Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Buffy: 2.10 'What's My Line - Part 2'

Kendra kicking ass and taking names.

Writer: Marti Noxon
Director: David Semel

What's the sitch?

The conclusion of the story set up in part 1. Spike discovers what he needs to cure Dru: the blood of her sire – meaning Angel. Angel is kidnapped by Spike after being locked up by Kendra who thought he was a bad guy. Buffy and Kendra arrive too late to rescue him. Giles and the gang discover what Spike is up to and Buffy heads off alone to the abandoned church to rescue Angel after leaving a stubborn Kendra to await orders from the watcher. Buffy arrives but discovers it’s a trap and is taken prisoner while Angel is bled to start healing Drusilla. As Buffy watches helplessly while Angel is slowly being bled to death, Spike prepares to finally kill the slayer...

What's the sitch beneath the sitch?

This continues the themes from part one and also examines questions such as is it what we do that defines us? Or is it who we are that defines what we do? Buffy and Kendra argue the point about what it means to be the Slayer. To Kendra, it is her life and an integral part of who she is, the major part in fact. It defines her. To Buffy, being the Slayer is a job. She’s Buffy, slaying is just something she does because she has to. Kendra is the textbook slayer. Cold, emotionless, lethal, takes orders, slays vampires and does nothing more. She has no friends, no family, no life outside of slaying. She is the polar opposite of Buffy. She thinks Buffy having friends and emotions and a life makes her weak. But Buffy counters that it is exactly that which makes her powerful. And she’ll be proven to be right. Textbook slayers like Kendra have a very short shelf life. It's often only a couple of years before they get killed. Buffy, because of her friends and family and support and her emotions will survive way beyond any previous slayer…even after dying twice. But by the end of this episode, Buffy has moved her viewpoint as well. Slaying is no longer just her job. She embraces it as part of who she is. Just not the only part.

Who's giving us the wiggins this week?

Spike and Dru

Why it rocks

It’s a great payoff to part one with some excellent character stuff and some top-notch fights. Buffy and Kendra make a fearsome pair and their tag team slaying at the end is wicked cool. Love the bit when Buffy yells “Switch!” and they roll over each other to change opponent.

Juliet Landau as Drusilla ups the insanity here with Dru taking twisted pleasure in torturing Angel for everything he did to her including killing everyone she loved, sending her insane and then turning her in to a demon the night before she was to become a nun. Landau is spooky eerie even if the accent is of the Dick Van Dyke type. The whole concept of Dru as a kind of mad vampire junkie is highlighted when we see her laid out in bed. She’s so thin and pale and her arms are covered in small bruises that look like she’s been injecting. Brrr.

Cordy and Xander bicker, argue, and yet keep making out despite them both being appalled at their lusty actions. The relationship and banter is very funny and hugely watchable. Nick Brendon and Charisma Carpenter make for a great love/hate double act.

Bianca Lawson is super hot.

Oz and Willow start to bond over Oz’s minor gunshot wound (received after he pushed Willow out of the way in part 1) and a box of animal crackers and Oz’s realisation that monkeys are the only animal that get to wear pants. Cute.

The Spike and Dru role reversal at the end and that really cool final slow motion shot of Dru carrying an unconscious Spike down the aisle of the old church

Why it sucks

It doesn’t. At all.

It's Buftastic

It’s a toss up between Oz and his Animal Crackers and Buffy yelling “Switch!” to Kendra to swap opponents in the midst of battle.

Dialogue to die for

Oz, to Willow: "The monkey's the only cookie animal that gets to wear clothes, you know that? You have the sweetest smile I've ever seen. So I'm wondering, do the other cookie animals feel sorta ripped? Like, is the hippo going, 'Hey, where are my pants? I have my hippo dignity.' And, you know, the monkey's just (French accent) 'I mock you with my monkey pants.' And then there's a big coup at the zoo."
Willow: "The monkey is French?"
Oz: "All monkeys are French. You didn't know that?"

Kendra: "Did I not see you kissing a vampire?"
Willow: "Buffy would never do that! Oh. Except for... sometimes you do that."

And another thing

Buffy says to Kendra, “Back off Pink Ranger!” referencing the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It’s also an in-joke as Sarah’s stunt double on Buffy, Sophia Crawford, was also stunt double for the Pink Ranger.

Buffy tells Kendra to enjoy the in-flight movie on the way home, unless it involves Chevy Chase and a dog. This is a reference to the film Funny Farm, in which Sarah Michelle Gellar had a small role.

How many stakes?

It’s slaytime x2. 4 (out of 5)

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