Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: What’s My Line? Part One

“How do you know?”

“I lurk.”

There’s an awful lot going on in this episode, the first of Marti Noxon’s many writing credits; Buffy gets moody, she and Angel start to get really, properly, couply, and Xander uses the phrase “Scooby Gang” for the first time. Yay! But, as so often with Buffy, it’s all based around a theme, and the theme is handled brilliantly.

The theme is, superficially, careers, but in reality it’s a lot more than that. From the teenage perspective it can all be rather depressing and angsty to know that you’re on a carrier belt through school, university and some unknown career, with scarcely a moment to stop and think about what it is that you want. Buffy, of course has no choice, and this is getting her down, quite understandably. The career fair means nothing to her, as her life has already been mapped out for her by others, and her future doesn’t seem to include much in the way of wealth, happiness or, indeed, years.

Xander’s and Cordelia’s predicted careers are used more-or-less only as a little light relief, but Willow, as a high-flyer, has been pretty much head-hunted by a big IT tycoon- will she take the proffered apple? Interestingly, this means she gets to spend some time with the only other student also chosen- Oz. They meet at last.

Spike and Drusilla are such a sweet couple, in an incredibly perverted way, and it’s quite touching how Spike loves his girlfriend so much that he hires the Order of Taraka, an unstoppable bunch of demonic assassins, to kill Buffy. And Buffy’s response to the knowledge that she’s being marked for death is extremely well-done, as various strangers arrive in Sunnydale. Director David Solomon gives us a brilliant sequence of Buffy walking down the school corridor, becoming increasingly paranoid that every face she sees could be that of her killer.

The stress drives Buffy to flee, alone, to Angel, who significantly is the person she turns to when she’s most desperate. But Angel is out, doing the Batman thing to some bloke called Willie, and he’s soon attacked and defeated by a mysterious young lady with awesome fighting skills and a most peculiar accent. My God, though; ain’t she gorgeous?

Angel’s left in a cage, where he will eventually die when the Sun comes up. That’ll be the first element of the cliffhanger, then, this being our first two-parter. Isn’t it exciting? Part two is Cordelia and the maggot man. Urrgh!

The last shot, though, as Buffy and our mysterious young lady are mid-fight, is where she introduces herself as Kendra… the Vampire Slayer. Duh duh DUNNN.

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