Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/read

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by DevilEyes, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. saturn5

    saturn5 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    GOT is a fetish for beautiful women raped and impregnated by monsters/demons/aliens whom they then fall in love with....actually thinking about it this happens to CC three times so maybe you're right about Joss?
    http://monstersandangels.com/

    Yeah but Echo and co chose to be dolls for a variety of reasons (the ep where we find out Sierra didn't choose is the all important one).
    Angel investigations did very much become a boys club by season 5 although I don't think you can blame Joss for having to write out CC, that was due to outside factors. Personally I love TGIQ but we'll talk about that one when you get there.

    I actually bought the Buffy/Dawn/Joyce action figures display and you get the mask on the wall free with it. Joyce does seem quite pally with Will's mother in 'Gingerbread'.

    They do accept that it is a convenient cliche that supernatural threats tend to peak in mid spring in Sunnydale in season 7. I'm ok with the other scoobs slaying some vamps, they are experienced, they have numbers and weapons.

    Dead Man's Party

    The Good;
    Cordy's outfit, Buffy's homecoming. Joyce's friend Pat. Jonathon. The attack of the undead, another Sunnydale High cheerleader seemingly amongst them. Giles's 'Americans' line and his hotwiring the car. Oz's party definitions. 'Ripper' threatening Snyder

    The Bad;
    Before Giles arrives the house is full of zombies, after he gets there they all disappear? Also would Joyce really choose to hang that horrible mask in the bedroom, even if it is art?

    Best line;
    Oz; "And a hootenany. Well that's chock full of hoot. With just a little bit of nanny" (How effortlessly cool is Seth Green in this scene?)

    Whedon Cliches;
    Character death; So long Pat, we hardly knew you. But at least the actress goes on to be Earl's mum in 'My Name is Earl'

    Shot;

    Tied up; none although when Xander says he's tied up tomorrow Cordy says 'You wish'??????
    Knocked out;
    Women good/men bad;

    Kinky dinky; Buffy is aghast that Joyce wants her to go to private school where she'll have to wear a schoolgirl's uniform. Well it worked for Britney. Cordy says that Xander turned her on with the whole 'Nighthawk' vamphunter look (she also seemed to like him in his army gear in Halloween) Her party dress has to be seen to be believed. Also see 'Tied Up'

    Calling Captain Subtext; this time it's Oz and Cordy who end up in the closet together

    Questions and observations;
    So where is Dawn in all of this? Snyder advises Buffy to get a job in fast food which she eventually does. The confrontation between Joyce and Buffy is really long overdue and Joyce really does have a point. Willow is studying to be witch. Jonathon gets in on the demon fighting for the first time as do Joyce and Devon. After this it's business as usual and we're glad to get back to the status quo in Sunnydale. Joyce's tipple is schnapps and she has a book club (which she later attends in season 5). She also skis to judge by the weapons Oz and Cordy use in the closet. Xander calls himself Nighthawk on patrol, they seem to be pretty good at the vamp staking, having killed at least 6. I'd love to see if they handled any other supernatural threats during the summer. The Mayor is mentioned again and the first appearance of the Expresso Pump. Cordy refers to Buffy as a freak but she'll later become one herself on Angel. Presumably the Watcher's Council used their influence to help get Buffy back in school (see also Checkpoint). Willow is still practicing witchcraft and growing more proficient.
    6/10, good but not brilliant
     
  2. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    I had to rewind that scene a few times to understand what the heck they were saying. :rommie:

    Ha, how did I forget about that one? I usually notice all the kinky sex puns. But it's a bit funny that Cordy and Xander are having BDSM jokes when they haven't even had sex (and won't with each other). That pun worked much better in Dead Things.

    Probably not doing anything too important. When the monks altered everyone's memories, they couldn't change the basic events too much. I like the theory I've read somewhere that Dawn feels unimportant and ignored because, during all those years of her fake life, she didn't affect any of the events, they would've all happened the same way without her (which they actually did).

    Though some people think that Buffy being institutionalized happened only in the fake memories world. In the (murky canon) Dark Horse comic, it happened because Dawn read her diary and told her parents.
     
  3. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    I like that theory, being as Buffy never referred to being in an institute until season six. It was a bit random to bring something that earth-shattering in Buffy's past out of nowhere.

    I agree with the thoughts on Xander being a jerk in Dead Man's Party. Sure I can understand why he was pissed with Buffy, but he was absolutely horrible with her. I know that his feelings towards Angel were always a bit tainted due to his feelings for Buffy, but putting it all down to 'boy trouble' was crass even for him.

    The rest of the episode is pretty good though, and is full of the funny stuff. I loved Buffy looking down to the scoobies when she jumped in and saved them all at the start. The way everyone just falls to the floor, and then Buffy sees Cordelia and just throws her down with them! Giles was a hoot too: "Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty? It raises the dead. Americans!" :lol:
     
  4. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    3.03. Faith, Hope and Trick

    This episode feels more like a proper season opener, as it introduces some new characters that are going to be play important roles season 3 (and some whose roles aren’t really going to be that big, but who are there as a temporary distraction) and features the return of an old character that’s framed as a surprise but that everyone must have seen coming long before. (Yes, that would be Angel.) It’s not a great episode or anything, but it’s pretty good in what it sets out to do.

    For once, the title actually says exactly what it’s about, naming the three recurring characters introduced in this episode – Buffy’s new love interest (of sorts), Scott Hope; the new vampire antagonist, Mr Trick; and one that this episode is really remembered by – Faith, soon to become one of my favorite characters on the show and one of the most popular characters in the fandom at large.

    There’s also some obvious play on words with the title, but I don’t know if it’s supposed to be deep and meaningful or if it just sounds good as a pun on “faith, hope and love” or whatever it’s usually supposed to be. Are the names of the characters supposed to have a deeper meaning? Mr. Trick obviously has the most appropriate name, since a) he’s a tricky fellow, and 2) his entire role on the show is the kind of narrative trick that the show already did with Spike in season 2. But if Scott Hope was named that way because he is supposed to represent “hope” for Buffy to move on… :lol: that’s a poor hope indeed. As for Faith… I’ve always wondered why exactly she was named that way. Joss once said that her name was ironic because “she is one of the most faithless characters on the show”. Was she supposed to represent someone who, at first, seems to have “faith” in herself and in Slaying? Which she really doesn’t, as we learn later. Another irony, maybe?

    There are three narrative threads in the episode, that more of less come together: Buffy finally starting to cope with sending Angel to hell, and at the same time trying to “move on” by dating a rather bland guy at school, urged on by her friends; a new group of vampires who arrive to town, and whose boss has the intention of killing “the Slayer” (except that, as we soon learn, it’s not the one we think it is); and the Scoobies meeting the other new Slayer, Faith, activated a few months earlier when Kendra died.

    Despite Giles’s threats in the last episode, Buffy hasn’t yet been admitted back to school, but soon is, thanks to the school board overruling Snyder. It’s great to see Joyce supportive of her daughter in front of Snyder. The Slayer-gay metaphor is brought up again when Joyce tells Buffy she’s tried to “march in the Slayer Pride”.

    Buffy has another dream about Angel, fulfilling her quota of a dream per episode, and this one is less subtle than the one in Anne: Buffy and Angel are dancing at the Bronze, with her friends staring at them, until he starts blaming her for killing him, asking her how she could do it when he loved her, and turning into a maniacally laughing zombie. We get it, Buffy feels really guilty about sending him to hell (so much that she’s apparently forgetting that she had no choice since the whole world would have otherwise been sucked into hell, together with Angel, and that it was all the result of Angel’s previous actions). The Claddagh ring plays quite a role in the episode, dropping on the floor in a scene that Buffy will later be reminded of when Scott Hope shows her the new “friendship” ring he bought her, which will really freak her out.

    In the spirit of the Scoobies’ apparent belief that being single is not an option and that the only way to move on from a romantic relationship that ended tragically is to immediately jump into a new relationship with anyone single that fancies you and that you don’t find abhorrent, Willow suggests to Buffy to date a guy called Scott Hope. His main qualities seem to be that he’s presumably not a mass-murdering demon and that he seems to be into Buffy because he keeps looking at her (high standards or what?!). He’s cute, if you like the bland boy-band type of look, and the Scoobies think he’s charming, which he is in the sense that he’s not an outright jerk, he’s sociable and he can make a conversation. But he kind of tries a bit too hard, like giving Buffy a ring after they’ve known each other after just a couple of days. (Note: in the original script, it’s made clear that he didn’t actually buy her a Claddagh ring, which would’ve been really creepy, but an ordinary plastic ring, and it just looked like a Claddagh ring to Buffy for a moment; but buying presents like this is still really weird in that stage of “relationship”.) Buffy doesn’t even seem to be all that into the guy but seems to think this is what she should do to “move on”.

    The one who’s doing a much better job of trying to make Buffy deal with her Angel trauma is Giles. He weaves some tale of how he needs to know what exactly happened with Acathla so he would perform a binding spell. In the end he reveals to Willow there never was any binding spell. He was just trying to get Buffy to finally talk about what happened in Becoming II. After having helped Faith with her own trauma, Buffy finally finds the strength to tell Giles and Willow that Angel had his soul back before she sent him to Hell. This seems to allow her a degree of closure, and in the last scene she leaves her Claddagh ring on the floor of the mansion, saying “Goodbye”.

    And of course, it’s right after she leaves that Angel finally returns, or rather is returned from the hell dimension and drops to the floor of the mansion.

    The other two narrative threads are much more interesting. The teaser introduces two new vampires. Kakistos is a very old vampire (so old that his feet have become cloven – another confirmation that extremely old vampires become physically less human, as we’ve seen with the bat-faced Master) who is described as someone very scary (his name is supposed to mean “the worst of the worst” in Greek according to Giles) and is introduced as a red herring Big Bad in the season 1 vein, but is really quite cliché and doesn’t have any of the presence or dark humor of the Master; he’s more like the new Luke, a big strong scary vampire who’ll get disposed of very soon. Kakistos wants revenge on Faith because she blinded him in one eye and left a scar on his face (what do you need to do to blind a vampire, anyway, without poking his eye out? Throw holy water on his face?).

    A far more colorful character is his minion, Mr. Trick. One of the few black vampires – and black people in general – that we see on the show, he is funny, stylish, pragmatic and manipulative, wears designer suits and thinks that vampires should get on with the times and use the opportunities presented by Internet. And he really likes to use young male fast food employees and pizza delivery boys as food. He despises his master’s old-fashioned ways and is quite content to let him die at the hands of the two Slayers. His introduction on the show is one of the best, and he presents an opportunity for the writers address their own failing to have more ethnic diversity on the show, by having him note that Sunnydale is an overwhelmingly white town. He also notes the incredible death rate, comparing it to Washington D.C., in a clever fake-out where the show almost makes you think for a moment that he’s a black gangster stereotype, until he’s revealed to be a vampire, talking to another vampire.

    Looking at the season as a whole, Mr. Trick’s role is what Spike’s role in season 2 was initially meant to be: to be a fun, interesting, unconventional villain until he is killed halfway through the season to make way for the real main antagonist and the betrayal by a character close to Buffy. Although it may not have been planned as such initially, since actor K. Todd Freeman has said that he was supposed to be in just one episode and that they wrote him in 5 more because they liked him.

    And now for the main reason why this episode is important – the introduction of Faith.

    Charismatic, confident, tough, sexy, loud, brash and open, Faith is the type of person who takes everyone by the storm the moment she bursts on the scene. If it’s comparable to something, it’s to the way Buffy immediately captured the attention of Xander, Willow and even Cordelia when she burst onto the scene of Sunnydale High in Welcome to the Hellmouth. Faith’s slaying stories hold the Scoobies breathless, Xander can hardly keep himself from literally drooling over her, Giles is flattered when she calls him young and cute, and even Joyce seems taken by her and sees her as a potentially positive role model for Buffy since Faith, unlike Buffy, seems to really enjoy her calling.

    If Kendra was a contrast to Buffy as a traditional, rule-abiding Slayer, Faith is on the opposite side of the spectrum, as a rebellious and fun-loving Slayer. But Kendra and Faith do have some things in common that separate them from Buffy: both unambiguously accept and love their calling, and both are alone, Faith more so since she’s lost her Watcher. But while Kendra was alone because of her future calling – she was separated from her family at an early age in order to train as a Potential – Faith’s life already sucked due to her family background and things only got better for her when she became a Slayer.

    Faith has no qualms about admitting that she enjoys her powers and slaying for other reasons than just the satisfaction of doing good, and openly mentions that “Slaying makes you hungry and horny”. Buffy admits at least the former, when she proposes that the two of them have something to eat after they’ve killed Kakistos – as for the latter, she genuinely doesn’t seem to have thought about it, but we’ve seen hints of that when she got closer to Angel in Angel after they fought the Three, kissed him after killing the Order of Taraka assassin in What’s My Line I, and had sex after running from the Judge.

    At first everyone seems to be taken by Faith, except Buffy – and maybe Cordelia, who also shows signs of jealousy, e.g. when she says “Does anyone think that’s her real hair color” (probably the writer’s private joke at the expense of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyson Hannigan). But Buffy is really jealous and threatened by Faith, and while I can understand where it’s coming from – Buffy has changed a lot since season 1 and become a lot gloomier, and Faith is now stealing her thunder and becoming the center of attention the way Buffy used to be – Buffy’s behavior is rather poor and her fears of Faith taking over her life really exaggerated (at this point). It would be nice if she were happier to have another Slayer and empathy for the fact that Faith has nobody and nowhere to go except to a cheap hotel. She is upset that Faith is eating her food at dinner, instead of understanding that it’s because Faith is not used to good homemade food and to being invited to dinners. Generally, Faith does not bring out the best in Buffy. But why is Buffy so threatened? Because Xander has someone else to drool over? Because Faith hit it off with Buffy’s not-boyfriend she’s not even that into? What’s the real reason Faith seems to be “taking over her life” as Buffy feels? Maybe because she’s another Slayer, one who enjoys her calling a lot more than Buffy does? The only good reason for Buffy to be threatened is that, whatever she may say, she thinks of herself as the Slayer and doesn’t want to let someone else take over – something that her mom suggests, but Buffy immediately rejects it with a rather unconvincing explanation.

    But Buffy’s instinct is correct when it comes to the fact that Faith is hiding something, and that there’s something off with her. Beneath all the bluster, there’s vulnerability and insecurity, as we see soon when Faith freezes when she has to confront Kakistos, which triggers a recent trauma. She lied about her Watcher being in England because she wasn’t able to tell them how her Watcher died, just like Buffy wasn’t able to tell the Scoobies about Angel having his soul back when she ‘killed’ him. We see hints of Faith’s abusive history and the first sign of her disturbing enjoyment in violence as a way to take out her emotional issues, when she keeps pummeling a vampire and screaming “MY DEAD MOTHER HIT HARDER THAN THAT!” and“DON’T TOUCH ME!” instead of dusting him and coming to help Buffy fight the other vampires. We’ve already learned a few big things about Faith’s background:

    - Dropped out of high school
    - Didn’t have any good friends in school
    - Comes from a poor background and lives in cheap hotels
    - Her mother is dead
    - Her mother used to beat her up
    - Her Watcher was killed is a gruesome way by Kakistos, and Faith still feels guilty for running away before she could kill him.

    Faith’s Watcher was a woman, and probably an older woman (since Faith implies that she didn’t know Watchers could be as young and cute as Giles). She might have been a much needed mother figure to Faith.

    When Buffy helps Faith work through her trauma and they fight Kakistos together, with Faith being the one to dust him, the two girls finally start bonding, and Buffy goes on to work through her own trauma. The irony is that the two of them wouldn’t have seemed so different in other circumstances, and if Faith had met Buffy last year, before Innocence, she would have met someone a lot more open, bubbly and fun. As it is, Faith will get the impression that Buffy is uptight and with no sense of fun.

    Fashion in the episode is something I really have to comment on. While Willow has become less nerdy and is wearing cute sweaters instead of silly “Look at me, I’m nerdy” shirts and overalls, Xander is still the king of silly shirt designs, Cordelia is elegant as usual, and Giles is halfway between his stuffy early style and his later seasons casual style, Faith wears tight vinyl pants and a black top that Cordelia considers trashy, and Buffy has for some reason suddenly started dressing like soccer mom. :eek: I cannon describe how much I HATE Buffy’s outfits in this episode, and IIRC, it continues throughout season 3. What the hell happened, Buffy, why would you change your style like that – except to allow the show to make a bigger stereotypical good girl/bad girl contrast with Faith?

    Best lines:
    Buffy: All right, yes, date and shop and hang out and go to school and save the world from unspeakable demons. You know, I want to do girlie stuff.

    Buffy: So let me get this straight. I'm really back in school because the school board *overruled* you. (Snyder faces her) Wow. That's like having your whole ability to do this job called into question, when you think about it.
    Joyce: I think what my daughter's trying to say is: 'Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!'

    Willow (to Faith): Oz is a werewolf.
    Buffy: It's a long story.
    Oz: I got bit.
    Buffy: Apparently not that long.

    Worst lines:
    Cordelia: Oh, you mean 'cause of how the only guy that ever liked her turned into a vicious killer and had to be put down like a dog?

    Uh, Cordy, “the only guy that ever liked her”?! That’s very inaccurate, did she just forget about her boyfriend Xander’s huge and annoying crush on Buffy? Not to mention Owen, another guy Cordy seemed to fancy. And that swimmer guy. And all the guys who liked Buffy before she came to Sunnydale. It’s hardly a question of Buffy not having had any options, it’s about how she was in love with, methinks.

    And this bit of dialogue doesn’t make sense:

    Buffy: Mom, no one can take over for me.
    Joyce: But you're going to college next year. I think it would be...
    Buffy: Mom, the only way you get a new Slayer is when the old Slayer dies.

    What does that have to do with Buffy letting Faith take over? Buffy has already died and that’s how Kendra and Faith came to be Slayers. Buffy is actually in the perfect position to retire, if that’s what she wants to do. She doesn’t really seem to want to and feels threatened by Faith, which says a lot. Was her mom just too distracted to learn that Buffy died that she failed to notice that Buffy wasn’t making sense? Or was it just a clumsy writing attempt to have Joyce learn that Buffy died at one point.

    Mythology: The first time the Council of Watchers is mentioned. They hold their yearly „retreats“ in England with a lot of lectures as well leasure activities like kayaking, but Giles has never been invited to one of those. Why was that?

    Maybe it used to be because he was known as a rebel/troublemaker, and now it’s because he’s too busy.
    We also learn that Faith was activated when Kendra died, which means that the next Slayer should be called when Faith dies; although at this point we still don’t know for sure what will happen when Buffy dies for the second time, and if it would result in yet another Slayer (as we now know, it won’t – the Slayer line doesn’t go through her anymore; though this obviously became irrelevant after Chosen).

    Pop culture references: When Buffy prepares a lunch for her friends, Cordelia compares her to Martha Stewart (I guess it goes really well with Buffy’s makeover into a soccer mom in this episode :rolleyes:). Buffy references the movie Single White Female in which Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a psycho who’s trying to take over Bridget Fonda’s life. Scott invites Buffy to a Buster Keaton film festival. Mr. Trick (mis)quotes George Gershwin’s song „Summertime“: „Where the humans and jumping and the cotton is high“.

    Nicknames: Faith immediately starts calling Buffy „B.“. Buffy ironically calls her back „F.“. Cordelia’s first reaction to seeing Faith for the first time, dancing with a guy who turns out to be a vampire, is to call them „Slut-o-rama and her Disco Dave“. Buffy keeps messing up Kakistos’ name, calling him Kissing Toast and Kaki Trousers.

    Destroying English language: Buffy sarcastically calls Faith „my bestest new little sister“. This is the second time „bestest“ has been used on the show, and both times it was in a sarcastic way. Something interesting to keep in mind when reading season 8...

    Ooh, kinky: Willow makes one of her unintentional double entendres, telling Buffy she should charm Scott by doing „that thing you do with your mouth that boys like“. Upon Buffy’s startled reaction, she quickly explains she meant Buffy’s half-smile, not „that bad thing with your mouth.“ It’s not a bad thing, Willow...

    Cordelia comments on Xander’s attraction to Slayers and that maybe she should dress up as one and put a stake to his chest (which is the type of fantasy Spike will enact with Harmony and Buffybot in season 5), Xander says he would like that to be more than sarcasm. Am I the only one who’s a bit fed up that so far it’s been always Xander (out of the non-vampire characters) who tends to have kinky sex fantasies, per the stereotype of a horny teenage boy? Luckily Faith’s arrival is soon going to change this.

    Shirtless scene: Or rather, the first naked scene, as Angel falls into this dimension and onto the floor of the mansion, butt naked.

    Foreshadowing: The Mayor is name-checked again; they’ve slowly been building him up since season 2, until we finally meet him. Faith will in fact literally try to take over Buffy’s life in Who Are You? Buffy’s „little sister“ comment and Joyce’s line that it’s fortunate Buffy is the only child might be seen as foreshadowing for Dawn, though I doubt that it was planned back in season 3. Kakistos’ line „I don’t care if there are hundreds of Slayers...“ is probably another bit of completely accidental foreshadowing.

    Rating: 3.5
     
  5. saturn5

    saturn5 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    I always took it that Faith's name represented our having Faith in her. Now of course if you believe in the Normal Again theory then 'Faith' is a symbol of Buffy's will to get better, that she is no longer the only Slayer (and consider we later get a character called 'Dawn'?) giving her (Scott?)hope that she can lead an ordinary life, which are Faith's final words to her in the show, just before it ends/she wakes up sane again in the asylum. However Buffy never knows about Giles' trick which is a point against it
    I love the Joyce/Faith scenes, I think if Buffy had been killed Faith would be the Slayer, Dawn would be her sister and Joyce would be their adopted mother. I also like the idea of Jaith:drool:. Interesting that Buffy refers to Faith as 'little' sister establishing her as the younger girl. One wonders if Dawn's initial antipathy to Faith when she returns to Sunnydale is based on jealousy that Buffy has this cool new female friend to hang out with and is a rival for her affections?
    Note we also have our first evidence of a female Watcher.

    Faith, Hope and Trick

    The Good;
    Faith. Need I really say any more? Faith dancing and fighting is great but also the scenes where we get to see her terrified, more vulnerable side. Love the scenes where Buffy is being single-white-femaled by Faith which she takes with suprising good humour. And Angel's back, yay! Love Joyce sticking it to Snyder and the uncoupling scene at Buffy's picnic.

    The Bad;
    The idea of Mr Trick being able to order children online as food is just too horrible for words

    Best line; Mr Trick "Admittedly not a haven for the bruthas, strictly of the Caucasion persuasion here in the Dale" just beating Xander's wonderful "People say kids don't learn anything at High School. well I learnt, I learnt to be afraid!"

    Tied up; no but presumably Faith was handcuffed when she was arrested

    Kinky dinky; Now that Faith is on the scene I expect to have a great deal more to write in this column. She starts off with naked slaying and alligator wrestling and saying Slaying makes you 'hungry and horny' (of course in Get It Done we discover why Slayers have these sort of feelings). And of course, the writers find an excuse for nude Angel too. According to Willow Buffy has a thing she does with her mouth that 'boys like'. Hmmmmm? Xander calls Buffy a slut. Buffy's fondling of the letter opener is reminiscent of her stroking the crystal in 'Helpless'. Cordy refers to Faith as 'Slut-o-rama' but also suggests that she dress up as a Slayer and put a stake to Xander's throat, a sex game he seems keen on.

    Calling Captain Subtext; Faith obviously hungers for both a mother and father figure, commenting on Giles' 'youth and beauty' and obviously enamoured of Joyce, saying she's really cool (something I suspect Buffy and Dawn would also think but never say). Joyce says she likes Faith and Buffy describes Joyce as the 'best mom ever'. Faith's line about her 'Dead mother hitting harder than that' is loaded with not so hidden meaning. Faith has not only never knew her dad but lost her mother and also her female Watcher making her pretty desperate for some maternal/paternal love. So I pronounce this Jaith and Gaith. She also starts putting the moves on Scott Hope, the beginning of a long tradition of stealing Buffy's boyfriends (Buffy is still touchy when Faith mentions Angel). BUT even Buffy describes Faith as 'personable' the beginning of the biggest subtext in the series. Joyce actually refers to marching in the 'Slayer pride parade' again likening being the Slayer to being gay.

    Questions and observations;
    The introduction of Mr Trick and Faith, the series just never looking back from this point. Kakistos seems to not be killable with a regular stake. Like The Master he seems to be so old that he's devolving into a Turok-Han. Martha Stewart is mentioned as she is later revealed by Anya to be a witch. Giles' subtle efforts to get Buffy to reveal the truth about what happened to Angel (another point against Normal Again, Buffy never knows about this). There are no leprechauns in the Buffyverse but judging by DB's attempts at an Irish accent and Charmed's efforts in that direction we should be grateful. Faith's dead Watcher was female, the first we've heard about. I know some people think that she was killed during Faith's Cruciamentum which we'll later see in Helpless but that happens when a Slayer turns 18 and Faith is younger than Buffy who is 17 (Buffy refers to Faith as her little sister, at least until Dawn comes along). Giles loves to kayak. Couldn't the Watcher's Council pay for Faith to have a better apartment? Or couldn't she live with Giles or Buffy and Joyce (Dawn's room isn't being used yet). Mr Trick is right, not many visible ethnic minorities in Sunnydale but I've been to Santa Barbara which it's apparently based on and it's a pretty accurate representation. Giles warns Willow for the first time about abuse of magic. You can make fire from ice and it doesn't take magic. Presumably Khakisto's scar doesn't heal because Faith inflicted it with some form of enchanted weapon, like Spike's with the Chinise Slayer. Joyce comments on Buffy being an only child and learns for the first time that Buffy died. You wonder what Dawn makes of Faith? She resents her when they first meet in season 7 but what's her attitude on season 3?

    Why no commentaries on all these brilliant episodes? Crap like Reptile Boy gets them but not classics like this? Please Joss, if you need a few million dollars to finance your next project just sit down with the cast and do some commentaries for Buffy; Special Edition DVDs, we'd all buy them.

    10/10
     
  6. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    We knew since season 1 that there were female Watchers, since Giles told Buffy in Never Kill A Boy On the First Date that his father and paternal grandmother were Watchers.

    I'm not sure I'd call Faith calling Giles young and cute her "looking for a father figure", that's usually not the way you look for a father figure. :rommie:
    Not really, except in Buffy's mind. Even if Faith simply talking to Scott is considered "putting the moves on him", he wasn't Buffy's boyfriend, and Faith didn't even know who he was when she started talking to him.

    The only boyfriends she did try to steal were Angel in season 3 and Riley (as a part of trying to steal Buffy's life in general), but with Angel is was mostly because the Mayor asked her to seduce him. In season 7 she already flirted with Spike before she learned in that same scene that there had been anything between him and Buffy (and she had already flirted with him in Buffy's body in season 4).
     
  7. saturn5

    saturn5 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    Was it Giles' grandmother or grandfather?

    I like the idea of Gaith and arguably we may finally get it in the comics?

    Remember Faith is the 'do that' girl who thinks that friends are there to sate her carnal desires so if she thinks Scott's cute there's only one thing on her mind? Remember Faith also puts the moves on Robin Wood and Spike. The girl can't help it;)
     
  8. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    Grandmother. "I was ten years old when my father told me I was destined to be a Watcher. He was one, and his mother before him, and I was to be next."

    Have you read season 8?

    Scott wasn't Buffy's boyfriend and Faith didn't even know that there was anything between him and Buffy. She didn't make any moves on him that we know of after he started dating Buffy, or after he dumped her.

    Faith flirted with Spike long before there was anything between him and Buffy (season 4) and she put the moves on him in Dirty Girls before she even learned about his and Buffy's history. Leaving aside the question whether Spike could be considered Buffy's boyfriend at that point, if Faith wanted to go after Buffy's boyfriends, Buffy's jealous reaction in Dirty Girls would've made her want to go after Spike more. But instead she didn't try anything with him after that and hooked up with Wood instead.

    Wood was most definitely not Buffy's boyfriend when Faith met him. Buffy had only flirted and went out on one aborted date with him a while before, and neither of them pursued it since Buffy obviously still had feelings for Spike and Wood was smart enough to notice. And Faith didn't even have any idea that there had been any romantic interest between Buffy and Wood. Buffy doesn't have proprietary rights over every guy she's ever flirted with or tried to date. ;)

    Bottom line, Buffy and Faith might just have a similar taste in men, but it's really not like Faith has been targeting Buffy's boyfriends, like a jealous sister who wants to get one over Buffy. She did try to steal Buffy's boyfriend in season 3, but only after she went bad and the Mayor told her to make Angel evil and get them on her side. Riley she did 'steal' and that was when she was trying to steal Buffy's life. But reformed Faith in season 7 didn't try anything of the sort - she was even uncomfortable when she was named the leader instead of Buffy.
     
  9. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    I always wondered if he fell on the ring Buffy left on the floor. That would leave a mark!
     
  10. saturn5

    saturn5 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    I think it is there, any boy Buffy shows an interest in Faith automatically takes a shine to (just check out Buffy's expression when she sees Faith all pally with Spike and Woods).
    Although ironically it's our sweet little Willow who's the boyfriend stealer in the series. Come to think of it they're the one's who commit the female 'rapes' in the series, Faith-as-Buffy seducing Riley and Willow using magic on Tara.
    I did read season 8 and Faith and Giles are finally a duo although it's left unclear if their relationship is platonic or not
     
  11. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    Did you read it to the end?

    I'm pretty sure it's platonic since 1) the comics would've shown otherwise if not and 2) Faith only trusts men who are not trying to sleep with her. She has the default "all men want one thing" but she got emotionally close to the Mayor only after he made it clear to her his interest in her wasn't sexual; same thing with Angel. She usually dumps those she sleeps with - Wood tried to change that and it seemed she was more open to a real relationship, but in S8 we see it didn't last.
     
  12. saturn5

    saturn5 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    Yes you make a good point although it would be a nice touch if we later found out Faith was pregnant with Giles' baby etc:)
    I always thought it was a shame we didn't get to explore more of Faith/Woods in the comics although I'm a Fuffer at heart
     
  13. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    That's impossible since he's been dead for more than 7 months.
     
  14. Wereghost

    Wereghost Part-time poltergeist Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    Angel laughs at Giles' 7 months and raises him 225-odd years. ;)
     
  15. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    Well there's "dead" and there's "like, really dead".
     
  16. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    I've rewatched up to 3.8. Lovers Walk, I hope I'll find the time to finish all the reviews quickly and move on to The Wish.

    3.04. Beauty and the Beasts

    After the reveal of the last scene of Faith, Hope and Trick, this episode naturally deals with Buffy learning about Angel’s return, while at the same time it’s a sequel of sorts to Phases – as it’s only the second episode to deal with Oz’s werewolfishness and takes place during the 3 days he needs to be locked up in a cage. There are three eponymous “beasts” - Oz, Angel, and Pete, the actual villain of the episode. A werewolf, a vampire and a secretly enhanced human (sounds either like a fairytale, or like a beginning of a joke). There’s a victim of a brutal murder that looks like a work of a vicious animal, and the narrative plays with the possible suspects. Just like in Phases, there’s a murder victim and the suspicion first falls on Wolf!Oz, but again it’s not him (if that were the case, we’d have a guilt-ridden Oz, which the show didn’t need at the time) but this time it’s not Angel, either.

    This episode is hated in some quarters, but I think it’s better than most people give it credit for. It s a dark episode that deals with themes of the monster/man duality, which are some of the themes running through the entire show. A popular complaint about the episode is that it’s preachy with its message about abusive relationships, but I don’t think that’s fair. The story about Pete and Debbie is a textbook example of an abusive man and his battered female partner (and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, BtVS has had lots of stories mirroring real life) but this is not a Lifetime movie – Pete/Debbie serves as a compare and contrast to the much more complicated Angel/Buffy relationship (just as the Oz/Willow relationships does, on the other side. The episode asks the questions, but the resolution and any messages we may get from it about Buffy’s own life and Buffy/Angel are very ambiguous. And it has an ending that people might see as darkly romantic and even cheesy, but that on this latest rewatch feels deliberately unresolved and unsettling.

    Some people accuse this episode of being misandric, just based on the fact that Faith says that all men are beasts deep inside and “in it for the chase”. I find that quite odd, since there’s no reason to think that any character is the voice of the author – let alone Faith (few people think that we’re supposed to take everything comes out of her mouth as gospel truth when, for instance, in Consequences – also written by Marti Noxon, who wrote this episode – she says that Slayers are betters than everyone and should be above the law). It’s just one character’s opinion, and it’s a character who is heavily hinted to have come from an abusive background and had bad experiences with men (which she mentions a few episodes later in Revelations), who doesn't trust people, who treats relationships as something where you can be either a victim or an abuser, and who, as we see later, treats men in the same abusive way (Consequences). Incidentally, we already saw characters give „all men are beasts“ speeches in season 2 Phases - that time it was Buffy, coming on from a terrible experience with Angel in Innocence; this was obviously temporary since in this episode she calls Faith’s views cynical.

    Faith has a small role here and appears just in a few scenes, but she and Buffy have become really friendly (which is both nice to see, and sad, knowing how things will turn out), and she seems so happy and carefree while listening to loud music while watching over Oz. There are just little signs of darkness, like her cynical attitude about men. Buffy is now even discussing boys with Faith the way she used to with Willow. Except that Willow wouldn’t ask Buffy if she and Scott are „kicking the gearshift“ (is that some euphemism for sex?) and if Buffy if Scott makes her hot (or in Faith’s words, if he gives her „that down-low tickle“). It’s pretty obvious from the way she talks about him that she doesn’t. („Yeah, I guess... How low?“) She’s trying to muster enthusiasm for the guy, but it’s not a good sign for a relationship when the most positive and appealing quality you can find in a guy is the absence of something negative (according to Buffy, the best thing about Scott is that he’s not any kind of hellbeast). It’s Faith describes Scott as „quite a muffin“ and Buffy adds he’s like a blueberry muffin „with crunchy-munchy stuff on top“. Geez, that’s so sexy – not. :rolleyes: That’s like an 8-year old talking.

    She obviously thinks that dating some guy is necessary as a sign that she’s moving on from her Angel trauma, since one of the first things she tells the school psychologist she has to see as a part of adjustment to the school is „I’m even seeing someone new“. The psychologist, Platt, is for a change, an intelligent and helpful authority figure good at his job, which was a sure sign he was doomed. (Plus, he’s one of the few black people on the show, and he smokes, two more obvious signs.) He helps Buffy by telling her that what she was going through (minus the supernatural stuff, which she, of course, didn’t tell him about) is something a lot of people go through and that she shouldn’t blame herself. While Faith was telling her how all men are beasts, Platt tells her that everyone has their own issues and demons. Platt’s conversation with Buffy contains the most memorable lines of the episode, since he more or less outlines some of the main themes of the show. “Demons can be fought. People can change. You can change.” His words are aimed at convincing Buffy that she can move on and resolve her problems, but when Buffy discovers that Angel is back, it gains the double meaning – a question whether Buffy’s vampire ex-lover can change and fight the demon inside. Platt also has this to say about unhealthy, codependent relationships (a message he probably also told Debbie, which would explain why she didn’t like some of the things he said, and why Pete had such a problem with the guy):

    Platt: Lots of people lose themselves in love. It’s no shame. They write songs about it. The hitch is: you can’t stay lost. Sooner or later, you have to get back to yourself.
    Buffy: But if you can’t?
    Platt: Love becomes your master, and you’re just its dog.

    It’s interesting to compare this line with Spike’s famous line from Lovers Walk “I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it”. But this is also a very meaningful dialogue because, for the rest of the show, we’ll get to see Buffy becoming less willing to take emotional risks when it comes to romance, trying not to be “love’s dog” again, with variable and questionable results.

    When Buffy, to her shock, runs into Angel while she’s hunting for the killer, she finds out he’s become like a wild animal. I think that was a good way to deal with his return – it makes sense that he wouldn’t be sane after being tortured in hell for hundreds of years. The next episodes made him regain his sanity way too fast. Buffy will keep the secret of Angel’s return until 3.7. Revelations, but she comes close to telling Giles here, telling him instead that she dreamed of Angel coming back, and questioning him about hell dimensions and what Angel would be like „if“ he returned. Giles admits he dreamed about Jenny being alive for a long time. I wonder if the mention of her name made Buffy even less comfortable with telling Giles. In this episode, it’s actually quite understandable that she’s worried that Angel might be the killer, but that she wants to find out first and is scared that the Scoobies might jump to conclusions and want him dead immediately (Xander probably would – and the fact that Buffy believes that Willow told Xander to give her the message „Kick his ass“ is probably influencing her decision not to tell the Scoobies about Angel). The one person she wanted to tell, Platt, got murdered before she got a chance to.

    Scott’s friends Debbie and Pete are introduced as a saccharine sweet couple, which in this show usually means that something’s not right. Buffy’s bland rebound boyfriend is a bit more likeable and manages to even be genuinely funny for a moment, but Buffy is already in the stage of pulling away and acting uncomfortable with his attention, and I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a sign of how she’s distracted by Angel’s return, but it looks a lot like the way you’d react to the attention of a guy you’re really not that into. Pete refers to Buffy as „manic depressive chick“, another sign of what people in the school think about her.

    Buffy and Willow are now in the same position, even though Willow and the others don’t know it. As Willow points out to Buffy, now it’s her boyfriend who may be the vicious killer. Oz was the first suspect, due to the fact that Xander fell asleep while watching his cage and that the window was open the night of the first murder. (It’s really convenient that nobody ever comes to check what’s going on in the library and doesn’t notice that there’s a naked student locked in a cage.) Speaking of which, Xander acts a bit flirtatious and shows some jealousy over Willow and Oz, which may be a setup for the Willow/Xander fling that begins in the next episode, but on Willow’s side, I don’t see such a setup since she seems completely in love with Oz. Both Oz and Angel are cleared of suspicion when it’s revealed that Platt, the second victim, was killed during the day. Willow has a really adorable moment when she shouts „YES!“ to that news, before quickly correcting herself „I mean, it’s awful...“

    Giles told Buffy that there were two kinds of monsters – those who can respond to reason and love and can be redeemed, and those who can’t. Of the three “beasts” in this episode, only Pete is portrayed as irredeemable. Pete's characterization is dead-on accurate portayal of a real life abuser, if I go by my mother's account of her abusive first husband's behavior: outwardly charming, but really deeply insecure, and pathologically jealous and possessive as a result. Oz is a super-nice guy and perfect boyfriend when not in wolf shape, and he really doesn’t have any control over his wolf side. Pete is on the other end of the spectrum: he devised a potion to turn himself into a monster out of the desire to be more masculine for his girlfriend, but after a while he didn’t even need the potion – his monstrous nature was a part of who he was. After an abusive episode, he turns ’nice’ and loving again, but the fact that he blames Debbie for provoking him ruins any shred of sympathy he might have. Where does that leave Angel? Somewhere in between, it’s just ambiguous where exactly. But the ending of the episode portrays him as capable of redemption, and he’s the one to defeat Pete. Pete is a man who decided to be a monster, while Angel is a monster trying to be a man, and on BtVS, the latter is typically more sympathetic and morally superior to the former (see also: Warren and Spike).

    When he kills Pete, saves Buffy and then literally falls at Buffy’s feet and whispers her name – his first word since coming back from hell – it’s a very melodramatic moment, but also unsettling; Buffy is obviously deeply moved, but there’s angst on her face, not happiness; like she knows that the pain and drama she tried to left behind is back into her life. I remember a discussion on LJ about the resolution of this episode: what does it mean and is it disturbing that Buffy doesn’t manage to defeat Pete and that Angel saves her instead; not in the sense that Buffy is a superwoman who can defeat everyone, but in the sense that the monsters are representations of real life problems. One of the few monsters Buffy can’t defeat is Pete, the representation of Bad Boyfriend; it takes another Bad Boyfriend – Buffy’s own, redeemable one – to kill Pete. One of the main reasons why Buffy’s arc in season 3 is unsatisfying is that she never actually manages to properly deal with her season 2 trauma or to resolve her relationship with Angel either way; she doesn’t even have control over how it ends in season 3, Angel is the one who makes that decision. In that light, this resolution might be perfectly appropriate.

    Here’s one awesome detail I’ve noticed - in the scene where Buffy is lecturing Debbie about abusive relationships, pay attention to the really interesting poster on the locker room behind Buffy:

    [​IMG]

    “MOST WOMEN AREN’T ATTRACTED TO DEAD GUYS” (!!!)

    Debbie is battered woman who’s „lost herself“ and protecting her abuser, and who sadly ends up killed by him. A cautionary tale, and it’s a pretty straightforward one if we ignore the subtext and see Buffy as a neutral party who’s just telling Debbie the harsh and necessary truth. „While you guys enjoy your grim fairy-tale, two people are dead.“ Someone could say something similar about Buffy and Angel. (And in fact, Xander does say something similar a few times.) „Anybody who really loved you couldn’t do this to you.“ It’s a lot more interesting to see Buffy talking about this in the light of her inability to address the things Angel did in season 2. And all the more when we know that 3 years later she’ll get herself involved against her better judgment in another abusive relationship, in which she’ll be both victim and abuser. And then there’s season 8...

    The episode ends with Scott’s words that you never really know what’s going on inside someone, even if you care for them, and a segue to the last scene of Buffy in Angel’s mansion, watching him asleep, with Buffy’s voice over from Call of the Wild: „ Night came on, and a full moon rose high over the trees, lighting the land till it lay bathed in ghostly day… and the strain of the primitive remained alive and active. Faithfulness and devotion, things born of fire and roof, were his; yet he retained his wildness and wiliness. And from the depths of the forest - the call still sounded." The obvious meaning seems to be that Buffy is thinking about the fact that she doesn’t really know what’s in Angel’s mind and heart, and about the duality of his devotion to her and his demonic nature. But I can’t help but think that it may also refer to Buffy’s own „wild“ and disturbing impulses, despite her her good girl personality and devotion to her friends and family, and to the fact that she’s keeping secrets from them and that they don’t really know what’s going on inside her.

    Best lines:
    Mr. Platt: Look, Buffy, any person—grown-up, shrink... Pope—any person who claims to be totally sane is either lying or not very bright.

    Buffy: We have a marching jazz band?
    Oz: Yeah, but, you know, since the best jazz is improvisational, we'd be going off in all directions, bumping into floats... scary.
    Willow: He's just being Oz.
    Oz: Pretty much full time.

    Fashion watch: This is something I really should have been doing since the pilot, but in this season the fashion choices of the characters (particularly Buffy and Faith, since the others are dressing rather consistently) are really something I have to comment on episode by episode.Everyone is dressing better than in the previous episode: Faith’s clothes are not so trashy, she’s dressed as a rock chick in jeans and leather, and Buffy’s clothes are less mom-like, but she wears a lot of pastel colors and at one time has a flower in her hair. It’s like this season she’s dressing either too young or too old for her age and far less sexy than in season 1 and 2 wardrobe. On the positive side, while slaying she’s again (for the first time since season 2) wearing her leather jacket that Angel gave her in Teacher's Pet and that she usually wore while going to slay. The pastel dresses and flowers are for girly Buffy, the Leather Jacket of Slaying is a sign of decisive badass Buffy.

    Shirtless scene: Angel spends the entire episode shirtless, but, amazingly, he has his pants on. It’s good to know that even in his wild state he managed to get his pants on. Did he take the pants off of some human, or did the hell dimension drop him a suitcase with clothes? :p

    What the slashy heck: Another one of “sexually insecure Xander” remarks:Xander says he can handle Oz’s full monty nudity and then quickly adds: “I mean, not ‘handle’ handle, like hands to flesh handle”.

    Pop culture references: The fairytale Beauty and the Beast; that story is about a monster who’s really has a good heart beneath the beastly exterior and turns out to be a cursed human prince. I’m not sure that anyone in this episode fits that description, though Oz comes the closest, and Pete is pretty much the opposite. Pete is compared to Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Incredible Hulk. Call of the Wild is quoted in Buffy’s voice overs at the beginning and end of the episode, and it the book Willow reads to wolf!Oz to calm him down. Willow says saying that the book seems to “soothe the savage beast”, which is a popular misquote of William Congreve’s line “music has charms to soothe the savage breast”. (The misquote sounds so much better.) Grimm fairy-tales. The Full Monty (Willow says she hasn’t seen Oz’s full monty, just half a monty). Faith references Manimal, apparently a TV show and one I’ve never heard about: “Every guy from Manimal to Mr. I-love-English Patient is the same”.

    Rating: 3.5
     
  17. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    3.05. Homecoming

    Good things about this episode: it finally introduces the Mayor, probably my favorite villain in the verse (if we don’t count Spike or Faith as villains). One of the things that the main plot centers on is really entertaining - Mr. Trick organizing “SlayerFest ‘98”, a contest to kill Buffy and Faith, which results in Buffy and Cordy fighting a bunch of colorful human and demon characters. And for some really good news: Scott Hope dumps Buffy and that’s the last we see of him (yay! :techman:).

    Bad things: or rather, just one but a huge one. It’s the beginning of what is possibly my least favorite storyline in the entire show, and the one I’d most like to remove from canon, which is not just because I’ve always hated it, but because I’ve never found it convincing. And I had to endure it for 3 more episodes after this one.

    Neutral things: the other thing that the plot is about is the competition for the Homecoming Queen, one of those American high school traditions that I just don’t get. They really have official popularity contests in schools? Creepy. And what is a Homecoming Queen, anyway? On the other hand, the episode derives some fun from the silliness of it all. It’s also an opportunity to have Buffy and Cordy square off and deal with their issues with each other, but for this purpose, Cordy’s characterization and their dynamic have been reverted to what they were like at the end of season 1.

    All in all, an average episode by BtVS standards.

    This is where the Willow/Xander fling starts, with the “clothes fluke” - since they supposedly found themselves irresistibly attracted to each ohter because he wore a suit and she wore a long black dress. Which makes very little sense. (It’s certainly a contrast to Oz, who found Willow attractive the first time he saw her even though she was in an Eskimo suit.) What’s worse, the scene is set to one of those incredibly cheesy songs you hear on teen shows like Dawson’s Creek.

    Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t enjoy storylines about people doing wrong things, quite the opposite, I love it when we see that main characters have flaws. And why am I so upset with this when people have done far worse things over the course of the show? I admit that a lot of my annoyance was because I really liked the Willow/Oz relationship, and to a lesser extent Xander/Cordy, but the main reason is that I never found this plot believable. I could see them having one kiss, due to the fact she used to have a crush on him for a long time and that he seems to have started to see her differently when she found a boyfriend. But the idea of the two of them being so attracted to each other that they're carrying on behind Oz's and Cordy's backs is something I'm really not buying. I believed it when Xander and Cordy couldn't keep their hands off each other, but I just find the idea of Xander and Willow lusting after each other a bit funny. Their relationship was always been sexless, even when they were about to kiss in When She Was Bad they seemed like two 8-year olds, and I'm not seeing any more sexual chemistry/attraction between them now. Their kisses aren't even portrayed as sexy, they are made to look cute – even though they're cheating. I certainly don't see such a big attraction that would make Willow betray Oz and risk hurting him.

    Becoming II would've been a great resolution to the storyline of Willow having a crush on Xander. Why did W/X in season 3 happen? I can come up with Doylist reasons: Joss wanted to give the Willow/Xander shippers what they wanted in the worst possible way, and had to contrive a way to ruin the Xander/Cordy ship, because Cordy was supposed to go to the Angel spinoff starting the next year. On the Watsonian level, it's much more difficult. I can find some reasons for Xander's sudden sexual interest in Willow. He was used to being the most important guy in Willow's life, he showed jealousy of Oz a few times in season 2; then the possibility of losing Willow when she was injured and in a coma made him realize how much she meant to him and he told her ILY, though I think he wasn't sure if it was romantic or friendly. However, she showed who was the most important man in her life now when she asked for Oz, not Xander. It boils down to wanting what he can't have, and Willow now has a boyfriend so he's starting to see her as a sexual being rather than a platonic childhood friend. Plus, his feelings for Cordy don't seem as strong as hers for him. I have a harder time believing that Willow would do it. Yes, she had a crush on Xander for a long time, but she seemed so in love with Oz since Phases up till this episode. Maybe after thinking for so long that nobody liked her, she's just enjoying sudden attention from two guys - two guys she really likes - and enjoying the feeling of doing something forbidden (even though a few episodes ago she didn't even dare have lunch outside of school premises). The best explanation (fanwank?) I've read so far is that they were both afraid of growing up and having real relationships, so they were subconsciously undermining them by turning to their childhood friend. Another one, based on later revelations/retcons about Willow's sexuality, is that she felt that even though she finally had a boyfriend and was in love with him, she didn't exactly feel the kind of passion she thought girls feel in romantic relationships with boys, and that she was trying to find that through an illicit 'affair'. But the very fact I have to work hard to make sense of it shows what's wrong with this story. :vulcan:

    Angel is not wild anymore – though he's not yet his normal self either, he's not looking at Buffy and not speaking either, except for a single word; this time it's repeating Giles's name when Buffy mentioned him, with an expression of guilt that shows he remembers what he did in season 2 (which from his perspective happened hundreds years ago?). He only has a big emotional reaction when Buffy tells him she's dating someone new (she seemed to think he would be glad to know that she was doing well). Buffy uncharacteristically recoils from him as if she's scared – maybe she's still not sure if he's over his wild beast phase. But he just touches her leather jacket – the one he originally gave her in Teacher's Pet. I like this scene with Angel's non-verbal reactions, it's quite emotional and Angel's more interesting here than he will be in the next episodes when he starts acting completely normally. Buffy describes Scott as someone she can trust (she talks about him in a similar way she'll talk about Riley in season 4) and says that he makes her happy – which must mean that she's started to confuse the absence of angst with real happiness. Then we get the segue into the next scene – Scott dumping Buffy, a perfect moment of irony. His reason for breaking up is that Buffy used to be full of life, like a force of nature, before they started going out, and that she's now 'distracted'. I'm not sure if we're supposed to think that it's Angel's return that's caused this, but I've always thought that the relationship with Scott was itself a big part of the reason, because trying to date someone you're not enthusiastic about tends to be uncomfortable, and because she couldn't tell him anything about her problems and secrets. If we take this is Scott dumping Buffy because she isn't as fun as he thought she would be, then he looks like a real jerk, but if we take it as Scott having realized that Buffy really isn't in the relationship and that it's just killing her spirit, he seems perfectly reasonable. (Season 7 had a fun but unnecessary retcon about Scott, making him a jerk who told people Buffy was gay after the breakup, until he came out himself.)

    I love this exchange:
    Faith: Oh, man! Guys should break up with you more often.
    Buffy: Gee, thank you.
    Faith: No, I mean it. You really got some quality rage going. Really gives you an edge.

    Faith is being a good friend to Buffy in her own way – she immediately calls Scott names, suggests to Buffy that they go and have fun, picking up some studs and discarding them (in a typical Faith way, as we'll later see), and you gotta love the way she goes to get revenge in Buffy's name on the „sleezebag“ when she sees him with some other girl at the homecoming, pretending that she's his ex who gave him an STD.

    Being dumped by the rebound guy, learning that her favorite teacher doesn't remember her, and missing the photoshoot for the Yearbook all get Buffy to the point where she decides to compete with Cordy for the title of the Homecoming Queen. It's her way of trying to prove herself that she has a life and impact on people beyond killing monsters. And a part of that is sheer defiance because of Cordy's mean behavior. This episode is mostly about Buffy working out her issues with Cordy – who's her dark mirror/embodiment of her past, the shallow but popular girl from Hemery High before she found out she was a Slayer – before the rest of the seasons focuses on Buffy's issues with Faith, who's another the embodiment of the dark side of the Slayer. But to set that up, the writers made Cordy act a lot more like her season 1 self, and the Buffy/Cordy dynamic here comes straight out of Out of Mind, Out of Sight and Reptile Boy. Cordy hasn't been this mean since mid-way through season 2, and she really deals a low blow when she mocks Buffy for being from a single-parent home. Which doesn't bring out the best in Buffy, either – she replies to Cordy's „crazy freak“ insult by calling her „vapid whore“.

    After this unpleasant moment, we get comedic displays of the stupidity of the homecoming queen vote, with Buffy and Cordy conducting their 'campaigns', i.e. sucking up to people and bribing them with presents. The similarities to political campaigns are played up for fun – Buffy is really treating it as seriously as if she's going to win an important public office, down to assigning tasks to her 'team' – until they refuse to work on the 'campaign' – and writing a list of her rivals' strengths and weaknesses on a board.

    I used the pause button because I was curious what all the pros and cons on Buffy's board were, it's quite amusing. Let's see:

    Cordelia Chase
    strengths
    popular with boys
    makes friends easily
    has money to buy votes
    expensive clothes
    perfect teeth
    weaknesses
    manipulative
    two-faced
    bad in sports
    superficial
    no sense of humor
    fake smile
    brie
    Xander

    Michelle Blake
    strengths
    popular cheerleader
    athletic
    Yearbook editor
    friendly
    good cook
    nice
    weaknesses
    bad skin
    wears polyester
    PB crazed
    dandruff
    too much makeup
    never studies

    Holly Charleston
    strengths
    debating skills
    straight As
    drill team
    good in sports
    always studying
    nice
    sweet
    weaknesses
    few friends
    new student
    no boyfriend
    introvert
    always studying

    Brie? What’s that about? :lol: I love how „always studying“ is both bad and good. And „no boyfriend“ seriously ruins your status – it’s not surprising that Buffy and Willow can’t imagine that Buffy might try to move on with her life by being single for a while instead of dating the first dude who shows an interest in her. But a ’loser/geek’ boyfriend can also hurt your chances.

    Oddly enough, Buffy didn’t list the reason why I think Cordy never had a chance of winning any popularity contest – she’s just too mean to people, except for those select few who follow her around or those she wants to impress. A week of sucking up to everyone and giving them money and presents can’t erase years of verbal bullying, and the ballot is secret, so she can’t check if those who took her money really voted for her. Buffy didn’t have a chance either, since she doesn’t socialize much outside of her circle of friends, many people probably still think she’s weird and a little scary... though we see later in The Prom that more and more people were realizing that she fights monsters and protects people; but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a title such as the homecoming queen. Maybe even those people were wondering why Buffy would even need such a title, as Cordy does in this episode.

    When it comes to the recurring characters introduced in this episode, the most important thing is that we finally get to see Mayor Richard Wilkins III. He’s not yet as funny as he’ll be in the rest of the season, but he’s immediately interesting with his cheery attitude, obsession with cleanliness, and affable persona that is in sharp contrast with his activities, and if we needed any confirmation just how evil he is, we get it at the end of the episode when he hires Mr. Trick because of the „initiative“ he showed trying to get the two Slayers killed, and explains that he needs someone to take care of the the Slayers. We also get to meet Mayor’s ill-fated deputy Allen Finch, a timid man who is clearly afraid of his boss – and who will end up accidentally killed by Faith in Bad Girls.

    Mr. Trick continues to be a fun villain, and has some of the best lines and moments of the episode, including another reference to the fact that he’s one of the rare black people on the show: „If this is the part where you tell me I don’t fit here in your little neighborhood, you can just skip it, cause, you see, that got old long before I became a vampire, you know what I’m sayin’?“ Besides Trick, there’s another vampire character returning after a long time (no, not that one – not yet): Lyle Gorch, the comic Texan outlaw, this time with a wife called Candy, a Texan stereotype herself. They are among the group of colorful characters participating in Trick’s SlayerFest ’98 – something that they’re apparently paying large sums of money for (Trick is a good businessman!). It’s interesting that there are both demons and humans among the participants: a vampire couple (the Gorches); a demon played by an actor with the silliest line delivery ever and something on his head that looks a bit like a Mohawk, who introduces himself as Kulak of the Miquot clan*; a human werewolf hunter; and a group of human terrorists - German twins who kinda look like Dolph Lundgren, and their old British boss with his technological know-how.

    After Buffy and Cordy end up riding to the homecoming in the same limo, because the other Scoobies arranged it to make them solve their issues, participants mistake Cordy for Faith (who was originally going to be Buffy’s... ’date’), since they’ve never seen Faith. Buffy and Cordy have to run for their lives and fight (well, Buffy fights) and in the meantime get to work out their issues with each other. While Buffy sees the title of homecoming queen as a way to have some sort of life outside slaying monsters, Cordy can’t understand why Buffy would even care about these things. She wouldn’t want to admit it, but she probably secretly envies Buffy, who gets to do something really important; and in Cordy’s mind, things like school popularity contests are Cordy’s territory, something that Buffy shouldn’t be trying to move into. It’s all a lot like the Buffy/Cordy scene in Out of Mind, Out of Sight, where the two of them come to understand each other better. Cordy also lets it slip that she loves Xander – in her words, she’s not sure if it’s some „temporary insanity“ that’s made her think she loved him. (Oh the painful irony of her admitting that in the same episode when Xander is starting to cheat on her.) In the end, the hunter gets trapped in his own trap, the demon gets blown up, Candy accidentally stakes herself since she’s too dumb to live, and Lyle runs away, after Cordy gets her moment of awesome, scaring him off through sheer attitude and making him believe she’s a Slayer much scarier than Buffy. And Buffy uses her smarts again to make the two Lundgren guys shoot each other by mistake. What a useless bunch that was, but at least Trick got some money out of it.

    The ending is good because it subverts the usual corny endings to such stories – Buffy and Cordy still want to beat other other for the ’crown’, after everything they’ve been through; when it’s announced that there’s a tie, we expect it to be a tie between Buffy and Cordy with a lesson about how they’re both awesome etc., but instead it’s the two other girls.

    A few other things to mention: Jonathan makes another appearance (during the campaign, he’s enjoying in the cookies that he bought with the money Cordy gave him) and so does Oz’s band Dingoes Ate My Baby (actually Four Star Mary) and its singer Devon. Xander mentions another relative – cousin Rigby, the only well-off relative of his, who seems like a real snob – apparently he wants nothing to do with his poor relatives.

    *Mythology: This is the first time we learn that demons have clans, something we’ll see more of in AtS. Before this episode, every demon seemed to be unique and a representation of some real life problem; now we see that they’re more akin to alien races.

    Best lines:
    Mr. Trick: We all have the desire to win, whether we're human... vampire... and whatever the hell you are, my brother. You got them spiny looking head things. I ain't never seen that before.

    Mr. Trick: Ladies, gentlemen, spiny-headed looking creatures, welcome to SlayerFest '98.

    Oz: As Willow goes, so goes my nation.

    Cordy: Those animals, hunting us down like poor defenseless... well, animals.

    Fashion watch: Buffy is again wearing her Leather Jacket of Slaying, which plays quite a role in the Buffy/Angel scene in this episode. But in the next scene with Scott, she has an awful pink blouse with flounces, pink shoes and a pink handbag – the most stereotypically girly outfit she’s ever had. For the rest of the episode, she looks like she’s raided her mom’s wardrobe, except during the Slayerfest, when she wears a long red dress, while Cordy wears a green one (red for power and passion; green for envy?). Willow actually looks better in her lovely angora sweaters than in her black dress which is too long. Trick is impeccably dressed again, this time in dark red suit and orange tie and with his earrings, he certainly has a style of his own.

    Pop culture references: Buffy says her favorite subject last year was “Contemporary Heroes from Amelia Earhart to Maya Angelou”. Cordy says that Xander grows on you like a Chia Pet.

    Shirtless scene: Angel is not shirtless this time, but his shirt is carelessly unbuttoned so we see his chest.

    Ooh kinky: Xander fantasizes about Buffy and Faith “getting sweaty” together. Trick uses the words “in the nubile flesh” to refer to Buffy. I guess he’s not just into eating young male service industry workers, after all.

    Foreshadowing: A hint about the Mayor’s villainous plans: he says that it’s a really important year for him, and when Trick asks if he means the election, says it’s something like that”. Knowing what Allen Finch’s fate will be, it’s pretty ironic in hindsight that the Mayor tells him: “You have all my faith.”

    Rating: 3
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  18. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    3.06. Band Candy

    Jane Espenson’s writing debut is one of the funniest episodes in the verse, alongside episodes like Something Blue, Tabula Rasa, Intervention, AtS Spin the Bottle, Smile Time… and I notice that many of those episodes are those with some kind of spell that changes people’s behavior, or where the actors get to play something different from their usual self. Making main characters act wacky but providing a reason for it is a tried and tested way of making good comedy episodes, especially if you portray it as characters showing a side to themselves that you don’t normally see. In this episode, Anthony Head, Armin Shimerman and Kristine Sutheland get to play wild teenage versions of themselves, in a very amusing contrast with their regular selves.

    There’s just one problem: the premise of the episode (i.e. the explanation why they’re acting like that) is stupid and doesn’t make sense.

    In addition, the first half of the episode is really nothing special. Xander and Willow continue with their cutesy cheating, this time playing footsie under the table in the classroom, with Cordelia sitting right in front of them (?!). In that very same scene, we get another sign that Cordy has really fallen for Xander – she uses the abbreviation “BX” – Before Xander. Buffy is fed up with all the obligations she has (including studying for STAs) and frustrated with Giles and Joyce for constantly reminding her to study/train and not letting her do what she wants with her time, and with Joyce not letting her drive the car (despite the fact she hasn’t passed the test, which doesn’t make Buffy look very reasonable); but she’s ready to use them as alibis for each other, while she sneaks out to see Angel.

    The sight of Angel doing shirtless Tai-chi, to the sound of some slow romantic/dramatic ambient music, while Buffy, having just came in, watches him (boy, he needs a long time to notice she’s there?), is one of the most unintentionally hilarious moments in the show. :lol: It’s supposed to be all about temptation and sexual tension, but it’s just so cheesy. Funny also how he’s doing perfectly OK until she comes in, then he says he’s getting better and stumbles for no reason, so we get a scene of Buffy helping him. It’s at this point that the Buffy/Angel scenes in season 3 are starting to get really corny and boring. Angel has recovered way too fast, and I can understand that – ME didn’t want a wild beast-like Angel for half a season. But here they’re starting their S3 dynamic of having very awkward conversations, making out occasionally and trying to not make out the rest of the time, and (apart from Amends) not dealing with their issues - they don’t talk about him losing his soul and the things he did when he lost his soul, about her sending him to hell, about his time in hell, nothing. (Though they still haven’t made out this season – that happens in the next episode.) He asks her about Scott, and Buffy needs a moment to remember who he is, which is pretty funny (“Scott?... oh, boyfriend Scott”) but doesn’t tell him that they’re not dating anymore – presumably because she feels she and Angel are ‘safer’ that way. Angel says is rather strange – that he’s worried about her safety; Buffy assumes he meant with Scott, which is again funny whichever way you take it, but he meant with slaying. Uh, Angel, Buffy has been slaying for years and she knows how to take care of herself – she’s far better in fight than you… and why are you talking like you’re her dad? I bet there are people who find this sweet and romantic – that he’s worried about her while he’s the one just back from hell and still physically and mentally not quite well – but to me it just feels really patronizing.

    In the meantime, Snyder is forcing the students to participate in yet another bizarre extracurricular task – selling candy to finance the school’s marching band. Which is really a part of Mayor’s sinister plan, but in this episode we find out that Snyder doesn’t really know what Mayor’s plans are, he’s just an authoritarian bureaucrat who obeys his superiors. The Mayor, meanwhile, is as evil as a villain can be: he’s not just in league in all sorts of evil demons, but he’s ready to give one of those demons a tribute in the form of all of Sunnydale’s babies… to eat. It doesn’t get eviler than that, does it? He’s a real politician – he’ll do anything and get in league with anyone with power. And in the meantime, he’s chipper and talks about the importance of children, and not just for show – he really seems to believe in it – despite the fact he’s sacrificing the infants to ensure his own position (and calmly calling his secretary to tell her which sewer repairs should be made, while he’s in the sewer waiting for the demon to come and collect the babies). He gives the task to his new right hand, Mr. Trick, who in turn decides to hire a subcontractor – Ethan Rayne. This is Ethan’s third appearance in the show (after Halloween and The Dark Age), and he’s as weasel-like and opportunistic and cowardly as ever, yet strangely almost likeable. And to be fair, he doesn’t actually know what the tribute is about.

    What Ethan does is to cast a spell through the candy bars that make every adult in Sunnydale act like… teenager? Child? Completely irresponsible? A combination of all of these? I really don’t know which of these it’s supposed to be – the more you think about it, the less it makes sense. The point of the whole thing is to make the adults so self-absorbed that they won’t even notice when all the newborn babies are stolen from the hospital. So if the idea is that the adults in this episode were acting like teenagers, that means that the majority of teenagers are juvenile delinquents and all of them are completely irresponsible and immature, and for some reason they act like they’re akl\ll drunk, to the point that you could steal babies right in front of them and they wouldn’t care. Or did the adults turn into a fictional version of a teenager from one of those stupid teen comedies in which every teenager is an idiot who doesn’t care about anything but having fun, fun, fun all the time? This has always bothered me, despite how much those scenes make me laugh – it’s all based on a really stupid and annoying stereotype that I hated with all my heart when I was a teen myself. The episode even has Buffy say that “(they’re acting like a bunch of) us” – despite the fact that Buffy is 17 and not like that at all, and is actually in the process of saving everyone as she does all the time; and Oz says that looking at the immature version of the adults is like a sobering look in a mirror… despite the fact that Oz absolutely never acts like that. That explanation doesn’t make sense anyway – where are the wallflowers, the depressed suicidal types, the overachievers, the people who had to take care of their younger siblings and were forced to grow up faster, and so on? Even the teenagers who really are as wild and irresponsible as the adults here don’t act like that all the time. On the other hand, it’s not explicitly stated that the spell makes the adults turn into teenagers as the Soobies speculated (which doesn’t even make sense with Giles – he became ‘Ripper’ in college), just that it makes them act irresponsible and immature. People in this episode don’t act younger, they act like they’re really drunk. But if that’s the case, why are they all reverting to their old musical tastes and their old TV obsessions from the 1970s? Surely they’ve liked some music and some TV in the last couple of decades as well? And how convenient is it that, despite reverting back to their immature selves, they’re sexually interested only in each other, not in the actual teenagers. (Or maybe the actual teenagers are too mature for them?) And finally, some of the things that the spell-affected adults do isn’t even adolescent behavior: being obsessed with candy or going on about Willow having the name of a tree and giggling about it is the behavior of a pre-school child. :vulcan:

    So after this rant about the nonsensical premise of this episode, why do I like it? Well, how can one not love Ripper!Giles, Teen!Joyce and Teen!Snyder, and the rest of the adults acting completely silly? I can’t decide what I love more, Giles and Joyce as a young rebel couple, or Snyder as a clingy pathetic kid trying to be cool. Giles calls himself Ripper but he’s a less angsty and more fun version of Ripper - he isn’t actually reverting into a dark magic, hates the world, ticking time bomb guy, despite what Buffy was afraid of – he’s more interested in smoking pot, starting a rock band (which he says he’s decided to do), robbing stores to impress Joyce, headbutting cops and banging Joyce. Oh, and of course, the moment he starts reverting to Ripper, Giles starts smoking. (Smoking: always a sign of being a bad boy/bad girl. Either that, or a sign that you’re doomed.) Giles as a bad boy is unforgettable, and it gives Anthony Stewart Head the opportunity to use his real accent, which is similar to Spike’s (ASH coached James Marsters to make him improve his accent). Ripper!Giles and Spike both have the same working class bad boy persona - and we know that they’re both faking their accents, since they’re really from posh families. (Joss once said that Spike is what Giles grew out of, and Giles is what Spike refused to become.) Teen!Joyce is a girl who wants to have fun and who’s into cool, sexy bad boys. She’s a bit of a follower – more like Dawn than like Buffy in that respect. It’s great to see Giles and Joyce shed their responsible personalities and inhibitions and just enjoy themselves for once – and they both really needed to get some. ;) I can fanwank that the spell removes people’s sense of responsibility, and that the reason why Joyce and most other adults turned into “teenagers” is that this was the last time they felt free – or the last time they remember feeling free (Giles, naturally, turned into the “Ripper” version of himself he was at college, during his rebellious phase); or rather, into really exaggerated versions of their teenage selves; the older that people get and the more responsibilities they have, the more they tend to idealize their adolescence and youth as this wonderful carefree period of their lives that it actually never was. When Teen!Joyce says she feels like she’s just woken up, like getting married and having kid and everything was just a dream – I find it a bit sad; Joyce doesn’t seem to normally have much fun, we rarely hear about her friends and since her divorce, she seems to have only dated one guy, who turned out to be a killer robot (and the next time we see her dating, it will be right before her death). I wonder if she and Giles ever contemplated the idea of hooking up outside the candy spell, or if they were too embarrassed after this episode – this episode suggests that there was an attraction between them. One detail from this episode – Giles and Joyce listening to the song “Tales of Brave Ulysses” by Cream together in his room – got a subtle and poignant callback in season 5, in Forever, the episode after The Body, in which Scoobies mourn for Joyce in different ways; Giles is sitting in his room silently listening to this song, a reminder of the time he and Joyce connected beyond their usual conversations about Buffy’s well-being.

    And then there’s Snyder – who is hilarious in this episode, but it’s also the first episode in which he is kind of sympathetic and almost likeable. Contrary to his usual sternness, he’s so eager to hang out with the Scoobies and following them around. He’s unsuccessfully hitting on Joyce, and trying to impress everyone and act cool. You get the impression that the reason he hates kids so much is that he never got to have many friends in school or get dates. He also wants validation from authority figures – bragging that the Mayor got him commendation and shook his hand. That’s not that different from normal adult Snyder, whose main motivation in his career seems to be to please the Mayor.

    Oh right, there was a plot about a demon and a tribute in this episode. Well, Buffy figures it all out - again. (Buffy is almost always the one to figure out things, even though Willow is supposed to be smart one. Buffy may not be bookish, but she’s amazingly street-smart.) She fights Trick, manages to kill the demon in Sunnydale’s huge sewer, and Trick escapes grinning and cheerfully promising “high times” to Buffy. He seems to be impressed with her skills almost as much as Spike was in season 2 (“Ordinarily, I let other people do my fighting for me, but I gotta see what you’ve got”.) Ethan also escapes, again.

    Best lines/best moments:

    The Mayor: I made certain deals to get where I am today. This demon requires its tribute. You see, that's what separates me from other politicians, Mr. Trick. I keep my campaign promises.

    Snyder: WOAH SUMMERS, YOU DRIVE LIKE A SPAZ!!!

    Ripper!Giles makes fun of the cop: [​IMG]

    Joyce (seeing her car that Buffy has thrashed): OMG! What was I thinking when I bought the geek machine?!

    A pudgy middle-aged guy, shirtless but with his tie still on, runs on the stage at the Bronze, takes the mike from Devon (the singer of Dingoes Ate My Baby) and dives off the stage.
    Willow: I don’t like this. They could have heart attacks.
    Buffy: Maybe there’s a doctor here.
    Willow: Actually, that is my doctor. He’s usually less… topless.

    Snyder trying to hit on Joyce: “So… are you two, kinda, like, going steady?” and Joyce rolling her eyes and moving away from him.

    Ripper!Giles asking Buffy to hit Ethan, and jumping for you and punches the air when she later does: [​IMG]


    Snyder bragging that he took “Tae Kwan Do at the Y”, doing bad Kung-fu moves.

    Willow (reading the graffiti on the school wall): “KISS ROCKS”? Why would anyone want to kiss… Oh, wait, I get it.

    Fashion watch: Angel’s presence seems to do wonders for Buffy’s fashion sense – she wears nice sporty black shirt and black pants when she goes to see him, much better than most of her fashion choices this season.Giles’ and Joyce’s outfits change drastically under the influence of the spell – Giles loses his glasses and tie together with his accent, and wears a white shirt, blue jeans and a coat tied around his waist. He also seems to be wearing guyliner. Joyce wears a mini skirt and high boots, which she might have borrowed from Buffy who wore similar things in season 1 and occasionally season 2; I guess since Buffy often looks like she’s raided her mom’s wardrobe this season, it’s only fair for Joyce to do the opposite. Later on she also has the feathered coat that Giles stole.

    Ooh, kinky: As it was hinted here and later confirmed in Earshot,Joyce and Giles had sex on the hood of the police car, after Giles knocked out the cop. Joyce later shyly produces a pair of handcuffs from the pocket of her stolen coat, when Buffy asks for something to tie Ethan up with.

    Shirtless scenes: There’s one intentionally hilarious (Willow’s doctor) and one unintentionally hilarious (Angel doing Tai-chi).

    Nicknames: Ms. Barton the teacher calls Snyder “Commandant Snyder” behind his back. Buffy calls Ethan “Rat Boy” and “farm-fresh chicken”. Snyder calls Giles “Brit-face”.

    Destroying the English language: Buffy refers to her mom letting her drive her car as “driveyness”.

    Pop culture references: Buffy references Willy Loman from Death of the Salesman. Teen!Snyder asks to be called just by his last name, “like Barbarino” – apparently a TV character from the 1970s show, played by John Travolta (which I only know thanks to BuffyGuide). Teen!Joyce asks Ripper if he likes Seals & Croft, a soft rock duo ( thanks again, BuffyGuide), but Ripper shoots her a look and she adds “Me neither”. A few middle-aged guys, including Willow’s doctor, sing “Louie Louie” at the stage at the Bronze. Joyce tells Ripper he’s cool like Burt Reynolds. Joyce says the coat that Ripper just stole for her are cool, “very Juice Newton” (a country-pop singer, apparently popular during the 1980, and thanks again, BuffyGuide/Google). Cordelia says her mom started wearing her clothes, including her lycra pants, and her dad started locking himself in the bathroom with copies of Esquire. (Really? That’s quite tame, he’s not even using Playboy?)

    (My thanks to usagianddarian from Slayalive for the animated gifs.)

    Rating: 3.5
     
  19. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    3.07. Revelations

    The last episode was Jane Espenson’s debut, and this one is Doug Petrie’s – which rounds up the list of core writers that were on the staff until the finale (Whedon, Noxon, Fury, Espenson, Petrie), with the exception of David Greenwalt, who left at the end of season 3 to run the Angel spinoff. It’s an average but important episode - it moves the plot forward by having the Scoobies learn that Angel is back, and has some long overdue character confrontations – even if it doesn’t really resolve anything when it comes to the conflict between Buffy and Xander over Angel, for instance. The other plot is about Faith’s new Watcher, Gwendolyn Post, who continues Faith’s bad luck with Watchers and destroys her already weak ability to trust people. The title likely refers to both the revelation about Angel, the revelation about Post, and the apocalyptic nature of the power that Post would’ve gotten through the MacGuffin called the Glove of Myhneghon, which the Scoobies destroy at the end. (“Apocalypse” = “Revelation”.)

    But maybe the most interesting revelation in this episode is that there are 12 cemeteries in Sunnydale (!). Which, come to think of it, isn’t surprising considering the mortality rate. How bad was it when they did not have a Slayer?

    These events end up putting cracks into the developing friendship between Faith and Buffy. At the beginning of the episode, they are really close, both obviously enjoying an opportunity to have an equal slaying partner, and doing what Buffy calls “synchronized slaying”. They’re again having girl talks about their love lives, and this time it’s Faith telling Buffy about her dating history – she had a string of loser boyfriends (listed are: “Ronnie, deadbeat; Steve, klepto; Kenny... drummer”. So drummer is in the same category as a kleptomaniac and a deadbeat guy?), until she decided you can’t trust guys and that it’s much better to stick to casual sex (“get some, get gone”). The impression we get about Faith’s dating history in this episode is different from the one we get in later seasons (AtS, BtVS season 7, season 8) where she talked about screwing bankers and older guys who wanted her to dress as a schoolgirl etc., which paints a darker picture about her past and points out, probably not to outright prostitution but “compensated dating”. Before she got the Slayer powers, sexuality was probably Faith’s only power that she used. See Stormwreath’s analysis of Faith’s background as depicted/hinted in canon: http://stormwreath.livejournal.com/85963.html

    On the other hand, Buffy doesn’t want to talk to Faith about Angel, since she’s still hiding that he’s back from everyone. We’re treated to another scene of Angel’s shirtless tai chi, this time he and Buffy and doing it together. The rest of the time, they are acting awkward, trying not to start making out, still seem to find it difficult to have an conversation about anything – except in this case, the Glove of Myhneghon, which Angel has somehow found. It’s interesting that Buffy makes another connection between slaying and sex, when she admits that she is going to vent her sexual frustration by going to hunt the demon Lagos. Meanwhile, guilt over his cheating with Willow has sent Xander roaming through Sunnydale, and in one of those amazing coincidences, he happens to see Angel entering the mansion, and then Buffy and Angel make out just in time so he could see them. (Can anyone kiss in this show without getting caught, usually by the person or persons who would be most upset by it?) Buffy’s secret is finally blown, which leads to a big confrontation in the library.

    And that confrontation… I can understand where everyone it’s coming from, but it’s unpleasant, it’s one of the “everyone gangs up on Buffy” scenes (the last one was in Dead Man’s Party) yet this time Buffy really is in the wrong and she knows it. She tries to ensure her friends she would never let anything happen to them, walking right into Xander’s inevitable mention of Jenny Calendar. It doesn’t make her look good when she deflects the accusations by focusing on Xander and venting some old frustrations at him. He’s the one member of the gang who’s been most vocal about his hatred for Angel, but who’s also had a bias against him long before he turned evil. Buffy finally accuses him of hating Angel out of jealousy – which seems out of place at this particular moment, with Xander in a relationship with Cordelia (and secretly cheating with Willow, which Buffy doesn’t know), but I think it was just Buffy finally voicing something she was trying not to say all these times in season 1 and 2 when Xander was showing obvious jealousy of Angel, and disliked him before he did anything wrong to the Scoobies. And while Xander has no designs of that kind on Buffy now, his jealousy and anger that Buffy chose Angel over him contributed a lot to the hatred that he developed for Angel. Or it can be seen as Buffy losing the argument and deflecting it – Xander is the only one she can accuse of bias. I understand Buffy’s reasons and I think that Xander’s lie in Becoming II might have contributed to Buffy’s wrong impression that everyone, including Willow, would want Angel dead immediately, and wouldn’t understand her feelings. Cordelia is right, however, that Buffy’s friends had a right to know, since his evil MO was to go after Buffy’s friends, instead of Buffy. Each one of the Scoobies is acting through to character – Willow is trying to calm everyone down and doesn’t want conflict, Oz is simply pointing out the facts, Cordelia says what everyone else is thinking, and Giles takes Buffy’s side, until he’s alone with Buffy. It’s only then that he scolds her, reminding her that Angel tortured him and that he’s a murderer (it makes sense that Giles wouldn’t mention Jenny just to make a point) and accusing her of having no respect for him or her job – and Buffy is genuinely ashamed.

    BTW, this is the first time Buffy utters the classic catchphrase “He’s not my boyfriend”.This time it refers to Angel – all the other times, in later seasons, were about Spike.
    Buffy: What are you guys talking about?
    Oz: Oddly enough, your boyfriend – again.
    Buffy: He’s not my boyfriend. Really, truly… I don’t know.

    The episode does a good job setting up Gwendolyn Post as one of those annoying characters who feel like antagonists because they don’t get along with our heroes, even though they’re on the same side and not evil – until she actually turns out to be evil. (Maggie Walsh is a bit like an American version of Post. Post also reminds me on the surface of Adelle De Witt from Dollhouse.) Post is a really stuffy, arrogant ‘proper’ British person with a condescending attitude towards Giles, claiming she’s sent not just to be Faith’s new Watcher but also to report on Giles’s performance. The contrast shows how relaxed, informal and attached to the Scoobies Giles has become in comparison. Are all Watchers British? Or just most of them? Funnily enough, she “accuses” Giles of having become “too American”. Apparently, Watchers tend to also be insular and nationalistic. Later she appears as one of those “firm but fair” people with Faith, gaining her trust. For all her apparent rebelliousness, Faith is actually really in need of parental figure and ready to put her trust in any authority figure who seems to care about her. And then Post manipulates her by telling her that the Scoobies are having a meeting that she wasn’t invited in – which hits the nerve with Faith, since she feels she’s excluded from the circle of Buffy’s friends. Which in this case isn’t quite right – it makes sense that they wouldn’t want Faith to witness their dirty laundry from the history that she doesn’t share. But on the other hand, why isn’t the Council or Giles (who might not be her Watcher, but was the only Watcher in Sunnydale before Post arrived) helping this girl financially so she wouldn’t have to live in a motel room? She’s a Slayer, shouldn’t the Council at least help her out, if they aren’t paying the Slayers salaries, like they do to the Watchers? Just how incompetent is the Council? It’s being portrayed as an outdated, stuffy patriarchal organization out of touch with the real world. There’s even a joke about it at the end, when Giles has learned that Post had been thrown out of the Council a while ago for dabbling in dark magic (this seems to be a recurring theme with the Watchers) – and they swear they sent a memo he didn’t get. What were they using, a fax machine? They don’t seem to be aware that there’s such a thing as e-mail. How about phone?

    The third storyline in this ep is the ongoing Willow/Xander fling, and that’s one secret that does not get revealed yet. After playing footsie in the classroom the last time, now they’re making out in the library and almost getting caught by Giles. Could it be that it’s exactly the secrecy and the feeling that they’re doing something forbidden that they find exciting? It certainly seems to be the case with Willow – she asks Buffy is the secrecy made her relationship with Angel feel sexier (Buffy says no, after a while it’s just too much pressure). Willow was, to her credit, close to telling Buffy about her and Xander, before chickening out. Her own guilt over keeping a secret is also the reason why she’s more forgiving of Buffy (on the other hand, it doesn’t work that way at all for Xander).

    I can’t really blame Xander for anything he says in the library – he does have a point, and he has a good reason to be angry. But I can’t say the same about his decision to go behind everyone else’s back and tell Faith that Angel has a glove, prompting her to go and try to kill him. To be fair, it was on the spur of the moment, when Faith found him at the Bronze, while Xander was still fuming – and he does change his mind later and tell Faith to wait until they are sure. But he should have thought about that later. Faith is even more impusive and, at this point, prone to black and white thinking when it comes to vampires, so even Xander ends up being the more moderate one. Maybe it’s not just how she feels about vampires, but about men as well. Post hits another button with her when she tells Faith that Buffy is blinded by love – Faith is prone to not trusting men and seeing romantic feelings as a weakness.

    Post is revealed to be evil when she knocks Giles out after learning where the glove is. And this is the time when I start thinking I should’ve perhaps counted the number of times Giles has been knocked out. Instead here’s a list I stole from somewhere:

    • The Witch (by vampires who want to raise the Master again)
    • Never Kill a Boy on the First Date (by Andrew Vorba in the crematorium)
    • Prophecy Girl (by Buffy, to stop him from trying to help her)
    • When She Was Bad (by the vampires attempting to raise the Master)
    • Passion (by Angelus, after Giles attacks him for killing Jenny)
    • Becoming (Part 1) (by a group of vampires who take him to Angelus)
    • Beauty and the Beasts (shot with a tranquilizer gun)
    • Homecoming (by Lyle Gorch and Candy).
    • Revelations (by Gwendolyn Post, in his office)
    This is the first time he ended up in a hospital. It’s a miracle that man hasn’t had a brain damage yet. (Luckily the same list says he only gets knocked out 3 more times after this episode).

    How strange it is now, knowing the relationship that Angel and Faith will have in the future, to see that their first meeting consisted of fighting each other: Faith believed he was evil, and Angel probably believed Faith was evil and working with Post (I guess Buffy didn’t tell him about the other Slayer). This is followed by the first fight between Buffy and Faith. Post meanwhile uses the mayhem to put the glove on, which seems to give her some sort of mystical power; it’s mentioned that the glove can never be taken off once you put it, which means she had no interest in being human again. She rubs salt on the wound with these lovely words: “Faith, a word of advice – you’re an idiot”. That’s it’s harsh (how was Faith to be sure who to trust and who not to, and Post fooled everyone, not just her), besides not actually being advice, technically speaking. It turns out Post was quite an idiot herself - it didn’t occur to her that Buffy won’t have to take the glove off her hand, she might simply cut off her hand. (Is this where The Vampire Diaries got this idea from? I haven’t read the TVD books, but I doubt that this detail was in them.) Apparently, separating the glove from the wearer’s body while they’re channeling the power results in the destruction of the wearer by the force of lightning, which happens to Post, another one in the line of villains destroyed by the same power they were trying to use against others (like Catherine in Witch or the zookeeper in The Pack).

    The Post storyline and Angel’s role pave the way for the Scoobies to accept Angel more easily – Willow says that the fact that he saved her life maker her like him again. But on the other hand, Faith’s fragile trust in the Watchers is damaged by what happened when she put her trust in Post, but so is her trust in Buffy and the Scoobies, because they kept secrets from her. In the last scene, Buffy comes to check up on her and tell her she’s her friend and that she can trust her, but Faith is aloof and says the only thing she knows is she can trust herself.

    Best lines:
    Faith: You can’t trust guys.
    Buffy:You can trust some guys. Really, I've read about them.

    Cordelia: What gives you the right to suck face with your demon lover again?
    Buffy: It was an accident!
    Xander: What, you just tripped and fell on his lips?

    Angel/Angelus: Maybe it’s the right time to bring this back, since it’s the first time in season 3 someone has brought up the issue of Angel’s responsibility for his actions in season 2.They talk about the things he did and the danger that he might turn into a killer if he loses his soul again,nobody is using the name “Angelus” yet, and it’s worth mentioning that Buffy never tries to use the argument that Angel is not the one who did those things, which speaks against the often repeated claim that Buffy believes that Angel and “Angelus” are literally not the same person. Giles scolds Buffy for “harboring a known murderer” and says “I must remind you that Angel tortured me... for hours... for pleasure“. Buffy doesn’t voice any disagreement with that.

    Fashion watch: The contrast between Buffy’s and Faith’s clothes isn’t that big now that they’re good buddies. But note the way that dark lipstick and heavier makeup clearly marks Faith as the bad girl. Buffy wears black when she goes to see Angel, other times she wears a lot of pink (and has a hat with the word “BOMB” that I’m sure was never seen again).

    Shirtless scene: Did David Boreanaz have a clause in his contract that he had to be shirtless in every episode this season? This time it’s more shirtless tai-chi, this time with Buffy.

    What the slashy heck: When her friends speculate if she’s secretly dating someone, Buffy deflects the question joking that she wouldn’t use the word “date”, but that she is “going out” with someone – Faith, grinning and adding “Really, we’re just good friends”. Writer Doug Petrie was a big supporter of Buffy/Faith slash subtext and it shows from the start.

    Destroying English Language: Xander says at the beginning of the episode that Buffy certainly wouldn’t keep secrets from the Scoobies, since they’re “the best of Buffy’s bestest buds” (aliteration!). The first two times “bestest” was used on the show, it was in a sarcastic way; in this case it’s… insecure exaggeration, trying to convince oneself? Xander later doesn’t hesitate to jump to bad conclusions about Buffy and her ability to make decisions regarding Angel.

    Nicknames: Willow refers to Giles as “the emotional marathon man”. Cordy reacts to Buffy accusing Xander of jealousy by calling her “Miss-Not-Over-Yourself-Yet”.

    Pop culture references: Faith calls PostMary Poppins” and “Miss Priss”.

    When does this string of more or less average episodes end? This is a rhetorical question, I know exactly when this season gets really good, and fortunately it’s with the next episode.


    Rating: 3
     
  20. Wereghost

    Wereghost Part-time poltergeist Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland
    Re: Once More, With Feeling: my big Buffy/Angel canon rewatch/reread/r

    SFX has just gone on something of a Joss Whedon orgy. There's a short message from Whedon about Cabin In The Woods, a review of the movie, an anatomy of BtVS to mark the show's 15th anniversary (which is today), and a Whedonverse jargon guide that looks familiar.