Well, well, here we are, at the somewhat end of the rewatch. For now. It’s been a long, arduous, and entertaining journey and I think, if nothing else, I truly was able to experience one of television’s most important series like no one has before. It’s a rare gift. And I’m not even done yet.
I have to be honest, going into this (re)watch of sorts, I was mostly interested in finding out what the big hullabaloo of Buffy the Vampire Slayer actually is. There’s no denying that it’s one of the fundamental shows of our lifetime — constantly being references in different media, cited as the startpoint for the female hero, and of course with a loyal following behind it. So watching Buffy at the beginning was more about doing my television homework. Otherwise, how else can I even call myself a television blogger? It’d be like if a film blogger had never watched Citizen Kane.
Okay, maybe not Citizen Kane because (A) that movie is MAJOR popular and (B) have you watched Citizen Kane? Boooooooring. Spoiler alert: he means the sled. Zzzzzzz.
It’d be more like if a film blogger never watched The Sixth Sense. Okay, here me out: The Sixth Sense is a film that debuted near the cornerstone of new cinema and drastically changed the way audiences and writers view plot and storytelling. People don’t give The Sixth Sense enough credit for that. Alas, people claim others don’t give Buffy the Vampire Slayer enough credit either. And here we are.
After three seasons of Buffy, I can’t exactly attest to that. I haven’t watched any other dramas from the late ’90s to know. But I can understand what made the series such a cult classic. It’s the camp. And you can try to say it’s a multitude of other things, but truthfully, it’s that self-referential campiness that sort of just resonates with people when they watch. You’ll never say: “Let me just pop in that episode of The Vampire Diaries for old times’ sake” or “Remember that one episode of Breaking Bad where…? Yeah, let’s pop that one in!” It just doesn’t happen. At least it would never happen to me. (Well, that’s not entirely true. A couple of months ago I said to myself, “I really want to watch that episode of Veronica Mars when she goes on jury duty” and then did. I haven’t watched that series in a long time.) But you might just think: “Remember that time Buffy fought a dummy?” or “That one with the alternate reality?”
It’s that sense of being able to watch an episode and just be entertained by a standalone 45 minutes because you know the universe so well. Since we so often comare Buffy to the likes of True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, the difference I’m trying to delineate here is that there’s an added element of entertainment with our old Buffy here — it’s a sense of joy. True Blood and The Vampire Diaries (especially the latter) offer exhilaration but that novelty sort of wears off after the first viewing, when you know what’s going to happen next. Buffy keeps you gleeful. You come back for that camp.
And that, my friends, is why it has stuck with audiences for so long.
Or at least that’s my very shitty analysis of events. I’m sorry I’m not more smarter. Speaking of which, these posts are going to be even more sporadic (if I get the energy to write about season 4 and beyond, since I’m still watching actually). But if you feel like you’re in need of some Buffy-ness, check out these recaps on TOR.com written by one Alyv Dellamonica. I found them last week when they used the #BuffyRewatch hashtag and read a couple. This Dellamonica lady is definitely much more smarter and more better than me is.
All right, let’s get to it, y’all. The ending to season three is perhaps the biggest shift in the series as of yet. All of our characters are trying to figure out their self-worth in their own little universe and how they standup in regards to the importance of their roles — in life, yes…but mostly in the show. Meanwhile, the mayor is closer to, I don’t know, devouring everyone, and Angel is beginning to realize that he and Buffy will just never work and it’s in both of their interests to separate sooner rather than later. Also, you know, MORE MONEY can be made with TWO shows rather than one and whatnot. But that probably wasn’t a factor.
LOLJK it totally was obviously.
Anyway, that’s what we have going in for the end of the series as we begin “Doppelgängland.”
In “Doppelgängland,” Willow is feeling a little bit too predictable. While unwittingly helping Anya, she taps into “The Wish” universe of Sunnydale and somehow extracts her vampire-self. Needless to say, shenanigans ensue…but everyone’s okay and vamp-Willow gets back to her universe, ready to die just two seconds later.
The Grade: One the series’ best episodes, if I’m being honest. As mostly a standalone, the episode is sort of Willow’s “The Zeppo” and really added a lot for her character. Besides that, it was just extremely entertaining and funny. Although, I am still severely disappointed that Willow didn’t have sex with herself.
They’re SO LOUD with their making out OMG.[*]
[*] But not as loud as Buffy and Spike.[**]
[**] Oh yeah I’ve seen that episode already.[***]
[***] Bahaha hilarious!
In this episode, Faith and the Mayor hatch a plan to kill Buffy and make Angel evil yet again. And for most of the episode, it appears as though Faith is getting her way. However, it’s a bit misguided, don’t you think? Everyone sort of just believes that if Angel just has sex with anyone, he’ll lose his soul. That idea is greatly shallowing the depth of the situation at hand, and it’s mostly why Faith loses this battle. Unfortunately, given that I know about what happens next, I wasn’t exactly shocked with the twist here. But I was sort of weirded out by Faith’s downward spiral.
The Grade: It was quite all right (sorry, Kassie).
When this scene ended, I was actually almost completely shocked. I knew that it had to be 1999 when this episode aired and so I immediately googled to check how close to the Columbine Massacre it was. Turns out, very close. So much so that The WB decided to hold of almost half a year before it aired this fantastic gem.
Also, once again, this show is so Friends. Did you know — yes, fun fact — season 8 episode 3 “The One Where Rachel Tells…,” in which Monica and Chandler go on their honeymoon, had to be reshot? It’s true! Their storyline was originally that Chandler got stuck in airport security for saying the word “bomb” as part of a joke. However, after the events of September 11th, even though the episode was already shot, the writers wrote the story about how there was a couple in front of them getting all the perks and shot it really quickly.
Warner Bros. has some weird timing with real-world horror stories, including this year.
Anyway, it shocked me. And it wasn’t just the weird timing. It was just how great this episode was. I seriously found my second Buffy writer after Joss Whedon: Jane Espenson, who also wrote the fantastic “Band Candy,” but some less than stelar season 4 episodes. Though, I think “Pangs,” as stated, is really funny.
The Grade: Fantastic. I’m serious. I was so afraid of having to see more layers to one of my favorite characters, Jonathan, but the actor handled it so well and…ugh, it was just so good all around. Plus, Buffy totally got Sookie Stackhouse on errbody. And I actually enjoyed the Buffy/Angel scenes, y’all. THIS IS HOW GOOD THIS EPISODE WAS. I ENJOYED THE BUFFY/ANGEL STORYLINE. WHAT? Oh, and I was actually one of those who thought Joyce and Giles only made out. But they did MORE. TWICE! AHHHH.
Willow gets kidnapped. Then she reads some books. And the gang knows about the ascension and blah blah blah.
The Grade: Forgettable.
3.20 “The Prom”
Okay, to be quite honest with you, the only reason this entire episode works is for the actual prom scenes. It takes a lot of muddling around to finally get there…but when it gets there, look out for the onion ninjas because you will be a-cryin, y’all!
Before we get to it, also important in this episode is Joyce coming in going “Angel, you should probably leave to your own show. Salary bump!” And Angel’s like “Yeah, makes sense.”
Anyway, back to prom. I can’t with Jonathan’s speech while presenting the Class Protector award. I’ve been trying to find it on YouTube so that I can post it here and we can all cry about it some more but to no avail.
What I HAVE found is a spoiler pertaining to which episode someone’s death takes place (UGH) and the unaired pilot just looking for this video. By the way, WHO in the hell is that in the pilot? That is NOT Willow. OH GOODNESS.
The Grade: This ten-minute episode was pretty good.
3.21 & 3.22 “Graduation Day” parts 1 &2
Hey, look at that! The first time a two-parter’s first part isn’t awful.
In this episode, the mayor is planning to ascend on graduation day because it’s convenient. Meanwhile, Angel’s been poisoned…and he needs to drain a slayer dry to live. Then, Buffy stabs Faith in order to get her blood, but Faith sort of dumps her body on the slowest moving truck that Buffy could have definitely run after but didn’t. A lot of stuff happens, including Buffy letting Angel drink from her and Willow and Oz doin it and doin it and doin it well, and then it’s graduation day and everyone is a BAMF!
Here’s how the second part went. Somewhat.
Buffy was almost drained dry, so Angel took her to the hospital because DUH. And the doctors were like, “We got dis B. Medical degrees and shit.” So he figured she was fine.
And then the mayor tried to kill Buffy because he has actual patriarchal feelings for Faith and it was so hilarious.
This lady was the absolute worst person to prevent this. She wasn’t even trying. LADY!!! OH MY GOD.
And then a lot of stuff happens, like a very insightful dream of Buffy’s where she acts almost analogous to the last time she thought she killed a human, including the following:
How this was even a storyline. BLEGHHGHGSDbflas;d’flkSDF EWWWWWW UGHbajskldgf ew. It’s like the most disgusting thing on this show. And you guys know how I feel about the parasites!!!!!
And then Angel says “I’m not saying goodbye!” and she’s like “But then how will I know you left?” and he goes “Oh, yeah, good point, I should probably say goodbye by just staring at you creepily behind some fog” and Buffy goes “K, good ol’ fashion Angel style.”
Anyway, but then graduation happens…
and the mayor is speaking and his head starts to do THIS:
AND THEN THE CLASS DOES THIS!!!!!
AHHHH!!! The best scene of the series thus far, y’all!!!! Everyone pitched in to take down the mayor and it was GLORIOUS. And just like the prom scene, everyone KNOWS. They’re not oblivious idiots! (It’s like that scene in season four, when Harmony tells Willow: “I haven’t seen you since graduation. Big snake, huh?”) Loved it all!
Except we did have some casualties. RIP Snyder. RIP Larry…? Maybe? I don’t know. But Buffy defeats it by blowing up YET ANOTHER SCHOOL.
And then Angel doesn’t say goodbye.
I think it was supposed to be romantic.
The Grade: Quite all right. This seriously was the more pivotal of the finales — everything in Buffy’s world is about to change; she even stopped working for the council! What will happen next!??!!!
Well, thankfully, I sort of know what happens next as I’ve watched all the way up to the episode before THE BEST EPISODE EVER “Hush.” And, if you were wondering, I’m also watching Angel in the correct viewing order with Buffy. And yes, I have thoughts. And yes, I plan to write about them. I don’t know when! But soon enough. Probably tomorrow. Who knows!
(But not tomorrow because I have no time tomorrow!)
For now, however, I just want to thank you for coming back week after week and reading my thoughts here. I’m being one hundred percent serious when I say that I don’t take that lightly and it genuinely means a lot to me. You have no idea how much that means. I hope you’ve had an okay time reading what I think and putting up with my antics. And thank you for navigating me through this universe.
Oh and did I tell you that about a month ago, whilst in a conversation that escalated WAY too quickly, I said: “WHAT is your childhood trauma?!” I REFERENCED THE SHOW OH EM GEE YOU GUYS. Anyway, that happened!!! And I never said anything because it just never felt like the right time.
I’ll leave you with three of my favorite episodes from each of the first three seasons, just in case you were wondering.
Season one: “Angel”; “The Puppet Show”; “Prophecy Girl”
Season two: “Ted”; “Killed By Death”; “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered”(; “Passion”)
Season three: “Band Candy”; “Doppelgängland”; “Earshot”
Thanks for listening to my rambles! And don’t forget, the rewatch is still happening every Mondays with Buffy season 4 and Tuesdays with Angel season 1.