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Author's Chapter Notes:
Episodes 1-4: [BtVS] The Freshman, Living Conditions, The Harsh Light of Day, and Fear Itself.
[AtS] City Of, Lonely Hearts, In the Drk, and I Fall to Pieces.

BtVS: The Freshman [While Willow blossoms in the college environment, Buffy has a difficult time adjusting, and her Slaying suffers because of it.]

And season 4 begins! I can see why people thought it got off to a slow start after watching this, though I thought it was a great transition. I liked the fact that Buffy was completely unsettled by this new place, because that's something a lot of people experience when they make the transition from high school to college. It seemed very realistic to me, and this episode being told from Buffy's perspective only heightened the anxiety. All of her friends were moving on with ease. All of the adults in her life were just assuming she had moved on, but she hadn't. Giles felt not a bit of weirdness at her seeing him with a sleepover guest, and her mom had started using her room as storage -- and Buffy was left reeling, wondering how everything had changed so quickly.

As a side note, I've been wondering for a month now who Kristine Sutherland reminds me of, and I finally figured it out: Susan Sarandon. Which gives the Giles/Joyce in Band Candy a whole new level of meaning.

Whoa, Allyson is skinny. Like, scary skinny. And that is the biggest frickin' dorm room I have ever seen. My current bathroom is about the same size as my college dorm room was. Why aren't Willow and Buffy rooming together? You generally can pick your roommates, IME.

They pretty much hit all the college cliches: party scene, students protesting (and funny that it was never said exactly what they were protesting), mean professors, crazy roommates. Takes me back.

I found it funny that these stoner vamps had never been seen before, especially considering UC Sunnydale is, you know, in Sunnydale. They seem to have missed out on the last three years. Sunday was hot in that Joey Lauren Adams way, and I was actually sorry to see her get dusted so quickly. I was excited at the prospect of a cute female nemesis for Buffy. And loved the Spicoli!vamp, totally stuck in the 80s. He never de-morphed, which seemed odd.

And Xander wins my love for turning up right when Buffy needed him and getting her back on track. I loved him misquoting Yoda. And: "When I'm all alone, I wonder, what would Buffy do? Of course, when I'm all alone in the dark, I sometimes wonder, what is Buffy wearing?" Hee! And he stripped? I sure hope we get a glimpse of that at some point! ;-)

So, predictions: I think the cute TA Riley and the psych professor are going to be important characters. Enough of a big deal was made about them both that something must be up. And ooh, the camo guys going after the vampire at the end might be connected to those two. Just a guess. :-P


A:tS: City Of [Angel moves to L.A., unaware of his purpose in the City of Angels. There, he meets Doyle, his half-man, half-demon spiritual advisor, who gives him much-needed direction. ]

First episodes can be a little awkward, because they have to establish backstory and get things set up for the episodes to come. There's just a lot to cover in a short time, and this one was no exception. Perhaps the awkwardness was particularly prominent here because Angel is so familiar to me as a character now and it was weird to see him in a different place, with different people, and no Buffy. I liked him drunk (or pretending to be?) at the beginning, though the alley fight was a bit Batmanish. I know it was necessary, but it was still a little weird. And then in comes Doyle, who we must immediately be shown is not human, and who then becomes Captain Backstory. After all of that, I was worried.

But then the show got going, and I started to like it. Damsel in distress, lots of action, and surprise, the bad guy is really a vampire. Cordelia was fun, especially when Russel had her trapped and she figured out he was a vampire. She was almost Willow-like there, with that sudden leap, except that she was instantly confident she was right. And when Angel showed up, I loved her gleeful boasting: "You don't know who he is, do you? You're about to get your ass kicked!" That was fun.

I'm looking forward to seeing where it all goes. I'm also looking forward to seeing Angel develop more as a character. And wear lots of those thin v-neck sweaters that make me want to lick between his shoulderblades. Or wear nothing at all, for that matter...

Oh, and the kicker: He was who called Buffy! OMG!!! That was cool.



BtVS: Living Conditions [Everyone wonders what's wrong with Buffy when she insists that her annoying roommate is evil.]

The whole roommate from hell theme was really fun here. Even better that she turned out to be an actual demon! That was funny, and I really didn't see it coming. I thought the demons were after Buffy, of course, but no! The naughty little demon had to be captured and brought back. That was a great line: "You're in a lot of trouble, young lady!" Heh.

And whoa, Dementor demons? Who speak Huttese? Or am I just mixing up my fandoms that much?

I loved the fact that the demon roommate loved Cher, labelled everything, played the same song over and over, and was unnaturally perky. That was a nice touch. And that Xander and Oz were scared of Buffy, heh. And yay, Buffy and Willow are roommates now. All is right with the universe.

Another appearance by the camo guys. I'm going to guess that one of them is Riley. That may be completely wrong, but that's my guess. And what was with that girl Oz stared at? For a moment there, I thought it might be another werewolf.


A:tS: Lonely Hearts [Angel brushes up his pick-up lines while tracking a monstrous serial killer that is hunting at a happening Los Angeles singles bar.]

The show is getting going. Cordelia's cards were funny, especially that no one could figure out the drawing was of an angel. The Kate character struck me right away, because the actress either is or really looks like someone on Law & Order. So when she turned out to be a cop, I was pretty pleased with myself. I'm not sure if it's the same actress or not, but she had that L&O vibe about her, certainly. I hope she'll keep turning up, because I like her. Potential platonic love interest for Angel. He has a thing for blondes who kick ass, right?

Angel: "I help-... I'm a veterinarian." WTF? He sure pulled that one out of his ass.

Kate: "You can go to hell."
Angel: "Been there, done that."

It's interesting that we haven't heard about his experience in hell yet. I'm wondering if we will. Aw, and Doyle likes Cordelia.


BtVS: The Harsh Light of Day [Spike is back, searching for a gem that will make him invincible; Buffy is distracted by her first attempt at getting back into the dating pool.]

Just as I was starting to wonder when we'd see Spike again, voila! He's so much fun. "Back to the location of many spectacular kickings of my ass" was funny. And Harmony's a vampire -- you know, I noticed her getting bitten a couple of days ago when I watched Graduation Day, and I was wondering what happened with that. It was pretty funny that she was such a whiny girlfriend. Buffy running into them at a frat party was priceless.

Poor Buffy has the worst luck with sex. She hasn't even had enough of it for it to be fun, I'm guessing. I was happy to see her get some, but the moment the guy said "I'll call you", it was pretty clear what was coming. I wish she wouldn't just become a total doormat over a jerk, but I guess all girls have to go through that phase. It just looks extra weird on her, because of the whole ass-kicking thing.

Oooh, a jewel that makes vampires invincible? Interesting idea. Sunnydale sure has quite a collection of odd stuff hidden about. It was weird that Buffy and Spike could have a knock-down dragout in broad daylight on a crowded campus and not attract a crowd. It's also interesting that she's giving the ring to Angel. There's a lovely opportunity for crossover.

The whole Xander/Anya storyline was a lot of fun. Poor Xander has just about as bad luck with women as Buffy has with men. I like Anya's comments about the weirdness of being a demon trapped in the body of a teenage girl, though. That's pretty funny!



A:tS: In the Dark [Angel receives an unexpected visit from Oz who delivers a gift from Buffy, a mystical relic that renders the owner unkillable - not by stakes, not fire, not even sunlight. But Oz is followed by Angel's arch nemesis, Spike, who is determined to fight Angel to the death for this awesome power.]

Nice continuation with the last Buffy. I think this is the first episode of the show where everything felt like it was falling into place. Nothing felt stilted here, and it seems like Angel's character is growing.

The scene with Spike on the roof making fun of Angel was priceless. Though I have to say, Spike's really one to mock the use of hair styling products, considering. And Oz! So much fun to see Oz in this one.

Angel's reaction to finding out that Buffy had sent the ring was interesting. I wasn't really sure what to make of it. I was convinced that Angel would end up wearing the ring, and that it would be something they would need for the show, so the ending of this one surprised me. Though upon reflection, he really had to destroy it -- the danger of it falling into the wrong hands was just too great. And I also got the sense that Angel doesn't trust himself that much. That ring, in Angelus's hands, would be about the worst thing that could happen.

It was great to see the Spike and Angel interaction here. I enjoyed that quite a lot! There's some lovely slashy chemistry between the two of them, and I can only assume that continues, since I know Spike eventually becomes a regular on the show. It's funny how torture is such a theme of these shows. This was about the most we've seen of actual torture. I guess they do what they can, considering that it's TV. Loved the Nazi guy fondling Angel's chest, and then Spike getting annoyed. Mwahahaha!

It was a really sweet moment to see Angel standing in the sun, and I thought that whole scene was very well done. It really was clear what it meant to him, and David played it so well. And then the sun sets, and that's his day in the sun. It was interesting that he admitted at the end that the guy almost broke him.

I'm liking this show more and more.


BtVS: Fear Itself [The gang finds themselves in a real-life house of horrors at a Halloween party, in which a Fear Demon feeds on their individual fears.]

The Halloween shows are always a lot of fun, and it's interesting that they stick with the theme of human-made trouble for them. This was a great episode, and really had a lot of the elements in it that I love about this show. I was surprised that no mention was made of Oz's trip to LA, but I suppose they avoid the subject of Angel as much as possible around Buffy.

There were a lot of fun moments in this one. Xander calling Oz "Master" was hilarious, as was "Mi casio es su casio." I love how completely blunt Anya is with Xander. It's a great twist on her character that she's totally falling for him! It's almost bizarre, yet somehow it works. All of their Halloween costumes were great, Oz's in particular. And yet another appearance by the camo guys.

Speaking of (and going with my theory above), I like the little moment between Riley and Buffy. I've seen enough references to the pairing around to guess that they hook up at some point (see how easy it is to be spoiled?), and if he's one of the camo guys, that could be interesting, because it would mean he's involved in something out of the ordinary. Assuming it's not evil, at least, that would make him decent boyfriend material for Buffy. We shall see...

The haunted house coming to life was interesting, and I found myself wondering how that episode played outside the US. I'm not really clear on how big a holiday Halloween is in other places, but that haunted house and party are so completely typical of the way teenagers and young adults celebrate. Where I grew up, there was a haunted house that ran every year for the month before Halloween, and it was out in the middle of the woods. It was the scariest fucking thing ever, and we loved it. I remember going one year with a couple of friends (one whom Willow reminds me of immensely) and the room with the Texas Chainsaw massacre guy freaked her out completely. He had what seemed to be a real chainsaw, and it was deafening, and there was a strobe light so you couldn't really see what was happening, and he somehow isolated her from us and cornered her. When we got to her, she was in a little ball on the floor and screaming her head off. I think I may have hit the guy to get him away from her -- I can't really remember. Anyway, it took many drinks afterwards to calm her down. Good times.

The ending of this episode was priceless, and classic writing for this show. Buffy charging ahead before Giles had finished: "Destroying the mark... *smash* ... is NOT one of them" and then the demon appearing, but being teensy. That was hilarious, especially when they all made baby talk at it. And then Buffy squashed it with her shoe, hee! That was great.

Giles with a chainsaw was great. And Anya doesn't like bunnies, huh? That seems random.


A:tS: I Fall to Pieces [Angel is called into action when Doyle's (Glenn Quinn) visions lead them to a young woman who is being stalked by a demonic neurosurgeon who uses his bizarre ability to manipulate the human body to terrorize others.]

I am really liking this show. It's hitting a rhythm now, and it's great. The characters are fleshing out and the stories are compelling. And did I mention that David is hot? Hee, even Doyle thinks so: "Okay, maybe I'm a little attracted."

This was a creepy villain, to say the least. I liked the fact that we saw Kate again, and I also liked Angel playing mind tricks with the bad guy. He was sort of two-dimensional on Buffy, even though it seemed like there was a lot there beneath the surface. I'm really enjoying seeing it all come out here.

Cordelia and Doyle bickering was cute, as was Angel's sudden concern that he was too intimidating and ought to wear light colors. The humor of this show is really subtle compared to Buffy, but I like it. It works really well.

And did I mention that David is hot? The last shot of him with the blue shirt and holding the potted plant... *swoons*