A Second Look: BTVS S2D2

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Arbitrar Of Quality

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May 16, 2007, 7:09:37 PM5/16/07
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Reminder: these threads are not spoiler-free)

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Season Two, Episode 5: "Reptile Boy"
Writer: David Greenwalt
Director: David Greenwalt

William explained this (and understood it) better than I do, but I was
trying to re-watch pre-"Innocence" Season Two as an exploration of
Buffy's various defense mechanisms in coping with the way dying in PG
affected her. This week, in a theme that will be developed through
"What's My Line," she's trying to compartmentalize the Buffy and the
death-dealing dying Slayer again - not defying either, but taking some
time off from the latter. It's a Season One storyline, and it turns
out the same way most S1 episodes do. RB doesn't inspire much comment
- it has plenty of enjoyable little moments which help excuse the fact
that most of it is recycled, but doesn't say much to me in the long
run. It's an episode that the Decent rating exists specifically to
categorize.
Rating: Decent


Season Two, Episode 6: "Halloween"
Writer: Carl Elisworth
Director: Bruce Seth Green

In the ongoing chart of Buffy's headspace, this one briefly delves
into her fantasy that life would be better if it were simple and
required no effort, which links up with LTM (that aspect of S2 is less
of an arc than a collection of essays on a theme; S1 felt similar).
But no one really cares about that, since "Halloween" is more of a
chance for the other 75% of the core quartet to shine. I think this
one seemed more exciting the first time around; I was more enamored
with Ghost Willow and remembered her doing more, and so on. Maybe
it's because the series later achieves so many great things this stuff
doesn't seem as vital and pulsing. Still plenty of fun to be had.
Most interesting to a second-time viewer is the first instance of
Giles getting his Ripper on. It's such a departure from where the
character's been before, and Head slips as effortlessly in and out of
it as his character does. The intense brutality of the Giles/Ethan
interactions are the most memorable part of an episode that's
otherwise largely about having a good time; I hadn't remembered that
it ended with the latter's promise to return, but it does. This one
stands out in the a.t.b-v-s discussions because it was the first
thread to get hundreds of posts, spun off of a point about the lack of
reaction to Snyder's lack of visible reaction to "School Hard." Ah,
memories and such.
Rating: Good


Season Two, Episode 7: "Lie To Me"
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

And from there a diversion into a two-episode exploration of the
fantasy that adulthood brings infallibility, and that the rough edges
of the world that seem so hard to process at sixteen will make perfect
sense at twenty-six. Not so much. LTM is a defining moment in re-
watching in that the series itself seems to grow up here. Buffy
herself still has the instinct for neatly grasping the answers - she
feels sorry for Ford but still sees that he's evil, for instance, end
of discussion. But not knowing who or what to trust in is starting to
get to her. I commented in my review that I thought I finally "got"
Angel for the first time, and given that he's now probably my favorite
Buffyverse character, I'd say that was a worthwhile development. This
episode is full of great moments, like the Buffy/Angel exchange in her
house as they start to dabble in real trust (while there's so much
he's holding back about himself), the showdown in the crypt, and the
last scene. More than that, the dialogue and the character moments
crackle throughout (except for Cordelia; Willow and Xander are a blast
to watch, and "ours is a forbidden love" is one of my favorite under-
quoted lines. Meanwhile, Spike and Drusilla are vivid personalities
now, proving that they'll have staying power where "School Hard" might
have led one to doubt it). Everything seems a little brighter in the
darker adult world.
Rating: Excellent (up from Good)


Season Two, Episode 8: "The Dark Age"
Writers: Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
Director: Bruce Seth Green

I've always had trouble thinking of much to say about TDA, but this
one actually improved for me on second viewing (from a low-ish Good to
a high Good); I imagined that since its pace is slow, it would be
boring once I knew the twists in advance. But it's more of a show
that proceeds a stylish and thoughtful pace (and really creepy at
times with the sexual stuff). Ethan is a great character, and it's
too bad his later appearances didn't measure up to the two this
season. One thing that runs contrary to my recollections is the
mistrust between Buffy and Giles, or lack thereof. I remembered it as
a rift between them, but at this point in the series, he's actually
very much Buffy's father figure, the adult who's automatically worthy
of trust, and she "knows" that their relationship is too close to be
shaken by the rather object lesson that he's not infallible. It's an
interesting contrast with the way she reacts to "Helpless" and the
disassembly of the character's integrity during S6/7.
Rating: Good

General comments on S2D2: David G.'s commentary for "Reptile Boy" is
kinda hilarious in how much, at least until near the end, it falls
into the "commentary track for the blind" mold. Dude, we've seen the
episode.

Thoughts?

-AOQ

mariposas rand mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

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May 16, 2007, 7:37:41 PM5/16/07
to
> Season Two, Episode 6: "Halloween"
> Writer: Carl Elisworth
> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>
> In the ongoing chart of Buffy's headspace, this one briefly delves
> into her fantasy that life would be better if it were simple and
> required no effort, which links up with LTM (that aspect of S2 is less

when giles says nothing major happens on halloween
i think that applies to the halloween episodes
the buffy version of the treehouse of horror

the episodes have some application to overall series
but i think they were also just to have fun with the chracters

> thread to get hundreds of posts, spun off of a point about the lack of
> reaction to Snyder's lack of visible reaction to "School Hard." Ah,
> memories and such.

also now you know what the mayor is really up to
and snyders unknowing lack of knowledge of his role in the ascension


> Season Two, Episode 8: "The Dark Age"
> Writers: Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>
> I've always had trouble thinking of much to say about TDA, but this
> one actually improved for me on second viewing (from a low-ish Good to
> a high Good); I imagined that since its pace is slow, it would be

its not so much about the plot
as an exploration of giles character
as we see more than boring british exposition guy

perhaps also it was an second audition for tony head
to see if he could a bigger role than boring british exposition guy

meow arf meow - they are performing horrible experiments in space
major grubert is watching you - beware the bakalite
impeach the bastard - the airtight garage has you neo

Don Sample

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May 16, 2007, 8:06:28 PM5/16/07
to
In article <1179356977....@k79g2000hse.googlegroups.com>,

Arbitrar Of Quality <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

> Season Two, Episode 7: "Lie To Me"
> Writer: Joss Whedon
> Director: Joss Whedon

Also of note about this episode is the first appearance of
Chanterelle/Lily/Anne.

--
Quando omni flunkus moritati
Visit the Buffy Body Count at <http://homepage.mac.com/dsample/>

Elisi

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May 17, 2007, 1:56:31 PM5/17/07
to
On May 17, 12:09 am, Arbitrar Of Quality <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:
> Reminder: these threads are not spoiler-free)

I'll just link you back to my own re-watch posts, since sadly I do not
have the time to comment in detail.

> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 5: "Reptile Boy"
> Writer: David Greenwalt
> Director: David Greenwalt
>
> William explained this (and understood it) better than I do, but I was
> trying to re-watch pre-"Innocence" Season Two as an exploration of
> Buffy's various defense mechanisms in coping with the way dying in PG
> affected her. This week, in a theme that will be developed through
> "What's My Line," she's trying to compartmentalize the Buffy and the
> death-dealing dying Slayer again - not defying either, but taking some
> time off from the latter. It's a Season One storyline, and it turns
> out the same way most S1 episodes do. RB doesn't inspire much comment
> - it has plenty of enjoyable little moments which help excuse the fact
> that most of it is recycled, but doesn't say much to me in the long
> run. It's an episode that the Decent rating exists specifically to
> categorize.
> Rating: Decent

http://elisi.livejournal.com/141253.html

http://elisi.livejournal.com/141435.html

http://elisi.livejournal.com/145023.html

> Season Two, Episode 8: "The Dark Age"
> Writers: Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>
> I've always had trouble thinking of much to say about TDA, but this
> one actually improved for me on second viewing (from a low-ish Good to
> a high Good); I imagined that since its pace is slow, it would be
> boring once I knew the twists in advance. But it's more of a show
> that proceeds a stylish and thoughtful pace (and really creepy at
> times with the sexual stuff). Ethan is a great character, and it's
> too bad his later appearances didn't measure up to the two this
> season. One thing that runs contrary to my recollections is the
> mistrust between Buffy and Giles, or lack thereof. I remembered it as
> a rift between them, but at this point in the series, he's actually
> very much Buffy's father figure, the adult who's automatically worthy
> of trust, and she "knows" that their relationship is too close to be
> shaken by the rather object lesson that he's not infallible. It's an
> interesting contrast with the way she reacts to "Helpless" and the
> disassembly of the character's integrity during S6/7.
> Rating: Good

http://elisi.livejournal.com/147436.html

Apteryx

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May 17, 2007, 8:22:47 PM5/17/07
to
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in message
news:1179356977....@k79g2000hse.googlegroups.com...

> Reminder: these threads are not spoiler-free)
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 5: "Reptile Boy"
> Writer: David Greenwalt
> Director: David Greenwalt
>
> William explained this (and understood it) better than I do, but I was
> trying to re-watch pre-"Innocence" Season Two as an exploration of
> Buffy's various defense mechanisms in coping with the way dying in PG
> affected her. This week, in a theme that will be developed through
> "What's My Line," she's trying to compartmentalize the Buffy and the
> death-dealing dying Slayer again - not defying either, but taking some
> time off from the latter. It's a Season One storyline, and it turns
> out the same way most S1 episodes do. RB doesn't inspire much comment
> - it has plenty of enjoyable little moments which help excuse the fact
> that most of it is recycled, but doesn't say much to me in the long
> run. It's an episode that the Decent rating exists specifically to
> categorize.
> Rating: Decent

Decent for me too, but a pretty good Decent. Some scenes (eg, the party) go
on
too long, the demon's lame, and the message, while arguably important is
suitably treated as corny:
Buffy: I told one lie, I had one drink.
Giles: Yes, and you were very nearly devoured by a giant demon snake.
The words 'let that be a lesson' are a tad redundant at this juncture.

But there is a lot of fun going on in most scenes along the way, and good
performances by all the regular cast, especially SMG. I called it Good at
the time of your original review. I don't think my rating for it (4.64) has
changed since then, it's just that back then I obviously hadn't settled on
the ratings value that I later used to mark the border between Good and
Decent (subsequently settled at 4.50/4.51). It is my 88th favourite BtVS
episode, 17th best in season 2 (was 90th and 17th a year ago)


> Season Two, Episode 6: "Halloween"
> Writer: Carl Elisworth
> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>
> In the ongoing chart of Buffy's headspace, this one briefly delves
> into her fantasy that life would be better if it were simple and
> required no effort, which links up with LTM (that aspect of S2 is less
> of an arc than a collection of essays on a theme; S1 felt similar).
> But no one really cares about that, since "Halloween" is more of a
> chance for the other 75% of the core quartet to shine. I think this
> one seemed more exciting the first time around; I was more enamored
> with Ghost Willow and remembered her doing more, and so on.

I can certainly relate to that. I think this episode was in my Top 10 at one
stage, but although its still funny, it does seem to get sillier each time I
watch it. Maybe I should skip it the next few times I watch season 2.

> Maybe
> it's because the series later achieves so many great things this stuff
> doesn't seem as vital and pulsing. Still plenty of fun to be had.
> Most interesting to a second-time viewer is the first instance of
> Giles getting his Ripper on. It's such a departure from where the
> character's been before, and Head slips as effortlessly in and out of
> it as his character does. The intense brutality of the Giles/Ethan
> interactions are the most memorable part of an episode that's
> otherwise largely about having a good time; I hadn't remembered that
> it ended with the latter's promise to return, but it does. This one
> stands out in the a.t.b-v-s discussions because it was the first
> thread to get hundreds of posts, spun off of a point about the lack of
> reaction to Snyder's lack of visible reaction to "School Hard." Ah,
> memories and such.
> Rating: Good

Good for me too. It is my 58th favourite BtVS episode, 10 best in season 2
(was 48th and 9th a year ago).

> Season Two, Episode 7: "Lie To Me"
> Writer: Joss Whedon
> Director: Joss Whedon
>
> And from there a diversion into a two-episode exploration of the
> fantasy that adulthood brings infallibility, and that the rough edges
> of the world that seem so hard to process at sixteen will make perfect
> sense at twenty-six. Not so much. LTM is a defining moment in re-
> watching in that the series itself seems to grow up here. Buffy
> herself still has the instinct for neatly grasping the answers - she
> feels sorry for Ford but still sees that he's evil, for instance, end
> of discussion. But not knowing who or what to trust in is starting to
> get to her. I commented in my review that I thought I finally "got"
> Angel for the first time, and given that he's now probably my favorite
> Buffyverse character, I'd say that was a worthwhile development. This
> episode is full of great moments, like the Buffy/Angel exchange in her
> house as they start to dabble in real trust (while there's so much
> he's holding back about himself), the showdown in the crypt, and the
> last scene. More than that, the dialogue and the character moments
> crackle throughout (except for Cordelia;

Actually its a pretty Cordy-lite episode, which must have helped you like
it. I think she's only in the "Marie Antoinette" scene.

>Willow and Xander are a blast
> to watch, and "ours is a forbidden love" is one of my favorite under-
> quoted lines. Meanwhile, Spike and Drusilla are vivid personalities
> now, proving that they'll have staying power where "School Hard" might
> have led one to doubt it).

I don't know that there was really reason to doubt that Spike and Dru would
work. The elements that make them a hit were already there in School Hard,
but yeah, this is where they really show it. Dru perhaps even more than
Spike. The opening scene in with the kid shows that apart from anything
else, she is a real menace (at least to the weak at this stage), while the
scene with the bird is quintessential Dru, showing in a few moments that she
is sweet, cruel, vulnerable, dim, and crazy.

> Everything seems a little brighter in the
> darker adult world.
> Rating: Excellent (up from Good)

Excellent for me too. It is my 15th favourite BtVS episode, 6th best in
season 2 (same as last year). And as Don as already noted, the very first
appearance of the Buffyverse's own Forest Gump, Chanterelle/Lily/Anne.


> Season Two, Episode 8: "The Dark Age"
> Writers: Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>
> I've always had trouble thinking of much to say about TDA, but this
> one actually improved for me on second viewing (from a low-ish Good to
> a high Good); I imagined that since its pace is slow, it would be
> boring once I knew the twists in advance. But it's more of a show
> that proceeds a stylish and thoughtful pace (and really creepy at
> times with the sexual stuff). Ethan is a great character, and it's
> too bad his later appearances didn't measure up to the two this
> season. One thing that runs contrary to my recollections is the
> mistrust between Buffy and Giles, or lack thereof. I remembered it as
> a rift between them, but at this point in the series, he's actually
> very much Buffy's father figure, the adult who's automatically worthy
> of trust, and she "knows" that their relationship is too close to be
> shaken by the rather object lesson that he's not infallible. It's an
> interesting contrast with the way she reacts to "Helpless" and the
> disassembly of the character's integrity during S6/7.
> Rating: Good

Only Decent for me. There are just too many problems with the A story to
take it too seriously, and not enough humour to make up for that. Different
issues bug me each time I watch - last year it was the huge leap of faith
taken by Angel that his demon can defeat Eyghon, on this last re-watch it is
the fact that Giles summoning demons for kicks in his student days seems a
little tame for a bad boy past after the build up Ethan gave it in
Halloween. Plus I don't much like what they do with Giles in the present. It
is currently my 102nd favourite BtVS episode, 18th best in season 2 (last
year was 103rd and 19th).


--
Apteryx


chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu

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May 18, 2007, 6:13:54 PM5/18/07
to
Arbitrar Of Quality <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

> Reminder: these threads are not spoiler-free)
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 5: "Reptile Boy"
> Writer: David Greenwalt
> Director: David Greenwalt

.


> affected her. This week, in a theme that will be developed through
> "What's My Line," she's trying to compartmentalize the Buffy and the
> death-dealing dying Slayer again - not defying either, but taking some
> time off from the latter. It's a Season One storyline, and it turns
> out the same way most S1 episodes do.

That's fair enough. In particular, the Buffy-Giles part, one of the two
most important plot threads in RB, is not much more than a rehash of
NKABOTFD. To be charitable I've come up with a few real (if minor)
differences: the S1 version ended with Buffy accepting that her calling
will limit her choices in her personal life, while RB ended with Giles
accepting that Buffy has to have a personal life outside her calling;
Buffy's mistake in RB put herself in danger, rather than her friends; and
most importantly, the B-G part shares space with further development of
the Buffy-Angel relationship, which was a very minor part of NKABOTFD.
It's only very slow development, but far better than none. In fact it's
slowness is part of its charm; I like it when Buffy tells Angel they can
have coffee *sometime*, not now.

Reptile Boy's is perhaps most memorable for introducing that classic BTVS
theme, Frats Are Evil. It's a message well worth repeating. And repeat
it they will.

This is really one of those episodes where the main plot is forgettable
but some of the pieces are satisfying. The opening scene with Buffy,
Willow and Xander watching Bollywood movies is cute, while the scene
where Buffy gets drugged is very intense and upsetting. But on the other
hand, we get BuffoonXander again, as well as CartoonCordy, which is even
worse considering how important she is to RB. (There's also a lot of
Xander-Cordy sniping in RB, as well as most of the episodes around it. In
hindsight this is clearly setup for WML part 2.) And I'm always bugged
by the final scene, when Xander reads in the paper that all the
reptile-worshippers have already received prison sentences, whereas in
real life that would take months at the least. Not a major problem, but
it wouldn't have been hard to fix either, making it more annoying to me.

> Rating: Decent

A fairly low Decent.

> Season Two, Episode 6: "Halloween"
> Writer: Carl Elisworth
> Director: Bruce Seth Green

Although Halloween is a better episode than RB, more fun and more
interesting, I can think of even less to write about it. Hmmm.... Out
of all the humorous moments, my favorite by far is Ghost Willow walking
through the library wall and scaring the crap out of Giles. Buffy and
Willow stealing the Watcher's diary is fun too. There are dozens of
other laughs, almost as good; Halloween plays like a comedy episode built
on a horror plot. And of course the very idea of a Halloween episode is
inherently pleasing, as Halloween is indisputably the best of all
holidays.

I always wonder, would Costume Buffy still have had all her super
strength and fighting skills, if only she thought to use them?

> Most interesting to a second-time viewer is the first instance of
> Giles getting his Ripper on. It's such a departure from where the
> character's been before, and Head slips as effortlessly in and out of
> it as his character does. The intense brutality of the Giles/Ethan
> interactions are the most memorable part of an episode that's
> otherwise largely about having a good time

Best part of the episode. As a latecomer to BTVS, I was already spoiled
about Giles's past before I saw Halloween. But I'm always curious if
first-time viewers ever found it shocking. So far the answers I've
received have mostly been either "I don't remember" or "I didn't really
think about it at the time," both kind of disappointing; but I'll throw
the question out there again in case any other first-time viewers want to
comment.

> Rating: Good

Good for me too.

> Season Two, Episode 7: "Lie To Me"


> Writer: Joss Whedon
> Director: Joss Whedon

I actually just watched this one again the other day. I've long regarded
it as excellent -- in my opinion the only definite Excellent between WSWB
and Innocence. But what I hadn't remembered was how ambiguously it
starts off. The early scenes with the introduction of Ford, the
different varieties of jealousy that Angel, Xander and Willow feel, and
the *stunning* revelation that Ford is up to no good are all pretty well
done, but they aren't necessarily adding up to a story anywhere out of
the ordinary. Spike and Dru add some spice, and the scene when Angel
confesses about Dru takes things to a higher level, but it's really the
big confrontation between Buffy and Ford that finally sends LTM into
Excellent territory for me, and the final scene that cements its status.
Great title, too. Variations on the phrase "lie to me" occur throughout
the episode; but my favorite is Buffy's final, wistful request to Giles,
when she's actually saying that she knows all the
living-happily-ever-after stuff is a lie, and her asking him to tell it
is actually a goodbye to another piece of her innocence. In my secret
heart of hearts, I like to think the title refers specifically to *that*
"Lie to me" and not any of the others scattered through the episode.
Oh, and I love Buffy's final affectionate accusation: "Liar." Even at
such a painful moment, Buffy can still take comfort in Giles's love and
support.

> Rating: Excellent (up from Good)

Definitely Excellent.

> Season Two, Episode 8: "The Dark Age"
> Writers: Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
> Director: Bruce Seth Green

TDA raises the same question I asked about Halloween. Were any of you
first-time viewers shocked by the revelations about Giles's dark past?
Did it seem like a natural development? Or did it seem like something
out of the blue, soap-opera stylee? Surely not that.... Anyway, it's a
nice dramatic backstory for Giles, and provides some basis for the less
stuffy Giles we'll get in later seasons. It may be hard to reconcile
with the even stuffier Giles we've seen at points in the first 19
episodes, but this usually works for me: Giles reacted so strongly
for so long against his Ripper past that the super-stuffy verion became
deeply ingrained instinct for him.

Ethan is fun too. One nice touch with him is that he doesn't actually
hate Giles or Buffy. "I hope you're not taking this personally, Buffy. I
actually kinda like you. It's just that I like myself a whole lot more."
This cheerful amorality is a lot more distinctive than the standard
bwahaha.

I think this is the episode where Willow says that the Mark of
Whatsisname is Etruscan and therefore far predates the Egyption
iconography some have confused with. As a history geek, I always find
this inordinately annoying. Egyptian art and religion developed long
before the Etruscan culture arose.

Giles not only has a dark past, he has a sense of humor. His mention of
the Bay City Rollers could not have been anything but a joke, could it?

> Rating: Good

Once again I'll agree.


--Chris

______________________________________________________________________
chrisg [at] gwu.edu On the Internet, nobody knows I'm a dog.

mariposas rand mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

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May 18, 2007, 6:58:58 PM5/18/07
to
> Best part of the episode. As a latecomer to BTVS, I was already spoiled
> about Giles's past before I saw Halloween. But I'm always curious if
> first-time viewers ever found it shocking. So far the answers I've

yes it was shocking
i think this was the first time giles did violence
and it was the first time he did it so casually and brutally

(was there a bit of old sadomasochism between ripper and ethan?)

tony head was hired to be exposition guy
and a surprise to see a lot more to the character in the beginning of season two

> Ethan is fun too. One nice touch with him is that he doesn't actually

ethan is a meower

Don Sample

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May 18, 2007, 7:13:14 PM5/18/07
to
In article <134s992...@corp.supernews.com>,
chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu wrote:

> Arbitrar Of Quality <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Season Two, Episode 8: "The Dark Age"
> > Writers: Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
> > Director: Bruce Seth Green
>
> TDA raises the same question I asked about Halloween. Were any of you
> first-time viewers shocked by the revelations about Giles's dark past?
> Did it seem like a natural development? Or did it seem like something
> out of the blue, soap-opera stylee? Surely not that.... Anyway, it's a
> nice dramatic backstory for Giles, and provides some basis for the less
> stuffy Giles we'll get in later seasons. It may be hard to reconcile
> with the even stuffier Giles we've seen at points in the first 19
> episodes, but this usually works for me: Giles reacted so strongly
> for so long against his Ripper past that the super-stuffy verion became
> deeply ingrained instinct for him.

The hardest thing to reconcile it with was Giles' statement in "Witch"
that the spell he did to reverse Catherine Madison's spells was his
first casting.

> Giles not only has a dark past, he has a sense of humor. His mention of
> the Bay City Rollers could not have been anything but a joke, could it?

I always figured he was kidding with that. Even without what we later
learn about his musical taste, the Bay City Rollers were too bubblegum
for Giles.

Michael Ikeda

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May 18, 2007, 7:53:36 PM5/18/07
to
"Apteryx" <apt...@xtra.co.nz> wrote in
news:f2irkn$7eb$1...@aioe.org:

> "Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1179356977....@k79g2000hse.googlegroups.com...
>> Reminder: these threads are not spoiler-free)
>>

>> Season Two, Episode 8: "The Dark Age"


>> Writers: Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
>> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>>

>Different issues bug me each time I watch - last year


> it was the huge leap of faith taken by Angel that his demon can
> defeat Eyghon, on this last re-watch it is the fact that Giles
> summoning demons for kicks in his student days seems a little
> tame for a bad boy past after the build up Ethan gave it in
> Halloween.

Summoning demons for kicks is tame?

--
Michael Ikeda mmi...@erols.com
"Telling a statistician not to use sampling is like telling an
astronomer they can't say there is a moon and stars"
Lynne Billard, past president American Statistical Association

Mike Zeares

unread,
May 18, 2007, 11:23:43 PM5/18/07
to
S2D2 (sounds like an astromech-droid) is one of my favorite discs of
the entire series. It's a good one to use as an example of the better
typical Buffy eps from the early seasons.

On May 16, 6:09 pm, Arbitrar Of Quality <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:
> Reminder: these threads are not spoiler-free)
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 5: "Reptile Boy"
> Writer: David Greenwalt
> Director: David Greenwalt
>

> RB doesn't inspire much comment
> - it has plenty of enjoyable little moments which help excuse the fact
> that most of it is recycled, but doesn't say much to me in the long
> run. It's an episode that the Decent rating exists specifically to
> categorize.

Greenwalt's role as a writers seems to have been to crank out a couple
of Decent eps per season. The metaphorical side of his eps tended to
be a bit on the one-dimensional side (a high school girl goes to a
frat party, has a drink, and nearly gets eaten by a "giant snake."
Gotcha). Anyway, RB is a fun ep, with some quotable moments. I'm
partial to "Hey! Buffy-snake-basement now!" Speaking of which, this
is the first ep where we see the more assertive side of Willow.


> Season Two, Episode 6: "Halloween"
> Writer: Carl Elisworth
> Director: Bruce Seth Green

"This is just... neat!" Still one of my favorite Buffy eps. And
another one with "Willow takes charge" moments (creepy foreshadowing:
"Who died and made her the boss?"). Giles' reaction to Ghost Willow
coming through the wall is funny every single time.


> Season Two, Episode 7: "Lie To Me"
> Writer: Joss Whedon
> Director: Joss Whedon
>
> And from there a diversion into a two-episode exploration of the
> fantasy that adulthood brings infallibility, and that the rough edges
> of the world that seem so hard to process at sixteen will make perfect
> sense at twenty-six. Not so much. LTM is a defining moment in re-
> watching in that the series itself seems to grow up here.

Agreed. I also think it's one of Joss Whedon's best scripts. The
series was really starting to click at this point. LTM was a good
example of how to have a MOTW ep that also contains important movement
in the season arc. They sort of forgot how to do that in later
seasons.

> Rating: Excellent (up from Good)

Oh, I missed that the first time through your post. There was a time
when I thought this episode was the best of the series, and I still
might put it in the top 5 (I don't really think about such ratings
much any more).

> Season Two, Episode 8: "The Dark Age"
> Writers: Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
> Director: Bruce Seth Green

I never have much to say about it either. Notable mostly for
revealing the exact nature of Giles' electric funky Satan groove.

The disc has a nice arc that goes from Buffy acting irresponsibly to
being faced with the knowledge that Giles once acted even more
irresponsibly (give her time, she'll catch up).

-- Mike Zeares

David E. Milligan

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May 19, 2007, 7:38:29 AM5/19/07
to

"Don Sample" <dsa...@synapse.net> wrote in message
news:dsample-F79E80...@news.giganews.com...

> In article <134s992...@corp.supernews.com>,
> chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu wrote:
>
>> Arbitrar Of Quality <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> > Season Two, Episode 8: "The Dark Age"
>> > Writers: Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
>> > Director: Bruce Seth Green
>>
>> TDA raises the same question I asked about Halloween. Were any of you
>> first-time viewers shocked by the revelations about Giles's dark past?
>> Did it seem like a natural development? Or did it seem like something
>> out of the blue, soap-opera stylee? Surely not that.... Anyway, it's a
>> nice dramatic backstory for Giles, and provides some basis for the less
>> stuffy Giles we'll get in later seasons. It may be hard to reconcile
>> with the even stuffier Giles we've seen at points in the first 19
>> episodes, but this usually works for me: Giles reacted so strongly
>> for so long against his Ripper past that the super-stuffy verion became
>> deeply ingrained instinct for him.
>
> The hardest thing to reconcile it with was Giles' statement in "Witch"
> that the spell he did to reverse Catherine Madison's spells was his
> first casting.
>
Perhaps he said it for Buffy's benefit, not wanting to reveal anything about his old
Ripper life.

Apteryx

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May 19, 2007, 7:46:55 AM5/19/07
to
"Michael Ikeda" <mmi...@erols.com> wrote in message
news:z5GdnR55m9ododPb...@rcn.net...

> "Apteryx" <apt...@xtra.co.nz> wrote in
> news:f2irkn$7eb$1...@aioe.org:
>
>>Different issues bug me each time I watch - last year
>> it was the huge leap of faith taken by Angel that his demon can
>> defeat Eyghon, on this last re-watch it is the fact that Giles
>> summoning demons for kicks in his student days seems a little
>> tame for a bad boy past after the build up Ethan gave it in
>> Halloween.
>
> Summoning demons for kicks is tame?

Well, which of us can truly claim we never summoned the odd demon in out
student days. But the Halloween build up is portentous enough that I figured
it meant Giles wasn't human, or at least had once been a card-carrying
member of Evil Inc.

--
Apteryx


Michael Ikeda

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May 19, 2007, 7:47:19 AM5/19/07
to
"David E. Milligan" <davi...@bellsouth.net> wrote in
news:DkB3i.4436$923...@bignews3.bellsouth.net:

Another possibility is that "casting" is some sort of technical
term.

Michael Ikeda

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May 19, 2007, 7:52:42 AM5/19/07
to
"Apteryx" <apt...@xtra.co.nz> wrote in
news:f2mo3f$fne$1...@aioe.org:

Giles would have been a card-carrying member. Except that Ethan was
in charge of getting the cards so somehow they never quite got
ordered.

They did get some delicious candy bars, however...

Don Sample

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May 19, 2007, 4:22:09 PM5/19/07
to
In article <D_ednZqdn8paftPb...@rcn.net>,
Michael Ikeda <mmi...@erols.com> wrote:

Or even back in the day, he was the research guy, and Ethan did the
casting.

chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu

unread,
May 20, 2007, 3:27:55 PM5/20/07
to
Don Sample <dsa...@synapse.net> wrote:

>> >>> we'll get in later seasons. It may be hard to reconcile with
>> >>> the even stuffier Giles we've seen at points in the first 19
>> >>> episodes, but this usually works for me: Giles reacted so
>> >>> strongly for so long against his Ripper past that the
>> >>> super-stuffy verion became deeply ingrained instinct for him.
>> >>
>> >> The hardest thing to reconcile it with was Giles' statement in
>> >> "Witch" that the spell he did to reverse Catherine Madison's
>> >> spells was his first casting.
>> >>
>> > Perhaps he said it for Buffy's benefit, not wanting to reveal
>> > anything about his old Ripper life.
>>
>> Another possibility is that "casting" is some sort of technical
>> term.
>
> Or even back in the day, he was the research guy, and Ethan did the
> casting.

Those all could work, but I prefer still another one. The exact words
were: "I assume the, uh, all the spells are reversed. It was my first
casting, so I may have got it wrong." So my explanation is, Giles simply
meant that it was his first casting of *that* spell, the one that undid
Catherine's enchantments, not his first casting of any spell ever. He
could still have cast any number of other spells during his dark age, or
since then. This has the virtue of simplicity: no need to assume Giles is
lying, for instance. Of course it also has the flaw that this is probably
*not* what the writer intended. But hey, as long as it fits what we see
and hear in the episode, and improves continuity with later episodes, I'm
willing to live with that particular flaw.

mariposas rand mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

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May 20, 2007, 3:50:18 PM5/20/07
to
In article <135189r...@corp.supernews.com>,
chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu wrote:

> Don Sample <dsa...@synapse.net> wrote:
>
> >> >>> we'll get in later seasons. It may be hard to reconcile with
> >> >>> the even stuffier Giles we've seen at points in the first 19
> >> >>> episodes, but this usually works for me: Giles reacted so
> >> >>> strongly for so long against his Ripper past that the
> >> >>> super-stuffy verion became deeply ingrained instinct for him.
> >> >>
> >> >> The hardest thing to reconcile it with was Giles' statement in
> >> >> "Witch" that the spell he did to reverse Catherine Madison's
> >> >> spells was his first casting.
> >> >>
> >> > Perhaps he said it for Buffy's benefit, not wanting to reveal
> >> > anything about his old Ripper life.
> >>
> >> Another possibility is that "casting" is some sort of technical
> >> term.
> >
> > Or even back in the day, he was the research guy, and Ethan did the
> > casting.
>
> Those all could work, but I prefer still another one. The exact words
> were: "I assume the, uh, all the spells are reversed. It was my first
> casting, so I may have got it wrong." So my explanation is, Giles simply
> meant that it was his first casting of *that* spell, the one that undid

is summoning a demon the same as casting a spell?

MBB

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May 21, 2007, 1:10:12 AM5/21/07
to
Arbitrar Of Quality <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in
news:1179356977....@k79g2000hse.googlegroups.com:

> Reminder: these threads are not spoiler-free)

> ..


> Season Two, Episode 7: "Lie To Me"
> Writer: Joss Whedon
> Director: Joss Whedon
>

> ... I commented in my review that I thought I finally "got"


> Angel for the first time, and given that he's now probably my favorite
> Buffyverse character, I'd say that was a worthwhile development. This
> episode is full of great moments, like the Buffy/Angel exchange in her
> house as they start to dabble in real trust (while there's so much
> he's holding back about himself), the showdown in the crypt, and the
> last scene.

> ...
>

It also has the hilarious moment of Angel flunking going undercover with
Xander and Willow. We'd see him later have trouble going undercover with
other people, AO Cordelia & Wesley when they spy on the cheating woman
(ATS: Darla?) and he walks straith up and tells her her husband knows.

Yet on other moments he has absolutely no problem going undercover at
all:
- Enemies; when he and Buffy trick Faith and the Mayor in thinking he is
Angelus
- Blood momey, when he plays Wolfram and Hart for the money.
- Power Play, when he convinces the Cicle of the Black Thorn he is evil.


It is interesting that sometimes he is very good at going undercover, and
sometimes he can't do it at all.

I noticed two differences; when he is good he is usually grey/dark or
pretending to be grey/dark, and when he is good he is usually undercover
alone/on his own terms.

Which is the one that makes the difference?

--

+0==)]::::::::::::::::::::::::::::>

<MBB>-

Elisi

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May 21, 2007, 8:54:05 AM5/21/07
to

Mostly when I watch this ep I think 'OMG they're all so *young*!' And
they are. Buffy is the Slayer - she can kill any demon and save the
world - and yet she's also just a young girl who needs... well...
*protecting*. She (like any youngster, knowing that what they're doing
is wrong) lies to Giles about where she's going and then doesn't even
really have a good time at the party - she's out of place and she
knows it. She drinks with a 'what the hell' attitude, not because she
wants to or enjoys it.

Now there are two other 'drinking' episodes, and we can directly trace
how Buffy grows in the intervening years. In 'Beer Bad' she's yet
again hagning out with a bunch of frat boys, but this time she *is*
having fun, and she's there as an equal. 'Course frat boys are idiots
and get their come-uppance, and Buffy is drinking because she's trying
to drown her Parker sorrows, but still the outcome is a lot less dire
than in RB.

Fastforward another 2 years and she's drinking with *Spike*, going to
a demon bar, which should (logically) lead to all sorts of badness -
except of course frat boys are far worse than demons! ;) This time
Buffy is trying to escape her depression, and the drink does not help
of course - but at the same time the only repercussion is a horrible
hangover.

The message is very simple - trying to drown your sorrows will never
work, and the younger you are, the worse it'll be!

chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu

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May 21, 2007, 12:31:44 PM5/21/07
to
mariposas rand mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges <mair_...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>> Those all could work, but I prefer still another one. The exact words
>> were: "I assume the, uh, all the spells are reversed. It was my first
>> casting, so I may have got it wrong." So my explanation is, Giles simply
>> meant that it was his first casting of *that* spell, the one that undid
>
> is summoning a demon the same as casting a spell?

That's unclear, but I suspect they are. Both involve using rituals,
chants, sacrifices and so on to achieve a supernatural result. So if
there's any difference between them it can only be if those rituals, etc.
are themselves inherently magical in one case but not the other. It's
*possible* that when summoning a demon, the rituals and so on are just a
means of attracting the demon's attention, and are not magical in
themselves. However, it seems more likely to me that there is actually
magic involved, because otherwise how could the ritual, etc. actually
contact a demon on another dimension in the first place? That's the main
reason I think summoning a demon must be a form of spell-casting. But
that's just deduction; I don't think the answer is explicitly stated
anywhere in the Buffyverse.

But even if summoning a demon is *not* the same as casting a spell, The
Dark Age clearly implies that Giles did some spell-casting in his Ripper
days. He tells Buffy "I fell in with the worst crowd that would have me.
We practiced magicks. Small stuff for pleasure or gain." His use of "we"
instead of "they" indicates that Giles himself was one of the ones
practicing magic(k). Thus, even without the demon-summoning, TDA still
shows that the spell in The Witch was not Giles's first.

bookworm

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May 21, 2007, 2:32:24 PM5/21/07
to
MBB schrieb:

As inconsistent the portrayal of Angel is between BtVS (dancing with
Buffy) and AtS (I don't dance!) this one actually made sense:

he just doesn't care if the wife betrays her husband, he wants them to
work it out. it's neither damsel in distress nor world in peril-stuff.

bookworm

Arbitrar Of Quality

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May 21, 2007, 4:44:34 PM5/21/07
to
On May 19, 6:46 am, "Apteryx" <apte...@xtra.co.nz> wrote:
> "Michael Ikeda" <mmik...@erols.com> wrote in message
>
> news:z5GdnR55m9ododPb...@rcn.net...
>
> > "Apteryx" <apte...@xtra.co.nz> wrote in

> >news:f2irkn$7eb$1...@aioe.org:
>
> >>Different issues bug me each time I watch - last year
> >> it was the huge leap of faith taken by Angel that his demon can
> >> defeat Eyghon, on this last re-watch it is the fact that Giles
> >> summoning demons for kicks in his student days seems a little
> >> tame for a bad boy past after the build up Ethan gave it in
> >> Halloween.
>
> > Summoning demons for kicks is tame?
>
> Well, which of us can truly claim we never summoned the odd demon in out
> student days. But the Halloween build up is portentous enough that I figured
> it meant Giles wasn't human, or at least had once been a card-carrying
> member of Evil Inc.

I figured (after "Halloween") that he was in some way more than human
too. It works for me since it's not just his past actions, but the
whole Ripper persona and attitude towards life which he's been trying
so hard to get away from.

-AOQ

Kevin

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May 21, 2007, 10:48:30 PM5/21/07
to
On May 18, 8:23 pm, Mike Zeares <mzea...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > Season Two, Episode 6: "Halloween"
> "This is just... neat!" Still one of my favorite Buffy eps. And
> another one with "Willow takes charge" moments (creepy foreshadowing:
> "Who died and made her the boss?"). Giles' reaction to Ghost Willow
> coming through the wall is funny every single time.

It sure is! Still one of my favorite memories of the episodes that
hooked me ten years ago. Note that he is in the midst of one of his
"many relaxing hobbies": cross-referencing. :) And Buffy and Willow
peering through the little window in the library door, about to steal
Giles's watcher diaries, gets my vote for cutest scene in the series.


> > Season Two, Episode 7: "Lie To Me"

> Agreed. I also think it's one of Joss Whedon's best scripts. The
> series was really starting to click at this point. LTM was a good
> example of how to have a MOTW ep that also contains important movement
> in the season arc. They sort of forgot how to do that in later
> seasons.

Oh boy, do I concur. Great script, as strong with the "big" as with
the little moments... Loved the Angel/Drusilla setup in the teaser,
with Buffy spotting them from above; the woozy spinning camera and
blanched lighting when Buffy meets Ford in front of the school, after
learning he's lied to her... Joss nailed this one.

Prophecy Girl, When She Was Bad, and now Lie To Me: Joss's resume as
writer/director was pretty fantastic even before we get to Innocence!

--Kevin

mariposas rand mair fheal greykitten tomys des anges

unread,
May 23, 2007, 2:09:48 AM5/23/07
to
> villain of the series (especially as Darla, S1's biggest standout,
> retreated further into memory, what with being dead forever and all).

and of course once dead never to be seen again

if warren can be resurrected
then so too jonathon
now as an agent of the forces of good
hovering over watching over our heroes

arf meow arf - nsa fodder
al qaeda terrorism nuclear bomb iran taliban big brother
if you meet buddha on the usenet killfile him

Arbitrar Of Quality

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May 23, 2007, 2:15:25 AM5/23/07
to
On May 21, 12:10 am, MBB <A@B_nd.com> wrote:

> It also has the hilarious moment of Angel flunking going undercover with
> Xander and Willow. We'd see him later have trouble going undercover with
> other people, AO Cordelia & Wesley when they spy on the cheating woman
> (ATS: Darla?) and he walks straith up and tells her her husband knows.
>
> Yet on other moments he has absolutely no problem going undercover at
> all:
> - Enemies; when he and Buffy trick Faith and the Mayor in thinking he is
> Angelus
> - Blood momey, when he plays Wolfram and Hart for the money.
> - Power Play, when he convinces the Cicle of the Black Thorn he is evil.
>
> It is interesting that sometimes he is very good at going undercover, and
> sometimes he can't do it at all.
>
> I noticed two differences; when he is good he is usually grey/dark or
> pretending to be grey/dark, and when he is good he is usually undercover
> alone/on his own terms.
>
> Which is the one that makes the difference?

As bookworm mentioned, the problem in "Dear Boy" wasn't that he wasn't
capable of doing it; he just got bored/disgusted with the whole
thing. (And anyway, he wasn't "undercover" so much as "setting up
hidden microphones and then keeping his distance.")

I can't think of any other examples of him not being good at the
infiltration. Basically, if Angel can get himself to be thinking of
purely acting, without putting anything of himself into his character
type, his impressions are dead-on. That fact is pretty constant, even
though it's easy to forget, given how shy and awkward he gets when
he's in a real conversation without a character to use as a mask.

CORDELIA: Take his place? Great plan, boss! What better way to get
your mind off... things we don't even need to... How loud and flashy?"
WESLEY: I believe he is quite the extrovert.
[They turn together to look at Angel.]
CORDELIA: Hmm...
ANGEL (after a beat): What?
WESLEY (with obvious doubt): Oh, I-I'm sure you can pull it off.
You're - colorful.
----
ANGEL: This is such an honor! I'm a big fan, you know? (Bounces up
and down) When the boss said that Jay-don was coming in I was just
like "Whoa, wow!" Hey, can I see the glasses?
- "The Shroud Of Rahmon"

Arbitrar Of Quality

unread,
May 24, 2007, 2:11:08 AM5/24/07
to
The Internets seem to have eaten my last post, so let's see if I can
remember what I said. Not even all that much content, but I still
wanted it to get posted. Oh, and these threads are getting cross-
posted to a.t.a. in the future because Google is less likely to go
weird with both NGs at once.

On May 18, 5:13 pm, chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu wrote:
> Arbitrar Of Quality <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:
And of course the very idea of a Halloween episode is
> inherently pleasing, as Halloween is indisputably the best of all
> holidays.

Preach on.

> Variations on the phrase "lie to me" occur throughout
> the episode; but my favorite is Buffy's final, wistful request to Giles,
> when she's actually saying that she knows all the
> living-happily-ever-after stuff is a lie, and her asking him to tell it
> is actually a goodbye to another piece of her innocence. In my secret
> heart of hearts, I like to think the title refers specifically to *that*
> "Lie to me" and not any of the others scattered through the episode.

Well, given that it's the most prominent use of the title phrase, not
so outlandish. Or the episode could be named after the theme, of
course.

> TDA raises the same question I asked about Halloween. Were any of you
> first-time viewers shocked by the revelations about Giles's dark past?
> Did it seem like a natural development? Or did it seem like something
> out of the blue, soap-opera stylee? Surely not that.... Anyway, it's a
> nice dramatic backstory for Giles, and provides some basis for the less
> stuffy Giles we'll get in later seasons. It may be hard to reconcile
> with the even stuffier Giles we've seen at points in the first 19
> episodes, but this usually works for me: Giles reacted so strongly
> for so long against his Ripper past that the super-stuffy verion became
> deeply ingrained instinct for him.

I was so beyond sick of super-stuffy Giles at this point that I
welcomed the change unreservedly. A minor retcon seems a small price
to pay to get him out of the character limbo he was in earlier this
season.

> Ethan is fun too. One nice touch with him is that he doesn't actually
> hate Giles or Buffy. "I hope you're not taking this personally, Buffy. I
> actually kinda like you. It's just that I like myself a whole lot more."
> This cheerful amorality is a lot more distinctive than the standard
> bwahaha.

I mentioned that quote and a similar appreciation for Ethan in my
original review. He was very briefly my favorite Buffyverse villain,
esepcially since Darla, S1's standout, was rapidly receding into
distant memory and unlikely to ever appear again.

-AOQ

One Bit Shy

unread,
May 25, 2007, 11:21:24 PM5/25/07
to
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in message
news:1179356977....@k79g2000hse.googlegroups.com...

> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 5: "Reptile Boy"
> Writer: David Greenwalt
> Director: David Greenwalt
>

> William explained this (and understood it) better than I do, but I was
> trying to re-watch pre-"Innocence" Season Two as an exploration of
> Buffy's various defense mechanisms in coping with the way dying in PG

> affected her. This week, in a theme that will be developed through
> "What's My Line," she's trying to compartmentalize the Buffy and the
> death-dealing dying Slayer again - not defying either, but taking some
> time off from the latter. It's a Season One storyline, and it turns

> out the same way most S1 episodes do. RB doesn't inspire much comment


> - it has plenty of enjoyable little moments which help excuse the fact
> that most of it is recycled, but doesn't say much to me in the long
> run. It's an episode that the Decent rating exists specifically to
> categorize.

Except for the season opener, I'm not terribly fond of early S2. There are
a lot of similarities to the S1 style, and these episodes do continue with
the raw enthusiasm of a still young show, and continue showcasing the
characters we've already come to love. (Willow getting angry is a sight to
behold.) But the story lines are kind of lame - this being one of the worst
examples - and the fill (the real fun parts where the dialogue shines) seem
less concerned with character development than positioning everybody for
future plot twists.

A few things along those lines are done in this episode - such as having
Xander participate in saving Cordelia. I believe he does this 4 times -
including twice saving her directly himself - before your favorite
abomination. The larger thing this episode is probably just hammering at an
atmosphere of deceit and failure of trust. The obvious lies of frat boy
Tom. The lesser lie of Buffy to Giles that just begins to nudge us down the
path of a complex S2 relationship between Buffy and Giles. The most
interesting example, I think, is Xander's determination to follow Buffy to
the party and keep an eye on her. Much of this is built, I believe, on the
notion he has that it's his job to keep Buffy alive. Kind of misguided and
obsessive, but not evil. The problem is, which we start seeing here, that
it increasingly is built on his distrust of Buffy's judgment.

All of this is interesting in its fashion, but I don't think it's terribly
friendly to the stories at hand. In this episode the story feels very throw
away. Although, granted, I'm no fan of student secret society stories with
demon worship and/or serial killing. It's a genre that for some reason
especially annoys me. Within that framework, this isn't as objectionable as
many - and substantially better than its usage in S7's Help. Still, it's
not a story to get excited about.

What I find myself paying attention to the most in this episode is the
breaking down of Cordelia. Her personality stays pretty constant
throughout - except when she freaks out a bit towards the end when she first
thanks the gang, then yells at them for always being around when weird stuff
happens. Mostly, though, Cordy must be Cordy. The problem is that being
Cordy stops working. Actually, things have been going wrong for a while and
will continue to, but this is the peak. She makes a fool of herself with
her laughing routine. Then she twice has to turn to Buffy for help to get
invited to the party - both humiliating by themselves. She doesn't get the
older guy. Then retreats by getting Jonathan of all people to serve her.
Nothing is working right. But, more importantly, all of this is very
visible. The Cordettes have eyes and ears and running mouths. There's no
way that they've missed this.

I know you're not a big early Cordy fan. And it's true that Charisma isn't
the best actress and that Cordelia isn't the best written part. But the
idea of her story is worthy - the ultimate cool insider pushed to the
outside and struggling mightily to make her way into Buffy's clique -
ultimately failing. By the time you get to Homecoming you have to wonder if
that failure is as much Buffy's fault as Cordelia's. The parallel to Buffy
that Cordelia represents - the "popular" girl that Buffy once was and still
might be without the slaying - becomes increasingly ambiguous as Buffy
becomes the cool insider to Cordy, and is freezing her out. Many of the
setup elements I find most interesting in early S2 are Cordy related. A lot
are about Cordy/Xander. But some, as here, are more about Cordy/Buffy. She
stood chained up along side Buffy and, for the third time, had to ask for
her help. This time said with feeling.


> Rating: Decent

Even though I don't much like the story, the edges around the it keep
playing better for me. I used to think this was one of the worst of the
series, but I've softened a lot since. Not enough to move it past Decent
though.

> Season Two, Episode 6: "Halloween"

> Writer: Carl Elisworth
> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>

> In the ongoing chart of Buffy's headspace, this one briefly delves
> into her fantasy that life would be better if it were simple and
> required no effort, which links up with LTM (that aspect of S2 is less
> of an arc than a collection of essays on a theme; S1 felt similar).

This isn't terribly related to your observation, but I wanted to mention one
big difference between S1 and S2's handling of their big bads. Spike surely
is cooler than the Master, but I think the greater distinction is
motivation. The Master lived for his grandiose plans for ruling the world -
something that's naturally distancing from everybody else, including the
audience. Spike's motivation is much more personal - he wants to heal
Drusilla. Later, Angelus will be all about the personal. Until he decides
to destroy the world anyway. The personal works a whole lot better.


> But no one really cares about that, since "Halloween" is more of a
> chance for the other 75% of the core quartet to shine. I think this
> one seemed more exciting the first time around; I was more enamored

> with Ghost Willow and remembered her doing more, and so on. Maybe


> it's because the series later achieves so many great things this stuff
> doesn't seem as vital and pulsing. Still plenty of fun to be had.

> Most interesting to a second-time viewer is the first instance of
> Giles getting his Ripper on. It's such a departure from where the
> character's been before, and Head slips as effortlessly in and out of
> it as his character does. The intense brutality of the Giles/Ethan
> interactions are the most memorable part of an episode that's

> otherwise largely about having a good time; I hadn't remembered that
> it ended with the latter's promise to return, but it does. This one
> stands out in the a.t.b-v-s discussions because it was the first
> thread to get hundreds of posts, spun off of a point about the lack of
> reaction to Snyder's lack of visible reaction to "School Hard." Ah,
> memories and such.

If this episode feels like it somehow should be better, I think it's because
the first priority is positioning characters for the future. Overt changes
in nature are introduced for Giles and Willow. Dru demonstrates a major
power. Spike is humiliated by Buffy again - once more and you could call
this a pattern. Willow as hottie parades herself before Oz. Buffy and
Angel start kissing again. Other than the revelation about Giles, none of
this is especially big in itself, but one can sense that some kind of
general shift occurs this episode.

My favorite part of that is Xander/Cordelia. Soldier Boy, of course, sets
up a critical moment in Innocence, but also turns out to set up an enduring
aspect of Xander for years to come. It would seem that he chose for a
costume a kind of self ideal for himself. This becomes a little Tabula Rasa
like after Soldier Boy rescues Cordelia. My favorite moment of the episode
is when Xander stands next to Cordy - sweaty, muscular, holding a gun, and
putting his jacket on her shoulders. Cordy seems taken aback and rather
impressed. Is that really Xander? Cordy has been directly rescued by
Xander twice already this season - and twice more he's helped others rescue
her. This time he looks mighty good to her while he's doing it... Xander
has no idea what's going on, but that's part of the charm - and the
foreshadowing. When Willow runs off to find Giles, leaving Xander more or
less in charge, he instructs Buffy to go with Angel and Cordelia to stay
with him. Whoa! Aside from being foreshadowy as all hell, it suggests a
recognition of true desires. Tabula Rasa.


> Rating: Good

My appreciation for this episode has declined a great deal over time. It's
just not as entertaining as I want it to be. Not as funny, exciting, or
weird as the story idea seems to promise. I keep wondering how people
living over a hellmouth have such dull Halloween costumes and imaginings.
Still, it's entertaining enough to keep it barely hanging onto a Good
rating.

This episode also introduces a series long tradition - Buffy letting Spike
live. Look at the play of the ending. Buffy had Spike dead to rights, but
she doesn't make even a token effort to stop Spike from running away.
There's a decent fanwank for that - Buffy doesn't want to kill Spike in
front of the little kids that have already gone through a lot of trauma.
But it's still a jarring moment that will become almost a running joke.

> Season Two, Episode 7: "Lie To Me"

> Writer: Joss Whedon
> Director: Joss Whedon
>

> And from there a diversion into a two-episode exploration of the
> fantasy that adulthood brings infallibility, and that the rough edges
> of the world that seem so hard to process at sixteen will make perfect
> sense at twenty-six. Not so much. LTM is a defining moment in re-

> watching in that the series itself seems to grow up here. Buffy
> herself still has the instinct for neatly grasping the answers - she
> feels sorry for Ford but still sees that he's evil, for instance, end
> of discussion. But not knowing who or what to trust in is starting to

> get to her. I commented in my review that I thought I finally "got"


> Angel for the first time, and given that he's now probably my favorite
> Buffyverse character, I'd say that was a worthwhile development. This
> episode is full of great moments, like the Buffy/Angel exchange in her
> house as they start to dabble in real trust (while there's so much
> he's holding back about himself), the showdown in the crypt, and the

> last scene. More than that, the dialogue and the character moments

> crackle throughout (except for Cordelia; Willow and Xander are a blast


> to watch, and "ours is a forbidden love" is one of my favorite under-
> quoted lines. Meanwhile, Spike and Drusilla are vivid personalities
> now, proving that they'll have staying power where "School Hard" might

> have led one to doubt it). Everything seems a little brighter in the
> darker adult world.

Giles: What kind of a secret?
Jenny: Uh, the kind that's secret. You know, where I don't actually tell
you what it is.

Jenny is talking about going to a monster truck show for their date - an
amusingly trivial setup for an episode obsessed with people's secrets and
the lies around them. What gets to me though is how, ultimately, it's
Jenny's real secret that will dwarf what we see here.

As for the show growing up here (and maybe Buffy herself a little, though
that's less certain), it seems intended to. Almost a blaring announcement
that the series intends to be more serious than people expect it to be.
This is where I struggle a bit with the episode. Much is very good, but the
harsh tone of deceit comes across to me as abrupt and a little heavy handed.

Mind you, the series does need to move there. Considering what's coming up,
it really can't plod along with the same old MOTW stories. The series needs
to up the ante. So I can't disapprove of introducing distrust between
friends or other tension adding elements - like Xander's open and
inappropriate hostility towards both Angel and Ford. (The "dead boy"
exchange is wonderful.) I love that stuff. This is where the dysfunctional
element of their "family" starts taking off.

But it's still an abrupt change in mood from prior episodes, applied with
the subtlety of a sledge hammer, and centered around a moral dilemma within
Ford that I don't think is worth a plugged nickel. There's a lot of very
cool things in this episode. (I adore the opening with Drusilla.) I just
can't get away from this feeling of being beaten by the show, and the sense
that people's attitudes change more because it's the time of the season to
do that than what actually happens here.

The ending line by Giles is amusing and sweet and sadly wistful - I like it
a lot - but even there I can't help but think of it as a flashing neon sign
announcing what the series won't do in the future.


> Rating: Excellent (up from Good)

I'm sticking with Good. I'll never love this episode.

> Season Two, Episode 8: "The Dark Age"
> Writers: Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel
> Director: Bruce Seth Green
>

> I've always had trouble thinking of much to say about TDA, but this
> one actually improved for me on second viewing (from a low-ish Good to
> a high Good); I imagined that since its pace is slow, it would be
> boring once I knew the twists in advance. But it's more of a show
> that proceeds a stylish and thoughtful pace (and really creepy at
> times with the sexual stuff).

The pacing is slow. I would still consider that to be its greatest
weakness. But the pace is forgivable - fitting what is being done, much as
you describe.

> Ethan is a great character, and it's
> too bad his later appearances didn't measure up to the two this
> season. One thing that runs contrary to my recollections is the
> mistrust between Buffy and Giles, or lack thereof. I remembered it as
> a rift between them, but at this point in the series, he's actually
> very much Buffy's father figure, the adult who's automatically worthy
> of trust, and she "knows" that their relationship is too close to be
> shaken by the rather object lesson that he's not infallible. It's an
> interesting contrast with the way she reacts to "Helpless" and the
> disassembly of the character's integrity during S6/7.

S2 is the only time that I think Giles as father figure much works - or
really is even attempted. Soon enough it will be clear that he's not made
for that role. Even this season the relationship will be strained by
Angelus, but it works through its intimacy. The fallibility of Giles shown
this episode (paired to the lesser lie by Buffy back in Reptile Boy) serves
to humanize Giles, perversely making him more trustworthy, not less. The
two are coming to know each other deeply - arguably making there's the
greatest relationship story of the season, at least in the sense of greatest
mutual knowledge and trust. Alas, as S3 will show us, that level of trust
can't last. Not in this series anyway.

Moving on to this episode's Cordy moments - which I love. Poor Buffy's
confusion at Cordelia asking Buffy what she should do is a stitch. (Cordy
cares about Giles too. LOL!) But it very much goes to Cordy's changing
position and status.

Then add Xander to the mix.

Xander: I'm just not fickle like you two, okay? I'm constant in my
affections.

If Xander only knew how constant he'd become about Cordelia I think he'd get
ill. The library squabble between them probably is the most obvious example
of their fighting as foreplay. Then one last blatant statement when Eyghon
escapes the cage, and Xander immediately goes to protect Cordelia, ending up
holding her in his arms for an extended period. No complaints from Cordelia
either.

I get a lot of amusement out of the effort put in to set up your favorite
abomination soon to come. It's kind of blatant, yet the payoff still
generates a huh?


> Rating: Good

I agree. Of the four episodes on this DVD, this is the one I like best. It
has far more to say about Ripper than Halloween did and really completes the
necessary adjustment to his character. Interestingly, I think, this episode
also pulls back at the end to soften Giles a little as Eyghon makes it clear
that he thinks "Ripper" was the timid play it safe one of the group that
raised him. Of course that's by Eyghon's standards, so I think it's safe to
assume Ripper was still pretty tough. But it does add to the distinction
between Ripper and Ethan, and allows Giles to continue as awkward librarian.

Another thing that gets adjusted is his relationship with Jenny - it's a lot
more balanced now. (Well, actually it's a little estranged, but that's
short term.) A lot of Jenny's smugness has been taken away.


OBS


chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu

unread,
May 31, 2007, 6:14:56 PM5/31/07
to
One Bit Shy <O...@nomail.sorry> wrote:

>> Season Two, Episode 7: "Lie To Me"
>> Writer: Joss Whedon
>> Director: Joss Whedon
>

> But it's still an abrupt change in mood from prior episodes, applied with
> the subtlety of a sledge hammer, and centered around a moral dilemma within
> Ford that I don't think is worth a plugged nickel.

I like LTM a lot more than you do, but it's certainly not because of
Ford's moral dilemma. That, I'll agree is worthless ... or better yet,
it's just a non-dilemma, since Buffy is never in any doubt about what she
has to do while Ford simply doesn't care about the morality of it. But
the lack of a real dilemma in the dilemma doesn't matter, because I don't
see that as the center of the episode. Instead, it's the very grim turn
that Buffy's duty takes. An old friend and childhood crush turns out to
be a villain, and Buffy can't even hate him when she learns his
motivations, but regardless of her feelings she has to fight him anyway.
(And then she has to slay his reanimated corpse, but that's just an
addendum.) She defeats the baddie, but it hurts while she's doing it.
It's the most unpleasant thing she's had to do as Slayer since she died.
And of course it's also a little foretaste of what she'll have to do in
Becoming. The impact of being betrayed by a friend, and being pushed to a
point where she has to kill him (or let Spike kill him), along with the
accompanying revelations about Angel's history with Drusilla, is the heart
of LTM.

One Bit Shy

unread,
May 31, 2007, 9:25:03 PM5/31/07
to
<chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu> wrote in message
news:135ui70...@corp.supernews.com...

Foreshadowy as all hell, yeah. This episode - probably most blatantly of
the pre-Innocence episodes was about setting up the late season run. On a
number of levels. Turns the mood dark. Practically names the growing theme
of people not being who they seem to be. Establishes the Angel/Drusilla
relationship. Foreshadows. And so on. That's what's best about the
episode for me (and most of early S2 for that matter). I do rate it Good.

But the surface story doesn't win me. The background stuff is too blatant.
And the foreground kind of dull. That's what I meant about the story
centered on Ford's immoral choice. Not that it's the true heart of the
episode's meaning, but that the story revolves around it anyway.

Gotta say that I really love Drusilla this season though. It feels like
she's the highlight of every episode she's in.

OBS


Arbitrar Of Quality

unread,
Jun 1, 2007, 2:22:12 AM6/1/07
to
On May 31, 8:25 pm, "One Bit Shy" <O...@nomail.sorry> wrote:
> <chr...@removethistoreply.gwu.edu> wrote in message
>
> news:135ui70...@corp.supernews.com...
>

I think it bothered me more the first time I saw the episode. Maybe
the first-time viewer is drawn more to Ford since he seems so
important on the surface. It's certainly a valid criticism, but on re-
watching I'm thinking that maybe it's not supposed to be a moral
dilemma so much as just something that's hard on Buffy *despite* the
moral issues per se not being particularly sticky. I'm totally cool
with it nowadays as a door to more easily get us into letting Buffy
explore who she trusts and all the other things we've been repeating.

-AOQ

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