Episode Reviews (21)
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When the writers want to pull out all the stops on Buffy, they almost always succeed.
"Conversations with Dead People" is a quintessential example of an extremely tight episode of television -- it's got plenty of action, brilliant and penetrating dialogue, tons of creepiness, a unique structure, and serves up a thrilling setup to the season's plot. The episode has me sold from the moment it begins, with the introduction sequence blowing me away. This is pulled off by a great mixture of music, tone, and cinematography. One thing that's not really apparent until you think about it is that none of the main characters interact with each other at all in this entire episode. This fact doesn't seem odd until you really think about it. How many shows have you seen that have done this before? I sure can't think of any. It's actually a fairly risky move, but one that really pays off due to the tone-setting nature of the episode.
The First's exit speech and disappearing act left me with a very creeped-out feeling in my bones. I'm totally behind Willow in now being in all-out concerned mode. What an amazing setup for the rest of the season! If I have one complaint about this episode, it's actually that the rest of the season did not even come close to living up to what was started here. Sadly, the First is rarely if ever this scary again, which is truly a shame. This episode opened up the kind of potential that, if it had been realized, could have made this the best Buffy season of them all. Instead we're left with a flawed, unrealized season; a season that still has a lot of merit, but simply isn't all it could be.
With that said, I can't hold what comes next against "Conversations," because this episode hits all the right chords and ends up being an incredibly unique and satisfying experience. Although not quite a Top 10 episode, it definitely comes close. Kudos to everyone involved. I'd also like to make special mention of guest star Jonathan Woodward, who plays Holden and does a phenomenal job with the role.moreless
The cemetery psychoanalysis scene was hilarious!
Overall, the episode was only so-so. The cemetery psychoanalysis scene however was hilarious.
Buffy patrols the cemetery and is about to slay a newly arisen vampire.
But he turns out to be one of Buffy's high school classmates, who later became a psych major.
He ends up sitting on a gravestone, questioning Buffy about her inability to commit, while she lies on an adjacent sarcophagus, as if it was a couch in a psychoanalyst's office.
The tableau made for a terrific sight gag.moreless
CONVERSATIONS WITH DEAD PEOPLE
All of it, pretty damn amazing the whole thing. In a pretty intense and serious episode I do like Dawn's fun anchovies song and dance not to mention her marhsmallow in the microwave (love to try that but then it didn't turn out too well for her)
The only problems I have is that there's no Xander and that the Cassie role was so blatantly supposed to be Tara. If it is The First that visits Dawn it's actions seem remarkably tame AND it seems to be able to move stuff with it's will which it can't do later. Also why put on the big show, why not just appear to Dawn as it did to Willow and Andrew? Maybe it is Joyce but the First is somehow manipulating her and only allows it to put over what it wants Dawn to hear? If it is The First trying to mislead Dawn why does it try to get her to leave the house?
Holden; "Who knows, maybe I'll win?"
Buffy; (almost pityingly) "No, I'm the Slayer. You're not leaving this graveyard"
Women good/men bad;
We learn that Hank cheated on Joyce and that was the reason for their divorce.
Holden hitting Buffy in the face with the virgin Mary statuette. Dawn getting all cut up. Cassie/The First's description of how she imagined Willow committing suicide.
When confessing to Holden Buffy says that during her sex with Spike she felt she deserved to be punished which explains some of the violent/S&M nature of their relationship. Buffy says she hates the way vamps equate sex, pain, death and love but then as Spike said, they are evil, they should be treading on the darkside. Looking back on her previous boyfriends Buffy observes she sure can pick them, every one a doomed romance. There were rumours at SDH that Buffy was dating a really old guy but did this mean Angel or Giles? ("Older man, very handsome, likes it when I call him daddy") Holden says he is 'chatting Buffy up'. Spike effortlessly picks a hot blonde up at the bar. Buffy refers to Spike 'taking me over completely' and 'doing such things to me'. Holden refers to guy talk in 'nailing a girl'.
So if Spike sires his blonde after picking her up in a bar does he do the same thing with Holden? Buffy confesses she feels superior to her friends and lovers but feels guilty about it. This suggests that Faith is actually the ideal girl for her as they're equal in every way. Scott Hope, Buffy's boyfriend from season 3 has now come out of the closet which must be a relief for her as it means their break up wasn't her fault. But apparently he told everyone she was gay which given her track record with guys might be the best option for her?
Note that Jonathon and Andrew actually want to be part of the Scooby gang which Andrew at least will achieve.
Supposedly we were to see Xander visited by Jesse and Anya by Halfrek but they couldn't get the actors which was a great shame.
Scoobies in bondage:
Scoobies knocked out:
Kills: Buffy kills 1 vamp
Buffy: 110 vamps, 60 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot
Giles: 8 vamps, 2 demon, 1 human, 1 god.
Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon
Will: 6 vamps + 3 demons +1 fawn+1 human.
Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human
Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie
Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans
Xander: 6 vamps, 2 zombies, 1 a demon,
Anya: 1 vamp and 1 a demon
Riley; 18 vamps + 7 demons
Spike; 8 vamps and 6 demons
Buffybot; 2 vamps
Tara; 1 demon
Dawn; 1 vamp + 1 demon
Scoobies go evil:
Recurring characters killed: 13 byebye Jonathon, with us from the untransmitted pilot who came good in the end.
Jesse, Flutie, Jenny, Kendra, Larry, Snyder, Professor Walsh, Forrest, McNamara, Joyce, Katrina, Tara, Jonathon
Sunnydale deaths; Jonathon and Spike's victim
Total number of scoobies: 6,
Xander, Buffy, Dawn, Willow, Anya, Spike
Xander demon magnet: 5(6?)
Preying Mantis Lady, Inca Mummy Girl, Drusilla, VampWillow, Anya (arguably Buffy & Faith with their demon essences?), Dracula?
Notches on Scooby bedpost:
Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny and 3xDraccy babes?
Buffy: 4 confirmed; Angel, Parker, Riley, Spike. 2 possible, Dracula+RJ(?)
Joyce: 1;Giles, 2 possible, Ted and Dracula(?)
Oz: 3; Groupie, Willow & Verucca
Faith:2 ;Xander, Riley
Xander: 2; Faith, Anya
Willow: 2;Oz and Tara
Riley; 3; Buffy, Sandy and unnamed vampwhore
Spike; 2 Buffy and Anya
Anya; 2 Spike and Xander
Dawn in peril; 13 once again but this time she deals with it herself
Dawn the bashful virgin; 9
What the fanficcers thought;
Loads of fic where Joyce's real ghost visits both Dawn and Buffy, how wonderful if we could see the mother we loved and lost again if only for a minute. Interesting to see Dawn in Ash from Evil Dead mode, once read a fic where Tara's family are actually Texas Chainsaw Massacre types and kill everyone in the season 5 Scoobies except for Tara, Riley, Willow and Dawn. However when Tara and Willow ressurect Buffy she finds that Dawn has now turned into a combination of Ash/Lara Croft (but still has both hands). Meanwhile Faith defeated the First and shared her power with the Potentials but was presumed to have perished in the collapsing the Hellmouth. But whose is that gorgeous female hand holding a scythe breaking the surface at the Sunnydale crater...?
Questions and observations;
I take it that the Dartmouth Holden refers to is a college in the US rather than the town in Devon? By the commentary we know that it isn't really Joyce who visits Dawn but her warning that Buffy wouldn't choose Dawn in the end turns out to be prophetic. Dawn's battle with The First(?) references The Excorcist, Die Hard (glass in feet), The Shining, The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist, Highlander and especially the Evil Dead films . Andrew says he found Klingon easier to learn than Spanish but then as an artificial language it would be simpler. 'Insane troll logic' again. Kit from 'Lessons' reccurs although offscreen. Someone in the Summer's house likes Mariarchi music as it was also on their radio in 'Quelled'. Lovely music at the Bronze, is that the same band as in Dopplegangland? Is Jason Wheeler the guy who won the class clown award in The Prom? Holden has studied 2 years of Tae-Kwan-Do which is SMG's martial art. Buffy refuses to commit on the God question despite the effects of crosses and holy water on vamps. Considering how much real horror there is in Dawn's life you'd wonder that she watches a horror film? JE refers disparagingly to Charmed on the commentary. Holden refers to the SD mental hospital which was presumably built after season 5.
Both Spike and his date smoke in a bar which I didn't think you could do in California. Buffy still suffers from the Slayer deathwish to a degree to judge from some of the things she says.
How old is Buffy? Holden says she's 21 but if she's 15 in season 1 surely she's 22/23 now? The girl Spike picks up in the bar reminds me a lot of Christina Applegate. Holden seems to be a remarkably human vampire but then people sired by Spike and Dru always seem to be. So this was filmed in a real graveyard? I'm not sure I'd like my loved one's grave used as a prop in a TV series, especially with Holden sitting on it? Dawn can do magic, living with Tara and Willow all those years must have paid off.
Apparently they had to cut 9 minutes off this ep. WHY can't we have Buffy Special Edition DVDs with all this footage restored and commentaries for all the eps?
Marks out of 10; 9/10, only failing to be 10/10 due to no Xander and no Tara. This one I watched 4 times, twice with the commentary.
The Evil Dead Talk Show
ConversationsWith Dead People- Buffy squares off, physically and mentally, against former classmate Holden Webster, who has just risen as a vampire. Back at the Summers house, Dawn is terrorized by an unseen force, while Willow is visited in the library by the ghost of Cassie Newton, who says she's been sent by Tara.
One thing I never understood about fans' attitude towards Season 7, is that it had no "special" episode(s) like the past 3 seasons. After asilentepisode, a dream episode, a music-less surrealistic episode and a musical episode, I guess "Conversations With Dead People" doesn't hold up and match theground-breakingachievements of the series that were "Hush", "Restless", "the Body" and "Once More With Feeling". Nevertheless, "Conversations With Dead People" is without a doubt, the series at it's finest! Mixed with horror, humor, gore and character drama as well as the show's signature witty dialogue and though-provoking subtext., this is anexhilarating hour. Like the other "special" episodes, the episode's structure is significantly different as the plot is split into 5 segments: Buffy in thecemeteryon a usual patrol, Dawn home alone, Willow studying in the library as UC Sunnydale, Spike at the Bronze drinking alone and Jonathan and Andrew return to Sunnydale in hopes of some sort of redemption. So I feel to give an effective review, is to review each segmentindividually. The episode starts with a beautiful music montage of each character with the date, time and year of the episode being shown as a band sets up and performs....
Segment#1-Buffy's segment is probably the most humorous segment of all 5. What starts off as a typical fight between her and a vampire turns into familiar face from her High School days, who she can barely remember. Holden Webster is a surprisingly charismatic vampire who beaten catching up with Buffy and trying to get into her psyche brutally attacks her. Only in the Buffyverse could a sequence like this work and work brilliantly. Both Sarah Michelle Gellar and Whedonverse actor Jonathan M. Woodward are great together. The dialogue is filled with neat one-liners and hilarious references like Scott Hope turning out to be gay and Holden telling Buffy "I'm here to kill you, not judge you." But the parts are definitely when Buffy opens up to Holden about her brutal relationship with Spike, the reasons she kept going back to him as well as her superiority/inferiority complex. It'salwaysgreat to get into Buffy's head and even after her depression in Season 6, it's nice to see the character continuing to grow and realizing her faults. The segment ends with the chilling discovery that Spike sired Buffy, which continues in the next episode....
Segment#2-Willow's segment is probably the most emotional of the segments. Falling asleep in the library, she wakes up to Cassie confronting her. Now originally, Amber Benson was to reprise her role as Tara for this scene, but considering how the scene ends, she didn't want the last image of Tara to be something evil or scary, so Azura Skye returns as Cassie here in her place. Regardless, this segment is remarkable with Azura showing just how impressive her acting chops are. Alyson is also stunning here and your heart just breaks when Cassie tells Willow she brought a message for Tara. Just seeing Willow crying trying to call out to Tara pulls at the heartstrings. This truly saddening piece than turns into something terrifying when Cassie wants will to stop using magic, telling her she'll kill everyone and when Willow refuses, she tells her to kill herself. From Cassie's facial expressions to Willow realizing what going on, it's all bone chilling! The First finally reveals itself and her threat to Willow was probably the finest moment from the First, especially this:
Willow; "From beneath you, it devours."
Cassie/The First: "Oh not it....me!"
The SFX shot of the Cassie's smile as she morphs into a skeleton and disappears just gives me goosebumps! One of the genuinely scariest moments from the series.
Segment#3-Dawn's segment is rather shocking and the most violent of them all. I have to say considering how much Dawn gets flake, I was really was impressed by the writers going there with her and Michelle Trachtenberg was more than up for the challenge! She was quite compelling here, showing the worst of Dawn at the beginning when some dark presence is in the house and is completely helpless yet showing the best of Dawn when Dawn realizes her mom is being tormented by this presence and fights to save her mom's soul with everything she has. From the bloody splattering to Dawn gettingrepeatedlycut to the disturbing images of Joyce's body appearing/disappearing, it was well done and horrifying. it's always great to see Kristine Sutherland back, even if Joyce is dead! Joyce looking beautiful after the hell of she'd been through and her vague message to Dawn about Buffy not chosing her are foreshadowing the final moments of the series, once again. Once again, Michelle must be commended for showing this side of Dawn, especially at such a young age. Definitely the segment that was the scariest story!
Segment#4-Spike's segment is complete dialogue-free. We just see him getting friendly with a beautiful girl. He ultimately takes her home. Suddenly, he bites her and kills her. While a short segment, it's a "Holy SH!T" moment that was worth the wait!
Segment#5-Jonathanand Andrew's segment is pretty funny as the duo return to Sunnydale to find some sort of resolution to their outlaw lives. We see that the First is manipulating Andrew as Warren and I love even as the First, Warren is still Warren and has his geek moments with Andrew. The saddest part of the segment is definitely Andrew killing Jonathan, especially Jonathan's last words before that. The fact that he missed his high school days from the bullies to the people who ignored him was a huge revelation after "Earshot". The boy who once was about to kill himself of the pains of his sad high school existence finally realized, it was all worth it and has grown from it. It's hard to watch Jonathan die and it's surprising to see Andrew of all people do it!
With stellar cliffhangers ending each segment filled with laughs, scares and character insight, "Conversations With Dead People" is a masterful hour (and the only Xander free episode, though it would have been cool to see the First as maybe Jessie, manipulating him!). Some of the best dialogue and moments from the series. Definitely in my top 10 of series and one episode that sent the main arc into overdrive.moreless
The First Evil reveals itself through various "conversations with dead people."
This is one of the most dissapointing episodes from Buffy's final season. Although ripe with potential the episode is dissapointing. It also sets up ideas that are not followed through. If Amber Benson had guested the scenes with willow would have more depth, importance, and meaning. Seeing Tara again would break the hearts of Willow as well as the audience. The stuff with Dawn and Joyce make little sence as Dawn must battle an unknown evil to communicate with Joyce. But who is behind this evil? If it is the first evil than it makes even less sense since "the first" is non-corporial and cannot actually DO ANYTHING, including wreck the summer's house. THe scenes with Buffy are the best of the episode as they give us a side of Buffy we rarely see. Overall a dissapointing ep!moreless
Good, but could have been better...
I understand that this episode is important, but I didn't think it was that well written, not compared to some others. It seemed at times to be hard to follow. I think the writers could have gotten the same point across but with better writing if they had tried harder. It seemed to be a thrown together episode...they had to impart information to us, but could not think of how to do it and so came up with the dead people angle.
Still good...just not one of the best.
Conversations with Dead People
Conversations with Dead People was a perfect and entertaining episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This episode was very interesting as messages from the dead came to the living. However we can not be sure of who is actually behind the messages received. I thought it was interesting that the big bad revealed itself to Willow, who was drawin in by the thought and memory of Tara. I thought it was good that Dawn faced her experience like a seasoned member of the scooby gang. I think this episode was great because it informally introduce the big bad of the season, which happens to be the source of all evil. I can't wait to see what happens next!!!!!moreless
"Can I make it right? Can I spend the night.....alone" - Angie Hart
As Buffy stalks through a graveyard, Spike sulks in the Bronze and Willow falls asleep over some college work. So far, so normal. Dawn is taking advantage of Buffy's absence by spilling pizza on the Slayer's jumper, skewering the wall with a crossbow – let's hope Miss Kitty Fantastico isn't around – and dealing with an electrical poltergeist.
This episode introduces the Big Bad properly as it appears to the gang for the first time, making it clear that it has a special interest in them, as well as the return of Andrew and Jonathan, and Spike's new killing spree.
First of the dead is Tara-as-Cassie. It would have been cool if, within the theme of "back to the beginning", Xander and GhostJesse had met up. But each of the representations of TFE is designed to take advantage of the lack of something, or somebody, in the gang's lives. Andrew misses his alpha-male Warren, Dawn wants Joyce back. Warren's bullets left a Tara-shaped hole in Willow's life, and Buffy, Buffy just wants someone to talk to. Xander's only problem is Anya and she's not dead (yet). None of the main characters interact with each other in this episode, emphasising their aloneliness. Time and time again, we've been told that the characters' strength is in their togetherness. Like Spike in The Yoko Factor, the First finds them on their own to work on their weaknesses, to play on their fears. Dawn is afraid that she's not important to Buffy, Willow is terrified of what doing magicks will do to her and those around her, Andrew is still scared that he's a nobody, a nothing. Whilst Andrew never questions Warren's authenticity, and Dawn has to go through a self-reliant, Buffy-less battle to get her reward (her mother, whom she wanted to resurrect back in Forever), Willow, despite her desperate attempts to believe that Tara is still singing to her, realises that suicide is not the way out of her problems, that she is still strong enough to fight back against TFE's tricks. It wants to turn Andrew into a murderer, Spike into a killing machine, Willow to suicide, Dawn to well, a sulky teenager, and Buffy to despair, manipulating her death wish. Holden is not actually a representative of TFE but is connected to evil through his vampirism (""Feels great. Strong. Like I'm connected to a powerful, all-consuming evil that's going to suck the world into a fiery oblivion.") He analyses Buffy (lying on her gravestone couch), but he doesn't provide her with any positive reinforcement, he plays on her feelings of failure regarding relationships with men, which remain in conflict with her calling. He also brings her sexual guilt feelings to the fore (her relationship with Spike in which she had sex for sex's sake, not for love), emphasised when he bops her over the head with a Virgin Mary statuette. We've seen before that Buffy feels that her deathly power has made her hard and inhuman, making her believe she is unworthy of love; but at the same time, the "I am the Law" Slayer power she wields has made her feel superior, made her feel as though the opinions of those around her don't matter. For which she feels bad: "I'm beneath them. I'm worse than anyone."
Andrew and Jonathan are keeping it "low-pro" as they go back to Sunnydale to try and make things right after having "bottom-eating nightmares" in Mexico. They want to save the day and join the Scoobies – well, at least that's Jonathan's plan. Andrew has a different mission; yet another attempt to open the hellmouth with a virgin sacrifice (did it always have a pentagram on it?). Jonathan is still trying to help and here we see his redemption: he has come to accept his past, he has forgiven his schoolmates for their taunts and still wants to see them despite the fact they derided and ignored him. He has (finally) grown up, just in time for him to die at the hands of the perennial adolescent. The episode, like Once More With Feeling with its similar musical introduction, is pivotal in the series. This ep sets up Buffy's inferior-about-being-superior feelings and her ongoing loneliness (being the only girl in all the world), in order for there to be a cure for it in the finale. We also see that this is going to be a different fight, as Cassie TFE says, "Fact is, the whole good versus evil, balancing the scales thing? I'm over it....I'm going for a big finish -" as, above Willow, she devours herself.moreless
The episode is seperated into five encounters. Willow, Dawn, and Andrew all encounter the First. While Buffy encounters a vampire who is an old classmate and Spike encounters a lady at a bar. They all have to go through emotional tortue and/or decisions.
This quite possibly could be my favorite episode of Buffy ever. It is different than every other episode of the show. None of the main characters interact with each other and the lack of Xander makes it almost seperate from the show. Each character has to go through emotional torture and/or decisions. It has the perfect amount of suspense, action, and humor. It is one of the few episodes that actually freak me out. I watched this episode for the first time around one or two in the morning. I will admit to having my heart rate speed up. Andrew and Johnathon are hallarious and it's great to see them back on the show. Willow's reunion with "Tara" is heartbreaking. The scenes with Dawn are chilling. Spike's scenes do not include dialogue and are rather short but just as surprising as the rest. Buffy's encounter is semi-annoying in my opinion. Just an amazing episode. I love it and always will.moreless
Buffy, Dawn, Willow, and Andrew all have encounters with The First - four separate story lines intertwined in four acts.
This is one of my absolute favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes. In fact, it may actually be my favorite, even above Once More with Feeling or The Body, but they are all very different expressions of my favorite show, so it's hard to quantify them. This episode brings every different genre Joss Whedon uses in the show - drama (Willow), horror (Dawn), comedy (Andrew), and a combination of the three (Buffy). All story lines are brought together in a beautiful and poignant climax, which is especially impressive as all four story lines were written separately. Like all Buffy episodes, the writers advance the plot of the season. But it is not plot that makes this episode unique. The scenes where Dawn is trying to contact her mother are truly the scariest scenes of the entire series, period. Further, Buffy's conversation with the vampire she knows she will slay in a matter of minutes are so effortlessly serio-comic that the viewer can't help but be pulled in and feel every emotion she is going through. And each story line ends in surprise. Overall, the episode is captivating, emotional, frightenting, funny, and truly enjoyable. One downfall is that a new viewer can't possibly enjoy the episode nearly as much as viewers who have been with Buffy and the gang the whole way. To which I say, go watch the rest of the series. It's worth it.moreless