Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 5/Angel season 2 episodes 7

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

*** SPOILERS ***

B5-7: Fool For Love (written by Douglas Petrie, airdate 11/14/00)

Buffy gets hurt, staked by her own weapon, by a vamp. While Riley and the gang go after the attacker (loved the bit with the chips with Willow and Xander, and even Riley going back alone to take the group of vamps out - his way), Buffy realizes that Giles' books don't ever tell about the final battles of Slayers. Who would know this stuff? Spike! This episode really adds a lot of dimensions to the character. We see him first as a love-struck, poetic intellectual who is made a joke by his social circle in London of 1880). Poor William ("the bloody" due to his bloody bad poetry) is found by Druscilla who sees his mind, heart and imagination - and sires him. We see how Spike's new found confidence leads to problems for Angel, Darla and Dru - forcing them to often run to avoid exposure. But when Spike finds out about Slayers - oh boy! - the man is up for the challenge! This leads him and the group to China in 1990 and the Boxer Rebellion. While the world outside is in chaos, he tastes first blood of a Slayer and finds it to be a powerful aphrodesiac. This clearly shows the demarked difference between the couples - Angel and Darla versus Spike and Dru. They counterbalance one another - precision versus passion, mental versus emotional. Of course, Spikes tale about facing his second Slayer in NYC in 1977 gives Buffy the lesson that all Slayers have a death wish and that Buffy's will come soon enough. Buffy rebuffs him, pushing his advances away in an echo of the words of William's first love - "you're beneath me". This enrages Spike to the point where he plans to kill her with a shotgun. But, when he sees Buffy crying on the back porch (having just found out Joyce is going in for a catscan), he can't pull the trigger. Instead he comforts her. He is very much the title's "fool for love". He was in the beginning when he was William, he was with Dru and he is now with Buffy. Even Dru knew that when they were on the run in South America in 1998 - she could smell the Slayer all over him. Granted, is that any reason for her to dally with an antler-headed freak demon? What is Dru thinking? LOL.

A2-7: Darla (written by Tim Minear, airdate 11/14/00)

Again, the symmetry of the two shows back to back. In this one, we get many flashbacks revealing key moments in Darla's past, from her siring by the Master in the Virginia Colony in 1609, to critical moments with Angel (his meeting with the master in 1760 when she leaves with Angel because he promised her everything, 1880 just before Dru sired Spike, 1898 in Romania after the gypsies cursed him, and 1990 in China). I love how we got to see extra tie-ins to Spike's flashbacks in the earlier Buffy episodes - and it really gives a better view of the two couples and where they were in 1990. I had forgotten the Boxer Rebellion was two years after Angel was cursed, and he was trying to make amends with Darla (until he realized he could not prey on the innocent any longer). In the present, Darla needs Angel as her soul is staring to effect her. Lindsey tries to help, falling for her, and Holland Masters uses him to allow her to escape. The project isn't pulled as Lindsey is first lead to believe - it is going exactly as Holland wants. He wants Angel distracted, and it is working. In the end, though, Angel has to turn a deaf ear on Darla's pleas - he won't "return the favor" or damn her as she did to him. And, as a result, she runs and doesn't want him to find her again. Powerful stuff.

Again, kudos to both creative teams for putting the synergy into these two episodes. They really add the dimensions to the Spike and Darla characters, showing why they are rich parts of the two series. I was very impressed with both.

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