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Monday, January 30, 2012

Killed By Death

[Updated April 29, 2013]

Killed by Death is another episode which gets little respect in fandom. Part of that is its placement in the season, right after Passion and just before I Only Have Eyes For You. That’s a tough crowd, made worse by the fact that it’s hard to see much point to KbD. As I hope I’ve shown by now, though, I think every episode has a purpose for it and a reason why it appears in the season when it does.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Passion

[Updated April 29, 2013]

In Noel Murray’s review of Passion at the AV Club, he said that this episode was “as good as television ever gets.” I rate Passion higher than Innocence; it’s on my short list for the best episode in the whole series (along with Becoming, The Body, and OMWF), which means in the whole history of television. Interestingly, Joss didn’t officially write it, though rumors say he re-wrote substantial portions of it. I consider those rumors likely true, since Ty King never wrote another episode, which would be inexplicable if he had really produced something as stunning as Passion.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered

[Updated April 29, 2013]

BB&B is one of the best beloved Buffy (heh) episodes. It’s funny, it has great scenes – Xander’s walk down the hallway, Buffy in her raincoat – and it makes fun of Valentine’s Day. Hard to imagine what more anyone could want from an episode. Anything beyond that is just the cherry on top.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Phases

[Updated April 29, 2013]

After the sturm und drang of Innocence, we need some comic relief and Phases provides it. Humor is very much a matter of individual taste, and I think it’s the second funniest comedic episode in the series, after Pangs. Even the funniest Buffy episodes, though, have a serious point, and I think Phases does.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Surprise/Innocence

[Updated April 29, 2013]

And so, at last, we reach the end of Innocence. In his DVD commentary, Joss describes Innocence as the “mission statement episode” of the show and says, with the benefit of 3 years hindsight, “This episode in a sense is and probably always will be the most important episode of Buffy that we did.” He has rated it his favorite episode of the whole series. It’s certainly a transcendent episode, one regularly appearing on fans’ Top 10 lists. Buffy’s life will never be the same again, and neither will the show.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bad Eggs

[Updated April 29, 2013]

Ted may generate widely divided opinions, but Bad Eggs doesn’t suffer from that problem. No, it consistently appears on lists of “worst Buffy episodes”, so I might as well admit up front that I really like it. I think it’s hilarious, but it also plays an important role in the seasonal arc and there’s a very good reason why it appears at this point in the season.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ted

[Updated April 29, 2013]

Ted is an episode which seems to generate radically different views among fans. Some rate it near the bottom, others like it. I’m in the latter category. I thought John Ritter was terrific as Ted, and I liked the way the episode explored the limits a Slayer needs to observe (though, admittedly, this will be done much better in S3). I agree with the way Myles McNutt summarized the episode in his review:

“Ted” is just a sharp little episode: it doesn’t try to fundamentally change the series, or explicitly create any sort of patterns, but it works hard to make us question the show’s central premise and delivers some powerful emotional moments that may eventually be undone but which linger on with characters in a way that Whedon is very fond of, and which makes for a compelling hour of television.”

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What's My Line 1 & 2

[Updated April 29, 2013]

What’s My Line would be a fan favorite if it had nothing else but the Xander/Cordy basement scene, but it also has a satire on Microsoft; classic Spike and Dru scenes; Willow, Oz, and animal crackers; and the first reference to the group as the “Scooby Gang”, which will become the standard from now on. “What’s the flum?” “I’m thinkin’ maybe dinner and a movie.” “Eb diminished ninth.” “That’s me only shirt.”

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Dark Age

[Updated April 29, 2013]

Buffy got the last word at the end of Lie to Me: “liar”. We have every reason to think her epithet referred solely to Giles’ description of life just preceding. This very next episode shows us that it had a much more general application. Giles has been lying to all of us, concealing his “Ripper” past. Like the statue of Janus in Halloween, Buffy’s word looked both backward and forward.