Tuesday, 6 December 2011
BUFFY 4.11 ‘DOOMED’
Short trailer for this episode
WRITER: Marti Noxon, David Fury, Jane Espenson
DIRECTOR: James A. Contner
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
Beginning where ‘Hush’ ended, Buffy and Riley are sitting together, not talking, unsure how to begin explaining to each other about their now not-so-secret lives. Eventually they do, and Buffy reacts badly. She wanted a nice normal guy. But now she seems to think that a relationship with Riley would be doomed. And so tries to end it between them. But Riley doesn’t understand and won’t walk away so easily. The couple’s heart to heart is suddenly interrupted by an earthquake. Riley is excited. But Buffy is scared as she sees earthquakes as omens of impending doom. She goes to see Giles who seems utterly unconcerned by the quake, putting it down to the usual Californian landmass shifts. Meanwhile Willow, at a party, makes a gruesome discovery, while Spike, who’s still staying with Xander, has become suicidal due to his now utterly miserable and degrading existence. Pretty soon though, Buffy is proved right about the earthquake being an omen of doom when the gang discovers that a demon cult is planning to reopen the Hellmouth beneath the destroyed Sunnydale High in order to usher in the apocalypse.
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
It’s about attitude, positive and negative thinking, being fatalistic. Buffy starts the episode utterly fatalistic – about Riley, the world, everything, but she gradually changes as it goes along, discovering that it is possible to rewrite at least part of your own destiny. Plus it's also about never quite being able to leave your past behind, but also letting it go enough so as not to ruin your future. Willow and Xander are both unhappily reminded about their geeky pasts, while Buffy is still living in her past, haunted by her doomed romance with Angel. Then of course the gang quite literally revisit their past by having to return once more to Sunnydale High to battle evil.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
The Vahrall demons
WHY IT ROCKS
Three of the best. You’ve got three of the series’ best writers credited for this ep. As such, there are some great character beats and lots of wonderfully funny scenes and dialogue.
Suicidal Spike. James Marsters is hilarious as poor miserable Spike who’s been reduced to living in Xander’s basement, doing laundry and wearing some god-awful clothes. The scene where he tries to stake himself by falling on a table but only destroying said table is very funny. He can’t even do that right. In this ep poor Spike reaches an ultimate low. Luckily by episodes end he discovers something that gives him a new lease on (un)life.
Sunnydale High. Yay! We get to visit the semi-collapsed and burned out remains of Sunnydale High complete with chunks of charred Mayor Meat.
Xander’s ol’ pal. Riley thinks he recognises Spike (dressed in some awful Xander clothes). Spike, putting on a dreadful American accent, declares: “Me? No. No, sir. I'm just an ol' pal of Xander's here.” Heh! What you have here is an American actor playing a Brit doing a bad American accent. Most amusing indeed.
Joyful Spike. Towards episodes end Spike discovers that though he can’t hurt humans he can hurt demons, much to his immense joy. The last few seconds of the episode shows an excitable Spike trying to get a TV watching Willow and Xander up and out with him to go and find evil to fight, ”For the safety of puppies….and Christmas.” Good ol’ Spike. He just wants to do some damage. And if it’s only to demons then so be it.
WHY IT SUCKS
What story? The actual story itself is a bit naff. It’s just some demons trying to open the hellmouth to start an apocalypse. It’s paper thin. Basically this is an episode to cover the fallout from ‘Hush’ and to move the characters in to new positions for the rest of the season, though thematically it works ok within the terms of the episode itself.
Is it just me or does Giles’s voice in the scene where he’s telling Buffy that the earthquake is nothing to worry about sound a bit odd? It’s almost as if his lines were rerecorded and then overdubbed. It sounds a bit…fake.
Gleeful Spike right at episode’s end.
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Buffy: "I'm the Slayer. (Riley looks blankly.) Slay-er. Chosen One. She who hangs out a lot in cemeteries. (He still looks blankly.) You're kidding me! Ask around. Look it up. Slayer, comma, The."
Riley: "Buffy. She's pretty cool, huh?"
Forrest: "Yes, already! She's cool. She's hot. She's tepid. She's all-temperature Buffy."
Giles: "Oh — as usual — dear."
Spike: “My sodding sleeping chair's bloody... sodden.”
Xander (to Spike): “I hate to break it to you, O Impotent One, but you're not the Big Bad anymore. You're not even the Kind of Naughty. You're nothing but a waste of space. My space! And as much I always got a big laugh watching Buffy kick your shiny white bum, and as much as I know that I could give you a little bum-kicking myself right now, I'm here to tell you something: You're not even worth it!”
Buffy (anxiously to Giles about the earthquakes): “I told you. I said 'End of the World,' and you were like pooh-pooh, Southern California, pooh-pooh.”
Xander: “Think of the happy. If we don't find what we're looking for, we're facing the apocalypse.”
Spike (cheering up): “Really? You're not just saying that?”
Spike (on his newly regained bad-assness): “That's right! I'm back and I'm a bloody animal! Yeah!”
Spike (excited to a bored looking Xander and Willow): “I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass! What, can't go without your Buffy? Is that it? Too chicken? Let's find her! She is the Chosen One, after all. Come one, vampires, Grrr, nasty! Let's annihilate them. For justice, and for... the safety of puppies, and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil! Let's kill something! (Frustrated now) Oh, come on!”
AND ANOTHER THING
As of this episode Marc Blucas gets added to the opening credits
Forrest tells Riley that he "don't got game," which might be an in joke seeing as how Leonard Roberts who plays Forrest co-starred in the 1998 movie He Got Game.
HOW MANY STAKES?
We’re doomed, we’re doomed! 3 (out of 5)