Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mini Buffy Post

December 12th, 2007

This was a very short "Buffy" Wednesday, because we watched the delightful SATAN'S LITTLE HELPER beforehand, and well, I guess that was our only excuse.

"Shadow" was written by David Fury (I just keep seeing the same names over and over, which I think is great), and starts with Joyce going to the hospital for a CAT scan. Buffy tries to comfort Dawn, but is really nervous herself.

At Giles's shop, the gang is doing research on the Blond Beast, and Xander is upset that Riley blew up the vampires without him (somehow he knew he used a grenade too . . . guess that soldier thing still hasn't worn off). You know, I don't think I've ever mentioned that Giles's place of business is called The Magic Box. There was a girl at work, Kenya, whose nickname was that.

Meanwhile, Riley goes to Buffy's house, only to find Spike there, in her bedroom, sniffing one of her blouses. Spike claims that it's normal predator behaviour, and then delights in telling Riley about Buffy's mother, insinuating that Buffy didn't trust Riley with this information. Riley threatens Spike with sunlight, then heads to the hospital.

The Blond Beast has her own hideout, and her own sycophantic demon servant, played by Kevin Weisman from "Alias." Also, we are told that the BB has a name: Glory. Glory wants to cast a spell to locate the Key, and needs magic supplies to do it. She goes to Giles's shop, where the gang is still discussing her. They think she may be something too old to be mentioned in books, and that the Dagon Sphere (did I mention that before?) that Buffy found was supposed to be a talisman to keep her away.

While they are discussing this, Glory comes in and Giles helps her, never suspecting his customer is anything but an ordinary bitch. She leaves and they keep trying to figure her out.

Riley gets to the hospital and Buffy asks him to sit with Dawn while she sees her mother. Joyce tells her the doctors found a shadow on her CT scan, and they're going to operate to see how serious it is. In private, the doctor explains the shadow is a brain tumor and pesters Buffy with questions about power lines and other possible causes. Ben, the handsome nurse/doc/intern/paramedic guy, gets the doctor to leave her alone, and then has some comforting I'm-going-to-be-sleeping-with-this-girl-before-the-end-of-the-season words for her.

Riley is supposed to take Dawn to school, but they go to the park instead (a different park than the one we always see, it seems, since this one has a carousel). Dawn talks about having a birthday party there during Season One, and tells Riley he's a better boyfriend to Buffy than Angel was, since Buffy was always crying when she went out with Angel. With Riley, Buffy never gets that emotional. Riley takes this badly. The guy takes everything badly lately, don't he?

Buffy goes to the Magic Box (hee, hee) and asks Giles/Tara/Willow about casting a spell to heal her mother. They tell her a spell would probably only make things worse, which would infuriate me, and that she should trust the doctors know what they're doing. Over at the cash register, Anya sees the receipt for what Glory bought, and tells them someone, most likely the Blond Beast, is about to cast a (I had to look it up) Transmogrification Spell, where an animal changed into a scary computer-generated servant.

Buffy doesn't want to sit around, and heads to the zoo to see if she can find Glory. It's clear she is outgunned here, but it's understandable that Buffy would want to do something useful and/or fight something, rather than think about
her mother's condition.

Glory gets a cobra out of the reptile house and begins the spell along with her demon lackey (whose name is Dreg). Buffy arrives and interrupts it. While Glory wipes the walls up with Buffy's body, Dreg completes the spell and the cobra is transformed into a cobraman and takes off in search of the Key.

Riley drops Dawn off at the magic shop (at least I think he did) and Xander gives him a hard time about the night before, wondering if he has some kind of death wish. Riley hits the only bar in Sunnydale and while he's drinking, the same hot vampire chick from before comes onto him again. This time, he gives in, and lets her bite him in the back alley. Tyranist and I discussed this, guessing that he's doing it so he can superhuman strength and be more on Buffy's level (or also because Spike insinuated that Buffy likes her dudes with pointier teeth and no tans), but trying to remind the television that, according to Joss Whedon lore, when you become a vampire, a demon enters into you, and you're no longer the person you were before.*

Regardless of his motivations, Riley seems to have a change of heart, as he stakes the vampire chick midway through their embrace.

The cobraman is a fairly convincing animatronic most of the time, and a somewhat-convincing CGI creation the rest of the time. It tears through town, bursting into the magic shop and goes toward Dawn. She screams and it immediately turns tail and heads out into the night. Giles gets in his car and tries to catch the cobraman. He picks up Buffy and they manage to grab it just meters away from Glory's building.

Buffy, filled with understandable rage, beats the living shite out of the cobraman, pounding him with all her frustration and recent angst. To call it dead is an understatement.

Back at the hospital, Joyce tells Dawn about her brain tumor. Riley tries to comfort Buffy (yet again), but she doesn't want any. She's afraid that once she starts crying, she won't be able to stop, so she's going to stay strong. She leaves Riley standing there, thoroughly emasculated, and goes to her mother's side. The end.

I wish I didn't know where this Joyce subplot was going, but that's one of those elements of the show (such as the musical episode, Willow's lesbianism, and the network switch) that was simply a matter of public knowledge when it happened, whether you were a fan of the show or not.

It's nice that I hate Glory the Blond Beast and want her to die. I feel bad for Riley, but this all has been done well enough to not make Buffy look cold or blind or unsympathetic. If there's a major drop in quality now that there's two shows instead of just one, I haven't seen it. Maybe when there are three shows Joss is juggling?

Rish Outfield

*They may well have abandoned this aspect of the mythos, though. If you look at Harmony or post-vampire Darla, the demon thing doesn't appear to apply.

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