In every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone will recap every single episode of season two and three of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and ask you to come along for the ride. She is no MJ Watson. She is Spidey Sense.
Please use her reviews responsibly. Do not read while operating heavy machinery. Side effects for reading include difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality, spontaneous smushing of names in romantic ships, inability to watch fluff without a big goofy grin descending on your face or pain without tears rolling down your face in a flood of feels. This review is a gateway to further fannish involvement such as blog comments and twitter reviews, so hopefully this review will be the drug to get you there. Ask your doctor if you are already taking fan fiction and fan vids if it is okay to take this fannish specimen.
God bless fangirling for simultaneously reminding me that a) I’m an adult with a sense of proportion and emotional control and b) I’m a fucking fourteen-year-old on the inside with feels that I cannot always control.
This emotional rollercoaster is not unlike the key theme of season 2, which is becoming. Becoming an adult while retaining the passion of a child that cannot always be controlled. Becoming who you are without entirely leaving your old self behind.
Falling in love and dealing with all the fallout that comes with sex is one of the key ways that this internal battle emerges in season 2 of Buffy.
In the cold open Willow and Xander are going in for imminent kissage when a vampire that is creeping on them springs up and cockblocks their moment. Just as Willow and Xander almost going at it spawns a demon, Buffy and Angel later really going at it brings about the Biggest Bad of the season.
Hard to believe it but Principal Snyder points us in the direction of what will happen this season. On the first day of school he says to Giles, “There are children everywhere, like locusts, crawling around mindlessly bent on feeding and mating, destroying everything in sight in their relentless, pointless desire to exist… they’re just a bunch of hormonal time bombs”. The subtext here is that hormones and growing sexuality can actually be scary as hell. It’s hard to know when the time is right for sex and whether you made the right decision to have sex, even the morning after. Our hormones can make for risky decision-making and we’re not always ready for the consequences.
This episode we also deal with the emotional fallout of Prophecy Girl. Buffy was clearly shaken to the very core by the fact that she faced the Master and died before being revived. She was disconnected from her dad all summer and got scary intense in her training with Giles as she aims to prove to herself and everyone around her that she is okay when she very clearly is not.
Buffy’s near death experience has left her pushing away those closest to her, and she struggles with her complicated feelings towards Angel who will never die (a point she makes in Prophecy Girl). Buffy’s descent into being a bitca culminates in her sexy dance with Xander which is unfair to Angel, who she deep down loves and missed during the summer, to Xander, who she knows has a crush on her, and to Willow, who she knows carries a torch for Xander.
BUT OH GOD. THEN CORDELIA CALLS BUFFY OUT ON HER BEHAVIOR AND IT IS GLORIOUS.
Cordelia: You’re really campaigning for bitch-of-the-year, aren’t you?
Buffy: As defending champion, you nervous?
Cordelia: I can hold my own. You know, we’ve never really been close, which is nice, ’cause I don’t really like you that much, but… you have on occasion saved the world and stuff, so I’m gonna… do you a favor.
Buffy: And this great favor is…
Cordelia: I’m gonna give you some advice. Get over it.
Buffy: Excuse me?
Cordelia: Whatever is causing the Joan Collins ‘tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it. ‘Cause pretty soon you’re not even gonna have the loser friends you’ve got now.
Buffy: I think it’s about time you start minding your own business.
Cordelia: It’s long past.
Cordelia: I’ll just see if Angel feels like dancing.
OH GOD. I LOVE EVERYTHING THAT SCENE CHOOSES TO BE.
When Buffy finds out that the Anointed One is trying to bring back the Master, she freaks out. She goes off to find the Anointed one and Angel shows up as back up. Buffy tries to antagonise him into fighting with her.
Buffy tries to keep Angel and her friends at arms length and nearly gets everyone killed in the process, leaving her friends vulnerable as she goes off on a one-woman mission. Ultimately she rescues the Scoobies who have been kidnapped by the Anointed One’s gang for a ceremony to bring the Master back.
She destroys the Master’s minions and then his bones, working out her issues and physically and symbolically overcoming him once and for all. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays the hell out of Buffy’s grief when she is pounding the Master’s bones into dust and seeing how Buffy was affected destroying the bones let’s them quickly forgive her for her bitca behaviour the next day at school.
How awesome is it that season 2 doesn’t open with shiny new things but the emotional fallout of the previous season? With Buffy, we don’t just see the actions of the characters but see them dealing with the fallout afterwards.
So what did you think, fellow Slayers? These recaps will get longer as the episodes become more complex, but this one was short, sharp and shiny.