Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Buffy: 2.8 ‘The Dark Age’


Writer: Dean Batali, Rob Des Hotel
Director: Bruce Seth Green

What's the sitch?

An old friend of Giles from his youth comes to Sunnydale looking for him but is found dead. He bears a mysterious tattoo, which Giles also bears. This sends Giles a bit loopy especially when he discovers all of his old gang are now dead except for him and a certain troublemaker called Ethan Rayne. Shutting himself away from Buffy and everyone else, Giles desperately tries to find out what has happened while Buffy and the gang are looking to find out what Giles has done in his past to make him act so strange. Pretty soon they discover the truth. In their youth, Giles and co had been messing with dark powers and had raised a powerful demon, which then killed one of their group. They managed to banish the demon but now it is back and looking to finish the job. Only Giles and Ethan now remain. Can Buffy discover how to save her watcher before it’s too late?

What's the sitch beneath the sitch?

Giles is having flashbacks to his drug experimenting days as a rebellious teen with the stuff he did back now coming back to haunt him. Yeah, it ain’t too subtle in the metaphor. One of their original gang OD’d on the ‘demon raising’. This is about the sins of the past and past mistakes that eventually come back to bite you with the drugs one being the most obvious. But it works pretty well as a metaphor with the whole drugs hurt those around you and not just you thing. What is great here is that basically Buffy and Giles reverse roles here. She becomes the sensible responsible one who must take control and get the truth and figure out what’s happening and solve it. She becomes the adult to Giles’ wayward, withdrawn, angry teen. And she really does step up, showing how much she cares for her watcher.

Who's giving us the wiggins this week?

The demon Eyghon who can briefly possess the dead or anyone unconscious for much longer. And Ethan as well to a lesser extent.

Why it rocks

Another metaphor show and it works pretty well.

We get to know a bit more about Giles’s past. His ‘Ripper’ years. He wasn’t always stuffy and tweed wearing. He was a full-on bad boy.

Tony Head does a great job showing Giles’s panic and emotional deterioration as he flounders about what to do and as a result pushes people away and turns to drink. Sarah matches him by Buffy stepping up to the mark and taking charge. But this is Tony Head’s show and he rocks.

The demon Eyghon is pretty darn creepy especially when it possesses Jenny Calendar. Great make-up and Fx in general.

Robin Sachs is back as Ethan. Always fun to watch.

Why it sucks

Sorry, but Giles liked the Bay City Rollers? I think not.

If the demon uses the tattoo to track and target its victim then why didn’t Ethan and Giles and the rest get it removed years ago?

It's Buftastic

Willow yells at Xander and Cordy, telling them to get out of ‘her’ library.

Dialogue to die for

Xander: "Giles lived for school. He's actually still bitter that there are only twelve grades."
Buffy: "He probably sat in math class thinking, 'There should be more math. This could be mathier.'"

Xander: "Ooh, gang, didja hear that? A bonus day of class plus Cordelia! Mix in a little rectal surgery and it's my best day ever!"

Buffy: "Don't be sorry, be Giles. C'mon, we fight monsters. This is what we do. They show up, they scare us, I beat 'em up and they go away. This isn't any different!"

And another thing

The photo that Xander finds of young Giles playing a bass guitar is actually Tony Head’s face from a photo when he was seventeen stuck over a picture of Sid Vicious.

This episode was rated as TV14 in the US although there is no blood or gory violence.

How many stakes?

I’ll give it 3.5 or else Ripper will beat me up. 3.5 (out of 5)

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