Tuesday, 17 July 2012
BUFFY 5.12: CHECKPOINT
Teaser for the ep.
WRITER: Doug Petrie, Jane Espenson
DIRECTOR: Nick Marck
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
The Watchers Council comes to Sunnydale bringing with them information as to who (or what) Glory really is. But Chief Watcher Quentin Travers (Harris Yulin) refuses to turn over the information unless Buffy passes a series of exhaustive tests of her skills, strategies, and methodology. Making things even worse for the Buffster, Glory pays a visit to her at home and threatens her family unless she turns over the Key. As if that’s not bad enough a bunch of guys in chainmail brandishing swords appear from nowhere and attack her, They call themselves the Knights of Byzantium, an ancient order sworn to destroy the Key and all who protect it. Buffy wins the battle but the knights’ promise that legions of them will follow. This is the last straw for Buff and she finally realises something: she is the one with the power. She has power over them all: the Watchers, Glory, the Knights. She shares her revelation with Quentin, informing him that they, the Watchers, are useless without her and that she is now in charge. She orders him to reinstate Giles with full back pay and to give her all the info they have on Glory. His bluff called, Travers agrees and tells Buffy that Glory is no demon. She’s a god.
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
It’s about realising and using the power you have, not letting others use you, take advantage, walk all over you. Through most of the episode Buffy is being dismissed and talked down to by so-called authority figures. Buffy’s lecturer patronises her because she dares to ask questions and to challenge his view of history. Glory tells her she is nothing to her and that she could kill her in an instant. And the Watchers try to reassert their authority over her by withholding valuable knowledge and threatening to get Giles kicked out of the country. But they have all made a big mistake. It is all just bluff. And realising this, Buffy calls those bluffs.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
Glory and the Watchers Council
WHY IT ROCKS
Girl power actualised. A great theme and Buffy’s realisation of her power and her then putting those damn Watchers in their place is fantastic. Her big scene at the end is perfectly written and performed and we are right their with the Scoobies cheering the Buffster on. You go girl!
SMG and Tony Head. All the performances by the regulars are great, but it is SMG and Tony Head who are at the heart of things here. And they are both firing on all cylinders. The Giles and Buffy father/daughter mentor/student relationship is at the core of this episode. They have quiet heart to hearts with Giles making sure Buffy knows that she has done nothing wrong, that nobody else could ever have done any better than she. His pride in her shines throughout, especially when she finally puts Travers and co. in their place. Once more Giles proves to be the perfect father figure, and as Buffy freely tells him, she can’t lose him when the Watchers threaten to get him kicked out of the country. A portent of things soon to come in the realm of Buffyverse parental figures.
Hanging at Spike’s crib. Buff takes her mom and sister to stay with Spike so he can protect them from Glory. Of course Spike agrees. He’d do anything to get Buffy’s favour. But he already has a nice relationship with Joyce, a weird kind of mother/son thing going on. Plus they also share a common passion for daytime soap Passions. And Spike also kinda gets Dawn too, how she’s troubled and is full of teenage hormones. They will go on to form a kind of charmingly odd big brother/lil sis bond.
WHY IT SUCKS
The Knights of Byzantium are a goofy looking lot in their middle ages style armour and chain mail. Not very practical for 21st century living. Or for helping keep them a secret.
Buffy takes the power back. Yeah!
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Glory: Sunnydale's got too many demons and not enough retail outlets.
Giles (to the Council members): You all stand around and look sombre. (Indeed they do.) Good job.
Giles (to Travers, very angrily): She's not your bloody instrument and you have no right to do any of this!
Giles: Buffy, calm down. The scandal here is not anything you've done wrong, it's the way they're behaving. Holding what they know hostage, with a gun pointed at my bleeding green card no less. It's humiliating.
Phillip: So. You have no special skills, or powers, or knowledge that you bring to the mix? Neither of you?
Anya: Just enthusiasm for killing the demons. Go deadness for the demons!
Buffy: There isn't gonna be a review.
Buffy: No review. No interrogation. No questions you know I can't answer. No hoops. No jumps. (Nigel is about to speak.) No interruptions. See, I've had a lot of people talking at me in the last few days. Everyone just lining up to tell me how unimportant I am. And I've finally figured out why. Power. I have it. They don't. This bothers them. Glory came to my home today.
Giles: Buffy are you all—
Buffy: Just to talk. She told me I'm a bug, I'm a flea, that she could squash me in a second. Only she didn't. She came into my home, and we talked. We had what in her warped brain probably passes for a civilized conversation. Why? Because she needs something from me. Because I have power over her. You guys didn't come all the way from England to determine whether I was good enough to be let back in. You came to beg me to let you back in. To give your jobs, your lives, some semblance of meaning.
Nigel: This is beyond insolence— (Buffy hurls the sword at him, which he must jump aside to avoid.)
Buffy: I'm fairly certain I said no interruptions.
AND ANOTHER THING
Veteran American character actor Harris Yulin reprises his role of stuffy English Watcher Quentin Travers last seen in season three’s Helpless. He’ll appear once more in season seven’s Never Leave Me.
HOW MANY STAKES?
Buff tells it like it is. 4 (out of 5)