Tuesday, 13 December 2011
BUFFY: 4.13 - ‘THE I IN TEAM’
A short promo for this episode
WRITER: David Fury
DIRECTOR: James A. Contner
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
Riley officially brings Buffy in to The Initiative where she gets a beeper and lots of reading material. To begin with, Buffy is excited and swept up in her new world. But a worried Willow tells her to be careful and watchful as they don’t know what the Initiative is really all about. Once inside, Buffy discovers that things in the Initiative are need to know only. Riley and his boys just go on mission as ordered and do as they are told no questions asked. But when Buffy comes in to the mix she starts asking questions of Professor Walsh. Questions that are making the Professor more and more uncomfortable – especially about the mysterious ‘314’ as mentioned by Ethan Rayne in the previous episode. Soon, Professor Walsh, thinking Buffy too much of a liability, hatches a nasty plan to send our girl out alone and have her trapped and then killed by some rogue demons. Then, come episodes end, the mystery of ‘314’ is revealed, with deadly consequences.
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
The primary theme here is about questioning authority, not just taking things on blind faith. Riley and his boys are trained and conditioned to just do as they are told, no questions asked. But Buffy is the total opposite. She simply has to ask questions, she has to know what she is fighting for. She wants reasons. And they better be good ones. There’s also a weird rather twisted parental thing going on with ‘mommy’ Maggie Walsh and her ‘children’ Riley, Adam, and even Buffy. Maggie wants to create perfect (in her eyes) children who will behave just as she directs them to behave. Buffy does not fit the bill and so needs to be kicked out of the family. Permanently.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
Maggie Walsh, Polgara Demons, and Adam.
WHY IT ROCKS
Nasty Maggie. In this episode we realise just how nutty Prof Walsh is. And what she’s been doing all of her demon experiments for. Her cold and calculating attempt to kill Buffy is…cold and calculating. Lindsey Crouse is nicely chilly in her final appearance on Buffy.
Spike needs help. In a lovely reverse of last episode, Spike gets shot by an Initiative tracking dart and needs Giles’ help to escape them and to get the dart out. Let’s just say Giles gets his money back. Heh.
Buffy and Riley’s bonk/battle. There’s a beautifully and rather erotically filmed sequence in this episode which crosscuts Buffy and Riley making love for the first time with them in violent battle with multiple demons.
Willow and mousy Tara becoming closer. Aww.
Willow’s spell to ionise the atmosphere in Giles’s home has an amusing hair raising effect.
It’s a trap! The sequence where an unwitting Buffy is sent by Prof. Walsh in to a deadly trap is great. Watching on monitors, Maggie thinks Buffy has been killed…just as Riley turns up. Maggie tells Riley that something terrible has happened, that Buffy rushed off alone and against orders, and is now dead. As Maggie is busy lying to Riley, Riley sees on the monitors behind the professor Buffy’s grim face appear. Shocked, Professor Walsh turns to see Buffy alive and well as our girl tells her that she’s made a big mistake. And that she’s going to find out what a slayer really is. Yes!
Adam. The secret of ‘314’ is revealed. A huge demon, human, cybernetic hybrid monster stitched together ala Dr Frankenstein’s creation. Though Adam was never my favourite Buffy big bad, he is still a striking looking creation. Kudos to the make-up guys. And to actor George Hertzberg for wearing it well.
WHY IT SUCKS
Buffy wears out her welcome with The Initiative kinda quickly.
Professor Walsh makes a rather hasty exit (due to Lindsey Crouse suddenly deciding she wanted to leave).
I love Buffy but she can be a bit of an unfeeling so and so sometimes. Whenever something new and shiny comes along she’s kinda quick to drop her friends, especially poor Willow. It happened last season with Faith. And look how well that turned out. Still, that’s part of the main theme of this season – the power of true friendship, being more confident, more powerful when with the right people.
Adam. Yes, I know he’s in the ‘Why it rocks!” section above but I’ve always had mixed feelings about him. He looks cool. The basic concept behind him is pretty good (putting science and the supernatural together in to a physical form). But he just always felt kinda flat and lacking in any real challenge for Buffy. Plus there’s no real connection between them. In season one, The Master and Buffy were locked together in prophecy. In season two, Angelus was Buffy’s ex-lover. In season three, Faith is the temptress and the dark reflection of Buffy, and The Mayor is an odd (and evil) fatherly presence. The connection here is between Riley and Adam, not Buffy and Adam. I think Buffy always works best when she has a real emotional connection to the big bads she battles.
Grim-faced Buffy on the monitors behind a shocked Professor Walsh, telling her she’s going to find out what a slayer really is. Go Buffster!
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Willow (about Buffy): “Guess she's out with Riley. You know what it's like with a spanking new boyfriend.”
Anya (re: Xander): “Yes, we've enjoyed spanking.”
Buffy (about Riley's lunch selection): “ ... A Twinkie! That's his lunch? Oh, he is so gonna be punished.”
Willow: (Miserable) “Everyone's getting spanked but me.”
Buffy: “You said it was big. You told me, but you never said it was huge!”
Riley: “Don't like to brag.”
Walsh : “You might want to be suited up for this.”
Buffy: “Oh, you mean the camo and stuff. I thought about it, but on me it's gonna look all Private Benjamin. Don't worry, I've patrolled in this halter many times.”
Buffy (grim-faced on monitors): “Professor Walsh? That simple little recon you sent me on — wasn't a racoon. Turns out it was me, trapped in the sewers with a faulty weapon and two of your pet demons. If you think that's enough to kill me, you really don't know what a Slayer is. Trust me when I say you're gonna find out.”
AND ANOTHER THING
Professor Walsh’s exit feels rushed for a good reason. Lindsey Crouse suddenly decided she wanted to leave the show, forcing the writers to bring forward her demise by several episodes. A shame.
HOW MANY STAKES?
The Team works. 3 (out of 5)