Wednesday, March 25, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 2, episode 1

As noted earlier this week, I am on to season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since Mike wanted to do an interactive discussion with me, I'll be reviewing episodes as I watch them. You can participate in the talk too - just remember I am a first time viewer (even though these shows are from 1997) - so please don't spoil future episodes for me. I will not read not post comments that do that.

First, love the interactive menus on season 2 disks. The whole 3D trip through the town is neat. Nice touch.

**** SPOILERS ****

Season 2, episode 1: When She Was Bad
Synopsis: Buffy returns from summer vacation with a "major attitude" and recurring nightmares involving the Master - even as The Annointed One and his followers plot their revenge. (Airdate 9/15/07, written and directed by Joss Whedon)

Ok, beginning of the seasons episodes can be a little clunky. You have new hairstyles (like Cordelia's hair being more brown, Buffy with her cut locks, Xander cleaned up a bit), with teens they have aged some too. It shows. But everyone is back and a perfect follow on to the season 1 finale. It tied in some of the loose ends from that episodes and it showed how the group - now with Cordelia and Miss Collander - had really expanded.

I knew there would be some ramifications from the Master's bite in the season 1 finale - I thought that was what was causing Buffy to act so weird. Turns out, though, it was just trauma - trauma of dying and coming back, trauma of such a crazy year, and trauma of the love-kind with Angel. What's a girl to do? Take out her aggressions - literally.

Of the new vampires, I was sorry to see the preacher man go so quickly. I kind of liked him. Not sure how I feel about The Annointed One - so far he hasn't done a heck of a lot. I am sure that will change in future episodes - as a writer, I certainly would do something with him.

And, poor Xander. That scene at the Bronze, right after Buffy does her "dirty dancing" impression, he is left confused. Should I go? Should I not? Is it me she wants or is it whatever the freak is bothering her? And Willow stares. And Cordelia stares. And Angel stares. That is how to create unspoken tensions all the way around the group. Nicely played, Joss.

Coming soon (as soon as I watch it - maybe tonight) - episode 2.


Michael O'Connell said...

D'oh! You're too fast for me, Maenza! I thought I was being all slick getting through episode 1, and then I get on the computer and find out you've cranked though the whole disc! I'll adjust my speed accordingly, sir! I'm also going to wait on reading your comments on each ep since it's been a while, and you might be giving ME spoilers if I read 'em...

Mmmm. Miss Calendar. I'd forgotten how hypnotized I am by that face. Wow. Want some Robia LaMorte trivia? Starting off her career as a dancer, she played the "role" of "Pearl" in Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls" video. She also went full-on born-again Christian at some point after Buffy, but thankfully didn't go all "Buffy and magic are evil and I'm ashamed!" about it. She loved the experience and loves her fans.

OH so good getting back to Sunnydale! I love jumping in on this episode, because it's about Buffy coming back to town, just like I am. Loved the opening, showing a leisurely, boring summer coming to an end, and showing that Xander and Willow are actually typical teens, not just monster-hunters. You could so tell this was a Joss-written episode with the Buffy attitude stuff. Joss' brain works like that - most shows just gloss over the big near-death event and move on, but Joss is always thinking of how that stuff effects his characters emotionally.

Loved the "why is Buffy acting like this" mystery, with a very simple and oh-so-human answer. Yeah...creepily painful moment on the dance floor with Xander, huh? The music fit it so perfectly, and loved watching how that worked the "quadrangle" angle. And also loved how that moment with Cordy outside the Bronze showed that she's being stepped up from the annoying Veronica Lodge character into a major character - yet without losing her Cordyness.

Favorite line of the ep (and there were many great ones in this one):

Snyder: "I can smell it. It's like a sixth sense."

Giles: "Actually, that is one of the five senses..."

Lots of angst, lots of funny, lots of action - everything we love about Buffy in one ep! And one of my favorite Xander moments, too: "If they hurt Willow I'll kill you." Go, Xan Man! Loved how it perfectly came back around at the end with everybody being forgivy (I'm even speaking Joss) and being friends again.

And the best way to tell this was a Joss episode? The Annointed One, right at the end:

"I HATE that girl."


Okay, I will now, gratefully, kick my Buffy viewing into a higher gear and try to keep up the pace! Can't wait for more! And I'll comment on your next three writeups ASAP.

Martin Maenza said...

Now this is what I wanted to see - in depth commentary from Mike. I love that. So, let's talk...

Yes, I am going fast. Didn't watch any tonight so you get some time to catch up. We did the movies tonight and, of course, had to watch "Dollhouse" (which I need to blog about soon!). Tomorrow I will likely plow through two to four episodes, if possible. Something to look forward to for the weekend.

I did not know that Miss Calendar (Robia LaMorte) was "Pearl". Damn! No wonder she looked familiar. You know I'm a HUGE Prince fan. Awesome.

I'm enjoying the metamorphis of Cordelia's character - adding new layers but keeping some of the original elitist attitude too.

Loved the lines you mentioned. There were a lot of great ones. Very quotable. I like that about a show.