Saturday, 6 July 2013
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER 6.4: FLOODED
WRITER: Douglas Petrie & Jane Espenson
DIRECTOR: Douglas Petrie
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
While trying to fix a leaky pipe Buffy accidentally floods her basement. Xander’s plumber bud who comes to fix the leak gives Buff the bad news: an expensive full copper re-pipe is needed. This news forces the Buffster to confront her dire financial situation. A loan application at the bank goes badly when the loan is denied and a demon then attacks and robs said bank. Turns out the demon was working for the geek Trio of Warren, Jonathan and Andrew, the new wannabe Big Bads of Sunnydale. In return for his services, the demon, called M'Fashnik, really wants to kill the slayer. So the ever helpful Warren points M'Fashnik in the direction of Buffy's home…
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
No metaphors needed. It is all out there in plain view. Life in the real world. Maintaining a house. Paying bills. Managing money. All the deathly dull stuff of real life. Poor Buff. She can slay demons ‘til the cows come home…and then slay the cows too. But running a household, paying day to day bills? That's what gives her the real wiggins.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
See above. Life, money, bills. Oh and some demon guy. And the Trio as well I guess.
WHY IT ROCKS
Real life: Buffy is facing the same reality we all face as adults – paying our way in the world. And it is scarier than any icky demon or fangy vamp. The scene with Buffy trying to get “her loan” is funny but also kinda tragic. We know she won't qualify. No income. A house with hardly any equity. It is a hard lesson for her to learn. Being a kick ass vampire slayer won’t pay the bills and keep a roof over your head…unless you take Anya’s advice of course and start charging per slay. Heh.
Stupid skirt! Buffy trying to fight M'Fashnik at the bank but being scuppered by her long, tight skirt is funny. Plus it’s very nice when she borrows a letter opener to slit said skirt open down the side exposing a nice length of bare slayer leg. Hey! (looks sheepish) She's cute. I’m a man.
Giles and Buffy: Giles’ reaction to seeing Buffy back from the dead is lovely. Tony Head and SMG play the moment to perfection. Never does it get over sentimental. It is just genuinely warm and full of reserved joy.
Giles vs. Willow: another portent of things to come. Filmed in a darkened kitchen, the scene moves quickly from easygoing fun to tense, uncomfortable anger, ending with a dark threat from Willow. What’s more, this will all pay of spectacularly come the end of the season. Both Tony Head and Alyson Hannigan are excellent.
“NO. MORE. FULL. COPPER. RE-PIPE!”: Buffy’s final furious beating to death of M'Fashnik after he breaks one of her brand new (and expensive) copper pipes is brutal but very funny, especially as she times each blow to the repeatedly yelled, “NO. MORE. FULL. COPPER. RE-PIPE!”
WHY IT SUCKS
M'Fashnik: He is nothing but a plot device. He exists for no other reason than as something for Buffy to pummel and to introduce us to the Trio as this season’s Big Bad…or are they? His motivation seems to be he just wants to kill the Slayer, being furious with her for no apparent reason.
The Trio: Never the best wannabe Big Bads for Buff to face. Individually I like Andrew and Jonathan (Tom Lenk and Danny Strong are both wonderful performers) though Warren works best as the true villain of the three. But not here. It takes until late in the season for him to move from being a goofy geek genius to becoming a truly vile, murdering misogynist monster. Here though, together, they are all just silly and totally non-threatening.
Mope: Blimey! I know Marti Noxon and Joss said they would make Buffy earn her resurrection and not just set the reset switch so everything is back to normal but the Buffy depressed/mope factor does come on strong. Luckily it is often broken up with moments of lightness where we get a glimpse of the old Buffster e.g. the bank fight.
Buffy is broke. And yet Willow and Tara seem to be living there rent free and not contributing to the household budget. However they seem to have money to continue their studies and keeping in witchy things and stylish clothes. Freeloaders!
“NO. MORE. FULL. COPPER. REPIPE!”
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Buffy (finds the leaky pipe): So, we meet at last, Mr. Drippy!
Willow: Buffy, I know you're still getting back on your feet after...
Buffy: Lying flat on my back?
Buffy: But, I haven't spent any money. I was all dead and frugal.
Buffy: It's not like it's the end of the world. ...Which is too bad, because *that* I'm really good at.
Anya: It's not *so* crazy.
Dawn: Yes it is! You can't charge innocent people for saving their lives!
Anya: Spider-Man does!
Dawn: He does not.
Anya: Does too!
Dawn: Does no... Xander?
Xander: Action is his reward.
Loan Officer: The problem is you have no income. No job.
(demon comes crashing through the window)
Buffy: No job? I wish!
Buffy (to demon): Hey! Are you in the wrong line? That's for deposits, that's for withdrawals, and this one is for getting kicked in the face. (tries to kick, can't raise her leg) Stupid skirt!
Xander: Score one for Captain Logic!
Anya: No, no. Captain Logic is not steering this tugboat. I smell Captain Fear at the wheel.
Giles (seeing Buffy alive again for 1st time): You're...
Buffy: ...a miracle.
Giles (smiles): Yes. ...But then I always thought so.
Jonathan: How'd you make him do that?
Andrew: What, are you some kind of ...Jedi?
Warren: The Force can sometimes have great power over a weak mind.
Giles: Well I know I'm back in America now, I've been knocked unconscious.
Buffy: Mmmm... Poor lumpy Giles!
Buffy: Who's calling me? Everybody I know lives here.
Buffy: “NO. MORE. FULL. COPPER. RE-PIPE!”
AND ANOTHER THING
It is established in this episode that Giles keeps a home in Bath (a small city in the south west of England for those who don't know.) Tony Head actually does live in the Bath area, not that far away from me as it happens. I've seen him around town and shopping in the local supermarket, which was kinda surreal. Anyway, this geographical trivia will come in to play at the start of season seven.
We know two of the three geeks (Warren and Jonathan) but not Andrew. We have met his brother, Tucker, though. He was the one who sent hell hounds to the Sunnydale High Prom in season three's The Prom.
After the Spider-Man argument between Anya, Dawn and Xander it is fun to note that Jeph Loeb, Executive Producer of the abandoned Buffy: Animated series, has written several Spider-Man comics.
HOW MANY STAKES?
A not so soggy 3.5 (out of 5)