Friday, 20 January 2012
BUFFY: 4.20 ‘THE YOKO FACTOR’
Giles sings Freebird
WRITER: Doug Petrie
DIRECTOR: David Grossman
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
Buffy gets back from her troubling visit to Angel in LA. Meanwhile Spike, recruited by Adam with the promise of removing his chip, hatches a dastardly plan to weaken the slayer: he intends to separate her from her friends by spreading rumours and lies amongst them. This proves very successful, putting the Scoobies at each others throats. Then Angel turns up, looking to find Buffy to apologise for how things went in LA, but he has a run in with a jealous Riley. Eventually the pair face off in front of Buffy who enforces a peace. She makes things right with Angel, who then leaves for LA. Buffy must then put things right with Riley…and break the news to him that she saw Adam kill his friend Forrest in an earlier run in she had with the big lug, one which Buffy barely survived. Shocked, Riley storms off alone. Later, Scooby Gang infighting comes to a head at Giles’s place (no pun intended) and an angry and distraught Buffy, worried about Riley, walks out on them all, heading off to fight Adam alone. Meanwhile Riley has found Adam, and the two of them, alone, face off.
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
Complicated relationships, group dynamics, the darker side of human nature – resentment, anger, jealousy. It all comes in to play here. Spike does his part to ferment it but the tensions were already there bubbling away under the surface.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
Adam and Spike
WHY IT ROCKS
Bad Spike. The platinum one gets to have a ton of fun messing with the Scoobies, sewing not-so-subtle seeds of discord amongst them. My personal favourite is how he gets Giles to degenerate in to a sulky drunk with the use of just a few well chosen words – observations about how Buffy treats her one time Watcher. Thing is, Spike is not too far from the truth. What’s best, though, is the one huge flaw in Spike’s plan that Adam identifies near episode’s end. Oops. Poor William.
Miss Kitty Fantastico. Tara and Willow get themselves a kitten who they call Miss Kitty Fantastico. She’s very cute and would make a good familiar. Shame she pretty much disappears after this season.
Angel. Unlike his last visit to Sunnydale, this one is really cool. Angel's fight with the Initiative guys and then with Riley is well done and pretty intense, as is his eventual confrontation with Buffy, after which the pair sorts out their issues and come to a peace. Boreanaz is great. Scowling, long black coat billowing, his brooding intensity is ramped right up to the max. Now THAT’S Angel. Plus his childish smirk to Riley after Buffy appears to take his side is perfect. Angel always had that slightly childish, petulant side to him. Great stuff.
Lots of plot. A ton of stuff happens in this episode. Lots and lots of character dynamics/exploration of relationships. Also a moving forward of Adam’s (still unknown) plan of action which seems to involve getting lots of demons in to the Initiative and also having Buffy lead the fight against them all. There’s not a moment in this ep that isn’t working flat out on character or plot. Nice work Doug Petrie.
Clown pants. Poor Riley is forced in to borrowing some of Xander’s less stylish clothes. Ugh!
WHY IT SUCKS
Um, nothing I can think of. This episode’s pretty much all-round great.
The current boyfriend and the ex-boyfriend smack down.
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Xander (about the clothes he's letting Riley borrow): “Try those on. You'll feel like a new man.”
Riley: “Would this man have a bright red nose and big floppy feet?”
Spike (startling Giles): “You know, for someone who's got "Watcher" on his résumé, you might want to cast an eye to the front door every now and again.”
Anya (hitting Xander in the chest): “You're joining the Army?!”
Xander: “OK. (to Anya) One. Ow! (to Spike) Two. Where'd you get that idea? (to Anya) Three. Ow! (to both) I'm not joining the Army!”
Angel (angrily to Riley): “Don’t test me, boy!”
Buffy (to Riley about Angel): “He's... not bad.”
Riley: “Seriously? That's a good day? Well, there you go. Even when he's good, he's all Mr. Billowy Coat King of Pain, and girls really....”
Willow (fighting with Buffy): “We have to face it, you can't handle Tara being my girlfriend.”
Xander (to Buffy and Willow): “No! It was bad before that! Since you two went off to college and forgot about me. Just left me in the basement to… Tara's your girlfriend?”
Giles (drunk, off camera): “Bloody hell!”
AND ANOTHER THING
When Spike comes "bursting" into Giles', his reflection can be seen in a mirror behind Tara and Willow. Oops.
That’s really Tony Head playing an acoustic guitar and singing Lynrd Skynrd’s ‘Freebird’ right before he’s rudely interrupted by Spike. This was the second time Giles is caught singing. The first was in ep. 18 ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ when Willow, Xander, Tara and Anya walk in on him singing ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ at the Espresso Pump. Tony Head is a veteran of musical theatre. He had a brief role in Tim Burton’s film of Sweeny Todd (most of it was cut) and had a starring role in Darren Lyn Bouseman’s recent musical horror film Repo: The Genetic Opera.
HOW MANY STAKES?
Spike’s mixing it up. 4.5 (out of 5)