Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 3, episodes 16 and 17

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


Episode 16: Doppelgangland

Synopsis: While casting a magic spell to help Anya regain her powers, Willow and Anya inadvertently summon Willow's evil twin, a vampire, from an alternate universe. (written by Joss Whedon, airdate 2/23/99)

Just as "the Zeppo" spotlighted Xander, this episode does so for Willow. And it rocked! Feeling down on herself as being "reliable", "dependable" and such, our Wiccan redhead decides to do some dark dabbling for that sneaky Anya who we first met in "the Wish". What happens? How about pulling alt-Willow from her world just before alt-Oz staked her and allowing her to roam free in the true Sunnydale? Wicked. Loved how Allyson played up both parts brilliantly - even when she has to do Willow doing alt-Willow to save everyone at the Bronze. Nice! And Cordelia gets a moment - to have a heart to heart with the woman who took her man, only she gets the wrong one. Luckily for her Wesley is there - and thus gets her back into the "saved damsel falling for her protector" mode. Poor confused Cordy. What is most telling is what our Willow does in the end - she stops Buffy from staking her alt-self and offers the evil one a chance at redemption. Does it work? That mouthed "oh $%#@" when she returns to her own world only to be staked tells the tale. Brilliant! Definitely a top 20 episode for me if not top 10. Thank you, Joss! This redeems the Christmas cheesey snow.

Episode 17: Enemies

Synopsis: With the help of the Books of Ascension, Faith and the Mayor plot to steal Angel's soul then get him to kill that other Slayer - Buffy. (written by Douglas Petrie, airdate 3/16/99)

True colors are revealed in this episode in a number of ways as Faith shows she is firmly on the dark side with the Mayor for the long haul. The fact that she'd try to steal Angel from Buffy and use him to kill her is low indeed. Sadly for her (and gladly for us), the gang turn the tables entirely on her and find out all they need to know about the Mayor's plans (or at least all Faith knew). Nice! I almost bought the the whole thing - kudos to Douglas Petrie for turning it on its ear with the whole betrayal angle. But, there always has to be some fallout and once again it is more strain on the Buffy-Angel relationship. They may always love one another but that doesn't mean they'll always be together. Angst, angst and more angst. Perfect for a teen drama. Loved it.


Michael O'Connell said...

DOPPLEGANGLAND - Big piles of "yes!" in agreement with your top 10/top 20 assessment. HAD to have been a Joss-written one. Brilliant! You just knew we'd be seeing Anya again, and the return did not disappoint. Perfect set-up with Willow's "old reliable" feelings. And when Dark Willow showed up on screen for the first time...didn't you just want to cheer? Again...alt-worlds stories rock!! Man, does Aly play Dark Willow brilliantly - even more so in this ep because she wasn't just playing evil...she was playing sad evil. Didn't you find yourself feeling sorry for her? That has much to do with Aly, I'm sure. LOVED that moment when everyone thought Willow was a vamp - everyone did a great job acting the shock and loss. They were all just stunned. And then her "resurrection" in the library - the Giles hug was priceless. Loved their plan. Willow fakes badness! How could that NOT be hilarious? Oh, God, it was - especially all the "Hey, I think I heard somebody outside, why don't you go check?" stuff. Yeah, while I can understand her wanting to not see her "bad self" be killed, and to get a chance for redemption? Really can't see it as a good idea in any way. She clearly has no interest in redemption...so all you're doing is sending her back to kill more people? Hmmm. Ah, well...it all worked out in the end. Hugely monster fun episode! Oh, and additional thought - loved, even though it was brief, the Oz and Angel team-up. We'd never seen just those guys together before. I want more of that. Vampire and werewolf. Seems like a good crime-fighting team to me...

ENEMIES - I'm more and more impressed with the writing of Doug Petrie as I find out which episodes are his. He's very good. This was certainly a dramatic episode. Great job in making us all think that Angelus really had returned. David's performance helped with that a lot. So that was huge suspense and drama right there. Then Buffy getting thrown into it, and seemingly facing Angelus and all those feelings again...very painful. And then, the reveal! Wow...they really went the long route to get that info, didn't they? I found myself wondering if that was the best solution to get such a little piece of info (the date of the big thing). Especially with the consequences that came from it. I had to call "chick" on Buffy's reaction - wait, this was YOUR idea (as I recall) to get Angel to do this and be all Angelus and evil to set the trap - and then when it's over, you're going to pull the "it's too much for me, I need some space" thing and blow him off? What? Chicks, man. Very gripping ep, and another piece of the puzzle that's leading us to the biiiiig finale...

Martin Maenza said...

Seeing Dark Willow again did make me cheer. That was great. Since I enjoyed "the Wish" so much, this was just another way to extend that one a bit more. Nice indeed.

And I agree, Buffy's reaction to how well her plan worked as a "chick" thing. Angel was damned (no pun intended) the moment he agreed to do a convincing "turn" - he had to make Faith believe he was into her, didn't he? You'd think a guy 240+ years old would get it, eh? Fell right into that no win situation.