Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 2 Episode 2

Some Assembly Required

6
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Sep 22, 1997 on The WB
7.8
out of 10
User Rating
709 votes
32

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
The bodies of several recently deceased teen girls are stolen from their graves, and most of the parts are discovered in a dumpster on school grounds. From the missing pieces, the gang deduces that someone has collected almost enough parts to build their own girl. Now, all they need is a head, and it has to be fresh...moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Cordy nearly becomes the Bride of Sunnydale's Frankenstein.

    9.0
    "he's alive!" -- that's what I wanna yell every time I watch this episode. yeah, that reminds me about "Frankenstein" movies so much. but surely it differs from them 'coz it has our favorite characters...



    241-year-old Angel is jealous 'coz of Xander and Buffy's "sexy dance". almost 19-year-old Frankenstein (I'm sorry, Daryl) wanna a perfect "Franky" girl with Cordy's face. Giles and Jenny have their first (and it would be the second!) date. guess, I've watched this episode too many times (don't know the reason why), so I don't have enough passion to write about it in better and funnier words.



    FAVE SCENE: Angel finds Cordelia in the trash.



    FAVE QUOTE: Xander: People don't fall in love with what's right in front of them. People want the dream. What they can't have. The more unattainable, the more attractive.moreless
  • After the scorcher of an opener that was "When She Was Bad", it is disappointing to see the show settle back into what feels like a normal routine.

    6.5
    "Some Assembly Required" represents an interesting place in the show's evolution. In many ways this feels like a Season 1 episode: it's got the silly plot, the guest villains that barely register and never appear again, the labored pacing, and the failed scares. Despite the fact that this is a mediocre episode, something's still different about it that I couldn't quite put my finger on at first. Upon reflection, two things emerged: more relevant themes and much better character follow-through.



    Thematically, "Some Assembly Required" feels right at home in the romantic, operatic Season 2; it is all about the push/pull in romance between your mind and your body. The plot is also a clear commentary on how often men objectify women, although this is unfortunately communicated through the cartoonish, one-dimensional Eric. Certain notable questions arise from these themes. Which should you listen to more: the mind or the body? Is it possible to responsibly integrate both aspects together? What happens when the desires of the flesh take control? These questions are all played out in metaphor through the brothers Daryl and Chris, metaphorically the body and the brain of one very frustrated and confused adolescent with a lack of parental guidance.



    The fates of these villains provide us with good answers to some of these questions. The body, or Daryl, ends up dying in a fire with his disgusting constructed "perfect woman," grasping for love and connection in all the wrong places. The brain, Chris, ends up coming to his senses and at least helping Buffy stop the madness, but nonetheless still tries to rationalize his immorality. Eric, the tool, ends up cowering in fear when confronted, then gets knocked out and saved, despite being a despicable person. Who fares the best out of these three? Clearly Chris, who -- mistakes and all -- doesn't actually directly hurt anyone and comes around at the end. I think of this as communicating to the characters that the mind must be in control of our decisions concerning love. To an extent, we can't control how we feel in love, but we can still control what we do in love.



    So, how does all of this relate to our characters then? Do they learn from it all? The truth is: not so much. At the end of the episode Angel points out several reasons why he's not a good partner for Buffy this is the mind doing its thing. Instead of recognizing Angel's legitimate concerns, Buffy sidesteps them simply because she has feelings for him. Even though Angel deserves props for at least consistently raising concerns about their relationship, he, too, shows his inexperience and naivete by letting those concerns slide. Daryl may have been defeated, but what he represents lives on through Buffy and Angel. This doesn't bode well for the two of them. The fear of being alone also seems to be a recurring element in the episode. Daryl expresses this concern quite loudly, which definitely resonates with Buffy's internal conflicts and motivates her to push forward with Angel.



    "Some Assembly Required" gives us something that no Season 1 episodes really did: follow-through. Right from the start of the episode we see Angel attempting to reconnect with Buffy after her emotional breakdown in the last episode. The characters not only reference the events of the previous week, but those events inform what they are dealing with this week. This is a very welcome change, and one that will happen on a regular basis going forward. But trust must be reinforced on an ongoing basis or risk being quickly lost. It's these early Season 2 episodes that begin to show consistency in this area.



    As for said reconnection attempts, it's funny how Angel shows a little bit of jealousy towards Xander, a fun reversal of the usual situation. Normally you'd think that a guy like Angel would be more mature than to still be hung up on that "dance" with Xander, but this just highlights how, emotionally, Angel fits right in with the teenagers. It's an understandable feeling, albeit a juvenile one. Even though Angel claims that Xander's "just a kid," he says it with an insecurity that suggests maybe he's the one being the kid here.



    An underlying question throughout the Buffy/Angel relationship is how Buffy can get to know Angel when Angel doesn't even know himself yet. The fact that Angel can't see that Buffy's behavior in "When She Was Bad" was an emotional anomaly unrelated to him shows just how unperceptive and immature he is. Even on his own show some of these deficiencies will persist, which I think stems back to his wild human childhood and daddy issues. Angel will eventually grow up enough in Season 3 to see his relationship with Buffy for what it really is, but in many ways he needs just as much growth as the kids do maybe even more. But that's a conversation for another day. :)



    As I pointed out in my review of "When She Was Bad", Season 2 is very focused on coupling and sexuality, with a particular eye toward the adolescent treatment of said topics. So it's of no surprise that the episode opens with Buffy and Angel having what almost looks like a relationship quarrel. This is immediately followed by Giles flimsily rehearing pickup lines for Jenny Calendar. Within the confines of just this episode, we get hints both subtle and not that the show is toying around with the idea of couplings for Buffy/Angel, Giles/Jenny, Xander/Buffy, and Willow/Xander.



    Where Buffy and Angel are caught up in puppy love, the budding romance between Giles and Jenny offers a different path. For as bumbling as Giles is, it's his relationship with Jenny that will turn out to be -- by far -- the most mature and fertile of all the relationships that form throughout the season. Even though he, too, is not immune to a crush, he doesn't let that crush consume him. Giles never shirks off his duty to Buffy, and he shares enough tangible interests with Jenny to sustain a longer relationship. In short: these are two adults with the potential for a real future together. The contrast with the kids couldn't be clearer, and it's an utter delight to watch the two of them interact together. This makes it all the more ironic when Buffy and Xander lecture Giles about how to engage in the dating ritual.



    After all of this analysis, it may seem like there's nothing wrong with the episode! Unfortunately, for all "Some Assembly Required" has to say, it's really uninvolving. Its biggest mistake is how it tries way too hard to generate emotion for Daryl and his plight. Outside of what it represents and has to say about the characters we actually care about, I just don't care about the plot. Far too much time and melodrama is spent on these temporary villains, and it ends up making the episode a bore. Instead of feeling emotion about what's happening, my eyes are doing some creative rolling. "Some Assembly Required" simply doesn't earn its emotional beats, which makes a lot of the value of the episode too dryly academic.



    At the end of the day we see just how much "assembly" our characters still need before they become adults. It's going to require a lot of work, and will be quite the journey. "Some Assembly Required" is more substantive than meets the eye and thematically tight, but it still struggles with its plotting and ability to connect emotionally.moreless
  • Some Assembly Required

    5.0
    This episode is frankly a pretty big letdown after all the drama of the last one. We get a dumb "monster of the week" plot with one-dimensional villains who comes out of nowhere. The only positive aspect to the plot here is that the pace is not slow! Things keep moving at a brisk pace so you rarely have the chance to contemplate just how poor the plot actually is.



    Where the episode shines is no surprise: character development and interaction. Perhaps I should come up with an acronym for that phrase; I certainly use it often enough. We begin the episode with Buffy and Angel having a graveyard chat about her actions during the previous episode. The "sexy dance" in particular comes up. Buffy thankfully admits she just did it to make Angel jealous. Angel's wearing an ugly-looking light gray jacket most of this episode. Boy am I glad we don't see him in that thing again.



    Giles and Jenny finally go out on a date, though I'm not sure 'date' is the appropiate term here. Giles accompanies Jenny to the football game, and it's wildly obvious Giles is not having a good time from the get-go. Jenny still shows interest, after the group stops Cordelia's head from being chopped off, in a second date. The continuing theme of their dates ending badly begins here. I'd also like to mention how much I adore the fact that Xander continues to stay in character with the jealousy of Angel, and that Cordelia's flirt-o-meter with Angel continues to rise from her S1 advances.



    Its overall boring plot and poor execution combine to make this the worst episode in S2. I just really find this episode mostly pointless and kind of annoying. This definitely isn't a winner and feels like leftovers from S1 that aren't sitting well with me.moreless
  • Buffy vs Frankenstein

    8.0
    Some assembly required;



    The Good;

    We have our first sympathetic monster/villains and the show is all the better for it. Love the grave-digging sequence, the fiery rescue, the kids telling Giles how to date Jenny and the date itself, especially Giles' opinion of American football. The twist that the villains are doing it for Daryl rather than themselves. And if you're a guy or girl-who-likes-girls Cordy in her cheerleader outfit. Giles dealing with Cordy's pain.



    The Bad;

    Angel wears a hideous tan jacket which makes him look like a used car salesman. Was all his black leather being dry cleaned or something? We thankfully never see it again. Jenny uses the word 'disses' which I normally negatively associate with people who wear their trousers around their knees and regularly stab each other.



    Best line;

    Buffy; Sorry, I'm an old fashioned girl, men dig up graves and women have the babies



    Questions and observations;

    Of course this resembles Frankenstein but also the Reanimator series and Wes Craven's horror film Deadly Friend starring the original Buffy Kristy Swanson

    Chris and Eric's plan is just creepy in the extreme although a lot more understandable when you meet Daryl, they're doing it for him rather than just creating their own yucky sex toy. Once again Cordy is knocked out and tied up. Jenny again and more and more part of the group.

    We have the first example here of the Hellmouth genius, that the supernatural energy of the Hellmouth can make certain people smarter, Chris Epps, Willow, Ted's creator, Warren so despite being in high school they can do things that have eluded scientists for centuries. Despite Willow's complaint in Doomed it actually seems to be Cordy who always seems to be finding the bodies. We see Cordy beginning to come around to Xander's better qualities.

    I rather like to think that Chris goes home, pulls back the curtains, switches the TV off and takes his mother to Daryl's grave to say goodbye. As for Eric he has a picture in the Sunnydale High Class of 1999 yearbook where therapy seems to have done him a lot of good. A shame we don't see either of them again but there is only so much room in the show

    Good ep; 8/10

    moreless
  • Some Assembly Required

    7.5
    Some Assembly Required was another good episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayers second season. While patroling Buffy discovers an empty grave, robbed of its owner, and Cordelia and Angel make their own discovery. It is interesting to see Cordelia try to get Angel, making Buffy jealous. The main culprits in this episode are 2 friends who brought back one's dead brother, and now they are trying to make him a girl friend who is just like him so he will never be alone. This is the series version of Frankenstine. I thought it was entertaining, funny, and also had some serious moments.moreless
Amanda Wilmshurst

Amanda Wilmshurst

Cheerleader

Guest Star

Angelo Spizzirri

Angelo Spizzirri

Chris Epps

Guest Star

Michael Bacall

Michael Bacall

Eric

Guest Star

Robia LaMorte

Robia LaMorte

Jenny Calendar

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (10)

    • Goof: At 32:36 as the cheerleaders cheer at the game, you hear them say "Go, Greenbacks, Go!" The Sunnydale mascot is the Razorback. Even the subtitles on the DVD say Greenbacks.

    • We learn in this episode that Ms. Calendar's first name is Jenny.

    • Nitpick: It seems odd that Angel doesn't react or even seem to notice the vampire sneaking up on Buffy, even though he is looking right at her.

    • Angel reveals his age in this episode. He is 241 years old.

    • When Buffy refers to losing someone close to her, she may be thinking of Merrick, her first Watcher.

    • Nitpick: It seems odd that Chris and Eric leave their shovel, leave the grave open, and don't even close the casket. Perhaps they were scared away in the act, because all the mess makes it easy to find out about their little project.

    • Goof: There is no dirt anywhere around the grave Buffy fell into while arguing with Angel. Considering that the grave was supposed to be freshly opened, there should be piles of dirt everywhere. Since Chris and Eric apparently didn't bother to take their shovel or retrieve the dead girl's shoe, it is highly unlikely that they took the time to dispose of the dirt.

    • Goof: The open grave that Buffy falls into doesn't look as if it was dug open with a shovel at all. It has straight lines, and the walls of the chamber are all straight as well.

    • Goof: They make Darryl's skin look dead (and rather like a baseball with too many stitches) but they don't do anything to his eyes. His eyes should have decomposed after all this time.

    • Goof: The photos Eric developed don't match the ones he took. When he snapped them, all the girls were caught off guard, or with their hands up. Yet in the prints, they are simply looking at the camera.

  • QUOTES (36)

    • Eric: Cordelia's so fine. Y'know, she'd be just perfect for us.
      Chris: Don't be an idiot. She's alive.

    • Xander: Speaking of love...
      Willow: We were talking about the reanimation of dead tissue.
      Xander: Do I deconstruct your segues?

    • Giles: (Rehearsing a speech to an empty chair) Uh, what I'm proposing is, um, and I, I don't mean to appear indecorous, is, is, um, a, a social engagement, um, a date if you're amenable... You idiot!
      Buffy: (Coming up behind him) Boy, I guess we never realized how much you like that chair.

    • Chris: (to Willow) You know what the key is? If Dr. Clark doesn't understand your experiment he gives you higher marks so it looks like he understands your experiment.

    • Willow: It says that Meredith and two other girls in the car were killed instantly. They were all on the Fondren High Pep Squad, on the way to a game.
      Buffy: You know what this means.
      Xander: That Fondren might actually beat Sunnydale in the cross-town body count competition this year?

    • Buffy: She wasn't killed by vampires. Somebody did dig up her corpse.
      Cordelia: Eww! Why is it that every conversation you people have has the word "corpse" in it?

    • Giles: What student here is going to be that well versed in physiology?
      Willow: Well, I can think of five or six guys in the science club. And me.
      Xander: So, Will, come clean. Promise to never do it again, and we'll call it a night.

    • Xander: Well, I guess that makes it official. Everybody's paired off. Vampires get dates. Hell, even the school librarian sees more action than me. You ever think that the world is a giant game of musical chairs, and the music's stopped and we're the only ones who don't have a chair?
      Willow: All the time.
      Cordelia: Xander? I just wanted to thank you for saving my life. What you did in there was really brave and heroic, and I just wanted to tell you if there was anything that I could ever do to...
      Xander: Do you mind? We're talking here. (to Willow) So where were we?
      Willow: Wondering why we never get dates.
      Xander: Yeah, so why do you think that is?

    • Buffy: Love makes you do the wacky.
      Angel: What?
      Buffy: Crazy stuff.
      Angel: Oh. Crazy, like a 241-year-old being jealous of a high school junior?
      Buffy: Are you 'fessing up?
      Angel: I've thought about it. Maybe it bothers me a little.
      Buffy: I don't love Xander.
      Angel: Yeah, but he's in your life. He gets to be there when I can't. Take your classes, eat your meals, hear your jokes and complaints. He gets to see you in the sunlight.
      Buffy: I don't look that good in direct light.

    • Buffy: Then you say "How do you feel about Mexican?"
      Giles: About Mexicans?
      Buffy: Mexican. Food. You take her for food for which you then pay.
      Giles: Oh, right.

    • Giles: Ms. Calendar?
      Ms. Calendar: Oh, no, please call me Jenny. Ms. Calendar is my father.

    • Xander: Maybe not, but I'll tell you this. People don't fall in love with what's right in front of them. People want the dream. What they can't have. The more unattainable, the more attractive.

    • Jenny: It's okay. Although a good rule of thumb for a first date is don't do anything so exciting that it'll be hard to top on the second date.
      Giles: Believe it or not, since I've moved here to live on top of the Hellmouth, the events of this evening actually qualify as a slow night. (pauses and considers) Did you just say "second date"?
      Jenny: You noticed that, huh?

    • Willow: Eric's was a bust. Nothing there.
      Xander: Yeah, nothing but a bunch of computer equipment and a pornography collection so prodigious it even scared me.

    • Buffy: God! What if it worked? What if that poor girl is walking around?
      Xander: Poor girls, technically.

    • Buffy: Okay, Giles, just remember, "I feel a thing, you feel a thing..." But personalize it.
      Giles: Personalize it?
      Buffy: She's a technopagan, right? Ask her to bless your laptop. Have fun.

    • Buffy: I couldn't believe Angel. He was acting all jealous, and he wouldn't even admit it.
      Willow: Jealous of what?
      Buffy: Of Xander.
      Willow: Because you did that sexy dance with him?
      Buffy: Am I ever gonna live that down?
      Willow: No.

    • Willow: I'm probably the only girl in school who has the coroner's office bookmarked as a favorite place.

    • Willow: (reads) "The Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable"?
      Cordelia: I wanted to do something I could finish in a weekend, alright?

    • Giles: Understand, in my capacity as school official, this search is completely unauthorized and I... I cannot condone it.
      Buffy: Fine, your butt's covered. Wanna grab a locker?
      Giles: Oh, yes... yes, of course...

    • Cordelia: Hello? Can we deal with my pain please? (gets ignored)
      Giles: (sarcastically) There, there.

    • Angel: So, uh, you're here alone?
      Buffy: Yeah. Why?
      Angel: I just thought he'd have somebody with you. Xander or someone.
      Buffy: Xander?
      Angel: Or someone.
      Buffy: Nope. Why? Are you jealous?
      Angel: Of Xander? Please... he's just a kid.
      Buffy: Is it because I danced with him?
      Angel: Dancing with is a pretty loose term. Mated with might be a little closer.
      Buffy: Don't you think you're being a little unfair? It was only one little dance, which I only did to make you crazy, by the way. Behold my success.
      Angel: I am not jealous!
      Buffy: You're not jealous? What, vampires don't get jealous?
      Angel: See? Whenever we fight, you always bring up the vampire thing.
      Buffy: Well, I didn't come here to fight! (gets attacked by the vampire she was waiting for) Oh right, I did!

    • Xander: So, both coffins are empty. That makes three girls signed up for the army of zombies.
      Willow: Is it an army if you just have three?
      Buffy: Mmmm... zombie drill-team, then.

    • Cordelia: I don't think anyone should have to do anything educational in school if they don't want to.

    • Angel: I think they kept some parts.
      Buffy: Could this get yuckier?
      Willow: They probably kept the other parts to eat.
      Buffy: Question answered.

    • Cordelia: Darn, I have cheerleader practice tonight. Boy, I wish I knew we were gonna be digging up dead people sooner. I would've canceled.
      Xander: All right, but if you come across the army of zombies, can you page us before they eat your flesh?
      (Cordelia leaves)
      Giles: Xander? Zombies don't eat the flesh of the living.
      Xander: Yeah, I knew that. But did you see the look on her face?

    • Giles: Grave robbery? That's new. Interesting.
      Buffy: I know you meant to say gross and disturbing.
      Giles: Yes, yes, yes, of course. Terrible thing. Must put a stop to it. Damn it.

    • Xander: Simple deduction. Ms. Calendar is reasonably dollsome, especially for someone in your age bracket. She already knows that you're a school librarian, so you don't have to worry about how to break that embarrassing news to her.
      Buffy: And she's the only woman we've actually ever seen speak to you. Add it up, it all spells "duh!"

    • Buffy: Come on Stephan, rise and shine. Some of us have a ton of trig homework waiting.
      Angel: Hey! (sneaks up on Buffy and scares her) Is this a bad time?
      Buffy: Are you crazy?! You don't just sneak up on people in a graveyard. You make noise when you walk. You... stomp. Or yodel.
      Angel: I heard you were on the hunt.
      Buffy: Supposed to be, but lazy bones here doesn't want to come out and play.
      Angel: When you first wake up it's a little disorienting. He'll show.
      Buffy: It's weird to think of you going through that.
      Angel: It's weird to go through.

    • Giles: I just think it's rather odd that a nation that prides itself on its virility should feel compelled to strap on forty pounds of protective gear just in order to play rugby.

    • Buffy: You also might wanna avoid words like 'amenable' and 'indecorous'... y'know. Speak English, not whatever they speak in, um...
      Giles: England?
      Buffy: Yeah. You just say, "Hey, I got a thing, you maybe have a thing, maybe we could have a thing."
      Giles: Oh, thank you, Cyrano.

    • Buffy: Being called an idiot tends to take people out of the dating mood.
      Xander: Hmm, it actually kinda turns me on.
      Buffy: I fear you.

    • Cordelia: It was horrible. Angel saved me from an arm. God, there were so many parts, they were everywhere. Why are these terrible things always happening to me?
      Xander: (cough) Karma! (cough)

    • Buffy: But it's not doable. I mean making someone from scraps, actually making them live.
      Willow: If it is, my science project's definitely coming in second this year.

    • Willow: By the way, are we hoping to find a body, or no body?
      Xander: Call me an optimist but I'm hoping to find a fortune in gold doubloons.

    • Buffy: Sorry, but I'm an old-fashioned gal. I was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and the women have the babies.

  • NOTES (4)

  • ALLUSIONS (8)

    • Title: "Some Assembly Required"
      Alludes to a common reference on products or furniture bought in a store that it will come in parts and need to be put together for use.

    • Episode
      The episode has a strong similarity to the 1935 horror classic Bride of Frankenstein. In the movie, a mate is created for a monster who was reanimated from the dead.

    • Eric: (singing) I guess you'll say / What can make me feel this way? / My girl / Talkin' 'bout my girl / My girl... (speaking) How's my baby?
      Eric is singing a few lines of the 1965 song "My Girl" by The Temptations. Actually released at the very end of 1964, it dominated the charts in '65, becoming The Temptations' first number one hit.

    • Xander: You ever think that the world's a giant game of musical chairs, and the music's stopped, and we're the only ones who don't have a chair?

      Musical chairs is a children's party game in which there is one more participant than chairs. The participants circle the chairs and when the music stops attempt to sit on an unoccupied seat. The participant left without a chair is out of the game and one chair is removed. This continues until there is one one person remaining who is the winner.

    • Xander: Say, nine-ish? BYO shovel.

      BYO = Bring Your Own. A reference to parties that are BYOB - Bring Your Own Beer.

    • Buffy: Sorry to interrupt, Willow, but it's the bat signal.

      In the Batman comic books, TV show, and movies the Police Commissioner Gordon would summon the hero, Batman, by use of a "bat signal" projected into the sky.

    • Giles: Well, thank you, Cyrano.
      Cyrano De Bergerac is a famous character from French literature. The Edmond Rostand play, written in 1897, tells the story of a love triangle between Cyrano, his friend Christian and the woman they both seek Roxane. The unattractive Cyrano is unable to approach Roxane, but writes beautifully romantic words for Christian to speak. Buffy's "Maybe we could have a thing." suggestion isn't quite the same. The play has been made into numerous movies, the most famous to the current generation being 1987's Roxanne starring Steve Martin.

    • Buffy: Then if you wouldn't mind a little Gene and Roger, you might want to leave off the idiot part.
      Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were Chicago area movie critics that were made famous by the nationally televised movie rating show. Siskel and Ebert were probably best known for their thumbs up/thumbs down reviews.

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