Saturday, 15 January 2011
Buffy: 2.5 ‘Reptile Boy’
And so here we are again. Basement, chains, monsters...
Writer: David Greenwalt
Director: David Greenwalt
What's the sitch?
Cordelia’s chasing college guys and gets invited to a frat party…on one condition: that she also brings that cute little blond girl called Buffy the frat guys saw her hanging with. Cordy manages to convince Buffy to go with her as our girl is feeling put upon and taken for granted by Giles and also hurt by a dismissive Angel after she tries to ask him out on a proper date. So after lying to Giles that her mom is sick, Buffy gets all pretty and heads off with Queen C to the frat house party. But at the same time the gang discover that several young girls have been going missing from the area with a major clue turning up very near to the frat house that Buffy and Cordy are looking to party at. It seems frat boys are up to no good with demon worship and female sacrifice. And Cordy and Buffy are due to be their next offerings.
What's the sitch beneath the sitch?
The main theme here is about teenage pressures and rebellion against often pushy, unfeeling and dismissive adults. It’s once again about Buffy’s continual struggle to be just a normal teenage girl and do normal teenage things. There’s also the underlying message to beware predatory men who smooth talk but will take advantage of the naivety of young girls to get what they want. Sadly something that is very much in the headlines here in the UK at the moment. As a result both Buffy and Cordy end up drugged and sleepy at the frat party and go to a bedroom to lie down. Next thing you see is a creepy frat boy about to grope an unconscious Buffy before he’s stopped by someone else…because in this story the girls are there as a demon tribute and not for the boy’s own perverted sexual enjoyment. Having said that, the metaphor here is most definitely about girls being taken advantage of sexually. The demon at the end is a big ol’ phallic snake who gets bigger and bigger while looking to ‘devour’ our chained up heroine. Thankfully Buffy gets loose and does what any super cool kick ass girl who was about to be ‘devoured’ would do – she takes a big axe and slices the big snake off at it’s base.
Who's giving us the wiggins this week?
Creepy, slimy frat boys and the big ol’ snake demon.
Why it rocks
As always the themes and the metaphors are solid and designed to make a point and to make the viewer think.
It’s a reasonably decent character piece for Buffy and for her emotional struggles – her maturity vs. her immaturity. It’s a sound part of her ongoing learning curve. And not just for her either. Both Giles and Angel realise how poorly they’ve been behaving…largely thanks to wonderful Willow who’s been put in the awkward spot of having to cover for Buffy despite the obvious danger. When she finally tells Giles and Angel where Buffy is she does so in a way that effectively castigates them both and tells them what’s what. Overall Willow is the most mature and sensible character in this episode.
Sarah Michelle Gellar once again delivers a strong and affecting performance, even if the material is not all that. She does vulnerable and pouty better than anyone. And then she does witty kick-ass even better.
Cordelia is wonderfully shallow and her terrible driving skills are most amusing.
Why it sucks
The main frat boy who charms Buffy is so obviously cheesy and spinning her a line you wonder how on earth she ever fell for it. But then this is about the naivety of young girls and Buffy is in a vulnerable emotional place so I can just about let it slide.
The big snake demon is not terribly convincing to say the least.
The overall story, though fairly solid, is nothing overly special and doesn’t really push the show or the characters anywhere new.
I could have done without seeing Xander being so emasculated and made to dress in drag and continually told he’s a loser. Poor guy.
Angel rushes in to the frat house without being invited. Oops!
No Spike and Dru. Boo!
Buffy does the ultimate avenging woman thing and literally cuts the big evil man snake down to size.
Dialogue to die for
Willow: What happened with Angel?
Buffy: Nothing, as usual. A whole lotta nothing with Angel.
Willow: I don't understand. I mean, he likes you. More than likes.
Buffy: Angel barely says two words to me.
Xander: Don't you hate that?
Buffy: And when he does, he treats me like I'm a child.
Xander: That bastard!
Xander: Whoa! Whoa-ho-ho, rewind. Since when do they have orgies, and why aren't I on the mailing list?
Willow (all flustered to Giles and Angel): Well... Well, why do you think she went to that party? Because you gave her the brush-off! And you, you never let her do anything except work and patrol! And I know she's the Chosen One, but you're killing her with the pressure! I mean, she's sixteen going on forty! And you! I mean, you're gonna live forever! You don't have time for a cup of coffee?! Okay, I don't feel better now, and we've gotta help Buffy.
And another thing
This is writer/producer David Greenwalt’s first stab at directing. He does a solid job.
Jonathan, played by Danny Strong and introduced in ‘Inca Mummy Girl,’ re-appears at the end of this episode and is named for the first time.
How many stakes?
Buffy fails to charm the snake. 2 (out of 5)