Buffy 02/25/03 - Storyteller (spoilers)

There’s been a lot of talk about sharkjumping lately. Well… No shark in sight. Not even a wiff of water for the shark to be in.

In short - I think this ep might go down as the best of this season (but I should wait with judgement till May). And it might possibly rank among the best of the whole franchise. Color me surprised and impressed.
Earlier today I wrote in another thread that SMG’s heart wasn’t in it. Well surprise - she’s better than she has been for a long while.

I’ll get more specific in the black box, but let me just say that this is a kind of meta episode. And I really enjoy that type of storytelling. Viewers who don’t like that might not rave with the same strength I do.
There is a lot of fun, wacky, zany stuff. Drama, love, tears, action, betrayal, suspense and inside references to the fans. Immensly enjoyable.

[spoiler] The storyteller of the title is Andrew. And it really is his episode. I’ve enjoyed his quirky, geeky ways, but failed to realize what a great actor Tom Lenk is. He carries the whole episode and does it very well.
The meta part is that we’re constantly going in and out of his fantasy world, sometimes perceiving the Buffyverse the way he sees it, sometimes the way he wants it to be, and sometimes the way it really is.
Andrew really plays a key part, since he opened the seal on the Hellmouth. And it needs to be closed. Now. As Principal Wood said last week, things are getting out of hand - fast.
There is a good ballance of Dawn and SIT’s, staying in the chorus line and not taking up too much space. The people who hate Kennedy will have to suffer her making out with Willow, but there is a fun twist to that scene.
We get reminders of Spike as a tourist attraction, a very good slamming of Buffy’s inspirational speaches. And a good speach by Buffy about good vs. evil.
Interesting things are happening to Xander and Anya.

All in all. Thank you Jane Espenson for writing an episode that brings back my faith in Mutant Enemy.
[/spoiler]

Buffy-score 10/10

Oh, during some scenes, you might not want to drink any beverages. There is a risk you’ll spray it on the coffee table.

If rumours are true there are only 7 episodes left of Buffy. Ever. After seeing this week’s ep, I feel sad. And at least three weeks with no new episodes. ::sigh::

I haven’t seen the ep yet, not even DLed a clip but I wasn’t very impressed with the script. Judging from your raving, it comes across better on screen.
Oh and Gaspode Episode 17, Lies My Parents Told Me will be the best episode ever

Heh. While I normally agree with The Gaspode when it comes to Buffy, I’ll have to say that I found this episode to be rather dull in some places. I guess it’s partly because

I’m not really a fan of Andrew, I think he’s an ok background-character, but an episode that was so centered on him… Good slamming on Buffy’s speeches, not much whining, and it certainly had its share of good lines, such as the location of the knife and the *fine work * on the window.

All in all, a nice episode, but I wasn’t very impressed. Buffy Score: 7/10

This episode certainly reminds me of Superstar, also written by Espenson. And I liked that one too. So maybe it’s just my preferences.

Pepper - I can see how some things in the script might seem… not too colorful… But it works. For me, at least.

Six, if they follow the normal count of 22.

Mostly I’m agreeing entirely with Gaspode for a change, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s the best ep ever - certain parts of it are horribly overwrought. One thing I’ll add, though, is

the end scene where Buffy is laying it all down for Andrew over the Seal. Andrew is a narcissist with low self esteem, which is why he constantly rewrites history in his head to puff himself up. In this scene, he’s learning that saving the world isn’t a great adventure where the heroes receive acclaim at the end; rather, if saving the world means knifing him in a dirty basement then that’s what will happen, and nobody will ever even know it. You can see him trying to incorporate what Buffy is saying into his fantasy - even going so far as to accept death as his redemption if that’s what it takes - only to have her hit him again with the knowledge that there are no heroes, no great adventures, no rewards and above all no redemption. It’s probably the best acting the series has ever seen.

Evil Death. I agree with your observation in the black box.
It’s also quite a statement about the show itself, and about life.

This is one reason I’m thinking this is the best so far, this season. And might well be one of the 10-15 best, ever. Considering how many complaints there have been lately, that’s not bad. It’s also the first ep in a long, long time, which I wanted to see right again, as the end credits started.

I can see “Tom Lenk” in Gaspode’s spoiler box! I’m spoiled! I’m spoiled! :slight_smile:

I’m still waiting to see how they recover from several gaping plot holes:

  1. If all opening the seal takes is a few measely drops of blood, why aren’t the bringers dumping on gallons of the stuff from local townsfolk? How hard is that? Why wasn’t Spike taking his victims there when he was in thrall to the FE? Why all the blood/time wasting?

  2. How could Wood possibly NOT have known that Spike was the one who killed his mother? The Watchers had extensive records on Spike: including that he killed two slayers. Wood grew up with a Watcher: so why doesn’t he know what everyone in the Council already knew? They even knew where Spike was!

  3. Why is Buffy’s second death at all important, as the eye implied it was? She’s not in the line of succession and she knows it (this was established after Kendra died), so why does she think her death will summon one of the Potentials? It didn’t the most recent time she died!

  4. Why did Spike tackle Giles in the first date episode? He says Anya told him that Giles might be the First… but the only time she could have told him this was AFTER they all discovered that he wasn’t (since Spike was with Buffy when Anya and gang started suspecting things and tracked Giles down)!

  5. D’Hoffryn: Why should I bother killing you! FBYID is going to kill you anyway: it is beneath my notice! (a few eps pass) D’Hoffryn: Now I’m being written by another writer! For no reason, I’ve decided to send some random deamon out to kill you!

  6. Everytime Giles isn’t an episode, everyone should be saying “Where’s Giles” and “What’s up with Giles?” Okay, not really…(And his minor and awkward occasional prescence in the episodes is seriously hurting his characterization this season. If he has a big role to play later on, it’s going to be a hard sell, because there just hasn’t been enough good set-up of who his character is now that he’s been off and away so much)

  7. Why did the deamon from “Get it Done” look almost exactly like an enemy from the old PC shooter Unreal?

Will you be my fwiend?

**

I’d peg it behind Passion, Hush, Something Blue, Real Me (the other perspective ep), OMWF and a few others, so you could be right.

Something humourous here - a negligible spoiler, so no box.

There’s a large tomb in this ep with the name CHAPMAN written on it in foot-high letters - which coincidentally, happens to be my name. Some people on the UK Buffy group have advanced the idea that maybe it isn’t a coincidence. On the UK Angel group, I’ve frequently slagged off Angel in general and the writing of Tim “Fucking” Minear in specific - and in the knowledge that Tim was reading the group to boot. The suggestion is that TFM is now exacting his revenge.

I’m not quite enough of an egotist to believe it - it’s not like Chapman’s a particularly rare name - but I must admit it would be quite cool if it was true.

It doesn’t take a few drops, it takes nigh on a pint. It also presumably has to be dripped directly from a living host, or from cuts made with a specific mystical knife.

Also, the purpose of making Spike kill was to alienate Buffy from one of her most powerful allies.

**

Nikki’s Watcher left the organisation after his Slayer was killed. This is confirmed by him still having the hand-me-down box; if he’d still been in touch with the Council, they’d have demanded it be returned.

**

Buffy does not know that another Slayer won’t be called when she dies. No Slayer has died more than once before, so not even the Council could know. We only know because Joss Whedon said so, and he qualified the statement later with “unless I think of something cool to do”.

Kendra didn’t show up until months after Buffy’s first death, so there’s no reason to believe the Slayer called by her second would have appeared yet. Bearing in mind her mysterious competence, it may be that Amanda is the new Slayer.

Buffy’s second death is important because she was genuinely dead as opposed to technically dead, and also because she was slain by mystic energies.

Evil Death makes an excellent point. Often, commentary on the show tends to immediately accept statements characters make as the definite, proven state of affairs. But there’s no reason to do that. How often, in real life, do people confidently assert things that are partially - or utterly - wrong? (Hint: Hang out in GQ, and you’ll see – and this on a board dedicated to fighting ignorance!)

For example, there’s been some minor karping about when Harmony was sired… she was presumably killed, not sired, at graduation, so how is it she’s undead now? People have used this as an example of failed continuity, since we all know that siring a vamp is more than mere biting.

But do we? Perhaps the vampire “infection” is more like a virus. You practically guarantee a siring if you feed your victim your blood… but there’s a small chance that the biting and killing, even with no intent of siring, can cause a siring to occur.

The Initiative was in great shape to make the kind of controlled experiments and observations that could have advanced human knowledge in this area, but, alas, they were too busy building homicidal prototypes to do actual science.

Anyway, all this to say we truly don’t have any idea if Buffy’s second death called a new Slayer, or if her third death might. We don’t know what triggers the selection of a particular Slayer from among the SITs. We can make rough guesses based on past events, but we can’t assert that there are definitive rules based on our tiny slice of observations.

  • Rick

In spoilers just because:

Methinks this ep nails down Andrew’s sexual preference pretty well. Also, I may be in the minority, but I didn’t like this ep overmuch, possibly because it was Andrew-centric. OTOH, I hope that Andrew’s turning off of the video camera symbolizes his new desire to not assign himself a role and play it, but rather do what needs to be done. With the way S7 has been behaving, I’m sure that he (Andrew) will be back to his normal self by the next episode.

Also, Wood must die. Now. Preferably Buffy will go on another psycho-death-slayer-army trip and kill him herself for trying to deprive her of her favorite boy-toy/minion. Psychotic Buffy is good.

Spike could have alienated Buffy just as well by dragging live victims to the seal. The whole Turok-Han vending machine thing seems a ridiculously easy thing to trigger, but the FE spent nigh on three or four eps trying to do it successfully, despite having plenty of corporeal minions far more nasty and effective than two geeks.

As for Nikki’s Watcher: just because he left the council doesn’t mean he wouldn’t know about vampire history, especially with Wood being so interested. Giles knew right off the bat who Spike was: he was famous in the Watcher world.

—but we can’t assert that there are definitive rules based on our tiny slice of observations.—

Sure… but there are thematic conventions to be upheld, and general good writing. When you say that “the initiative was filled in with concrete” and then return to an unconcreted iniative without any explicit comment on the discrepancy, fans can come up with all sorts of excuses for the discrepancy. That doesn’t stop it from being a jarring narrative experience. You can certainly do something unconventional and unexpected… but NOT in a way that simply looks exactly as if you had forgotten that you had originally established a convention in the first place.

The fact is, whatever the “REAL” beef on slayer calling is, the gang itself knows that it was Kendra’s death that called out Faith. They know that no new slayer was called after Buffy died (Giles knows this). They have this information, but regardless of what can really be gleaned from it, they have never actually discussed or acknowledged it on screen. They spent all this much heralded effort to talk to the eyeball thing… but then never mentioned it again.
In fact, that they haven’t even mentioned Faith so far this season is itself a problem, because anyone’s obvious first thought about the slayer line should be about her.

Apos - have you seen this weeks episode? 'Cause there is some explanation to this thing about the seal there.

Also, I got the impression that TFE is all about corrupting people. You know, freedom of choice and that. There is a reason for using the geeks and not the Bringers.

Like I said, I’m waiting for it, and hoping for the best.

I only get eps on regular old U.S. network Tv. No wildfeed fer me.

Hey, Swedish tv is on season 2 and showing it 30 minutes past midnight on Sundays. Some of us are just connected I guess.
:smiley:

First off I missed the stuff before opening credits. It simply wasn’t shown on my UPN affiliate. Given the way that it started once it came back from the credits makes me sure there was something before.

All in all I liked the episode, it was not what I expected it to be. While generally I put all my possible spoiler comments in spoiler tags I think it is/will be late enough by the time this is finally posted.

The biggest thing is the seal. Why lure Andrew there to sacrifice Johnathan? Why not have a bringer do it? The First evil tells Andrew that the blood is a powerful sacrifice and that the words must be in him. My impression is that to operate the seal requires ritual bleeding. Additionally to first turn it on requires the special sort of sacrifice. Bringers are incapable of making this sacrifice. Once active it calls people to it as it called the special guest demon who tried to sacrifice Xander to it. Additionally the Bringers must take people by force, this is noticable and likely to be stopped where as if the First convinces people to lure their friends there for murder they can be stealthy about it.

“In my plan we aren’t wearing belts.” that just needed to be said.

As for the Buffy break of the Slayer line I’d like to hear what the eye ball said and an unscreen discussion of it. However the people in the box recongized and offered her the power which means she is still part of the Slayer mythos in a strong way.

I liked that the kids became Bringers. That was creepy, very creepy and I didn’t expect it. I belive this is also the first time we see female Bringers.

The entire we are as gods thing was funny as hell, as was the mutant enemy logo at the end doing that instead of “grr argg”. Finally the cheeseman in the dreams of evil was, odd.

Well, if it were not for Willow being such a cool lesbian, I’d be sending a nasty e-mail to Mutant Enemy about the faggy-ass homophobic depicition of Andrew. That said, I was getting flashes of Rashomon and The Iceman Cometh in the ep’s portrayal of Andrew’s rewriting history to fit in with his “life lie” and the contrast between Andrew’s subjective POV as seen through his camera and objective reality as shown on film.

I couldn’t understand what Grr Argh said. Bad husband talking over the TV. :frowning:

I think he was singing the “We Are As Gods” ditty.