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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a drama about a young girl who inherits the powers to fight the demons that threaten the Earth. She lives in Sunnydale, California which happens to be the Hellmouth and must learn to master her powers while also trying to have some semblance of a normal life. The WB 1997 - 2001. UPN 2002-03.

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Episode 18 - Entropy

9 October 2013

Comfort time

Synopsis: Willow and Tara begin catching up while Buffy builds a better relationship with Dawn. Anya returns but is upset that Xander still doesn't want to get married. She tries to curse him or get someone else to wish for vengeance but no one will. She turns to Spike for comfort and they have sex in the Magic Box. Meanwhile Buffy and Xander discover a camera on her front lawn and Willow traces other hidden cameras.

The Good: The Willow-Tara scenes were very cute. They both played their anxious desire to start seeing each other again very nicely and it was heart warming to see them together in the end. It seems like just as the other Scoobies reach very low ebbs in their relationships, one couple have found a way to be happy.

The presentation of the Trio's cameras revealing Anya and Spike having sex was pretty clever. Cameras have been a constant tool of Warren's to keep track of his enemies and now that paid off with the unfortunate shot of the drunken couple finding comfort. Unsurprisingly James Marsters played the seduction to perfection and I did feel sympathy for Anya when she revealed the self doubt she's experienced over being left at the altar. The way her desire for vengeance on Xander was fulfilled, but in an unexpected way, was well thought out. Rather like the end of "Once More with Feeling" - there's no one that can say this ended well.

It's been a while since Dawn got caught shoplifting so it was nice to hear how that situation has been dealt with. Ditto Dawn acknowledging Buffy's regret over what happened last episode. And I actually liked that she asked to go on patrol and made a case for why she should, rather than just whining. 

The opening scene had a fun gag when a vampire about to attack Buffy stopped and turned around in shock when Spike asked her "Why won't you sleep with me again?"

The Bad: Spike's line about how he and Anya should have been dead hundreds of years ago and how that experience led them to be straightforward and unburdened was interesting. It provided a nice commonality between them but it also unearthed the problem I've had since the Anya character became part of the Scooby gang. She often acts like evil things are not bad. Xander rejects her moral worth after she sleeps with Spike, a vampire. But shouldn't he have rejected her long ago for how she cherishes the centuries of pain she caused people?

The reveal that she has returned to being a vengeance demon was almost forgotten by episodes end. Shouldn't that be a major deal? Shouldn't that in some way affect her soul? Hasn't she forfeited her humanity? The way this played out implies that vengeance demons are no more than sociopaths and that Anya can live a perfectly normal human life while also cursing people on the side. I don't like any of that. It's messy and contradictory and if she curses people now then Buffy should slay her.

I certainly found it hard to enjoy the long sequence where she attempted to cajole a wish out of the Scoobies with which she could torment Xander. We were being asked to laugh at her failed attempts to cause him violent harm. All I could think about was the weird situation I was being put in as a viewer to, on any level, like this person.

The Unknown: The Trio put another scheme into place that will grant them some kind of power or money and we wait to see what that will be. Andrew and Warren seem set to betray Jonathan so we have to question if the latter is really cooperating with them. Andrew, who is already camp, then admits to admiring Spike while watching him having sex with Anya. Was that just a joke or was it meant to be a hint toward his sexuality?  

Why couldn't Anya just wish to Halfrek and get her vengeance that way?

Best Moment: The build up as Spike seduced Anya and Willow zeroed in on the camera feed was dramatic and briefly made Anya sympathetic.

The Bottom Line: This was more impactful on first watch when I cared more about the simple "what happens next?" of it all. And to be fair a lot of this was well constructed and emotionally relevant. But Anya remains a problem. The show's pilot made a clear distinction between humans and demons and in the person of various vampires they have played with where the line is. But I've never been satisfied that the writers worked out what Anya is and how she feels and the results are mixed. 

 

Cordia’s Second Look
Entropy
Season 6, Episode 18
Original airing: 4/30/2002

My Rating: 52

The OK: It’s nice to see Tara and Willow working past their problems enough to reunite. I really like that the separation has allowed Tara to grow as a person and a character. She’s a much stronger personality now and has a place in the world outside of being Willow’s girlfriend.

The Trio are obviously up to something and it’s nice to see the continuing wedge growing in the group. I do wonder about Jonathon’s heightened belligerence though. Seems like a stupid move around a murderer.

The Bad: Dawn continues to flip flop from week to week. This time she was very mature and aware of her problems with stealing and her faulty relationship with Buffy. She was also shockingly understanding the last week’s murder attempt. And she learns Buffy has been sleeping with Spike, she seems completely unfazed. None of this behavior has been explored in prior episodes and Dawn continues to feel like a one-dimensional, jarring character.

Xander was frustrating, but in a way I understand. He’s young still and probably hasn’t worked out the best way to express himself or even understand his own feelings. That being said, this episode does him no favors. He never really apologizes to Anya or owns up to his problems. And then he berates her after she sleeps with Spike. He really has no place to behave in this manner after leaving Anya at the altar last week. And he can forgive Buffy attempting to murder them all, but not her sleeping with Spike? He just seems like a giant jerk.

I also don’t understand Spike’s reaction when Xander attacks him. Spike doesn’t attempt to defend himself at all. He can’t fight back, due to his chip, but he doesn’t even try to block Xander or dodge. He looks like he’s even willing to stand still for a stake to the heart. One thing about Spike is how he’s always fought to live. Even his suicide attempts in season four were half-hearted.

I like the idea of Anya being a vengeance demon again, but her return is very downplayed on that side of things. None of the Scoobies even know about her reacquired powers of destruction. I think there was a lot of possibilities here for her that were passed over to have a montage of her attempts at petty revenge.

Favorite Moment: I honestly don’t have a favorite moment in this episode. Nothing stood out to me as exceptional.

The Bottom Line: This episode should have been interesting with Anya’s return and her newly reacquired demon nature, but it just fell flat for me. I wasn’t a fan of a lot of the ways in which the characters were presented in this episode, but I didn’t hate it.

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