Friday, May 29, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 4 episodes 20, 21 and 22

Concluding my viewing and reviewing of season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer...


B4-20: the Yoko Factor

Synopsis: As Spike and Adam plot to drive a wedge between Buffy and her friends, Angel returns to Sunnydale only to be attacked by Riley and a group of Initiative commandos. (written by Doug Petrie, airdate 5/9/00)

Got love Spike, the master of manipulation. With some properly worded references, he manages to make Giles feel like a total incompetent (right after startling the ex-Watcher in the middle of a "Freebird" jam session and leading to some wonderful drunken antics and lines), to make Xander's insecurities of not belonging resurface again, and to make Willow upset about her recent life changes (magic devotion versus computers, and being with Tara). Of course, he doesn't have to work much on Buffy - the meeting of Angel and Riley plus Xander's spilling untold details to Riley about Buffy's first love was enough to tip the Slayer over the edge. This all leads to a huge blow up for the Scoobies. I'm dismayed that Anya and Tara retreat to the safety of Giles' bathroom - those two have the most level heads at this point and either one could have easily spilled out the name Spike. But they didn't, and the group falls apart. Loved how Spike explained it as the Yoko Factor to Adam, and Adam's response regarding the Beatles is that he likes "Helter Skelter". So fitting. The shocker, though, at the end is when Riley bolts after learning of Forrest's death and goes straight to Adam. To be continued? Arrrrgh. Time to change my viewing habits and finish off Buffy season 4 first.

B4-21: Primeval

Synopsis: Xander, Willow and Giles join forces to magically imbue Buffy with supernatural powers in order to do battle against Adam and overthrow his plans for creating a "demonoid" army. (written by David Fury, airdate 5/16/00)

Wow - so even dead we get another Professor Walsh shocker. She chipped Riley and planned a whole army of Adams. Adam plans to continue the work by converting his "brother" Riley. And he's already done it to Forrest. Ewwww. I love how Spike realizes his plan screwed up and then he later forget and says something about the gang splitting up to Buffy (she never mentioned it). Buffy puts two and two together, gathers Willow, Xander and Giles, and together they make amends to face the big bad foe (based on Xander's suggestion no less). The big battle of demons versus soldiers is well done, while the heroes power up Buffy to take on Adam. I loved how Riley realizes what he must do to get out of Adam's control - it shows how he can make the hard decision for what is right. He even has to kill his old friend who really is beyond saving at this point. I do love how Spike ends up saving the warn out spellcasters from becoming easy demon prey - just to show, again, how he'll flip flop to whatever side is best for him. Overall, a great payoff to the year long subplot involving the Initiative.

B4-22: Restless

Synopsis: After battling Adam, an exhausted Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles all experience dreams in which they encounter a strange, savage woman - and the Cheese Man. (written by Joss Whedon, airdate 5/23/00)

This one just blew me away. So much weirdness in the dreams, so much symbolism. I'm going to need to watch it over again just to see what all I missed. Well written by Joss. It was very dream-like. Some high points: in Willow's dream, the curtains reminded me of Twin Peaks and nice touches that she is going to take drama but has a performance fear and Harmony is there and Giles is directing; in Xander's dream, it is a lot about sex as guys his age often think about plus his trying to figure out where he is going but always ending up back in the basement; in Giles' dream, his being a father to Buffy and the gnomes about Spike's crypt and his singing the revelations from stage and Anya doing horrible stand-up; and finally Buffy's dream where Joyce is in the wall and Tara communicates for the first Slayer and Buffy figures it all out and renounces it, breaking the cycle and saving the others. A fantastic episode and a nice way to end the season on a different note.

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