7.14: First Date – The one with Buffy’s date with Pricipal Wood and Xander’s date with the demon babe. Good episode moving the plot along. Slight query (again) about the First, which can apparently be invisible to everyone else in the room but can still be picked up by an electronic bugging device. Also Buffy and Giles clash over Spike. Presumably the shirt with the blood/pizza stain is the one Dawn dropped pizza on in Conversations with Dead People? And, going back to a previous discussion, it is now crystal clear that Buffy wasn’t hired as a school counsellor for her counselling skills – note cute exchanges with Willow and Principal Wood. Interesting that here it’s Giles telling people to remember the mission and start taking it seriously, when in a couple of episodes’ time it will be Buffy.
7.15: Get It Done – the one where a slayerette hangs herself and Buffy goes through a portal to visit the creators of the First Slayer. Getting seriously dark here, starting with Buffy’s speech “Chloe was an idiot. Chloe was stupid. She was weak. And anyone in a rush to be the next dead body I bury, it’s easy. Just think of Chloe.” Again this points to the changing dynamics between the characters. Actually not a lot happened here, but some significant pointers to the ending, with discussion of the source of the Slayer’s power, and the final vision of the Turok-Han army (very reminiscent of the shot of Saruman’s Orc army in LOTR: FOTR, and “Turok-Han” sounds very like “Uruk-Hai”).
7.16: Storyteller – the one with Andrew making home movies of everyone, ending with him and Buffy closing the seal – for now. (I have to admit that the title reminds me of that movie with Selma Blair, but nobody is having sex up against the wall in this episode.) Anyway this one is very much about Andrew, and about his tendency not to let the truth get in the way of a good story. It could easily have broken under the strain of such a simple plot, but in fact the pace and mood are sustained throughout. At the end, of course, Andrew like Dante descends into the depths with Buffy playing Virgil. Virgil of course doesn’t actually threaten to kill Dante. Very effective.
7.17: Lies My Parents Told Me – the one with Wood’s mother, Spike’s mother, and Giles and Wood getting together to try and kill Spike. This one is very good. The parallel plots, the return of Early One Morning, and filling in of Spike’s back story. Also, of course, the other “parent” telling lies is Giles, to Buffy – last line of the episode, “I think you’ve taught me everything I need to know”. The continuing references to the mission being what matters, with Buffy (quite unconsciously, of course) echoing Robin’s mother’s words to him. The one minor flaw is that I thought the Victorian scenes were a bit static. But otherwise, tremendous.
7.18: Dirty Girls – Faith is back!!!!!! And the evil super-clergyman Caleb is in town as well. Sorry folks, but I just love Faith. And she is used well here, plenty of funny lines, but also as a disturbing and disruptive element in what is already a pretty tense group of people. Though in fact there’s easily as much here about Xander. He starts off with a hilarious fantasy dream about the slayerettes, and gets to make a great speech as well – “You gotta trust her. She’s earned it.” Then at the end he loses an eye in the fight in the “vineyard” (a word which I guess in American covers what we would call a wine cellar), and of course he’s about to completely reverse what he said about following Buffy in the next episode. And sinister preacher guy Caleb is a pretty good villain.
7.19: Empty Places – the one where Buffy gets thrown out. I think I may be in a minority of fans who thought this episode was well done. It’s the first major defeat that the Buffy team has had, and she’s been completely useless at either a) giving encouraging pep talks to keep up morale or b) delegating authority when necessary, so psychologically I actually thought the group’s rejection of her was convincing, and done in such a way that I felt sympathetic to both sides. As ever, Anya gets one of the best lines – “I, myself, would much rather be sitting at the bedside of my one-eyed ex-fiancé than killing time here with you people in this over-crowded and might I add increasingly ripe-smelling basement. And I would be, too, if not for a certain awkward discussion he and I recently had right over there on that cot immediately following some exciting and unexpected break-up sex.” A neat in-joke in the Bronze: “What kind of band plays during an apocalypse?” / ‘I think this band might actually be one of the signs.” – the band of course being Nerf Herder who composed the Buffy theme tune. And the exchanges between Andrew and Spike are great too – “Tell anyone we had this conversation, I’ll bite you.” Dramatic pace building up.
7.20: Touched – A slow starting episode but it picks up after everyone starts having sex – Faith and Wood, Kennedy and Willow, Anya and Xander, (and Spike and Buffy sleeping together but not in the biblical sense); and then Faith leads the team to get bombed, and Buffy goes and finds the scythe. Interesting that Dawn is now becoming a linguist – “There’s a translation?” And Buffy’s deliberate strategy of dodging Caleb rather than trying to beat him was nicely done. But otherwise a bit thin.
7.21: End Of Days – this is a different matter. Lots and lots of Stuff Happening. Slayerettes rescue Faith after the bomb, then have to be rescued themselves by Buffy. Xander attempts to take Dawn away, on Buffy’s orders, but Dawn is too smart for him. Buffy tracks down the Guardian woman who apparently watches the watchers (hey, did nobody ever notice the pyramid before? I thought at first it was Spike’s mother again but it’s a different actress). Caleb kills the Guardian woman, and starts a fight with Buffy; Angel intervenes at a crucial moment. Some glorious lines and other moments here: Willow’s “Scythe matters”. Anya going on about people being mortally wounded. Spike’s Monty Python references (“The Holy Grail – or the Holy Hand Grenade”). Faith and Buffy: “Maybe that’s why you and I can never get along. We’re not supposed to exist together.” / “Also, you went evil and were killing people.” / “Good point. Also a factor.” Faith: “Thank god we’re hot chicks with superpowers”. Anya and Andrew playing wheelchairs in the hospital (the out-takes from this scene suggest they were having a lot of fun with hospital supplies). A lot happening; good stuff.
7.22: Chosen – it’s all over. Lovely moments for Buffy with Angel and then with Spike. Giles is reduced to playing Dungeons and Dragons. The “pierced tongue” exhange between Willow and Dawn. Anya and Xander, “Come on, let’s go assemble the cannon fodder.” / “That’s not what we’re calling them, sweetie.” / “Not to their faces. What am I, insensitive?” The Robin/Faith exchanges. That great moment when Giles, Xander, Willow and Buffy are together again in the school, just as it was in the very beginning, and Giles reprises his line from the end of The Harvest – “The Earth is doomed!” though this time it’s “The Earth is definitely doomed!” The slayerettes fight the Turok-Han army, successfully, and Buffy makes a recovery from an apparently mortal wound, cured by the scythe, I suppose. Willow goes all white instead of all black, and gives Buffy’s powers to all the potential Slayers in the world. Anya and Spike die heroically. Sunnydale collapses into a crater. “What are we gonna do now?” Superb, and a fitting ending.
So, what are we gonna do now? My disjointed thoughts:
Well, we’ve still got most of Angel and ‘s DVDs of Firefly to get through, so that’s one answer.
I must have first become aware of Buffy when we were living in Zagreb in 1998, the earliest one I caught on Croatian TV being around the middle of Season 2; then once we moved to Belgium it became compulsory viewing, especially since one of the channels was good enough to repeat the whole thing from the beginning. Then Series 7 happened just about the time U was born, so our evening routines got pretty disrupted and we’ve only now managed to finish it. Now I want to wantch it all again right from the start.
I’m very glad that we had a story arc right the way through all seven series, as well as within each of the series individually. The writing, the acting, all fantastic. Clearly a successful model followed by Doctor Who in its latest incarnation.
Right, that’s it for now.
Great Buffy on-line resources: Buffy Trivia GuideBBC Cult TV (but for how much longer?); BuffyWorldQuotes siterather unsuccessful attempt at Buffy/Miles Vorkosigan crossover fanfic.