Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Buffy/Angel Wednesday (18 July 2007)

Alright. We saw two "Buffy"s and an "Angel" on this Buffy Wednesday, and that might be it for a while. Next week, I'm going to San Diego to once again represent the Horror Film Compendium at Comic-Con. Looks like I'm going to be able to do a couple of interviews there, and I'm halfway excited, halfway terrified of the prospect.

The first ep was called "Living Conditions," and in it, Buffy has just about had it with Kathy, her squeaky control freak roommate. I've had some interesting roommates, but Kathy is sort of a combination of the worst traits of all of them, even going as far as to wear Buffy's clothes, interrupt Buffy's patrolling, hanging out with Buffy's friends, and worse . . . flossing.

Now, tyranist was wanting Kathy dead almost from the beginning (perhaps before the beginning), but I was thinking, "No, I like this dynamic. This character could be just what the show needs now that Cordelia is off walking the streets of L.A." But yes, by the middle of that same episode, I too wanted Kathy dead.

Buffy goes over to Giles's to hang out with him, and he points out that she's never shown any interest in him before this episode. She's been having a creepy recurring dream where some demons are sort of molesting her, but people focus on this rather than her problems with Kathy.

Buffy also meets this studly suave college guy named Parker, and it looks like they may be hitting it off (if Kathy doesn't steal him away and/or ruin it for her before then).

Each of the roommates gets more and more on each other's nerves, and Buffy starts to convince herself that Kathy is not only obnoxious . . . but evil. I laughed when she played the same awful Cher song over and over again (can you believe tyranist actually liked that song back in the day?*), and shrieked with laughter when she started putting her name on everything that was hers-and-not-Buffy's, including each individual egg in the refrigerator.

Because Willow has to study, Oz goes on patrol with Buffy, and sees that she's getting a bit violent and shrill now. Buffy has decided that Kathy is a demon (based on her toenails) and decides she has to kill her.

Our gang discusses it and comes to the conclusion that Buffy has become possessed by her dreams and they catch her and tie her up. Buffy escapes and goes back to her dorm to confront Kathy.

They fight.

Turns out, egg on my face, that Kathy IS a demon, and Buffy had something of a point all along. She's on the run from her kind, in human form, so she could go to college, and as her kind don't have souls, she's been stealing some of Buffy's soul at night to confuse the demons looking for her.

Giles realises this as well, and casts a spell that returns Buffy's soul to her. Just in time, you see, 'cause Kathy's demon family arrive and take her back to her dimension. College life is fun.

And this was a fun episode. I usually mention when Marti Noxon writes one . . . but I won't do that this time.

We got, in the next two episodes, our first-ever crossover with "Angel." The "BTVS" episode was called "Harsh Light of Day" and the "Angel" was called "In The Dark." I don't know if that means something, but tyranist would beat me if I didn't bring it up.

"The Harsh Light of Day" we actually started watching before "Living Conditions." For some reason, they changed the listing order of the episodes on the DVD in season 4, and it caused confusion. Damn you, Fox Home Video.

So, now Buffy and Willow are roommates . . . as they bloody well should've been all along. Buffy and dreamboat Parker are really hitting it off, and he confides in her about the loss of his father, showing that he's a sensitive sweetheart.

Willow runs into Harmony, who I thought had died at their high school graduation, and yeah, well, she's a vampire. She bites Willow, but is chased off by Oz and I was freaking out until I remembered that vampire bites aren't a big deal on "BTVS."

Poor Xander is still living with his parents and working for Giles. Just when it can't get any worse . . . Anya shows up, wanting closure on their non-existent relationship.

And she's not the only recurring character who turns up; Spike is in Sunnydale, looking for the vampire equivalent of the holy grail . . . the Gem of Alupach.** It gives vampires the power to hang out in the sunlight, like they do every episode of "Angel," and be impervious to stakes and crosses and vampire AIDS. Even worse, he is sleeping with Harmony, who is more annoying than Buffy's roommate Kathy, Robot Ted, Principal Snyder, and Emo Phillips combined. Not sure what he sees in her, but then if you couldn't tell, I'm not a fan.

Romance is in the air, as there's an interesting montage where Spike and Harmony, Anya and Xander, and Buffy and studly Parker all have sex. And I guess that's good, right?

The morning after, Anya is all business, seeming completely over Xander and yet, he remarks, she's still more romantic than Faith was. Parker is all sweet with Buffy, telling her he'll call her later, and understandably,the Buffster is in a good mood. Giles tells her about the Gem of Amarra, and we see that Spike has managed to find it (it's a ring) and put it on.

He goes out in the daylight to confront the Slayer. But Buffy has issues of her own: Parker never called, and when she went to see him, he is putting the exact same moves on a new girl that landed Buffy in bed with him before. Boy, Buffy and sexual intercourse go together like . . . well, the opposite of peas and carrots, I guess.***

Spike shows up--right in the light of day and in front of . . . well, absolutely no one for some reason--and they fight, but he makes the mistake of taunting her about her relationships, and well, she reaches back like a pimp and she slaps the ho . . . oh, and slips the ring off his finger, causing him to flee to the sewers.

Wow, Spike is truly ineffectual in this episode, belittled by everyone around him, and yet I still like him a hundred times better than Angel.

And speaking of whom, Buffy decides to send the Gem of Amarra to Angel in Los Angeles, where Oz's band is playing in a couple of days. The end.

This was an interesting episode. Once again, Buffy meets a guy who is Prince Charming up until he gets her into bed, and then he becomes Prince Humperdinck. That really should bother me, because I've been hearing that men are pigs and should be turned into sausages nearly all my life (I think it first started when I found out--through song--what little boys are made of as opposed to what little girls are made of), but I just like this show and its characters so much that I refuse to be bothered.

Speaking of which, I gotta say, Anya was awesome in this show.

Wait, I'll take it a step further. Anya has been awesome in every single show she's appeared in. I may actually be in love with Anya.

And from love to hate, I think we're supposed to feel sorry for Harmony, but that just ain't gonna happen as far as I'm concerned. Hitler I can feel a little sympathetic toward, but not Harmony.

Next was the "Angel" show "In The Dark." In it, Spike comes to L.A., knowing that the Gem of Amarra is on its way there too. I delighted to his mockery of Angel in the first scene, but I find his character to be generally delightful.

Cordelia is some kind of receptionist/bookkeeper for Angel Investigations, and she bemoans the fact that Angel refuses to charge for his services. She and Doyle try and convince him of the error of his ways, when Oz arrives with the Gem of Amarra ring. Angel doesn't put it on, but instead hides it in the passage in the sewers under his building.

Spike confronts Angel in a parking garage, spacking him with a 2x4 before Angel begins dusting car windshields with his body. Spike retreats, but Angel tells Doyle to hide Cordelia at his apartment.

Spike later manages to capture Angel and takes him to a warehouse where he's got a great new friend, a balding, eyeglass-wearing vampire torturer with a fondness for children (whatever you interpret that as). This dude's name is Marcus, and he's quite the villain, sticking hot pokers in Angel and pulling them out, all the while asking Angel what he truly wants. Angel ain't talking, but I'd guess it's a show that goes five seasons.

Meanwhile, Cordelia and Dusty or Dustin or Donovan . . . what's his name? Oh yeah, Doyle, go looking for the ring themselves ("It is precious to him") and Doyle finds it. They plan on trading it to Spike for Angel's life, who is still being tortured. I think, in the end, he tells Marcus that what he truly wants is forgiveness, and that's cool, I suppose.

They try to do a trade-off, but it doesn't exactly work, and Torturer Marcus gets the Gem of Amarra. Unaffected by daylight, he goes to the beach to snatch himself some children, and our heroes track him down, shooting him with a crossbow, hitting him with a van, knocking him into the water, beating, and ultimately impaling him. When the ring is pulled from his finger, well, he doesn't stay invulnerable, and turns to dust. Angel puts the ring on and is safely able to walk around on the boardwalk, looking only slightly paler than Oz, who could be an extra in a Romero zombie pic.

Angel decides not to keep the ring, convincing himself (but not really me) that he's the guardian of the night and can do more good for more people that way. In the end, he destroys the Gem of Amarra, after enjoying his first sunset in a couple hundred years.

Well, both tyranist and I really enjoyed the "Angel" episode, though I have to admit that it was the Spike character I reacted to rather than the "Angel"-centric cast. Having four "Buffy" regulars made it feel more like a "Buffy" episode, perhaps.

And that brings me to the end of my blog. Man, these are getting unwieldy. I try to keep the recaps short, since there are more detailed and better ones out there floating around, but hey, when I get passionate about something, I tend to ramble.

And cry a lot more than I dare admit.

Rish Outfield

*And just between you and me, I think he still likes it.

**Okay, it's really the Gem of Amarra. I just couldn't remember it, so I spelled "chalupa" backward.

***Do vegetables have opposites? Fruits, maybe?

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