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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 10 - Bring on the Night

6 January 2014

The Turok-Han

Synopsis: Giles arrives with three potential Slayers to protect. He says there will be no written information about the First Evil as it pre-dates the written word. Buffy goes in search of Spike but runs into the Turok-Han who beats her up and only sunlight can save her. She won’t sleep despite a dream induced Joyce telling her to. Principal Wood is prowling around suspiciously. The Scoobies board up Buffy’s house but one of the potentials runs away. She is killed by the Turok-Han who then beats down Buffy.

The Good: The fights between Buffy and the Turok-Han were possibly the best action sequences the show has ever produced. Despite this being a Rewatch I became genuinely concerned for Buffy’s welfare. To see her so vulnerable, so tired and then so beaten was quite disheartening. The Turok-Han looked excellent and its movements had a touch of Slayer to them (in terms of flexibility and precision) which added to the sense that Buffy had met her match. The build-up of pressure on Buffy was pretty compelling. I really liked the Joyce dreams and hope they are followed up on.

I thought we were back on track with Willow here as she touched her own power once more only to collapse in fear of it. We know she could play a major role in fighting the First but we’ve established that it won’t be easy. The explanation of the potential Slayers (as the girls being murdered) was good and fits what we saw in the first two episodes.

The Bad: I don’t like the Turok-Han leaving Buffy for dead. You can theorise about why it might but I’m not satisfied with that. I would rather see him voluntarily walk away or be chased off. Either way that would tell us something about his intentions or instructions. As it was it just felt convenient that he didn’t kill her.

My complaints about the First standing around impersonating people came to a head with the Drusilla sequences. Seeing Spike repeatedly beaten established where he was but all of “Dru’s” ramblings did nothing for me. It was distracting watching Juliet Landau’s performance and told us nothing new about the First. As with Buffy being left alive, I didn’t see a convincing reason to allow Spike to survive. I also couldn’t quite work out why drowning Spike would be torture for him.

It’s getting crowded at the Summers house. It seems like Andrew will be sticking around given the bonding he did with Xander which I can’t say thrills me. The potential Slayers needed more introduction than they got and their English accents were dreadful. I don’t really buy that Giles would have stolen useful information from the Watcher’s Council. That seemed like a pathetic excuse to give the Scoobies a little info to draw from in future episodes.

The Unknown: Was that Joyce visiting Buffy in her dreams? Or even just a helpful Slayer dream? The suggestion that she sleep seems wise. The suggestion that evil is in all of us could go either way. The tone could be taken as one of defeat. As if this was the First trying to mess with Buffy’s mind and encourage her to give up. Or it could imply that evil is in all of us and therefore is nothing to fear. That the First is actually less powerful than it claims to be and that Buffy should rest and recover and fight again another day.

One of the things that bothered me about Buffy’s final speech is I’m not sure how it connects to “Joyce’s” comments. I’m not sure why Buffy sees her own mauling as a time to declare war and bring the fight to the First Evil. It’s not clear what she has concluded. It seemed an oddly timed rah-rah moment considering the beating she’d just been through. She also talked about building an army when the Scooby gang has never looked so impotent. One potential down, Willow unable to help and Spike missing. Would the potentials find this speech inspiring or assume that Buffy had lost her mind? It felt like this speech should come next episode after a good night’s sleep and some perspective.

Principal Wood needs to give us his back-story soon. The shovels passing in the night scene was weird. Surely the Principal would know that Buffy and Dawn were not down there burying a time capsule. He then almost pokes Buffy with the implication that he knows who she is. He’s becoming creepy.

I know why they don’t bring it up but wouldn’t this be the time to call Angel? Surely if you are facing the height of all evil you would want a super powered ally?

Kennedy’s apparent flirt with Willow was slightly awkwardly done. Is she gay?

Best Moment: The Turok-Han beating Buffy down. It’s repeated comebacks from stakes and pipes being dropped on it were very dramatic.

The Bottom Line: A strange episode. If it had concluded with a broken Buffy falling asleep to one more dream from Joyce I think I’d rate it very highly. Despite the niggles I thought the main story was very strong. But the conclusion was odd and the First continues to irritate with its chatter.

 

Cordia's Second Look
Bring On The Night
Season 7, Episode 10
Original airing: 12/17/2002

My Rating: 52

The Good: The star of this episode was the fight choreography and the progressively more exhausted Sarah Michelle Gellar. The first fight with the Turok-Han leaves her scared and baffled as she escapes only by the intervention of sunlight. She goes into the second fight after at least 48 hours of wakefulness and finds herself literally beaten down.

Both battles with the Turok-Han were tight and scary. It’s fast and strong in the same way Buffy is and it can even take a stake to the heart, no problem. I was happy when it suffered no ill effect from being crushed under a palette of heavy pipes. This is a really scary physical challenge for Buffy and it was displayed masterfully with her beaten face at the end of the episode. The final season needs to push Buffy to her limits and the Turok-Han certainly seems capable.

Willow’s story was brought back to light. Her magic use has been getting more commonplace and she’s been getting more comfortable recently. So seeing her struck down and scared by magic was a good reminder that she’s not the answer to The First Evil.

The Scooby women weren’t the only ones having nice character moments. Xander got to be extra faux-cheerful in this episode and I thought it worked wonderfully. The introduction of the three young women allowed the established dynamics of our main Scoobies to seem heightened. Xander’s comedic routine was routine for him, but seeing it in the eyes of strangers made it feel like he, Buffy, and Willow may be a little crazy at this point.

I also liked his small bonding with Andrew, which he attempted to balance with machismo.

Finally, while I was disappointed in the portrayal of Drusilla (see The Bad), I really liked Spike’s refusal to give in. Just last episode, Buffy told Spike to his face that she believed in him. That was all he needed to stand strong against evil itself.

The Bad: While I greatly enjoyed the fights between Buffy and the Turok-Han, I was incredibly disappointed by the end. Why in the world would the Turok-Han have left Buffy for dead under some rubble? I suspect he should have ripped her body into pieces. Not seeing what made him leave her there is very dissatisfying and feels very cheap. And adding to the problem was the Scoobies’ apparently easy discovery of Buffy. Has she been missing? Were they following her? Why are none of them concerned she’s dead when they find her? The cut from the Turok-Han throwing Buffy through a wall to the Scoobies finding her left me feeling like I had missed several minutes of the episode in between these two moments.

Robin Wood was another huge problem for me. His scene with Dawn and Buffy in the basement and all of them holding shovels was flat out absurd. Their apparent lack of suspicion about each other is completely unbelievable. Robin’s later speech to Buffy about evil should have had her warning signals flashing like crazy as well. But she doesn’t even seem all that interested. Ending with Robin’s secret smirk about mystery’s couldn’t have made him seem more evil if he’d been dressed all in black and tying Buffy to some railroad tracks.

Speaking of evil, The First just didn’t work for me in this episode. It wants to torture Spike? Fine. It chooses the form of Drusilla to do so? Makes sense, I guess. And yet, I was completely disengaged with these scenes. I don’t know what it was about the performance, but the actress playing Drusilla seemed to have forgotten quite how to make it all work. It felt fake whereas Drusilla in the past always truly felt like an insane woman. I found the whole thing very distracting.

The most egregious moment in the episode was definitely when Annabelle, one of the potentials, fled the house and immediately ran into the Turok-Han. First of all, wow, what an idiot. Secondly, does the Turok-Han have a potential tracking device? It was right there waiting for her.

Finally, I was disappointed in the return of our Watcher. Of course, it’s hard not to be excited about Anthony Stewart Head as Giles, but it felt flat. Where was my giant Buffy/Giles hug?! Where was my heart felt bonding moment?? I feel cheated. I also find it extremely hard to believe that Giles happened to sneak into the Watcher’s Council library and steal precisely what was needed just before the whole Council was wiped out. Lame writing. And his basic willingness to give up at the end was so out of character I wanted to slap him. Has time away from the Scoobies made him weak?

The Unknown: The one aspect of the episode I found truly intriguing were Buffy’s dreams of Joyce. Were they manifestations of The First? Is Joyce trying to tell Buffy that evil is natural and has always existed and will always exist? So perhaps she should just relax about the whole thing? Or is The First trying to get Buffy to give up? There are so many questions raised by Joyce’s appearance and conversations with Buffy.

In the end, I’m not sure what to make of Buffy’s sudden determination to take the fight to the First Evil. Her speech didn’t feel inspiring so much as desperate. It sounds a lot like she’s ready to go down fighting again as she did against Glory, and that this time she’s looking forward to it.

Favorite Moment: Seeing Willow momentarily possessed and her fear afterwards brought all of last season rushing back. She’s seemed quite composed lately, even threatening Andrew in a joking manner last episode. So her plea to Buffy not to let the First use her to hurt people felt honestly heart wrenching.

The Bottom Line: If this episode had ended more strongly with the reason the Turok-Han left Buffy behind and perhaps a clearer understanding of Buffy’s determination at the end, I would have been really happy with it. As is, I felt completely cheated by the climax of the fighting and Giles’ joyless return. The potentials didn’t add anything for me and neither did Principal Wood’s continued sneakiness. All in all, I was let down.

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  • @podcast: I don't think the concept of potential Slayers came out of nowhere in "Bring On the Night". Kendra, all the way back in season two, showed up after Buffy's brief expiration at the hands of The Master, and she clearly had been in training for a while, and had her own Watcher. How the Watchers knew who was to potentially be a Slayer hasn't been explained, to my knowledge, just as it's not been explained why only one Slayer is supposed to be active at any given time. You would think that a world wide battle with evil would warrant more soldiers of good, especially since the Watchers KNOW that Kendra and Faith have both become active Slayers before Buffy truly died. (Ah well, Dark Helmet had it right: "Evil will always win, because Good is dumb!")

    Posted by Matt E., 08/01/2014 5:58pm (4 years ago)

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