Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 109

Thread: Positives And Negatives - Season 5

  1. #1
    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    4,549
    Thanks
    9,660
    Thanked 8,427 Times in 4,062 Posts

    Default Positives And Negatives - Season 5

    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. Conviction
    2. Just Rewards
    3. Unleashed
    4. Hell Bound
    5. Life of the Party
    6. The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco
    7. Lineage
    8. Destiny
    9. Harms Way
    10. Soul Purpose
    11. Damage
    12. You're Welcome
    13. Why We Fight
    14. Smile Time
    15. A Hole In The World
    16. Shells
    17. Underneath
    18. Origin
    19. Time Bomb
    20. The Girl In Question
    21. Power Play
    22. Not Fade Away

  2. #2
    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    4,549
    Thanks
    9,660
    Thanked 8,427 Times in 4,062 Posts

    Default

    Conviction

    Positives: Great opener. Lots of fun with Angel and Harmony, but also an insight into how the gang are settling in to W&H and getting through the moral minefield by dealing with a case that's a moral minefield. I even like Eve, who seems to embody the ambiguity of the gangs situation by being morally questionable at best. I know it's a deus ex machina to suddenly have Gunn's character be an all knowing lawyer, but I actually like it and think it works within the story and something W&H would very much do.

    Oh, and Spike

    Negatives: Some odd camera angles, with Fred is filmed, splayed out over two chairs, then filming down on her and Wesley from the top of the staircase. Why all the gay comments? Is this setting up a Spangel overtone to the season?

    - - - Updated - - -

    I've just had a thought. Maybe the camera angles, when the camera is on Fred are a clue to her situation. That she is out of place and will be replaced as the season continues. She's laying out over two chairs, just as Illyria is laying out in their coffin. The camera on the top of the stairs foreshadows that Fred will collapse on those stairs a few months later. These can be seen as visual clues to where Fred's character will go this season.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Priceless For This Useful Post:

    Stoney (15-11-18)

  4. #3
    Slayer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,524
    Thanks
    4,539
    Thanked 3,779 Times in 1,623 Posts

    Default

    OK, I'm going to do the Positive/Negative for S5 even though I dislike much about the season. It's my least favorite season of AtS. So just to warn anyone following my posts there, there's going to be negativity.

    Conviction

    Positive: Yes, let's give it up for *Eve* here. She'll become annoying real quick and she's no Lilah. However, her speech about the "catch" was the best part of the episode. The speech needed to be said- AI only gets to keep all of these fabulous, expensive toys and army of paid employees if they make money as an evil law firm, providing the same standard of representation that W&H 1.0 provided. Meaning mystically controlling juries, pretending that evil monsters are owed constitutional rights, using political influence to protect the powerful and well-heeled. I don't think there's anything inherently evil about being a criminal defense attorney or a corporate attorney but unique clients go to W&H for their mystical know-how and the criminality/evil of their attorneys.

    IMO, S5 will come to fail at exploring that key promised moral dilemma. The season alludes to how Angel's W&H is still making money. Hamilton will later say in Time Bomb that the LA branch was the most profitable division until Illyria broke a lot of sh*t. However, the season rarely explains *how* AI makes its money. I assume AI is continuing W&H's standard of representation for its evil clients but the audience just isn't exposed to *how* because it's too dark or perhaps more accurately, the writers don't want to deviate from the Buffyverse formula of how the average episode is about Team Good foiling a supernatural danger or dealing with tragedies and problems that have befallen the team.

    Still, this is the rare episode that kind of deals with Eve's speech and consequently, it's one of the best of the season.

    Negative: I don't mind the deus ex machina of Lawyer!Gunn at all. Absolutely, it fits perfectly for this season and the Senior Partners. I wish we learned more about it because Gunn feels more robotic in his recall of statutes and case law and how he uses legal analysis in EVERY conversation than just your standard brilliant, talented attorney. That said, it's annoying that Gunn calls the integrity of that judge into question in front of the jury and everyone in the audience. No halfway professional lawyer would ever do that. You file a Motion to Recuse the Judge in private. My personal canon is that the judge wasn't corrupt at all and Gunn just slandered an innocent professional woman to get Frys off. I get that this is a fantasy show and legal tactics are never going to be realistic. However, this whole plot relied entirely on convincing the audience that the legal tactics were realistic and brilliant. And they were not. The judge and/or prosecutor should have filed a bar complaint and Gunn should have faced damage to his reputation in front of the other judges.

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Dipstick For This Useful Post:

    Klaus Kartoffel (14-11-18),Stoney (15-11-18)

  6. #4
    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    4,549
    Thanks
    9,660
    Thanked 8,427 Times in 4,062 Posts

    Default

    Just Rewards

    Positive: Happy to see Spike here and I think the writers dealt with his appearance in such a clever way, having him be incorporeal. He and Angel work so well together, their dialogue is crisp and they bring out the absolute worst in each other. But we also see that they actually do make the choice to work together, so making their relationship more complex.

    Negative: The relationship between Angel and Spike is the highlight of this episode, and everyone else is rather dull in comparison. Also, Spike's voice seems to have been obviously over-dubbed at points.

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to Priceless For This Useful Post:

    Stoney (15-11-18)

  8. #5
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    11,271
    Thanked 13,425 Times in 5,565 Posts

    Default

    I've been really enjoying reading your posts through AtS, even though we don't agree too often because I'm a huge Wes fan. I will get to the threads when I rewatch the seasons, I just don't know the eps as well as BtVS to be able to pick out specific positives and negatives without rewatching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    Also, Spike's voice seems to have been obviously over-dubbed at points.
    Can you remember which points? I'm rubbish for spotting things like this so try to remember when people point them out so that I can try to notice it next time I see the eps. It's going to be a while before I get to S5 though.

    Spike's characterisation is so much more in line with S7 of BtVS when a ghost in the early part of AtS 5 I think, before they wanted him to fall in line and join the team. It can of course make sense in his uncertainty for him to do this and follow as he does in the later half, and they have the interim with Lindsey to transition to that. But some of the angles they take in trying to lean on a compare/contrast between him and Angel pushes regressive behaviour between them. That's not totally a bad thing but it's overdone for me and buries some of what we saw of Spike souled in S7 to emphasise these elements. I find that disappointing at a few points in the season. But as I remember his jibing of Angel and questioning Angel's choice to be at W&H at the start was great and a strong aspect of the ep.
    Last edited by Stoney; 15-11-18 at 02:57 PM.

  9. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Stoney For This Useful Post:

    bespangled (18-11-18),Dipstick (15-11-18),Priceless (15-11-18)

  10. #6
    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    4,549
    Thanks
    9,660
    Thanked 8,427 Times in 4,062 Posts

    Default

    Can you remember which points? I'm rubbish for spotting things like this so try to remember when people point them out so that I can try to notice it next time I see the eps. It's going to be a while before I get to S5 though.
    Maybe I'm just mishearing Stoney, and no one else would even notice it, but to me Spike sounds odd in the scene in Angel's office with Wesley when Angel says 'I thought you'd left town' (??) It's only for one or two sentences, but it does sound odd to me. There might be other times in the ep, but that's the one I remember.

    Spike has always been written as having insight, and I think he shows how insightful he can be when discussing Angel taking over W&H, and I really like that. They do regress him a little, but I think they do that with Angel too, and I put it down to the affects they have on each other.

  11. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Priceless For This Useful Post:

    bespangled (18-11-18),Stoney (15-11-18)

  12. #7
    Slayer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,524
    Thanks
    4,539
    Thanked 3,779 Times in 1,623 Posts

    Default

    Just Rewards

    Positive: I agree with Stoney that Spike has tremendous value in calling Angel out on working for W&H. Spike is unclouded by a mindwipe or any status as Angel's employee. He's just come from Buffy's way of handling evil- which is to not make these types of moral compromises. As a result, Spike feels like a necessary POV here even if he's a Johnny-come-lately to the series. Spike gets some excellent scripting to make his point. "I know you, Angel. What do you think you're doing? Made some devil's bargain to take over this company. Thought you'd use it to fight the evil of the world from inside the belly of the beast. Trouble is you're too busy fighting to see you and yours are getting digested." 'You're man, Novach. Guess he's been-- whaju call it. Downsized."

    Negative: It's incredibly cheap and pointless suspense that Spike would work with Hainsley and kill Angel to become corporeal. It was far-fetched that Spike would be so firmly on Team Good in BTVS S7 and then, die for humanity but immediately, turn evil once resurrected to ghost form. I never bought such a heel-turn for a second. I also didn't like AA's acting when Spike asked Fred for help at the end. She's too OTT and stagey in her "Spike. What are you- can I help you?" It's like the start of the scene had already telegraphed the gravity that Spike was being sucked into hell, even though we don't learn that until the last line of the scene.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 15-11-18 at 05:05 PM.

  13. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Dipstick For This Useful Post:

    Klaus Kartoffel (15-11-18),Stoney (15-11-18)

  14. #8
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    11,271
    Thanked 13,425 Times in 5,565 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    Maybe I'm just mishearing Stoney, and no one else would even notice it, but to me Spike sounds odd in the scene in Angel's office with Wesley when Angel says 'I thought you'd left town' (??) It's only for one or two sentences, but it does sound odd to me. There might be other times in the ep, but that's the one I remember.
    Ah no, you could well be right, I really don't notice these things so that's why I try to find out where others think they are so that I can look to pay better attention.

    Spike has always been written as having insight, and I think he shows how insightful he can be when discussing Angel taking over W&H, and I really like that. They do regress him a little, but I think they do that with Angel too, and I put it down to the affects they have on each other.
    I don't disagree that both of them can bring out the worst in each other as their insecurities flare and they compare themselves and project their issues. It's interesting and a lot of it is totally legitimate. But as the protag Angel gets some advantages. Spike is dumbed down a touch too far at points and if you don't know BtVS and the layers/meaning around such things as his mum coming on to him or putting his own wishes aside in wearing the coat again, or know about the reality of his relationship with Buffy, then how he is presented on AtS is really belittling of some important character points and deliberately presents them in shallow ways. It frustrates me and I just don't think some of it was necessary.

    Like Dipstick says about the fake-out in Just Rewards. Anyone who knows BtVS S7 wouldn't have believed it for a moment, but AtS want to play a little at presenting Spike as the 'less good/competent' souled vamp to differentiate a little and a lot of the issues reside in that aim. It takes the edge off the season for me. As does how much Spike was forced in to the season above exploring the original cast. I love Spike, he's my fave, but I really wanted to see more of what was happening with Gunn, Wes and around the mind wipe. These are people we've been following for four seasons and storylines that have built up across the whole show and they deserved more time to continue them.

  15. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Stoney For This Useful Post:

    Dipstick (15-11-18),Priceless (16-11-18)

  16. #9
    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    4,549
    Thanks
    9,660
    Thanked 8,427 Times in 4,062 Posts

    Default

    Like Dipstick says about the fake-out in Just Rewards. Anyone who knows BtVS S7 wouldn't have believed it for a moment, but AtS want to play a little at presenting Spike as the 'less good/competent' souled vamp to differentiate a little and a lot of the issues reside in that aim. It takes the edge off the season for me. As does how much Spike was forced in to the season above exploring the original cast. I love Spike, he's my fave, but I really wanted to see more of what was happening with Gunn, Wes and around the mind wipe. These are people we've been following for four seasons and storylines that have built up across the whole show and they deserved more time to continue them.
    I can understand and sympathise with this pov. But I can't feel the same. Spike is one of my favourite characters and I am joyful to see him on AtS. He and Angel make a fantastic team and their dialogue is so sharp and effective, it buries everyone else, who seem dull in comparison.

    I know if you love Wes, Fred and Gunn, this may seem a terrible way for the writers to go and take the season. But I find Wes and Fred both annoying and over rated, though strangely they both redeem themselves a little in this season, when the spotlight is off them. I personally think Gunn is great and this could possibly be his best season, especially because he no longer seems to have romantic feelings for Fred, so the writers have to work to find other stories for him, and I think they do a great job of that (although my memory of any of AtS is shakey at best)

    As for Spike turning evil and no-one buying it, that I would agree with. But I wonder if the writers thought they had to do it to reassure people that Spike hadn't lost his soul or been changed by sacrificing himself and being 'dead', Joyce was bought back wrong, as was Buffy, maybe that's what the writers were going for, showing Spike was still our Spike? Or perhaps they thought most AtS viewers didn't actually watch BtVS and would need to learn very quickly who Spike was, and this would encapsulate his personality and his relationship with Angel?

  17. #10
    Slayer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,524
    Thanks
    4,539
    Thanked 3,779 Times in 1,623 Posts

    Default

    I dislike how Spike took over the show. It's annoying that we drop characters that we've been following for years for newcomer Spike. Wesley is my favorite character by a considerable margin and he doesn't have any arc or even adequate screentime (excepting Lineage) for the first half of the season. I actually think Fred and Gunn have opposite problems. Gunn has the outlines of a very interesting, dark arc where he fundamentally changed his role and personality around servicing AI's new role controlling the evil law firm. However, Gunn never gets the screentime to adequately service such an interesting arc. His legal-know-how is played for jokes or exposition but never in a character-exploration of how Gunn looks at the world differently. We hardly ever see him managing his legal team. He should have had an equivalent of Knox in his legal department to see how he interacts with W&H's lawyers. Meanwhile, I actually do think Fred gets adequate screentime in the first half of S5 because (a) she's in-charge of recorporealizing Spike and Spike reached out to her and (b) the lab is likely and certainly presented as the coolest commodity that the team got when they moved to W&H. However, Fred's screentime doesn't serve an arc other than her friendship with Spike (which I find to be bland and stage-y). She might as well be on a procedural like CSI because she gets screentime but it's mainly to say science gobbeldy-gook.

    Gunn and Fred actually have opposite problems as characters to me. Gunn annoys me more on a minute-to-minute level than Fred. However, I find Gunn more interesting and funny than Fred who can frequently be bland.

    My big issue is that Spangel is repetitive in the first half of the season. My Positive for Just Rewards was the Spangel debates. Just Rewards contains the grounds for Spangel conflict. Spike thinks that Angel sold out to Evil Inc. and that he's a phoney melodramatic fake-ass bitch; Angel thinks Spike is annoying and his repentance and heroism isn't real. They both fight over who has the best romance with Buffy and who's the biggest Champion. That's all interesting and amusing in Just Rewards. But then, they have the same fight in like, most eps in the first half of the season. They come to some kind of detente in Damage (even though that fight doesn't die and it's the entirety of The Girl in Question). However unfortunately, it appears like Angel won the fight because it's his show. The most interesting part of the Spangel debates in the first half of the season was Spike's critique of Angel selling out to Evil Inc. But then in the second half of the season, Spike becomes Angel's sidekick. IMO, Spike's relationship with Illyria is the most interesting thing about him in S5 and it's a general highlight for the whole season. However, it's not worth Spike giving up his side of the debate that AI is doing bullsh*t at W&H. Case in point, I'll do Unleashed now.

    Unleashed

    Positive: Really not a lot here. I like the continuity that Wesley still has his motorcycle. I also think it's interesting that Wesley has these suspicions about Knox and Gunn's brain upgrade but he visibly shuts himself up about it because he doesn't want to appear petty and jealous. However, Knox in conjunction with Gunn's brain upgrades will murder Fred. There's a dynamic that nobody has the power to morally call anything out or even call much of anything because the gang is that steeped in evil. (Frankly, I think Wesley benefits from that in his consequence-free vengeance spree in Shells so it's a two-way street....where everyone gets run over and runs others over.) Knox *is* suspicious because he was working for W&H before AI got there. Gunn can aggressively yak about how the Big Cat told him that he was just getting legal knowledge but really, Gunn doesn't have Clue 1 that W&H didn't put a recording device or a behavior modification device in his brain while they were doing the operation. Gunn was't knowledgeably observing what they were doing.

    In a perfect world, Gunn shouldn't even be invited to AI's "have a secret conversation from W&H at a park outside while eating Chinese food" meetings until he submits to some examination conducted by Fred and/or Wesley verifying that he doesn't have a recording device in his brain at the very least. Why have a secret meeting if you're inviting a brain formed and managed by W&H? However, this isn't a perfect world because AI's little secret meeting is pretty pointless. They still conduct their important business in the halls of W&H where recording devices and evil employees can and do abound. I mean, hope the Chinese food was good because eating was the only productive thing that the gang did in these friend-meetings at the beginning and end of the ep. AI isn't keeping anything secret from the Senior Partners in their current position. Royce double-crossing the gang because he was allowed to work on the werewolf case is the classic example from this episode.

    I tend to think of AI in S5 through the frame of this Jed Bartlet quote from The West Wing:

    BARTLET: ...No one in government takes responsibility for anything anymore. We foster, we obfuscate, we rationalize. "Everybody does it." That's what we say. So we come to occupy a moral safe house where everyone's to blame so no one's guilty.

    Negative: This episode is basically Phases- the gang deals with a werewolf (turned love interest) who's a threat to the population as a werewolf but also under threat by rapacious capitalist hunters. However, this copycat subtracts all of the heart, all of the humor, a meaningful long-season arc in the form of Angelus terrorizing Buffy. It's how to copy the awesome Phases AND MAKE IT SUCK. Instead of my favorite Buffyverse ship Willow/Oz coming to a real beginning of a romance where they both lay their hearts on the line and take an important step to adulthood in the process, we have one of my least favorite Buffyverse ships Angel/Nina where nothing even happens other than Angel working up a load of (lukewarm to cold) sexual tension and prancing away like a magnificent poof and Nina melodramatically angsting about her blink-and-you-missed-her annoying sister.

    There's no AtS character dealing with issues like Xander dealing with how he now has feelings for Cordelia, Buffy, AND Willow. There's no equivalent of a tertiary-walk on character like Larry being made complex and human because his toxic masculinity is actually fear of being vulnerable and honest about his true sexuality and personality and how that connects to an important character like Xander. We get to see supposedly professional adults with a whole turnkey state of the art fancy shmancy operation do the SAME THING IN ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME as a bunch of schoolchildren + Giles with no resources beyond a tranq gun and a library cage.

    It's only value as a direct contrast is to point how AI has rendered itself corrupted and lame by taking this W&H deal.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 16-11-18 at 04:09 PM.

  18. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Dipstick For This Useful Post:

    Klaus Kartoffel (16-11-18),Stoney (16-11-18)

  19. #11
    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    4,549
    Thanks
    9,660
    Thanked 8,427 Times in 4,062 Posts

    Default

    Unleashed

    Positive: More Wes/Fred jealousy/mixed signal nonsense, but at least here it's playing into the bigger theme of mistrust between the gang which works well. I like the story, a sort of throwback to Season 1 when the AI gang would find and rescue a girl just using their wits and now they have everything W&H can offer, but that's more of a hindrance than a help. The ending is very cute too, the gang happy and together.

    Spike. Just Spike being Spike, always a positive. He's great with Angel and Fred.

    Negative: You have to periodically introduce new characters into a show to give new perspectives and keep it fresh but I can't help thinking Nina was introduced simply to get naked. Of course the female guard/butcher had to be fat and plain looking because that stereotype never gets old. And this was written and directed by women, so was it meant to see something that I'm just not getting?

    I also think Angel is a little dramatic in his attitude about finding Nina, a throwback to his season 1 persona, which certainly fits with the theme. I don't dislike Nina, but I feel Angel (and the camera mans) attentions are unnecessary. I don't think Angel needs a gf, especially if she's only used to show how much Angel has changed - hey look he can get happy and not lose his soul.

  20. The Following User Says Thank You to Priceless For This Useful Post:

    Stoney (16-11-18)

  21. #12
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    11,271
    Thanked 13,425 Times in 5,565 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    I can understand and sympathise with this pov. But I can't feel the same. Spike is one of my favourite characters and I am joyful to see him on AtS. He and Angel make a fantastic team and their dialogue is so sharp and effective, it buries everyone else, who seem dull in comparison.
    I know you aren't questioning my devotion to Spike!! You know he's my favourite character by a mile and I love getting to see more of him. I warn you this may come over at being a bit on the side of ranting (a lot even!) but it isn't directed at you but at the issues I have with AtS 5 because Spike's my fave.

    I was ecstatic when I was told that he hadn't truly died in the hellmouth and genuinely I liked seeing a different side to him explored further with Angel in AtS (and that's even though it doesn't always bring out the best in him and I can accept that, I appreciate flaws getting explored too). I enjoy his inclusion in the season and the interactions we get between him and Angel generally. In fact some of my favourite character moments for him are in this season, Hell Bound is a top character ep of his for me, but I don't want to see anything with him crammed in even if it disregards important character points that have previously been established (Buffy/his mum/the coat in particular) and if it constantly belittles how he feels about things and his emotional depth. They are things that can be headcanon'd through because of how he reacts to Angel and his defensive tendencies, but those responses aren't directly addressed in the text against what was established around the same issues in S7, you have to know the history and work it through for yourself. So if taken at face value AtS 5 presents a contradicting view of important character points, it's not even an addressed thing that they are being contradicted, and that's incredibly frustrating.

    The main reason I can see for them doing this is because Spike was going to be around for as long as he was and as much as he was, so they leaned on upping contrasts with Angel and the competitive edge they bring out in each other. He started off calling Angel on the choice to be at W&H but they wanted him to fall in lie eventually so he becomes Angel's sidekick as Dipstick says. Although I can understand that within his overall development and his uncertainty on his path, falling to following/sacrificing himself again, it works. But again that comes from greater character understanding than the season offers and on top of that they have the ongoing question around how 'good' he really is, especially in comparison to Angel and his greater experience/souled suffering and mostly before Spike falls in line with the team. Sure he can be different around different people, his responses can be made coherent to S7 with headcanon and greatly from understanding the main tones of his relationship with Angel, but the contradictions being left unchallenged in the text of the season, not even acknowledged, is deeply frustrating because of my investment in Spike as a character. As I said, I just don't think it was all necessary but their deliberate level of focus on Spike/Angel caused these choices to happen regardless of the lack of cohesion to how Spike responded to the same issues in BtVS S7. At the end of the day he isn't the protag of AtS and they sacrificed some character continuity for Angel's benefit I think and as Spike's my fave that is always going to frustrate me, despite the really great parts of his inclusion in AtS 5 and liking seeing more of his relationship with Angel.

    I know if you love Wes, Fred and Gunn, this may seem a terrible way for the writers to go and take the season. But I find Wes and Fred both annoying and over rated, though strangely they both redeem themselves a little in this season, when the spotlight is off them. I personally think Gunn is great and this could possibly be his best season, especially because he no longer seems to have romantic feelings for Fred, so the writers have to work to find other stories for him, and I think they do a great job of that (although my memory of any of AtS is shakey at best)
    Yes I'll accept that other character investment plays its part too, but my main issue is definitely because of my level of investment in Spike's character and the depth/continuity in what was shown of him.

    I actually never liked Fred/Gunn as a couple so was happy to see them separate. I prefer Fred when she's not romantically involved to be honest, although the impact of the Illyria arc and both Wes' and Gunn's responses does work for me. Particularly the death scene. I appreciate the issues people have with how Fred was used, which I freely admit to not seeing at all when I first watched it, but I can't help but still appreciate it because I find it such an impactful death.

    Even though I'd never claim him to be a loved character I would have liked to see some more exploration of the choice Gunn made at the end of AtS 4 because it was the culmination of his journey and his insecurities that got him there. Plus it went on to have a massive cost. It wouldn't have taken much to write some more of that in I don't think. And the relationship between Angel and Wes has been a main feature since S1. So again for the culmination to go to such a backburner right at the end, including the mind wipe when the choice to be at W&H is the resulting action of the whole plot with Wes/Connor/Angel, well it's disappointing. It even loses the potential of exploring further Angel's choice in regards to his potential ongoing relationship with Connor and the cost/alternatives to what he chose to do at the end of S4. Angel/Connor is such a brief part of the season.

    As Spike, Angel and Wes are all favourite characters for me, Connor too, AtS 5 should have been a real treat. I love getting to see more of Angel and Spike's relationship, but the weight/emphasis I just don't think had to be at the price of everything else. It does get repetitive and then has Spike swing his point of view suddenly to fall in line and change his role in the second half. What they explore in their dynamic didn't have to be lost to also give more for other characters too. And those diminishing aspects Spike endures to give ongoing contrast/balance with how heavily he featured I can't help but feel massively frustrated about.

    As for Spike turning evil and no-one buying it, that I would agree with. But I wonder if the writers thought they had to do it to reassure people that Spike hadn't lost his soul or been changed by sacrificing himself and being 'dead', Joyce was bought back wrong, as was Buffy, maybe that's what the writers were going for, showing Spike was still our Spike? Or perhaps they thought most AtS viewers didn't actually watch BtVS and would need to learn very quickly who Spike was, and this would encapsulate his personality and his relationship with Angel?
    I hadn't considered that they might have been using it as a way of showing that there shouldn't be doubt that Spike had returned as he been when he'd died. But that wasn't ever in the script (that I remember). Instead it was a question over whether Spike would sell Angel out for his own benefit, to be returned body and soul by the necromancer. So it was a direct question of how truly 'good' Spike is as a person, not whether he was returned to an evil version. That's why he's so affronted when Angel asks what his answer was to the offer, it's about questioning what side he is choosing to play for that questions his character, not whether he is souled still or not. Angel belittled the transition Spike had in becoming souled earlier in the episode too. Again, not whether he was souled, but how much it meant. He stripped it down to simply moaning in a basement for three weeks compared to his hundred years trying to come to terms with it. It's character opinion/defensiveness but that's what the viewer is being presented with and it's a pov which directly diminishes one journey in contrast to the other. They are very different personalities which came to being souled from very different paths and they differed in Spike being fortunate to have established connections to people he could turn to against the isolation and confusion that Angel went through (which included trying to return to his vampiric family of course). But the breadth and details of Spike's path and history aren't included in AtS or given air time to understand. So again, at face value, his story is diminished. And this is where your final point becomes where a great deal of my issue with all this lies. If most AtS viewers didn't actually watch BtVS and they are learning all they know about Spike from AtS 5 they are getting a much shallower view of the character than is fair. So it lays out how they want his dynamic with Angel to be based and encapsulates his relationship dynamic with him for sure, but it doesn't show the breadth of Spike's personality and misrepresents him on some really key points and that's my problem with AtS 5 and this as his last 'live' presentation as a character.

    So then I return to the fact that there were other characters that got less screentime than necessary. Ones that had been on the show across the previous four seasons and they just aren't developed as much as they might have been. There's surely a fair argument that the other characters would have been more interesting if they'd been prioritised more and I can't help but feel a little robbed by not seeing more of stories that have built up over multiple seasons, despite how much I adore Spike above all others. Yes we gain some interesting character points from the interactions between Angel and Spike, most definitely. But not that equates to the amount of screentime they gave them and which also included having to watch my favourite character being shallowed on important character points too. Even though I've reconciled a great deal of my problems with the season and how I can headcanon why Spike would behave as he does, I'm yet to see the season again since I've discussed a lot of it through and come to some peace with it (so to speak, I know that sounds very dramatic). I can't imagine though that it is going to help me with the point that I still hate thinking that a viewer of only AtS would never even know there was a reason to need to headcanon the disparities presented. That still bothers me immensely.

    [/rant] (you'll be glad to hear)
    Last edited by Stoney; 16-11-18 at 09:50 PM.

  22. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Stoney For This Useful Post:

    bespangled (18-11-18),Dipstick (16-11-18),Priceless (16-11-18)

  23. #13
    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    4,549
    Thanks
    9,660
    Thanked 8,427 Times in 4,062 Posts

    Default

    I like your rants Stoney, they are always intelligent and informative and we're all allowed a rant now and agin. I haven't seen Angel in a while and don't remember a lot from the season. I would say that I can't remember Spike ever being Angel's sidekick, more like his conscience. But I will watch out for that as the episodes go on.

    I do think the audience is being asked to compare Angel and Spike, but not necessarily on how good they are. Every character on this show is bad. They have all done bad things, shown very poor judgement, hurt each other, lied, cheated . . . these people are pretty flawed by any measure (except perhaps Lorne, but his downfall comes at the end with the killing of Lindsay). I think the comparison between the two vampires is unavoidable, but I don't think the dice is loaded for either vampire, they are equally as good/bad as each other. Angel's argument that he has truly suffered because of his soul and is therefore 'better' than Spike is voided by Spike actually having fought to regain his soul and not have it cursed on him. This tit-for-tat attitude goes on throughout the season, and neither vamp ever wins the battle. They are incredibly evenly matched I think.

    I'm looking forward to Fred's death, as I remember it being very emotional and well done. I also appreciate Fred more when she's not romantically involved, but she always was . . . she went from a crush on Angel to becoming Gunns girlfriend to crushing on Wesley to becoming Wesley's girlfriend to dying. Season 5 Gunn is possibly my favourite. He's no longer just he muscle and I love when he takes Lindsay's place (IIRC) I thought that was a special moment for his character.

    I really can't remember Spike dramatically changing in the second half of the season, to fall in line with Angel, but I will certainly look out for it. I can certainly understand why you feel the way you do. Spike is different from the Spike we knew in S7, but I can happily head canon it along the way and find myself just enjoying his presence. Spike brings an energy and a joyfulness to the show that I love, and which reminds me of Cordy in the early seasons.

    - - - Updated - - -

  24. The Following User Says Thank You to Priceless For This Useful Post:

    Stoney (16-11-18)

  25. #14
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    11,271
    Thanked 13,425 Times in 5,565 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    I like your rants Stoney, they are always intelligent and informative and we're all allowed a rant now and agin. I haven't seen Angel in a while and don't remember a lot from the season. I would say that I can't remember Spike ever being Angel's sidekick, more like his conscience. But I will watch out for that as the episodes go on.


    As I remember it, it's after Fred dies when Spike's reason to fall to working as a team member is because it would be what Fred would have wanted, even though she wasn't one of the ones who wanted to be in W&H but just followed the others. Look where that got her and then Spike.

    I do think the audience is being asked to compare Angel and Spike, but not necessarily on how good they are. Every character on this show is bad. They have all done bad things, shown very poor judgement, hurt each other, lied, cheated . . . these people are pretty flawed by any measure (except perhaps Lorne, but his downfall comes at the end with the killing of Lindsay). I think the comparison between the two vampires is unavoidable, but I don't think the dice is loaded for either vampire, they are equally as good/bad as each other. Angel's argument that he has truly suffered because of his soul and is therefore 'better' than Spike is voided by Spike actually having fought to regain his soul and not have it cursed on him. This tit-for-tat attitude goes on throughout the season, and neither vamp ever wins the battle. They are incredibly evenly matched I think.
    I agree that they are being compared and it does happen deliberately with both coming off good/bad because they are projecting their insecurities/fears and reacting to jealousies. This is the side of their relationship exploration that is used in a really interesting way. I can't emphasise enough that there is definitely some interesting/valid and valuable character development that Spike gets during the season and that Angel is shown to face because of the compare contrast. But a lot of what you bring to the table with Spike comes from previous BtVS character knowledge. They devalue his relationship with Buffy, the end of Chosen is cut to miss out the romantic imagery and Angel reduces it to being just about sex. Spike doesn't contradict him but plays into that impression. We only know that it is defensiveness a) because we are being shown the relationship 'lesson' Angel gave Spike over Dru when he was first sired, but only really from that because of b) we know that Buffy and Spike grew close to each other in S7 outside of their sexual relationship. The depth of issue over wearing the coat, that he saw it as representative of a side of himself that he didn't relish in the memory of any more is now simply a trophy from killing a slayer. He is dumb around recovering Dana and Angel puts down his approach and intelligence repeatedly. They are definitely both being shown to worry about how they stand against the other, but it is Angel's show and he is the heroic champire that Spike is there as the somewhat impulsive and shallow little brother to learn from him. It isn't imo presented as equal and Spike, who didn't think what Angel was trying to do was good and the way to help but a way to become corrupted ends up being the first to raise his hand to the kamikaze plan because he doesn't know how to be a hero under his own steam yet. This he gets in AtF, where again Angel doubts his actions and assumes he is really playing Lord etc. Thinking less of Spike's capabilities is a regular stance for Angel.

    I wish I was this far in my rewatch so that I could watch/discuss it along the way together, but I'm over a season behind and I'm physically incapable of watching outside the chronological order. I'll just have to remember to come back to this thread when I eventually get there.

    I'm looking forward to Fred's death, as I remember it being very emotional and well done. I also appreciate Fred more when she's not romantically involved, but she always was . . . she went from a crush on Angel to becoming Gunns girlfriend to crushing on Wesley to becoming Wesley's girlfriend to dying. Season 5 Gunn is possibly my favourite. He's no longer just he muscle and I love when he takes Lindsay's place (IIRC) I thought that was a special moment for his character.
    Gunn did become more interesting in S5 as it fed so much from all that came before. Fair point about Fred. I think I was thinking more about her part in pulling Jasmine down and her initial independence at the start of S5. But I think her death and Illyria's arrival were one of the strongest things in the season.

    I really can't remember Spike dramatically changing in the second half of the season, to fall in line with Angel, but I will certainly look out for it. I can certainly understand why you feel the way you do. Spike is different from the Spike we knew in S7, but I can happily head canon it along the way and find myself just enjoying his presence. Spike brings an energy and a joyfulness to the show that I love, and which reminds me of Cordy in the early seasons.
    He goes from criticising putting yourself in the belly of the beast to following Angel's orders and being an active part of the team in said belly. It absolutely can be head canoned, all of it, but nothing changes that anyone only seeing AtS and knowing his character from this has some aspects shallowed, misrepresented and won't appreciate all the reasons that you use in your head canon of why Spike would be responding as he is. And this reduced version is the last we saw of him. Thank goodness the comics came and kept him growing.
    Last edited by Stoney; 16-11-18 at 11:15 PM.

  26. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Stoney For This Useful Post:

    Dipstick (16-11-18),Priceless (16-11-18)

  27. #15
    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    4,549
    Thanks
    9,660
    Thanked 8,427 Times in 4,062 Posts

    Default

    Hellbound

    Positive: There are some legitimate scares in this episode, which I enjoyed. Fred and Spike are very cute together, and I really like how Fred sees through him (literally ), their friendship is a real plus. But the best thing is Angel and Spike once again. Their dialogue is just so good, well done Steven S DeKnight.

    Negative: Wesley telling Fred to get some food and sleep just comes off as slimey to me, but that's the only negative in a very good episode.

  28. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Priceless For This Useful Post:

    Silver1 (17-11-18),Stoney (17-11-18)

  29. #16
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    8,238
    Thanks
    11,271
    Thanked 13,425 Times in 5,565 Posts

    Default

    Hellbound is one of my favourite Spike episodes and I think it's possibly the scariest episode in the whole verse. I love the moment that Spike realises he can control his reality and he becomes clothed again, it's a great visual representation for the strength of his will and leads brilliantly to his heroic choice to sacrifice the possibility of becoming corporeal to save Fred.

    As I'm not doing this properly at the moment I don't have to offer a negative.

  30. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Stoney For This Useful Post:

    Priceless (17-11-18),Silver1 (17-11-18)

  31. #17
    Slayer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,524
    Thanks
    4,539
    Thanked 3,779 Times in 1,623 Posts

    Default

    Hellbound

    Positive: It's a great creepy detail that W&H took over the land of a church and de-concecreated the land with the blood of a serial killer.

    Negative: Ok, I'm alone on this. I don't care for this ep. It's pretty much just four acts of Spike being sucked into hell and tortured and Team Angel ineffectively trying to deal with the problem. There's only that one Spike A-plot. However, we still don't learn anything more about Spike other than what we already knew. There's no twists (beyond the exposition listed above). There's no change in location outside of W&H. The story doesn't zig zag. I have no idea why the Senior Partners loaned the cat's whiskers to help Spike. Why is it in the Senior Partner's interests to have Spike as a corporeal heroic vampire?

    The Spike/Fred friendship does nothing for me and feels completely inorganic. They don't hang out or have conversation about their lives or have funny exchanges (Spike faux scaring Fred wasn't funny at all). They're just an IMMEDIATE mutual admiration society by their third ep together.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 17-11-18 at 03:55 PM.

  32. The Following User Says Thank You to Dipstick For This Useful Post:

    Klaus Kartoffel (17-11-18)

  33. #18
    Slayer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,524
    Thanks
    4,539
    Thanked 3,779 Times in 1,623 Posts

    Default

    Life of the Party

    Positive: I think this ep *teased* at a lot of interesting things. How Lorne finds a place on a fighting-team when he's not a fighter but instead, an entertainer/soother. What does it say about AI that they're now entertaining and sucking up to evil demons in order to keep their evil business? Where do they draw the line on what demons should be killed and what demons should be invited to a Halloween party in a bid for their business? Spike's interpersonal issues where he snarks and verbally attacks most of the team but then, feels hurt and lonely when most of the team doesn't like him. Fred's lab and Wesley's more full library/spell casters and researchers were key to the alleged perks of W&H. Can Fred/Wes trust the scientists or spellcasters in their employ, and what does that mean for the reliability of the gadgets and information that they produce? When Wesley tells Fred that he thought they'd be much better friends than they are, how much of that is related to the mindwipe obscuring how Wesley was mostly incommunicado with Fred from Forgiving to Supersymmetry and then, had a limited ability to have personal conversations because of Gunn's jealousy, Wesley's relentless obsessive crush even though Fred was attached, his outsider status, and the ongoing apocalypses until Home?

    That said:

    Negative: All of the follow-up to the above questions was disappointing. Like Unleashed is a worse version of Phases, this is a worse version of Something Blue. Colorfully dressed (ahem) Brave Little Toasters Lorne/Willow are feeling sad and insecure. They turn to magic in order to overcome natural processes of managing a workload while still taking basic care of yourself/mourning a relationship. It's very important they come off like the perpetually sunny helpmeet. As a result, they perform or ask for reckless spells to be performed on their person. However, those spells end up giving Lorne/Willow the power to dramatically affect their friends' lives with off-hand asides/insults. Comedic hijinks ensue when the ensemble becomes enspelled by those asides.

    However, Lorne's insecurity about his status on the team, while real and consistent, isn't the same visceral pain that Willow felt at losing Oz and feeling like she'll lose her friends if she doesn't bounce back fast. I like the opening with Lorne talking to himself in the mirror and smashing the glass before breaking out into disco. However, it still doesn't add up to the combined symphony of complexity and heart of Willow seeing Oz's stuff gone, falling apart to Buffy over Oz sending for stuff but not sending word to her, her existentialist "apples are turning brown" speech, the Dance of the Brave Little Toaster, and her actually doing the Will be Done spell after she lights a whole circle of candles in her dorm room bathroom.

    In addition, we come back to AtS S5 being a "moral safehouse where everyone's to blame so no one's guilty." Willow's irresponsibility is recognized as such and she makes amends to the gang. D'Hoffryn's offer to her to become a vengeance demon is Willow dealing with where the path of perpetual angry pain fueled by magic leads. In S5, all of AI is just doing such irresponsible, stupid sh*t (for a start, just by being at W&H) that Lorne doesn't really learn from the experience at all. He's fast asleep through the end of his own episode.

    Willow's asides about her friends are a lot more pertinent to how she sees them as well as their own long-standing issues. Xander's dating demons/bitchy women, Buffy's preoccupation with the latest sexy distraction over best friends, and Giles's deliberate attempts to avoid seeing and dealing with a lot of issues are incredibly important to their arcs and how Willow sees them. Over on AtS, Lorne doesn't get an equivalent POV to Willow, nor does he have much of an edge. As a result, it's hard to see how any of his asides reflect his actual conflicts/issues with the members of his team. Spike's Enforced Positivity comes the closest to addressing Lorne's issues with Spike but only in the sense that AI, minus Fred, broadly feel negatively judged by Spike. However, it's not Lorne-specific.

    What's more, Xander and Giles's minds aren't misshapen by the spell so they're a full part of snarking and dealing with stuff. That's really where a lot of the best wit from Something Blue comes from. "Can I be blind too?" "Stop that right now! I can hear the smacking!" In addition, Fred/Wesley are drunk and Spike's whole personality has been completely deformed and changed. Much like Buffy/Spike's personalities being deformed in Something Blue. However in Life of the Party, Gunn is sooooo busy peeing and Angel is soooooo busy having sex with Eve that there's no equivalent to Giles/Xander, those who are suffering from the spell but still have complete control of their mind and personality so that they can snark and point out the absurdity. Even though they're drunk, the Fred/Wes scenes have the most emotional heft. They're not so drunk that they can't solve the case or talk about their feelings or authentically react to each other. However, their dynamic is left unresolved- both from the mindwipe standpoint and their friends/romance conundrum.
    Last edited by Dipstick; 20-11-18 at 02:54 PM.

  34. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Dipstick For This Useful Post:

    Klaus Kartoffel (19-11-18),Stoney (20-11-18)

  35. #19
    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    4,549
    Thanks
    9,660
    Thanked 8,427 Times in 4,062 Posts

    Default

    Life of The Party

    Positive: Love Lorne's performance, he has some great dialogue and really seemed on the brink of a breakdown. I like that it's this silly episode that Angel gets the idea to take down the Black Thorn. This is a cute fun little episode, everyone is pretty funny. I don't even mind Fred and Wesley. Angel's moment comforting Lorne was so sweet.

    Negative: Lorne's literal consciousness is ridiculous and it makes no sense for it to be killing people in an attempt to process emotinal data (or whatever Wesley's excuse is). But that's such a small issue in an episode that I really enjoyed. I'll be honest and say this ep usually passes me by, but this time I've really enjoyed it.

  36. #20
    Slayer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,524
    Thanks
    4,539
    Thanked 3,779 Times in 1,623 Posts

    Default

    The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco

    Positive: I've been complaining about the first half of AtS S5 as I do but I like this episode. To start and finish, the gang was tackling an actually scary MOTW with lots of innocent casualties outside of the opening credits cast instead of dealing with a simple MOTW or cleaning up their messes from being at W&H in the first place. Number Five is a charismatic and interesting character and a powerful mirror for Angel. It's very cool to see Mexican people and culture in this Southern California verse. Two favorite small moments. First, the continuity that Holland Manners offered Number Five a job at W&H when Holland was an associate. Second, a great understated Spike moment where he can assume that Tezcatcatl wants the hearts of heroes because "it's in the poetry."

    Negative: Given that this is the first ep this season where the gang has actually tackled an actually scary MOTW who's a threat to non-regular cast members, I'm annoyed by Gunn's recitation of virtuous ways that AI has used the W&H office to set up charities or take down bad corporations, followed by Gunn's analysis that they've done more good at W&H in a month than they did in a year at the Hyperion. The impressive paperwork that Gunn cites is completely at odds with what I actually see AI do at W&H. And yet, Gunn cites actual impressive charitable projects like setting up a charity for orphaned children or defunding business that dump demon waste in Santa Monica Bay. But then, Gunn has no credibility with me this season and I'm inclined to trust my own lyin' eyes watching AI's story this year over Gunn's self-interested analysis that AI has done more good at W&H than the Hyperion. That scene made the story more confusing, not more complex.

  37. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Dipstick For This Useful Post:

    Klaus Kartoffel (26-11-18),Stoney (26-11-18)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •