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Buffy Season 5 Watch-through With My Niece

Discussion in 'Sunnydale Cemetery' started by thetopher, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    And we're back. :)
    Before we begin it suddenly occurred to me that this season is the one I haven't watched all the way through in ages. There are episodes that I tend to skip and so haven't seen in years, such as 'Shadow', 'Listening To Fear', 'Triangle', 'IWMTLY', 'Forever' and 'Tough Love'. So I might gain a lot more insight about S5 during my watching with my niece than usual. (Here's hoping)
    Seasons 2, 3, 4 and 6 are the ones I've watched through the most on VHS and then later on DVD, so there are usually fewer surprises and more preconceptions about things. Here, I have an open mind and maybe more fluid opinions.
    My niece. as always, is seeing this stuff for the first time. Will she like Dawn? What about Glory and her crusty minions? Man-nurse Ben? What will she think about Briley going off the rails? Spike going all googly eyed over Buffy? Joyce..?
    Here goes...

    Buffy vs. Dracula
    Well that's a simple and to the point title, right? ;)
    Actually no, but I'll come back to that.
    Basically I like this episode quite a bit. A lot of it is the actors slowly feeling their way back in to their characters. There's a lot of fun to be had as the Scoobies react to the arrival of the famous vampire in town and it was nice to see the whole group acted so cohesively straight out of the gate. Although there are signs of trouble on the horizon. Riley's jealousy and insecurity for one, and also Giles realizations that his own future may lie away from Buffy.
    Still, a lot of the scenes are nicely realized. The gang relaxing on the beach, Buffy's first meeting with Dracula (and especially Xander's mockery of him), Buffy's second and third encounters (heh) and the conversation between Giles and Buffy at the end- her confession to him about going out every night-hunting- ever since the spell at the end of S4- and how what Dracula said made her face up to some realizations about herself.

    And that's why I like this episode- forget about Dracula because he doesn't really matter, he's just there. (How can he do all that shapechanging/mind control stuff? Magic, that's how! Will Buffy manage to slay him? Yeah whatever, she stakes him but he just comes back? How come he can feed on a victim without going all vamp-face? He just can.) The point is just to use Dracula (through his actions but mainly his words) to re-emphasise Buffy and her slayerness, to foreshadow not only this coming season, but the next three. 'Your power is rooted in darkness', 'Alone, always alone.', etc.
    Buffy finding out more about slaying (Season 5 and 7) , Buffy finding out about her own darkness (hinted at in S3 but explored in S6) and Buffy afraid that she will forever be alone and cut-off because of who she is. This is Buffy the adult, and her story is just beginning.
    Oh, and Buffy's sister Dawn shows up....wait a sec. o_O

    Eh, my niece thought it was okay. She is a big Dracula fan and so she was really pumped by the episode title and all the little nods to the source material (such as the storm fortelling Dracula's arrival) throughout. But barring their first encounter and reactions I think she was pretty let down by the whole thing. She didn't rate Dracula (valid imo, but I think he's okay. I've certainly seen worse) and thought it was over too fast. She thought the vampire would've given Buffy more trouble.

    A lot of other scenes she enjoyed, away from the main plot (although there was one she hated..) and liked seeing the whole gang working together. She also thought Buffy herself looked great, so there was some common ground after all...:D

    Other stuff:
    Liked: The gang on the beach- Buffy and Riley happily goofing around, the Scoobies commentary, Willow casually firing up the barbecue...
    Disliked: The very idea of Giles leaving. 'Hug him Willow, hug him and stop him from going.' [Her words! :)]
    Liked: Willow: 'I myself can't get through the day without a little hairy eyeball.'
    Liked: Joyce appearing, mother-daughter bonding. Although she did notice Buffy's eagerness to go out and slay stuff. Especially after the whole 'it's a total drag'.
    Loved: Buffy's reaction to Dracula. 'Get out!' :D Plus her reaction to being told she's famous the world over. So cute.
    Also Buffy's 'Okay, that's cheating!' when Drac turns to mist.
    Loved: 'Where'd you pick up that accent, Sesame Street? One, two, three. Three victims! Mwahahaha!'
    Liked: The group-talk about Dracula. the jealousy (from Riley and a lil' from Tara) and the 'oh he was so impressive' gushing. Fun all-round.
    Liked: Buffy/Riley cutseyness as she asks him to 'stay' a while with her. But instead he goes off to find Spike, the fool!

    Disliked: Anya reministing about Dracula and her demon-days. 'Isn't she supposed to be good now?' Yep.
    Liked: Dracula to Xander 'You are strange and off-putting. Go now.'
    Hated: Riley/Spike. Not so much the first part of the convsersation- she liked the fact that Spike and Dracula are 'old rivals' (yeah right) and that vampires in general wouldn't like Dracula that much. She did hate Riley threatening to stake a still-helpless Spike, even though he was providing infomation (in his Spike-way) and being more or less helpful. 'Riley didn't even pay him.' my niece said.

    Eek: Dracula biting Buffy! ...But she's okay.
    Although my niece did enjoy the reference back to Angel biting Buffy in S3, the pleasure of it that she still remembers, its forbidden nature, and so forth. :D
    Disliked: Xander's ott impression of Renfield. Okay to begin with but she thought it began to grate the longer it went on. Although she did like the 'Dark Master. Bater.' 'Unholy Prince. Bater' joke, not the bug-eating.
    Disliked: Riley being jealous that a vampire mind controlled his girlfriend. :mad: This pissed her off no end.
    Liked: The change in plan to do what Buffy said they should do the night before- scout out Dracula and then confront him
    Liked: Giles and Riley spotting a 'great honking castle' in the middle of Sunnydale.
    Liked: Xander locking Anya in a closet. Hee.
    Gross: Buffy feeding on Dracula. Although she thought him echoing the words of dream-Tara was really interesting, which is why she found his easy defeat so surprising.
    Disliked: Riley laying out Xander in one punch. 'That was mean.'
    Liked: Buffy punching Dracula, plus 'I really think the thrall has gone out of our relationship.'
    Meh: Buffy and Dracula's fight.
    Loved: Giles vs. *cough* the Three. His reaction to being rescued. 'No more chick-pit for you.' Riley wondering if Giles was going to 'nuzzle them to death.' All of it. :D

    Loved: Xander's angry 'butt monkey' speech.
    Liked: Buffy staking Dracula, the second time.
    Liked: The Buffy/Giles conversation at the end. The return of the watcher/slayer dynamic. Giles not leaving. Whoot! :)
    Loved: Buffy in general. Her hair, her confident 'tude, (at least to begin with when slaying- very Faith-like. She didn't care for thrall Buffy), her pants (both the red and pink), her fighty-ness, etc. Basically everything.

    Huh? Buffy and Dawn both saying 'Mom!!' :confused: (my niece bugged me for about half an hour about this afterwards.)

    Next week: we find out some stuff about Buffy's newest little sister. With extra Harmony.
     
  2. Smile Time

    Smile Time Fuffy Apologist

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    Sineya
    When Spike is busy stalking Buffy during the season, send some anti Spike vibes ;)
    (I love Spike, but him fixating on Buffy is just creepy...)
     
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  3. GwenRaiden

    GwenRaiden AKA Apology Girl

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    Black Thorn
    C'mon, did you explain it? Did you give into teenage peer pressure? (You can tell us)..

    Yay! I've missed these threads!!

    Kind of reminds me of the first time I watched BtVS (and Angel) as a young'in.
     
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  4. vellavu

    vellavu Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    IMO only "Listening To Fear" sucks. The rest are far above the OK level. The Tillow argument in "Tough Love" is indeed sudden but Tara's insecurity has to be addressed somewhere somehow. And "Triangle" is really brilliant.
     
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  5. sosa lola

    sosa lola Scooby

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    I personally enjoy watching the skippable episodes. It's like watching a brand new episode and all the little things you notice in them.
     
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  6. VisionBoy

    VisionBoy Scooby

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    Sineya
    I've been looking forward to these. I enjoyed reading your season 4 posts, but as 5 and 3 are my favourites, I was waiting for these to start. :p

    You and your niece pretty much echoed all my feelings on 5x01. It's the character stuff happening around the Dark Prince campiness that sells the episode for me.
    Very interested to see how your niece reacts to Dawn as the season progresses and the situation with Riley.
     
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  7. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    I can't really. For me this is Spike's best season. His journey- although both creepy and pitiful at times- is really well done. Hits all the right notes and is entirely believable to me. 'Fool For Love' is one of the best episodes EVER (my top twenty at least) and I'm not gonna spoil my niece's reaction.
    I am interested to see what she thinks of them kissing. For or against Spuffy? Hmn...*considers bad vibes plan*

    Nope. :D
    I said 'Yeah, y'know. Dawn? Buffy's sister. You remember her. Maybe she'd been staying with their Dad while. I dunno.' and just shrugged. Drove her nuts!
    She was like 'Whaaa...?' :p

    Glad you're enjoying this. Fun for me too. :)

    I don't skip them because I think their bad episodes exactly, usually there are other, pettier reasons. Like not liking the bad CGI snake or the return of the Initiative or Buffy's comedy crying (or, in fact, the whole Joyce getting ill which hits uncomfortably close to home...), so I skip the entire episode in case I get fatigued by the whole thing or whatever.
    Not this time, so I might be surprised by the episodes themselves. :)

    I always found S5 so fresh and confident in contrast to S4's college stumbling. It just felt vibrant. The gang are together at the start- everyone's happily paired up- and they face a few monsters, move base over to the magic shop and then Boom! big bad shows up.
    There are a couple of problems with S5- as I remember- but the start really had that 'we know what story we want to tell' feeling right out of the gate.
    But I understand not liking Drac's performance.

    Oh, and thanks for the enthusiasm. Always welcome. :)

    Well Riley got off to a shakey start that's for sure. She didn't like a couple of scenes he was in.
    I was a bit more sympathetic to him myself. It's about time somebody told Spike that maybe 'poor mr. helpless monster' shouldn't mouth off like that if they want to stay out of the dustpan!
    Plus his insecurity over Buffy/vampires is a hangover from the end of S4. Very in-character.
     
    bespangeled: I don't comment often but I've been enjoying this. My granddaughter and I talked about a lot of stuff we never would have talked about.
  8. vellavu

    vellavu Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    She must be so self-disciplined that she could control the urge of looking for spoilers all the time, 'coz they are everywhere.
     
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  9. nancylives

    nancylives Townie

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    this is another element where i sometimes marvel at how far ahead joss and the writers of this show were able to plan. spike's arc in season 5 is great, and it fits perfectly with where he goes in season 6 and 7. yes, he's totally creepy in his infatuation of buffy, but he doesn't know any better, he has no soul for goodness sake. but season 5 leads organically into the events of season 6 & 7, culminating in his redemption with buffy in touched. it's perfect. spike aint a saint, but he has an opportunity--like all characters on this show--to keep changing, evolving and progressing.
     
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  10. The Bronze

    The Bronze GraceZ

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    Black Thorn
    I'm so jealous of someone seeing Season 5 for the first time. The Dawn mystery is really engaging. I think you get a better feel for the season once you watch again after the reveal but you can't beat the excitement of not knowing.

    This has pretty much the hardest episode of the series to watch in it. Are you making any kind of plan for it or just treating it as normal and see how she reacts?
     
  11. Fuffy Baith

    Fuffy Baith 2017 (and 2016) Cutest BB member

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    Sineya
    Yay! We're on to s5 now! Not my favorite season (actually might be my least favorite) but it does have some really great episodes and I agree it really feels like they had the story all planned out for the season. I just don't really care for some of the story.
    I really like BvD, but I didn't like Dracula himself. I just found him very boring and stupid.

    That's a good question? I mean doesn't Angel and Spike drink blood out of cups in non vamp face, but to drink straight from a person, they need their fangs, which is only in vamp face right?

    Yea I think the bug eating thing wsa a it too much.

    Haha. I actually like that. It's like when "angelus" punched Xander in Enemies.

    I love Giles and the dracy babes! lol

    She really does! Her hair this season is amazing!
     
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  12. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    My niece has a love/hate thing going on with spoilers. She wants to know (now!!) but she also wants the full experience with me, so she goes and does something else immediately until the 'craving' has passed. This season will be hard because of all the episodic cliff-hangers, like with Dawn just showing up like that.

    Luckily she's avioded spoilers so far- but she does know about the comics books (but she thinks they're all set in Sunnydale during the shows runtime) and is waiting until the end of the series to buy and read them.

    I agree. It's clear that post S5 the writers had the next couple of seasons of development planned out for Spike- failed chip-removal- obsession- crush- love- mourning- right on into S6 and how that all panned out.

    You meant 'Into The Woods' right? With the chopper leaving and Buffy's shouting for attention after running flat out and if only Riley would look down *sniff*...;)

    But 'The Body' is just- its like no other Buffy episode ever. It's so very hard to watch. I'm tempted to go from the one before (the funny about the robot) straight into it, but I'm not sure. Have to think about that.

    We will be watching the end run- 'Spiral', 'Weight Of The World' and 'The Gift'- all in one go. Same with the Pylea thing over on Angel.

    Yeah, @Mr. Pole made a good point in another thread about this being plaaned by Joss because it was the 'last' season of this network, so he just did what he wanted. It's a fairly intricate story that breaks the pattern of previous seasons (Glory is the Big Bad focus right on through to the finale- no Angelus/Faith/Adam switch mid-way).

    Maybe its part of his magic- glamours and such- to hide his true vamp face even in the midst of his seduction/feeding. It's revealed in the comics that he's all wrinkley in reality, but he 'transforms' himself into 'tall dark and lilty'.
    It's weird that he's really old, but doesn't have anything like the deformities that The Master or Kakistos had.

    Even her bed hair in amazing. That bit when Dracula comes into her room and thralls her...oh boy. :)
     
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  13. Fuffy Baith

    Fuffy Baith 2017 (and 2016) Cutest BB member

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    Sineya
    Well I think that mid-way switch is replaced with the reveal that Ben is Glory. But yea it's just one big bad the whole season. I just think that because of that, there's a lot of Glory does nothing, and thus is not that threatening to me. But I do like Clare Kramer as Glory.
     
    thetopher: Ben is Glory? ;)
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  14. GwenRaiden

    GwenRaiden AKA Apology Girl

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    Black Thorn
    WHAT?!
     
    Blaze: Don't listen to Fuffy, too many hits on the head, she can't even tell apart Ben and Glory
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  15. Allie

    Allie Helping the Helpless

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    Sineya
    So you are saying that Ben and Glory are connected some way? But how? lol
     
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  16. vellavu

    vellavu Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    I guess there will be many times that watching a two-episode partner is better than watching one episode from each series. Like:

    IWMTLY/The Body
    The Trial/Reunion
    Reprise/Epiphany
    He's not old at all. Vlad III died/turned in 1476 to 1477. He's just a 500-year-old or so vampire, that's only 132/133 years older than Darla.

    His wrinkle appearance came from his human shape before his dying, which happened when he was 45 or 46. In the 15th century it was normal that humans looked much older than modern ones.
    --- Double Post Merged, Jan 15, 2016 ---
    No! Without the actual spider eating we won't have the priceless "spider eating man-bitch" rant.:D
     
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  17. cryptwarmer

    cryptwarmer I'm in charge of morale!

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    Black Thorn
    I always thought it was funny...ha ha funny...that Drac traveled with his own dirt. And his "parlor tricks". And his reforming after being dusted and Buffy saying "I'm right here."

    But I didn't care for Drac himself...looked like a Johhy Depp wannabe.

    Loved Giles and the three babes.

    Xander eating bugs was too icky for me to be funny.

    I understand why Riley would be upset, but he is either going to have to deal with the realities of Buffy's calling or hit the road..oh wait! Truth is he can't handle the heat and her fascination with vamps is one of them, thrall or no. Easy from my chair to say "Riley, don't take it out on Buffy." but if it was my significant other not sure if I'd be able to hold my own insecurity issues in either.

    I always wonder when Spike says things like Drac owing him money etc, if it's actually true or just more swagger Spike cooks up. Either way, it's funny.
     
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  18. thetopher

    thetopher Member of the Church Of Faith

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    Sineya
    Maybe its because Vlad was a well-know nationalist and patriot in his mortal days, and so likes to travel buried in 'the land of his people'. Also it turns out he's kind of a racist in the comics. Maybe he doesn't like the idea of 'foreign soil'. Heh.

    So far Riley hasn't been that bad this season. As I remember he quickly gets insurrerable from 'Out Of My Mind' onwards...


    I think its more a hangover from S4 and Buffy making such a big deal about Angel, turning it into this massive secret of such great importance. That lack of commincation was damaging I think.
    Then Dracula shows up with mind-control (unless Xander's got a secret thing for vampires as well...) and Riley makes certasin assumptions, and then Spike stirs the pot later on.

    Real Me

    Kind of an odd week this. Very contrasting episodes that are both very high quality.
    'Real me' is a great episode imo, not only do you have the central 'mystery' of who the hell is this character-Dawn- narrating everything is, but you have every other character re-introduced to you through her. Buffy the (cool!hot) all-temperature super-slayer, Giles the stuffy Watcher, Willow the big brain, Xander the funny slacker, etc.
    Add to that a simple, fun story- Harmony and her...gang try and take out Buffy, and the way the plot moves character along- Buffy's training and Giles buying up the Magic Box specifically, and this is just an all-round great, multi-faceted episode.
    Plus the dialogue sparkles in almost every single scene. Highlights for me were morning at the Summer's house (Dawn doing that sibling thing of taking the bowl, the cereal and the last of the milk. I've been there Buffy...), Buffy and Giles chatting in and about his new car and Spike's great scene with 'Big Bad' Harmony.
    Seriously just, go watch it. It's good. :)

    Honestly the most impressive thing amongst various impressive things in Michelle Trachtenburg's Dawn, who manages to the trick of being cute, bratty, annoying and sympathetic all at once. A neat trick, that. The Scooby life through her eyes makes everything seem shiny and new.
    I also like the fact that Buffy finds Dawn so annoying and I always took that to being two-fold. One, Buffy's an only child and, new memories notwithstanding, its gonna be jarring for her having to cope with someone who's 'always around'. Secondly, I always thought her 'slayer-ness' was at work, she's able to pick up- even subconsciously the wrongness of certain things (just like Buffy started questioning things in 'Superstar'), like having a new thing in her life. Everyone else accepts Dawn like she's always been there but Buffy's complaining is a result of that internal conflict within her.
    (This is kinda sad when it turns out that Dawn is entirely innocent and is in no way sinister)

    So, my niece. First big question: Did she like Dawn? Big Yes. ;)
    My niece was intrigued enough by the mystery set-up. Everyone thinks Dawn is real and has been there forever and we get to see her thought processes as she writes in her diary. She liked Dawn in general (although 'maybe she's evil like Tara is maybe evil?'- my niece thinks everyone is going to turn out evil! :eek::D) and very much enjoyed how she fitted into the gang- admiring Willow and Tara, crushing on Xander, and being a pest to Buffy and Giles. Oh, and disliked Anya- its good they have something in common.
    She was interested in Buffy's reactions specifically ('cause- favourite character!) and was thinking about how a brand new sibling would affect Buffy's world view- i.e her being a bit mean to the 'new' person in her life. My niece sort of thought of the whole Buffy/Faith situation and about how they were like sisters (in her opinion) and how that might echo this in some ways.
    She even liked Harmony showing up, because she was hilariously incompotent and stupid. My niece's favourtie exchange was 'So, Slayer, at last we meet.' 'We've met, Harmony, you halfwit!' :D

    Other things of liking:
    Liked: Buffy's 'cool, mystical super-focused!' training ritual being interrupted by an impatient Dawn.
    Liked: Dawn's voice-over about how 'lame' slayers and also vampires are.
    Liked: 'I'm not a kid!' to Riley. I'm sure my niece had same this exact same thing in the past. She's also said 'I'm just a short adult.' in the past.
    Loved: Buffy and Giles in the car. Giles saying that Buffy should treat her with a bit more decourum now that he's her watcher again 'Do I have ta?' Plus 'Giles, are you breaking up with your car?' And Giles showing off his new car to Willow and Tara.
    Liked: Everyone's reactions to finding the deceased Magic Box owner. Buffy dragging a curious Dawn out of the store.
    Freaked: Crazy guy ranting at Dawn. She also found his 'You don't belong here' to be intriguing.
    Liked: The idea of Giles taking over the Magic Box. 'He needs to get out of his house more, along with everyone else.' That line was almost Buffyesque!
    Liked: The reveal that Harmony was the one targeting the slayer ('it was too soon for a Big Bad anyway.' My niece has the lingo down pat :)).
    Disliked: Joyce telling Buffy off for something that wasn't her fault.
    Loved: Dawn's eager reaction to the idea of Xander 'babysitting' her (Seriously, I don't think a 14 year old needs babysitting. They babysit).
    Liked: Dawn's bratty reaction to Anya. :D

    Liked: Willow comforting an insecure Tara. But she still thinks Tara is hiding something. And why does Tara want to get in close with the group anyway...
    Liked: Buffy's rant. Coming from a place that she wants (sometimes) to be the one that's taken care of by her Mom.
    Liked: Xander's suggestion of a bribe to Joyce. And even Anya's reaction to winning at 'Life.'
    Loved: The rock through the window that had Harmony's 'smiley face' threatening note. Xander's reaction to Harmony's 'gang'. The entire bit with Xander and Harmony, which was just childish bickering until Dawn makes a leetle mistake and Harmony attacks!

    Loved: Buffy's helpless laughter at the thought of Harmony having minions. Also Riley's 'she could be a threat to you.'

    Loved: Spike picking on Harmony's lame gang. Spike's amusement at Harmony's 'kill the slayeer' ambition, And their back-and-forth banter/flirting. Especially: 'You look good.' 'I feel good.' 'I remember.' Very smooth. :D
    Disliked: Buffy harshing on Dawn, even though the feelings came from wanting Dawn to be safe. :(
    Surprise: Dawn getting captured by the incompotents.

    Loved: Buffy effortlessly dusting 75% of Harmony's gang. Also Buffy's fight with Mort and her dusting him with a fun fair unicorn. Top slayer kill right there.
    Liked: Dawn being really brave. I mean, she was captured by a host of blood sucking fiends. Stop laughing, she was!

    Loved: 'How bored were you last year.' 'I watched Passions with Spike. Let us never speak of it.' :D
    Hmmn: Is Dawn evil? My niece thinks that she might be hiding from somebody and has gone to the slayer for protection...which is actually a pretty good guess. Or that Dawn has amnesia. Because Buffy is a daytime soap. :p

    Next week: One, two, three Xanders! Actually just two.
     
  19. vellavu

    vellavu Scooby

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    Black Thorn
    I think the writer was intentionally tricking us into believing that Dawn had an agenda with Dawn's monologue in the end of this episode:
    "She still thinks I'm Little Miss Nobody, just her dumb little sister. Boy, is she in for a surprise."

    Tara immediately stopped smiling and broke loose from Willow's hug when Willow mentioned "good guys". I think it's a very apparent foreshadowing just like Tara's sabotaging of the demon tracking spell.

    It's probably true. Considering:
    Dracula likes gambling and gambled with some Japanese vamps for a motorcycle.
     
    thetopher likes this.
  20. Mr Trick

    Mr Trick Scooby

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    Will comment on Buffy VS. Dracula another time as I will be watching it for another thread;) It does have its moments, but the weakness of Dracula is a big thing to get around.

    Agree with your thoughts on Dawn, and glad your niece liked her. I do think her introduction to the show was good, and the quality of MT performance was never in doubt. The VO during Real Me was very effective.

    This is one of my favourite seasons so looking forward to your thoughts.