Friday, April 17, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 3, episodes 9 and 10

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


Episode 9: The Wish

Synopsis: After Cordelia tells her new friend Anya that she wishes Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, she suddenly finds herself in a reality where vampires control the town. (written by Marti Noxon, airdate 12/8/98)

Nice to see an episode that focus more on Cordelia as she wrestles with the break-up from Xander. Looking her most awesome, she tries to go back to her old group of friends but Harmony and company would rather ridicule her. You can feel the alienation she is going through, ostrosized from her old group and not wanting to associate with the Scoobies due to Xander and Willow. Willow, meanwhile, is trying to patch things up with Oz but it isn't going as quickly as she would like. Creepy Anya makes Cordelia's wish come true - and boy, is that one messed up "what if" change! Vampires run amok and the Master is alive. Alt-Xander and Alt-Willow allow the actors to play it evil style and Alt-Angel is a whimpering sap without Alt-Buffy around. Poor Cordelia - even here she's a victim, killed by those who would have been her friends. Alt-Giles manages to get Alt-Buffy, who is kind of more like Faith is in the normal reality, and she manages to kick some butt. But, in the end, everyone ends up dead - which says a lot. Buffy was needed to keep them all safe. Luckily Alt-Giles shows his nerve and saves the day, cancelling the wish and reverting things to normal with no one, except a confused Anya, the wiser. A solid episode. I'm a big fan of alternate reality episodes and this was a good one - well thought out and well acted by everyone.

Episode 10: Amends

Synopsis: As the Christmas holiday approaches, Angel is tormented by visions of his past victims, including Jenny Calendar, who want him to kill Buffy. (written by Joss Whedon, airdate 12/15/98).

Joss' second episode for the season was much better than his first ("Anne"). This one deals with a lot of character moments as various folks make amends. Willow and Oz move towards being a couple once more, and Oz shows wonderful depth as he tells Willow he wants them both to need to be together rather than they do so because Willow thinks they should. Giles and Angel sort of make amends as shown how Giles is willing to help Buffy find a way to help the torment Angel is going through. Xander seems to be making some amends too toward Angel by also helping Buffy. Buffy and Faith seem to have gotten over the rough patch as they begin to spend Christmas eve together. Finally, Buffy helps Angel see that he isn't a monster and that, to be strong, means he needs to work at overcoming whatever internal torments abound and fight them. Nice to see "Jenny" again, even if she was a manifestation of Evil (capital E). Okay, the miraculous snow at the end was a little over the top - I get it is a symbolic thing but it just felt a little cheesey, even for a Christmas episode. A couple points off for that one, Joss.


Michael O'Connell said...

THE WISH - The only thing I love more than a good amnesia episode (last season's Halloween one, Band Candy (sort of) in this one) is an elseworld episode!! And this one was mind-blowing! Overall, it gave us a great chance to see what the world would have been like if Buffy had never come to Sunnydale (not so sunny anymore, now, is it, Cordy?), showing how important she is (though, interestingly, showing it to us, not to Buffy, since no one in the gang knew this ever happened). But so much other fun stuff!! Oh, man, Bad Xander and Bad Willow are BAD!!! Loved seeing them both get to get evil. They were awesome. And what a shocker seeing the Master return, huh? Loved the creepy, oppressive Sunnydale, a town imprisoned by vampires. Oh, and also loved the double-shocker - they actually killed Cordy in the middle of the story. Normally stories like this are all about that dislodged character trying to find the way home, so the big suck on her--and her unceremonious body drop--was quite unexpected...and once again, Tony Head makes the scene so much deeper with his acting. That look of helpless torment form from Giles inside the cage...perfect. And Buffy...a slayer without the right guidance, turned into Faith sans the fun. Her state in this world showed us not only the affect on Sunnydale without her, but her without Sunnydale--without her friends, without Giles' guidance. Love to find out where her facial scar came from.

The finale scene was so, so well done, and so heartbreaking for us fans, watching each of our favorite characters go down, one after the next. The slo mo was perfect, the music adding so much extra angst. And finally, the duty-minded Giles, willing to sacrifice his own world to make a better one. Great stuff, start to finish...and loved how it finished on that final shot of Buffy, Xander and Will...showing that all's right with the world again.

AMENDS - Yeah, okay, the snow was cheesy...but it was a Christmas episode, and since I saw it for the first time around Christmas, it fit for me. :) But it left one lingering overall, vampires can walk around during the day if it's cloudy out? Why haven't they taken over Seattle? Don't think Joss thought that one all the way through.

But really, this episode was about the characters, and it did a great job. Loved the look into Xander's sad family life (the sleeping bag thing). Loved the Willow and Oz reunion...yet it made me sad that all's well with them and Xander's stuck all alone again. Nice outreach to Faith (very Christmassy) and glad she showed up. Yes, nice to see Jenny again, even if she's eeeeevil. I never get tired of that face. Nice job showing all the past evils of Angel, really letting us know WHY he'd carry all this guilt. We need a reminder of that once in a while. Oh, man, did I ever love that scene with him showing up at Giles' house. And Giles' reaction. Not too tense in THAT room or anything... But, all ended well, and even if the snow was cheese, it made for a great visual montage with everyone at the end. Merry Christmas, everybody!

Martin Maenza said...

I think if I had seen "Amends" around the holiday that I would have given the snow a pass. And you are right - that whole "it is cloudy out so Angel can walk around in the day with Buffy" was kind of a miss-step.