Saturday, May 2, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 4/Angel season 1 episodes 4

Continuing with my viewing and reviewing of season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and season 1 of Angel...


B4-4: Fear Itself

Synopsis: A Halloween party at a campus frat house takes a firghtening turn with the sudden appearance of blood-sucking bats, zombies and a demon that plays on everyone's innermost fears. (written by David Fury, airdate 10/26/99)

Halloween episodes are so much fun. This season we get the patented haunted house ala a frat house party where the guys accidentally paint the symbol to summon Gachnar and Oz's blood is enough to start the spell. The fears of the gang, as illustrated by earlier in the episode come to manifest nicely: Oz fearing his becoming a wolf and going to a dark place, Willow fearing her skills as a wicca have peaked and that she may not be able to go to next level, Xander fearing him being invisible to the others because he isn't attending college, and Buffy fearing being alone after Parker's rejection of her. But with all this fear and scary, we get great humor too. Frat guys using any holiday (except Arbor Day) to get laid, Giles and his costume (replete with sombrero that looks like a fringed chandelier), Anya gleeful to date Xander and then dressing up as a bunny (bunnies frighten her), Giles with the chainsaw (how else do you make a door in a house that seals the gang inside?) and, of course, the arrival of Gachnar himself (actual size indeed - bwahahahaha). A fun episode all around.

A1-4: I Fall To Pieces

Synopsis: Angel aids a woman being stalked by a deranged surgeon who has the unnatural ability to track the woman's every move with the aid of his detachable body parts. (written by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, airdate 10/26/99)

Leave it to an obcessive doctor stalking a woman he only had one date with to provide a weird case for Angel Investigations. This Ronald Meltzer knows all about Melissa, where she goes and what she does. How does he do it? Does he have his eye on her constantly? The answer, in a very sick way, is yes. And his hands too. Creepy creepy creepy. He takes psychic surgery to a whole new level. The whole firm gets into the act with Doyle providing security, Angel doing some undercover work and Cordelia too (though her lousy skills as an actress come showing through - good thing she has this business management to fall back on, if the firm can only get paid). No amount of duct-tape can keep Dr. McCreepy out though. But when his victim confronts him finally and tells him she is no longer afraid of him and what he can do, he goes to pieces - literally. Sick sick. Hey, Dr. Ron, you do realize that Arms-Fall-Off-Boy was a LSH reject, right? Guess why? Yeah, your powers sucks. LOL.

1 comment:

Michael O'Connell said...

BUFFY ("Fear Itself") - Genius!! Yes, Halloween eps are the bestest on this show, aren't they? Such a nice, simple, and Halloweenish theme on this one - fear. What do each of our characters fear? I love that David Fury asked that question. Besides that, I'm sure somebody - him, Joss, or someone else, came up with the pitch of "What if a Halloween haunted house turned into an ACTUAL haunted house?"

Fantasia?! It was supposed to be Phantasm! Awesome.

I like how you mentioned the Arbor Day joke, because I always remembered liking, in this ep, how they turned these frat guys, just briefly, into real characters. They didn't have that many lines, but they got turned into supporting characters. Which I think is good, since there's a tendency to make the frat guys the bad guys in...well, in just about ANYTHING written about college, and we wouldn't have cared what happened to them if we hated them. I love that we got another example of how Oz knows EVERYbody on campus (without even trying), which nicely highlighted Xander's obvious state of not belonging ("Uh, guys? Standing right here" was the perfect line to set up his fear to come later).

Excellent character looks all around this time. Giles with his sombrero and his Frankenstein (truly showing how long he's been out of work). Buffy's dealing with loss. Good Willow/Oz stuff. Was that not the perfect Oz Halloween costume? And Anya with the bunny suit - that's got to be my favorite visual on her ever. Excellent work on the growing creepiness straight to really damned horrifying on the house. I like how the house separated them (very smart) and made them face their demons alone. That mystical firely thing with Willow - that scene was extra effective because it hit that primal fear of swarming bugs, especially when they started flying into her mouth. Anyone who's ever been through something like that in the woods would find that scene more terrifying than any skeleton with a knife (I mean, within the context of watching both of them on this show - not in the case that an actual killer skeleton was coming at you). Liked the rare raw emotion from Oz - that made the episode scarier, too, if even Oz was dealing with terror.

"I need to make a door."
"You can do that?"
"Yes. I can."

Perhaps my favorite Giles scene EVER! And so perfect for a Halloween ep - him wielding the chainsaw. Loved Anya's insistence that he come just to save Xander, not caring about any of the others. Wish I could remember the exact line from Giles in the big scene by the symbol, but:

"Destroying the demon's symbol..."

(Buffy smashes)

"...will raise the demon immediately and should not be done under any circumstances." Now THERE was an old-school Buffy and Giles moment. Ah, and the appearance of the demon himself. "Who's a little fear demon? Come on!". "DON'T taunt the fear demon". "Why, can he hurt me?" "No, it's just...tacky." Gold.

And of course the "actual size" ending perfectly wrapped up a beautifully funny and terrifying ep. Bravo, David Fury!

ANGEL ("I Fall to Pieces") -


Okay, this one was just TOO creepy. There's a line. Obsessive stalking is creepy enough, but add the whole body part thing? Too much ewwww. Didn't love the ep, but appreciated the chance it gave to see all of Team Angel at work, and how they all handled things. Nice acting work for Angel - I like how he becomes more competent at the dealing with people thing the more ticked off he is about a case.

Not too much to say about this one. Didn't really connect with me. Like I said...there's a line... But nicely addressed the whole women-with-stalkers thing, and did it well.