Monday, 2 May 2011

Buffy: 3.14 ‘Bad Girls’

Cool vid of double slayer action mostly from this ep.

Writer: Doug Petrie
Director: Michael Lange

What's the sitch?

A vampire duellist cult called El Eliminati comes to town searching for a mystical amulet which is said to be able to heal their stricken demon master Balthazar. Meanwhile Buffy and Faith’s new Watcher – an arrogant and stuffy young chap called Wesley Wyndam-Price – has also arrived and is looking to take charge and directs Buffy and Faith to find the amulet first. Giles is quietly annoyed and wilfully unhelpful while Buffy is happy to play along with Wesley while teasing him continually. Faith, meanwhile, is having nothing to do with this new interloper. The two slayers go hunt for the amulet with Faith slowly convincing Buffy not to play by the rules, to be more like her and enjoy using her power, to let loose and do as she pleases. Unfortunately Faith’s responsibility-free philosophy of “Want. Take. Have.” soon leads to tragedy and makes Buffy realise she does indeed have a responsibility to use her power wisely and unselfishly. And also that Faith may not be playing with a full deck.

What's the sitch beneath the sitch?

The Seduction of Buffy. With great power comes great responsibility is what our girl learns first hand here. She is seduced by Faith’s free spirited, do as you please, act on impulse nature and experiments in being carefree and revelling in her power. And it eventually leads her to a very dark place indeed. Buffy’s seduction by Faith has also a rather obvious lesbian subtext, one which writer Doug Petrie openly admits to in his commentary. Faith is young, sexy, dangerous, care free, and Buffy is attracted to that. The scene where Faith tempts Buffy out of an exam at school is great. She turns up at the classroom window, breathes on a pane of glass and then draws a heart in the mist…before adding a stake. Buffy can’t resist her. Who could?

Who's giving us the wiggins this week?

El Eliminati – sword wielding duellist vampires.
Balthazar – a monstrously fat demon in a tub.
Faith – specifically in the episodes last scene.

Why it rocks

The seduction of Buffy. It’s a great idea and really highlights the differences between the two slayers. The lesbian subtext works well too, as Faith is a highly sexual creature (though no Faith on Buffy action is seen except for their sexy dance.)

Eliza Dushku. As always she is fab as Faith, really selling that sexy, impulsive, bad girl persona. Like I said earlier, the bit where she tempts Buffy out of class is great.

Xander’s twitch. Gotta laugh at Nicky Brendon’s nervous eye twitching every time Buffy mentions Faith's name to him (a call back to his sexual encounter with her last episode).

Alexis Denisof. Alexis makes his Buffy debut as new watcher Wesley Wyndam-Price. Essentially Wesley is like a younger Giles as he was in early season 1 only more inept and with more talk and less actual ability. Here he’s mostly comic relief in his stuffiness but Wesley will go on to join Angel in his own series and will become one of the most changed and best characters in the whole of the Buffyverse. Though it is hard to imagine that from this episode.

Fights. There’s some pretty cool fights in here and some nice stunts.

Fairytales. Another Buffy fairytale treat. This time it’s a blatant Alice in Wonderland riff with Buffy and Faith tumbling down a rabbit hole (or sewer pipe) in to the unknown.

Buffy’s sarcastic but immensely cute childlike reply to Wesley when he asks her if she’s not used to being given orders. “Whenever Giles sends me on a mission, he always says 'Please.' And afterwards I get a cookie."

The Mayor testing his new invulnerability then literally checking it off of his to do list. Heh.

Why it sucks

Balthazar the demon is a bit crap. He looks very similar to the uber-fat vampire Pearl from Blade but nowhere near as good.

Buffy’s seduction by Faith happens rather quickly.

The amulet and the El Eliminati are nothing but an obvious and rather dull plot device that goes nowhere.

Angel’s heroic entry to Balthazar’s lair is ultra cheesy.

Though the underlying theme is strong and individual bits are great the episode overall doesn’t hang together as an entirely satisfying affair.

It's Bufftastic

A tie between the delicious school exam seduction scene with Faith tempting Buffy out of class and the sexy slayer dance at The Bronze. Sorry, can’t help it. I’m a man.

Dialogue to die for

Xander: “Harvard... Yale... Wesleyan... Some German Polytechnical Institute whose name I, uh... I can't pronounce. Is anyone else intimidated? 'Cause I'm just expecting thin slips of paper with the words 'No Way' written in crayon.”
Oz: “They're typing those now.”

Wesley: “I didn't get this job because of my looks.”
Buffy: “I really, really believe that.”

Wesley: “Buffy, you will go to the Gleave's family crypt tonight and fetch the amulet.
Buffy: “I will?”
Wesley: “Are you not used to being given orders?”
Buffy: “Whenever Giles sends me on a mission, he always says "please." And afterwards I get a cookie.”

Buffy: “Faith, wait! Look, I know this new guy’s a dork, but… Well I have nothing to follow that. He’s pretty much just a dork.”

Buffy: “Okay, we got ten, maybe twelve bad guys, and one big demon in desperate need of a Stairmaster.”

And another thing

Anthony Stewart Head and Alexis Denisof both did guest appearances on the TV series "Highlander."

El Eliminati" is a fictional cult. But maybe Doug Petrie named it after the "Illuminati," which is supposedly a secret group whose primary goal is to have complete control of the entire world, destroying all religions and governments in the process.

How many stakes?

These bad girls could have been badder. 3 (out of 5)

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