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Episode battle: Pangs vs The Yoko Factor

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  • Episode battle: Pangs vs The Yoko Factor

    I thought for the next episode battle it would be interesting to find out what people like/dislike about these two S4 crossover episodes and which is liked the most overall. Please pick one and give us your reasons.
    13
    Pangs
    69.23%
    9
    The Yoko Factor
    30.77%
    4

  • #2
    Those two are both favorites for me, its impossible to choose. I'll have to watch the comments and see if someone can sway me.

    "I like who I am when I'm with him. I like who we are together."

    Comment


    • Stoney
      Stoney commented
      Editing a comment
      Well that's not helpful to those of use doing the same thing.

  • #3
    I really enjoy both episodes but it would have to be Pangs for me. Holiday-themed episodes are always my weak spot and the ensemble cast spends most of the episode together which is also my jam. I think it's easily the second funniest episode of the series and it's my one of my favourite 'go to' episodes to rewatch whenever I need cheering up.

    I love that Angel gets to interact with the other characters (Angel/Giles and Angel/Willow scenes are always my faves), JM's delivery of "Invite me in!" is just perfect as he cowers under his smoking blanket, we get a rare Master reference which I dig, the final battle is wonderfully put together and the perfect mixture of humour and great action, there's some lines that make me laugh out loud no matter how many times I hear them ("Xander! Are you ok?" "You look like death!" "... you didn't bring rolls?"), I love the playful role reversal of Buffy sneaking up on a vampire in the teaser, Buffy's snarky "Oh you mean you haven't murdered anyone lately? Let's be best friends!" makes me chuckle and is applicable to several fandom discussions, and whilst I am aware that the depiction of the Chumash leaves something to be desired I do think the episode was ahead of it's time in exploring the horrific history of Thanksgiving. I also love that despite Willow's frosty relationship with her mother that Shiela's beliefs have rubbed off on her ("Ok so for some of that you were channeling your mother?") because like it or not that's always the way, isn't it?

    The only 'weak spots' for me is, as mentioned, the problematic depiction of the Chumash, and it's apparently not made clear enough why Angel had to come to Sunnydale or how he saved Buffy. Personally I think it's pretty straight forward that Angel saved Buffy's life when he knifes the Chumash who is about to stab Buffy from behind, but this has come up regularly in fandom so I do think it could have been emphasised more.

    I do love The Yoko Factor as well. The Angel VS Riley fight is very well done, DB's smirk at Riley as he leaves Buffy's dorm room is deliciously petty, the Buffy/Angel scene is one of my favourites of theirs in the entire series, and of course as a diehard Core Four fan the climatic argument between them is both painful and funny and it's also one of my faves because it's a rare instance where they're all arguing with *each other* as opposed to Buffy VS the group. But as Angel himself states, things feel very "tense" in this episode whereas Pangs has an air of levity about it that just makes for more enjoyable viewing.

    Pangs just has too many things about it that hit all my specific weaknesses

    ~ Banner by Nina ~

    Comment


    • BtVS fan
      BtVS fan commented
      Editing a comment
      I'd love to know your thoughts on Harsh Light of Day vs In the Dark battle

  • #4
    I really like both! I just can't decide here.

    Comment


    • #5
      Pangs. That episode stays with you, while I had to look up The Yoko Factor for some of the details.

      Comment


      • #6
        I think I agree that Pangs is an episode I am far more certain of the details of, so it clearly made more of an impression overall. While on the one hand, the humour in Pangs doesn't hit all the time for me (I find the dithering over the dinner often a bit meh), but I do love Angel's interactions with Willow and Giles and the use of Spike in the episode works so well and results in some really iconic scenes/lines.

        The Yoko Factor is obviously a far more serious episode though and I really like the focus that the dynamics of the group and Buffy's relationships with Riley and Angel get. Buffy's fight with Adam and that focus turning to the question of how the heck they are going to take him on and find the solution is great as the tension is building up for the end of the season and that helps to raise the episode. Adding in Angel's fight against Riley in the middle adds to Riley's problems so well and the scene in Buffy's dorm room with the three of them is excellent. The subsequent conversation between Angel and Buffy in the corridor is also great and a really good follow up to Sanctuary. And all of that contributes to Buffy's later exasperation with the others and adds into why the played for breaks between them come to pass.

        But at the same time I always feel like Spike's lies are a bit lame and the fact he's trying to wind them up is too transparent. I know it picks on existing issues and the lack of communication between them is why it works and it is supposed to emphasise that everyone was already part way there, he's just pushing things that exist, but it also just doesn't feel like something that is likely to stick long enough to help as intended. And, although it does make it a great crossover continuation, I think that a good chunk of the real value in it comes from Angel's appearance because of the events of the previous episode rather than 4.20 in and of itself.

        That they are very different episodes makes it such a hard choice. I think there are more interesting, meaningful character elements and moments in The Yoko Factor for me and that tends to be what I love the most in the series overall. But Angel's and Spike's inclusions in Pangs I think are both brilliantly done. Pangs is fun, so I probably enjoy that episode more and it is a real swing point in Spike's path. But I think The Yoko Factor is probably better for points of interest in several of the characters' journeys and relationships. Gah!

        Comment


        • #7
          On the basis I can remember one and not the other, it has to be Pangs. In addition, Pangs makes some very pertinent points about American socio-history, the ideological function of historical collections etc. etc. It's a great episode...plus Spike gets the cookies. There's also a psychosocial thing about mothers/food, which I think has a bearing on S6

          Yoko - I saw a really good exhibition at Liverpool Museum about her and John and picked up a free badge...that's all I've got...sorry!
          sigpic

          Comment


          • vampmogs
            vampmogs commented
            Editing a comment
            Spike actually gets a cookie in Something Blue. In Pangs he gets fed nothing but they do consider feeding him some gravy as it has blood in it!

        • #8
          I've decided to vote for the yoko factor. It's too good of an episode to have no votes plus typically I prefer later episodes to earlier episodes because it's the journey that hooked me in, and also I love the scene where they meet in the park and how it is mirrored at the end of the series when they are standing in the high school before the final battle.

          "I like who I am when I'm with him. I like who we are together."

          Comment


          • #9
            In terms of crossovers Pangs makes better use of the crossover aspect of the Angel character crossing over to Buffy.

            The Yoko Factor is more about the breakdown between Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles. You could remove Angel from the episode and not as much would be changed.
            My deviantart: http://vampfox.deviantart.com/

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            • #10
              Both are fun enjoyable episodes but both have weaknesses in the Script to keep them from being truly great.
              For Pangs it's how Angel and The gang behave. The your evil again joke wasn't funny the first time and it didn't get funnier every time they did it. I guess they couldn't have had Angel simply ring Buffy or Giles and say he has information that she's in danger or come down and tell her himself. Nope they have to do the kiddie game thing.
              Plus the treatment of the Native Americans is bad "you can have Casinos now" and how it plays out is basically like Willow said they can go tra la la. Now normally I wouldn't mind but I have read Joss say he was being deep and controversial with this episode. I'm guessing he means Spike's talk but regardless it wasn't that deep just offensive.
              Finally the scene of Riley and Co walking around without there masks only because we as an audience know who they are even though in character there situations have not changed and they are risking discovery is unintentionally hilarious

              For Yoko Factor the idea that a quick word from Spike , who'd spent the past episodes borrowing coffee and insulting them and the gang would actually believe a word he said is hard to imagine. Why would any of them think Spike confides in the others about them. It just doesn't work. Plus his plan as the writers freely admit they hadn't thought out properly when they did it.
              The other issue is the Angel/Riley/Buffy scene . They basically dumped all the issues from Sanctuary and did some straw man ones to retcon Buffy looking the mature figure. A real weakness of the show was them ignoring previous stuff in favour of the moment then and now.
              Plus the set up for the fight makes no sense on screen. "He came out of nowhere" "welcoming committee your idea" How would Angel know that Riley is even in the Initiative, Buffy never told him. I guess he read the script.
              Doug Petrie saying there were huge arguments and debates among the writers on who should win the fight scene showed a crazy lack of priorities but it was seen as OK as Riley still looked strong. Like seriously that's it that's your issue

              That all said both a fun episodes with some great moments and performances. ASH and JM knocked it out the park as always. The look of longing at the Vampire family meal is hilarious while drunk Giles in Yoko is my fave part of either episode.

              But overall though I'm going with Pangs as the best of the 2

              Comment


              • #11
                Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post
                Plus the set up for the fight makes no sense on screen. "He came out of nowhere" "welcoming committee your idea" How would Angel know that Riley is even in the Initiative, Buffy never told him. I guess he read the script.
                Angel is jumped by soldiers and then Riley appears in the middle wearing the same army fatigues as them. It makes sense that Angel would assume Riley is with them without having to know who the Initiative is.

                ~ Banner by Nina ~

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                • #12
                  Originally posted by vampmogs View Post

                  Angel is jumped by soldiers and then Riley appears in the middle wearing the same army fatigues as them. It makes sense that Angel would assume Riley is with them without having to know who the Initiative is.
                  Disagree , he has no idea who Riley is. Buffynever told him he is in the Initiative and would only know he's a college teacher who Buffy was into (Pangs and Willow) so why would Riley send them. Hell Riley didn't even know Angel was coming to Sunnydale anyway.
                  Then you've also got the Army radio "he came out of no where" . Its implying that Angel attacked them, why ? , though the real reason was to not make Riley look bad when he fights Angel. Essentially the same reason he's Maggies right hand man but has no idea about the Initiative or Maggies aims. Basically to keep the character pure and not morally compromised as the writers would see it.

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    Originally posted by BtVS fan View Post
                    Disagree , he has no idea who Riley is. Buffynever told him he is in the Initiative and would only know he's a college teacher who Buffy was into (Pangs and Willow) so why would Riley send them.
                    So why was Riley in an army uniform wielding a weapon if he was just a college teacher? If you were Angel, you were jumped by soliders, and then Riley appears in the middle of the fight in the exact same solider uniform as the soliders who had just attacked him what would you think? What would a regular college teacher be doing in a dark alleyway at night, in the middle of a fight, wearing army fatigues? As you said, Angel has no idea who Riley is so Angel made a perfectly logical conclusion based on what was in front of him in assuming Riley was with the rest of the troops (and in any other episode he'd have been right).

                    Then you've also got the Army radio "he came out of no where" . Its implying that Angel attacked them, why ?
                    To orchestrate a fight between Angel and Riley. Angel thinks Riley and his men jumped him whilst Riley thinks Angel attacked them first. And since both are being petty, pissed off and rife with jealousy they make no effort to clear up the misunderstanding (Angel doesn't deny he's lost his soul and Riley "wasn't very forthcoming with the benefit of the doubt" about him ordering the attack). Riley hears what sounds like his men under siege and runs out to help and whereas Angel just got attacked and then Riley appears out nowhere flashing a torch in his face and wielding a weapon. On top of that you have Angel hurt and jealous over Buffy's new boyfriend who she just threw in his face in Sanctuary and Riley pent up and angry over Buffy/Angel and stewing for the past 2 days over Buffy running off to Angel. Their motivations make total sense to me? It was the perfect calamity of events.

                    No idea why you're paranoid about it being to ensure that Riley stays "pure." Both men are portrayed as being childish, both men get scolded for "testosterone poisoning", and the episode even gently pokes fun at Riley with the "I'm not leaving this room" gag.

                    ~ Banner by Nina ~

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                    • #14
                      Originally posted by Lostsoul666 View Post
                      In terms of crossovers Pangs makes better use of the crossover aspect of the Angel character crossing over to Buffy.

                      The Yoko Factor is more about the breakdown between Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles. You could remove Angel from the episode and not as much would be changed.
                      I actually think it is hard to extract Angel from the Yoko Factor. In both episodes the events are unfolding anyway, but I think he has impact in both and in The Yoko Factor is probably more meaningful in a wider sense. It follows on from Sanctuary which, with this, is a big changing point in their dynamic for Buffy and Angel. And with his ghost hanging over the relationship Buffy has with Riley, for Riley undeniably, it is something that impacts his issues in the episode and heading on from here. So, I think Riley and Angel actually meeting is important and gives more weight to Riley's ongoing problems of how he compares too. And, as I said before, I think the frustrations with Angel and Riley plays a part in Buffy's response to the group later as well.

                      However, although we can't see how a full alternate would have played out, you can put forward a good argument that Angel actually saves Buffy in Pangs. And his wider interactions are great. So he definitely is more present in the episode.

                      I'm still torn.

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        When vampmogs said that the cookie scene, when Spike gets a cookie, is in Something Blue, it made me think that the reason I like Pangs so much is probably because I think of it and Something Blue as interchangeable for some reason. They are entwined in my mind, as if they are a two parter, as one leads into the other.

                        Comment


                        • GoSpuffy
                          GoSpuffy commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Can I vote for something blue?!?!

                      • #16
                        I went with The Yoko Factor in the end. This was the hardest of these we've done for me as I do think Pangs in itself is probably stronger. But the character elements, for raising individual issues as well as the relationship elements between characters, is just really interesting and significant in The Yoko Factor. As Spike's plan being rubbish, which is definitely one of the weakest elements, eventually gets called out and the group will quickly pick up on how daft believing him had been, I'm letting pass the biggest problems I have with it because of its strengths.

                        Comment


                        • #17
                          Stoney , I think it's a fascinating idea to pair Pangs with The Yoko Factor because of the varying character arcs of Spike and Angel - in many ways, the two episodes create a bookend effect for each vampire as they transform dramatically between the episodes.

                          Pangs gives us Angel's first appearance in Sunnydale after his move to LA. He's still unsure as to whether he's made the right decision to leave Buffy and it's evident that he's embarrassed to confront her (because of what it reveals about his own insecurities) - he's there as much to work out his own ambivalent feelings as he is to protect her. His jealousy over Riley is evident of his ambivalent feelings. Symbolically, we never see him enter the 'new family dynamic' that's developed wherein we see new arrivals Anya and Spike take a seat at the table in the absence of Oz.

                          But after Buffy comes to LA and Angel makes the enormous decision to stay a vampire after briefly becoming human, the relationship between Buffy and Angel dramatically changes. Instead of slinking off into the ambiguous night, Angel made a rational calculation in the light of day that his atonement was wrapped up in remaining a vampire with a soul. His protection of Faith also serves to define his own mission rather than just following Buffy's lead. When he returns to battle with Riley, it's not because he intends to take Riley's place. Rather, he's fighting for a new-found definition of himself and his mission as opposed to being the hostile demon of Riley's fevered imagination.

                          The journey of Spike is even more dramatic. Before, we'd only gotten a view of him within the dynamic of the Spike-Drusilla relationship - even in Lovers Walk, he's defined by her absence. But now, as a main character, the writers have to soften certain aspects of Spike and contrast others to make him a more compelling character in his own right. So in Pangs, we get a very fully rounded character who both evokes sympathy (as he is chased by the Initiative) and disgust (in his cavalier approach to genocide and death). Interestingly, it's telling that the most important moment was left off-screen - Buffy allowing Spike to enter - which automatically has the audience - and the gang - on his side for a bit as we trust Buffy's charitable instincts.

                          In The Yoko Factor, Spike plays upon those charitable instincts by screwing with their minds - a bit far-fetched, but it simply shows the deep waters that were already running wild beneath the core four after the triumph of Graduation Day. Spike doesn't cause those currents - he just kicks up the water a bit.

                          As opposed to the pure bastard who mocks starvation victims and cracks grotesque jokes in Pangs, we get a different Spike by The Yoko Factor - a Spike who recently helped to unwittingly liberate Oz in a past episode - and the ways in which he bedevils the Scoobs are fairly clever. It would have been easy to have Spike to continue to be a simple bastard who says rotten things as in Pangs, but instead he takes the higher road and cleverly (and loudly) denounces the supposed homophobia, ageism and class issues of each other to make the core four feel terrible. This creates a subliminal sense in the show that Spike isn't as awful as he seems because he at least understands the pain caused by such prejudice, however unmerited such a view may be. Which sets up for his eventual movement towards a kind of transformation from monster to a kind of man.

                          Pangs also marks a through-line for several characters - Willow's sense of emotional self-worth tossing on the seas as she goes from losing Oz to fearing that her friends think less of her for choosing Tara; Giles' eventual fall from hectoring teacher trying to guide Buffy to total loss of control over her; Xander that shows him dealing with low feelings of self-worth when he's sick in bed with Anya taking care of him that finally come to a head in The Yoko Factor when he believes that the rest have lost all respect for him. We see a family temporarily coming together in Pangs and then breaking apart in The Yoko Factor - both in Giles' apartment as the home away from home for all of them - the haunting personal space between the structured repository of books and weapons in the high school library dependent upon outside authority and the fantastical artifacts of the Magic Box that reflects Giles' newly independent spirit.

                          Both episodes are also bookends between the beginning and the end of the Initiative itself - flanked on both sides by the episodes The Initiative and Primeval.

                          To be honest, I really love both episodes and find it almost impossible to choose between them.

                          Comment


                          • #18
                            American Aurora The outside/inside element of Pangs is really brilliant. I do love how that runs in the episode alongside the start of Spike's new trajectory prompted by the chip and Angel's switch to the outskirts of the group (even though his ongoing importance/presence for Buffy is evident in her new relationship). You're point about the connection between the two crossovers as bookends against The Initiative and Primeval is great. On another day I could well have ended up choosing Pangs.

                            Comment


                            • #19
                              Originally posted by American Aurora View Post
                              Stoney , I think it's a fascinating idea to pair Pangs with The Yoko Factor because of the varying character arcs of Spike and Angel - in many ways, the two episodes create a bookend effect for each vampire as they transform dramatically between the episodes.

                              Pangs gives us Angel's first appearance in Sunnydale after his move to LA. He's still unsure as to whether he's made the right decision to leave Buffy and it's evident that he's embarrassed to confront her (because of what it reveals about his own insecurities) - he's there as much to work out his own ambivalent feelings as he is to protect her. His jealousy over Riley is evident of his ambivalent feelings. Symbolically, we never see him enter the 'new family dynamic' that's developed wherein we see new arrivals Anya and Spike take a seat at the table in the absence of Oz.

                              But after Buffy comes to LA and Angel makes the enormous decision to stay a vampire after briefly becoming human, the relationship between Buffy and Angel dramatically changes. Instead of slinking off into the ambiguous night, Angel made a rational calculation in the light of day that his atonement was wrapped up in remaining a vampire with a soul. His protection of Faith also serves to define his own mission rather than just following Buffy's lead. When he returns to battle with Riley, it's not because he intends to take Riley's place. Rather, he's fighting for a new-found definition of himself and his mission as opposed to being the hostile demon of Riley's fevered imagination.

                              The journey of Spike is even more dramatic. Before, we'd only gotten a view of him within the dynamic of the Spike-Drusilla relationship - even in Lovers Walk, he's defined by her absence. But now, as a main character, the writers have to soften certain aspects of Spike and contrast others to make him a more compelling character in his own right. So in Pangs, we get a very fully rounded character who both evokes sympathy (as he is chased by the Initiative) and disgust (in his cavalier approach to genocide and death). Interestingly, it's telling that the most important moment was left off-screen - Buffy allowing Spike to enter - which automatically has the audience - and the gang - on his side for a bit as we trust Buffy's charitable instincts.

                              In The Yoko Factor, Spike plays upon those charitable instincts by screwing with their minds - a bit far-fetched, but it simply shows the deep waters that were already running wild beneath the core four after the triumph of Graduation Day. Spike doesn't cause those currents - he just kicks up the water a bit.

                              As opposed to the pure bastard who mocks starvation victims and cracks grotesque jokes in Pangs, we get a different Spike by The Yoko Factor - a Spike who recently helped to unwittingly liberate Oz in a past episode - and the ways in which he bedevils the Scoobs are fairly clever. It would have been easy to have Spike to continue to be a simple bastard who says rotten things as in Pangs, but instead he takes the higher road and cleverly (and loudly) denounces the supposed homophobia, ageism and class issues of each other to make the core four feel terrible. This creates a subliminal sense in the show that Spike isn't as awful as he seems because he at least understands the pain caused by such prejudice, however unmerited such a view may be. Which sets up for his eventual movement towards a kind of transformation from monster to a kind of man.

                              Pangs also marks a through-line for several characters - Willow's sense of emotional self-worth tossing on the seas as she goes from losing Oz to fearing that her friends think less of her for choosing Tara; Giles' eventual fall from hectoring teacher trying to guide Buffy to total loss of control over her; Xander that shows him dealing with low feelings of self-worth when he's sick in bed with Anya taking care of him that finally come to a head in The Yoko Factor when he believes that the rest have lost all respect for him. We see a family temporarily coming together in Pangs and then breaking apart in The Yoko Factor - both in Giles' apartment as the home away from home for all of them - the haunting personal space between the structured repository of books and weapons in the high school library dependent upon outside authority and the fantastical artifacts of the Magic Box that reflects Giles' newly independent spirit.

                              Both episodes are also bookends between the beginning and the end of the Initiative itself - flanked on both sides by the episodes The Initiative and Primeval.

                              To be honest, I really love both episodes and find it almost impossible to choose between them.
                              I like your post but I disagree a bit here. Because he kind of had been. As JW said, it was can I borrow a cup of coffee and insult you. I think it would've worked better if instead they had gone that route of him helping the Scoobies and earning there trust. Then them listening to him would've worked better imo.

                              Primeval DVD commentary is enlightening. The writers freely admitting they only spotted the flaw in Spike's plan when he himself did

                              Comment


                              • #20
                                It was hard for me to pick one over the other because both have flaws that sour the fun a bit. As vampmogs has already mentioned the portrayal of the Chumash simply can't be redeemed. But Angel's line "Do you really sleep with this guy?" in The Yoko Factor is an extremely low blow and he isn't only humiliating Riley but also Buffy with it. The fact that Buffy leaves the room with him is incredibly disloyal to Riley.

                                In the end, Pangs gets a pass because it is lighthearted and funny and Buffy telling Spike she didn't mean to make a bear is simply adorable.

                                flow

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