a far stronger and enjoyable episode than people give it credit for. Whereas Schoolhard is good but in comparison to the S2's strongest episodes it's just a good but not particularly amazing episode.

                  I think WSWB is a very strong season opener (the cheesy vampires aside - remaining remnants of S1). I'm particularly fond of how it explores the resentment Buffy feels about her calling and more specifically towards her friends and how Buffy lashes out at her loved ones as a result of her PTSD. We saw glimpses of this in Prophecy Girl where on two occasions Buffy displayed annoyance or resentment towards Giles and the role he plays in her calling ("Giles, care! I'm putting my life on the line battling the evil undead"/ "Read me the signs! Tell me my fortune! You're so useful sitting here with all your books you're really a lot of help!") and in this episode Buffy dreams of Giles killing her as her friends sit idly by and do nothing ("I've killed you once it shouldn't be too hard for me to do it again"). Likewise, she lashes out at Angel for playing the role of Cryptic Guy and how it also encourages her to follow her calling and risk her life.

                  There's also some nifty foreshadowing to the season's arc throughout this episode. Buffy goads Angel into fighting her and speculates who would win if they had to ever come to blows, Buffy plays into the hands of the vampires and her friend's lives are jeopardised as a result, Synder expresses a desire to see Buffy in jail, and Joyce hopes that Buffy will make it through the school year. By the end of Becoming these will all have paid off in some way. Not to mention that this episode explores how Buffy copes with her own morality and the harsh reality of her calling and by season's end she'll stumble upon the body of her dead slayer sister.

                  This episode also touches on the different perspectives in the Buffy/Angel relationship and how Buffy/Angel and Buffy/Angelus are two sides of the same coin. Buffy calls Angel out on his stalking and Angel appears in Buffy's room as she's sleeping. Angel has the best intentions in this episode but in Passion we'll see how these kind of behaviours can have a much darker edge.

                  ​​​​​​
                  Originally posted by Hunga Munga View Post
                  I used to think that 'When She Was Bad' was the first truly great episode but to be honest I think Puppet Show , Angel , WTTH , and Prophesy Girl were all displaying this 'next level' quality that becomes the norm in season 2 .
                  Yep! I am always surprised when people say that WSWB (or even sometimes Schoolhard) are the first truly great episode of BtVS because, IMO, Prophecy Girl is not only just as good as them but way better!? Honestly, Prophecy Girl is a Top 10 episode for me of the whole series and I absolutely cherish it. It has some really iconic scenes/lines and some pretty breathtaking visuals.

                  I agree with you about Angel and WTTH as well. Unfortunately I find Sid the Dummy a little too cringey and silly to sit through so Puppet Show is not a personal fave but The Witch, The Pack and especially Out of Mind, Out of Sight are also all really solid MotW episodes IMO. The Amy/mother body swap is still legitimately one of the best twists the series ever did and Marcie is probably one of the most solid use of the show's metaphor/central theme.
                  "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I love WSWB

                    In part for the reasons vampmogs has so perfectly
                    explicated—

                    I part for the reasons Priceless does not: that it
                    makes her so uncomfortable...

                    As someone deeply obsessed with trauma, its works
                    brilliantly for me because trauma should make us, as
                    witnesses, uncomfortable—

                    The scene that haunts me most, aside from others
                    mentioned above, is the one at the Bronze, the point
                    at which the camera lingers on Willow's face, which
                    displays her agonized realization of how easily Buffy
                    could have Xander, have him not because she loves
                    him—this, painful as it would be, Willow would bear
                    out of her love for them both—but because she was
                    perversely moved to do so, to do so just because
                    she could—

                    And the fact that Buffy knows this, knows the cruelty
                    she is inflicting not just upon Angel and Xander but
                    Willow as well—

                    Willow, the one whose pain drew her to toss away
                    the chance at popularity, the one whose call drew
                    her to take up once again her calling—

                    That Buffy's trauma has ripped away that affective
                    relation as well—

                    This proves how far she has been ripped away
                    from all affective relations with the world, including
                    that of her calling—

                    Hence the mechanical way she approaches it in
                    the later scene in the library, an automatism that
                    puts those she loves in such dense danger—

                    Is it resolved too quickly—?

                    On a strictly clinical level, I suppose...

                    But as I have written elsewhere, death was not
                    Buffy's first trauma, and her ways of coping with
                    the earlier ones—those brought by her parents
                    and her calling itself—also kicks in here, brings
                    her back to an affective relation with the world,
                    with those she has held dear—

                    At the same time, I think that part of the symmetry
                    between this episode and Becoming I lies in the
                    way that this trauma—all her traumas—continues
                    to haunt, drives her to repeat, once she suffers
                    the loss of Angel's turning....

                    (The compulsion to repeat being one of the
                    effects of trauma... )


                    On other matters—

                    I agree with vampmogs, as well, about SH and
                    IMG in terms of the way they tend to be judged:

                    School Hard has brilliant moments: the introduction
                    of Spike and Drusilla, Spike stalking Buffy at
                    the Bronze, the scene of his self-introduction,
                    his threatening promise—

                    And it has some lovely ones, such as the final talk
                    between Buffy and Joyce, Spike's immolation of
                    The Annoying One (perhaps that just gives
                    broad relief)—

                    But I find the attack on the school a bit of a let-down...

                    IMG, on the other hand, has complexity woven within
                    the stereotypes and the cheese: seeing Xander find
                    himself desired; feeling for Willow as she lets him—and,
                    at least for a few days, her dream—go; watching the
                    hidden, unspeakable identification, sympathy, spark
                    between Buffy and Impata, all the more moving because
                    they cannot grasp how alike they are, cannot reveal
                    themselves to each other; witnessing Xander let go
                    of a woman who loves him, whom he could be in love
                    (were she not a murderous mummy), for the sake of Willow,
                    who also loves him, with whom he will never be in love,
                    intensely as he loves her—

                    And then, of course, Oz—

                    "Who's that girl.... The one in the eskimo suit—???"


                    Comment


                    • Andrew S.
                      Andrew S. commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Very well-said!

                  • #11
                    Thanks as ever for your thoughts, SoS. I've been following your writing since stumbling upon your comments on Sophist's blog years ago, during my first ever watch, and continuing through my lurking period here. Not an exaggeration to suggest that my (mostly metamodern) reading of the show springs more from your (network identity-based) one than from any other single source. I read Freud through Deleuze rather than Lacan, but that probably constitutes a generative divergence as opposed to a foreclosure. And we can cross that bridge later.

                    Given the current crisis, I've had an influx of free time and nowhere to go with it but online...high time to delurk and discuss rather than just siphon silently.

                    As someone deeply obsessed with trauma, [When She Was Bad] works
                    brilliantly for me because trauma should make us, as
                    witnesses, uncomfortable—
                    Point well-taken. I would go even deeper than this and suggest that a metamodern reading of BtVS, wherein a working synthesis between the three strata of the show (first, the most literal reading of a sharp-tounged ensemble show with a compelling set of characters; second, something like Sophist/manwitch's reading of it as a Buffy-centric modernist bildungsroman; and third, something like your reading of it as a relational-identity-based postmodernist fable), is not only possible but actively demanded of the viewer by the writers. Inherent to any metamodern reading is conflict, mutation, and -- discomfort with any stable system state. This discomfort does not form an (well, the) a priori assumption, but is itself a point of contestation.
                    This last point forms, I think, the point of divergence between postmodern and metamodern thinking (forgive my distaste for -isms).

                    (I am in the process of rereading Difference and Repetition in the original alongside this rewatch -- in many respects I see Deleuze as having prefigured core tenants of metamodern thinking in the book, although this statement is hugely controversial and of course demands more explication which will come hopefully with more time and energy. There is of course no other television show to date, Twin Peaks/The Return possibly excepting, that has engaged with this conceptual orientation to anywhere near the same degree as BtVS.

                    And, without WSWB at this vital juncture in the show's history to pull the rug out from under Buffy and the viewer, none of this line of thinking would be possible.)

                    That Buffy's trauma has ripped away that affective
                    relation as well—

                    This proves how far she has been ripped away
                    from all affective relations with the world, including
                    that of her calling—
                    At the same time, I think that part of the symmetry
                    between this episode and Becoming I lies in the
                    way that this trauma—all her traumas—continues
                    to haunt, drives her to repeat, once she suffers
                    the loss of Angel's turning....
                    What I find perhaps most compelling about WSWB in the scope of the series is that it lays the groundwork for a cold, detached, blunted affect that freezes over and blocks out connectivity. In this sense it's a) a red herring in the face of the rest of the season (minus the "Me." in Becoming II, of course), which drips with a warm, sensuous connective overflow, and b) a prefiguring of the thematic field of seasons 5-7. I am partial to the later seasons for a host of reasons, so it's striking to find season 6 basically prefigured in outline form in this stunning episode.

                    You have highlighted Buffy's haunting repetition -- rightly so -- but this crashes us into one of the primary disputes between Deleuze and Freud. Do we repeat trauma because we repress it? or repress because we repeat? Rest assured that I will be keeping this in mind throughout the rewatch.

                    Thanks also to Priceless and the rest, and forgive me for hijacking this thread. Eagerly awaiting what lies in front of us. Heartfelt thanks to everyone here for keeping this community thriving. May it continue to resist entropy.
                    Last edited by war and peaches; 02-04-20, 05:20 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Just made it to Becoming Pt 1. What does Angelus mean when he says 'I'll show you what I mean' and we go back to Galway to see how Liam became Angelus. Is this a deliberate breaking of the fourth wall? Who is he talking to in the voice over?

                      Edit - he talks to himself (or so it seems) in Passion, but I don't remember him speaking to the audience. Does he?

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                        Just made it to Becoming Pt 1. What does Angelus mean when he says 'I'll show you what I mean' and we go back to Galway to see how Liam became Angelus. Is this a deliberate breaking of the fourth wall? Who is he talking to in the voice over?

                        Edit - he talks to himself (or so it seems) in Passion, but I don't remember him speaking to the audience. Does he?
                        I've always seen it as him breaking the 4th wall. There's actually 2 versions of that scene - one with Whistler narrating and the other with Angelus.

                        The only others times I can recall the show breaking the 4th wall is Buffy staring straight the audience in OMWF and singing "and you can sing along" and Lorne talking to the audience directly in Spin the Bottle and commenting on the ad break - "They were some exciting products. You should go out and buy those."
                        "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by vampmogs View Post

                          I've always seen it as him breaking the 4th wall. There's actually 2 versions of that scene - one with Whistler narrating and the other with Angelus.

                          The only others times I can recall the show breaking the 4th wall is Buffy staring straight the audience in OMWF and singing "and you can sing along" and Lorne talking to the audience directly in Spin the Bottle and commenting on the ad break - "They were some exciting products. You should go out and buy those."
                          I didn't know there were two version of the scene. Personally I think it would have worked better with Whistler narrating at the start, as he's the one who narrates at the end. Do you know why they didn't use Whistler's narration throughout?

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Priceless View Post

                            I didn't know there were two version of the scene. Personally I think it would have worked better with Whistler narrating at the start, as he's the one who narrates at the end. Do you know why they didn't use Whistler's narration throughout?

                            To be honest, I'm not sure. It's possible they shared a similar opinion that it worked better for Whistler to narrate both the beginning and the end. I believe in the original broadcast it was Angel narrating and then when the repeat was aired it was changed to Whistler. I'm fairly certain the Australian DVD's have the Whistler version but I am not sure about other regions.

                            If you'd like to see it/hear it this link here is the HD version of the episode which has the Whistler voiceover. You don't need to download it you can play it directly from that site (this is from the HD Tumblr page and is entirely safe FYI);

                            ​​​​​​https://mega.nz/#!e9EAARKL!M8LY7SV9F...BxrNLTSwlYT0X8

                            It also contains the original "Previously On..." from the original broadcast which the DVD's didn't include as well.
                            "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina

                            Comment

                            Working...
                            X