Lots of new episodes for this post! I spent a good chunk of Sunday watching, so I made a lot of progress.
BtVS: Something Blue
[A spell by Willow goes awry, causing Giles to go blind and Buffy and Spike to fall in love and get engaged.]
After that last episode of Angel, I needed to go to bed with something a little more uplifting on my mind, so I decided to watch one more episode. I'm glad I did, because this one was a lot of fun.
Even the opening scene was fun, with Buffy and Willow patrolling in the cemetery (answering my question from several episodes back about whether or not anyone still went there) and having a heart-to-heart talk about relationships, only to be briefly interrupted by a quick slay.
Here's another episode where Spike was a standout character. Chained in the bathtub, watching soaps, Buffy feeding him pig's blood through a straw, and him generally being a nuisance -- how fun! It's interesting that for all of his sarcasm and not being human, he has an uncanny ability to see people for who they really are.
So clearly, the best part of this whole episode was the Spike/Buffy stuff. That was fantastic! Watching them be a sickeningly sweet couple was one thing, but Buffy turning into a bridezilla was even better. "For the invitations, should we call you William the Bloody or just Spike?" And they still fought constantly, even while under a love spell! I loved everyone's horror at the whole thing -- Giles being blind but distressed that he could still hear them kissing, Xander's "Can I be blind too?" line, and their mutual disgust when the spell was broken mid-snog.
That really was just what I needed! And poor Amy is still a rat. She missed her whole senior year of high school, didn't she?
It's interesting that demons can be made from humans, and that it seems to be a free choice people make. That says a lot about Anya. It was funny when the demon (LOL, he was the something blue) just shrugged when Willow said no and gave her a calling card, with "If you change your mind, just give us a chant!" Too funny.
Here is a cracktastic Spike/Xander version of this episode.
[Angel and Doyle come to the aid of a group of mix-blood demons, from an army of pure-bloods bent on eradicating them.]
OMG. Doyle? But... Doyle? I don't understand why they killed him off. What the hell? I liked him. He was just starting to get really interesting as a character. What was the point of that?
I was surprised that Angel told Doyle what had happened with Buffy, because I really thought he'd carry that information around on his own. He doesn't open up to people like that. It seemed out of character. And Doyle believed him pretty easily, too, which made me wonder if the only reason for that happening at all was because Angel would never have told Cordelia, and for some reason Cordelia needs to know. That seems... a bit contrived. I love this show, but I have to say this episode has shaken my faith a little. I knew something was fishy when Cordelia accepted the fact that Doyle was half-demon so quickly and practically asked him out. It was too much like he was getting everything he wanted at the end.
Besides those things, the concept of demon Death Eaters was interesting. The Nazi references were a bit overdone, as was Angel's hair when he was undercover. It was funny, but one of those moments where I think they were trying a little too hard. Still, there were some interesting things in here that I liked. Cordelia's determination to make the business work is really fun. She's almost fanatical about it, and it seems to be coming from a serious desire to be successful at something. I also find it interesting that Angel doesn't hesitate to use threats and coercion to get things done. He seems to be a "ends justify the means" type of guy, which is definitely interesting for a hero type. And his tears when he made the decision to sacrifice himself... god. And he was looking at Doyle while he was teary, almost as if that was who he really had to say goodbye to. *sniff* And Doyle kissed Cordelia (there was a weird bit of blue light involved in that kiss) and then... sacrificed himself.
I can't believe he's dead.
I went to look for Angel/Doyle fic and learned that Glenn Quinn died in 2002! Ack. That's horrible! He was just a year older than me, and he died of a drug overdose. God, how depressing.
[After the residents of Sunnydale lose the power of speech, Buffy battles strangely silent assailants alongside an incredulous Riley.]
Interestingly enough, this episode completely snuck up on me. When I watched Something Blue, I didn't see this title on the same menu for some reason. So when I popped the Angel DVD out and the Buffy DVD in, and saw this was the next episode, I nearly flipped out! I've heard so much about this one, and I was really looking forward to it.
I have to say that this is one of maybe three times that I've gotten to the end of an episode and immediately wanted to watch it again. I'm really tempted, but it's midnight and I know I ought to go to bed. There's so much to say about this one that I'm not really sure where to begin. I wondered if this might be the episode where Buffy and Riley would finally learn each other's secrets, but I was surprised that so many important things happened here, things that were easier to deal with nonverbally than verbally -- Xander showing Anya he really cares about her, Buffy and Riley fighting together, Willow and Tara meeting each other and discovering a surprising strength when they work together, Giles being able to take charge and organize a mission with only overhead transparencies and bad drawings, and Spike still managing to be snarky and underfoot without ever uttering a word.
I think what struck me most about this whole episode was that it was startlingly easy to follow what was happening in the story. Little tiny gestures made complete sense and conveyed so much. It was easy to read lips when necessary. Facial expressions said more than a page of dialogue could have. The occasional written phrase clarified things nicely. That was really amazing to watch. I usually take notes while I watch these (yes, I'm a dork), but I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. My notes are a jumble of scratches made in the dark.
Other things that piqued my interest:
• Spike eats? I didn't know vampires could eat. I mean, doesn't food hurt them? Eh, I'm confusing this universe with Underworld, I think. Angel doesn't eat, though. Oh hell, they have no heartbeats or circulation, but they can bleed and get erections. Apparently, it isn't supposed to make sense.
• The awkwardness between Buffy and Riley has been a lot of fun. I like the fact that they're so similar, only him without the destiny part (AFAIK, at least). That will either bode well for them, or it will mean trouble. Still -- aw, kiss! That was sweet. And again, it said more than words could have at that moment.
• Spike wandering about Giles's apartment was interesting, sort of like a roommate from hell. Or a pet vampire, heh. I'm kind of liking him having to stay hidden, and I wonder what will happen when Riley finds out what Buffy does -- and maybe comes face-to-face with him. I'm really interested to see if a clash of vampire-hunting cultures happens. For that matter, once Buffy has the inside scoop on the facility, they won't need Spike any more. What will happen to him then?
• Ooh, creepy bad guys! It reminds me of those dreams you have where you're dreaming you're on the verge of waking up and you know someone is in the room with you, but you're paralyzed and can't wake yourself up or make a sound.
• I loved Willow's interaction with the Wicca group. That was pretty funny. And what a way to introduce Tara! I know who she is cause I've seen OMWF; I just have no clue what gets them from here to there. I'm imagining this might put a strain on Buffy and Willow's friendship, though.
• The slide show in the classroom was fantastic, with Giles being overly dramatic with his slides and bad drawings (the bloody heart-cutting-out scene was hilarious), Willow being Hermione, Anya watching it all and eating popcorn, and Buffy going from all business ("How do I get my voice back?") to being horrified that Giles's drawing of her made her look fat. The sheer number of things going on in that scene was amazing, and it really demonstrates how well this cast is working as an ensemble at this point. They really inhabit those characters now, which is just glorious to watch.
• Buffy and Riley fighting together was great fun! I liked that it took the two of them to get it done, but in the end, it was Buffy who ran the show and saved the day.
• The ending, with its awkward silence and neither of them knowing what to say, was perfect.
In short, wow. That was really, really amazing. I may have to watch it again after all.
A:tS: Parting Gifts
[Angel and Cordelia pursue a demonic bounty hunter.]
First episode without Doyle, sniff! It was weird that he's still a cast member in the credits but didn't appear in the episode, not even in a flashback.
The Oracles are a little cheesy, in that 1960s low budget Star Trek original series sort of way. Queer Eye for the Vampire or something. I find the creativity of demon make-up pretty good on the show, in general, though. The baddie on this show was kind of fun. I figured he was the bad guy from the start, because that's how these things work. The bad guy is very often someone other than who you're supposed to think.
The first thing he said to Angel was interesting: "You're the guy, right? The vampire with a soul?" How do people know that? The bit about vampire stereotypes irritating Angel was funny.
And aha, Cordelia has Doyle's power! I wondered what that blue light was all about. I have to say her stalking in and kissing Angel was pretty cool. His reaction was funny, too, like it took him a moment to go, "Wait, this is Cordelia!"
I had wondered if Wesley would show up this season. I knew he'd be in the show at some point (saw spoilery icons, which is entirely my own fault since the show's been cancelled for years now), and once I'd gotten past Doyle's death, I wondered if this would be a good time for him to show up. When the motorcycle appeared with all the shots of feet and hands and walking but no face, it was clear they were trying to keep this person's identity secret as long as possible -- and so it just HAD to be Wesley. Hee! You know, as much as I despised him on Buffy, he was sort of endearing here. And Cordelia kissing him and finding it a bit more interesting than before -- heh. That was funny. And he's still a complete spaz, bless him. He redeemed himself by the end, though. It was funny to watch him dropping hints that he'd like to stay, and both Angel and Cordelia ignoring him until the last possible moment, knowing he wasn't going anywhere.
Loved this bit of dialogue:
Wesley: "I'm a rogue demon hunter."
Cordelia: "Wow, great. What's a rogue demon?"
Okay, Angel speaks Korean? And he can cook? I mean, I know he's lived a long time, but... Nah, I'll buy it. Why not? The demon spa was funny.
Cordelia was great here, though I have to say her dialogue at the end was very Buffy-like. "And sometimes after a long night of demon-hunting, we get eggs!" When did she get a tattoo?
[Buffy and Riley struggle with the knowledge of each others' secrets; the gang must head back to high school to stop another apocalypse.]
Buffy and Riley talking in the beginning was fun, especially her surprise that he didn't know who she was. "Look it up. Slayer comma The." Her insistence throughout the episode that she wasn't interested in a relationship was just too strong. I knew it couldn't last.
I now see where quite a lot of Spike/Xander fic must have started. Spike living in Xander's basement and doing his laundry was just too funny. Spike in Xander's clothes was even better.
The Initiative people are really bothering me with their speciesist attitudes towards demons and vampires. I hope that issue gets dealt with. *sniff*
Giles: "It's the end of the world."
Spike discovering that he can hurt demons and not cause himself pain was fantastic. I wondered what they were going to do with him, and here's a way for him to become a scoobie, hee! I loved his excitement at the end, ready to go out and kill something. What a cool way to channel his violent tendencies.
The whole Buffy/Riley storyline was interesting, and Buffy was so, so right that he is completely naive about the whole demon-hunting thing. He thinks he knows what he's doing, but he doesn't. I hope he's willing to learn -- otherwise they have a rocky road ahead of them.
[Suffering from nightmares, Angel discovers he may be committing the murders he dreams about.]
New opening credits, with Wesley now an official part of the cast. It's interesting that three characters from BtVS are now the main characters on this show.
This episode was interesting on many levels. Seeing Angel doubting himself and worried that he still had Angelus in him somewhere was a nice touch. Not that I don't like broody!Angel, but hey -- he has to open up sometime or the show isn't going anywhere. I love the flashbacks, and I hope we get to see more of them. It's interesting to learn where he came from and how that shaped who he is now. Not to mention that I like to see him with longer hair and in the period costumes, cause you know, hot.
Okay, Penn was hot. I think it was the little glasses that did it for me. He sort of had this Elijah Wood look going, now that I think about it. I am finding myself wanting to go look for some slashy goodness concerning those two back in the day. (Ooh, found some! Pretty good too, if you don't mind the punctuation errors all over the place.)
It's really interesting to see Cordelia growing in this series. I like the developing friendship between her and Angel, especially the fact that she can see right through a lot of his shit and then has no problem telling him off. He needs friends like that. Cordy and Wesley chaining Angel to the bed: OMG priceless.
Wesley: "Where's you get the police radio?"
Angel: "Police car."
There's that ends justify the means thing again! And the Up With People reference comes from Penn this time. One of the writers of this show was an Uppie. Or didn't get cast and is a bit bitter about that, heh.
And now Kate knows he's a vampire, and she doesn't seem too happy about it. The moment right before she staked him was eerily reminiscent of Buffy putting a sword through him at the end of season 2. I'm sure that was on purpose. How could it not have been?
BtVS: A New Man
[When Giles is turned into a demon, he turns to an unlikely source for help while an unknowing Buffy hunts him down.]
Aw, Giles! It was hard to see him feeling pushed aside and unneeded, though I can totally see why he would feel that way. The people he's closest to are a generation younger than he is, and in a sense, he's really quite alone. It was fun to see him drunk, though. The chemistry between him and Ethan is a lot of fun. And LOL on Ethan being so bad at being a bad guy. His monologuing just gets in the way. It was really sweet that Buffy knew the demon was Giles by his eyes alone at the end. And then he chastised her choice of boyfriend, which is such a fatherly thing to do. Hee!
The Buffy/Riley relationship is really interesting. I like him, and I really like the fact that he's dealing well with finding out just who Buffy is and what she can do. She's stronger than him and has so much more experience, and though he seems intimidated, he's not running the other way. I loved the bit where he was proud of having killed or captured 17 demons. *snort* I was disappointed we didn't get to hear Buffy's number, but it's almost better that way. Oh, and Riley seems to have become a regular. Interesting!
I'm curious to see where this whole Initiative plot is going. They seem to be presenting it as technology is bad and hurting the natural balance of things, which I think is really interesting. And ooh, what's 314? I have a feeling Buffy is not going to fit in with the commando guys very much, nor will she (nor her friends) approve of what they're doing.
Spike and Giles were hilarious! Spike understanding the demon language Giles spoke was funny, as was his sneezing at an offer of $100, but oooh, $200 seemed like a great deal. There was so much funny dialogue between the two of them that I could quote the entire scene. "I'm just supposed to help you out of the evilness of my heart?" And Spike was measuring crypts, looking for a place to live! Oh, man that was funny. Those are the little details that I love about this show, these small things that just make the whole universe so fun and vibrant.
[Cordelia wakes from a disturbing dream to find herself pregnant with something unnatural.]
For about a minute, I thought there might be some mpreg. That would have been funny. The beginning of this episode completely freaked me out. What was the point of repeating that scene from The Bachelor Party verbatim? I liked the gay line, though. Mmmm, Angel/Wesley... so many new pairings to explore!
And aw, poor Cordy and her luck with men. So... was she a virgin? It's never exactly been clear to me that she was in a sexual relationship of any kind before. When she listed "sex is bad" among the things she'd learned at the end, I wondered it again. Though she made the most adorable pregnant woman ever, my god. The scene where she was drinking blood from Angel's fridge was funny, especially Angel's line: "I don't think I ever realized how disgusting that was."
I loved how protective Angel and Wesley were of Cordelia in this episode, like Angel telling the bartender "I'm family" and then kicking lots of ass on her behalf. And then the two of them being so excited to see her come back that they were almost giddy. That little smile on Angel's face at the end completely melted me. Completely. Yum.
Speaking of yum, here's a Wesley/Angel fic set right after this episode.
BtVS: The I in Team
[The gang worries about Buffy's involvement with the Initiative; Walsh sends Buffy on a dangerous mission.]
God, I love this show. So, so much. There's just so much to love, you know? The characters, the stories, the dialogue, the... everything, I swear. After every season I've watched, I've wondered if I could possibly love the next season as much. I've been apprehensive about every new season, and then? I've loved it even more than the last. Same thing is true here. Love it!
Xander: "Magic at the poker table qualifies as cheating."
Anya: "Yes, we've enjoyed spanking."
Willow: "Everyone's gettin' spanked but me."
I loved Buffy kicking the camo guys' collective asses in the beginning. And wow, the Initiative is part of the US military? And Riley is in the army, pulled put of Special Ops? So he's not really a psych grad student, then. Hmmm.
I loved Buffy asking ten million questions, and then insisting she be allowed to slay in whatever she wanted to wear, and then chatting Riley's ear off while they looked for the demon. So, so Buffy!
The sex scene intercut with the battle scene? HOT. OMG so hot. And ew, Walsh watching? :-P
I cannot believe Walsh thought she could get rid of Buffy so easily. I loved Buffy getting right back on the little camera and telling her off, and in front of Riley, no less. Mwahahaha! I was ready to write all about how Walsh was going down, and then her Frankenstein demon killed her. Gee, I was hoping for more of a battle. Well, maybe she's not dead just yet.
And aw, Willow and Tara! How sweet. It's interesting that Willow is hiding Tara from everyone else and acts really freaked out and guilty about it. I wonder how all of that will go. So was it obvious when these episodes first aired that Willow was attracted to Tara, or was that a surprise? Maybe it's the slasher in me, but the chemistry between them seems glaringly obvious.
[Angel helps a princess from another dimension save women in her world from a destructive patriarchal society.]
I wondered which episode had the dancing in it! Hee! That was tremendous fun, and there was even more of it in the credits, to my delight. And you know, Dennis the ghost is really growing on me. He's rather sweet.
Question, to add to the pile topped by where Angel gets his money from: How does Cordelia get addresses out of her visions?
Oooh, Bai Ling, women being persecuted, mucho sexual tension... As we say in Texas, yeeha! Angel taking a cold shower after the princess encounter was absolutely priceless. I really like seeing him flustered. It's interesting that he gets put into so many situations on this show that get him flustered. I love the fact that for all of his strength and knowledge and power and general bad-assness, he's sort of sweet and vulnerable and a wee bit vain. That was apparent on Buffy, but so much more developed here, and I LOVE IT.
I also love how much he can be like Buffy: impulsive, acting on instinct at times and not thinking things through, living in the moment more than is probably wise, but having it work out anyway. "Here's the plan: We go in. I start hitting people hard in the face. We'll see where that takes us."
Wesley is such an interesting character on this show. He's just as inept and dorky as he was on Buffy, but on this show it manages to be endearing rather than annoying. And dude I need me some Angel/Wesley porn stat.
BtVS: Goodbye Iowa
[Buffy discovers the Initiative's secret weapon; Riley becomes disoriented and paranoid after the death of his mentor.]
This was a seriously plot-forward episode. Walsh is really dead (which seems a bit of a cop-out to me, but hey); Riley's vitamins proved to be something more than they seemed (wondered why they highlighted his having to take them); Riley himself seems to be more than he seemed; and the Frankenstein demon would appear to be the big bad for a while. And with the voice of the computer from 2001? *shudder*
Oh, Riley. Poor Riley, so lost and freaked out and fevered and curled into a fetal position on the bed, and geez, Buffy, could you have worse luck with men? Still, I like him, and I hope she can help him.
This episode was so serious, but there were still lovely little moments of levity, like the gang hanging out in Xander's basement, Anya being super-possessive of Xander, Buffy's lack of ability to suspend her disbelief at cartoons ("That would never happen!"); Buffy taking charge while wearing her yummy sushi pajamas. And poor Spike! He didn't get a break this episode. Even his TV bought it. Xander, upon seeing the Initiative's facility: "Can I have sex with Riley too?" Hee! It was nice to see Willy the bartender again. I'm glad he's still around. Buffy's pretty hot when she's pissed off, I have to say.
I'm wondering what's going on with Tara too. The only reason I can think of that she would have screwed up that spell is if she is a demon herself and has something to hide. Hmmm.
A:tS: I've Got You Under My Skin
[Angel and Wesley acts as exorcists to save a child, from a 10,000-year-old demon.]
Aw, Angel misses Doyle. *sniff* I love the fact that those two were so close. It only makes me sadder that he's gone. It was funny that Cordy couldn't cook, and that her family brownie recipe came from the housekeeper. I saw the house number in her vision that time, so I guess that answers the question I had earlier about where she gets these addresses from. It's still funny, though, that the show makes LA look about the size of Sunnydale. As if you could really drive the distances they drive in the time that's implied? Or better, that Angel could go on foot through the sewers to get from LA to Irvine? Puh-leeze.
The possession storyline was interesting here, especially because in the end it was the demon who was trapped in an evil human, and not the other way around. The "What soul?" line was chilling. That really hits on a theme in both Angel and Buffy -- that the bad guys aren't always bad and the good guys aren't always good. The world is a much more complicated place than that.
It was interesting that the nun took one look at Angel and saw right through him, and wasn't afraid. It was also interesting that Angel was the one who did the exorcism in the end. I thought Wesley would manage to find the strength, and I was a little disappointed that he didn't. What was that stuff about being locked in a closet under the stairs? Seemed like a bit of an HP reference.
I had to laugh when the dad criticized the roast and Angel said, "It was good. It was full of roasty goodness", and then looked a bit taken aback that such Buffyspeak had come out of his mouth.
BtVS: This Year's Girl
[Faith wakes up from her coma and goes after Buffy, seeking revenge and armed with a mysterious gift left behind by the Mayor.]
The Faith dream at the beginning was weird. Was the little sister remark a reference to Dawn? And WTF is up with Xander's wardrobe? No man in his right mind, gay or straight, would wear that horrible sweater vest.
This episode seemed oddly placed, almost as if the writers were all, "Hey, we have one more plotline to work in and we've forgotten about it until just now!" So there's a monster demon on the loose that they really need to take care of before it dissects anyone else, but then Faith pops up and whoa, gotta deal with this one? What the hell?
Anyway, yes, more Faith, and she's as evil as ever. And the mayor has left her with some kind of super weapon that she uses on Buffy to apparently switch bodies. Oh, but she conveniently destroys the weapon afterwards so it can't be reversed. I'm guessing the helicopter guys are somehow associated with the Council and have come to take care of Faith once and for all -- except that it will really be Buffy, oh noes. In the meantime, Faith will live Buffy's life and alienate all of her friends, fuck Riley, etc., until at some point the real Buffy gets free and kicks her ass. There will be some magic (by Willow maybe?) to switch them back, and Faith will either be dead for good or will be incapacitated in some way that will allow her to come back at some point. Spike was conveniently given a description of Faith in a scene that served no purpose whatsoever, so he'll probably play a part in all of this.
Well, that's my guess, anyway. I'm really hoping that the story isn't as predictable as that, because if it is, I'll be disappointed.
Ah, who am I kidding? I'll love it anyway.
[Uncovering Kate's father's involvement in a demonic criminal plot, causes Angel to ponder this relationship with his own father.]
Flashbacks! I've been waiting to see more flashbacks, and here they are! It was interesting that the girl who played Angel's sister has the exact same eyes that David does. And yay, more Darla! It's interesting that she almost seemed a throwaway character on the first season of Buffy. When Angel staked her then, there was no sense that it really meant anything. That's something that's quite interesting about these shows for me -- it's clear that there are lots of layers, and that the experience of watching an episode the second time is quite different from watching it the first time.
And it was seriously cool to see Angel climbing out of his grave and dealing with being a vampire for the first time. Though why were they breathing? Eh, vampire canon is so confusing. I thought Darla's comments to him about how who they were as humans shapes who they will be as vampires were quite interesting. I've always wondered what led Angelus to be such a nasty vampire. And the implication that he took the name from his sister is quite interesting. I hope to see more of those!
Ah, Kate. I thought it was interesting that Angel has serious daddy issues, and that he was really projecting those onto Kate. I like Kate, and I'd really like to see something more between her and Angel, to the extent that it's possible. The show is certainly hinting at it left and right. I loved this line of Angel's about Kate: "Ever since she ran me through with a two by four, it's been weird." And all of the references to Angel being gay crack me up.
The bad lawyers are all vampires, ooh! I didn't see that one coming, though I should have. And aw, they killed Kate's dad. That was interesting, that Angel couldn't go in until he died because of the inviting thing.
Where did Angel get all those weapons and books, anyway? He's got a stock of supplies that would make Giles proud. You'd think all those books about demons would be quite rare. Well, I guess you can get just about anything in LA.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Episodes 9-15: [BtVS] Something Blue, Hush, Doomed, A New Man, The I in Team, Goodbye Iowa, and This Year's Girl .
[AtS] Hero, Parting Gifts, Somnambulist, Expecting, She, I've Got You Under My Skin, and Prodigal.
[AtS] Hero, Parting Gifts, Somnambulist, Expecting, She, I've Got You Under My Skin, and Prodigal.