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Episode battle: Wild at Heart vs New Moon Rising

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  • Episode battle: Wild at Heart vs New Moon Rising

    I really love Willow and Oz through the early seasons, it's a real highlight for me. So I was gutted when he left and their relationship fell apart in S4. But both ends of that in the season gave episodes of high emotion that really brought out some exceptional performances (especially from Alyson). The final scene between Oz and Willow both as he goes to leave initially and then when he's about to go again after Willow chooses to be with Tara are fantastic. Both episodes are riddled with angst but Wild at Heart offers some more exploration of Oz's character which we didn't often get alongside strong ties to the season themes of instincts and finding your place, whereas New Moon Rising is significant for the official acknowledgement and start of Willow and Tara's relationship and drawing a line between himself and The Initiative's outlook for Riley.

    I genuinely find both episodes bookend Oz's departure with dramatic highs and am somewhat torn as I feel like I see more about Oz in the first, a character I love and missed, but I enjoy the background story of NMR more. Which episode do you prefer and why?
    Wild at Heart
    New Moon Rising

  • #2
    Both aren't perfect but I go with Wild at heart, at least it has a more dramatic ending for Oz whereas in NMR he just turns up then leaves. That episode felt less about him and more making him a plot device for Riley, ( it unintentionallly comes across like this, I'm sure it's not deliberate) who decided not to murder Oz simply because he's Buffys friend


    • #3
      New Moon Rising. Deals with both Willow/Oz and Willow/Tara really well, good exploration of Oz' werewolfness, and it doesn't have the bad girl/good girl dychotomy of Wild at Heart that makes me feel ambivalent abotu WaH.
      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.


      • #4
        Wild at Heart for me. Willow and Oz breaking up gets to me every time. I'm not particularly invested in their relationship, but when I see Willow being so heartbroken, I just can't help myself.
        Last edited by redtent; 26-10-21, 07:57 PM.


        • #5
          New Moon Rising by a landslide. It deals with the fallout from Wild at Heart and it's progressive. I don't just mean in a liberal sense. I mean it progresses the characters to the next level.

          And it has Tara -- boldly going where it would take Star Trek nearly two more decades to go.


          • #6
            Originally posted by PuckRobin View Post
            New Moon Rising by a landslide. It deals with the fallout from Wild at Heart and it's progressive. I don't just mean in a liberal sense. I mean it progresses the characters to the next level.

            And it has Tara -- boldly going where it would take Star Trek nearly two more decades to go.
            DS9 had a Lesbian relationship 3 years previous to this


            • PuckRobin
              PuckRobin commented
              Editing a comment
              A single episode featuring aliens that regularly swap gender isn’t quite the same as Tara. And Rick Berman stopped Garak from being a regular gay character.

            • TimeTravellingBunny
              TimeTravellingBunny commented
              Editing a comment
              No, it didn't. That kiss was not a lesbian relationship. And we better not even talk about the awful Mirror episodes where the evil versions of the good straight women were bi or lesbian.

          • #7
            A New Moon Rising for me.

            I absolutely *LOVE* the final Willow/Oz scene in his van. The writing and acting is so perfectly understated and poignant and I get teary every time I watch it. It was such a bittersweet and moving end to their relationship and I love how respectful it was of their story together whilst moving Willow forward with Tara.

            I also love the final Willow/Tara scene where Tara gently blows out the candle as the episode fades to black.

            This episode is the only time I really identify with Willow/Tara as part of the LGBTQI+ community. The scene of Oz appearing at Giles' house, and how utterly earth-shattering this is for Tara, but nobody even recognises this much less checks if she's ok is painfully accurate of what it's like to being in a closeted gay relationship. I've been in situations where your entire relationship is a secret and when something significant happens (your partner becomes ill, a major family event etc) you suddenly feel powerless and unimportant, like your relationship never existed, because nobody is aware of it and nobody treats you like the significant partner you actually are. It's just such a horrible situation all around and I do really feel for Tara in that episode as she has to deal with her pain and confusion alone.

            I also really enjoy the Buffy/Riley storyline. I love the dialogue and performances of both SMG and MB during their argument in the morning/waking up scene and I thought using Willow/Oz as a catalyst to bring the Buffy/Angel conversation to the forefront was a clever idea.

            Honestly, I just think it's a really lovely episode that treats each character respectfully (there's no villain here) and raises some really intriguing moral dilemmas as well as social topics that personally mean a lot to me.

            Wild At Heart is good too but I don't think it's as strong.

            ~ Banner by Nina ~


            • #8
              I picked New Moon Rising because it is admirable and inspirational.


              • #9
                This has probably been one of the harder ones for me because I love the Willow/Oz and Oz elements of Wild at Heart more than in NMR. But NMR's background story and the Tara/Willow coming out elements are really great and I do think the episode is just stronger overall. I loved the point that vampmogs made about the situation that Tara is in when Oz arrives and how she handles that. And I think that the way they show Buffy's surprise and then realisation and response that how she is reacting to Willow's reveal about her relationship is affecting Willow is also really well done. To be honest the two probably balance out for me. I enjoy Wild at Heart more but I think NMR is a stronger episode. So I'm going to give my vote to the one that I objectively think is stronger and vote for NMR.