• Thank you for visiting Buffy-Boards. You obviously have exceptional taste. We just want you to know that:
    1. You really should register so you can chat with us!
    2. Twelve thousand people can't be wrong.
    3. Buffy-Boards loves you.
    4. See 1 through 3.
    Come on, register already!

Puppet Reviews - The Good, the Bad, and the Best

Puppet

Actual size.
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Messages
7,235
Age
32
Location
Denmark
Black Thorn
From my own dismal memory, I would say it has been at least five years - if not more - since I last saw Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I might have seen an episode here and there, but even that probably isn’t true. The closest I’ve come is watching @Torchwood Boy react videos on YouTube and joining Buffy Boards. That being said, I have watched it so much in the past that I don’t have memory issues; however I’ve gotten older and will undoubtedly see it through different eyes.

Let’s see how it goes.

We start where we should; with the pilot episode. I’ve decided to forgo the unaired pilot, as none of us actually count it as an episode, just a fun little fact to our show.

(Any knowledge, summaries and such are taken from IMDB, photographs/gifs from Google Search)

1.1. Welcome to the Hellmouth.

Written by Joss Wedon.

Directed by Charles Martin Smith (uncredited: Joss Whedon).

We open on a very nice shot of the high school at night, moving directly into establishing shots of the interior; the hallways, the library doors, and finally a classroom. This was a very nice choice by the director/editor. Next up, the boy-victim (literally named Boy in the script) and his soon-to-be killer, Darla. I have to say, the acting in this scene was… mediocre, and that’s me being generous. The boy - played by Carmine Giovinazzo - was wooden and trying too hard to come off as the bad guy, while the writing for Darla - you’ll never hear me say that Julie is a bad actress - was poor and cliche.

What wasn't cliche, obviously, was the twist no one saw coming back in ‘97; that Darla was the monster. More specifically, a vampire. The makeup job, by the way, was very good for its time, and even holds up rather well by today’s standards as well. Go makeup team!

I’m mostly going to gloss over the opening credits, as this isn’t my first watch and so I don’t have much to say, however I find it interesting that Nicholas Brendon is billed immediately after Sarah Michelle Gellar, instead of Alyson Hannigan.

The credits end and we’re treated to the first ever foreshadowing from Joss and his team; Buffy’s Slayer dream, which consists of plenty of images from future episodes. I caught Malcolm’s monster form, the demon from The Puppet Show, the vampire ‘army’ (which was either from The Harvest or Prophecy Girl) and, of course, the Master and his cave. It’s certainly a much more fun scene on a second watch.

Almost immediately we switch scenes again, heading to the high school - now in broad daylight - and a very nice music cue; it all feels very 90s, but then it’s supposed to. From the outfits, to the chatter, even to the way the camera captured it all. My poor heart was feeling very nostalgic in this moment, more than anywhere else in the episode.

We also get something that almost made me laugh out loud - a fun hat-trick, if you will; a baby-faced Buffy, complete with fat cheeks, a skateboarding Xander with his hair falling into his eyes, and a flat-chested Willow in her first of many atrocious outfits. Maybe that was part of my nostalgia?

Xander and Willow share a very nice talk as they walk towards the school doors, where they meet Jesse, the boy you allow yourself to forget almost immediately after he’s gone, because the show (and characters) forgot him. But try to forget him now:


As I watch Buffy listening to a very strange speech from Principal Flutie, I realize that already - in contrast to the opening scene - the main cast have proven very capable of acting their roles believable. That includes Ken Lerner as the ‘touchy-feely’ leader of the high school. We also get a very nice and iconic line from Buffy. “It was full of vampir…asbestos.”

Buffy moves out into the hallway, almost immediately knocked into by a female student, who proceeds to laugh it off and leave, not even offering to help the blonde pick up the things that were spilled out of her bag; rude, much? Children those days, I swear…

“Can I have you?” Xander, ever the ‘gentleman’, crouches down to help Buffy with her things, but it does not get off to a great start (or end) for the awkward, inexperienced boy. He is so adorable with those bangs, though, so I forgive him pretty easily. What I don't forgive is Buffy’s bad hairstyle, though admittedly the barrette is very cute.


Next up; The Black Death. Buffy is in History class and doesn’t have a book to keep up with the others, so a brunette girl sitting beside her offers her to peek over her shoulder. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Maybe not on your first watch. Why is Cordelia being nice to a stranger? Sure, she’s heard rumors of the interesting girl from the big city, but if the girl we meet later knows that Buffy was kicked out of Hemery, surely the Queen C of Sunnydale High would know as well? Unfortunately, I came to learn that this episode has a lot of glaring errors, there just for the sake of exposition.

Cordelia was needed to get Buffy, a new student, to the library to meet Giles - with a detour to meet Willow - and it didn’t matter to the writers that it was completely out of character for the rich mean girl. Fine, I’ll swallow it…this once.

Side note: Charisma looks beyond gorgeous in her first scene and I’m loving those green pants.


As the two girls move through the halls, we have one of the most dated conversations of the whole show - I’m guessing - in order to test Buffy’s coolness factor. This is our cross to bear in a show that predates all teenagers. I will commend Charisma on her acting, though, she switches from nice to Buffy to mean to Willow and back quite effortlessly and that can’t be an easy thing.

The girls say ‘see ya later’ and Buffy enters the library; cue some very nice orchestral music - courtesy of Walter Murphy - that sets up the stage very nicely. Mr. Giles enters the scene and immediately Anthony Stewart Head impresses as the strongest actor on the show. With just a few lines, we’re suspicious, we’re charmed, and we’re sure he’s a very awkward person not used to dealing with teenage girls.

This is also the moment I notice just how many layers of make up Sarah is caked in; makeup team, you failed on this one, shame on you!

We take a moment to appreciate this dated but hilarious exchange; “Neg.” “Pos.” “Negly.”

(Who names their child Aphrodisia, anyway?)

My notes have a question on them; why is Willow eating outside? I don’t know why I got stuck on this, maybe because of later scenes in the cafeteria? Xander and Jesse find her there easily, so it doesn’t appear to be out of character for her, but still… just seems weird.

Willow mentions the rumors of where Mr. Giles used to work; a cover concocted by the Council, perhaps?

Buffy returns to the library after checking out the body in the locker room, and I realize something. From the vantage point of where Giles is first standing when she enters, he can see Xander. Yet he just forgets that there is a student there when he starts discussing Buffy’s secret identity with her. Second example of bad writing for the sake of exposition. *sigh*

The dialogue itself is also very exposition heavy, in hindsight we know it’s for the sake of Xander; very annoying. On the other hand, however, the Buffy/Giles scene and chemistry is there from the beginning and is one of the best parts of the episode.

Side note: Mr. Giles mentions succubi and incubi, one of the few monsters we never had on the show. I wonder why that is, could have made a nice story in either the third or sixth season, if you ask me.

Also, the lighting in the library is very nice, especially in the last minute of the scene.

As the librarian follows the new student out into the busy hallway - really? - we get our first instance of a really bad mic-job on ASH and SMG, tinny voices that grate on the viewer. However, once again it’s somewhat saved by a nice segue to the Master’s cave below the earth.

We hear Luke speaking for almost a full thirty seconds before we first lay eyes on him - nice touch, Mr. Director/Writer - but the scene feels a bit too short and should have probably been combined with the later one, or shown earlier in the episode. But that’s just me, though.

Buffy is getting ready for the Bronze and we get another atrocious scene and dialogue; Buffy would never own a black, shiny cat-suit, nor an outfit for a middle-aged church lady. Those outfits are there only to give us a funny line and segue into Joyce entering the room. Also, there is no way Joyce would allow her sixteen year old daughter to own something as racy as the first outfit, I’m not buying it.

Moving on to, quite possibly, my biggest annoyance with this episode; the Angel retcon. In S2 flashbacks, we note that Angel was brought to see Buffy when she was newly Chosen, he also followed her from afar at least once, watching her through the window of her LA home. And yet in this episode we get this line. “I thought you’d be taller.” Huh?

This Angel also had a very different personality from who he is later, like, say, the episode Angel? Some have tried to argue that the reason is that Angel is putting up a strong front, not wanting to show weakness. I call it bad writing, or at least non-consistent writing for later in the show. This irritates me because I’d actually have liked to see more of this Angel, instead of the brooding, melodramatic version we got after the retcon.

The acting is also mediocre and Angel’s outfit is… what were they thinking in the wardrobe department?


He does get a very nice final line, though. “I didn’t say I was yours.”

Buffy and the camera move into the Bronze and we get some really bad dubbing/lip-syncing from the band onstage, but we ignore it - wish it away, wish it away - and instead get a nice scene with Buffy waving to a stranger, thinking he was first waving at her. It’s a very realistic view of what it can be like to be the new person in a place of strangers and SMG did a good job coming off as awkward as she put her hand in her hair.

She finds Willow at the bar - and the wardrobe department have put the beautiful Alyson Hannigan in another atrocious outfit, possibly worse than the first - and Buffy shines under the fluorescent light as she has much better hair than in her daylight, high school scenes.


Another show of ignoring character for the sake of exposition follows; after one short conversation with a near stranger, painfully shy Willow - who admits her inability to even speak with a boy - goes off to ‘seize the day’ and finds herself chatting up a cute boy with a smile on her face. Yeah, cause that's believable. Right.

In contrast to that, Buffy and Giles share another great moment on the balcony, with ASH once again shining in his delivery of Giles’ lines. Prancing clown hair, interesting imagery…

We take a moment to appreciate Cordelia’s outfit…and then we move on.


We take a moment to appreciate Buffy casually breaking that chair leg…and then we move on.

Cordelia has a cell! There’s a cell in the pilot! Ha, take that, everyone who says it’s terribly dated!

Side note: Darla gets to have two nice reveals in the same episode, not bad for a character that was admittedly very minor in the first season. But again, the acting is mediocre, and I again place the blame for that at the feet of the writer. *cough* Joss *cough*

We return to the underground cave/sunken church and get some abysmal special effects when the Master rises from a pool of blood, followed by really great makeup job on both Luke and the Master. So, you could say it evens itself out fairly nicely, right? I’d say the makeup jobs, so far, have aged surprisingly well.

We then get a very weird, choppy editing job, where the scene cuts to black as Luke kisses the Master’s hand… only to cut right back in to that same scene. Obviously it was a commercial break… but it really shouldn’t be that obvious on the dvd release. And I had such faith in the editor before this, too…

Don’t even get me started on the sound effects when the Master reaches out to touch the invisible border. It sounds like pulling rubber and it made me laugh, which I don’t think was the point of the shot.

I will, however, leave this scene with one positive note; Mark Metcalf’s acting was much better than I remembered.

And then we move on to the terrible acting from Willow’s vampire date - portrayed by J. Patrick Lawlor - made only slightly more tolerable by Alyson’s great job in giving us the redheaded computer nerd we’d all come to adore very quickly as the show progressed.

Once again I’m hit with the heavy anvil of exposition, though; Willow goes off with him alone. Again, after just one ‘seize the moment’ talk with a near stranger, who had been hanging with Cordelia and, for all she knew, was being mean on the sly. She agrees to head off with this dude she doesn’t know, in the dark, enters a cemetery…how does this fit season one Willow, in any way?

Buffy wants Xander to tell her where Willow might go and we get our first weak acting from Nicholas, though again it could be blamed on the writing, it was a particularly lame line. I’ve already forgotten it, but something about Willow ‘scoring at the Bronze’. Ugh, we all know you can do better than that, writers!

We’re now in the mausoleum and I find the only two cheesy moments in the episode that I didn't enjoy; Darla says, “You’re not going anywhere, until we’ve fed.” And then vamps out on the last word. Super cheesy and had me shaking my head in shame. The same can be said for the following ‘speech’ from Buffy before the fight begins, but at least that has a bit more charm than the previous moment. Unfortunately, not enough to save it, for me.

Angel is not the only one to get the retcon treatment, though at least I’m grateful they did it with Darla. This version is practically shaking in the presence of a strong girl - seemingly with no clue that she’s a Slayer - and she’s just a bit too quick in bowing to what Luke says and what Luke wants. So glad she becomes a much stronger female character later on, I don’t know what Joss was thinking with this one, especially when he claimed to be a feminist.

We get another bit of cheese, but as I mentioned, I like the rest of the cheese. I particularly enjoy this line - and the delivery - from Luke. “You’re strong.” He slaps her with an open palm. “I’m stronger.”

Unfortunately a following scene has Luke crushing a very obvious prop stake in his hand and we’re reminded, once again, that this show is two decades old.

We finish off the episode with a nice sound effect, as Luke throws Buffy hard onto the corner of the stone coffin and we wince in response; because it sounds like it hurt. A lot.

All in all, I’m sorry to admit that this was not as good as I remembered, though it certainly had it’s strong moments, which I give to the Buffy/Giles scenes - in the library and on the balcony - the acting from most of the main cast, and the nostalgia my poor heart can’t help but feel for this aging show.

Unfortunately I absolutely loathe exposition heavy writing, which it suffers heavily from.

Final rating: 6/10.

Favorite lines

“Pepper spray is just so passé.” - Buffy Summers.

“How keen.” - Buffy Summers.

“I hate to interrupt your downward mobility.” - Cordelia Chase.

“So not just a little dead, then?”
”Don’t you have an elsewhere to be?” - Xander Harris and Cordelia Chase.

“Morbid much?” - Cordelia Chase.

“It’s like falling off a log.” - Buffy Summers.

“Prepare me for what? For getting kicked out of school? For losing all of my friends? For having to spend all of my time fighting for my life and never getting to tell anyone because I might endanger them? Go ahead! Prepare me.” - Buffy Summers.

“But you didn’t…hone.” - Rupert Giles.

“God! What is your childhood trauma?” - Cordelia Chase.

Best dressed


Worst dressed


Best acting


Worst acting

(Boy, not Julie)

Stay tuned for my Harvest review in the next few days.
 

flow

Scooby
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
813
Wow, are you going to do that for every single of the 144 episodes ? I appreciate your effort and ambition. I will certainley subscribe to this thread. Thumbs up !

flow
 

Bite-me

Scooby
Joined
Jul 1, 2017
Messages
658
Age
30
Location
Canada
Exposition heavy, unbelievable lapses in judgement (hey, its horror) the real big bad is obviously hairspray. All to be expected from early season one. I am doing a rewatch too. My very beta review of The Harvet is posted. I have never done a full season by season in order rewatch since the show aired so I will join you, no more to contribute except to say I feel a strange craving for cheese now.
 

Puppet

Actual size.
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Messages
7,235
Age
32
Location
Denmark
Black Thorn
1.2. The Harvest. IMDB Rating: 7.9/10.
Summary;
Buffy and her friends encounter a powerful vampire bent on opening a portal to a dimension inhabited by demons.

Written by Joss Wedon.
Directed by John T. Kretchmer.

We start back right where we left off; Buffy's about to be bitten by Luke and her new friends are surrounded by vampires. And then Luke accidentally touches the cross that the mysterious stranger gave her earlier...huh?

Did I miss something? Was she wearing the cross, cause I didn't remember that? And if she wasn't wearing it and instead keeping it in her pocket, then how did it get up between her collar bones? This was very confusing to me, gotta say.

But anyway, Luke is defeated - not dusted - and Buffy is smart enough to run away to fight another day. She finds Willow and Xander and saves them from the vampires, only to learn that on her first day here, she's already lost a potential friend; Jesse was taken away. You can tell from the look on her face that she's feeling the guilt and it's a nice bit of acting from SMG.

We move on to the library where we get another heavy exposition piece as Giles tells the gang about the existence of demons and vampires and so on. I can forgive this piece of exposition for two reasons; it's somewhat necessary now that Xander and Willow have found out the truth and it's the only time it happens in this episode. Yay.

Xander steps into the frame and we get a nice, big view of one of the ugliest shirts I've ever seen. I'm reminded of how badly this boy dressed even before the Hawaiin shirts showed up in S4 and this is not a good moment for me. But I digress.


In the underground church, Luke and Darla are presenting the Master with Jesse, and Darla continues to prove how badly written she is, but again the blame cannot be laid at the feet of the talented Julie Benz, who no doubt did the best she could with horrid dialogue and no background. Sometimes I wish Joss had gotten his way and she'd just been 'Vampire #3' instead of 'Darla'. Only, of course, if she was still brought back in Angel.

Interesting use of the word Ascension to describe the Master's plans to rise out of his mystical prison, considering the importance that word would have to the show and plotline just a few years down the road. A nice bit of foreshadowing, even if it was most likely accidental at the time.

Another irritation with this scene was the vampires lack of knowledge of the Slayer; wasn't the Master waiting for her to arrive or am I remembering something wrong? They seem highly unaware of just what a Slayer is, other than the title, despite Darla knowing that Spike killed at least once. (yes, I know, Spike didn't exist yet to the writers, but they should have remembered this scene when they created a Slayer of Slayers who had traveled with Darla.)

Sidenote: was it the Council or the Mayor who ensured Buffy's arrival in Sunnydale?

Next up we get the best standout scene from the episode, as the Core gather in the library to discuss what to do now, how to find and save Jesse and so on. Great acting from all four and very nicely written dialogue, imo. Definitely worth a rewatch just for that scene alone.

Sidenote: 1843, Madrid, a man caught Luke sleeping and almost killed him. Was this a hunter like Holtz, maybe?

Back to the library and Buffy realizes that the entrance to the sewers is in the mausoleum. My only issue with this scene is the unnecessary flashbacks to the episode right before this one, especially as they were originally aired back-to-back. Trust that your viewers are paying attention, guys!

Sidenote: Buffy jumps clean over the fence; is this a consistency error or does she continue to have this ability for the rest of the show? The only similar example that comes to mind is her carrying Dawn in Tough Love, but that could be based more on desperation and pressing her strength to amazing limits to save her sister.

Buffy heads to the mausoleum and we get some very uncomfortable attempts at acting from David Boreanaz, to the point of pain, but I know it gets much better later on, so I skate right past it.

Buffy enters the sewers and isn't frightened by the rat crawling over her feet; a nice bit, as it seems unlikely that a Slayer who has seen what she has seen would be.

Sidenote: How did Xander get to the sewers so fast? I know Buffy was walking a bit slow in her scenes, but c'mon?

Another good scene is when Buffy tells the story of the Varsity vamp she beheaded with an exacto knife. Mostly because, in hindsight, it's nice to hear about her slayage before she arrived in Sunnydale. We don't get nearly enough of that, if you ask me.

Yet another great scene comes when we see Willow in the computer class, overhearing Cordelia, Harmony and Guy #1 talking trash about her new friend. I love her show of loyalty to a girl she barely knows, standing up for her with the people who have been bullying her for years. It won't be the first time she forgets her fear for the sake of being a good person and it's one of my favorite traits that Willow holds. She's such a sweetheart.

Also, genius reaction by Cordelia when she realizes she has just erased all of her work. It only lasts for a second or two, but never fails to make me laugh.


Buffy mentions to Xander that she knows they're getting close because there are no more rats; why is this? Are the rats afraid of the vampires? Or do the vampires feed on them when it's day out and they can't go out for happy meals on legs? No, I'm really asking here, guys. What's your explanation?

Once again we get Buffy's vamp senses failing her for the sake of plot, just as with Angel in the previous episode. Really, the writers should have just never given her those powers in the first place, instead of retconning most of the early season. I'm just saying.

Sidenote: I wonder how much vampires have in common with cats, what with the glow-in-the-dark eyes they're sporting in the tunnels.


Another inconsistency when it comes to Buffy's powers come when she needs Xander's help to close a steel door that, moments later, the vampires break down like it was butter. Isn't she supposed to be stronger than what she fights? Hmm.

I'm given a nice bit of nostalgia chills when I spot Xander's silver wallet chain hanging from his pocket; I remember wearing those myself when I was a kid. Ah, the memories.

Sidenote: Sunnydale has a large power plant that connects to the sewers. Good to know.

Another moment good enough to redeem the episode for me shows up, when the Master proves that he is truly evil and ruthless, even to his own kin, when he punishes a vampire for failing by casually tearing out his eye. Super chill and awesome acting, once more, from Mark Metcalf.

Also, Willow looks adorable in her blue jean overalls!


The music in the underground church, when Luke becomes the vessel, is beyond cheesy and very loud.

Poor Xander. "I don't like vampires. I'm gonna take a stand and say they're not good." Such foreshadowing, though probably not done on purpose.

More exposition shows up as Giles explains what he found in his research, but again I accept it - just barely - reasoning that the gang needs to hear this (and so do we, hence the word exposition.)

Sidenote: is the phrase Boca del Infierno ever used to describe the Hellmouth again?

In the Bronze we get some decent chemistry between a dancing Cordelia and Jesse, though I still prefer her chemistry with Xander.


Luke is grabbing victims left and right to feed them to the Master. Interspersed with those scenes, are the constant, dizzying, cut-backs to scenes of the Master in the underground church, fondling the invisible barrier. I'm glad I don't get sea sick, I'm just saying.

Shoutout to the iconic scene where Buffy decapitates a vampire with a cymbal to save Xander's neck. Literally.

We also get another moment to go down in history


Once more I'm left irritated with Angel, as we learn that he was watching the whole thing and never jumped in to help, not even when Buffy was about to be bitten by Luke. By now we know that Angel has very little faith in her abilities, so he couldn't have waited with the assumption that she'd get herself out of it. No, it just means that he's an ass who really doesn't care one way or the other about her survival. Ugh.

Sunnydale Syndrome kicks in for the first - but not the last - time.

Sidenote: Do you think Cordelia does, in fact, remember, but is pretending not to? Or is it only after numerous supernatural events happening to her that she can no longer refuse the truth?

Final rating: 6/10. It almost got a seven and I'd say that this is marginally better than the pilot, which surprised me.

Favorite lines
"My Ascension is almost as hand. Pray that when it comes... I'm in a better mood." - The Master.

"God, I'm so mentally challenged." - Buffy Summers.

"Well, then help me. I've been researching this Harvest affair, seems to be some sort of preordained massacre, rivers of blood, hell on earth, quite charmless. I'm a bit fuzzy, however, on the details, may be that you can wrest some information from that dread machine." Silence. "That was a bit... British, wasn't it? I wan't you to go on the net." - Rupert Giles.

"Who gave you permission to exist?" - Cordelia Chase.

"I can hear the worms in the earth." - Jesse McNally.

"You're like a shadow to me now." - Jesse McNally.

"It's all coming together... I rather wish it weren't." - Rupert Giles.

"Hello, Miss Motormouth, can I get a sentence finished?" - Cordelia Chase.

"Don't go Wild Bunch on me." - Buffy Summers.

"The earth is doomed." - Rupert Giles.

Best dressed

Worst dressed

Best acting

Worst acting
 

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
8,975
Age
30
Sidenote: Buffy jumps clean over the fence; is this a consistency error or does she continue to have this ability for the rest of the show?
We see her jump from a sofa up to a balcony in Lie to Me so she could use Drusilla as leverage against Spike. (Drusilla was just there for plot convenience as she didn't actually partake in the massacre and just watched as everyone else fed).

Buffy mentions to Xander that she knows they're getting close because there are no more rats; why is this? Are the rats afraid of the vampires? Or do the vampires feed on them when it's day out and they can't go out for happy meals on legs? No, I'm really asking here, guys. What's your explanation?
We've seen both Angel and crazy Spike feed on rats so the rats would obviously want to avoid that. However, it's a common standard trope in horror films that when rat are running away from something, it's strongly advisable that you run in the same direction as them because they are running from something dangerous or evil. The lack of rats is used to show that it is not a safe place to be. A nest of vampires is highly dangerous, therefore the rats don't want to be in the vicinity.

Sidenote: I wonder how much vampires have in common with cats, what with the glow-in-the-dark eyes they're sporting in the tunnels.
The Buffyverse vampires are very felinesque. They roar (lion's roar), they purr (Spike does this in School Hard when Dru enters, and a female vampire does this when she hands Spike the book in Lie to Me), they hiss (Drusilla hisses at Angel in Reunion in AtS), they can jump from a height and land on their feet, etc. Also going for the neck, and biting there is what lions do, they hold on as well until the prey can't fight anymore. Vampires also hunt alone or in packs (like Lions in a pride). Their little groups tend to have a dominant male that the others follow (Lion Pride). The Buffyverse vampires are essentially giant cats behaviour wise.

Sidenote: Sunnydale has a large power plant that connects to the sewers. Good to know.
A lot of places seem to connect to the sewers. Obviously this is for plot convenience to allow the vampires to travel around during the day, but surely the sewers shouldn't be that directly accessible via buildings and what not.
 
Rafaela
Rafaela
[No message]

Bite-me

Scooby
Joined
Jul 1, 2017
Messages
658
Age
30
Location
Canada
Vampires in Buffyverse sans cults and Dracula, aren't portrayed as being able to fly Whedon: too expensive or with human familiars to do their daytime biding and spying. Although we do see lots of duplicitous humans like Billy, they do not own a personal helpmate. Drusilla had some hypnotism and we didn't see any one casting hallucinations.. or hypnotic beauty/sexuality really unless they were human acting.
 

Puppet

Actual size.
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Messages
7,235
Age
32
Location
Denmark
Black Thorn
1.3. Witch. IMDB Rating: 8.1/10.
Summary;
Buffy suspects she has a witch on her hands when the cheerleading squad falls victim to sudden blindness and spontaneous combustion.

We open on a pacing Giles who is lecturing Buffy on responsibilities and image, asking her why she's enslaving herself to a cult. That pan-over where we discover that she's trying out for the cheerleading squad is beyond hilarious and iconic. Great moment and a great way to start the episode off.

Billedresultat for buffy the vampire slayer witch


Buffy talks about cheerleading being safe and the cut to the creepy attic and boiling pot is a great contrast, something this show does very well for the most part.

The background music for the try-outs is some of the most 90s that this show ever gets, I swear. And I love it! :D

Oh god, Xander handing Buffy that bracelet, so awkward and yet so relatable. Poor guy just doesn't know how to get the hint :p

Can we just marvel at Cordelia actually engaging the gang in conversation? Maybe it's because neither Harmony nor any potential boyfriends are in the auditorium? ;)

In walks Amy, or so we think, a character that will become more relevant as the seasons progress. It's also a nice way of expanding the universe, so it doesn't feel too small with just the gang. This element will come up again many times, most importantly with the season three finale :)

Cordelia turning her back because of how good Amber is, is beyond hilarious and such a subtle way to show her character. Perhaps funnier on a re-watch, though, as we know her better now.

I'm reminded of Buffy's reflexes in Doppelgangland when she is quick to get down the banner and save Amber's life.

Cue opening credits (still getting used to no Angel - I keep forgetting they don't add David until later)

During the library scene, Buffy mentions that she's been slaying for more than a year - is that right? I'm not entirely sure of the timing, of course, since we never get a date, and I suppose one can assume that during the Becoming flashback it was summertime, but I personally just always assumed it had been about six months. The events of the film don't take more than a few weeks (right?) and then there's the time she ran away, then her time in the asylum, and then not long after that she and Joyce moved to Sunnydale. That just doesn't spell a year to me, but I guess it's tough to say for sure.

Anyway, we're now in the kitchen and Joyce is unpacking for the gallery. She isn't being super attentive here and I feel bad for her; she's trying her best and really is a good mother, but with her opening a new business there just isn't a whole lot of time leftover to be as attentive to her daughter as Buffy needs at that moment. I feel bad for both Summers' women, of course, but I just understand Joyce a little better in this situation, I guess.

The best part of that scene, however, is Buffy just whipping open the box that Joyce had been working on for several minutes :D

Buffy and Amy walk down the halls of the school as Amy fills Buffy in on the history of the Madison family. This is an amusing and interesting scene in retrospect, since we now know that it's actually Catherine...talking about Catherine. This is the second of many hints throughout the episode to the final plot twist about the body swap. The foreshadowing in this episode is some of the best the show does, imo.

Relateret billede


Love the scene in the locker room that has Cordelia threatening 'Amy'.

Billedresultat for buffy the vampire slayer witch


The whole scene with Xander and Willow and their analogies is close to perfect, specifically, Willow's pen-sucking analogy makes me smile. It's one of those scenes that just illustrate perfectly how long those two have been best friends. It goes on to have a reference to violence with a railroad spike :)P) and then finishes with Xander's hilarious crashing sound, which is better than any line of dialogue could've possibly been.

Charisma does a pretty decent job when playing a confused Cordelia slowly losing her eyesight.

I love Xander's little panic freakout when he realizes that his friends are about to find out about his having checked out library books on witchcraft as a poor (and cheap) substitute for porn :)

We meet Dr. Gregory, who is famously killed off in the very next episode. I like that he's in this one briefly, though, because again that expands the universe, even with his following death.

During this aforementioned chemistry scene it becomes quite obvious that Buffy sucks at playing innocent and being stealthy; something she continues to prove that she sucks at later on, as well. It's a funny concept, considering who she is, and I like that they made her this way.

But we can't avoid it any longer, so let's talk about the major issue that is this chemistry scene: on a re-watch, it makes absolutely no sense. Buffy is convinced that Amy must not know she's doing the spells, because of how utterly surprised she was when the girl turned around missing her mouth. There is no logical explanation for why Catherine would look so shocked, especially upon learning how remorseless she is, except that it's meant to make it more difficult for us, the viewers, to figure out the reality. And that's just annoying to me.

I'm guessing Buffy was keeping Xander's present in her school bag, as there's no way she wouldn't have noticed it was missing if she was wearing it (and I doubt she'd wear it, no offense to Xander)

Another hint at the twist: Amy asking her mother to do her homework for her.

Buffy under a spell is funny...until it's not.

A great scene is when a bespelled Buffy lets Xander know that he's one of the girls. Mean as it may seem, the karma for what he said to Willow earlier is just so great and I love seeing it. I may feel bad for him, but sometimes he really needs to understand how to treat his best friend who so clearly has a crush on him.

Next hint, which Buffy also gets: eating brownies in secret. Also, the words she says, like referring to her 'ex-husband' as her dad and so on.

As Buffy calls her Amy and it slowly dawns on us what's really going on, I get serious chills running up and down my spine. And it doesn't matter how many times I've seen the episode, that realization that she's actually Amy will never not give me the chills. One of my favorite scenes (and twists) of the whole show. Truly elevates the whole episode, for me.

I really enjoy the editing choices when Amy and Catherine are switching in and out during the spell. Shows the confusion and dizziness really well.

Kudos to Buffy for the whole mirror thing, very smart move.

And we end on one of the best end-scenes of the show, with the cheerleading trophy and the moving eyes/muffled cries.

Billedresultat for buffy the vampire slayer witch


Final rating: 6.5/10. I want to give it more, but it really is mostly considered one of my favorite due to that plot twist reveal scene.

Favorite lines
"And you'll be stopping me how?" - Buffy Summers.

"That girl's on fire!" - Willow Rosenberg.
"Enough with the hyperbole." - Cordelia Chase.

"You're the Slayer and, we're like, the Slayerettes." - Willow Rosenberg.

"I laugh in the face of danger. Then I hide until it goes away." - Xander Harris.

"For I am Xander, King of Cretins. May all lesser cretins bow before me." - Xander Harris.

"The test was positive - she's our Sabrina." - Buffy Summers.

"You're my Xander-shaped friend." - Buffy Summers.

"She said I was wasting my youth - so she took it." - Amy Madison.

"I'm thinking of getting fat." - Amy Madison.
"I hear that look is in for Spring." - Buffy Summers.

Best & Worst Dressed (Buffy = Best - Amy = Worst)
Billedresultat for btvs witch amy madison


Best acting

Billedresultat for buffy the vampire slayer witch catherine amy madison


Worst acting
Thankfully, no one actor stood out as being bad all-around, so this one's staying empty for this round :)
 

Btvs fan

Scooby
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
1,360
Age
39
It'sInteresting in how Amy was portrayed in this episode to how they'd later portray her in S6 and S7, she's very different 🤓
 

sosa lola

Scooby
Joined
Nov 26, 2007
Messages
4,808
Age
36
I am so in love with this!!! Keep up the awesome work!!!

I love when Buffy says that Xander is one of the girls. He had it coming big time!!!
 

Puppet

Actual size.
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Messages
7,235
Age
32
Location
Denmark
Black Thorn
1.4. Teacher's Pet. IMDB Rating: 7.5/10
Summary;
Buffy's biology teacher is killed by a giant praying mantis that assumes the form of a beautiful substitute teacher.

We start with a great opening shot where the camera seems to come out of the mouth of a screaming patron of the Bronze. It's a great choice and made even better when realizing that it's the beginning of a fantasy segment.

It is painfully obvious from the get-go that this is a fantasy, more specifically Xander's fantasy, and when I say it's painful, I mean for him, not me. I'm terribly embarrassed on his behalf, the poor guy :D

That scene where Willow, with back help from Xander, tries to help Buffy get the answer right is hilarious, especially when Dr. Gregory sees right through it.



It's amazing how quickly the writers (and actor) can make you love a character; Dr. Gregory's death is worse because we don't want him to die.

That giant bug-arm coming out to grab Gregory around the throat...sigh the pain is beginning...

opening credits

We're now back at the Bronze, though it's the real one this time. I don't know the band playing on stage, but they have, among their lyrics, something about playing with your food, which is just so fitting in a funny way :D

And there's poor, poor Willow, so desperate for the slightest breadcrumb of affection from her crush that she even accepts the false kind, knowing he is lusting after her friend :(

This is the first time that Xander and Willow see Angel, though based on the dialogue they've clearly heard of him before, though they don't meet him just yet. I don't believe we actually witness their first meeting, same with Giles, though I might be wrong.

Here's a question: How come Angel's jacket fits Buffy so well? Especially after she even says something about it being too big on her.

Angel being cryptic, there's something new!

I really love that shirt on Xander, some type of light brown, velvet thing with an open collar.

Maybe it's just me, but Natalie French is really not that good-looking. Of course, most of her appeal lies in her pheromones, but still...



Another inquiry, mostly based on curiosity than anything else: Blaine. His confidence seems confusing since he's a virgin and all, so I wonder if it's based on his popularity? He's clearly a jock (letterman jacket) so I supposed it has to come from that.

The cafeteria scene, before Cordelia shows up and discovers Dr. Gregory's body, has some really great banter between the gang, and even Blaine gets some great banter-chemistry with Xander. I love the way Xander goes 'rehearsal' a second time while trying to seem suave :D

Charisma is one of those actors that would make a perfect scream-queen for horror movies; she's got a great scream.



As the gang comes to realize that there must be more than the vampire Angel warned Buffy about around, I realize that this is the first instance of there being two threats at the same time. IIRC, this is not something that's ever done very well, as the other example that springs to mind are Bad Eggs. It also doesn't help that neither Ms. French nor Fork-Vamp is particularly threatening or interesting or well-written whatsoever. Or that one only exists to help out the storyline of the other.

While patrolling the park for Fork-Vamp, Buffy is no longer wearing Angel's coat, though she did so earlier in the day while at school. I'll mention more on that in a bit, it's just a random thought I had while watching :)

That's a big fork!

Fork-Vamp reminds me of the first assassin that attacks Buffy in the ice-rink. (see: What's My Line? Pt. 1)

Buffy in a shirt that exposes her belly button makes me nostalgic for my own teen years, I practically owned nothing but belly-shirts.

I love the double meaning that can be attributed to Flutie's words to Buffy - heal/heel :D

Cordelia's chat with the shrink (or whatever he is) is beyond hilarious and one of the best parts of the episode. I also think this might be when I first really started to be interested in Cordy as a character, beyond just thinking she was a bully and a bitca.

I forgot how much I loved Buffy's hair this season - she's so young and fresh-faced - not counting a few episodic instances here and there, this may be my favorite season for Buffy-hair :p

Full on exorcist twist!



In the last episode we learned that Xander was short for Alexander (just in case you couldn't figure that one out ;)) and now we learn that his middle name is Lavelle and that he doesn't like it much.

That few-seconds return of the guitar-solo is such a great moment.

The scene where Ms. French gives Xander her address and invites him to come over that night; Xander makes this tiny noise right before he leaves that I never noticed before and it is just the most adorable thing. It's like a small 'yee' sound and he doesn't appear to even notice he's made it, or I'm sure he would've been embarrassed.

And the leather jacket has now returned. Why does she only wear it during the day, anyway? It's fricking California!

I'd be nervous around a cute boy like Xander, too, lady!

I love the gender role reversal here, with the whole 'need a virgin' thing.

I would've loved to see the seduction scene between French and Blaine, just to see why he hasn't gotten a girl to sleep with him yet. Is he awkward, or just a douche?

The mask falls off, the life-sized Preying Mantis appears and the episode truly becomes ridiculous now...

I'm kinda digging Buffy's bright yellow pants, I think they came back in style recently, actually. I could swear I've seen those same color jeans in stores a few months ago.

How did Blaine witness Ms. French mating when he was the first boy she took? Can we say plothole?

Love that Xander-under-pressure is so much more put-together than Blaine. It's a subtle way to show his experience with Buffy (and his bravery).

Giles' old friend is so completely shoe-horned in there, just like the rest of the episode.

I love that Buffy's unwilling to recognize that Xander's a virgin, it does show that she thinks more highly of him than he realizes, I think.

Sunnydale High library has a vid-library, which we never hear of it again, IIRC.

Think I might be getting it; Buffy wears Angel's coat at all times unless she's fighting. Very nice of her to ensure it doesn't get ripped, since a) it isn't her property and b) she likes him.

Love that the real Ms. French opens the door while Buffy's leg is lifted to kick it in.

Eenie meenie miny moe! Xander'd be my first pick, too! :D

Buffy's plan is clever, but how is it any less time-consuming than Willow's door-knocking plan? She has no idea how quickly she's gonna find Fork-Vamp.

For someone who Angel was so foreboding about (and who slashed him) Fork-Guy was very easy to defeat. Is that an issue with the story or does Angel just totally underestimate what Buffy is capable of?

Love the tape recorder mistake, beyond hilarious on a first watch.

Every time we see the life-sized Preying Mantis it gets just a little bit more ridiculous, I swear.



I do so love how Xander takes his trauma out on chopping up the eggs.

The detail of the arms being too long on the coat so she rolled them up is nice, but I still say it fits better than it should if it was supposed to perfectly fit a man build like David.

Love Buffy putting his glasses back in his coat pocket, even if it makes no sense for them to still be on the ground, days later.

And finally the never-explained cliffhanger egg ending :D

Final rating: 5/10. Honestly, Xander is the only redeeming part of this episode.

Favorite lines
"Let's make them eat that permanent record." - Dr. Gregory

"He's a very attractive man. How come that never came up?" - Xander Harris

"It's funny how the world doesn't open up and swallow you when you want it to." - Xander Harris

"Oh, this is fun, we're on Monster Island!" - Xander Harris

"I'm always here if you need a hug, but not a real hug, because there's no touching in this school, we're very sensitive to wrong touching." - Principal Flutie

"Right. Wasn't here. Didn't see it. Couldn't have stopped you." - Rupert Giles

"What kind of a girly name is Angel anyway?" - Xander Harris

"It's the most beautiful chest-dress I've ever seen!" - Xander Harris

Best dressed
I love Buffy's yellow pants, but more in a 'I want to own them' kind of way, so instead I'm gonna go with:


Worst dressed
This shirt is so not flattering on her figure.
Billedresultat for btvs teacher's pet willow


Best acting
Billedresultat for btvs teacher's pet xander


Worst acting
 

sosa lola

Scooby
Joined
Nov 26, 2007
Messages
4,808
Age
36
I really enjoy this episode mainly for the Xander parts. I have written some observations about this episode, if you don't mind me posting it here.
 

Puppet

Actual size.
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Messages
7,235
Age
32
Location
Denmark
Black Thorn
I really enjoy this episode mainly for the Xander parts. I have written some observations about this episode, if you don't mind me posting it here.
Please, go ahead, I love it when fans speak up about what's considered bad episodes. I love that the YouTube reactor Liam Duke loves I, Robot...You, Jane, it's beyond adorable considering how many of us consider it one of the worst episodes of the show :)

Can't wait to read your observations!
 

sosa lola

Scooby
Joined
Nov 26, 2007
Messages
4,808
Age
36
- Teacher’s Pet is one of the most disliked episodes of the verse, yet it was the first episode in the show to turn gender roles upside down by reversing the traditional roles in a typical damsel in distress tale: the young female blonde virgin gets kidnapped by a rapist who threatens to steal her virginity and then murder her until the male dark-haired warrior saves her and her virginity – this exactly happens in this episode in reverse, even the kidnapper is switched into a female.

Xander dreams of being the hero who saves the damsel because that’s the idea that his parents and society have been feeding him and the other boys like him all their lives, by the end of the episode it’s Buffy who saves Xander and she will be saving him throughout the series.

- While girls are valued for being pure and untouched, boys are pressured to sleep around. Virgin boys are humiliated and bullied for not getting laid on regular bases, which leads weak hearted and minded boys to seek immoral ways to escape humiliation like lying or tricking girls into bed or raping them.

As a typical teen boy in a typical American high school, Xander knows that in order to be respected and valued in school, he must: be macho, save women, be physically buff and strong, be an athlete, have sex, and Xander is none of the above and that’s why he thrives to be all of the above, because that’s what is expected from him. ( Notice how Buffy assumes that Xander must have had sex, because guys are supposed to have sex! )

- Xander is dismissed by bullies, lead singers, and Buffy because he doesn’t have what it takes to be a real man – apparently clothes are one of them, Angel’s leather jacket wins against Xander’s bracelet – and in this episode sex is what makes one a man. He’s probably not ready to journey from boyhood to manhood, but it doesn’t matter, he must “score” to keep up with the other cool guys, not knowing that they as well are as much virgins as he is.

If Xander had realized from the beginning that in order to fit in and be cool he should not care about how others see him, he’d probably be one of the coolest kids in school.

- Let’s talk about Angel. Witness the personality transformation! That is NOT the same guy from the first two eps. The writers obviously figured out Angel’s role by this episode.

- Same-gender friendships: You can easily see how at ease Willow is now that Buffy is around. Here we see them rolling their eyes at Xander who believes he’s got a shot with an older attractive woman. If Buffy were a guy, she’d probably be buddying with Xander over this while Willow rolled her eyes alone.

- Speaking of buddies: how adorable that Willow knows that Xander is a virgin. And how sad that when he loses his virginity, he won’t tell her – which is also interesting because Xander tells no one about it. Interesting and sad.

- In regards to Xander having difficulty seeing a dead body, look at how he just can't stare at it while the girls can't take their eyes off of it:



- When Xander tries to help Buffy kill the giant insect, Buffy pushes him away and starts fighting her herself. You get shots of a shocked Xander staring at Buffy as she fights and probably realizes then that Buffy is the hero who saves the day and it's never going to be him.
 
Puppet
Puppet
I stand by my review and rating, but very well put. I did say Xander was the best part of the episode :P
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
I never caught that about how Xander fantasizes about saving Buffy only to be saved by her at the end. All of this was good.

Taake

That's right, I'm watching you...
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2010
Messages
17,339
Age
35
Location
Stockholm, Swe
Black Thorn
Wow, how did Willow beat out Angel for this one? That Velvet jacket was appalling.
Lol, was literally going to say the same thing. Willow's is terrible, but she at least has the excuse that she's a young, inexperienced girl who's not that into fashion. He's been around for two centuries already and should.know.better.

:p

- In regards to Xander having difficulty seeing a dead body, look at how he just can't stare at it while the girls can't take their eyes off of it:
Girls are creepy. They love true crime and SVU. ;) Good observation I haven't noticed that before.

Love these. Keep them coming!

Hm, it strikes me that I just bought a lipstick in this shade… and I wore a similar outfit yesterday… I feel a strange kinship to the praying mantis lady now. Watch out for my full on Exorcist head twist! Hopefully with better effects :p


Best dressed
I love Buffy's yellow pants, but more in a 'I want to own them' kind of way, so instead I'm gonna go with:

I've lost all faith in your sense of style. This!? THIIIIS?
 
Puppet
Puppet
I love this shirt!!! :D
Top Bottom