Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: All the Way
"I'm gonna marry that girl."
I really can't put my finger on why this episode underwhelmed me. The misdirection with the old man was clever, and it's nice to have a low stakes episode with nothing more than two ordinary vampires as the main adversary. And it's especially nice to have the old "monsters as metaphors for teenage stuff" back in Buffy; here the vampires stand for that terrifying thing that is the sexuality of teenage boys. And yet... the episode failed to sparkle. As you probably noticed, I couldn't find a particularly good quote.
This is where Xander and Anya finally announce their engagement, and Xander is, again, terrified and really not ready, as Nicholas Brendon's superb performance shows. Talk about buying houses, babies and a full-on grown-up life terrifies him... but then he's only 20, and only proposed because the world was about to end. I may be excited about fatherhood now (my wife is 40 weeks and four days and I can't stand waiting!!!), but then I'm 37. At 20 I wasn't particularly mature. Few young men are.
Maturity and the responsibilities of young adulthood are, of course, the themes of the season, also popping up in how Buffy (also 20) is trying to be guardian to Dawn, and not managing very well. Most obviously, she leaves the disciplining to Giles.
Dawn, too, is getting older, and the "a" plot of the episode concerns her cliched first kiss and burgeoning sexuality, but fortunately she learns her lesson: boys are monsters.
Most importantly though, arc-wise, is that Willow is increasingly using magic for trivial things, and that she and Tara fall out about it. Badly. So Willow crosses a line, casting a spell to make Tara forget the quarrel. That puts her beyond the pale. We know there will be consequences, which I await with bated breath...
(We see the Bronze! How long has it been?)