Episode Reviews (23)
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A powerful and compelling two part romantic tragedy that will go down in history as a classic. These episodes also completely change the tone and the scope of what this series is going to do from now on. BtVS has just went from a fun show with a handful of standout episodes to groundbreaking and spellbinding television. This is superb material with a masterful setup and a grand slam finale. Where "What's My Line? Pt. 1" (2x09) and "What's My Line? Pt. 2" (2x10) failed, these episdoes succeed. It is exhilarating to watch them each and every time! I have a few minor complaints that rob it from being a 100, but by and large this and "Innocence" (2x14) are absolutely perfect.
It begins with BtVS's creepiest scene yet. Buffy is dreaming that she is walking down the hallway outside her bedroom. While she is walking Drusilla starts walking right behind her in that black outfit she was wearing at the end of "What's My Line? Pt. 2" (2x10), with blood dripping down her mouth. This scene always gives me the goosebumps. Buffy proceeds to open a door which leads into The Bronze where a somewhat surreal song is playing in the background. She walks by Willow who is sitting at a table with a monkey (remember, all monkeys are French!), and then Buffy spots Angel and smiles. They exchange some romantic glances when Drusilla appears out of nowhere behind Angel and stakes him. There's a beautiful shot here where Buffy and Angel's hands are trying to touch each other as Angel's hand then body slowly disintegrates away. Buffy is in shock and Drusilla says, "Happy birthday Buffy." She then wakes up in panic. What a haunting introduction dream! I love it!
The Buffy and Angel romance is propelled into full heat mode now. They even have a theme song for their love which I think is perfect. Buffy heads to Angel's place first thing in the morning after waking up from her nightmare to see if he's alright. Angel tries to sweetly reassure her that there isn't a problem. They kiss a bunch and the scene ends with Buffy saying "I like seeing you at bedtime" out of context. This stirs up some heat, though, and gets the hormones running a little wild. So Buffy finally heads to school and tells Willow everything that happened. Willow's all cute and wide-eyed saying "woah" over and over again after hearing Buffy admit that she thinks Angel and her are going to sleep together soon. All of this stuff is setting up the fact that Buffy is preparing herself to give up her virginity to Angel, and is handled very well by SMG.
While Buffy and Angel are in hormone land, Oz and Willow are beginning to bud into a couple which is accomplished through the wonderfully cute scene outside. This relationship really begins, though, in the next episode. I complained in the last review that if the Xander and Cordelia relationship didn't move beyond groping in broom closets I'd grow tired of it. Well, fortunately Xander steps up and tries to convince Cordelia to go to Buffy's surprise birthday party as a 'couple.' Cordelia unfortunately shuts him down, but at least Xander is trying to mature this relationship.
Also getting a surprising amount of development is Jenny Calendar. We find out that she's not just a Computer Science teacher, but also a member of the same gypsy tribe that originally cursed Angel. It turns out she was sent to Sunnydale to make sure Angel keeps suffering. This revelation is handled perfectly. At first it looks like Jenny's going to turn completely against the group just because her uncle showed up, but I'm happy to say this show isn't stupid, so that doesn't happen. Instead we get a person torn between her obligation to her people and her obligation to her friends. She does what she can to separate Buffy from Angel by taking advantage of the opportunity to send Angel away with The Judge's arm, but Angel would have been the likely person to do this task even if Jenny hadn't suggested it right away. Aside from this, though, she really doesn't want to hurt Buffy nor does she know what will happen if Buffy gives Angel a moment of true happiness.
The surprise birthday party at The Bronze was fun. The gang is trying so hard to give Buffy a nice and normal party but the vampires outside ruin the whole atmosphere. Then The Judge's arm really solidifies her failed party. This leads to the romantic moment on the docks, which seemed overly sappy, but once you've seen "Innocence" (2x14) you realize that all this love talk makes what happens next so devastating. The ring Angel gives to Buffy, though, is genuinely romantic.
All of this quickly leads to their encounter with The Judge, which they barely escape from. They flee to Angel's place all wet. Things quickly get closer as Angel asks to look at a cut on her back. I love how Buffy is not sure whether or not to cover up her chest. After some tender touches the actors do the best they can exchanging lines like "I love you. I try not not but I can't stop" and "Me, me, too. I can't either." This whole scene is handled very well and comes across as both tender and pretty romantic. They both then bend down onto the bed and then the screen flashes. We see them sleeping happily in bed together when abruptly Angel gets up and runs outside screaming in pain. "To be continued." Quite the cliffhanger (though not if you have the DVDs)!
I do have a couple small complaints about this episode, though, first of which is Buffy saying "we never saw a body" while discussing Drusilla, who would be dust if she was dead. My only other problem is with The Judge. First of all, he looks dumb even though I'm very pleased Whedon makes fun of this in the next episode. Secondly, he respresents yet another dumb armageddon plot. They really overdo these in these first couple seasons. Luckily they make fun of them more in S3 and S4. Overall, though, this is quite a fantastic setup for the amazing "Innocence" (2x14).moreless
Season 2 become golden
Everything! Buffy's opening dream is superb. The fight, the Judge, Dru and Spike and THAT ending! Also the clever way you think Jenny is leading Buffy astray but is actually just leading her to the party. Love Oz's reaction to discovering the truth about Sunnydale
Are you crazy, this is Buffy at it's best!
Dru; (after the Judge burns Dalton) "Do it again! Do it again!"
Questions and observations;
Xander mentions giving Buffy a 'pre-birthday spanking', a display of kinkiness that will become apparent in all the Scoobies to a greater and lesser degree over the course of the series. Jenny back in the gang but with her true self revealed, all the Scoobies keeping secrets over the years. Buffy loses her virginity, as the age of consent in California is 18 this is technically statuatory rape. Oz refers to past groupies although he doesn't have any now
Spike in a wheelchair, he seems reluctant to release the Judge, again showing his more human side. The Judge senses it, commenting that Spike and Dru share jealousy and affection (love Spike's confrontation with him "Yeah, what of it mate!?" as though the judge has spilled his pint or something). Dalton also seems to have retained some humanity (enough for the Judge to burn him), perhaps because he was sired by Dru or Spike? The fact that reading is considered sufficently un-demon like behaviour to warrant a fiery death speaks volumes as to why humanity rules the Earth and demons don't any more ('fire, TV and opposable thumbs'). Dru hates the flowers, I thought roses were supposed to repel vamps anyway? Brian Thompson back again and the wonderful Vincent Schavelli.
Why not just sink the Judge's arm into the Pacific? Why does Dalton still need his glasses, surely as a vamp his eyes would have healed up like Darla's heart condition and Spike's mum's tuberculosis? Maybe they're just for effect? Small point that Xander says "Hello mom" on the phone and then still needs to say "It's Xander". Does he have siblings or is she just too drunk to understand what he said?
10/10 and more!
One of the best plot twists in the series.
When I say I'm a Buffy and Angel fan, that is putting it mildly. I love these shows and I think I will continue to do so until the end of time. "Surprise" is a great episode. From start to finish it delivers. It's Buffy's seventeenth birthday but nothing goes as planned. I love all the character's interactions in this episode. And of course it's a personal fave because Buffy and Angel have sex. I love the parrallels in this episode too. It helps to show young people that there are risks involved in being sexually active. Granted most people after sex don't become murdering psychopaths but you get the picture. Angel's transoformation was both brutal and unexpected. I was very excited to see what else was in store for us as viewers.moreless
Surprise was the 1st of a midseason double episode special and it was Perfect Buffy! I really enjoyed watching this awesome episode from the begining in Buffy's Dream World with lots of interesting sights to be seen. I thought that the main story was excellent, and engaging to viewers challenging them a bit. I thought Druscilla was superb in her crazy plots and behaviors. I think that Druscilla and Spike are very interesting villians, and I hope they stick around a while. I also couldn't believe the ending of this episode, it was quite surprising and I find myself on the edge of my seat to find out what happens next!!!moreless
Season 2, Episode 13.
It is finally Buffy's 17th birthday. She is having dreams about Drusilla killing Angel, and different parts of the dream begin coming true. Meanwhile, Angel may need to leave town for several months to prevent Spike and Drusilla from forming The Judge.
This episode was so good! Angel was naked so much! I loved it! But this was also a tragic love story about characters I already love, so it was dramatic, and a little intense and sad. Anyway, this is a good episode. That's a lot for anyone to go through, including the vampire slayer on her birthday, or at all. Excellent episode.moreless
Happy Birthday Buffy (part one)!
This episode marks a big change in the whole Buffy/Angel relationship for many different reasons. But before I get to that Willow and Oz! Willow and Oz are the cutest couple ever and he finally asks her out in this episode which she says no to in a hilarious fashion and then asks him to Buffy's birthday. I love how after Oz sees the vampires he is very stoic and Oz like and responds that it explains a lot. I really like the development of Jenny's character and her connection to the gypsies is something that I did not see coming. And the amount that Angel is suffering really has gone down. The actual birthday goes down as Buffy birthdays always do, with horror and destruction. I love when she opens the box and there is just an arm inside, but she is still just touched all the same as her friends went through the trouble. Then at the end when her and Angel finally give in to their desires that leaves Angel venturing to the dark side. The scenes between the two are really emotional and their love really comes across in this episode.
This is a good start to this story arc and the whole evil Angel storyline that is so great and it has some excellent Spike and Dru moments.moreless
Surprise-Buffy's seventeenth birthday arrives, and the Scoobies prepare a surprise birthday party for her. But when the gang discovers that Spike and Drusilla are planning their own party, Angel may have to leave Sunnydale to keep Dru's party guest, the Judge, from painting the town red.
Now this is where the series gets even better as "Surprise" takes the Buffy/Angel romance to it's pick, to the point where it may be the downfall for both characters. Both Sarah and David rise to the occassion as the scene together are more compelling than ever. One scene in particular when Buffy and Angel are at the docks saying they're goodbye as decalre they're undying love has classic writting and very moving performances by both actors.
It's also great to see Spike and Dru again, especially since Spike is now rolling around a wheelcahir and Dru is up and about wrecking havoc. Julie Landau stands out especially as she is at her creepiest yet her scene where she reacts to the flowers is hilariously good. The plot with the Judge is very good and his M.O. is well thought out with a lot of depth. Brian Thompson returns to Buffy as The Judge himself and is the most impressive looking demon so far in the series. Also, his burning humanity power provides some very cool effects. Another great parts of the episode is the revelation of Ms. Calendar being not only a gypsy, but apart of the clan who cursed Angel. It's a shocking development that Robia LeMorte plays convincing and guest star Vincent Schiavelli is also very good as her Uncle Enios. Then there is Oz finding out Buffy's a slayer which is hilarious and Xander and Cordelia trying to date in front on people at Buffy's party. Also, I love the fight scene with Buffy taking out the vamps outside the Bronze only to crash into her own birthday party by mistake literally.
What this episode also does well is by showing how great Buffy as a series is at creating dream sequences. The hauting teaser as Buffy is being stalked by Drusilla as she goes from her house to the Bronze in a instant is wonderful film making with the random accurences and vague-ness being very authentic to dreams. The episode concludes with a very powerful and pivotal moment in Buffy and Angel's relationship as they have sex for the first time, but it has a horrifying consequence that they both will regret. All and All, a strong first part with powerful acting, great scenes, a cool new villian and wonderful revelations.moreless
This is probably one of my favourite episodes of season 2.
This was such a great episode. The episode really about Buffy upcoming 17th birthday, however she keeps getting weird freams of Dru trying to kill Angel. Giles assures her that both Spike and Dru are dead, but we know better. So as the episode progresses we find out that Spike is planning to assemble to Judge an evil creature which could end the world. Buffy and Angel try to stop it, and Angel almost gets on a cargo ship. We also find out that Jenny is not who she says she is and that in fact she is gypsey. Finally the episode ends with Angel running outside screaming in pain because he has sex with Buffy. So overall i think this is a great episode and it is episodes like this which both made me a fan and made Buffy the show that it is.moreless
The start of Buffy as we know it.
This two parter comes at a pivotal point in the series’. For a superficial if not irrelevant reason today, this was the last time “Buffy” would air on Mondays, so it had to pack a punch to get the viewers to move to another night. However, the more substantial reason is the growing pains Buffy goes through, as she loses her virginity to Angel and deals with the aftermath. The show could’ve continued to have Buffy simply fight monsters of the week and nothing else, but that could eventually devolve into a series that would be better fitted among lame Saturday morning cartoons, and “Buffy” had ambitions for more. Frequently this episode and “Innocence” are cited as the “mission statement” of the show, and it’s easy to see why: this is the beginning of “Buffy” as we know it.
The growing intensity of Angel and Buffy’s feelings was designed to set us up for the major fall in the second half of the story. As all relationships go, this one has reached a critical mass: something has to happen to these characters and both Buffy and Angel are aware of it. Of course, the impending doom always hanging over their heads has to move things along, as The Judge does in this episode. They could possibly never have a “next time” to have that happiness true love affords. Nonetheless, Joyce’s cryptic “Do you really think you’re ready” in Buffy’s dream adds an air of doubt that she can handle this new complexity in her relationship. Some teens in relationships feel this way, and the translation into supernatural allegory works extremely well.
Those who know character arcs involving romance can attest to the fact that having the long simmering romance consummated often blows the years of anticipation. Sam & Diane on “Cheers” is one of the more frequently cited occurrences. This placed the writers in a difficult position: how were they going to address this pressing issue while maintaining the compelling drama. Angel’s agony at the end of the episode dashes any hopes of this being the start of a new, happy level in their relationship, but rather gives us something far more interesting.
Another couple on the alternate side, as a non-couple, is Xander and Willow, branching off into separate relationships with their feelings left unaddressed. Xander is still trying to get Cordelia to admit openly that they are an item. Their relationship is based solely on lust rather than genuine interest in each other, which is easy to understand considering who we’re dealing with (if I had a girl who looked like Cordelia pining over me in high school, I’d throw my intuition out the window too!) Meanwhile, Willow is still yearning for her best friend. Buffy is right when suggesting that Willow has to stop waiting for him to realize who he has under his nose and move on, especially with a new guy who has a good report with her. The introduction of Oz and the hints of their upcoming relationship may have upset some Willow/Xander shippers, but in retrospect, their love was the tight bond of friendship rather than a romantic one. Regardless, these two relationships are heading to major crossroads as well.
Oz’s connection to the group is cemented when he witnesses Buffy staking a vampire at The Bronze (which apparently rents out to private parties of a handful of people). His reaction is interesting, as he had some suspicion. Giles has said in the first episode that many rationalize away whatever supernatural thing they come in contact with, but Oz didn’t. He felt something wasn’t right, but his level head and common sense prevented him from considering that monsters were real.
As Oz becomes more a part of the gang, Jenny’s past threatens her status, like Giles’ did in “The Dark Age”. This episode reveals Jenny’s secret, that she is a part of a gypsy family that had one of its revered daughters murdered by Angel when he was Angelus. Despite his recent heroism, Jenny’s uncle charges her to keep Angel miserable to uphold the curse the gypsies placed upon him. It does explain her sudden arrival in Sunnydale after the events of “Angel”, as the gypsy mother must’ve sensed that Buffy and Angel’s relationship became more serious.
However, Jenny’s resolve has wavered as she has grown attached to members of the gang and as Angel saved her life. It’s never said what Jenny was planning to do to keep them separate, which makes her bringing Buffy to the place where a bunch of vampires are stealing a piece of The Judge a bit sinister. That is rather silly to believe that she would conspire with vampires, but that interpretation will later prove to be divisive with her and the rest of the group. Had she been more open to the group, the tragedy would’ve likely been avoided, but where’s the fun in that? While fans have known since the epilogue of “What’s My Line, Part Two” that Spike and Dru survived, the gang doesn’t discover this information until this episode. Their absence could be explained simply as them laying low and collecting pieces of The Judge to serve as the usher of Spike and Dru’s reign of terror. Spike’s limited mobility also keeps him from action he’s used to or likes. However, he is still doting over Drusilla, making sure her coming out party is as glorious as she wants it to be.
Buffy’s apparent ability to see the future through her dreams illuminates some of this. It is through this that she first gets the impression that Drusilla is still alive. As for the dream itself, it’s hard to interpret completely, since some elements were thrown in because it’s a dream sequence and they are by nature weird (hence Willow and the monkey, a reference to their conversation in “What’s My Line, Part Two”). Joyce’s appearance dropping the dish validates this source of information when Joyce does that in reality. This makes the threat on Angel very real for Buffy, which only pulls them closer together. The Judge is the MacGuffin of the episode, but he is a rather impressive one. At full strength he could kill someone by looking at them! Even shortly after his assembly can he incinerate poor Dalton. But his formidability and lethal nature ultimately serve to drive Angel and Buffy together more than even a Spike and Dru confrontation. It could be, considering the commentary for “Reptile Boy”, that that monster was meant to be the figure in this episode.
This episode is another piece that is critical to the development in the series, more than the “What’s My Line?” episodes. Buffy is growing up with this major life changing event, and the writers have clearly raised the stakes of the series with it. Things will never be the same for the show and its characters, and it makes for some great drama.moreless
Happy Birthday Buffy
On her seventeenth birthday Buffy is haunted by dreams that Drusilla is alive, and she keeps killing Angel. Scared and frightened she runs to Angel to check on him but her fears are soon muted when they get a little to comfortable with one another. Though she has to quickly rush off to school it becomes clear that their relationship is close to taking the next step, which she confides to Willow. But her joy is once again put on hold when the pieces of a demon called the judge begin to arrive in town, thus cofirming Buffy's suspisions that Drusilla may in fact be alive. Angel must take the piece they recovered to the far corners of the world to save them all.
Dru and Spike are gathering the pieces of the judge, who burns people alive to destroy the world and when they send their minions to ambush Buffy and Angel's goodbye's. Buffy and Angel arrive to stop them much to late and must go on the run to escape. But that turns out to be the least of their problems when they share a night of intimacy and pay the ultimate price.
I loved the incinuation of this episode, sleep with a guy and he turns evil aka sex is bad. Seriously, they went way above and beyond to portray this message and it says a lot that they did.moreless