Friday, 10 December 2010
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Some Assembly Required’
The moisturiser ain't working for him.
Writer: Ty King
Director: Bruce Seth Green
What's the sitch?
While on patrol, Buffy discovers the robbed grave of a recently deceased teenage girl. That same night, Cordelia and Angel discover discarded body parts of various other recently deceased girls. However some of the parts are missing leading the gang to believe that someone at Sunnydale High is pulling a Dr Frankenstein by trying to build a whole new girl from the dead parts of others. Meanwhile, misguided student Chris and his nasty science nerd friend Eric, who together are making this patchwork girl for Chris’s recently back from the dead brother Daryl, are looking for the perfect head for their Bride of Frankenstein. The only problem being said head can’t come from a corpse. It needs to be fresh. It needs to be taken from someone while they are still alive. And that someone looks like being Cordelia Chase...
What's the sitch beneath the sitch?
This is about relationships and about wanting to have someone to be with, to not be alone. Zombie Daryl wants a living dead girl of his own so that he won’t be alone. Meanwhile, Buffy is struggling with her relationship with Angel, Giles is trying to get together with Ms Calendar and Xander and Willow are complaining about being uncoupled and alone. The episode is also about the objectification of women, a theme that repeats throughout Buffy. Eric is a vile little critter who only sees women as objects to be used and abused as he sees fit. He gets off on it. He’s like a proto-Warren from seasons 5 and 6. Also present is what will be another recurring theme of the show: people dealing with loss and attempting to bring back loved ones that have died.
Who's giving us the wiggins this week?
Nasty Eric and zombiefied Daryl.
Why it rocks
1. Teenage Frankenstein. It’s a good, solid story and a fun and creepy riff on Frankenstein.
2. Someone to love. It works thematically being all about relationships and not wanting to be alone.
3. It’s gross! The concept and its execution is pretty yucky. And I mean that in a good way. The half-built dead girl glimpsed in portions along with some discarded body parts is rather unpleasant…just as it should be.
4. Giles and Jenny sitting in a tree… Giles’s jittery courtship of Ms Calendar is funny and cute and gives Xander and Buffy plenty of opportunity to poke fun at him.
5. Daryl and Chris’s mum, Mrs Epps, being so wrapped up in her obsessive grief about Daryl’s death is possibly the creepiest thing about this episode.
Why it sucks
1. Though creepy and icky, neither Chris, Eric or zombie Daryl pose too much of a threat to Buffy. And Chris never seems keen on what he’s doing anyway so you wonder how he got this far.
2. Cordy is in peril once again. Yawn! Plus she gets to act in that traditional horror movie girl in peril role i.e. doing stupid stuff and screaming a lot. Exactly the kind of thing Buffy was supposed to subvert.
3. It is a blatant use of Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein and despite some great dialogue and the solid thematic base it doesn’t really excite all that much.
Giles is in the library nervously practising his lines to ask Jenny out…and then Buffy and Xander make a sudden and embarrassing entrance.
Dialogue to die for
Buffy: (to Xander after he asks for hers and Willow’s help in digging up a grave) “Sorry, but I'm an old-fashioned gal. I was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and the women have the babies.”
Cordelia: (sarcastically) “Darn, I have cheerleader practice tonight. Boy, I wish I knew you were gonna be digging up dead people sooner. I would've cancelled.”
Buffy: “Love makes you do the wacky.”
Buffy: [giving Giles advice on his pick up lines] “You also might want to avoid words like 'amenable' and 'indecorous', you know? Speak English, not whatever they speak in, uh... “
And another thing
This episode sees the first use of the Buffy/Angel theme by Christophe Beck, a piece of music that will become known as ‘Close Your Eyes’ by seasons end.
How many stakes?
“SHE’S ALIVE! SHE’S ALIVE!” 3 (out of 5)