The Dark Age

Episode Reviews (28)

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  • 6.0

    The Dark Age

    By arkanitoo, Jul 09, 2012

    This is the first episode in the series entirely focused on Giles. We learn about his turbulent history and some depth is added to this already charming character. It's just really unfortunate that the episode is only mediocre. The pacing and execution of the plot was pretty poorly handled, and the demon came across as incredibly one-dimensional and surprisingly inconsistent. There's about as much bad as there is good here.

    Well, I might as well begin with the good. The episode begins with an amusing scene involving Buffy listening to those annoying aerobic workout tapes while excercising. Giles calls it 'noise' while Buffy calls it 'music.' While I agree with Giles that 'noise' is the appropiate term, Buffy makes a good point that you need a beat when doing synchronized excercise.

    Later on Jenny gets to poke fun at Giles by telling him she spilt a drink all over his ancient textbook and then follows it up with "I'm lying, Rupert. The book's fine. I just love to see you squirm." Their relationship appears to be approaching a new level, but that of course comes to a screeching halt by the happenings later on when Jenny gets possessed by the demon Giles helped create when he was a rebellious teen. It's really nice to see her not just "get over it." This experience has affected her and she understandably needs time away from Giles.

    I also loved seeing Willow keeping some of the confidence she gained in "Halloween" (2x06) during the scene where Cordelia and Xander are bickering to no end. Willow breaks up their quarrel and yells at them both saying, "HEY! We don't have time for this! Our friends are in trouble! Now, we have to put our heads together and, and get them out of it! And if you two aren't with me a hundred and ten percent, then get the hell out of my library!" Go Willow! Also, cheers for character development that actually stays with the characters beyond the episode they had the growth in!

    That's where all the good ends, though. There are several things that really grated on me during this episode. One is the inconsistency of the demon iteself. When it had Possessed Phillip, the bearded guy, it never talked to anyone and pretty much just wandered around groaning. Then when Jenny gets possessed she's talking up a boring storm to Giles in his apartment. What's the deal? Another annoyance with the demon I had is how, for some unexplained reason, nobody simply runs away from it. They all just stand there waiting to be killed, like Phillip in the opening scene. Buffy fought it just fine, so once again, what's the deal?

    Another serious flaw is the often slow pace. The scene where the possessed Philip awakens in the morgue could have been completely cut, for example. Also, Buffy's strength is basically completely gone in this episode. She punches Ethan Rayne hard in the mouth yet he doesn't get knocked down and there is no noticable sore on his mouth. An even more grotesque offense of this is seeing Ethan knock Buffy out with one blow to the head. No way that would ever happen!

    In the end, like "Reptile Boy" (2x05), this episode is a mixed bag. There's a handful of great stuff, but there's an equal amount of crappy stuff. This is an even bigger disappointment than "Reptile Boy" (2x05), though, because the plot is centered around Giles' dark past instead of a bunch of college frat boys. You expect the latter to be poor but not the same of the former.moreless

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  • 6.0

    The drunkeness of youth....

    By joxerlives, Jan 19, 2012

    The Dark Age;

    The Good;

    Buffy's training although as Will later comments isn't she just naturally buff? Willow coming through with a great idea, Cordy tripping Ethan

    The Bad;

    The melting effect is a little lame. The demon seems quite insignificant compared to the threats we later see.

    Best line;

    Buffy; Have I ever let you down?

    Giles; Do you want me to answer that or just glare?

    but also

    Xander; An extra day in school plus Cordelia? Mix in a little rectal surgery and it's my best day ever

    Questions and observations;

    Who's Gavin Rossdale? According to the comics Buffy's fantasy hasn't changed that much it's just Daniel Craig now. Willow by contrast likes Tina Fey now (Seth Green and Eric Balfour will work with John Cusack in 'America's Sweethearts' and Michelle Tractenberg will work with his sister Joan in 'Ice Princess').

    Very much Giles' episode and adding a lot more depth to his character. Great stuff between him and Ethan, you wonder if ASH and Robin Sachs have worked together before, they really do come across as old friends.

    Why does Eoghan wait all these years? Drunk Giles for the first time and Xander mentions his infamous uncle Rory who we'll later meet in Hell's Bells. The Bay City Rollers were late 70s and a little cheesey for a teen rebel like Giles. Jenny knocked unconscious and goes evil, Buffy knocked unconscious and tied up. Jenny mentions "I've got you under my skin" which is later a title for an Angel ep.

    6/10, good ep but not brilliant


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  • 8.5

    The Dark Age

    By TrueTvWatcher, Oct 12, 2010

    The Dark Age was a pivitol episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Many characters were faced with dilemas. The Dark Age was about Giles's past, him and some friends including Ethan Rayne used to summon a demon for fun times, and now its back to kill them all. Giles starts acting wierd once he knows whats going on. Eventually Jenny is possessed by the Demon and this will have a drastic effect on her relationship with Giles. Angel actually saves the day, which scores some points for sure. This episode was fun to watch and adds a classic value to the season.moreless

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  • 6.5

    Good and bad

    By Thestorysofar, May 10, 2009

    Good - Giles

    Bad - Ethan Good - Giles in a cult

    Bad - The evil blue stuff that posses people.

    This episode was great in that we got to see a bit of Giles past which was great. Would be interesting to see what he was like. it would be better to have a real creature that goes around killing people. but instead we get blue goop that turns people evil.

    And Giles buddy Ethan show up again. Was good but he did as expected and ran away.

    And Angel saved the day by obsorbing the demon.

    was ok and was good episode.moreless

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  • 9.5

    Season 2, Episode 8.

    By Wanted23, Apr 16, 2009

    I liked this episode. Giles apparently summoned a demon with Ethan Rayne, or something like that, and now it has possessed Ms. Calendar. Off topic, doesn't it seem like Buffy barely does school work and is always in the halls and library? The whole Rupert and Jenny love thing is a little boring but slightly cute. I can't wait for Ethan to be dead though. It was so weird to see Giles different though, but at the same time, it wasn't. It was a little weird. Anyway, of course Angel magically came to the rescue. Woohoo. Angel's hot! I loved the beginning scene the most, when Buffy had the music playing and the guy died outside.moreless

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  • 7.0

    Good episode, but not as good as I had hoped

    By TheHappyHermit, Feb 11, 2009

    When Ethan Rayne called Giles "Ripper" in the Halloween episode, it really peaked fan's interest. What is this dark past that Giles has? What would make him go from the mild-mannered librarian/watcher to a ruffian when he beat up Ethan. We all thought it must be pretty bad to merit the nickname of "Ripper". Well, this episode revealed his dark past. While I thought it was a good episode, I was a bit underwhelmed. I didn't think the secret of his past was all that bad, certainly not bad enough to start calling him "Ripper". Oh well, it was still a good episode, and I liked Angel's heroics at the end.moreless

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  • 8.5

    Ethan is back with a demon.

    By addict666, Jul 31, 2008

    I like how Giles was a completely different person in his youth and I like the development of his character, but there is just something about this episode that I don't like very much. Giles's is just so un-Giles and I really don't like how he refuses the help that he clearly needs. Jenny also annoys me at the end of this episode, I really don't understand what she is so angry about and what Giles did wasn't really his fault and we all make mistakes in our youth. Especially considering that she was lying to him the whole time about why she was in town, you really think she wouldn't care as much as she did. Still good, just not great.moreless

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  • 9.1

    Rupert The Rebel

    By lenzinoH20, Jul 02, 2008

    The Dark Age-The secrets of Giles's dark past come back to haunt him when an old friend turns up dead in Sunnydale. As a troubled youth, Giles (known then as "Ripper") and his friends summoned a demon called Eyghon, The Sleepwalker. Now, Eyghon has returned and is hunting down the people who used to call him up for their amusement. And the only two left are Rupert Giles and Ethan Rayne.

    A dark and engaging episode that's sometimes underrated among Buffy fandom, "The Dark Age" is a impressive character study of Giles and why he became the uptight brit he is. At the start of the episode, Buffy, Willow and Xander make fun of how Giles was always a goody too shoes and wanted math to be "mathier" in school. Ironically, Giles was far from it and was quite the rebel back in his day.

    Anthony S. Head gives his best performance so far as Giles struggles with his past coming back to literally haunt him...then kill him. Ethan Rayne also returns and is very menancing as usual. The whole Mark of Eygone plot is distrubing with demon possessing the dead and stalking the the characters. The best part of course is when Jenny Calender is possessed. Robia LeMorte actually can play evil quite well and the make-up used on her as Ms. Calender becomes more possessed is errie as well as disturbing. I also liked the characters' reaction to Giles' past, especially Buffy who finally finds herself more compatible with her watcher in the end. But in the case of Jenny, she is hurt and the situation leaves a crack in their relationship. Also, the Willow coming up with the plan to save the day was genuis and the effects on Angel as there are 2 demons inside him is a nice touch. All and All, a dark and thrilling episode with good action, creepy scenes, great performances and excellent development of Giles.moreless

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  • 9.4

    The first time we see Giles's house & a few more surprises in this very revealing episode

    By tvloverduh, Apr 03, 2008

    The Buffy episode "The Dark Age" is a huge episode this season for the character of Giles (second to only Passion). The episode finally shows at what was only hinted at in "Halloween" which is that Giles has a dark past. It's nice to see him take center stage and the Scooby Gang figure out exactly what his past included. This episode makes his character go from "the only adult in a teen centered show" to "another amazing character in Buffy". Ethan also shows up in this episode because there is a force killing all the members of Giles & Ethan's group. Overall a pivotal episode for the series and for the character Giles.moreless

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  • 7.0

    An exploration into Giles' character that doesn't go quite deep enough.

    By ticktock24, Jun 14, 2007

    Like many kids, the gang doesn’t think much about the lives of their elders before they came into their lives. As far as they know, Giles has always been a stuffed shirt; a British guy who was proudly unhip, dedicated to work and in control. However, in “Halloween” we got a taste that there was a dark side to him, and this episode gives us more detail. Ultimately, when they return and wreak havoc on his stable life, we see that Giles is flawed with past regrets, although it may not be deep enough to make a lasting impact on Giles’ character.

    With the hints of a dark side, the pay off feels slightly toned down. Perhaps it’s because Giles’ past pales in comparison to his demonic counterparts. Angel’s mass murderer; Giles summoned a demon to get high and had to kill one of his friends when possession became permanent. His liking the Bay City Rollers almost sounds darker (Bay City Rollers? Really, Giles?) It could’ve been darker had we learned that Eyghon had some bigger plans besides killing those who summoned him twenty five years earlier.

    This episode also establishes the use of demon possession as a way to keep a couple apart, which was first used in “The Pack”. Things seemed to be going well for Giles and Jenny, complete with heavy flirting and PDA. It was cute to see Giles get the girl, but nice relationships rarely last long on “Buffy”. So to enforce the idea of Giles’ past coming to haunt him, they have someone he cares for pay the penalty. Although Jenny under possession was a bit hot (not with the Eyghon make up of course).

    It was neat to have Ethan return. His character serves as a model of what Giles would be like if he had not tried to make up for killing his friend. Ethan is selfish to the point where he would mutilate Buffy to save himself, whereas Giles has many people close to him and would sacrifice himself to save them. Although one nitpick; did Ethan know about this in advance, since he got another month’s lease on the costume shop? He would’ve left town otherwise. Did he know Eyghon was back and wanted to be in close proximity with another potential victim?

    Another problem, albeit minor, is that for some reason they to made the metaphorical “scent” of the Mark of Eyghon literal. How exactly is a tattoo going to produce a scent Eyghon could use to locate them? Unless the searing flesh is a tell, this just came off as sloppy. It would’ve worked better had Eyghon scanned Ethan with his/her eyes before figuring that he didn’t have the mark.

    This episode brings up the concept of Buffy’s friends as Watchers in training. It certainly feels fit at this point in the show. With Giles out of commission through most of the episode, the three in the library have to step up the usual research. Willow once again proves to be resourceful as she realizes a vampire would be a perfect host to destroy Eyghon. And as Xander and Cordelia bicker, which is so over the top with excessive one liners that only assures they’ll get together, she once again brings up the stern side to put personal drama aside until the job is done.

    One element that felt undercooked was vampires seizing the human blood delivered to the hospital. For creatures that don’t object to feasting on human beings, Angel excluded, it seems odd that they would go through the effort to take donated blood. Only Angel gets packaged blood because he doesn’t want to directly harm someone to get his sustenance. Since one of the vampires referred to the blood as “product”, perhaps they spike the blood with something for vampires to use like drugs. Blood intoxication has been mentioned in “School Hard”.

    This episode, a bit like its predecessor, could’ve been a bit better. The exploration of Giles’ dark side is intriguing, but doesn’t go much deeper than his “lost weekending”. Even throughout the series, it is only a motivation here and there. With the spin off series “Ripper” scrapped (as far as I know) this may be one of the few examples of this dark side, which makes Giles a little incomplete.moreless

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