1. Why did people not like this season of Buffy? It's awesome! There are lots of great episodes, and interesting things are happening, and the gang is really getting to grow up, with all the good and bad things that brings.
2. My list of favorite episodes is getting quite long now.
3. I went to the Buffy Singalong downtown Sunday night and Beer Bad was selected as the warm-up episode, a day after I watched it for the first time. It was interesting to watch it again, and I saw quite a lot more in there than I did when I didn't know what was coming. That's gotten me excited about the prospect of watching the entire series again when I'm all done.
4. I've now seen Once More, With Feeling twice, and though a lot more of it made sense to me this time, it's hard to say that I'm spoiled for much more than a few future relationships and a Buffy death. I have no idea how things will unfold. Based on my experience with The Wish, I fully expect that episode to mean something completely different to me when I get to it in sequence.
BtVS: Beer Bad
[Buffy drowns her sorrows by drinking with some upperclassmen, but Xander grows concerned when they start to get in touch with their primordial roots.]
The title alone cracked me up. I was getting a little annoyed at the (okay, admittedly realistic) way that Buffy has been pining over Parker. Her fantasies at the beginning were funny, though they really reminded me of Xander's fantasies about Buffy from way back in S1.
The singer that Oz noticed -- I'm wondering if she's the same girl he stared at back a few episodes. The hair is the same. Anyway, she definitely has something that he notices, so I'm guessing she's either a witch who has cast some sort of spell on him or she's a werewolf too. He's just not the type to wander, so there has to be something to it.
Buffy drinking beer with the guys was funny, especially when it became clear that there was something wrong with it. It's interesting how many people in Sunnydale have some connection to magical folk. (The opportunities for HP crossovers seem wide open here.) The idea of turning faux intellectual college guys into cavemen is pretty funny, I have to say. Very Good Will Hunting. I'm tempted to say something about the ridiculous inaccuracies in the way the "cavemen" were represented, but hello -- total fantasy anyway.
God, Parker is SUCH a player, and how hilarious that Willow saw right through it and totally called him on it. That was fantastic. Who hasn't had a fantasy of doing that to the guy who dumped your best friend? I also loved the fact that Buffy clubbed him in the head not once, but twice. Even better that she was still out of it when he finally gave her the fantasy apology, because if she were herself she probably would have accepted it. Clubbing him in the head was far better a response.
What is it with impaired Buffy going after Xander? That's happened at least twice now, and both times, to his credit, Xander has resisted. Good boy.
A:tS: RM W/A VU
[Doyle helps Cordelia find a new apartment. The apartment's current tenant, a ghost, is none to pleased.]
I am so in love with David Boreanaz. Madly, utterly, completely in love. Okay, so it's really Angel I'm in love with. Right. Still.
I really like this show! I like it so much more than I expected to, which is really interesting. This episode was great because it gave us a chance to learn more about Doyle and Cordelia, something I hadn't realized was missing until I saw it. Cordelia was such a brat on Buffy, and though I thought she was funny, I really didn't get much of a sense of who she was. This episode started out with that same premise of her being completely self-centered, and then really gave her a chance to shine.
I loved her crashing at Angel's place and making him crazy, and poor Doyle thinking it was something more. The peanut butter thing cracked me up. And the line about his hair: "Do you have mousse? Of course you do." I hardly noticed his hair on Buffy, and now I'm wondering why I didn't. Well, I almost didn't notice it this time cause he was, you know, wet and naked and stuff. They do that a lot on this show, don't they? Smart.
Cordelia's fierceness about her new apartment was fantastic. That's a girl who has set her priorities. The ghost story was really interesting, as was the subplot with the demon debt collectors after Doyle. The resolution of both of those was great, really well-written. I loved the fact that Cordelia finally pulled it together and drove the ghost out in the end, but I was a little confused that the ghost of the son is still there. Didn't he get his issue solved so he can move on?
I may have mentioned this before, but it's interesting to me that most of the supernatural folks in this universe are able to do magic spells. The first time I saw Angel doing a spell back in season 3 of Buffy, I was surprised, but it seems like something that's kind of common. You just get your ingredients together and say the right words, and voila: magic.
And I'm sort of thinking about Angel/Doyle at the moment, I have to admit. ;-)
BtVS: Wild at Heart
[Oz and Willow's relationship is up in arms when Oz is powerfully drawn to a female werewolf.]
First of all, I have to say AHA -- I was right! Verucha was a werewolf!! *preens*
And of course, it was all bad for Oz and Willow. *sigh* The show hadn't dealt with the werewolf issue for a while, so I'm glad it came up. Still, it was sad to see them say goodbye. I don't know if he's gone for good, or if we'll see more of him. But poor Willow is about to need Buffy quite a lot, I think. She's almost exactly in the position Buffy was in a few months ago. I wonder if she'll handle it differently.
And won't someone find Verucha's naked body with the throat ripped out and wonder what happened? Sometimes people die a bit to easily on this show.
It's interesting to see Giles so lonely. I hope he finds something to do soon, because he seems like he's going a little stir crazy. Xander giving Willow advice was interesting as well. That's something I find fascinating about him -- when it comes to himself, he does nearly everything wrong, but when it comes to his friends, he has the ability to see right through their situation and know what they should do. And sometimes they're smart enough to listen to him.
So Buffy has now run smack into the masked camo guy (I still think it's Riley) in the woods. I also think Professor Walsh knew exactly what she was looking at when she saw the werewolves. And OMG, the camo guys have Spike! That's pretty interesting. Poor Spike never gets a break, does he? I wonder if they're torturing him. He probably likes it. Of course, I'm now wondering if Buffy is going to end up rescuing him or something. Hee!
There sure are a lot of vampires on campus, aren't there? Have the camo guys been dealing with them all along, and what will they say when the find out who Buffy is? Is anyone patrolling the cemetery these days?
A:tS: Sense and Sensitivity
[The entire police precinct is forced to take sensitivity training, after they use excessive force to bring down a crime lord. The classes renders the precinct useless, and leaves Angel as a lone defender.]
This whole episode was really a lot of fun. I loved the beginning, setting Angel up as fairly clueless and insensitive, leaving Cordelia and Doyle to clean up after him without even a thanks (what is it with fandoms and tentacles?), only to have him under the weird spell by the end. I like Kate. I really like Kate. I like that Angel likes Kate too. And even though she was under the influence, she asked him out! So sweet! I mean, I know he can't really have a relationship or anything, but still. One can hope at least for some great UST. Even Kate's dad is rooting for that pairing.
The whole concept of cursed sensitivity training is just brilliant. No one likes to sit through those forced seminars at work, and how funny that this one was a setup to incapacitate the police!
Okay, the Hawaiian shirt? Holy shit, that was funny. Actually, it was a little too funny, like they were trying too hard, but I can forgive them for the time being. And when the bad guy asked Angel about his parents: "My parents were great. Tasted like chicken." (I had forgotten he killed his own parents, but I'm pretty sure that was mentioned early on in Buffy, wasn't it?) But seriously, the best part was Angel spewing all the feel-good jargon, and then Cordelia and Doyle being completely freaked out by his sudden fluffy hugginess. And Angel not wanting to morph, because he felt they were too judgmental about his being a vampire. And "Painbow?" Okay, not so funny. Of course, the anger could still come out when necessary, which was convenient to incapacitate the bad guy.
And the nice thing is that it seemed in the end that even though everyone recovered, they all ended up a bit more sensitive than they'd been before. Well, except for Kate's dad.
BtVS: The Initiative
[Spike is imprisoned in an underground demon-research facility; Riley realizes he has a crush on Buffy.]
Oooh!!! I was right about Riley and Professor Walsh too! Though I guess it really was pretty obvious. Heh. Still, two for two, yay.
The beginning of the episode was cute, with the guys all talking about Buffy being hot while she was being a complete dork. The whole episode was a lot of fun, though, really full great dialogue and interesting revelations. The underground demon detainment center was really interesting, though pretty brutal. It's weird to hear the people calling vampires "it" and treating them like animals, almost disturbing. I mean, they are generally demons, but Angel's not and... I've grown very fond of Spike. Buffy just dusts them, but the experimentation and all seems almost cruel. I can't believe I just wrote that.
I really enjoyed Riley's fumbling attempts to talk to Buffy, and it was cute to see him and Willow working together. I love that he's totally awkward around her and then is this secret demon hunter guy. He's like the female version of Buffy, hee! Watching them fight was fantastic. Did he see her at the end? I wasn't sure if he did or not. I'm sure the show will be flirting with them figuring out who the other is for a few episodes, which should be a lot of fun.
Spike's impotence -- I was starting to cry, I was laughing so hard. "I'm sure it happens to lots of vampires." "Not to me, it doesn't!" That was hilarious! And Willow getting miffed that he couldn't bite her, because she's just not the girl that guys want to bite, but more the sister or friend type. Oh, man. *wipes eyes* The idea of the implant is pretty interesting. That's going to be a source of frustration for Spike for a while. I always thought Spike was interesting, but wow -- this is really going to be fun!
Second funniest thing in the episode: Xander and Harmony fighting. OMG, so funny. I loved how they slow-mo'd it and everything, so you could see every bit of the girly slapping. I nearly choked during that scene!
Oh, and I see Spike is now in the opening credits as a regular cast member, which means we'll be seeing a lot more of him. Cool! Though I'm sad to see Oz go.
A:tS: The Bachelor Party
[Doyle's former wife appears in town, with her new finance, seeking Doyle's approval to re-marry.]
Okay, so I peeked ahead at the next episodes for both shows (yes, bad Emma) and I see that we're being set up for Buffy and Angel to see each other again. Hoo boy. I'm not sure I'm ready for this. I anticipate tears. My tears, to be precise, and plenty of them.
This episode was interesting on several levels. First and foremost, we learn more about Doyle's backstory, which is a good thing. We get to see him as something more than a sidekick who gets flashes of plot point. The whole theme of the episode, though, was of relationships past and what went wrong for all three characters, and that was really interesting. I'm enjoying seeing these three interact, because they're all very different people, yet complementary in interesting ways. They're all broken, but in different ways, and they're all strong in different ways. They're the Trio, all over again. Angel is Harry and... ;-)
Angel playing the dad to Cordelia's date at the beginning was really sweet. Cordelia's subsequent lament about now finding herself interested in men of substance was fun, and that little knowing smile on Angel's face was priceless.
The introduction to "demon culture" was weirdly interesting. They reminded me a lot of the Mayor with their Cleaver-like ways (KFC?) and propensity towards strange bits of nonchalant violence. The ritual eating of the first husband's brains thing really is classic Joss, totally WTF. As was the "that's racist!" remark. Interesting that Doyle is so reluctant show his demon side, even though it makes him so much stronger. He could have saved himself a lot earlier.
What is it about Angel morphing and bursting through a window that gets me hot? I still wonder where he gets his money. Doyle's pointed remarks about old money made me wonder if we might find out at some point.
And oooh, Buffy vision at the end. How shall I ever make it to tomorrow night to find out? Geez, how did people make it a while week to find out?
[Angel secretly arrives in Sunnydale to protect Buffy; Buffy tries to have a perfect Thanksgiving.]
Xander in a wifebeater? Hah! Though seriously, very hot.
I was expecting a little more drama from Angel being back, so it was really interesting that he stayed hidden from her. It was kind of weird to see him back with these characters too. And hee, everyone kept asking him if he was evil again, and it annoyed him. Of course it had to be Xander that let it slip at the end that Angel had been there.
So much love for Spike in this episode! I think I really like him "neutered". ("I can't chase the other puppies any more.") Biting as a metaphor for sex is pretty funny. How funny that Harmony kicked him out, and then he had to go to Giles and Buffy for help, in the daytime, no less! The very idea that he spent Thanksgiving and an entire battle tied to a chair was hilarious. And they sat him at the table, OMG!
Buffy's obsession with having a perfect Thanksgiving meal was fun, almost as fun as Giles and Willow sniping at each other constantly. And poor Xander! I now get that Chumash tribe reference from Once More, With Feeling.
It's interesting how comfortable all of the actors seem in their roles this season, more so than they were in the last season. It really makes a difference in the way the episodes feel. Even though this one didn't really move the plot forward significantly, I really liked it for all of the little character moments in it. And it also added Spike to the mix for the first time, which is really significant, I think. I don't know if this is what his dynamic with the gang will be in the long run, but it worked really well and I'm looking forward to more.
A:tS: I Will Remember You
[Buffy visits Angel in Los Angeles. While she and Angel battle with demons, Angel's humanity is restored.]
If you are my age, you may remember an HBO movie from the 80s about a school for orphans on Venus, which was depicted as a planet where it rained constantly and no one ever saw the sun. There was one girl in the school who was born on Earth and remembered the sun from when she was a toddler, but no one believed her. So there was one day when the sun would come out for an hour, the only time for 100 years, and the other kids cruelly locked this girl in a closet for that hour so she couldn't see the sun. While they ran around in fields of flowers and felt the sun shine down on their faces for the one hour they would ever get, she sat in the dark, with only a tiny beam of sunlight coming through a crack in the door to let her know the sun had come out at all. When I was a kid, that movie killed me. It absolutely left me gutted every time I watched it, because here was a girl who had experienced something before she knew to appreciate it, and then her only other chance to have it again was taken away by the cruelty of the world. She was the only one who really knew what it was like to see the sun every day, and she knew what she was missing when she was shut out of it. That movie spoke volumes to me even though I was all of ten, and I get teary just thinking about it.
Well, I'm probably just teary because I just watched this episode. I had seen mention of this episode around without really knowing what it was about, so I had a sense that it was something significant. As soon as I saw the summary, I knew it was going to be hard to watch. Actually, it wasn't that hard until the end. It was almost like fan fiction for a while, with Angel becoming human and spending a day in bed with Buffy and getting to do so many things he hasn't been able to do and... God.
Of course he had to give it up. He had to, and I'm thankful that Buffy doesn't remember, but for this to be one more thing that Angel has to carry around is just horrible beyond belief. I'm feeling gutted now, not so differently than I felt at the end of season 2. He was the sacrifice both times, once by her doing and once by his own. She sent him to hell, and he's just sent himself right back, because in both cases, it was the right thing to do. It's beautiful and painful and so angsty I can hardly stand it. And I love angst, really, so this was amazing.
There's something about tragic doomed love that just kills me, maybe because then I get to make it right in my head, you know? It can't ever be in canon, not in a way that would be satisfying, but in my own mind I can invent a hundred ways to make it work. And because it's not canon, because it's just my fantasy, it then works. It's better than getting a happy ending in canon, because then it becomes my own ending, if that makes any sense.
And that, in a nutshell is why I write fan fiction. And read it, for that matter. I guess I can go read all those post-IWRY fics now.
Edit Wed. morning: Okay, I frickin' dreamed about this one last night. I also remembered some other things I'd wanted to say about this, especially how interesting it was to see Angel react to being alive again. I thought the heartbeat moment was great, and how it must be weird for him to hear the sound and feel it after so much time. The moment when he realized he was hungry and started eating everything he could get his hands on was fun, too -- "I love chocolate... ugh... but not with yogurt, apparently." The scene in his kitchen with Buffy was gorgeous, with the two of them trying not to give in but it being just too much, along with the implication that he wasn't used to that surge of hormones and pretty much lost control of himself. The table... just... guh. And then the lovely cut to him naked in the kitchen, looking for ice cream and things, and then Buffy's peanut butter request and him dripping ice cream on himself and her licking it off...
Okay, so I could watch that scene over and over. Someone must have uploaded it to YouTube.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Episodes 5-8: [BtVS] Beer Bad, Wild at Heart, The Initiative, and Pangs.
[AtS] RM W/A VU, Sense and Sensitivity, The Bachelor Party, and I WIll Remember You.
[AtS] RM W/A VU, Sense and Sensitivity, The Bachelor Party, and I WIll Remember You.