Monday, 16 July 2012
5.10: IN TO THE WOODS
Some of the score from this episode.
WRITER: Marti Noxon
DIRECTOR: Marti Noxon
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
Spike discovers Riley’s secret vamp sucking addiction. And seeing an opportunity he gets Buffy to follow him to the grotty vampire brothel where, to her horror, she sees for herself Riley in the midst of a blood suck session with a lady vamp. Disgusted, Buffy takes off. Not long after, the military guys, still in town after the events of the previous ep, come to Riley and ask him to join them. They are about to head of to Belize for a long mission in the jungle to take down some demons that’ve been targeting missionaries. Riley considers the offer. Later, he confronts a still furious Buffy with what he has done and tries to explain himself to her. He tells her he’s gonna leave with the military guys at midnight if they can’t work through this. Buffy sees this as an ultimatum and storms off. Knowing something bad is going down, Xander catches up with Buff and tells her that she needs to get over herself if she really does care for Riley and wants him to stay. Xander’s words get through to her and a desperate Buffy runs off, chasing after Riley to try and stop him from leaving. Will she get to him it in time?
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
It’s a relationship thing: poor communication, taking each other for granted, secrets, infidelity. You can read the metaphor of what Riley is doing in either of two ways. First, he’s visiting prostitutes and paying for what he (wrongly) perceives as intimacy, for what he thinks he’s not getting from Buffy. Second, that he is getting a high from a drug, having the lady vamps feed on him, making him feel good….somehow.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
Vampire pimp I guess…and Riley being a tool.
WHY IT ROCKS
The metaphor. It’s played out quite well with the breakdown of a relationship given a Buffesque bent.
The vampire brothel idea is a good one…in a creepy, messed up kinda way. Adds interesting flavour to the supernatural underworld.
The big fight. Buffy angrily taking on vampire pimp and his gang is pretty cool. They didn’t stand a chance. Also how Buff at first lets go the female vamp who’d been feeding on Riley…before then throwing a wooden stake through her while she’s running away, dusting her.
WHY IT SUCKS
So Buffy’s the bad guy? Sorry, but the way this story is played out just doesn’t feel at all right to me. Riley is made out to be a victim here, suffering at the hands of an unthinking, unfeeling Buffy, who apparently takes him for granted. Xander tells her as much and makes her realise she really does love Riley and wants him to stay. But, to me at least, Riley has been major tool for most of this season. He’s been so selfish and self centred, expecting Buff to be putting his needs first while she’s been dealing with everything she’s been dealing with. Of course Buffy ain’t perfect and has some major character flaws of her own but that’s part of why we love her. No, I was totally with the Buffster on this one….at least until she goes and has a Xander inspired epiphany and runs after soldier boy. Truth is Riley was right. She never really, truly loved him. He WAS rebound guy.
Angst heavy. I like me some angst and high emotion (when done well), but that’s pretty much all that this episode is. It is heavy handed and just doesn’t ring true. There’s almost no humour to be had, no laughs, just wrong feeling mawkish angst. Thank the gods then for Anya in an early Magic Box scene as she and the Scoobies debate the holiday reduced sale price of chicken feet.
Buff furiously dusting the vamp pimp and his gang.
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Anya: Maybe we could do a... holiday promotion. One free with every purchase!
Giles: Oh, yes. Dear holiday memories. Merry tykes by the fire, enjoying their new Christmas... chicken feet.
Willow: Aw, holding them tight as they fall asleep. Painting their little toenails.
Anya: That's very humorous. Make fun of the ex-demon! I can just hear you in private. 'I dislike that Anya. She's newly human and strangely literal.”
Xander (to Anya): I've gotta say something, 'cause I don't think I've made it clear. I'm in love with you. Powerfully, painfully in love. The things you do, the way you think, the way you move... I get excited every time I'm about to see you. You make me feel like I've never felt before in my life. Like a man. I just thought you might wanna know.
AND ANOTHER THING
The "In Memory of D.C. Gustafson" at the end of this episode referred to Gustav Gustafson - a good friend of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s who died in November 2000 at age 41 after fighting cancer and AIDS.
HOW MANY STAKES?
So long Riley. 2 (out of 5)