Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Buffy: 2.9 ‘What’s My Line: Part 1’
Now that’s what I call girl power!
Writer: Marti Noxon, Howard Gordon
Director: David Solomon
What's the sitch?
Its careers fair time at Sunnydale High and all of the students have to fill in multiple choice questionnaires to identify their future career paths. This aggravates all of the scoobies but raises particular anxieties in Buffy about her own future. What kind of life and career can she have? She has her slayer duty and that seems to be all that lies ahead for the Bufster. Meanwhile, Spike is trying to decipher a text to find a cure for Drusilla, to restore her back to full strength. This requires a little tomb raiding, bringing his gang in to direct confrontation with Buffy and nearly ruining his plans. Annoyed, Spike decides to bring in the big guns: The Order of Taraka: the baddest of the bad assassins who will stop at nothing until their mark is dead. In this case a mark called Buffy Summers. But as the assassins start turning up in Sunnydale to each take their shot at the slayer, another new arrival has also come to town – a tough as nails girl from overseas who claims to be a vampire slayer.
What's the sitch beneath the sitch?
No real metaphors in this one but the underlying theme is all about the future – life, career, family. Buffy starts thinking about all of that; something most teens don’t bother with. She lies when Angel asks her if she ever thinks about the future. She says no. But she clearly has been. But as with most teens, the future seems so distant that she decides to ignore it as best she can…except that the inanity of the school’s careers fair is not gonna let her off so easily. Part 2 will continue this theme when new slayer Kendra arrives proper, giving Buffy the idea that she could possibly retire as the slayer and go off and have a real life and future of her own. It’s an idea that will resurface in season 3 when Faith comes to town.
Who's giving us the wiggins this week?
Spike and Dru and the various members of The Order of Taraka including the creepy bug man, the hulking dude and the lady cop.
Why it rocks
This is Buffy’s first big two-parter since the pilot episodes so the story is bigger and broader with more locations including planes and airports. The stakes are also higher (pardon the pun) and there are some new huge developments in the season arc and in Buffy lore.
Buffy’s future and her struggle for a normal life is at the heart of this story. And that’s always good seeing as how that continual struggle is at the very core of the entire show. Interesting questions are also raised about what will happen to her down the line and what kind of a life she can possibly have. When you actually stop and think about it the whole thing is kinda depressing. You really wouldn’t wanna be this girl. She seems to be stuck, along with the vampires she slays, in a never ending, never changing soulless existence with nothing to look forward to in life.
Xander and Cordy, trapped by the creepy bug man, give in to their passions.
Spike and Dru. ‘Nuff said.
Sarah looks good on ice skates, which involves a ‘cool’ use of said skates in offing a bad guy. Pun absolutely intended.
Mr Gordo, Buffy’s stuffed toy pig, being absently cuddled by Angel is chuckle inducing.
Bianca Lawson as Kendra the Vampire Slayer is ridiculously hot. Shame about that awful mock-Jamaican accent though.
Why it sucks
Bianca Lawson’s above mentioned accent makes my ears hurt.
The cliffhanger. Up until the very end we have assumed that the insanely cute girl with the awful mock-Jamaican accent who beat up Angel is one of the Order of Taraka. But as she faces off with Buffy, she announces: “Me names Kendra, the Vampire Slayer!” Cue Buffy’s shocked face, the audience going “Huh?” And the screen saying ‘To be continued.’
Dialogue to die for
Buffy (after Giles explains what a reliquary is): Note to self: religion: freaky.
Buffy (seeing Angel in her room holding her stuffed pig): Just dropping by for some quality time with Mr. Gordo?
Dalton: Yes, but... The Order of Taraka. I mean, isn't that overkill?
Spike: No, I think it's just enough kill.
Giles: You're behaving remarkably immaturely.
Buffy: You know why? I am immature. I'm a teen. I have yet to mature.
Cordelia: Oh, great, so now I'm your taxi and your punching bag.
Xander: I like to think of you more as my witless foil, but have it your way.
And another thing
This is the first Buffy script from Marti Noxon. She would go on to become one of the show’s head writers, then the exec producer alongside Joss, and would finally take over day to day running of the show in its last couple of seasons while Joss was off doing Firefly.
In this episode the gang are referred to as the Scoobies for the first time. Up until now they’ve called themselves the Slayerettes.
How many stakes?
The aptitude test score is 4 (out of 5)