Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Big Bad Buffy Countdown, #25-21

Here's why we're doing this.

And here are #s 30-26.

#25: "Him"
Season 7, Episode 6
Written by: Drew Z. Greenberg
Something about Season 7 seemed seperate from the other six right from the start. Maybe it was the expectation of the end hanging in the air. Or the absence of Giles. Or the presence of the potentials. Perhaps after the meanderings of Season 6, which seemed to lurch ahead in four-episode binges, each separated from the other, there was a more concerted effort to make everything in S7 about the mega arc, aka the First and the potentials. Whatever the case, my favorite episodes in Season 7 were the ones that took a break from that arc and told what felt like throwback stories. "Him," written by the super-talented Drew Greenberg, who was really coming into his own just as the series was ending, feels very much like a Season 2 episode. It's not hard to see why, given the episode's allegorical high school plot: Dawn falls in love with a dreamboat football player whose allure lies entirely within his varsity jacket. It's enchanted, of course, and soon all the women in Sunnydale -- even lezzie Willow -- are all over the guy. Great comedy at work here as Buffy, Willow, and Anya all scheme against each other; plus a rare moment for Xander to be the hero. Also some genuine irony: take a look at Thad Luckinbill and tell me that kid needs a magic anything to get panties to drop.

#24: "Passion"
Season 2, Episode 17
Written by: Ty King
The Angel-loses-his-soul arc was the one that drew me into watching the show in the first place, and I distinctly remember watching this episode and realizing "Yep! I'm hooked." Angel passes the point of no return by snapping Jenny Calendar's neck with relish, then setting the body up for Giles to find. Totally chilling and upped the season-long stakes in a way few mid-season episodes ever did.

#23: "The Prom"
Season 3, Episode 20
Written by: Marti Noxon
This one's here pretty much solely on the basis of Buffy getting the "Class Protector" award at the end. It's schmaltzy and sentimental, and at the time it felt like a conscious stepping outside the world of the show (it's Sunnydale! Nobody's supposed to notice anything!), though that complaint was seriously mitigated by the climax in "Graduation Day, Part 2," so I let it slide. Anyway, schmaltzy or not, it sure as hell got me.

#22: "Bad Girls"
Season 3, Episode 14
Written by: Doug Petrie
Of all the non-Joss writers (and maybe of all the writers period), Doug Petrie got Faith the best, so I'm glad he got to be the one to let Faith's free-slaying lifestyle tempt Buffy into a world of class-cutting and sexy faux-lesbian dancing ... before pulling the rug out from Faith and having her kill a man. That poor nerdy Mayor's aide was kinda cute too.

#21: "Lie to Me"
Season 2, Episode 7
Written by: Joss Whedon
The episode that convinced The WB to let Jason Behr star in his own show! History right before your eyes! Seriously, though, Behr's actually pretty good here (and cute as ever) as Ford, Buffy's old friend from L.A. who's going to Sunnydale now. Cue the Xander-is-jealous beats we'd come to know so well! Of course, it turns out Ford and his tragic goth friends all want to become vampires -- Ford for reasons more complicated than mere lameness -- and are willing to bargain with Spike, of all people, to make it happen. Terriffic balancing act where the Anne Rice romantic-vamp crowd gets skewered nicely, but we also get some of the more heart-wrenching scenes ever involving non-central characters. Seriously, though, this episode plays even better in light of the current Twilight fad.



I am enjoying this countdown so much already. And I'm thrilled to see someone else loving "Bad Girls"

plus though i've seen the complete series chronologically twice over (with random viewings of episodes constituting maybe a 1/4th 3rd time), i have no grasp of who is writing what episodes so i am in awe.

JA said...

Oh Him! I haven't seen Him since it aired and you've got me wanting to revisit it right this second. There are really some gems - a couple entire episodes, and lots and lots of bits and pieces - scattered in the rough of Season 7. Even if it was frustrating it was still Buffy and any Buffy was better than most anything else on.

Christy in Seattle said...

Hurray for "Bad Girls."

Melissa said...

"Faith, you don't get it. You killed a man." "No, you don't get it. I don't care." When Faith was good, she was good, but when she was bad, she was fantastic. Dushku has never been better than when she was Faith.