Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Warrior Woman Wednesday

Buffy is forced to come to terms with her feelings for Angel when she learns the truth about his past and how he is connected to the Master.

The review for "The Pack" can be read here.

Having determined herself too dangerous to function as a regular boy's girlfriend, a romance between Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Angel (David Boreanaz,) a man who was introduced to the demon-fighting lifestyle before having met her, makes more and more sense. Though there remains a certain age difference between the two, the mortality rate of people in their line of work also has to be taken into consideration in these situations.

Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Buffy get into a heated debate as to whether Angel has any possibility of being good. Xander's argument relies on the intrinsic nature of the slayer/vampire relationship, pressing that it's her duty to rid the world of all vampires, no matter her personal relationship to them. One imagines that his resolve in this argument was set the moment he found himself dusting Jesse (Eric Balfour) shortly after allowing Buffy into their lives. Buffy, convinced there must be a reason behind Angel's constant kindness, looks for any piece of evidence that a vampire could fight their baser nature and walk the path of peace. Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) is meant to be the deciding factor in the issue, and while his research details Angel's past misdeeds as Angelus, he also notes an abrupt halt to his murders as soon as he came to America.

Angel's curse is interesting due to the fact that curses, by nature, have negative connotations, and while the curse laid upon him was certainly a vampire's worst nightmare, it also is a service to the world at large. In cursing an evil being, one is actually blessing them, but to return Angel's soul means to return his conscience, his remorse, and he suddenly finds himself affected by his past misdeeds. The guilt he feels over everything he had done in the past, from murdering his own family to killing the Romani princess, is constant and overwhelming, and never will he be able to truly atone for his past. In meeting Buffy in battle he puts up no struggle, explaining to her who he is, what he's done, and revealing to her his death wish, offering to let her to her duty in order to spare him of having to live with this shadow over his head any longer.

It seems strange that Giles and Buffy would spar in the library after hours since there are windows on the doors and someone could wander in at any moment; they could easily get away with using the gym for these purposes, claiming that it's some form of self-defense lesson or an extra credit assignment. It's true that all of Giles' weapons are located in the library, and it's a simple meeting place for the characters to congregate, but it pushes the boundaries of belief to imagine that the library is so rarely in use by other students or faculty.

It's ridiculous that Buffy gives a warning to Angel instead of outright killing him the moment she sees him clutching her mother's (Kristine Sutherland) unconscious body. The only scenario wherein this would be acceptable is if she had had no weapons on or around her at the time, and even if we are to imagine she had no stake in her jacket pocket, it can't be ignored that she's in a kitchen surrounded by knives. Having already debated the dangers of allowing Angel to live, there's absolutely no reason that she should have let him escape while under the impression that he just killed her mother. Yes, there are feelings involved between the two of them, but she had just been betrayed by him twice-over, and her feelings for her mother certainly should have overridden whatever she felt for Angel.

The acting in this episode is largely good, but the best moments are the more subtle moments, such as Darla's (Julie Benz) quiet and genuine pain over Angel and Buffy's kiss. Mark Metcalf (the Master) does well in his scenes expressing his fury regarding Darla's death, pained due to having been with her for 400 years and angry that it was Angel that took her from him. Gellar and Sutherland display a good chemistry with one another when Joyce immediately sees through Buffy's lies and Buffy later hovers over her mother's hospital bed.

Director Scott Brazil shows the audience enough to know that Angel's good, to understand his motivations throughout the story, but for Buffy he does the opposite, leading her to believe the worst, which only makes the viewer care all the more for Angel's plight. This episode is very effective in making a mysterious character incredibly sympathetic and it's small touches, such as the bags of blood in Angel's fridge addressing what he eats, that really make the episode. As for strange choices, considering how long it takes to reload a crossbow, it's likely not the ideal choice for close combat, and the choice to have Darla wielding dual pistols is a strange one. Perhaps the worst editing decision here is the effect used on the Anointed One's (Andrew J. Ferchland) voice, multiplying his speech in what was meant to be eerie and ethereal but instead comes across as cheesy and of poor quality.

It seems that David Greenwalt imagined the Broze's fumigation party for another project and simply added it in here, as it's difficult for me to imagine these characters happily dancing in a roach-infested club, and it seems out of character for someone like Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) to participate. We see Xander taking to the dance floor to facilitate a confrontation with Cordelia, but he's nowhere near popular enough to dance among the young women the way he does here, and with his crush on Buffy it would make sense for him to be dancing only if he had asked her to accompany him to the floor. Angel having stayed in Buffy's room all day seems extremely odd when taken on it's own, but after the reveal, when all the subtle clues finally come together, it makes perfect sense.

The romance between Buffy and Angel clearly has sparked into existence here, as well as the eventual confrontation between Xander and Angel. I imagine a greater exploration of vampirism will be explored from here, as Buffy's ultimate weapon would be to recreate Angel's curse on a global scale in an effort to stop the vampire threat.

The review for "I, Robot...You, Jane" can be read here.


Post a Comment