Continuing my viewing and reviewing of season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer...
Episodes 3: Faith, Hope & Trick
Synopsis: A charismatic Slayer named Faith shows up in Sunnydale and quickly wins over Buffy's mother and all of Buffy's friends. (written by David Greenwalt, airdate 10/13/98)
The first scene, with the gang at school forcing Willow off-campus for lunch with Buffy, was a sign that the show was back to what I love - the gang and the interaction. I loved the whole "And...uncouple", complete with girls now on one side and guys on the other.
The arrival of out-of-town vampires at the Happy Burger was a nice scene, and I am really like this Trick guy ("work locally, live globally"). I hope he's around for more of the season. Then we find out why they are here - they followed Faith. Faith - now here's the way to introduce a new character. She is a stark opposite of anyone we have in the gang, she has her own unique voice (the way she speaks - "vamps", "5x5", "B" - you just know her dialogue without needing to hear it) and she's a great way to shake up the mix. She has potential for story - with her Watcher having been killed, etc. And she causes tension in the group - Buffy doesn't like the Slayer competition, Cordelia doesn't need another place for Xander's eye to wander, etc. I look forward to seeing more.
Of course, the final moments are key - the return of Angel from Hell! Oh, this just gets better and better. A++ episode.
Episode 4: Beauty and the Beasts
Synopsis: Buffy's fear that Oz could have killed a student during a full moon is compounded when she runs into Angel, violent and feral, during her nightly patrol. (written by Marti Noxon, airdate 10/20/98)
An interesting commentary on the abusive boyfriend and girls who stay with them. The whole Jekyll/Hyde transformation reminded me of Jim Carey and "the Mask" - but what can you do.
I love the character focus on Oz and how the gang all support him every month during his "time of the month". He had so many awesome lines of dialogue, and Seth's delivery of them is just perfect.
We also have Buffy trying to help Angel, even though she knows he could be in a horrible state and never be the man she loved. I guess that parallels the main theme as well. The "demon dimension - time passage" from episode 1 this season ties in so we know Angel was tortured in Hell for hundreds of years. But he fought to escape and to be with Buffy, and in the end it appears he might be back on the road to being the vamp-man he was. Solid.
FAITH, HOPE & TRICK (just reviewing this one for now since I haven't watched #4 yet...):
Oh, this show is BACK!
Yes, the opening scene really heralded the return to normal (and was a great memory, as I, too, remember being drunk on that power of being able to leave campus as a senior). The uncoupling was awesome, yes...showed a very nice gesture of friendship. Favorite line of the ep: "And you can do that thing with your mouth that boys love". Nicely done, Willow. :)
Faith - yes!! Hits Sunnydale like a hurricane. Her wild, free nature is the perfect juxtaposition for Buffy's more responsible personality (which is awesome, because I'm sure she never saw herself as that way). And her opening scene on the dance floor...meow! Hotness, hotness, hotness. She's more than welcome on my show. :) This was a ballsy move on Joss's part, introducing a character like this, one so pivotal to the whole season. One wrong bit of casting, the chance of fans not liking her, and your whole season is screwed. But it all worked out, obviously, JUST fine. All the other character's reactions to her (and Buffy's reaction to those reactions) were great. She's really going to mix things up in Buffy's world...this episode makes that obvious.
Speaking of perfect casting...Mr. Trick!!! If not for Spike, Trick would be my favorite Buffyverse vampire of all time. LOVE this guy...the perfect combo of hilarious and scary. I love his business-like and practical worldview, looking to bring vamping into the next century. I loved his reaction to the big bad guy he was working for...seeing him as yesterday's kind of vamp, pleased at the idea of getting rid of him. Trick is the man!
This ep perfectly set the tone for the season to come, and reminded us that everything we love about Buffy is back...and better than ever. Great stuff.
One interesting thing about Mr. Trick - he seems to have a thing for fast food (workers). First the Happy Burger drive-thru guy, then the pizza delivery guy. Sheesh. I'd expect someone with his sense of style to have a bit better taste. ;)
Beauty & the Beasts: Okay, just a quick one here...I'm totally rockin' on my ep watching, but getting too behind on my comments!
Another good one...a little off-setting because of the intro of a couple of new characters in the mix (psycho boy and needed girl). I liked that feel (if only briefly) of Buffy actually getting into a couples situation. Not like she ever really had a chance to do that with Angel and her coupley pals. But alas...not to last. I, too, loved the thing with Oz getting looked after by all his pals. Even if Xander sucks at the job. I liked how Giles saved what might have been a poorly-handled scene...Xander making jokes after finding out that Oz may have killed someone, and because of him. The Giles reaction carried the seriousness nicely. Thankfully, no Oz issues. Whew. Just a jerky dude with a Hyde complex. So...commentary here supposed to be about the nature of man, the beast within, etc? Okay. Guess it did that. And yeah...Angel, hundreds of years of torture? Ouch! I'd be nuts, too...
Note: WARNING. I noticed something on the season 3 set. Bad spoilery placement of special features!! I would avoid any of the interviews, etc. They tend to put in Joss interviews that cover two episodes at a time...and they put the interview on BOTH episode menus. So if you decide to watch it after the first ep, you'll get spoiled for the second.
Mike, thanks. I had not seen any special features until disk 3 (I have not started the episodes there - yet). I was surprised disks 1 and 2 had nothing for those eight episodes. Go figure.
MORE WARNINGS: First off, what's up with putting a season 3 overview in the middle of the discs, not at the end? I didn't even bother looking, but I'm sure it was major spoilerage. Also, going to warn you on commentary. I don't know if you're a big commentary guy, but for the heck of it, I tried one, and while it was very enlightening, it was jammed with spoilers for not only the ep...but the season...and stuff two seasons ahead! If you're as anti-spoiler as I am, you might want to skip all those until the series is over.
Yeah, I turned off that season 3 overview as soon as it got to talking about Faith and the Mayor. I'll go back to it when I finish the season. That was dumb placement. I have not listened to any commentaries (yet). Maybe some day. I did listen to them all on other DVD sets though (Freaks & Geeks, Futurama).
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