Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 4.11 Doomed

The Dish: Everyone hop into bed with the nearest dead co-ed...it's the end of the world!

Buffy and Riley start right in the middle of last episode's conversation...which is to say sitting in awkward silence. Eventually, Buffy correctly guesses that Riley is a commando, much to his surprise. On the other hand, when Buffy comes out as a Slayer, Riley has no idea what that is. The would-be couple both agree to take some time and process things. Then an earthquake hits. Everyone is okay, and Riley is super-stoked to pop his natural disaster cherry, but Buffy is major wigged.

She goes to Giles in a panic about the earthquake, but he believes it's a result of living in southern California, not the Hellmouth. And if it's the end of the world, we might as well party. Willow relays to Buffy that there's a power-outage party going on at a nearby dorm. The redhead goes alone and runs into Percy, who is too preoccupied with his new gal-pal to give her the time of day. Since the lights are out, nobody notices a demon party crasher. One poor drunk kid arranges glow sticks and pours drinks, not knowing it's the last thing he'll ever do. The demon slits his throat.

Willow quickly realizes she's out of place at the party, and feels even more so when she overhears Percy calling her a nerd and 'not hot'. Sad, Willow finds an empty bedroom and curls up on the bed. That's when the lights come back on and Willow discovers she's not alone after all. Lying next to her is the dead co-ed, with an eye symbol carved into his chest.

Bunking with a dead guy can be pretty traumatic, as Xander learns. He arrives home from his job as a pizza delivery boy to find his new roomie Spike... in a Hawaiian shirt. Dryer mishap. The two bicker, with Xander angrily telling Spike that he's not even worth an ass-kicking anymore.

The Scoobies meet at Giles's where Willow relays the night's events. She draws the symbol and Giles recognizes it, citing it as the end of the world. 'AGAIN?!' the Scoobies react. Buffy recognizes the symbol from her patrolling at the mausoleum. She does some recon there and finds the party demon stealing the bones of a child. The two rumble, with the demon getting the better of Buffy and running off with the bones. Riley, also on a recon mission, shows up. Riley says that he wants to be with Buffy, but Buffy can't deal with the pain of a Hellmouthy boyfriend again and says no.

Giles's research identifies the demons as Vahrall demons, an apocalyptic breed. To complete their mission they need the blood of a man (check), the bones of a child (check), and the Word of Valios (no check). The gang splits up to try and find the Word. Xander and Willow stop at the basement so Xander can change out of his stinky clothes, and the friends walk in on Spike trying to stake himself. Spike can't deal with being 'pathetic' anymore. Willow takes pity on him and insists that he tag along.

Buffy runs into Riley again and the two have another spat, with Buffy firmly standing by her answer of 'no'. The other Scoobies' research is a bust, but Spike makes cruel merriment of dismissing Willow and Xander as Buffy's underlings. Things go even worse for Giles when he discovers the Word of Valios isn't a book but a talisman...and it's in his possession. The Vahrall demons show up and knock out Giles, stealing the talisman.

When Giles comes to, he tells the gang the Vahrall demons plan to reopen the Hellmouth which means the gang has to go back to high school. They arrive at the charged remains of their alma mater, and find the demons chanting over a hole in the ground that leads directly to the Hellmouth. Buffy and company break up the party and an all-out rumble ensues. Spike gets cornered by a demon and instinctively fights back. Only this time, his head doesn't hurt. With glee, Spike discovers he can hurt a demon.

The reinvigorated vamp makes quick work of throwing the demon in the hole. The ground rumbles and rubble falls around them. The gang realizes...the demons are the sacrifice. With a good chance the building will collapse, Buffy clears out the gang, prepared to fight the last demon solo. Too late, as the demon dives into the Hellmouth. That's when Riley shows up in the nick of time and attaches Buffy to a rope. Buffy dives into the Hellmouth, after the demon and nabs it. The world is saved. Again.

Buffy and Riley meet up with the gang and Riley has no excuse for his commando gear. He's outed. Riley takes this really hard and broods over it well into the next day. Buffy visits him and assures him it's not the end of the world, and seals that sentiment with a kiss. Score one for Iowa!

Meanwhile, Spike tries to rouse couch potatoes Xander and Willow into going out and fighting demons, for the sake of puppies and Christmas. Oh yeah, baby, he's back.

Liz's BITES:
* 'Doomed' was a fun episode that served to really propel the story forward. Though I thought the whole 'going back to high school' theme was a tad underdeveloped, it was super-cool to see the charred remains of the high school. I could take or leave the grunting Vahrall demons themselves, but I dug their MO. True, we've seen grave-robbing before, nothing special there, but the death of the drunk co-ed was awesome. Such a great ICK factor, with Willow waking up next to the corpse. It was a neat little twist that the Vahrall demons themselves were the ritual sacrifice. But I do have to ding the ep for Buffy's' cheesy-ass Superman swan dive into the Hellmouth.

* Looks like our Slayer is officially Team Iowa. Though Buffy was way to hard on Riley at the top of the ep for lying about his identity -- you did it too, Miss Hypocrite 1999! -- I completely understood Buffy's reticence to enter into a relationship with Riley. Girl ain't exactly been Lady Luck when it comes to romances. A big appeal to Riley was his good ole Iowa boy humanness, and when it's revealed Joe Regular does have a connection to the Hellmouth, all painful memories of Angel come flooding back to Buffy. But at the end of the day, Riley has no inner demons, no soul-in-peril curse, and he proved that his knowledge of the Hellmouth was an asset. While Buffy may not want another Angel, she certainly doesn't want a dopey, danger-loving Owen. Anyone remember him? Anyone?

* How 'bout that Riley Finn, nutting up and fighting for his woman? I like me some ballsy Riley. The moment when he called Buffy on her bullshit and called her stupid was fantastic. While I appreciate Riley's chivalrousness, I prefer this new strong Riley as opposed to doofy Riley. But I guess all of Riley's focus on his newfound courage made him drop the ball on stealthiness. Going paintballing? Sure, Riley, and I'm -- insert hokey American accent -- 'just a friend of Xander's here.'

* Another huge development -- Spike ain't so neutered after all. Thank god, I say. While new, impotent Spike has provided some comedic fodder, I haven't been a big fan of Spike being relegated to annoying roommate status. I threw my head up and moaned to the heavens at the whole 'Odd Couple' Xander and Spike dynamic. And that Hawaiian shirt? I've seen Xander in plain tees before, it didn't make sense for Spike to pick the goofiest outfit. So, I was more thrilled than Spike himself when he was able to punch out that demon. It was a great character moment because it shows that even more than evil, Spike craves violence. Demon or human, it doesn't matter, so long as Spike can wail on something.

* While Spike may not be able to physically hurt a human, he certainly can emotionally. How about that cruel speech he delivered to Xander and Willow? I'm guessing it stung Xander the most, given his new career in the world of pizza delivery. What happened to that construction gig? Did plans on building the new cultural centre die with Professor Gerhardt? Apparently. God, Xander looked terrible in that uniform. Without Anya in this ep to play off Xander, it served to remind me that he really isn't in a good place in life.

* Grrrr, Percy made me so livid. He was such a compelling character last season, with his arc from total douchebag to scared straight diligent student, courtesy of Domme Vampire Willow. But the asshole's barely been out of high school six months, and he's already reverted back to calling Willow a nerd. I really wish he was the dead dude on the bed. The CBS logo carved into his dickwad chest would have looked so good...

* What pissed me off so much about Percy was how hurt Willow was by his comments. The poor girl wakes up next to a corpse and she's more upset about being called a nerd. That's so real to me. No matter where someone is in life or what's going on, if someone says something mean, it sticks. Man, I wanted Willow to bust out the BDSM gear and teach Percy a lesson.

* You know who could afford to be more of a nerd? Freaking Giles! How could Giles, of all people, not know he was the owner of the Word of Valios? Did Olivia literally bang his brains out?

* Can someone please explain the purpose of Forrest to me? Other than giving Riley a confidante, why is he there? He's just a dick, ribbing Riley every chance he gets, and laughing when Graham takes the plush ball to the face -- wink, wink. Forrest is like the kid in 'Adventureland' who keeps punching Jesse Eisenberg in the balls. Forrest officially joins Percy on my wish list hit list.

* It's time for this week's Fashion Slayer award and the winner is...the nerd herself, Willow Rosenberg, for her 'bunny dog walking' tee. I would have given it to Percy's girlfriend Laurie, but what can I say, I like my women hot. Call me old-fashioned.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Excited to see new couple on the block, Buffy and Riley? Badass or lameass apocalypse attempt? Psyched that Spike can hurt a demon? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Official Oscar Predictions 2015

The day has finally come, my lovely readers. The best day of the year. Some of you may think it's Christmas, others may be closer to the mark and guess my birthday. But you are wrong. It's the day of the Oscars 2015 -- a 3+ hour movie lover's orgasm.

What makes it so fun? Not just predicting who will win each category...but doing it better than everyone else! I don't like to brag -- cough, bullshit -- but I do pretty freaking well at this. As in blow my competition out of the water. I do it by meticulously following what is winning major awards AND what a number of credible critics have to say. So be the douchey jock to my desperate-to-please nerd...and copy my homework:

I'm Kind of a Big Deal -- The Major Awards

Best Picture:

Will Win: Birdman. Holy. Shit. Everyone and their alcoholic ex-husband thought Boyhood would win. But Birdman opened up its beak and snapped up both the Directors' AND Producers' Guild Award. Pick this one.
Could Win: Boyhood. Up until four seconds ago, everyone thought it would win. It still has a chance.

Best Director:

Will Win: Alejandro Inarritu - Birdman. Don't worry about pulling a John Travolta trying to pronounce this dude's name. Just mark it down on your ballot.
Could Win: Richard Linklater - Boyhood. Maybe everyone's dazed and confused, and should buy into the early hype.

The World's A Stage -- The Acting Awards

Best Actress:

Will Win: Julianne Moore - Still Alice. She's been praised for years on end for how freaking amazing she is. This is her year.
Could Win: Don't be stupid. Nobody.

Best Actor:

Will Win: Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything. Another upset, but with the SAG under his belt, Redmayne's Academy-friendly transformation into Stephen Hawking will strike gold.
Could Win: Michael Keaton - Birdman. Early front-runner Keaton might still swoop in and nab the prize.

Best Supporting Actress:

Will Win: Patricia Arquette - Boyhood. Anyone who has to deal with forty million asshole husbands for three hours deserves an Oscar in my eyes. And in the Academy voters'.
Could Win: Meryl Streep - Into the Woods. If she used Emma Stone as a weapon to beat Arquette, and then ran on the stage nabbing the glory for herself.

Best Supporting Actor:

Will Win: JK Simmons - Whiplash. Simmons will be rushing, not dragging, on his way to the podium, accepting his much-deserved first Oscar.
Could Win: Me. I have as much a chance as anyone else in beating Simmons.

Blah Blah Blah - The Writing Awards

Best Original Screenplay:

Will Win: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness - The Grand Budapest Hotel. Tied with Birdman for most nominations, Anderson's whimsical delight of a movie won't escape the night without winning a major award.
Could Win: Don't make me laugh. Nothing.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Will Win: Graham Moore - The Imitation Game. A favourite with critics and moviegoers alike, this will be the only honour the film will receive from the Academy.
Could Win: Damien Chazelle - Whiplash. This movie surprised many with how much of an Academy darling it was come nomination morning. It might be rewarded in this category.

Brutus Is Just As Cute As Caesar -- The Other Feature Awards

Best Animated Feature:

Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Could Win: Big Hero 6

Best Foreign Language Feature:

Will Win: Ida
Could Win: Wild Tales

Best Documentary Feature:

Will Win: Citizenfour
Could Win: Finding Vivian Maier

Through The Looking Glass -- The Behind-The-Scenes Awards

Best Editing:

Will Win: Boyhood
Could Win: Just pick Boyhood.

Best Cinematography:

Will Win: Birdman
Could Win: Birdwoman

Lookin' Good -- The Aesthetic Awards

Best Production Design:

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: *Crickets*

Best Costume Design:

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Into the Woods

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Foxcatcher by a nose.

Cool Guys Look At (And Hear) Explosions -- The Techy Awards

Best Visual Effects:

Will Win: Interstellar
Could Win: Dawn of the Planet of the apes

Best Sound Editing:

Will Win: American Sniper
Could Win: Interstellar

Best Sound Mixing:

Will Win: Whiplash
Could Win: American Sniper

Tra-La-La -- The Music Awards

Best Original Score:

Will Win: The Theory of Everything
Could Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Song:

Will Win: 'Glory' -- Selma
Could Win: Sorry, Lego Movie, it ain't your year.

Who Watches Short-Shorts -- The Short Film Awards

Best Animated Short:

Will Win: Feast
Could Win: The Dam Keeper

Best Documentary Short:

Will Win: Crisis Hotline
Could Win: Is anything else even nominated?

Best Live Action Short:

Will Win: The Phone Call
Could Win: Boogaloo and Graham

Those are my predictions, my lovely readers. Use this as your cheat sheet, and you'll be the cock of the walk in your betting pool. The 87th Academy Awards will be televised live at 7PM E.S.T. on ABC/CTV. Enjoy the big night!

Dish later;

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 4.10 Hush

The Dish: Everyone and their orgasm friend is in danger when the Gentlemen come to town.

Psych 101 time is nap time for Buffy, as she dozes off in the middle of Professor Walsh's lecture on communication. The Slayer dreams of Riley making out with her on Walsh's desk in front of the entire class.

The two lovers are then cockblocked by a creepy little girl with a box -- don't they all have a box? Riley turns into a horrific, albino demon in a suit. The little girl then sings a terrifying nursery rhyme:

Can't even shout, can't even cry
The Gentlemen are coming by
Looking in windows, knocking on doors
They need to take seven and they might take yours
Can't call to Mom, can't say a word
You're gonna die screaming but you won't be heard.

After taking some good-natured ribbing from Willow and Riley for falling asleep in class, Buffy wanders the campus with the latter. While things may be heating up between them, Buffy and Riley are tripping over excuses, trying to cover up their secret identities. It even gets in the way of their first kiss. Both of them express to their respective friends that they really want to come clean about who they are, but Willow and Forrest remind them it's not possible.

Careful what you wish for. New couple Xander and Anya have hit their first bump, as Anya yells at Xander for only wanting her for orgasms. It should be mentioned that she does this unabashedly in front of Giles and his new 'Odd Couple' roomie Spike. Giles takes a break from the chaos to take Buffy's call about her dream, and promises the Slayer he will research the Gentlemen. Giles then informs Xander that it's his turn to take Spike, because Giles wants to have Olivia over. An orgasm friend, as Anya puts it.

Looking to stay out of the couple craziness, Willow attends a meeting with the college's Wicca group...and is sorely disappointed. All the girls want to do is giggle about scented candles and hold bake sales. When Willow suggests they perform spells, the girls look at her as if she suggested they use candy and puppies to lure children into white vans. However, Willow captures the attention of fellow member Tara, who seems interested in Willow's ideas, though she's too shy to say anything.

That night, while Xander and new roomie Spike bicker, and Giles and Olivia have lots of orgasms, the Gentlemen are in fact in Sunnydale and ready to party. They open that mysterious wooden box and all throughout town, little white wisps of air escape the mouths of the sleeping residents.

The next morning, Buffy and Willow wake up and discover they've lost their voices. It's not just them. Everyone in the dorm, the campus, and all over town has lost their voices as well. Xander blames Spike, but Spike silently points out his voice is gone too. Xander tries to call Buffy, but neither of them can talk! 

While Riley nearly gets gassed at the Initiative for failing a vocal identity test, Buffy and Willow wander the main drag. People are in a panic, running to the liquor store, crying silently, praying. The BFFs look at a man selling white boards with disgust. How dare he take advantage of such a dire situation?

So of course, Buffy and Willow show up at Giles's with two brand-spanking new white boards. The Scoobies have congregated there, unsure of what to do. The news says that Sunnydale has officially been quarantined and people are advised to stay in their homes. Buffy writes that she will patrol and help keep order.

It looks like she'll have some company, as Maggie Walsh, via computer, orders the commandos to do the same. Riley patrols the main drag and breaks up a fight. He runs into Buffy and the two embrace lovingly. Times are tough and people need comfort, and before you know it, Buffy and Riley are in the throes of a passionate kiss.

That night, the Gentlemen leave their clock tower. They float gracefully throughout the streets, while their minions in busted strait jackets hobble along beside them. Up for a midnight pee, Olivia spots them and is terrified. The Gentlemen make their way to Buffy and Willow's dorm, but bypass the girls' room. They knock on the door of a poor freshmen dude. Upon him answering it, the minions hold him down while a Gentlemen pulls out a scalpel. The freshmen tries to scream, but can't. 

The Gentlemen reconvene at the clock tower and give each other silent applause for a good night's work. Turns out they cut out the freshman's heart, along with two others. Four empty jars still remain.

That morning, as news of the murders breaks, Olivia draws what she saw for Giles. This evokes something in Giles's memory and he consults a book of fairy tales. He gathers the Scoobies in an empty classroom at the university, and uses a projector slideshow to tell the tale of the Gentlemen. They come to a town, steal everyone's voices, then go out at night and cut out peoples' hearts while they can't scream. They need seven to stay alive.

Buffy asks how they die, and the only way they were killed in the fairy tales is when the princess screamed. Buffy needs to find them and get her voice back.

Though the Gentlemen may be on the loose, at least young love's a-brewing. Xander arrives at Giles's only to see a sleeping Anya, and Spike with his mouth all bloody from a mug of animal blood. But it looks to Xander like Spike killed his woman. In a fit of rage, Xander pummels the blond vamp. Anya wakes up and realizes what happened. She's thrilled that Xander really does love her and the two frolic off to have orgasms.

Meanwhile, sweet Tara is looking for a way of magically stopping the Gentlemen and looks to consult Willow. She runs out in the dead of the night to Willow's dorm but is intercepted by the Gentlemen. They chase her to the dorm and Tara knocks on doors, futilely looking for help. She runs into Willow and the two witches are pursued by the Gentlemen. They run into the laundry room and their combined power enables them to magically move the vending machine in front of the door, keeping them safe from the Gentlemen.

Again, both Buffy and Riley go a-patrolling. Buffy runs into a couple of strait-jacketed minions. She kills one and follows the other to the clock tower. Riley, in full commando gear, independently ends up there too, and the couple are shocked to see each other.

No time to talk -- even if they could -- because the Gentlemen are back and they want Buffy's heart to complete their collection. Buffy and Riley battle both Gentlemen and minions. They corner Buffy and a Gentleman pulls out his scalpel. Riley breaks free and Buffy sees the box, remembering it from her dream. Buffy motions for Riley to smash it and he does. Buffy gets her voice back and lets out a bloodcurdling scream. The Gentlemen cover their ears in pain, and their heads pop off in a geyser of green gore.

The residents of Sunnydale have their voices back and all is well. Willow even has a new friend to do spells with. Except Buffy and Riley will never be the same, now that their secret identities are out in the open. Riley goes to Buffy's to talk. He sits down opposite her...and the two can't say a word.

Liz's BITES:
* I admit it, Season 4 hasn't tickled my fancy. Nor has it grated my cheese, nor creamed my corn. And then 'Hush' comes along. Wow. The gutsiness. The brilliance. Doing almost an entire episode with no dialogue? Not only that, but how they epicly pulled it off with the scariest demons the show has ever, or will ever, seen. It's not just that the Gentlemen don't talk, they don't walk but float, being completely SILENT. Plus, anyone in a suit terrifies me. Confession time: I'm sure I'm not alone but in my dreams, whenever I am in physical danger, I can NEVER scream. So for me, it was positively bone-chilling when the Gentlemen cut out the hearts of the silent and the helpless. 'You'e gonna die screaming, but you won't be heard'.

* As terrifying as 'Hush' was, its lack of dialogue gave way to some fantastic, raunchy comedy. There was the mistaken hand gesture when Willow pointed to her heart and Xander thought she meant 'boobies'. And you've gotta love Anya's obvious hand circle and pointy finger gesture for sex with Xander. But my fave was Buffy's motion for stabbing that looked like she was giving a Grade A hand-job. 

* Looks like Riley might be getting some of that...or will he? The Buffy and Riley storyline was exquisitely executed. Their quest to keep their respective secret identities mad cockblocks them, but they shared a smoking hot kiss when they were voiceless and vulnerable. Phew! Their meticulous secrecy ends up all for naught when they discover each other on the battlefield. That ending was haunting. After clawing tooth and nail to get their voices back, when they finally do, not Buffy nor Riley can say a word to each other. So good!

*  I was glad to see Maggie Walsh in the mix, even if most of it was her using the Stephen Hawking-esque computer to give instructions to her commandos. I want more of this bad bitch, and I'm guessing my wish will be granted, as she's Buffy's maybe boyfriend's boss. And I totes bought that she was horny and inappropriate enough to let Riley kiss Buffy in front of the class, dream or no dream.

* They really need something more to do with Spike, other than making him the redheaded stepchild of the Scooby Gang, who nobody wants to babysit. Threesome with Anya and Xander?

* Who are getting up on the list of my fave Buffyverse couples. Anya's transition to real human woman is so cute, with her desire to bone Xander all the time, but her paranoia that's all he wants from her. They make such cute orgasm friends!

* Call me a sap, but my heart always melts when Willow uses her whiteboard simply to say, 'Hi Giles'.

* How about that new girl on the block, Tara? Heaps of bunny-level cute, if you ask me. I love her little stutter. Even though Willow's getting back on her feet, post-Oz, she could really use someone in her corner. It was so touching when Tara recognized Willow as a special lady with a lot to offer the magic world. But how stupid was Tara to go looking for Willow at night when she knew people were being murdered? D-d-d-d-d-dumbass.

* You've gotta love Giles's pre-PowerPoint days slideshow, complete with cheesy dramatic music, on the Gentlemen. I love his classic noob teacher fumble of having the slides the wrong way. And I've gotta say, despite the fat Buffy drawing, both Giles and his orgasm friend Olivia, are fantastic artists.

* Looks like that's it for the big O herself, as Giles's ties to the Hellmouth are a little too spooky for her. I have to say, I'm not as sad as I thought I would be. I think in Giles's state, unemployed, hanging with a group of college kids, and babysitting a neutered vamp, someone like Olivia is just what he needs. Still, this relationship never developed, as we only saw her in the season premiere. The scene made it seem like her departure was supposed to be much sadder.

* Still, even if Olivia's gone from Sunnydale, she at least gets a final parting gift...the Fashion Slayer award! I am a sucker for post-coital bathrobes and Olivia's silky black number rubbed me in all the right places.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of this amazing episode? Where do the Gentlemen rank in your pantheon of Buffy villains? Happy Willow has a new friend? Sad to see Olivia go? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;