Thursday, 5 July 2012
BUFFY 5.4: OUT OF MY MIND
WRITER: Rebecca Rand Kirshner
DIRECTOR: David Grossman
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
Joyce has a strange and disturbing fainting fit and ends up in hospital. While at the hospital, Buffy discovers Riley has an abnormally fast heartbeat. After examining him the doctor strongly advises he checks in for tests and close observation but Riley is having none of it and he leaves. A worried Buffy meets up with Riley’s old Initiative buddy Graham who tells her that Riley has a potentially fatal condition brought about by all the experiments Maggie Walsh did on him and that if he doesn’t undergo an emergency procedure he will die. Buffy heads off to find a now AWOL Riley. She even enlists Spike to go looking in the old Initiative caves (for cash of course). However Spike double crosses Buffy and, hearing there’s an Initiative surgeon in town, heads to the hospital himself, Harmony in tow, looking to force the removal of his ‘sodding chip’ once and for all. Can Buffy find Riley in time and convince him to trust the government types and go have the life saving op? And can she stop Spike getting to the surgeon first and getting his chip removed?
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
There’s a whole load of male machismo stuff going on here. Men feeling inferior to strong women and not being able to handle it. Riley would rather die than lose his extra power, which means he is just about able to keep up with Buffy. He loves her, sure, but she also intimidates him, makes him feel emasculated, less of a man, that he is the weaker one who needs looking after and keeping safe. And big tough soldier boy Riley can’t handle it. And then there’s Spike who is in a similar position. He’s powerless due to his chip. He’s reduced to being an occasional punch bag for Buffy, a figure of annoyance and ridicule, to the Slayer and her pals. And he’ll do anything to get back what he once had.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
Whatever is happening to poor Joyce. And, for the first time in ages, Spike. Yay!
WHY IT ROCKS
The theme. It works nicely and makes a good point about fragile male egos.
The old Spike. Finally, we get to see some of the old Spike again. Full of anger and bloodlust, excited to almost be back in the Slayer killing game. And James Marsters, as always, is fab.
Joyce. Poor Joyce has her first bad turn, which will lead on to bigger and far worse things.
Marc Blucas. He does a great job playing up Riley’s insecurities and paranoid state of mind. He really doesn’t look well in some scenes. A strong performance.
Witchy Willow. Willow is starting to use much more witchcraft on a casual basis. You can see it has Tara worried and is a nice foreshadowing of events in season 6.
Spike and Harm. They do make for a funny double act. A frustrated Spike playing twenty questions with Harm is an amusing highlight
WHY IT SUCKS
Sorry Riley, but this is not the most interesting story going. I like you but I’m really not that bothered about your macho insecurities. If I had a gal like Buff I wouldn’t be whinging about how much tougher she was than me. Oh woe is Riley.
After Buffy makes it clear she’d have to pay Spike to find Riley in the Initiative caves cuz she doesn’t know them at all, she manages to find him pretty easily after Spike double crosses her.
That final scene where Spike discovers his true feelings for the Slayer. Like we didn’t see that coming.
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Spike: I will know your blood, Slayer. I will make your neck my chalice... and drink deep. (turns around and pratfalls into an open grave) Ow!
Buffy (seeing the training room Giles, Riley and Xander have made her): You're like my fairy godmother, and Santa Claus, and Q all wrapped up into one. (they look at her) Q from Bond, not Star Trek.
Spike (watching Dawson’s Creek) Oh, Pacey! You blind idiot. Can't you see she doesn't love you?
Spike: OK. Is it bigger than a breadbox?
Harmony: No. Four left.
Spike: So it's smaller than a breadbox.
Harmony: Heh heh! No, only three.
Spike: Harmony... is it a sodding breadbox?
Harmony: Yes! Oh, my God. Someone's blondie bear is a Twenty Questions genius!
AND ANOTHER THING
This is the debut Buffy script by Rebecca Rand Kirshner who went on to write for the rest of Buffy's remaining seasons and for Angel too. A decent first script.
HOW MANY STAKES?
Stop whinging, Riley. 2.5 (out of 5)