Monday, June 14, 2010

My Big Bad Buffy Countdown, #30-26

#30" "Chosen"
Season 7, Episode 22
Written by: Joss Whedon
I'm no longer sure where "Chosen" sits in the fan consciousness. They obviously liked it on the Logo countdown, likely becase Spike was all "Buffy! I can feel my soul!" Bleh. But otherwise, I thought this was a fine way to cap the series, particularly one that had struggled down the stretch. Making all the potentials into actual Slayers was a great call to ass-kicking (when Felicia Day is like, "These guys are toast," it's all I can do not to stand and cheer) as well as a moment of honest inspiration. And poor Anya! Cut down in the prime of her bunny-hating youth.

#29: "Life Serial"
Season 6, Episode 5
Written by: David Fury and Jane Espenson
I feel bad that (SPOILER) no Jane Espenson episodes made my Top 10. She writes deliciously funny adventures, but they inevitably get overshadowed by the bigger emotional climaxes. Well here I'm taking a stand for Jane (and David Fury) for writing the funniest episode of what ended up being a seriously bleak sixth season. This was when the Nerd Trio seemed to have the most potential -- sending Buffy off into strange culs-de-sac of comedy, best exemplified by her getting stuck in a time loop at the Magic Box. Plus this had Spike and Clem (among others) playing poker for kittens AND that mummy hand that moved on its own. Great farce.

#28: "The Wish"
Season 3, Episode 9
Written by: Marti Noxon
Yeah, don't get too comfortable, Marti Noxon. But I couldn't well deny the pleasures found in this alt-verse episode. Both Anya and Vampire Willow make their debuts here, all the actors really delivered, playing darker versions of themselves, and the way they shot the alt-deaths of Angel, Xander, Willow, and Buffy as both nonchalant (same old same old in such a hellish reality) and momentous (what other episode sees its heroine die? ...Well, okay, quite a few on this show).

#27: "Entropy"
Season 6, Episode 18
Written by: Drew Z. Greenberg
Props to Tom for mentioning this one in the comments. I always gloss over it because it's part of such a downer arc (everything that came after the musical up to and including Tara's death), but it's an excellent showcase for Anya as she gets even with Xander in a delightfully hurtful way.

#26: "Choices"
Season 3, Episode 19
Written by: David Fury
This often gets lost in the shuffle of the mad dash to the Season 3 finale -- best stretch of episode's in the show's history. "Choices" always stands out for me because it focuses on the Willow/Faith rivalry that was ever-present but rarely featured. Here, Willow stands up to Faith and the Mayor and proves her worth to the gang once again when she steals valuable intel for the gang; while Faith turns an opposite corner, throwing her lot ever more fully in with the Mayor.


JA said...

How dare you mention the what-happened-to-Anya THAT NEVER HAPPENED.

Kirk Hamilton said...

I really liked "Choices" too - when Willow gets captured it was the first time that Faith's betrayal hit home, and when she threatens Willow, it feels real... a lot of times on Buffy threats didn't feel all that threatening, but this was the first time I felt like Faith really had gone over to the dark side.

I think it was in part how Alyson Hannigan played it - you could see that she was actually scared of Faith. A good reminder of how much all of the non-superpowered characters risked every day by teaming up with Buffy.

For similar reasons, I also liked that Willow managed to help out without doing magic. Plus as you note, the episode comes right at the start of the best run of the series.

Okay, I gotta work on my list today but I keep getting distracted by E3. Aah, video games and Joss Whedon... must be summer break. :D

Anonymous said...

I like "Choices" for all the reasons mentioned, plus one: the scene where everyone's fighting with Wesley, who wants to call the Mayor's bluff and keep the box, and Oz silences everyone just by smashing the urn and giving Buffy a look that says, "You know what to do."

Anonymous said...

I'm still a little pissed that they lost Anya at the end of the series, and instead opted to end on a "I hope they have a mall" note.

Mini said...

I'm with JA - Anya left after Selfless and went to Ankh-Morpork to learn how to steal other people's money. Or their goods, which can then be sold for money. She wasn't even in Chosen, you must be misremembering.