Sunday, May 13, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Dark Age

After getting a little taste of Ripper back in Halloween, this episode is Giles back story heaven.

Giles = Badass

Ethan Rayne is back in Sunnydale, only this time he's actually not there just to wreak havoc...he's on personal business.  The demon that he, Giles, and some of their other friends used to let possess them for fun is looking for a little vengeance, and is slowing killing its way through his old gang.  Giles needs to get help from Buffy to defeat it, but in doing so he will need to reveal his dark past to the Scoobies.

Things I Like:

Willow's outburst at Xander and Cordelia when they would rather bicker than do research.  "If you two aren't behind me 110%, then get the hell out of my library!"  You tell them.

I enjoy the fact that Giles was a rebellious teenager and raised a little hell (literally) back in his day.  The way Buffy and the gang view Giles is how pretty much all teenagers view adults, and it's cool that we get to see glimpses of what Giles was like before he became a responsible high school librarian.  Also, Giles is kind of sexy when he's being all tough with Ethan Rayne.

Tony Head is brill in this episode.  I love the many facets he brings to the character of Giles, especially when he hits rock bottom and is all pathetic and drunk and unshaven.  Just want to give him a hug.  And when Jenny rejects him after her experience with possession, he just looks so heartbroken.  Well done, sir.

Things I Don't Like:

I'm not the hugest fan of the demon, especially once it possesses Jenny and uses that stupid voice.  For me it's one of those moments where if someone else was watching it with me, they would think Buffy was totally cheesy.

I don't like how judgmental Buffy is towards Giles.  Yeah, he did some bad stuff when he was a kid, but I think she goes a little over the top with it.  I know that she overreacts because he has disappointed her by not living up to her idea of what he is like, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

So Buffy's saving up her allowance that she was going to spend on shoes so that she can afford an outrageously expensive tattoo removal procedure.  Exactly how much money does Joyce give her for an allowance, anyway?


This isn't one my favorite episodes, mostly just because of the demon and how harsh everyone is to Giles.  But it's hard to deny that it's an incredibly important episode.  I've always felt that one of Whedon's greatest strengths is how he develops characters, and Giles is a prime example of this.  You know how on some shows, you can watch the first season and then watch the fourth or fifth season, and most of the characters seem exactly the same?  I've always loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer because it's never like that, the characters are constantly evolving and the things that have happened to them in past influence their actions.  And we're always learning new things about them.  In a lot of shows, the character of Giles would never have been as nuanced and vibrant as it is here, and I give them credit for that.  Yay character development!

6 Stakes Out of 10

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