Episode Reviews (24)
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What's My Line? (1)
This is part one of a respectable two-parter that should have been much better. This is the big Spike 'event' we've been waiting for since he was introduced back in "School Hard" (2x03). This should have been explosive and intriguing, but instead we get a slow paced and exposition heavy letdown. These episodes aren't bad, in fact they are even decent, but they should have been fantastic. No matter, there is still a lot of good beginning with part one.
This episode begins with Xander, probably reflecting Whedon's own views, hating taking any kind of dumb standardized exam. This "career day" exam is used as a launching point for discussion about a possible future beyond slaying for Buffy. Also interesting is the pondering of what she could have been had she not been chosen. Buffy is still expressing to everyone that she just wants to be a normal girl. I really like the consistency in not only Buffy's character, but all the characters (main and otherwise) on this show.
Spike and Drusilla are finally launching their scheme to restore Drusilla to full health. I adore the scene where Spike is impatient with Dru and it hurts her feelings. To make her feel better Spike picks her up and dances around the room with her in his arms. It's so rare to actually like the villains on a show. These two get a surprsingly little amount of screen time for an episode who's plot is supposed to be about them. I think the biggest problem with this is that Spike and Dru have no contact with the Scooby Gang and instead send the boring Order of Taraka assassins after Buffy instead. The writers should have learned by now, more Spike is better!
I have to confess that I really loved all the Angel and Buffy romance material in this episode. All of it hit the right chords from their conversation in her bedroom (with Angel holding onto Mr. Gordo), to Buffy beautifully ice skating and then kissing Angel even with his vampire face exposed (they had better avoid french kissing). I like that Angel recommended going skating with Buffy, that was a smart idea. Buffy needs a breather from her Slayer duties every now and then besides going to The Bronze. I also like the Kendra fake-out during this scene. We're made to believe that Kendra is the third assassin when she's in fact, not. I also want to mention when Buffy is scared her first instinct tells her to go to Angel's place. This is a beautiful setup for the big "Surprise" (2x13) and "Innocence" (2x14) two-parter coming up.
In this part, the Order of Taraka comes off as pretty pathetic. The 'brute' guy wasn't scary at all and I don't feel that he should have just been able to choke Buffy to death had Angel not been there. The worm guy is a bit of a different story though. I actually find this guy interesting because he doesn't look like an assassin at all. He looks like the average working man. Is there a metaphor here about people not always showing you their true face? This topic comes up again in "Consequences" (3x15) when Faith says, "When are you gonna learn, B? It doesn't matter what kind of vibe you get off a person. 'Cause nine times out of ten, the face they're showing you is not the real one." I have to wonder if that is actually true, do most people really hide their true identity to others and possibly even themselves?
Unfortunately there are a whole slew of problems with this episode as well. The biggest being the horribly slow pace, the corny synthesized music, and the overload of exposition. This episode just meanders along forever while, every now and then, hitting a nice character scene. The music is reminiscent to S1's corny music, which is not a good thing. Also, there is so much exposition in here that it's hard not to fall asleep (especially if you're watching this at night). Like I mentioned before, there needed to be some involvement between Spike and the Scoobies to take this up a notch.
The problems here extend to the fight scenes as well. The directing during Kendra's fight with Angel really felt off. Most of my criticism is meant for the director, David Solomon, who just can't seem to keep everything smooth. Overall, though, there is a lot of good stuff in here and a solid setup for part two. The ending surprise that Kendra is another Slayer really does make you sit up and go "woah, now I'm all of the sudden really interested in seeing part two!"moreless
There can be only one?
What's my line? pt1
Love Buffy's miniskirt and booties, very hot. The neighbours scream blending into the plane's engine noise. Will and Oz, awwww! Buffy ice-skating, you wonder who's better now, SMG or Michelle 'Ice Princess' Tractenberg? Or maybe Julie Benz who is also apparently was once rated 12th best in the US. Buffy's gesture with the torch when Giles suggests she consider law enforcement as a career. Death by iceskate! Buffy's paranoia as she walks through careers day. The Xander/Snyder faceoff. Cordy's little expression at the thought of free cosmetics. Buffy's look of shock at the final line.
Kendra's accent for one although if she was taken from her parents as a child and raised in the UK you'd expect it to be a mishmash.
Cordy; What am I, mass transportation?
Xander; That's what guys say but it's just locker room talk
Questions and observations;
A small town like Sunnydale must have a pretty huge airport to handle a 747? Why has no one tried to hire the Order of Taraka before now? Willy the Snitch for the first time. Angel tortures him, of course. Xander refers to the Scooby gang for the first time. First sign of Will's frog fear. Is this the first appearance of Mr Gordo? Also Dalton who will reappear as Spike's lackey in future eps. Xander breaks into Buffy's house very easily,for such a dangerous town everyone seems very slack. What happened to the Slayer rule about not killing humans, Kendra tries to kill Buff with the axe.
10/10 great stuff
What's My Line? (1)
What's My Line? (1) was the first episode of Buffy's second season's mid-season and it was another Classic Buffy Episode with the usual suspects conjuring dark plans, and an unknown character is revealed to be.... Kendra the Vampire Slayer. This is a great story line and I think it will be an important one. I really enjoy these episodes because they have a great fictional history that almost feels real, and the characters are charismatic and play their parts well. I also really enjoy the cinematography, as it gives the series such a unique and classic feel, making homage to its origins. I look forward to seeing how the story unfolds in the next episode, I'm on the edge of my seat!!!!moreless
Great 2 part episode
This one was pretty good. It had action, killers after buffy, steamy love scenes and Spike and Drusilla plans dashed again.
The evil vampire hire hit men to kill Buffy. and Buffy and her gang are having to decide what they are going to do after they finish high school. I think they should be concentrating on living first and then get careers. Buffy also goes ice skating. Lucky for her she has sharp skates to cut the throat of a big hairy biker type killer. We also have Spike and Drusilla capture Angel and perform a spell to give Drusilla her strength back and suck the life out of Angel. Luck for him Buffy, Willow Zander and the crew show up and kill everyone and save him. But didn't quite finish the job. Buffy should of learned by now that you can't crush vampires you need to cut their heads off or stap them through the heart.
And Angel gets his reward for helping Buffy all this time and it takes alot to win over a Slayer.moreless
Season 2, Episode 9.
It's Career Week at Sunnydale High School. In the meantime, Spike tries to get a cure to restore Drusilla's health, and a girl is following Buffy and imprisons Angel.
This is one of the most important episodes in Buffy history. I liked the ending. There's another vampire slayer! Thanks to Buffy's temporary death at the hands of The Master. I strongly dislike Kendra's accent. Maybe that's just me. Anyway, a very good episode. I liked that Buffy could be a law enforcer. It's very similar to a Slayer. I found that those dudes taking Willow into a different class or something was weird. Good episode, nonetheless.moreless
As they all look to the future, Spike is looking to distract Buffy as he tries to restore Drusilla to her glory. Willow finally meets Oz in this episode and I like how he enters with the line of 'canape?' which is so classically Oz. Then Xander and Cordelia getting caught by the assassin in Buffy's house is really funny. Kendra's appearance is a really great and her character is in such stark contrast to Buffy. Angel and Buffy's date is also really cute in this episode as they try to be human but are interrupted by death. A really good start to this two part story arc.moreless
Buffy's Alienation Begins...
God I love this show... Having watched the entire series three times already this time around the episodes have more of a big picture feel to me... and this one is pivotal to the rest of the series.
It's the first time we see Buffy really understand that she is different and that her destiny will always prevent her from having the "normal" life she so desperately desires.
We also see the future of her deep connection with Angel when she feels she has nowhere to go, she goes to Angel's house.
This episode also introduces the Slayer succession with Kendra appearing in town due to Buffy's death at the hands of the Master.
It is also the first time "Scooby Gang" is used.
So for me a must see episode.moreless
Hellmouth Presents: Dead Guys On Ice
In the first ever two parter for the Buffy series (excluding the first episode with a dog of a cliffhanger) "What's My Line" plays a pivotal part in this season of Buffy. Spike fed up with Buffy owning him every time they face devises a plan to get four assasssins to kill her. Xander & Cordy's romance starts when they are trapped in The Buffsters house by one of the assassins. AT the ice skating rink Buffy and Angel's romance continue to develop and they kill another assassin. But its the ending of the episode that really shines. Buffy believes a mysterious girl who is following her around is an assassin while Kendra (the mysterious girl) thinks she is an assassin. So when they come face to face and tell eachother that they are both The Vampire Slayer we have an interesting cliffhanger TO BE CONTINUED...moreless
The Assassins Are In Town
What's My Line, Part 1-It's "Career Week" at Sunnydale High, and Buffy is faced with the reality that she has no future apart from her destiny as the Slayer. Meanwhile, in order to stop Buffy from interfering in his plans, Spike sends four deadly assassins to ensure the Slayer has no future. Also, a mysterious girl is following Buffy and Angel around, and Xander and Cordelia are trapped in Buffy's house after being attacked by one of the assassins.
An episode that does well by introducing some cool villains, some nice twists and characters. The Career Week plot is great development as it questions if Buffy will even have a life besides slaying. It may seem like a plot just too have our heroine whin about what she wants and use ti have but it brings some good questions. It's also great how Angel is the closest thing Buffy has to a normal life, yet he is a vampire. It's their relationship that keeps her grounded and makes her seem like any teenaged girl in love with her boyfriend.
The episode also sees Spike and Dursilla sending The Order of Taraka after Buffy, who are very impressive villians. The way Giles speaks of them as they work alone and stop at nothing to kill their target makes you feel like how is Buffy gonna get out of this one. The Worm guy has to be the best assassin of the bunch. Kelly Connell is very good at playing character as very menancing yet normal when being his salesman persona. Also, Bianca Lawson makes her appearence as Kendra, Da Vumpiah Slayer and despite her "where the hell is from?" accent, she is a cool character. Kendra fight scene with Angel is great as well as the concluding fight as both slayers go head to head. It's the first time we see 2 slayers go at it and it's a real treat. The episode ends with Kendra's self-declaration and Buffy's "what the hell is she talking about" look. All and All, a wonderful first part because of the great introductions, well satged fights, creative villains and nice dialogue.moreless
Some big moments setting up the rest of the season and series.
As the season tackles largely with Buffy’s dream to live a normal life, it’s fitting that they devote two episodes to where Buffy’s future will take her. With Sunnydale High in the midst of “Career Week”, Buffy has to deal with the fact that even if she makes it to adulthood (an idea her friends politely left out), her career was decided when she became the slayer. Anything she does will have to relate to slaying, like Giles can be a librarian and watcher. Unfortunately, law enforcement, the field most connected to slaying, doesn’t appeal to her at all.
There is an emphasis on Buffy’s isolation, with her mother being out of town and moments like the shot of Buffy’s reflection where Angel can’t appear or the scene where Buffy and Giles talk between the huge stacks of books. Even Angel’s sweet gesture to take her skating goes awry when her slaying duties take priority.
Unlike Buffy, Willow’s future has many options because of her academic record. As Marti Noxon points out in the DVD commentary, the burgeoning computer world (it’s easy to forget this was before Windows 98) was a timely place for her prosperity to take her, not to mention she is able to do things on ten-year-old computers that modern machines can’t. This piece isn’t so important for now, but sets up the stage for when they approach graduation.
Xander on the other hand, doesn’t have much ambition, as the career paths he has are unfortunate. Like Willow’s story, this serves more to establish where Xander will head towards graduation and the future.
This episode shows the first instances of Oz interacting directly with the group. Even though the computer subplot is quickly forgotten, it lets Willow and Oz have their first conversation. Plus Buffy pining him to the wall, suspecting he is one of the people sent to kill her, made a memorable first meeting.
The book Spike’s minion stole in “Lie to Me” becomes more important than initially believed. It turns out this book contains the piece that will cure Drusilla’s sickness. Of course, if they could read it properly, then Buffy would be helpless to stop it. However, the need for them to decode the ancient text (I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as archaic Latin) and to keep Buffy from foiling them propels the main plot.
With assassins (bounty hunters really isn’t the most applicable term here) out for her, it’s expected that Buffy would be a little paranoid, even when passing by innocuous people like obnoxious door slammer and inopportune hair comber. As the slayer, this is the type of fear she would likely experience all the time, but it’s fitting at this time when Buffy is feeling restless about her chosen one position.
While many cults and groups on “Buffy” have some ideological motivation, The Order of Taraka are contract killers who will focus on nothing but destroying their target. It’s a clever move not to show us all three of the assassins in one episode. With one unknown, it revs up the suspense for the next episode, when one will reveal him or herself.
It isn’t clear why Bug Man heads toward Buffy’s house when he had no confirmation of her being there. It is possible that they left out a scene where it confirms he had no idea what she looked like and confused Cordelia with her, but why would they cut out that piece? Having Xander and Cordelia seek shelter in the basement gives them a space for them to deal with the rising tension in their dynamic, similar to the classic trapped in a room sitcom device.
From her introduction after Biker guy and Bug guy to her following Buffy and Angel and later attacking them, there’s great misdirection leading us to believe Kendra is one of the three assassins out to get Buffy. It would seem fitting to have a diverse group of hitmen include someone Buffy’s age, which in a way has the twist staring the viewer in the face but still unaware.
The twist where Kendra reveals herself to be a slayer marks the payoff to what happened in “Prophesy Girl”. Buffy died, albeit briefly, but even a short death allowed Kendra to be called in her place. It is an interesting repercussion, one that has consequences throughout the series. Kendra is, as we’ll see, an effective reference point to Buffy’s current status.
It’s a little odd that Drusilla’s tarot cards happen to match with what Spike and his crew are out to accomplish. However, we do know Drusilla has some degree of clairvoyance, and that is likely scrambled because of her insanity. Clearly the fallen angel tarot card symbolizes Angel. With the guilt we learned Angel had towards making Drusilla the monster she is, being a part of something to heal her would intensify said guilt. Of course, they better get moving with the sunshine ready to permeate through that cage.
This first part effectively throws most of our heroes, besides Giles and Willow, in some form of high stakes peril. After spending most of the episode dealing with the lonesome life of slayerdom, Buffy suddenly learns there is another. This episode contains some moments that set up turning points in the season, as well as things that become more important down the road.moreless