Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Buffy Revisited

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 2

Xander : (digging) Y'know, this might go a lot faster if you femmes actually picked up a shovel, too.
Giles : Hear, hear.
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.
Season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer began with Buffy returning to Sunnydale after having spent the summer in LA with her father. Secretly traumatized by her near-death experience at the hands of the Master, Buffy began to behave badly rather than confiding in her friends and confronting her fears. This was epitomized by an emotionally uncomfortable scene (a Joss Whedon trademark), in which  Buffy performed a little seduction dance for Xander, and essentially killed three birds with one stone by spurning Angel, betraying Willow, and leading Xander on, only to reject him. Meanwhile, after gaping at the whole performance, Cordelia briefly set aside her crown as Sunnydale's queen of mean, and gave the Slayer a little advice about the road she was headed down if she didn't deal with her issues.


 Big Bads

Spike : I want to save the world.
Buffy : You do remember that you're a vampire, right?

Spike
 :
 We like to talk big. Vampires do. "I'm going to destroy the world." That's just tough guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I like this world. You've got... dog racing, Manchester United. And you've got people, billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision, with a real... passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Piccadilly. Farewell, Leicester bloody Square. You know what I'm saying?
For me, one of the best aspects of the second season was the arrival of the reckless and impetuous vampire, Spike. From the moment he drove into town, unceremoniously knocking down the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign in the process, I knew he was going to be a spectacular character. 

Initially it seemed that Collin, the Anointed One, and charismatic leader of the vampire "Order of Aurelius", was destined to be the season's Big Bad, but in a surprise move, Spike tossed the child into a cage and killed him by hoisting him into the sunlight. With Collin gone, Spike assumed leadership with his ailing vampire girlfriend, Drusilla, at his side. Apparently, Joss Whedon has said that although the Annointed One was intended to be the villain of the season, the child who portrayed him, Andrew J. Ferchland, was growing too quickly to remain believable as a perpetual child. 

In spite of the damage Spike and Drusilla wreaked upon Sunnydale during the course of the season, it eventually became apparent that the true Big Bad was actually Angel, or his gypsy-curse-free alter ego, Angelus. Angel's betrayal of Buffy, followed by a string of cruel and sadistic acts, provided the show with some of its all-time most poignant and dramatic moments. When Angelus came between Spike and his love, Drusilla, Spike formed an uneasy alliance with Buffy, which was to foreshadow future story lines in the series.


Romantic Dramas

Willow : Love makes you do the wacky.
The course of true love never runs smoothy in the Buffyverse and Season 2 was no exception to that rule. Cordelia solidified her position as a bona fide "Scooby-gang" member and embarked upon a hilarious love/hate relationship with Xander. This was, of course, much to the dismay of the lovelorn Willow, although Season 2 did see her eventually become involved with werewolf, Oz.

Angel's switch to the dark side was a tragic loss for Buffy, but it also had repercussions for her Watcher, Rupert Giles. Seeking to taunt Buffy, Angelus murdered Jenny Calendar, Giles' love interest.

Even the vampires suffered a few romantic hurdles as Angelus sought to drive a wedge between Spike and Drusilla.


Classic Movie Monsters

Cordelia : You, you, you! What about me?! It's one thing to be dating the lame unpopular guy, but it's another to be dating the Creature from the Blue Lagoon.
Xander : Black Lagoon! The Creature from the Blue Lagoon was Brooke Shields. And thank you so much for your support!
While Season One featured fear archetypes like killer clowns, ventriloquist dummies, and demon children, Season 2 paid homage to a number of classic horror movie monsters. Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon were all given the Buffy treatment.


Vampire Decor

Angelus : And this... this is the garden.
Drusilla : Wow! Look. Jasmine.
Angelus : Night blooming.
Drusilla : Like us. Oh, Angel, it's fairyland. (Turns in excitement.) Oh!
Spike : It's paradise. Big windows, lovely gardens. It'll be perfect when we want the sunlight to kill us.
With the arrival of Spike and Drusilla in Sunnydale, and Angel's defection to the dark side, there was the opportunity in Season 2 to focus on the living arrangements of the vampires. Their dysfunctional family life began in an abandoned factory, which was given an appropriately dark, theatrical makeover with dramatic dining furniture, candles, and Drusilla's collection of creepy dolls.

Much to Spike's vexation however, the vampires were forced to flee the factory, and move into an empty mansion, after Angelus killed Miss Calendar, and provoked Giles into exacting a little fiery vengeance. Their new lair had a vine covered walled garden appropriately filled with night blooming jasmine.

14 comments:

  1. Emma, this was great. I found the second season, months ago and I think I've worn it out. You did a great job of putting the whole season into an organized perspective.

    Bravo!

    See you on the dark side, yours ... Lorelei (^;

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  2. Thanks for the trip down memory lane Emma. I so love Spike. He was one of my favorite characters on Buffy. I need to get netflix so I can watch these again.

    I am liking Grimm and Once Upon A Time. Both are shows that I hope do not disappear.

    Stay Well, V.

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  3. The second season was possibly my favorite. I always had a thing for Spike. He was my favorite character and I could never get enough of him.

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  4. I think I am the only one who never liked Spike. Please forgive me.

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  5. Hi Lorelei,

    Thank you! It's actually fascinating going back and analyzing the show in hindsight. You're able to see the whole picture, and really pick out the different themes and tones for each season.

    Hi Vivienne,

    I love Spike too! I really miss him, so it's fun to re-watch these old episodes.

    Yes, I'm really enjoying both 'Grimm' and 'Once Upon a Time', as well. It's good that they're both quite different even though they're both about dark fairy tales. I hope they last too.

    Hi Jessica,

    Yes, Season 2 was a standout season. Spike and Drusilla were such a wild, funny couple, and Angel turning bad was really heartbreaking. Spike was my absolute favourite character on 'Buffy'. He was so complex. He was very funny, but his character was also quite moving at times.

    Hi pensive,

    Haha. That's okay! More Spike for me! Haha.

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  6. I've got the series on DVD... now I feel another Buffy marathon in my near future! =D Great job of summarizing the second season. Might be my fave, but I love them all, and I've never heard of someone not liking Spike(@pensive)... that is a first.

    Seriously awesome post!

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  7. Yep, I watched every season of Buffy.

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  8. Hi Annie,

    Thanks! Always happy to foster the hankering for a Buffy marathon. Luckily, with seven seasons on DVD, we can really wallow in Buffy nostalgia whenever we want.

    Hi Adsila,

    Yes, I watched every season too... multiple times!!

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  9. Ahhhh Buffy! My all time favourite television show, how I love thee so.

    I think it's about time I watched my box set again soon, it's already been 7 months since the last time I watched them over..

    I have an amazing app on my android called Buffy - QuoteTrivia and I'm on it whenever I'm bored or can't sleep. I got it to replace my beloved Addicted to Buffy app which used to be on Facebook. I held an amazing high score on that but then facebook went and removed the app.. the gits!!

    I'm sad enough that if someone gave me a quote I could probably tell them which episode the quote is from and who said it!

    Joss Whedon is a genius. Nobody has ever come close to making a show quite like Buffy.

    I wish I were friends with the scooby gang :(

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  10. Hi VainGlorySinner,

    Yes, I was quite crestfallen when Buffy ended, but at least we can all console ourselves with the seven seasons on DVD. Plus, there's Angel as well!

    I love a good quotable line, and Buffy was just a treasure trove of them. That app sounds very cool! A friend gave me a book called "The Quotable Slayer", which is filled with quotes from the entire series.

    I agree, Joss Whedon is a genius! He set the bar very high with Buffy. Other shows have a lot to live up to.

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  11. I love the quotes you included in this post! "Buffy" had some really funny writing. I was always a Spike person. I have a friend who is definitely an Angel person. It's funny, because for every show we watch, we like two different guys. :) I always liked Spike's witty personality. Do you know if James Marsters has been in anything new lately?

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  12. Hi Justine,

    Thank you! It's hard picking Buffy quotes because there's so much material to choose from. It was difficult narrowing it down to just 5 quotes from Season 2. There were just so many great ones!

    Yeah, I'm a Spike person too! Not that I didn't love the original Buffy/Angel pairing, but Spike was just such a charismatic character, and I always hoped he'd be the one to win Buffy's heart.

    Actually, James Marsters guest starred on "Supernatural" just a couple of weeks ago. Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia) was on the same episode with him, so it was quite the Buffy reunion! They played a couple of immortal witches who were married, and wrecking havoc on the town in which they lived.

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  13. I love all your observations! I had completely overlooked the appearance of the classic horror movie characters in the series (HOW DID I MISS IT?!)

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  14. Hi burkehareco,

    Thank you so much! It's interesting re-watching Buffy with the benefit of knowing the entire story. You start to pay more attention to the details and the themes in each season. I'm still loving the show as much as ever too! :)

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