Thursday, March 26, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 2, episodes 2 and 3

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


Episode 2: Some Assembly Required

Synopsis: A series of grave robbings leads to a science club member who is trying to create a girlfriend for his brother, whom he has just brought back from the dead. (written by Ty King, airdate 9/22/97)

First, love the title! This episode again harkens back to those old comic horror stories - assuming a kid could actually figure out how to resurrect his recently killed brother. The fact that he and a friend would then keep a promise to make a patchwork-woman for the lonely, recently dead just kicks up the ick factor. What works mostly for me in this one is the continuity points with the main cast. We see Giles getting up the nerve to ask Miss Callender on a date, only to find himself asked out instead. That was fun. Plus, we get the tension of Buffy/Angel/Xander carrying over from last episode into this one nicely. And, finally, more Cordelia in the center of danger - the damsel in distress role. Those are the bits that made this one a little better than average. But, hey, the season is still young.

Episode 3: School Hard

Synopsis: Buffy's mother gets trapped inside Sunnydale High School when a vampire named Spike arrives in town and launches an attack against the Slayer. (written by Joss Whedon, airdate 9/29/97)

This one kicks it up the notch I wanted. First, there is the introduction of Spike and Drusila, a set of adversaries that'll make things a lot more interesting. I love Spike's style and attitude. And I like that there is that connection to Angel, providing another level of tension for that character. The whole nightmare of school meets parents meets slayer added a good bit of conflict. Clearly more people are getting an inkling of what is going on. And the fact that the new principal and the police officer allude to something in their brief conversation in the end has me thinking they both know a lot more than are letting on. Oh, and I love Armin Shimmeran (Quark) in this role - nice casting. All in all, a solid episode that advances the continuity and premise nicely. Me like!


Michael O'Connell said...

I'm lagging, but trying to work on it today. So far just watched #2:

Good call on that horror comics homage thing - I hadn't thought of that, and that makes perfect sense. Very icky concept. While it was enjoyable, I, too, was more interested in the stuff going on with the gang. And the gang gave me my two fave lines:

Buffy: "Just speak English, or whatever they speak back in..."
Giles: "England?"

Xander: "KARMAcoughcough..."

Great moments in this thing that really define the Giles character, such as his perking up at the idea of grave-robbing instead of being shocked. Mmmm...and more Miss Calendar. Go, Giles, go! If anyone's going to loosen him up, it's going to be a hot techno-pagan.

Fun ep...back soon with the #3 notes.

Martin Maenza said...

Mike, take your time. You'll be able to keep up as I get into other programming (current stuff) next week.

I enjoyed that dialogue exchange you noted. Very good.

Michael O'Connell said...

Episode 3:

YES! Spike's inna house!

One of my favorite character intro episodes ever. Perfectly symbolic for him, just mowing the Sunnydale sign down on his way into town. And just when you think you're getting some one-dimensional badass while he's talking to the Annointed One, in walks Dru, and suddenly, Spike's got layers. We're introduced to this wonderfully twisted romance (how fabulous was that shot of them turning their heads toward the camera after she cut his face? Defining Buffyverse moment!), and the magnificently insane Drusila. Right from their arrival, you just knew everything about the show had changed.

More of the Whedon writers using staples of high school-hood in their plots - the parent teacher conference! Aiiieee!! Awesome pressure on Buffy for that, and for everything else. Love the making of weapons and snacks in the library with the whole gang. Can't think of a favorite line just now, but definitely a favorite moment was Xander tearing through Buffy's purse looking for her stake and recoiling in horror from the tampon.

Spike/Buffy fight - AWEsome. Lots of great wanna-choke-him Snyder stuff? OH yeah. Angel/Xander team-up? Score! Great Peter Parker/Aunt May moment between Buffy and Mom? Thumbs-up (secret identities are cool!). Intrigue with Snyder seeming to be connected to the cops - and all of them knowing the "truth" about the vampires? Bing!

And the perfect ending - Spike hoisting the "Annoying One" up and roasting him in the sun. I think that moment there was Joss realizing that this kid was really just damned annoying and going nowhere, and he wanted a way out of that, and something to spice things up. So he creates Spike and Dru, has them show up and do his dirty work for him, and right there with the end of this episode, everything changes, and it's a whole new ball game. In a lot of ways, this ep is really the first one of season 2. Things are going to get ugly. Great ep!

Martin Maenza said...

I definitely agree about chapter 3 - the addition of Spike as a new villain and Dru as his crazy girlfriend adds a lot. The Master was a lot of posturing from behind the barrier for most of season 1. The Annointed One was just pointless - all he did was lead Buffy in episode 12 (yawn). Good way to get rid of him now.