Crumbs: Reviews » Dramas » Buffy the Vampire Slayer » Season 2 » What's My Line? (2)
Critical reviews of U.S. TV shows
and analysis of what makes them
good, bad, irritating and enlightening.
61
/100
Viewer
70
/100

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.

54
/100

Episode 10 - What's My Line? (2)

7 February 2013

Synopsis: Buffy and Kendra go to see Giles and establish that when Buffy died (112) a new slayer was called. Kendra is obedient and well studied in a way Buffy isn't. They head to save Angel and realise that Spike took him to restore Drusilla's strength. At Buffy's house Cordelia and Xander hide in the basement and argue until they kiss. Buffy gets Willy to take her to where Spike is and he hands her over to the Order of Taraka. But Kendra and the Scoobies are hot on their heels and help her save the day.Buffy and Kendra argue

The Good: The rise of a new Slayer is a clever use of the show's mythology. It also makes Buffy's death (112) seem more significant and not just unconsciousness. The arrival of bookworm and boy-fearing Kendra also shines a light on Buffy's calling and how well she handles it. Without her friends she wouldn't have been able to overcome the Order and Spike.

Xander and Cordelia hooking up was a lot of fun and flowed fairly naturally from their relentless antagonism. I smiled at the shot of Cordelia's number plate which read "Queen C." Similarly Oz seems like the ideal boyfriend for Willow and their banter manages to be gooey and sweet without being sickening. You can't beat two characters who can pull off this exchange and make it seem normal:

W: "Your hair...is brown."
O: "Yeah Sometimes."

The Bad: Although much of the action and developments were decent this was actually a big anti-climax. Kendra's arrival actually put the brakes on the narrative which was going at a great pace in part one. Suddenly we had to deal with her existence and sit through Buffy feeling jealous and superior, rather ignoring the dire threat she seemed to be in before. Kendra's accent and general demeanour remained problematic too. The writing seemed to be mocking her by the end with Buffy mimicking her voice and her cry of "Dis is me only shirt!"

The final confrontation fell flat for several reasons. First because Drusilla's health was restored without killing Angel, which rather cheated the threat hanging over him. Then the final shot established that she and Spike have simply swapped places (one ill, one well) which made this whole two-parter feel like a big act of musical chairs rather than a significant storyline development.

The Order of Taraka were dispatched with far too much ease as well. I wasn't pleased to see Giles and Willow able to dispatch a vampire on their own. That seemed to weaken the stature of vampires too much, especially considering they were fighting for several minutes while the camera focussed on Buffy and Kendra. Similarly the terrible looming threat of the bug man was dealt with by Cordelia and Xander with a few stamps of their feet. Worse than that though is that the threat of the Order was predicated on them never stopping until Buffy was dead. Yet it's pretty obvious that they won't be back next episode. In the end they seemed as transitory as any of the show's "monsters of the week."

The Unknown: Once more the questions surrounding the emotions of vampires was intriguingly presented. Drusilla tortures Angel and reminds him of each family member (of hers) who he killed. It was interesting to see her hold him responsible for those acts, even though it would be fair to assume that the demon in her would have done the same. It also seems like she and Angel used to be a couple so her decision to torture him for those acts seems more related to his current humanity. Spike was stirred fairly quickly into jealousy over the suggestion that Drusilla might view him in any way as inadequate. There's clearly still a huge amount more to explore with these three and vampires in general.

The more you think about Kendra's calling the more you have to question the organisation of Watchers and Slayers. Giles claims that he knows of her Watcher and that he is "very well respected." That implies there is some wider organisation going on yet no one bothered to tell Giles about this new slayer? Do Watchers not stay in touch with one another? Is no one keeping an eye on Buffy's progress? You know, in case the world comes to an end or something like that?

Best Moment: Upon meeting Xander, Kendra goes all quiet. Not to be stopped though Xander is ready to meet the new girl with quips. First he taunts Buffy by saying "I knew this 'I'm the only one, I'm the only' was just an attention-getter." With Kendra unresponsive he says "So you're a Slayer huh? I like that in a woman" which was pretty hilarious.

The Bottom Line: A disappointing conclusion, especially after a strong part one. No real damage was done, the chess pieces all moved round the board a bit and we do have two fun new relationships to play with.

 

Cordia's Second Look
What's My Line? - Part 2
Season 2, Episode 10
Original airing: 11/24/97

My Rating: 67

The Good: The characters saved this episode. Buffy, Xander, Cordelia, Willow, Oz, Drusilla, and Spike were all in top form. If they hadn't been, this episode would have been an unbearable let down from the setup of Part 1 (see The Bad).

Buffy gets to once again examine her commitment to her calling. With Kendra around, she recognizes that she could potentially pass on the mantle of the Slayer and live a more normal life. This is starting to feel a bit repetitive, but it also makes sense and is very human. People tend to reconsider and reanalyze the things in their life which are the most important, and this definitely applies to Buffy. In the end, of course, Kendra helps Buffy realize that Slaying isn't a job, it's who she is. And neither of them can change that.

Xander and Cordelia kiss in this episode - twice. Both times are apparently spontaneous and mutual and the potential for this dynamic is huge. The writers of the show could take this anywhere and it's bound to be entertaining.

Willow and Oz are also bonding, but in a much more subtle manner. Despite the relative slowness of their budding relationship, Oz takes a bullet for Willow during the assassination attempt on Buffy during the Career Fair. That's pretty serious. But he's also very humble about it when Willow tries to thank him later (see Best Moment).

And, as always, Spike and Drusilla are killer. Their powerful personalities always take over when they're on screen and it's wonderfully done. Drusilla is weaker, but still strong enough to take a little revenge on Angel for murdering her family hundreds of years ago. And Spike is just as volatile as always, bouncing between kissing Drusilla and wanting to stab Angel with a piece of Drusilla's bed. It's always exciting to have them on screen and this episode is no exception.

The Bad: Kendra is even more annoying in this episode than the last. Her atrocious accent and ridiculous clothing are nothing but distracting. On top of all that, the narrative of the story comes to a screeching halt for several minutes while she meets all the Scoobies and her origin is explained. While it's nice the show is recognizing the continuing consequences of Buffy's death in Prophecy Girl (S1E12), I wish they had made some different character decisions so it wasn't quite as jarring.

But it's not all Kendra's fault that the narrative took a turn for the worse in this episode. In order to keep all the interesting characters alive, the show suffered for drama and climax.

The assassins were beaten quite easily at the end of the episode, despite their setup as powerful foes in the prior episode (S2E9). Even though it was obvious during their introduction that they wouldn't be able to kill Buffy, they still came across as menacing and dangerous. At the end of this episode, they were beaten down, crushed in to goo and basically ignored.

But the main let down was the ceremony to revive Drusilla. Spike and Drusilla make a big deal about how the ritual will kill Angel and that's the only way Drusilla will be revived to full health. This is so important that Angel tries to trick Spike into killing him early to prevent the ritual from taking place. But in the end, it turns out they just needed Angel for a few minutes of draining. Buffy saves Angel and Drusilla rises from the wreckage of the church vamped out and apparently very strong as she lifts a now-injured Spike with ease.

In the end, the episode didn't quite live up to the threat it had developed in Part 1.

Favorite Moment: Oz and Willow are bonding over animal crackers as Willow tries to thank Oz for saving her life. This couple is incredibly cute here at the beginning of their relationship. They are both off beat, but keep up with each other well in conversation. It's exemplified in this conversation about monkey pants and jealous hippos.

The Bottom Line: The story suffered here due to the show's unwillingness to follow through on its setup. The assassins were supposed to keep coming until one them managed to kill Buffy, but after a brief struggle, it seems unlikely we'll see them again. Spike set up the ritual as only being successful if Angel died, but Drusilla seems completely healed while Angel is still alive. So in the end, things were pretty anti-climactic. But the characterizations were very strong and kept the show entertaining and engaging.

('DiggThis)

Feedback

Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.

Post your comment

Comments

  • I'm about halfway through this episode and I'm not sure I can make it through...Kendra's fake accent is one of the most grating things ever....aoihda9EY81U201U290!!

    Wish me luck in trying to push through

    Posted by Brando, 29/06/2011 8:42pm (8 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments