Episode Reviews (38)
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A pretty deep episode. The first time I watched it I didn't really enjoy it as much as I do now. The more I get to know the show the more this episode is understood. I'm also getting older and smarter and more aware of deeper things as I rewatch the whole show every few years. I appreciate the complexity of this episode. Those that don't like it, give it time, as you grow mentally over the years it will make more sense as time goes on.moreless
This is a magnificent episode and is the most complex I've ever witnessed on television. The first time I saw it I had a mixture of confusion, awe, and intrigue. It wasn't until I rewatched "Restless" after I was finished with the series that I began to understand just how amazing this truly is. Since then, I've rewatched it countless times and each time I make a new connection or spot something I never noticed before. What's so special about this dream episode anyway? Some people think it's just an artistic gimmick. Others think it's great just because of the Cheese Man. Well, I see this as special because it's the nexus of the entire series. It is a character study of the core Scoobies (Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles), where their past, present, and future are seamlessly woven together to form textured perfection. We are reminded of where these character began, where they currently are, and where they are heading with truck loads of cryptic foreshadowing. That makes this an episode which caps everything that has come before it, and sets up everything that is to come after it.
One of the biggest reasons I love this episode so much is that it reminds me of the first time I played my favorite game: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES). In that action-adventure game you go adventuring around a land with a story, dungeons, enemies, and so forth. One of the things that makes it unique is the amount of 'secrets' to uncover that can make your character more powerful and simply make the game more fun. This sense of wonder at looking all over the place for possible secrets always greatly appealed to me on a fundamental level that made all the early Zelda games so much fun. I get this same feeling when I watch I love jumping in and trying to figure out all the secrets hiding in cryptic dialogue and stuff you have to "read between the lines" to understand.moreless
Before I discuss my closing thoughts about all the dreams, I want to take a moment to admire the closing conversation between the Scoobies.
I love how they all sat around the table and discussed what happened. Some quotes I found amusing are:
GILES: Somehow our joining the essence of the, the Slayer's power was an affront to the source of that power.
BUFFY: You know, you could have brought that up to us before we did it.
GILES: I did. I said there could be dire consequences.
BUFFY: Yes, but you say that about chewing too fast.
WILLOW: The spirit of the first Slayer tried to kill us in our dreams.
JOYCE: Oh, you want some hot chocolate?
BUFFY: Ah, well, at least you all didn't dream about that guy with the cheese. I don't know where the hell that came from.
I also love the very final scene, when Buffy looks into what will likely become Dawn's room. The repetition of Tara's line, "You think you to you are. You haven't even begun," gets us perfectly prepped for the wonderful season to come. Why do I think S5 is wonderful? Let me just say that is has nothing to do with my opinion of Glory.
Alright, I'm going to now briefly summarize what was learned about our dear Scoobies. Willow's dream is extremely cryptic and confusing, but the points being made kept leading back to the idea of Willow still being the nerd inside and that she continues to ignore important evidence to stop using black magic. What I found particularly interesting is the revelation, "No. No. I need it," that some part of her knows exactly what's she's doing and she just chooses to repress that better judgement. I really feel through this dream we get a whole lot better handle on exactly the state Willow's in when S5 begins, and we know that unless she does something to change her ways, she'll end up in disaster. As we know, she chooses disaster.
Now Xander's dream turns out to also be pretty focused. The major theme running through it is the concept of running away from the problem, his parents, but not permanently fixing the problem. As he runs, he keeps coming across all these confusing wishes and desires. We see him think about sex and girls, about wanting comfort and love, and also about analyzing his failures in life. He feels like everyone around him has moved on with their lives and that he's not moving anywhere. The central point being made is that Xander has to get the hell out of his parent's basement as soon as possible, and that he needs to learn to notice his positive traits.
The conflicts inside Giles are very clear. This year has been one of confusion for him. He isn't sure if he wants to be a Watcher, a rock star, or a father. His dreams are simply meant to show him what his focus should be, and that is being a Watcher. Giles sees Buffy as not only his daughter, but also as a child. He appears to want a happy, traditional family of his own and we even see Buffy as his daughter and Olivia as his wife. This is foreshadowing of how utterly happy he is when Buffy asks him to be her Watcher again in "Buffy vs. Dracula".
Buffy's dream is heavily focused on her nature as a Slayer. All the evidence around her is saying that she's a killer and shouldn't have any friends. However, she continually refuses this reasoning and stands firm in the position that her friends are her weapons, not the Slayer. What's also fascinating is how for a moment, when putting the mud on her face, Buffy does give into her Slayer nature and seems to be completely embracing it. This is the moment Riley calls her a killer and says that she's on her own. Buffy's Slayer nature is the focus of S5, which ends with her death in "The Gift".
That's it! I hope you got as much enjoyment and information out of this review as I did! This episode is just marvelous. As can be seen by the many pieces of foreshadowing I uncovered, "Restless" proves to be absolutely vital to the fluency of the series. Nearly everything, character-wise, that is to come is foreshadowed by this episode. Just like "Hush", "Restless" is not simply an artistic gimmick. This is the seminal episode of the entire series for the four core characters. Simply stunning.moreless
All of it, pretty damn wonderful. I especially like ASH's impersonation of a panicking theatre director, based on personal experience?
Cheeseman; "I wear the cheese, it does not wear me"
Women good/men bad;
Dark haired Buffy's rant against Cowboy guy Riley
The First Slayer scalping Giles
Willow and Tara hooker up! How gorgeous is Joyce in her nightie? What a MILF! I never appreciated it until just this moment. About the weirdest fanfic I ever read concerned Willow having S&M sex with the cheese guy, him melting cheese over her nude body. Joss says that when Buffy rubs the mud over her face the idea was that she was being overwhelmed by her primal Slayer instincts but actually looks like she was having a facial. I'd say it looks more like she's a stripper/porn star (which she plays in Southland Tales) doing her 'tigress in heat' leer? Harmony in her milkmaid outfit is also very cute. The sign at the funfair vamp actually says 'I crack for a buck' but that's not what I thought it said first time I saw it.
Calling Captain Subtext;
ALL OF IT! Especially Willow and Tara in the sexiest scene you never saw but fervently imagined. What's the poem in Greek letters Willow is writing on Tara's back? By Sappho perhaps? (very Xena). And how lovely is Amber, such an unothordox beauty. Xander refers to Willow and Tara 'doing spells'. Hmmmm? Tara also tells Willow she doesn't know everything about her, her supposed demon side.
Check out dark-haired Buffy berating gun toting Riley over the death of Xander and the evil of men. Substitute Warren for Riley, DarkWillow for Buffy and Tara for Xander and you have the end of season 6. Riley has often been compared to Gary Cooper and here he's a cowboy. Of course the irony is that Gary Cooper despite his wholesome image was a notorious womaniser and Riley will go to his vampwhores in season 5. The scene with Adam and Riley and the gun between them also refers to Warren and Tara. Adam challenges Buffy that she has demon essence in her which we'll find in out in 'Get it done'. Riley leaves, Joss already thinking about him going.
Spike's sideshow freak appearance is indicative of his role in later seasons, vampire in love with the Slayer and then vamp with soul, sacrificial lamb in the end. The scenes with Spike and Giles on the swings seem to suggest that Spike will fufill the role of Giles to Buffy once Giles leaves again for the UK, her 'daddy' figure. You wonder what might have happened if Giles had hung around in season 6? Guffy? Their conversation also portends to the Loan Shark from Tabula Rusa (and Angel Season 6) The clock reads 730 which is the same as in Graduation Day pt2, counting down to Dawn and Dawn is the kitten (as she was the cat in Faith and Buffy's dream in GDpt2).
Buffy refers to Xander as big brother, wonderful and loving but not sexual. In fact Buffy is the one girl Xander never thinks about sexually in his dream. He says 'it get's better' and indeed it does for him, he's not left behind by his friends as he fears. Although Xuffers still hold out for something to happen in season 8 (and given Buffy's fantasy in issue 2 maybe they still have a point?). Anya talks about getting back into vengence which she will in seasons 6/7. Xander's dad is not the same actor we meet in season 6, he rather reminds me of an angry version of Willy the snitch.
Buffy refers to being a fireman which portends to 'Once more with feeling'. We see Willow having a fit on a sofa and Buffy saying 'I can fight this thing' portending to Joyce dying on the couch and Buffy's inability to fight a disease despite all her Slayer powers. We later see Joyce entombed in the wall with Buffy leaving her behind to go on with her friends. And her little sis.
Giles tells Buffy 'it's been like this between men and women since the beginning' but she rejects that, she won't play the Shadowmen's/Councils game as we see from her rejection of the First Slayer's values, that the First Slayer is not 'the source of me'. Note the vamp at the funfair is 'Drac'. In Spike's tomb Buffy is gone with Olivia weeping over an empty pram, portending Giles' leaving a Buffy who no longer needs his guidance.
Riley and Adam plotting world domination because "We're the goverment baby, it's what we do".
Scoobies in bondage: Xander tied in his confrontation with Snyder (amazingly unless someone can correct me his first time?).
Scoobies knocked out:
Buffy: 79 vamps, 28 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot
Giles: 5 vamps, 1 demon
Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon
Will: 4 vamps
Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human
Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie
Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans
Xander: 5 vamps, 2 zombies, a demon, a demon
Anya: a demon
Riley; 12 vamps + 7 demons
Scoobies go evil:
Recurring characters killed: 10, no but wonderful to see Snyder back again, Armin Shimmerman giving a terrific performance as a much thinner Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now
Jesse, Flutie, Jenny, Kendra, Larry, Snyder, Professor Walsh, Forrest, McNamara
Total number of scoobies: 7
Giles, Xander, Willow, Buffy, Anya, Tara, Riley
Xander demon magnet: 5
Preying Mantis Lady, Inca Mummy Girl, Drusilla, VampWillow, Anya (arguably Buffy & Faith with their demon essences?)
Notches on Scooby bedpost:
Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny
Buffy: 3; Angel, Parker, Riley
Joyce: 1;Giles, possibly Ted
Oz: 3; Groupie, Willow & Verucca
Faith:2 ;Xander, Riley
Xander: 2; Faith, Anya
Willow: 2;Oz and Tara
Questions and observations;
How lovely to see season 1 Willow again, she's just so cute. In case you didn't know the Bay of Pigs was the ill-fated CIA backed invasion of Castro's Cuba by anti-communist exiles. Will also refers to her experience of stagefright in 'Nightmares'. Once again great to see Oz back, the last appearance of him in the show and for Olivia too. Once again Buffy triumphs because she is the unconventional Slayer, she's more than just the Slayer, she lives in the world too. No matter how many times I watch this I can never tell, is it Tara or Anya in bed telling Buffy she has to wake up?
Asian Joe sitting behind Oz in class, great to see him again. The clip they watch of Apocalypse Now isn't much like the film, sounds more like Hamburger Hill. After hearing Joss commentary I duly looked up Twin Peaks on IMDB and Wiki and it was a supernatural detective show Kyle Machaclan made before Desperate Housewives but I'm still none the wiser as to what the significance of the red curtains is?
Marks out of 10; 10/10, no trouble.
Rumours about season 5;
I heard a load of rumours about plotlines in season 5, more than any other year of the show. In no particular order;
1) Xander would turn out to be Glory or one of the other Hellgods from her dimension, Willow would turn evil and be the one to bleed Dawn
2) Dawn would touch Joyce's corpse at the end of The Body and bring her back to life with her Key powers
3) Faith would be released from jail and end up sacrificing herself to save Buffy in the final battle with Glory
4) Drusilla/Dracula would seduce Buffy who'd then allow herself to be sired. VampBuffy would then be the big bad for the season with Faith leading the Scoobies against her and her undead anti-Scoobies. In the season finale VampBuffy would taste Dawn's blood and be restored to normal by The Key's power.
5) Spike falling in love with Buffy and then siring her because he thinks that's the only way to make her love him. In the end he realises he doesn't love unsouled Buffy so uses magic to turn her back to normal.
6) Buffy and Xander get zapped by some demon and he gets her powers. She has to adapt to being ordinary whilst he revels in being a superhero but starts to lose control which is why the Slayer is always a girl.
7) Xander and Buffy would end up in Caritas singing karoke to get some guidance ('Wind beneath my wings'?)
Angel Investigations would show up for the final battle with Glory in Sunnydale along with Riley and Oz.
Now you can see how some of these ideas worked out. Ben rather than Xander is Glory whilst Willow will go evil and threaten Dawn in season 6. Rather than bring Joyce back to life Dawn gives Buffy the will to live in season 6. Faith will be released from jail to hunt Angelus on Angel season 4, Buffy will be the one who sacrifices herself. The Dru-sires-Buffy scenario sounds like a dark- slasher's fantasy but has elements of Buffy-vs-Dracula and Riley and his vampwhores. Dru actually sires Darla instead, Dawn's blood will play a major role in the season 5 finale and Buffy will turn temporarily against her friends in Normal Again. Faith will defeat Angelus by getting him to taste her blood in season 4 of Angel. Spike will fall in love with Buffy but get's his own soul back rather than take her's away. The Xander gets Buffy's powers idea becomes The Replacement, we find out in season 7 why the Slayer is female whilst Riley will return in season 6.
Season 4, Episode 22.
Buffy, Giles, Xander, and Willow are still wired up from the events that took place at the Initiative, and decide to stay up all night and watch movies. However, they all fall asleep immediately and begin to have similar, Twilight-Zone-like dreams.
What the hell was this? I don't understand why this episode is so critically acclaimed. I didn't really like it. It had some humorous parts, but it was pointless and not a good finale at all. This was a filler episode. Buffy looked good of course, as always. I liked how they mentioned Dawn in Buffy's dream. Their dreams were all weird for the most part, though. Too bad this is the last of sexy Riley. Oh well. Anyway, terrible episode, for the most part. Terrible season finale.moreless
An outstanding episode; beautiful, deep and just fantastically written. A perfect ending to the season.
Restless is a fantastic episode; clever, original and brilliantly written. It really highlights what our characters have went through this season and is the perfect ending to the season.
Restless is like a marmite episode- you will love it or hate it. If you don't connect with it, you will ultimately gain little from watching it. I admit it took me about 5 viewings to fully appreciate it and understand it's depth but with every viewing I like it more.
I think this episode was really the perfect ending to S4- some might argue that Primeval would have fit better but I disagree. All the other season finales are epic battles and huge emotional moments and it's nice to have this quiet, relaxed episode as the ending. The Initiative arc simply wasn't good enough for a season finale and I think this complex insight into our characters fit far better than a big battle for this season as S4 was all about character development rather than arc based (the complete opposite to S3!).
The Willow dream was really great- the sensual scene with Tara and the letter painting had a little hint as what was to come for them over the next season with the line "You don't know everything about me". It is minor but it's always nice to have foreshadowing. The play scenes gave us insight into what Willow perceives herself to be- a nerd trying to be cool. Apart from having great insight, the bit where Harmony is trying to bite Giles but can't as she isn't tall enough is hilarious. Also, so nice to see Oz again- his last appearance ever!
The Xander dream ultimately did very little for me- I am not a Xander fan so I don't find him very interesting. It showed us his lack of confidence and skill and did have some great scenes. The scene at the park is one of all time favourites because of Giles and Spike playing on swings and foreshadowing "Tabula Rasa" was hilarious and also I loved the sandbox bit where Buffy calls him brother and the desert appears behind her. I love the desert bits a lot and the continued familial references were great as they hinted at the main theme of S5- family.
The Giles dream is mainly about his feelings about Buffy and how his life has become a shadow of it's former self. I don't have a lot to say on it except a) Spike posing for black and white photographs was so awesome and b) Tony Head was singing! Yay! Anya rocked telling jokes. I love Anya.
The Buffy dream was the real highlight for me though, I simply loved every minute. The references to what a Slayer really is, to Dawn, to the imminent death of Buffy, every second was a joy. It basically told us several of the main themes and ideas that S5 would bring and felt really mystical. I love the bit in The Initiative where she covers her face in dirt and looks at Riley with that really primal face- Sarah was brilliant (as always!). The desert scenes were so, so very good. The imagery alone was so beautiful and it made the episode feel extra special. The whole "What is a Slayer?" questioned posed was done wonderfully, and the fight scene was awesome.
To sum up, Restless is an original, underrated, beautiful masterpiece of an episode. Definitely an episode to rewatch multiple times and one that will stick with you. A perfect episode.
Season 4. A season commonly blasted by fans, mostly due to it's terrible arc. But I loved the overwhelming majority of this season and found it to be every bit as amazing as the others. The arc may have been bad but the character development was brilliant and the whole theme of self identity was really what the show needed.
The Initiative arc didn't do a lot for me- it had some cool fights but nothing more. It wasn't a great idea and just didn't click for me. The main villain was a bit lame and definitely could have been better.
The characters grew so much this season and really evolved and changed into more mature and responsible people. Topped with the introduction of Dawn at the start of S5, this is where we leave the high school setting and really start the adult seasons. S4 is the transmission from the light hearted teen years to the dark and dramatic adult years. It was highly necessary and did everything the show needed.
Three main relationships were established here- Buffy/Riley, Willow/Tara and Xander/Anya. I don't like Buffy/Riley- they were very bland and just didn't appeal to me. The other 2 are 2 of my favourites though! Willow and Tara are so perfect together and Xander and Anya are hilarious.
The whole self identity theme really worked- each character became what they will eventually be- Buffy really grew up as did Xander, Giles became a bit directionless which sets up next season and Willow became a lesbian. Some didn't like that storyline but I think the majority of us did- Willow and Tara are generally the most popular Buffy couple (they're my second fave behind Buffy/Spike!).
All in all, definitely an outstanding season of TV. It wasn't all good- Superstar and Goodbye Iowa were particularly lousy but the good far outweighs the bad in my opinion. My first place this season goes to the phenomenal masterpiece that is "Hush", with the exciting and emotional "Who Are You?" in second and the surreal "Restless" in third. Definitely a season not to be missed.moreless
Be careful what you wear to bed at night, you never know who you'll meet in your dreams. - Anon.
In short, a gorgeous piece of television. In serves as not exactly filer, but more as a whole platter of foreshadowing and symbols.
It begins with Willow, showing her safely with Tara, on the stage in a twisted version of a play featuring Riley and Harmony, and her insecurities concerning her witchcraft, lesbianism, and her former geekitude. She is accosted by a mysterious woman and her spirit sucked away.
Next comes Xander, who is shown in the typical male fantasies at first, with Joyce and also a scene with Willow and Tara, and then in a good adaption of a scene from Apocalypse Now featuring the early eaten Principal Snyder. He then visits the park, his ice cream truck, and Sunnydale High. Interspersed with these scenes, he keeps ending back up his parent's basement. There's also a very cool scene in which he moves through the various sets seamlessly. In the end, his heart is ripped out by the warrior woman.
Giles' dreams follow, showing a merge with the life he could have had with his former flame Olivia and his fatherly affection for Buffy. There's a brilliant scene with Spike acting as a sideshow attraction in black and white. He ends up in the Bronze and sings an expositional song before he is scalped.
Buffy ends the four, confronting Riley and the actor who played Adam, visiting her mother trapped in the wall, and venturing to the desert to converse with via Tara the woman who has been following her friends. She is and was the first slayer. They fight and the dreams end.
The whole episode is rife with subtlety but rewatching it with knowledge of the coming seasons makes it infinitely interesting. And of course, who can't forget the cheese man.moreless
Restless was a perfect and classic episode which ends season four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This episode was very interesting to watch, and gave viewers a glimpse into the pysches of the characters. I thought the subtle things were brilliant and this was a very artistic expression. There were clues in the episode alluding to the future for each of the characters and for the group as a whole. I really enjoyed watching this and learning more about each person and trying to figure out what things meant. This episode is very original and one of my favorites. I like the cheese man too!!!!!moreless
Restless-Unable to sleep after their victory, Buffy, Xander, Giles, and Willow decide to stay up late watching movies. And immediately fall asleep. One by one, their dreams take a dark and twisted turn as a sinister force stalks each of them through the dream world and their own psyches. Now while "Primeval" may conclude the overall arc of the the year, it's not the season finale. Joss Whedon wanted to try something different instead of the big season enders like the "Becoming" and "Graduation Day" episodes. "Restless" is a bizarre choice for a season finale yet it's one of the most rivating hours of television you'll ever see. Like the groundbrekaing "Hush" earlier this season, "Restless" sees Joss crafting a episode that broke barriers for tv featuring both breath-taking visuals and insightful dialogue that truly capture the essence of dreams. The series has always been amazing with depickting dreams in the past, but here, it's flawless!
One of the reasons "Restless" works so well is that the dream sequences give us tremedous insight on the character's psychy. First we have Willow's dream, where see Willow stillself-confidence issues when her drama class suddenly opens production of "Death of a Salesman." It's hilarious watching Buffy, Riley and Harmony acting so over-the-top in their play roles which have nothing to do with "Death of a Salesman." Gotta love Riley being "Cowboy guy", lol. Yet at the same time, we learn that Willow is terrified with people seeing her as a nerd and I love how that's down with people asking her why she's "in costume". Next is Xander, who we despite learning is attracted to Buffy's mom and has sexual fantasies about hooking up with Willow and Tara, Xander is sees himself failure and seems to always end up back in his parents' basement. I love the "Apocalpyse, Now" version of his dream and having Principal Schnider return was great.
Then there's Giles' dream, which shows that he sees himself as Buffy's father yet he is conflicted as to which life he should chose or means more to him. I love the hilarious scenes of Spike posing for pictures as an attraction at the cemetary carnival and Giles singing his expedition to Xander and Willow at the Bronze. Lastly, we have Buffy's dream where she searchs for friends, only to discover the essence of the slayer's power when she reveals that the primative creature trying to kill them all is the first slayer. The concept of the first slayer is ingenious and it's about time we learned bit more about slayer line. The idea of the first slayer would want to kill Buffy's friends because it's an insult to the power of the slayer makes sense and it a wonderful development that will be one of the main storylines of the 5th season.
From beyond hilarious comedy (Anya's priceless gesturing) to disturbing horror (the first slayer ripping out Xander's heart) to complex metaphors (Joyce living in a wall) to though-provoking dialogue (the forshadowing of Dawn) to visually stunning (the wide landscapes) to utter randomness (the infamous Cheese Man in each dream), "Restless" is unlike any episode of television u'll ever see. Whether see it as intelligent philosophical affair or just bunch of brainy bull,you can't deny how unqiue it is. "Restless" is a psychological masterpiece that should be studied by writers, philosophers, etc. for being so imaginative and innovative.moreless
Buffy does Twilight Zone in a fantastic surreal finale!!
season 4 in itself has been a unique rn of episodes and in many ways this makes it stand out above the others.
its independant episodes seem to reign supremely above the main season arc.
character development was a definate must.
and the course of the season comes to an unbeatable end.
many who have seen Rod Serling's Twilight Zone will understand what this episode is going to be like...it is a special finale that in itself is more special than any other.
yes,Joss has written unbetab;e finales in the previous three seasons and will do so in the next three seasons but Restless is a pure a visually unique finale that sets the ground running for the fifth season.
the introduction of the first slayer is dealt with beautifully and is actually quite reminiscent of A Nightmare Of Elm Street in many ways.
all the nightmares interweive and tell a formidable tale of deeply disturbing and sheer beautiful style.
this is a sheer arthouse of a finale...and a classic.
bravo Joss for making the finale season 4 deserves!!moreless