Buffy: Primeval

Xander: "Demons versus soldiers. Massacre, massacre."
Willow: "And Adam has a neat pile of body parts to start assembling his army. Diabolical, yet gross."
Xander: "Does anybody else miss the Mayor I-just-want-to-be-a-big-snake?"

Mildly anticlimactic but certainly attention-getting, we had a melee of bullets, flying decapitated heads, tentacles, and half of this year's guest cast walking around dead as Adam's diabolical yet gross plan came to fruition. This certainly couldn't have been easy to stage; my compliments to the director.

My favorite parts of this episode were the Fab Four (Buffy, Giles, Xander and Willow) scenes. Their relationship was, of course, much too strong to dissolve just because of a year of change and some Spike-injected malice, but they seem to have pulled it back together a bit too quickly perhaps. The spell that brought the four of them together in Buffy's body was cool -- I liked it, contact lenses, Sumerian chanting, and all. Is that where the "primeval" in the title comes from -- a primal fight again evil, maybe?

Spike showed some real talent at self-preservation. He managed to avoid being killed by (count them) Adam, most of what was left of the Initiative, a huge group of demons (what do you call a group of demons? A gaggle? A murder?), and the Slayerettes. Although of course he didn't get his chip-ectomy. (And Whedon likes to pull fast ones out of his hat -- it certainly could have happened and probably will someday.) And he had some great lines, too -- "Warms the cockles of my non-beating heart, seeing you lads together." "Well, let's go save them, by gum."

So maybe Riley isn't an artificially created human. But then again, maybe he is; Whedon has said in interviews that he tries to leave character backgrounds open so that things can change in an interesting way. What human being could actually pull a computer chip out of his own thoracic nerve without anesthetic? (Or maybe that was anesthetic that Night-of-the-Living-Dead-Maggie gave him?)

I'm glad Adam is gone. He never did much for me anyway. Maggie Walsh was the really interesting villain this year, and she was gone too soon.

Bits and pieces:

-- Poor Forrest looked like someone went nuts on him with an industrial-strength stapler.

-- Was that a black velour bathrobe hung-over Giles was wearing? Can't be bad.

-- Tara looked really good with her hair up. In fact, she's looked distinctly cuter in the last couple of episodes. She must be in love.

-- I couldn't help but notice that Anya told Xander "I love you", and he didn't say it back.

Quotable quotes:

Spike: "Warms the cockles of my non-beating heart seeing you lads together."

Giles: "Um, uh, Spike can be very convincing when-when-when, uh ... I'm very stupid."
Buffy: "He played us. He wanted us to fight to split us up. That's where it came from. The stuff we said the other night."
Giles: "Of course. Well, piffle. Let's move on."

Willow: "Nervous?"
Xander: "No way. I'm full of that good old Kamikaze spirit."
Giles: "Xander, just because this is never going to work, there's no need to be negative."

Buffy: "Xander!"
Willow: "Oh, wonderful Xander!"
Buffy: "You know we love you, right?"
Willow: "We totally do!"
Xander: "(with dread) Oh, God, we're gonna die, aren't we?"

Xander: "Great plan. That's right up there with duck and cover."

Spike: "Nasty sort of fellow. Lucky for you blighters I was here, 'ey?"
Giles: "Yes. Uh, thank you. Although your heroism is slightly muted by the fact that you were helping Adam to start a war that would kill us all."
Xander: "You probably just saved us so we wouldn't stake you right here."
Spike: "Well, yeah. Did it work?"

I liked this one, even though it had some weak points. I'm going with another three,

Billie

11 comments:

Billie Doux said...

BUFFY RE-WATCH comments begin here! Remember, no spoilers for future episodes. Want to talk spoilers and foreshadowing? Season four spoilers are posted here.

Juliette said...

Still, even after all these years, all I can think during the climactic showdown is 'Matrix.' SMG looks gorgeous though, that hair and white top really suits her.

Lamounier said...

“Primeval”, although easily the weakest arc finale of BtVS, is a competent episode. It’s entertaining, and if there isn’t much emotional power on the arc story, why not end it with great fun and action?

The master plan didn’t make much sense, though. Maggie wanted to create super soldiers? Ok, typical, but how was the secret compartment built without anyone else’s knowledge? There should’ve been more people into project 314. It’s not like you can get a uranium power source without explaining why you need one. The Scoobies’ plan was also flat. Breaking into the Initiative through the elevator? Great way to get caught immediately, guys.

Like Jane said on her comment on Angel’s “War Zone”, the idea of groups of people without super powers fighting demons is a good one, so it’s only natural to think that militaries would also join the fight. But while I can believe stuff like The Initiative fits the Buffyverse, it never fit Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This spy/conspiracy/military arc didn’t really match the tone of the show, not even when Maggie Walsh was the Big Bad, and the show never pulled it well enough, especially after Maggie was killed off. I also didn’t like the portrayal of militaries, they were just too dumb and incompetent.

The bit that has more of an everlasting impact on the series is the spell that creates Super Buffy. It’s such a typical genre story to tell, to make your superhero even more super, yet it’s a story that works formidable well at this point. Usually on BtVS we have the new ways defeating the old ways, this time we had the reverse, and supernatural beat technology. That final Buffy versus Adam fight scene was really cool, even though I got distracted by how obvious SMG's double was. It’s actually a fun game when you watch Buffy fight scenes: to check when it’s SMG and when it’s not.

Tara was so cute checking with Willow what she should say to Buffy on the phone. Spike getting away from several death scenarios was a lot of fun. And Buffy rocked when she told commander whatever that he was getting into her territory.

Billie Doux said...

Juliette, you're right. Back then, everything wanted to be The Matrix.

Lamounier, I always enjoy your comments. Just one small disagreement -- Buffy and company getting caught was obviously part of their plan. :)

Lamounier said...

Billie, you have a point there. Sometimes my nitpicking goes too far.

Billie Doux said...

There's never too much nitpicking, Lamounier. If there were, this site probably wouldn't exist.

drnanamom said...

Always enjoy the reviews after watching an episode, Billie - thanks. The comments are also fun. I think the best part of this episode was the magical enactment of the heart of Buffy - that is that she is more powerful with her friends - spirit, heart and mind while she acts - the hand. She couldn't have defeated Adam without Zander, Willow and Giles literally having her back. Billie, you say that the group comes together too quickly after their fight but I am lucky enough to have friends like that - we have undercurrents of disagreement but they don't really matter when it comes down to it ie. when the you know what hits the fan. Lamounier I love nitpicking. It always makes me think about things that I wouldn't have otherwise and I do it as well. It's only when you really love a show that you notice the little things.

ChrisB said...

Although Adam is a weak Big Bad, I love the way the four come together in the end. The whole being greater than the sum of its parts is a wonderful way to bring everyone back together.

Spike trying to bring everyone back together after he tried to rip them apart always makes me smile. He is not one to let the small details deter him. :-)

intp said...

Hi, folks. I just started reading Billie's amazing reviews of the Buffy comic, yesterday, and posted a few comments there, although I dunno if anyone will ever see them.

Anyway, I'm a longtime Buffy fan (started watching regularly in third season; have all seven seasons on Dvd; have seen every episode at least twice each, some many more than that) who was really disappointed with how Season 8 ended.

I liked the fact that the group pulled together-- even Xander-- to take out Adam. I agree that Adam was a flawed villain. I thought he had promise at first, but they never gave the character any sort of believable motivation, nor did they ever explain the nature of the supposed 'design flaw' that he had.

intp said...

Oops, forgot to mention that I haven't actually seen this episode in a while, but I did want to join in. The fourth season was my fourth favorite overall-- I thought it had some nice moments and was an interesting change of pace, but not nearly as good as some of the other seasons. But hey, at least it wasn't season 6...

Billie Doux said...

intp, we do read every comment, including the ones on the comic book reviews. Welcome to the site and we're glad you joined us in the rewatch.