AOQ Review 2-22: "Becoming (Part II)"

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Arbitrar Of Quality

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Feb 27, 2006, 9:46:09 AM2/27/06
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A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
threads.


BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Season Two, Episode 22: "Becoming (Part Two)"
(or "How to disappear completely")
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

Somehow I thought it'd be an important character like Officer Bob
holding the gun. But it's just some rent-a-cop. They start to drag
Buffy away for questioning. Pitting heroes against the cops is so...
generic. But at least her sudden attack in the middle of the Miranda
is funny.

We go about sorting out what happened to our heroes after Bec1. It's
good to see Xander okay, and it's not so good to see him worried
enough that he can't even banter. Seeing Willow in that state is
enough to make even the more hardened viewers just say "awww...."
Fortunately, she wakes up soon to give us her Determined Face.
Unfortunately, the show has to blow some of my goodwill by putting her
in a freaking _coma_ for no reason other than to do that lame, lame
scene where Xander's declaration of love wakes her up. Ugh. Bad
Soap Opera, Conventional Soap Opera, whatever you want to call it, the
show should be above that kind of thing. Wasn't it enough for Xander
to have one potential romance built upon cliché scenes? Oh, and he
gets no sympathy from me re: Willow's reaction once awake.

That's really about all the supporting kids get to do here. I
suppose we can ponder the plot mystery of what was up with Willow
during the end of the cursifying, or the more character-driven part
when Xander decides not to tell Buffy what's happening on that front.
Otherwise the episode can't seem to make much time for them.

Meanwhile Angel really wants to torture Giles, in some of the
episode's better sequences. Now, most of this happens off-screen,
since the bloody details simply aren't that important if it doesn't
break Giles. Now, I was worried that he was going to crack, in which
case I would've wanted to see just a hint of what Angel was doing to
him, enough to make one cringe. And the episode teases us with that
outcome, before giving us "in order to be worthy, you must perform
the ritual in a tutu." Such a uniquely Giles way to say "go fuck
yourself." Strangely, Spike, charged with protecting Giles, is the
one who sees the big picture here rather than just a chance for
cruelty. Drusilla's little trick gives us an acceptable
justification for Giles to disappoint us in the end without damaging
our perception of the character, and satisfies our (presumably) burning
curiosity as to what Robia LaMorte was doing in the Act I credits. And
on top of that, sets up for one of our last jokes, when Xander rescues
Giles. Not a bad little plot thread at all.

"Sorry. I was in the moment." I liked that line. I have nothing
to add to this thought.

Snyder caring only about the chance to expel Buffy above all else makes
him seem like so ridiculous a character that it defies ridiculousness.
Except... then the call to the Mayor suggests that we still don't
know everything about SHS's beloved principal. You mean they're
not going to explain what's up with Snyder, after that buildup? Boo.
Well, I guess it makes sense to leave yourself a few unresolved issues
to possibly pick up again next season, but still, this seems more like
[S.M.'s term] "X-Filing" the issue rather than addressing it.

Spike appears, to propose an alliance with Buffy. Strange, but given
what we know about the way he is about Drusilla, not so outlandish.
The explanation about why vampires would talk about destroying a world
full of Happy Meals is well taken, and continues to hammer the point
that this thing with Angelus is different, scarier. Each one trusts
the other more quickly than reason would suggest, but quite simply,
they could both really use the help. And the fact that Buffy lets him
into her house (and leaves him psudeo-alone with her mom!) just proves
the point that she's running on pure instinct at this point. Buffy
and Spike (and their actors) have a good darkly comic vibe in their
exchanges (particularly Spike's reaction to hearing that Drusilla
"bagged a Slayer"), making it a surprise that they haven't gotten
more substantial scenes together before this.

"Have we met?" "You hit me with an axe one time. 'Get the hell
away from my daughter.'" Heh.

This also has the side effect of forcing Buffy to finally tell Joyce
what's in front of her. I really wasn't feeling these scenes. The
concept is fine - Buffy finally has to reveal the truth, and Joyce
can't take it since it's dumped on her all at once while Buffy
can't hang around to properly explain it. But Joyce's reactions
make her seem like more of a caricature than she's been since "The
Harvest" (well, I guess "Bad Eggs" was bad there too). It's
not only the fact that she can't accept the story, but the particular
dialogue and delivery on lines like "have you tried *not* being a
Slayer?" and "well, it stops now!" don't work for me. The
phrase "manipulative" comes to mind: it feels more like the scene
is happening because the script demands that Buffy stand alone, rather
than growing naturally out of the characters' personalities.
Although these two things aren't really connected or anything, while
Buffy was giving the speech part of her last conversation with her mom
(and Gellar seemed a little "off"), all I could think of was how
inferior this scene was to the similarly pivotal Buffy speech from last
year's "Prophecy Girl." High standards to hold up, but this is
the finale here.

So Buffy has marched past the things that she simply doesn't have
time for, sent her friends to safer places, and even Spike, true to his
word, has taken off with Drusilla (mirror of the end of "What's My
Line," with him back to being her self-appointed protector? Speaking
of which, how clearly is that car *not moving* during the interior
shots?). It's just about Angelus and Buffy in the end, as it should
be, a good old-fashioned adrenaline-heavy duel to the death. Swords
are inherently cool. And however predictable it might be, the note on
which the fight ends is the right one. Buffy apparently broken and
defeated. "Take all that away, and what's left?" "Me."
[Grab sword, attack.] To quote the source herself: not original,
I'll grant you, but it's true.

Gellar's little groans during the fight scenes annoyed me this time
for some reason.

I don't think I need to describe the very end of the Buffy/Angel
scene after he gets his soul back, since it's memorable enough that
it'll run through one's mind long after Alzheimer's has taken
everything else. As with the Season One finale, Buffy is a real hero
who'll do what she knows has to be done. I wonder how much Angel
understood in the last few seconds.

This is where Bec2 serves as a microcosm of Season Two as a whole.
Some of the details are wrong, but the core of the show - both the
season-long arc for these two characters and the way it ends - is
spot-on. Like Season Two, "Becoming II" settles for being merely
good where it could have been a masterpiece. But the most important
parts work so well that it's impossible to characterize it as
anything other than a success.

On to the very ending sequences... you know, I don't know. Once the
song started playing and we went to video montage mode, I was back to
that bit of disconnect, where it seemed like the show was being too
obviously emotionally manipulative. I think the melancholy sells
itself, so any attempts to call extra attention to it hurt rather than
help. (LOOK! SAD, ISN'T IT?!) Once we get to school and the
"where is she?" discussion, things shape up.

Although actually, you know how I would've ended it? Show the "now
leaving Sunnydale" sign when Spike is making his escape, to parallel
"School Hard." Then just end the show without showing Buffy again,
while everyone wonders about her. Sort of a world-without-its-Slayer
vibe that plays on the mythical qualities of the role: we didn't
deserve her, and she's gone. Not that there's anything at all
wrong with the _Ghost World_ ending they went with (I don't know
whether BTVS predates the Clowes comic). This is just a tangent about
what I would've done.

"This is really stupid but I laughed anyway" moment(s):
- "She plays the... triangle." "Drums."

Oh, to be more unspoiled than I am now. So many places they could have
gone from here... well, there's a huge amount I don't know about
what's to come, but it'd be even better to know absolutely nothing.

Anyway, it's been a fun "year," and I'd like to thank everyone
who's shared it with me. I desperately need a break from watching,
writing about, and discussing this show, so I'm going to let all the
threads die down and take the traditional between-season hiatus. See
ya'll with a new batch of reviews in... I don't know, a week or so,
or whenever I get back to it. Just keep your eyes on this place.


So...

One-sentence summary: Not hitting on all cylinders, but the most
important stuff is what it needs to be.

AOQ rating: Good

[Season Two ratings:
1) "When She Was Bad" - Good
2) "Some Assembly Required" - Weak
3) "School Hard" - Decent
4) "Inca Mummy Girl" - Good
5) "Reptile Boy" - Decent
6) "Halloween" - Good
7) "Lie To Me" - Good
8) "The Dark Age" - Good
9) "What's My Line (Part One)" - Good
10) "What's My Line (Part Two)" - Good
11) "Ted" - Excellent
12) "Bad Eggs" - Bad
13) "Surprise" - Decent
14) "Innocence" - Excellent
15) "Phases" - Decent
16) "Bewitched, Bothered, And Bewildered" - Bad
17) "Passion" - Good
18) "Killed By Death" - Decent
19) "I Only Have Eyes For You" - Good
20) "Go Fish" - Good
21) "Becoming (Part One)" - Excellent
22) "Becoming (Part Two)" - Good]


BY THE NUMBERS

_Buffy The Vampire Slayer_ Season Two

Bad - 2
Weak - 1
Decent - 5
Good - 11
Excellent - 3

Average rating: 3.55 ["Good minus"] (Decent=3)
Quality Percentage [% of episodes ranking "Good" or higher]: 64%

_Buffy The Vampire Slayer_ so far

Bad - 2
Weak - 2
Decent - 10
Good - 14
Excellent - 6


Ratings by season:
S1: Mean = 3.67, 50% quality
S2: Mean = 3.55, 64% quality
Series so far: Mean = 3.59, 59% quality

gree...@gmail.com

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Feb 27, 2006, 9:58:17 AM2/27/06
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Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

> Unfortunately, the show has to blow some of my goodwill by putting her
> in a freaking _coma_

Whedon likes comas. Too much, I'd say.

> for no reason other than to do that lame, lame
> scene where Xander's declaration of love wakes her up.

Well, coincidence at best, I'd say. Xander has no such powers, and I
think Whedon has made 'love doesn't cure all' a theme,

> Wasn't it enough for Xander
> to have one potential romance built upon cliché scenes?

I didn't then and don't now get a romantic love vibe from Xander at
this declaration. I'll leave it to others to expand, as I suspect some
might, but if Xander loves Willow (or Willow loves Xander) was a
revelation, some very important and obvious parts of the series flew
right by the viewer.

Terry

kenm47

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Feb 27, 2006, 10:13:25 AM2/27/06
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Initial Thought: No hugs for you! You folks are hard hearted!

(You did watch through to the little ME monster at the end, right?)

You don't listen to Beck's score. And Sarah McLachlan doesn't get to
you either!

Full of Grace lyrics at:

http://www.sing365.com/music/Lyric.nsf/Full-of-Grace-lyrics-Sarah-McLachlan/B17667A0FFB78C1E482568C00015E1EE

Maybe more thoughts later, when I stop sniffling from just having read
those lyrics and remembering the Leaving Sunnydale sign.

Ken (Brooklyn)

kenm47

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Feb 27, 2006, 10:16:47 AM2/27/06
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Of course they loved each other. More than brother/sister? Maybe, if
the right catalyst is there at the right time and no other relationship
distractions.

Willow hearing"love" and waking while calling out for Oz certainly
makes it appear that Xander's blown this one all to Hell. What could
have been, no longer can, so it seems.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Sam

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Feb 27, 2006, 11:08:32 AM2/27/06
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Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> That's really about all the supporting kids get to do here. I
> suppose we can ponder the plot mystery of what was up with Willow
> during the end of the cursifying, or the more character-driven part
> when Xander decides not to tell Buffy what's happening on that front.
> Otherwise the episode can't seem to make much time for them.
>

The question of why Xander didn't tell Buffy actually became one of the
biggest debates in the fandom, with one camp arguing that he didn't
tell her because he was still jealous and wanted Angel to die, and the
other camp arguing that he knew Buffy wouldn't fight as hard if she
thought there was a chance of getting Angel back, which would have
probably resulted in the end of the world.

> This is where Bec2 serves as a microcosm of Season Two as a whole.
> Some of the details are wrong, but the core of the show - both the
> season-long arc for these two characters and the way it ends - is
> spot-on. Like Season Two, "Becoming II" settles for being merely
> good where it could have been a masterpiece. But the most important
> parts work so well that it's impossible to characterize it as
> anything other than a success.
>

If "Becoming II" is 'merely good,' I'm curious as to what on television
you've actually considered a masterpiece.

--Sam

Espen Schjønberg

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Feb 27, 2006, 1:04:45 PM2/27/06
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On 27.02.2006 17:08, Sam wrote:
> Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
>
>>That's really about all the supporting kids get to do here. I
>>suppose we can ponder the plot mystery of what was up with Willow
>>during the end of the cursifying, or the more character-driven part
>>when Xander decides not to tell Buffy what's happening on that front.
>> Otherwise the episode can't seem to make much time for them.
>>
>
>
> The question of why Xander didn't tell Buffy actually became one of the
> biggest debates in the fandom, with one camp arguing that he didn't
> tell her because he was still jealous and wanted Angel to die, and the
> other camp arguing that he knew Buffy wouldn't fight as hard if she
> thought there was a chance of getting Angel back, which would have
> probably resulted in the end of the world.

Clearly, the boy is lucky. He was never smart enough to realize this -
but it is a big point: if he had told her, she wouldn't have fought hard
enough. But he never was smart enough to see that, I tell you.

But a goof: she lifts the sword to decapitate Angel. How could she close
the gate with his blood, if she had dusted him? She is lucky here, too!

--
Espen


Noe er Feil[tm]

vague disclaimer

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Feb 27, 2006, 1:16:02 PM2/27/06
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In article <1141053406....@i39g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
"kenm47" <ken...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> gree...@gmail.com wrote:
> > Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> >
> > > Unfortunately, the show has to blow some of my goodwill by putting her

> > > in a freaking coma

> >
> > Whedon likes comas. Too much, I'd say.
> >
> > > for no reason other than to do that lame, lame
> > > scene where Xander's declaration of love wakes her up.
> >
> > Well, coincidence at best, I'd say. Xander has no such powers, and I
> > think Whedon has made 'love doesn't cure all' a theme,
> >
> > > Wasn't it enough for Xander
> > > to have one potential romance built upon cliché scenes?
> >
> > I didn't then and don't now get a romantic love vibe from Xander at
> > this declaration. I'll leave it to others to expand, as I suspect some
> > might, but if Xander loves Willow (or Willow loves Xander) was a
> > revelation, some very important and obvious parts of the series flew
> > right by the viewer.
> >
> > Terry
>
> Of course they loved each other. More than brother/sister? Maybe, if
> the right catalyst is there at the right time and no other relationship
> distractions.
>
> Willow hearing"love" and waking while calling out for Oz certainly
> makes it appear that Xander's blown this one all to Hell.

Why has Xander blown anything to hell?

> What could
> have been, no longer can, so it seems.

--
A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend

vague disclaimer

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 1:17:16 PM2/27/06
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In article <1141056511.9...@p10g2000cwp.googlegroups.com>,
"Sam" <hyperevol...@gmail.com> wrote:

>
> Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> > That's really about all the supporting kids get to do here. I
> > suppose we can ponder the plot mystery of what was up with Willow
> > during the end of the cursifying, or the more character-driven part
> > when Xander decides not to tell Buffy what's happening on that front.
> > Otherwise the episode can't seem to make much time for them.
> >
>
> The question of why Xander didn't tell Buffy actually became one of the
> biggest debates in the fandom, with one camp arguing that he didn't
> tell her because he was still jealous and wanted Angel to die, and the
> other camp arguing that he knew Buffy wouldn't fight as hard if she
> thought there was a chance of getting Angel back, which would have
> probably resulted in the end of the world.

And then of course there are the sensible people who realise it is a bit
of each :).

I believe William knows a song about this one....

KenM47

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Feb 27, 2006, 1:47:52 PM2/27/06
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vague disclaimer <l64o...@dea.spamcon.org> wrote:

The whole Cordelia thing makes anything romantic between him and
Willow doomed. It's already gotten her to move on to Oz.

ROT13

Lrf, V xabj nobhg gur syhxr, ohg gung'f nyy vg pna rire or, qrfcvgr
Pbeql oernxvat vg bss sberire. Naq jr nyy xabj jung unccraf gb Pbeql.
Naq jr nyy xabj jung unccraf gb Jvyybj jvgu Bm naq gurernsgre.

>
>> What could
>> have been, no longer can, so it seems.

I'll stand by that.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Scythe Matters

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Feb 27, 2006, 2:22:48 PM2/27/06
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Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

> Somehow I thought it'd be an important character like Officer Bob
> holding the gun. But it's just some rent-a-cop.

No...it's an actual cop. ;-)

> Pitting heroes against the cops is so.. generic.

Is it? In this universe, isn't it a little interesting to see what
happens when a girl who "fights badness" in a totally mythic universe
intersects with the police, who "fight badness" in a totally prosaic
way? In fact, isn't it a little unusual that it hasn't happened more often?

It's another in a long line of these types of encounters that Buffy has
to navigate: the intrusion of the "real world" on her calling. Really,
this is an endless source of potential plots, because -- as you've
correctly noted on more than one occasion -- it's not particularly
reasonable for what goes on in Buffy's world to keep happening without
any interference from what I'll call "normals."

> Unfortunately, the show has to blow some of my goodwill by putting her
> in a freaking _coma_ for no reason other than to do that lame, lame
> scene where Xander's declaration of love wakes her up. Ugh. Bad
> Soap Opera, Conventional Soap Opera, whatever you want to call it, the
> show should be above that kind of thing. Wasn't it enough for Xander
> to have one potential romance built upon cliché scenes?

Once again, you've missed something important. Xander is finally
realizing something that should have been apparent to you (and him) all
along, and in fact Brendon very obviously plays the scene that way. This
is a point in the ever-more-complicated relationship between our
principal characters that the show has been building towards for some
time. It adds yet another level of complexity, and then leaves it
hanging because we're on a break between seasons. It's not at all
"conventional soap opera" unless you think that a teenager is not
realistically capable of conflicted affections. And, remember, Xander
has "gross emotional problems." This revelation is, I think, absolutely
inevitable...and to avoid it and continue on in blissful ignorance
*would* be the soap opera way of handling things.

> That's really about all the supporting kids get to do here. I
> suppose we can ponder the plot mystery of what was up with Willow
> during the end of the cursifying

Mystery? How so? Rather obviously, the power that Willow is invoking
takes her over and finishes the spell in the original language. If you
should wonder at anything, it's how easily Willow seems to be able to
call up rather powerful forces and direct them at her command. But I
don't see that it's a mystery, I see it as asking and answering the
question all in the same scene: Willow's going to have skills other than
electronic breaking and entering in the future. At least, that's what
this scene appears to portend.

> or the more character-driven part
> when Xander decides not to tell Buffy what's happening on that front.

It's hard to believe you can so easily gloss over a moment that, as has
been noted, consumed fandom for just about ever. But now that you know
that, how do you feel about this scene? What were Xander's thoughts,
emotions and motivations here? How do they make you feel about him as a
character? How do they make you feel about him in the context of his
actions in this and the prequel: the confrontation over re-ensouling
Angel and his confession of love for Willow? How does this fit into the
way Xander has been both progressing and regressing over the last half
of the season: the truly sympathetic friend (to Buffy) in "Phases," vs.
the guy who is clearly trying to keep both Buffy and Willow single and
thus available for him, vs. the loyal companion in all Buffy's fights,
vs. the guy who cast a rather problematic spell in "BB&B"?

And here's another thing you missed: think about this scene, and then
watch Xander's reactions in his final scene outside the school.

----

Willow: I think the spell worked. I felt something go through me.

Cordelia: Plus the Orb did that cool glow thing.

Xander: Well, maybe it wasn't in time. Maybe she had to kill him before
the cure could work.

Oz: Well, then, she'd wanna be alone, I guess.

Willow: Or maybe Angel *was* saved, and they want to be alone together.

Giles: Perhaps.

----

He twitches with some emotion -- guilt, perhaps? or something else? --
when the possibility that Angel has survived is raised. You're meant to
connect these two moments.

And here's yet *another* thing to ask: isn't it interesting that, of all
the possibilities raised in this final scene, no one actually hits on
what actually happened? It's the most painful thing that could possibly
have happened, yet no one thinks of it.

> I would've wanted to see just a hint of what Angel was doing to
> him, enough to make one cringe.

I suspect that showing much of what would actually be cringeworthy would
get some rather key moments edited in some markets...probably the U.K.
This is something the show, which is frequently violent and *does* get
edited for certain markets, has to be aware of.

Personally, I think the obvious physical deterioration of Giles through
these scenes is graphic enough to get the point across.

> Snyder caring only about the chance to expel Buffy above all else makes
> him seem like so ridiculous a character that it defies ridiculousness.

See, this is baffling. He's been saying and making plain, virtually
since his arrival, that he's had a special sort of grudge against Buffy.
He has been *overtly* against her from Day One. He's explicitly
mentioned his intention to find a reason to expel her. And then when he
follows through on his threat, you call it ridiculous. Especially since
you now know that there's something more to this action than meets the eye.

Baffling.

> Except... then the call to the Mayor suggests that we still don't
> know everything about SHS's beloved principal. You mean they're
> not going to explain what's up with Snyder, after that buildup? Boo.

*God*, you are *so* impatient.

Whatever's going on with Snyder and this offscreen Mayor is so, so
unimportant compared to the Buffy/Angel plot. Let it be, else this show
fall into the deadly trap of the seasonal reset button.

> Well, I guess it makes sense to leave yourself a few unresolved issues
> to possibly pick up again next season, but still, this seems more like
> [S.M.'s term] "X-Filing" the issue rather than addressing it.

Baffling.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not sure you and the show
are on compatible timetables.

> The explanation about why vampires would talk about destroying a world
> full of Happy Meals is well taken, and continues to hammer the point
> that this thing with Angelus is different, scarier.

Drusilla is clearly on board with the Big Plan sort of meta-evil, but
she's also bonkers. Angelus is a whole different level of strategic
nastiness, as you correctly identify.

There's a bit of a continuity break here, however, in that Spike didn't
object to (and in fact aided in) the assembly of The Judge, which would
have left him just as devoid of bipedal fast food.

One possibility -- and here, we've got a bit of a parallel with the
conflicted motivations of Xander -- is that Spike's not being entirely
honest; that his real motivation is more anti-Angelus (and, of course,
about Drusilla) than it is about "saving" the world. Another is that
he's changed specifically because of the bad relationship he's had with
Angelus these past few weeks/months. (This puts aside the likely "true"
reason: the writers thought of something more interesting to do with Spike.)

> And the fact that Buffy lets him
> into her house (and leaves him psudeo-alone with her mom!) just proves
> the point that she's running on pure instinct at this point.

Yes. Though doesn't it seem to be a bad idea to invite a vampire into
your house? I mean, Spike's a bad guy. He *says* he's leaving, but what
if he's lying? Bad guys do that. Joyce is not safe from Spike anymore,
and that's something they're going to have to address at some point.

> Buffy
> and Spike (and their actors) have a good darkly comic vibe in their
> exchanges (particularly Spike's reaction to hearing that Drusilla
> "bagged a Slayer"), making it a surprise that they haven't gotten
> more substantial scenes together before this.

Now, now, you're going to get one subset of the shippers all het up. ;-)

> This also has the side effect of forcing Buffy to finally tell Joyce
> what's in front of her. I really wasn't feeling these scenes.

They're rushed. They're supposed to feel "off." Buffy really *doesn't*
have time to deal with the consequences, and of course if you're Joyce
this is just so overwhelmingly weird (the shock of seeing a vampire
dusted in front of your face would be more than enough for most people,
and we've seen no sign that Joyce is as open to the least plausible
explanation as, say, Oz) that it's almost impossible to comprehend.
Notice that she immediately goes for strong drink, and that in the final
Buffy/Joyce confrontation she's still drinking. That, too, will color
her reactions.

That said, I think Sutherland didn't do these scenes as well as she
might have.

> But Joyce's reactions
> make her seem like more of a caricature than she's been since "The
> Harvest" (well, I guess "Bad Eggs" was bad there too). It's
> not only the fact that she can't accept the story, but the particular
> dialogue and delivery on lines like "have you tried *not* being a
> Slayer?" and "well, it stops now!" don't work for me.

Caricature, maybe, but I think it's consistent characterization. If
anything, "School Hard" was the outlier, in terms of her characterization.

Maybe what she needs is a second chance. I guess she's not going to get
one, though.

> it feels more like the scene
> is happening because the script demands that Buffy stand alone

Well, since everything in this two-parter is designed to create that
situation, I think that's rather obvious. But let me re-ask the question
I asked before in regards to Joyce's knowledge: given the time to finish
this scene, how do you think it plays out? Do you see any realistic way
that Joyce accepts this information in anything vaguely resembling the
short term? I don't.

> Although these two things aren't really connected or anything, while
> Buffy was giving the speech part of her last conversation with her mom
> (and Gellar seemed a little "off"), all I could think of was how
> inferior this scene was to the similarly pivotal Buffy speech from last
> year's "Prophecy Girl." High standards to hold up, but this is
> the finale here.

I completely disagree about the last scene, in the kitchen (not that
it's not as powerful as the one in "Prophecy Girl," but that it's "off"
in any way). But here, I have to return to something I started
discussing many episodes ago:

Remember when I said that, despite everything that's going on around
her, and the very real fact that "growing up" means accepting shades of
grey (ref. "Lie to Me"), Buffy's Slayer-self has worked confidently in a
black-and-white world? There have been some moments of important
self-examination ("Ted"), but her sense of her mission has been very,
very clear...and reinforced at the end of the season with episodes like
"Passion." So clear, in fact, that here in the climax of this season and
the multi-season Buffy/Angel love story, she sees through all her
emotions and desires to do the thing that *has* to be done, no matter
the consequences. Her final scene with her mother, where she literally
*pushes* Joyce out of her way and Joyce (verbally) pushes her back, is
clearly in sync with this single-minded focus.

Except that: where does it get her? All her clarity and focus and
purpose has left her completely and utterly defeated. She's expelled
from school. The love of her life is gone, and she not only killed him
(in a sense, she killed him twice), she sent him to Hell. Eternal
torment, and *she* did it. Her mother has rejected both her identity and
her presence. And given Xander's "kick his ass" as they approached the
mansion, plus the confrontation regarding re-ensouling, she has reason
to feel that her closest friends have chosen to ignore the source of her
greatest pain.

Boy, that should really fuck with her sense of purpose, shouldn't it?

> Swords are inherently cool.

Joss agrees with you.

> "Take all that away, and what's left?" "Me."

----

Buffy: Don't worry about me.

Whistler: It's all on the line here, kid.

Buffy: I can deal. (sadly) I got nothing left to lose. (leaves)

Whistler: Wrong, kid. You got one more thing.

----

It's a matter of debate whether he's talking about Angel or her. It
works either way.

> Gellar's little groans during the fight scenes annoyed me this time
> for some reason.

My impression from this was actually that Gellar did an awfully good job
with the swordplay, making the SMG/double transitions look rather
stupendous.

(On the other hand, Angel's double is rather distressingly unlike
Boreanaz, looks-wise.)

> I don't think I need to describe the very end of the Buffy/Angel
> scene after he gets his soul back, since it's memorable enough that
> it'll run through one's mind long after Alzheimer's has taken
> everything else.

Boy, you really *don't* notice music, do you? A shame. That's absolutely
majestic scoring right there.

> Like Season Two, "Becoming II" settles for being merely
> good where it could have been a masterpiece.

It's a masterpiece. Sorry to be the one to break it to you. ;-)

> On to the very ending sequences... you know, I don't know. Once the
> song started playing and we went to video montage mode, I was back to
> that bit of disconnect, where it seemed like the show was being too
> obviously emotionally manipulative. I think the melancholy sells
> itself, so any attempts to call extra attention to it hurt rather than
> help.

I disagree. We see Buffy in inredible pain at the end of the fight, but
what we don't see is her utterly and completely defeated by life. We
need to see that, because we need to see her abandon the pieces of her
life one by one, and we need to see her leave. (It also doesn't hurt
that this has always been one of my favorite Sarah McLachlan songs.)

As is often the case, I'm glad Joss wrote the final scenes, and not you
(or, really, anyone else).

> Oh, to be more unspoiled than I am now. So many places they could have
> gone from here... well, there's a huge amount I don't know about
> what's to come, but it'd be even better to know absolutely nothing.

Let me give you one perspective along those lines. I really had no idea
what was coming, and while there was all sorts of speculation to chew
on, this episode convinced me that I could rely on none of it, because
the show had clearly demonstrated that it was willing to do just about
anything. At the time, I had never, ever seen anything with the
emotional power of that last scene on TV...and in some ways I still
haven't, considering its impact and, yes, surprise. Yes, Buffy "had to"
kill Angel, but in the realistic portion of the brain I never thought
that they'd actually do it -- some last-minute thingie would save the
day -- nor did I ever conceive that they'd go for the ultimate pain by
having her kill him *after* his cure.

This may or may not be my favorite episode of BTVS ever (I suspect it
usually is), but it's perpetually in my top three, and for me the final
acts are the best of the entire series. It's one of only a small handful
of TV moments that have *ever* made me cry; not get choked up, but
actually *cry*.

> AOQ rating: Good

Superlative. Without question.

vague disclaimer

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 3:01:48 PM2/27/06
to
In article <b1i602t4demf2lp92...@4ax.com>,
KenM47 <Ken...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

Oh I realise that - it's just you seemed to imply that Xander's talking
to comatose Willow is what blew it to hell (rather than just underlining
it, which I now think is what you meant).

Even so, I don't think that detracts from his statement: he *does* love
her, unconditionally.

kenm47

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 3:34:54 PM2/27/06
to
"Oh I realise that - it's just you seemed to imply that Xander's
talking
to comatose Willow is what blew it to hell (rather than just
underlining
it, which I now think is what you meant). "

Then I'm glad we had this opportunity to chat. :-)

"Even so, I don't think that detracts from his statement: he *does*
love
her, unconditionally."

Agreed, but I think now it's forced to the bother/sister mode.

Ken (Brooklyn)

hopelessly devoted

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 4:21:03 PM2/27/06
to

Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

With the history lesson of B1 out of the way, we can now move on to the
heart of the matter. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help
that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out
who you are."

Up until this time, we've see exactly what Buffy does when the big
moments come. She crumbles. Angel, Jenny and even Ted. She crumbles
when the big moments hit.

> Somehow I thought it'd be an important character like Officer Bob
> holding the gun. But it's just some rent-a-cop. They start to drag
> Buffy away for questioning. Pitting heroes against the cops is so...
> generic. But at least her sudden attack in the middle of the Miranda
> is funny.

Very nice dose of reality in a show that deals with fantasy on a
reality basis. Remember that this is a superhero show. Think back 20
(cough) 30 years to Batman, Superman, Spiderman. All of these shows
didn't really deal with the downside of fighting on the side of right.
They worked with the police, maintaining their secret identity and
wearing their funny underwear on the outside. And now here comes a
real hero. A secret identity not so secret, no capes, no costumes.
Working with everyday, ordinary jane and joe blows. And if and when
the cops arrive...... I find it very anti-generic.

> We go about sorting out what happened to our heroes after Bec1. It's
> good to see Xander okay, and it's not so good to see him worried
> enough that he can't even banter. Seeing Willow in that state is
> enough to make even the more hardened viewers just say "awww...."
> Fortunately, she wakes up soon to give us her Determined Face.
> Unfortunately, the show has to blow some of my goodwill by putting her
> in a freaking _coma_ for no reason other than to do that lame, lame
> scene where Xander's declaration of love wakes her up. Ugh. Bad
> Soap Opera, Conventional Soap Opera, whatever you want to call it, the
> show should be above that kind of thing. Wasn't it enough for Xander
> to have one potential romance built upon cliché scenes? Oh, and he
> gets no sympathy from me re: Willow's reaction once awake.

Keeping in mind that with most shows, Xander's arm would not have been
broken and Willow wouldn't be in a coma. Most tv would have them
running scared but still in tact. If they did venture into the lackeys
hurt and injured, then Willow out of the coma would have been followed
by an early release and prescription for bedrest.

I'm not sure if it is Xander's wake up call or Beck's "Waking Willow"
with the simple piano and strings that does it for me. Probably a
combination of them both. That scene is one of the most emotional in
the season. Add in the flute and willow actually waking up and the
scene is not only brilliant, but a real tear jerker. And I didn't
even get misty when Bambi's mom bought the farm.

> That's really about all the supporting kids get to do here.

Interesting.

I
> suppose we can ponder the plot mystery of what was up with Willow
> during the end of the cursifying,

Interesting. The first time Willow is not 100% Willow all the way and
...... WOW! Actually I think my initial reaction was WHOA! I think a
more interesting question would be Who, exactly, was she channeling?

or the more character-driven part
> when Xander decides not to tell Buffy what's happening on that front.

Kick his ass? Kick his ASS? Yeah, Xander is just such a....What a
complete.....OMG!!!!!

> Otherwise the episode can't seem to make much time for them.

Interesting. I always felt they were an integral part of the final S2
act, main to final curtain.

> Meanwhile Angel really wants to torture Giles, in some of the
> episode's better sequences. Now, most of this happens off-screen,
> since the bloody details simply aren't that important if it doesn't
> break Giles.

And much better to leave it to the aud's immagination. Very HP
Lovecraft. Works in most torture scenarios.

Now, I was worried that he was going to crack, in which
> case I would've wanted to see just a hint of what Angel was doing to
> him, enough to make one cringe. And the episode teases us with that
> outcome, before giving us "in order to be worthy, you must perform
> the ritual in a tutu." Such a uniquely Giles way to say "go fuck
> yourself."

At this point, I think the writers did a wonderful job of setting Giles
up as the not so Alfred, Alfred. Here's the refined street punk who
can give as well as he gets. And don't evah forgit it!

Strangely, Spike, charged with protecting Giles, is the
> one who sees the big picture here rather than just a chance for
> cruelty. Drusilla's little trick gives us an acceptable
> justification for Giles to disappoint us in the end without damaging
> our perception of the character, and satisfies our (presumably) burning
> curiosity as to what Robia LaMorte was doing in the Act I credits.

The one thing that would make him break, and myself as well. How
painful to sit and watch Jenny being used for the sole purpose of
abusing Giles for the second time. First by Angel, then by Dru. Ugh!

And
> on top of that, sets up for one of our last jokes, when Xander rescues
> Giles. Not a bad little plot thread at all.
>
> "Sorry. I was in the moment." I liked that line. I have nothing
> to add to this thought.

Evil.

> Snyder caring only about the chance to expel Buffy above all else makes
> him seem like so ridiculous a character that it defies ridiculousness.
> Except... then the call to the Mayor suggests that we still don't
> know everything about SHS's beloved principal. You mean they're
> not going to explain what's up with Snyder, after that buildup? Boo.
> Well, I guess it makes sense to leave yourself a few unresolved issues
> to possibly pick up again next season, but still, this seems more like
> [S.M.'s term] "X-Filing" the issue rather than addressing it.

Please keep all limbs inside the vehicle at all times. Especially when
on this particular roller coaster.

> Spike appears, to propose an alliance with Buffy. Strange, but given
> what we know about the way he is about Drusilla, not so outlandish.
> The explanation about why vampires would talk about destroying a world
> full of Happy Meals is well taken, and continues to hammer the point
> that this thing with Angelus is different, scarier. Each one trusts
> the other more quickly than reason would suggest, but quite simply,
> they could both really use the help.

Fantastic entrance, Spike saves the day, momentarily. Very matter of
fact. A few punches a little banter.

"The whole earth may be sucked into Hell, and you want my help 'cause
your girlfriend's a big ho?" 'nough said.

And the fact that Buffy lets him
> into her house (and leaves him psudeo-alone with her mom!) just proves
> the point that she's running on pure instinct at this point. Buffy
> and Spike (and their actors) have a good darkly comic vibe in their
> exchanges (particularly Spike's reaction to hearing that Drusilla
> "bagged a Slayer"), making it a surprise that they haven't gotten
> more substantial scenes together before this.
>
> "Have we met?" "You hit me with an axe one time. 'Get the hell
> away from my daughter.'" Heh.

Loved the "awkward silence". I Actually remember sitting and waiting
for something to happen. It wasn't until they cut away that I started
laughing hysterically. After that I decided it would probably be
better if I taped every ep that way I wouldn't miss dialogue.

> This also has the side effect of forcing Buffy to finally tell Joyce
> what's in front of her. I really wasn't feeling these scenes. The
> concept is fine - Buffy finally has to reveal the truth, and Joyce
> can't take it since it's dumped on her all at once while Buffy
> can't hang around to properly explain it. But Joyce's reactions
> make her seem like more of a caricature than she's been since "The
> Harvest" (well, I guess "Bad Eggs" was bad there too). It's
> not only the fact that she can't accept the story, but the particular
> dialogue and delivery on lines like "have you tried *not* being a
> Slayer?" and "well, it stops now!" don't work for me. The
> phrase "manipulative" comes to mind: it feels more like the scene
> is happening because the script demands that Buffy stand alone, rather
> than growing naturally out of the characters' personalities.
> Although these two things aren't really connected or anything, while
> Buffy was giving the speech part of her last conversation with her mom
> (and Gellar seemed a little "off"), all I could think of was how
> inferior this scene was to the similarly pivotal Buffy speech from last
> year's "Prophecy Girl." High standards to hold up, but this is
> the finale here.

Finally the scene that I wasn't sure was going to happen. We are
talking about tv after all. I mean if Clark Kent can hide the fact
that he's superman simply by putting on a pair of glasses (and that was
the "new" Lois and Clark) then why should this show give the audience
any more respect.

Not KS best acting on the show. Definately could have been much
better, but the dialogue was honest and real enough. In a word, Mom?
How long does it take for you to get a clue ( about my drinking. About
my drugs. About my slaying. ) Some parents stay in denial long after
they have seen for themselves. "How many times have you washed blood
out of my clothes and you still haven't figure it out?" True intense
scene and well worth the appearance, especially since most shows
wouldn't have even bothered.

> So Buffy has marched past the things that she simply doesn't have
> time for, sent her friends to safer places, and even Spike, true to his
> word, has taken off with Drusilla (mirror of the end of "What's My
> Line," with him back to being her self-appointed protector?

"He's really gonna kill her." Oh well. LMAO. How unlike conventional
tv. Where else can you get that?

Speaking
> of which, how clearly is that car *not moving* during the interior
> shots?). It's just about Angelus and Buffy in the end, as it should
> be, a good old-fashioned adrenaline-heavy duel to the death. Swords
> are inherently cool. And however predictable it might be, the note on
> which the fight ends is the right one. Buffy apparently broken and
> defeated. "Take all that away, and what's left?" "Me."
> [Grab sword, attack.] To quote the source herself: not original,
> I'll grant you, but it's true.
>
> Gellar's little groans during the fight scenes annoyed me this time
> for some reason.

Great battle. First time I noticed that they actually got a double
that resembled SMG however the (sorry) receding hairline for
Angel's........ sort of drew focus. Also the wrong body type, way too
thin. The sword play was great and it was nice to see the increase in
budget that allowed not only for the season's (moderately) better
special effects, but also for the drastic increase in locations. Beck
again does an excellent job of capturing the feeling (althought I
believe he get's better in this respect with time.)

> I don't think I need to describe the very end of the Buffy/Angel
> scene after he gets his soul back, since it's memorable enough that
> it'll run through one's mind long after Alzheimer's has taken
> everything else. As with the Season One finale, Buffy is a real hero
> who'll do what she knows has to be done. I wonder how much Angel
> understood in the last few seconds.

I started watching BTVS for 3 reasons: 1) Bad original movie, 2)
Kendall Hart, 3) Vampires completely overdone and nothing interesting
left to do. I thought the show would make it 1 season, maybe 2. I
originally wanted to hate this show. I think Giles in Holloween first
got my attention, Passion was the hook. But the this final scene......
These are the decisions that regular tv can't seem to face on an
every-once-in-a-while basis. It would have been easy (or hard for
Buffy) enough to take Angelus out and deal with the loss of her love.
But to give him back to her, have that Love again, and then do what
needs to be done. On top of all of that, probably the most
recognizable Beck piece written for the show "Close Your Eyes" heard in
it's entirety. Also a word about "Full of Grace", I don't recommend it
if you're having a "rough spot". It was chosen for a reason. It was
chosen not at random, but, possibly, because there is no other song
that represents depression at it's core better than that song.

> This is where Bec2 serves as a microcosm of Season Two as a whole.
> Some of the details are wrong, but the core of the show - both the
> season-long arc for these two characters and the way it ends - is
> spot-on. Like Season Two, "Becoming II" settles for being merely
> good where it could have been a masterpiece. But the most important
> parts work so well that it's impossible to characterize it as
> anything other than a success.

I would have to rate this episode as off the charts. This ep won my
undying devotion to a show that was not only unafraid to work outside
of it's own box, but to work outside of conventional tv standards.
Whatever you expected to happen, didn't. B1 and B2 each had twists and
turns that you could not predict. Kendra's death, by Dru no less.
Xander's broken arm, Willow's coma, Xander's revelation and lie, Gile's
stregnths and weaknesses, Angels depravity, Spikes loyalties, and
Buffy's realization of who she really is.


> On to the very ending sequences... you know, I don't know. Once the
> song started playing and we went to video montage mode, I was back to
> that bit of disconnect, where it seemed like the show was being too
> obviously emotionally manipulative. I think the melancholy sells
> itself, so any attempts to call extra attention to it hurt rather than
> help. (LOOK! SAD, ISN'T IT?!) Once we get to school and the
> "where is she?" discussion, things shape up.
>
> Although actually, you know how I would've ended it? Show the "now
> leaving Sunnydale" sign when Spike is making his escape, to parallel
> "School Hard." Then just end the show without showing Buffy again,
> while everyone wonders about her. Sort of a world-without-its-Slayer
> vibe that plays on the mythical qualities of the role: we didn't
> deserve her, and she's gone. Not that there's anything at all
> wrong with the _Ghost World_ ending they went with (I don't know
> whether BTVS predates the Clowes comic). This is just a tangent about
> what I would've done.

There aren't many people who can paint a masterpiece the way that JW
can. I believe that you are at the same place that I was on first
viewing, and you will not fully comprehend until you've traveled
another 22 hours.


> "This is really stupid but I laughed anyway" moment(s):
> - "She plays the... triangle." "Drums."
>
> Oh, to be more unspoiled than I am now. So many places they could have
> gone from here... well, there's a huge amount I don't know about
> what's to come, but it'd be even better to know absolutely nothing.

Interesting. No word yet on what the two seasons mean together. No
word about what is at the heart of this little show with such a huge
following.
Very Interesting Indeed.

Mike Zeares

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 5:08:15 PM2/27/06
to

Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
>
> One-sentence summary: Not hitting on all cylinders, but the most
> important stuff is what it needs to be.

My Unpopular Buffy Opinion: Becoming 2 is overrated. It winds up near
the top of so many people's "Best Ever" lists because of the Sarah
Mclachlan song at the end, and that final shot that left everyone
flabbergasted. Granted, I was a sobbing wreck myself the first time
through. But it's still overrated. Part one is better. There. I
said it.

Season 2 as a whole is an example of the whole being greater than the
sum of its parts. The episode-to-episode quality was uneven. There
were a lot of merely decent eps, even in the second half. But the
overall impact of the arc was extraordinary.

Structurally, S2 was built around its two-parters: WML,
Surprise/Innocence, and Becoming. WML closed out the November sweeps
and brought the Spike/Dru storyline to a turning point. Then S/I
brought the Buffy/Angel storyline to a turning point, and that's where
the arc started to become something special. The way Whedon wove the
two main storylines together was genius. Having the Big Bad be Buffy's
boyfriend made it meaningful on a level that S1 couldn't even dream of.
And then, finally, in Becoming, Buffy becomes a true hero by doing the
really hard thing. Dying in "Prophecy Girl" was easy by comparison.

I've rewatched the second half of S2 more than just about any other
part of the series (I may have watched S1 more, since its dvds came out
and it's short). I don't tear up anymore at the end of B2 like I did
for years. I can listen to the song without choking up. It's been too
long, and familiarity breeds... well, even-temperedness, in this case.
Certainly not contempt. But I remember how I did respond to it, and S2
will always be something special to me.

-- Mike Zeares

Mike Zeares

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 5:13:58 PM2/27/06
to

Scythe Matters wrote:
>
> It's hard to believe you can so easily gloss over a moment that, as has
> been noted, consumed fandom for just about ever.

The show's writers never thought that scene was important, and were a
bit baffled by everyone going on and on about it. What consumes fandom
is not necessarily important. Fandom is weird, and focuses on
minutiae. And has an inflated view of its own opinions.

-- Mike Zeares (there are reasons I left this place, you know.
Spoilers weren't the only one)

KenM47

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 5:19:41 PM2/27/06
to
"Mike Zeares" <mze...@yahoo.com> wrote:

ROT13
Lrg gurl fnj n arrq gb erivfvg vg va F7.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Scythe Matters

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 5:29:32 PM2/27/06
to
Mike Zeares wrote:

> The show's writers never thought that scene was important, and were a
> bit baffled by everyone going on and on about it.

To be honest, I am too. Nonetheless, it can be (note the phrasing)
viewed as a fairly important moment in the Buffy/Xander history. Yrff
vzcbegnag orpnhfr bs jung gur fubj npghnyyl qvq, zber vzcbegnag vs Wbff
jbhyq unir sbyybjrq guebhtu ba uvf bppnfvbany abgvba gb riraghnyyl cnve
gur gjb. Va gung pnfr, gurl'q unir unq gb nqqerff vg ng fbzr cbvag.
(Senaxyl, gur haerfbyirq vffhr bs Knaqre'f onq pubvprf naq npgvbaf er:
uvf naq bguref' eryngvbafuvcf vf n frevbhf punenpgrevmngvba synj ivrjrq
sebz cbfg-friragu frnfba.)

> What consumes fandom is not necessarily important. Fandom is weird,
> and focuses on minutiae. And has an inflated view of its own opinions.

Oh, no argument there either.

> -- Mike Zeares (there are reasons I left this place, you know.
> Spoilers weren't the only one)

Jryy, Fchssl qvq vg sbe zr. ;-)

Mike Zeares

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 5:38:15 PM2/27/06
to

KenM47 wrote:
>
> ROT13
> Lrg gurl fnj n arrq gb erivfvg vg va F7.

Abg ernyyl. Whfg n oevrs fubhg-bhg vafregrq ol Qerj Tbqqneq. Ur jnf
xabja sbe pbagvahvgl cbea yvxr gung. V guvax ur rira pbzzragrq gung
gung jnf n abq gb gur snaf.

Mike Zeares

Mike Zeares

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 5:42:19 PM2/27/06
to

Xander's a really, really confused guy. I can relate. Although I
never took his "I love you" as having romantic overtones. Doesn't mean
they weren't there. I might have been in denial, in a "please tell me
they didn't go there, because that would be SO cliche" way.

-- Mike Zeares

Scythe Matters

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 5:49:05 PM2/27/06
to
Mike Zeares wrote:

> Abg ernyyl. Whfg n oevrs fubhg-bhg vafregrq ol Qerj Tbqqneq. Ur jnf
> xabja sbe pbagvahvgl cbea yvxr gung. V guvax ur rira pbzzragrq gung
> gung jnf n abq gb gur snaf.

Heh. "Pbagvahvgl cbea." I like that. I may have to steal it. ;-)

KenM47

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 5:54:49 PM2/27/06
to
"Mike Zeares" <mze...@yahoo.com> wrote:

Xander's efforts with the ladies always came across to me as Mr.
Cliche Guy, from not grabbing Willow when he could, attracted to the
hotter Buffy, and then Cordy, and ......... So, wanting to tell Willow
he realized he loved her in some form, maybe even romantically, when
he thought she would not remember seems consistent to me.

Knaqre bsgra frrzrq gb zr gur jrnxrfg bs gur Fpbbovrf, naq gur zbfg
pbashfrq. Jr unir na rneyl rcvfbqr pbzvat hc va F3 gung uvtuyvtugf
gung lrg ntnva, QZC. V qba'g guvax V rire shyyl sbetnir gur punenpgre
sbe uvf faneyl nccebnpu gb bhe urebvar va rzbgvbany ghezbvy - vg
frrzrq anfgvre guna gbhtu ybir unq gb or.


Ken (Brooklyn)

Mike Zeares

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Feb 27, 2006, 6:10:56 PM2/27/06
to

KenM47 wrote:
>
> Knaqre bsgra frrzrq gb zr gur jrnxrfg bs gur Fpbbovrf, naq gur zbfg
> pbashfrq. Jr unir na rneyl rcvfbqr pbzvat hc va F3 gung uvtuyvtugf
> gung lrg ntnva, QZC. V qba'g guvax V rire shyyl sbetnir gur punenpgre
> sbe uvf faneyl nccebnpu gb bhe urebvar va rzbgvbany ghezbvy - vg
> frrzrq anfgvre guna gbhtu ybir unq gb or.

I'll have some things to say about that when AoQ gets to the ep. The
thing about Xander when he argues is that his reasons are often very
selfish, and yet he'll have a legitimate point. It's why I love BtVS
argument scenes.

-- Mike Zeares

Michael Ikeda

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Feb 27, 2006, 6:15:18 PM2/27/06
to
vague disclaimer <l64o...@dea.spamcon.org> wrote in
news:l64o-1rj5-7F1AB...@mercury.nildram.net:

Xander, of course, knows very well that Buffy's mental state has an
important influence on her fighting ability. He already knew it as
far back as "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date".

(begin excerpt)

Buffy (to the vampire she's fighting): You killed my date!

Willow and Xander appear at the door. Willow sees Owen (Buffy's
date) wake up.

Willow: Buffy! Owen's...

Xander: (pulls Willow back) Just give her a sec!

(end excerpt)

Incidentally, the last two lines are among the lines cut for length
from the syndicated airings (e.g. FX) in the U.S.

I'm entirely in the "knowing Buffy wouldn't fight as hard" camp as
far as Xander's primary motivation is concerned. Not that his
feelings about Angel exactly work against his decision, but they
aren't the deciding factor.

--
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

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Feb 27, 2006, 6:18:57 PM2/27/06
to

Scythe Matters wrote:
>
> Jryy, Fchssl qvq vg sbe zr. ;-)

Uru. V yrsg juvyr gung jne jnf entvat. V cbxrq zl urnq va urer nobhg
n lrne yngre naq fnj gur fnzr rknpg crbcyr fnlvat gur fnzr rknpg
guvatf. Gung jne vf fgvyy tbvat ba va fbzr pbearef bs gur jro.

-- Zvxr Mrnerf (I'm amused that my name is pronouncable in ROT-13)

BTR1701

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Feb 27, 2006, 6:32:07 PM2/27/06
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In article <1141078095.2...@t39g2000cwt.googlegroups.com>,
"Mike Zeares" <mze...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> >
> > One-sentence summary: Not hitting on all cylinders, but the most
> > important stuff is what it needs to be.
>
> My Unpopular Buffy Opinion: Becoming 2 is overrated. It winds up near
> the top of so many people's "Best Ever" lists because of the Sarah
> Mclachlan song at the end, and that final shot that left everyone
> flabbergasted. Granted, I was a sobbing wreck myself the first time
> through. But it's still overrated. Part one is better. There. I
> said it.

Heck, for me Season 3 is the series pinnacle.

As long as we're making admissions...

(Of course I didn't even start watching the show until "Dead Man's
Party" at the absolute insistence of my brother who insisted it was
something I'd like no matter how much I claimed otherwise, so I had to
watch all the previous episodes in re-runs and on DVD.)

Clairel

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Feb 27, 2006, 6:56:48 PM2/27/06
to

--I second that question! But, thinking about it, I guess AOQ has
given us his answer: he rated "Innocence," "Ted," and "Becoming I" as
Excellent (i.e., masterpieces) while rating "Becoming II" as merely
Good.

Just for Mike Zeares's sake I will make a point of saying that the
following sentences are meant merely as observations, not as attacks;
they don't deserve a "So what?" any more or less than any observations
by anybody else do.

I just am staggered, absolutely flabbergasted, that anybody could rate
"Becoming I" so high and then rate "Becoming II" less high. "Becoming
II" is the pay-off to everything that "Becoming I" was the set-up for.

I'm trying to understand AOQ's reasoning here; I really am. Is it that
"Becoming I" had such promise in his eyes, and looked to be heading
toward something so great in part two, that part two was a letdown for
him? Is it that "Becoming I" had raised his expectations so high that
"Becoming II" couldn't fulfill them?

If so, that's hard for me to understand because "Becoming II" gave me
everything I could possibly want in a BtVS episode (at that point in
time). Heck, it even gave me the seeds and the embryonic beginnings of
some things I would later grow to relish above all else in BtVS. It
gave me things that I myself didn't even know I wanted, and could never
have thought of for myself. It's hard for me to think of very many
other examples of a TV episode that have delivered so totally, with
such complete satisfaction, and without the slightest blemish --
without the slightest detail I would want changed.

I read what AOQ wrote about his own idea for how the episode should
have ended, and I have to agree with the post on this thread that said
it's a good thing Joss Whedon was the writer and not AOQ. But I guess
reading AOQ's idea for his own ending gives some inkling as to what his
criteria for Excellen" are. Well...they already included "Ted" and
didn't include "Passion," so it's evident they aren't the same as my
own criteria. Or most people's here, I suspect.

It is always interesting to read different points of view and I am
looking forward to what AOQ writes about season 3 and subsequent
seasons. But I must say I am surprised at his rather moderate level of
enthusiasm for "Becoming II." Even after the oddness of the "Ted" and
"Passion" reviews, it isn't what I expected to read.

Clairel

Arbitrar Of Quality

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Feb 27, 2006, 7:07:27 PM2/27/06
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kenm47 wrote:
> Initial Thought: No hugs for you! You folks are hard hearted!
>
> (You did watch through to the little ME monster at the end, right?)

Ah yes, forgot to mention that. It threw us, since we were so used to
"grrr, arrgh."

-AOQ
~always doing the unexpected, this show...~

Arbitrar Of Quality

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Feb 27, 2006, 7:13:52 PM2/27/06
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Clairel wrote:
> Sam wrote:

> > The question of why Xander didn't tell Buffy actually became one of the
> > biggest debates in the fandom, with one camp arguing that he didn't
> > tell her because he was still jealous and wanted Angel to die, and the
> > other camp arguing that he knew Buffy wouldn't fight as hard if she
> > thought there was a chance of getting Angel back, which would have
> > probably resulted in the end of the world.

Why not both? He honestly believed the world was safer with Angel dead
and Buffy undsitracted by such things, but that may have been
influenced by his dislike of Dead Boy.

> --I second that question! But, thinking about it, I guess AOQ has
> given us his answer: he rated "Innocence," "Ted," and "Becoming I" as
> Excellent (i.e., masterpieces) while rating "Becoming II" as merely
> Good.
>

> I just am staggered, absolutely flabbergasted, that anybody could rate
> "Becoming I" so high and then rate "Becoming II" less high. "Becoming
> II" is the pay-off to everything that "Becoming I" was the set-up for.
>
> I'm trying to understand AOQ's reasoning here; I really am. Is it that
> "Becoming I" had such promise in his eyes, and looked to be heading
> toward something so great in part two, that part two was a letdown for
> him? Is it that "Becoming I" had raised his expectations so high that
> "Becoming II" couldn't fulfill them?
>
> If so, that's hard for me to understand because "Becoming II" gave me
> everything I could possibly want in a BtVS episode (at that point in

> time). [snip]


> It's hard for me to think of very many
> other examples of a TV episode that have delivered so totally, with
> such complete satisfaction, and without the slightest blemish --
> without the slightest detail I would want changed.

Basically, read the review. Short version: I think that the whole
sequence of Buffy/Angel scenes at the end were near-perfect, everything
they should have been, but the stuff leading up to the climax (and
afterward) was pretty flawed.

-AOQ

MBangel10 (Melissa)

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Feb 27, 2006, 7:43:51 PM2/27/06
to
Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> threads.
>
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 22: "Becoming (Part Two)"
> (or "How to disappear completely")
> Writer: Joss Whedon
> Director: Joss Whedon

Wow, not enough time to post the last few days but I'm glad you are
continuing the journey to S3 in the Buffyverse.


>
> Somehow I thought it'd be an important character like Officer Bob
> holding the gun. But it's just some rent-a-cop. They start to drag
> Buffy away for questioning. Pitting heroes against the cops is so...
> generic. But at least her sudden attack in the middle of the Miranda
> is funny.
>

> We go about sorting out what happened to our heroes after Bec1. It's
> good to see Xander okay, and it's not so good to see him worried
> enough that he can't even banter. Seeing Willow in that state is
> enough to make even the more hardened viewers just say "awww...."
> Fortunately, she wakes up soon to give us her Determined Face.
> Unfortunately, the show has to blow some of my goodwill by putting her
> in a freaking _coma_ for no reason other than to do that lame, lame
> scene where Xander's declaration of love wakes her up. Ugh. Bad
> Soap Opera, Conventional Soap Opera, whatever you want to call it, the
> show should be above that kind of thing. Wasn't it enough for Xander
> to have one potential romance built upon cliché scenes? Oh, and he
> gets no sympathy from me re: Willow's reaction once awake.

Now I want to get those S2 discs from sis and rewatch them. I remember
it being a sweet Xander moment and Willow asking for Oz. Xander was a
bit crushed, wasn't he?


>
> That's really about all the supporting kids get to do here. I
> suppose we can ponder the plot mystery of what was up with Willow
> during the end of the cursifying, or the more character-driven part
> when Xander decides not to tell Buffy what's happening on that front.
> Otherwise the episode can't seem to make much time for them.

I really want to think Xander was trying to do the right thing here, but
yeah, definitely was a bit of "I hate dead boy" involved too.


>
> Meanwhile Angel really wants to torture Giles, in some of the
> episode's better sequences. Now, most of this happens off-screen,
> since the bloody details simply aren't that important if it doesn't

> break Giles. Now, I was worried that he was going to crack, in which


> case I would've wanted to see just a hint of what Angel was doing to
> him, enough to make one cringe. And the episode teases us with that
> outcome, before giving us "in order to be worthy, you must perform
> the ritual in a tutu."

Even though Giles looked so pained, that part made me laugh.

>Such a uniquely Giles way to say "go fuck

> yourself." Strangely, Spike, charged with protecting Giles, is the


> one who sees the big picture here rather than just a chance for
> cruelty. Drusilla's little trick gives us an acceptable
> justification for Giles to disappoint us in the end without damaging
> our perception of the character, and satisfies our (presumably) burning

> curiosity as to what Robia LaMorte was doing in the Act I credits. And


> on top of that, sets up for one of our last jokes, when Xander rescues
> Giles. Not a bad little plot thread at all.

It always made me wonder a bit that it was Spike, who announced that he
wanted to save the world that ended up actually helping to give Angel
the answer by getting Dru involved. He didn't act too surprised when Dru
got the answer out of Giles. However, it did save Giles' life, so......


>
> "Sorry. I was in the moment." I liked that line. I have nothing
> to add to this thought.
>

> Snyder caring only about the chance to expel Buffy above all else makes
> him seem like so ridiculous a character that it defies ridiculousness.
> Except... then the call to the Mayor suggests that we still don't
> know everything about SHS's beloved principal. You mean they're
> not going to explain what's up with Snyder, after that buildup? Boo.
> Well, I guess it makes sense to leave yourself a few unresolved issues
> to possibly pick up again next season, but still, this seems more like
> [S.M.'s term] "X-Filing" the issue rather than addressing it.

Stay tuned.....

>
> Spike appears, to propose an alliance with Buffy. Strange, but given
> what we know about the way he is about Drusilla, not so outlandish.
> The explanation about why vampires would talk about destroying a world
> full of Happy Meals is well taken, and continues to hammer the point
> that this thing with Angelus is different, scarier. Each one trusts
> the other more quickly than reason would suggest, but quite simply,

> they could both really use the help. And the fact that Buffy lets him


> into her house (and leaves him psudeo-alone with her mom!) just proves
> the point that she's running on pure instinct at this point. Buffy
> and Spike (and their actors) have a good darkly comic vibe in their
> exchanges (particularly Spike's reaction to hearing that Drusilla
> "bagged a Slayer"), making it a surprise that they haven't gotten
> more substantial scenes together before this.

From the "Hello, Cutie" to the end scene in the house, it was quite an
amusing truce. Also, the one scene that cracked me up more than anything
(and really stomped into the ground how much Spike hates Angelus) was
when Spike started pummeling Angelus with the tire iron (?). Maybe it
shouldn't have struck me as so funny but I was pretty much
thinking..."Damn, he hates that guy!!!"


>
> "Have we met?" "You hit me with an axe one time. 'Get the hell
> away from my daughter.'" Heh.

LOL!


>
> This also has the side effect of forcing Buffy to finally tell Joyce
> what's in front of her. I really wasn't feeling these scenes. The
> concept is fine - Buffy finally has to reveal the truth, and Joyce
> can't take it since it's dumped on her all at once while Buffy
> can't hang around to properly explain it. But Joyce's reactions
> make her seem like more of a caricature than she's been since "The
> Harvest" (well, I guess "Bad Eggs" was bad there too). It's
> not only the fact that she can't accept the story, but the particular
> dialogue and delivery on lines like "have you tried *not* being a
> Slayer?" and "well, it stops now!" don't work for me. The
> phrase "manipulative" comes to mind: it feels more like the scene
> is happening because the script demands that Buffy stand alone, rather
> than growing naturally out of the characters' personalities.
> Although these two things aren't really connected or anything, while
> Buffy was giving the speech part of her last conversation with her mom
> (and Gellar seemed a little "off"), all I could think of was how
> inferior this scene was to the similarly pivotal Buffy speech from last
> year's "Prophecy Girl." High standards to hold up, but this is
> the finale here.

I think Joyce took it as best she could and just didn't understand. She
yelled at Buffy and Buffy stood her ground. Unfortunately, when Joyce
said "Don't come back", Buffy didn't.


>
> So Buffy has marched past the things that she simply doesn't have
> time for, sent her friends to safer places, and even Spike, true to his
> word, has taken off with Drusilla (mirror of the end of "What's My

> Line," with him back to being her self-appointed protector? Speaking


> of which, how clearly is that car *not moving* during the interior
> shots?). It's just about Angelus and Buffy in the end, as it should
> be, a good old-fashioned adrenaline-heavy duel to the death. Swords
> are inherently cool. And however predictable it might be, the note on
> which the fight ends is the right one. Buffy apparently broken and
> defeated. "Take all that away, and what's left?" "Me."
> [Grab sword, attack.] To quote the source herself: not original,
> I'll grant you, but it's true.

One of my favorite Buffy moments, ever.


>
> Gellar's little groans during the fight scenes annoyed me this time
> for some reason.
>

> I don't think I need to describe the very end of the Buffy/Angel
> scene after he gets his soul back, since it's memorable enough that
> it'll run through one's mind long after Alzheimer's has taken
> everything else. As with the Season One finale, Buffy is a real hero
> who'll do what she knows has to be done. I wonder how much Angel
> understood in the last few seconds.

I don't know but I did get a bit teary eyed. It was a very powerful scene.


>
> This is where Bec2 serves as a microcosm of Season Two as a whole.
> Some of the details are wrong, but the core of the show - both the
> season-long arc for these two characters and the way it ends - is
> spot-on. Like Season Two, "Becoming II" settles for being merely
> good where it could have been a masterpiece. But the most important
> parts work so well that it's impossible to characterize it as
> anything other than a success.

I agree.


>
> On to the very ending sequences... you know, I don't know. Once the
> song started playing and we went to video montage mode, I was back to
> that bit of disconnect, where it seemed like the show was being too
> obviously emotionally manipulative. I think the melancholy sells
> itself, so any attempts to call extra attention to it hurt rather than
> help. (LOOK! SAD, ISN'T IT?!) Once we get to school and the
> "where is she?" discussion, things shape up.
>
> Although actually, you know how I would've ended it? Show the "now
> leaving Sunnydale" sign when Spike is making his escape, to parallel
> "School Hard."

That would have been a good moment.

> Then just end the show without showing Buffy again,
> while everyone wonders about her. Sort of a world-without-its-Slayer
> vibe that plays on the mythical qualities of the role: we didn't
> deserve her, and she's gone. Not that there's anything at all
> wrong with the _Ghost World_ ending they went with (I don't know
> whether BTVS predates the Clowes comic). This is just a tangent about
> what I would've done.

I don't know, seeing Buffy on the bus leaving town.... I thought was a
great ending to a good season and left you wondering, "Where did Buffy go?"


>
> "This is really stupid but I laughed anyway" moment(s):
> - "She plays the... triangle." "Drums."
>

Hee! (This led to some horrible Buffy/Spike in a rock band fics, by the way)

> Oh, to be more unspoiled than I am now. So many places they could have
> gone from here... well, there's a huge amount I don't know about
> what's to come, but it'd be even better to know absolutely nothing.
>

> Anyway, it's been a fun "year," and I'd like to thank everyone
> who's shared it with me. I desperately need a break from watching,
> writing about, and discussing this show, so I'm going to let all the
> threads die down and take the traditional between-season hiatus. See
> ya'll with a new batch of reviews in... I don't know, a week or so,
> or whenever I get back to it. Just keep your eyes on this place.

Take a break, but y'know... HURRY! I can follow along now!
>

Arbitrar Of Quality

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Feb 27, 2006, 7:47:39 PM2/27/06
to
Scythe Matters wrote:

>> Pitting heroes against the cops is so.. generic.
>
> Is it? In this universe, isn't it a little interesting to see what
> happens when a girl who "fights badness" in a totally mythic universe
> intersects with the police, who "fight badness" in a totally prosaic
> way? In fact, isn't it a little unusual that it hasn't happened more often?

I guess I'm used to my superheroes being feared and hated by the dumb
cops who shoot at them indiscriminately. Too many of the wrong comics
as a kid?

[re: Xander and Willow]


>
> It's not at all
> "conventional soap opera" unless you think that a teenager is not
> realistically capable of conflicted affections. And, remember, Xander
> has "gross emotional problems." This revelation is, I think, absolutely
> inevitable...and to avoid it and continue on in blissful ignorance
> *would* be the soap opera way of handling things.

Well, I don't actually watch soap operas, but have a hard time thinking
of anything mre maudlin than someone only realizing how much someone
means to him when he's afraid he'll lose her... and his declarations of
love wake her up... please.

I don't like epiphanies either. Or more accurately, I guess we like
different ones.

I think I wrote back in "Innocence" that the conventional way to do
things would be for Xander to start to return Willow's
more-than-friends affections just after she'd moved on. This scene
certainly points that way.


> > or the more character-driven part
> > when Xander decides not to tell Buffy what's happening on that front.
>
> It's hard to believe you can so easily gloss over a moment that, as has
> been noted, consumed fandom for just about ever.

It's funny that no one at ME thought it was a big deal either.

But to answer the question, I thought it was interesting, but didn't
discuss it at great length because it's basically the logical followup
to the library scene from Part I which I spent more space on. Xander
once again toes the line between tough-love/doing what needs to be done
for his friend and just being a jerk. (Actually it's been a running
theme with the character, but "Becoming" does it better than previous
episodes did.)

> Personally, I think the obvious physical deterioration of Giles through
> these scenes is graphic enough to get the point across.

I don't know if it would've worked so well for me, if he'd given in.
But since the torture isn't what breaks Giles in the end, it becomes
less important to spend much time on it.

> > Snyder caring only about the chance to expel Buffy above all else makes
> > him seem like so ridiculous a character that it defies ridiculousness.
>
> See, this is baffling. He's been saying and making plain, virtually
> since his arrival, that he's had a special sort of grudge against Buffy.
> He has been *overtly* against her from Day One. He's explicitly
> mentioned his intention to find a reason to expel her. And then when he
> follows through on his threat, you call it ridiculous. Especially since
> you now know that there's something more to this action than meets the eye.

You don't think that Snyder (or more accurately, the person Snyder is
pretending to be) is ridiculous and cartoony, to the point where even
kids expecting to hate the principal would find it strange? Do you
find it realistic that someone would (as far as Buffy et al know) view
a student being *wanted for murder* as solely a chance to expel her?


> *God*, you are *so* impatient.
>
> Whatever's going on with Snyder and this offscreen Mayor is so, so
> unimportant compared to the Buffy/Angel plot. Let it be, else this show
> fall into the deadly trap of the seasonal reset button.
>
> > Well, I guess it makes sense to leave yourself a few unresolved issues
> > to possibly pick up again next season, but still, this seems more like
> > [S.M.'s term] "X-Filing" the issue rather than addressing it.
>
> Baffling.
>
> I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not sure you and the show
> are on compatible timetables.

This is the season finale. There's always the possibility that this
will be the last of BTVS. Whatever the creators have in mind for the
future may not be seen. If the story ends here, it looks like they
introduced a potentially important plotline really early in the season,
and then lacked the interest to follow it through. Basically I'm a fan
of slow movement (see the discussion of Willow and witchcraft... we
make a slow progression starting with "Passion," have gotten somewhere
at the end of the year, and we can easily leave it at that or easily
tell more stories about it), not so much a fan of no movement.

> One possibility -- and here, we've got a bit of a parallel with the
> conflicted motivations of Xander -- is that Spike's not being entirely
> honest; that his real motivation is more anti-Angelus (and, of course,
> about Drusilla) than it is about "saving" the world. Another is that
> he's changed specifically because of the bad relationship he's had with
> Angelus these past few weeks/months. (This puts aside the likely "true"
> reason: the writers thought of something more interesting to do with Spike.)

Or that he's only gradually come to realize/remember that Angelus is
enough of a bastard to actually go through with it.

> > And the fact that Buffy lets him
> > into her house (and leaves him psudeo-alone with her mom!) just proves
> > the point that she's running on pure instinct at this point.
>
> Yes. Though doesn't it seem to be a bad idea to invite a vampire into
> your house?

Absolutely.

> > But Joyce's reactions
> > make her seem like more of a caricature than she's been since "The
> > Harvest" (well, I guess "Bad Eggs" was bad there too). It's
> > not only the fact that she can't accept the story, but the particular
> > dialogue and delivery on lines like "have you tried *not* being a
> > Slayer?" and "well, it stops now!" don't work for me.
>
> Caricature, maybe, but I think it's consistent characterization. If
> anything, "School Hard" was the outlier, in terms of her characterization.

I'd disagree there. Joyce has never been the perfect mom, and has
always been a little oblivious and slow to accept major revelations.
Those are charcater traits. But she's also seemed like a real person
half the time ("Witch," "Prophecy Girl," and yes, "School Hard"), and
like a caricature of a parental figure there to serve the demands of
the script the other half of the time.

> > I don't think I need to describe the very end of the Buffy/Angel
> > scene after he gets his soul back, since it's memorable enough that
> > it'll run through one's mind long after Alzheimer's has taken
> > everything else.
>
> Boy, you really *don't* notice music, do you? A shame. That's absolutely
> majestic scoring right there.

Well, obviously not the way you, h.d., etc. do. I remember that I
liked the music and that it added to the general awesomeness of the
scene, does that count for anything?

> Let me give you one perspective along those lines. I really had no idea
> what was coming, and while there was all sorts of speculation to chew
> on, this episode convinced me that I could rely on none of it, because
> the show had clearly demonstrated that it was willing to do just about
> anything. At the time, I had never, ever seen anything with the
> emotional power of that last scene on TV...and in some ways I still
> haven't, considering its impact and, yes, surprise. Yes, Buffy "had to"
> kill Angel, but in the realistic portion of the brain I never thought
> that they'd actually do it -- some last-minute thingie would save the
> day -- nor did I ever conceive that they'd go for the ultimate pain by
> having her kill him *after* his cure.

If you hadn't figured out yet the things the veterans always point out
(this show always goes for the pain, and no character is completely
safe on a ME show), hopefully this one learned you. We disagree on a
lot of the surrounding stuff, but total agreement from me about the
power of the actual vampire-slaying bit.

-AOQ

George W Harris

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Feb 27, 2006, 7:52:16 PM2/27/06
to
On 27 Feb 2006 14:13:58 -0800, "Mike Zeares" <mze...@yahoo.com>
wrote:

:


:Scythe Matters wrote:
:>
:> It's hard to believe you can so easily gloss over a moment that, as has
:> been noted, consumed fandom for just about ever.
:
:The show's writers never thought that scene was important, and were a
:bit baffled by everyone going on and on about it. What consumes fandom
:is not necessarily important. Fandom is weird, and focuses on
:minutiae. And has an inflated view of its own opinions.

What a writer thinks is important about his work is
often very different from what actually is important about
his work. An author is an extremely unreliable interpreter of
his own works.
:
:-- Mike Zeares (there are reasons I left this place, you know.


:Spoilers weren't the only one)

--
"I'm a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar." -Wash, 'Serenity'

George W. Harris For actual email address, replace each 'u' with an 'i'

David Empey

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Feb 27, 2006, 7:38:21 PM2/27/06
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Michael Ikeda <mmi...@erols.com> wrote in
news:Vq6dnUYAp_KbFZ7Z...@rcn.net:

> I'm entirely in the "knowing Buffy wouldn't fight as hard" camp as
> far as Xander's primary motivation is concerned. Not that his
> feelings about Angel exactly work against his decision, but they
> aren't the deciding factor.
>
>

I like to think he'd have done the same thing even if his
"I hate Angel" motive were reversed.

--
Dave Empey

"This can be easily fixed by taking 17 levels of Ranger."
--Nockermensch

hopelessly devoted

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Feb 27, 2006, 8:21:10 PM2/27/06
to

Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

> Scythe Matters wrote:
> > Boy, you really *don't* notice music, do you? A shame. That's absolutely
> > majestic scoring right there.
>
> Well, obviously not the way you, h.d., etc. do. I remember that I
> liked the music and that it added to the general awesomeness of the
> scene, does that count for anything?


It's just interesting. And yes it does absolutely count.

Beck is one that I would list along with anything by James Horner and
Lanz' Christofori's Dream (if they can be listed in the same breath)
for creating music that has the ability to move me on a primal level.
Though it's very common to find that in full feature films (Horner and
sometimes Zimmer) as well as in "mainstream" music (Lanz), it is a very
rare treat to get that type of quality and attention in a tv show on a
weekly basis and then for one beautiful
moment.....................................................

Rowan Hawthorn

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Feb 27, 2006, 8:35:43 PM2/27/06
to
Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> Scythe Matters wrote:
>
>
>
>>>Snyder caring only about the chance to expel Buffy above all else makes
>>>him seem like so ridiculous a character that it defies ridiculousness.
>>
>>See, this is baffling. He's been saying and making plain, virtually
>>since his arrival, that he's had a special sort of grudge against Buffy.
>>He has been *overtly* against her from Day One. He's explicitly
>>mentioned his intention to find a reason to expel her. And then when he
>>follows through on his threat, you call it ridiculous. Especially since
>>you now know that there's something more to this action than meets the eye.
>
>
> You don't think that Snyder (or more accurately, the person Snyder is
> pretending to be) is ridiculous and cartoony, to the point where even
> kids expecting to hate the principal would find it strange? Do you
> find it realistic that someone would (as far as Buffy et al know) view
> a student being *wanted for murder* as solely a chance to expel her?
>

No. But having known a couple of real-life teachers who were only
fractionally better human beings than Snyder (and barely less
two-dimensional,) I *do* find it realistic that a principal who already
harbors an intense dislike for students in general, and one student in
particular, and has been explicit in his intentions to find an excuse to
expel that student, would jump at the opportunity. That's sad, but
that's life.

--
Rowan Hawthorn

"Occasionally, I'm callous and strange." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the
Vampire Slayer"

Don Sample

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Feb 27, 2006, 8:34:27 PM2/27/06
to
In article <1141087659.8...@i39g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,

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

> You don't think that Snyder (or more accurately, the person Snyder is
> pretending to be) is ridiculous and cartoony, to the point where even
> kids expecting to hate the principal would find it strange? Do you
> find it realistic that someone would (as far as Buffy et al know) view
> a student being *wanted for murder* as solely a chance to expel her?

Buffy's the only one who witnesses that, and she's got other things on
her mind at the moment.

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

Carlos Moreno

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Feb 27, 2006, 8:38:37 PM2/27/06
to
Clairel wrote:

>>If "Becoming II" is 'merely good,' I'm curious as to what on television
>>you've actually considered a masterpiece.
>
> --I second that question! But, thinking about it, I guess AOQ has
> given us his answer: he rated "Innocence," "Ted," and "Becoming I" as
> Excellent (i.e., masterpieces) while rating "Becoming II" as merely
> Good.
>
> Just for Mike Zeares's sake I will make a point of saying that the
> following sentences are meant merely as observations, not as attacks;
> they don't deserve a "So what?" any more or less than any observations
> by anybody else do.
>
> I just am staggered, absolutely flabbergasted, that anybody could rate
> "Becoming I" so high and then rate "Becoming II" less high. "Becoming
> II" is the pay-off to everything that "Becoming I" was the set-up for.

IMO, that's perfectly reasonable -- in fact, to me, there is even more
difference than one step in the scale.

Becoming I is, to me, far superior than part 2 -- although let's make
it clear that I find it an uttermost abomination the notion of judging
either part individually -- Becoming is *one episode*, one *indivisible*
episode, and as such, it should be rated as a whole -- the rating being
outstanding, extraordinary, unsurpassingly excellent, etc. etc.

But when judging it as a whole, I find that every single bit that I
find objectionable is systematically from part 2. All the cheesy
melodramatic moments are from part 2.

Sure -- part 2 also has Spike's speech of the Happy Meals with legs
(truly spectacular!!), plus the scene of Spike & Joyce awkwardly
sharing that moment (one of the series' absolutely finest visuals),
plus Buffy and Whistler exchange ending with "Hello to the imagery,
very nice!"

But part 1 has the two best Drusilla's moments -- "This is sooo
disappointing, oooooohhh!", and then the whole scene from her
entrance to the library till the moment they take Giles. It has
the flashbacks (most of them), plus the fact that it introduces
the flashbacks, which to me, it's one of the few crucial moments
of the series.

> If so, that's hard for me to understand because "Becoming II" gave me
> everything I could possibly want in a BtVS episode (at that point in
> time).

To each their own -- it gave me a lot of good stuff, but it also
gave me *tons* of stuff to emphatically fast-forward and never
want to look at it again.

> such complete satisfaction, and without the slightest blemish --
> without the slightest detail I would want changed.

I'll go again: to each their own -- to me, there's a lot that I
would most definitely want changed.

> enthusiasm for "Becoming II." Even after the oddness of the "Ted" and
> "Passion" reviews, it isn't what I expected to read.

Personal taste is a funny thing -- I am completely with you on
these two cases -- Ted getting anything above decent, and Passion
getting anything below "astonishingly extraordinary", well, let's
say that's odd...

But somewhat I seem to be perfectly in sync with AOQ's when it
comes to two-parters -- I find "Surprise" rather weak in comparison
to "Innocence", and find Becoming part II considerably less good
than part I. (again, insisting on the fact that to me, judging
each part of two-parters individually, is an abomination -- in
this respect, I seem to be in disagreement with the other
5999999999 people on the planet!! :-))

Cheers,

Carlos
--

vague disclaimer

unread,
Feb 27, 2006, 8:31:26 PM2/27/06
to
In article <1141087659.8...@i39g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

> > I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not sure you and the show
> > are on compatible timetables.
>
> This is the season finale. There's always the possibility that this
> will be the last of BTVS. Whatever the creators have in mind for the
> future may not be seen. If the story ends here, it looks like they
> introduced a potentially important plotline really early in the season,
> and then lacked the interest to follow it through.

Or alternatively they recognised the need to leave a few threads
dangling just in case they *were* picked up (plus fewer more effective
ways of keeping the fanbase chattering), while ending the season in a
way that *could* be a series finale. The important parts of this
season's story were finished.

I think you are confusing the needs of storytelling with the often
vicious practicalities of network television. Indeed, I reckon the
biggest challenge of S3 was dealing with something that happened in real
world (as a courtesy I won't spell it out, even though I think it is
pretty obvious).
--
A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend

Don Sample

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Feb 27, 2006, 8:45:34 PM2/27/06
to
In article <1141087659.8...@i39g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

> Scythe Matters wrote:

> >
> > I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not sure you and the show
> > are on compatible timetables.
>
> This is the season finale. There's always the possibility that this
> will be the last of BTVS. Whatever the creators have in mind for the
> future may not be seen.

If it had been the end, it would have been a dangling thread, but by
this point everyone knew that they'd be having a season 3 to wrap up
some loose ends that they created in season 2. (And barring something
catastrophic happening, they were pretty much guaranteed through to
season 5.) Season 3 will start some things that won't pay off until
season 4, or later. This is a common thing in Joss's shows. Everything
isn't wrapped up in a nice neat bundle at the end of every season.

Don Sample

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Feb 27, 2006, 8:48:40 PM2/27/06
to
In article <1141051569.7...@i39g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,

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

> A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> threads.
>
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 22: "Becoming (Part Two)"
> (or "How to disappear completely")
> Writer: Joss Whedon
> Director: Joss Whedon

Another nice bit of continuity in this episode was Buffy's silver cross
necklace. She took it off and hung it on her jewellery stand in
'Innocence' and we don't see it again until this episode. She's wearing
it when she leaves the house to face Angel for the last time.

Don Sample

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Feb 27, 2006, 9:00:45 PM2/27/06
to
In article <XONMf.25581$Qs1.5...@wagner.videotron.net>,
Carlos Moreno <moreno_at_mo...@mailinator.com> wrote:

> (again, insisting on the fact that to me, judging
> each part of two-parters individually, is an abomination -- in
> this respect, I seem to be in disagreement with the other
> 5999999999 people on the planet!! :-))

More like 6,499,999,999 other people (The US Census Bureau's world
population estimate passed the 6.5 billion mark on Saturday.)

Ian Galbraith

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Feb 27, 2006, 9:20:20 PM2/27/06
to
On 27 Feb 2006 06:46:09 -0800, Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

> Buffy
> and Spike (and their actors) have a good darkly comic vibe in their
> exchanges (particularly Spike's reaction to hearing that Drusilla
> "bagged a Slayer"), making it a surprise that they haven't gotten
> more substantial scenes together before this.

They do have chemistry together.

[snip]
> AOQ rating: Good
[snip]
> 20) "Go Fish" - Good
> 21) "Becoming (Part One)" - Excellent
> 22) "Becoming (Part Two)" - Good]

I find it absolutely unfathomable how you can rate B2 the same as Go Fish.
GF is fun but its not in the same galaxy. Like others I regard Becoming as
one of the masterpieces of the series and Part 2 is an incredible emotional
ride.

[snip]


--
You can't stop the signal

Carlos Moreno

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Feb 27, 2006, 9:49:36 PM2/27/06
to
Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

>>>Pitting heroes against the cops is so.. generic.
>>
>>Is it? In this universe, isn't it a little interesting to see what
>>happens when a girl who "fights badness" in a totally mythic universe
>>intersects with the police, who "fight badness" in a totally prosaic
>>way? In fact, isn't it a little unusual that it hasn't happened more often?
>
> I guess I'm used to my superheroes being feared and hated by the dumb
> cops who shoot at them indiscriminately. Too many of the wrong comics
> as a kid?

The detail that I truly disliked about that scene (even though they
later try to explain it -- but fail almost misserably) is how the
cop sees a person next to a crime scene, and because an idiot that
is just arriving (as in, someone that is clearly not an eyewitness)
says "Buffy Summers, attitude problems; if there's trouble, she's
behind it" and the idiot just proceeds to arrest her... I mean, yes,
Snyder says later on that the police in Sunnydale are profoundly
stupid (in relation to that scene at the beginning, this is a *gross
understatement*), but still the situation offended me -- and it was
unnecessary, when you think about it; there was *plenty* of stuff
to go about without having to add the police after Buffy, now because
of an *actual crime* that for no good reason, mysteriously got dropped.
I mean, for heavens' sake, she *assaulted a police officer*!!!!! The
fact that she had nothing to do with the murder for which they were
taking her the prime suspect is really irrelevant -- she was guilty
of a very serious crime, and I find it dumb that that crime simply
disappeared into thin air. Since she was not going to be arrested,
they might as well managed for the police to leave her alone (realizing
that there was no a priori reason to believe beyond doubt that she
was the murderer)

Carlos
--

Carlos Moreno

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Feb 27, 2006, 9:59:34 PM2/27/06
to
Ian Galbraith wrote:

>>20) "Go Fish" - Good
>>21) "Becoming (Part One)" - Excellent
>>22) "Becoming (Part Two)" - Good]
>
> I find it absolutely unfathomable how you can rate B2 the same as Go Fish.
> GF is fun but its not in the same galaxy. Like others I regard Becoming as
> one of the masterpieces of the series and Part 2 is an incredible emotional
> ride.

Yup; some of AOQ's ratings are quite consistent with the "general
praise" from the old-timer fans. But yes, some are quite inconsistent;

In fact, I'm shocked that you complain that he gave the same rating
for B2 as for GF, instead of complaining that he gave Ted a rating
higher than B2 !!!!!

In fact, I don't think I've met a BtVS fan (in person or in here)
that does not have Becoming in their top-10 list. Extrapolating
from what we've seen so far, Becoming would not make it to AOQ's
top-10 list by the time he finishes the series -- of course, when
looking at it in retrospect, having a more global point of view,
his ratings might change, of course -- or at least his choices of
top-10 might be partly uncorrelated with the ratings he's assigning
right now, after just the first watch.

Carlos
--

One Bit Shy

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Feb 27, 2006, 10:54:31 PM2/27/06
to
> "Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1141051569.7...@i39g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

I don't have much time tonight, so I'm going to hit on just one thing.

> We go about sorting out what happened to our heroes after Bec1. It's
> good to see Xander okay, and it's not so good to see him worried
> enough that he can't even banter. Seeing Willow in that state is
> enough to make even the more hardened viewers just say "awww...."
> Fortunately, she wakes up soon to give us her Determined Face.
> Unfortunately, the show has to blow some of my goodwill by putting her
> in a freaking _coma_ for no reason other than to do that lame, lame
> scene where Xander's declaration of love wakes her up. Ugh. Bad
> Soap Opera, Conventional Soap Opera, whatever you want to call it, the
> show should be above that kind of thing. Wasn't it enough for Xander
> to have one potential romance built upon cliché scenes? Oh, and he
> gets no sympathy from me re: Willow's reaction once awake.

> That's really about all the supporting kids get to do here. I


> suppose we can ponder the plot mystery of what was up with Willow

> during the end of the cursifying, or the more character-driven part


< when Xander decides not to tell Buffy what's happening on that front.

You've gotten a variety of remarks on this already, so I'm going to go
somewhere a little different.

In your Part I review you noted the overt connection to When She Was Bad
with how she was fooled a second time into leaving her friends at the
library where the real attack was taking place.

But the connection to WSWB doesn't end there. These Xander moments link up
too, though less overtly.

First, the I love you at Willow's bedside followed by her call for Oz is the
back end of the season long story between them that started in WSWB with the
greatest intimacy between them we've seen until now. Then it was Xander who
looked away.

We also saw angry Xander lash out that show.... At Buffy.... When Buffy
took the bait and left the rest to be attacked in the library the first
time... And what exactly did he say to her then?

"If they hurt Willow, I'll kill you."

Did Xander remember this conciously or subconciously? Perhaps not. If so,
not to really wish Buffy dead. But perhaps to wish she wouldn't get off
easy - the way he took Willow's spell solution. But whether Xander
remembers that or not, I don't believe for a moment that Joss didn't
remember it. The situations match up too well not to be deliberate IMO.

OBS

KenM47

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Feb 27, 2006, 11:10:19 PM2/27/06
to
Carlos Moreno <moreno_at_mo...@mailinator.com> wrote:


Actually using deadly force by discharging her weapon with a civilian
in harm's way and without any reason to believe that she or anyone
else was in immediate physical danger from unarmed Buffy was worse,
IMO.

But, you can't have everything.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Mike Zeares

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Feb 27, 2006, 11:28:23 PM2/27/06
to

Clairel wrote:
> I just am staggered, absolutely flabbergasted, that anybody could rate
> "Becoming I" so high and then rate "Becoming II" less high. "Becoming
> II" is the pay-off to everything that "Becoming I" was the set-up for.

See my "Becoming 2 is overrated" post. :-) Although my thoughts on
specifics differ a bit from AoQ's, I have never liked part 2 *in
total* as much as 1. From the day it aired. Up to the swordfight, I
thought it was missing something. I can't quite put my finger on what.

>From the swordfight on, however... wow.

Try not to be so flabbergasted by opinions that differ from yours.
That's a stressful way to live. That's all I'm saying.

-- Mike Zeares (it probably shows that I've been hanging around on
moderated forums where other posters' opinions are off-topic)

Apteryx

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Feb 27, 2006, 11:38:25 PM2/27/06
to
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in message
news:1141051569.7...@i39g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

>Spike appears, to propose an alliance with Buffy. Strange, but given
>


>Buffy
>and Spike (and their actors) have a good darkly comic vibe in their
>exchanges (particularly Spike's reaction to hearing that Drusilla
>"bagged a Slayer"), making it a surprise that they haven't gotten
>more substantial scenes together before this.

Their interaction here is a major plus for me. I liked his team spirit
reaction for Drusilla, and his "I'm just gonna kill this guy" about the
semi-conscious cop just after Buffy agrees to the alliance.


>But Joyce's reactions
>make her seem like more of a caricature than she's been since "The
>Harvest" (well, I guess "Bad Eggs" was bad there too). It's
>not only the fact that she can't accept the story, but the particular
>dialogue and delivery on lines like "have you tried *not* being a

>Slayer?" and "well, it stops now!" don't work for me. The

That was a major negative for me for a long time (even tho I DID like her
delivery on "have you tried *not* being a Slayer?"). The other was the
length of the sword fight at the end. I didn't initially like this episode
as much as many others did. But I got over it. They are just a couple of
little flaws in an otherwise brilliant episode. For me, its the 7th best
BtVS episode, 3rd best in Season 2

--
Apteryx


Apteryx

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Feb 28, 2006, 12:31:46 AM2/28/06
to
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in message
news:1141051569.7...@i39g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

>[Season Two ratings:

For a while there I thought that my ratings and yours were so different that
we could just about share a set of DVDs - you could keep the episodes you
liked, and I'd have the ones I like. On closer inspection, that doesn't
appear to be the case. There seems to be a slightly positive corelation
between my ratings and yours, although so slight that my liking or disliking
a future episode gives no indication whatsoever that you will. I use a 1-9
rating system, with 1 the best, though 1 and 2 are very seldom given. Its
not a linear system, with 7-9 being used for all movies/episodes I don't
want in my video collection, and 1-6.99 used for those I do. The lowest
rating I have currently for a BtVS episode is
6.75 (which I would call Bad), although some were rated 7 or 8 on first
viewing. Fine tuning my ratings of TV episodes depends on multiple viewing,
followed by deciding which of 2 episodes initially given the same rating I
like slightly more, and adjusting the numbers accordingly. By now there are
few BtVS episodes that have exactly the same rating.

>1) "When She Was Bad" - Good
Apteryx rating - Good (3.80) - 29th best BtVS episode overall

>2) "Some Assembly Required" - Weak
Apteryx rating - Decent (5.21) - 114th

>3) "School Hard" - Decent
Apteryx rating - Good (4.40) - 75th

>4) "Inca Mummy Girl" - Good
Apteryx rating - Good (4.33) - 66th

>5) "Reptile Boy" - Decent
Apteryx rating - Decent (4.71) - 90th

>6) "Halloween" - Good
Apteryx rating - Good (4.02) - 48th

>7) "Lie To Me" - Good
Apteryx rating - Excellent (3.40) - 15th

>8) "The Dark Age" - Good
Apteryx rating - Decent (4.93) - 103rd

>9) "What's My Line (Part One)" - Good
Apteryx rating - Good (4.10) - 54th

>10) "What's My Line (Part Two)" - Good
Apteryx rating - Good (4.03) - 49th

>11) "Ted" - Excellent
Apteryx rating - Good (4.45) - 76th

>12) "Bad Eggs" - Bad
Apteryx rating - Decent (4.80) - 96th

>13) "Surprise" - Decent
Apteryx rating - Excellent (3.07) - 10th

>14) "Innocence" - Excellent
Apteryx rating - Superb (2.40) - 4th

>15) "Phases" - Decent
Apteryx rating - Good (4.38) -73rd

>16) "Bewitched, Bothered, And Bewildered" - Bad
Apteryx rating - Excellent (3.07) - 11th

>17) "Passion" - Good
Apteryx rating - Superb (2.00) - 3rd

>18) "Killed By Death" - Decent
Apteryx rating - Decent (5.33) - 121st

>19) "I Only Have Eyes For You" - Good
Apteryx rating - Good (4.35) - 69th

>20) "Go Fish" - Good

Apteryx rating - Decent (5.08) - 111th

>21) "Becoming (Part One)" - Excellent

Apteryx rating - Good (3.68) - 25th

>22) "Becoming (Part Two)" - Good]

Apteryx rating - Excellent (3.00) - 7th

--
Apteryx


Ian Galbraith

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Feb 28, 2006, 1:18:02 AM2/28/06
to
On 27 Feb 2006 16:47:39 -0800, Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

> Scythe Matters wrote:
>> It's not at all
>> "conventional soap opera" unless you think that a teenager is not
>> realistically capable of conflicted affections. And, remember, Xander
>> has "gross emotional problems." This revelation is, I think, absolutely
>> inevitable...and to avoid it and continue on in blissful ignorance
>> *would* be the soap opera way of handling things.

> Well, I don't actually watch soap operas, but have a hard time thinking
> of anything mre maudlin than someone only realizing how much someone
> means to him when he's afraid he'll lose her... and his declarations of
> love wake her up... please.

Buffy has always had soap elements just like its always had horror elements
and comedic elements, and dramatic elements........His reaction rang true
for me even if the execution was soapy.

[snip]

>> It's hard to believe you can so easily gloss over a moment that, as has
>> been noted, consumed fandom for just about ever.

> It's funny that no one at ME thought it was a big deal either.

> But to answer the question, I thought it was interesting, but didn't
> discuss it at great length because it's basically the logical followup
> to the library scene from Part I which I spent more space on. Xander
> once again toes the line between tough-love/doing what needs to be done
> for his friend and just being a jerk. (Actually it's been a running
> theme with the character, but "Becoming" does it better than previous
> episodes did.)

I agree with you fully on this point and your interpretation.

[snip]


>> See, this is baffling. He's been saying and making plain, virtually
>> since his arrival, that he's had a special sort of grudge against Buffy.
>> He has been *overtly* against her from Day One. He's explicitly
>> mentioned his intention to find a reason to expel her. And then when he
>> follows through on his threat, you call it ridiculous. Especially since
>> you now know that there's something more to this action than meets the eye.

> You don't think that Snyder (or more accurately, the person Snyder is
> pretending to be) is ridiculous and cartoony, to the point where even
> kids expecting to hate the principal would find it strange? Do you
> find it realistic that someone would (as far as Buffy et al know) view
> a student being *wanted for murder* as solely a chance to expel her?

Yep.

[snip]
>> Baffling.

>> I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not sure you and the show
>> are on compatible timetables.

> This is the season finale. There's always the possibility that this
> will be the last of BTVS. Whatever the creators have in mind for the
> future may not be seen.

Really so what. Its not like the dangling thread is a major sub plot at
this point, its merely an intriguing sideline.

Sam

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Feb 28, 2006, 2:02:11 AM2/28/06
to

Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> Clairel wrote:

> > Sam wrote:
>
>
> Why not both? He honestly believed the world was safer with Angel dead
> and Buffy undsitracted by such things, but that may have been
> influenced by his dislike of Dead Boy.
>

That was always my thinking, too. (And, I am happy to report, Joss' as
well when he eventually weighed in.)

But for a long time, a huge portion of the fandom -- particularly that
section of it which was devoted to the Buffy/Angel love story --
loathed Xander on the basis that he lied just to kill Angel out of
jealousy. They viewed him as some kind of diabolical Iago figure, and
Xander's Lie would be referred to in caps for years to come.


> Basically, read the review. Short version: I think that the whole
> sequence of Buffy/Angel scenes at the end were near-perfect, everything
> they should have been, but the stuff leading up to the climax (and
> afterward) was pretty flawed.
>

I disagree, obviously, but that's actually less where I was going with
my comment. I'm not going to quibble over how much you liked or didn't
like the episode, that just seems silly. I actually am curious as to
what other programs on TV you consider actual masterworks, if this
didn't make the bill. Partly because it might illustrate why the things
that most of the readers here saw as brilliant you saw as flawed,
granted, but mostly because I'd be genuinely interested in getting my
hands on better TV than "Becoming" if it's out there.

Because as of right now, I think "Becoming" was probably the most
effective bit of television I've ever seen. In terms of pure technical
quality and structure of the writing, I've seen stronger work -- the
better episodes of "The Prisoner" come to mind, lots of Aaron Sorkin's
stuff, even some of Whedon's own later material holds together better
in some ways. By the time "Firefly" came around, he had mastered the
technical craft of plotting in ways that were still pretty unpolished
this early on. But in terms of sheer visceral, emotional investment,
satisfaction, and eventually the sheer gut-punch of the climax, I don't
think I've ever seen another show pull it off so well.

"Becoming", both parts, affected me emotionally on a level which no
television show had ever done before, or since, really. Even really
good television. I didn't cry, but then I don't cry at TV. My cold
robot heart won't let me. I did feel slightly choked up, though. That's
a degree of emotional investment I don't usually get out of the tube.

If there's better stuff out there that I'm missing, I want to watch it.
(This isn't some clever rhetorical trick or whatever. I've damn near
run out of interesting things to watch.)

--Sam

Sam

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Feb 28, 2006, 2:14:30 AM2/28/06
to

Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:

> Well, I don't actually watch soap operas, but have a hard time thinking
> of anything mre maudlin than someone only realizing how much someone
> means to him when he's afraid he'll lose her... and his declarations of
> love wake her up... please.
>

One of Joss Whedon's favorite tricks is using cliches and then
inverting them somehow. Like having the killer puppet turn out to be a
hero. Or, for that matter, the core premise for the show -- Monster
chases blonde cheerleader into alley. Cheerleader kicks monster's ass
and kills it. (That image, Joss has said, was the genesis of the whole
Buffy the Vampire Slayer concept.)

This is another cliche inversion. Xander's declaration of love awakens
Willow... who is completely oblivious to it, and immediately asks for
someone else as if he's not even there.

>
> It's funny that no one at ME thought it was a big deal either.
>

What do you mean?

>
> You don't think that Snyder (or more accurately, the person Snyder is
> pretending to be) is ridiculous and cartoony, to the point where even
> kids expecting to hate the principal would find it strange? Do you
> find it realistic that someone would (as far as Buffy et al know) view
> a student being *wanted for murder* as solely a chance to expel her?
>

Of course Snyder is ridiculous and cartoony. This is the guy who was
first introduced onto the show railing against horrible murders with
body parts being removed on school grounds... and also smoking.
Whatever else is going on, Snyder can always be relied upon to be a
singlemindedly petty little twit. It's the appeal of the character, if
you find it as funny as most of the audience (and the writers) did. If
not, I can see how it wouldn't work.

Personally, I sort of like the idea that Snyder knows what's really
going on, but is such a petty, beauracratic little troll that he
doesn't let that get in the way of keeping his eye on the prize of
expelling Buffy.

> This is the season finale. There's always the possibility that this
> will be the last of BTVS.

Actually, this isn't true. At the end of season 2, they had already
been renewed for a third season. As such, they very consciously left
things open-ended and set up plotlines for the third season, the
subject under discussion being an example thereof.

--Sam

KenM47

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Feb 28, 2006, 4:38:38 AM2/28/06
to
"Sam" <hyperevol...@gmail.com> wrote:

<SNIP>

>
>> This is the season finale. There's always the possibility that this
>> will be the last of BTVS.
>
>Actually, this isn't true. At the end of season 2, they had already
>been renewed for a third season. As such, they very consciously left
>things open-ended and set up plotlines for the third season, the
>subject under discussion being an example thereof.
>
>--Sam


I personally d/n/r but someone else posted we knew when it aired there
would be a S3. Did ME know when it was filmed, or when it was written?

IIRC, JW made public statements how he wanted the season finales to be
sufficiently complete to provide some form of closure if the show did
not come back.


Ken (Brooklyn)

Espen Schjønberg

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Feb 28, 2006, 6:28:40 AM2/28/06
to
On 28.02.2006 01:07, Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> kenm47 wrote:
>
>>Initial Thought: No hugs for you! You folks are hard hearted!
>>
>>(You did watch through to the little ME monster at the end, right?)
>
>
> Ah yes, forgot to mention that. It threw us, since we were so used to
> "grrr, arrgh."

I am so used to pressing "return" (or whatever) to avoid having my
tv-screen blocked by various insults about how criminal I would have
been if I had been and how illegal it is to be a criminal for the next
ten minutes. It goes on forever in every european (and some asian)
languages. You have to press "return" before it starts, or "eject" when
it starts (but then of course it is all the start-up messages when you
drive the DVD back in.)

--
Espen


Noe er Feil[tm]

kenm47

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Feb 28, 2006, 7:59:11 AM2/28/06