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  • #46
    2.08 The Dark Age

    alley box.
    Her interjections at Giles around his assertions he didn't know why Philip Henry might have been contacting him and what the tattoo was really amused me. Big fan of Giles so yep, she's a big fan of this episode. I was surprised at how quickly she was expecting Jenny to shrug it off though, perhaps that's just her romantic side wanting to return to where they were fast, but so much worse is on it's way for them of course. I'll be really shocked if she isn't pretty emotional about what eventually happens here.

    Nothing expressed of feeling Giles' backstory doesn't meld with the person we initially met, so perhaps it all just made more sense to her straight up than it did for me. Her energy and excitement for this episode was fun to watch especially because it wasn't how I responded to it. Not that I dislike it, but as I've said before, the many sides of Giles took me some time to blend.

    She did like a lot of the same parts too, and I really liked her response to Ethan tattooing Buffy and liked seeing recognition for the plan to use Angel at the end and Willow's leadership which they obviously bring forward more this season too. Great fun to watch as always.


    failwhale34
    Intriguing that he is feeling that the episodes Joss wrote and directed, 1.12, 2.01, 2.07, really work together and this fits well alongside what alley box. was suggesting in her reaction to Lie to Me that the episode benefited from continuity between the writing and directing. I rarely pay attention to who wrote/directed the episodes so they are drawing my attention to aspects I often don't think about, which is great.

    He was so visibly caught up in the developments it was very enjoyable to watch. Plenty of appreciation here again.


    Liam Duke
    The effect of the past on the present is such a constant, great to see episodes that focus on this and I think I'll probably enjoy this episode more when I next rewatch it. Seeing the eps through first time viewing is definitely a great way to reconnect to some of the main positives of an episode and see some new ones.

    I had seen ties between Buffy's and Giles' paths in the season before, but Liam talking of how everyone has a dark side, the interactions between Buffy and Giles and also Jenny needing some time to recover from the experiences here brought to mind a connection to Giles' hidden and unexpected darkness, the references to his past acts/behaviour alongside what we heard from Angel about his in Lie to Me. With that inner darkness being something that pulls their relationships apart it just struck me as reflective of what comes with Angel and Buffy too.


    van
    I do enjoy how seriously she watches the show. Gotta love the acknowledgement and appreciation of Willow's smarts again.

    --

    It has definitely been enlightening to see the responses to Giles' backstory. failwhale referred to seeing him struggle with the conflict of old and new Giles (or something like that), but still seemed quite accepting of that difference and that quite a lot of what we're seeing is others coming to terms with the truth of it. It's an interesting way to view it.

    My appreciation of Ethan has been reignited by their responses somewhat too. I think I'd fallen to looking back on him as a far less interesting character than he is. So yeah, I got a lot out of watching these ones for an episode that I think had lessened more than it deserved in my memory.


    I keep wondering about trying one of Liam Catterson's reactions as he had a couple of recs on the general BtVS/AtS reactions thread. But at a glance, he tends to do 25-35min reactions which I just can't easily add on without ditching someone else, which I don't want to do. I might add him in on key or random episodes if I have an extra half hour.

    If anyone wants to add in any other S2 reactions they've seen/are watching please do. It doesn't have to be the same episode I'm on or commenting on the same reactors. Any S2 reactions are welcome. Either for responses to them or just as pure recs, it doesn't matter what.

    Comment


    • #47
      2.09 What's My Line pt1

      alley box.
      Really like the interest in Angel's past, that's going to pay off.

      Very amused by how confused Kendra's entrance left her. Interesting she felt the episode was slow and it might be because it's a two part, but I don't remember ever feeling that. But then I wasn't confused about Dru's illness. She obviously missed/forgot the original comments about Prague. As she later says, a lot is about setting up for what else is to come.

      Hoorah for Willow and Oz finally being in the same place and for alley box.'s increased liking of Xander and enjoyment of his humour and interactions with Cordelia. I think she'll really like them together.

      I wish she'd expanded on what amused her so much about the ice skating scene. I can see that it does feel a little out of place and could perhaps be viewed as being a bit corny, but it works well in an episode that is touching on Buffy's sense of a restricted life and in how Angel is bridging that somewhat for her. I'll be very intrigued to see how the others found that scene.

      Anyway, Kendra's accent aside, I forgot how good this episode is.


      failwhale34
      The plotline and consideration being given to Buffy's underlying response to being the slayer and the effects and restrictions of this appealing to him isn't surprising really. Again it's the more complex character aspects which are drawing him in. Great observations around how they build up an overall picture of how she's responding to the pressure of her role.

      Well he talked about skiing mostly when the ice skating scene was up, but nothing really said against it. Loved how floored he was by the cliff hanger with Kendra.


      Liam Duke
      No shock he liked seeing Willow and Oz share a moment.

      Another who chatted through the ice skating. He did say he liked the skating itself, his criticism was really about the fight. (Oh and joking sick sounds at the kissing. ) Taken well enough with the episode generally, but not with the Order of Taraka. Good idea but not enamoured with the execution it seemed. A perspective I do relate to. I suppose the fight choreography at the ice rink was probably very limited practically/for safety.

      I've been surprised by the repeated speculation I've heard whether the cure for Dru would fix her madness/strangeness as I can't remember ever assuming it was something beyond what they were portraying of her as being physically weak.

      Plenty of acknowledgement for the theme of Buffy dealing with the idea of a normal life, and appreciation for seeing her feeling some vulnerability again too. He's very much aware of it setting up a lot to come in the second part and I liked hearing about his recognition of the varying episode styles within the structure of the season that run along with the overall theme too. There was a touch of sarcastic snippyness again when referring to this within the modern Dr Who structuring in accepting that Buffy may well have done it all first and have been the first for everything, that he doesn't need telling. Genuinely couldn't tell if that was supposed to have just been lighthearted, it didn't sound it.

      Again, totally floored by the ending which keeps proving fun to see the literal visual of.



      van
      Her surprise at the end that the episode was actually over was great too. Goosebumps and tearing up moments included for her and she did seem to really love the ice skating scene (but I think she's the strongest shipper of Buffy/Angel, so that made sense). Yeah she was really caught up in the ep.

      --

      I've got quite a lot to do over the next few days/week in watching Wentworth, Lovecraft Country, Sleeper and some work towards the tech side of the site so I'm not sure when I'll get time to continue with these in the next few days. As I'm mostly on my own with it I don't suppose it matters, but I'll try to fit them in around other things if I can because I do find them quite addictive and the season is building up!

      Comment


      • #48
        2.10 What's My Line pt2

        alley box.
        A bit shocked by the vamp family tensions then, and not so enamoured with the possible development of Xander/Cordelia if, "Oh God, why!?" is anything to go by. She's let's say, not sure, curious at best, but feeling that it could be a joke. So just kinda bemused possibly at the moment.

        Having wanted some more information about Angel's past I'm glad that she found the Angel/Dru scenes so interesting. Very pleased about the Willow/Oz and Buffy aspects across the two eps too and appreciating the build up of the two together.

        Her positivity about Kendra was great and the interactions between her and Buffy. I can't believe I've not heard anyone mention Kendra's accent so far. It's fab how Kendra's inclusion has raised lots of questions for her about the slayer mythology.


        failwhale34
        A lot of amusement and enjoyment from him over Xander and Cordelia, his reaction to that was classic. Just so great. Appreciation for the bug callback too, moments that acknowledge their own histories together are always nice inclusions. I really liked his response to Patrice as well.

        Again the more character complex notes hit him more and the Buffy/Kendra aspects really worked for him and his thoughts on that were solid alongside his comments on the repeated focus on relationships. And his wtf moments that caught his attention through the two parter as well were great. Intriguing that he's still thinking on Willow and Xander's near kiss at the start of the season too.

        Again directing choices stood out to him and this is becoming a repeated area I'm really enjoying hearing how others respond to. You can tell how much he enjoyed the these two episodes by the thoughts it provoked I think.


        van
        She's always seemed so invested in the Bangel storyline it perhaps isn't surprising the Willow/Oz and Xander/Cordelia aspects drew out direct comments. Romantic relationships seem to appeal. Her response to Dru from the ending was an interesting one. But my favourite part has to be her eye roll at Willy's nude photo question, that was such a classic.


        Liam Duke
        I was really entertained that it wasn't just the implied past sexual relationship between Angel and Dru and wanting to cast his eyes from Dru's torture of Angel that he was most visibly taken aback and seemingly a little 'ugh' about. Nope. He reacted very similarly also to Xander/Cordelia. I'm very interested to see his ongoing response to these two. He isn't closed off to it, even if it was something that really surprised him.

        Are we surprised by the Willow/Oz love though?? No, we are not. By the intensity expressed about it? Perhaps a little about that.

        Ah, he's hoping to see Angel as he used to be. Okay, we'll see what we can do about that.

        --

        I really like how much appreciation there is for Kendra and the interactions and contrasts between her and Buffy and how that works alongside Buffy's worries about her life/slaying balance. It has made me think more about the variations between all three slayers, Buffy, Kendra and Faith, and how their varying personalities and reactions to the responsibility and pressure reflect on each other. So again, the reactions have prompted other thoughts about the show, which I'm really enjoying about watching them.

        And much to my surprise, at least on the YouTube reactions, there were no comments on Kendra's terrible accent. Zero. Genuinely really very surprised by that. But Liam did seem to raise an eyebrow at Buffy mimicking Kendra's accent to her at one point, which I'd never really thought much of but isn't great. It's a good example of something that you probably wouldn't find written in a show like that any more.

        Comment


        • #49
          2.11 Ted

          alley box.
          Love how much she enjoyed this as it's one of my favourites. Hearing why she felt this was an episode that proved why there is so much hype about the show made me very happy. The blending of the show's context with real life issues is great in Ted.

          When she said early on that she felt like the episode had a weird tone and didn't feel like Buffy I was intrigued. I thought it was probably a deliberate aspect around the point when Buffy has 'killed' Ted that they use to emphasise that it feels different to Buffy. A real crime she is having to face having committed. (As an aside, it would be interesting to compare the tone to Dead Things in her response, and similarly to when she goes to talk to Faith about killing the deputy mayor.) But by the end of the episode when alley box. has seen how they mixed what was happening for Buffy with an eventual verse monster of the week aspect, she loved it and was talking about the episode's distinguishing feature being the atmosphere. It's similar to what they do in The Body I suppose, except that of course doesn't ease because facing the reality of death there is the point. I love how her responses are making me compare and contrast across the show in different ways.

          When she remarked on Xander's wish for Ted to be his dad and Giles as a father figure to Buffy it really illustrated to me how well some very relatable aspects are woven in to the show constantly because we get to know so much about these characters and all the influences in their lives. The same applied to her observations after finishing the ep about Jenny and Giles' initial interactions. Seeing someone starting to build this level of character knowledge and interaction with the show is really, truly great.

          Her points at the end about the camera work, particularly in the scene where Buffy tries to tell Joyce about Ted threatening her, and how different shots are used to indicate the relationship dynamics was honestly really very interesting too.

          These vids are too addictive!


          failwhale34
          His building reaction to Ted leading into Buffy's fight with him and how he responds from the moment Ted hits her through to his fall down the stairs is just fabulous to watch.

          Now for contrast you have someone that adored the exploration of the morality and emotions, Buffy's and Joyce's responses, what we saw of Jenny and Giles and then felt the twists that brought it back to being a monster of the week through Ted being a robot, let down the heavy hitting themes and issues that preceded it a little. But he still felt it was one of the best, the concepts and performance really appreciated.

          It'll be great to see him watch The Body. Arrgh, that's so far away!


          van
          Good instincts with this episode in wondering if Ted was a robot when his colleague said he was a machine.

          I was surprised at how harsh she was towards Joyce at the end. I used to be hyper critical of Joyce's parenting in the early seasons. Of course in showing her disbelief it is exploring the issues when children aren't believed by the authority figures they turn to, but the episode lays out that Ted was chemically affecting Joyce's judgement here, so it feels harsh to hold it against her in this one.


          Liam Duke
          "Humans are the real monsters?" Sometimes. Including your cinnamon roll. It'll be very interesting to see how he responds to S6, but again that's a long way off.

          Alongside Cordelia growing on him I think it'll help to build into him quite liking Xander/Cordelia. But he's going to be totally broken by Giles/Jenny. "They're going to be alright." Sadly, only briefly.

          Totally with him on the 'daddy' comment it is very ew. It was ew when Spike said it to Dru in Halloween and it's 'ew' now also.

          Another enjoying the episode and themes generally but feeling that the robot reveal actually spoiled it a little. I think it works well still within the context of the show and how they mix real challenges with the supernatural and them being something you can fight and work through. It is an episode I really love but I think it was one that actually I liked more on rewatch. There are some experiences Buffy has which impact her and have very traumatic effects that continue through the series, but I think on a rewatch you appreciate why this had to be more easy to overcome perhaps and just be used against season related themes rather than more, which it obviously could have been if there hadn't been the twist. I don't remember for sure, but I think I did lean as well towards the robot reveal being a disappointment the first time I watched it and then not feeling that subsequently.

          --

          We're getting close to a lot of the big moments of S2 which I'm really excited to see their responses too. But first there is Bad Eggs to get through.

          Comment


          • #50
            2.12 Bag Eggs

            alley box.
            Her response when the egg hatches is just so funny.

            She's so bemused by the concept of the episode, which I find surprising as the theme is so heavily based on such an obvious element of growing up. I can certainly understand feeling somewhat let down by it following the two parts of What's My Line and Ted though, it's not the best. Good to find it at least funny and entertaining, but there are some interesting themes in there. To be honest, it came across like it being about sex education at the base level made her feel awkward. That could be a total misread of course.

            Some of the value though comes in how this episode fits with what follows and in paving towards that, and she was seeing some of the messages that are part of that. So it does improve when you can see in hindsight how it fitted into a complete wider picture. A little anyway.

            Her wish for Joyce to just be told is at least going to come to fruition.


            failwhale34
            His response to Buffy and Angel, finding humour in how they are behaving and also seeing it as being somewhat 'crazy' when Buffy is talking of only seeing Angel in her future, I think is pretty typical of an adult view on intense teen romances. His response actually illustrates a part of what the episode covers for how easy it is to dismiss teenage romances for being mindless responses to hormones, even when there are potential consequences to where it can go. The teenage lust is obviously underlined by Xander and Cordelia too and you could even argue with less emotional involvement they're at greater risk of things going further and being less controlled. Of course the writing looks to deliberately indicate Angel isn't a risk for some typical consequences suggested in the lesson, but really it's the emotional weight in their relationship that adds the risk that breaks the clause in the curse. As well as for the depth of resulting pain from all the related experiences that flow from it for Buffy. I'd never really thought before of the way you can compare and contrast between the two relationships in how they fit hormonal responses and the sense of risks. Again watching the reactions is causing me to consider things differently, which is great.

            He saw it as enjoyable but dismissible really I think. He got the main notes of the themes and purpose of the episode well enough but feeling like it was just a filler although not wrong does really emphasise that aspect of not seeing fully how it fits in to the season's direction, which of course he can't yet. But some fair thoughts on character dynamics and what might come to draw a little more out.


            Liam Duke
            I think from the gagging noises it's safe to assume he's not into epic romance. He described them as lovey dovey and cutesy (hilarious when he talks about Willow an Willow/Oz in such as sickly sweet way all the time) but was interested in where it is being taken and the challenges they might have. A sense of impending doom for them was included but as he's often referred to knowing that Angel gets his own show, he is clearly expecting it to go south at some point.

            Okay puns overdrive on the eggs front! His intense creeped out response to the scuttling creature was deserved after all the terrible puns.

            Some aspects of the humour he liked but there's not a lot of love here and quite a bit of criticism for the plot and monster. Some appreciated character dynamic aspects too but, reasonably, feels it is the weakest so far this season.

            He commented on the stereotyping when first seeing Lyle Gorch and I just felt it's hard to say a character is oversimplified when you haven't seen much of them. I suppose I don't tend to have issues with occasional character inclusion that could be accused of being based on a stereotype if they aren't offensively written and are interesting, which I think they make the Gorch brothers. It is hardly like it would be impossible to meet someone who was exactly like Lyle.

            I can see the point about the egg plot and Gorch brothers feeling disjointed. I've never really thought about it before but I suppose their inclusion relates to the upcoming dynamics between Angel, Spike and Dru. And a slight nod being there to situations leading to fighting alongside each other when they and Buffy come across the mother Bezoar.


            van - I don't know if she had tech problems again but there isn't a vid for Bad Eggs I could find and no comments on why this time.

            --

            Not a surprise this one got plenty of criticism and that is fair enough, it isn't great. Liam's comments about the disjointed feel though prompted thoughts and gave me a new appreciation for why the Gorch brothers might have been used and feature like they did within the overall directions for the season. This and the ideas of too readily dismissing teen romances and how impactful the felt emotional weight of them can be really have helped me view new facets to the episode that I appreciated, even if it doesn't change that it is at the weaker end of the scale. This episode might be a good contender for flow 's suggestion of watching PotN for an episode you don't love to see if he can add anything more.

            Really looking forward to their responses to the next one!

            Comment


            • #51
              I got run over by real-life stuff plus the other thread about POTN made me re-watch every single review starting from 1x1. Of course, there is also Lucifer season 5 and the new fanfic group - to cut it short I haven't managed to watch another failwhale reaction and I won't catch up with the ten videos you are now ahead of me. But I promise to tune in for Surprise!

              flow

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              • #52
                2.13 Surprise

                Hey, I actually beat you on that one! But only as far as failwhale is concerned.

                He doesn't strike me as the romantic type. I didn't get the impression he was moved by the Claddagh ring. I thought it was interesting that he said the sex came at a time where other matters were more pressing. Of course, you could say if the world is going to end you should at least have had sex just once or one last time. However, I do think both Buffy and Angel would maybe not have been in the right frame of mind for happy-making lovemaking considering The Judge was already assembled and ready to wipe out humanity.

                flow



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                • #53
                  Hi flow, it's great to have someone join me as these are proving such great fun.

                  Originally posted by flow View Post
                  Hey, I actually beat you on that one! But only as far as failwhale is concerned.
                  Ha. I'd watched them, but just hadn't posted yet.

                  He doesn't strike me as the romantic type. I didn't get the impression he was moved by the Claddagh ring. I thought it was interesting that he said the sex came at a time where other matters were more pressing. Of course, you could say if the world is going to end you should at least have had sex just once or one last time. However, I do think both Buffy and Angel would maybe not have been in the right frame of mind for happy-making lovemaking considering The Judge was already assembled and ready to wipe out humanity.
                  Here are my notes following his reaction, edited in response to you too...

                  failwhale34
                  I agree it was a really interesting angle to consider that the step Buffy and Angel took felt questionable to him in context of the wider events, all that Buffy is dealing with and that stood out to me too. Interesting that you get the impression that he isn't romantic and I'd agree that's probably fair. I think in terms of how they let events take over this way, Bad Eggs does actually help to pave the way for the events of this episode. Not just in emphasising that sense of being driven by hormones but particularly within Buffy and Angel's story, as I was saying in the last reaction comments, the emotional intensity that couples it too and really adds in to driving their choices here. So that feeling of nearly losing each other, the fear for what is to come and what they might miss out on (as you say, 'just once or one last time'), pushes away any residual sense of caution.

                  The pace and high content stood out for him and I suppose that's another thing perhaps we can thank Bad Eggs for. Having a side story motw episode, even if it does touch on related themes you notice later, made the rapid progress and number of shifts and information that suddenly starts in Surprise for the season wide plot stand out even more and that works with that sense of events overtaking you.

                  JL is bringing her A game in this episode and Dru's getting a lot of appreciation which is great. It'll be interesting to see what comments come as we move on and the switch of situation between her and Spike really emphasises the contrast in their priorities and attitudes towards the other. It works well actually against what he had to say about Xander's response to Cordelia presenting boundaries and showing an apparent lesser interest. Just for how the relationship appears one way at the start and ends the other.

                  Everyone adores Willow/Oz and he might not be especially romantic but he also seemed to respond to them.
                  And lots of intrigue for Jenny unsurprisingly too.


                  alley box.
                  Dream sequences are always so great. Love her mixed response to the initial scene when Buffy goes to Angel in her romantic side delighting at the same time as she's chastising Angel in just grabbing Buffy for a kiss when a serious topic was under discussion.

                  In a reflection of her mixed feelings, I love how caught up in the episode she is that she's constantly firing questions and guessing where it is going and wish she'd just quieten down and watch it a bit more too.

                  The character appreciations in her after thoughts are lovely to hear. Watching her trying to unpick it and organise her thoughts really emphasises how much happens in this episode. Really enjoyed her questioning the villainous motives of Spike and Dru. Even if she has that background awareness and questioning of the age issue between Buffy and Angel I'm glad she is still able to enjoy the romance of it and connect to where Buffy is and how she's feeling.


                  Liam Duke
                  "Willow, that hat is iconic." Really!? I think that hat possibly makes it to the top of the things Willow has worn that leaves me in a daze of, 'Willow, why?!'

                  A very relationship-y episode, oh yep! Some more Willow/Oz happiness that comes as no surprise whatsoever within an episode of surprises. I've really enjoyed seeing everyone's shock and interest at seeing the conversation between Jenny and her uncle. I had really forgotten how surprising that was. Particularly for a character that's been around for so long I think. As much as I have points of frustration with the gypsy curse and the plan of just continually monitoring Angel, it's a great character background to drop in. I do get why he feels it was out of nowhere.

                  His, "F*ck it doesn't fit" jokey interjection when Angel was giving Buffy the ring really made me laugh. He did think it was a sweet gift and really liked the scene, but he clearly isn't captivated by the romance of their relationship generally (going by this and the gagging earlier again). But it's so at odds to how he gushes about Willow and squees about Willow/Oz. It could just be character favouritism, or it could be the very intense drama of Bangel compared to the more sweet/banter focus of Willow/Oz. I'm not sure. But he commented on liking the domestic Bangel scenes before, so I think that fits this possible different tone preference.

                  I was very amused that after I wrote the previous paragraph he goes on to talk about his different responses to the romances in answer to comments he's been getting about his reaction to Buffy/Angel. I don't actually think he's disparaging of the relationship for Buffy, he's just invested in Willow's romance on a different level. I've been finding watching the reactions interesting for seeing how one person reacts differently to romantic plots/couples. For comparison, alley box. I'd say is more of an across the board romantic and it'll be interesting with her when there are relationships that she doesn't like. Different responses and preferences, and all that. Surely that's a great part of the point of watching these things, to find similarities and also differences. I hadn't expected, probably naively, how much it seems people might also watch to feel validation and solidarity.

                  His run through generally was interesting but he spent a lot of time justifying his different responses to Angel/Buffy and Willow/Oz. I can understand finding the cute sides difficult with Angel being so much older. I suppose I see him as being quite romantically naive and emotionally vulnerable in S1 & 2, but some of that has come from my wider knowledge of his background and time since souled. But I don't remember having any problems with them when I first watched it either. It's quite amusing to me though that I avoided the reactions for so long because I didn't like the idea of hearing someone's opinions and not feeling like you could discuss and interact with them. Then as I find out people do interact with their viewers I find myself wishing everyone would just leave them alone to experience the show without criticisms and comments for how they are responding. I will acknowledge though, that rather than people giving him a hard time and complaining to him, it could be that he is being overly sensitive to people expressing their different opinions. I'm only assuming it is the intense fandom responses that are being a bit much.

                  Anyway, some praise for the idea of the The Judge too and for the inclusion of every day relationship and life aspects that were in the episode. Plenty of interest for the return of Dru and Spike, the difference with Dru and wondering where their relationship is going too. And where the ending is going. Bit of criticism directed at Xander again that I felt was a bit harsh, although I can understand why he wanted to see him moving on from his possessiveness around Buffy too.


                  van
                  Ah, everyone delights at Willow/Oz. Really emotionally intense response and she's clearly left with a real sense of foreboding. You're not wrong, as Xander would say.

                  --

                  So they were all great. Really seeing these short clips of the eps and responses has just emphasised what a switch in gears there is with Surprise and obviously with the cliff hanger it is left on I'm really excited to see how they respond to Innocence.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Okay I couldn't leave it half way through this two-parter, I just really wanted to see how they reacted to the next one, so I watched the vids for Innocence yesterday. I'm less likely to get to more reactions in the next 3 or 4 days, so it might be a while before I get on to Phases as I need to balance getting other things done too! I won't leave it long though as I'm really eager to get to Passion.

                    flow, do feel free to continue if you watch any more of failwhale's or any other reactors vids in the meantime, I'll catch up. Or if you watch any reactions of earlier/other S2 eps too.


                    2.14 Innocence

                    alley box.
                    ‚Äč To all her questions to start off with.

                    Okay, the smoke thing really bugs me. I mean visually I think it looks cool, but where the heck was he biting!

                    She's pretty confused for a long time about what is happening with Angel and fears he was conning them all along. I'd forgotten how confusing it is as to what is happening when you first see it. How harsh it all is for Buffy really overrides her Angel love at this point and I didn't expect that as fiercely expressed. It'll be interesting to see how she responds to the notion of getting him back later.

                    Asking why you would set up the curse like they did is fair because it's ridiculous. I mean the idea of wanting him to be in pain and him needing to care about what he did for that to happen is blindly vengeful as Uncle Enyos explained. But releasing what he was to kill again without care if that pain ceases, so he doesn't even feel guilty anymore, is then nonsensical. I think she's simplifying what sleeping with Buffy meant for Angel though when she's finding the moment of true happiness idea so funny. But then I'm not sure I'd really thought through what it must have meant for him until I got more into the character in his own show and questioned the constant joke they play of whether he could have sex.

                    I was just taken aback by how strongly she was asserting that Angel should die. As there's the mention of recursing him I would have expected her to be hoping they'd find a solution. It's frustrating that her opinions are affected by people telling her in response to her very first reaction that she has to do Angel's show too when it gets to that. Look, some of us are just total hermits and really didn't know about the sister show. Safer not to assume.

                    I like that through Oz and Giles they give some balance to Angel behaving like such an ass. This isn't meant to be an anti-men drive. Lots of questions about Jenny and her wondering how much has been genuine in what we've seen from her. Understanding of Willow's hurt and adoration for Willow/Oz is great.


                    failwhale34
                    I really think the energy that he has for the show is notably different now compared to when he stated watching. I felt like we were at one when he raised his eyebrow at the smoke exhalation but with the declaration he'll let them get away with that one. Yep.

                    The response to Willow finding out about Xander/Cordelia was great and the intensity he has when watching the exchange between Angel and Buffy in Angel's apartment. It really shows how invested in these characters he's becoming.

                    Great observation that there has been a drip feed of information about what Angel was like that leads so well into now seeing him unsouled. I like his appreciation for the ties to the trigger having emotional weight for other characters and the questions that are thrown up for Jenny/Giles. Great love for it as a character and relationship episode and credit given for the acting in the episode. He often notices that on the big emotional punches and I think has commented on the acting positively on all of the episodes Joss has written and directed. I really liked the point he made of appreciating especially that the emotional responses we see Willow have in this episode have been built up to over time, even more than just this season, so you are really caught in the moments. Again it is that increasing investment you can see.

                    Really impressed he recognised the voice of the actor that played The Judge, I'm absolutely certain that I didn't clock that it was Luke from S1 but it's really obvious once it has been pointed out.


                    Liam Duke
                    Lots of love for this two-parter, but especially Innocence. His investment in the Willow stuff was exactly what I would have expected and the responses you get regarding Buffy and Angel's interactions too. I like that he recognised that DB is good at 'doing that kind of Angel'. Interesting that he feels that this storyline will give him a better emotional attachment to the Buffy and Angel relationship and that this did make him feel a bit differently. I hadn't expected there to be a sudden difference for him like that but can see the argument that the writing and SMG's performance, the parental supportive moments, helped give a sense of connection and gave him greater belief in their emotions for each other. The relationship angsts certainly works on him and now he's wanting to see them work it out and is invested, even whilst really enjoying evil Angel.

                    Plenty of response and wishes for Jenny and Giles too. I'm just delighted that he's enjoying Xander and Cordelia despite himself. I really like Xander and Cordelia's relationship, even if it is brief. It'll be intriguing to see how much the way the relationship ends alongside how Cordelia responds afterwards, that somewhat backslide to the bitchiness he hated, affects his feelings towards her by her the time of her exit from BtVS. So much to come on all that.

                    It's nice that he too doesn't seem to know much about AtS, even though he's aware of it. Although he expects it's not likely, considering it could be about Angel when he's evil clearly leaves some open possibilities and scope of what might happen now if he's unsure of exactly what comes next for him.

                    I like that he considers what similarities he has to the characters and seeing himself in both Xander and Oz sounds fitting from the very little we see of him. One of the things I really love about the show is that I think you do find multiple characters that you feel like you have similarities to.

                    I understand feeling like they can dispatch the bad guys too easily at times but it does work so well in this that the method directly plays into the idea that The Judge is just not the same threat in modern times. He's openly impressed by how much is covered and how well it works in this episode, it's clearly a top favourite for him.


                    van
                    She's so quiet and focused throughout this episode. She was obviously really moved, described watching it as stressful and found seeing Buffy's pain upsetting. She's always seemed really invested in the romances so her finding this a tough episode makes sense. Her reaction feels far more fixed on the emotional beats than any of the plotting or thematic considerations.

                    To be honest her actual reactions are often fairly muted to watch. I did consider dropping her for another rec'd reactor, but I decided that I'd stick with van as I get variety in including her, she differs so much to the others. Whilst I do often wish she'd talk more about what she is thinking about the characters and plots at the end, keeping things so centred just on the moments and overall tone of her reaction makes picking out indications of what connects the most for her a different experience, which is interesting.


                    --
                    A lot of appreciation for such an impactful episode. As I said, it might be after the weekend before I post more on these.

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                    • #55
                      I have watched his reaction to Innocence but since I have also rewatched Passion of the Nerd season 1 and two at around the same time his reaction is kinda blurred in my memory.

                      I have also decided to forego his reaction to Phases and Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, and tuned in again to Passions. Firstly, he has rearranged his editing. The episode itself now fills the screen completely and his head is very small somewhere on the left-hand bottom. That's not an improvement because it draws my attention away from his reaction. However, I am not there to watch the episode but his reaction.

                      He was completely baffled and shocked by Jenny's death but he could laugh again in the next scene and I wonder if he actually has seen too many shows already to be really captured by one and fall in love with it. At the moment I think he appreciates everything the show does and his praise is genuine but I don't get the feeling he actually is falling in love with it like After Show Reacts or Torchwood did.

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                      • #56
                        It'll be a little bit before I get to Passions as I'm not skipping any, but I'm really looking forward to seeing that one. It's interesting that you say that he doesn't seem to love it because I think that his interest has steadily increased but he did seem the most disengaged through S1. Compared to alley box. and Liam Duke. I've come to appreciate failwhale despite that though because I think he often makes really great observations about the production and direction as his focus isn't as fixed on the characters. I'll be interested to see how he responds to Phases as he does seem most emotionally attached to Willow, if anyone.

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                        • #57
                          I've dotted watching the next batch of these over the last few days and have finally seen all the reactions for...

                          2.15 Phases


                          alley box.
                          It's seems from what she says she's had conversations on her patreon about the separation of Angel souled/unsouled and has been basically pushed to try to see them as separate (even giving emphasis to the added 'us' of his name). This may be unfair, but it just feels like more of people not being able to just let someone watch it and not try to steer their thoughts.

                          What surprised me when she's talked about Angel recently is that when he first lost his soul she kept asking if he was a vampire now, or something like that, and here she was asking if the same demon has possessed him this time as well. She doesn't seem to get that he never stopped being a vampire or having a demon in him when souled.

                          Anyway, Phases... Yeah, safe to say she really likes Willow and Oz together. She's able to relate to Willow and adores Oz. Her existing expectations about the jealousy from Xander seems to have almost solidified what she finds frustrating about the episode. It'll be interesting to see if she is more annoyed about the eventual Willow/Xander plotline towards Xander because her starting point is coming from finding his shifting (or varying is perhaps more fair) romantic interests frustrating and loving Willow and Oz so much. I thought her appreciation for the metaphor of the episode was great.

                          And she's still very much on the 'I hate Angel' train. I really am surprised at how she's reacted to this switch with the character, very much not what I expected. Great to hear some appreciation for DB in how he portrays Angel unsouled differently.


                          failwhale34
                          I think he's liking the Cordy/Xander and Xander/Willow possibilities, and is a fan of Willow/Oz so he seems perhaps more interested in what is going on within the relationships at the moment than he's been in the romance aspects before. His appreciation for the callbacks to other episodes is great, it's a really enjoyable part of the show that helps to build on your affection and investment I think.

                          His response to seeing the werewolf turn into Oz was very comical. Great observation about the angle that they used as Oz transformed. His enjoyment of this episode and the way it propels Oz's integration and the use of fake outs in it was fab. I really liked his idea that the werewolf could have been Theresa because that would have been left field and the show does like to do that. It's not a guess I can remember hearing before but I can see that it would have worked well against the deliberate mislead of Larry with the bite and his behaviour around Theresa earlier, if it had been her instead.

                          I think there was real energy when he was talking about this episode at the end, particularly when acknowledging that the pressure was kept on Buffy and not allowing her an emotional break with the slight inclusion of Angel and Theresa's turning. I really like that he notices things like this on a first viewing.

                          It's great that as he's acknowledging the homophobia in Xander's response to Larry he's also contextualising it with his age, possibly limited experience and externally to the era of production. It is a fair criticism that there is a comedic element to Larry's coming out and the show does play homophobic jokes a few times with Xander. It is redeemed a little with the Willow/Tara relationship which obviously we're a good while off yet. But even after that, the jokes around male homosexuality weren't something that they stopped.


                          Liam Duke
                          I love how he's so thrown by seeing Oz change and really concerned for him but so fraught with worry for Willow. Seeing him tilt his head as the werewolf was slowly revealed just made me think of failwhale's observation. It ain't a shock that he really liked this one. He's going to be so gutted for them when Oz leaves but it will be interesting to see how he takes to Tara when his love for Willow rules.

                          The focus still being on relationships and all the mix of emotional responses and uncertainties between the characters gave him plenty to think on. His ideas on the themes in the episode were great and again awareness that Xander's response to Larry's coming out is contextualised by his insecurities but also the age of the show and would be written quite differently now.


                          van
                          Again with the head tilt as the wolf changes back to Oz, followed by the moment of shock. That's been the best part in these reactions this time, so much fun.

                          I find van really very sweet. She looked so emotional at the Willow/Oz ending and then just when she was actually talking a bit more about her thoughts for once, the camera died on her. Perhaps she'll be chatty in the next.

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                          • #58
                            It feels like it has been a really long time since I watched the reactor vids. I enjoyed getting to see them again and was interested to see how they responded to Xander's wish and Cordelia's decision at the end of BBB.


                            2.16 Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

                            alley box.
                            I'm still finding her response to Angel really surprising. It'll be intriguing to see how she reacts when he's resouled.

                            As someone who gets a lot from the romances, it was no shock that she liked this episode. Nice to see some love for Cordelia and Xander, I think they have some really sweet moments in their relationship. And she liked the mix of the bigger emotional moments with humour in this one. Her comments on how the show handles returning Amy were great. Oh and her love for Buffy Rat was fab.


                            failwhale34
                            Nice to see some sympathy for Xander as he is getting dumped, even whilst also acknowledging his switch to defensive aggression isn't great. I'd never have thought of the episode as chaotic, other than the exaggerated behaviours of people under the spell as it unfolds, but I suppose I can see why you could describe it as wacky and feel there's a real shift in tone between the more serious points and the humour/spell of the ep. The jump to the use of magic didn't work well for him and as he found the conflict Cordelia was experiencing more interesting than Xander's response to it, he just would have preferred other directions taken on this one. So despite appreciating some bits and liking some of the development, it wasn't one he loved, which is fair enough.

                            I liked his awareness that his expectations for what they were going to explore not panning out probably affected his view of the ep. He definitely seems to prefer the more serious notes to the stories.


                            Liam Duke
                            "You know he's evil when he's got eyeliner on." It's the leather pants and smoking that always amused me as signals of being baaaaad.

                            Love that this got him on Cordelia's side and he was really caught in the complexity of so many emotional responses. If he sticks with the show and watches through AtS too he'll get to see plenty of the rivalry between Angel and Spike that he was interested in for sure. It'll be interesting to see if the twist coming with Spike works as fuelled by jealousy for him.

                            I like hearing praise for the writing. In contrast to failwhale, Liam really liked how much they worked in and the mix of relentless twists, humour and emotional drama. Plenty of praise for the acting too. Nice to have that directed at Charisma as I think she often gets criticised, particularly in the BtVS years. I think I was on board with that when I first watched too but definitely have come to like her more on rewatches. That necklace scene in particular she is just great in. I can't remember ever considering how the line from Buffy at the beginning jovially questioning if Cordelia even has a heart sits against the response to the necklace we later see, neat observation. I agree NB nailed the emotional beats he noted too. Really, really great thoughts on the themes within the ep as well and how they're still relevant today.

                            Linking the episode's events back to the mention of The Pack in Phases and making a comparison between The Pack and here for facing consequences was a fascinating link to draw out. His appreciation for how this was used as a Xander centric episode and thoughts on the complexity of the character were great. I like that he both criticised Xander's choices but also expressed some sympathy for him within it too, talking of his layers and wondering about his past/childhood. He seems to have quite a balanced perspective and a willingness to see how the character can grow moving on from this.

                            Appreciation again for the character return with Amy, which I think failwhale had commented on too. How the show makes references to past eps was something I'm sure he/others noted positively fairly recently as well, it really is a great way of building up your investment.


                            van
                            I really liked how much you could just see that she was enjoying watching throughout this. No surprise that she picked a couple of favourite moments and described it as fun at the end. She needs to hold onto that feeling while she can because that is not how she's going to be describing the next.

                            --
                            Liam's reaction in particular to this episode made me see additional aspects in it and the meaning and themes. If anyone was going to watch just one reaction for this episode I'd encourage you to watch his.

                            Agh, I'm feeling all disappointed now thinking about how things go with Cordelia and Xander, I'd forgotten how much I've come to enjoy them together.

                            The next episode is definitely one of the best of the season, top often for me, definitely top two, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing those. I might try to sneak them in this evening if I can around watching Lovecraft Country.

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                            • #59
                              I don't know if I've mentioned it once, twice or maybe sixty times, but I've really been looking forward to getting to this one...

                              2.17 Passion

                              alley box.
                              "This isn't Titanic Angel, chill out!" Kudos for a really unique response to his creepy drawings.

                              Although funny, it was a shame there was distracting moment of confusion over what the floppy disc was just before Angel appears in the classroom. But I think it was just a mild distraction.

                              For someone that was already so incredibly vocal in dislike towards Angel since he lost his soul this episode got a lot of verbal as well as visual responses. Not that talking a good deal during it is unusual for her, ha. Intriguing that she likened the tone to how 'real' she felt it was when watching Ted and being really caught up in the story.

                              So much happens in this episode and she's clearly processing it all still as she finds it hard to get into talking about it at first afterwards. I liked her comment about the show's direct way of addressing topics such as Joyce finding out about Buffy and Angel sleeping together.

                              The impact of the build up between Jenny and Giles to go to that moment when Giles went home really was effective for her. I think her surprise that Jenny would be actually killed after being a regular character since the first season highlights one of the reasons this episode is so effective, because it is genuinely shocking. She really felt the tragedy of seeing Jenny was trying to make it right and that no one knows and might not even find out.

                              Her comment about the correlations in Angel's behaviour towards Buffy against what we were told he did to Dru, behaviour which Buffy raises, brought Dru's line from BBB to mind that he always knows what speaks to a girl's heart. For good or bad. alley box.'s consequent worry that Angel might intend to try to turn Buffy is, I doubt, a worry that she'll realistically keep for long as she knows there are five more seasons to go and Angel has a spin off.

                              With her reaction to Angel's monologuing, creeping around and stalking I'm still fascinated to see whether she is won back over to the character. The contrast is pretty big in how she is towards him now against the fangirling every time he stepped on screen before.


                              failwhale34
                              I hope the edit of cutting himself to be tiny in the corner doesn't stay long. I agree flow it isn't a great change because it is him we're wanting to watch, not the episode itself.

                              Now it is a little time after and he's had some time for reflection on BBB it might have upped that episode a little for him. I'm always all for finding more love for the episodes every time and sometimes things naturally ferment afterwards. Interesting that he suggesting it was how the episode sat against the darker ones that led up to it which he felt might have affected how he'd responded.

                              Anyway, Passion... His comment about noticing more how Xander can be creepy when he asks Buffy/Willow if they had a camera to record the sleepover reminded me of how much the lap dance comment stood out in the last episode. I think these moments that are just intended mostly for humour don't sit so well when they come in quick succession and not against Xander's later 'I told you so' moment in this episode. A moment which clearly really annoyed failwhale.

                              The certainty something was going to go wrong with Jenny/Giles because it looked to be going well was a fair bet. He really clearly wasn't expecting it to go as south as it did though and was very shocked by her murder and the jump from moment to moment that followed it. I can't remember ever thinking Angel was trying to frame Giles though, although I can see the argument. For me it works for him setting the scene with Jenny's body like that simply to emotionally rip Giles apart and do the maximum damage.

                              Finding this a stand out episode is what you expect, let's be honest, but I'm glad to hear that he rated it. I thought his comments on the Joyce and Buffy conversation were good and I really enjoyed his observations about the stylistic choices of the episode. Again, not always things I think about and I enjoy it when he points to these elements.

                              flow failwhale strikes me as someone that really appreciates the meaningful plotlines but doesn't get as invested in the characters. He clearly has favourites and frustrations, but is more responsive to the more serious moments for the meaning/theme than the emotional pulls I think. Have you seen his reaction to Ted? You really see this 'for and against' magnified in his reaction to that episode I think, in what he praises and criticises. To be honest he reacted more dramatically to Jenny's death and all that followed after it here than I thought he might, but still in the way I thought he would. I think his interest is about the direction, writing and narrative choices that grab him. He will often comment on what a character is going through but observationally, rather than from having connecting to it emotionally most of the time. That's how he tends to seem to me, which I enjoy as the more detached critiques make him quite unique amongst the four I'm following. And of course the odd times when he is hit more emotionally (he seems to really like Willow and enjoys her/Oz), it stands out.


                              alley box. tends to notice some directing but is mostly about the relationships, Liam is Willow obsessed but often focuses on the themes of an episode and van gives little away. She doesn't talk much, but seems to be mostly about the character dynamics too. It could be, as you suggest, that failwhale has just seen too many shows but I think it is greatly about what his main focus is on when watching. I would expect to possibly see more of a reaction to The Body when he eventually gets there, he often seems really protective of Joyce. But he still probably won't be outwardly emotional, it doesn't seem to be how he interacts with the show. The elements that require suspension of disbelief seem to stop him getting engrossed in the show. I'm not sure if that means he won't ever come to deeply love it, possibly.

                              Liam Duke
                              This episode does really make you appreciate how much technology has moved forward, greatly illustrated in his reaction to the suggestion of submitting work on... 'a disc!'

                              Loved how he saw the aspect of the abuser presenting themselves as a victim when Angel talked to Joyce. I was taken aback a little when he said during the Joyce/Buffy discussion that he feels the show is more mature now as I see the themes in S1 as being as serious too. Just that the season structure had less build up to it. I suppose though his observation is just a part of it being a continuing story and the progressive elements. It isn't really that surprising to think of it like that as the characters get older and face more trials. That matches really part of my reasoning for enjoying the later seasons so much and his comment at the end that it is getting more mature 'as Buffy is'. So I think we're on the same page, I just didn't think that, feel it as an identifiable difference as early as between S1 and S2.

                              The ongoing build of tensions between Spike and Angel continues to interest him and he fully expects Angel's soul to be restored by the contents of the disc being found, a clearly high probability. Wanting to see Angel deal with the after effects of what he's done is going to be a while coming though. He'll probably love Amends. There's a lot of love expressed for Angel as a villain, but he's expecting Spike and Dru to be the main focus at the end which is interesting. I assume his certainty Angel's soul will be restored and knowing he gets his own show affects why he is assuming he isn't the ultimate big bad of the season. I'm glad I didn't know anything about AtS when I watched as I had no reason for firmly believing Angel would get out of this.

                              I appreciated love for the revenge sequence with Giles and can see that the background given to Giles in this season plays its part in making his decision to go after Angel believable. Plenty of sadness around the loss of Jenny's character and thoughts on the positives of what she brought to the group.


                              van
                              Pretty much what I expected. She was really serious and fixed on the screen through it and very emotional. I thought she might cry when Jenny died but it came later. Clearly she is genuinely really saddened by Jenny's death and the tragedy of her finding the way to save Angel but not having told anyone. Again she is interesting to watch because she is so different to the others.

                              --

                              Seeing just the clips of this episode really emphasised how incredible all the major emotional beats in it are. It builds up so well to Giles going into the factory and the way that ASH moves as he lights the baseball bat and starts swinging it at Angel is just perfect imo. You really feel his grief and fury with every swing. I utterly love this episode.

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                              • #60
                                Stoney
                                failwhale strikes me as someone that really appreciates the meaningful plotlines but doesn't get as invested in the characters. He clearly has favourites and frustrations, but is more responsive to the more serious moments for the meaning/theme than the emotional pulls I think.
                                Yes, I agree with you (I have to admit though that I haven't watched his reaction to Ted). He is positive about the show and he shows a lot of genuine enthusiasm but I find there is something missing. He is interested and intrigued by the show and he ceratinly has to say a lot about technical details but he is not responding to the show on an emotional level. I have watched his reaction to Becoming and I really would like to hear your thoughts on his reaction to Kendra's death. I am not going to spoil it by telling you mine just yet. However, I feel somehow put off by his reactions a little. I am afraid I am picky since van was too introvert for me and alley box too extrovert and now failwhale is not ... I think I would say ... touched eneough for my likes. I might drop watching his reactions, especially since I have lost track of Liam's reactions in the meantime and would like to catch up on him.

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