Saturday, 21 May 2011

Buffy: 3.16 ‘Doppelgangland’

Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

What's the sitch?

Anya, the ex-vengeance demon last seen in 3.9 ‘The Wish’, embarks on a mission to get her mystical necklace back so as to restore her power. She tricks Willow in to helping her with a spell to reclaim the necklace from a point in time before it was destroyed. Willow, feeling put upon and taken for granted by everyone including loathsome Principle Snyder, Giles and her friends, agrees to help Anya, being eager to experiment more with the black arts. But the spell goes wrong and WiIlow takes off leaving behind an angry and despondent Anya. However, unbeknown to them both the spell did actually work…kinda. Only instead of Anya’s necklace, it brought in to our world the deliciously slinky and evil Vampire Willow from the alternative reality last seen in ‘The Wish’. Buffy and Xander run in to the newly arrived Vampire Willow at the Bronze thinking she is their Willow but soon discovering to their horror that she is actually a vampire. Assuming their Wilow is dead, the two shocked friends head back to the library to tell Giles the awful news. Meanwhile, confused and upset by this new world full of many happy humans and not so many evil vamps, Vampire Willow decides to recruit a vampire army from those she can find, who are all currently working for The Mayor, in order to start taking back the night for vampire kind, beginning with attacking the human crowded Bronze. A potential mass slaughter awaits unless Buffy and co. can work out what's happened and ccme up with a plan to save the day.

What's the sitch beneath the sitch?

Don’t be a pushover. Get in touch with your inner badass and stand up for yourself. In this utterly brilliant episode good old reliable Willow, that so very smart, eager and kind teenager, is finally and justifiably feeling put upon and taken for granted by her friends and pretty much everyone else around her. People constantly expect and demand stuff from her be it knowledge, expertise, remembering things they’ve been too lazy to remember or to do themselves. And the girl has had enough. Bringing back the wonderful Vampire Willow doppelganger from ‘The Wish’ lets us and the world see a whole other side to the very sweet Ms Rosenberg – a tough, sexy, confident and devilishly playful side that won’t take crap from anyone be they obnoxious high school jocks or unthinking best friends. Willow sees in her evil doppelganger things to fear and to loathe, but she also more importantly sees things to admire and to emulate in her own life. Just not the killing and the S&M wear.

Who's giving us the wiggins this week?

Vampire Willow, Anya and assorted vampire goons.

Why it rocks

Joss at his best. Doppelgangland is utter perfection on every single level – character, drama, theme, acting and bringing the major league funny. If you wanted a Buffy novice to know why Joss’s little myth garnered such love and widespread acclaim (despite the goofy title and premise) then you’d simply show them ‘Doppelgangland’ along with a few other choice episodes – probably ‘The Body’, ‘Hush’, ‘Once More With Feeling’ and ‘Becoming 1&2’. The script here is so well written by Joss who always starts with character and theme and then builds his story up from there. And what a story it is. Through Vampire Willow we see the Willow we know and love in a whole new light. Especially when Buffy tells her to remember that a vampire’s personality has nothing to do with the human they were before and Angel almost contradicts her for he knows that simply isn’t true.

Alyson Hannigan. The entire cast is wonderful but Ally Hannigan is the shining star here. Playing the dual roles of sweet, meek, put-upon Willow and sleek, sexy, deadly Vampire Willow, the girl just stuns.

Vampire Willow. An instant smash with the fans when she first appeared in ‘The Wish’, Joss obviously loved her too because here she is in all of her slinky, sexy, evil, and kinda gay glory. Vamp Willow is scary and sexy but she is also drop dead funny. Her deadpan reaction to seeing ‘our’ Willow is priceless: “Look at me. I’m all fuzzy.” As is her exasperation while locked in the book cage, trying to convince an unsuspecting Cordelia to let her out. “What?” asks vain Cordy, frowning at Vampire Willow who’s staring at her hungrily. “Do I have something on my neck?” “Not yet,” is the dryly-muttered answer.

The entire old reliable vs. Old Faithful vs. Old Yeller exchange and Willow’s subsequent attempt to storm off.

Thinking his cross is not working properly after aiming it mistakenly at our Willow, Xander shakes it as you might a faulty flashlight. LOL

Giles’ reaction when he sees that our Willow is not in fact dead.

Angel’s confusion at seeing our Willow alive. “Hey Willow. Wait a sec…”

Wesley’s girly scream when Cordy surprises him.

Willow, surprised, noticing her own cleavage while wearing Vampire Willow’s low cut getup. “Gosh, look at those.”

Cordy lecturing a caged Vampire Willow on the ethics of boyfriend stealing thinking she's talking to our Willow.

Willow impersonating Vamp Willow at the Bronze.

Willow’s signal (a scream)

Buffy’s end fight at the Bronze and her cool use of a pool cue as a weapon.

Vampire Willow’s reaction as she arrives back in her world and is promptly staked.

Why it sucks

Nothing. Zero. Nada. No suckage here.

It's Buftastic

The entire scene of our Willow impersonating Vampire Willow at the Bronze – especially the little hidden wave she gives Oz to let him know its her. Wonderful.

Dialogue to die for

Oh God, I could quote the entire script but I’ll try and keep it down to a few choice cuts. Here goes...

Willow: "Buff. I'm storming off. It doesn't really work if you come with me."

Willow (confused after Buffy, Xander and Giles crush her in a big hug): "It's really nice that you guys missed me. Say! You all didn't happen to do a bunch of drugs, did ya?"

Vampire Willow (meeting the real Willow): "Well, look at me. I'm all fuzzy."

Willow: "That's me as a vampire? I'm so evil. And skanky. And I think I'm kinda gay!"

Willow (looking down at her cleavage): "Gosh, look at those!"

Willow: “No, it's fine. I'm 'Old Reliable'.”
Xander: “She just means, you know, the geyser. You're like a geyser of fun that goes off at regular intervals.”
Willow: “That's Old Faithful.”
Xander: “Isn't that the dog that, that the guy had to shoot...”
Willow: (angrily now) “That's Old Yeller.”
Buffy: “Xander, I beg you not to help me.”

Xander: “Uh... Will, this is verging on naughty touching here. Don't wanna fall back on bad habits. HANDS! Hands in new places!”

Buffy (to Xander): “Aren't you gonna introduce me to your...Holy *God*, you're Willow.”

Angel(rushes in): “Buffy, I…something's happened. Willow's dead.”
He glances over and sees Willow. She waves at him.
Angel(casualy): “Hey, Willow."
He does a double take.
Angel: "Wait a second…”
Xander: “We're right there with you, buddy.”

Willow: “This girl has a history of mental problems dating back to early childhood. (desperately) I'm a blood-sucking fiend! Look at my outfit!”
Vampire: “A human. I should have smelled it right away.”
Willow: “A human? Oh, yeah? Could a human do this?”
She screams at the top of her lungs.
Anya: “Sure. Yeah. Humans do that. Yeah. (shrugs)”
Vampire: (concurring) “Yeah. Yeah, I think, yeah.”

And another thing

In the Bronze when Willow is pretending to be Vampire Willow, she runs her hand through a girl's hair. Some fans thought that girl was Amber Benson (who played Tara in later seasons). Nope, it's not her.

How many stakes?

Double trouble means twice the greatness. 5+ (out of 5)

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