Thursday, December 30, 2010

Episode 8: "I, Robot...You, Jane"

(Note: doing this a day early, so I can spend Christmas day with the fam.)

Short summary: A demon imprisoned in a book gets scanned in a computer and picks up Willow as his cybergirlfriend. That's pretty much it.

Shorter summary: I,, bad episode.

Analysis: ...yeah. Not much to analyze. Metaphor? "Computers are evil"? "Men are evil"? "Books are evil"? ..."The internet is evil"? Well, we all knew that one.

In any case, this episode was more about virtual stalking. And since computers have marched on a lot since 1997 (geez, thirteen years? where did it go), this one doesn't really hit like it's supposed to.

Note: barely any glitches at all this time.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Episode 7: "Angel"

Short summary: Angel is a vampire. The Master hires three vamps to kill Buffy - when they fail, he gets Darla to do it. Angel kills Darla.

Analysis: Woo, this one was a doozy. After the last few clunkers, this one actually delivers. Besides the main metaphor ("This boy I met turns out to be different than I thought"), it contains a more subtle one (you can't escape your own past). Angel's past comes back to bite him and it won't be the last time (eventually, Buffy's past will come back to haunt her, too).

One of the creepiest scenes is where Darla attacks Buffy's mother. We all know Buffy can handle herself, but her mother is...well, her mother. We don't want to see anything bad happen to Joyce and just watching her in the hospital is sort of heartbreaking.

In the end, Angel kills part of his past and allows some of the future in.

Note: this episode only had a few glitches, but it's weird. I couldn't find any scratches. Perhaps it's my DVD player? But none of my other DVDs glitch on it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Episode 6: "The Pack"

Short summary: A trip to the zoo turns the school bullies (and Xander) into hyenas. They terrorize the school, eat the principal, and Xander tries to rape Buffy. Buffy hits him with a desk. Turns out the Zookeeper is responsible and he gets his karmic payback after Xander and the rest get depossessed.

Analysis: on the one hand, the monsters-as-metaphor thing is pretty interesting ("My friend is hanging out with new friends who aren't nice"), but on the other hand, it also gets pretty heavy handed. The attempted rape scene in particular (and why couldn't we see Buffy actually hit him with that desk?).

A better metaphor might have been a more simple one ("Those bullies are just animals"), but then we wouldn't have gotten Xander into the mix. (Xander-episodes have always been somewhat of a mixed bag - "Teacher's Pet" is a low, while "The Zeppo" is a high.)

Note: this time the DVD froze only once, during the end where the Zookeeper's eyes glowed. I checked the disk, but there weren't any scratches.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Episode 5: "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date"

Short summary: a prophecy puts in peril the personage of Buffy. Buffy hopes to perchance ask pretty Owen out, but is perplexed by protecting people from poorly-versed Anointed One. Buffy kills the vampire with pyre, but her pick of boyfriend turns out poor when he likes peril. The Anointed One she pushed was a phony, however; the predestined one, a pint-sized pup, meets the pernicious Master at the end.

Analysis: Another clunker. Besides providing the audience with a lot of mythology, but main metaphor of the episode ("Can I balance my work against a social life") ultimately comes down to a definite answer ("No"). Perhaps with a different character it might have worked, but Owen (a character we have not seen before nor will see after) was just so lifeless, I have expected him to be a monster when I first saw this episode. And the actual monster was...not that great. I mean "pork and beans"? They couldn't think of anything better for him to say?

On the other hand, the actual Anointed One looked pretty interesting (creepy child, always good). We didn't see much of him, though.

Note: the DVD set didn't skip at all during this episode (though, again, sometimes I wished it would).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Episode 4: "Teacher's Pet"

Short summary: the new substitute teacher is a giant preying mantis who eats virgins. The end.

Analysis: Ah, the first clunker. This episode tries to give us another monster-as-metaphor, but ends up just making us confused. Teachers are...bugs? Stay a virgin or die? (Well, "sex equals pain" was a lesson Buffy taught well.) There is a sort of enjoyment in watching a bad episode, though, as at least you can have a good laugh.

In any case, the praying mantis teacher was one of the few clunkers of the first season. The only good parts about this episode is the increasing wordplay the characters use and the subtle use of Angel. There wasn't even much to analyze.

Note: my DVD was much better on this episode, which is weird because I wouldn't have minded if it did skip. There were times when I wished it would skip.