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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 4 - Flooded

24 April 2013

The new villains in town

Synopsis: The Summers home needs new pipes and between that and mounting debts Buffy feels overwhelmed by her financial situation. Giles returns to comfort her and issue a stern rebuke to Willow. Meanwhile a demon causes chaos at the bank while Warren, Jonathan and Andrew steal money. Xander admits to Anya that he has been stalling over announcing their engagement because he is scared of commitment.

The Good: As with last episode this gave us more good characterisation coupled with a poor demon and bad comedy.

Buffy cuts a pretty tragic figure right now. As if being pulled from heaven to fight demons wasn't bad enough now she has to be the financial provider. Understandably she seems depressed and even Giles' return can't solve all her problems. Spike is still the only one she can confide in (recreating their seated positions at the end of 'Fool for Love', 507) as the others irritate with their desire to make sure she is ok. The burden was well portrayed and SMG was on top form as usual. The end of the episode was underplayed as Buffy gets a call from Angel and rushes out the door. It was kind of a big moment because despite Giles' attempts to get her to deal with pressing problems she couldn't get out fast enough. We're so used to seeing Buffy suck it all up and do the right thing that to see her make a selfish choice and escape was a genuine surprise. Her return from the grave has so far been handled in an impressive and consequence-rich fashion.

The reunion with Giles was emotive and sweet as you'd expect. Again though there was no joy. Giles sees that Buffy is not happy (or well) and gives Willow a much needed dressing down. That confrontation was terrific (see Best Moment) and revealed to us the depths of Willow's denial about what magic is doing to her. For Giles this is all quite a blow. He had clearly found closure with his life as a Watcher and is also unhappy to be dragged back into the same role. It's a mature decision by the writers, whether it was enforced by Anthony Stewart Head's wishes or not. Being a Watcher was a calling and unlike Buffy's, it wasn't for life. He made his peace with it but now is forced to become father to Dawn as well as mentor to Willow.

The Bad: The demon M'Fashnik was a slight improvement on the nameless demon from last episode. However he essentially served the same purpose, giving Buffy something to slay, while presenting almost no actual threat. The way Warren managed to get rid of him without suffering undermined M'Fashnik's credibility as a demon.

A plot hole that needs to be closed is why the Watcher's Council aren't paying Buffy's expenses. I can imagine they would attach strings and she wouldn't like that but it's awkward to not bring them up given that Anya suggests the Slayer be compensated for slaying.

The Unknown: The men who paid him represent a more complicated trio. So far this season comedy has been a problem. The writers decided that the answer was to contrast the gloom amongst the Scoobies with broad in-your-face gags from three geeks playing super villains. I know many people enjoyed "Superstar" (417) while I ranked it as one of the worst Buffy episodes. This was far from that bad but some of the same problems were present. The comedy fell flat repeatedly because our point of view on the three guys was that they were inherently silly. If you are already silly, it's hard to then be funny by being silly. It didn't help that they were meant to be funny in every scene.

On the surface geeks making pop culture references might feel like a very Buffy thing to do. But it's actually the opposite of how comedy has worked well on this show. All the best jokes on Buffy have been about the very human, ordinary reactions of the Scoobies to the very serious, dark, supernatural realities of life on the hellmouth. The new trio seem like 'TV geeks' rather than real people. They are implausibly intelligent and capable while simultaneously being cowardly and foolish. They also know about demons already and their reactions undercut the threat they are now apparently a part of. This is still very much an "Unknown" issue until we see more of them but no part of their introduction was good. The moral dilemma they had which allowed them to steal but not kill makes it hard to see them as a threat to Buffy and seemingly a bizarre choice as the new Big Bad (if they are).  

Elsewhere the comedy was equally broad. The opening visual gag as Buffy's basement flooded was cartoon-like while her tight skirt at the bank preventing her from kicking M'Fashnik was very believable. The final battle in the house as Buffy tried to avoid breaking too much furniture didn't sit well with her very real depression over her financial problems.  

Xander's admission that he is a bit afraid of the commitment he made when the world was about to end (522) gave me mixed feelings. It makes sense of why Anya was presented as irrationally pushy over the last few episodes. She was not meant to seem unreasonable. Instead it was a setup to reveal that Xander has some worries. That's all fine if Xander becomes a featured character again. He hasn't been for over two years though and so to show us these brief snapshots of him maturing and then suddenly remind us that he is a very young man was abrupt.

Will we find out what Angel wants to talk about or do we have to watch Angel for that?

Best Moment: Giles is predictably furious with Willow for raising Buffy. The story was told so well that we knew this was coming. He points out the danger to everyone from using magic so powerful and says that those with similar power are all evil. Willow responds to that with a threat which she then instantly backs down from. But she's not backing down ("I was amazing") from what she thinks is right. And clearly that extends in her mind at this point to a might makes right scenario. It was a moment we've been expecting given the trajectory of the story and it was well executed. I particularly liked the childish way she described the spell. It felt like Willow was falling back into her old dynamic with Giles. Around him she plays up her cutesiness in the hopes of a pat on the head from her old mentor. It was a great contrast to the very adult way she behaved when brow beating Xander and the others into going through with the spell (601). The new trio of villains are presented as little boys who don't realise the moral consequences of their actions. Now Willow is in a similar position which is an unpleasant contrast for her.

The Bottom Line: This was a very entertaining episode but not necessarily a good one. Season 5 was built on episodes where Buffy's story held things together and the rest was poor. This felt just like that even though the Scooby dynamics were very strong.

 

 

Cordia's Second Look
Flooded

Season 6, Episode 4
Original airing: 10/16/2001

My Rating: 56

The Good: I’m really glad the episode showed us Buffy and Giles’ reunion. It was touching and heartfelt and completely underscored by the following awkwardness in the rest of their scenes together. Giles is still the person pours her heart out to, but it has a different tone now.

The scene in the kitchen between Giles and Willow was amazingly complex and well written, shot, lit, acted, etc. Seriously good stuff. I loved Giles trying to impress the seriousness of the situation on a rather care-free Willow. It made her sudden threat to him feel all the more shocking and powerful.

Spike had a wonderful scene with Buffy as well. They are developing a comfort level with each other that feels incredibly right and natural. I just love seeing them interact.

The Not-So-Good: It’s good to have Buffy struggling with money issues in her post-college, adult of the house life, but it did raise some logical questions concerning Tara, Willow, and what they have been doing the last six months financially. I also liked her attempt to get the loan, but I don’t understand why her first reaction to “I need money” wasn’t to try and get a job. She managed school and slaying at the same time, so why couldn’t she manage work and slaying at the same time?

One thing I really struggled with in this episode was Xander and Anya’s issues. I’m not sure who I’m supposed to be feeling bad for here. To me, if someone decides marriage isn’t for them at the moment, they should not be pushed into it. But I also wish that Xander would talk to Anya about why he’s stalling, instead of just trying to placate her. Neither of these characters comes off well.

The Bad: I was not a big fan of the demon or the geeks in this episode. They all felt silly and rather stupid. I liked how the show reintroduced the characters of Jonathon and Warren, but overall these guys were trying too hard. It felt like the jokes and characterizations were way over done.

I was really disappointed with how this episode ended. Buffy running out after Angel called felt really abrupt and made me wonder if I needed to go watch an episode of the show Angel. There was nothing satisfying about the end and it left me very sour.

Favorite Moment: I really love the big hug between Buffy and Giles. The part that strikes me most is Buffy’s face. She closes her eyes and looks for just a moment as if she gets lost in the safety Giles used to be able to provide for her.

The Bottom Line: I like a lot of the stuff in this episode surrounding Buffy, Giles, Willow, and Spike. But the Xander/Anya problems and the geeks really let me down.

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  • Every time I watch this episode, all I can think is - why isn't Buffy's first reaction to needing money to call up the Watcher's council and go, "hey, PAY ME?" Why doesn't the Slayer get paid to begin with? Is it because they're usually only around for a year or two and are entirely under their Watcher's care? Even if that's usually the case, Buffy is clearly an exception to the rule. Wouldn't she be a more effective Slayer if she didn't have to make minimum wage at the Doublemeat Palace to pay bills instead of devoting all her time to killing demons? It just doesn't make sense to me.

    I thought the same thing when she demanded that Giles get his job back with retroactive pay in Checkpoint - why didn't she stipulate that she get paid as well? Her mom was dead at that point and surely she was starting to see how expensive life is. This point only gets more annoying in season 7 when Buffy is basically running a boarding house, but that's a complaint for another day.

    Cordia's point about what the Scoobies have been doing for the last six months financially is a good one as well - Willow and Tara are clearly not working, so were they just living off of what was left of Joyce's life insurance? Because that strikes me as kind of… not cool and also more irresponsible than I'd expect Willow to be.

    Other than that, this episode was decent but not spectacular. I loved Buffy slitting her all business, no slaying skirt at the bank - pencil skirts, not the best when a range of motion is required!

    Sorry for the novel-length comment! I love my podcast and have been listening for months, but this is the first time I've really felt compelled to unload about something.

    Viewer score: 55 / 100

    Posted by Amanda, 24/04/2013 8:34pm (5 years ago)

  • Loved this episode. The symbolism of the foundations of buffys house being flooded and her life being swallowed up from beneath her is fairly clear.

    Giles return is handled really well. You can see he longer is the adult who comes along, solves all buffys problems and makes everything better. He has left once and although he returns right away no one can really pretend everything will go back to the way it was. His loss of temper with willow is without doubt the best scene in the episode and her brushing off of his concern reveals her real lack of understanding of consequences of using magic. This season is really about facing real life and Willow repeatedly uses magic as a way to avoid doing that showing her immaturity and self deluding attributes.

    Furthermore, I really like the trio. I like that such silly stupid group of kids really pose a threat mainly because it shows you how weakened buffy is when she lacks any initiative and drive to investigate them and take them up as a proper challenge. We've never really seen her fail to take threats very seriously but this shows her issues are her real threat this season, and facing real life is the real enemy. Besides, Andrew really makes me laugh even if I find Jonathan and Warren a bit annoying.

    Also the failure to repair the furniture after the fight I thought was greatly symbolic that from now on the show won't bounce back from serious issues like buffys death without repercussions. I loved it. Monster of the week maybe but with so much of buffys issues being investigated!

    Sorry for my essay! I've loved watching this series, only begun it a few weeks ago and this season was the most enjoyable (perhaps in a morbid way) and emotionally affecting for me!

    Viewer score: 75 / 100

    Posted by Rose, 09/04/2013 5:18pm (5 years ago)

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