CAT | Buffy Marathon
Synopsis: Anyanka/Anya wants to have her power center back that was destroyed by Giles in the alternate reality Cordelia accidentally created. She tricks Willow into doing a spell but it doesn’t work as expected. Instead they pull Vampire-Willow from there into this reality and she – after a short period of acclimatization – tries to make it as “fun” as her reality was.
My Opinion: “And I think I’m kinda gay.” Nice foreshadowing. I really like this episode, it’s fun to watch and Alyson is great in all four roles (
Old Reliable Willow, Vampire-Willow, Pretend-Vampire-Willow, Pretend-Willow). I also liked Anya in all her scenes, especially when this 1120 year-old ex-demon tried to get a beer in the Bronze.
Too bad Vampire-Willow died in her reality, it would have been cool to have her back at a later time.
Synopsis: A demon tries to sell the “Books of Ascension” to the Slayers. While the gang is discussing how they get their hands onto these books before the mayor does, Faith reports back to him and gets the books for him. They also try to turn Angel into Angelus again. First by seduction then by magic. But not everybody in the Scooby gang is fooled by Faith.
My Opinion: It was a bit too convenient that Giles knew the demon who was supposed to turn Angel but otherwise it was an interesting watch, especially since even the viewer didn’t know of Giles’s/Buffy’s/Angel’s plan to con Faith. And Pretend-Angelus was awesome once more, he has such a great malignity.
Synopsis: When Buffy fights against two demons and kills one of them, some of his(?) blood splatters over her hand. At first it just itches but then she begins to hear voices. But she doesn’t hallucinate; she can hear the actual thoughts of the people around her. At first this is fun and could be a great advantage in combat but soon she can’t shut anything out anymore and on top of that she hears the voice of an unknown person who wants to kill all the students.
My Opinion: One of my favourite episodes, I love these kind of truth-telling episodes because at first it’s great fun but it’ll ultimately turn for the worse. I especially liked it how they characterized the thoughts of the characters (Cordelia: think = say; Xander: sex; Oz: deep thoughts yet silent) which matched them perfectly. I also really liked Buffy’s speech in the tower.
I believe this is the first time Jonathan was featured as a bit more than a “runs through picture” character. I really like that kind of continuity because it makes the show feel more wholesome in contrast to shows where the episode cast is exactly that.
Synopsis: Their time in High School is coming to an end and after that their ways will most likely part. Buffy has been accepted to Northwestern, Willow to every university with a stamp and Xander is going to backpack over the country. But first they have to literally survive graduation day and Mayor Wilkins’s ascension. They have to steal the “Box of Gavrok”. They don’t know what it contains but it seems to be important to him.
My Opinion: Mayor Wilkins is not among the best of the Big Bads but in episodes like this I really appreciate him. His talent to bluntly tell the truth (and let’s face it: he was not lying about the chances of Angel’s and Buffy’s non-existing be-together future) is what makes him a decent Big Bad.
I also loved it that they chose Willow over the box without even arguing (except for Wesley…). It’s what I expect from a “band of brothers“.
And of course the band won’t break up. As usual with these shows (Smallville, Veronica Mars, Gossip Girl) they found a way to keep the gang in town and together.
Synopsis: In a few days Buffy will turn 18 and she doesn’t really want to celebrate it due to the fear that it will be a crap-fest again. And she’s right. She has suddenly lost her Slayer powers and is a normal young woman again. The gang investigates in this – with the exception of Giles because it is he who must put her through an ancient and cruel Watcher’s Council ritual.
My Opinion: Between this and the last episode of Buffy I’ve watched, I watched a lot of other stuff, including four seasons of Bones, in which David Boreanaz plays the male lead. So I needed a bit of time to get used to the brooding Angel again. I never really liked the plot of that episode because IMHO it doesn’t make sense. The Slayer is always in constant danger of being killed and the more experienced she gets the better are her chances of survival. So why take the chances of her getting killed in this stupid test when the result would be that you end up with an inexperienced beginner Slayer again?
But I really liked the ending when Buffy wordlessly forgave Giles when Quentin fired him due to his fatherly love for Buffy.
Synopsis: After being pummelled by a demon again, Buffy and Giles seriously advise Xander to stay out of future fights. But without being in the midst of it he feels useless and decides to become the “wheel man”. This doesn’t really work out either and he suddenly finds himself being the driver for a bunch of dead-yet-not-in-the-ground former high school jocks who want to have some fun.
My Opinion: That was a great Xander episode. I really liked it that there was a big Hellmouth fight – but that it wasn’t really the plot of the episode. I also liked how they pointed at the danger Angel had to face (and survived of course) without ever explaining or showing what he was up against – because that it wasn’t really the plot of the episode. This way they could create a cool Xander-based story without making the others his sidekicks (which would never work) or make them disappear for the entire episode.
Synopsis: The new Watcher has arrived: Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, a young stiff Englishman on a high horse who isn’t taken seriously by neither Buffy nor Faith. Because both have better things to do: Want. Take. Have. Faith shows Buffy her philosophy of what it means to be a Slayer and together they party and slay and party and break into a weapons store and party … until Faith makes a horrible mistake.
My Opinion: When I saw him enter the library I had a hard time imagining that this man is the husband of Alyson Hannigan and father of her child. It’s just a role, but still… But back to the episode: When I first watched this episode I didn’t know what was going to happen in the end but I was quite certain that something would bring the party crashing down. It was inevitable from the moment they broke into that weapons store. But I didn’t recognize who Faith had killed (Bad with faces, remember?) until it’s explained in the next episode. Still, I liked this episode, Faith and Buffy partying and playing bad girls.
Synopsis: Faith has accidentally killed the Deputy Mayor but she has no intentions of facing the consequences and is trying to cover everything up. When that doesn’t work she tries to blame Buffy who has already a hard time to cope with what had happened. When Wesley gets wind of this he tries to deport Faith back to England which makes matters only worse.
My Opinion: This episode I really, really liked. It was great to see Buffy struggle with her secret and how she tried to convince Faith to come clean and how she sobbed in Willow’s arms. She is a warrior, but she still remains human. I also liked how Xander honestly tried to reconnect with Faith even though he failed. But this is his quality: He does not give up on his friends and one day it will save the world.
What I honestly didn’t understand was Willow’s breakdown in the bathroom. Granted, she had always feelings for Xander, but after Lovers Walk she wanted to get back with Oz and Xander was single again. What did she expect?
Synopsis: “I wished Buffy had never come to Sunnydale!” – After being humiliated by Mercedes and her gang about her break-up with Xander, Cordelia tracks down the source of her misery: Buffy’s arrival. Unfortunately she makes that wish in front of the vengeance demon Anyanka. And she grants her wish. Suddenly Cordy finds herself in a Sunnydale that has never seen the Slayer and is ruled by the Master and his two most vicious Vampires: Willow and Xander.
My Opinion: Alternate timelines, universes, realities. I always like them on my plate. This was no exception, especially with Vamp-Xander and Vamp-Willow who were really great and I can’t wait to see Vamp-Willow again in a few episodes. I also liked that Larry had become a member of the “White Hats”, a role he will reprise in the season finale.
Synopsis: It’s nearly Christmas in Sunnydale and it’s unbearable hot. Angel is getting nightmares from victims that he has killed (among them: Jenny Calendar) and somehow Buffy is sucked into these nightmares. The First (Evil) reveals to him that it brought him back into this dimension for a reason and that Angel will become again who he was born to be: Angelus.
My Opinion: With the exception of Whistler’s cryptic statements there haven’t been much hints towards the fact that Angel might play a bigger role in the ultimate fight good vs. evil. But now it has become evident. The First Evil has released him from the hell dimension and The Powers That Be have saved him from becoming a pile of ash. I really liked that. I also really liked that Xander offered his help to help Angel.
Synopsis: Joyce accompanies her daughter on one of her nightly patrols to bond with her but it is she who finds two small children that were slaughtered on a playground. Enraged my this merciless murder that was most likely done by a cult and not a demon she forms a group: MOO – Mothers Opposed to the Occult. They fight against those who have taken over the town: monsters, witches and Slayers.
My Opinion: The was a story I didn’t care for much. While I liked the idea that “fairy tales are real” (after all: why shouldn’t they be?) I didn’t care much for Hänsel und Gretel and the MOO.
Synopsis: Buffy has decided to run for Homecoming Queen in order to prove that “she’s still got it”. But she runs against Cordy and it won’t be easy since both Willow and Xander are helping Cordy out of a feeling of guilt for kissing one another. But Mr. Trick has also something planned: He creates “SlayerFest ‘98″, a hunt where both Humans and demons are the hunters and the Slayers are the hunted.
My Opinion: I liked the assortment of hunters because everyone hunted in his own way (but naturally they all lost), especially the mix of the types “Daniel Boone” and the german high-tech hunters. And I loved it when the “second Slayer” (Cordy) scared the Vampire off just by threatening him. It’s a talent she will use in Angel again.
Synopsis: Principal Snyder forces everyone to sell candy bars to finance new uniforms for the school band. But suddenly all the adults start to behave like teenagers and don’t acknowledge their proper age. As it turns out, Ethan Rayne is the producer of the bars – but he’s only a subcontractor for Mr. Trick who works for the mayor now.
My Opinion: Ethan is back and the episode is fun. Snyder reminded me a lot of Quark (Star Trek DS9) when he tried to chase after the women and couldn’t be discouraged in any way. And Giles and Joyce were also great in reliving their youth. What we’ve learned so far about the mayor also explains some of the put-it-under-the-rug events of the second season.
Synopsis: Faith has gotten a new Watcher, a stiff english woman who expects nothing less than the best. And Buffy is still hiding the fact that Angel has returned. And a new demon is in town and he wants the Glove of Myhnegon, a very powerful artefact. In the end, all their paths will cross in Angel’s hideout place. And Xander and Willow have a hard time denying their feelings or refrain from showing affection to each other.
My Opinion: Xander has never really liked Angel, even before he knew that he was a Vampire. But in episodes like this he shows pure hatred towards the guy and except for the Angel-Buffy thing I never understood why his emotions towards Angel are that strong. But it was great to once again see a real Slayer vs. Slayer fight. They both kicked ass!
Synopsis: Spike is back in town, but he’s a wreck. Dru has left him for a chaos demon and he wants her back. Buy chance he runs into Willow who is just buying ingredients for an anti-love spell for Xander and her and he considers the general idea of a love spell a good one. So he kidnaps her and Xander and forces her to make one for him and Dru. Meanwhile the rest of the Scooby gang is looking for them.
My Opinion: Spike – Phase II has just begun. First he was the villain, now he will be the comic relief for quite some time. But in the end, he will take his rightful place as one of the heroes. Too bad this will be his only appearance in this season. And from a retrospective POV I liked Xander’s and Willow’s little affair. First of all because it didn’t feel forced, there have been hints towards this since the pilot. And second of all it ultimately leads to the introduction of Anyanka in the next episode. I also liked how Spike could look right through Angel’s and Buffy’s we-are-only-friends charade.
Synopsis: After being expelled from school, thrown out by her mother and having to kill Angel, Buffy has left Sunnydale and lives now in L.A. under her middle name “Anne”. She’s not the Slayer anymore, she’s just a waitress in a diner. Meanwhile her friends try to fill her shoes and hunt Vampires at night. And Giles is looking in any place where rumours about a girl fighting Vampires exist.
My Opinion: What I really liked about this episode was that the decision was not forced upon her. She decided to help Lily and return to the fight she was born to fight. She had no contact with any kind of (obvious) demon until she decided to make it her business which then ultimately led to the decision to return home. But it was also funny to watch the attempts of the others to hunt Vampires on their own.
Dead Man’s Party
Synopsis: Buffy has returned to Sunnydale and while her mother and her friends are glad to have her back, nobody really wants to touch the subject of what happened in the last three months and in the final fight against Angelus. Additionally Buffy is still expelled from school. But everything (mostly) returns to “normal” when Joyce invites Buffy’s friend to a Welcome Back party and a lot of (uninvited) Zombies also show up.
My Opinion: While I didn’t care much for the “death mask” storyline I liked how the tension between all parties involved was building up during the course of the episode and how it erupted during the party. This air-cleaning storm was necessary and was nicely concluded by the fight against the invading Zombies. And I loved Xander’s quote “Generally speaking, when scary things get scared, not good.”.
Faith, Hope & Trick
Synopsis: There’s a new Bad in town: Kakistos, a Vampire so old that his hands have formed into cloven and his associate Mr. Trick. There’s also a new Slayer in town: Faith, successor of Kendra. But Faith is nothing like Kendra or Buffy. She’s a free spirit, untamable. And she seems to take over Buffy’s life. But she’s also the reason why Kakistos is here and he wants her dead.
My Opinion: When I watched the show for the first time, I didn’t really like or care for Faith. I can’t really put a finger on the time when that has changed. Maybe when I watched her in Angel, maybe when I watched Eliza Dushku in Dollhouse. Anyway, when she appeared this time on screen I was delighted to see her again. And I liked it how Mr. Trick walked out on Kakistos with a comment on his lips that guys like Kakistos don’t fit in this time anymore.
Beauty and the Beasts
Synopsis: It’s full moon again but Xander who was supposed to guard Oz slept the whole night and someone has let the window in Oz’s “cell” open. As it so happens, a fellow student was mauled in the woods in that very night and Oz naturally fears that he might have done it. But something else happened, too: Someone rescued Angel from whatever hell dimension he was trapped in. But he’s not really Angel, he’s merely a wild animal.
My Opinion: While I don’t mind that Angel is back I am a bit uncertain about this plot twist in general. It makes the concept of “death” a bit less irreversible. Many of the deaths in this show are great emotional moments and some of the dead remain that way but it gets a bit cheapened when you know that everyone can be brought back if the writers want it badly enough.
But still, I am glad that Angel is back because his return will make this season a lot more interesting.
When She Was Bad
Synopsis: Summer break is nearly over and Buffy has returned from L.A.. But she seems to to have changed. She is closed up and snubs virtually everyone. And it gets worse: The Anointed One wants to get the Master back from the really dead. And for this he needs the people who were close to him when he died.
My Opinion: This behaviour will develop into a habit. Everytime Buffy goes through a shocking or traumatizing event she will try to shut everyone out and keep the world at bay. She will do it again at the beginning of the third season and during the sixth season. It may not be a good character trait but it’s definitively a defining one for the character. Just as the one that she will do what’s right when it matters.
The episode was also a portent for the season. When she claims that Angel has thought about fighting her and that he should try it. When Snyder states that he would love to expel her. When she was lured away from the library and that’s the place she was needed most.
I think it was a good start of the season.
Some Assembly Required
Synopsis: During her patrol in one of Sunnydale’s graveyards she discovers that a grave is empty that shouldn’t be empty. But it’s not another Vampire who has risen. The body is simply gone. So it’s either the work of flesh-eating demons or a group that wants to build an army of Zombies. But when Cordelia finds a lot of body parts in the dumpster they can safely dismiss both theories. But who needs only some parts from several young women?
My Opinion: I never liked these frankenstein-y stories, neither here nor in the fourth season. But once again I liked it that good and bad weren’t clear cut, that our Dr. Frankenstein in the form of Chris didn’t go as far as killing someone just to build a bride for his brother. But I haven’t understood what the other guy was hoping for. Why was he helping in the first place and why would he have killed Cordelia? I simply couldn’t see his motive to act the way he did.
Synopsis: Buffy and another “rebel” is ordered to organize and host the annual parent-teacher-night. And Buffy has to keep her mother far away from principle Snyder. And some special Vampire holiday is coming up. And the Vampire Spike has come to town to have some fun around here. And he will kill Buffy on Saint Whatshisname’s day. Fortunately those two events don’t fall on the same day…
My Opinion: …Unfortunately Spike isn’t the most patient guy. I loved it how he single-handedly decluttered all the Vampire rituals and my prejudice about them. James Marsters once stated that he played Spike “with a bit more soul than he was supposed to”. I knew him from Smallville and he was one of the reasons to give Buffy a chance and I couldn’t wait to finally see him here. He will develop into one of the most interesting characters on the show even though he just lost his first battle against the Slayer.
But they also made two statements about him that they will “correct” later: Giles states that he’s barely two hundred. I would assume “barely 200″ means something like 190 or 180. Later they will make him just 150 years old (born around 1850). Spike also says that Angel was “his Sire, his Yoda”. But as it will turn out, Spike was sired by Drusilla who was sired by Angel. But maybe Spike meant it in some figurative way. After all, Angel is his Grand-Sire and Yoda was Luke’s second Jedi teacher after Obi-Wan.
Inca Mummy Girl
Synopsis: During a visit of the local museum one of the student tries to steal a mummy seal and accidentally breaks it. The young, female Inka mummy re-awakes, kills the student and disappears from the museum. Shortly after she takes the place of an exchange student (whom she also killed) and moves in with Buffy for the next two weeks. And naturally Xander falls for her the minute he sees her. But then there’s a mysterious knife guy who seems to be connected to the mummy and the body count is increasing. The gang has to find out what’s going on.
My Opinion: I have to say, I liked this episode. As most creatures do this young woman tried to ensure her own survival. But in the end she couldn’t kill the person she fell in love with. I also liked the comparison between her and Buffy’s fate: The be the Chosen One and not being able to have a say in it. And in opposition to Teacher’s Pet Xander could be Xander without being influenced from the outside.
In this episode we’ve also seen Oz and Jonathan for the first time but I think one notices Jonathan only if one knows him already – ironically that is exactly what this character will be about.
Categories: Buffy Marathon, DVD / Blu-ray, DVD Marathon
Tags: Angel · Buffy the Vampire Slayer · Harry Potter · Scooby Doo · Smallville · Star Trek TNG · Underworld · Xena: Warrior Princess
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Welcome to the Hellmouth
Synopsis: Buffy and her mom have just moved to Sunnydale, California. She was thrown out of her old school in Los Angeles because she burned down the gym (it was full of Vampires). But she hopes that this part of her life lays behind her – how wrong she was. A very old Vampire – the Master – tries to free himself from the Hellmouth that is directly under the town. And she can’t even keep it a secret that she is the Slayer. Everyone seems to know: The librarian Giles, her classmate Xander and even some mysterious guy in the dark alleys.
My Opinion: I’ve seen this pilot for the first time on DVD on November 22th, 2007. And I have watched it 10 times in the past 16 months. I know all the lines by heart by now. “It’s dated?” – “It’s carbon-dated!” I have to say I liked it that the whole gang knew from the beginning. It separates it from other superhero shows (*cough* Smallville *cough*). That makes for a great foundation of their friendship even though each and every one will have secrets of their own over the years.
Shortly before Buffy killed her first Vampire on the show she made a remark that rang a bell – I had heard a similar remark spoken in a similar tone elsewhere.
Buffy: Now, we can do this the hard way, or … well, actually, there’s just the hard way.
Darla: That’s fine with me.
Buffy: Are you sure? Now this is not gonna be pretty. We’re talking violence, strong language, adult content …
Jack O’Neill: Assuming – of course – you are the Tok’ra.
Cordesh: And if we’re not?
Jack O’Neill: Well, I guess we all start shooting. There’s blood, death, hard feelings. It’d suck.
Synopsis: She may have saved Willow and Xander, but she has lost trace of Jesse. But she won’t give up that easily and she has help: Giles is her new Watcher and Willow is a computer nerd who can find anything as long as it’s on the net. And she will need that help because the time of the Harvest is close and then the Master will rise if she can’t prevent it. Unfortunately there’s nothing they can do for Jesse: He’s already worse than dead: A Vampire.
My Opinion: I know that life had to go on, but I found the end a little bit cheap. All these victims at the Bronze should have been in terror and should be screaming instead of simply getting slaughtered one by one. And then the aftermath where everyone chose to ignore what had happened. But I don’t know a better solution either. And I loved how she outwitted Luke / the Vessel and then dusted him.
Synopsis: Buffy decides to try out for the cheerleading team. She has been a cheerleader back in LA and she wants to live a normal life here, too – as far as this is possible. But mysterious accidents seem to happen to the cheerleaders of this school and soon there’s no doubt that witchcraft is behind it.
My Opinion: The story of that episode wasn’t that interesting, but I liked certain aspects of it. For example Buffy singing “Macho Man” or her cheerleading tryouts. I also liked that they made their first magic potion with bio and chem class equipment (scalpel, test tube, …).
Synopsis: After their biology teacher had been found dead in a refrigerator, Buffy, Xander and Willow get a new substitute teacher – and she’s hot. Xander and all other guys totally fall for her and she obviously likes it. But what kind of woman is she really when even a Vampire is scared by her?
My Opinion: This is one of these episodes with the obvious storylines. There’s a new teacher when the old one was killed onscreen. You automatically know that she’s somehow involved. She’s insulted when someone calls an insect “ugly”. You automatically know she’s one, too. All the guys instantly fall for her? You automatically know pheromones or some other stuff is involved. Didn’t like it very much.
Next to all the science fiction I need a bit of fantasy in the mix. I have ignored Buffy for many years and only in 2007 I watched the pilot for the first time on TV. And I have to say, it intrigued me. I ordered the first season, watched it, wanted to know how it would continue and ordered the entire show.
But there was a movie first:
Kristy Swanson … Buffy
Donald Sutherland … Merrick
Paul Reubens … Amilyn
Rutger Hauer … Lothos
Luke Perry … Pike
Michele Abrams … Jennifer
Hilary Swank … Kimberly
Paris Vaughan … Nicole
David Arquette … Benny
Stephen Root … Gary Murray
Thomas Jane … Zeph
Synopsis: Buffy is a normal high school freshman and member of the cheerleading squad. But then she meets Merrick and he shows her what she really is: The Chosen One, a Vampire Slayer. Born with the strength and skill to fight the Vampires, to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. But she wants to stay a normal girl and wants nothing to do with such rubbish.
My Opinion: This movie may not be what Joss Whedon had intended or will do on the TV show. But it definitively falls into the category of “guilty pleasure” and is a lot of fun if you’re willing to accept its cheesiness. And the dialogue is unmistakably Whedon. Also, Lothos used a Samurai Katana, that’s a plus in the book.
And then there was the show.