Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 4 Episode 17

Superstar

4
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Apr 04, 2000 on The WB
8.0
out of 10
User Rating
549 votes
28

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Buffy, Willow, Xander and Anya are out hunting vampires and kill one of a pair. They track the other to a nest and decide to call in the big guns and visit... Jonathan.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

Today
1:00am
LOGO
2:00am
LOGO
3:00am
LOGO
4:00pm
PIVOT
5:00pm
PIVOT
6:00pm
PIVOT
7:00pm
PIVOT
8:00pm
PIVOT
12:00am
LOGO
Wednesday
1:00am
LOGO
2:00am
PIVOT
LOGO
3:00am
LOGO
4:00am
PIVOT
5:00am
PIVOT
12:00am
LOGO
Thursday
1:00am
LOGO
2:00am
LOGO
3:00am
LOGO
SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Superstar

    6.5
    This is an occasionally fun, but nearly completely inconsequential episode that simply doesn't have a lot else going for it. Why isn't this an arc episode anyway? This just tells me that the writers probably knew they didn't have much of anything to do with Adam and the Initiative at this point. Jonathan somehow manages to alter all of reality so that he's the big hero that everyone loves. Buffy and Riley mend their wounds over the Faith issue and Jonathan learns a couple lessons. That's about all that happens. It's also got the whole James Bond-type music going for it. The demon that was summoned as a side-effect to Jonathan's spell is incredibly hokey, annoying, and certainly not the sum of everyone's worst nightmares. I'm not a big fan of this episode, but I admit there's some worthwhile stuff mixed in here.



    I really enjoyed the altered opening credits along with how, right from the beginning of the episode, everything is already changed. Being thrown into something while it's happening is a technique I'm quite fond of, the best example of which I've seen used is in the movie Dark City. Early on it is obvious that this Buffy has not gone through nearly as much as the Buffy in the real reality. Here she dresses in a way that makes her look frivolous and we can see she doesn't have a lot of confidence because, as Giles puts it, "she's never stood alone against something like this This is what Buffy would be like at this age had she not killed the Master, defeated Angelus, fought Faith, and dealt with all the daily fighting she's had to endure mostly by herself. In this reality, Jonathan did all that. This means that Buffy never trained, got little fighting practice, and didn't have to go through all that pain, which made her able to take more both physically and emotionally.



    Buffy's conversations with Riley reveal a lot more. When she's with him, she's very much like the Buffy in the real reality. Certain characteristics, such as caring for and loving (and I mean this not in the romantic way) others, are a part of who Buffy is, regardless of memory. Her instincts are still extremely sharp as well. While borderline frivolous, we can still see that there's some depth to Buffy. Riley tells her, "If they'd just put a little trust in me I know I could get the job She replies, "I've felt that way my entire This Buffy is untrained, underdeveloped, and just itching to blossom but is always superceded by Jonathan who is able to do everything better. That makes it all the much warmer when Riley sticks up for and supports Buffy when no one else will after she questions the perfectness of Jonathan.



    That brings us to Jonathan who is, as Buffy puts it, "trying to make everything work out with some big gesture all at He did that in "Earshot" (3x18) when he was going to commit suicide, and he's definitely done it again here. At the end Buffy tells him that "things are complicated. They take time and Through this fantasy Jonathan gets everything he wants. His album addresses his lack of popularity, the slaying addresses his lack of power and self confidence, the Swedish girls address his lack of a love life, and the Scoobies address his lack of companionship. While obviously envious of Buffy, he still very much likes her and who she is. That's why when he gives her good advice on her relationship with Riley, it's completely genuine. What's also genuine is when he decides to help Buffy fight the demon, even though it means he will lose his fantasy. He does something very similar in "Seeing Red" (6x19) when he tells her how to drain Warren of his power, even though it means he'll likely end up in prison for what he's been a part of. This is something that is a part of who Jonathan is, and a good something at that. He should be, at the very least, proud of that.



    One last thing to point out is the second scene between Buffy and Spike (when only Jonathan is with her). Spike says, as he caresses her hair, "Someday sweet slayer. I would love to take you on. See you face the evil alone for Spike seems a bit infatuated with her already, and Buffy doesn't do anything to deter him from continuing. Anyway, this episode has some humor, a decent amount of cheese, and a little bit of character insight. Overall, though, it's simply mediocre.

    moreless
  • This is an occasionally fun, but nearly completely inconsequential episode that simply doesn't have a lot else going for it.

    6.0
    Why isn't this an arc episode anyway? This just tells me that the writers probably knew they didn't have much of anything to do with Adam and the Initiative at this point. Jonathan somehow manages to alter all of reality so that he's the big hero that everyone loves. Buffy and Riley mend their wounds over the Faith issue and Jonathan learns a couple lessons. That's about all that happens. It's also got the whole James Bond-type music going for it. The demon that was summoned as a side-effect to Jonathan's spell is incredibly hokey, annoying, and certainly not the sum of everyone's worst nightmares. I'm not a big fan of this episode, but I admit there's some worthwhile stuff mixed in here.



    I really enjoyed the altered opening credits along with how, right from the beginning of the episode, everything is already changed. Being thrown into something while it's happening is a technique I'm quite fond of, the best example of which I've seen used is in the movie Dark City. Early on it is obvious that this Buffy has not gone through nearly as much as the Buffy in the real reality. Here she dresses in a way that makes her look frivolous and we can see she doesn't have a lot of confidence because, as Giles puts it, "she's never stood alone against something like this This is what Buffy would be like at this age had she not killed the Master, defeated Angelus, fought Faith, and dealt with all the daily fighting she's had to endure mostly by herself. In this reality, Jonathan did all that. This means that Buffy never trained, got little fighting practice, and didn't have to go through all that pain, which made her able to take more both physically and emotionally.



    Buffy's conversations with Riley reveal a lot more. When she's with him, she's very much like the Buffy in the real reality. Certain characteristics, such as caring for and loving others, are a part of who Buffy is, regardless of memory. Her instincts are still extremely sharp as well. While borderline frivolous, we can still see that there's some depth to Buffy. Riley tells her, "If they'd just put a little trust in me I know I could get the job She replies, "I've felt that way my entire This Buffy is untrained, underdeveloped, and just itching to blossom but is always superceded by Jonathan who is able to do everything better. That makes it all the much warmer when Riley sticks up for and supports Buffy when no one else will after she questions the perfectness of Jonathan.



    That brings us to Jonathan who is, as Buffy puts it, "trying to make everything work out with some big gesture all at He did that in "Earshot" when he was going to commit suicide, and he's definitely done it again here. At the end Buffy tells him that "things are complicated. They take time and Through this fantasy Jonathan gets everything he wants. His album addresses his lack of popularity, the slaying addresses his lack of power and self confidence, the Swedish girls address his lack of a love life, and the Scoobies address his lack of companionship. While obviously envious of Buffy, he still very much likes her and who she is. That's why when he gives her good advice on her relationship with Riley, it's completely genuine. What's also genuine is when he decides to help Buffy fight the demon, even though it means he will lose his fantasy. He does something very similar in "Seeing Red" when he tells her how to drain Warren of his power, even though it means he'll likely end up in prison for what he's been a part of. This is something that is a part of who Jonathan is, and a good something at that. He should be, at the very least, proud of that.



    One last thing to point out is the second scene between Buffy and Spike. Spike says, as he caresses her hair, "Someday sweet slayer. I would love to take you on. See you face the evil alone for Spike seems a bit infatuated with her already, and Buffy doesn't do anything to deter him from continuing. Anyway, this episode has some humor, a decent amount of cheese, and a little bit of character insight. Overall, though, it's simply mediocre.moreless
  • Worst episode so far

    1.0
    Worst episode so far.



    I don't condemn Whedon for experimenting. Experimentation is good.



    But there is no denying that some experiments fail. This is one of them.



    The standard formula for leading men and leading ladies has a logical basis.
  • Classic Xander line #284

    9.5
    So we're saying he did a spell just to make us think he was cool? That is so cool.
  • The halfway point

    8.0
    The Good;

    How brilliant is Danny Strong? So glad we had him back in the 6&7 seasons. His final talk with Buffy is a winner



    The Bad;

    Monster looks a bit lame, aside from that, great ep



    Best line;

    Graham;(upon seeing the Initiative's 'tactical consultant' Jonothan) "About time we brought out the big guns"



    Women good/men bad;

    Actually in this case 'man' brilliant but it's hardly real



    Jeez!;

    Poor Tara, you so feel for her



    Kinky dinky;

    Anya moans Jonathan's name during sex and describes him as 'lickable' (as indeed does Buffy although she claims she was only joking). She also seems to find his trumpet playing a turn-on. Jonathan has a threesome with beautiful twins which appears to be an illicit yet universal male fantasy to judge by all the Buffy/Dawn/Joyce or Charmed sisters sexfic on the net? 'Buffy the Streetwalking Hooker' , 'Thanks for taking care of my body Faith' and 'Don't Go' probably the most tasteful in a highly dubious genre if you're over 18.



    Calling Captain Subtext;

    Exactly why does Giles have a copy of the Jonathan swimsuit calender to hand? Was it a gift? Tara and Willow seem infatuated with Jonathan, one wonders if he suggested it they might come 'running back to boys-town', at least for the night? Xander also seems alarmingly devoted to Jonathan. Spike strokes Buffy's cheek, their attraction evident. Note the evidence of Jonathon's heroism, no wonder he comes good in season 6&7.



    Guantanamo Bay;

    Buffy and Jonothan beat Spike up for info. The police seem quite content to just let Jonothan handle things without their help.



    Scoobies to the ER;

    Poor Tara gets pretty banged up



    Where's Dawn?

    Does she share in the Jonathan idolisation?



    Scoobies in bondage:

    Buffy: 8

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 5

    Will: 3

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 4

    Oz: 1

    Faith: 3

    Joyce: 1

    Wes: 1



    Scoobies knocked out: no but Jonathan knocked unconscious by the beast.

    Buffy: 15

    Giles: 10

    Cordy: 6

    Xander: 8

    Will: 5

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 6

    Oz: 3

    Faith: 1

    Joyce: 2

    Wes: 1



    Kills:

    Buffy: 3 vamps for Buffy so 79 vamps, 26 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

    Jonathan; 2 vamps and 1 demon

    Riley; 11 vamps + 6 demons



    Scoobies go evil:

    Giles: 1

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 1

    Oz: 1

    Joyce: 1

    Xander: 2



    Alternate scoobies:

    Buffy: 6

    Giles: 3

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 2

    Joyce: 2

    Xander: 3



    Recurring characters killed: no but for a moment you really think Tara might go the same way as Jenny Calender

    Jesse, Flutie, Jenny, Kendra, Larry, Snyder, Professor Walsh



    Total number of scoobies: 7

    Giles, Xander, Willow, Buffy, Anya, Spike, Riley



    Xander demon magnet: 5

    Preying Mantis Lady, Inca Mummy Girl, Drusilla, VampWillow, Anya (arguably Buffy & Faith with their demon essences?)



    Scoobies shot:

    Giles: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 4



    Notches on Scooby bedpost:

    Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny

    Cordy: 1?

    Buffy: 3; Angel, Parker, Riley

    Angel: 1;Buffy

    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;

    The first mention of the world without shrimp as far as I know? Of course it's actually Jonathon who works out Adam's weakness although surely if you cut his head off it would slow him down a great deal? Note Buffy know's how to make Jonathon's coffee. Less Adam in this ep and it's all the better for it. An ep much beloved of fanfic writers as whatever has gone on before Jonathon can always put it right. We also see Buffy show her strength, able to see beyond the illusion and show her latent power. Riley begins to see beyond the Initiative and is introduced to magic. How great is magic Jane's commentary? Now of course this marks the halfway point of Buffy, 72 down, 72 to go.

    Marks out of 10; 8/10 I think, bordering on the marvellous

    moreless
Erica Luttrell

Erica Luttrell

Karen

Guest Star

Adam Clark

Adam Clark

Cop

Guest Star

Chanie Costello

Chanie Costello

Inga

Guest Star

Amber Benson

Amber Benson

Tara

Recurring Role

Bailey Chase

Bailey Chase

Graham Miller

Recurring Role

George Hertzberg

George Hertzberg

Adam

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Goof: In the cave when Jonathan runs out to help Buffy then runs back to hide look at the stalagmite in front of him. As he first runs out he brushes against it and it wobbles back and forth.

    • Goof: Look closely at the floor of the cave when the creature first throws Jonathan down. One of the seams in the floor can be seen.

    • Goof: Near the end of the episode, the overhead establishing shot of the campus uses previously unseen film from the closing shot in "The Initiative". Look closely and Buffy and Riley can be seen walking away in the distance wearing the same clothes from the other episode. Also, the other people in the shot and what they are doing are the same.

    • Goof: When Buffy and Riley are dancing you can see that the same dance sequence is used multiple times.

    • Goof: The chess setting is weird in the fact that both white and black sides have the king in a more frontal row than the queen, which is peculiar but not unheard of. There is a clear error, however, in that Jonathan identifies the layout as the Nimzowitsch Defense. The Nimzowitsch Defense is a well-known opening strategy, not an end-game strategy. Jane Espenson, in the audio commentary, notes that while she researched chess scenarios to find an actual situation no one on the crew knew how to set up the Nimzowitsch Defence.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Anya: Alternate realities are neat.
      Xander: You know what I'll always remember?
      Riley: The swimsuit calendar's sticking in my mind... Not in a good way.

    • Riley: These spells... these really work? I mean, can you really "turn your enemies inside out"? Or... learn to "excrete gold coins"?
      Anya: That one's not so much fun.
      Willow: They work Riley but they take concentration. Being attuned with the forces of the universe.
      Xander: Right you can't just go 'librum incendere' and expect...
      (The book page bursts into flame, and Xander slaps it shut to put out the fire)
      Giles: Xander, don't speak Latin in front of the books.

    • Buffy: Shut up, Spike.
      Spike: Ooh, semi-harsh language from Betty.

    • Buffy: Well, I was just kind of wondering if maybe anyone else thought that Jonathan was kind of too perfect?
      Xander: No, he's not. He's just perfect enough. He crushed the bones of the Master, he blew up a big snake made out of Mayor, and he coached the US Women's soccer team to a stunning World Cup victory.

    • Buffy: (about Jonathan) He starred in The Matrix but he never left town. And how did he graduate from med school? He's only 18 years old.
      Xander: Effective time management?

    • Buffy: Anya, when you were a demon, you granted wishes, right?
      Anya: Vengeance wishes, on ex-boyfriends. I'd wish he was a dog, or ugly, or in love with President McKinley, or something.
      Buffy: But someone could wish the whole earth to be different, right? That's possible?
      Anya: Sure, alternate realities. You could have, like, a world without shrimp. Or with, you know, nothing but shrimp. You could even make, like, a freaky world where Jonathan's like, some kind of not-perfect mouth-breather, if that's what's blowing up your skirt these days. Just don't ask me to live there.

    • Anya: Xander's not here.
      Buffy: Oh.
      Anya: (pause) You're not going away. Why aren't you going away?
      Buffy: Well, I was kind of hoping to look at some of Xander's stuff.
      Anya: Oh. sure. Come on in, make yourself at home. And so on... (realizes Buffy is still there) Oh, you're still here? That's nice.

    • Riley: Buffy, I want you to know...
      Buffy: Do we have to have the talk? No talk, more dance.
      Riley: I just want to say I'm sorry. That it's only you that I want.
      Buffy: I know. I know all of that.
      Riley: You do? Since when?
      Buffy: Since you put your arms around me.

    • Buffy: (about Riley sleeping with Faith) There's no way he could know. I mean, you don't just look at someone and say, "Hey, that's not your body. Get out of that body with your hands up!"

    • Buffy: It's all Faith's fault. She's like poison. No, worse, she's like acid that eats through everything. Maybe she's a bomb.

    • Willow: (to Tara) I know she's not over the whole Riley sleeping with Faith thing. You know what I mean - Faith's insides in Buffy's outsides, when her insides were out.

    • Xander: We knocked 'em dead. Which they already were.
      Willow: We knocked 'em deader.
      Anya: Well, they weren't very well organized. If they'd all rushed at Buffy, they could have killed her right away.
      Buffy: Thanks, Anya. That won't keep me awake all night.

    • Giles: I can't find a reference to any rituals. Seems more like a... family meal, if you will.
      Buffy: And they say no one eats without the TV on any more.

    • Buffy: A nest. No biggie. I bet I could do it. I mean, I know I could take at least two.
      Anya: Yes. And then we could run for help while the other three suck your heart out through your neck.

    • Willow: (confused) Buffy was right. (trying again) Buffy was right.
      Anya: It doesn't sound very likely, does it?

    • Buffy: (to Spike) It's Buffy! You big, bleached... stupid guy!

    • Xander: So we're saying he did a spell just to make us think he was cool?
      Giles: Yes.
      Xander: That is so cool!

  • NOTES (13)

  • ALLUSIONS (5)

    • Jonathan: The Nimzowitsch Defense.
      Used by Aaron Nimzowitsch (1886-1935) this chess defense is considered uncommon and would be applied at the beginning of the game.

    • Buffy: He starred in The Matrix but he never left town.
      Keanu Reeves was the actual star of the 1999 sci-fi action movie The Matrix.

    • Xander: Oh! He's like your kryptonite.
      Kryptonite, a fictional radioactive mineral formed by the explosion of the planet Krypton, is the only substance to which Superman is vulnerable.

    • Anya: I was just at the part where he invented the Internet.
      There are many actions ascribed to Jonathan that were actually done by others in the real world in this episode. This particular example is a bit of poking fun at the Vice President Al Gore who seemingly claimed to have invented the Internet while he was a senator. While Al didn't quite make that claim he certainly took more credit than he deserved.

    • Jonathan: Watch out for southpaws Buffy. Don't let 'em surprise you.
      Southpaw is a sports term to refer to left handed people. Since the majority people are right handed a left handed person will sometimes have a surprise advantage.


      According to the alt.lefthanders FAQ the term came from baseball where the majority of stadiums used to have the left side of the pitcher's mound facing south.

More
Less