Friday, February 08, 2008

Buffy Wednesday (7 February)

Because of last week's heavy load of "Angel" and "Buffy," I was actually willing to let this week go without one. We watched a couple of episodes of "Veronica Mars," something called "Top Gear" that tyranist is quite fond of, and a "Sarah Connor Chronicles" (which turned out to be the best episode yet, right when I was kind of thinking I'd stop watching it).

But I'm not driving, so we saw one episode of each.

The first was an "Angel" called "Dead End," written by show runner David Greenwalt. It focused a lot on prettyboylawyer Lindsay McDonald* and his struggles at the lawfirm and being one-handed (apparently, he used to play the guitar just like ringing a bell). There's a meeting coming up to determine whether he or evillawyerchick Lilah Miller will be promoted or "let go."

In something of a hint at the outcome, their new boss tells Lindsay to go to a clinic (which, unless I got my L.A. geography wrong, is the same building attached to Sony Studios they claim is the Wolfram & Hart building). At the clinic, surgeons have procured Lindsay a new right hand, which they attach, and have a demon-type come in and make seamless.

Lilah Miller isn't happy about Lindsay's special treatment from the firm, since it doesn't bode well for her. And also not boding well . . . the fact that Lindsay's hand writes "KILL" about eighty times on his notepad. If you've ever seen a bad horror movie, you recognise that the hand is evil.

Cordelia, meanwhile, gets a really lengthy vision about a suburban father who pats his kids on the head and then jabs a kitchen knife through his own eye. It was really quite disturbing; even more so than the jarring flashcuts they used to do every single episode of this show. Cordelia becomes a lot more upset about this vision than we've seen her before, and its aftereffects linger throughout the episode.

Angel's team tries to find out about the self-stabbing man, but come up with nothing. They go to Caritas, the karaoke bar, to ask Lorne for help, and are surprised to find Lindsay McDonald playing the guitar and singing there. Everyone but Angel gets boners, and Lorne tells him he and Lindsay will need to work together to find the answers he seeks.

Eventually, they do work together. It turns out that the hand and the eye the dude in Cordie's vision poked out came from the same source: a Wolfram & Hart organ farm under a travel agency, where a bunch of unfortunate former W&H employees are kept in stasis, sans arms, eyes, kidneys, legs, and schlongs. Lindsay and Angel get the most intact "donors" out before blowing the place up.

The next day, at the big evaluation meeting, Lindsay tells his bosses that Lilah deserves the promotion, as she is so driven and underhanded. Oh, and Lindsay can't be trusted, because he's got an evil hand (I know that I had the chance for a bad pun, what with using "underhanded" in my last sentence, but I'm too depressed to try). He quits the firm, grabs Lilah's ass--evil hand--and heads for the hills. Before he leaves town, he talks to Angel, putting his bad feelings behind him. Angel, showing his three hundred years of maturity, sticks a sign on the back of Lindsay's truck, daring cops to pull him over. The end.

Now, I don't honestly know if this is Lindsay's last episode or not, but they sure made it look that way. It's too bad, as I've learned to like the guy quite a bit, and he's one of those grey area characters like Faith and Principal Snyder who are neither good nor evil. I like that.

Then we watched on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." We're still one show off from how we should be watching it, but try telling a genius he's pronouncing "mature" wrong.

This one was called "Tough Love" and it was written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner, who always makes me say, "Who?" every time her name shows up. This is the third episode she's written, though, so I am just forgetful. I promise not to say "Who" the next time I see her name.

The episode begins with Buffy dropping out of her college classes so she can take care of Dawn. She's talking to a teacher we've never seen before (at first I thought it was that shankroid who was so mean to her earlier in the season, but he was humane and decent, so I was wrong), and she seems sad to be dropping his poetry class. Would've been nice if we'd known Buffy had a liking for poetry, or had any classes she didn't hate, but ah well.

Buffy then goes to Dawn's school, where she meets with the principal about Dawn's excessive absences. The principal asks Dawn to leave the room, so she can talk to Buffy about something. Whatever it is, it weighs heavy on the Slayer as she and her sister leave. Buffy asks Giles for advice and tries hard to make Dawn study, to make her obey her, to make her toe the line, but Dawn isn't too cooperative.**

Meanwhile, Glory the Blond Beast is bathing and lounging around her minions, quizzing them about the Key. She knows it's someone close to Buffy, but has to be someone new in her life, but who? She sends her minions out to find out the answer. I've often asked tyranist (and my invisible playmates) what the deal is between Glory and Ben, and how it's possible Ben can hold down a twelve-hour shift hospital job when he's Glory (I'm guessing) half the time. Well, a bit of this is answered when Ben is fired from his hospital job for not showing up for two weeks. He seems genuinely surprised he hasn't been there in that long, so I guess he's not aware of when he's not peeing standing up.

Is anyone?

Willow and Tara, in their shared dorm, have a conversation about Buffy and Dawn. Willow feels out of the loop, inexperienced, and irrelevant because she's never lost a mother like Buffy and Tara have. Tara tries to reassure her by expressing awe at how good at magic Willow has become. I believe the phrase she uses is, "it frightens me how powerful you're getting," but Willow takes that totally the wrong way. When Tara tries to clarify, Willow takes it that Tara doubts her love for her, or worse, her dedication to sapphic love (and Sparkle Motion). Willow stomps out of the room.

Back at the Summers' house, Dawn complains about Buffy's treatment of her and Buffy reveals what the principal said: if Dawn doesn't shape up and fly right, they'll take her away from her sister and put her in foster care.

Willow goes to talk to Giles about her argument with Tara, feeling worse than ever. He tries to comfort her, but is interrupted by the discovery of one of Glory's minions lurking nearby. He reveals with glee, that Glory knows Tara is The Key and is on her way to get her right now.

Tara and Willow were supposed to go to some silly culture fair, but after their fight, Tara goes alone. She's not enjoying herself, though, and enjoys herself even less when Glory shows up, and crushes her fingers. She tastes Tara's blood, and finds out that she's not the Key either. She demands to know who is, and when Tara refuses to tell her, she sticks her fingers in Tara's head to suck out her sanity.

Willow arrives then, but it's too late. Glory disappears, or slips away, or wasn't ever there to begin with. They take Tara to the hospital, but she's in a near-catatonic state. Tara has to be kept for observation in the psych ward and they won't let Willow stay with her overnight.

Buffy puts Dawn in Spike's care in his underground hangout. Amazingly, he's still horribly injured from last week's torture (but they've already established what a slow healer Spike is). Dawn and Spike have always had an interesting bond. She tells him that what happened to him and what happened to Tara is her fault. She worries that she is bad for all the pain she's caused. He tells her he knows evil and she's not it, and seems to make her feel a lot better.

Willow is furious at what happened to Tara (and probably blames herself, knowing . . . well, human nature), and wants to go after Glory for payback. Buffy tries to dissuade her, reminding her that the Slayer wasn't even a match for her. This seems to calm Willow down, and Buffy leaves it at that.

Later, though, when she tells Spike about it, he finds her really naive for not thinking Willow would go--even knowing it's suicide--to avenge the woman she loves.

Sure enough, Willow has gone to the magic shop, grabbing the forbidden books and objects, and prepares the darkest spells she can get her hands on.

She bursts in on Glory, her eyes completely black and floating in the air (Willow was floating in the air, not just her eyes). Her attempts are pretty good, and she hurts Glory, but each attack seems less effective than the one before, and Glory recovers. Just before Willow is killed, Buffy arrives and fights Glory as hard as she can. Willow is able to make a forcefield around Glory, rooting her in place and providing them an escape.

The next day, Tara is a little more out of her daze, but is still at MEET THE SPARTANS level as far as intellect. In fact, Willow has to spoonfeed her applesauce and the doctors think they might have to restrain her at night. Willow vows to take care of her, even if she never gets better.

Tyranist then pointed out that every other crazy person has looked at Dawn and known the truth about her, but Tara doesn't. I told him that Tara didn't get the full Glory treatment, as she was interrupted by Willow, so she is only MOSTLY crazy. Immediately after, Tara looked at Dawn at talked about the pretty green light. So there's that.

Unfortunately, Glory arrives for a little payback of her own, tearing the wall off the hospital room and wanting to kick Willow's behind. She is delighted, though, to hear what Tara sees when she looks at Dawn, realising that she has finally found her Key. The end.

You know, I wasn't exactly thrilled about this episode either. Like last week's, the cast did things and said things that felt out of character, or at least inorganic, just to service the plot. They also seemed to lose a bit of logic or intelligence if the script called for it. Plus, there was a little bit of Dawson's Creek Syndrome when characters had an argument and one of them misunderstood something, then turned and walked away and the other party didn't go after them to explain.***

But the action was good, and the scenes with Spike and Giles were good as usual. It seems that last season, right before the end, the quality dipped a little bit, and I've been told that that's inevitable when you're nearing the end of the season, but there's still two laps to go. I continue to look forward to each Buffy Wednesday, and I certainly do for next week, when I can find out what happens next. I've got a theory ("It could be bunnies") as to what's going to happen, and it'll be fun to see just how wrong I am.


*Oh crap. I just looked it up and it turns out you spell Lindsay with an "e." Whoops.

**This may be one of the reasons there are so many Dawn haters on the internet. And yeah, a lot of realistic teen behaviour is damned unattractive. For example, I just started watching "Jericho," and the rebellious, self-centered teenage girl on that show makes me want to drop my plasma screen off an overpass. But Dawn seems a little more three-dimensional than that, in addition to having a pretty lovable actress portraying her, I just find it difficult to hate Dawn, even when she's making Buffy unhappy.

***I remember seeing a BBC documentary one time about how, during the early days of soap operas, literary critics called these frustrating interactions "Dawson's Creek Syndrome" without knowing why, only to find out thirty years or so later when that show began to air. It was a fascinating bit of television, believe me.

No comments: