Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Older and Far Away

Xander: "It's just, you know, you're upset because we all want to leave. And now we can't leave. The only thing missing is a cornfield. There isn't a cornfield, is there?"

This was a fairly typical and pedestrian Buffy vs. Monster episode, good with character interaction and perhaps more interesting for its parts than as a whole. And, of course, it kept well with the Buffy birthday tradition of gutwrenching misery and horror, as one might expect.

What with the death and the Spike and the Nerds, Buffy has been seriously neglecting Dawn, while Dawn was practically wearing a sign around her neck saying, "I'm acting out! I need attention!" That's the thing about parenting. Your life could be completely falling apart, but your kid's problems are always more important than your own, doubly so if you have a teenager. Dawn's pouting and pilfering, Halfrek's spell and Anya's attack of claustrophobia triggered some serious intra-Scooby conflict here, as Anya attacked first Dawn, and then Willow. (By the way, I loved Tara literally stepping in front of Willow to deflect Anya's attack. Go, Tara.)

Halfrek the vengeance demon ("Actually, we prefer 'justice demon.' Okay? FYI?") was probably too good to waste on just one episode, so she's back. She was played by the same actress who played Cecily in "Fool for Love," an episode I've probably watched about three hundred times, and hey, she recognized Spike and called him "William," so is Cecily now a vengeance demon? And how did that happen, if it did? I mean, Angel went back and ate his family, but I can't see Spike going back and doing something to Cecily. And why would she be a demon and not a vamp?

Never mind, moving right along... Buffy's blind date getting shish-kebabbed and Spike being the one to help her slay the sword demon should confirm that Spike actually sort of is her type, and dating a normal guy is not for her. The Buffy/Spike violent carrying on in the last episode seems to have left them with a relationship hangover, or at least in a somewhat subdued mood. I was hoping Buffy would apologize to Spike for beating the crap out of him or that he would apologize to her for what happened at the Bronze and that there would be a big apology-paloosa, but I can wait; that may be coming. Buffy was actually somewhat gentle with him, teasing him about his "new diet," and he was somewhat sweet with her, covering in front of Tara for touching Buffy in the hall, and that was good. Because things certainly can't continue the way they were between the two of them.

I think that if I were Buffy, Tara is the one I'd be confiding in, too. And how about Tara playing matchmaker and showing kindness toward Spike? Was that cute or what?

So what's with Anya? She's been cool for a long time, and suddenly we have all this angst. Could it be pre-wedding jitters? If so, Xander managed to stave off his own; he was so sweet with her, for the first time in a long time. I'm starting to wonder if Anya might be the big bad this year instead of Willow. Or perhaps it's time to consider that the big bad this year, other than the Nerds, of course, might be internal conflict among the Scoobies themselves, which is actually quite a cool idea.

Bits and pieces:

-- This week's prizewinning double entendres were "I'll let you blow out my candles" and "instant gratification for all your little acheys." And only one of them was Spike's.

-- Dawn yelling "get out get out get out!" was straight out of another episode. ("Blood Ties").

-- I can see why The Buffy Powers That Be put Richard the blind date in there, but why have Clem the demon there at all? What purpose did his character serve, except to remind us that kitten poker must be abolished? Sophie from work was something of a pointless innocent bystander, too.

-- That closed door at the end made it look like Buffy was finally ready to address Dawn's issues. About time.

Quotes:

Spike: "I had... a muscle cramp. Buffy was, uh, helping."
Tara: "A muscle cramp? In your pants?"
Spike: "What? It's a thing."

Buffy: "Dawnie, it's okay. You know, we're not gonna be mad."
Dawn: "Yeah, only I didn't do anything."
Willow: "You sure?"
Dawn: "You want me to ask my other self?"

Tara: "I thought vengeance demons only punished men who wronged women."
Halfrek: "Oh, that was Anya's little raison d'etre. Most of us try to be a little more well-rounded. And actually, we prefer 'justice demon.' Okay? FYI?"

Richard: "You have some weird friends."
Xander: "News from the file marked 'duh'."

Not bad. Not that good, either. Two out of four stakes,

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

1 comment:

Lamounier said...

perhaps more interesting for its parts than as a whole

Yes! This episode should've been much better. As someone who likes Dawn, I'm sad that the writers got it so wrong here. Dawn is extremely annoying in three episodes this season ("Dead Things", "Older and Far Away" and one that is yet to come), but it's enough for most of the fans to be mad at her, even though she is quite nice in nineteen other episodes.

It is what is is, and when Dawn whines that people don't want to be around her it's SO ANNOYING. Why are we wasting time with such silly behavior?

I enjoy some of the Scooby fun, Clem is awesome, Tara making fun of Spike is great, but the episode doesn't really deliver as a whole.

I agree with the rating. It's a pretty okay-ish type of episode.