Episode Reviews (31)
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And S3 begins! I have very mixed feelings about this episode. What I really wanted to see here was a dark and gritty tale about Buffy's isolation. I wanted to see her slowly fix the emotional issues that were plaguing her from the events of "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22). I wanted this to last at least three episodes and be entirely focused on Buffy. Well, it's pretty obvious I didn't get what I wanted at all with this, but that isn't to say it's no good. On the contrary, it's a pretty solid episode with moments of genuine insight. It's just really not what I was looking for.
The episode begins with an amusing scene back in Sunnydale where the remaining Scoobies are attempting to keep the vampire population down and hoping that Buffy returns. Oz's failed thrown stake and subsequent "that never works" always cracks me up. My problem with this scene, along with all the scenes taking place back in Sunnydale, is that they, while amusing, feel like a lightweight distraction from what I really want to see: a runaway Buffy. That story is simply too important to combine it with Cordelia and Xander worrying about their hair style.
Anyway, I loved Buffy's dream with Angel on the beach. It shows a vision of all she truly wanted since becoming the Slayer: a nice normal boyfriend who she could spend a romantic evening on the beach with. "Buffy vs. Dracula" (5x01) shows her actually having a brief moment like this with Riley before everything quickly turns dark and rains them away. She then wakes up and we find out that she's been impressively taking care of herself in the real world. This makes it obvious that she isn't running away from 'responsibility' but rather just from being the Slayer. We can tell, though, that even through the depression Buffy is not fully hardened yet. She has taken the first step into adulthood but is still a young girl inside that basically just wants to be held. We find out later that this away-from-home experience made her realize for the first time that when it comes to Slaying she will always be alone; no one else can ever share that burder with her (until the beautiful end of the series).
One of the few scenes in Sunnydale I thought was meaningful is the Joyce and Giles conversation. She blames him entirely for being the cause of Buffy's disappearance. They have a really important exchange which brings out the focus of this entire episode: identity. Joyce says, "I blame you. You've been this huge influence on her, guiding her. You had this whole relationship with her behind my back. I feel like you've taken her away from me." Giles responds, "I didn't make Buffy who she is." Joyce answers, "And who exactly is she?"
During the summer, alone, Buffy has been thinking that she has two distinct parts to her being: the Slayer half and the human half. After the events of "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22) she wanted to completely rid herself of the Slayer 'half.' The problem with this, and what she ultimately realizes through helping the helpless Lily, is that she isn't two distinct halves. She is one whole which is evenly blended between the Slayer and the human. There is no separating the two. My answer to Joyce's question is that Buffy is a unique individual who posesses great strength and empathy, neither of which are completely related with the fact she is the Slayer. Being the Slayer amplifies her strength, but as we saw in a flashback during "Becoming Pt. 1" (2x21), Buffy possessed great inner strength before even knowing what being the Slayer meant.
The first moment when Buffy realizes that being the Slayer is part of her no matter what is when she decides to help Lily. Lily tells her she doesn't know what to do; she doesn't know how to exist without relying on others. As much as I really wanted a dark and gritty Buffy story, the theme of identity works pretty well. When caputured, the demon Ken tells the two girls, "What is Hell but the total absence of hope? The substance, the tactile proof of despair." We find out quickly that Lily is at the point of this dispair, but Buffy is certainly not. A guard walks up to the new group of slaves, asking them who they are. They must reply with, "I am no one" or receive a beating. When Buffy's turn comes she puts on a perky grin and completely regains her identity by responding, "I'm Buffy. The Vampire Slayer. And you are...?" This is a fantastic "I'm back!" moment and was well earned. Also, as a bonus we get a satisfying extended fight sequence where Buffy rips apart hoards of demon guards.
The final scene in Buffy's apartment with Lily is very intriguing. Lily gains confidence from her experience with Buffy and wants to 'become' her now previous persona, Anne. Lily still hasn't found herself yet, like Buffy hadn't while being Anne. But adopting the Anne persona makes her feel like something still with hope; someone who underneath the isolation has a lot of power and self motivation. While being Anne was a step backwards for Buffy, it proves to be a step up for Lily. This is a truly hopeful and heartwarming ending. It's also great knowing that 'Anne' will become a useful person in society when she appears on AtS.
I wanted an extended dark and gritty tale and I got something different. Since the writers took the lighter route I'm glad they had Buffy home at the end of the episode. The darker route I wanted would have warranted multiple episodes though. Overall this is a very good episode that misses the mark in a few places.moreless
Glad to get back to Sunnydale
Lovely to see Chantelle/Lily/Anne again. Great to see the slave rebellion. Love the long tracking shot around Sunnydale high, lovely cameo from Larry. Nice to see that Buffy can make it on her own but did anyone really doubt that she could? The gang's vamp hunting is hilarious. Terrific scenes between Giles and Joyce. The final scene when Buffy and Joyce hug is just too lovely.
Truly horrible what happens to the human slaves. Ricky's suicide is just awful
Character death; None although Buffy still dreams of killing Angel
Knocked out; Buffy by Ken
Kinky dinky; Buffy as a slave but not of the sexual variety. Anne Summers is the name of a lingerie/sex toy chain in the UK.
Reccurring actor in another role; Carlos Jacott as Ken who'll later turn up as someone different in Angel and TSSC
Giles; You musn't blame yourself
Joyce; I don't, I blame YOU. You've been this huge influence on her all these years
Questions and observations;
Surely a girl as attractive as Buffy could get a better job than waitress in LA? (Xander later wonders the same as he wants to know if Buffy met 'any nice pimps on her travels'?) 'Pretty Woman'? Belle du jour? Weren't Hooters or Spearmint |Rhino hiring? She's in LA, what about Playboy? (or would that mean Xander would be certain to spot her?). Ok I'm not entirely serious but honestly when did you ever see a girl as pretty as Buffy working as a waitress except in TV/Movies? (the other wise awful film 'The Last Action Hero' does a great joke on the theme). Plenty of fanfic with Buffy and indeed any or all of the Scoobygirls turning to prostitution over the years, my favourite ends with Revello Drive being turned into a high class bordello with Joyce as the madam and then eventually the same thing happening to the post-Chosen Slayer academy. Of course having now watched Dollhouse you wonder if Joss would actually be quite keen on the idea, especially after watching the scene with Eliza Dushku as a dominatrix.
Or is Buffy just trying to lie low?
Cordy refers to Xanders exes who are almost all demons, Preying Mantis, Mummy Girl, Dru in BBB. Xander nails his third vamp with some help from Cordy. Joyce is a sad figure in her summer alone without Buffy but at least in everyone's revised memories she has Dawn to keep her company (to judge from the comics and Dawn's chopstick story she always knew Buffy's secret). I'm always intrigued by the times the Scoobies got by without Buffy, I would love to see more on it in the comics.
One thing that does occur to me is that the weapon used by Buffy during the slave revolt (the wonderfully named hung-munga) actually resembles a hammer and sickle at some angles. I'm sure it's just coincidence but if this were the 50s I'm sure Joss would be hauled before the un-American activities board.
8/10 I think although that may be a little generous
Anne, the first episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayers third season was a perfect start picking up a short time after season two's ending. We find Buffy now waitressing at a small diner in LA while the gang back home take up slaying duties. Buffy's Mom can hardly leave the house, and Giles is presistent in his search. Meanwhile in LA, Buffy runs into a familiar face, and soon after trouble finds her. It was interesting to watch Buffy fighting herself, who she really is. When the one demon asked, who are you?, she could not resist being herself. It was nice to see Buffy come home, and I look forward to seeing how every one reacts.moreless
Season 3, Episode 1.
Buffy is still missing at the start of senior year. Xander, Willow, and Oz are fighting off vampires in the meantime. Buffy is apparently living another life as a waitress named Anne. This wasn't my favorite episode, but it was enjoyable. I kinda liked it. Ken is so weird. Lily was pretty weird too but I felt bad for her, considering her boyfriend died. Willow looks kinda weird with her haircut. I liked the long hair better. Alyson Hannigan just looks a lot better with long hair. Sarah Michelle Gellar looks awesome anyway. Cool premiere, I guess. It was enjoyable, definitely, especially the music.moreless
Buffy is using the epithet "Anne" as she hides from her duties as a Slayer, and later has to fight to protect the homeless. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendan, Alyson Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter, Seth Green, David Boreanaz, and Anthony Head
The third season opener, and a good episode, but not one that i think should have opened up the season. The storyline with Buffy being Anne and the avoidance of being the slayer was amazing, and i really loved the character arc that they are putting Buffy through, and an amazing performance by Sarah Michelle Gellar, however the plot of the bad of the episode, i wasn't really a fan of. It was a little predictable that Aaron (guest star Alex Toma) was the evil guy, but i did love the return of someone from the past, Lily (guest star Julia Lee). I loved that the members of the Scooby Gang are trying to dust vampires even without the help of Buffy who was crucial. The horrible attempt by the gang, like Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Xander (Nicholas Brendan), and Oz (Seth Green) was hilarious and something that the show lost in the later seasons. This was a good episode, with shocking moments, like when Angel (David Boreanaz) came back, holy crap! But the episode should've been later in the series, and not a season opener, except for a few things like the Buffy character arc, and the return of Angel, and the gang fighting vampires without Buffy. So i only don't like the plot for this single episode.moreless
Xander: Okay, and the, uh, second problem I'm having... 'Come and get it, Big Boy'?
Oz: Uh, if I may suggest, 'This time it's personal.' I mean, there's a reason why it's a classic.
Sunnydale without Buffy is quite the different Sunnydale as proved by the slaying that is attempted by Oz, Willow and Xander who make quite the hilarious team as they try to make up for the slack. The Sunndydale side adds a lot of humor to the episode because all that Buffy adds is moody angst. I like the reappearance of Anne though and she help brings Buffy back to the living and breaks her out of her Angel induced break. The drama in her little version of hell isn't all that interesting but I like the fact that she left to deal with her issues that show her being a little selfish and trying to do something on her own at the same time. That story line isn't my favorite but it gets the job done I suppose. I also find Cordelia and Xander to be the best part of this episode, their reunion is hilarious and it bring much needed humor to this episode.moreless
The Slayer That Lost Her Way
Anne-It is the end of summer vacation, and Buffy is still missing. Willow, Xander, Oz, and Cordelia are attempting to keep the Sunnydale vampire population in check during Buffy's absence... with only moderate success. They miss having the Slayer around, but more than that they miss their friend. Meanwhile, Buffy has been working as a waitress in L.A., going by her middle name, Anne, and trying to forget her old life. But of course, someone always needs the Slayer's help...
Like, I said before, Buffy premieres are pretty much seen as lackluster by most fans, but I always found "Anne" to be one of the better premieres. I mean how underrated is the episode that has one of the best fight sequences in Buffy history!
I think the best aspect of the premiere is watching the gang deal with Buffy's disappearence. I think it's hilarious how the gang took over Buffy's slayer duties. Especially with the teaser as a vampire crawls out of it's grave, Willow tries to imitate Buffy's sarcasm by saying, "That's right Big boy, come and get it." It's also funny how Xander and Cordelia are so excited to see each other again they become almost incompetent. A scene that also stands out is Joyce blaming Giles for Buffy's leaving. It's a shocking yet understandable scene as Joyce feels betrayed as a mother and is blaming Giles only because she's hurt.
The scenes with Buffy in L.A. are wonderfully done. It creates a surreal feel as we see L.A. as a hopeless, gritty place in need of a hero. This can be seen as a forshadowing of the "Angel" series as Angel becomes the city's protector a year later. The dream sequence with Angel is also a stunning scene with slick direction. Sarah does a great job of showing a lonely yet independent Buffy trying to deal with her issues in the big city. Bringing back the character of Shawnterelle/Lily was a good decision and makes a nice little friend for Buffy the whole hour. The plot is actually an inventive one as Ken, who seems like a nice homeless shelter owner, is actually a demon taking young orphans to an underground hell dimension to force them into slavery. It's a situation the forces Buffy to stop running from her pain and jump back into slayer mood. I love how when she is asked who she is by the large demon that she responds with a smile on her face, "I'm Buffy, the vampire slayer and you are?" Next comes, like I said previous, one of the best fight scenes of the series as Buffy runs through the factory and is forced to battle the demons of the hell dimension. The fighting is smooth and the action is very elaborate for Buffy at this point as it's obvious the series is getting a better budget with each season.
There are also hilarious moments afterwards like Lily pushing Ken of the balcony and Buffy's little history reference to Ken before she kills him:
Buffy: "Hey Ken! Want to see my impression of Ghandi?"
[swing hammer, killing him]
Buffy: "Well, you know, he was really pissed off."
Joss really knows how to place such priceless dialogue at the right places. The episode concludes with Buffy leaving Lily her L.A. home and job with Lily taking the name Anne in Buffy's honor. The last scene of Joyce owning the door to see Buffy at her door step exhausted and teary eyed is a brilliant ending as nothing needs to be said. All and All, a great premiere with hilarious scenes, amazing action and great character interaction.moreless
Who are you?
This episode takes place during the end of the summer following season 2's pivotal season finale. I won't comment too much on the plot points except for a couple of things that I enjoyed.
Buffy/Main Plot: The episodes simple title, Anne, struck me as powerful especially because of the episode's theme of finding identity (like Lily, btw I'm surprised they remembered a former minor character!) and accepting it (Buffy). In the strongest scene (second only to the end scene), a demon walks up to each of the abandoned teens, asks them who they are (hitting them if they say anything other than "no one"), one by one, until he reaches Buffy. Of course one foresees the fight scene a mile ahead, but the scene was done in such a way that the dramatic build up leads more so up to Buffy's acceptance of her identity (and the assertion that we are all someone) than it does to the fight.
Scooby Gang: It was great seeing the gang cope without Buffy and do some slaying (well fumbling and staking). The dynamics provided for some of the much needed comic relief in such a gloomy episode. Xander and Cordy get best comical character dynamics for this one.
Best Overall Character Dynamics for Episode: My other favorite scene is Giles' interaction with Joyce. Throughout season 1 (as with many supernatural shows) we may have been likely to believe she was yet another clueless parent character oblivious about their kid's identity. We see she knows/senses more than she lets on (of course, such hints were always present before) by the way she tell Giles how much influence she knows he has on her; even going as far to blame him for what's happened to her life and accusing him of taking her daughter away from her. They could have just sat in the living room and said nothing and I still would have thought this was a great parent/'teacher' scene.
Gloomy, but deep stuff.moreless
Buffy goes to LA,works as a waitress and gets sucked into a hell dimension.
Buffy-now working as a waitress in LA and going under the name of Anne-her middle name gets recognised by a girl she saved a year ago.Later her boyfriend goes missing and the girl-called Lily comes looking for Buffy to help look for him.They check the hospital and Buffy finds out that a guy she met on the street-Ken is actually a demon and realises that he lures people into his dimension in order to steal their youth.Buffy fights the demons in the dimension,kills Ken and gives Lily her job as the waitress.Buffy goes back to Sunnydale and reunites with her mother.moreless
Another example of a mediocre beginning of Buffy season.
While the "Buffy" team would craft some well made finales, the premieres tend to be mediocre, wrapping up threads from the previous season rather than establishing the threat of the current season. This is that kind of premiere. The purpose of this episode is to get Buffy to realize her identity and return to Sunnydale. Ultimately, it feels rushed. Considering all the bad stuff that happened in the "Becoming" two-parter, one episode, especially this one, doesn't feel like enough to get her to go back home.
Before we get to the meat of the episode, one technological aspect must be addressed. As of this episode, "Buffy" switched their film stock from 16 mm, what they've used since the first episode, to 35 mm, which they'll use until the end of the series. Because of that, the series looks a lot better. Some of the earlier episodes were poorly lit, making the image barely visible. They did get better at lighting the series so that the end of the second season looked pretty good. However, the new stock makes a sharper, more colorful image, vital for a show like Buffy.
Buffy lost a lot as season two ended. Her attempts to keep a separate, "normal", life outside of slaying failed. She lost her home, her fellow slayer, her love, her school all in a few hours. So it makes sense that Buffy would want to run away from all that. However, this episode shows that running from her identity isn't as easy as she' thought, as Angel creeps into her dreams and demons creep the streets of LA. If last season was about Buffy trying to have a normal life while balancing her slaying duties, this season is about Buffy's identity as slayer and how that shapes who she is.
Instead of the gang going to LA to bring her back, not that Giles wasn't ready to with even the slightest hint, they have someone Buffy saved play that role. Considering the episode's theme, that it would be someone from Billy Ford's vampire cult in "Lie to Me" makes sense. Lily, formerly Chantarelle, soon to be Anne, is the opposite of Buffy. While Buffy ran away from home because of her identity, Lily likely drifted to LA to find an identity for herself. Ricky, her boyfriend who falls victim to the inter-dimensional demons, comes across as another step in that ladder.
Interestingly, their experience in the hell dimension causes an epiphany of identity for both sides of the spectrum. Anne's mourning over Ricky causes her to wind up with Ken, who plunges her into the hell dimension where humans are forced to deny their identities and become servants at some industrial plant. Lily's is less pronounced, as she works to get the other workers out of the dimension while Buffy takes on the demons. Despite Buffy's wish to stay out of the situation, she can't help but step up to save those affected. It's a tough fact for her after what she went through. She's the chosen one and nothing can get her out of that duty. The further she goes investigating Ricky's disappearance, the further she realizes that's who she is, the turning point being when she identifies herself using the show's title.
This episode introduces the concept that time passes differently in other dimensions. While it may have been a device to explain how the runaways turn into bewildered old people, this facet would become a major element for a character later on "Angel".
Those who overread everything could see communist images and ideas with the hell dimension. People are grabbed up by the system, forced to abandon all identity but worker, and spit out in the world old and useless. Even Buffy's choice of weaponry in the final fight, a hammer and blade (could be substituted for a sickle), adds to that point, making her a champion of the workers. OK, there could be absolutely nothing to this, as individuality is the major point of the scene.
The infamous "Ghandi" joke is at best forced. This joke makes absolutely no sense, as if it were an inside joke among the writers that Whedon thought would resonate with the audience.
In some ways, this episode serves to set the stage for "Angel", which would be set in LA. Too bad planning for the series was in its infancy, or we might've been able to see Buffy interact with people and things that would make up that universe. On the other hand, it could've easily veered into backdoor pilot territory, which can be largely disappointing or forced. Regardless, it would've been cool if she stopped by Caritas for some advice.
Obviously Buffy's absence was going to leave a major hole in controlling evil in Sunnydale. If things went unchecked, Sunnydale and the world would be in bad shape. They got lucky last season, but the gang prepared for the worse after a much gloomier resolution to the problems of season two. Unfortunately, none of the gang have the strength or experience to combat the dark creatures the way Buffy can.
However, their ineffectiveness seems to ignore the contributions they've made towards Buffy's work, which ultimately has become their own, for comic effect. Granted they don't have the skills Buffy does, but they should have some more on screen success, at least towards the end of the episode. The stakes aren't high enough to really warrant such problems among them. Perhaps if they had a real crisis beyond stopping the newly minted vamps their subplot would've worked better.
Oz's failed attempt to kill the vampire by throwing the stake at it mocks the cliché of the hero being able to impale anyone by throwing a pointed object fast enough at it. Ironically, that shot, minus the miss, is in the credits as if it were one of those typical action hero moves!
While it's not unusual to use bait to catch prey, the way Xander suggests they use Cordelia comes off as uncharacteristically cruel. They have made comments like that before, but generally the sentiment wasn't genuine malice. If this was meant to show the cracks in their relationship, it could've been better handled, or at least downplayed until it came to resolution.
Giles and Joyce, who have had chemistry in the past, play a different scene altogether as Joyce unleashes on Giles, blaming him for Buffy's disappearance. That may be too much blame to heap on a person, but Joyce still has a lot to learn about her daughter, as she only got the basics before Buffy left to stop Acathla. Obviously Joyce is regretting her heat of the moment ultimatum to Buffy from "Becoming, Part 2" and desiring a second chance.
The big problem in this episode is the pacing. The finale in the other dimension takes way too long to happen. If this had been a two parter, it would've been better to develop Buffy's struggle with her identity. Being in a hell dimension would be a pretty interesting place for self-discovery, but we see little of it.
Overall, this episode is another example of a lackluster premiere, seeking to tie up loose ends from the finale rather than setting up the new seasonal arc. However, considering where this season would go, bumps in the road this early are easily forgivable.moreless