Thursday, March 13, 2008

Angel/Buffy Wednesday (12 March 2008)

Wow, we really did what we could to make up for lost time. Tyranist and I watched a pair of "Angel"s and a trio of "Buffy"s, and I was actually disappointed we didn't get in a fourth one.

And speaking of lost time, I have no idea how I can recap these episodes in the time I have free this week. I'll give it the ole community college try, and we'll see how far I get.

I insisted we watch "Angel" first this time, because it seems that show started broadcasting more than a week before "Buffy" returned. I believe it also moved to Mondays, whereas "Buffy" stayed on Tuesdays, though I could be wrong.

So, first off is "Heartthrob," written and directed by David Greenwalt.

Angel has gone off to Tibet or India or someplace to be alone in his grief. And beat up a bunch of demonic monk ninjas. Me, I'd have probably hit the bottle for those three months, but then Angel has a soul.

Fred has been living at the hotel and has apparently not come out of her room. Gunn, Wesley, and Cordelia have been running Angel Investigations in Angel's absence. When he comes back, he seems to have made peace with losing Buffy, and has brought them all souvenirs.

Angel goes up to see Fred, and finds that she's written numbers and formulas all over her walls, like she had in the cave back in Pylea. She still seems pretty loopy, but it's a cute, harmless crazy, not at all like River Tam or your own mother-in-law. She is now in the opening titles as a regular (or rather, Amy Acker is, though ain't they the same thing?).

Cordelia has a powerful, excruciating vision, and we find out that they've been increasing in potency of late. This vision is of a bunch of vampires who, big surprise, are up to no good. The vampires have caught a couple of young people and their leader, a cold blond chick, is making the human male do ye olde sadistic choice between the life of the girl he professes to love, and his own life. This was actually kind of an interesting plot point, and I really thought it was going to go somewhere, but as soon as he picks his life over his girlfriend's, Angel shows up and stakes her. Before she becomes dust, she gasps in recognition and says, "Angelus?"

Turns out her name was Elizabeth, and she used to hang out with Angel and Darla back in his flashback days. We see them hanging out in France in the eighteenth century. She has a lover named James, who is poetic and romantic, stealing her a locket to profess his love, while Angelus and Darla are more self-centered and deviant.

This event happened sometime after the last flashback (in late season two), which showed Angelus and Darla on the run from a famous vampire hunter named Holtz who had trapped them in a barn, only to lose one of them as Darla abandoned Angelus to save her own (admittedly shapely) arse. We still don't know how Angelus got out of that one, but I'd bet your right nut it will be revealed in the near-future.*

Back in 2001, we see James, still alive and still in love with Elizabeth, furious at what has happened. He has a contact who is a doctor and demands that the doc give him "the cure," despite warnings about inevitable consequences. Revenge is just too important.

James goes to Angel Investigations, and attacks Angel. Cordelia distracts James long enough for Angel to stake him . . . but nothing happens. My guess was that he had his heart removed, and then I wondered why vampires don't always wear something--like sheet metal or kevlar--over their heart at all times, but I guess you could just behead them then. Angel grabs Cordelia and makes a run for it into the sewers.** He tries to trick James into following a bum trail, and they make their way to the subway.

I forgot to mention that Wesley and Gunn were trying to find out what James was up to, but let me just simplify things by saying that James had some kind of procedure done that makes him temporarily invincible, but only for six ______. Angel doesn't hear whether it's minutes or hours or days.

On the subway, James tracks them down, and they fight again. James thinks that Angel could never understand how he feels about losing Elizabeth, but Angel stops fighting and tells him he does, having just lost Buffy. This calms James down, and he tells Angel that if he really loved that person so much, he would join them in death. With that, James's cure wears off, and he turns into dust, leaving Angel to ponder his words. Cordelia tells Angel that he honours Buffy's memory by continuing to fight evil and helping people the way she would've done, and he finds comfort in that.

And speaking of comfort, in a bar down in Nicaragua, Darla is meeting someone with information about a holy man who can help her. After she gets what she's after, she murders her contact and stands up, revealing a grotesquely swollen pregnant belly. The end.

With that, season three is upon us. I/we had the choice of going on to the first "Buffy" of the season, or another "Angel." While we chose the latter, I think maybe I should talk about "Buffy" now, since it feels like a more natural follow-up to this episode.

The "Buffy" season opener, debuting on the UPN network rather than the WB, was called "Bargaining." It was, it would seem, two separate episodes combined into one two hour event, but written by different people (Marti Noxon did "Part One" and David Fury did "Part Two"). I've been kicking around the idea of splitting it up into two different blog posts, since it's taking forever to get this one done.

So, three months have passed since Buffy died, and the gang has continued to patrol and fight evil without her. Spike seems to be a valued and respected member of the group, and Willow has telepathically linked herself to everyone, giving orders like, "Heads up, the vampire's circling back towards you," and "Come to me, my X-men!" Despite the headstone at the end of season five, the people of Sunnydale don't know that the Slayer is dead. The underworld and authorities can never know Buffy is dead, so the Buffybot has taken her place. I really like the Buffybot, and sort of wish I had one.

The title sequence starts up, with far fewer images from the first five years (though the song is the same). Giles is no longer in the titles, as he goes off to England to do his still-as-of-yet-unproduced "Ripper" spinoff. Filling his shoes, Alyson Hannigan now gets an "And Alyson Hannigan as Willow" credit.

So, Willow and Tara have moved in with Dawn, and the Buffybot tries to act and sound like a normal human, but can't quite make it work. Most entertaining, I would say, is when the Buffybot goes to parents' night at Dawn's school. She(it) makes inane statements, but the people around her think she's making pointed criticism and agree with her.

Giles has packed and is readying to return to England, but seems to be inventing excuses to stay. He has promised Anya can take over the magic shop when he's gone, and she just wants him to leave already, so she can be in charge of all that sweet, sweet money (and the heavy repair bills that must come monthly by now).The Buffybot saves a hot chick from the world's dorkiest vampire. I mean, this would be the guy I'd sit next to on the bus everyday (until he realised I was crashing his vibe and keeping the babes away), complete with bad skin, geeky hair and a Hanson t-shirt. But the dork-pire hits her in the head and causes her to malfunction. Surprised, he runs away . . . with the knowledge that the Slayer has been replaced by an android.

The gang--sans Spike, Dawn, and Giles--meets to talk about their secret plan. Anya has tracked down the very last existing Urn of Osiris (she found it on eBay), which they've been searching for. Now they can bring Buffy back from the dead. Xander wonders if that sort of magic is too much for Willow, but she's sure that because of the way Buffy died, the spell will work.

Still, there are moral ramifications here, and it's strange that it has to be Xander who asks about them. What if Buffy returns, and she's not Buffy anymore? What if she's evil? What if she is a flesh-eating zombie? What if she has really really short hair? Willow says a lot, but the important thing is, she doesn't want Buffy stuck in Hell, or some effed-up demon dimension, for eternity. She deserves better than that, especially after all she's done for them. That convinces Xander, and hey, it would've convinced me.

Willow goes home and finds that the Buffybot is malfunctioning and needs to be repaired. It/she has reverted to her original programming and says something loving to Spike, who can't deal with that and heads for the door. The Buffybot is sad that Spike can't look at her anymore. Good stuff, folks.

Dawn tries to find comfort in the Buffybot, and comes up short. Giles tries to teach the Buffbot about controlling her breathing and can't impart any knowledge in her. She/it makes a comment that his work is done, and with that, Giles decides it's time to go back to England.***

So, the dork vampire goes to the set of LAKE DEAD, gets around a bunch of demon bikers and brags about taking out the Slayer and finding out she's just a robot. The bikers realise that Sunnydale is ripe for the plucking and, after killing the dork-pire, they mount up their cycles and hit the road.

Next we get a scene that was so great, they cut it out in syndication: Willow is in a meadow, casting a spell that brings a baby deer to her. She greets the fawn, strokes it, and slashes its throat, collecting its blood for her big resurrection spell. When she meets the others, she lies about where she got the final ingredient.

Giles has made a quiet exit, leaving a short note that he is going, but the group heads to the airport to see him off. In a touching scene, Xander, Willow, Tara, Dawn, and Anya show up and say their goodbyes to Giles. It was good stuff, and I really didn't want him to go, and as he hugged Dawn, I thought, "Isn't he her father the way he was Buffy's? Isn't she the Key anymore? Should he really go away?" But these are fleeting thoughts, eclipsed by the disturbing realisation that Sunnydale is supposed to have an airport.

They are sad, but have a spell to cast at midnight, so they ditch Dawn into Spike's care, and head to the cemetery.**** They kneel in a circle, with candles, and Willow wipes the deer's blood on her face and begins chanting. She gets some kind of strange side-effect where cuts magically appear on her arms and a rattlesnake emerges from her mouth, but that's part of the spell.

The demon bikers, meanwhile, have arrived in town, and are terrorising everything, breaking stuff, burning things, and probably breaking a lot of noise ordinance laws. The Buffybot shows up and kicks two of them in the nuts (I know because I did something for this blog post I've never done before: I watched the episode again), beating several of them up. Their leader is a huge noseless dude with razors on his fist, and he slashes the Buffybot with them, causing her to seek out Willow for repairs.

Unfortunately, that leads the bikers right to Buffy's graveside, just as Willow is completing the spell. They ride their bikes all over, smashing the Urn of Osiris, and snatching Anya. Willow loses consciousness and Xander carries her away, and Tara uses her magic to save Anya. Willow comes to and asks Xander if the spell worked. He says, "I'm sorry," and she passes out again.

Under the ground, Buffy Summers is a mouldering, dessecated corpse. But magical energies surround her and rejuvinate her body. Buffy awakens in the dark, in her coffin. The end.

So, that was that, though the episode continues from there . . . in another blog post.

Rish "Cliffhanger" Outfield

*Then again, it's been years since Angel mysteriously came back from Hell, and that has yet to be explained.

**My initial impression was that he just left Fred to fend for herself, but then I remembered that Angel couldn't come into her hotel room without being invited, so James wouldn't have been able to either. Right?

***I just realised that, unless the Watcher is killed himself, they all end up like Giles, since all Slayers are inevitably killed, no matter how good they are. Or maybe Spike was right: at some point, the Slayers just get tired of it all and allow themselves to die.

****But is it the cemetery? I asked tyranist to pause it at this point and said, "Hey, if the town and teachers and stuff aren't supposed to know Buffy is dead, what's with the grave and headstone?" He didn't really have an answer for me, but I was willing to accept that maybe the grave is actually in the woods somewhere, someplace secret that only our characters know about, and the scene isn't in the cemetery at all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this " I really like the Buffybot " , because i'm a buffybot fans , from europe .
She'is a characthers very good, a pure robot,and it's no good how whedon make is end .
Hi !!!!