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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hush

[Updated April 30, 2013]


Regardless of the success or not of the seasonal arc, S4 contains two of the most innovative episodes of any TV series ever. Hush is the first of these. It’s a very popular episode, regularly appearing on Top 10 lists and often cited by fans as their favorite episode. There are so many great little details and great scenes that I can’t even try to describe them all.
Worse yet, from my perspective, there’s been so much discussion about Hush that it’s hard to come up with anything new to say. Note, though, that it fits right in with the theme of identity I’ve been discussing, particularly when it comes to Buffy and Riley, but also for Willow as I’ll explain later in order to avoid spoilers now.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Something Blue

[Updated April 30, 2013]

Something Blue is a fun episode, and it works very well to advance certain plot points (Buffy/Riley) and to deal with Willow’s pain from Oz’s departure. The problem I have in writing this post is that the episode has no apparent relationship to any of the season themes. I’ll therefore deal with the episode on its own.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pangs

[Updated April 30, 2013]

Pangs gets my vote as the funniest episode in the whole series. “You made a bear” cracks me up every time.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Initiative

[Updated April 30, 2013]

The Initiative is the seventh episode of S4, and by now we know that the seventh episode is a very important one. The previous 3 such episodes were Angel, Lie to Me, and Revelations. Each of those addressed the most important issues of their respective seasons, so we should be on the alert for something of equal significance here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wild at Heart

[Updated April 30, 2013]

I love Wild at Heart, but many viewers (including me) were very disappointed that Oz left. There was no secret about it at the time so it’s not a spoiler now to say that his departure was caused by an outside event. Seth Green had a movie offer which he badly wanted to take, so they let him leave. By all the public statements, the departure was amicable and BtVS would have been happy to have him back. The fact that he left was one of the factors I had in mind in my comments on S4 in the post on The Freshman, and Oz leaving will have extremely important and long-lasting ramifications both on the show and perhaps for the show.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Beer Bad

[Updated April 30, 2013]

There are worse episodes than Beer Bad, but not very many. If you ask a random Buffy fan to name the worst episode in the series off the top of his/her head, Beer Bad will come up pretty often. The problem is not that the point is obscure, as was true of, say, IRYJ. To the contrary, the episode beats us over the head with the message, even more than Buffy beat Parker. Emotionally satisfying that may be for her, but less so for us. At least I can discuss the point of the episode instead of stretching to find one as I did with IRYJ or Go Fish.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fear, Itself

[Updated April 30, 2013]

Fear, Itself may have the ending of a shaggy dog story, but it’s actually a critical episode for the season. Structurally and thematically, this episode identifies the most significant problem Buffy must solve in the climactic episode – not the finale this year – and the solution to that problem.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Harsh Light of Day

[Updated April 30, 2013]

The Harsh Light of Day gives us a lovers’ triangle: three pairs of lovers (or “lovers” in the case of Spike and Harmony). Each is contrasted with the others, all three connected by their eventual unhappiness. Note that the three women walking on campus at the end form a triangle.