Saturday, June 6, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 5/Angel season 2 episodes 3

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

*** SPOILERS ***

B5-3: The Replacement (written by Jane Espenson, airdate 10/10/00)

Time to switch gears and focus on one of the gang this episode. Xander really needs to better his life. Living in the basement with his fighting parents above isn't working out. He doesn't think he can land a decent apartment and worries his construction gig won't last. He has doubts. Enter the Toth demon who wants to split the Slayer in two to defeat her (kill the less competant half and both die). Instead, Xander saves her from being hit. Of course, inept Xander thinks a demon has replaced him and is living his life better than he (the other gets a promotion, lands the apartment, gets hit on by the leasing agent, etc.). Luckily he can turn to Willow, the one who knows him best, and convinces her there is a problem. Luckily Giles figures it all out and that the two need to be restored, and Willow can handle that by stopping Toth's split-spell. Some great moments here-in. Love Giles' line after the gang gives him ribbing about the Toth demon walking out after besting him: "I'm not dead or unconscious, so good for me". Also, the moment between Anya and confident Xander when she admits her feeling vulnerable being completely human. Great character development there. Finally, Riley reveals to whole Xander how Buffy makes him feel but points out that he knows that Buffy is not in love with him.

A5-3: First Impressions (written by Shawn Ryan, airdate 10/10/00)

Angel seems off his game, distracted by the dreams of Darla he's been having. But it isn't dreams coming from his mind - she's influencing them. More on that later in the season, I am sure. No, the focus this time is on the team and particularly how Gunn interacts with the group. Seems he doesn't think much of them, calling Wesley "C3PO" and Cordelia "stick figure Barbie". Even when the team encounters some more vamps in the 'hood, Gunn isn't impressed by them. But he is forced to face his views when Cordelia, after having a vision about him, comes to his rescue. Then the episode spins out a bit - with Angel and Wesley and the pink helmet, and Gunn and Cordelia having to do the "dude, where's Angel's car?". Cordelia starts to earn some of Gunn's respect when she tends to Vanessa's injury long enough to get her to a hospital and stands by him when they finally find the car and the awaiting demon Devac. In the end, Gunn has to realize that Cordelia is going to be there, to help him from his own self-destruction. See, she doesn't quit on her friends - which shows how much she has grown from the self-centered snop she was back in Sunnydale. A good character study of them both.


Michael O'Connell said...

BUFFY: Trivia time! In case you didn't know it, Nick Brendan has a twin brother (seriously), so for Joss, I'm sure he'd been waiting for a long time to make use of this fact. Couldn't have come up with a better way. Great Xander ep, which made a really nice statement about how we see ourselves vs. how others see us, and that we've all got potential that we don't realize. And yes, a really cool character moment for Anya, getting into her humanity and fears. Wacky fun all around (none more fun that Anya wanting to keep it with two of them for her own...personal reasons...). Favorite part for me, though, was the ending, and the Riley confession to Xander. Not just a great character moment for Riley, but a great moment between him and Xander, something we haven't gotten to see thus far. It was a really poignant and sad moment, done so simply with just one five-word sentence and a really meaningful silence.

ANGEL: Great Gunn ep. We got to know him better, and got to introduce our characters to his world. I really like how Gunn lets us see the OTHER side of L.A., the street part without all the movie-star glam. The injured girl was a nice way to show his similarity to Angel, how it has to be about the mission, how he can't allow himself happiness or people get hurt. Angel and the pink helmet...perfect ("Hop on, gorgeous"). And yeah, more nice new-Cordy growth, too. Gunn's starting to fit in a little more now. Awesome.

Martin said...

I didn't realize Nick had a twin. That was some neat way to do it. Nice. I always do love good Xander episodes - they are so funny in an everyman sort of way. And, of course, we get great Anya too. Love that character a lot.

I'm digging Gunn a lot more as we see more and more of him with the group. No wonder he's a favorite of yours.