Slayer mythos aplenty.
February 19, 2003
Man, I’m a sucker for all the Slayer mythology stuff. I know it’s very nerd-like of me to want everything I watch to have big, fat, epic back-story, preferably reaching all the way to ancient, oldey thymey times, and possibly involving long stretches of desert or space or snow, but that’s just the way I’m built. Well, except when it comes to, say, Felicity. With that, it’s pretty much just, “This is Felicity. She likes these two guys. Maybe she likes one of them better than the other one.” But, hey, even then, there was time travel.
So in this episode (written and directed by the excellent Doug Petrie), the Slayerettes are busy learning some sort of advanced Slayer Tae-Bo in preparation for some First ass-kicking. Also, the Slayerettes seem to have multiplied like Tribbles since the last ep, as there are suddenly tons more of them taking up space at Casa Summers. For her part, Buffy is busy having freaky dreams about the freaky first Slayer and filling Principal Wood in on all the saving the world stuff. Everything takes a nasty turn when Chloe (yes, the Cute T-Shirt Lalaine Slayerette who was mysteriously MIA a few eps ago) offs herself. This causes Buffy to get all pissed off and give yet another one of her stern-faced monologues about Why Everyone Needs to Do Better, and then she cracks open a box of Mama Wood’s stuff and sends herself through a magic portal, ending up in the very desert where the first Slayer was created.
Back at Casa Summers, the Scoobs receive a gross demon through the portal Buff created, and must figure out how to either send it back or kick its ass. Oh, and they want to get Buffy back to, even after she bitched them out earlier. Thus, Willow has to do magic — the kind that could turn her all scary and black-eyed. In the end, Will does the magic, Spike gets his mojo back and kills the demon, and Buffy refuses the Slayer creators’ offer of more power, as she realizes that the power basically comes in the form of a juicy demon heart. Later on, however, she wonders if she should have accepted, as the Slayer creators also gave her a vision — and that vision involves lots of CG Ubervamps rioting like Orcs at an Enya concert.
Like I said, I love all the Slayer mythology stuff, and this ep is packed with it. We learn exactly how the Slayer creator people “made” the Slayer in the first place — by chaining her up and giving her the aforementioned demon heart. I also dig that Buffy is fully into her role as The Chosen One at this point, but not so into it that she doesn’t have the power to think for herself and use her own power to question authority, which she does here. (I was very much reminded of that scene in “Checkpoint,” where she basically tells the Watchers to get outta her face.) Her big speech to the gang is irritatingly self-righteous (especially since she’s already given it at least twice this season), but at least the gang seems to realize this. The ending scene between Buff and Willow is also great, and a nice throwback to the days when we saw them confiding in each other about everything.
As for Willow, she also has a nice part here, and brings both The Funny (“Bring it on!) and The Scary. Kennedy is still annoying and all up in everyone’s business, but at least her relationship with Willow takes on a bit more dimension, as she finally sees what Will is capable of in the magic department. Her fear and trepidation at the end of the ep are maybe the first genuine emotions we’ve seen from her — she’s much more likable when she’s not wrapped up in her own bravado.
As for Spike, he seems to be getting a little more of his old Spikey charm back, thanks in no small part to a resurrected leather duster. And lighting a match off of a dead demon? Vintage Spike. We also get a few juicy, Spike-related bits with Principal Wood, who pretty much glowers at Spike throughout the ep. You just know something’s a’brewin’ with those two and I can’t wait to see how it develops.
Other stuff I liked: the creepy shadow-puppets, Dawn’s newfound usefulness and Andrew saying, “This funnel cake is kicking my ass.”
Overall, the hour serves as a nifty expansion of the Slayer mythos graced with a healthy portion of character moments. More, please.