Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 6.4 Flooded

The Dish: Buffy gets wet in the basement.

Isn't it just the shittiest thing when you get ripped out of heaven by your nearest and dearest, have a possessing demon follow you around all day, and then your damn basement gets flooded? Yes, Buffy would tell you, yes it is. What's even worse is that Buffy can't even pay a plumber, because she's flat broke.

While Joyce may have left a sizable amount of life insurance, that was all swallowed up by her hospital bills. Too bad the Hellmouth isn't in Canada. Buffy has no money coming in, so she goes to the bank to get a loan. Things aren't looking good, until a demon shows up, and wreaks havoc. While it appears he's a distraction for some unknown bank robbers, he provides excellent opportunity for Buffy to save the bank man's life. And wouldn't you know it? The bastard still won't give her a loan.

While our Slayer may be in a pickle, things are definitely better when Giles shows up. The two share a loving hug, and Giles promises to help Buffy fix her finances. He also goes into full-Watcher mode and alongside bitty-Buffy Dawn, figures out the M'Fashnik is a mercenary demon, hired out to the highest bidder. The question is, who did it?

The answer: three of Sunnydales biggest nerds, aka. the Trio. They consist of high school classmate Jonathan, robot-building Warren, and prom-attacking Tucker -- oh wait, sorry, Tucker's brother Andrew. They hired M'Fashnik so they could rob the bank and carry out their dastardly plan to take over Sunnydale.

Unfortunately, M'Fashnik ain't pleased. A Slayer guest appearance was not part of the deal. He wants Buffy dead. Warren's game, but Jonathan and Andrew have reservations about killing an innocent human, particularly one that's saved like a billion lives. Warren begrudgingly agrees but discreetly slips M'Fashnik the Slayer's contact info.

M'Fashnik shows up at the Summers house and attacks. Buffy fights him, but is hyper-conscious of keeping the fight cost-effective, so she kills him in the basement.

Nice try, blondie. M'Fashnik trashed the place, and now Buffy is officially in the red. Giles is about to take Buffy up on his offer to go through her bills with her, but when Angel calls, the Buffster goes a-running, leaving Watcher and little sis in the dust. Unless Angel plans on giving her a big fat cheque, I call bitch move.

Liz's BITES:
* Poor Buffy. Literally. Back in Season 5, we got a glimpse of Buffy having to be the grown-up, the mom to Dawn, but that took a backseat to the whole leaping into the Gloryhole of Death thing. But now we're back, with another fab offering from Season 6. Why do people hate this season so much? Buffy the Vampire Slayer has covered high school hell, college hell, and now they've transitioned into life hell. Yeah, Buffy is a badass superhero but she still has to pay bills just like everyone else. The poor thing has to put on a happy -- or mad, as it were -- face for her friends -- seriously, lay off, guys  -- and what I love is that Buffy's not perfect. She actively goes to the bank, and eagerly agrees to sit down with Giles, but as soon as Angel calls, Buffy is out the door like a flighty schoolgirl.

* Let's talk about the fight. No, not Buffy vs. M'Fashnik, though I did enjoy that one -- How to Fight on a Budget 101, kiddos. Nah brah, I'm talking about Giles vs. Willow. I've long said WIllow reminds Giles of himself, especially when it comes to magic, and he worries about Willow using her intelligence for dark purposes, Ripperette-style. The fact that Willow went to that dark place with Buffy in the balance is more than enough to set G-Man off. On Willow's side, she sees herself as an apprentice figure to Giles, so of course she expects him to be impressed. OMGolly, how tense was it when Willow threatened Giles? I've still got goosebumps.

* While Giles and Willow may be on the outs, he is one half of my new favorite Buffyverse couple -- Giles and Dawn. They didn't have any hard story beats together, but I love their little conversations and asides. Poo on M'Fashnik for interrupting Dawn's combining all the cereals experiment. Giles's response was classic -- 'As you get older, you lose patience with...throwing up.' And how cute was it when Dawn asked if her newfound poorness would result in her working in a 'poorly ventilated sweatshop', and Giles's WTF response of 'what have you been reading?'. Man, I think they should have a spinoff where he raises her in England. I'm full of gold, people!

* I love the Trio. Love them. No, they aren't hell goddess-strong, but they still made their splash. Buffy's in serious debt, and the M'Fashnik attack definitely doesn't help. It's such great fun that they've recalled old characters, already familiar in the Buffyerse. We've known Jonathan as basically a good kid who can get carried away with magic, and Warren we know has a darker, creepier side. This definitely played true to form when Warren was the only one who voted to kill Buffy. What I love so much about these guys is how nerdy their aspirations are. I would totally go to Warren's mom's basement and hang out.

* Here's a big pet peeve of mine: how convenient life is for movie and TV characters. When was the last time we saw Julia Roberts futilely searching for a parking spot in downtown Manhattan? Nope, she just parks right in front of Bloomindale's at Christmastime. In the context of this episode, Warren just naturally has Buffy's contact info ready and in his pocket for M'Fashnik. Yeah, okay, sure, geeze.

* Let's talk about Andrew. The only new face in the Trio. I am dying to know the behind-the-scenes scoop there. Was Tucker unavailable? It's not like the guy is Brad Pitt, you'd think he'd jump at the chance to have a recurring spot on a hit TV show. Not that I'm complaining. I like the running joke about Andrew getting confused with Tucker -- flying monkeys, school play. He's so adorkable, with his big dastardly plan to stay up all night. I welcome him to the Buffyverse.

* While Buffy may be broke as shit, she still looks hot doing it. The penniless Slayer wins this weeks Fashion Slayer award for her casual blue get-up. Hey, she burst my pipes.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? How shocking is it that Buffy didn't get the loan? Which are you -- Team Willow or Team Giles? The Trio -- hilarious or annoying? Speaking of which, Ding, Marry, Kill -- Jonathan, Andrew, Warren. Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 6.3 After Life

The Dish: Anya brings knife-play into the bedroom.

You know when your friend gets super-trashed and you have to see them home? Dawn has a similar experience with Buffy, only without the puke. She cleans Buffy up and when Spike comes home, he is shocked and thrilled to see her. But he skedaddles when the Scoobies show up and start berating the exhausted Buffy with questions about her after life experiences.

Buffy silences them by going to bed. And that's when things go bump in the night. An insomniac Buffy watches as her Scooby photos turn into dead bodies, a Buffy apparition calls Tara and Willow bitches for bringing her back, and oh yeah, there's this thing with Anya and a knife.

The Scoobies meet in the morning to research the featured creature, while a stoic Buffy fucks off and patrols but really has a heart to heart with Spike. The little bit getting possessed and setting fire to the research books doesn't help much. Still, Willow the Powerful discovers the demon was created because of the resurrection spell they performed on Buffy. If they send it back, they send back Buffy too, but if they solidify the demon, Buffy can kill it...if it doesn't kill her first. Xander gets possessed and the demon officially has a head start.

While the demon attacks Buffy at home, Willow and Tara work on a spell to solidify the demon. Willow's super-magic-strength takes over, and the demon is all corporeal up in hrrrr within seconds. Buffy easily decapitates it.

When the dust is settled -- and that cheesy-lookin' demon left a lot of dust, believe you me -- Buffy decides to suck it up buttercup, and thank her friends for pulling her out of hell. Especially Willow, because the spell couldn't have been done without her. But later in a quiet moment with Spike, Buffy admits to him that she was in heaven, only to be ripped out by the very ones who love her most. Geeze, Will, kinda makes stealing Buffy's peasant top seem like small potatoes, huh?

Liz's BITES: 
* Whoopsie! On the bright side, the Scoobies are back together and 'After Life' is a faaaaabulous episode. But on the shitty side, there's the whole Buffy getting yanked outta heaven by her friends thing. Bummer, dude. I really love the whole meaty misdirection. The whole time we thought Buffy was all PTSD-y because she just spent a lifetime in hell, but really she's just horrified to be back on Earth. What's worst is that Buffy is the damn Slayer, so she's expected to be all brave loner-hero, but the poor thing can barely look at the gang. If you've only seen this episode once, go back and watch the group hug scene at the end. When you know the truth, it's all the more heartbreaking.

* I've had an epiphany. Badass Spike is never coming back. Pining for him isn't going to change that. And while I refuse to accept lovesick puppy Spike, I am digging quiet, manly Spike. When Buffy comes back, he doesn't throw himself at her, but respectively comforts her, empathizing with her grave crawl trauma. Spike doesn't selfishly say 'I missed you', but says it so much more effectively when he tells Buffy she's been gone for 147 days. It's this behavior that makes Buffy trust him enough to take refuge in his crypt when hanging with the gang becomes too overwhelming.. Later on, though a tad creepy that he followed her to the Magic Box, it makes total sense that it was Spike who Buffy dumped her confession on.

* Spike was so on point this episode, he even got Xander thinking about Willow and her magic. It's grave when Xander doesn't fully trust his bestie and has to go behind her back to Tara to glean if Willow knew there could be dire consequences to Buffy coming back. This is never fully answered but even Tara, who has devout faith in Willow, was taken aback by how powerful she was when she solidified that demon.

* Oh yeah, the demon. There's been so much good character shit I almost forgot. I am a sucker for possession demons. Anything that turns the Scoobies against each other, for however briefly, is all kinds of Hellmouth juicy. Also, even though 'Buffy' is a show about vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness, how often do you get scared watching it? 'After Life', for me, is truly horror movie terrifying. The single most disturbing image of the entire series is Anya hacking up her face, eyes rolled back. To this day, I have only watched that scene with my eyes open once...the first time I saw it. To quote Xander, 'bad, bad, very bad'. But so good.

* Speaking of bad, bad, very bad, umm....Willow's shirt? The 'how many Elmos did you have to kill' shirt? WTF was she thinking? Are they sure the demon is gone and not trying to blind the Scoobies with hideous fashion? And don't think I'm letting you off the hook, Tara the Good Witch. That shirt looks like Barney and a hippie had a baby, and then a Hellion ran over it, and presented it to Tara as a shirt. Yuck, ick, barf.

* While the witches may not be spiritually aligned with their wardrobe, they are all kinds of cosmic cute in the bedroom, and no, not in the kinky Liz way you think I mean. I loved their interaction where Willow admitted she wished Buffy would have thanked her for the spell, and Tara's kind, non-judgy reaction. Similarly, I enjoyed getting a glimpse into Xander and Anya's bedroom, y'know before the knife incident. As fun as the creature-feature moments are, I love these characters so much, it's cool to get some of their quieter moments too.

* Can we talk about how mature the Dawnster is? I LOVED her this ep. Good on her, for forcefully telling the Scoobies to back the hell off when they started hounding Buffy. Dawn was so sweet and strong, taking care of big sis, washing her little alive face. But it would totes bug me if all of a sudden, Dawn when full-on bitty Buffy, so I enjoyed her crushed reaction when the Scooby Gang realized they might need to send Buffy back. So devastating.

* Yes indeedy, Dawnie has grown up, and I'm not just talking emotionally. It appears she is officially taller than Buffy, and.... SMOKING hot. When she left for school, she looked all kinds of teenage dream sexilicious. And that is why Dawn wins this week's Fashion Slayer award.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Could Buffy have a juicier secret than the whole heaven thing? How creepy was Anya with the knife? Bigger Willow crime -- creating that demon or that shirt? Ding, marry, kill -- badass Spike, Buffy-love puppy-love Spike, or quiet protector Spike? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 6.2 Bargaining Part 2

The Dish: 'Willow, we're under attack! Cast your trusty jizz-face spell.'

There are certain hardships we all have to face in life. Getting dumped, loss of  a loved one, etc. However, one so precious few of us will endure is digging our way out of our own grave. The gang's resurrection spell works, and Buffy comes back to life...buried in the ground. It's good that the poor, traumatized Slayer has strength, because tearing your way out of a coffin and six feet of dirt does not seem like a simple task.

The genius Scoobies who left her there have since fanned out, trying to escape the Hellions, the demon biker gang who have taken over the town. Thanks to a Tinkerbell locator spell from Tara, they reconvene at the Magic Box and set out to find Dawn and Spike.

After getting a front-row seat at the Hellions' shit-show, Spike deems the Summers residence unsafe for the little bit. He steals a motorcycle, and the two drive off in a cloud of dust. They stop when they see the Buffybot, destroyed at the hands -- well, bikes -- of the Hellions. Buffybot mentions 'other Buffy' and that's when Dawn learns the truth -- her sister is alive.

Dawn finds her traumatized sister atop the very tower she jumped from to save the world. Dawn pleads with Buffy to come down, but the Slayer softly asks little sis, 'is this hell?'. That's when Dawn realizes Buffy is thinking of jumping again. Then, the tower starts shaking, -- those mental patients aren't union, ya know -- about to collapse. Buffy goes from comatose to Slayer in the blink of an eye, saving Dawn before the entire tower crumbles. Sisters hug, and Buffy is back in the world. Kind of.

Liz's BITES:
* Bargaining Parts 1&2 reminded me of the last two Harry Potter movies. 'Deathly Hallows 1' was a tumultuous, angst-ridden, fascinating character study, whereas 'Part 2' was a smidge of cool violence, followed by a shit-ton of pointless running around. I can't say Bargaining Part 2 was a bad episode, but really, other than Buffy adjusting to being alive again, and the Scoobies getting a fabulous workout, there were precious few gems here. But fear not, my lovely readers, I have captured them.

* Like how about Xander calling Willow out for the snake reverse-deepthroat? The gang has seen Willow take spells too far, but that usually means a broken vase. Willow was really unfair to the Scoobies by only letting Tara in on the spell's consequences -- and even there, it feels like she glossed some SNAKE stuff over. But when times are tough and danger is imminent, wrongdoings are easily glossed over, which is what happened when Willow and Xander were lost in the woods. Though make no mistake, a seed of doubt has been planted in Xander's head.

* Yes, Willow may have some 'splaining to do... but how fucking cool was that cum-shot spell? You know, the one where she says 'obfuscate!' and a sticky white blob flies in that Hellion's face? Tell me that's not jizz. (Plus, I have a million gold stars for the lovely reader who can find me that pic).

* Badass Spike moments are few and far between these days, so I'll take them where I can. It was super-adorbs how he watched the Hellions with longing when they pillaged -- 'looks like fun'. And that smoldering, cocky sneer he gives the one Hellion before he thumps him and steals his bike... hey, it was sexy enough to make the opening credits for a reason. Spike's badassness isn't just recognized by me -- the TV gods smiled down upon him, and a football helmet for Dawn just materialized out of thin air. Now that's power.

* The Buffybot isn't my favorite character/weapon by any stretch of the imagination. But every time I watch the scene where the Hellions destroy her, I feel a yicky, disturbed feeling in the pit of my stomach. I don't miss the Buffybot after she's gone, but I am sad for the way she went out.

* A big reason why this episode ain't so high on my list is that Buffy's PTSD from her grave crawl, though probably completely accurate and definitely understandable, wasn't fun to watch. Sorry, but some feral girl stumbling around town for twenty minutes is kind of a snoozer. But it was a nice contrast when Buffy went into Slayer-mode to save the Scoobies in the alley, and later Dawn from the tower. This just further illustrates that Buffy is the best superhero ever. Eat that, Batman!

* Don't get me wrong, in Bargaining Part 2, I feel crazy bad for the Buffster. And as if clawing your way out of your own grave isn't heinous enough, can we talk about that hideous dress the Scoobies decided to bury her in? Buffy asks Dawn, 'is this hell?' All she has to do is look down at the Amish black sack she's wearing, and she'll have her answer.

* Willow, on the other hand, was all kinds of witchy hot in her black dress. I was too distracted to notice it last ep -- watching someone barf up a snake has that effect on me. But, phew! Willow, when you dress like that, you can shoot an 'obfuscate' spell in my direction any time.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Kind of bored with Buffy's 'poor resurrected me' riff? Did Spike's brief return to bad-vamp do it for you? Kinda wish Tara really was Tinkerbell? Ding, marry, kill -- the resurrection spell, Tinkerbell spell, jizz-face spell? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 6.1 Bargaining Part 1

The Dish: Willow reverse-deepthroats a giant snake.

With bestie Buffy dead, the Scoobies try and pick up the slack, vampire-wise with the aid of the Buffybot. Unfortunately, Spike's former sex machine has an emotionally negative impact on the Scoobies, constantly reminding them about the loss of their friend. Giles is so distraught by the pain he decides to leave town. The remaining Scoobies fear that because Buffy jumped into a mythical portal, she may be in a hell dimension. They have been planning all summer, and finally, with witchy Willow at the helm, decide to perform a resurrection spell.

Meanwhile, the Buffybot gets her plastic ass majorly pounded -- though sadly, not by Spike. The cat's out of the bag -- the Slayer is a freaking robot. The boy-wonder vamp, Mr. Hanson, takes his discovery to a demon biker bar. He gets himself killed for his efforts, and the biker gang is thrilled at the prospect of an unprotected Sunnydale. The demon-Sons of Anarchy hit the road.

The trepidatious Scoobies kneel before Buffy's grave to perform the resurrection spell. And immediately, shit gets dark. Willow gets slashed, almost to ribbons, but Tara warns the others not to interfere. Willow is being tested. Following the cuts, lumps form into Willow's skin leading up to her throat. She spits out, I kid you not, a freaking snake.

Oh, Willow dear, didn't you know you're dealing with the demon-SOA? They don't have the decorum not to interrupt your spell. They crash the party, ruining the spell, rendering Willow's endurance pointless. The gang splits up and retreats to safety. But little do they know, underground, Buffy Summers is alive and kicking. And really, what's more disturbing -- waking up in a grave, or waking up as brunette? The horror!

Liz's BITES: 
* When I first watched this episode, I hated it. I reviled it. I did not want to live in -- or, more accurately, watch -- a world without Buffy, even for one episode. Really, that's a testament to how much I love the character. But now that I'm older and wiser, I appreciate how well-done this episode is.

* I appreciate that Season 6 picks up a few months after Buffy's death. We saw the immediate reactions of grief in 'The Body', we don't need to rehash them. Instead, 'Bargaining' deals with grieving people when it's time to move on, and nobody realizes this more than Anya. Though her unique perspective disassociates her from the death more than the other Scoobies, her approach to resuming her life is more reflective of a logical mind than the social awkwardness of an ex-demon. And speaking as a recently engaged woman, to hell with a dead Slayer cockblocking my happiness. Team Anya all the way!

* Can we talk about this Buffybot? So I get that the Scoobies keep her around to pose as the real Buffy, thus keeping the vampire population in check, and ensuring the Dawnster gets to remain in Sunnydale...but why the hell would they erect a headstone with Buffy's freaking name on it? True, it's in the middle of a forest, but vamps be everywhere. This is Sunnydale after all. And while Buffybot may be a hit at Parent-Teacher Day, she's a bit of a slouch in the slaying department. Getting bested by a vamp wearing a Hanson tee? Really?

* Also, can we talk about the emotional impact Buffybot has on the gang? While I side with Anya when I think the Scoobies should move the eff on, I sympathize that it's hard to do when a robot version of your dead friend is walking around, remind you every day that she's gone.

* Take Spike and Giles for example. In their own way, they both blame themselves for Buffy's death. Spike, because he wasn't able to save Dawn from Doc, and thus Buffy had to sacrifice herself. And Giles, because he feels a deep-rooted guilt, both as a Watcher and father-figure, for not keeping Buffy safe. Buffybot drooling over Spike and cluelessly asking Giles why he's still in Sunnydale just pours salt on these wounds. Giles freaking left because of it, and that airport scene marks my inaugural cry of Season 6.

* Even though Buffybot does make everyone feel like shit, I have to give her -- or I guess, programmer Willow -- props for getting smarter. For a robot, she's awfully good at correctly interpreting human emotions, and can tell she is somehow making everyone sad. Interestingly, it's Dawn who takes a big sisterly role and comforts the Buffybot, trying to keep her from feeling bad. I like this touch, and it gives me high hopes for Dawn in Season 6.

* The only weak part of the episode for me was Tara's reaction to Willow's resurrection spell. Remember how adamant she was against the spell for Joyce last season? True, Buffy didn't die of natural causes, but what happened to the Wiccan oath? No matter how upset Willow may be, no matter how worried she is that Buffy is in a hell dimension, I can't see Tara backing down. Especially because of Willow's growing dependence on magic...

* Speaking of which... holy shit-my-pants foreshadowing. The resurrection spell goes beyond Willow wanting her friend back, and really shows how much the redhead leans on magic. To her, at this point, it's the only way to get through life. And it's mega-sketch that Willow went to sacrifice the deer solo. And while we're on Willow, let's deal with this: she is co-raising Dawn, attending college, programming the Buffybot AND performing resurrection spells? For a woman that busy, witchy lady looks good.

* And we can't talk looking good without mentioning hottie Xander. Hallelujah, he FINALLY has a good haircut, and the man is a brick shithouse. His form-fitting clothes ensure we see every sexy inch of that. Congrats to Xander, for winning the first Fashion Slayer award of Season 6.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Think the Buffybot should be turned into scrap metal? Terrified of how badass Willow is -- but still kinda turned on by it? Pondering if it takes the death of a loved one for Friendzone guys to get hot? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;