Thursday, August 23, 2007

Buffy Wednesday (22 August 2007)

I've had a lot of time on my hands the last week or two, and I've used it to . . .

Wait, where have those days gone?

I figured I ought to do my best to get caught up on my blogging, so here I am, with the report on yesterday's "Buffy" and "Angel." Tyranist and I only watched one episode apiece, since I've been pressuring him to start watching Horror with me again. He said he hopes we never reach the day when we resent "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" because it takes us away from the things we really want to watch.

I don't see that happening, not if the show stays as good as it is till the end.

Also, this week, Best Buy is having a big sale on all the "Buffy" and "Angel" sets (I don't think it had anything to do with SERENITY coming out as a Collector's Edition, but it was pretty fortuitous that it worked out that way), and tyranist bought the whole collection. I'm kind of low on money right now, so I initially passed on the whole sale, but then I went back yesterday and bought a couple of the boxed sets. What can I say, I am weak.

Two episodes, "Something Blue" and "Hero."

"Something Blue" was our "Buffy" episode, and tyranist and I speculated on what the title referred to. Poor ineffectual Spike is still in Giles's house, still tied up, and is being kept in the bathtub (Buffy feeds him pig's blood from a mug reading "Kiss the Librarian"). He is understandably reluctant to tell them anything about the Initiative, since it's clear they'll have no reason to keep him alive when they've got the information. Willow suggests casting a truth spell on him, and Giles giddily agrees.

Before that can happen, though, Willow discovers that Oz has had all his things shipped to him, never to return to the show--er, the school. She drops into a depressed funk of Rish Outfieldian proportions, tries to drown her sorrows with alcohol, and finally turns to witchcraft, as we all have at one time or another. She casts a spell, asking that her will be granted. I don't know the show that well, I wonder if something might go wrong with it.

In a fatherly move, Giles comes over to see if he can help Willow, but she dismisses him, telling him he doesn't see anything. Not long after, Giles starts to go blind. Spike escapes his clutches, and when Xander tells Willow about this, she "wills" not only that Buffy catches Spike, but that the two of them ought to marry each other.

Well, others may find it shocking, but seeing Spike and Buffy in Nutrasweet love was quite amusing to me. The fact that they've hated each other up to this moment and are now smooching, baby talking, and planning their lives together could've gone on for episodes and I doubt I'd complain.

Oh, and she also tells Xander he's a demon magnet, and when demons start crawling out of the woodwork to get him, he realises that everything Willow said is coming true. The blue-skinned demon that turned our girl Anya into a vengeance demon appears before Willow and makes her the same offer. It reminded me, for some reason, of when the Devil was asked if Hilary Clinton had sold her soul to him, and he responded, "No, but I admire her work."*

Willow sees the error of her ways and turns the demon down. Despite my expectations that he'll destroy her--or at least be angry--he gives her the supernatural equivalent of his card and tells her to call him if she ever changes her mind. Willow understands the damage her wayward spell is causing and casts a counterspell to cancel its effects. Giles can see, the demons leave Xander alone, Han Solo shoots first, and Buffy and Spike find each other icky once again.

Hmmm, in recapping this one, I realise I've left out all the Riley Finn parts and didn't point out that Anya was in this episode. Or that Amy the Rat becomes human for a split-second and then turns back into a rat again. Sorry, it was a funny episode, I'll do better next time.

No, I won't.

"Hero" was the "Angel" episode, and I gotta tell you, most of my problems with this show are already severely-lessened, or totally out the window. Our man Tim Minear wrote this episode, with Howard Gordon, who wrote the BTVS episode, "What's My Line?" which introduced Kendra.

Angel is moping about due to what happened last week, and Cordelia is worried about money as usual. She comes up with a couple TV commercial ideas for Angel Investigations, and actually videotapes Doyle awkwardly giving the agency's pitch. "Come over and you'll see there are still heroes in this world," he reads, but Cordelia thinks he comes across as a weasel.

Doyle talks to Angel about what happened in "I Will Remember You," and proclaims Angel a real, honest-to-Joss Hero. He tells Cordelia what Angel did, and is inspired to be honest with her about his heritage. Before he can reveal that he's half-demon, though, he gets another of his pesky visions . . . this time of a bunch of odd-looking folks in hiding.

Turns out these are a group of docile demons who are being persecuted by an evil cadre of demons called the Scourge. The Scourge are basically Nazis with their skin turned inside out, and Doyle has inside knowledge of them. Some time ago, he was approached by a demon of his own kind (a Brachen demon; I looked it up), on the run from the Scourge, who are pure-blooded demons who hate anything "tainted" by human blood. Fearing for his safety, Doyle turns his "cousin" away, and gets his first vision: the Scourge killing those Brachen demons he refused to help.

Doyle tells Angel this shameful tale, and they offer to help the new group of demons emigrate to Central America, where they'll not only be safe, apparently, but get to take a nap every single afternoon. Cordelia is not thrilled about helping the creatures, but Doyle tries to explain to her that not all demons are bad, and that they ARE half-human, just like Catherine Zeta-Jones is. The refugees have a prophesy among them that a saviour will appear at the end of the century (this show aired in November 1999) to deliver them from the Scourge. Angel calls in a favour to get them on a ship that night which will take them to safety (guess the captain of that ship owed Angel a lot of money**).

Meanwhile, Doyle befriends one of the young demons, and tries to instill in him the belief that there are people worth putting your faith in, heroes, if you will. He gets the chance to prove this to him when the Scourge arrives, and Doyle risks himself to draw them away.

Angel meets up with the Scourge and tells them he wants to join them. They think vampires are the lowest form of half-breeds except for Texans and Puerto Ricans, but when Angel grabs Doyle (a hated Brachen demon) and breaks his neck, they like his moxie. Angel gets to put on a Fourth Reich uniform and attend one of their meetings, where they demonstrate a powerful weapon that disintegrates anything with human blood in the vicinity. We also find out the ship has been betrayed and the Scourge know where they are.

On that ship, Cordelia is with the refugee demons (I almost said "aliens." I wish there was a word that meant demons I could use instead of just "demons"), stalling the captain until Angel and Doyle show up. Upon mention of Doyle, one of the demons tells Cordelia that he understands their situation, being half demon himself.

Doyle, it turns out, is not dead, having a lot more resiliency in his demon form. He arrives with his new friend in tow, and Cordelia slaps him for lying to her. He tells her he was afraid she'd reject him if she knew, and in a moment of brilliance, Cordelia says, "But I already rejected you." Then she mentions that she works for a vampire and appeared in a movie called VOODOO MOON, she doesn't care that he's half-demon, and that he should just ask her out already. Wow, she's just full of surprises (and who knows, maybe VOODOO MOON is alright, too).

Angel arrives at the ship, but the Scourge is right behind. There's a panic, and the Scourge load their doomsday device aboard and turn it on. Angel explains how it works and thinks he can turn it off from atop it, which, unfortunately, will kill him. Doyle thinks it's a good plan, though, and he decks Angel, grabs Cordelia, and plants a big wet kiss on her (passing some odd blue light into her in the process). He turns into his demon self and climbs onto the device, managing to turn it off after it has already burned his flesh off, but before it vaporises him completely.

The Scourge, we can assume, were thwarted, and the refugees get away. Cordelia and Angel go back to the office and she shows him the tape Doyle made where he says, "There are still heroes in this world." The end.

This was another good one, but I felt like there was something missing, something that prevented it from being a great one. I don't know that tyranist felt the same way, but I sort of assumed he did. But you know, I actually like this episode a lot more in retelling it here. Guess it's like a "Saturday Night Live" sketch that way.

I really like the Doyle character. I don't know if he's really dead or not (that's one revelation that hasn't been spoiled for me), and by "dead," I guess I mean that he's off the show, since we've seen plenty of dead characters come back on these two shows. But it's not like this show is overflowing with cast members (funny, there's only ever two people on the cover of the DVD boxed sets, and Doyle ain't one of them), and it seemed Doyle had more to do and more to say than he could in, what, nine episodes, so my guess is, he'll be back. After all, he gave Cordelia his katra, didn't he?

My Irish friend John once told me, "A lot of times I'm tempted to kill myself, but I want to find out what happens next." Funny, we were on a rooftop when he said that. The statement made me laugh, then made me think. I think I can stick around a few days more, to find out what happens next on "Buffy" and "Angel."

You stick around too, okay?

Rish "Still Mr. Brightside" Outfield

*Obviously I didn't actually witness this exchange. But a friend of mine did, and he never ever lies about this sort of thing.

**You know, I can't imagine a vampire not having a lot of cash. You live long enough, and you start obtaining things, start gaining interest on investments, start planning for the future, right? He had that swanky apartment with the big sunny windows in Sunnydale . . . maybe he sold that to buy his building in L.A., and property values being what they are, it wiped out pretty much every cent he had to live there. I know, I've paid seven dollars to go to the mall in Beverly Hills a time or two.

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