Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Shadow

“You told me snakey wakey would find my key!”

Things are getting so damn tense that something is going to explode. There are three plot threads being dove-tailed during this episode, all of which appear to be near crisis point.

The first thread is the increasingly doomed relationship between Buffy and Riley. The “Previously on” is all about how they are slowly moving apart, and this episode sees Buffy choosing not to confide in Riley about her mother’s illness. Most revealing of all is the tense conversation between Riley and Spike in which Spike tells him bluntly what is going on. Spike may be cruel in what he says but, as always, he is spot on. Spike, for all his faults is a flawless judge of character. The two of them are doomed.

Worse, Riley is drinking in vampire haunts again. Worse still, he’s allowing himself to be bitten. This is an obvious metaphor for prostitution and/or recreational drug use. One slight issue I have with Buffy these days is that the metaphors, being about early adulthood rather than a high school environment are necessarily broader.
Nevertheless, I’m glad they’re there.

Thread number two is Joyce’s worsening prognosis. It’s a brain tumour. This is not magic, it’s simple medical reality, and none of the Scoobies’ superpowers can do a thing about it. This makes Buffy feel helpless.  Of course, this being television drama, a character getting a potentially fatal condition does not stand much chance of survival. Even while Joyce still lives, however, it is Buffy who has to look after Dawn. Her life has just become even more complicated and stressful.

Meanwhile, of course, Glory, being this season’s “Big bad” is not going to stop doing her thing because Buffy has problems. Like a true baddie, she viciously and cruelly walks into Giles’ shop and pays for some stuff. Can you imagine anything more evil than that?! Oh, and there’s also a snake which looks like something from a Ray Harryhausen film. This gives Buffy something to kick the crap out of. She needs something like that right now.

It’s all kicking off. I’m excited. It won’t be pretty.

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