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Monday, January 23, 2006

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 2
I was kind of sick Saturday, so I stayed in that night and just watched some old Buffy episodes on DVD. Picked out my favorite scenes and rewatched them.

* Giles using a chair to practice asking Miss Calendar out
* Anything with Miss Calendar, for that matter
* Buffy fighting Angel to the death only for him to regain his soul, but late enough that she still has to run him through with the sword and send him to hell in order to save the world. (I watched that one two or three times)
* Angel visiting Spike and Druscilla after losing his soul
* Buffy destroying the Judge with a grenade launcher
* Xander telling Cordelia "Wear something trashy...er"
* Buffy walking into class and *slamming* Miss Calendar on her desk demanding information after realizing that she knew more than she was letting on
* Buffy telling Miss Calendar, "I know you feel bad about what happened and I just wanted to say... Good. Keep it up."

Great season. I always go back and forth between Season 2 and 3 as the best. Here's how I think it breaks down:

Season 2
* The best episodes were better than the best of Season 3.
* Angel turning evil made for better trauma for Buffy to go through.
* You could almost picture the writers asking "What can we do to make Buffy's life hell this week?"

Season 3
* Best. Villian. Ever. The Mayor was just great. His fatherliness towards Faith, his good advice to Angel and Buffy on the future of their relationship. Other than the psychopath thing, he's a decent guy. He showed genuine anguish when describing watching his wife die. Other than the fact he's a bloodthirsty killer ready to sacrifice all the residents of Sunnydale in order to become a full demon, you kind of have to like the guy.
* The episodes were of a more consistent quality. The peaks weren't as high as the peaks of Season 2, but neither were the valleys as low.

Either way, those two years have to be among the best TV ever made.

One question did occur to me while watching the end of Season 2: Buffy was able to run the innocent, soul-restored, love of her life Angel through with a sword, casting him into an unspeakable hell dimension, but at the end of Season 5, she refused to kill the morally culpable Ben in order to save all people in all dimensions from being in one big hell dimension?

Omygosh, another Catholic Buffy lover. Hello, Paul! Thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I'll do the same.

I agree with you about Seasons 2 and 3. Season 2 has two episodies I never tire of watching - Passion and I Only Have Eyes for You. Passion is an obvious choice, I think, and makes many folks' Best Episodes lists. What brackets a brilliant set of scenes is the voiceover by Angel, which to my knowledge never occurred again on BTVS. The champagne, roses, and La Boehme that Angel set up at Giles' house made little sense from a timing POV. But it was a beautiful piece of drama. Angel lurking and watching as Buffy and Willow get the news of Jenny's death is just chilling. The whole episode is a good depiction of damnation, how the unique person God created still exists with identifiable features, like evil Angel's passion for Buffy.

My second choice is not so obvious, but I do love I Only Have Eyes for You. The episode works seamlessly on two levels, just like with the Buffy musical. In both episodes, we get a good standalone story that serendipitously advances the larger story arc and gives us unwitting character revelations. I find IOHEFY to be the single most moving episode on Buffy. I am moved by the torment of the ghost lovers, and the torment of Buffy and Angel as they are forced to recreate the tragedy of the past. I can just imagine the writer's joy of creation when he finished the deft dialogue at the climax, where the words put into Buffy's and Angel's mouths tell not just the story of the past lovers' tragedy, but their tragedy in the present.

And yes... the Mayor indeed was the Best. Villain. Ever. I loved him and wished he'd had a better ending than being blown up as a giant snake. Why would he even consider that an Ascension, is what I want to know? No mouth, no hands, no humanity, just giant snakiness and power. Ugh.

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