Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Checkpoint

Buffy: "You're Watchers. Without a Slayer, you're pretty much just watching Masterpiece Theater."

The Watchers Council Fascist Subcommittee blew into town and immediately began high-level intimidation and blackmail tactics on Giles and Buffy. And Buffy turned the tables on them and completely blew them away. Was that cool or what?

I absolutely loved the last ten minutes of this episode. It was like Buffy's Declaration of Independence, her final step in acknowledging to herself what a powerful adult she already is. And putting Quentin Travers and the Watchers Council in their place was two years coming, and extremely satisfying.

The rest of the episode was good, too. Giles was terrific. You could tell he was proud of Buffy, and confident in her abilities; but he was also thrown off balance by his former bosses and the need to translate instantaneous Japanese martial arts instructions, and who could blame him? It's about time he was reinstated with (*cough*) retroactive pay; he's certainly been doing the work all along.

The scenes where the Watchers were interrogating Buffy's friends -- even Spike -- were great, too. I loved Anya's attempts to be wholesome; loved Willow and Tara needlessly explaining their relationship and fabricating their magical proficiency level ("Five?"); and I loved Spike's conversation with the lady watcher ("Heard of me, have you?" "I wrote my thesis on you.") Personally, I'd love writing a thesis on Spike. He's a lot more interesting than library science.

We got even more feel-good stuff when Buffy had the chance to defend her friends. "We're talking about two very powerful witches and a thousand year old ex-demon." and "The boy's clocked more field time than all of you combined." Like Giles' retroactive pay, this was well-deserved credit. And Buffy asking Spike for help ("Well, that's a boatload of manly responsibility flying out of nowhere") was yet another small positive progression in their strange relationship.

Glory was relegated pretty much to B plot status, but we did learn a lot more about her. I hadn't really put it together that she needs to suck brains through her fingers; I thought she was just really mean. So she's a god, not a demon. She seems to be selectively powerless, though.

We got some new players in this episode, too -- these Knights of Byzantium guys, who are against Glory, but they're also determined to kill Buffy in order to destroy the Key. Sort of like a medieval Initiative, right?

So who is Ben the Intern? Another god?

Bits and pieces:

-- Xander was wearing a cast. Good continuity, after getting mushed by the troll last week. Or is Nicholas Brendon actually hurt?

-- What's with those nasty profs at UC Sunnydale? I mean, I've had some dillies, but I've never seen a prof humiliate one person in front of the entire class the way several of these profs have now humiliated Buffy.

-- Did Spike look somehow cuter than usual, or was it just me?

Quotes:

Buffy: "They put me through that test, and it almost killed me. And then, when I was Faith, they almost killed me again. Honestly, I really can't handle almost being killed right now."
Anya: "I don't like the sound of this. They don't sound very ex-demon-compatible."

Glory: "Sunnydale's got too many demons and not enough retail outlets."

Watcher 2: "This statue. Its removal from Burma is a criminal offense. And when triggered, it has the power to melt human eyeballs."
Giles: "In that case, I severely underpriced it."

Giles: "It's a power play, that's what it is. It's about who has the power."
Buffy: "I'm guessing they do? Big power outage in Buffy county?"

Anya: "Anya Christina Emanuella Jenkins, twenty years old. Born on the fourth of July, and don't think there weren't jokes about that my whole life, mister, 'cause there were. Who's our little patriot? they'd say, when I was younger, and therefore smaller and shorter than I am now."

Buffy: "I need your help."
Spike: "Great. I need your cash."
Buffy: "I'm serious. You have to look after them."
Spike: "Well, that's a boatload of manly responsibility to come flying out of nowhere."

Tara: "Why doesn't Mr. Giles put them all out of here?"
Xander: "Because if they deport him, they're not just destroying his career. They're condemning the man to a lifetime diet of blood sausage, bangers and mash."

I loved it. Four out of four stakes,

Billie
---
Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.

9 comments:

ShadowsGathered said...

This is definitely one of my favorite episodes... Buffy's speech at the end gave me tingles, and throwing that sword into the wall next to one of the Watchers and then saying, "I'm fairly certain I said no interruptions" was just icing on the cake... and I too appreciated her comments about the Scoobies... it was about time someone acknowledged them and gave them their due credit.

Billie Doux said...

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

Juliette said...

The last few minutes of this episode are so great :) Riley has clearly rubbed off on Buffy as well, with that reference to 'field time'...!

Juliette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChrisB said...

Like the rest of you, I love the last ten minutes of this episode as well. While it is nice to see Buffy stand up for herself, I especially like the way she includes her friends.

The Spike/Buffy relationship is so much fun to watch. I love the way he taunts her at the beginning, but helps her at the end.

Plus, he and Joyce watching Passions is something I could watch more of. These two have an interesting relationship as well. I always enjoy their scenes together.

Anonymous said...

We have a consensus here : Buffy's speech is an excellent moment and I consider it one of the best of the entire cannon. I often watch it.

Jane said...

I enjoyed this episode well enough for many of the same reasons others have already mentioned. I'm in the odd position of having just watched Buffy for the first time starting mid summer last year and finishing up in February. So now I'm watching again to refresh my memory along the re-watch. Maybe it's a little too close together, but some things are falling a bit flat.

That said, Spike and Anya never disappoint. Both of them with very evil pasts and difficult natures. But they are both trying very hard - while snarking. I love it.

TJ said...

That Buffy speech at the end...classic. And the info about Glory at the end is a wow-moment.

Georgia said...

I know this episode is now almost 15 years old so kind of useless to point out but I've always thought Spike starts to look different in this season too! I think when he entered the series they were powdering his face (and most vampires) but my idea always was when he joined the main cast they stopped that because 1. they wanted him to look and seem more human therefore approachable, and 2. it was probably a lot of effort for the makeup department and once his character was established as a vampire they didn't need to spend time on makeup anymore to cement the idea in the audience's heads. (I also think his roots are better tended to and he isn't wearing eye makeup to lessen his 'caricature-ness' - in fact I was surprised he kept painting his nails as long as he did)