Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Lie to Me

Buffy gets a blast from her past when an old friend turns up in Sunnydale.

Buffy's friend Ford from LA shows up out of the blue, announcing that he's transferring to Sunnydale.  He's a pretty famous guest star in for one episode, we've never heard the character mentioned before, so it's pretty safe to say that he's probably got some ulterior motives.

Yup.  Aside from being a giant classic horror movie nerd, he's hatching a plan to become a vampire.  That's normal.  It's interesting, though, because it plays into the cliche of how teenagers view themselves as immortal.  No seventeen-year-old ever really imagines himself dying, so when Ford is faced with his own mortality, it makes sense that he would try to evade it by any means necessary.  Unfortunately, his scheme comes with a pretty high body count, even by Sunnydale standards.

Things I Like:

Druscilla is so delightfully not right. "What will your mummy sing when they find your body?"  What little kid is not running for the hills when someone says that to them?

Jason Behr is going to Sunnydale High?!  I approve.  The only way it could have been any more awesome is if he was secretly an alien.  Do aliens exist in the Buffyverse?  I hope so.  I like to think that Roswell and Buffy exist in the same universe.

As much as this whole Teen Vamp Club is horrifying, cringe-worthy, and oh-so-very 90s, I have to give props to the girl who played Chanterelle.  She's sweet, wounded, and evokes a lot of sympathy in a very short amount of time.  It's very easy to dislike a minor character who's kind of dumb and makes bad decisions, but for some reason I just want to give Chanterelle a hug.

Also: I love the wannabe vampire who's dressed exactly like Angel.

Oh shit, Ford's got brain cancer?  Well, now my indignant righteousness just makes me look like an asshole. But seriously, I do appreciate the moral complexities in this episode.  With so many vampires and demons wandering around, it's a nice change of pace to be reminded that sometimes humans do bad things.  Not because they're evil, but because they're scared or lonely or feel like they're out of options.  That's why I love Giles' wonderfully glib speech at the end of the episode, when Buffy asks him to lie to her about whether this new, grown-up world of questionable morality ever gets any easier.

Things I Don't Like:

What in the wide world of sports would possess Jenny to think that a monster truck show would be a good idea for a date with Giles?  Seriously?

Some Awesome One-Liners:

"This is Ford.  My bestest friend of all my friends.  Geez, doesn't she know any fat guys?"  Xander, your insecurity is a thing to behold.

"A hundred years, hanging out, feeling guilty.  I really honed my brooding skills."  You do not exaggerate.  Also, I like Angel best when he's self-aware enough to admit that he is a serious brooder.

"The bird's dead, Dru.  You left it in a cage, and you didn't feed it, and now it's all dead."  I love Marsters' delivery of this line.  Is it bad that the poor dead bird affected me emotionally way more than half the people who die on this show?

The Verdict:

This one's kind of weird for me.  I love that Jason Behr is here, and I feel the chemistry between him and Sarah Michelle Gellar.  I definitely get the vibe that these two characters have known each other for a long time.  Gellar does this subtle thing where she acts a little bit different when Buffy is with Ford, which is realistic, because we all have slightly different ways of interacting with our old friends versus our new friends.

That said, there's something about this episode that I'm just not sold on.  I don't love the group of wannabe vampire kids, and I feel a disconnect when Ford turns out to be the bad guy.  This one's good, and I can't think of any objective reasons to mark it down, but it's never really been one of my favorites.

6 Stakes Out of 10

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