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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 15 - Get it Done

9 February 2014

    Jumping through portals can be confusing

Synopsis: Buffy shows Principal Wood the setup at the house. He brings his mother's bag of Slayer gear. One of the items are shadow figures that open a portal. Buffy meets the original men who empowered the Slayer. In exchange a demon appears in the Summers living room. Spike retrieves his black coat to help inspire him to kill it. Willow attempts a spell to bring Buffy back but has to suck energy out of Kennedy and Dawn to do so. 

The Good: Once again Willow was forced to use her power and access the evil in her. It was nice to see Kennedy stop trying to be cool and react to real discomfort for a change.

The Bad: The Principal Wood tour was slow and a little dull. It makes sense to bring the new ally into the fold but it took eight minutes and came after an equally casul scene where Spike and Anya rambled on for a while. The clipped dialogue that Spike and Robin then shared was something from a Western. "Before that" - "Around." They liked it so much they continued it later "Nice coat, where'd you get it?" - "New York." With the end of the world coming Robin looks petty for staring daggers at Spike and not admitting to his rather serious issues. Spike seems a bit childish himself for not acknowledging the obvious hostility between them and just spitting out cool retorts instead.  

I suppose some people cheered when Spike put his coat back on. But it felt like shameless fan service. Should this person who is working to be a "good man" put on the clothes he wore when he revelled in murdering people. I think it would have been better for him to express his enjoyment of a good fight in some other way.

The Unknown: Chloe killing herself was obvious a serious moment. Buffy chose to respond to it by calling her an idiot and then reaming everyone in the house out. Awkwardly she points out that Anya serves no obvious purpose on the show and then weirdly attacks poor Spike for not being close enough to his old self. I can understand her instinct to go hard on the Potentials but it seemed bizarre to lump the Scoobies in with them. And the Potentials seemed to be working hard anyway. From the evidence I've seen it seemed like a bad overreaction on Buffy's part.

Naturally the Watcher's Council never bothered to retrieve the bag from little Robin Wood. Despite it containing a very important conduit for the Slayer's power. It's convenient but a lot of the show's research is. Once Buffy was back in the land of perpetual sunlight it seemed like we would learn some important information about how the Slayer's power compares to the First. Instead it's Buffy versus the Patriarchy as she objects to the way they fused the first girl with essence of demon to create the Slayer line. It felt a bit late in the day to be lecturing these men about their actions. Maybe they were cowards but how else was humanity going to keep the hellmouth closed for the next few thousand years? I'm not saying Buffy was wrong but it didn't feel like her journey served any wider purpose than showing us the Turok-Han frat house beneath the earth. It was an impressive visual and it gives us a clear idea of the army waiting to invade on behalf of demon kind. But I'm not sure it was a great cliff hanger. I mean surely that army can't actually be released onto the surface or they would wipe all humans out. So rather than give the Scoobies something tangible to fight it just defines specifically the evil that they will (presumably) stop from emerging. This is not Rewatch-itis either. Every season of Buffy a bigger and more monstrous evil has appeared and they've always been stopped. It would be more effective to give us an enemy that can be seen every week rather than build up the one we're unlikely to experience.

Best Moment: Kennedy was pretty annoying early in the episode trying to play drill sergeant. So I liked seeing her wary of Willow and creating distance.

The Bottom Line: I can't say this episode was all bad because I don't know whether Buffy's story will play a significant role in the rest of the season. But I don't see much cause for optimism and this was very poorly structured.

 

Cordia's Second Look
Get It Done
Season 7, Episode 15
Original airing: 2/18/2003

My Rating: 53

The Good: Most of this episode felt awkward to me with Buffy’s sudden attitude issues and Kennedy forcing her way into everything like a bull in a china shop (see The Bad). But it did allow some nice subtle moments for Dawn and succeeded in creating physical threat for the end of the season.

I really enjoyed seeing Dawn find her place in the house. Since her chat with Xander (S7E12 Potential), she seems to have dived head first into being Research Girl and found herself becoming good at it. She’s learning to translate old languages and understand the purpose of artifacts and other magic related bits. It was also nice seeing her tease Buffy and them having a light sister moment before discovering Chloe’s dead body.

Speaking of Chloe, I thought this was pretty well handled. It’s creepy and sad to see her there, but it makes sense too. As Buffy says, these girls were not recruited, they were chosen. We’ve seen them having fears in past episodes and I would expect them to continue doing so. Train as they might, they don’t have the Slayer powers yet and don’t have experience with fighting evil. Pile on top of that the constant tension and stress of living in a house with about 25-30 people. In these circumstances, it would be completely unbelievable if someone didn’t crack.

Finally, the reveal of thousands of Turok-Han lying in wait gives some heft to The First’s threats of violence. We know the damage a single Turok-Han can do and the struggles Buffy endured to kill it. So the idea of thousands flooding the streets of Sunnydale is terrifying. Am I really worried this will happen? No. It’s a TV show and I feel confident after six seasons of almost-world destruction that it will be avoided again. But it does get me hyped to see some big fights!

The Bad: Unfortunately, the rest of the episode was plagued with unnecessary moments and Buffy the Righteous at her most high-horsed.

Andrew, per usual, was the worst waste of screen time. Last week how got to have a bit of development and now he’s back to punching bag. I’m tired of it.

Anya gets quite a lot of time to complain and be worthless. Buffy even points out that she adds nothing of value to the group. And with D’Hoffryn still attempting to kill her, too, she just looks like a leech. She’s there because it’s marginally safe, but that isn’t a good reason to keep a character around when you’re bloating the cast. I say, chuck the dead wood.

The influx of potentials felt very sudden and forced. For over a month, we had five or so, now we jump up to twenty. I wish there had been a more gradual build. This seemed like the show was just trying to have an “army” of bodies around for Buffy to yell at in the living room.

Ah, Buffy. She was at her worst here. And it felt really wrong. I can completely understand her tact of pointing out Chloe chose the wrong path. Calling upon the girls’ desire to stay alive would have been fine. But I think it went out of character when she verbally attacked Xander, Willow, Anya, and Spike. I can see this conversation happening, but not in front of the potentials.

And then she went on to spend her time beating up shadow men while calling them weak and pathetic. While she has a point that the First Slayer’s creation was done with a horrible method, she ignores the fact that right now, that doesn’t matter. What matters is the coming end to the Slayer line, which the men clearly tell her is a danger. While I can’t completely fault her for not wanting to merge with demon essence, it seemed she was focused on the wrong issues here.

Robin Wood has his own issues. I wish he had been around in the past to learn the mistakes ALL the Scoobies have made about not sharing your feelings with others. Hiding his knowledge of his mother’s death from Buffy and insisting instead on having dramatic two word conversations with Spike makes him look really petty, what with the imminent rise of the ultimate evil and all.

The Unknown: I honestly don’t know how I feel about Spike in this episode. Buffy basically asking him to reach down deep and find his love of killing again was bizarre. And symbolizing his “return” to fighting potency with the reappearance of the jacket he stripped from Robin’s mother’s dead body is just… inappropriate. At the same time, it’s hard not to cheer to see a bit of old Spike spirit showing through again. It’s a complex situation reminiscent of Spike’s entire time on the show. He’s always been the villain you loved to hate because of his enigmatic nature and performance. But having his old life essentially celebrated with three different shots of the coat coming out and going on seemed out of place with his season long arc to be a good man for Buffy. Definitely conflicting.

Favorite Moment: I thought following Buffy’s terrified face with the shot of the masses of Turok-Han set a powerful standard for the final fight. It was an epic moment for a television show and I really liked that Buffy questioned her decision to turn down the extra power.

The Bottom Line: I’m pleased with where this story ended up. I think it does set a tone of danger for the end of the season. But mostly I found myself being angry at almost all of the Scoobies for what I feel was primarily poor presentation.

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Comments

  • I found this an intriguing episode. The central question seemed to be whether one needs to become more evil to fight evil. Though Buffy forcefully rejects this notion from the Slayer’s creators, her mind’s clearly not as made up as that. At the end she's in doubt about whether she did the right thing, and even earlier in the episode, she encourages Spike to get more in touch with his evil to be of more use. I think this is a powerful concept to explore, but wasn’t resolved, so I hope it’s addressed further in future episodes.

    Good:
    - The return to the creators of the Slayer was cool, both the entertaining buildup with the magical shadow play as well as the staging of their encounter (though it seemed a small logic hole to just have this apparatus passing through the Slayer line for any Slayer to use - why not just have given them all more power to start with?)
    - Though depressing, I think it’s good that they’re making it clear they don’t have enough firepower at the moment, and are hugely outgunned with the ominous shot of the legion of Turok-hans at the end. This threat is meant to be a major apocalypse, and this is the first time we’ve actually seen something more threatening than just manipulative visions or one-off demons.
    - Some nice pokes at the show itself, e.g. Anya’s “I provide much needed sarcasm”.

    Bad:
    - One thing that distracted me a lot during the first half, particularly during Buffy’s speech of disappointment: where the #&@! was Giles this whole episode??
    - Minor annoyances: Can Dawn translate Sumerian on the fly now? (I know they comment on it in the episode, but before that, that’s exactly what she seemed to be doing) And yuck, the Dark Willow bird scream of Two To Go infamy was back :(
    - Lame title for a pretty good episode

    Unknown:
    - I felt mixed about Buffy’s speech to the potentials. Was she trying to motivate them? Was she just frustrated herself? I felt like the writing didn’t do its job of making her own motivations for the speech clearer. This is also where I really felt the lack of Giles, because usually he's the one she'd talk to about it for us to get insight into those motivations.
    - If Wood is planning vengeance on Spike, it seems weird that he let his hostility show pretty openly rather than hiding it.

    Viewer score: 68 / 100

    Posted by Ross, 04/02/2014 9:20pm (3 years ago)

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