Saturday, January 05, 2008

Buffy Wednesday (4 January 2008)

This should be a quick and easy post. I won't even charge you my usual fee.

The last "Angel" we saw was called "Redefinition," and was written by someone named Mere Smith. She wrote the earlier show about the telekinetic abused girl ”Untouched," and went on to write a couple of episodes of "Rome" I just saw.

This aired on the same night as the "Buffy" episode that obviously took place weeks since the one before it, yet this one takes place the same night as the last "Angel." Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn have all been fired, and two of them are seriously bummed out about it.

Cordelia goes home to her ghost, Wesley goes home to Virgina from the "Guise Will Be Guise" episode, and Gunn goes home to, his ho's*, I suppose.

Angel stews in his unpleasant feelings, burning all the drawings he apparently did of Darla. He then starts working out and training, presumably for a long, long time.

Over at Holland Manner's (R.I.P.) house, the cops and paramedics find two survivors. Big surprise, they're Lindsay McDonald and Lilah Morgan. You know, I can understand Darla (and Drusilla, to a lesser extent) letting Lindsay live, since he was their ally and may yet be of some use to them. But now, being the only survivors, they know that one of them will be made the scapegoat for what happened by the mucky-mucks at Wolfram & Hart.

Wondering what to do next, Wesley goes to Caritas, the demon karaoke bar, and runs into Cordelia there. And Gunn too. Yeah, he strikes me as a real karaoke fan (his "Even the Nights Are Better" will bring a tear to your eye). They sing so Lorne can read their destinies.

Lilah goes to Lindsay to convince him to safeguard their lives by blackmailing the firm with whatever dirt he's collected. He sticks his hand in her blouse and pulls out a microphone, having anticipated her treachery (I believe I worked with Lilah's little sister at an office in Culver City).

Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn all end up getting hammered and singing "We Are the Champions" together. Lorne doesn't really give us much to work with, but Cordelia gets a vision and they have to go save a girl from a demon. They do.

Angel goes out to confront Darla & Drusilla (I gotta come up with an unclever combination of their names for the future, something like Darsilla) and finds them recruiting a vampire gang. He retreats but comes back later and kills all the minions, pouring gasoline throughout their factory hangout.

When Darla and Drusilla return, they find Angel there, smoking a cigarette. He tosses it into the gas and the girls go up like Michael Jackson's hair.** I was impressed by that but Darla knocks open a fire hydrant and puts them out.

Still, pretty darn cold-blooded, but still likable, in that Joss Whedon "Firefly" sort of way.

It turns out that Lindsay and Lilah are both promoted, sharing Holland Manners' job. Seems like neither one is the scapegoat. Or maybe Wolfram & Hart wants to set them against each other, to see which one will come out victorious.

Wesley lets Angel know that they are doing what they can to fight the good fight, even without Angel. Angel doesn't say much about that, except that they're welcome to do it. He has a fight of his own. The end.

The episode was quite good, if only for the really dark, really tough Angel. We saw what a positive influence Buffy's friends were on keeping her centered and keeping her human in that great episode "The Wish." I do wonder how human Angel's friends/partners keep him, and if their absence will mean something for him.

Not that I believe for one minute that they'll be separated for long. TV just doesn't work that way.

Does it?

Anyhow, during the week between Christmas and New Year's, tyranist and I had one of our traditional holiday marathons, but instead of stacks of awful horror movies or a half dozen episodes of Joss Whedon TV, we watched "Veronica Mars" instead. I stand by my earlier statement that I should not like the show, but for some reason that's alien to me, I simply do.

But tyranist and I did manage to get one "Buffy" in this week. It was called "Checkpoint," written by Doug Petrie and Jane Espenson (I wonder how that works, when usually solo writers team up on a show).

Giles tells the gang that members of the Watchers Council, including their head stick in the mud, Quentin Travers, will be coming to Sunnydale to tell them what they have learned about Glory, the Blond Beast. Buffy is understandably frustrated that they're coming all the way across the pond, and we do have to wonder what they've ever done that was worth a damn, except maybe pair Giles with Buffy.

Meanwhile, in her hideout, something is wrong with Glory. She seems to be dying. Now she's got two demon servants, and they bring her a postman. She sticks her fingers somehow into his head, and receives nourishment that way. When she's done, she's perfectly fine, and the postman is dazed and seems lost. Whatever happened to her is because she hasn't found the key yet, and she tells them Buffy won't be able to protect it much longer.

We see Buffy in class for the first time since . . . easily last season. But the more things change, the more of a douche Buffy's professors are. This one chooses to single her out and mock her for wondering if Rasputin was indeed impossible to kill, as many believed.

That night, Buffy takes out her frustrations on a vampire in the cemetery, but Spike shows up and stakes the vampire. He thinks he's saved her and she'll be grateful, but if anything, it sours her mood even more.

So, Quentin Travers and a gaggle of snooty English Watchers arrives, interrupting Giles's business at Magic Shop, and announcing that they are in charge now. They have information about Glory, but won't tell it to Buffy (and Giles) until she passes a series of tests, to determine, I suppose, if she is worthy of the their info.

Immediately, this infuriated me. And Buffy herself is not thrilled to hear this, so Travers threatens to deport Giles if she doesn't cooperate with this review of theirs (he might even have added that they'd take all his magic books and have a big bonfire out in the yard, and dance around it like wild injuns, but I could be wrong). The Council commences interviewing Anya, Xander, Willow, Anya, and even Spike about Buffy's behaviour and their relationship to her.

The questions are all slanted so they'll either make the gang members seem useless, or make it sound like Buffy is so incompetant she needs their help.

At this point, or maybe it was earlier, I told tyranist to stop the DVD and railed about how irritating and pointless this crap was.

So, they don't like Buffy or her methods. So, they want her to jump through some rings to determine if she merits finding out what they know. They act as though there's someone else--maybe many someones--who can stop Glory, who has abilities like Buffy does. If there isn't, and not counting Faith, there certainly doesn't seem to be, then wouldn't they want to prepare Buffy as best they could to take this new threat out? Doesn't Glory threaten their existence too?

I told tyranist that if they have such a problem with Buffy, so much doubt in her, they should just pull out a gun and shoot her, then start training up another Slayer.

He told me this wouldn't work, that Faith is the "In every generation..." Slayer now (since Buffy has already died), but it didn't make me any less angry.

They also give Buffy a physical test, where they blindfold her and tell her to protect a dummy from their attacks. Buffy accidentally kills the dummy, and I'll be darned if these smug a-holes aren't pleased with her failure.

Buffy goes home, and finds Glory waiting for her. Glory gives her this little "I'm so tough and you're so weak" speech that I used to hear a lot in gym classes, then leaves, but threatens to kill Buffy's mother and sister if she doesn't give up the location of the key. Buffy is understandably upset by this . . . so upset that she takes Joyce and Dawn to Spike's crypt and puts him in charge of their safekeeping.

It seems to me that that's like taking Tweety Bird away from Sylvester and putting him in the care of Wyle E. Coyote, but I love Spike, so I'm okay with it.

Buffy heads through one of Sunnydale's myriad alleys, and is jumped by a bunch of . . . ninjas? She (nicely) beats them up and interrogates one. He turns out to be a human being, part of some group called The Knights of Byzantium (I wouldn't have bothered looking up the name except that I'm sure they will be important in future episodes, so there you go), who are also seeking the Key. These dudes want to destroy it, though, to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

The bloke tells Buffy that there are hundreds of such knights and they'll surely thwart her 'cause she's, like, a girl and stuff.

Buffy goes back to the magic shop and tells all the Council members to shut up and listen to her. She gives a speech about how she has been treated by them, by Glory, by everyone. They tell her how weak she is, how inept, how careless, how ignorant, how inexperienced, but the truth is, they all need her for something. She has the real power in all this, and the damn test is over. Here, here.

She also points out that though they mock Xander for his "contributions" to the cause, he has clocked more field time than all of them put together. Here, here.

She tells Travers to tell her what they know, give Giles his old Watcher job back (including all the paychecks he should have had all along), and start acting like they're on the same team.

Travers agrees, and the first thing he tells them about Glory is that she's not just another demon. She's a god, in fact. The end.

Another fine episode, even though it made me madder than a long look in a mirror. To be honest, though, I was really struggling with it early on, afraid that we'd reached the first truly lousy episode of Season Five. The first act was just weak. In the end, however, I was happy with the last half, and certainly wanted to go on to the next one, so I suppose they did their jobs.

Tyranist revealed that he had figured out Glory was a god several episodes back, but had been kind enough not to share that with me. I've been a few steps behind, still reeling from the revelation that Alexis Denisof isn't English, but has a wussy little nasal American voice in real life. Shudder.

Somehow we had the strength not to watch another "Buffy" episode, though I can't remember why not right now (I think maybe I had rented a video, so we were obligated to watch it. I think maybe also that that video really sucked. Whoops).

I'll see if I can get to more next time.

Rish Nigel Outfield

*If only Dan Quayle were here to tell me if there's an e in "hoes."

**Sorry about the dated reference (and the equally dated Dan Quayle reference before it), but I didn't get this long white beard by skinny dipping in the fountain of youth.


Edward Ott said...

man i miss those shows.

ryanlb said...

I too miss Buffy.

And you forgot the best part of the episode - when Buffy's putting the Watcher Council in their place and one tries to interrupt her and she throws a sword at him, without looking, and it sticks several inches deep into the wooden column he's leaning against.

I can't believe she missed.