Monday, 1 April 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Triangle

“According to everyone who isn’t me, it was kinda gradual.”

This is the episode after which Riley dumped Buffy, so obviously it has to be all about her moping. It would be unrealistic otherwise. The only way to handle this in a manner which entertains the viewer is to do a bit of comedy. Enter Jane Espenson. There are lots of funny hi-jinks involving Anya’s ex, who she turned in to a troll, which, I think, kind of works as a metaphor for all men.

The basic conceit is that Buffy is heartbroken and therefore amusingly upset about the slightest possibility of anything spoiling the relationship between Xander and Anya. It’s very cute and silly. Buffy may be moping, but at least she’s less annoying than she would have been without this nice bit of humour.

One thing which is very noticeable about this episode is that the subplot about Willow starting to go off the rails in her hubris about use of magic becomes, for the first time, a real worry. Once Giles disappears for a bit, she is worryingly arrogant, taking things from the shop without permission and refusing to acknowledge Anya’s concerns, which, however annoyingly expressed, are legitimate. This is going to lead to some kind of confrontation soon. What impresses me is the way this is developing in such a way that it does not seem out of character.

There’s a happy ending. Anya and Xander, at least, are together and happy and the troll is banished to an unknown dimension, possibly the world without shrimp! The final scene, however, in which Giles dines with Buffy and Joyce, is ominous: Dawn overhears that she is not “real”. We have a cross between a teenager and an existential crisis, and these things never end well.

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