Buffy the Vampire Slayer created by Joss Whedon

Drop me a line | Season Seven Archives Saturday Oct 26, 2002
  Buffy Reviews, Vol #7 Issue #3 & 4

7.3 & 7.4: Same time, Same place & Help

Written by Jane Espenson (4.3) & Rebecca Rand Kirshner (4.4) | Directed by James A. Contner (4.3) & Rick Rosenthal (4.4)

I gotta tell you, I'm not up for this today. I'm already 2 episodes behind (not including the 3 Angel ones) and I'm struggling to get the motivation going. It's not even that that they were bad episodes, but time has passed since I watched them and my enthusiasm has inevitably waned. That's why I always do my best (or quickest) writing straight off the bat. Still, in efforts of completeness I will endeavour to write my thoughts on these 2 episodes. (BTW, I've just reread this opening paragraph and I sound like an incredibly depressed mofo - I'm just a bit (read: a lot) hungover and tired. Expect me back to my fighting best next week!)

Okay, 7.3 dealt mainly with Willows return to Sunnydale. She's been largely a bit player in the first 2 ep's, but take's centre stage here. It's a nice enough idea, that Willow has subconsciously made her self invisible and intangible to her friends, while some gollum inspired beastie hunts her. The monster was actually rather horrific in the fact that there can't be many more painful ways to die than being slowly skinned alive. Goddamn that's cold! Of course, there's the cosmic irony factor that Willow is being punished for skinnin' Warren and one wonders if she subconsciously (and maybe in conjunction with The Hellmouth) transported this creature from somewhere. Whatever, it was good to see the self contained plot and the occasional advances in subplots. A nice ending between Buffy and Willow made for a satisfactory ending. Spike's still crazy boy and though his scene with Willow was funny and clever, the insane shtick is getting old fast. The rest of the crew are enjoyable enough and Anya finally gets some more screen time. Looks like something's building up to a head re: her demon status. But yeah, enjoyable enough ep. - 3/5

7.4 puts Buffy back in light as she try's to solve a seemingly suicidal student avoid dying by the end of the week. It's not bad exactly, but it doesn't standout either. Cassie is interesting enough and the twist ending is actually rather good. But it feels a bit like filler, killing time until the story arc kicks in. Cassies mysterious comment to Spike is intriguing and the Willow/Xander stuff was good watching. But it just sort of sits there. Not bad, not great. - 3/5

Wow, that was shorter than even I expected. If you're a regular visitor here I can only apologise. Real life stuff has been eating away at my time (new job, less time, yadda yadda) but I'll be back on track next week. I promise. For now, read these various comments from various message boards if you're still looking for analysis. And now I go to bed.

David McNulty
'Power. Control. It's a trade off.' - Xander
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Fanzone - Genuine comments from various message boards

Fan 1: '1. Whedon wrote the best pilot of the year with "Lessons." It felt like the first episode of different show. Aferr season six I needed that. 2. The UPN prom department needs to be savaged by a gang of mental patients. If I see another wacky fucking Buffy commercial I'm going down there with a bat. 3. Jane Espenson is so very awesome. I find her to be cute and cuddly. 3. I miss awkward Willow. I miss cute awkward Willow. I need the Scoobies to NOT LIKE Willow. I stopped liking Willow, I want them to stop liking her. That way as she earns their love again, she can earn mine. I also want her to dress lup ike a school girl and lick my bad places, but that's a seperate issue. 4. Firefly is a WESTERN? A fucking WESTERN? What the fuck is wrong with you Joss-dog? Come home, pal. Write five Buffy's and all will be forgiven. Firefly is airing on Friday fucking nights, out of order and on Fox. It's all over but the shouting. Come home, Champ. We miss you. 5. Giles. In Sunnydale. Now. 6. Anya is dead weight at this point, and that sad because I love her. 7. Xander is bloated and creepy looking. 8. Spike has a soul and I don't give a fuck. I want him EVIL not sad and crazy. 9. Dawn is the new cute-est girl ever. Jailbait rules.----- The show is better but still hazy. I...A fucking SPACE WESTERN? What the fuck, man...I'm the guy that been banned more times than anybody ever. The Champion of the world, Your Hero. See you in Hell. '

Fan 2: ' Okay. So if the depressing last season was about "growing up" (actually more growing toward adultolescence), I bet you a Donatello Versace Champagne Hot Pocket that the theme of this season is parenthood. Or at the least, mentorship. A classic example of this is the very first scene of Buffy this season, when Buffy is training grasshopper Dawn in who has the power. Another is when Buffy is sending Dawn off to her first day of school. Aside from the very unparental advice to talk with your mouth full, the scene is pure 50's nuclear family, with Daddy Xander in full businessman attire and Mommy Buffy warning Little Dawn about the troubles one can experience in high school. Or, more specifically, Hellmouth High. Then there's the part where Buffy gets the job as a guidance counselor, to do the same for even more young'ns. And get paid. This is a shift away from the dark "real-life" scenarios of last season's Double Meat Palace depression and bad addictions in the form of sex and "drugs." I think this shift toward responsibility is a smart move on Joss Whedon's part. Not only is it an organic growth of the themes from last season, but it subliminally sets us up for the passing of the baton. Who knows what kind of spin-off / continuation may happen at the end of this season (although specualtion has abounded)? Sarah Michelle Gellar may quit the show, but if any Slayer series were to work without Buffy, she'd need to pass on her experience, and mentor a replacement. Maybe that replacement is Dawn (Back to that first scene of the season, when Buffy is training Dawn in the graveyard. Buffy vanishes at one point, to let Dawn make her own mistakes, and to drive home the point that she won't always be around to save her), maybe it's Faith (Eliza Dushku has been signed on to do the last five eps this season), maybe it's even Willow, or one of the Scrappys. Who knows. The point is that the show is setting Buffy up to be the teacher this time around. And if wisdom comes from the experience of surviving past mistakes, Buffy should be pretty darn wise by now. '

Fan 3: 'One other thought on Buffy's ratings: they are going to tend to be inherently poorer than shows on other networks, if for no other reason than the fact that UPN isn't distributed everywhere. Out here in the boondocks, where cable and sat are the only options (there are *no* stations at all within broadcast range), our local cable system didn't bother to carry UPN until about last February. I presume Buffy and Enterprise are the shows UPN can thank for getting someone to care enough to add it. ******* You get weaker distribution, weaker stations, less cross-promotion (because most people don't watch anything on UPN), etc. I'm just guessing, but I suspect if CSI moved from CBS to UPN, it's ratings would be cut by far more than half. ******* Through smart demographic targeting and hit shows (such as Buffy, especially), the WB was able to get itself distributed much more widely, to where smaller markets and rural areas felt like they had to pick up a station from somewhere. Buffy and Enterprise are pretty much the cornerstones of a comparable strategy by UPN, which may or may not succeed. So while, of course, UPN cares about Buffy's ratings, they also know perfectly well that there are a lot of factors that go into them. They can also probably tell a lot more from the more detailed numbers they get, like demo breakdowns and individual-market and comparable-market numbers; things that can tell them how well Buffy does in markets that have strong UPN stations. Even though the UPN marketroids have some bizarre ideas about how to promo the shows, I would be floored to discover that the suits weren't thanking their lucky stars every day to have Buffy getting the numbers it has. '

Fan 4: '"...Some day she will tell you."-Cassie. Thank you Cassie for that little nugget. Angel/Buffy shippers are pissing their pants now. They are trying their best to rationalize that statement and hope that it means something else. Too bad. So sad. Regardless of what Buffy says, we all know she loves Spike. Admit it. Some day she could tell Spike she loves him, or maybe forgives him, or trusts him. At any rate it all comes back to her loving him. Any one of those would be powerful for Spike. Although, the I love you would be the most powerful. But we know sweeps are coming and they know what everyone wants to hear. Sorry fanboys, I'm sure that on that day you will all hang yourselves in the shower. And for those of you who say it could be any "she", get real. What other "she" matters to Spike? At least more than Buffy. Fanboys come out to plaaayeee, fanboys come out to plaaaayeeeee. HAHaHAHa. '

Fan 5: 'I guess I just didn't feel Willow's emotional pain. She seemed a helluva lot more scared that some freaky demon was eating her alive than by the rather shaky concept that her friends abandonded her. Can't say I blame her, but still. I guess I would like to see the immediate aftermath of Willow's crash. Did anyone talk? Did Giles just pack her up and take off? I felt rushed, being forced to accept too much too fast without enough reasoning. And you're right, I've never lashed out my grief and rage by killing others and trying to end the world, nor do my loved ones.. We're in the real world: we deal. Sorry. :) I hardly see what Tara's death had to do with Dawn's whining, etc., so your argument doesn't fly with me. Have I ever been pissed? Yes. But I like to think I have enough self-control to watch what I say and not turn into a verbal incontinent the second I get cranky. I'll be the first to admit I turn into avoidy-girl; rather than spew unpleasantries at those I love, I go off and reflect on my rage, and try to work around it. I'm not taking a moral high ground per se, I just wish the writers would stick with reality - I'm cool with the grieving process, but turning it into a personal attack on one's friends is not an acceptable part of it. And let me re-state: I'm NOT saying they should NEVER forgive her, I'm simply saying that this is the first time they've seen their friend post-psychocrazygirl - I'd rather they waited another episode or two of actually sitting and discussing (even just off-screen) the feelings and concerns, etc. ---- My initial (and still going) rant is about the difference in treatment of Willow & Spike by the gang. I'm not going into great detail with either, really, I'm just trying to illuminate the differences to show the excessive moral high ground (as you put it) of the Buffyverse. Willow can do no wrong because she's human. Spike can do only wrong because he's a vampire. That kind of dichotomy bothers me, which is why I was bringing up Willow's Insta-Forgiveness(tm) in the first place, not as an attack on Willow herself. '


Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Anne Summers) Website: SMGfan.com James Marsters (Spike aka William the Bloody) Website: James Marsters.com Nicholas Brendon (Alexander 'Xander' LaVelle Harris) Website: Nick Brendon.com Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg) Website: HDC - Alyson Hannigan Central Emma Caulfield (Anya Emerson aka Anyanka) Website: Anya.Org.UK Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers aka The Key) Website: Michelle-Trachtenberg.com

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