Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 5.15 I Was Made to Love You

The Dish: Willow and Tara declare a Code Pink.

Apparently Buffy is living in 'Downton Abbey' times. Who needs to fight a hell goddess after your kid sister when your marriage prospects have all but dried up? Whilst training, our Slayer bemoans her bad luck with men -- she attracts bad ones like Spike, and drives away good ones like Riley. Buffy thinks she seriously needs to check herself before she wrecks herself, but Puffy Xander pooh-poohs this, saying anyone would be lucky to have Buffy just the way she is. He reminds her that they are living on a Hellmouth, a horrible place to build anything, let alone a relationship.

Cue a gorgeous brunette rolling into town, looking for just that, true love. Specifically with someone named Warren. She looks all over town for him, stopping to ask anyone and everyone, including Anya and Tara, where she might find him. The Scoobies see her at a campus party...and so does the Warren in question. The mysterious dude grabs his date and splits. Well, his loss is Spike's gain. After seeing Buffy and Ben exchange digits, Spike approaches this peppy stranger and propositions her. For his efforts, the girl throws him through a window.

Though highly amused, Buffy feels the need to intervene and help the girl, April. For her efforts, Buffy finds herself being hurled across the room. April apologizes, and hopes that Buffy's boyfriend will take care of her. Way to throw salt on that wound, bitch. The Scoobies reconvene in the morning, and Willow's online sleuthing has come up with the Warren in question. Buffy decides to pay him a visit.

Meanwhile, the Warren in question is packing frantically and encouraging girlfriend Katrina to do the same. Buffy shows up, prompting Katrina to flip out and leave. Warren explains to Buffy that Katrina is a robot -- the Scoobies already concluded as much -- built to be his sex slave. But Warren got bored and fell in love with Katrina, leaving April the Robot high and dry. Now she's out for blood. Specifically Katrina's blood.

Buffy and Warren find April ready to kill Katrina. Luckily she's okay, and she flees the scene, a desperate Warren following her. Buffy and April square off, but April gets weaker and weaker and gives up the fight. As she's on her last legs, she expresses confusion to Buffy -- she thought she was a good girlfriend. Buffy lies and says that she is and because of that Warren is coming back. April's battery dies and Buffy realizes she doesn't need to live her life entirely for someone else. She calls off her date with Ben.

After a verbal lashing from Giles, Spike tears down his Buffy shrine. Giving up? Never. Spike takes all of the photos and drawings of the Slayer and gives them to...Warren? The vamp likes Warren's work and commissions him to make a brand new sexbot. A Buffybot.

While the Slayer may be unlucky in love, that doesn't mean Joyce has to be.  Lately, Joyce is livin' the life, having kicked cancer and found herself a hot new man to date. Buffy arrives home to see that her mother's paramour has left her flowers. But that's not the only surprise in store for the Slayer. Buffy finds her mother on the couch, eyes open and non-responsive. In the 'mommy' heard round the world, Buffy calls to Joyce. No answer.

Liz's BITES:
* Willow and Tara declared the April sitch a 'Code Pink'. It wouldn't be The Liz Channel if I ignored the obvious sexual double entendre. I'd wager a guess that 'Code Pink' is a term used more than once by these crafty witches. And check out Tara being all sex and spice -- 'I mean, she practically had "genuine molded plastic" stamped to her ass." -- yowza.

* Okay focus, Liz. Tara's non sex-related definition of 'Code Pink' means not Code Red, aka April is not a problem that really matters. That's how I feel about this whole episode. We're deep into Season 5, mixing it up with Glory, and quite frankly, April just doesn't matter.

* Allow me to entertain a theory: this episode is actually out of order. It was originally intended to immediately follow Riley's departure. Here is my evidence:

1. Buffy beating herself -- and Puffy Xander -- up about driving men away. Remember what a weepy mess she was in 'Triangle', and she still managed to pull herself together because she has a Slayer-related, Glory-slaying job to do? Why revert back?

2. Xander's sympathy. Sure, he's a sweet guy, but wouldn't he be especially caring after the heart to heart he shared with Buffy right before Riley left?

3. Anya's 'I'm secure, dammit' attitude. This is the girl who flipped her lid when she and Xander went the second night in their entire relationship without having sex. Yet here Anya is, giving Xander her blessing to dance with down in the dumps Buffy, and being cool with Xander drooling over April. This would not fly if Xander hadn't just professed his love to Anya, like he did when Riley leaves.

* Doctor Ben and Buffy. Can anyone picture this? Anyone? Me neither. But I actually really dig the dynamic between them this episode. After her relationship with Riley has blown up in her face, and she's attracting the likes of Spike, Buffy is seriously questioning her choice in men. So, naturally, she goes after a boring guy who treats her like gold, but whom she has zero chemistry with. Bad. Idea. Thank god the Slayer had her wits about her and retracted the date offer. Glory attachments aside, Ben really is Doctor Cardboard.

* Let me be entirely clear. While I love me an alpha male, I think the whole dad hazing the daughter's boyfriend is beyond douchey. The whole 'cleaning the shotgun' bit? Ridiculous, and totally more about the dad needing to assert his masculinity than actually giving a shit about his daughter. Seriously, these people need to be sterilized. However... when a dude defends his family against a legit threat, it is way hot. Spike was a total sleaze, appealing to the Scoobies after the Buffy blow-up. So I LOVED it when Giles went all Ripper on his ass, slamming blondie bear into the shelf and coldly telling him to get over it. Calling it right now, Giles is more badass than Spike -- and my pants are more creamed than ever.

* So let's talk about big bad Warren. What a skeeze. He actually reminds me of Jonathan, which makes sense, given their alliance next season. Both are schlubby, nerdy dudes who don't exactly have the world working for them, so they turn to supernatural means to achieve their goals. Yet, there's a glaring difference between the two geeks. Jonathan would never do anything to intentionally hurt anyone, and when he found out his spells were doing just that, he stopped. Warren, on the other hand, programs April to feel pain if she doesn't succumb to his will. Clearly he doesn't give a lick about how he treats others, robot or human. Get a load of how he speaks to girlfriend Katrina. They're on the run from his mess, and Warren tells the poor girl to 'shut up'? Dick.

* Katrina, Katrina. No offense to April, yes she's very pretty, but why in the Hellmouth does Xander AND Spike AND Willow go gaga over her? As if April's leagues more attractive than say Cordelia, or Faith, or Drusilla...really take your pick. In my not-so humble opinion, I think Katrina is the true bombshell.

* No, Joyce, no. Such a tragedy, especially because Momma Summers was just getting her groove back. She was so adorbs, being all girlish and giddy about Brian. Joyce wins this week's Fashion Slayer award for her knock 'em outta the park sexy date dress. Let me be crystal clear...this win is not because of her death. If Joyce lived throughout the rest of the series, leaving her bra on dessert carts all over town, she would still be this week's winner. She's just that stylish a lady.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Most shocking ending ever? Warren -- total creep or total genius? Ding, marry kill -- Spike, Riley, Ben. Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 5.14 Crush

The Dish: Spike ties up all the ladies (lucky bitches).

After Olaf smashed The Bronze to pieces, it's time for the grand reopening...and what a shitshow it is. Take your bloody pick. We've got waitresses in weird metallicy get-ups, Anya pointing out Xander's social gaffs, -- 'I think you hurt [Spike]'s feelings' -- Ben partying (who else thought he lived at the hospital?), and to top it all off, Spike eschewing his signature leather coat for khakis. Khakis. Mr. Abercrombie and Fitch tries to chat Buffy up, but she ain't interested. I hope you kept the receipt, Spikey.

So what's a rejected bloke to do but go home to girlfriend Harmony -- where the hell has she been lately? -- and get her to dress up in Buffy's (stolen) clothes, and have sex with her? Spike, you diabolical fiend.

We interrupt this intellectual discussion of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' to bring news of recent murders in Sunnydale. Six people were killed on a train. Buffy and Xander investigate the crime scene, but he's so busy mourning the loss of Dawn's crush on him that they miss one of Drusilla's dolls. Cue the dramatic reveal music.

That's right. Dawn's moved on to greener, deader pastures -- aka, Spike. She even hangs out in his lair long enough to worry the elder Summers women. The little niblit interrupts the Slayer's scoldings to reveal the shocking truth about Spike being in love with Buffy. Buffy thinks it's crazy...at first. But later, Spike shows up looking to waste the vamps who committed the train murders. When the whole thing turns out to be bogus, Buffy calls Spike out and he admits the truth. He even tries to say the 'l' word but Buffy won't have anything of it.

Tail between his legs, Spike goes home, and finds none other than...Drusilla. Nostalgic and lonely, Dru is looking to get the band back together. Harmony storms in and has a shitfit, so Spike responds in kind but chucking her across the room and giving her the boot. Broken-hearted, Harmony asks if it's because Drusilla's back. "No," Spike replies. "Because I am."

Together, Spike and Drusilla stroll into the Bronze like they own the place. Everything is fine and dandy, just like the good old days. When they see a particularly randy couple, Drusilla snaps both their necks, offering Spike the dead girl. But something has forever changed in Spike, and he feels remorse, hesitating to feed. Still, a vamp's gotta eat, and Spike reluctantly chows down.

* Taking the advice of Joyce and Willow, Buffy goes back to Spike's lair to calmly but firmly shut him and his crush down for good. But when she gets there, she finds the Buffy mannequin and an entire freaking shrine to her. And if the Slayer thinks that's bad, wait till she gets zapped with an electric prod, courtesy of Drusilla. The nutter vamp is quite pleased with herself, until Spike turns the tables and zaps her as well.

When the womenfolk come to, they find that Spike has chained Buffy up, and tied to Drusilla to a column. The purpose of this little charade is an ultimatum for Buffy. Spike will prove his love to her -- yes, he says it -- by staking Drusilla, the 'face of his salvation', and Buffy is to admit that there is even a smidgen of something between them. If she doesn't, Spike will set Dru free, and sic her on Buffy.

Buffy says that the only feeling she has for Spike is revulsion. Between this and Dru waxing poetic about love, Spike positively loses his shit. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU BITCHES HAPPY? Mid-freakout, Harmony shows up and shoots Spike with a crossbow. As former paramours have a brawl, Dru gets free and attacks Buffy. Spike fights her off, and unchains the Slayer. Horrified at what her ex has become, Dru flees. Harmony exits too, but does so backwards, so as not to let Spike feast his eyes on her, ahem, assets.

Buffy clocks Spike in the face and leaves, but she is fool to underestimate a man on a mission. He follows her home, pleading his case. When she crosses the threshold to her house, he tries to follow her in but it looks like the redhead performed a little 'keep-out' spell. Spike can't enter. Buffy slams the door in his face, and poor Boo-Boo is left with nobody. Well, if you don't count the thousands of Buffy fans who would happily be his sex slave. Like a certain nerdy blogger named Liz.

Liz's BITES:
* For an off-arc, Glory-free episode, 'Crush' was a home-run. I'm tickled pink that Spike professed his love for Buffy. I was so sick of him being the lovesick puppy, with his saggy chocolates and his blonde mannequin. But now the cat's out of the bag, and the Spike I know and love is back -- even if he's 'good'. When he wants something, Spike is an absolute mercenary, whether it's the Slayer dead... or in his bed. The more unattainable his goal, the more he wants it. This is the reason I am so Team Spike, not Team Angel. Angel is a broody, Edward Cullen prototype, candy-ass. Spike is a doer.

* How fab was it to have Drusilla back? Firstly, Spuffy Schmuffy -- they will never have the chemistry that Spike has with Dru. Those two at the Bronze? Pure sex. Though the season sure does not lack for badass femmes, I'm sad to see Drusilla hit the road. As 'crazy' as she may be, vampbitch has mad emotional insight, especially into Spike. She knew Spike loved Buffy long before he did. Plus, she corrected Buffy's assertion that vamps can't love, with a kickass quote -- 'We love quite well, if not wisely.'

* Another cool chick I'm gonna miss is Harmony. Often the butt of the joke -- the butt that Spike will never see again -- Harmony finally achieved 'wicked' status. I mean, really, what's a spurned girl to do but shoot her ex with a crossbow? Makes perfect sense to me. And still, Harmony was able to go through this big character shift without ever changing who she is, which is funny as hell -- 'I gave you the best bunch of months of my life.'

* Check out rebel child Dawnnie. She's come along way from the brat who referred to her sister as a 'butthole'. The Dawnster was one smart cookie this ep. She totally manipulated Spike, feeding him blatant lies about Buffy being afraid of him, in order to hang in his lair. And it was Dawn who pointed out to Buffy that Spike has a crush on her. Plus, any girl who digs the blondie bear is one after my own heart.

* You know what sucks, in a totally selfish way? When someone you have zero attraction to has a crush on you...and then stops. I mean, goodbye ego boost. Poor Xander, must have been tough to see that Dawn has moved on. Now, no love spells, promise?

* Buffy in chains...never fails to turn me on. And never fails to win the weekly Fashion Slayer award. A big congrats to our bound Slayer.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Think Buffy is Drusilla-crazy for rejecting Spike? Who should Spike 'ding, marry, kill' -- Buffy, Dru, or Harmony? Who would you? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 5.13 Blood Ties

The Dish: Glory wants Dawn to fill her hole.

It's the most dangerous time of the year...Buffy's birthday. The no-longer-a-teen doesn't feel much like celebrating in lieu of the Glory threat. The gang is concerned they should be focusing less on the hell goddess and more on looking for the Key. So Buffy and Giles tell them the truth about Dawn.

Much like pogs, Furbies and Crazy Bones, the Key is this year's fad...everyone wants one. Glory tracks down the Knights of Byzantium and kidnaps one, grilling him for information. If this religious nutter is so hellbent on destroying the key, he must know where it is, right? Wrong. So Glory feeds off his brain, and he turns into a...well, religious nutter.

It's Happy Birthday Buffy! Anya covetously oohs and aahs over Buffy's girly presents, but everyone gets a little weepy when Dawn gives Buffy an old picture of them at the beach...because the gang realizes that didn't really happen.

Everyone is being really weird around Dawn, so she storms off and sneaks out, running right into Spike. The vamp eschews giving Buffy shitty birthday chocolates, and instead accompanies Dawn to the Magic Box. Dawn searches for Giles's notes, and discovers the truth -- she is the Key.

Dawn is understandably dismayed -- finding out you're not real can do that to a person -- and goes back home where she cuts herself to see if she has real blood. This puts a definite stop to the party, but not to Dawn's shit-fit. She burns her diaries, full of false memories, and runs off again. She goes to the hospital to try and get answers from the mental patients -- always a bad plan. Doctor Ben takes pity on her and sits with her for a bit, but freaks out when Dawn mentions Glory, and then right before Dawn's very eyes, actually turns into Glory.

Glory tries to suss out if Dawn knows where the Key is, and Dawn in turn, keeps her cool and tries to glean any info she can about who she was before. The only thing Glory says is that the Key was a shiny green ball of light. Very quickly, Glory deduces that Dawn doesn't know jack about the Key and decides to suck her brain dry. That's when Buffy and crew burst in and all Hellmouth breaks loose.

Once again, Glory mops the floor with Buffy...and Giles, Xander, and Spike, the latter of whom gets knocked unconscious for his efforts. Ready to kill the 'whelp', Glory throws a scalpel in Dawn's direction, which Buffy dives in front of, taking the hit. Luckily, Willow and Tara are able to cast a teleportation spell on Glory, sending her to god knows where -- which turns out to be airborne in the middle of Sunnydale.

With the threat gone, Dawn looks for Ben to thank him. She has no recollection that he turned into Glory. Buffy then comforts Dawn, showing little sis her wound and assuring her that it's Summers blood, just like Dawn's. With all temporarily right with the world, and a worried mom at home, Buffy and Dawn get out, get out GET OUT of the hospital.

Liz's BITES: 
* So the Dawnster knows the truth. I gotta say -- get your crossbows ready to aim at my heart -- I like Dawn. At first, like most of you, I hated her, but her brattiness has really lessened -- give her a break this ep, it's not every day you find out you're actually a six-month-old ball of energy. And for those nay-sayers who cry that the cast didn't need her, do you not remember Season 4? The show took a major swan dive into mediocrity. Season 5, on the other hand, is amazing, and Dawn is at the helm of it. But Dawn-haters, take comfort, I'm a little miffed about my perforated ear drum. You know, the one that every Buffy fan received when they heard Dawn's iconic 'get out, get out, GET OUT!'

* The Key isn't the only truth bomb that dropped. Yup, the good doctor and the big baddess are one and the same. I like this twisteroo, as it adds a certain volatile unpredictability to Glory's menace, and makes the hospital not quite the safe haven we'd think. What happens if Joyce needs to go back? So insidious. But in a way, very similar to Xander in 'The Replacements', this also makes Glory more vulnerable. Ben is just a regular human, after all. Anyone could kill him...

* If they made an episode entirely centred around Anya's social awkwardness, no featured creature or basic plotline required, I'd be all for it. She was on like Donkey Kong this ep, whether it be her manner around Dawn the Key -- 'you make a very pretty little girl!' -- or her delightful as ever inappropriate sex talk. I'm still picturing Xander as a sexy shepherd.

* In case you haven't noticed, who was able to stop Glory? Not Buffy, but little geeky Willow -- and Tara. Go Team Nerd!

* Finally an episode this season where I enjoy Spike. An episode where he's not a lovesick puppy -- saggy chocolates aside -- but a voice of reason. He was right to call Buffy out as she was only pummeling him because she's mad at herself. Spike did nothing but keep Dawn safe. Was he supposed to slap Giles's notes out of the niblit's hand? Sidenote -- why the hell would Giles keep such damning, unforgettable information written down? And geeze louise, between Buffy giving Spike a beat-down and that tacky fur coat, it appears Buffy is considering a career in pimphood.

* Another year, another birthday. Here are my power rankings for Buffy's worst birthdays ever:

1. Eighteenth - Being drugged out of her powers, Joyce almost getting murdered by a psycho vamp, Dad not taking her to the ice show. The ice show, goddamn it.

2. Seventeenth - Angel losing his soul moments after Buffy gives him her V-card, The Judge being assembled.

3. Nineteenth - Giles getting turned into a Fyarl demon by Ethan Rayne, Maggie Walsh not showing up to her birthday party.

4. Twentieth - Riley not giving Buffy a freaking card. Way to twist the knife. *smacks head*

* Glory says satin makes her skin sing. Well, it makes my skin sing just looking at her. Glory wins the Fashion Slayer award for the second week in a row, for her red negligee-dress thing.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Think I should get out, get out, GET OUT with my fondness for Dawn? Fantasize about Xander the Sexy Shepherd? Think Buffy should consider being a pimp? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 5.12 Checkpoint

The Dish: Buffy must personally satisfy every member of the Watchers' Council.

While Dawn is starting to realize she is the subject of some hush-hush Scooby conversation, the gang is desperate to learn more about Glory...but they sure as hell don't want the Watchers' Council showing up and wreaking havoc again. But come they do, and with some big fat conditions: Buffy and crew can only have the info if they pass a review that deems them ready to receive it. In other words, they're the Council's bitches. Oh, and if they don't cooperate? The Council will have Giles deported.

The Council wastes no time in interrogated members of the gang. Spike boasts having saved Buffy more times than they can count, Willow and Tara insist they help Buffy with their magic, though she doesn't need it. Anya is petrified, and spends most of her interrogation trying to convince the Council that she's just a 'little patriot', and certainly not an ex-vengeance demon.

Meanwhile, Glory's minion Jinx delivers her news of a ticking clock. If the psycho-bitch wants the Key, she needs to act fast. Glory knows that the Slayer has some sort of info, and since Doctor Ben has violently stated he won't help, the hell goddess just has to do it herself.

Buffy is having a galactically bad day. She was embarrassed in class, accosted by a lovesick puppy named Spike, and forced to endure a humiliating test of her slaying skills, in which she was somehow expected to heed Quentin's instructions in freaking Japanese. After her performance, the Council instructs her to return to the Magic Box that evening for the results of the review. It don't look good. Could her day get any worse?

Yes, Buffy, yes it can. Our Slayer comes home to find her mortal nemesis waiting for her.

But Glory's not there for blood, just a good old-fashioned girl talk. She wants Buffy to tell her where the Key is. Buffy doesn't give anything up, other than the world's worst poker face when Dawn enters the room. Glory grills Dawn about the key, but lil' sis legit knows squat, though she tells Buffy she'll figure it out. After a bunch of grizzly threats, Glory leaves.

Worried for the safety of her family, Buffy gets Spike to babysit. On her way to the review, she is accosted by a group of humans called the Knights of Byzantium. Their mission is to stop the beast, Glory -- yay! -- by killing the Key -- not so yay. Poor Buffy can't catch a break.

Or can she? Upon arrival at the Magic Box, a new-found confidence has come over Buffy. In her conversation with Glory, the Slayer realized that she has power. Power over Glory, and power over the Council. And do not interrupt Buffy when she's making a rousing speech.

Buffy concludes that she will continue to operate with the Scoobies, and Giles will be officially reinstated as her Watcher -- cough, retroactively -- and Quentin better hand over the info on Glory. The pompous ass begrudgingly agrees, and the Scoobies burst into applause.

However their joy is quickly silenced when Quentin delivers the awful truth. Buffy isn't dealing with a demon. She's dealing with a god.

Liz's BITES: 
* Best. Fuck you speech. Ever. God, I love this episode. Buffy has shown more character development throughout this half-season than all of Season 4, and it really comes to a head in 'Checkpoint'. It's absolutely remarkable that Buffy has come so far, and yet, Bloody Quentin Travers and his band of bureaucratic tyrants have the ability to revert her back to an insecure teenager. What's fascinating here is that it's Buffy's enemy who empowers her, showing Buffy that come hell goddess or high-horsed Watchers' Council, she is the one in charge.

* Another thing I loved about that speech was Buffy vocalizing the importance of the Scooby Gang, both to the cause and really, the show. I especially loved that nod to Xander, about having clocked more field time than all the Watchers combined. If Xander still had any remaining fears about being superfluous to the group, I bet they're dashed now.

* The best part of that whole episode was watching Quentin -- what a prick -- eat crow super-hard, when he reinstates Giles as Watcher. Even though, that's essentially the role he's been fulfilling, it's nice to see Giles back on the clock. And on Quentin's retroactive dime.

* As much as I deplore the Watchers' Council, I am nuts for its seemingly only female member, Lydia. How adorable was she when she politely expressed desire for Buffy not to throw a sword at her? But what I loved most was her totes obvy crush on Spike. *blush* 'I wrote my thesis on you.' *titter* You just know that beneath that stuffy appearance is a kinky Ripperette dying to break free.

* Forget Spuffy. My favourite couple is Spike and Joyce. Whenever those two get together, I can't help but grin ear to ear. For a reputable vamp with two dead Slayers under his belt, he sure gets along swimmingly with the current Slayer's mom. If he wants to get in good with Buffy, Spike should stop cockblocking her patrols, and start inviting Joyce over for 'Passions' dates.

* Speaking of that patrol, is it just me, or were Buffy and Spike dressed exactly alike, same full-length leather coat and all? Sure, Buffy, you'll curse Spike's existence up and down Main Street, but you don't mind stealing his look. That's kinda creepy. Which means it's kinda hot.

* But not hot enough. The point was made repeatedly throughout the episode, Glory is far and away stronger than Buffy, and that strength isn't just reserved for the brute kind. Glorificus herself wins this week's Fashion Slayer award for her champagne-gold number. Is it a dress, is it lingerie? Who knows. One thing it is...is fifty shades of sexy.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Did you cheer along with the Scoobies during Buffy's speech? Interested to see what the great Glorificus does with a ticking clock? What other shows should Spike and Joyce binge-watch? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;