Wednesday, April 1, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 2, episodes 13 and 14

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


Episode 13: Surprise

Synopsis: On Buffy's seventeenth birthday, she and Angel must prevent Spike and Druisilla from reurrecting the Judge, a demon who has the power to destroy humanity (written by Marti Noxon, airdate 1/19/98)

Another two parter with back-to-back night airings (looks like Buffy changed nights of the week for the show with this story). Well worth it as together they packed a great punch. First, dreams that hint at the coming events. Love that. Then, the parallel party preparations as the gang plans to throw Buffy a surprise party while Dru is cooking up her own little fun. Speaking of Dru, she is bonkers still even after getting "better". Love it! Makes her a great character to look forward to. Back to surprises, we get one with the revelation of why Jenny is at the school. Damn! She had a secret too. No wonder she knows all about magic and such - its in her blood. The Judge, while sounding impressive, looked dorky as all get out. Sheesh. Still, I like the idea of parts that can't die and come together as a whole. And he has a cool power. The episode ends with a life-changing event - for both Buffy and Angel. Nice. That's kind of the way a first sexual experience can be when you're 17.

Episode 14: Innocence

Synopsis: Buffy must battle not only the Judge but also Angel, who has lost his soul after experiencing a moment of true happiness. (written by Joss Whedon, airdate 1/20/98)

Now we have Angel back to his old ways, and he's much more unreserved this way. Like it. Even if he had to break Buffy's heart, like that's what she needed after making such a big decision to sleep with him. Loved the Angel-Dru-Spike triangle in force, and poor Spike is stuck in a wheel chair and can't do anything about it. Xander to the rescue with a plan - yes! The continuity points from "Halloween" worked well here and allowed him to be the big hero in coming up with a way to defeat the Judge. Great moments with Xander and Willow when she catches him and Cordelia. Great moments with Willow and Oz when he realizes what she wanted from them kissing but won't do it on her timetable - but he will do it sometime. Nice. In fact, I love how he dropped right into the group and fit in with the weirdness. Something tells me this isn't his first time at the rodeo. In the end, I like how both Buffy and Giles were cold to Jenny, but she did deserve some of that because she deliberately saw to it that Angel continued to suffer.

All in all, two great episodes. The show is continuing to evolve in complexity and character development. I like that a lot. Can't wait to watch more on Thursday night.


Michael O'Connell said...

SURPRISE: Oh, yeah! As you now know, this is the episode where EVERYTHING changed! Loved the use of budget in these two episodes! Really showed that it was an event!

First, a great chance for some innocent character moments before everything goes to hell - great party-planning moments, more wacky Cordy fun. And more Oz! Loved the him and Willow moment where she invites him to the party. Yeah, THAT was a safe idea. And yes, the Jenny Calendar revelation! A gypsy spy! Brilliant! And we learn more about Angel's curse, information that MAY just come up very soon (heh heh). Lots of heavy emotional stuff in this one, and I expect nothing less from an ep written by the lovely Marti Noxon (she played one of the newscasters on Dr. Horrible - I wasn't kidding about the lovely part). Great near-good-bye at the waterfront...then, action and stunts! Woo hoo! And the consumation of the Buffy/Angel forbidden love. Wait...WHAT just happened? Cliffhanger!

Note on the ending - notice the strange edit at the end? What was up with that? Angel wakes up, feels the change and freaks out, wearing only his boxers...and suddenly he falls through the door, out into the rain, fully dressed? What, he stopped to put on all his clothes AND his jacket? I feel like we missed something.

TRIVIA: Recognize the actor that's playing the judge? He appeared on the pilot, playing one of the main vampires. This guy shows up in TV shows a lot, including being a regular on X-Files for a time (alien bounty hunter).

Final note: Oz is officially in the Scooby gang! Love his intro into it in total Oz style: "Hey, did anyone else see that guy turn to dust?"

INNOCENCE: Written and directed by Joss? Let the pain begin!

Ouch! Angel gone, Angelus back! LOVED him chomping on the smoking chick, just to let you know, clearly, that this ain't no act. He's not going undercover, it's not some trick - the big evil is back! And the big evil is SADISTIC, emotionally torturing Buffy for his own sick pleasure. And back with his old mates, Spike and Dru. No good can come of this! More pain with Willow and Xander. Ouch. Don't you just want to give Willow a hug? She has that effect on me. But she can play the payback game...or at least she can try, but Oz is too smart for that. Loved the Army stuff, too, that they didn't forget Xander has all that stuff in his head. Loved that he got a chance to save the day. Also, loved how Giles reacted to the Jenny news. That look on his face when he's defending Jenny and she suddenly comes clean? No one but Anthony could have pulled that off so well. Quietly, Britishly devastated. And the "She said get out" moment? Wow! Props to Giles for manning up, and loved that it created a stronger bond between him and Buffy.

BOOM goes the Judge! "What does that do?" Awesome! More budget showing through. Great action, and a great Buffy/Angel fight. Where she can't close the deal. I sense she's going to regret that decision...

Martin Maenza said...

I caught the TV promos on disk 6, so I could see how they pushed this two-night event. I bet back in the day that was awesome - two nights of Buffy in one week (no waiting).

I missed that clothing edit! I was too caught up in first time viewing to see that. D'oh.

I did realize that the Judge was the same actor that played Luke in season 1.

That Oz line was perfect, and his reaction to it too was perfect. Nothing phases this guy (get it..."Phases"...I made a funny).

All of these episodes this season really helped flesh out Giles more. Anthony did a great job with his acting in this season.