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Thread: Positives and Negatives - Season 4

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    Default Positives and Negatives - Season 4

    Copying Stoney's excellent Buffy thread. 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). This isn't intended to be an overview of what you think about the episode/season critically as a whole, so 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).

    1. Deep Down
    2. Ground State
    3. The House Always Wins
    4. Slouching Towards Bethlehem
    5. Supersymmetry
    6. Spin The Bottle
    7. Apocalypse, Nowish
    8. Habeas Corpses
    9. Long Day's Journey
    10. Awakening
    11. Soulless
    12. Calvary
    13. Salvage
    14. Release
    15. Orpheus
    16. Players
    17. Inside Out
    18. Shiny Happy People
    19. The Magic Bullet
    20. Sacrifice
    21. Peace Out
    22. Home

    - - - Updated - - -

    Deep Down

    Positive: Just a great opening scene of Angel's dreams of a happy family around the dinner table, then fades into his reality. I love all his dreams and memories. Fred has matured so much from last season, and that's a definite positive.

    Negative: Very good episode with few negatives, but I would have liked Angel to stay underwater for another episode so we could see more of his dreams and the rest of the gang struggling without him.

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    Sorry, Priceless, I had some RL issues and just got so behind in the rewatch that I just couldn't keep up with last season, but I'm here for Season Four and will do my best to post on each episode.

    Deep Down:

    Positive: Agree that Angel's dreams are the best part of the episode. Linwood losing his head is also pretty wild. Linwood: “This is outrageous! Are you actually telling me that you went over my head?” Lilah: “Just under it, actually.”

    Negative: Too much exposition. Talk, talk, talk between Fred, Gunn and Connor talking about what might have happened. With much tazing in-between.

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    Deep Down

    Positives Lilah cutting off Linwood's head was brilliant. I also liked Angel's first dream and how it comes full circle at the end of the season (Home) with Angel passing on his own dreams for a family dinner onto Connor and his fake family which is both heartbreaking and disturbing.

    Negatives The final shot of Cordy in the 'heavenly' dimension is just really corny. Also, they take some real liberties with the vampire abilities in this episode when Marissa "crawls" up the wall like Spider-Man. Since when could vampires do that?
    "You've got ... a world of strength in your heart. I know you do. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself."

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    Ground State

    Positive: Liked Angel, Gunn and Fred. They felt like the old team from earlier seasons. Fred is a mixed bag, but her 'chin up' scene with Gunn actually made me think she might be a grown up.

    Negative: Wesley being so aloof with Angel. I don't like his attitude. He has no right to have hurt feelings. Have no interest in Gwen at all and not sure why we got so much backstory, and what a great top to be hanging upside down in. Her kiss with Angel seemed completely unnecessary. Was Gwen meant to become a regular, or a sort of early-Nina-type love interest?

    - - - Updated - - -

    The House Always Wins

    Positive: Like Angel watching out for Connor, and that the opening scene was reminiscent of the Spike on the rooftop scene from In The Dark.

    Negative: Filler episode, with enough time for two songs, so you can tell it had nothing to say. Wesley and Lilah's phone sex just makes my cringe. Lorne appears gay to me, so it's surprising they'd write him 'diddling' a show girl. Just a very messy episode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    Ground State

    Positive: Liked Angel, Gunn and Fred. They felt like the old team from earlier seasons. Fred is a mixed bag, but her 'chin up' scene with Gunn actually made me think she might be a grown up.

    Negative: Wesley being so aloof with Angel. I don't like his attitude. He has no right to have hurt feelings. Have no interest in Gwen at all and not sure why we got so much backstory, and what a great top to be hanging upside down in. Her kiss with Angel seemed completely unnecessary. Was Gwen meant to become a regular, or a sort of early-Nina-type love interest?

    - - - Updated - - -

    The House Always Wins

    Positive: Like Angel watching out for Connor, and that the opening scene was reminiscent of the Spike on the rooftop scene from In The Dark.

    Negative: Filler episode, with enough time for two songs, so you can tell it had nothing to say. Wesley and Lilah's phone sex just makes my cringe. Lorne appears gay to me, so it's surprising they'd write him 'diddling' a show girl. Just a very messy episode.
    I thought Lorne was implied to be bisexual or pansexual, or at least that's what his friends' impression was...I was watching a YT reaction to one of the S3 episodes, and at some point, when it was mentioned he spent the night with a demon,Wesley replied referring to the 'demon' as "he, she or it".

    But then, what am I talking about - everyone knows bisexuality doesn't exist in the Buffyverse.
    You keep waiting for the dust to settle and then you realize it; the dust is your life going on. If happy comes along - that weird unbearable delight that's actual happy - I think you have to grab it while you can. You take what you can get, 'cause it's here, and then...gone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeTravellingBunny View Post
    I thought Lorne was implied to be bisexual or pansexual, or at least that's what his friends' impression was...I was watching a YT reaction to one of the S3 episodes, and at some point, when it was mentioned he spent the night with a demon,Wesley replied referring to the 'demon' as "he, she or it".

    But then, what am I talking about - everyone knows bisexuality doesn't exist in the Buffyverse.
    It's difficult to say with Lorne, because he never self-identifies and is never explicit about who/what he is attracted to. So yes, he could very well be pan-sexual or he could have very specific likes, we just don't know.

    Bi-sexuality is never discussed in the Buffyverse, but then neither is any form of sexuality really, except perhaps with Willow and Kennedy who both staunchly identify as gay. Does Tara specifically say she is gay? But that's good in a way, because we can decide who these characters would and would not like

    - - - Updated - - -

    Slouching Towards Bethlehem

    Positives: Enjoyed seeing Cordy getting to now who she is, and her interactions with Angel and the gang. It was fun to see Lilah play Wesley.

    Negatives: It's not a bad episode, but it's just so depressing because you know what's happening and what's going to happen. Hate seeing Cordy with Connor, and her manipulation of him. Poor Connor, poor Angel and poor Cordy.

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    Cordy isn't actually manipulating Connor in Slouching Towards Bethlehem. It isn't until the spell in Spin the Bottle that they "wake [Jasmine] up." Right now Cordy is genuinely suffering from amnesia and has no idea who she is. Which makes the creepy sexual vibes (the hand on her breast) even grosser, to be honest.

    Lorne also expresses in Waiting in the Wings that he's attracted to Cordy and would make a move if he thought she'd be interested in him. So I would definitely say he isn't gay.

    To catch up. I like Season 4 overall but these 3 episodes are a pretty big slog for me....

    Ground State:

    Positives I like the flashback scene to Gwen's childhood (it's *very* X-Men) and I think the actress has a lot of charisma overall

    Negatives I agree with Priceless that the Angel/Gwen kiss is pretty unnecessary and cringeworthy. It doesn't even make sense. Why would Gwen jolting Angel's heart make him want to kiss her of all things


    The House Always Wins:

    Positives Honestly, I'm not a fan of giving Angel too much backstory during his ensouled pre-Buffy days as I think it lessens his self-imposed exile during that time but I do like hearing him talk about his history with the Rat Pack. I also like Angel knocking down the angel gargoyle when watching Connor spar with the vampire

    Negatives Mm I'm not a fan of this one. The Vegas backstory doesn't really work for me and I find the story pretty dull overall.


    Slouching Towards Bethlehem:

    Positives I love Cordy reading her Sunnydale High year book and the references to the Mayor's ascension.

    Negatives Ok, so having Connor's hand cup Cordy's breast is so gross and unnecessary. I also don't buy for one moment that Cordy a) became such a formidable fighter in such a short period of time and b) that she was such a formidable fighter that she supposedly knows how to battle on pure instinct. Nuh-uh. There's no evidence of this in Season 3 at all.
    "You've got ... a world of strength in your heart. I know you do. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself."

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    Supersymmetry

    Positive: A very well written, well paced episode, showing the changes within all the main relationships within the show, how some are moving closer and others further apart. It certainly asks some serious questions.

    Negative: I dislike this episode. The couples might be moving and changing, but nothing to the good. Everyone is pretty selfish, cruel and desperate to get what they want, not caring who they hurt in the process. Fred is mentally ill, at least suffering from PTSD, she needs real help and all they can do is help her enact revenge. Wesley wants her so much he's willing to do anything. It's gross. I find them gross.

    Cordy/Connor are the gross version of Cordy/Angel. Wesley/Lilah are like watching two rattle snakes mating. I just hate all these relationships.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Spin The Bottle

    Positive: So much to love in this episode (written and directed by Whedon of course) Love the opening, and the conceit of Lorne telling a story from a stage. Loved the Cangel of it all. The dialogue is so funny, and I'm so glad Angel didn't revert to his terrible Irish accent.

    These lines alone crack me up every time:

    GUNN - Don't be giving me orders. I run my own crew.
    WESLEY - I'm sure your seafaring adventures are very interesting, but I have experience of things you couldn't imagine. I'm not head boy for nothing.

    Connor and Angel discussing their terrible fathers is fun.

    Negative: Fred and Wesley's lingering looks and shared secrets, and Gunn out in the cold. Wes pulling a weapon on Gunn, Wesley's deeply annoying self pity 'I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me' . . . you kidnapped a child Wesley. Take some responsibility for what you did man, and how it affected others.

    When is Lorne telling this story? Could this be set in S5?

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    Apocalypse, Nowish

    Positive: The Beast is great, I love his show of power and how he beats down Angel. Lilah dressed as Fred, lot of complex things going on there, between them and Fred/Gunn -I've put it as a positive because I know it's interesting story telling, but I don't actually like it. I do like that it's Gunn who solves the 'puzzle', showing how off his game Wesley really is (also shown by his use of guns)

    Negative: Wes/Lilah Fred/Gunn Connor/Cordy (the only good couple were Lorne/Angel) I find it all so despairing and depressing. I am guessing that people who hate Spuffy actually feel like this during BtVS S6 , that terrible slog through the hopelessness and just praying it'll be over soon. I used to enjoy S4 but each time I see it, I dislike it more.

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    Habeas Corpses

    Positive: Great claustrophobic setting; everyone wondering around in the dark at W&H, with the the dead becoming zombies. Love Angel's snark. Poor Connor, he's not emotionally equipped to deal with any of this and doesn't understand his part in it, but love his 'like you' lines.

    Negative: Wes/Fred/Gunn love triangle was only a minimal irritation, but the way Wes touches her when he says 'we need to get you to safety' makes me roll my eyes. Bit of a cop out that the little girl saves them all

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    Yak! This thread has moved so fast!

    Okay, here's mine up to Habeas Corpses:

    Ground State:

    Positive: Agree with Priceless that it's great to see the old gang working together again for a good cause - to find out what happened to Cordelia.

    Negative: Gwen is interesting, but she's only developed halfway towards a genuine character. It feels like a tryout for a possible "new" character that didn't quite work. I'm also not a big fan of the campy "Cordy in the Sky" scenes. Too silly for me.


    The House Always Wins:

    Positive: I know the episode is a total throwaway, but it's always fun to see location shooting outside of Los Angeles and I always love Lorne. It's too bad the storyline wasn't better.

    Negative: It feels like the sister episode to Beer Bad or Wrecked - Alcohol, drug addiction and gambling are BAAAAAD for you!!! See how it ruins your life!

    As to Lorne's sexuality, I think that demons are more openly pansexual because they don't necessarily share the same genetic structure as human beings in terms of determining a specific sexual orientation or gender. They also don't have the same religious/cultural prohibitions. Like Angel and Spike, I'm sure that Lorne has had sex with men - and probably sex with women as well. But I'm not sure the character ever self-identifies as anything in particular.

    Slouching Towards Bethlehem:

    Positive: I love how Lilah's phone call is all a ruse and Wesley falls for it. And I love how she tells Wesley that she could have murdered Lorne - but spared him for Wesley's sake.

    Negative: There's something off-putting for me when Angel allows a Cordelia who can't even remember who she is to live with Connor when it's clear that he's emotionally unstable. And what's up with that drooling Sugar-Sugar guy? Why is Lorne trying to help him?


    Supersymmetry:

    Positive: : Silly dialogue that still made me laugh: "Like, yeah, you're Angel, right? There are whole forums on you in chat rooms, man! Who knew you actually, like, existed?"

    Negative: Not a big fan of Gunn and Angel warning Fred that she'll go to Hell if she kills her professor - I would think they'd have better moral reasoning than "You'll burn in Hell, booga, booga!" And does this mean that Gunn is now headed for Hell to save Fred? It's too reductionist for me and I hate that it breaks up Gunn and Fred when it was borderline self-defense since the Prof was trying to suck them through the portal.


    Spin the Bottle:

    Positive: This is Angel's Tabula Rasa and it's truly delightful. Angel freaking out in the bathroom makes the whole episode worthwhile for me.

    It's very "Monsters on Maple Street" Twilight Zone with everyone afraid that the other is a monster.

    Negative: Connor again for me - the writers just don't seem to know what to do with him except have him attack Angel at every turn and try to block his father from seeing Cordelia. I actually like the character and wish that the writers had given him a more interesting part to play than just act as a foil to Angel and a tool to Jasmine.


    Apocalypse Nowish:

    Positive: Great super villain - the Beast is very convincing! There's some amusing dialogue in this episode: Lilah mocking Wes's crush on Fred: LILAH: (in Southern accent) "Oh, forget about that evil witch. Let's talk about me. I'm good and pure and science turns me on, and-and one day (puts hands together in prayer) if I pray hard enough and eat all my vegetables, I just might just have hips."

    Plus this bizarre dialogue: LORNE: "Snakes? Uh-huh. And they came out of your what? OK, OK, well, did they get up there themselves or is this part of a - you know - a thing. No, I'm not judging."

    Negative: Connor and Cordy having sex at the end. Sigh.


    Habeas Corpses:

    Positive: I really like the intensity of the Beastly Apocalypse - I think this is one of the strongest episodes of Season Four. When the W&H lawyers lurch all over the place, I crack up every time. Also, the lever hidden in the toilet paper - poor Gavin never had a chance.

    Negative: The ending was a total cop-out - they're just magically taken out of the building and away from the Beast instead of finding a more clever way out. And I miss Cordelia - she's no longer a part of the gang.
    Last edited by American Aurora; Yesterday at 03:25 AM.

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    Long Days Journey

    Positive: Angel goes through all the emotions and I'm here for him. I especially love his rousing speech to the troops and his efforts to make Cordy jealous. I really enjoy this story, credited to Mere Smith. I like Manny and the Beast, and love all the twists and misdirects - it is a locked room mystery and who doesn't love those. Even Gwen seems to have purpose and works well within the team.

    Negative: There aren't many negatives here at all, especially if you pretend you don't know Cordy isn't really Cordy, which is the only thing that spoils it, because we know it's all just manipulation. I think it's also really stupid of Wes to suggest bringing forward Angelus, and I'm sorry, but Angel's face at the very end is just comical.

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