Monday, May 4, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 4/Angel season 1 episodes 5

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


B4-5: Beer Bad

Synopsis: Buffy starts behaving strangely after sharing a pitcher of Black Frost beer with a group of fellow college students at the campus pub where Xander bartends. (written by Tracey Forbes, airdate 11/2/99)

Ah, the much-needed lesson of drinking in college (albeit a little heavy handed on the moral lesson). Buffy learns the hard way that feeling all depressed over Parker (constantly daydreaming about getting back together with him) combined with underage drinking can lead to no-good. Especially when the no-good is augmented by a magical spell by the bar owner to the Black Frost beer that some know-it-all guys like to drink. Beer bad indeed. The episode quicky digresses into all Quest-For-Fire-y in no time flat. But it gives Xander, now with on-campus purpose as a bartender at the local pub, a chance to play the hero/protector. Amazing how he is such a master of "caveman-speak", isn't it? Willow, meanwhile, is all worried about Oz's newfound interest in mysterious singer Veruca. However, she is willing to talk to Parker and tell him exactly what he has done to hurt Buffy. She almost seems to totally get where he is coming from, but he then tries to make a move on her. Luckily our Willow is too smart to fall for that neanderthal way of thinking. But, when the converted caveboys crash, all hell breaks loose with fire and smoke. Even in cave-mode, Buffy recognizes a friend in need and plays the hero - even if she has a little fun doing it (clubbing Parker once - novel, clubbing Parker twice - hilarious). Hopefully she's now gotten him out of her system and can move on. There are plenty of great guys on campus if she just looks in the right place (like Riley, perhaps?).

A4-5: RM W/A VU

Synopsis: While Doyle deals with a demon who has come to collect on his loans, Cordelia and a ghost battle it out for the right to live in a gorgeous rent-controlled apartment. (written by Jane Espenson, airdate 11/2/99).

Jane comes over to the Angel writing crew for an episode and gives a much needed focus on Cordelia with a little Doyle thrown in too. Doyle's past catches up with him as some demon heavies want repayment for loans. We don't find out what and why - Doyle isn't ready to spill the past yet to Angel. Meanwhile, Cordelia's life hits the rock bottom when her apartment is infected with roaches. After crashing at Angel's, he agrees to try to take care of Doyle's problem if Doyle can find Cordelia a place to live. He does find out, but it turns out to still have a leftover resident. We see Cordy attempt to be strong (girls from Sunnydale don't scare easy) but after the ghost tricks her into coming back and nearly kills her, Cordy loses it. The demons show up before the ghost can be disspelled and all chaos breaks loose. Cordy must face the ghost on her own and finds her inner strength (the bitch is back indeed). But that inner strength comes from another source - the spirit of Dennis, the son the woman killed and walled up alive. By destroying the wall she was going to take out anyway, Cordy frees Dennis to banish his killer mother. In the end, Cordy gets the dream apartment and a little ghostly roommate besides. Cordy is back! I'm so happy about that.


Michael O'Connell said...

BUFFY (Beer Bad): As a reminder - I'm not that far behind you on the watching, just on the comments!

Yes...another major college theme explored - beer! And the way that it turns otherwise normal college students into blathering idiots. Nicely and mystically metaphored here. :) Note - favorite line of the episode?: Xander: "Nothing can defeat the penis!" Something about the bad overdubbing of it made it even funnier. CaveBuffySpeak is AWESOME. Loved how much fun she had doing this. Also loved the Willow/Parker moment, where we really realize that while he may be a jerk for just casually using Buffy, it's not something unheard of, and had no evil intent. Loved Buffy's fantasies about him, too, showing us how stuck in her head he is. Hmm, and that Veruca. I sense bad things coming... I'm sad that this Xander bartender thing was a one-ep idea, but they really said all they wanted to say about college drinking in this ep, so there would have been no reason to dip back into bars all the time. Really enjoyed the simple, goofy fun of this one (and the closure with Parker via clubbing).

ANGEL (RM W/A VIEW): A nice combination of fun and creepy here. Yes, great to see the Cordy focus. And loved seeing Doyle try to fix her up with a new place to score points with her. Nice tease on his past, too. Charisma did a very fine acting job on this one - I really felt her hopelessness at what her life had become, the joy at getting the apartment that represented the life change she needed, and the terror and breakdown after being tormented by the ghost mom. And, of course, the bitch part. :D I loved how just when things were getting to their worst with the murderous haunted house, the other bad guys showed up. Great use of suspense there. Man, what an evil mom flashback, huh? That whole bricking him up thing creeped me way out. But Mom is gone, and Dennis is now free to...well, haunt in a friendly way. Note, by the way, that Cordy calling him "Phantom Dennis" was much funnier when this first came out, as Episode I was still pretty fresh in people's minds.

Martin Maenza said...

That was indeed a great Xander line about the penis.

And I do so love all the pop-cult lines Cordelia delivers over on Angel. She's the only one that tends to get that stuff as she is the only one current on them. Makes for a nice mix between her, ancient Angel, and clueless Wesley.