Saturday, April 18, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 3, episodes 11 and 12

Continuing with my viewing and reviewing of season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer...


Episode 11: Gingerbread

Synopsis: After Buffy's mother discovers two dead children marked with a symbol linked to the occult, she begins a campaign to rid Sunnydale of witches. (written by Jane Espenson, airdate 1/12/99)

First off, MOO? Bwahahaha! Nice acronym. I really enjoy that we get to see Amy again as well as seeing Willow's mother for the first time. Also, nice nod to the tension between Giles and Joyce - going back to "Band Candy". You so know that the two did it and are refusing to discuss that again, because of what it means for the two most important people in Buffy's life. I really like how it all ties in with the classic fairy tale as well as how mob mentality can get overboard without ever getting the full details of a situation. This episode really played well into that point. What sickened me was what was used to start the fire - those had to be Giles' books, right? I can't wait to see how that little detail plays out in future episodes - you know it has to.

Episode 12: Helpless

Synopsis: As Buffy's eighteenth birthday approaches, she loses her Slayer powers just as she must go up against a crazed vampire who has kidnapped her mother. (written by David Fury, airdate 1/19/99)

Wow - talk about a coming of age tale. The fact that the Council expects a Slayer to defeat a crazed menace without her powers AND expect her Watcher to set her up for it is just twisted. So hate them. Still, it shows a lot of character in both Buffy and Giles. For her, to be able to summon up the courage to save her mother even though she is at her most low is amazing. And for him, he shows that he is indeed the very surrogate father she has needed. Overall, this episode had an incredibly heavy tone to it - very much horror more so than most. The intensity of the events in the old abandoned hotel was very high indeed. I had no idea how it would end. I liked that. It really kept me on the edge of my seat. In the end, Buffy passes but Giles fails - and that is going to open up a whole can of new worms. In the meantime, Willow is still trying to restore Amy back to normal. Again, great continuity nod to the previous week's episode. Good job. I like that.


Michael O'Connell said...

GINGERBREAD - Great use of fairy tales gone scary! They did a great job making us all feel the loss of the kids, and that's very real how people will react and lose their minds when that kind of thing happens (like Columbine, when suddenly everyone was blaming the Matrix and videogames and trying to find out if their kids were in a "trenchcoat mafia"). Joyce's tumble into insanity was nicely played, feeling very real, and reasonable, until we saw what was really going on (yes, "MOO" was awesome. Nice acronym, Mom!). I love a great "body snatchers" story, too, when everyone around you is possessed and you're all alone. That was particularly nicely played through the thing with Willow's mother. My favorite part, though? The Xander/Oz team-up! Takes something like this to get you over personal issues quickly, so looks like theirs are mended. This also had one of my favorite moments for Oz ever - "You guys know you're all nuts, right?" Loved the Buffy "Did I get it?" at the end. Great ep...with great use of the mayor. Oh noes! Amy's a rat! Wonder how long that'll last?

HELPLESS - Was that not creepy as hell? Yes, vampires are scary, we get that - but this added the all-too-human kind of scary to a vampire by having one who's a former serial killer. Nice job on coming up with the perfect vampire for this kind of rite of passage. Total horror movie homage - and very seriously scary. They did a great job showing how Buffy, who never really wanted this slayer thing, has gotten too used to her powers, and how scary it is for her as she slowly loses them. And Giles being the one to do it! Wow! This was the perfect Giles/Buffy moment, setting up how she's started seeing him as her father, trying to get him to take her to the ice show, and then the ultimate betrayal. Excellent look into the council, and how eeeevil they can be. Nicely showcases how this council has been around for so long that this kind of thing was acceptable, and how the world has changed while the council hasn't. Loved Giles having to wrestle with duty over his affection for Buffy and his own sense of morals. That scene when he had to reveal to Buffy what he'd done - that was some of the most intense drama of the whole series, and you could so feel the pain in Giles, and his shame, and his heartbreak over what he'd allowed to happen. And mom was the perfect thing to make Buffy go and face her trial alone, without her powers, with her wits and experience alone. Never have we felt more worried for her, felt her fear. That scene with all the polaroids on the walls creeped me the hell out! Perfect solution on her part (hooray for Buffy!). And Giles getting fired - wow. Clearly this episode marked a serious turning point in the show, appropriate to how things change when you turn 18 and the whole world turns upside down. Oh, and bit of trivia - don't know if you were an Enterprise watcher, but one of the council guys (the one who got turned into a vamp) was the head security guy from that show.

Martin Maenza said...

The room with all the Polaroids was indeed creepy as all get out. That just showed Buffy she wasn't dealing with her typical vampire enemy. Nice twist up.