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Old December 15 2011, 02:49 PM   #91
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

saturn5 wrote: View Post
Let me ask a question, Spuffer or Bangeler? (Fuffer myself)
Spuffer for sure. I used to ship Bangel in seasons 1-3 when I first watched the show, though - but all the Bangel shipper nonsense about about "one true love forever", "soulmates", "can never love anyone else" etc. really puts me off. In later seasons I got even more into Spuffy (not that I thought back then they would be right for each other or anything, I just find it a lot more interesting), and Angel on the other hand got more interesting on AtS, Angel/Darla is now my favorite out of his ships. I can still enjoy early seasons Bangel, but the attempts to give it fanservice over the years and to revive it in End of Days/Chosen or season 8 put me off that ship big time. It's made both characters regress every time and act like people who can't grow up and who hold onto an immature fantasy about their highschool love and won't admit that they're really both moved on.

One thing you didn't comment on, Dru's attraction to Giles? 'Daddys home' as Barney would say.
D'OH, I knew I forgot something! I was going to mention how that moment when she smiles an evil girlish green and says "I was in the moment" is both funny and creepy (just like Dru). Another sign of Dru being "mercurial" as Marti Noxon said in What's My Line 2 commentary (or Buffy would put it less nicely - "a big ho")! It is pretty funny when Spike and Angel are looking at her and doing: "Um, Dru? Honey? It's enough..."... but on the other hand, poor Giles. It's non-consensual on his part since he was tricked, and how awful it must be for him to hope that Jenny is back and then realize the truth - not to mention that he realizes that he's probably just doomed the world by telling Drusilla how to awaken Acathla!

A couple of points that escaped me about Becoming pt2, firstly Dru seems to be deeply enamoured of Giles but then she always did have a thing for 'daddy'.
'Deeply enamoured' is exaggerating... she was just 'in the moment'.

Why is Buffy still wanted when Xander and Cordy can back up her story?
I'm guessing that they were all trying to stay away from the police for the time being, until they deal with the apocalypse, and they didn't want the police bringing them in as either witnesses or suspects. The charges against Buffy were dropped later during the summer, so they probably later gave the story (or a censored version of it, without the vampire stuff) to the police.

Spike's reluctance to end the world seems odd considering he was happy to do it earlier
I commented on that in Surprise/Innocence: I like someone else's explanation from another forum (or was it LJ) Acathla was a one-time irreversible event where all the world would have been sucked into hell, while the Judge was going to start burning people, which would have lasted a long time and resulted in a lot of mayhem and carnage and fun for Spike, so it makes sense he liked the latter but not the former.
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Old December 15 2011, 06:28 PM   #92
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Woo, Innocence Part 2!

I had a bit of a Buffy rewatch earlier this year, and the episode still manages to move in all the right places. I don't cry anymore, but if you know what's coming because you've seen the episodes loads of times over then it's just not going to happen!

Buffy telling her mum that she she was the slayer was a brilliant scene. I loved the gay/coming out context that was there, which something close to home for me way back when. I enjoyed how the role of Buffy's mum increased over the series, because by the time she died in season five, I could be heartbroken all over again. We loved her, as well as feeling bad for those that were close to her.

Anyway...

Spike's about-turn from his Acathla thing was a bit odd, but I can agree with the rationalisation. We see him revelling in the mayhem during the Boxer Rebellion, and the world wasn't ending then, either. He doesn't want the world to end so he can carry on causing misery and suffering! Or so he thought.

I was more 'bothered' by him choking Drusilla! Big, scary Drusilla is taken down by him throttling her? I just laugh at that scene now.

The big heartbreaking moment is Buffy having to kill Angel, just after he gets his soul back. Well blow me down. I need a hug indeed, Mutent Enemy monster. And then the other heartbreaking moment is when Buffy leaves town, with ol' reliable Sarah McLachlan playing in the background. The amount of times I've listened to that song since is unrecordable! I'd just sort of stopped sniffling after the Buffy/Angel stuff, but the shot of her leaving Sunnydale at the end just finished me off really. Excellent, absolutely essential stuff.
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Old December 15 2011, 11:21 PM   #93
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Seven Swans a Swimming wrote: View Post
I was more 'bothered' by him choking Drusilla! Big, scary Drusilla is taken down by him throttling her? I just laugh at that scene now.
It's silly, but not because she's big and scary - I don't think she's any scarier than Spike or Angel, apart from the hypnotism, and she has never been portrayed as a great fighter, while Spike has - it's silly because she shouldn't lose consciousness, because vampires don't need to breathe.
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Old December 16 2011, 10:12 AM   #94
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Seven Swans a Swimming wrote: View Post
Woo, Innocence Part 2!

I had a bit of a Buffy rewatch earlier this year, and the episode still manages to move in all the right places. I don't cry anymore, but if you know what's coming because you've seen the episodes loads of times over then it's just not going to happen!

Buffy telling her mum that she she was the slayer was a brilliant scene. I loved the gay/coming out context that was there, which something close to home for me way back when. I enjoyed how the role of Buffy's mum increased over the series, because by the time she died in season five, I could be heartbroken all over again. We loved her, as well as feeling bad for those that were close to her.

Anyway...

Spike's about-turn from his Acathla thing was a bit odd, but I can agree with the rationalisation. We see him revelling in the mayhem during the Boxer Rebellion, and the world wasn't ending then, either. He doesn't want the world to end so he can carry on causing misery and suffering! Or so he thought.

I was more 'bothered' by him choking Drusilla! Big, scary Drusilla is taken down by him throttling her? I just laugh at that scene now.

The big heartbreaking moment is Buffy having to kill Angel, just after he gets his soul back. Well blow me down. I need a hug indeed, Mutent Enemy monster. And then the other heartbreaking moment is when Buffy leaves town, with ol' reliable Sarah McLachlan playing in the background. The amount of times I've listened to that song since is unrecordable! I'd just sort of stopped sniffling after the Buffy/Angel stuff, but the shot of her leaving Sunnydale at the end just finished me off really. Excellent, absolutely essential stuff.
Yeah Innocence pt2 is a good way to put it and a high standard to reach. And we all loved Joyce/Kristine, certainly the cast and writers did and that's why they kept bringing her back and giving her more and more screentime (initally she was just to be minor background figure as in the movie but they rapidly changed their minds).
As for Dru, maybe it's psycho-symatic. In season 7 the First tortures Spike by drowning even though he doesn't breathe, maybe it's just the memory of it all that affects them?
Ok, watched the stop motion comic last night and LOVED IT! It was much better than I thought it would be, I thought it would be like those CGI Buffy porn comics you can get online which you can watch in slideshow form (in order to leave both hands free?) but it was much, much better, I laughed, I went AWWWWW! and I great big smile on my face, it was terrific. I just wish they could get the mouths to work better. The voices were for the most part ok although I'd like better matches for Giles and Willow. Especially love Giant Dawn fighting mechaDawn, all the Xander/Dracula stuff and Faith/Giles
Definitely buy the next set if they're doing them! I'll write a quick review of each ep as I watch them (don't worry, limit them to about 10 lines)
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Old December 16 2011, 11:03 AM   #95
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

ElfEars wrote: View Post
It's silly, but not because she's big and scary - I don't think she's any scarier than Spike or Angel, apart from the hypnotism, and she has never been portrayed as a great fighter, while Spike has - it's silly because she shouldn't lose consciousness, because vampires don't need to breathe.
Oops, I think I missed the part about vampires not being able to lose consciousness off my post. I do find it absurd that it slipped through, and my post is silly because I posted my thought not fully realised.

As for big and scary, I'm probably exaggerating, but I at least thought she'd be able to put up some sort of fight after she'd just killed Kendra in part one. It left me with the impression that something big might have to happen to stop her, which is another reason, for me, why the choking scene falls flat.

It's a really small thing though - aside from Becoming Part One (and that's only from the hypnotism/slashing Kendra's throat), Drusilla was never built up as a big fighter or anything, so I can undertand why they didn't go down that route. Well I suppose her boyfriend taking her down and away from town is a big thing!

I'll get my coat.

And saturn5, I didn't know there was a stop-motion comic. The concept sounds interesting enough though I don't know what the subject is. I've only sort of dipped my toes into Buffy comics - I have the first three paperback collections from season 8, so I'm a bit behind on everything really. No Angel comics either.
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Old December 16 2011, 12:35 PM   #96
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Seven Swans a Swimming wrote: View Post
ElfEars wrote: View Post
It's silly, but not because she's big and scary - I don't think she's any scarier than Spike or Angel, apart from the hypnotism, and she has never been portrayed as a great fighter, while Spike has - it's silly because she shouldn't lose consciousness, because vampires don't need to breathe.
Oops, I think I missed the part about vampires not being able to lose consciousness off my post. I do find it absurd that it slipped through, and my post is silly because I posted my thought not fully realised.

As for big and scary, I'm probably exaggerating, but I at least thought she'd be able to put up some sort of fight after she'd just killed Kendra in part one. It left me with the impression that something big might have to happen to stop her, which is another reason, for me, why the choking scene falls flat.

It's a really small thing though - aside from Becoming Part One (and that's only from the hypnotism/slashing Kendra's throat), Drusilla was never built up as a big fighter or anything, so I can undertand why they didn't go down that route. Well I suppose her boyfriend taking her down and away from town is a big thing!

I'll get my coat.

And saturn5, I didn't know there was a stop-motion comic. The concept sounds interesting enough though I don't know what the subject is. I've only sort of dipped my toes into Buffy comics - I have the first three paperback collections from season 8, so I'm a bit behind on everything really. No Angel comics either.
I remember Juliet did her 'Look at all the people' line at a convention once and it chilled me to the bone!

The stop motion comics are basically the Buffy comics in animated form and they're pretty great, probably even more so if you haven't read the paper versions and are getting them fresh
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Old December 16 2011, 12:47 PM   #97
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Seven Swans a Swimming wrote: View Post

Oops, I think I missed the part about vampires not being able to lose consciousness off my post. I do find it absurd that it slipped through, and my post is silly because I posted my thought not fully realised.

As for big and scary, I'm probably exaggerating, but I at least thought she'd be able to put up some sort of fight after she'd just killed Kendra in part one. It left me with the impression that something big might have to happen to stop her, which is another reason, for me, why the choking scene falls flat.

It's a really small thing though - aside from Becoming Part One (and that's only from the hypnotism/slashing Kendra's throat), Drusilla was never built up as a big fighter or anything, so I can undertand why they didn't go down that route. Well I suppose her boyfriend taking her down and away from town is a big thing!
I wish they explained a bit more about Drusilla's power of hypnotism - very few vampires seem to have it in Buffyverse (The Master, Dracula, Dru), unlike in True Blood or Vampire Diaries, where it's a standard power of any vampire.

I figure that her hypnotism can't work on vampires, or else I imagine she'd at least use it on Spike in Crush, when he tied her up and was offering to kill her for Buffy, or on Angel in AtS season 2 when he fought her or when set her and Darla on fire.

And saturn5, I didn't know there was a stop-motion comic. The concept sounds interesting enough though I don't know what the subject is. I've only sort of dipped my toes into Buffy comics - I have the first three paperback collections from season 8, so I'm a bit behind on everything really. No Angel comics either.
It's just the first 19 issues of season 8, with some actors (obviously not the actors!) doing the voices of Buffy, Willow etc. You can see the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FmcqGtkHcI and an example: http://youtu.be/8tFYwX2LOak

I have no interest in the motion comic, it seems lame to me. I've already read the comics, so why would I need to see the same pages with some weird movements and average actors reading the lines. Though it would be really funny to hear them do #34.
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Old December 16 2011, 12:55 PM   #98
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

It is a little lame but if you can't watch the Beatles it's still fun to watch the Monkees.

As for Dru, maybe the Master taught it to her? Or maybe when she and Spike were fighting sometime she became one of Dracula's chippies?
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Old December 16 2011, 01:04 PM   #99
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

saturn5 wrote: View Post
As for Dru, maybe the Master taught it to her? Or maybe when she and Spike were fighting sometime she became one of Dracula's chippies?
But why wouldn't the other vampires learn it? Darla never had that power, and she spent years with the Master and was his favorite.

I figure it's one of Dru's special powers, like her visions (though she had those even as a human) or her ability to see people's minds. The Master and Dracula are supposed to be special vampires, the Master is incredibly old, and Dracula has powers that nobody else has, like shapeshifting or creating castles (or illusions of them) out of nowhere.
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Old December 23 2011, 11:56 PM   #100
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Season 2 overview

This was the season where the show become great rather than just good, and it’s stood the test of time. I’d even say it seems even better now that it did the first time I watched it. I always appreciated the great episodes and the Angel-goes-bad arc, but now I can see how even the standalones that apparently have nothing to do with the arc reflect on the main themes. It’s certainly one of the best seasons of the show.

Not that it’s perfect: there are still some cheesy MOW episodes that remind me of the weaker episodes of season 1, and there is some poor structuring (like interrupting the momentum of the arc with a standalone episode like Go Fish).

The theme of the season is growing up, and romance and sex as a part of that process. Spike and Dru as villains represent that, before Buffy’s own boyfriend becomes the real Big Bad. The Slayer mythology is expanded, with the appearance of another Slayer – Kendra – who was called as a result of Buffy’s temporary „death“ in season 1.

Another part of growing up is a lot more moral ambiguity and complexity compared to season 1’s mostly clear demarcation of good and evil. Season 2 first does that early on when it makes a spectacular introduction of new, unconventional and complex villains with Spike and Dru. Lie to Me feels like a statement, with its closing speech that denounces the black-and-white storytelling as comforting lies. Then we see just what the show is prepared to do when a main cast member and heroine’s love interest becomes the season’s Big Bad. This arc signifies a big rise in quality, and it’s still one of the most compelling arcs of the show.

The vampires are still the main antagonists, but the vampires of season 2 are far from the traditional, ritual-obsessed vamps of season 1; they can be incredibly evil but also funny, charming, romantic and recognizably human. Who would have thought during season 1 that we’d get to see a punk vampire, or cowboy vampires.

A number of characters are portrayed as both victims and monsters, at the same time: Dru, Angel, “Ampata” the Inca Mummy Girl, Daryl Epps from Some Assembly Required, Ford, James from IOHEFY, Gage, Cameron and Dodd from Go Fish. Some of the particularly nasty villains are human (the frat boys from Reptile Boy, coach Marin from Go Fish, the original Ted) as are some very annoying/nasty antagonists (Snyder, Cain from Phases, Harmony and the other Cordettes). OTOH, there are several completely inhuman (literally) monsters that usually serve only as plot devices (the Bezoar from Bad Eggs, the reptile from Reptile Boy, the Bug Man from What’s My Line, the Judge, Kindestod, Acathla) and in most cases are secondary to the main villains, because villains with recognizable human traits (good or bad) are far more interesting to watch.

The recurring theme is point people are not what they seem. The theme of alter egos, “evil twins” pops up everywhere: Giles and “Ripper”, Oz and Wolf!Oz, and of course Angel and “Angelus”. In addition, villainous characters are used as shadows for the “good guys”: Ethan is Giles’s shadow character who reminds him of his past and dark side. Spike parallels Angel in a similar way in the first part of the season; at first Spike is the evil sexy vampire to Angel’s good sexy vampire, until the show pulls the rug from our feet and makes Angel, not Spike, the real Big Bad of the season. Spike/Dru with their overblown romanticism parallel Buffy/Angel. There are some obvious parallel drawn between Buffy and Dru, despite them being two very different women (both have precognitive abilities, and both were “pure, innocent” virginal girls that Angel was obsessed with, and they both get tormented by him in a similar way). There’s also a strong parallel and contrast between Buffy and Spike (particularly in What’s My Line and Becoming II).

A part of this are the surprising changes in relationships and alliances. It’s not just that Angel and Buffy turn enemies, or Spike and Buffy turn allies. The same happens with high-school relationships and alliances: in season 1 Willow was pining over Xander while Xander was pining over Buffy and Cordelia was the antagonist; in season 2, Xander and Cordelia start dating, Cordy becomes a Scooby, Willow starts dating Oz, who is cool not just because he’s a guitarist in a band.

Characters:

Buffy - Even though she still wants to have a life that normal girls do (boyfriend, friends, shopping…), she starts accepting her role as a Slayer, as we see in What’s My Line part 2. She is a different Slayer, who forges her strength from her ties to the world, and who thinks of her emotions as “total assets”. For a while it seems that she’s found a way to reconcile Slaying and (sort of) normal life, having friends who are helping her as much as they can, a good relationship with her Watcher that is half father/daughter relationship, half a friendship of equals, and a vampire boyfriend who can relate to her outsider situation of not belonging to either world. Until it all goes wrong, and she learns how much her emotions can also be a vulnerability and a liability. Bad relationships happen to everyone, but most people don’t have to deal with deaths and apocalypse as a result of love gone wrong. As the show becomes much darker and more serious, Buffy also changes a lot from the bubbly, light-hearted girl we met at the start of season 1. She’s still quippy and full of spirit, but life is really dealing her terrible blows. The season starts and ends with Buffy in a very dark mood; the former as a result from the trauma of her own death from the last season, the latter because of the trauma of killing Angel; in both cases she had to put her duty above personal feelings and proved heroic but at a high personal cost.

Angel – for the first part of the season, he is just the elusive love interest, and then the boyfriend of the protagonist, and it feels like there isn’t really much for him to do on the show. The only early episodes where we really learn something about him are School Hard and Lie to Me, in which he interacts with vampires from his past, Dru and Spike. For the most part, his role up till Surprise seems to be a the classic brooding mysterious older man with a dark past that just makes him even more appealing as a romantic hero. Until he loses his soul, and turns from the „brooding mysterious love interest“ into „abusive psycho ex-boyfriend“ and becomes the Big Bad. This is Buffy’s story, but the latter part of the season manages to flesh out Angel and make him one of the most complex characters in the verse, especially with the flashbacks in Becoming I.

One thing I discovered in this rewatch is that the popular Angel/Angelus dychotomy was almost non-existent in season 2, and that the use of the name „Angelus“ for Angel’s soulless alter ego is of a later date. I never thought 'Angel' and 'Angelus' were two different people, but I used to differentiate between Angel and his evil soulless alter ego much more than I do now. I saw as two very different personas, with totally different personality traits. But now, after having seen all of AtS, I can see many of the same personality traits in "Angel" and "Angelus". Now I see "Angel" as less of a nice guy and more flawed/messed up than I did them, but also more interesting as a character. In connection with that: I used to have a visceral hate for "Angelus"; not that I don't hate him now, but now I can much better understand his motives and analyze his behavior.

Buffy/Angel in season 2 is a great, epic story that I still enjoy – because I can ignore the fanon about „soulmates“, „one true love forever“ and other cheesy stuff that shippers and the media are responsible for. B/A is sad, tragic, ambiguous story about the trauma of first love gone wrong, which can be seen as both romantic or subversive. They didn’t even know each other that well, but for her, it was first love and she was at the time in her life when people still have a lot of romantic idealism and believe in one true love. On his side, he had absolutely nothing in his life for the past 100 years - no friends, no family, no job, no purpose, so he saw her as an ideal and purpose for living. They did have some good, sweet moments with each other, but it didn’t last long before it all went wrong. But that doesn’t change the intensity of their feelings and the pain it brought about, which is why the story moves me, because I remember being a teenager in love – which justifies why B/A is often so melodramatic, because Buffy is a teenager (and Angel is emotionally a teenager in many ways). This is why B/A works wonderfully as a teenage love story, and doesn’t work at all (or only works as a parody of itself) whenever the writers tried to revive it in later seasons without giving it a more adult dynamic.

Giles – this is the best season for the character and one where he plays the biggest role. And in Whedon’s show, that usually means suffering a lot. Giles is fleshed out this season and we learn that he isn’t just a stuffy librarian; we learn about his wild youth and dark past and his experience with magic. He also falls in love and suffers a truly tragic loss. Since Giles is such a rational, controlled character, seeing him overcome with rage and pain in Passion and attacking an evil vampire who could easily kill him, was all the more moving. He also shows how tough a librarian can be under torture, and his relationship with Buffy in the second part of season 2 is really beautiful.

Xander – I think this is a really good season for him, too. It’s funny how different I see things since my attitude towards the character has changed. I couldn’t stand him when I first watched seasons 1-3. He seemed to be everything I hated in boys my age and younger – immature, OTT jealous of anyone that Buffy likes (though he growing out of it around the time he started dating Cordy), too judgmental and with a Nice Guy ™ sense of entitlement regarding Buffy, and at the same time insensitive to Willow’s feelings. Which is all true. The difference is that I now think he was meant to be a flawed character, that the show calls him on stupid behavior. He’s an insecure confused boy from a dysfunctional family, struggling with his own masculine identity and is affected by gender expectations that he's been taught. But on the other hand, he’s brave, loyal, proactive when needed, pretty good fighter for a non-superpowered human, and smarter than he gives himself the credit for, and he grows quite a bit during the season (even if he’s still torn on the romantic front by feelings for 3 girls).

Willow – she undergoes quite a change this season – starting as a shy, insecure girl with a hopeless crush on Xander, gaining more confidence both in her abilities (e.g as a substitute teacher) and as a person. She showed resolution on several occasions, started to date and fell in love with someone who’s in love with her. Her relationship with Oz seemed to be a catalyst for that change. And we should keep in mind that, whatever Willow told herself in later seasons, she had gained a lot of confidence long before she started doing magic, which she only does at the very end of the season.

Cordelia – She starts off just hanging out with the Scoobies because they know how to deal with the weird goings-on, and gradually becomes an integral part of the Scooby gang, especially when she starts dating Xander. Xander/Cordy is a really fun relationship to watch, very different from the sweetness of Willow/Oz and the epicness of Buffy/Angel. They never stop being antagonistic and snarky even while they’re dating, but over time they start realizing that this thing that has caught them both by surprise might not be just teenage lust and that they might have real feelings for each other. A major moment for her is when she rejects her fair weather friends and her status in school for the right to date whoever she wants. She starts being used by the writers as the person who says it as it is, though she’s also often still in her old role as a spokesperson for all the wrong views, but it often seems like it’s a role she thinks she should stick with, and by the end of the season it seems like she wants to be heroic rather than play the damsel.

Spike – a great character from the start and brought so much excitement to the show, it’s not surprise that the original plan to kill him off halfway through the season (to make room for Angel to become the Big Bad) was changed and he was put in a wheelchair instead, and even survived the finale. Despite him being evil in S2, his personality traits are consistent with his later developments: his devotion to those he loves, sarcasm, love of violence and boasting, obsessiveness, lack of patience for traditions and rituals, unpredictability. What I find funny is that, despite the myth that Spike was a great villain who underwent the so-called ‘Badass Decay’, his stint as a Big Bad lasted just half of a season and he didn’t get to do much, and his most important action in the finale was as an ambiguous ally; and overall, he was far less ‘badass’ as a villain than he would be as a good guy.

Drusilla – I didn’t like her the first time, but this rewatch has made me realize what a fascinating character she is, full of contradictions: childlike and scary, a lot like a self-involved child preoccupied with her needs, only in her case what makes her the happiest is death and destruction. She tends to play the traditional helpless feminine role but then show her powerful and dangerous she is. As a human she was a tortured victim, but as a vampire, she’s having a good time. I’ve come to reevaluate her insanity: there’s a method in her madness. She can function, make rational decisions (for an evil vampire), communicate and take care of herself. She just occasionally says things that seem really weird to others but make sense to her – and she does have the visions which aren’t delusions, which may be why it feels like she’s often in her own world.

Oz was a great character from the start, with his non-plussed reactions, open mind and straightforwardness when it comes to feelings and relationship. He’s a guy that’s really nice and cool rather than trying to be nuce or cool. His werewolfness was meant to be all the more of a surprise since he’s the last person you’d expect to be “a beast inside”, and it of a was portrayed as something that doesn’t affect him except on the days when he turns into a wolf (but we’ll see it’s not exactly true in season 4).

Like Oz, Jenny was introduced to be a love interest for a Scooby – and her dynamic with Giles was great, with her direct attitude and contemporary tastes as a contrast to his – but she turned out to be connected to the plot more than we could’ve guessed. She managed to remain likeable even after the unlikely Gypsy curse reveal and became the first recurring character we had an emotional attachment to that got killed.

Joyce was a well-meaning but flawed mother: sometimes she seemed to be a great mom who was there for Buffy despite not understanding what really was going on (Innocence), other times she failed as a parent (Becoming II).

Kendra was great as a concept, which worked to an extent, but the character was botched due to not-so-great acting and particularly the fact that with her clothes and makeup she could rival Cordy or S1 Buffy, which made no sense for someone who was completely devoted to her duty and without interest in social life or dating.

Other recurring character worth a mention include Snyder, a really love-to-hate annoying antagonist; Giles’ frenemy Ethan; and among high school students, perpetual victim Jonathan, the new Mean Girl - Harmony, and Larry, who had a brilliant mini-arc for a minor character.

This rewatch reminded me how much the main characters were still affected by gender roles and expectations, and not just Cordelia, who is a spokesperson for anti-feminism at this point. It’s things like Buffy wanting to be an old-fashioned lady so Angel would like her more (Halloween), Willow worrying that she’s the only girl without a boyfriend, and then worrying that she’d be a „slut“ if she kisses Oz first (Phases); Xander’s ridiculous fantasies of being the savior who comes in his private jet and rescues Buffy from a bad relationship (Surprise), Xander, Willow and Buffy using slurs like „slut“ and „trashy“ to insult Cordy. But this all makes the characters far more realistic than if they were some idealized, politically correct beings.

The show generally fails big time when it comes to ethnic diversity (i.e. it mostly doesn’t exist). The biggest example of Ethnicity Fail is without a doubt the stereotypical portrayal of the Roma people, what with „Gypsy curse“ and all, not to mention the stereotypical Uncle Enyos character with his vaguely Eastern European (?) accent. Though at least Jenny doesn’t fit the stereotype. And as it usually happens with Hollywood „Gipsies“, the actors are all white.

I can’t finish this without mentioning the fashion. I often wanted to comment on how the characters were dressed in specific episodes, but it would have taken too much space. So, instead, here’s the seasonal fashion overview. Since BtVS is an example of Unlimited Wardrobe, main characters have worn lots of different outfits. Except for Spike and his iconic black leather duster, or Angel with his long black coat, and during his evil stint, the leather pants of evil. Clothes are used as an element of characterization (except with Kendra, where it doesn’t fit the character at all). Willow still wears one nerdy sweater after another, preferably with a very childish image in it, and Xander also wears some very funny shirts. On the other hand, Cordy is always very dressed-up and elegant, but really not vulgar or „trashy“. Those three didn’t change their style much from season 1. Buffy’s style, on the other hand, has quite changed – she’s still dressing sexy and fashionable, but less over-the-top than she did in season 1. A lot of the stuff she wears at school and in everyday life can now reasonably be seen as something a person would wear to school or in everyday life. She tends to wear simple and comfortable things when she goes Slaying (thankfully it’s not one of the shows where women go to fight bad guys in high heels). Buffy’s wardrobe has been the most versatile this year, and sometimes seems to match her mood, such as the very unusual black dress from Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (talking to Giles in the library about what Angel might do to her on Valentine’s Day) that made her look more mature and darker. She’s even worn overalls, twice. I’m not sure why this particular outfit choice, which goes against her regular style. And the vampires have favorite colors – black and red, which was mocked in Lie to Me, when Angel and a wannabe vampire had the same outfit. Spike seems to really like the red shirt worn with black duster. Dru wore white nightgowns while she was sick, an image of Victorian femininity and innocence/helplessness, until she was restored to her strength, at which point she started wearing sexier clothes, usually red-and-black dresses. Spike and Dru with their punk/goth style also love black fingernail polish – something they share with Oz, who’s also the only person who’s died his hair in different colors this year, even though his natural ginger suits him best.
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Old December 23 2011, 11:57 PM   #101
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Episode ranking (note: the order of the first 4 is random, each would deserve a top spot)

1. Passion – 5
2. Becoming II - 5
3. I Only Have Eyes For You - 5
4. Innocence - 5
5. Lie to Me - 5
6. Becoming I - 5
7. What’s My Line II – 4.5
8. When She Was Bad - 4
9. Halloween - 4
10. School Hard - 4
11. What’s My Line I - 4
12. Surprise – 3.5
13. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered – 3.5
14. Ted – 3.5
15. Phases - 3
16. Inca Mummy Girl - 3
17. The Dark Age - 3
18. Killed by Death - 3
19. Go Fish – 2.5
20. Bad Eggs – 2.5
21. Reptile Boy – 2.5
22. Some Assembly Required - 2

Average rating for the season: 3.75

Quite an improvement over 3.25 for season 1, but I wonder if that number really reflects how good the season is. Or maybe it just seems that way because the second part of the season was so strong. I gave exactly half of the episodes (11) a rating or 4 or higher, 14 episodes got an above average rating, but a few weaker episodes and inconsistency in the early part of the season bring the average rating down somewhat. It’s worth mentioning that the average rating for the first 12 episodes is 3.5, and for the last 10 episodes (from Surprise) – 4.05 (4.10 if you count from Innocence).

It will be very interesting to compare this to the average rating for season 3.

God, season 2 took a long time. I hope real life won't interfere as much and that I'll do season 3 much more regularly!
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Old December 26 2011, 11:44 AM   #102
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

For me season 2 is where Buffy really hits the mark and becomes the legend it is, especially in the last 10 eps or so, the character develop and interactions just find their stride and it's bloody wonderful
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Old December 26 2011, 08:41 PM   #103
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Agreed. Season two is a classic Buffy season, with Angelus, Spike and Dru all along for the ride. The character development is top notch, and the storytelling, on the whole, excellent.

It's the amount of duff standalones that stop the season being the best. Inca Mummy Girl, Reptile Boy, Bad Eggs and Go Fish should go away. Anyway, the best season is up next.

Looking forward to new reviews at whatever pace you deem necessary DevilEyes.
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Old December 27 2011, 01:34 AM   #104
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Seven Swans a Swimming wrote: View Post
Agreed. Season two is a classic Buffy season, with Angelus, Spike and Dru all along for the ride. The character development is top notch, and the storytelling, on the whole, excellent.

It's the amount of duff standalones that stop the season being the best. Inca Mummy Girl, Reptile Boy, Bad Eggs and Go Fish should go away. Anyway, the best season is up next.

Looking forward to new reviews at whatever pace you deem necessary DevilEyes.
Me too!
I though Go Fish was quite good though?
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Old December 27 2011, 02:59 AM   #105
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Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

Seven Swans a Swimming wrote: View Post
Anyway, the best season is up next.
I'm not sure I'll share your opinion - the last time I rewatched season 3 episodes, I thought it was a good season but a bit overrated. It's pretty consistent, but there aren't that many great episodes in it. But we'll see how I feel about it this time.
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