Sunday, 25 January 2015
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Bargaining, Part 2
"Is... this Hell?"
This is the first episode of Buffy not to feature Anthony Stewart Head. It feels weird. But, quite rightly, we're given no time to dwell on that as Sunnydale, bereft of a slayer, goes all post-apocalyptic.
Willow now realises that she's failed, her suffering was all for nothing, and there is now no way to bring Buffy back- so she begins, finally, to mourn her friend. The gang are desperate, though- the Buffybot is (symbolically) abandoned, Willow is too knackered to cast many spells, and Buffy is apparently dead. With Spike babysitting Dawn the Scoobies are suddenly lacking in superpowers but, as Willow says, they're "it". And the newly vulnerable Sunnydale, pillaged and wrecked by demon bikers, needs them.
Dawn and Spike make a great double act and are, once again, a heartwarming uncle and niece act as they escape to safety together; Spike would do anything for Dawn. It's a nice use of his character, much as it's becoming less and less plausible that he's supposed to be evil.
It's a nice character touch that Anya's main concern is for the Magic Box, which is now hers. And, although there's a large element of comic relief in her trying to get Xander to announce their engagement at the least appropriate moments, there still a sense that Xander may be dragging things somewhat. Cold feet?
A traumatised Buffy, meanwhile, has had to claw her way up from being buried alive. She spends much of the episode being, understandably, existentially traumatised, but inevitably saves the day by kicking her usual arse. We end, appropriately, with her and Dawn on the tower from which she jumped, with Dawn persuading her not to jump again. The resurrected Buffy is clearly very damaged. Appropriately, though, the tower collapses. This seems to signify hope.
This is a very odd beginning to a season. It's still Buffy, but what happened to the fun season openings? Let's see where they're going with this.