Buffy Season 7: Part II

7.7: Conversations With Dead People – the one where Cassie from the previous episode appears to Willow, Joyce appears to Dawn, Andrew kills Jonathan, Spike is killing people, and Buffy meets (and eventually dusts) the vampire which tries to psychoanalyse her. Also the only Buffy episode to win a Hugo award. I must say I can’t quite see why. It’s very very creepy and atmospheric, but there are a couple of things I was left wondering about which I really hope will be resolved by season’s end rather than turning out to be inconsistencies. The biggest one of these is, why on earth would the Big Bad choose to manifest to Willow as someone she just read about on the internet and never met, rather than, say, Tara? [Seems on doing my research that Amber Benson just didn’t want to do the scenes, which is a bit of a shame.] And the second biggest question is, if the First can’t take corporeal form, why is the Joyce manifestation (including mysterious other Thing which then disappears) none the less able to smash up significant parts of the Summers’ house? I mean, for most of the episode it carried me along with it, especially with the superb opening – I can’t actually remember another episode where the title was displayed, though no doubt this is me getting old. If I hadn’t known I was going to be writing this in due course I’d probably have let it go, but… Anyway, I’m very glad that one Buffy episode won a Hugo, just surprised it was this one.

7.8: Sleeper – the one where we find out that Spike is being controlled by the First, and with the curious vignette with Robson and Giles in London. A pretty straighforward episode here, with just one plot line dominating. Loved Spike’s special tune, which I recognised at once: Oh, don’t deceive me / Oh never leave me / How could you use a poor maiden so…. Also particularly loved Anya’s attempt to persuade Spike that she was really trying to seduce him – presumably based on the similar scene from Tootsie! with Dustin Hoffmann and Teri Garr, except that of course that scene has a different ending. And the singer’s comment at the end of the gig, “Man, I hate playing vampire towns”. So in general, a pretty good episode, which explained some (but not all) of what happened in the previous one.

7.9: Never Leave Me – the one where Buffy &co capture Andrew, the First captures Spike and uses his blood to raise the Turok-Han vampire, the Watchers get blown up, and Principal Wood buries Jonathan’s body. The title of course refers back to Spike’s tune. Brisk moving on of the general story arc here, with some comedic moments around Andrew – especially his geeky conversation with the First at the beginning, his pathetic attempt to kill the pig, and the interrogation by Xander and Anya later on. I was flicking through ‘s book earlier in the week, and one of her contributors points out that Angel spends a lot of time in the first few series shackled and bare to the waist; well, Spike seems to be taking on that role now…

7.10: Bring on the Night – the one where Giles brings the three new potential Slayers to Buffy’s house, one of whom immediately starts flirting with Willow; another one of them is killed by the Turok-Han, which actually beats Buffy in a fight; Spike remains imprisoned by the First. Final scenes of the fight clearly based on Terminator. Buffy gives a stirring speech at the end – “There is only one thing on this earth more powerful than evil, and that’s us.” Funny moment in the school basement where Buffy and Dawn bump into the principal, all carrying shovels. Some very nasty and unpleasant torture moments for poor Spike (see previous comments about shackling). Much ramping up of tension without much being resolved.

7.11: Show Time – the one where more potential slayers arrive, one has to be rescued by Buffy and another turns out to be the First; Giles and Anya go consult the huge blobby thing in another dimension; Buffy kills the Turok-Han vampire in a staged fight in front of the potential slayers, and rescues Spike. Nice bits: Buffy actually says “Welcome to the Hellmouth” to Rona. Poor Anya fails to seduce yet again, but Giles cuts to the chase: “You help us, and the slayer won’t kill your clientele and burn your establishment to the ground.” Andrew is still very funny also (and Dawn’s line, “Buffy said if you talked enough, I’m allowed to kill you”). Good stuff from the actress portraying the slayer wannabee who is really the First, convincingly evil and destabilising, though I felt the others hadn’t quite settled in yet. I was also a bit confused by the scene with Buffy doing telepathy to Willow and Xander (had forgotten, if I ever knew, that they had that ability), and not wildly convinced by the staged fight at the library building site; and the overall plot is now creaking under the weight of an apparently unbeatable force. Except, of course, that Buffy does score a tactical success against it.

7.12: Potential – the one where Dawn is mistaken for a potential slayer, but it turns out to be Amanda from school. This was very very good. Anya as so often has the best single line: “Wow, it’s like one second you were this klutzy teenager with fake memories and a history of kleptomania, and then-then suddenly you’re a hero, a hero with a much abbreviated lifespan.” Amanda looks just like early Alanis Morrisette (from her singing rather than sit-com days, I mean). Brilliant performance from Dawn, even if it is silly of her to go running off to kill a vampire with just Amanda for company, knowing that the Bringers are on her trail (but people do silly things sometimes); and also from Xander in the final scene (“You’re not special. You’re extraordinary”), the storyline being reminiscent of two of my favourite earlier episodes, The Zeppo and Bewitched, Bothererd and Bewildered. And the junior slayers seem to be getting their act together as well. Most enjoyable.

7.13: The Killer In Me – the one where Willow turns into Warren. Another really good one, at least as far as the main plot is concerned. (But let me just gripe about the sub-plot – hey folks, Giles brought all those books from Watcher HQ three episodes ago, remember? Surely he was touching and handling them? And if he’s planning to off the potential slayers, why drive all the way out to the desert to do it? As he says, “You think I’m evil if I bring a group of girls on a camping trip and don’t touch them?” And if the rest of you are zooming off on a rescue mission, maybe it would be nice to leave a note for Buffy/Spike and Willow/Kennedy explaiing where you’ve gone?) However, the main plotline was excellent; for the first time we see Willow mourn Tara in a cathartic and ultimately healthy way. Full marks to Kennedy for her gentle seduction, and to Willow/Warren for the split personality performance. I love these confused-identity episodes, like Who Are You? and Dopplegangland, even though I don’t especially like Amy, whose means and motivation aren’t always very clear or consistent; her best scene IMHO is the one way back in Something Blue where she has no clothes on and doesn’t say anything. But the other sub-plot about Spike’s chip was fine; Anne reminds me of Spike’s superb line, “It’s like a bloody war-zone up there, and not in a good way!” Questions left open for my next week’s viewing: So what did happen with Giles and the axe-wielding killers in London? Will Buffy allow them to take Spike’s chip out? (I expect so; is this really such a difficult decision?) What is the story with the principal digging shallow graves? Is Kennedy only 15 like the rest of the potential slayers, or do we just not think about that? Looking forward to it.

One thought on “Buffy Season 7: Part II

  1. There were several in the summer months, when there are entire six-day periods with no broadcast Whoniversaries and the birthdays sometimes dry up too.

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