Well, well, we’re done with season one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and are now moving on to season 2. I asked you guys (very ambivalently, I apologize) if we should watch an extra episode on Monday for two reasons: (A) It seriously did seem rather weird that we’d only watch the premiere of a season and (B) I sort of wanted to see more of season 2 before I began assessing it. People argued that the premiere episode sort of feels like a natural end to season one, and I won’t counter that in any way. It’s true, it does feel like an end to the story. But at the same time, it feels very season 2. It’s different. It’s part of all the “epicness” that I’ve been hearing about. And even then, it’s still part of season 2, regardless of how much it may be season 1-ish.
Well, anyway, we watched a bonus episode, which at the end of the day sort of gave me zero clues as to what differs seasons one and two at this point. But here’s what I have noticed:
People’s hair is different. But like waaayy different, you guys. Not so different that it’s unnoticeably them, but different enough for the show to be like “We’re just sayin’. This ain’t the same season, y’all.” And by the same token, THEY CAN ACTUALLY FIGHT. It’s no longer just a leg and then a delayed reaction shot. It’s real fighting. Glory days!
Oh, and one more note about Buffy’s new hairdo… uh… isn’t that totally The Rachel?
Well it’s reminiscent. And what about Calendar’s new ‘do? Tell me it doesn’t remind you of Monica’s bob!
They’re both the same hairstyles just with bangs. Okay, I’m just grasping at straws. But I do own all ten seasons, a board game, some VHS tapes, and a book on Friends so I WILL continue to make these comparisons. It’s just inevitable. Oh, and speaking of hair…
YOU GUYS. Come on!!! The hair! Cordelia is totally Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne in Scooby-Doo. How meta is that? And it’s not just the hair — it’s everything. They’re both prissy. They both seemingly want to help without damaging their nails. And they’re both total damsels in distress! It’s like every week Cordelia is being tied up by some bad guy. Just even MORE evidence that SMG took on Buffy to study for Scooby-Doo. It’s overwhelming at this point!
And this is more than I have EVER talked about hair in my entire life. So I NEED to move on.
Lastly, look who gets the Turn Face treatment in season 2 of Buffy!
That’s right! Everyone’s favorite whisperer has just been given a season regular option. Which means we get to raise the volume on our TVs even more often. Yes, I love doing that — not annoying whatsoever!
All right, enough about season 2 as a whole. Let’s get down to the individual episodes. Beginning with…
2.01 “When She Was Bad”
It’s the season premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer — new season, new school year. Buffy’s been away all summer long with her father (which Joyce was happy about, “Have fun with your daddy, Bianca!”). And Xander and Willow have just been hanging out…and maybe even making out…
Which (A) OMG THE TENSION you guys! I was screaming at them to make out, as well! Even though I’m so incredibly annoyed that Xander is still hung up on Buffy and the way he sort of passively thinks of Willow sometimes, who can deny the greatness of this ice cream scene? And (B) How much was Xander’s emphasis TOTALLY Chandler Bing in this scene? Could this should BE anymore Friends?
Anyway, so they’re about to crash their mouths together when a vampire totally mouth blocks them.
They’re none too pleased, as you’d might expect. But thankfully, Buffy enters the picture with her new hairdo (pictured above) and kicks this vampire’s ass. Apparently, there have been zero vampire attacks since she left, which is just incredibly convenient, and they decided to bury The Master’s skeleton…instead of questioning WHY THERE WAS A SKELETON LEFT!!?!?!!!
Anyway, back at the Summers residence, Buffy’s dad is helping Joyce unpack her things. And they’re both the best and worst parents at the same time. I wish my parents would unpack things. Shit, I wish my parents would buy me things that I could then have to unpack!
So we don’t exactly know why yet, but this episode basically deals with Buffy acting like a…uh… like if it was her…uh…hmm…how do I say this without being totally sexist?
She was being a total meanie face. Well, not precisely. She was acting a bit cold and distant, but at the same time she was progressively getting more agitated. And no one really understood why, not even the audience, until we got a sneak peek in this training montage with flashes of The Master in between:
As it turns out, Buffy still has some pent up anger OVER DYING or whatever. Typical girl drama.
And this is when we find out that there’s still some evil stuff going on, thanks to this guy:
Which as a minority makes me feel good that there was another minority face onscreen. But I just knew he was going to die before the episode’s up, because c’mon. As it turns out, we’ll later learn, these vampires want to revive The Master. And what they need is the blood of people who were physically near him when he died — who are Willow, Giles, Cordelia, and Calendar.
Speaking of Calendar and Giles (or Calendiles!), they too had a little scene earlier in this episode where it was very obvious that Giles has a crush on her. I don’t know how I feel about this new development, where it’s so overtly obvious. I’d rather them bicker about books and computers some more. But I’ll talk more about that in the episode 2 recap.
So, anyway, the vampires are hoping that The Anointed will help them revive The Master and now he’s still extremely powerful.
Then, Buffy has a nightmare of Giles murdering her but then it turns out to be The Master in disguise (wait…) and wakes up because that’s some scary shit.
…to Angel…who’s just in her room like it’s all good.
He’s basically there to tell her that shit’s still about to go down and to not underestimate The Anointed even though he looks like a child. And Buffy’s like, “Fuhhhh again?” And then goes to sleep. With him just staring at her. Romantic?
Skip forward and everyone’s at the Bronze because some band is playing, so Buffy enters like she owns the place, walking all sexy-like. And Angel just knows she’s there and does some serious Turn Facing.
EVERYONE’S staring at her. And why not? She’s Buffy effin Summers. But she’s still got this chip on her shoulder, and so to make Angel jealous, she decides to dance with Xander — who is really okay with it.
And then Buffy raised her arms, and that’s when you KNOW some stuff was about to go down.
So they just stood there, gyrating about two inches constantly. And then my favorite dance move EVER happened!
Buffy kept trying to seduce Xander with her shoulder. Of all the joints, I think shoulder comes in second to last in the sexy-meter. The least sexy OBVIOUSLY being elbows, guys. Have you ever brushed up against an elbow? It’s like sandpaper. But shoulders is a close second.
And if you wanted to know, the first sexy joint is weed. Duh. This list is, of course, if we’re NOT counting the phalanges or toes or anything like that. Because who even thinks of those? And besides sometimes those joints in the hands come in handy for—
OH MY GOD we’re soooo off track. So returning to Buffy the Vampire Slayer…
Buffy and Xander are dancing.
But Xander isn’t really enjoying it because it’s painfully obvious what’s happening. And then she gets a bit sassy with him with some Basic Instinct-like dialogue. “Did I ever thank you for saving my life? Don’t you wish I would?”
Gurl. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.
So she walks out after giving Xander serious wood and Cordelia follows after.
And Buffy just walks away, even though Cordelia’s advice is really sound and solid. But even though she’s only ten feet away, she doesn’t hear when they kidnap Cordelia.
Anyway, the next day everyone’s looking for Cordelia and that’s when they realize the vampires are trying to bring The Master back to life. Then, the gang gets a threatening message. So everyone wants to go save Cordelia, but Buffy’s all “No! Me slayer. You irrelevants.” And they’re all pretty pissed at her, but she goes by herself anyway. (Angel meets her up, but he’s so quiet you probably didn’t even notice.) When they get there, they realize it’s actually a trap — and the vampires have taken Willow, Giles, and Calendar as well.
So Buffy and Xander decide to save their friends and NOT have The Master be revived, and that’s when cool fighting stuff happens like the following:
And so Buffy kicks all of their asses. Including minority guy.
And then Buffy picks up a sledgehammer and goes IN on The Master’s skeletal remains.
It was much more poignant than it looks, actually. We finally, truly, got to see what the real issue was here. And perhaps the best thing is that Buffy’s death was not downplayed in any way, unlike, I don’t know, when Xander tried to rape her and we all just laughed it off in the end? Yeah, like that. It was so poignant, I won’t even mention that it was a puddle that killed Buffy, because it would ruin the moment.
Anyway, it ends with everyone on good terms again and The Anointed swearing that he will rise to power or some such nonsense.
Future pop culture references: Defining where you sit in class with your relationship with your friends? Again, that’s…
And I know that the big scene was when she powdered The Master’s skeleton, but the real emotional scene here for me was this one. I mean, just look at Buffy’s face once she realizes how true her friends are:
THE FEELS, Buffy. ALL OF THEM.
The Grade: This was a really great episode, actually. I love having the little mystery to solve (re: Buffy’s emotional stability) throughout the installment, and I think it really gave gravitas like the series hasn’t had before. Somehow, every element of the series was firing on all cylinders. And I’m a huge fan of episode setup like these. It sort of reminded me of Veronica Mars episode “Donut Run” (where Veronica — SPOILERS — helps Duncan flee the country. The dynamics were somewhat the same. Of course, Veronica was faking it however — END OF SPOILERS).
2.02 “Some Assembly Required”
Could there be a more fitting episode title? Yeesh. I’m not going to lie to you; I sort of wish this episode kind of didn’t happen. It was a bit…eh. And that’s coming from ME, you guys.
Basically, some dead kid’s brother and his weirdo friend are trying to make him a zombie bride (sans the eating people part). And they choose Cordelia. The gang saves the day. The end.
Mostly, I’m just not a fan of the on again off again season arcs stuff on this show. It feels too abrupt for my taste. Of course, I’m watching in one sitting and just a few episodes at at time. So, let’s just talk about some key things.
Calendiles: As I said before, not really a fan of this new direction that they’ve been headed. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I was sort of elated when I realized the show was making them a thing. But I kind of wanted more a of a slow burn. I’m a masochist that way.
Someone asked me why I like Calendar or Calendiles on Twitter because she’s soooo annoying apparently, but I honestly have seen no reason not to like her character at the moment. Other than her “Buffy is so little” comment. B—, please. Why don’t YOU go fight some vamps? Okay, thank you.
Anyway, Giles is trying to figure out how to ask Calendar out and Buffy says, “Then you say, ‘How do you feel about Mexican?'”
And Giles says, “How do you feel about Mexicans?” And that’s so very OBVIOUSLY incorrect because we already know how you feel about minorities, Buffy. And then the line that Calendar uses to pick him up is the same line and then that whole “You noticed that HUH? LOOK HOW CUTE WE ARE!” Ehh too much. But whatever, it’s happening. So I’m happy about that at least.
FOTEs: Let’s discuss the FOTEs of this installment. FOTEs, of course, standing for “Friend of the Episode”s (just in case you’re new here).
This is Eric (or EriK?). He’s just really creepy and likes to take pictures of stuff. And also he’s really creepy, if I didn’t mention that already.
And this is Chris, who looked like he was going to be a romantic interest for Willow (MAJOR chemistry, right?). But then nope. His brother died a high school football star and is now reborn…and is basically just REALLY horny. It was a weird episode.
And Daryl, Chris’s brother.
Anyway, a lot of stuff goes down but the gist is this: Chris realizes he made a mistake bringing his brother back. Daryl dies in a fire. Calendiles is going out for a second date. Cordelia and Xander might turn into a thing (!!!!!!). I mean, I’m just saying…that scene where she thanks him for saving her life…c’mon. And Buffy and Angel have a moment…
…that I can’t hear. But something was said.
Hahaha! No, I’m totally kidding (but seriously). Turns out Angel is jealous of Xander because he gets to “see you in the sunlight.” Well, aw. They’re so star-crossed, those two!
The Grade: Off the charts. Let’s say that.
Well, I have to say, after a VERY good first episode and then no second episode to my recollection, I can’t wait to MEET SPIKE OMGGGG, like everyone has been telling me. Apparently, he’s the best or something? I don’t know. But can’t wait to make up my mind about THAT one!
We watch another three episodes this Monday at 9:30PM EDT! #BuffyRewatch!