Saturday, 14 July 2012
BUFFY 5.8: SHADOW
A nice piece of Thomas Wanker’s score for this ep.
WRITER: David Fury
DIRECTOR: Daniel Attias
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
Joyce undergoes a CAT scan to discover what is wrong with her, meaning poor Buff is left to try and keep things together at home and with her pesky and inquisitive lil sis. It transpires that Joyce has a brain tumour, which may or may not be operable. At the same time, Glory is looking to create a special type of demon in the form of a giant snake to hunt down her elusive Key and then to report back to her when it has found it. While all of this is going on Riley continues to sink in to his ‘Buffy doesn’t really need me or want me’ misery by almost getting jiggy with a comely vamp, and love struck Spike has taken to sneaking in to Buffy’s bedroom to sniff her clothes.
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
Doing whatever you can to keep control of your life…and realising that sometimes it is simply impossible, that events, life, will do its own thing no matter what and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
Glory and her ‘snakey-wakey’, and I guess what’s happening to poor Joyce.
WHY IT ROCKS
Kristine Sutherland. Kristine delivers a subtle and affecting performance as she goes through the scary tests, gets the scary news, and then, even worse, has to tell her daughters what’s happening to her.
SMG. Sarah also delivers a nicely judged and subtly affecting performance, trying desperately to be strong for her mom and for Dawn, refusing to cry on Riley’s shoulder for fear she wouldn’t stop, while also desperate to do something to help. Unable to find any magical or Slayer related help for her mom she instead focuses her fury and slayer skills on finding Glory and stopping Glory’s new demon before it gets back to its mistress with news of who/where the Key is.
Michelle Trachtenberg. Michelle does great work here too, making Dawn sympathetic and sweetly vulnerable and much, much less annoying. Her scene with Riley at the fairground is a nice one.
Glory. Once again Clare Kramer is great as Glory, bringing the fun. Cute, crazed, violent, snarky. Loved her shoe-based rage at poor scabby minion Dreg.
A predator thing. In a very creepy turn of events Spike sneaks in to Buffy’s house, rifles through her clothes and sniffs of them deeply…before Riley turns up and busts him. Spike makes the excuse that it’s a predator thing, knowing the scent of your enemy. But he soon gets in to an argument with Riley, telling soldier boy a few choice details about what Buffy really likes in a man. A great scene in which James Marsters is both creepy and very funny.
WHY IT SUCKS
The big ‘snakey-wakey’ puppet is pretty lousy. Basically a man-sized cobra that looks like a solid lump of rubber with a flapping jaw. Oh dear.
Sub standard ‘A’ plot. Basically the ‘A’ story here of Glory and her snake demon is weak and unmemorable. What is far more memorable and important is everything happening to Joyce and how Buffy and Dawn are dealing.
Riley the tool. I used to like this guy. He was always just a nice solid stand up guy who would do anything for the people he cared about. But his deep insecurities and needy nature really make me wanna just smack him silly. I mean, jeez, his girlfriend is dealing with her mom being sick, maybe even terminally so, while also having to cope with a vulnerable lil sis not to mention a crazy mega powerful demon chick out to take lil sis away and kick her slayer ass. But for some reason Riley is upset cuz Buffy isn’t putting him and his needs and his ego front and centre. What a tool.
Spike sniffing Buff’s sweater. Creepy but funny.
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Xander: Am I right, Giles?
Giles: I'm almost certain you're not, but to be fair, I wasn't listening.
Anya: I mean, I for one didn't want to start my day with a slaughter. Which, really, just goes to show how much I've grown!
Riley: Were you ... were you just smelling her sweater?
Spike: No. (Riley glares at him) Well, yeah, all right, I did. It's a... predator thing, nothin' wrong with it. Just ... know your enemy's scent, whet the appetite for a hunt. (He sniffs the sweater again.) Ah, that's the stuff! Slayer musk, it's bitter and aggravating!
Anya: Are you stupid or something?
Giles: Allow me to answer that question with a firing.
Xander: She's kidding. An, we talked about the employee-employer vocabulary no-nos. That was number five.
Xander: Just once, I would like to run into a cult of bunny worshipers.
Anya: Great! Thank you very much for those nightmares!
AND ANOTHER THING
This episode is the BtVS directorial debut of Daniel Attias. Daniel directed many other TV shows prior to Buffy, including Miami Vice, Party of Five, and The Sopranos. He also directed the 1985 Stephen King werewolf movie Silver Bullet.
HOW MANY STAKES?
A shadow of its former self. 2.5 (out of 5)