Monthly Archives: June 2013

You Broke the Yellow Crayon

Buffy622

No snarky caption this time

“Is Buffy still Buffy?” was the central question posed in the season premiere and, until recently, was a fairly constant theme of the season… at least until her on-the-nose (but still awesome) trip to the insane asylum.  Since then, we’ve had some solid episodes and a great Willow-arc, but the season as a whole seems to have lost its thread.  Buffy tries to get us back on track by asking Giles “Why am I back?” but the exposition wouldn’t be necessary if there wasn’t a problem.  The fate of the world rests on who Willow really is, not Buffy, and thus the question doesn’t get answered. Continue reading

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If that is Vengeance, I Find I Have No Taste for It

From Hell's heart...

From Hell’s heart…

Remember a few weeks ago when I said that Holtz had won?  Well, “Benediction” demonstrates that victory wasn’t enough for him.  Having stripped Angel of his moral high ground, Holtz now assumes it by doing what Angel never can, returning the son he took.  It’s a powerful moment for the series, with the virtues of love and forgiveness being what give Angel a happy ending even as they underscore the fact that he may not actually deserve one.  It’s a completely satisfying conclusion to the Holtz storyline, and then, in typical Whedon fashion, they pull the rug out from under us. Continue reading

She’s a Truck Drivn’, Magic Mama!

Never trust a veiny chick

Never trust a veiny chick

While “Villains” took time to underscore just how evil Warren was, “Two to Go” is at pains to remind us of how much we like Jonathan and Andrew.  “Pains” is perhaps the wrong word, as the TrioDuo is consistently entertaining, but there were a few too many explicit comments that they’re not the same as Warren.  It’s a bit of a backpedal, to be honest.  Last week, Willow would be “lost” if she killed Warren, but turns out she’ll only really be lost if she kills Jonathan and Andrew.  It’s an oversimplification of the moral issues at play here but, to be honest, I don’t particularly care.  Letting us root for the Duo, or at least sympathize with them, makes this episode a lot more exciting by pushing Willow firmly into villain territory. Continue reading

Tell Me We Don’t Live in a Soap Opera

Pretend I look like a badass

Pretend I look like a badass

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I didn’t really follow Angel when it was on the air. I’d drift in and out, basically pulled by the gravitational force of the Whedonverse, but I was never really able to commit to the show.  Episodes like “A New World” had a lot to do with that.  I’d seen enough of season three to know that Darla had a baby (though not enough to know how good that story was) and I happened to catch a commercial for Connor’s return.  It did not entice me to tune in.  To an outside observer, the sudden appearance of Angel’s teenage son smacks of ill-conceived twists and hasty retooling.  I know now that’s not the case, but you really need to be invested in Angel’s world in order to accept Connor.  His aged reappearance is one of those plot twists that asks the audience to make a leap of faith.  “Yes, this is a bit preposterous, but stay with us and it’ll be worthwhile.”  No one but a committed viewer would make such a bargain. Continue reading

Bored Now

Love that shot

Love that shot

I find myself surprisingly disenchanted with “Villains.”  Surprising because this is actually a very good episode, nearly a great one, but I just didn’t find myself glued to the screen the way that Tara dying a Willow getting her darkness on would seem to command.  Part of that is a natural product of repeated viewings; I’m familiar with what happens, and thus less interested.  But, looking back, this episode doesn’t stick out in the memory the way that “Seeing Red,” “Grave,” or even, in my opinion at least, “Two To Go” does.  Being the weakest of four exceptionally strong episode’s is no slight, but it’s difficult not to see “Villains” as a means of lining things up rather than a story in its own right. Continue reading