Crumbs: Reviews » Dramas » Buffy the Vampire Slayer » Season 7 » Showtime
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.

47
/100
Viewer
65
/100

Episode 11 - Showtime

7 March 2014

Eve…or is it?

Synopsis: Buffy gathers more Potential Slayers in her home. One of them, Eve, talks about the pointlessness of this endeavour. When Buffy finds Eve's dead body at a motel she realises the First has been in her home. The expanded Scooby gang grab their weapons and Willow casts a protection spell. The Turok-Han breaks through and they all flee to one of Xander's building sites.

The Good: The last scene was fantastic. Once again James Marsters was supreme. His facial expressions actually moved me they were so convincing. He clung to his faith in Buffy to see him through his torment. And as he realises that this really is her his face turns from surprise to happiness then briefly to adoration. You can almost see his desperation to call out in love and thanks but he quickly restrains himself and finally he's just relieved. A lovely end to his mini-arc.

The Bad: It was nice to finish on a positive note because I was largely dissatisfied with the episode.

Understandably, introducing a raft of new characters all at once was going to be problematic. The producers did not help themselves though. Eve looked fine as an actress but her accent was poor which makes three Potentials in a row who sound utterly unconvincing. Similarly I'm sure these girls would be scared but the constant drone of their doubts became tiresome. The dialogue could have been far better. New arrival Rona in particular was stuck with lines that didn't seem to suit her including the irritating "What are we doing here!?" after Xander had announced loudly that he was taking them to a safe place.

The Turok-Han story concluded very poorly. It is fairly traditional for Buffy to encounter a little problem slaying a demon before overcoming it but surely on this occasion we needed something more. The fight moved from the drama, emotion and slickness of last week to a more basic scene of bludgeoning. Then once Buffy stabbed the Turok in the eye he suddenly became vulnerable to her attacks and she beheaded him.

That was barely adequate as a conclusion. Much more could have been made of the eye stabbing. Once the Turok was half-blind Buffy could have slowly regained the advantage in a way that could have been very entertaining. More irritating than the choreography though was the way Buffy's plan came together. First off she contacts Willow by telepathy. How does that work? If someone just "decides" to communicate with Willow that way, she will hear them? And she just maintains that power in perpetuity? It's particularly irritating as the writers clearly thought it would be cool misdirection to have the senior Scoobies silently leave the room and so they reached for this rather than earning it.

But then Buffy's plan is simply to kill the Turok in front of the Potentials. Umm, what if you can't kill it? The thought doesn't seem to cross her mind. Nor is it part of the story. Surely the whole point of any comeback story is to see the training and planning that goes into the eventual victory? But no, Buffy just turns up and is confident she will find a way to kill it. In the end she needed the crossbow to do it. So why not leave weapons at the building site? Or indeed ask the Potentials to rain down missiles on the Turok or help in some other way? Surely then the point would have been clearer that together we can defeat anything?

The First also instructed the Turok not to kill Buffy. Presumably it has some taunting to do. But the fact that it wanted to keep Spike and Buffy alive only deepens the sense that the First has no solid plan and is just dallying around until the end of the season. It's all deeply disappointing.

I'm also not happy with Andrew being accepted into the fold. He brags to Dawn about his exploits as an evil genius and no one has held him to account for murdering Jonathan. Has no one considered whether someone who would stab their best friend to become a God is a bit dangerous? It feels like he's being kept around to make pop culture references when surely one of the Potentials could have done that?

The Unknown: The First can seemingly touch your face as it seemed to do with Spike but is not omnipresent. Eve claims she's learnt a lot from her time in the Summers house so presumably the First only knows what "it's" seen directly.

The only Potential to be given real definition was Kennedy. Initially this was not promising as she's apparently a spoilt rich girl but I'm not sure she plays that particularly convincingly. Nor is it clear why she's so interested in Willow in particular. But she got better as the episode went on largely by being the only Potential to vote for fighting rather than whining and giving up. Don't these people want to go on living?

Something is off with these "Here endeth the lesson" closing speeches Buffy's giving. They just don't sound like the Buffy we know. The whole tone of the show is to undercut and make fun of macho clichés and so to have Buffy deliver them is awkward. I didn't like her conclusion that all vampires were dust as if it were some meaningful truth all the girls would grasp. Earlier in the episode they admitted that none of them had even seen a vampire before. Surely they would have all been in shock and amazement rather than ready to take on board a deep lesson?

Giles and Anya visiting an eye who can tell them answers was on the nose (come on!) but I suppose it's no different than them discovering something in a book. The conclusion that Buffy coming back from the grave was somehow the catalyst for the First evil making its play sounds like a solid idea. If season five was planned out to end the show then I like the idea that season 6 began with a story designed to take us through to the show's conclusion.

Best Moment: James Marsters' face. Not for the first time.

The Bottom Line: Since The First revealed itself in "Conversations with Dead People" the season has nosedived. It's the familiar old problem that plagued Adam and Glory. The First isn't really doing anything or at least it isn't obvious to us what it's up to. The trick of walking around as Spike or Buffy or Drusilla is annoying rather than entertaining. Another seasons 4 and 5 problem has returned as well - the ensemble is growing but with characters we don't care about. Someone like Andrew badly needs his own episode if he's going to become part of the gang and Dawn is getting lost in the mix. I hope the writers have concrete ideas of how to fix this.

 

Cordia's Second Look
Showtime
Season 7, Episode 11
Original airing: 1/7/2003

My Rating: 37

The Good: Spike. Again. It’s all Spike. His belief in Buffy is finally rewarded in a scene that left me heartbroken, even though there were basically no words. Spike’s wonder at being rescued and proven right is trumped only by the unshed tears in Buffy’s eyes. What were they thinking at that moment? What would they have said if they could have found the words?

The only other thing I liked about this episode was the idea of the First sneaking its way into the house as a potential. It makes plenty of sense if it needs to be present to gather information. With a flood of new recruits, another random girl is not going to be noticed. But why couldn’t it take the form of any of the already dead potentials who don’t have a body lying around to be found in Sunnydale?

The Bad: Andrew’s humor continues to work for me on some level, but his newly freed position amongst the Scoobies makes no sense. As he and Dawn point out, he attempted to be an evil genius and murdered his best friend. Sure, Buffy could exact revenge against him later, but that wouldn’t fix whatever he messes up in the meantime. It’s my thought that maybe he should have been turned over to the police by now.

Speaking of unnecessary characters, the potentials are so incredibly poorly presented it’s almost physically painful to watch them. While I appreciate that the show is most likely attempting to make them distinct in a very minimal amount of time, it comes across as just making them into caricatures. Each girl is grating in her own way and all of them are completely unbelievable. While it would be a lot of work to define these ladies as actual humans, it would also have been worth it to make them relatable and watchable. It’s especially disappointing in a show which has excelled over and over again at putting fully realized, bit parts on screen in the past.

Unsurprisingly, the Turok-Han is defeated in no special manner except this time Buffy is awesome. We knew this creature would come to an end at some point. It’s a minion after all and Buffy is Buffy. But it’s disappointing to go from its real threat of last week to a simple beat down win this week. It feels like something should have changed before it could be defeated.

But the worst part of this episode was the spontaneous ability of our main Scoobies to telepathically communicate. Ummm… what? WHAT? Putting aside the insanity of all this, the “plan” they then concoct is ludicrous and basically it all just boils down to Buffy making THREE random speeches in this episode.

The Unknown: So Anya and Giles learned from the eyemass that Buffy’s return is at fault for evil potentially taking over the world. And Anya points out that it makes all of this her, Xander, Willow, and Tara’s fault. So it begs the question of what now? Will this information be passed on to the other Scoobies? Will it be of any use? Is there any way to correct the issue? This could be an awesome thread of story if it isn’t shrugged off and basically ignored.

Favorite Moment: Spike’s release from his bonds and the faces of both characters end the show on a surprising high note.

The Bottom Line: After a surprisingly promising start to the season, I’m now finding myself perpetually irritated, frustrated, and disappointed. The last four or five episodes since The First’s “big reveal” have been plagued with issues. An undefined villain seems to be the bane of the show and I really, really hope the writers have a plan for all this nonsense.

('DiggThis)

Feedback

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

Post your comment

Comments

  • First of all, this is my first comment on the podcast and you guys do a wonderful job. I discovered buffy a year ago and quickly watched the first few seasons. I just finished seasons 6 and 7 a couple months ago and then I found your podcast. I don't know anyone who has seen the show, so it's nice to hear people that love the show and love to talk about tv. Season 6 and 7 are my favorite seasons of Buffy. I probably overlook a lot of their problems because I love Spike so much. I just wanted to mention he moment, when Buffy says "here endeth the lesson". This is the same thing that Spike says at the end of Fool for love after he has finished his "lesson" about how he killed the slayers. This may have been a subconscious comment from Buffy, but either way it shows how much Spike has influenced her over the years and how she views him as a person. As she says in the series finale "he is in my heart". Deep down she cannot deny her feelings towards him.

    Viewer score: 60 / 100

    Posted by Abigail Schultz, 06/03/2014 7:27pm (3 years ago)

  • I can't believe I finally caught up! I only started watching recently and found your site because I always like to read some review about an episode, to make me think some more. I didn't have time for the podcasts yet (as I was bingewatching), but I really liked the reviews. You always raised some good points, sometimes showing me things in different light. My idea was to now watch them when you post a new review, but I honestly don't think I can handle that. But being able to listen to the podcasts weekly and know where everything is going will be a really nice experience.
    Thank you so much for writing these reviews (and have them be spoiler-free!) I really, really like Buffy TVS and I already got one of my friends watching (she started a few days ago and is now watching the finale of season 1... so yeah). I'm off now, going to watch this episode. I'm really looking forward to your next review!

    Posted by Emma, 08/01/2014 9:10am (3 years ago)

  • Nice to have you guys back after the holidays. I didn't think you would be back so soon.

    Oh no. The Potentials are arriving which means my migraines will get worse as the season progresses. On the plus side my future wife, Felicia Day, has finally arrived as Potential Vi.

    Showtime was a fairly good episode that was action-packed, the humor was funny and the ending with Buffy finally finishing off the Uber-Vamp was excellent. Not a bad episode.


    A few questions.
    1. The Eye Demon tells Giles and Anya that The First is now attacking because they brought Buffy back from the dead last season. What was the point of The First appearing in Amends back in season 3 other than to taunt Buffy and almost drive Angel to suicide.

    2. When did Xander and Buffy become telepathic?

    3. What did the people of Buffy's neighborhood think of seeing a bunch of hooded figures standing outside Buffy's house?

    4. What does Buffy do with the bodies of dead Bringers? Do they leave the bodies where they were killed? Sunnydale must be littered with Bringer bodies.

    4. The First appearing as Drusilla? If The First appears as dead people I wonder when she died. She's the kind of character who you would think would have an onscreen death.
    Drusilla appearing in the episode makes me a bit crazy since Drusilla herself appeared in a few issues of the Buffy season 8 comics and a few issues of the Angels comics this year.

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Andrew the Geek, 07/01/2014 7:01pm (3 years ago)

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