This is a continuation of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer thread I started over on the “old board” last April. Alan and Mike convinced me that the show’s move from the WB to the UPN and the start of season six is a logical time to move this discussion to the board’s new home. For those of you who might be new to the discussion, I am in the process of watching this series, start to finish, for the first time. I don’t provide much in the way of recap because I’m working under the assumption that most of you reading this thread have at least a passing familiarity with the series. The ground rules of this discussion are simple: I can (and will) spoil anything I want to, but you can’t spoil anything I haven’t seen yet. Ready? Okay, let’s begin.

SEASON SIX: EPISODES 1/2: “BARGAINING—PARTS 1/2”

I actually don’t have much to say about the two-part season opener. Most of it was spent resetting Buffy’s apparent death at the end of season five. Shouldn’t her death have triggered a new Slayer to have been called up? Judging from the opening credits it looks as if Giles is going to be out of the cast on a permanent (or at least semi-permanent) basis. I’m really enjoying the development of the “relationship” between Buffy and Spike thoughout last season and into this one. Apparently even vampires are subject to classical conditioning!

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SEASON SEVEN: EPISODE 13: “THE KILLER IN ME”

There was a lot going on this episode: Willow and Kennedy’s relationship; the manifestation of Willow’s guilt over Warren; Spike’s chip; Giles fate; the return of Amy. FWIW, I think Buffy made the right decision in removing Spike’s chip. Willow had better be careful in her budding relationship with Kennedy; the potential slayer’s still a minor, yes? I wanted to believe the best of Amy, but I’m neither surprised of disappointed regarding her actions this episode. Nice editing of the Willow/Warren scenes, too, BTW.

Regarding Giles, I finally got that “movie serial” out I was looking for. When the Scoobies brought up the point of whether or not Giles had touched anyone since his return I honestly didn’t remember (something to look for in subsequent viewing), and I suppose I should have been suspicious but I was keeping close track of Giles and The First’s respective scenes. Besides, I was working with a bit of meta-textual knowledge because I spotted Giles on the cover (I think it was) of an upcoming “Eighth Season” issue in Diamond’s Previews catalog.

Speaking of which, a recent cover spoiled for me that Xander will apparently soon lose an eye.

SEASON SEVEN: EPISODE 14: “FIRST DATE”

The mystery surrounding Principal Wood is finally revealed! It’s a bit “Blade” but still foreshadowed well in advance; Whedon didn’t just simply pull it out of his arse.
SEASON SEVEN: EPISODE 15: “GET IT DONE”

To my extreme relief, this episode does not feature Larry the Cable Guy. It is, however, a little slow kicking into gear although when it does finally kick, it kicks @$$! The big mystery is, I suppose, what does Buffy have to do to gain the power to defeat the army of ubervamps and why did she refuse it? I’m guessing it has something to do with sacrificing her friends, if not literally, then by purging herself of all emotion and losing them in that way.

Despite knowing that there’s a “Season Eight” comic book continuation, I’ve been giving some thought to the end of this series, how it might end and what happens next. This episode, however, drops hints that I maybe should be thinking along the lines of why it ends.

When Spike and Principal Wood met face-to-face in Buffy’s basement and stared each other down, I thought James Marsters played the scene with a hint of “recognition” in his eyes (not that he’d ever seen Wood before, but maybe saw a family resemblance). Later, though, when Wood asks, “Nice coat. Where’d you get it?” and Spike replies, “In New York,” I’d think Spike might get a clue. Now that Buffy and Spike have come to terms and resolved their differences, it’s interesting to see where this conflict will go.

Tracy’s comment: “I have no idea what coat my mom wore when I was four years old!” I pointed out that her mom’s no slayer, though, and she laughed and agreed. Don’t get me wrong… Tracy’s mom is in good health for a 72 year old, but a vamp’d make pretty short work of her.
We watched two episodes last night. No matter how funny an episode is, it usually has a deadly serious undertone. Similarly, no matter how serious an episode is, it usually has a humorous undertone. These two episodes represent those two precepts.

SEASON SEVEN: EPISODE 16: “STORYTELLER”

Largely shot on video tape, this episode had the potential to be “gimmicky,” but Whedon never allowed the gimmick to overshadow the story itself. In fact, the way certain characters behaved on camera vs. off camera helped enhance characterization and therefore added to the overall effect of the story itself. I figured out that gate needed Andrew’s tears rather than his blood as soon as they walked into the school basement and Buffy started threatening him. Tracy hates when that happens (although she doesn’t mind when she anticipates plot points before I do).

SEASON SEVEN: EPISODE 17: “LIES MY PARENTS TOLD ME”

I’ve been so busy today I’ve forgotten everything I had planned to say about this episode early this morning. The multiple mother-figure comparisons made this episode interesting: Spike’s mother to Wood’s, Wood's mother to Buffy. I know I had more to say about this episode, but my brain is mush right now. Sorry.
Oh, I remember one thing I was going to say about “Lies My Parents Told Me”. The “funny” in this serious episode was the scene in which Giles returns to the rebuilt high school and discusses Spike’s condition with Buffy in front of Wood. Wood had not a clue what they're talking about and obviously had a hard time following the conversation, and whereas that was funny, it emphasized his actions later in the episode, namely, that he doesn't have a clue what was going on in that instance, either.

I respect the way Wood handled the situation, but he wasn’t acting from an informed position. Ultimately, Buffy chose her calling over him the same was his mother had 25 years earlier. And good for Spike for breaking his conditioning on his own. There, I said it (although his mother is a classic example of how a vampire is not the person whose body it inhabits). When it comes right down to it, both Spike and Wood are mama’s boys.
I think you are totally right about Storyteller...there are very few "throwaway" episodes...especially funny ones...they sometimes count double in importance.

And yeah, I think Mama's boys is a good description, they were very shaped by their mother and how their mother's died.

Jeff of Earth-J said:
Oh, I remember one thing I was going to say about “Lies My Parents Told Me”. The “funny” in this serious episode was the scene in which Giles returns to the rebuilt high school and discusses Spike’s condition with Buffy in front of Wood. Wood had not a clue what they're talking about and obviously had a hard time following the conversation, and whereas that was funny, it emphasized his actions later in the episode, namely, that he doesn't have a clue what was going on in that instance, either.

I respect the way Wood handled the situation, but he wasn’t acting from an informed position. Ultimately, Buffy chose her calling over him the same was his mother had 25 years earlier. And good for Spike for breaking his conditioning on his own. There, I said it (although his mother is a classic example of how a vampire is not the person whose body it inhabits). When it comes right down to it, both Spike and Wood are mama’s boys.
Mama's Boys?

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But seriously* though. The depiction of mothers being a positive influence on their children like this is very rare in US pop-culture. Usually if a young man is hung up on his mother, its not a good thing. Norman Bates knows what I'm talking about.

To take an example off the top of my head, just about all the men on Picard's enterprise in ST-TNG had issues with their fathers if they had parental hang-ups at all, or if they idolised one of their parents. Look at it another way, Batman is often shown ruminating on how great his father was, trying to live up to his legacy. There'd be something perceived as unhealthy going on if he constantly eulogised his mother while dressed in that get-up and beating up the unfortunate.

There seems to be something in US pop-culture that is suspicious of the feminizing influence of mothers on their sons, going back at least to the 50's. Remember how James Dean's father in Rebel Without a Cause was shown always wearing the apron? That film seemed to be laying the blame for a lot of society's ills at his feet for not being a strong masculine influence.

It would be on Whedon's show that mothers are shown as a positive strengthening influence on a young man. It just took him 6+ seasons to get around to it. My only problem with this episode was that Spike's issues popped up out of nowhere. There was no inkling of them in all his appearances before this. Buffy was usually better at this kind of thing.

I didn't take the 70s flashbacks as a tribute to Blade so much as a tribute to Tomb of Dracula as a whole. It was the episodic American Vampire meisterwerk before Buffy came along. I'm sure Whedon learned a lot by studying it and owed it a nod by the time season 7 came around.

*still a great tune. Give it a listen...
The depiction of mothers being a positive influence on their children like this is very rare in US pop-culture.

I didn’t necessarily take either example as positive influence. Whatever “issues” Wood had with his mother choosing her calling over him were not resolved when Buffy did the same.

…just about all the men on Picard's enterprise in ST-TNG had issues with their fathers

I never noticed that before, but you’re right!

That film seemed to be laying the blame for a lot of society's ills at his feet for not being a strong masculine influence.

Off topic, but I don’t think Rebel Without a Cause was critical of fathers so much as it was parents (or adults in general), in “answer” to its philosophical opposite, The Wild One.

Give it a listen...

I did!

SEASON SEVEN: EPISODE 18: “DIRTY GIRLS”

There’s Faith! So, she’s “reformed” and has been to prison since she left Buffy’s life (and series), but you know what? She’s still obnoxious. Tracy’s rooting for her to, uhh… let us say “not survive.” When Faith compared Spike to Angel (as a vampire with a soul) Spike denied it, saying (something along the lines of), “I’m nothing like Angel. He’s about as bright as a table lamp.” That’s pretty much how I feel. Tracing Faith’s character arc is a bigger an incentive for me to watch Angel than tracing Angel’s is.

And there’s Nathan Fillion! This is the third role I’ve seen him play (watching out of sequence), and, from my POV, he gets worse in each one. I’ve spoken before how Willow has completely supplanted Lily in my mind as Alyson Hannigan’s defining role although I saw her as Lily first (Danny Strong as Jonathan/Doyle is still up in the air, however), but I’m glad I saw Fillion on Firefly first. I kept waiting for a scene between him and his Dr. Horrible co-star Felicia Day, but I didn’t see her in this episode at all.

Buffy has not suffered a defeat of this magnitude since, well… since the “ubervamp” handed her a beating in this season’s episode 10, “Bring on the Night.” But this defeat was different, more strategic than personal. At last I found out how Xander lost an eye (which had been “spoiled” for me by a recent comic book cover). A couple of episodes ago he received a scratch across that same eye from a giant spider-creature. I was expecting, perhaps, complications to arise when he didn’t lose his eye from that attack directly. As it turns out, that would have been preferable. ICK! That scene really grossed Tracy out.

For Bob: I’m doing the episode’s clever script a disservice by relating this scene from memory rather than transcribing it verbatim, but there’s a Godzilla reference you’d appreciate. Xander is giving the potential Slayers a pep talk including pointers on how to best attack various kinds of demons, whether they have tentacles or whatnot. One of the girls says she didn’t sign on to fight Godzilla when Andrew (the resident geek) points out that Godzilla is mainly Tokyo-based so they shouldn’t have to worry about him. Another of the girls comments that besides, even Matthew Broderick can beat Godzilla, when Xander (no slouch in the geek department himself) corrects he that Matthew Broderick beat a giant lizard he thought was Godzilla.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Matthew Broderick beat a giant lizard he thought was Godzilla.

Heh-heh-heh...
The Baron said:
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Matthew Broderick beat a giant lizard he thought was Godzilla.

Heh-heh-heh...

Here's the exact exchange:

MOLLY
I don't want there to be tentacles.
I'm not good with squishy.

KENNEDY
I don't care if it's Godzilla, I
wanna get in this thing.

ANDREW
Godzilla's mostly Tokyo based, so
he's probably a no-show.

DAWN
Besides, Matthew Broderick can kill
Godzilla, how tough is he?

ANDREW
(controlled fury)
Xander...

XANDER
(to Dawn, also upset)
Matthew Broderick never killed
Godzilla. He killed a big dumb
lizard that was NOT the real Godzilla.

DAWN
Right right, the big slow guy in the
suit was cooler.

ANDREW
I can't hear this...

XANDER
She's young, bro'. She doesn't
understand.

http://www.buffyworld.com/ - a great site for full transcripts from the show, plus a lot of other minutiae.
See? I told you I was doing a disservice to the original script!

Thanks for the link, KS!
KSwolf said:
The Baron said:
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Matthew Broderick beat a giant lizard he thought was Godzilla.

Heh-heh-heh...

Here's the exact exchange:

MOLLY
I don't want there to be tentacles.
I'm not good with squishy.

KENNEDY
I don't care if it's Godzilla, I
wanna get in this thing.

ANDREW
Godzilla's mostly Tokyo based, so
he's probably a no-show.

DAWN
Besides, Matthew Broderick can kill
Godzilla, how tough is he?

ANDREW
(controlled fury)
Xander...

XANDER
(to Dawn, also upset)
Matthew Broderick never killed
Godzilla. He killed a big dumb
lizard that was NOT the real Godzilla.

DAWN
Right right, the big slow guy in the
suit was cooler.

ANDREW
I can't hear this...

XANDER
She's young, bro'. She doesn't
understand.

http://www.buffyworld.com/ - a great site for full transcripts from the show, plus a lot of other minutiae.

Now, that's writin'!

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