Friday, June 5, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 5/Angel season 2 episodes 2

Continuing my viewing and reviewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 5 and Angel season 2...

*** SPOILERS ***

B5-2: Real Me (written by David Fury, airdate 10/03/00)

When TV shows decide to introduce a new, younger character out of the blue well into their run, it is usually a sign of the shark being jumped. The Bradys got cousin Oliver. The Cosbys got Olivia. Now the Summers have Dawn. But, remember what show this is. Reality has been altered due to magic a couple times already. In season 3, Anya helped Cordy experience a world where Buffy never came to Sunnydale. In season 4, Jonathon used magic to make himself a super-star. So, clearly there is some heavy duty force at work here that would allow reality of the Buffyverse to be altered so everyone is perfectly fine with a 14 year old little sister always being there. Okay, not everyone. Clearly the crazy man that Dawn runs into outside the magic shop knows she doesn't belong. Speaking of the shop, nice way to provide Giles a new occupation and to get the Scoobies out of his flat. But, back to Dawn as this episode is clearly about her and view of things. I love how she finds Willow and Tara cool due to their being witches. And how she crushes on Xander. But she screws up when Harmony and her gang show up. Pause - gotta laugh along with Xander and Buffy - it is too funny that Harmony has minions. LOL. Anyway, Harmony is a lot like Dawn - lost, trying to fit in with the world. Dawn seems to have some advantage though (again, that mystic reality altering will do that). So, I am sure the big mystery of the season is: who/ what is Dawn and how/why did she come into being? Her final line of the episode is revealing: "Boy, is she (Buffy) in for a big surprise". This should be fun to ferret out with the rest of the gang.

A2-2: Are You Now or Have You Ever Been? (written by Tim Minear, airdate 10/03/00)

This one had a nice change in the framing. We get a detailed story from Angel's past, circa 1952, when he was living in seclusion in the Hyperion Hotel in north Hollywood. The hotel set is well done, and the whole feel of the period - from the HUAC trials on TV to racial prejudice to closeted actors - is spot on. Love the concept of the demon in this one, one that feeds off of paranoia, hatred and prejudice. It all fit perfectly. Of course, the present day stuff is great too. Wesley and Cordelia piecing together clues of what might have happened, and then bringing Gunn into the mix. Definitely some "tension" forming already between Gunn and Wesley, of sorts. Of course, the ending is fitting as we discover what happened to Judy and why she was never found and why the demon is still residing in the hotel. Lastly, it works out well as Angel Investigations gets new digs. Call this the "secret origin" of their new headquarters. I like it. It has character.


Michael O'Connell said...

BUFFY: Awesome ep, because suddenly, this Dawn person that just showed up not only seems like she's always been there among the gang...but she's written like we should know her, too, as viewers. Great writing, great use of the whole diary idea, and what a great way to take a look at all our characters through some fresh eyes. And I love how we're waiting on some answer to the big Dawn mystery, but nope! Business as usual, with just a tease of a clue.

And I love how she got written in, how all these characters we know suddenly have years of history with her. Riley calling her kid (as always), Joyce babying her because she's the youngest, Xander treating her like a little sister, Willow's obviously close relationship with her...and, of course, Giles' annoyance with her, as you can tell he's a man that's not used to children and has little patience for them. Now that there suddenly was one, that part of his personality seemed totally logical to me. And best of all, the big-sister, little-sister feuding with Buffy and Dawn. Everything felt totally natural! We're led to accept it as status quo, just like the characters. Great writing.

And yes, Harmony with minions. How can that not be funny. Her leadership skills were exactly what I would have expected. Heh.

ANGEL: Wow. Great ep! I'd forgotten how well it was done, how it really captured that 50s feel and felt like an old movie. Loved cigarette-smoking, anti-social Angel, one who stayed away from humanity, and then decided to get involved for once, and look what happened? Loved all the little period details. Really liked the beatnik magic shop guy, too, a great NPC. Man, what was creepier about that demon - his tentacles or that accent? Shiver! Great ep with a lot to say about humanity. And what an ending, with the woman being set free and finally passing. Very emotional stuff. And's the new base! What an awesome choice for one. Let's get moved in!

Also - the Gunn/Wes bickering was hilarious.

Martin said...

I totally concur. These two episodes were about changing the status quo. One we get some true revelations of the past (Angel) while the other we get made to see a past that never should be there (Buffy). Nice juxtaposition.