Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 2/27/01

BTVS has never creeped me out.

Tonight creeped me out.

It also reduced my wife to tears. I held out, myself, until Anya broke. Then I joined the two of them for a little while.

It was a profoundly disturbing episode. I think that goes without saying. The brief homage to “Incident at Owl Creek Bridge” (I believe that’s the right title) had me going for a moment or two, and only served to twist the knife a little more. Add to that the ending and the lack of previews for the next episode… cruel art.

– Bob

As soon as they showed Dawn’s reaction in the hallway that was my cue to cry.

Did anyone else notice how quiet the episode was-there were stretches of dead silence-no background noise. Very effective in making it seem surreal and creepy.

I’m not a weeper. I’m really not.
Especially over TV shows.
But, man…
I teared up a few times.
The part with Anya got me too.
Man, what a well writen show.

Anya’s breakdown is what finally got to me, too, although if Willow’s had gone on just a few more seconds that would have done it.




And hardygrrl - I noticed that too…barely. It was wonderfully done.

My one complaint with this episode… The vamp-slaying scene. Unneccessary break in the emotional flow of the episode, I thought. The Obligatory Action Sequence really shouldn’t have been obligatory, IManything butHO.

I saw that episode to, and wow. This is undoubtedly their toughest fight the Scooby Gang, or anybody else who lost a loved one, ever had. And this episode was really effective in portraying that emotion. As for th evamp-slaying, well, it shows that life goes on for th grievers and for the npn-grievers.

Tengu, I was thinking the same thing about the fight scene myself.

Another thing that was well done… the trademark Buffy humor was still present, although subdued: Santa Claus and the blue sweater come to mind.

And please check me on this, but this was the first time we’ve ever seen Tara and Willow kiss, right? I seem to recall reading somewhere that Mutant Enemy was specifically told by the WB never to show them kiss on screen, but it seems that they managed to get away with it in a supremely non-erotic moment.

– Bob

<whine>No faaaaaaaaiiiiir!</whine>

<complaint>This is what I get for going to school in Maine. No WB!!! :P</complaint>

Well, sometimes my sister is a good little sister and tapes it for me at home…but…eck. Buffy ain’t as good as it was in the high school years, anyway.


Had to add, I too thought the obligatory fight scene was anything but.
I appreciated the long quiet moments too. And the long shots on stationary objects, IE: the napkin, were very artful as well.
I was also very taken with this episodes’ very realistic depiction of how irrational people can feel under such extreme conditions.
As far as I know that WAS the first lesbian kiss actually shown on the show. And how great that they did it as such and not played for cheap thrills.
But again, after the heights this episode achieved, I felt let down by the end scare.

This episode has to be one of the best things to ever happen on television. Strange to see real horror happen to horror-fiction characters.

About the sweater… I thought that was one of the most emotionally charged parts of the episode. It meant so much to Willow to find it, and nothing at all to Anya when she found it and put it away.

Tara keeps giving these hints that she’s going to develop as a character, too. She doesn’t speak eloquently (which, given the verbose nature of the other characters, is a tribute to the writers), but she’s getting better at expressing herself.

And the vampire in the morgue, well… it’s Sunnydale. It’s a morgue. Heck, it’s the Sunnydale Morgue. Though you’d think by now it’d be normal post-autopsy practice to stake 'em.

But the part that got me most was the opening of the episode, when Buffy was reduced to ten years old with one word. “…mommy?”

Brillaint, though difficult, television.

I’m still sniffling, and my eyes are hella puffy.

Lost it when Dawn cried, when Anya gave her speech, when Tara was telling Buffy about her own mom dying, when Dawn was about to touch Joyce…

And even among the tears, I noticed that Joss (who directed this one) was using camera techniques they don’t usually use on Buffy: handheld cameras, odd angles, and unusual color juxtapositions.

Hope I don’t have bad dreams now. Or sad ones.

Everyone I watched the show with (5 other people) is under edict to call their parents tomorrow.

And I have officially declared to my Buffy-watching group that the next time there’s a death announced in the commercials, we are going to have a big-ass bottle of tequila available. No way do I want to go through this again sober.

Did anyone else notice that some of the scenes from last week’s commercial were not in this episode? In particular, what about the doctor guy and Glory sharing a body – and a dress? Just curious. I assume that we’ll see those scenes in upcoming episodes. But not next week!

Sigh. Must drink away my sorrows now.


[sub]PS - Extra credit for knowing what the Bombi reference is from![/sub]


I’m so sad.

But they kissed. For the first time. So now I want to dance.

Sounds like you’re describing a scene from last week’s episode.

Yes, this was an emotionally charged episode, though oddly, my wife thought I was crazy for tearing up during the opening scene. She was kind of fixated on Buffy’s inability to make a 911 call. It reminded me of the “Hush” episode where the town lost its ability to talk. Silence can be creepy. I was also reminded of this when watching Angel and they started playing “triumphant” music when he drove the truck into the house. Sometimes silence can be a lot more effective. I was also glad to see some of Dawn’s life at school. She’s of High School Age, right? So they rebuilt the High School.

And while we’re at it, lets ban laugh tracks. The Simpson’s and Malcolm in the Middle don’t seem to need them.

What, pray tell, was the:

When last week’s episode ended, and we saw what this week’s was about, I told Leigh-Anne, “This had better be a really good episode.” I didn’t like Joss Whedon playing the old, “Main character gets a horrible disease–but now she’s all cured and better – but now she’s dead!” card. It’s manipulative and hackneyed and below what Buffy is capable of.

Well, this was a damned good episode. I too noticed the different staging and camera work. After the first segment, and Buffy’s quickly imagined “What if?” inserts, I said, “Somebody’s been watching P.T. Anderson movies–those camera moves were straight out of Magnolia.” But it wasn’t derivative–it worked perfectly. And the framing of Anya riding with Xander, staring out the car window, all alone . . . ouch. Beautiful.

Having each segment take place in a single setting worked very well also. There wasn’t a single thing that struck me as contrived or silly. One gets the feeling that Whedon was either writing from experience, or is a better writer than could be expected.

Also noteworthy: Aside from the opening credits, there was no music in that episode. No spot sources, no incidental music, nothing. That was, quite possibly, an episode of the kind of quality that Buffy might never achieve again. If it was an episode of one of David Kelley’s shows, it would be swimming in Emmy nominations next year. We’ll see, I guess.


You couldn’t be more wrong. BtVS has never been better than it’s been this season.

Since we didn’t quite see Dawn touch Joyce, I’m wondering if something’s going to happen when she does. Not that Joyce will suddenly come back to life through the power of the Key or anything like that…that would cheapen and betray this episode…but maybe something will happen.

I also loved the no-music thing. With this episode and last season’s “Hush,” Joss and co. have demonstrated they can do wonderful things with silence.

Bombi’s Mom … Waaaughg. Slappy Squirrel Reference.

I loved this episode. One of the best. But I’m going to start off with the few things I didn’t like.

  1. The EMTs leaving Buffy alone with the body. A little thing I know, but I knew it wasn’t right and to have something so wrong happen so early in the show just slowed down my ability to get into it.

  2. The kiss. (preparing for andygirl’s wrath) Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they did it. But it should have been done in an earlier episode. Doing it for the first time here took me out of the moment. Instead of watching two people comfort each other during a time of grief, I’m thinking “Well, they finally got it past the censors”. Damn WB.

  3. Vamp fight in the morgue.

Otherwise a damn fine show. It’s nice to see a turn into the real life kind of horror. The kind that can’t be beaten with punches and spells. And when a major character like Joyce dies, I’m glad when they get a tearful sendoff like this. It seems appropriate.

I’ve done a little reading on the Buffy newsgroup and some people are complaining that Joss was obviously trying for an Emmy here. I say “Good”. As far as I’m concerned, writers should be shooting for Emmy material all the time. They should constantly be trying to do the best they can. I don’t understand why people accept mediocrity and then complain when someone tries to do better.

And, yes Anya’s speech got to me too. Does anyone have a transcript of it?

I have been a fan of BtVS since the beginning, and never has the show moved me to tears like last night’s episode did. It was the most powerful hour of television I have ever watched for all of the reasons mentioned by the other posters. Right after Anya’s breakdown, my mom called! I was so choked up by that point I told her I couldn’t talk, then after the show was over and I felt more composed, I called her back and told her I loved her. Crap, I’m crying as I type this!

I thought Anya’s breakdown was one of the most incredible moments in last night’s episode. I couldn’t stop crying after I saw it. Willow’s despair at not being able to find the blue sweater really got to me, too.

I had the same reaction when they showed that at the end of last week’s episode. We’ve seen Buffy handle every demon that she’s ever encountered; seeing such a strong character reduced to a child just made it that much more emotional.

Definitely one of the best episodes ever.

I’m watching it again because I kept getting interrupted by phone calls last night. It was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time - I’m really glad they left Spike and Glory completely out of it.

I did just confirm a screw-up that I thought I heard last night - in the christmas dinner flashback when Anya says she wants to barf too, Joyce says “that’s sweet Emma.”

Just to answer Latecomer’s question, “An Ocurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” is a short story by Ambrose Bierce about a Civil War soldier who is at the point of being hanged on the eponymous bridge when the rope breaks and he gets away. The end of the story has him back on the bridge, dead at the end of the rope. The whole escape fantasy was just a hallucination at the point of death.

In last night’s episode, we see Joyce revive, get carried to the hospital and then thank Buffy for saving her,but then we are jerked back to the living room and we realize that the previous happy recovery was just Buffy’s desperate hope that Joyce isn’t really dead.

I was amazed at the direction. The tracking shot of the pathologist finishing Joyce’s autopsy, then walking down the corridor to the tearful Scoobys was just masterful. Joss Whedon had better have an armful of Emmys for this episode!

http://www.mustreadtv.com/buffyscripts/ Has Buffy shooting scripts and http://www.psyche.kn-bremen.de/buffy.html has the Buffy transcripts. Personally, I hate crying so I skipped this episode. I’m still heartbroken that Joyce is dead.