Thursday, 23 April 2015

Buffy: Part Three

Well, Season 4 here we are!
So much is new this season. Angel is gone, and his and Buffy's impossible romance is finally at a separated by distance end. Sunnydale High is no more, and Buffy is starting college.
I first watched this season as a first year in University myself. There is so much to relate to, it's a little unnerving. But I am excited to watch it back now that I'm a better place, and not a confused fresher.



4.1: The Freshman
Best line: 'This is great - if we ever need a place for the Nuremburg rallies.' (Buffy on the new library)

Second best line: 'Where's the gang? Avengers Assemble!' Xander

Third best: 'Are we going to fight or is there going to be a monster sarcasm rally?' Evil Vampire

Best foreshadowing - 'Once more with less feeling', Xander

And then Xander made this speech that made me feel things:
"When it's dark, and I'm all alone and I'm scared or freaked out or whatever, I always think, 'What would Buffy do?' You're my hero".
#Tears This is my new life mantra. My WWBD? wristbands coming soon.


4.2: Living Conditions

The one where we meet Parker, and where the world's worst nightmare roommate really is a soul sucking demon.
This is Parker. Over in the Buffyverse, we don't like him.

4.3: The Harsh Light of Day

This episode sees the return of all our old favourite characters; Anya is back with a new hair colour, Harmony is a vampire now, and Spike is her boyfriend. Gross.

However, not impressed with the lack of any mention of Cordelia. I know shes in LA and Angel, but BTVS don't even give her an 'Oh I wonder what Cordey is up to?' 

On a list of my least favourite characters, Parker wins. Despicable.
But he did give us this song, which I've been playing on repeat since the episode:


And I have just realised that Harmony is the little mean bitch in The Addams Family 2


4.4: Fear Itself
The Buffy annual Halloween episode is here, and this season's theme is a haunted house.


4.5: Beer Bad
Go away Veruca. I know where this is going and I don't like it. Also, what a gross name?

I'm happy Xander found a job. Go Xander.

But this is probably the worst episode of Buffy ever. Stupid Caveman Beer.


4.6: Wild At Heart
'The Big Bad is back'. But poor Spike can't finish his sentence. Here comes the evil army/chip in my brain storyline.

This line "If you're doing it, you should be able to say it."

No one breaks my Willow's heart and gets away with it. Screw you Oz. My heart is actually broken. It is interesting to see Willow turn to magic every time things get tough. As every Buffy fan knows, this theme will be huge come Season 6.
And as much as I hate Riley and how he's always around, I love this line: "Whatever it is, it's not worth hurting yourself over."


4.7: The Initiative
Let me just say, I hate The Initiative. I hate them for being the real Big Bad this season. I hate their army/government links. I hate the Psych professor. And I hate Riley.
But, I am glad they put that chip in Spike's head. It leads to some fabulous character development when he can't kill people. That scene with him and Willow when he 'can't perform'? One of my favourites.

Riley's hair is very greasy in this episode. It is really distracting.

4.8: Pangs
I love this episode. It's Thanksgiving and the dodgy history of the American holiday (murdered Native Americans anyone?) comes to life with a Native American spirit seeking revenge for those wrongs.

This is where Season 4 gets a little annoying - with Angel episodes also aired at this time, there's a good bit of crossover going on. Unfortunately for me, Angel is not on Netflix. But this episode features stalker Angel creeping on Buffy for reasons not overly well explained. Maybe that's just what ex's are meant to do?

Finally we get a Cordelia reference! But the girl deserved more than that...

But Spike is here in bucket loads and overall the episode is rather hilarious (minus the dead Native Americans of course!)


4.9: Something Blue
This is also one of my all-time favourite episodes. It's full of great lines, humour, and magic.

To start with we get some stellar relationship advice - the fire and passion in a relationship goes hand-in-hand with pain and fighting.

Spike is so insightful. he is the only person who can see that Willow is only hanging on my a thread since Oz's departure.

And in typical Willow behaviour, a broken heart turns her to magic (see this pattern emerging over the last 3 seasons!?). Willow's will is done - everything she says comes true, with much resulting humour. Giles can't see, Xander is a demon magnet, oh and Spike it so important to Buffy, why doesn't she marry him?
"This is the crack team that foils my every plan?"

4.10: Hush
This episode is pretty legendary. With only 15 minutes of dialogue, The Gentlemen are coming and they're taking everyone's voice so no one can scream.
Again, Buffy is taking Fairy Tale stories and making them a heck of a lot more terrifying than necessary.
Those smiles are the creepiest.
Hush is also the first time we get to meet Tara. And it gives us this gif:

4.11, Doomed:
"It's the end of the world." 
"Again?"

But that's not overly important in this episode. The sense of impending doom is never really present. As Buffy says, "I can't do doomed again right now."

But this happens and it's very important:
Source

4.12, A New Man:
Another Buffy birthday is upon us. But for once it doesn't end in disaster. Apart from Giles being a little heartbroken by Buffy neglecting him.

Professor Walsh finally shows her true colours - the colours of an evil bitch monster:
Ethan is back to cause havoc, turning Giles into a demon. Much comedy ensues with a Giles and Spike team-up, and some much-needed revenge on Professor Walsh.
Oh, and the ending is really sweet when Buffy looks into the demon's eyes and recognises Giles.

4.13: The I in Team
Buffy and The Initiative are acting all cozy. Buffy's being the kind of friend everyone hates - one who ditches all her friends for the new boyfriend.

Otherwise, all that happens is Xander very importantly wears a Captain America shirt:
And, oh crap, Professor Walsh is dead. I forgot about that.

4.14: Goodbye Iowa
I'm really hoping this title is an omen that something will happen to Iowa-boy Riley.

Spike says he's over dramatics. He has his stories on the telly for that. Spike is the relatable one this season. 

Adam is the Big Bad. A mix of various demons created by Professor Walsh. Kind of a Frankenstein's Monster. And like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Adam might have good intentions to discover who he is, but it's difficult to be sympathetic to him when he kills a little innocent child.
And yup, Riley is a douche. An irredeemable douche.

4.15: This Year's Girl
Faith is waking up from her coma. But before that, she has lots of trippy coma dreams.
Like the one where she foreshadows Dawn's coming - 'little sis' is coming'.

And woken up Faith also calls it like it is. She remarks on how quickly Buffy has moved on from the so-called love of her life.

That end though. Body swap 101.

4.16: Who are you?
Faith is Buffy, hanging with the Scoobies.
And poor Buffy is trapped in Faith's arrested body.

Faith was mean to Tara. I will not take that. Tara is the best.

What does it say about Giles that he couldn't recognise Faith was in Buffy's body? Buffy knew Giles was the Fyarl Demon when she looked at him, but that wasn't proof for Giles. Instead we have to rely on Tara's hippy aura powers.

4.17: Superstar
This episode was totally foreshadowed last Season when Jonathan was about to take his own life.
Now, he's turned to magic to get the life he has always wanted - one where Jonathan is the hero of Sunnydale. 
Even the opening credits have been edited to showcase Jonathan's powers in this alternate universe. You cannot beat a show that can have alternate universe episodes, there is just no competition.

And we get this quote to end all quotes:

4.18: Where The Wild Things Are
It's awful. So awful. This is all you need to know:

4.19: New Moon Rising
Isn't that the title of a Twilight book?

Oz is back and Riley is a bigot for being so judgmental about werewolves. Oz has also learnt to keep his werewolf-ness under control. Tibet cures everything.

But Willow is left with a difficult decision. Oz or Tara. In the most effortless coming out of all time, she tells Buffy she's in love with Tara. And it's beautiful and goosebump worthy. 
She picks Tara and they become the most perfect couple of not only the Buffy franchise, but of all the lesbian TV couples there has ever been. 


4.20: The Yoko Factor
This episode starts with a whole lot of 'Previously on Angel' and it's very annoying because I CANNOT WATCH ANGEL ON NETFLIX.
Basically, Angel shows up for no actual reason. He has an altercation with Riley. and apologises to Buffy. That is it.

Plot-wise, Spike is stirring up trouble and trying to turn the Scoobies against each other. But really, the group tears itself apart. He's the Yoko to their Beatles. And it ends in a blaze of rows.

4.21: Primeval
Adam is a bit only as the only Frankenstein's Monster knocking about Sunnydale, so he sets up an 'evil guy assembly line' to create more demon/human hybrids.
The Scoobies are quick to reconcile after the Yoko Factor. And come up with a plan to break into the Initiative again.

Buffy has to take on a machine gun welding Adam, which is at least a little different battle-wise than we've seen her face before.

And finally we get to see some of the mystic Slayer power Whedon has been hiding from us for the past 4 seasons. The Scoobies evoke the First Slayer and it's fabulously powerful.

This felt like a season finale, what do you mean there's still one episode left?

4.22: Restless
No scene before the title sequence... interesting...
We're back in Joyce's house on the aftermath of the Primeval fight, and the gang are pretty wrecked. They fall asleep and this leads to a lot of dreams.

Willow's Dream: I'll give this to Whedon, he perfectly captures the surrealness of dreams. Willow's dream has all sorts of premonitions about who she really is/what she has inside. It's all quite foreshadow-y of Season 6.

Xander's Dream: There's a big Apocalypse Now theme for Xander. That, and sex. See, Xander's on a journey to find out what his role is in the gang. He is a bit useless in fairness... And his dream shows Spike as more likely to contribute positively when fighting evil than he is.


Giles' Dream: He's singing again. For the third time this season...

Buffy's Dream: Surprisingly, this is the least interesting. She does somehow defeat the First Slayer in a way I don't understand however...


Conclusion
There's a lot of this Season that felt unfamiliar to me. I guess I just erased most of it from my memory. Mainly, because overall the Season is pretty weak. It has some brilliant moments, don't get me wrong. But they happen early on, and everything else just begs the question 'Is it over yet?'
Lack of substance. Repetition. An overuse of Spike's humour because they couldn't find it anywhere else (and that's coming from the biggest Spike fan there is).

Here's a song about Buffy written by my favourite living singer/songwriter before he was good at writing songs:


Unanswered questions:
- Where did Harmony go? Was she stalked and I didn't notice?
- Why isn't Riley dead? Season 4 should have ended with his death! He won't be of any use now the Initiative is meaningless. And he's soooo boring. Ugh.
- So Oz just disappears from Willow and the Scoobies lives forever? No fair! He definitely should have gotten a better send off!
- And I get that as the characters grow up there'll be more sex. But seriously, Where The Wild Things Are is the worst ever episode. Worse than Bad Beer.

2 comments:

  1. Where the Wild Things Are is an abomination!! I was starting college too when this aired originally. I think. I remember having a lot of the same college feels. for the most part I do like this series (Hush is my favourite episode ever) but I HATE RILEY SO MUCH IT MAKES ME WRITE IN CAPS. Hate him. With a passion. I wish Angel had come back and beat the head off him.

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    1. So many of the college feels are accurate. It was really well written! I hate Riley even more that I'm on Season 5. Never thought that was possible. But I was wishing more along the lines of Spike beating the head off him :P

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