Featured

Top 25 Whedon Episodes

This is the post excerpt.

Advertisements

Joss Whedon is one of the greatest show runners in the history of television. He works in Genre tv shows, often with silly names that cause many to underestimate the complexity of the shows and their themes. He has written and directed some of the best tv episodes of all time.

 

25. Man on the Street

24.The Zeppo

23. Dopplegangland

 

22. Graduation Day

21. Epitaph One

20. Our Mrs. Reynolds

19.Surprise/Innocence

18. Reunion

17.Loyalty/Sleep Tight/ Forgiveness

16. Dead Things

15.The Attic

14.Reprise/Epiphany

13.Fool For Love

12.The Gift

11.Restless

 

10. Passion

 

9. Hush

 

8. Belonging

 

7. A Hole in The World/Shells

6. Out of Gas

5. Not Fade Away

4.Objects in Space

3.Becoming

2. Once More With Feeling

  1. The Body

 

Honorable Mentions: Prophecy Girl,I Only Have Eyes For You, Amends,Helpless, Earshot, Something Blue, This Years girl/Who are You/Five by Five/Sanctuary, No Place Like Home, Family, Crush, Intervention, After Life, Normal Again, Tabula Rasa, Grave, Selfless Conversations with Dead People, Lies my parents told me, Storyteller, Chosen, City of, I will Remember You, Hero, To Sanshu in LA,  Are You now or Have you ever been, Darla, The Trial, Lullaby, Birthday, Waiting in the Wings, Deep Down, Spin the Bottle, Salvage, Orpheus, Home, Lineage, Destiny, Your Welcome, Smile Time, Underneath, Shindig, Ariel, War Stories, Spy in the House of Love, Briar Rose, Left Hand, Epitaph two: Return

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film analysis shot by shot No Country for Old Men

http://www.rogerebert.com/scanners/no-country-for-old-men-out-in-all-that-dark

http://www.andsoitbeginsfilms.com/2014/07/top-53-things-i-love-about-no-country.html

http://www.andsoitbeginsfilms.com/2013/08/where-is-anton-chigurh.html

Oscar Podcast Preview – When No Country for Old Men Couldn’t Lose

http://arbitrarynonsense.com/2012/08/08/no-country-for-old-men-ending-explanation/

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/no-country-for-old-men-2007

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/all-the-pretty-carnage/Content?oid=997421

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/09/30-years-of-coens-no-country-for-old-men/380610/

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/nov/09/entertainment/et-nocountry9

http://www.avclub.com/review/no-country-for-old-men-3206

Written and Directed by Joss Whedon:Anne

Although this doesnt live up to the end of season 2 this is a very good season opener. Although it is lighter hearted than the end  of season 2, and fails to follow up on the emotions of many characters, it overall is a good episode.

 

A vampire rises from the grave, and sees the feet of a girl. It is Willow feet,as Buffy is still gone. Willow tries to pun, but is not as funny as Buffy. Xander and Oz fight the vampire, but he gets away. They think about first day of school tomowrow

Buffy has a dream wher she  is on a beach with Angel. Se wakes up in crappy apartment in LA, with a view of the city that looks poor.There is a very good camera movement here as it pulls out and gives a view of the city.

SHe works at a diner and is harassed by some men, but does not use her power. She sees a girl who is very close to her boyfriend.  Its chantrelle from Lie To Me. Buffy pretends not to know her.

There is a great tracking shot covering the first day of school. Willow and Giles talk about the slaying, Xander and Cordy worry about seeing each other, Oz has to repeat the year and Larry is optomistic about the football  if there are less mysterious deaths. The school feels very alive, while Buffy sits alone in her room

As she walks down the street she heres an old woman say, I’m no one.

Giles gets a call and leaves to find Buffy.

Buffy meets Chantrelle, now called Lilly.  There is a walk and talk tracking shot and some funny dialouge. a man walks in front of a car but Buffy saves him. She is hit and runs away. She bumps into Ken, who tries to convince her to join a religious group. Some of his dialouge is too on the nose for me.

There is a montage of despair in the city which is a bit much.

Xander and Willow sit at the Bronze and comment about depressing night. They decide to use Cordelia as bate

GIles goes to Buffy’s house and talks to Joyce. Joyce blames Giles for Buffy’s disappearance.

Buffy and Lily go to the  blood donation. The nurse is very suspicious looking

They split up and Buffy finds old dead Ricky

She tells Lilly and gets very annoyed about her unwillingness to accept his death.

Lilly is convinced by Ken

Buffy investigates furthe “What are you doing” “breaking into your office and going through your private files”

She knocks the  phone off the hook and gets info from the nurse

Ken has Lilly, and gets her ready for the dimensin.

Cordy is bait, They argue with each other as a vamp sneaks behind Willow.

Buffy sucks at undercover and breaks in.

they fall in through the portal. It is a demon dimension where people are forced to work forever. Kens face falls off and Buffy and Lilly run. Buffy is knocked out.

THe scoobies fight the vampire as it attacks Willow. Xander and Cordy knock the vampire in between them, staking him. THey kiss. This is a funny scene for both of them.

Buffy is locked in her prison. Ken comes by and taunts her. He say she got her wish to disappear. He says she is basically in hell, and they have to work forever until they die of age.

The captives are lined up as a demon asks”Who are you”. He kills whoever remembers name. He gets to buffy and asks her name. she responds “I’m Buffy. THe vampire Slayer. And you are?’. she fights back and helps the new prisoners escape. THis is a very good fight scene. Lily takes the others to escape and Buffy fights.

There is great imagery here as Buffy fights with the Hammer and Sickel. After killing the guards Ken threatens Lily. However, Lilly pushe Ken off the ledge.

Buffy lifts the gate , and it crushes Ken. Buffy does her gandhi impression

After escaping she offers to helps Lilly/Anne. Anne wants to live a new life.

Buffy Shows up at home at the end and hugs Joyce.

Although not as dark or emotional as I would have prefered it is still a very good episode.

75/100

 

Written and Directed by Joss Whedon

Becoming Part 2

This is one of the best Buffy episodes of all time. almost every list has this episode as first or second overall.

This is a very short cold open.  Buffy is a suspect in Kendra’s Murder and arrested. Snyder accuses her so she punches a cop and runs. In a sort of strange moment the cop fires at her.

After the credits she goes to check on her friends in the hospital. She sees Xander and they hide from the police. They go into Willow’s room. Willow is unconsciousness and it  seems very serious. Cordy comes in and her and Xander hug. This is a very sweet scene and one of the warmest between them.

Angelus wants to torture Giles.He is  very creepy in these scenes. Thankfully, we see none of the actual torture but the acting from Head is so good that the audience is able to feel for him.

The same smug cop from Ted warns Joyce about Buffy and tells her to call. Buffy meets Whistler at Giles’s house.  If there are any problems  with this episode it is Whistler. He seems more effective in part one, doing the flashbacks and voice over. He tells Buffy “your all you got”

A Cop stops Buffy, and is  knocked out by Spike. Spike offers a truce where they work together to kill Angel. This is easily one of the funniest scenes in the series. Spike is so great in these episodes, as the bad guy who just wants to kill people  instead of destroying the world.

It turns out he likes this  world, because of Manchester united, Dog racing and “people walking around like Happy meals on legs”. At this point he just hates Angelus  wants Drusilla. Most shows would have a hard time coming up with a reason why to enemies would team up, but the season has done a great job building motivation for his character to hate Angelus enough to work with Buffy. Spike wants to kill the cop, but Buffy stops him

The hospital  scene is shot in an interesting way. There are many overhead shots and as Xander goes into his monolouge about how he loves Willow, it is shot in extreme closeup. Oz comes in just Willow wakes up and calls for him

Giles continues to be tortured but does not break.

Joyce finds Buffy and Spike. They claim to be in a band where Buffy drums and Spike sings, but the plan falls apart when they are attacked by a vampire. Buffy admits she is the slayer.

Buffy talks to Willow on the phone and discusses their plan. Meanwhile Joyce and Spike sit in the next room making awkward small talk. Spike reminds her that she hit him with an ax one time.

Buffy comes in and negotiates a deal with Spike. They will attack Angel in the morning and  Spike gets to help Drusilla, as long as Gile’s survives. I love Spike’s excitement that Drusilla killed a slayer. “Although not from your perspective, I suppose”

After Spike leaves she  has her big fight with Joyce. Joyce seems very unreasonable here and completely  fails to understand what Buffy is going through. Buffy gives a monologue about the dangers she faces every day. Joyce gives her an ultimatum-if you walk out don’t even think about coming back. Buffy walks out and leaves the door open.

This is a great scene and phenomenally acted by Sutherland  and Gellar. There is  is so much pain in both of their performances. This works very well as a coming out metaphor, as well. There are so many layers to this scene, and it is amazing that this isn’t even the best scene in the episode.

Willow wants to try the spell again. Xander is strongly opposed, but can’t talk her out of it. Oz seems confused, having missed several episodes.

Angelus asks again for instructions. Giles recommends Angelus preform in a tutu. Angelus wants to bring out the chainsaw but is talked down by Spike. He gets Drusilla to use her mental powers on Giles. She apears as Jenny. Giles tells Jenny everything, that Angel has to use his own blood to open it.  This is a heartbreaking scene. Only Whedon could follow this up with a comedic scene where Angelus and Spike look on as Drusilla is still kisssing Giles.

Back at the school Snyder gloats  about expelling Buffy. interesting framing from  the side

 

Whistler still living in Giles house. Buffy asks for the remaining details, and comments she has nothing left.

At morning Buffy is ready for the fight. Xander comes to help and Buffy tells him to get Giles. Xander decides not to tell her about Willow’s curse and instead says “Kick his Ass”. This is one of the most debated moments of the series, and I believe that Xander did the wrong thing.

The ceremony begins and Buffy enters by killing a vampire. Angelus acts very smug until he is attacked by Spike. Buffy fights with a random vampire as Xander gets Giles out. Drusilla attacks Spike and they fight. Angelus sees the opportunity and opens Acathla.

Buffy and Angelus then have their final battle. The choreography her is excellent. This feels raw and important to all of the characters.  THeir sword fight is very intense, as you know Acathla is already opened. Angelus backs Buffy into a corner. Meanwhile Willow begins to chant her spell to restore Angel’s soul. Spike leaves with Drusilla and Buffy is alone.

In what may be the greatest scene of the whole series, Buffy is cornered against a wall. She has lost her sword and Angelus is about to finish her. He taunts her “no friends, no hope take that all away and what do you have”. Buffy grabs the sword with her bare hands and says “ME”. This is such a greath scene because she finally embraces her ability and is ready to do what needs to be done.

Buffy forces Angelus back and is about to kill him when Willow’s spell works. In a heartbreaking scene Buffy is forced to kill Angel in order to save the world. Buffy and Angel kiss and she tells him to close his eyes as Acathla begins to suck in the world. Buffy stabs him and watches as he gets sucked into hell.

After this scene there is a great final montage to Full of Grace, that ends with Buffy’s friends confused and Buffy’s mother finding that she has left. At the end Buffy gets on a bus and leaves.

 

THis is one of the most powerful episodes of television ever made. Season 2 is a great season because over the course of the season, everything builds creating real consequences for the characters. The end of the episode is devesting as Buffy loses everything.

There are a few flaws: Whistler is very anoying in this. The cop shoots at Buffy to kill. the Hospital scene was a bit melodramatic. Other than these problems, the episode makes up for it by having a real emotional punch.

 

Scenic Route:

Durring the great final fight, Buffy and Angel are fighting to the death, in order to stop Acathla. Angelus is about to kill Buffy, yet Buffy grabs the sword with her bare hands and throws it back in his face. Her preformance is so good as she does what she has to do. THis is one of the few scenes where Buffy makes the hard decision, and she kills him.

Final score-94/100

 

 

 

 

 

Written and Directed by Joss Whedon: Becoming Part 1

There is some voice over about the big moments. THere is a long shot that shows Angel getting tossed from a bar. He meets Darla and she sires him. He seems very willing. I think this is the first time we actually see a vampire get sired. This scene also continues the sexual conotations of sireing. We also get the famous Irish accent.

In the present Angel watches Buffy fight. She says she is ready to fight Angel. Xander has also been there and knocked out. Angelus watches her and says it will all be over soon.

Giles talks to archeologists about a giant rock and notices a door. He warns them not to open it.

I love the  fish scene, at the lunch table where Xander reenacts the previous fight using his fish sticks. Oz and Cordy have some good lines.  Snyder warns them, and asks about a chair shortage.  Cordy sums him up pretty well.

Angelus torments dru before turning her into a vampire. He pretends to be a prisest. THis is similar to what he did to  Buffy, by making her feel inferior.

Drusilla talks about her kill and vision . Spike has so many great lines in this episode, telling Angelus”no you Ninny, she read it in the morning paper.” I like the studying scene,where WIllow shows she has become a good teacher. Buffy drops her pencil and looks under the desk and finds the spell.

Angel is cursed  by the gypsies and told about the curse.  I do not think this is  compatable with later scenes in 5×5.

Great scene in library  as the charecter discuss what to do. Xander is very cruel, and unlikeable.  This is one of the few dramatic scenes in the episode.

The vampires steal the tomb. Buffy goes outside and meets with Kendra.

Spike comments “its a big rock”.  Angel describes the backstory and tries to open it but fails. Spike has the best lines in this episode”someone wasnt worthy”. I love how much he is just laughing at Angel.

 

Giles happens to have an orb of thesulas, which is convinent

Angel is living  in an alley eating rats, when Whistler finds him. He is the first demon who is not evil. Whistler is not my favorite character, but he is fine. It is very creepy how Angel watches Buffy at school. He watches her first fight, and decides to help the world. It is intersting how Buffys parents fight.

A vampire shows up in class and tells Buffy when and where to fight Angel before bursting into flames. It is a bit confusing why a vampire would agree to be a sacrafice.

Buffy falls for it, and goes to fight Angelus, and Kendra gives her her stake Mr. Pointy.

Buffy fights Angelus and the others are attacked by vampires. Angel taunts Buffy saying “you fall for it everytime”. Drusilla kills Kendra and kidnaps Giles, and Xander and Willow are badly hurt. Buffy runs after her friends, and this is one of the few moments of the show in slow motion. As Buffy finds Kendra, a cop yells freeze and points a gun at her

Whistler continues his voiceover saying “you’ll see what I mean”

Overall this is a great episode, but it is mostly buildup. Except for the library scene there are few big dramatic scenes, and there does seem to be to much backstory and expositon. It is extremeley well filmed, with good fight scenes, and a great score. The acting as always is great. There are few problems with this episode, it just does not have the same dramatic punch as other Whedon episodes.

Scenic Routes

This is a very good episode, but it does seem exposition heavy. However the scene where all of the characters argue about restoring Angels soul.

Every character get’s his point of view across. Willow and seems open to it, but Xander continues his obsessive hatred of Angel.  Giles understandably questions the idea of helping Angel after everything he has done, but is furious with Xander for using Jenny’s death to prove a point.

It is frustrating that no one uses the argument that they are two separate people, as Xander seems incapable with grasping that idea.  Xander comes across as an asshole here, who is completely incapable of understanding the complex emotions of everyone else.  THis is the most unlikable he ever becomes.

 

84/100

 

 

 

Written and Directed by Joss Wheadon: Innocence

This is one of the series best episodes, and the first episode that really rose the stakes

The episode starts with  the villians discussing their plans. Dru says she is naming the stars. The judge is funny and awkward  The first shot is interesting in that it is a 30s + shot that is mostly static. Dru collapses and has a vision of Angel. Buffy wakes up and there is a thunderstorm outside as Angel is strugling. He then stands up and a smoking woman aproaches him. Angel kills her and drinks from herThere is a great shot of Angel blowing  her smoke from her throat.

Buffy sneaks home and there is a kind of awkward scene with Joyce, where she says something seems different about her. Back at the library everyone is nervous. There are many good, in character moments in library. Xander imedialtly wants to go and help, despite not knowing much about the situation. Him and cordelia barb. Giles and Jenny are also more cautious, but Xander and Willow go until Buffy enters the library. She wonders about Angel, and goes to class.

Spike and Dru are talking about their plan when Angelus walks in, quoting the Grapes of Wrath speech. Almost imediatley you feel as if you are watching a different actor. When playing evil Borenaz just has such a great presence. He actually is a great actor, and this arc was one of the greatest decicions the show ever did. The judge tries to kill him, but there is no humanity left in him. These are fantastic villians and it is great to have them all in a room together so they can interact.

At the Library there is some good ensemble staging of the group debating what to do. Xander goes to apologize to Cordy, and Willow catches them kissing.It is somewhat hard to buy Willows reaction, and some of what she said does seem harsh in her hatred, but we do get the great “You were the treasurer” line.

Next we get one  of the best scenes  of the entire series where Buffy sees goes to see Angel. This scene is heartbreaking because Buffy still doesn’t know that Angel is evil, which he uses to humiliate her. This scene is so cruel, and Gellar deserved an Emmy for her performance. I don’t like the gypsy scenes, but here Jenny finds out Angel is back.

At the school at night Xander and willow are in the school,when the lights go out. Angelus grabs Willow and is very scary. Jenny warns them before they can find out. Buffy saves them and Angelus kisses her and throws her. Angel says some contradicting things, “I am Angel, at last”, “Dream on school girl your boyfriend is dead. This adds some complexity to the soul question which has been argued everywhere else. I definitely feel that the person they were before informs the vampire and is part of their personality.

Spike complains that Angelus did not kiss Buffy and he explains “to kill this girl you have to love her”. This is the most common mistake big bads make on this show,  but it also shows just how twisted he is. It also nicely foreshadows spikes ark later on.

Buffy goes home and cries. I think this hardest she cries the whole show, and she is great. After she falls asleep she has a dream showing that Jenny is not who she says she is. Normally I don’t like information revealed in dream, but it already is well established that she has prophetic dreams, and it is good writing at this point for her to trust them. cr

Buffy storms in to school and grabs Jenny in front of a class.  Jenny explains the curse, and Giles looks hurt by her betrayal. She offers to take him to her uncle, but Whedon fakes out the audience by having Angel show up and kill him. One of the few flaws in this episode is the question of how Angelus could get in without an invite.

Meanwhile the other scoobies launch there plan to stop the judge-break into a military base. There is a good tracking shot that follows Xander and Cordelia into the base. There is some great dialogue, as Xander convinces the guard to let them in, and the famous “looking at linoleum makes me want to have sex”. They take the weapon

In yet another great scene Willow asks Oz if he wants to make out. This is the scene that made me really love Oz , as he knows she is only doing it to make Xander jealous and says he wants the moment to be special.

There is some debate about whether or not the scooby gang was too harsh on Jenny. Although it is nice to see the level of Giles trust in Buffy, he does seem very unsympathetic to her issues.

THe ending of this episode is fantastic. The judge  kills a guy , as the gang arives. He connects to everyone and is about to kill them when  Buffy shoots an arrow at him. He claims “No weapon forged can kill me,” when Buffy pulls out a rocket launcher. This scene is perfect, and symbolizes Buffy taking back her identity as the slayer . The judge is killed, and she goes to fight Angel. This is a great fight, very raw. This should be emotional and the water from the sprinkler system makes it even better. Buffy can’t bring herself to kill Angel, but she instead kicks in the balls at full strength.

I Love Giles’s scene with Buffy at the end of the episode. He is so comforting and easily forgives her. I like the final scene with Joyce, but it is confusing because her birthday was several days ago. Still I love the shot on the couch.

Over all this is a almost flawless episode of television. This is where the consequences of everything before finally come back and the characters have to face them. The whole season has been building to this moment. Whedon is often sadistic to his audience, and loves playing with out emotions which sometimes works and sometimes does not. Here it is absolutely necessary as the bad choices the characters have been making comeback to haunt them all at once. It also has one of the most empowering moments, as Buffy grabs a rocket launcher and kills the judge.

Scenic Routes

I had a hard time deciding which scene to describe, the devastating scene in Angel’s apartment, or the brilliant scene with the rocket launcher. I finally decided to describe the earlier scene.

Whedon tortures us first by playing “Close your Eyes”, the Bangel theme. Buffy starts to go home, but then turns and tries one last time to see if Angel is home. For a second the music almost seems to comfort us. When Buffy sees him she takes runs and hugs him. Angelus at first talks to her, which initially confuses us as to why he is not killing her. He then takes the opportunity to mock her for her preformance makes her feel like she messed up.

It is astonishing how, in just a season and half, how much David Borenaz has grown as an actor. He is incredible here, and you never feel as you are watching Angel. Just the way he carries the character is 100% believable.

What Angelus deliberately chooses the most cruel thing he can think of. Whedon says he was shocked at what he had written. What makes it even worse is how it seems like something might say in real life.  It one of the best dramatic scenes of the series.

 

93/100

 

Written and Directed by Joss Whedon: Lie to Me

Joss Whedon has mainly directed only the best episodes of the series. Lie to me is one of his best

 

 

Great cold open as Angel meets Drusilla in the park and saves a young boy. Drusilla is very creepy and effective. Juliet Landau is so great in the role.  David Borenaz has significantly improved as Angel  shows his shame over what he has done.  Buffy passes on patrol and sees them.  It does seem overly convenient that they meet there.

The next scene is at school and has some great Whedon  school tracking shots. The camera follows  Giles and Jenny (as they discuss there plans for the night)  and the trio exiting class (As they discuss Angel and the strange girl). There is some good Comic relief from Cordelia, as she misunderstands the history.

Buffy and her friends meet Ford, an old friend of Buffy’s from LA. There is some classic Whedon Dialogue in this scene. (“Only in the Literal sense”) (“Oh that’s what the song meant”). Whedon episodes always have the best lines, and this episode in particular is filed with quotable lines.They go to  the bronze and see Angel. Angel lies  about the previous night and does not mention Drusilla. I love petty Angel , and  Xander makes some great comments. In response to Angel’s lies, Buffy takes a walk with Ford sees he slay a vampire. He reveals that he has known the whole time.

The club scene shows his  possible betrayal. There is a great scene with Angel in Willows room, as he reveals his suspicions of Ford.  There are some great lines (“Really honed my Brooding skills”).  They notice Ford is not enrolled at Sunnydale High, but decide to keep quiet until they can prove more.

The next scene is hilarious as Willows is terrible at lying. Giles meets Ford, and seems somewhat suspicious of him, but goes with Jenny last night. When Buffy and Ford are walking, they see vampires. Buffy kills one and Ford questions the other. When Buffy finds him, it is gone. The night scenes are much better filmed this. I love the scene where where Xander Willow and Angel visit the vampire worshiping club. The gag where , Angel sees someone wearing the same outfit.

Buffy calls Giles and tells him and Jenny about the vampire at the school. We find out where Giles and Jenny had been: A monster truck show. When the vampire Ford supposedly killed, she is finally suspicious

Back at the vampire house, Drusila is talking to a dead bird as Spike questions her going out. As always Spike has great lines. The camera pans to Ford (“Its called security people”) . Ford asks to be turned into a vampire (I’ve known you for 2 minutes and I cant stand you). He offers up Buffy as a trade

There is a great scene with Buffy and Angel. The directing and acting is very good, and there are some interesting framing choices, such as scene from outside the house. Angel tells her what he knows about Ford. Buffy then asks about Drusilla. Angel tells her everything, about how he tortured her into insanity. This scene is very well shot.

The next day at school there is a sort of odd scene as Buffy meets Ford and he invites her. The camera rotates around them and it almost feels like a dream scene.

At the Vampire club, Buffy is already there. She interrogates Ford about his motives, but it turns out he wanted her there. He locks her in, and only the vampires can get in. They wait for sunset

The best scene of the episode is the great philosophical discussion between Buffy and Ford. Ford reveals he is dying and wants to live forever. However he is willing to kill innocent people to gain his wish

The vampires come in. The one scene I don’t buy Ford can knock her out, as she tries to warn the others. The vampires start feeding, but Buffy gets to Drusilla. Spike frees everyone to save Drusilla. Buffy locks the vampires in, and Spike kills Ford.

Later Buffy and Giles meet at the graveyard. Buffy asks Giles if life gets easier, and asks him to lie to her. This scene may be obvious, but it does a great job displaying the Buffy-Giles relationship. This explains very clearly that things are not going to end well.

Overall this is a great episode, that lays the philosophical blueprint for the series. Although it rarely makes top ten lists of Buffy episodes, it deserves to, as it is one of the most entertaining and complex of the series.  In terms of character this seems like an important episode. Joss is an  existentialist, which means he believes the universe is indifferent. This philosphy is all over Buffy and Angel,

When re watching this I was astonished at just how many quotable lines there are.

Angel lies to Buffy about seeing Drusilla. Buffy’s friends do not tell her that they are investigating Ford. Jenny does not tell Giles where she is taking him, and is hiding a much bigger secret from everyone. Ford of course is lying to kill Buffy, and tells the cultists they will become immortal. Giles lies at Buffy’s request. Interesting the only charecter who never lies is actually lies is spike. He keeps his word, and turns Ford into a vampire. There are a few reasons he might have done this: He had no real reason not to. He might of just did it to mess with Buffy. But I don’t think so. In season seven’s Lies My Parents Told Me, we find out more about Spike’s backstory. Spike’s mother had cancer, and was dying. When he became a vampire, the first thing he did was sire her so she could live forever. However, as a vampire she became extremely cruel and came on to Spike, causing him to stake her. It is possible that Ford’s situation reminded Spike of his mother, and he actually kept his word because of sympathy.

Scenic Routes-You have a choice

After Ford locks in Buffy and the cultists they have a conversation on the top floor. Ford tells Buffy about his cancer. He claims that he has no choice, and that the people bellow are sheep. He puts his own life over everyone else’s, whereas Buffy sacrificed herself for others in Prophecy Girl.

Buffy always has a choice, and she constantly chooses to do the selfless thing. Ford is willing to commit mass murder to help himself. Buffy admits she does feel sorry for him, but that does not excuse his behavior.

The Passion of the Nerd does a great analysis of this scene from an existential point of view.  He says when Ford puts one choice over all others he is acting in bad faith.

 

Overall-88/100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written and Directed by Joss Whedon: When She Was Bad

Today I will look at the season 2 premier When She was Bad of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

 

Being a Buffy season premiere, it of course starts in the graveyard. The camera pans out as Willow and Xander play a movie quote game. There is a great tracking shot that lasts over a minute as they play the game, and Willow sits on the fence. They talk and they have a sweet moment, and are about to kiss before a vampire interrupts. Buffy returns and has a great kill by kicking the vampire into a tree branch.

 

 

After the credits Buffy talks to her friends and they briefly talk about their summer. When Buffy hears about the master she gets very serious. I think the music is over the top.

Buffy’s father talks about not being able to connect with her. At school there are two great tracking shots following Cordelia and Giles and Snyder. I love Snyder’s scene he rants to Giles about children.and he does not notice him with Mrs. Calendar. I love the two of them.

There is a great scene where The Scoobies meet Giles. Buffy is very distant, But it is cute how happy Willow and Xander are to see him. Buffy and Giles agree to have a training session,  Maybe the training scene is over the top with the music, but it clearly shows that her trauma is not over.

There is a terrifying dream where Giles turns into the master and strangles her. It is very effective because it is hard to tell that it is a dream.  Giles can be very scary when he gets to play evil. I also like the dialogue before it is revealed to be a dream.

When she wakes up Angel is there warning her about the Annoying One. Buffy is very mean to him, and taunts him, but says she missed him after he leaves. This is one of the few scenes where she is warm all episode.

She talks with her friends, and they go to the bronze.Cordelia meets with them. Buffy is really mean to her and calls her a moron.At the bronze Xander and Willow start to suspect something. Xander is uninterested in willow. It is interesting to notice how much better the lighting is this season. The vampires dig up the masters remains.

Next is the great scene where Buffy taunts Willow and Angel by dancing with Xander. THis is one of the best scenes of the season, and shows for the first time Whedon is a great director, not a great writer. (MOre Bellow) Cordelia confronts her and is kidnapped.

Cordelia is one of my favorite Buffyverse characters, because she says whatever she thinks. As superficial as she, there is no bullshit with her. In this episode she is the only to confront Buffy on her behavior.

Buffy goes by the graveyard and The Master is gone. At school Xander and Willow think Buffy is possessed. Of course here we get Xander thinking she is spelling out a “bitca?”. Giles is closer to the truth and realizes it is trauma from her death. Giles some great lines in the cafeteria, especially when he insults Snyder.

They talk in the  library and they get the note from the vampires, saying they will make her a meal (“they are going to cook her dinner”).  Buffy is very impulsive and falls into the obvious trap. Of course Angel goes with her and they find only one vampire. The trap is for her friends

Willow and Giles get kidnapped, leaving only Xander. Xander tells Buffy if anything happens to Willow he will kill her???? This line makes no sense.

 

Buffy tortures the vampire with a cross down the thought. This is  cool and shows her ruthlessness.

 

 

This is a pretty good fight, although where was her stake for half of the fight? Great moving killing the two vampires at the torch at the same time. Abolsam is great villain and probably should have been in more episodes

Buffy has her catharsis when grinding the masters bones. Very powerful, especially as the Bangel Music plays. Whedon always gets great performances from his actors.

Good ending scenes with Giles and her friends, as they forgive her. Maybe the very end was to much

Overall probably the best season premiere. This does a great job showing what Buffy is going through at this point. Although it can be painful it is one of the first episodes that really covers what she goes through, and deals with her trauma(Season six). This is one of the many very risky episodes; for the season premiere to make the main character so unlikable.  The actors commit 100% and they pull it off

This is definitely  a flawed episode, with a few moments that feel tonally off. Xander has some great lines but I wonder if they made him a little too dumb. In addition at times they do overdo some of Buffy’s angst, which makes the episode unpleasant to re watch.

Despite this, the episode just has an an energy to it that most season one episodes don’t

Whedon’s visual style has continued to evolve. He is clearly a fan of tracking shots, and includes several fairly lengthy ones.  He likes to move his camera, and saves his close ups for dramatic moments. These techniques are fairly commonplace, and would not redeem the show if the writing was bad, but he is clearly showing a developing style that will continue.

 

 

 

Scenic Routes

The scene is the bronze is one of the best of the season. It is flawlessly directed, shot, edited, and acted.  After insulting Angel, Buffy grabs Xander and starts to dance provocatively with him, despite knowing how Angel and Willow will feel. The cinematography is great, working with limited light on Buffy and Xander. It is hard to watch Willow’s face as she watches them. There is a good use of a zoom on Angel and Willow. You can also see Cordelia observing the scene.

There is something very cinematic about the way this is shot. The music fits the scene perfectly. Also there are some well timed pans to the singer.

This is one of Buffy’s cruelest moments, especially as she teases Xander with a kiss and asks if she ever thanked him then takes it away (Dont you wish I would). Her mission of hurting her friends is complete and she leaves.

 

80/100