Friday, July 22, 2011

Buffy Rewatch: Season 2, Episodes 13-16

Surprise
"You think he's too old 'cause he's a senior? Please. My boyfriend had a bicentennial." A much stronger showing for Marti Noxon (it's her 4th episode in a row), who especially nails the Willow/Oz cuteness. (Alyson Hannigan's innate cuteness plays a huge role in this, of course.) And bonus points for "Hey did everybody see that guy just turn to dust?"

But as a setup for the supposed great, tragic love story that is Buffy and Angel, I have to say there's something creepy about a 20-something-year-old guy (or 200-something) telling his 16-year-old girlfriend "You don't have to go to school."

Oh, yeah, and Angel turns evil.


Innocence
Angel bites a woman who is smoking a cigarette and then exhales smoke! That moment is so cool I'll let it slide that the show established in S1 that vampires don't breathe (Angel can't give Buffy CPR).

The "I gave it up to my boyfriend and he turned evil" thing is a wee bit heavy-handed. Much more powerful in the high school drama realm is the look on Willow's face when she sees Xander and Cordelia kissing. "It just means that you'd rather be with someone you hate than be with me." This episode is remembered for the former, of course, which makes it easy to forget how good Alyson Hannigan is in it (this is a strong disc for her, overall). Her small, quiet, "Giles, shut up" when she's realized what's happened between Buffy and Angel is just perfect. And Oz gets one short scene in which to be the most adorable ever.


Phases
I remember being sort of annoyed by this episode when it first aired, since the last two dropped such a huge bomb and except for two short scenes we don't see Angel at all this week (and Buffy seems pretty unbothered). Also, terrible werewolf costume and deeply cliche werewolf hunter. But knowing how much I'd grow to love Oz casts it in a new light. "Is Geordie a werewolf? …Uh-huh. …And how long has that been going on? …Oh, no reason. Love to Uncle Ken."

There are some nice little moments here too, like the reference to Amy's mom in the cheerleading trophy and "They might not look it but bunnies can really take care of themselves." I especially enjoyed Giles' uncontainable delight at werewolves, "one of the classics."

And did anyone realize that Karofsky on Glee is totally Larry?


Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
We're back with the Big Bads and a Marti Noxon script, but all I can focus on is how deeply unflattering Cordelia's pants are in her first scene. It's the most "Oh, 1997" thing all season. Nice to see Amy back. I can't imagine anyone thought she'd keep popping up all the way through the Season 8 comic books. And the writers are playing with witchcraft and relationship vengeance in ways they'd return to. And the scene with Drusilla and Xander is just plain fun.

Michaela's been finding Xander's crush on Buffy annoying in S1 but it pays off really nicely here (not that it ever really goes away, all the way into S8). Xander's been kind of a dick lately, with the I-told-you-so-ing over Angel and the Cordelia, so it's nice to see him being a total good guy with love-spell-struck Buffy, and having a genuinely sweet moment with Cordy at the end.

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