Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Buff-gel Wednesday: Special Edition

27 November 2007

Because the spell-checker doesn't accept "Xander" as a real word, I found I used it thirty-four times in the last entry. Also in my last entry, I used the word "Gunn" seventeen times (spell-checker doesn't think that's a word either). This trivia is vitally important, isn't it, kids?

In order to help this station become operational as planned, tyranist is here with the first of his "Buffy" blog contributions. It was only after he completed his assignment that he let me know there would be no Buffy Wednesday this week, and no reason for me to get behind schedule. Hmmm.

So Rish talked me into guest blogging an episode of Buffy for him, something about if I didn't force him to watch so many at once . . . Anyway, I get to do "Out of My Mind." Not the best episode, but that probably has a lot to do with my problems with Marc Blucas, er, I mean Riley.

So Buffy is slaying vampires and Riley is showing up to help her even when she hasn't asked for it. Spike is still trying to interfere, but is discovering that he loves Buffy, which he and I think is totally wrong. Harmony, having been handily defeated two episodes ago in "Real Me" is deathly afraid of Buffy and thinks she's being hunted. Not true, because Buffy doesn't even see her as a threat, but there you go.

Dawn makes herself useful in this episode by being present when Joyce collapses
(right before her episode, she looked at Dawn and seemed not to recognise her, finally mirroring every single "Buffy" viewer across the country. It's unclear what caused her to pass out, or if it was the knowledge that Dawn shouldn't be there that did it. --Rish) and by finding out that Riley's heart is beating much faster than it should. Apparently all the drugs the Initiative had Riley on are starting to kill him by pumping adrenalin into his system constantly.

Riley likes it because it makes him strong, Buffy hates it because it will kill Riley, I like it because it will kill Riley.

In swoops the organization that was formerly the Initiative but is now just an anonymous government entity to help Riley out. He refuses and beats them up. Buffy decides it's for the best though and sends Spike to find Riley in the old Initiative caves. Predictably, he goes after the doctor instead and intimidates him into taking the chip out of his head. Buffy heads to the caves (even though she sent Spike there and is seemingly oblivious to the fact that Spike didn't show up at all to help her like he said he would), finds Riley, and convinces him that she'll love him forevah, even if he turns into a girly man because he won't have so much adrenalin running through him.

Subsequently, there's a fight, Spike doesn't get the chip removed, Riley is saved by the doctor (even though the doctor said it was too late to save him at least twice in the episode), Buffy is happy again, and Spike has this mad dream in which he and Buffy snog.

Not my favourite episode and we're only four into the fifth season. Mostly I disliked it because it dealt with Buffy's two love interests: Riley and Spike, more than it dealt with the normal monsters and villains. I've never really liked the Buffy love interest episodes though, so this shouldn't surprise anyone. Except maybe Rish who inexplicably prefers them to good episodes.

Also, and it is unfortunate that I know this, there is a ton of setup for future stories in this episode. So many that the episode is probably more meaningful down the road when all of those storylines come to fruition. All I can hope is that the next episode gives us a little more of what I love.

Thanks, tyranist. He's right, I like "Buffy" relationship episodes just fine. Something about living vicariously through Joss's characters or something. I also a) can't wait for Spike to get that damn chip out of his head, and b) can't wait for Spike to proclaim his love for her, just to see what will happen.

At the end of the show, Buffy finds Spike in his crypt and is going to kill him for his treachery. He dares her to do it, to put him out of his misery (living in a world where he can't kill and where she foils his every plan). And then, he kisses her. Spike tells Buffy he loves her, and then Spike awakens, particularly horrified by this "nightmare." It had to have been the best part of this episode.

I was worried that tyranist would use his blog opportunity to make me look like an idiot, but then he reminded me that the best way to make me look like an idiot would be to let me open my mouth. So, here I am, to sum up "Untouched," the last "Angel" episode we watched. This one was written by Mere Smith, her first episode. But apparently far from her last.

Evil lawyeress Lilah Miller chats with Darla over at Wolfram & Hart. It seems that Angel has been drugged (presumably a mystical drug) into sleeping all the time and allowing Darla nocturnal access to him. It seems unlikely, at this point, that anyone outside our core group know about Angel's "pure happiness=no soul" trick, which is good.

Back at Angel Investigations, Cordelia gets a vision of a red-haired girl being chased by a couple of sleazy dudes. Just as they are about to reach her, she uses her mind to slam an iron dumpster into them, turning them into Knott's strawberry jam. Angel arrives at the scene and finds the girl hiding in (yet another) abandoned building. He tries to calm her and explain that he means her no harm, but she freaks and "Carrie White"s a pipe into his chest. When she sees he's still alive and he offers her his card, the girl flees.

Turns out that she is staying in the apartment of evil lawyer Lilah, who recruited the girl to maybe become an assassin for the lawfirm. The girl's name is Bethany, which is not an unusual name, but I can't honestly remember ever knowing a Bethany.* Bethany has little control over her powers, and lashes out when she becomes tense or afraid. She has a bad dream, causing a lamp to fly at Lilah. Embarrassed/distraught/afraid/mortified, she runs out and goes to Angel Investigations to ask for help.

She has a lot of issues and quite a nasty attitude, and something in her words tells Wesley that she was sexually abused, probably by her father. When he confronts her with this possibility, her powers strike out again, flinging him (and Angel) across the room. Angel tells Wesley to leave, and he assumes that means he is fired. Turns out that Angel just wants him to leave, as Bethany is really hostile toward him right now. I was impressed by this.

Angel offers to help her control her abilities, showing her how to focus on an object by standing on her hands and levitating R2-D2. In return, Bethany offers to be his bedmate. He declines, upset about her mental state. Elsewhere, Gunn has been sent to check out the dudes who Bethany flattened in the alley earlier (he's now an official employee of Angel Investigations). He learns that they were on someone's payroll . . . a certain slightly-eviler-than-the-rest lawfirm that wanted her to use her power to kill.

Cordelia tries to befriend Bethany, but the Wolfram & Hart guys interrupt that by first trying to kidnap her, and then by sending her father to Angel's hotel to confront her. At seeing him (I believe he was also Katie Holmes's father on "Dawson's Creek"), she does lose control, shattering all Angel's windows and flinging him out of them. At the last moment, though, she mentally catches her father and does not kill him. 'Twould seem that Angel got through to her after all.

Angel accompanies Bethany to Lilah's place, where she gets her stuff to move out, but Angel can't enter due to not being invited. He smirks and tells Lilah that she'll have to find somebody else's mind to screw around with. She smirks right back, since, after all, she does. The end.

Another solid "Angel" episode, directed, I believe, by Mr. Whedon himself. Is that right? Hmm. I liked this one because both Bethany and Lilah are sort of grey-area characters. Neither one is evil--well, except for the lawyer aspect--but both have obstacles that keep them from being entirely good. I've met very few people in my life I'd characterise as evil, and only one person entirely, 100% good**. But hey, I've only met eleven people ever, so I'm not the best example.

Rish "Social Butterfly" Outfield

*Even odder, I DID know a girl named Bethel once.

**That would've been Shad Tobler, a real prince of a guy. I'll never forget the last time I saw him: it was midnight and he was digging holes in his backyard. He told me he had a lot of mulch to bury, and when I saw several garbage bags full by his feet, I made up an excuse and went back inside. I always wish I had helped him with his gardening because I found out two days later that his wife had walked out on him, just up and disappeared without a word to anyone. He really could've used a friend, I'll bet.

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