Tuesday, 17 July 2012
BUFFY 5.11: TRIANGLE
Some of Anya’s best bits
WRITER: Jane Espenson
DIRECTOR: Christopher Hibler
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
Giles heads off to England to meet with the Watcher’s Council to discuss Glory leaving Anya in charge of the Magic Box. Tensions between Anya and Willow soon arise over Willow using ingredients for spells without paying. But it is obvious this is just a cover for far more deep seated issues between the pair, mostly revolving around Xander. Much arguing and tomfoolery eventually leads to a giant troll called Olaf (who happens to be an ex boyfriend of Anya’s) being accidentally released from a magic crystal and then going on the rampage around town looking for ale to drink, wenches to have his way with, and fat little babies to eat. Working together Anya and Willow must track down big bad Troll and get him back in the crystal before he can wreak any more havoc.
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
The ol’ tension between the best friend and the girl friend, each one jealous of the other, afraid they are gonna hurt or ‘take away’ the poor sap stuck in the middle. In this case Xander.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
Olaf the troll
WHY IT ROCKS
It’s a three-way. The idea behind this episode is pretty fun and is something lots of people can relate to (not the troll, the girlfriend/best friend thing). The tension between Willow and Anya has been building for a while now and it blows up nicely in this episode.
Jane Espenson brings the funny. Yep, Triangle is a Jane Espenson script, and as such it brings a lot of funny to the party. It’s pretty over the top in places (Olaf himself is a totally OTT creation) and veers from silly slapstick to witty wordplay to almost French farce in places. But it works.
Comedy direction. Veteran TV director Christopher Hibler brings his long held expertise with comedy to this episode. The direction of the comedy and its timing is impeccable leading to several laugh out loud moments.
Olaf the troll. Olaf is a great creation brought hilariously to life by long time ER actor Abraham Benrubi who’s clearly having a whale of a time shouting every line while smashing stuff up and hunting down ale to drink, wenches to have his way with, and fat tasty babies to eat. Benrubi returned to the role in the season 7 episode ‘Selfless’.
Spike. Once again James Marsters is all kinds of awesome in this ep. The scene where he practices giving a box of chocolates to a fake Buffy (a mannequin with blond wig on) before getting in a one sided argument with said mannequin, then attacking it…then calmly resetting it and starting again is hilarious. His encounter with Olaf at the Bronze is equally good and very funny, especially when Xander suggests to Spike that he could maybe fight the troll and stop his rampage and Spike answers nonchalantly, “Yeah, I could do that. But I’m paralysed with not caring very much.”
Anya. As always Emma Caulfield is very funny and very cute as ex-vengeance demon Anya whose past comes back to haunt her when it is revealed that Olaf was an ex of hers from back in the dark ages who she turned in to a troll after he cheated on her. Turns out it was that act that got her the job of becoming a vengeance demon.
WHY IT SUCKS
Very silly. This is one of the most out and out silly episodes of the entire run of the show. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, as this show does silly very, very well and still always manages to keep a serious theme going. But the goofy tone is kinda unrelenting. Even Buffy’s emotional state post-Riley leaving is played for laughs with her breaking down in to exaggerated comedy tears every time something remotely sad happens.
Where did Riley go? How do Buffy and the rest of the gang know so much about Riley's "secret" mission? He didn't tell her where he was going and never mentioned anything to do with "the jungle".
Anya the driver. Anya tells Willow that she's never driven before, but in Graduation Day Part One, she told Xander she had a car outside, and suggested that they leave Sunnydale, taking turns driving.
Spike’s rant at, and then attacking of his ‘practice’ Buffy mannequin.
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Anya: If you ever decide to go, I want a warning. You know? Big flashing red lights, and-and-and one of those clocks that counts down like a bomb in a movie? And there's a whole bunch of, of coloured wires, and I'm not sure which is the right one to cut, but I guess the green one, and then at the last second, "No! The red one!" and then click, it stops with three-tenths of a second left, but then you don't leave. Like that, okay?
Xander: Check. Big bomb clock.
Giles: Dealing with people requires a certain, uh, finesse.
Anya: I have finesse! I have finesse coming out of my bottom!
Buffy: I killed something in a convent last night.
Xander: In any other room, a frightening declaration. Here, a welcome distraction.
Spike (holding a box of chocolates, talking to a mannequin with a blond wig): Um... there's something I got to tell you. About showing you Riley in that place. I didn't mean to... (long pause) Anyway, I know you're feeling all betrayed — by him, not me. I was trying to help, you know. Not like I made him be there, after all. Actually trying to help you. Best intentions. I mean, you know, pretty state you'd be in, thinking things are all right while he's toddling halfway round the bend. (He stares at the mannequin and starts to get increasingly angry.) Oh, I'll insult him if I want to! I'm the one who's on your side! Me! Doing you a favour! And you, being dead petty about it — me, getting nothing but your hatred and your venom and— you ungrateful bitch! Fuc— bitch!
(He loses control and smashes the box of chocolates over the mannequin's head. He then sighs, picks up the mannequin and replaces it. He rearranges the wig, picks up the box of chocolate, and tries to stuff the chocolates back in. He composes himself and faces the mannequin again. )
Spike: Buffy... there's something I want to tell you.
Olaf (upon bashing a dumpster with his hammer): Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha! Puny receptacle!
Olaf: Bar maid! Bring me stronger ale! And some plump, succulent babies to eat!
Xander: I'm gonna run get Buffy. Or maybe you could fight him.
Spike: Yeah, I could do that, but I'm paralyzed with not caring very much.
Olaf (to Spike): You there! Do you know where there are babies?
Spike (to Xander): What do ya think, the hospital?
Xander: What? Shut up!
Willow: I wish Buffy was here!
(Buffy runs in.)
Buffy: I'm here!
Willow: I wish I had a million dollars!
AND ANOTHER THING
Abraham Benrubi who plays Olaf is probably best known as a regular on ER playing desk clerk Jerry Markovic. He also provides the voice of Darth Vader (and others) on Robot Chicken, co-created by Seth (Oz) Green. He has also starred in an episode of The X-Files and had a supporting role in the film Twister.
This is the only episode of Buffy directed by Christopher Hibler, a veteran television director who worked on shows such as Remington Steele, Moonlighting, and Quantum Leap. He passed away in 2010 aged 68.
HOW MANY STAKES?
It’s troll-tastic! 4 (out of 5)