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View Full Version : Positives and Negatives - S4



Stoney
05-03-18, 12:26 PM
Just as with the previous seasons' threads, this is just for a bit of light fun.

Taking one episode a day, try(!) to choose one thing about the episode that you think is positive and one thing that is negative. They don't have to be big things about the story, plots, characters (although they can be), more superficial observations are also very welcome and may bring up some variety.

Feel free to comment/discuss any thoughts posted too (and also to join in ad hoc or play catch up too if you miss a day or so and want to).

--

Day 1 - The Freshman
Day 2 - Living Conditions
Day 3 - The Harsh Light of Day
Day 4 - Fear, Itself
Day 5 - Beer Bad
Day 6 - Wild at Heart
Day 7 - The Initiative
Day 8 - Pangs
Day 9 - Something Blue
Day 10 - Hush
Day 11 - Doomed
Day 12 - A New Man
Day 13 - The I in Team
Day 14 - Goodbye Iowa
Day 15 - This Year's Girl
Day 16 - Who Are You
Day 17 - Superstar
Day 18 - Where the Wild Things Are
Day 19 - New Moon Rising
Day 20 - The Yoko Factor
Day 21 - Primeval
Day 22 - Restless



Day 1 - The Freshman

Positive - I think they really manage to convey that feeling of uncertainty that comes when you break away from home for the first time. With the change of setting it feels like we're experiencing it with them as an audience too and their different responses make sense to each character.

Negative - The vampires nicking the students belongings and leaving the notes just seems pretty naff to me. Not something that fits great to the 'cool' image Sunday is trying to present. :noidea:

vampmogs
05-03-18, 01:13 PM
Yay new season. Sorry I have already broken the rules :happydance:

The Freshman:

Positives: I consider this to be a really underrated episode. It has always been a personal favourite of mine and I think it does a wonderful job of catapulting the characters into this new world that is just as unfamiliar to them as it is to the audience. The highlights of the episode for me are definitely;

- Xander's pep talk to Buffy: "Whenever I'm alone and I'm scared I always think 'What would Buffy do?' You're my hero :heart: (and thus begins my favourite Xander season)
- Willow's newfound confidence and how much she thrives at the beginning. New style, new hair, new attitude - college looks really good on her!
- How relatable I found Buffy's feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy. It reminds me of how I felt when I started college and, I kid you not, the scene of the Professor being horrible to Buffy and kicking Buffy out of class is something I personally witnessed happen to another kid in one of my first lectures in almost the exact same way. It was horrific.
- The small subtle moment where Riley only remembers Buffy as "Willow's friend" and Buffy is obviously hurt by this shift in the Buffy/Willow dynamic and their place in the social hierarchy
- The crossover with the Buffy/Angel phone call is nice and subtle and I like the small moment where Buffy thinks she sees Angel at The Bronze
- Sunday is a great villain and it's a pity she couldn't have stuck around more
- The fantastic stunt work. It's seriously great in this episode. The scene of Sunday kicking Buffy's ass is particularly impressive.
- I also adore the end scene where Buffy snaps out of it and kicks Sunday’s ass. Not only does SMG look incredibly fierce and HOT in that scene (I LOVE the pissed off look she has after she smashes the racket into the vampire’s face and turns around to beat on Sunday some more) but it also gives us the iconic shot of Buffy spinning the stake in her hand :worthy: I also have to acknowledge when a wonderful actress SMG is because the rhyming dialogue is actually kind of weird and could easily be really lame ("In the three seconds it takes for you to turn dust I think you'll find the mistake was touching my stuff") but she completely sells it.

Negatives: Hm, I really enjoy this episode so this is a bit of a struggle;

- Willow is kind of mean in the teaser when she sarcastically snaps "Yeah, it's like, five miles away. It's uncharted territory." In fact, she's kind of snippy at Buffy in general throughout that scene and doesn't seem very tolerant of Buffy's doubts about College. I mean, I kind of get it, Willow is obviously really excited about college and in her eyes Buffy is probably being a bit of a downer, but at the same time I understand why Buffy is reluctant to bother Willow later in the episode about her problems because of her attitude here.
- Giles begins his annoying pull & push with Buffy that will play out throughout the remainder of the show. He doesn't know what he wants to be to her and I'm sympathetic to a degree but it's really not fair on her at all.
- The stoner vampire minion is pretty lame. Way too OTT.

Silver1
05-03-18, 01:40 PM
Can I just interject that I adored Sunday, and yeah, the stoner vamp too. :lol:

Wish Sunday hadn't been offed as she could have been used further down the line.

Priceless
05-03-18, 06:51 PM
The Freshman

Positive: Love this episode, it's my favourite season opener. So many good things here, but my favourite thing is how well the new venue works and how the characters have changed because of it. Everything is new and exciting and scary and Whedon has captured this so well. Queen of Campus Willow is also pretty cool.

Negative: Fat shaming vampires, is that funny?

a thing of evil
05-03-18, 07:27 PM
The Freshman

Positive: I love Buffy's hair in the opening scene. She looks great in those braids and also, surprisingly modern?

Negative: Oh no, I forgot to pick mine (on-campus boyfriend!) up. Line's probably really long there, too. Salty, much?

Priceless
06-03-18, 05:45 PM
Day 2 - Living Conditions

Positive: Love how Buffy becomes bitchier and crazier as she loses her soul, she's so funny.

Negative: Parker and Veruca both show up in this episode, surely two of the most hated characters in the verse :bleh:

a thing of evil
06-03-18, 06:19 PM
Living Conditions

Positive: I love Oz doing the girly best friend thing with Buffy. I wish there were more scenes like this one, just Buffy and Oz hanging out. They're so cool together and actually really good friends.

Negative: Giles doubting Buffy. Again! Buffy is the slayer, a supernatural being, top of the food chain predator of the occult world, if she says that some monster-y badness is involved then it is, period, get on with your research, Giles. And, OK, I know that Willow (and everybody else) was also big with the doubt but she felt bad about it and apologized. Apologize, Giles!

Stoney
06-03-18, 06:40 PM
Day 2 - Living Conditions

Positive - Buffy and Kathy bickering like siblings.

Negative - I didn't like the way they covered soullessness with Buffy. I can hand wave most of it away because it wasn't complete but her getting ratty but still wanting to do her duty, even if she was getting a little gung-ho, was just a little bit of a weak exploration of it for me. I like to think that the affect the slayer demon within was having is significant and that's why she gets a bit over enthusiastic and wants to slay Kathy, rather than it just being because she was becoming soulless. I don't know, I just find it a bit unsatisfying.

Sosa lola
06-03-18, 07:26 PM
Day 1 - The Freshman

Positive - I adore the college setting! I adore the bright colors of S4, such a nice change from the dull beigeness of S3. Also, Willow's happiness and feeling right at home was the best thing ever!

Negative - Joyce putting boxes in Buffy's room. Seems a bit too much to isolate Buffy. Couldn't they have just made Joyce not be in the house? She could have taken a much needed getaway trip with her gal pals.



Day 2 - Living Conditions

Positive - Willow's hair and clothes. She's such an angel. I loved how she patiently listened to Buffy complain about Kathy when Willow's roommate is much worse (before we knew that Kathy was a soul sucking demon.) And the rare Buffy/Oz scene.

Negative - I didn't like the whole "Buffy was losing her soul" excuse to Buffy's behavior. It was too convenient.

vampmogs
07-03-18, 09:57 AM
Living Conditions:

Positives: I love SMG's delivery of "Well, I'm hot. Deal with it", and how petty she is chugging all of Kathy's milk :roll: I also appreciate the Buffy/Oz scene and how lovely Oz and Xander are to Buffy about Parker. Also, speaking of Parker, the writers do a nice subtle job of hinting at his nature by having him try and chat up Kathy when Buffy walks in. In hindsight that scene was very telling.

Negatives: This episode is funny but everyone's characterisation is just... bizarre. Even before Buffy concludes that she has to murder Kathy and is just being regularly bitchy I feel like the gang really overreact. Giles telling Willow to warn him if it looks like Buffy starts "going off the deep end" makes it seem as if they feel Buffy is generally such a loose canon that she could be a danger to Kathy and that's just completely unsupported by anything we've ever seen before. Yes, Buffy's bitchiness was fairly OTT, but it was nowhere near extreme enough for them to be concerned she'd actually do anything to Kathy and since when did they feel Buffy posed a risk to people like that? And then of course when Buffy does accuse Kathy of being demonic it doesn't make sense that the gang doubt her so completely. I mean, honestly, haven't they learnt their lesson now after episodes like The Pack? You could argue that the gang were right to be concerned considering that Buffy did turn out to be losing her soul and would eventually decide to kill Kathy but it's their behaviour beforehand, when she's just being regularly bitchy, that doesn't warrant their extreme reactions.

I will add that this episode definitely throws a snapper in the Angel/Angelus are two seperate people arguments. In this episode the soul is very much depicted as nothing but a moral compass and not the actual essence of the person. Buffy gradually has her soul taken from her throughout the episode and it's simply making her nastier rather than a different person. Not to mention that if the soul was the actual essence of a person (ie "Liam" or "William" and they went up to the heavenly ether until the soul was returned") then Buffy would die as, unlike Angel or Spike, there's not a demon in her body to animate the corpse once the soul is gone. But the episode never says anything about Buffy dying as a result of Kathy stealing her soul but simply that Kathy would permanently have her soul and that her demonic family would take Buffy down to Hell with them instead.

The Harsh Light of Day:

Positives: I love Willow's mocking of Harmony -- "My boyfriend will beat you up! Oh he went to a different school you wouldn't know him" :lol: -- and the surprise of Harmony being a vampire was a great one (even if it's hard to imagine that she was sired amidst all the chaos of Graduation Day). I also love the entire Buffy/Willow scene after Buffy returns home from sleeping with Parker and they're both so excited about their newfound freedom and adulthood.

Negatives: The Buffy/Spike fight is one of the few big fight sequences in S4 that doesn't work for me. I'd still take it any day over most of the tragic stunt work in S6 but it's just too obviously choreographed. It very much looks like two stunt doubles going through their routine than an organic fight that looks spontaneous and real (even if it's not). The moment Spike slams Buffy onto the outdoor table is one part in particular that looks really staged and telegraphed.

I also think Spike is horrible to Harmony in this episode. Ok, yeah, he's evil, but it's still really awful and depressing to watch. He's also an absolute pig to Buffy during their fight when he brings up Angel and Buffy "not being worth a second go."

And Parker is obviously a POS. There is absolutely nothing wrong with practising casual sex but there is something wrong with deliberately leading someone on to think that it's going to be something more just so that they'll sleep with you.

Silver1
07-03-18, 10:42 AM
The Buffy/Spike fight is one of the few big fight sequences in S4 that doesn't work for me. I'd still take it any day over most of the tragic stunt work in S6 but it's just too obviously choreographed. It very much looks like two stunt doubles going through their routine than an organic fight that looks spontaneous and real (even if it's not). The moment Spike slams Buffy onto the outdoor table is one part in particular that looks really staged and telegraphed.

Oh I'm more forgiving of that considering the production had chosen (imo) a completely wrong body type for the stuntman. To big and beefy sadly.

But I love the fight. In fact I'd go as far as saying It's one of my all time Spike fight scenes.

I love that it comes across more as a kinda 'dance' ("thats all we've ever done") It shows Spike at his most vicious (the that awful kick he delivers to Buffy in the chest for example) and for some warped reason I liked all that. It shows Spike at his worst. The way he use's of words to get inside his opponents head head for example. But then I'm one of those who embrace the whole character, the good and the bad.

vampmogs
07-03-18, 11:09 AM
I'm glad it worked for you and I quite like the 'dance' interpretation as it does come across that way. As I said, I still greatly prefer this fight sequence to most of the uninspiring and lackluster fights in S6, but it just feels too rehearsed for my tastes. It's like I can see the beats as they go through the fight ("Ok, so now you roll me over the bench" etc) and that at times, like the moment when Spike slams Buffy down onto the outdoor table, it looks like the stuntwoman is clearly running to get in her position so Spike can do that to her. I do like the interpretation of it as a dance but I think that's also my problem in a nutshell - dances are rehearsed, you know each other's moves and you've planned it out together, where fights are meant to be spontaneous and unplanned.

I do like that vicious kick he does to Buffy’s chest though. In fact, I like the whole beginning of the fight. It’s quick and it’s brutal and it feels more real. It doesn’t start to lose me until after he has Buffy up against the lamppost and she chokes his throat and spins him off her. From there onwards I feel it starts looking too choreographed. The moment when Buffy becomes enraged and wins the fight also doesn’t work for me as the shot of her punching Spike several times (when he knocks over the plant pot) looks really fake as you can clearly see that the punches aren’t landing or are anywhere close to his face :confused:

I don't hate the fight. It's just that I'm a big fan of S4's stunt work (I consider it the best of the show) and this is probably the only big action piece in S4 that lets me down. I think it's mostly the editing, to be honest.

Silver1
07-03-18, 11:13 AM
As I said I'm more forgiving, like I am some of the make-up and effects work in this show (Wolf Oz for example that doesn't bother me at all).

I mean Buffy probably couldn't afford the same as some higher rated programmes so I go with it. :)

vampmogs
07-03-18, 11:33 AM
Oh so am I, I'm not comparing it to other shows (I actually think BtVS still did more exciting fight sequences than a lot of current shows manage now) just other fight scenes in the show and in S4 in particular.

And I agree with you on Oz. His costume never really bothered me in the slightest!

Stoney
07-03-18, 03:18 PM
I hate the wolf suit and often notice/dislike it when stunt doubles are obvious (and yes Silver1 I agree with Spike it is regularly the poor 'fit' in body type that makes it stand out, that or the awful platinum wig!). But I rarely notice the quality of the fight choreography. This is why I love threads like this, seeing all the little differences in the things we see and respond to. :xd


Day 3 - Harsh Light of Day

Positive - I could choose lots from this episode, but I won't. :p I'm going to highlight how I love the way the three couples of the episode are used for contrasts and insights and the tie up at the end with Anya, Harmony and Buffy all coming to realisations, HLOD and all that, is neat.

Negative - Sending the ring to Angel is foolish and I dislike that it isn't questioned.

Sosa lola
07-03-18, 03:42 PM
I never care for fight scenes, especially with Buffy or any character who is a slayer or a vampire. I enjoy the ones with characters who are not fighters, they've got more personality and realism.


Sending the ring to Angel is foolish and I dislike that it isn't questioned.

"Don't make a fuss." :)

Day 3 - Harsh Light of Day

Positive - Spike is hot in this episode. I liked his sex scene with Harmony because the clips were used for a lot of Spander vids and art. :D Also, I loved the continuity of Xander wanting a deeper meaning to sex and how his experience with Faith colored his response to Anya's "I'm over you." He'd accepted it right away because he'd been used for sex before.

Negative - I didn't like Anya walking with the mistreated in the end of the episode. She was not mistreated by Xander.

Priceless
07-03-18, 05:25 PM
The Harsh Light of Day

Positive: I adore Spike in this episode. I particularly like that when he and Buffy talk, it's always about relationships, sex and romance. The try to hurt and embarrass each other, but not about their power, their strength, the fact that one of them is a demon, but about their love lives. Even Parker assumes there is something between them. The writers are encouraging the audience to associate Buffy, Spike and romance.

Negative: Parker's just such a prick. All that deep and meaningful nonsense is just vile, and to use the death of his father to get girls into bed is low.

Silver1
07-03-18, 05:48 PM
I never care for fight scenes, especially with Buffy or any character who is a slayer or a vampire.

Blimey, that must making watching the show a chore then seeing who the show centres on. :lol:

vampmogs
07-03-18, 05:56 PM
I’d actually argue that the fight scenes with the regular humans characters are far less realistic as there’s no in-verse explanation for why they’re not a bloody mess after one hit. Their hands should be bloody from fighting and their face should be cut and bruised for days, if not longer, after a fight. At least with Slayers and vampires we know that they have supernatural strength/healing which is why they don’t bruise easily.

I’m always shocked when I see people mention that they’re not interested in the fight scenes or don’t pay attention to them. I’m not saying it’s bad or anything but it just always surprises me as a consider them such a huge component of the show, and in many ways, what a lot of the show is about (slaying monsters after all).

Priceless
07-03-18, 06:02 PM
Some of the best fights in the verse are Buffy v Faith and Angel v Spike, and any combination of these four characters. I don't think the fights involving humans are any more exciting or compelling.

Silver1
07-03-18, 06:07 PM
Some of the best fights in the verse are Buffy v Faith and Angel v Spike, and any combination of these four characters. I don't think the fights involving humans are any more exciting or compelling.

They break too easily for a start. :lol:


I’m always shocked when I see people mention that they’re not interested in the fight scenes or don’t pay attention to them. I’m not saying it’s bad or anything but it just always surprises me as a consider them such a huge component of the show, and in many ways, what a lot of the show is about (slaying monsters after all).

Oh god, ditto.

a thing of evil
07-03-18, 08:59 PM
The Harsh Light of Day

Positive: Yellow tee. Green band aid. Twenty terawatt smile. Willow's incredibly adorable in this episode.

Negative: That sex scene, if you can even call it that, is truly terrible. Why does it even exist? What's the point? It's not sexy, it's not enticing, I mean, especially with Giles polluting the middle of it, it's just cringeworthy. With Willow there's usually just a passionate kiss, cut, and then there's a shot of the room with clothes strewn all over it and Willow cuddling with Oz/Tara and being all cute. It works. It's tasteful. And yet with Buffy we get that pointless PG-13 trash with terrible music. Ugh.

Stoney
08-03-18, 12:12 AM
"Don't make a fuss." :)

Yes, obviously I meant properly questioned. :p

- - - Updated - - -


I’m always shocked when I see people mention that they’re not interested in the fight scenes or don’t pay attention to them. I’m not saying it’s bad or anything but it just always surprises me as a consider them such a huge component of the show, and in many ways, what a lot of the show is about (slaying monsters after all).

Personally it's not that I'm disinterested in the fight scenes. I really like them but I'm not sure I notice things like the punches missing like you mentioned, or that the quality of stunts are weaker/better than the other seasons. The stunt doubles standing out really distracts me and I think I'd notice other really clunky moves that lacked fluidity at the time, but I don't think I have a good idea/knowledge of what choreography is good quality and what isn't.

Priceless
08-03-18, 09:31 AM
Day 4 - Fear Itself

Positive: Oz has more to do in this episode than we've ever seen before; he gets to berate Willow about her magic, we see how deep he actually fears his wolf side, he belittles Xander, his blood actually allows the fear demon into the house, and he's allowed to be really funny. My favourite moment is the reveal of his choice of costume, that's just iconic Oz.


Negative: The scary things in the frat house just aren't very scary . . . sorry, there's really not very much negative here

Sosa lola
08-03-18, 12:58 PM
I’d actually argue that the fight scenes with the regular humans characters are far less realistic as there’s no in-verse explanation for why they’re not a bloody mess after one hit. Their hands should be bloody from fighting and their face should be cut and bruised for days, if not longer, after a fight. At least with Slayers and vampires we know that they have supernatural strength/healing which is why they don’t bruise easily.

You're right about them not getting bruises and permanent scars. But I find non-fighters' fights more enjoyable and less redundant. Like I enjoy watching Willow taking advantage of the vampires beating the hell out of Xander and Giles and staking them while they weren't aware of her. Or when Xander punches the frat guy and then clutches his fist in pain. That's relatable and there's more story and characterization there than Buffy simply kicking and punching some demon to their predictable death.


I’m always shocked when I see people mention that they’re not interested in the fight scenes or don’t pay attention to them. I’m not saying it’s bad or anything but it just always surprises me as a consider them such a huge component of the show, and in many ways, what a lot of the show is about (slaying monsters after all).

For me it's because I'm not interested in vampire/action shows in general. I'm more into drama and comedy, which to my luck BtVS is filled with.

Stoney
08-03-18, 02:25 PM
Day 4 - Fear, Itself

Positive - This is one of my favourite episodes of the season. The interaction between Willow/Oz about power is great considering where their two stories are going to head and within the overall theme of fear. It can hold you back but it can also protect you.

Negative - Ugh, I haven't seen the episode recently enough that one is coming to mind. So I'm going to go with the reference to Hank and how they dumped him out of the story.

Silver1
08-03-18, 03:02 PM
For me it's because I'm not interested in vampire/action shows in general.

My god how did you manage to stick it for so long then? :lol:


I'm more into drama and comedy, which to my luck BtVS is filled with.

Up to a point but there's still a hell of a lot of action in Buffy. Considering It's about a Vampire Slayer, well thats gonna be pretty prevalent.

Sosa lola
08-03-18, 04:08 PM
My god how did you manage to stick it for so long then? :lol:



Up to a point but there's still a hell of a lot of action in Buffy. Considering It's about a Vampire Slayer, well thats gonna be pretty prevalent.

I watched BtVS purely for Spander in the beginning :lol: Then I fell in love with the verse. I like the stories. Buffy's pain as the only slayer, her complicated relationships with her mother, friends and boyfriends. That's what attracts me to the show. I like the horror episodes and Angel losing his soul and Faith turning evil and Xander lying about the lie and all that and the awesome plot twists.

What I'm not interested in are the fight scenes. I find them boring. Unless the person doing the fighting isn't accustomed to fighting, that makes it fun. Like Buffy in Helpless when she didn't have her powers, that was interesting.

Silver1
08-03-18, 05:40 PM
Once again I suspect you're in the minority there.

vampmogs
08-03-18, 08:48 PM
You're right about them not getting bruises and permanent scars. But I find non-fighters' fights more enjoyable and less redundant. Like I enjoy watching Willow taking advantage of the vampires beating the hell out of Xander and Giles and staking them while they weren't aware of her. Or when Xander punches the frat guy and then clutches his fist in pain. That's relatable and there's more story and characterization there than Buffy simply kicking and punching some demon to their predictable death.

See I’d really disagree with you there because how characters like Buffy and Faith fight say so much about their characters. The writing and stunt teams put a lot of effort into giving characters their own individual fighting styles depending on the character. Faith is clearly skilled like any other Slayer but she’s also, in S3/S4 anyway, angry and reckless and prone to throwing furniture and other such outbursts. Whereas, Buffy is more focused but unlike Kendra who is all technique, also shows great creativity and improvisation and uses her scenery to her advantage such as using random objects as stakes etc. It’s even commented on in the show that it’s a sign of her resourcefulness. If you’re not interested in fight scenes I can see how you’d miss it but they actually do put a lot of thought into them and it’s not just kicking and punching.

Not to mention that certain fight scenes are really pivotal character moments. Faith beating on “herself” in Who Are You is (“you’re nothing but a disgusting murderous bitch”) is hugely important. As is Buffy standing up to Angelus in Innocence and beating the shit out of him or Buffy and Spike unleashing their frustration on each other in Smashed. I just really strongly disagree that Xander “holding his fist” is more characterisation than such pivotal moments as these.

We all have our interests and that’s totally cool. But I do think there’s a tendency sometimes for fans to be too dismive of the fight scenes. There’s a huge amount of work and skill that goes into making them and they do tell us something about the characters. The main fighters in the show all have really distinctive fighting styles that reflect the kind of characters they are. It’s not just a generic bunch of kicking and punching that’s indistinguishable or interchangeable between each other. They fight really differently or, at times, very similarity when they want to emphasise their connection (like that brilliantly tense moment Buffy and Faith simultaneously put the blade to each other’s throat, signifying it’s Slayer VS Slayer/Faiths threat/their connection).

a thing of evil
08-03-18, 11:16 PM
Fear Itself

Positive: In my opinion this is a perfect Buffy episode. It has everything: action, horror, comedy, drama. If I have to choose one thing, I like how it delves into Buffy's issues. Buffy fears that her friends will leave her yet she tells them to leave, pushes them away. It's very interesting.

Negative: Buffy, you're not a pumpkin. Also, pumpkin is a fruit. It exists to be cut open and ripped apart, or, you know, eaten by animals so the seeds can be transported away from the plant. That's why it's so yummy.

Sosa lola
09-03-18, 08:36 AM
See I’d really disagree with you there because how characters like Buffy and Faith fight say so much about their characters. The writing and stunt teams put a lot of effort into giving characters their own individual fighting styles depending on the character. Faith is clearly skilled like any other Slayer but she’s also, in S3/S4 anyway, angry and reckless and prone to throwing furniture and other such outbursts. Whereas, Buffy is more focused but unlike Kendra who is all technique, also shows great creativity and improvisation and uses her scenery to her advantage such as using random objects as stakes etc. It’s even commented on in the show that it’s a sign of her resourcefulness. If you’re not interested in fight scenes I can see how you’d miss it but they actually do put a lot of thought into them and it’s not just kicking and punching.

Not to mention that certain fight scenes are really pivotal character moments. Faith beating on “herself” in Who Are You is (“you’re nothing but a disgusting murderous bitch”) is hugely important. As is Buffy standing up to Angelus in Innocence and beating the shit out of him or Buffy and Spike unleashing their frustration on each other in Smashed. I just really strongly disagree that Xander “holding his fist” is more characterisation than such pivotal moments as these.

We all have our interests and that’s totally cool. But I do think there’s a tendency sometimes for fans to be too dismive of the fight scenes. There’s a huge amount of work and skill that goes into making them and they do tell us something about the characters. The main fighters in the show all have really distinctive fighting styles that reflect the kind of characters they are. It’s not just a generic bunch of kicking and punching that’s indistinguishable or interchangeable between each other. They fight really differently or, at times, very similarity when they want to emphasise their connection (like that brilliantly tense moment Buffy and Faith simultaneously put the blade to each other’s throat, signifying it’s Slayer VS Slayer/Faiths threat/their connection).

I never really saw it that way. I've always seen it as two characters swapping punches and I end up spacing out. I especially don't care for the scenes where Buffy fights normal vampires because I know she'll end up winning, except that time in Fool For Love where she gets stabbed, which did give me a "Huh? That's new."

I like your point about how each slayer has a different fighting style and I do enjoy pivotal character moments in fighting scenes (that's what I'm talking about when I say drama). What I'm not into are the choreographed fighting scenes where it's just kick and punch and nothing else. I'm just not into it. I don't watch Buffy for the fighting. I watch it because I enjoy the characters and their stories.

Sosa lola
09-03-18, 08:44 AM
Fear Itself

Positive: I like that each character's main fear will come true in the future. This episode is foreshadowing to future events: Buffy's fear would come true in Empty Places, Xander's fear is already true, Willow's fear will come true in S6 and Oz's fear is about to come true soon.

Negative: I didn't like Buffy snapping at Xander when he was rambling about nobody seeing him. His fear was treated as a joke which was annoying.

Stoney
09-03-18, 11:57 AM
Day 5 - Beer Bad

Positive - This isn't a great episode but I have to say I enjoyed it more the last time I watched it so maybe that will continue. It's obvious I know, but I've got to give the spot to Willow calling Parker out on his sensitive/connection act. :twak:

Negative - I dislike seeing Buffy readily enter such a risky/dumb situation. Not the drinking in and of itself, which is over-demonised in the show but hey ho, but willingly going drinking with four guys who she doesn't know at all.

Sosa lola
09-03-18, 12:56 PM
Day 5 - Beer Bad

Positive - Since Willow's scene with Parker was mentioned, I would say I enjoyed Cave Buffy and Supportive Xander. He was just humiliated but at the sight of Sad Buffy, he just forgets about his pain and goes ahead to comfort her. I also love his retort to Giles, "Well excuse me Mr. I-Spent-the-60's-in-an-electric-koolaid-funky-satan-groove."

Negative - God, Buffy being so hung up on Parker took way too long. He's no Angel, Buffy, just get over it. This also makes me so angry because we didn't get to see Xander being upset about how Faith treated him.

Priceless
09-03-18, 01:29 PM
Day 5 - Beer Bad

Positive: Buffy looks gorgeous pre-Neanderthalism.

Negative: The jerk jock who puts Xander down because 'we are the future of this country, and you keep the bowl of peanuts full'.

a thing of evil
10-03-18, 02:10 AM
Beer Bad

Positive: The opening scene is incredible. The fighting sequence is amazing and completely ridiculous in that 80s karate action movie way, blaring soundtrack included, even Buffy's outfit looks badassified. Buffy, a superheroine, still gets to have properly shallow monster fighting fantasies, I love that! And what fantasy-Parker says is super-interesting in the context of Buffy's relationships with Angel and Spike.

Negative: Buffy's too old to star in an after school special.

Priceless
10-03-18, 10:05 AM
Day 6 - Wild At Heart

Positive: The ending is so sad, Willow's 'don't you love me', tears streaming down her face, Oz driving off in his van, it's heartbreaking


Negative: Veruca just doesn't have the charisma needed for this part and she's just so mean to Willow about her shirt.

Sosa lola
10-03-18, 10:33 AM
Day 6 - Wild At Heart

Positive: Loved Willow's separate scenes with Buffy and Xander. I loved Buffy saving Willow and then hugging her as she wept as well as her apparent anger at Oz. I also liked Xander's advise to Willow about sex.

Negative: Veruca. The writing for the character is horrible.

Andrew S.
10-03-18, 02:40 PM
I find it hilarious that Season 3 is one of the most popular seasons of the show while Season 4 is one of the least popular seasons because I think the two seasons are about equal in quality. While Season 3 may have been the most consistent of the high school years, it had its flaws. I found its portrayal of the Buffy/Angel relationship very lacking, the first half of the season felt a little off and too light, and characters like Angel, Cordelia, and Oz who were really well-done in Season 2 were sort of pushed to the side and not used to their full potential throughout Season 3. Season 4 is the funniest season of the show, it does a great job at focusing on the developments of the core four main characters and their relationships with one another, and it features the addition of Spike and Anya into the main cast. Despite the change in setting and loss of old characters, I think Season 4 does a remarkable job of handling these changes. However, real-life issues like Seth Green and Lindsay Crouse being unable to finish the season, apparently cut storylines like Xander joining the Initiative, along with a few underwhelming new characters (I hate Forrest, Adam is Adam, and I do like Riley but I lose a lot of interest in him after around "Hush") stop this from being one of the greatest seasons of BtVS. But nevertheless, it's still a damn good season of television overall, if you ask me.

"The Freshman"

Positive: This is one of my favorite season openers and I think it's one of the wittiest scripts Joss Whedon has ever written. There's some truly top-notch dialogue in this one. I loved the disorientated feel of the episode. Big new setting, new characters introduced in every other scene, Xander and Giles being absent for most of the episode (this will probably be the only time I consider underutilization of core characters to be a strength of an episode :lol: ). It makes the viewers feel just as lost in this new world as Buffy is and I think it's pretty realistic.

This is also one of my favorite SMG performances. I think this episode does a great job showing off what is, IMO, her greatest strength as an actress: her comedic timing and perfect delivery of the Buffy-esque dialogue. But I also like the way she plays Buffy's obvious sadness. Buffy spends much of the episode very sad and SMG does a great job of conveying that, while at the same time, being funny enough that Buffy's melancholy doesn't drag down the episode entirely as it's supposed to be rather light-hearted.

Also loved seeing Willow enjoy college. I've always imagined her as someone who would have blossomed in college, especially socially. While I think the series was right for eventually dropping the college setting, I would have loved to have seen more stuff like that later on and more evidence of Willow's rapidly improving social skills. It's a shame that the series became so insular and exclusively focused on the Scoobies by the end. One of the strengths of the high school years were the peripheral supporting characters like Larry, Snyder, Percy, Jonathan, etc. They helped to expand the show's universe a little bit. It was fun to see characters who were neither good or evil and interacted with the Scoobies enough for us to see the average Sunnydale citizens' point of view. I always felt like I discovered new things about the Scoobies whenever I saw them interact with their peers outside of supernatural issues and, while I think S4 does a good job with this, it's a shame that wasn't continued as much in S5-S7.

And I can't think of anything that encapsulates the essence of Xander's character better than his speech to Buffy, right down to his problematic but very funny "And sometimes, I think: 'What is Buffy wearing?'" that even Buffy can't help but be amused by.

I also ADORED Sunday. Her snarky, nonchalant attitude was great and she felt like a good mixture of Cordelia and Glory. I was rooting for her to be a recurring villain... right up until she broke the Class Protector Award. Then I just wanted Buffy to dust her ass.

Negative: While I think it does a really good job setting up the plot, theme and character threads of Season 4, I think this episode does a lousy job at acknowledging the aftermath of Season 3. There's no mention of Faith or the Mayor, and Cordelia's absence isn't explained or referenced at all. But I loved the moment with Buffy imagining Angel at The Bronze.

And While I loved Buffy's plot with the vampires, it does kind of confuse me a little. It's a bit weird that Buffy's slaying weakens due to her sadness in this episode because I've always thought that Buffy's slaying *improves* when she's stressed out or emotionally off and that pummeling vampires was a coping mechanism for her. See "Ted" or "Checkpoint" where she takes her frustration (about Ted in "Ted", about her professor humiliating her in "Checkpoint") out on vamps during patrol.

"Living Conditions"

Positive: I really like Kathy. The actress who played her was really good at making her annoying (her scenes in "The Freshman" were also a highlight for me), but in a funny way. Also, the zoom-in on Buffy's pissed off facial expression and her twitching eye is hilarious and one of the funniest moments in the whole series. It's become a quite popular gif, and I'm always glad when I see people use it.

Negative: I think this episode is funny and all, but whenever I watch it, I kind of wonder what the point is. Usually, the comedy episodes of the series (like "Doppelgangland" or "The Zeppo") are the ones that show us a lot of new things about the characters using humor to do it, but this one just leaves me scratching my head. "Living Conditions" doesn't tell us anything new about Buffy's character, besides the fact that she's apparently difficult to live with, a character flaw that doesn't seem to last considering Willow, Dawn and Tara never have any of these problems living with her later on.

I don't cite this as neg or pos, but am I the only one (and I surely can NOT be) who thinks that Parker looks a lot like Xander? :lol:

"The Harsh Light of Day"

Positive: Harmony and Spike. They're like a warped version of Cordelia and Angel and their scenes together are genuinely hilarious and interesting. I liked Buffy's line about Harmony's boyfriend before she knew he was Spike -- "He must be the most tolerant guy in the world". In a sense, he is. I think Spike puts up with a lot from the women he dates (Dru's unfaithfulness, Buffy's mistreatment of him in S6), just not with Harmony. His "I like syphilis more than you" is up there with Buffy's "Your mouth is open, sound is coming from it, this is never good" and Wesley's "I wasn't thinking about you when you were here" as one of my favorite insults from the shows.

Negative: While I think the Buffy-Parker stuff is good, I really wish it had been a genuine misunderstanding between them rather than him being an ass and knowingly leading her on. While Parker being a jerk is realistic, it does feel a tad typical to me and I thought it would have been much more interesting if he and Buffy had just genuinely misunderstood each other about the nature of their date. I'm still majorly sympathetic to Buffy here though, and her heartbreak devastates me every time I see it.

And yeah, I loved Anya here but the way the episode groups her with Buffy and Harmony always confounds me. Xander didn't mistreat her at all. And I do think it's weird how none of the Scoobies show any grief about Harmony being a vampire. The poor girl *did* die (in battle for team good actually!), but the Scoobies show no sadness and still just treat her like their annoying classmate.

"Fear, Itself"

Positive: Joyce's appearance in this episode. I gave Joyce a lot of shit for her parenting throughout S1-S2, but I really think she's amazing by this point. The scene between her and Buffy where we see Buffy actually opening up to her and Joyce giving her good motherly wisdom was really lovely and something of a rare occurrence, considering their strained relationship in the early seasons and Joyce's sporadic presence in the later ones. I think it's realistic how little we see Joyce starting now, but her presence is missed a lot. At least by me.

Negative: The jerkass in the teaser who gets mad at Buffy for hitting him after he sneaks up on her. She's a small young woman alone in a dark street and you want to... get angry at her for hitting you when you sneak up on her??? :confused:

Stoney
10-03-18, 03:46 PM
Day 6 - Wild At Heart

Positive - The exploration of different sides within that compel and drive choices runs through so much of the show and is pertinent for many characters. I like the tie in the episode with both Spike's distraction allowing his capture (another 'wild' animal getting caged of course too) and for Willow's progress with magic as well.

Negative - Oz's cheating. I really dislike that he compared the situation to Willow cheating with Xander as their relationship was at a much earlier/lighter stage and it's pretty safe to assume the cheating was to a much lighter level. But also especially, that he said he didn't know what he did with Veruca but he'd started to kiss her before they were changed. :down:

a thing of evil
11-03-18, 03:53 PM
Wild At Heart

Positive: Willow, Oz, in bed - it's such a cute, adorable, soft scene. I love how it looks, the light, the camera work, it's just beautiful.

Negative: I'm not happy that Veruca was killed. I think that the character had a lot of that Faith, except werewolf potential. Also, the entire tragedy could've been avoided had Oz been more communicative with Veruca from the get-go. Like, no, you can't just run around Sunnydale, hunting people because, a, werewolf hunters and b, slayer. I don't lock myself in a cage just for other people's safety, you know?

Priceless
11-03-18, 06:39 PM
Day 7 - The Initiative

Positive:This episode is much better than I remember. I particularly love the pairings, Giles/Xander, Riley/Willow, Spike/Willow, Xander/Harmony, all so bittersweet.

Negative: Buffy just doesn't dance very well. We're all meant to think she does, but she really doesn't. And Spike says patronise the American way

Sosa lola
11-03-18, 07:02 PM
Day 7 - The Initiative

Positive: Spike looks incredibly hot in this episode, doesn't he? I also love the Spike/Willow scene. They don't have that many scenes together in the show, which is a shame. I don't get why Spuffy fics write Willow as anti-Spuffy and extremely Spike-hating, Willow was always the most compassionate and nicest towards Spike than any of the other Scoobies.

I also enjoyed the Willow/Riley friendship, it was adorable. Xander/Giles was so much fun to watch. This relationship in particular is such so wasted sadly.

Negative: I'm the only out there who hates the Xander/Harmony fight. I just feel so embarrassed for my boy.

Stoney
11-03-18, 07:26 PM
Day 7 - The Initiative

Positive - The ethical questions the actions of the Initiative raises are just really great to consider/contrast alongside the actions of our group and the greys of the verse.

Negative - I find the switch between the extreme violence within the Spike/Willow scene and the comedy they go for just too jarring. The gap between the two is just too extreme. Going from the horror of slamming on the music to hide her screams to making performance gags, just didn't work for me the last time I watched it at all.

a thing of evil
11-03-18, 10:37 PM
The Initiative

Positive: Unsettling and violent, Spike's attack on Willow is the best sexual assault-y scene in this show.

Negative: Riley's hair. Which boy band has this man ran away from?

Priceless
12-03-18, 06:56 PM
Day 8 - Pangs

Positive: All Spike's scenes are great. He's so pitiful, staring through windows, being on the outside. His scene with Harmony is hot and funny. He somehow manages to worm his way into Giles' home and I enjoy him and Buffy bickering.

Negative: I'm with Willow, Angel's reasoning for not telling Buffy he's here just seems ridiculous. Buffy is in danger every day, why is this so different?

Stoney
12-03-18, 11:24 PM
Day 8 - Pangs

Positive - I like the repeated references during the season to food/nourishment. It is used as a contrast often between human/demon but also against the Initiative's perspective of demons as animals. Pangs obviously has a big theme of giving/sharing food as a part of caring and defining friendship/family. I just really enjoy the many varied meanings connected to this through the season and all the family vibe/group aspects for it we get in this ep.

Negative - What annoys me most about Buffy being kept out of the loop on the vision/Angel's presence is that it could give her vital information that affects her choices/actions. To keep the information from her because her personal emotions over Angel's presence might be tough to handle is quite simply incredibly patronising and patriarchal.

ghoststar
13-03-18, 05:55 AM
Starting with “The Freshman,” because I’m late to the party:

Positive: I really like the first interaction between Buffy and Riley. It effectively sets her up to be the misfit in his world, something that the series flips over the course of the next few seasons. And I like that he’s just gracious to her by default. She didn’t get a lot of that from either the students or the administrators in high school, and it’s nice to see her catching a tiny break from the guy she nearly concussed here. (Honestly, whenever people wonder what she see in Riley, I think, “HE’S POLITE.” IDK if he knows his place settings, but he’s courteous and respectful of most people that he meets, in what is, by and large, an incredibly rude town. Even if you don’t count the demons.)

Negative: Sunday was a flop for me. I mean, yes, monster of the week, no need for twenty minutes of flashback, but she... doesn’t... really... make sense. If she’s been heading up a gang in Sunnydale for years, why have the Scoobies never heard of her? How has she avoided the Initiative? Why, given her excitement at the prospect of fighting Buffy, has she never looked Buffy up before? They both live in the same medium-size town. It’s hard for me to take her seriously when absolutely no major players—not the Master, not Spike and Dru, not the Mayor, not the Initiative— has even deemed her crimes worthy of mention before.

a thing of evil
13-03-18, 01:51 PM
Pangs

Positive: I'm not cool with Angel's clandestine nonsense but I enjoyed his interactions with Willow, Giles, Anya and Xander a lot. Great stuff all-around.

Negative: Why are you wearing a black cowboy hat, Buffy?

Priceless
13-03-18, 07:09 PM
Day 9 - Something Blue

Positive: Just a fantastic episode. The writing is perfect, the characters are spot on. The chemistry between Spike and Buffy is amazing, they are so good together.

Negative: There are no negatives in this episode, but if I were to nit pick things that were not as great as they could be, I'd say Buffy's 'do you have something to tell me?' and Riley's reply, 'yes I am a lesbian', is a little cringey, as is Riley's 'teach me' at the end.

Stoney
13-03-18, 10:12 PM
Day 9 - Something Blue

Positive - It's a great episode for highlighting both the quality of the scripting as well as the casting as it's the delivery, timing, expressions etc that often make all the funniest moments really zing. Three of my favourites are Spike's annoyance/protests about wanting to watch Passions because 'Timmy's down the bloody well', follow by Giles' snark "You'll do what? Lick me to death?", Buffy teasing Spike about her tender and exposed neck and the whole cookie/wind beneath my wings exchange at the end. But there are simply loads in this ep. :xd

Negative - The scene between Riley and Buffy at the end is just flat, dumb and not in a funny way. I often find them forced/awkward together and think the actors really lack chemistry and it just underlines how great combinations/actors make the script really sing and other onscreen mixes just don't.

ghoststar
14-03-18, 03:14 AM
"Living Conditions":

Positives: Um... Buffy isn't fighting Avril Lavigne anymore? Definitely not one of my faves. I guess it's nice to see a throwback to Buffy's "honing" days in her ability to sense Kathy's demonic nature...

Negatives: ...But, unfortunately, we haven't seen that ability much in the last couple of seasons, so it just makes the continuity problem stand out more.

vampmogs
14-03-18, 10:59 AM
I'm very behind...

Fear Itself:

Positives: I love this episode! It's incredibly underrated and it has some really nice cinematography, in particular. I love the opening shot of the camera coming out of the pumpkin, the shot of the frat guy's corpse at the bottom of the stairs, of Oz sitting crouched in the bathtub, of the skeleton coming to life, of Willow's guiding spell multiplying around her, and of Giles bursting through the wall with the chainsaw. I also love the continuity from Halloween with Xander deliberately choosing a cool costume just in case they get turned into their costumes again (even if he'd probably end up a waiter) and this moment never fails to make me laugh -- "What you got in the basket little girl?" "Weapons" "Oh" :lol:

And I pretty much never see anyone in fandom mention the Buffy/Joyce scene in this episode but it's really sweet and lovely. It's like nobody remembers that it even exists even though it's one of the very few scenes where Buffy actually opens up to Joyce and we also get a little more insight into what life is like for Joyce in Sunnydale.

Negatives: Seth Green's acting in the cafeteria scene is a little cringeworthy. The frat guys are also pretty obnoxious but, then, they're supposed to be.

Beer Bad:

*sigh*

Positives: Um, this is a hard one for me because this is one of my least favourite episodes in the show. I'll always dislike the show's moralising when it comes to beer because I find it neither necessary or believable. My favourite parts of the episode are definitely Willow tricking Parker and humiliating him, Buffy clubbing Parker, Buffy's daydreams at the beginning of the episode, Willow mistaking Buffy's hangover as Buffy suffering the aftermath of "group sex" and describing Veruca as "dressing like Faith with a voice like an albatross", and Giles and Xander's reaction to Caveman Buffy is kind of funny, I guess.

Negatives: Every scene of the caveman running around campus. Not only is it painfully boring but it's genuinely embarrassing to watch. It's a real low point for the series. I also despise the college guy's condescending elitism towards Xander and, as I said, I just don't really buy the gang's attitude to beer. There's really no reason that 19-20 year old Xander would be that concerned about Buffy drowning her sorrows with a few beers. She's in college... it's pretty much expected.

Wild At Heart:

Positives: Another really underrated episode. It's not as good as New Moon Rising but it's still a pleasure to see Oz get more screen time and explore his character more. My favourite moments are definitely the Willow/Oz morning scene, Alyson Hannigan's acting when she catches Oz and Veruca in the cage together, Buffy's "I love you" to Willow and her anger towards Oz, and Willow almost casting the spell on Oz and Veruca which is total foreshadowing to where she is heading. I'm also one of the few who likes the actress who played Veruca and I think she did a great job.

Oh, and the opening scene of Buffy fighting the vampire is really fun! Not only because Spike returns only to be zapped and dragged away by the Initiative which was a great surprise but also because I love any episode where Buffy tricks vamps into thinking she's a helpless damsel as a way of trapping them. Plus I really miss quippy Buffy with her puns and S4 is pretty much the last season where she consistently does this.

Negatives: I have a lot of sympathy for Oz throughout this episode but he also pisses me off. Firstly, he does lie to Willow about the extent of his infidelity with Veruca because he does kiss her before they turn into werewolves and Willow is absolutely right that he could have told someone and the solution wasn't only to keep her a secret and lock her away in a cage with him. Secondly, it always upsets me how Oz bails on Willow and their lunch date and leaves her to sit there with Veruca because he finds the situation too uncomfortable. It is so cowardly and selfish to just leave Willow there and it's made worse by the fact that Veruca then makes that nasty comment about Willow's shirt.

The Initiative:

Positives: Willow and Riley really do share a lot of great scenes together and Riley is always very sweet to her. I also disagree with people who say that SMG/Marc Blucas lack chemistry as I find the comedic scene of them in the park at night really fun. The scene of Spike attacking Willow is also really well done and pretty horrific in a similar way that their scenes in Lovers Walk were too. However....

Negatives: It's really disturbing and inappropriate how the writers transition from a scene of Spike attacking Willow, which is clearly and deliberately reminiscent of a sexual assault, to Spike complaining about his "performance" issues and Willow comforting him over his impotence. It's just incredibly jarring and it's one of the few times the series fails to switch between genres (horror to comedy) without it feeling really awkward. What kind of messaging is that even trying to send? I have no idea? :confused3: The two scenes are both actually great if you judge them individually but when together it makes for a really uncomfortable mix.

It also really bothers me whenever I watch this episode how blatantly inconsistent Spike's chip is portrayed in comparison to the rest of the series. There's no way he should have been able to throw the scientists around like he did or even throw Willow onto the bed so violently. The Initiative is also portrayed inconsistently with how it's depicted throughout the remainder of S4. The soldier's in the black gear clearly stake Sunday's minion when he and Spike escape despite Maggie Walsh being bewildered that "they use the latest in state of the art weaponry whilst if [she's] not mistaken, pokes them with a sharp stick." She wouldn't refer to Buffy's stakes as "poking" them with a "sharp stick" if her own soldiers already were using stakes as part of their arsenal.


Pangs:

Positives: I adore this episode! I love it so, so much! :heart: I could literally write a list of practically everything about this episode because I think it's so much fun. So, to try and say something different, I love that the show is willing to 'go there' and portray Spike sympathetically as he watches from outside as a vampire nest share their Thanksgiving meal - a screaming helpless victim. It's so great how they're willing to play around with the narrative like that. Also, the tiny Buffy/Angel shipper in me kind of loves that they can sense each other from afar (like when Buffy is staring out her dorm window irked by Angel hiding somewhere in the shadows -- "Is something out there?"). I also just have this really weird fondness for the scene of Buffy/Willow in their dorm room. It looks so warm and cozy and I love Willow referencing The Master (he kind of feels forgotten as a Big Bad after S1/very early S2) and the very mundane mentions of things like the girls borrowing each other's hairbrushes etc. SMG also looks really pretty in that scene and I love how kind she is about inviting Anya when Willow suggests they don't invite her because "she and Xander seem pretty tight lately." Buffy is always really welcoming to Xander and Willow's partners and I appreciate that.

Negatives: I don't know how I feel about the episode's portrayal of Native Americans. On the one hand, the episode is kind of ahead of it's time in how it chose to confront the reality of Thanksgiving but at the same time something about Huss' portrayal doesn't sit entirely right with me. I can't really articulate why though which probably also has something to do with the fact that I'm not all that well educated on Native American history.

My other negative would be that they probably needed to emphasise more the direct role Angel played in helping Buffy. I think it's pretty obvious that the moment he picks up the knife and hurls it into the Native American warrior (as he was sneaking up on an unaware Buffy with his own knife) was what he had been sent there to prevent by Doyle but I've seen that missed a lot in fandom so it obviously wasn't clear enough.

[B]Something Blue:

Positives: I love the scene of Buffy taunting Spike with her neck and Xander's reaction to Buffy and Spike's engagement always makes me laugh "How? What? How?" "Three very good questions" :lol:

Negatives: With all that said, I don't find this episode quite as funny as others do. I think it drags a little towards the end with the obligatory demon fight. And, again, the episode's depiction of beer and the gang's reaction to it is a pet peeve of mine. Am I really expected to believe that a bunch of 18-19 year olds react like concerned parents to Willow getting drunk and dancing her sorrows away? PLEASE. They'd all be drinking with her. The gang really overreact to Willow drinking and it always takes me out of the episode whenever I see it.

a thing of evil
14-03-18, 11:33 AM
Something Blue

Positive: Buffy teasing Spike with her neck. This is pornography. This is something you'd expect to see in a Buffy the Vampire Layer XXX Porn Parody except it's already in the show. How awesome is that?

Negative: Don't you touch Willow's beer, Xander! Let her drink and dance like an adorable anime character in peace, you paternalistic anus!

Sosa lola
14-03-18, 01:43 PM
Day 8 - Pangs

Positive: Spike wanting to drink from Xander. I see the Spander in anything. :D Also, this episode shows Giles being concerned for Xander's wellbeing which is incredibly rare.

Negative: I didn't like Buffy's "Oh. Very manly. Not at all village people." I didn't like her mocking Xander and calling him campy.


Day 9 - Something Blue

Positive - All the Buffy/Spike scenes honestly! Also, Buffy telling Riley she's gonna marry Spike. Oh, and Giles' happy smile when Buffy told him he's gonna walk her down the aisle.

Negative - I didn't like Buffy and Xander complaining about being tired of Willow's sadness over Oz leaving. Willow has always been patient and listened to them whine about anything. They couldn't do the same for her?

Priceless
14-03-18, 05:54 PM
Day 10 - Hush

Positive: I like the idea of this episode, that they took the risk to do it and showed that language can often be a hindrance to real communication. The gentlemen are brilliant and there are some legitimately jumpy moments.

Negative: I really hate the opening and the start of Buffy's dream sequence, it makes me cringe so much. Why is she dreaming of making out with Riley in front of the class and Walsh? Does dreaming of the little one-two between Riley and Walsh means Buffy already thinks of Walsh as Riley's mother figure, with her saying 'be a good boy'?

Stoney
14-03-18, 09:56 PM
Day 10 - Hush

Positive - There are lots of positives to this ep, it's one of my total faves. To pick something that is perhaps a little less typical than Xander/Spike waking mute, Riley getting stuck in the lift and the lecture theatre scene which are all great and I've just snuck in mentions to :p, I'm going to say that the progress of Spike's increasing sense of loss of self, which will hit its rock bottom next episode, is a great feature in this ep. We saw last episode how he isn't being treated as a threat any more, is openly mocked, and now he is passed over to Xander against his will. Having his voice taken away really highlights all of this and with his frustration when he is unable to defend himself against Xander's attack when he believes Spike harmed Anya just adds really well to the deepening distress at what he is becoming/has been reduced to.

Negative - I haven't watched this in a good while, but I remember thinking Tara was a bit intense in a slightly creepy way when she told Willow she was special at the end.

a thing of evil
14-03-18, 11:25 PM
Hush

Positive: What am I even supposed to say here, this is the best episode in this show! It only excels at everything. It has some of the funniest scenes in the series, some of the creepiest and scariest ones, it has the most iconic monster, the best soundtrack, it introduces a new main character, moves forward the romantic relationships of all of the four core characters and it has Doug Jones for goodness' sake. It's artistic, it's beautiful and it's a masterpiece. So one thing? Willow and Tara, intertwining their fingers, flinging the soda machine. What an awesome, mesmerising, amazingly gay scene that is!

Negative: Anya's top. What is that thing even? It's like an ugly patterned jumper, except cropped and backless? Anya, no.

TriBel
15-03-18, 12:28 AM
Sigh - do people actually remember what happened without having to re-watch? I can't even remember where I put the bar of chocolate I was eating when I went to fetch the DVD!

Day 9. Something Blue

Oh God! I'm going to spoil the party. Even with the Spuffy, I don't much care for this episode. The acting feels "off" - it made me appreciate the later seasons even more.

Positives - Xander and Giles - they get the best lines. Oh - and the infamous "cookies".

Negative Willow's striped poncho in the prologue. It looks like an egg-cosy. I don't like Anya's hair, Buffy's hair or Riley's curtains. There's zero chemistry between SMG and MB.

ghoststar
15-03-18, 03:41 AM
"The Harsh Light of Day":

Positive: A solid B-story that does a good job of showing how easy it is to view new people as simply a part of your new experience, and to cast the light of your new setting on people who don't necessarily deserve it. That Buffy would fall for Parker's sensitive-historian routine in her first few weeks at college, especially while trying to move on from Angel, strikes me as uncomfortably true.

Negative: While I like the episode, the idea that Spike would correctly guess where the gem of Amara and build a network of tunnels over the spot before Giles even learned that the gem was real seems unlikely to me. I don't think Spike is dumb, exactly-- he's arguably the best of all the characters at reading other people, he knows his classics, and he speaks at least one demon language--, but he's not a great organizer. We've seen before that he relied on Dru's advice to control his minions, and lost them to Angel; how does he control his mining crew without anyone (except Harmony, who really doesn't count at this point) to watch his back? Plus, his impatience has always been his Achilles heel, so it's hard for me to believe that he would've gone getting into enough trouble to alert someone in the Scooby Gang before the work was almost done.

Priceless
15-03-18, 08:39 AM
Sigh - do people actually remember what happened without having to re-watch? I can't even remember where I put the bar of chocolate I was eating when I went to fetch the DVD!


Like you TriBel, my memory is shot, thought I an always remember where the chocolate is :D

I am rewatching the show as we are going along. I remember a lot of the early seasons, as I've seen those eps so many times, but I tend to feel slightly differently every time I watch. Plus reading other people views changes my views. Still hate Beer Bad though ;)

vampmogs
15-03-18, 08:51 AM
Hush:

Positives: The Gentlemen are my favourite demons in the show. They look so great and I love their madmen minions that follow them around. It's just a brilliant concept and it would have been awesome if as much attention and thought had went into a lot of the other MotWs. I also absolutely love the projector scene (Anya with her popcorn, Buffy's dismay at how Giles drew her hips so big, the motions Buffy makes with her stake etc) and the moment Willow and Tara clasp their hands together.

I also have to give a lot of credit to Amber Benson for making me care about Tara pretty much straight away. I wouldn't even say I think she's a fantastic actress (sometimes I find some of her acting choices slightly strange and unconvincing) but she does manage to make me care about her straight away and really worry for her when she's being chased down by The Gentlemen, when usually I couldn't care a less about red shirts, so she deserves major props for that.

Negatives: I really enjoy this episode BUT by the end of it I am more than ready for the gang to get their voices back. Out of the Big Four experimental episodes this is definitely my least favourite. I think the final fight scene drags on for too long (and I am usually a big fan of the fight scenes) and I also don't think Buffy's scream sounds anything like her voice which always stands out to me.

Doomed:

Positives: I love Buffy's reaction to the earthquake and how it harkens back to S1 when she died. I also think the demons come across as genuinely threatening, I love Spike's pathetic "growl" moment when he asks if he's even scary anymore, and that Buffy is more bothered by the fact that Percy called Willow a nerd than she is the corpse at the dorm party. Also any reference to Faith is fine by me.

Negatives: Riley bothers me in this episode as I find he starts to cross a line in his pursuit of Buffy. To his credit, when Buffy very firmly tells him to "leave her alone" he backs off and says "fair enough" but up until that point he's being way too full-on and he comes across badly when he starts to insult Buffy, especially when he doesn't know her anywhere near well enough to make such accusations and judgements about her. I just find a lot of his speechifying aggravating when he's clearly not listening or understanding what it is she is referring to ("you're not in high school anymore! You can change things" etc).

This episode also really insults your intelligence with that ridiculous moment when Buffy jumps into the Hellmouth after the demon. Firstly, how is it that she manages to catch up to the demon in free fall when he jumped in way before her? Secondly, there is no way Riley could pull Buffy up by that tiny string or that his hands wouldn't be ripped to shreds. I mean, a lot of things in BtVS are not remotely realistic, but I never feel insulted like I do watching this moment.

It's also a minor quibble but whenever I watch this episode I notice that the demons appear to do far more damage to Buffy than they do Spike or Riley and seem far less effected by Buffy's hits than they do Spike or Riley's. I doubt it was intentional but the demons continuously shrug Buffy off as if she's just a fly but seem hurt by Spike and Riley hitting them. It makes no sense given that she's stronger than both of them and it's the only episode I can think of where she is portrayed as the least capable fighter in the team.

And the scene between Buffy/Giles at the beginning of the episode has that atrocious dubbing for Giles/ASH. Like, really, really terrible dubbing. It's incredibly obvious that for whatever reason ASH had to come into the studio and redo his lines as it sounds so unnatural.

Priceless
15-03-18, 11:20 AM
Day 11 - Doomed

Positive: The highlight of this episode is Spike/Xander, their mutual loathing is funny. They get the best lines. I love Spike trying to dust himself and imo he looks really hot in that shirt. Their scenes just lighten a drab Briley-heavy ep. There's nothing wrong with the Briley stuff, it's not horrible, it's just dull and I'm just not invested in their relationship.

Negative: Apart from the technical difficulties with Giles (how did that get past quality control?!) I hate how he dismisses Buffy's worries like she's a silly little girl and he knows so much better. I just wish he'd show her more respect, yet as she gets older the less respect he seems to show. Even if he doesn't believe the earthquake is a portent of imminent danger, he should show more understanding that she's suffering ptsd/flashbacks from Prophecy Girl. Even when Buffy is proved right, he can't apologise with any sincerity! I love Giles, but sometimes he's a dick.

Sosa lola
15-03-18, 02:38 PM
Day 10 - Hush

Positive:

http://78.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ln0qda8QyS1qaimf2o1_500.gif

This damn scene! Billions of fanfics were born because of this scene! Artworks, fanvids and usernames! I could write an essay about this scene, starting with Spike taking a sight of Xander's perfect butt:

https://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j180/Arrohy/1f18a73e.jpg

I mean, c'mon! The person who wrote this scene was begging for Spander to happen!

Negative: I didn't like the sudden switch in Xander and Anya's roles. Since when does Xander care about sex more than Anya? I didn't forget the basement scene with naked Anya in Harsh Light of Day. Xander was pushing for getting to know each other sex, and Anya was all about the sex. But, yeah, Xander's the guy and Anya's the girl, let's do typical overdone guy/girl problems the way all 100 shows before had done.


~*~*~*~*~


Day 11 - Doomed

Positive: The Xander/Spike married couple scenes!!! Also the sexy stare down before Xander storms out!

Negative: The whole end of the world story is a bigger joke than the one in The Zeppo, at least the Zeppo was mocking it.

Stoney
15-03-18, 03:25 PM
Day 11 - Doomed

Positive - In continuation of what I gave as my positive for Hush, I'm going to highlight the strong character continuity for Spike. In particular we get a bit more weight put to his deep need for his image to protect his insecurities. He has been suffering humiliations caused by his lack of status in going to the scoobies for help already and the open mockery and lack of fear shown towards him now he is chipped. Putting him in that Hawaiian shirt and shorts was such a great choice to continue his descent with this episode on top of all that he's already stomached obliterates his image.
Xander: “That’s it! I am way past due with you. I hate to break it to you, oh impotent one, but you’re not the big bad anymore, you’re not even the kind of naughty. You’re nothing but a waste of space – my space! And as much as I always got a big laugh watching Buffy kick your shiny white bum, as much as I know I can give you a little bum-kicking myself right now, I’m here to tell you something (He steps forward, right under the drip of water from the leaky pipe) You’re not even worth it. - I’m out of here.”

It then works so perfectly that he gets a bit of a boost by pulling down Willow and Xander later in a way that feels like a rejection of aspects of William that are reflected by them, that he can separate himself from them still (and so William). His later sheer delight in finding that he can attack demons is an excellent further expansion as he is able to assert himself and affect things more than just verbally again, to reconnect to a sense of physical release that he has some power back. It's just a great episode for the character and so beautifully coherent on many fronts.

Negative - The whole scene with the demons diving in to the hellmouth was weak. Not only in Buffy being able to dive in after, catch up and get pulled back to safety. The first two created reactive earthquakes the moment they dove in but when the third took a leap there was time to chat and get her hooked up and chase without it being an issue.

--
TriBel, I haven't watched a lot of these in a long time so if I can't remember well enough I have a flick back into the rewatch for the ep or a quick glance at the transcript. I also never forget where the chocolate is. :biggrin1:

TriBel
16-03-18, 01:24 AM
I also never forget where the chocolate is.
I found the chocolate - it was half a Raspberry Ruffle bar and it melted in my pocket. Unfortunately, I've now forgotten what I wanted to say about Hush and Doomed. I'm crap at this game!

Hush - Positive - the mime in the lecture theatre. I've had classes like that. Negative - Can't think of anything. Oh...why didn't they email each other and why was Giles using acetate?. Acetate's the tool of the devil. If you put it down you can't find it again (like chocolate).

Doomed - Positive - Spike's attire; Spike finding he could kill demons; Spike, Xander and Willow. Negative - I hate Riley - and Forrest.

ghoststar
16-03-18, 04:27 AM
"Fear, Itself"

Overall, it's a solid episode. It isn't one of my all-time favorites, probably because I tend to prefer vampire antagonists over the less lore-based monsters of the week, and because of its severe absence of Spike. But I think that it does a good job of what it's aiming for, which is revealing the hidden fears of the Core Four without being too depressing.

Positive: Some good, subtle development for Willow's character, demonstrating that her insecurities and pride are increasingly bound up with her capacity to work magic, and that, subconsciously at least, she views Buffy as a rival.

Negative: There's nothing really terrible here, but I've never quite gotten Oz's "God" nametag joke, and I find Xander and Buffy's banter over their costumes a little strained.

a thing of evil
16-03-18, 11:05 AM
Doomed

Positive: I love that Willow stops Spike from staking himself. It's just so kind. Willow has legitimate and personal reasons (see: Lover's Walk, The Initiative) to not be very fond of Spike to put it mildly. On top of that, Willow's not Buffy. She doesn't want to have sex with Spike, she doesn't need him in any way, they don't even interact that much. And yet she's not willing to let him poof himself because it's ooky, which is the most Willow™ reasoning imaginable. It's pretty amazing.

Negative: Giles doubting Buffy. Again! Buffy is the slayer, a supernatural being, top of the food chain predator of the occult world, if she says that some monster-y badness is involved then it is, period, get on with your research, Giles! Seriously, how many times am I supposed to paste this?!

Priceless
16-03-18, 11:07 AM
Day 12 - A New Man

Positive: This is one of my favourite episodes, so much good stuff here, it's hard to pick just one thing. The scenes with Giles and Ethan are just great. In facts ASH's whole performance is brilliant, he's such a great actor.

Negative: The Initiative taking Ethan away and locking him up without trial. He's human and they shouldn't be able (or allowed) to do that. It's a clue that they are the bad guys and I wish Buffy and Giles hadn't been so pleased that they were there to deal with him.

ghoststar
17-03-18, 04:55 AM
"Beer Bad"

I know it makes me something of the odd fan out, but I like "Beer Bad"! While it's nowhere near series highs like "Innocence" and "OMWF," I think it's on a par with, say, the top quarter of season 1. It tickles my funnybone and my sense of revenge.

Positive: The callback from Cave-Buffy's last scene to the teaser is priceless. Bonus: This is the only episode in the entire season where Buffy's hair looks like it belongs on her.

Negative: The cavemen look terrible. Some of this this is almost a given: Homo sapiens sapiens is the only subspecies of human known to have a chin, so good luck making their facial profile look right with the effects available to a weblet filler episode in '99. Some of it, however, falls into the category of "What. Even." WHAT CAUSES THE INSTA-ROTTEN TEETH? WHAT MAKES THEIR HAIR GROW SO FAST? Now my brain hurts. Fire bad.

vampmogs
17-03-18, 06:00 AM
A New Man:

Positives: I like the scene of Buffy/Riley making out, that Buffy got to have a genuinely nice and normal birthday, the scene between Giles/Maggie is really great, the Xander/Giles basement scene always makes me laugh, and ASH and Robin Sachs have great chemistry. I also find Giles' feelings of estrangement really believable and that careless moments such as Buffy's "Oh no she's like 40, she's got better things to do than hang out with a bunch of kids" feel very authentic without making Buffy come across as rude or Giles as self-pitying.

Negatives: As I said in my comments for The Initiative, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense that Maggie is puzzled by Buffy "poking [vamps] with a sharp stick" when we clearly see Initiative soldiers stake a vampire in that episode. Other than that, whilst I really enjoy the scene, Maggie's attitude towards Giles is really aggravating. She is so unnecessarily condescending and it's as if she's trying to claim ownership of Buffy because she's in on her secret without obviously having any idea who Giles is to Buffy and his role in her life as a Watcher. It's a pity the two of them couldn't have shared any further scenes with Giles' actual involvement in the slaying made obvious to Maggie.

The I In Team:

Positives: One of my favourite slapstick moments of the entire series is when Anya says "yes we've enjoyed spanking" and the cards burst out of Xander's hands. It's brilliant :lol: I also appreciate Buffy/Riley for the fact that Buffy finally woke up after sex and her partner was there with her. And the scene of Buffy appearing on the monitor behind Maggie is absolutely awesome - "If you think that's enough to kill me you really don't know what a Slayer is. Trust me when I say you're going to find out"

Negatives: It's a pity that the actress who played Maggie wanted out of her contract early as she's killed way too prematurely here. The scenes of Riley and the commandos walking through the streets tracking Spike are also a little dull.

Stoney
17-03-18, 07:12 AM
Day 12 - A New Man

Positive - The exploration of how Giles is feeling and the accumulated affect of feeling irrelevant is great. Isolation vs teamworking features through the episode as Giles experiences a realised representation of feeling out of place, awkward, an 'outsider' without connections as he fails to communicate and struggles to manage every day tasks and resorts to increasing 'outside of society' behaviour with his fellow countryman turned demon/outsider.

Negative - I'm not actually a fan of Ethan's character. I find his background/relationship with Giles really interesting but the character just never really grabs me.


Day 13 - The I in Team

Positive - I really like Maggie's character and her possessive control that we saw last episode is clearly pushed even further now. The creepy voyeuristic aspect is a great layer to add on. It's a shame that her part in the season was cut short.

Negative - Tara comes across as a bit creepy again to me.

a thing of evil
17-03-18, 02:43 PM
A New Man

Positive: Spike doing 2 fast 2 furious in Giles-mobile with the initiative. He's just so happy in that scene!

Negative: Walsh's comments about Buffy lacking a father figure are ridiculous. One, she's met Buff, outside of the lectures, like, what, once, what does she even know? Two, Buffy's not an orphan, she's had a father figure growing up, you know, her actual father. Joyce and Hank divorced when she was 15 and at this point in the story Buffy's dad has been portrayed as fairly decent. So even if Giles is a complete failure of a father figure, which I don't he is, it shouldn't even matter because Hank exists. Maggie's full of crap.

Priceless
17-03-18, 04:09 PM
Day 13 - The I In Team

Positive: I love powerful Buffy; 'Professor Walsh . . . if you think that's enough to kill me, you really don't know what a slayer is. Trust me when I say you're going to find out' :clap2: Also a mention of Spike getting the tracer removed, its such a funny scene.

I hesitate to put this, because it's very Spuffy, but . . . when Buffy comes back to Giles' place and the camera goes to Spike's face, and Buffy say's 'it's not safe for any of us' and she makes eye contact with everyone in the room, including Spike. She's including him in the group, he's part of them now, in her eyes, and she wants to protect him as much as the others. It's just a nice little moment *sigh

Negative:The petty jealousies surrounding Willow, who's jealous that Buffy has other friends, and then she treats Tara just as Buffy treated her. I also dislike Tara's obvious jealousy, why doesn't she say something? I just find Tara and Willow difficult to like in this episode.

a thing of evil
18-03-18, 02:40 AM
The I In Team

Positive: Those demons Buffy is trapped with are awesome! Huge cthulhu-ish warriors clad in torn cloaks, love the dark fantasy aesthetic, great stuff.

Negative: Tara's costume. I'm talking about those baggy diarrhea-colored pants and that comically oversized cerulean hoodie. Why are they trying to make Amber look unattractive? I understand that Tara's supposed to be shy and...wait, since when being shy is about wearing clothes that obviously don't fit?

ghoststar
18-03-18, 04:11 AM
“Wild at Heart”

I have conflicted feelings about this episode. On the one hand, it does several things very well. On the other hand, when it comes to the one thing it absolutely must get right— Oz’s exit from the show— it falls short.

Positive: Paige Moss brings the wild energy and raw magnetism that the role of Veruca requires in spades. It’s fun to see a female antagonist who isn’t tragically broken or puppeted by men or too dumb to comprehend what’s going on. Veruca is really just an aggressive person who’s made the decision to be herself and who, unfortunately, isn’t very nice— but whose personification of the “Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well” meme is, nonetheless, as tempting as it is disturbing.

Negative: Oz goes too dark, too fast. There were better ways to write Seth Green off the show. Oz could have responded to the realization that he craved something more animalistic than his connection with Willow by breaking up and leaving in search of a pack. He could have simply made it his goal in life to find a cure, and had to wander the Earth in search of it. But for him to let a killer run free, on the [I]chance[I] that she would climb in his cage with him, so they could have sex he wouldn’t even remember? Please.

vampmogs
18-03-18, 08:52 AM
Goodbye Iowa:

Positives: This is probably one of my least favourite episodes of S4. It's not bad but it's just a bit... meh. Nothing really excites me about it. I do think Adam comes across as legitimately threatening when he knocks Buffy around so easily. I also think the actor who plays him is somewhat underrated as when Adam gets angry he does this really psychotic facial expression that is genuinely frightening. I think it's so scary to me because he's usually so calm and emotionless so when he gets angry or you can see the bloodlust in his eyes it's actually pretty terrifying.

Other than that, I admire how Xander just puts his dead down, takes a deep breath, and charges at Adam bravely, even though he knows it's completely futile. I like that Buffy is actually disturbed by Riley's relationship with Maggie when Riley is arguing with Adam. I also think that the scene at Willy's Bar is very well done and I find it interesting that Riley's unable to reconcile Buffy's role as the Slayer with this unspoken truce she has not to slay vampires at the bar. I also like the complexity of her relationship with Willy that she's willing to defend him ("Leave him alone, Riley. He's human"). This is the last episode we ever see Willy isn't it? It's a shame. I hated him in What's My Line but I came to really enjoy his appearances.

Negatives: As I said, overall this episode just doesn't excite me all that much. I don't hate Adam the way most of fandom seems to but I do find his speechifying in this episode to be very dull. It's especially tedious coming off the back of The Mayor who had so much charisma. I also feel that this episode fails to live up to the cliffhanger of The I In Team. "No. It's not safe for any of us", except, nah, false alarm, the Initiative doesn't really have a vendetta against the Scoobies and that was just Walsh's personal vendetta and you'll all be partying together in 4 episodes time. I feel they kind of peaked with the Initiative storyline too early and backed themselves into a corner because if the organisation really were out for Buffy's blood then the rest of the season would either revolve around the Scoobies in hiding, in jail, dead, or having already defeated them, and the writers still had college-y stuff to explore.

I also find Xander's attitude towards Riley a little off-putting? On the one hand Riley is coming across quite aggressively and I appreciate Xander's protectiveness towards Buffy (and that his protectiveness involves demanding that Riley let BUFFY ask the questions) but at the same time I feel like Xander's all too willing to assume the worst about Riley for the same reasons he's always unfriendly and hostile towards new men interacting with the group. It's just a minor quibble, though.

This Years Girl:

Positives: Ooh I love this episode! I'm a huge defender of S4 and I find the Initiative/Science VS Magic storyline pretty great but there's no denying that the moment Faith shows up again my interest is peaked in a way that it hasn't been for the plot of this season at all. There's so much to love about this episode! I love the reference to Dawn, I love that Buffy is portrayed as monstrous in Faith's dreams which is such a warped view on what transpired but helps make sense of Faith's motivations, I love how badass Joyce is, the fight scene at the house is epic, and the Mayor's video tape message is touching but also really really brutal? I mean, I believe that he genuinely loved her, but it is so unhealthy for him to suggest that there is no place in the world for Faith without him there to protect her.

But my favourite moment of the episode is without a doubt Buffy and Faith squaring off on campus! Firstly, Buffy doesn't get enough credit for how she's willing to try and help Faith, again, and reason with her. At Giles' apartment she's actually genuinely sympathetic and concerned about Faith and willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she may be "sorry and she's alone hiding somewhere." But I also love that Faith brings out a side of Buffy that nobody else can and this moment -- "This blonde chick stabs me and you wanna know why?" "You had it coming" -- gives me goosebumps. Damn, Buffy :evil: I love Faith's rant in that scene because even though she's wrong I can understand how she could perceive things the way she does, I love Buffy's bitchy "Uh oh, it looks like somebody knows you're here", and I love Willow hitting Faith with her backpack and getting that shot in :lol:

Negatives: It's really cool that the Council has infiltrated the hospital and has a "nurse" working there but it simply makes no sense to me why they'd watch Faith and wait for her to wake up. Why not just kill her whilst she's in her coma? Buffy has quit the Council and killing Faith would activate a new Slayer which would put the Council back into business again. They also decide to kill Faith in Who Are You when it's too risky to try and transport her to England. I guess that maybe the Council really isn't quite as cold and ruthless as I believe and that they at least wanted to try and bring Faith to justice or face rehabilitation before killing her but it still doesn't ring true to me.

Stoney
18-03-18, 11:44 AM
Day 14 - Goodbye Iowa

Positive - Because I'm unusual in really liking Adam I'll always take the opportunity to be a voice in favour of the character. I just find Adam really genuinely very sinister in a way not a lot of the big bads or motw are. He's like a talking Hush gentleman in creep factor! I appreciated him even more after reading PuckRobin's great review of this episode and the comparison to the Frankenstein story. I know the season didn't go as planned and it isn't a favourite season for me, but only because so many others are just stronger rather than this season being without merit. Adam's otherness allows for a greater exaggeration of detached, scientific exploration of the world. The whole scene with the boy in the woods is just excellent. There is such a calm but cold brutality to it, wanting to pull apart life to understand it. Totally uncaring and disinterested in the potential being quashed and destroyed in the search for understanding and knowledge. It's one of the most truly monstrous moments in the whole series imo and it is just a shame they didn't make more of it during the season. Plus, as I always have to note, I just love the timbre of George Hertzberg's voice. :biggrin1:

I did this fanart piece a while back to try and catch the menace in that moment, the monster viewing life represented by a child, so utterly dispassionately. The contrast in the visuals of the two and the darkness of the scene. :err:
https://bulk-share.slickpic.com/album/share/MmMMEmzLM52zzM/11950444.0/300/p/Monster.jpg (https://www.slickpic.com/share/MmMMEmzLM52zzM/photo?view=11950444#11950444)

Negative - Riley/Buffy don't work as a couple for me and after seeing issues between them raised in the story time and again that they just try to brush past but not 'getting' any great sense of true connection. So I'm always taken out of the moment when Buffy says "It's too late anyway - I'm already at the I hurt when he hurts, I smile when he smiles stage." because I'm just thinking, :s - 'Really?!'

Priceless
18-03-18, 06:05 PM
Day 14 - Goodbye Iowa

Positive:I feel for Riley here, he's got Buffy telling him one thing, Forrest another, then Walsh turns up dead. His meds are out of kilter and he's not coping under the pressure. He's not a bad guy, he's just out of his depth and doesn't understand what's happening. He's having a breakdown, and I think Blucas carries it off quite well.

Negative: Buffy apologising to Riley. It works within the episode, but it's a theme throughout their relationship. He always seems to put her on the back foot and she always feels like she has to take responsibility for Riley's feelings.

a thing of evil
18-03-18, 08:54 PM
Goodbye Iowa

Positive: Yummy. Sushi. Pajamas. It's obvious, I don't care, it's just such an awesome, iconic scene. In fact, it's so iconic that almost 20 years later fans still buy (https://www.thecatspjs.com/shop/white-sushi-cotton-pajama/?style=pajama) those pajamas. Pricey, but hey.

Negative: Listen up, you 100% made from genuine cardboard boy band reject, I don't care in how much man-pain you are, you don't topple the witch. What a dick. Boor. Troglodyte. What is it with Buffy's boyfriends and violence towards Willow?

ghoststar
19-03-18, 05:30 AM
“The Initiative.”

My overall take on this is “meh.” It’s got some cute moments, but our first real look at the Initiative is a letdown, and there’s too much fridge logic for my happiness.

Positive: I really love the scene where Riley comes to Willow to talk about Buffy, especially the underrated moment where Willow is trying to push the BIG-ASS OPEN BOX OF WEAPONS under Buffy’s bed... and Riley, rather than seeing a big-ass, open box of weapons, just sees something she needs help moving, the contents of which are none of his business. It’s a small moment, but it tells us a lot about Riley. Although he crosses a lot of lines re: individuals’ privacy while on the job, he won’t do it for petty, personal gain. He’s willing to use the Intiative’s skeleton key to violate the Fourth Amendment right and left hunting demons, but he’s not willing to use his Initiative contacts, authority as a professor’s favorite, or convenient access to Buffy’s belongings to help his love life.

Negative: The way the Intiative handles the vampires doesn’t make any sense. They don’t appear to use actual, supernatural items to fight them, so how does the poisoned blood work? Why aren’t trackers a standard-issue addition to the brain chip? Sure, they may not expect escapees to last long, but they don’t have to last long to draw unwanted attention.

Priceless
19-03-18, 03:48 PM
Day 15 This Years Girl

Positive: The amazing dream sequences;'with little sis coming', Buffy and Faith making a bed. Faith in her pastel skirt and top with the Mayor, seeing her self as the innocent victim. Faith crawling out of an open grave into the pouring rain. Something we'll see Buffy do in S6, but she'll crawl out to beautiful sunshine. Every scene with Faith in is just great.

Negative:Forrest is so vile in this episode, he's aggressive and threatening. All the Riley and Initiative stuff feels like it's from a different show, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I've never understood why Buffy would council Riley that he could go back to the Initiative if he wants. That's the organisation that tried to kill her and doped up her boyfriend, why would she think going back was a good idea?

Never noticed it before, but there are similarities between Forrest and Faith in this episode, both are aggressive and angry, blaming others for their situations, turning on the people that they either loved or wanted to be. Forrest could have said 'You think you matter, you think you're a part of something, then you get dumped . . . ' and it would have fitted just as well. Both of them have been driven to the edge of sane reasoning.

Sosa lola
19-03-18, 05:47 PM
Day 12 - A New Man

Positive - Giles scaring off Walsh was amazing. I also loved the Spike/Giles team and the Giles/Ethan scene. Very slashy scene.

Negative - What the hell happened to Ethan after the Initiative captured him??? There should have been a scene where Giles sets him free in Primeval.



Day 13 - The I In Team

Positive: Giles: Um, thinking about your affliction and, uh, your newfound discovery that you can fight only demons; it occurs to me that (chuckling) I realize this is completely against your nature but I-I-I-- Has it occurred to you that there may be a higher purpose--

This scene between Giles and Spike gets neglected by many fans. Giles was offering some kind of cooperation deal with Spike, which I feel had Spike accepted it, he'd have made the first step to become an official Scooby.

Spike: Soldiers boys are out in force. I've been trying to keep them off my scent. Run them in circles. But they keep coming.

Giles: And . . . how is this our concern? Seeing as how you've expressed the desire to have nothing more to do with us.

Xander: Spike said that?

Giles: Mm-hmm.

Xander: (to Spike with feeling) . . . That hurts.

And yet, they saved him. The Scoobies in canon are much nicer than those in fanfic. I do believe fanfic writers, especially in Spuffy fics, underestimate how kind and trusting the Scoobies were in regards to Spike in S4.

Negative: Forrest's jealousy over Riley picking Buffy mirrors Willow's jealousy over Buffy spending time with Riley. And both annoyed me. Forrest was being sexist and Willow already had a secret relationship with Tara, which she's hiding from Buffy and Xander, and she spends most of her time with her. Why get upset that Buffy spends most of her time with her boyfriend?



Day 14 - Goodbye Iowa

Positive: I enjoyed Riley's dilemma in this episode! When you've lived your life believing in something and someone and suddenly you're told it's not the truth.

Negative: I didn't like Spike and Giles making fun of where Xander lives, and I HATED that we didn't get Xander's reaction!! A close up to Xander's sad face should have been included, especially since the shot after Riley shows up is of Xander looking down, upset. But it wasn't clear.

Stoney
19-03-18, 10:06 PM
Day 15 - This Year's Girl

Positive - Joyce handles the situation with Faith incredibly well. I am often pretty harsh on Joyce at varying points of S1 & 2 but there are increasing moments of being incredibly strong in the face of Buffy's life and the impact it has S3 onwards and she manages a really scary situation very impressively here. Great character moment.

Negative - I really don't like how the scoobies failed to consider what to do with Faith before Buffy was faced with her and all the old resentments/issues just took centre stage again. I see Buffy's brief consideration at how Faith must be feeling pretty meaningless when she is then so hard with her. I know it is a really complex situation because Faith had aligned herself with the big bad, tried to kill Angel etc., but I wanted Buffy to show something that showed that trying to murder Faith was at the very least a questionable act, even if she didn't feel sorry for it like I wish she did or able to openly show remorse. I mean, wondering about helping Faith actually is the moment that jars with what else she says/does, so it's hard to see it as genuine. The situation is really difficult and they have past/present reasons to be wary and distant with Faith, but I don't think Buffy actually tries to get through to her really and I found the 'had it coming' line pretty terrible.

a thing of evil
20-03-18, 01:26 AM
This Year's Girl

Positive: I love how unapologetic Willow is about the whole Faith thing! Oooh! I have an idea! Beat the crap out of her!/Yeah, too bad. That was the funnest coma ever. Meow! Also, Willow hitting Faith with her backpack is the funniest moment in this episode and the way she describes Faith to Tara is hilarious as well.

Negative: Buffy's white leopard print coat. Buffy, no. In an episode that features arguably the worst Willow's outfit ever, the ridiculous brown and gray sweater, gray pants and a hat no person over the age of 5 should wear and one of the worst Xander's costumes in the entire series, I'm talking about that rainbow slipover on an orange shirt, she's still the worst. In general the outfits in this episode are just ludicrous. Did the entire costume department get very high or something?

Priceless
20-03-18, 11:48 PM
Day 16 - Who Are You

Positive: Great episode, with a great script and a lot of positives, but if I have to pick one thing, it would be SMG's portrayal of Faith. She is spot on with he mannerisms and voice. I don't think SMG gets enough credit for her acting, but she really shows off in this episode and it's great to see. The scoobie meeting and stabbing Willow is the highlight for me.

Negative: There is nothing negative here, but I shall mention Riley, the church going conservative who sleeps with Faith. How anyone thinks the (liberal atheist) writers wanted Briley to succeed is beyond me. (I've got an axe and I'm going to grind it lol)

vampmogs
21-03-18, 12:30 AM
Negative: There is nothing negative here, but I shall mention Riley, the church going conservative who sleeps with Faith. How anyone thinks the (liberal atheist) writers wanted Briley to succeed is beyond me. (I've got an axe and I'm going to grind it lol)

Faith raped Riley. If anything, this episode makes me feel really sorry for him. Also, for what it's worth, it's an assumption that Riley is a conservative.

Who Are You

Positives: This is in my Top 10 episodes of the series. I absolutely adore it. I could go on forever about all the things I love about it so I'll try and pick out something I don't see all too often, which is the scene where Faith rescues the girl from the vampire. I love everything about that scene from Faith taking the pool cue, the brutal takedown of the vampire, the victim's gratitude, and Faith's conflicted feelings about it. The scene is also quintessential BtVS (Bronze, vampire, dusting) and it's tone (from the sound effects, stunts, lighting, set design) is something I will miss in the later seasons.

This is also one of the few episodes where I find Adam legitimately interesting. In fact, his two best appearances in S4 are in this episode and in Restless which were both penned by Whedon. I liked the angle that they took with him here by having him preach to the vampires and spur them into causing chaos and going against their instincts/character. It fits nicely with the Initiative's pursuits of "behaviour modifiers" and experimentation and I wish they had played this goal of his more consistently throughout the remainder of the season.

Negatives: I can pretty much find no fault with this episode other than that, I guess, it is a little weird that such a monumental episode for Faith's character is acted out by SMG rather than Eliza.


Superstar:

Positives: Riley's support and belief in Buffy, despite a spell telling him to think otherwise, is really impressive and sweet. I also like the Buffy/Anya scene as it's rare we get much interaction between just those two characters - although that scene does feel really dated now with the references to the Matrix and creating the internet. I guess I also admire the writers for daring to do something different and going as far to change the main credits and waiting a considerable amount of time before clueing the confused audience into what was going on. I see it as sort of a test run for what they'll commit to with Dawn in S5.

Negatives: But whilst I admire the writer's willingness to experiment, I have to say that an episode centred around Jonathan does not excite me in the least. I just do not understand Espenson's fascination with the character and I find Danny Strong's portrayal of Superstar!Jonathan to be grating and tiresome. I find Regular!Jonathan a little more bearable but he just does nothing for me and especially in this incarnation. I always just find this episode such a drag to watch after Who Are You.

Priceless
21-03-18, 04:32 PM
Faith raped Riley. If anything, this episode makes me feel really sorry for him. Also, for what it's worth, it's an assumption that Riley is a conservative.


You are right on both counts. But I would add that a boy who grew up on a farm in Iowa, who joined the military and works for a secret operational unit and goes to church every Sunday is a conservative. Nothing Riley says or does dissuades me from that assumption.

- - - Updated - - -

Day 17 - Superstar

Positive: The commitment the show has to this episode; the credits, the posters, the games, scrapbooks, all the set dressings that show Jonathan the hero.

Negative: I am not a fan of this episode or Jonathan. This just proves to me that this guy will never learn his lesson. Even making himself a hero, he comes across as slimy and repellent. After Earshot he got some counselling and it didn't help, this guy was on a path to destruction and I don't care how cute he is, I don't feel any pity for him.

a thing of evil
21-03-18, 05:54 PM
Who Are You

Positive: Willow's and Tara's quote unquote ritual is one of the best sex scenes in this show. And, officially, they're not even banging!

Negative: The problem with this episode and the previous one is that there's no payoff. Faith comes back, is an absolute piece of trash (bullying people who stammer?! Are you twelve?) and runs away and that's it. It goes nowhere. Well, unless you watch another TV show to see the conclusion to this story. It's bullshit.

HardlyThere
21-03-18, 06:12 PM
Who Are You

Positive: Willow's and Tara's quote unquote ritual is one of the best sex scenes in this show. And, officially, they're not even banging!

Negative: The problem with this episode and the previous one is that there's no payoff. Faith comes back, is an absolute piece of trash (bullying people who stammer?! Are you twelve?) and runs away and that's it. It goes nowhere. Well, unless you watch another TV show to see the conclusion to this story. It's bullshit.

There's very little payoff on Angel, either, IMO.

ghoststar
21-03-18, 06:13 PM
Double feature! I didn't update the list last night, so today I'm discussing two episodes.

"Something Blue"

A cute filler episode, extremely rewatchable.

Positive: Spike and Buffy's makeout scenes are hilarious on the grounds that they are the most ridiculous "couple" in the history of couples. They're possibly even more hilarious when you realize that the most ridiculous of couples in the history of couples will BECOME A COUPLE FOR REAL two years later.

Negative: There isn't a whole lot to dislike about this episode. It doesn't move the plot forward much, but, given the 22-episode seasons, it doesn't really need to. D'Hoffryn appears and talks about vengeance demons, which is somewhat annoying, since vengeance demons' level of power always bugs me-- no way they wouldn't show up more, if they were that eager and capable.

"Hush"

High-concept and highly acclaimed, yet not high on my list of person favorites. It's good, it's just not my cup of tea.

Positive: Every time someone's mind goes to a dirty place over an ambiguous gesture when the context renders a sexual interpretation ludicrous, I crack up. They're such fangirls already, and they don't even know it. Bonus: Anya's expression when watching the movie is everything.

Negative: I appear to be the only person in the entire fandom who doesn't think the Gentlemen make great villains. Their appearance is silly (why would ancient demons have steel teeth? Why would they be dressed as Victorians?), I wouldn't mind that much if everyone shut up for a few days, and they have no apparent individual personalities to make them worth analyzing. They're great as a plot device, and that's about it.

a thing of evil
22-03-18, 01:43 AM
Superstar

Positive: The scene where Adam watches television is very interesting. It's, like, an occult-tinged take on the concepts of spectacle, simulacra, hyperreality and the like. These are lies. None of this is real, says Adam and turns off the screens. It's a potent moment, especially now.

Negative: What is the point of this episode? How does it even fit into the themes and the arcs of the season? What do we learn about the core characters here? And most importantly why does Buffy own a leopard print coat and a leopard print jacket?

Sosa lola
22-03-18, 02:58 PM
Day 15 - This Year's Girl

Positive - I loved seeing Joyce again! Also Willow's clear dislike of Faith was so funny to watch.

Negative - I'm still bitter that Xander's scene with Faith in Consequences is completely forgotten. The put a lot of effort into showing us how much Willow disliked Faith, but nothing on the Xander front except his one time with Faith in The Zeppo! What about Consequences???

Day 16 - Who Are You

Positive: SMG did a fine job playing Faith. My favorite scene was Faith imagining she'd murder Willow. Also, "Damn it, man! We have to get inside! Our, uh, uh, families are-are in there! Our, uh, m-mothers and-and tiny, tiny babies!"

Negative: The Scoobies seriously couldn't tell Buffy wasn't Buffy??


Day 17 - Superstar

Positive: The credits! That was fun!

Negative: Johnathan taking advantage of a couple of women under his spell.

ghoststar
22-03-18, 07:15 PM
"Doomed"

A so-so episode. I don't feel an urge to skip it during rewatches, but neither is it on my pick-me-up list.

Positive: Buffy and Riley's fry-cook argument. Why are they even bothering with the pretense? The jig is up in Sunnydale! And I like that Riley recognizes that she's afraid to move forward because she's been burned. It's rare for the other characters to acknowledge, unless it's pushed in their faces, how much worse Buffy's breakup with Angel was than your average breakup, or even that the Slayer probably has disturbing memories that other people don't know about. Score one for the psych major, I guess.

Negative: I feel like Spike's fall into ineptitude and humiliation goes a little too far. Spike may not be much of a planner, but he probably knows how to do laundry-- look at how well he and Dru managed with very few wardrobe changes in season 2. He should also be able to handle basic household repairs, given what he manages to accomplish with his crypt later in the season.

Priceless
22-03-18, 08:06 PM
Day 18 - Where The Wild Things Are

Positive: I think I'm one of the few people who actually enjoys this episode. Some of the happenings in the house are legitimately creepy. Spike and Anya are fun commiserating together. The highlight of the episode has to be everyone crushing on Giles playing his guitar :crush:

Negative: Anya worrying about not having sex just seems ridiculous. The orgasm wall is . . . well I don't think there's an actual word for how awful it is

Sosa lola
22-03-18, 09:17 PM
Day 18 - Where The Wild Things Are

Positive: OMG! I adore this episode for all the moments @Priceless mentioned! Also, Xander being the only one brave enough to try to go in and save Buffy and Riley all on his own, such an underrated moment!

Negative: I really dislike how Anya is retconned. I prefer the confident, wordly woman of S3 far more. I wish the writers didn't dumb her down so much and make her so dependent on Xander. This is a 1000 year old vengeance demon who hated men's guts for God's sake.

a thing of evil
23-03-18, 01:04 AM
Where The Wild Things Are

Positive: So this episode often lands on various worst BtVS episodes lists and I don't think that's fair. While the main plot is fairly weak, not to mention bizarre, "Where The Wild Things Are" is actually very watchable, full of truly great scenes filled with humor, horror and fantastic character moments. Anyway, one thing I love about it is Anya. This is a stealthy Anya-centric episode and she's awesome here, bickering with Xander, waxing nostalgic with Spike and outright saving the day. She is such a badass during that final showdown. Spirit throws her down from the first floor, she gets up, evil vine punctures her hand, she pulls it out. By the way, Andrew was right. Anya really is the perfect woman. And Shut up, repressed crybabies! is easily top ten Anya line.

Negative: Plot aside, there's just not enough Buffy.

vampmogs
23-03-18, 09:57 AM
Where the Wild Things Are

Positives: I'm glad others like this episode so much as I also consider it to be underrated. I love the scene of Buffy and Riley getting all hot and bothered together as they slay the vamp & demon tag team, the actress who plays the creepy old lady is great, Xander and eventually Anya are both very impressive in this episode, and the haunting scenes are really well done.

Negatives: Too little Buffy, even if it's because SMG was unavailable for most of this episode. It's also an episode where the characters are having sex under some pretty dubious consent. "I had no control over myself at all" is ambiguous.

Priceless
23-03-18, 01:54 PM
Day 19 - New Moon Rising

Positive: Another great S4 ep (this season is so much better when you stop thinking about Riley/Adam/The Initiative). It's great to see Oz and have him be the catalyst that encourages Willow to come out, at least to Buffy (it's funny that she doesn't tell Xander and he only realises later - wonder if they ever do have a deep best-friendy talk about it ever?). The ending is so sweet and romantic too :heart:

Negative: Giles getting mad at Anya for not taking him seriously 'I really don't appreciate your snide remarks. I have a great deal of experience in these matters and if I say there is a matter of some import brewing . . . ' yet when Buffy comes to him with her fears/intuitions he often takes little or no notice of her and brushes her off. He can give it but he can't take it. Boo Giles :down:

Sosa lola
23-03-18, 02:33 PM
Day 19 - New Moon Rising

Positive: The Willow coming out scene with Buffy was excellently acted. I also liked the tender Xander/Anya moment in the background during the Scooby meeting in the beginning of the episode.

Negative: I didn't like Buffy calling Riley a bigot for expressing a very plausible concern IMO. I didn't like he phrased it as "that kind of girl" which I feel is what tipped Buffy off. Anyway, Riley proves he is capable of changing his way of thinking when he saved Oz.

vampmogs
23-03-18, 03:03 PM
New Moon Rising:

Positives: SUCH an underrated episode. I absolutely love this one :heart: This is the only episode I really identify with the Willow/Tara relationship because I feel so terrible for Tara when Oz shows up at Giles' apartment and everybody is acknowledging how awkward this is for Willow, and for Oz, but nobody pays any attention to Tara because they've been kept in the dark about the truth of their relationship and see Tara as just a friend. I've been there, on both sides, and it breaks my heart that she had to cope with this alone. It's really painful to have a serious and intimate relationship with someone but due to secrecy it's like you don't even exist to their loved ones. You're just their "friend" or their "roommate" etc

My favourite scene/s are the goodbye scene between Willow/Oz and then Willow showing up at Tara's apartment afterwards. Firstly, the Willow/Oz scene is so underrated in fandom and it's so well-acted and moving and just perfectly written. I rewatch that scene over and over again. And then the Willow/Tara scene is so sweet and romantic and I love the episode ending on Tara softly blowing out the candle. I resent that they weren't allowed to show a gay kiss at this stage in the show but I do actually prefer the way this episode ended than if Willow/Tara had been allowed your standard TV kiss.

I also always love bitchy Buffy and her dig at Riley -- "Perfect. Then you can have your perfectly balanced breakfast and then you can call your mother" -- never fails to crack me up :lol:

Negatives: I'm not a fan of how Oz transformed in the daylight and that The Initiative tied it to negative stimulation. I wish they hadn't played around with the werewolf mythology like that. Also, Riley was such an ass for saying Willow was "that kind of girl" for dating Oz and condescendingly commenting on her intelligence. Obviously Buffy was over-identifying because it pushed her Angel buttons (and I do think she was also offended on behalf of both Willow AND Oz as well) but I don't really blame her being irritated by Riley's naive black & white view of the world.

Stoney
24-03-18, 02:20 AM
Some serious catching up to do here...

Day 16 - Who Are You

Positive - This episode is just so incredibly good. SMG plays Faith so perfectly I really do feel like I am watching Faith and so all the ways in which she is trying to 'be' Buffy just genuinely draws me in. It's fascinating character exploration.

Negative - Riley's violation is not given the acknowledgement it should have been.


Day 17 - Superstar

Positive - Since Inca Mummy Girl we've been seeing Jonathan's low position on the social hierarchy, him wishing for acceptance, how he's mocked and maligned and then headed into meltdown because of his lack of significance in Earshot. He is a great case of how deeply affected some people can be from their high school experiences and how the issues can drag on into adulthood. He's a tragic character and his insecurities and selfish focus drive him on into more negative and destructive decisions. His lack of importance now has him opt for an easy fix that forces a false reality on everyone around him to invent an importance he doesn't have and didn't earn, wanting to become the best of everything. I adore Jonathan's appearances across the show and the coherency in his arc.

Negative - As frustrating as it is that Riley's side of what happened with Faith is ignored, I'm actually behind how Buffy faces her own difficulties with it in this episode. But then they have the awful corny schmaltz in response to when she knew it was only her that Riley wanted with the line 'since you put your arms around me'. Nauseating.


Day 18 - Where the Wild Things Are

Positive - There are actually lots of things to like about this episode. I'm going to go for the scene between Spike/Xander/Anya, the comic delivery is just spot on.

Negative - I hate the Buffy/Riley sex in this episode. It so lacks passion and connection that it comes over as forced and awkward to me.


Day 19 - New Moon Rising

Positive - It has been a long time since I watched this episode but I think Buffy showed good friendship support to Willow during the ep, both for Oz's return and for Willow's reveal of her relationship with Tara. Her surprise and awkwardness in processing then quickly adjusts when she realises she is actually making Willow feel uncomfortable. It's a really well managed scene where the strength of their friendship shines.

Negative - I love Oz but it doesn't feel like the weight of what he did which prompted him to leave is there affecting how easily he tries to walk back in.

vampmogs
24-03-18, 08:06 AM
The Yoko Factor:

Positives: There's a lot of fun to be had with the Buffy/Angel/Riley love triangle. Firstly, the Angel/Riley fight scene is really epic and as big of a defender of Riley as I am, it is so much fun seeing Angel kick his ass in the end. But I also love how both Angel and Riley deliberately let the other get the wrong idea about each other's intentions. Riley does not go out of his way to inform Angel that the "welcoming party" of Initiative soldiers was not his idea (and I pity the hapless Ninja Nancy Boys that tried to jump Angelus) and Angel does nothing to dissuade Riley that he and Buffy didn't sleep together. It's so brilliantly childish and stubborn. I also wonder how much of Angel's dislike of Riley stems from not only the fact that he's Buffy's new boyfriend but that he knows Riley slept with Faith? Does he know that Faith was in Buffy's body at the time or does he think that Riley was just unfaithful? The confrontation at Buffy's dorm room is also brilliant and I love DB's comedic timing. Not only is it really funny how Riley refuses to leave the room which prompts Buffy to take Angel outside (ouch :p) but Angel's smug smirk as he walks past Riley makes me laugh out of loud every. single. damn. time. But poor Riley as that must've been humiliating :comfort:

The Buffy/Angel scene in the corridor is also a particular favourite of mine. It's a nice touching moment and I feel they both had things to apologise for. I also love Angel telling Buffy that he doesn't like Riley and Buffy's, IMO, very sincere but amused "thank you." Both actors are great in that scene.

I also really enjoy this episode as it's pretty much the only occasion where there's a big Scooby fallout and it's not Buffy VS Her Friends. I'm over that shit. It feels like bullying. It's a relief to see the gang all attacking each other and it feels far different. There are some wickedly funny lines in this scene and drunken Giles gets most of them. My particular favourite exchange is;

BUFFY
What do you mean "wrong?"
WILLOW
Well things certainly haven't been right since Tara. Lets face it you can't handle Tara being my girlfriend
XANDER
No it started before that! When you went off to college and forgot about me! Left me to -- Tara's your girlfriend!?
GILES
(From Upstairs)
Bloody hell!

:lol::lol::lol::lol:

It never fails to crack me up.

But it's also a nice payoff for what's been building throughout the season. The gang was clearly feeling estranged from each other and it was only so long before tensions would come to a head.

Honourable Mentions: Giles shrieking when Spike interrupts him singing, Buffy threatening to show Forrest what Slayer is strength is like, and that damn psychotic expression on Adam's face when he skewers Forrest.

Negatives: There's a lot to love about the Buffy/Angel/Riley triangle but I do think Riley is being unfair in this episode. So Buffy slept with her boyfriend whilst in a relationship with him for 3 years? And? Did he expect anything else? He was being unfairly mistrusting of Buffy from the moment she got back when he had absolutely no reason to think she'd be unfaithful to him. See, I think this is setting the stage for a lot of the problems they'll have in S5 and I think what this really has to do with is that Riley just gave up his entire career for Buffy (and is literally a fugitive) and he immediately has doubts that she can offer him the same kind of commitment and sacrifice back. Riley becomes a deserter and Buffy... quickly leaves to LA to protect Angel from Faith. I'm not blaming Buffy but, eh, I can kind of see why Riley is going stir crazy sitting in the ruins of Sunnydale High thinking about it all day. It foreshadows a lot of the problems they'll have next season where Riley has given up his mission to be "the mission's boyfriend. The mission's true love" and yet Buffy has other commitments besides Riley and can't give him her entire attention the way he understandably but also unfairly craves. I bet Riley is really uncertain if he did the right thing here and by Buffy running off to check on her ex straight after he gave up his whole career and possibly freedom for her, it makes sense to me that he goes a little paranoid and nuts.

It also bothers me that as part of his act to trick Giles Spike pretends to "pant" as if he's been running from the soldiers. Um, Spike, you're a vampire, you don't breathe. It's just an annoying goof by the writers.

And shut up Forrest you whiny, immature, jealous, misogynistic douchebag. You were a big fan of Buffy's when you just thought she was a hot blonde and not someone who could kick your ass and "steal" Riley from his bros. I always wish Adam hadn't interrupted quite so early so Buffy could have knocked Forrest out.

a thing of evil
24-03-18, 03:22 PM
New Moon Rising

Positive: While there's no shortage of great scenes in this episode, I think that the one where Willow comes out to Buffy is the best of them. It's true to life (at least that's how it feels to me, personally I've never been in a situation like that) and incredibly well executed. Also, Buffy's reaction is very interesting. I don't think she's freaked because of the gay thing, Buffy's not that kind of person. I think that Buffy is, in a way, jealous (what with her being so green in that scene) and not in a sexy sense. I think that Buffy's reaction stems from her fears, as seen in "Fear Itself". There's suddenly a new person in Willow's life and she might just take Willow away from her. Hence the minor freak out. I think that Buffy's just about crazy enough to process it like that.

Negative: Buffy, you're not Willow. You've never dated a werewolf. Your relationship with Angel was nothing like what Willow and Oz had. I know that Riley's spewing bullshit but still, over-identify much?

ghoststar
24-03-18, 05:38 PM
"A New Man"

A solid episode. Not one of my favorites, but well-executed.

Positive: Spike speaks Fyarl? Combined with all the other demons that he has knowledge of, I've arrived at the (to me, at least) amusing conclusion that you can take the vampire out of the glasses, but you can't take the glasses out of the vampire.

Negative: It's a very open-ended last episode for Ethan Rayne. I imagine that the situation at the Initiative was well-suited to an escape by a powerful servant of the god of chaos, but we never see him again, so who knows?

Priceless
24-03-18, 08:40 PM
Day 20 - The Yoko Factor

Positive: Spike is so good in this episode. I like that everyone falls for his manipulations. He and Giles are so good together but my favourite scene is Spike/Xander/Anya. Does Xander honestly believe Buffy and Willow have been discussing him joining the army? :D

Negative: Forrest and his misogynistic nonsense. He blames Buffy for everything, refuses to listen to her or accept her help and gets himself 'killed'. Also hate the pissing contest between Riley and Angel, and the way they film Riley makes him seen like he's lost his mind.

a thing of evil
25-03-18, 03:06 AM
The Yoko Factor

Positive: Willow playing with Tara's pussy. She's absolutely adorable, just like in my anime, cute girls doing cute things.

Negative: I am so done with Xander's insecurities. He's been spewing the same waah, I'm useless! nonsense since season one, it wasn't true then, it certainly isn't true now, I mean, he saved Buffy's life, like, two episodes ago, what is his childhood trauma? Obtain some character development, Xander.

vampmogs
25-03-18, 03:52 AM
Primeval:

Positives: The morning after scene where Willow and Tara go to Giles' apartment is really well done. It's really well done in a depressing sort of the way, but great nevertheless. I think it's probably the closest I've ever felt that the Scoobies were about to split up permanently. The awkwardness between Giles and Willow, the way Willow brings Tara, and outsider, for emotional support, the strained goodbyes, it's all very "So, we're not seeing each other again anytime soon", and it feels terribly real.

Buffy and Willow's discussion in the elevator shaft is also very cute and the moment that they hug Xander is pretty adorable. It is played very cutesy, in a way that usually emotional or poignant moments in Buffy aren't, but I think that's because the Scooby fallout was actually kind of silly? There was no great betrayal, nobody turned evil, nobody died, they just had a falling out as friends do.

I also love the moment Buffy stands up to the general ("I'm the Slayer. You are playing on my turf") and Willow's grin of pride and satisfaction as she stands behind her.

The action sequences and stunt work are also very, very good. They're really never this good again as after S4 the stunt team changes and we get very minimal action in Restless. But they certainly went out with a bang here and the Buffy vs Forrest and Riley vs Forrest scenes are particularly well done. The shot of Uber!Buffy turning Adam's rocket into doves is also very, very nice and still holds up remarkably well today. This show is filled with some pretty awful special effects so it always stuns me how beautiful that shot is and how remarkably good it still looks.

Negatives: So, where S4 obviously fails is that the seasonal plot is just not emotionally compelling whatsoever. And I think Primeval is basically the writers conceding defeat as it is the only season where the Big Bad is defeated in the episode before the finale. They knew that had S4 ended with this episode, that it would have been emotionally unfulfilling and pretty unsatisfying overall. I am a big defender of The Initiative and, even Adam, to an extent, but as far as Big Bad plots go this episode is full of pretty tedious exposition scenes and a pretty forgettable master plan. The scenes of Adam revealing his master plan to Riley are just a bore.

The writers also admit in the episode commentary that they backed themselves into a corner in the last episode with Spike's plot to breakup the gang. They hadn't thought about it until after they had already written and shot the episode that, hey, if the gang is all broken up, then how does the gang help Buffy get down into the Initiative? So they admit to pretty much throwing Spike under the bus and depict him as being stupid and shortsighted when it was actually the writers who were being stupid and shortsighted.

My last quibble is that I always find it really unsatisfying that after all of Forrest's sexist bullshit towards Buffy throughout S4 that when they finally do come to blows he's been 'powered up' and is actually, kinda, winning the fight against her. And then Riley intervenes and ends up being the one to kill Forrest. Now, Forrest has been a thorn in Riley's side for much of S4 as well so I appreciate that it was appropriate that he was the one to kill him but as a viewer it bugs me that there's no satisfaction to be had out of Buffy fighting him.

Sosa lola
25-03-18, 02:26 PM
Day 20 - The Yoko Factor

Positive: Spike was amazing! And I adore the fight between the Scoobies in the end.

Negative: I thought it was petty of Angel to fight Riley.



Negative: I am so done with Xander's insecurities. He's been spewing the same waah, I'm useless! nonsense since season one, it wasn't true then, it certainly isn't true now, I mean, he saved Buffy's life, like, two episodes ago, what is his childhood trauma? Obtain some character development, Xander.

I'm so over it as well, but I wouldn't say it was there since S1. It became Xander's thing since The Zeppo. S2 Xander was incredibly useful and he knew it. :heart: I miss that Xander.



Day 21 - Primeval

Positive: Spike asking the Scoobies if saving them meant they'd "forgive" his betrayal, and then Giles and Willow look at XANDER, as if Xander is the one to decide, and Xander shrugs and lets Spike be. How Spandericious is that!!!

Negative: There should have been a scene where Giles frees Ethan! Where is Ethan???

vampmogs
25-03-18, 02:42 PM
Negative: There should have been a scene where Giles frees Ethan! Where is Ethan???

Ethan wasn't actually held captive at the Initiative. As stated in A New Man "They'll, uh, take Mr. Rayne to a secret detention facility in the Nevada desert. I'm *sure* he'll be rehabilitated in no time."

Silver1
25-03-18, 06:23 PM
But he ended up in an Initiative cell when we last saw him in the dreaded season 8 comic though?

I will always hate Whedon for offing him that way. Such a waste.

Priceless
25-03-18, 09:46 PM
Day 21 - Primeval

Positive: I like the Xander/Anya scene, it's so sweet and I like depressed Xander. Spike is good fun, the adorable idiot.

Negative: Even dead, Forrest is nasty. Such a shame Maggie Walsh ended up being a walking corpse, she would have been a great big bad.

vampmogs
26-03-18, 11:04 AM
But he ended up in an Initiative cell when we last saw him in the dreaded season 8 comic though?

I will always hate Whedon for offing him that way. Such a waste.

That wasn't The Initiative that was just a government facility. The Initiative was permanently shut down in S4.

Silver1
26-03-18, 11:11 AM
How do we really know that? This is the government after all *g*

They said they were going to get rid of the secret complex at the end of season 4 and fill it in, '"burn It down and salt the earth" and yet It we still there in season 7.

Stoney
26-03-18, 11:38 AM
Day 20 - The Yoko Factor

Positive - I think it was important in Spike's transition that they had a period of time when he stayed somewhat separate to the scoobies and conspired against them and made moves to get the chip removed. The importance of image/reputation to his character continuity and Adam successfully pushing his buttons over this makes his overall arc work so much better for including moments like this.

Negative - I actually feel sorry for Riley in his insecurity over Buffy (and being in those clown trousers!), but assuming Buffy has run off and betrayed him like he does is insulting.


Day 21 - Primeval

Positive - I love the whole final battle with Adam/Buffy. The verbal back and forth too ('Broke your arm' - 'Got another') and then his interest in what she is doing turning to just confusion over what is happening. After The Yoko Factor looks somewhat at using predicability by exposing people's insecurities, a clinical assessment applied which is very fitting to Adam's approach to pulling things apart to 'learn' about them, this provides a great contrast that is really great continuity of the strengths Buffy fights with. She is strengthened by the group back together and her unpredictability gives her the edge in the fight. I love it.

Negative - The easy dismissal/conclusion for this hugely expensive underground facility. As much as I adore the final line, "Burn it down, gentlemen. Burn it down, and salt the Earth." it's hard to believe that they are intending to not salvage anything and will just abandon it all as much as they imply/state in order to just draw a line under the season. Plus, as seen in S7, they clearly didn't fill it with concrete as stated and so it having sat abandoned for so long is also dubious.


Day 22 - Restless

Positive - I didn't 'get' this episode the first time I saw it and was pretty negative towards it I'm afraid. I think it was because it felt like a really unsatisfactory ending to the season for me, an episode that doesn't really relate back but is more about what is to come. I still don't like it as a season ender much tbh, but as I got into discussing/analysing the series more here I started to appreciate the quality of the writing/foreshadowing of the ep regardless. But as saying 'the writing/foreshadowing' as my positive would almost be like saying 'the entire episode for each and every character involved', I'm going to single out (probably as no great surprise) that I adore Spike's inclusions. I love that even though he doesn't have his own dream his appearances in others' gives really great character points for him that work in hindsight too. I mean there's just so much damn meaning woven through this ep. So from playing watcher on the swings which can be linked not only to Tabula Rasa with the suit and references to being Giles' son and an 'on land' shark, but arguably S6/7 too and Spike's increasing role in Buffy's life at the same time as Giles steps back. Then there's Giles' dream placing Spike in a black & white world with a traditional sinister vamp as entertainment note to it, a sideshow freak Buffy should have killed which works with his refusal to accept him in S7 and also Spike's sacrificial pose can be seen to nod to S7 too. :biggrin1:

Negative - It has to just be that it takes the last episode slot in the season. Off the top of my head I've got nothing else.

a thing of evil
26-03-18, 12:27 PM
Primeval

Positive: If we're talking pure action movie-ness, this is the best finale. My personal favorite moment, however, is the gourd exchange. It's a gourd, says Willow, magic gourd, adds Giles. The delivery, the ridiculousness of the fruit itself - it's hilarious!

Negative: Adam tells Forrest to kill Buffy and then, instead of watching the battle, walks away to watch the battle? This is such a bad guy cliche and in a show that generally deconstructs/lampshades stuff like that it sticks out like a sore thumb.

ghoststar
26-03-18, 05:29 PM
"The I in Team"

What can I say? This episode fails abysmally at everything it was supposed to achieve. It should've been a dramatic turning point along the lines of "Innocence" or "Consequences" (not one of my favorites, but at least effective in shaking up the game). Instead, the crisis "revealed" here falls squarely into the category of "No kidding."

Positive: Lindsay Crouse makes an effectively creepy manager, sort of like a less moral Mayor to Riley's Faith. For a couple of minutes there, it looks like her quasi-Oedipal relationship with Riley might go somewhere interesting...

Negative: ... But then she gets unceremoniously stabbed to death by the blandest of Big Bads at the end of the episode. How would Riley have dealt with the emotional consequences of fighting Maggie, rather than Adam and a bunch of stuffed suits? Does he ever learn that she's spying on him in his bedroom? Were Maggie and Giles headed toward an epic psychology-vs.-spirituality showdown? WE'LL NEVER KNOW.

Priceless
26-03-18, 09:37 PM
Day 22 - Restless

Positive: So much going on here, but my favourite section is Xander's because for me it's the most emotionally resonant, with everything he does leading him back to the basement and his scary af father. I especially love the scene between him and Armin Shimerman, playing Snyder playing Brando playing Kurtz, for which he is absolutely brilliant.

Negative: Why was a mouse playing with Joyce's knee?

a thing of evil
26-03-18, 09:50 PM
Restless

Positive: I love how this episode looks! It's full of visually appealing, vivid, beautifully shot scenes - Willow painting on Tara, Buffy in the desert, Spike and Giles on the swing and so on - costumes, sets, cinematography, it's all great!

Negative: It's boring.

TimeTravellingBunny
26-03-18, 11:06 PM
I've missed so many episodes that I don't feel like doing all of them now, especially since most positives and negatives have been covered. (Except for The Initiative, which sucks, and I could list more negatives for it. And Something Blue, where I could list more positives.) So I'll just go with Restless.

Restless

Positives: I could list them all day! This is one of the show's greatest episodes (and it fits that it's a season finale looking forward, since season 4 is a transitional season, and the main season 4 plot was so mediocre that the writers wisely decided to resolve it in the penultimate episode). I won't, though, since other people should get to list positives as well. First off, I love this episode because it, instead of the plot, it focuses on characters and uses the format to explore the characters in an unusual way, and even though it has a mini plot with the First Slayer that invades all of their dream, it's still a more realistic depiction of dreams than the dream scenes in most movies and show - which, of course, makes it look all the more surreal, since dreams are surreal and full of random things and things from reality appearing in weird contexts, mixed with some genuine expressions of deep subconscious thoughts. For instance, Xander falling asleep while trying to watch Apocalypse Now and then dreaming of watching Apocalypse Now which is nothing like the actual movie Apocalypse Now, is something that strikes me as exactly the kind of thing that happens in dreams. Willow dreaming of a performance of Death of the Salesman which is nothing like the actual play is another example. (Dream scenes in movies and shows are often too structured and sense-making and not nearly as surreal and random as real dreams are.)

While there's a lot of foreshadowing, my favorite parts are the scenes revealing the emotional core of the characters. Xander's dream has already been mentioned - with the heartbreaking moments with Xander's parents in the basement and the darkly funny Snyder-as-Kurtz scene - but I find the climax of Willow's dream, with her being "exposed" in the classroom ("Your costume is perfect. No one is going to know the truth about you") the most emotionally effective, in all its simplicity (even though I find the rest of Willow's dream less interesting and well written than the rest of the dreams). In a way it should not be a big revelation or anything, but it works since it comes at the end of the season in which Willow had so much development and changed from her high school persona and gained more confidence and power - and it foreshadows the end of season 6 really well.

Another favorite part is Buffy's conversation with Adam (more foreshadowing) - and the fact that this episode made Adam more interesting and better utilized (in his human form, no less) than the entirety of the season 4 up to this episode.

Negative: While I also love Buffy's scene with the First Slayer (my Tumblr icon comes from it!), Buffy criticizing the First Slayer's hair felt out of place.

Sosa lola
27-03-18, 01:30 PM
Day 22 - Restless

Positive: My favorite episode, ever, ever! As a Xander fan, I learned more about the character from this episode than all the previous episodes and seasons combined! And from that, I also learned that Xander is a character who doesn't share with his friends. Remember how we learnt the he camps outside on Christmas from Cordelia, and Willow knew nothing about it! Wow. I also feel that if I ever wanna get to know Xander, Willow and Giles, I could just visit this episode and learn all I needed to know about them.

Negatives: I didn't really enjoy Buffy's dream. I don't know why. I feel there was more information and emotion in Willow, Xander and Giles' dreams than Buffy's.

vampmogs
27-03-18, 02:21 PM
Restless:

Positives: "I walk. I talk. I shop, I sneeze, I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There's trees in the desert since you moved out, and I don't sleep on a bed of bones. Now give me back my friends" :heart::heart:

The entire episode is superb but Buffy's dream is definitely my favourite. I love the reference to Buffy/Faith's dream in Graduation Day II and the countdown to Buffy's death ("Oh no that times all wrong"), the reference to Faith's dream in This Years Girl which is all kinds of intriguing as it suggests that Buffy and Faith are in fact psychically linked ("Faith and I just made that bed"), the foreshadowing to Dawn ("Get back before Dawn"), Riley turning on Buffy because she chose to pursue her primordial slayerness over her friends ("I thought you were looking for your friends. Fine killer, if that's the way you want it"), and the revelation that in order to explore her Slayerness Buffy may have to turn elsewhere from her friends ("I'm never going to find them here" "Of course not. That's why you came"). All of the dreams are so nuanced and great but aside from Buffy being my favourite character, I just find her's the most interesting thematically and for how it sets up for S5.

Honourable mentions: The misdirect that Willow fears people will find out she's gay only to realise that, to Willow, that's nothing in comparison to finding out she's still a nerd. And her Welcome to the Hellmouth costume! Xander's fears that all roads keep leading back to his parent's basement and how he instantly bows his head in shame when the silhouette of his father is cast down over him. Giles telling Buffy that she "has to stop thinking. Let it wash over you" as "this is how men and women have behaved since the beginning, before time" and Buffy tells him that his misogynistic teachings (aka The Councils) are "old fashioned." And all the nice little touches that make this episode feel like an actual dream such as my favourite, when Anya is inexplicably sleeping in Willow's bed in Buffy and Willow's dorm room.

Negatives: This episode is a fascinating character study and a perfect bridge between S1-S3 and S5-S7, but I can understand why people would feel it is underwhelming as a series finale. And this really isn't a negative of the episode itself but, for me personally, I always get a little depressed watching this episode as in many ways it's a goodbye to the series as we've known it. S5 changes the series in a lot of fundamental ways and it feels like this was one last look back.

ghoststar
29-03-18, 07:45 PM
Running a little behind here, but let's go! I find the middle of this season to be a dry spell, so, unfortunately, I don't have a lot of good things to say.

"Goodbye, Iowa"

Positive: Riley's withdrawal feels realistic to me. I like that they pick hitting Willow as the one thing that would show us that he's really lost his marbles and that he would be embarrassed by later. He's more apologetic about that than he is about having joined an evil government agency, which IMO is very Riley Finn.

Negative: YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN ONE OF YOUR BEST FRIENDS' CRAPPY BASEMENT YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN ONE OF YOUR BEST FRIENDS' CRAPPY BASEMENT YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN ONE OF YOUR BEST FRIENDS' CRAPPY BASEMENT. Seriously, this was the 99-00 season. Has no one in Sunnydale heard the word "Waco"?

"This Year's Girl"

Positive: I like the opening scene between Faith and the Mayor. I know I sometimes grumble about Faith, and I do feel that making her completely psychotic rather than "just" emotionally unstable is a retcon, but these two always have excellent chemistry. Her feeling that the Mayor is more harmless than she thought he was in S3 (when she was aware of his plans to kill Buffy's graduating class, and ultimately gave Buffy the clue she needed to defeat him) makes sense in the context of a dream sequence.

Negative: It doesn't make much sense anywhere else. Also, YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE ON YOUR COLLEGE CAMPUS YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE ON YOUR COLLEGE CAMPUS YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE ON YOUR COLLEGE CAMPUS.

"Who Are You"

Positive: Gellar and Dushku do great work selling the body swap, and Faith-as-Buffy's scene with Spike is hilarious, mostly because he looks like he would totally go for it.

Negative: Why hasn't Riley's religion ever been mentioned as an issue with all the witchcraft and fornication that he's invovled in? Also, YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN YOUR MOM'S HOUSE YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN YOUR MOM'S HOUSE YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN YOUR MOM'S HOUSE.

TimeTravellingBunny
29-03-18, 07:52 PM
Running a little behind here, but let's go! I find the middle of this season to be a dry spell, so, unfortunately, I don't have a lot of good things to say.

"Goodbye, Iowa"

Positive: Riley's withdrawal feels realistic to me. I like that they pick hitting Willow as the one thing that would show us that he's really lost his marbles and that he would be embarrassed by later. He's more apologetic about that than he is about having joined an evil government agency, which IMO is very Riley Finn.

Negative: YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN ONE OF YOUR BEST FRIENDS' CRAPPY BASEMENT YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN ONE OF YOUR BEST FRIENDS' CRAPPY BASEMENT YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN ONE OF YOUR BEST FRIENDS' CRAPPY BASEMENT. Seriously, this was the 99-00 season. Has no one in Sunnydale heard the word "Waco"?

"This Year's Girl"

Positive: I like the opening scene between Faith and the Mayor. I know I sometimes grumble about Faith, and I do feel that making her completely psychotic rather than "just" emotionally unstable is a retcon, but these two always have excellent chemistry. Her feeling that the Mayor is more harmless than she thought he was in S3 (when she was aware of his plans to kill Buffy's graduating class, and ultimately gave Buffy the clue she needed to defeat him) makes sense in the context of a dream sequence.

Negative: It doesn't make much sense anywhere else. Also, YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE ON YOUR COLLEGE CAMPUS YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE ON YOUR COLLEGE CAMPUS YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE ON YOUR COLLEGE CAMPUS.

"Who Are You"

Positive: Gellar and Dushku do great work selling the body swap, and Faith-as-Buffy's scene with Spike is hilarious, mostly because he looks like he would totally go for it.

Negative: Why hasn't Riley's religion ever been mentioned as an issue with all the witchcraft and fornication that he's invovled in? Also, YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN YOUR MOM'S HOUSE YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN YOUR MOM'S HOUSE YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM THE DEEP STATE IN YOUR MOM'S HOUSE.

What does Deep State have to do with what's going on in these episodes? :confused:

ghoststar
29-03-18, 08:42 PM
The Initiative is a renegade secret agency fulfilling its directors’ agenda without regard to its lawful mandate. (And its mandate may itself be unconstitutional.) That catches up to it toward the end of the season, but at this point, it’s completely out of control, and its demonic cyborg creation is engaged in an insurrection.

Skippcomet
29-03-18, 10:09 PM
The Initiative is a renegade secret agency fulfilling its directors’ agenda without regard to its lawful mandate. (And its mandate may itself be unconstitutional.) That catches up to it toward the end of the season, but at this point, it’s completely out of control, and its demonic cyborg creation is engaged in an insurrection.

Respectfully, I think you're applying too much conspiracy theory to the Initiative and how the writers were using it, which was mainly "institution combining military and science that creates its own monster and serves as foil to Buffy&theScoobies' non-patriarchial non-rigid non-scientific way of doing things."

ghoststar
30-03-18, 10:52 PM
”Superstar”

... Do I hafta? Okay, the instructions were clear, so I’ll try.

Positive: Umm... eh... Buffy’s hair was above-average for this season? Oh, wait, I have one— Xander’s man-crush on Jonathan is pretty funny.

Negative: The fridge logic is overwhelming here. It isn’t even fridge logic, it’s sitting-right-in-your-chair-watching-it logic. If anyone can pull off a spell this powerful, then basically all Willow’s practice has been a waste of time. Why hasn’t Jonathan’s appearance changed, if he’s a model? Is no one at the Initiative even a little interested in what the Slayer’s up to now?

TimeTravellingBunny
30-03-18, 11:04 PM
”Superstar”

... Do I hafta? Okay, the instructions were clear, so I’ll try.

Positive: Umm... eh... Buffy’s hair was above-average for this season? Oh, wait, I have one— Xander’s man-crush on Jonathan is pretty funny.

Negative: The fridge logic is overwhelming here. It isn’t even fridge logic, it’s sitting-right-in-your-chair-watching-it logic. If anyone can pull off a spell this powerful, then basically all Willow’s practice has been a waste of time. Why hasn’t Jonathan’s appearance changed, if he’s a model? Is no one at the Initiative even a little interested in what the Slayer’s up to now?

Why would his appearance change? It's his spell, his fantasy, and under the premise that it can make people think/feel anything he wants about him (which, yes, I agree, is inconsistent - he can't be that powerful), why would he want people to see him differently than he is? Wouldn't you prefer that people adore you and find you gorgeous while you look just as you do? If he wants to be a model, he can be a model while looking like Jonathan.

It's like those characters like Bella Swann (who has been called a canon Mary Sue - and Jonathan's spell is obviously a parody of a Mary Sue wish fulfillment fanfic), who are describing themselves as clumsy and not all that attractive, but everyone in the story is falling in love with them.

ghoststar
02-04-18, 11:02 PM
”Where the Wild Things Are”

I’m probably unusual in that I don’t hate this episode! No, it doesn’t achieve a lot in terms of advancing the season’s plot, but neither do the actual season-plot episodes after #13. I think this one fits well into the series’ continuity and has some funny moments,

Positive: It’s actually a gutsy, disturbing, and strangely spot-on exploration of growing up in a sexually repressed environment. Anya and Spike provide just enough banter to keep the tone from dropping into misery territory.

Negative: I’m willing to buy that, after this long, the Scoobies realize they’d’ve already been caught if they were still being hunted. Still, I need some explanation for why Riley’s relationships with Maggie and Buffy aren’t making it untenable for him to keep living in the Initiative’s house, alongside Initiative fanatics, and working under the command of people who probably now hate Maggie’s dead guts. I mean, we know that Forrest and Riley are bickering more these days, but that doesn’t come close to addressing the ideological differences at stake.

ghoststar
04-04-18, 02:20 AM
“New Moon Rising”:

Definitely a better ending for Willow and Oz than “Wild at Heart” would have been, and some good development for Riley; suffers from the sloppy plotting endemic to this season.

Positive: Willow and Oz’s final discussion covers all the basic truths of moving on from your first love...

Negative: ... BUT THEY NEVER DISCUSS THE ROLE OF THE HELLMOUTH IN OZ’S ISSUES. You’d think that, if his lycanthropy returns after months of remission, JUST when he moves to the Hellmouth, they MIGHT think that it played some role in its return. But no. Even if Willow wanted to stay at the Hellmouth for her magic studies, the option of transferring should’ve been mentioned, at least as something that Oz has thought about in the half-year or so before now. Instead, it’s completely ignored.

ghoststar
09-04-18, 06:52 PM
"The Yoko Factor":

Postitive: Spike's being completely scatterbrained is pretty funny. I'd say he's dumber than he ought to be (given his success in earlier seasons), but he was a lousy personnel manager as early as "School Hard," when Dru had to prompt him to "make nice with the fellas." Unlike his technical incompetence in "Doomed," his being hopelessly disorganized makes sense.

Negative: Why do the Scoobies all believe Spike? OK, sure, they're not as close to one another as they were a year ago-- but they're still all closer than they are to Spike! At this point, Spike has literally just tried to shoot them (and then, comically, grumbled about the unfairness of the resulting headache). I could buy that the First Evil or someone else good at taking familiar forms could sow dissension to this extent, if they wanted to, in season 4. Just not Spike.

ghoststar
12-04-18, 07:38 PM
"Primeval"

Positive: Zombie!Maggie is as Oedipal and smothering as ever. Her interactions with Riley are hilarious.

Negative: What the hell, Congresspeople? I'm sure the Scoobies broke a bunch of laws cleaning up your mess, but they were never "insurrectionists." There's not even any point in calling them such, unless you're painting them as the bad guys in your report, WHICH YOU AREN'T.

ghoststar
15-04-18, 05:39 PM
"Restless":

I'm not even sure how to pick one thing good to say about it! It's among my all-time favorites.:heart: But here goes:

Positive: Sineya is such a fascinating character. Her sense of isolation and frustration with the spoken word as a medium of communication are so beautifully done.

Negative: OK, what is up with her teeth? Any anthropologist who's studied primitive cultures since probably the 1960s could tell you that the foraging lifestyle seldom results in twentysomethings with mouths full of rotten teeth. Several teeth ground down by grit or cracked on rocks by age 45, sure, but usually not the same results as a starchy agrarian diet or sugary modern diet, even without the benefits of modern dentistry. I'm honestly not sure why someone (Joss, in this case) who didn't know that much even cared enough about prehistory to put a character in this setting.

Dipstick
19-10-18, 01:53 AM
I'm just randomly going through these awesome Positive/Negative threads. I had things to say about S4.

The Freshman

Positive: I love this opener. Upthread, I like Andrew S.'s point that Giles/Xander are absent for most of the ep and this is an EXTREMELY RARE case where absence of half the Core Four enhances the ep because it really helps to make Buffy feel lost. Great stuff has already been mentioned- Cool!Willow, the witty script, Xander's pep talk. This is a whole S4 metaphor but I really appreciated how BtVS was honest on how college can be *predatory* in a disingenuous, unacknowledged way. Because it really can be- from professors and other students. College creates fierce ambition- both scholastically and socially. It's arguably fiercer than high school because the students are closer to their final careers (professional) but also it's more widely expected to have tons of sex and have blow-out parties (socially). Meanwhile, professors are far more careerist than high school teachers and a college student's career can benefit the professors. However, there's also this false comfort around college where people pretend that the admissions rat-race is over and college is just about free-form learning or where college is SUPPOSED to be the best years of your life so if you're unhappy, it must be because you're a screw-up.

S4 really runs with this concept but The Freshman vividly portrays it right out the gate with Sunday. It's such a short little snippet but when I think of The Freshman, one of the first things that I think of is that frat boy leering at Buffy while he passes out the "Free jello shots for freshmen women!" flyer. It's even within Buffy's friends. Willow isn't predatory but she certainly represents how it's socially enforced to view college as the best years of your life so she does become insensitive to Buffy (until it looks like Buffy ran away and then, she feels terrible). Cool!Willow is a lot of fun but there's also a slight edge of desperation on her part to make college the best years of your life, because that's the conventional wisdom on how to prove that high school won't define you.

Negative: Hefner!Giles, even though Buffy was very funny in that scene. I think it really messes with Giles's far superior S1-2 arc. He couldn't even practice on a chair to ask out Jenny. He was so paralyzed with guilt and fear of his past that he hid out while Eyghon and Ethan were doing their worst. However apparently that was all bullshit, because he's had a younger f*ck-buddy over in England who calls him "Ripper." Shallow, bad-boy gloss instead of character development.

Living Conditions

Positive: I liked a thing of evil picking Oz and Buffy doing the girly best friend thing. Love that scene with them. "Did we not put the GRRR into GRRRL?" is such a great Willow-line. And, "Giles, I just talked to Buffy and, yeah, I think she's feeling a little... insane. No, not bitchy crazy, more like homicidal maniac crazy. So I told her to come to you. Kay?" is such a great Alyson-delivery.

Negative: I agree with past posters that the soul-mythology is all messed up here. Moreover, I don't get why Kathy didn't become nicer as she got Buffy's soul if Buffy became meaner as Buffy lost her soul. I think the only answer is that this episode was committed to being shallow.

The Harsh Light of Day

Positive: I again enjoyed Andrew S's point that Spike is really "most tolerant guy in the world" in a sense when it comes to Dru and Buffy, but emphatically NOT Harmony and that's where the comedy in their scenes comes from.

Negative: This is like a positive and a negative. I completely agree with Andrew S that Anya shouldn't have been part of the "used and abused, pumped and dumped" montage. The interesting thing is that Anya, in a bunch of ways, is like the female Parker. Parker was using promises of a relationship in order to manipulate sex from Buffy. Well, IMO, Anya was using sex to manipulate a relationship from Xander. I mean, I think Parker was more self-aware and devious- his whole scheme was devoted to just pumping and dumping. I think Anya had some delusions that she'd be able to get over Xander if they had sex but Anya had been begging for a relationship before in Graduation Day. Buffy absolutely would not have had sex if she didn't believe it would lead to a relationship; Xander was less firm either way about what he wanted from Anya.

On a pure negative, the Parker/Buffy seduction scenes are boring and overly long on rewatch.

Fear Itself:

Positive: Perfect episode! Glad to see the love for Oz's fear- it's my favorite. and SG just *kills* it. I didn't see some favorite moments already picked so I'll run with my obvious! Willow and Oz's iconclastic version of a "couples costume." The Initiative commandos as NATO. Xander, prepared to change into his costume, wishing that he came up with being G-d. "Where's supportive boyfriend guy?" "He's picking up your dry cleaning but he told me to tell you that he's afraid that you're going to get hurt." Everything Gachnar. "Look, we found stairs! *Buffy* didn't find stairs, no sir!" I think it's so understatedly romantic that as Oz was changing into a wolf and even after he scratched Willow, Willow still didn't want him to leave her. And probably most of all:

Xander: Who’s a little fear demon? Come on! Who’s a little fear demon!
Giles: Don’t taunt the fear demon.
Xander: Why, can he hurt me?
Giles: No, it’s just – tacky.

Negative: I can't even really think of anything. This ep is perfect. I guess the Riley scene was kind of filler. I mean, it was nice. But it was more about having MB in the episode than furthering plots and themes.

Beer Bad

Positive: vampmogs picked a lot of my favorite moments. However in terms of the ep itself, I read convincing meta that Beer Bad isn't an "after school special" but rather a satire of one. Because when push comes to shove, Buffy does good things under the influence of beer- she rescues the caveboys and Willow from the fire, she rescues Parker even though he was awful to her but she also had the lower inhibitions to clunk him with the branch. That said, I agree with your later post that the gang is sanctimonious about alcohol in Something Blue and that's played straight.

Xander is darling in this episode. I feel so much for him when those jerks are trying to make him feel stupid. "NOTHING CAN DEFEAT THE PENIS!" "This will give them some time to ponder the geo-political ramifications of BEING MEAN TO ME!" He's also a wonderful friend to Buffy, under the guise of being the empathetic bartender.

Negative: There's too much running around with the stupid cavemen. It gets very dull.

Wild at Heart

Positive: The scene that gets me the most is the end. To me, it's so evident that Willow intended on going up and talking calmly to Oz and finding some way to forgive him. As he did for her after the Fluking. Although, it took Oz some time to do that but Willow was trying to hurry along her process. And then, she finds him packing up to leave without saying goodbye. Being a lone wolf. IMO, Willow is profoundly affected for the rest of the season by how she didn't feel closure with Oz because he just left so suddenly before they even started to try to work anything out, even though she really wanted to work things out and didn't consider her relationship with him over. Willow's feelings of abandonment and weakness are further exaggerated by him sending for his stuff without dropping her so much as a line in Something Blue.

I also LOVE Buffy, in one fluid motion, dropping her taser and pulling Willow into her lap for a big hug/mirror of Buffy's own break-up in The Prom.

Negative: It's annoying that when Willow went to Xander to get advice, Xander spent most of the conversation poking fun at how Willow referred to sex, barely asked any questions, and concluded that nothing was going on. Not helpful, Xander.

Sosa lola
19-10-18, 09:40 AM
Dipstick!!! So glad to see you back!!! I've always enjoyed your posts! I hope you stick around and continue the pos and cons of the rest of the seasons!


Negative: This is like a positive and a negative. I completely agree with Andrew S that Anya shouldn't have been part of the "used and abused, pumped and dumped" montage. The interesting thing is that Anya, in a bunch of ways, is like the female Parker. Parker was using promises of a relationship in order to manipulate sex from Buffy. Well, IMO, Anya was using sex to manipulate a relationship from Xander. I mean, I think Parker was more self-aware and devious- his whole scheme was devoted to just pumping and dumping. I think Anya had some delusions that she'd be able to get over Xander if they had sex but Anya had been begging for a relationship before in Graduation Day. Buffy absolutely would not have had sex if she didn't believe it would lead to a relationship; Xander was less firm either way about what he wanted from Anya.

I agree with both of you. Anya should not have been doing the sad walk of the wronged women in the end of the episode. Xander didn't wrong her, he did what she demanded, that's it.

Priceless
19-10-18, 01:46 PM
Negative: This is like a positive and a negative. I completely agree with Andrew S that Anya shouldn't have been part of the "used and abused, pumped and dumped" montage.


I agree with both of you. Anya should not have been doing the sad walk of the wronged women in the end of the episode. Xander didn't wrong her, he did what she demanded, that's it.

I see that scene slightly differently, and I think the 3 women represent 3 different states of women in that moment and that's why Anya is there. It's about the 'harsh light of day', about the three women seeing what's really going on for the first time.

First we have Buffy who has had a one night stand and the man doesn't want to see her anymore, and she finally realises this and realises what Parker really was.

There is Harmony who (from her pov) has been in a long term relationship with a man, she has helped him, been there for him emotionally etc., given him everything he could want from a girlfriend, and she finally realises that he still he doesn't want her.

Then there is Anya who thought that sex would solve the 'problem' of her emotional feelings, and realises that it's not as simple as that finally realising being human and having human needs isn;t as simple as she thought.

All three women are facing their reality in 'the harsh light of day' . . . at night :D I think it works.

Dipstick
21-10-18, 07:33 PM
Priceless, very good point. That's a good way to look at Anya in the montage. I still feel very much like "one of these things doesn't fit the pattern" because Harmony and Buffy were used and abused but Anya was not. However, you're right- it makes more sense when you look at the montage from the perspective of the gulf between expectations and reality for the women.

The Initiative

Positive: A lot of posters already mentioned Willow/Riley which are my favorite parts of the ep. Spike's comment about Buffy- "I always worried what would happen if that bitch got some funding" as he's in an Initiative cell cracks me up. I enjoy the Xander/Giles banter through the ep. Giles is frequently a jerk to Xander and he is in this episode too, but NB and ASH have very underrated chemistry. "Xander, I made a nice fruit punch for you and your friend? Would you boys like some?" "Is it raspberry fruit punch?" But:

Negative: The Harmony/Xander slap-fight is stupid and not funny. I don't even get the point. Harmony is a vampire; Xander's had three and half years of good (albeit non extraordinary) fighting skills. Why do they both need to regress in their fighting abilities, other than for the cheapest of jokes?

Pangs

Positive: I really adore Woke!Willow- a series-long trope but particularly in this ep. Before being "woke" was even a thing or as big a thing! Which is why I think she gets beaten up for her opinions in this 1999 ep much more than if this show aired in 2018. And that's annoying from Giles's standpoint (see below) but from Willow's standpoint, the datedness of the ep does result in her as a deeply complex and challenged character. She's absolutely right that an anthropology professor does students and history a huge disservice to liken the extermination of the Native Americans to a beautiful melting pot melding of two cultures. She's correct that the wrongs committed to the indigenous people have not been redressed. Giles is ridiculous when he combats Willow's allegation that the atrocities have not been brought to light, by saying that they are because the history books describe atrocities. But yeah, she IS strident and annoying to listen to because while the wrongs committed against the indiginous are immense, there's just no easy recompense. Which Willow gets to at the end of the ep when she takes up arms against Huss and voices that same impotence at redressing the wrongs of the Native Americans while still preserving the white American way of life.

Willow : I feel lousy.
Giles : Turkey came out rather splendidly.
Willow: Oh, it was yummy. It's just...Did you see me? Two seconds of conflict with an indigenous person, and I turned into General Custer.

Plus, Woke!Willow chews out Angel for his bizarre stalking paternalism. Superb! And in this debate, I enjoy how Angel starts to condescendingly lecture Willow on how he doesn't have time for personal crap until he sees Buffy with Riley and suddenly wants to know all the gossip.

Negative: It's annoying that Giles argues the imperialistic, "atrocities are fine if you WIN" arguments and he's insufficiently challenged for it. Willow argues with Giles but Giles gets the last word by Spike commanding the room with his Caesar speech and then, the last word in action because the gang DID have to take up arms against Huss. I think a few fixes could have improved Giles's characterization. Like, it would have been great if Giles followed up his pouty, "I made these points earlier, but fine, no one listens to me" agreement with Spike's Caesar speech with some embarrassed recognition that Giles's ally in this debate is the mass-murdering soulless vampire. Also while I believe Giles was genuinely concerned for Xander's condition, it's irritating that he uses Xander as cause celebre to destroy Huss while implying that Buffy/Willow don't care as much. However, Willow was researching how to mystically cure Xander; Giles was just debating and not researching anything.

Something Blue

Positive: For something small which hasn't been mentioned, I really love that shot of Willow in her red pajamas, surrounded candles on the floor of her bathroom dorm as she does the Will Be Done spell. She looks super cute and sexy and the shot is creepy but still almost cozy with the flannel pajamas and college-living feel.

This is somewhat stolen from Local_Max's great review in the Rewatch thread but it's very cool how D'Hoffryn really is providing EVERYTHING that Willow's been asking for in the ep on the surface. Awed admiration of Willow's witchy powers, a role using to her witchy power to "redress wrongs", and probably most of all, mathematically precise validation that Willow has BIG TIME LEGITIMATE PAIN because her pain is PIERCING INTER-DIMENSIONAL WALLS. However, it's absolutely not what Willow wants to hurt people and abandon her friends to getting hurt. It's a major character moment very efficiently told in a little comedy scene. "Oh well, here's our talisman. You change your mind, give us a chant."

Negative: I agree with vampmogs that the big demon fight scene is boring.

Hush

Positive: Buffy and Riley's first kiss is incredibly romantic and filled with chemistry. I'm pretty obsessed with dialogue in my fiction. I tend to dislike silent pictures. And moreover, I tend to dislike characters just macking on each other for long period of time. I generally say if you've seen one kiss on TV/movies, you've seen them all. However, Hush is a big exception to all of that. it's one of my favorite episode- even with large swaths of the ep bereft of BtVS's great dialogue. The oft-mentioned projector scene does a great job of bringing the quirk of a Scooby meeting into gestures, instead of words. Moreover, Buffy and Riley's kiss is a rebuttal to the whole "Let's not talk. I've got better things for your liips to do!" intensely physical romance. The kiss IS communication, because they've been deprived of words.

Also even though Willow's sprained her ankle and can't get up and even though she's just floated pencils up to this point, Willow tries to move the vending machine with her eyes from her injured seated position. BAMF.

Negative: I said this on the Rewatch thread but Willow/Tara have unfair superiority to the other Wiccans just because they've been clued into the Supernatural World but these other girls haven't. That would be realistic and interesting, except I feel like there's a feeling from the script that we're supposed to dislike these innocent Wiccan college girls just because they haven't had a family or a Buffy to educate them on what goes bump in the night. I also don't see what's bullying about that Wiccan girl telling everyone to be quiet and listen to Tara when Tara was trying to speak. Just because Tara can't find the confidence to speak publicly when she's been given the floor, doesn't mean that it's that college girl's fault.

This is both a positive and a negative. On a pure logic side, Tara shouldn't have been wandering around at night when The Gentlemen were out to find Willow to do a voice-spell. Tara had two days when the sun was out to try to find Willow. That would have been the safer time for Tara to look for Willow to do a spell. However, I think Tara just screwing up the courage to talk to Willow at night and Willow taking a wild chance in opening her door at night while it's Gentlemen-Party-Time serves the metaphor on the courage required to be gay.

Doomed

Positive: It's been said before but Spike's little arc in this ep where he's at his most humiliated but then learns that he can hit demons and channel his rage and violence through that is best part of the ep. Also while I agree that Giles was quite dim in this ep (by not taking the earthquake portend serious and ONCE AGAIN not knowing what apocalyptic-ingredients he owns), Buffy was hilarious about it. “I told you. I said end of the world and you’re like ‘poo-poo southern California, poo-poo!” is one of my favorite Buffy-lines. It's also funny that Willow refers to Riley's uniform as his "GI Joe outfit."

Negative: As stated before, Riley pulling Buffy and a big ass demon up unaided with just a string.

A New Man

Positive: Maggie is an Evil Bitch Monster of Death who's not as clever as she thinks she is. I think that's pretty much definite. However, I actually do appreciate that she got some correct line in her scene with Giles. It HAS been unhealthy for Buffy take on adult roles too early. She IS missing a primary male role model- her father. I think Willow and Giles have encouraged Buffy academically (a LOT) but their encouragement is fighting a huge obstacle in the sense that Buffy can very easily internalize that she's just a killing machine without a professional future.

Negative: It's dumb that Giles didn't have Spike call Xander to inform him of Giles's predicament. I mean, it's dumb that Giles didn't want Spike to tell Buffy (as Spike offered) because of pride-reasons but at least, that's set up as a character-mistake. However, Fyarl!Giles specifically went to Xander for help but just couldn't communicate. Giles has hang-ups about Buffy seeing him as a screw-up because Buffy is the slayer and well, *Buffy* but I think Giles would be fine with Willow knowing and Willow could reverse the spell. You'd think that Giles would want more irons in the fire to address his condition other than pinning all of his hopes on Ethan reversing the spell, because of intimidation or out of the "evillness of [Ethan's] heart.

The I in Team

Positive: Willow espouses the two main themes of the season excellently. I really fell for Willow socially. She commuted to Xander's basement to spend time with him doing what he'd want to do- but she can't spend alone-time with him anymore without Anya horning in. Buffy had been wrapped up with Riley and Buffy promised that they'd hang out at the Bronze, but then Buffy brought along her new platoon. Then seeing how Buffy was so wrapped up in The Initiative, Willow describes the main Big Bad-centered theme of the season.

Willow: Buffy, do you really think this is a good idea? I mean, don't you think you're rushing things a little?
Buffy: I thought you liked Riley?
Willow: Not with Riley. With the Initiative. I mean, there's a bunch of stuff about them we still don't know.
Buffy: I know that. (then) Like what?
Willow: Well, what's their ultimate agenda? I mean, okay, yeah, they neuter vampires and demons. But then what? Are they gonna reintegrate them into society? Get them jobs as bagboys at Wal-Mart?
Buffy: Does Wal-Mart have bagboys?
Willow: Plus, don't forget that '314' thing that Ethan told Giles about.
Buffy: Well, a man that worships chaos and tries to kill you, is a man you can trust.
Willow: Well, bad info or not, I just think there's certain questions you should ask before you go off and enlist.

Given how the season spiralled off into an Adam Problem instead of the original theme of the hubris of the US government experimenting on demons, I think the ENTIRE season would have been weaker without Willow's "bag boys at Walmart" line.

Also, cute petite Buffy in sexy nightclub wear next to uniformed big soldiers. "Don't worry- I've patrolled in this halter many times!"

Negative: I don't think ionization spell sticking the Scoobies' hair up is a funny joke. It's childish.

Goodbye Iowa

Positive: I don't really like this ep but Xander is awesome here. Hosting the entire gang in his Basement. Defending Buffy when Riley aggressively demands why Buffy is hiding an Hostile. Riley started being aggressive- I think Xander was completely justified to respond in kind. But then, "I totally get it now. Can I have sex with Riley too? when he sees The Initiative headquarters. Then as mentioned, how he charges at super!drugged Riley to defend Buffy. Also:

Adam: And man. And machine. Which tells me what I am, but not who I am. Mother wrote things down. Hard data, but also her feelings. That's how I learned that I have a job here. And that she loved me.
Riley: She wasn't your mother and she didn't love you!
Xander: Is that really the issue?

Negative: It's just...dull. It's a big letdown that we lose the more complex conflict between Maggie and Buffy to instead, Adam just running around and making dull speeches.

- - - Updated - - -

This Year's Girl

Positive: As was said before, the Buffy/Willow/Faith scene on campus is my favorite. Also as said before, Willow snarking on Faith is hilarious. I really like the Buffy/Riley scene where Riley was wondering his purpose without Maggie/The Initiative. It's really fair and actually VERY helpful for Buffy to compare his situation to her work as a Slayer to show Riley that there's more ways of helping people and that she thinks he's up to that challenge.

Also, "I'd hate to see the pursuit of a homicidal lunatic get in the way of pursuing a homicidal lunatic" is an awesome Xander-line.

Negative: The Blaster stuff is annoying. Willow seems uncharacteristically dim by proposing that they just press buttons and "see what happens." I don't find it funny that the gang didn't notice Xander zap himself. It's also not funny that Riley was able to handily fix the Blaster when Xander couldn't. I don't know why Xander's soldier skills had to be weakened so that Riley could be Speshul Soldier Boy. Like, there's a whole genre of war movies and they aren't dull just because every soldier in it has been trained. Jeez. a thing of evil is also right that the costumes are particularly ugly in this ep.

Who Are You?

Positive: The creepy moments really stick out. Faith admiring Buffy's naked body in the bathtub. Faith asking Riley for kinky sex out of bounds with Buffy's and Riley's usual sex life. Faith fantasizing about murdering Willow and then, Faith uncannily faking a classic Buffy/Willow moment. "I would *never* let her hurt you." "I know." But:

Negative: That scene does illustrate a disappointing aspect of the ep. Faith-in-Buffy's-body spends most of the episode with people that Faith's never met before. Spike, Riley, Tara. Faiths rape of Riley is horrifying. However other than that, the episode gave up greater emotional heft because Faith doesn't really use Buffy's body to mess with the people that Faith knows and actually, the people closest to Buffy. She leaves Joyce's quickly. She has that one humdinger of a short bit with Willow and quickly figures the romance between Willow and Tara. She only makes one crack about Xander in bed and doesn't really interact with Giles at all other than the mockery of Buffy as the Good Slayer reporting for duty to the Watcher. IMO Giles (and Joyce) ARE actually INCREDIBLY central to Faith's jealousy of Buffy. I get why Faith left Joyce quickly because they already had a huge scene while Faith was in her own body and Joyce isn't a central character. However, Faith should have had a major scene with Giles while she was in Buffy's body. Also given that Wesley was central to Faith's activities in LA, a great Faith/Giles scene would have increased the connections in between these cross-over two-parters and given more insight into Faith's issues with Watchers.

Superstar

Positive: I don't like this ep at all. Um, I guess the comedy that Jonathan turned himself into such a Marty Stu that Willow and Tara are making a shrine to him even in Tara's Big Gay Dorm Room.

Negative: I don't care about Jonathan. I'm not wild about seeing the Scoobies turned into his bland side-kicks. Riley's trauma is completely blown off in favor of a sappy scene with Buffy. So like, THE WHOLE THING.

Where the Wild Things Are

Positive: As said before, this is a great ep for Xander, Anya, and Spike. It's also great for Giles. I really like that he has a new hobby of singing during Open Mike Night at the coffee shop and I wish we saw it again. It's great that he's the mature adult who calls Evil!Mrs. Landingham out on her abuse of the children. ASH played it so he really seemed very offended on behalf of the children-grown-into-traumatized-adults that we never even see but still, should be recognized even if the focus is on the spirits of the children. Plus, this is such an underrated Willow/Giles moment.

TARA: We implore you ... be still.
GILES: Find it in your hearts to leave our friends passage.
WILLOW: Transform your pain. Release your past. And ... uh ... get over it.
Giles shoots her a hilarious WTF? look.

Negative: There's great supporting character work but man, the A-plot really is a story about Buffy and Riley smashing. I like S4 Biley but man, that's dull.

New Moon Rising

Positive: The van conversation has been mentioned. IMO it's the most romantic scene in the Buffyverse even if it's about breaking up. I really love Oz in this episode and how it's evident that he was trying to correct every bad choice and pattern of behavior but it was all fruitless in getting Willow back AND re-joining human life. Taking Willow out so she could see him human under the full moon because his word means less, enrolling back to university, being an open book that Willow could talk to all night. It's such a tragic end for a great guy. For non-Willow-triangle moments, I agree with vampmogs that Buffy's "Great, then you can have a perfectly balanced breakfast and then, you can call your mother" snark is hilarious. Also her assumption that Willow and Oz spent his first night back having sex- especially when you consider how Buffy and Angel immediately had sex after Angel momentarily became human.

Negative: I don't believe that Willow could just write instructions on how to shut down the city's electrical grid and Giles/Anya could do that level of hacking just from a list of instructions.

The Yoko Factor

Positive: I love this ep. It really has some superb little character moments. Anya believing that she's in a better Scooby-position than Xander because Buffy/Willow hate her but they don't look down on her. How Spike strikes at Willow's real anxieties that her computer skills aren't good enough because she's been focusing too much on magic instead but those also map onto Willow's anxieties that her friends respect her less because she's left the hetero/masculine (computers) to the feminine/lesbian (magic). "If ever a whiz there was." One of the funniest Angel moments:

Buffy: Okay. I come to see you, to help you, and you treat me like I'm just . . . your ex.
Angel: Well, technically--

I also appreciate that Angel went back to Sunnydale to apologize to Buffy because I DO think that he was a jerk to her in Sanctuary. Buffy hilariously ending the macho bullshit Angel v. Riley fight by threatening her own greater strength. "Okay, that's enough! I see one more display of testosterone poisoning and I will personally put you both in the hospital!"

Negative: There's some odd jerkass moments that IMO came off more badly than intended. Riley mocking Xander's pants twice to Buffy even though Xander was a great help to him. Tara being an unhelpful blank wall of silence when Willow talks about her sadness at her increasing isolation from Buffy. Giles pouting that Adam will kick Buffy's ass because Buffy doesn't train with him any more (even though Giles hasn't suggested training all season) when Buffy is already bruised up from Adam.

Primeval

Positive: Elevator shaft has already been mentioned. One subtle bit that I love: Willow and Buffy frequently have tension/conflicts in the series because Buffy keeps secrets and distances herself and Willow is upset by that. That's their main division. While those conflicts remain a problem, I think it says something great about both girls that Willow feels the need to apologize for not coming out soon enough and Buffy completely excuses Willow because Willow was going through something huge. Buffy and Willow have differing POVs on what's required from a friendship but they're really not hypocrites.

This ep has one of my favorite Xanya scenes. For most of the season, Anya has just been a bitchy pain. This scene leapfrogs her development as a person and illuminates the potential for goodness that Xander sees in her. I love that it's SOOO sweet but funny and efficiently told. "Anya, you can't just "pffft" that stuff away."

Negative: I agree with the technical issues mentioned. That Buffy doesn't fight Forrest. That the expensive Initiative is wasted. Also, I love the Core Four Slayer Empowerment Spell but it's not made clear why Xander needs to be a part of the spell. It's all "You can play too." I don't believe that Riley was capable of removing a chip tied to his central nervous system with just a piece of glass. IMO, it's strains credulity that the gang hasn't staked Spike all season but ESPECIALLY after it was revealed that he was working with the Big Bad.

Restless:

Positive: This is one of my favorite episodes. I rank the dreams: Willow, Buffy, Xander, Giles. However, Giles's dream is great but there always has to be a last place. Favorite elements:

-How Willow particularly characterizes Tara and Buffy. Tara's whole "If they find out about you, they'll punish you. I can't help you with that" really gets at how I see Tara's ****ed up dynamic with Willow IRL. I love that Buffy is this intensely strong, enviablee burst of feminist energy (MEN WITH THEIR SALES) who poses an existential threat to unmasking Willow.

-Snyder in Xander's dream. "You know, I never got the chance to tell you how glad I was you were eaten by a snake." When Xander says that he's a comfortador and Snyder responds that Xander is a whipping boy raised by mongrels, set on a sacrificial stone, it feels like it says a lot about how Xander's comfortadorness necessitates tons of pain and sacrifice from a boy who was raised by parents without a scintilla of comfortadorness.

-Buffy giggling while Giles hypnotizes is Buffy's most beautiful scene. Also, Giles singing out a Scooby exposition meeting. And "Xander, try not to bleed on my couch. I just had it steam-cleaned" and Willow getting uncomfortably critical by blaming this all on Giles really characterizes Giles's issues/anxieties with Xander and Willow.

-Buffy's speech to the First Slayer which was mentioned. Buffy's issues with Riley and Adam in cahoots are pretty fascinating and hilarious. "We better make a fort." "I'll get some pillows." It would have been cool if this was followed up on IRL but I think Riley just wasn't long for this series.

Negative: IIRC, they were unable to get Charisma Carpenter to come and guest-star? Because Cordelia far more powerfully represents Willow's high school insecurities than Harmony.

Skippcomet
22-10-18, 02:31 AM
I think Tara in Buffy's dream was originally supposed to be Angel. I assume they just weren't able to schedule either DB or CC to appear around their filming schedules for whatever episode of AtS was being produced at the same time. That is, if they ever thought of having CC make a return appearance on the show, even if just for a dream sequence.

Andrew S.
22-10-18, 02:54 AM
I once read on the Buffy/Angel wiki page for this episode that many characters were supposed to come back for "Restless" -- Angel, Cordelia, Jenny, Amy, and Faith -- but the actors were unavailable. I don't know how true it was, but it wouldn't surprise me. I could imagine Angel showing up in Buffy's dream, perhaps Faith being in the desert scene with Buffy speaking for the First Slayer instead of Tara, Cordelia taking Harmony's place in Willow's dream along with Amy showing up somewhere, and Jenny Calendar taking Olivia's place in Giles's dream. I think it would have given the episode even more impact to have those past characters show up. It's still swell regardless as is, though.

Andrew S.
07-11-18, 01:42 AM
“Wild at Heart”

Positive: I believe Seth Green pointed it out in the DVD commentary for the episode, but I love how Whedon and Noxon just allow Buffy to be the supporting character. There’s no forced attempt to connect Willow and Oz’s relationship issues to Buffy (besides the neat reference to her “Anne” experience). She’s just allowed to be the supportive best friend to Willow and I love it. Buffy is amazing here.

Negative: I have conflicted feelings about this episode. As enjoyable as the performances are and as interesting as he and Willow here, I do agree with ghoststar that Oz goes too dark, too fast. While I don’t think his behavior here is OOC, the fact that Oz – who has been portrayed as arguably the most level-headed character in the series thus far – does all of these things in one episode and then leaves the show makes it feel a tad rushed. It’s just way too much in one episode.

“The Initiative”

Positive: Spike, Willow, and Riley(!) are kind of the stars of the show in this episode, I think. The reveal of Riley being a soldier and of the Initiative lab itself was genuinely well-done and an interesting plot twist. Willow had some amazing moments as well and Spike’s escape from The Initiative was badass.

Negative: While I understand people’s complaints about the major tonal shift between the two scenes of Spike and Willow, it doesn’t bother me that much because I think that kind of stuff happens all of the time with Spike’s character in S4-S6. The scene is representative of how Spike transforms from the Big Bad, terrifying vampire to the neutered next-door-neighbor to the Scoobies this season. But as funny and highly entertaining as Spike is throughout this season (and the next), he (and the scene in itself, along with the scene between Harmony and Xander) is representative of a point of contention I sometimes have with the series in S4-S7, when it feels like the vampires go from being monsters (despite their interesting personality quirks) that Buffy must defeat to being treated like superpowered humans that just cause her trouble and annoy her from time to time and get off dust-free. It works in episodes like “Lovers Walk”, but not on a full time basis.

“Pangs”

Positive: As superfluous as Angel is in this episode, I liked his reunion with Willow. Just like her scenes with Riley and Spike in “The Initiative”, I always love the ‘bro’ moments that Willow has with Buffy’s boyfriends. She’s remarkably good at bonding with them while keeping them in check (her snarking at Riley, calling Angel out on his secretiveness here, bonding with Spike over his impotence then smashing his head with a lamp). Also: that final shot of the Scoobies at the dinner table is beautiful.

Negative: I’m not a fan of Buffy’s characterization in this episode. There’s a huge cliché in a lot of TV show holiday episodes in which one character, for whatever reason, is OBSESSED with having the perfect Thanksgiving/Christmas/insert-holiday dinner or gathering. It seemed like the writers wanted to play that trope in this episode and decided that Buffy would be the character they would use to do it. But it doesn’t really play well IMO.

“Something Blue”

Positive: I ship Buffy/Spike incredibly hard in this episode. They are hotter here than they are in all of Season 6, IMO. Not only are they hilarious together, but it’s nice to see Buffy so unashamed and openly loving of Spike here, considering how guarded she is with their relationship in S6-S7. She's a little callous and self-absorbed while under the spell influence, but at least she's upfront about it.

Negative: That very last moment of the episode when Riley says ‘You’re gonna teach me’ to Buffy and leans to kiss her, only to walk away. Is that him trying to be smooth? :lol: It's extremely cringeworthy. Like dude, I really want to love your character, but then you do stuff like that and… it just makes it so hard.

“Hush”

Positive: Buffy’s flirting with Riley is fun and Buffy in general is really adorable whenever she’s pursuing guys that she has a crush on (here, “Never Kill a Boy on the First Date”, “I Was Made to Love You”). I have my issues with Buffy/Riley, but I don’t think lack of chemistry is one of them. There are some genuine sparks flying between them here and I think their interactions with each other are a big part of what makes this episode a great one. Buffy’s wordless moments with her boyfriends provide some of my favorite moments in the series – her and Angel staring each other goodbye at the end of “Graduation Day”, the flaming hands and longing looks between her and Spike in “Chosen”, the kiss with Riley here – moments where little is said but so much is communicated.

Negative: I agree with Sosa lola on the Xander/Anya communication issue. It would have been way more interesting for Xander, who (based on his interactions with Faith) wants to have an emotional connection with the women he sleeps with, to be the one who wants to communicate better with Anya, only for Anya – because she’s so clueless on matters of human communication and just new to human feelings in general – to be the one unable to express herself and wanting sex only. It would have been true to their characters and a nice subversion of the typical ‘males only want sex/females only want a relationship’ dynamic that is most often depicted.

“Doomed”

Positive: I like how much importance is placed on Willow’s hurt feelings over Percy’s nerd comment and how Buffy and Xander comfort her whenever she complains about it. Small little moments of sensitivity like that makes the friendship between those three so endearing to me.

Negative: I hate Forrest with a passion and he is symptomatic of one of the main problems with the Initiative arc: lack of interesting characters.

“A New Man”

Positive: I adore Buffy/Riley in this episode. It’s so nice to see Buffy in a relationship where she can be open with her partner, go out in daylight, and have some actual fun! Their training sessions with each other were cute and I like how Riley (in this episode, at least) doesn’t seem insecure about Buffy’s strength so much as really turned on by it.

Also: James Marsters’s delivery of “You’re a Fyarl demon. I happen to speak Fyarl.” The aspect of Spike happening to speak Fyarl would feel a tad too convenient/contrived to pair him and Giles with each other, but he says it so casually that I always laugh and just feel compelled to go along with it. :lol:

Negative: We were definitely deprived of a longer running conflict between Giles and Professor Walsh. Ughh… and it would have been so interesting to see Buffy develop a close relationship with a *female* mentor.

“The I in Team”

Positive: I love Horny!Willow in this episode. ‘Everybody’s getting spanked but me’ – aww. While there’s nothing wrong with being single, it does suck when you’re surrounded by people who aren’t. Willow’s loneliness in this episode, along with seeing Buffy and Anya enjoy getting it on, also reminded me that Buffy aired at a time when it was incredibly rare to see female protagonists in a teen/coming-of-age series actually WANT to have sex. I grew up watching so many series that aired in a similar time where there would constantly be jokes about horny guys and guys wanting to have sex because they’re GUYS, and for some reason, their girlfriends would never want to. Not because of any moral or religious reasons explained in the narrative, but simply because they’re girls and girls aren’t supposed to want to have sex – according to most 1990s television writers. It was so refreshing to watch this series and be amazed at the women on the show wanting sex and actually enjoying it. It gave me a different perspective into girls, which – being a confused teenage boy when I first saw the series – I really needed.

Negative: Maggie Walsh’s death. Lindsay Crouse was killing it and the relationship between her and Riley – while not on the level of the interactions between Spike/Dru or Faith/Mayor – was the most compelling thing about The Initiative arc and Riley’s character in S4.

“Goodbye Iowa”

Positive: Buffy’s sushi pajamas.

Negative: This episode might be the worst one of the season for me. Even worse than “Beer Bad” and “Where the Wild Things Are”. It completely *fails* to make me care about Riley, Adam, or The Initiative. Buffy’s words about Riley ring very hollow as the two of them have only been together for a few weeks at this point and they spend a good portion of this episode arguing with each other, so the ‘I smile when he smiles, I hurt when he hurts’ speech just comes off as fake to me.

Andrew S.
14-11-18, 12:53 AM
“This Year’s Girl”

Positive: Faith’s dream sequence. In addition to the great ‘little sis coming’ line, the portrayal of Buffy as a monster in Faith’s dream works well in establishing Faith’s victim mindset. The Mayor’s cameo appearance is great too. In his videotape and leaving Faith the body-switching device, there is a mixture of genuine love and manipulative villainy in his motivations and it’s a testament to how good this show was at making the villains feel so three-dimensional.

Negative: Too many scenes of characters discussing Faith and not enough actual Faith. Like, instead of a scene of Xander and Giles bantering with Spike while looking for Faith, why not show an actual scene of them encountering Faith?

“Who Are You?”

Positive: Sarah Michelle Gellar’s line readings. And her facial expressions, and her body language, and her EVERYTHING – she completely embodies Faith here. I think Dushku’s Buffy is less impressive than Gellar’s Faith, but I mostly blame that on her being drugged up and locked in the back of a truck for much of the episode because she nails it in the scene with Giles.

Also: I always adore Anya’s line to Giles when they are discussing Faith in his living room: ‘And this information couldn’t be conveyed over telephone?’ – a meta reference to something that only happens in movie/shows where characters will go to each other’s houses just to have a five-minute conversation about something they could have easily discussed over the phone.

Negative: Was NB sick or unavailable for most of this episode? It seems weird that Xander disappears from the episode entirely after the first act. You’d think he would have been in the scene where Buffy barges into Giles’s living room to convince him he’s not Faith. I feel like there would have been some comedic potential in Xander’s reaction to the bodyswap. I guess Xander and Anya's sexathon did, indeed, last beyond the 7 minutes that Faith predicted.

“Superstar”

Positive: Buffy and Riley dealing with the aftermath of “Who Are You?” is my favorite part of the episode. I feel bad for Riley because he had no way of knowing the person he slept with wasn’t Buffy and, as others have mentioned before, he is also a victim in the situation. I feel bad for Buffy as well and I like the fact that the writing is layered enough that she herself acknowledges that it isn’t Riley’s fault, but she still can’t stop being bothered by it. It's an understandable reaction to what she went through. Overall, the two of them are just in such an unenviable situation but I think they both handle it really well.

Negative: While I think the concept of the episode is really interesting and there are lots of funny moments, I don’t think it does anything great for the non-Buffy/Riley characters. One of the reasons Dawn’s insertion into the series worked so well was because of the impact that she had on other characters and how it allowed us to see other sides of them. Same with the Wishverse, with even showed us different sides of minor characters like Larry and Harmony. But Jonathan-worship aside, I don’t feel like I learn anything new about the Jonathan-verse!Scoobies in this episode.

“Where the Wild Things Are”

Positive: This is the complete opposite of the previous episode in the sense that Buffy and Riley are the uninteresting ones and the supporting cast carries the episode. Giles’s singing; Spike talking himself *out* of helping Buffy; every moment with Anya, etc. The flirtation between Spike and Anya here is great and it’s the only reason their hooking up in “Entropy” didn’t feel cheap.

Negative: Yeah, I’ll cosign everyone who says the A-plot with Buffy/Riley really sucks.

“New Moon Rising”

Positive: While I’m not that invested in Tara’s character by herself and think Amber Benson had yet to grow into the role at this point, I think the final scene between her and Willow is really romantic. Every time I watch it, I feel enormously happy for both of them—happy for Tara that she’s found someone who loves her and I’m happy for Willow that she’s come to terms with this enormous part of herself that she had yet to fully understand (her sexuality). I agree with vampmogsthat Willow simply blowing out the candles is better than any kiss scene we would’ve gotten.

Negative: Riley, please don’t talk down about Willow’s intelligence when you’re still working for and unquestioningly taking orders from the corrupt military organization that drugged you for months and set a nearly-indestructible demon on the loose. Glass stones, my dude.

“The Yoko Factor”

Positive: This is one of my favorite episodes of the season. People have already sung the praises of the Scooby fight scene (one of my favorite scenes in the entire series), so I’ll say that I really like Angel’s return here. The Angel/Buffy/Riley triangle is funny and I think Buffy and Angel’s talk in the hallway is really sweet. Even though I think Buffy was partially wrong in “Sanctuary”, I’m happy that Angel apologized to her because I think he was being insensitive to her about the Faith situation and, honestly, his overall treatment of Buffy within the past year has been pretty shitty (from dumping her before the prom to spying on her at Thanksgiving to the “I Will Remember You” time-rewind). So I’m glad that the two of them get to have their nice moment here.

I think BtVS S4/AtS S1 does an underrated job of bringing closure to the Buffy/Angel relationship. The season(s) deals with the fallout of their break-up better than S3 dealt with the fallout of S2-Angelus and progressively shows the both of them moving on with their lives. “Sanctuary” established that Angel finally has his own life and purpose outside of being Buffy’s boyfriend and “The Yoko Factor” shows Buffy acknowledging that. It also portrays Angel – outside of his fight with Riley – finally learning to show some respect for her and her feelings besides how it impacts his manpain.

After this episode, I think Buffy and Angel have a pretty healthy dynamic until his reappearance in “Chosen”. They become amicable exes who are out of each others’ lives for the most part, neither spend much time dwelling on the other in BtVS S5-S7/AtS S2-S4, but they are still fond enough of each other to have amicable reunions (Joyce’s funeral, after Buffy’s resurrection) with no lasting drama.

Also: I love Buffy’s comeback ‘If I were any more open-minded about the choices you two make, my brain would fall out!’ It’s grossly insensitive to Willow, yes, but a reflection of how we very rarely see Buffy pass judgement on the decisions that her friends make (i.e. her clearly not being fond of Anya, but never badmouthing her to Xander or anybody). Which is one of the things I love about her.

Negative: I get that Riley is insecure and Buffy has been keeping him out of the loop regarding her past with Angel, but I think it makes him look bad that he automatically concludes that Buffy slept with him while she was in L.A. despite no real confirmation.

“Primeval”

Positive: The special effects/stunts/overall visual quality for the show was never better than it was in S4 and this episode shows that better than any other, I think. The Super-Buffy vs. Adam fight is amazing. And while The Initiative sucked as villains, it always genuinely felt like they were a government organization with advanced technology.

Negative: Who the hell wanted to see Forrest again? And I agree with vampmogs that it sucks how he was winning in his fight against Buffy. It should have been cathartic to finally see her kick his ass after how much he’s been running his mouth against her this season.

“Restless”

Positive: The little details that make it feel dreamlike. Randomly going from one location to another; Anya being in Willow’s bed; Snyder popping up in Xander’s dream; Joyce being in the wall; the Cheese Guy.

Negative: Buffy’s crack about Sineya’s hair makes her look pretty ignorant.

SpuffyGlitz
02-06-19, 06:51 PM
OK, having recently begun a rewatch of S4, I'll just post where I've got so far:


The Freshman

Positives: Love Buffy's hair, clothes and her whole look in this premiere. I love the sunshine and the familiar feel of a college campus setting. Love Willow's enthusiasm over academia, the "spurting knowledge" analogy, love her new hair. I can identify with both the excitement and uncertainty at the start of a new semester. I *love * Xander's speech to Buffy ("when it's dark and I'm alone, I think, what would Buffy do? you're my hero") :heart: Riley's intro is nicely done. Plus, I enjoy the fact that the vamps are art aficionados and appreciate Klimt.

Negatives Sunday represents college bullies, which is why Buffy has a hard time beating them at first, I get that. But that paradigm isn't laid out clearly enough - Buffy can usually slay in *seconds* so the fact that it's so hard for her is a little weird.



Living Conditions

Positives Love the ending: Buffy's narrow-eyed death glare as Willow bites into her sandwich - a Mary Anne Doane-esque use of the close up and a classic example of why I love this show and how playful it is.

Negatives No specific negatives except that it doesn’t feel like a stand out episode to me in any way.



The Harsh Light of Day

Positives I love the scene when Spike sees Parker, Buffy sees Spike with Harmony, the snark and innuendo that follows is fab. I love Spike’s line about syphilis and love the Sparmony song “Faith in Love.”

Negatives I don't particularly enjoy watching Spike be this mean to Harmony - it's played comedically in tone so I don't take it all that seriously (and Harmony seems to enjoy bugging him back.) But her wilfully letting herself be abused in this tragicomic way, sometimes feels more tragic than comic.



Fear Itself

Positives I love the metaphors, costumes, foreshadowing and character development in this episode.

Negatives I don’t like Buffy and Willow’s fight all that much. Even if it’s authentic that they’d fight, Buffy seems pretty tone deaf to Willow (and Xander) and Willow’s resentment seems a little OTT.



Beer Bad

Positives I strangely enjoy this episode. Caveman Buffy is super fun to watch. The Xander-as-bartender scene is reminiscent of that scene from Good Will Hunting when Affleck’s character is made fun of for not having a promising future and Matt Damon demolishes the bully with his brains. I love the hilarity and satire of this episode and love that Parker gets his come-uppance in the end, it feels fitting for a shallow character’s narrative resolution to be handled in a light-hearted way (he doesn’t deserve more gravitas.) Best moments ever are Buffy's "Buffy strong. Buffy want beer!" and Willow's "How gullible do you think I am?"

Negatives TBH, I don’t find any real negatives. Yes, the “don’t drink” message is a little over the top, but there’s a satirical edge to all of it that you can’t take literally.