Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Dark Age   Rewatch 
March 18, 2015 11:22 PM - Season 2, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Giles' rebellious youth catches up with him, with horrifying consequences for those closest to him.
posted by yellowbinder (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is a great episode, paying off the hints in Haloween. This could have been a more slow burn plot, but this season will have a lot of plates spinning in the air, so we get Giles' backstory early. In a way, its a little random that the demon has come back right now, for no particular reason, but it works. Giles trying to avoid responsibility is great, and demonstrates that he can be just as irresponsible as Buffy sometimes. His lack of communication endangers Buffy and Miss Calender, not to mention himself!

Ethan is a lot of fun here, again, and I love how cowardly and physical feeble he is: he gets taken down for Cordelia pushing him over, after all. His plan does seem a little overcomplicated though: if all he needed to do to avoid demon attack was switch tatoos, why not just pick someone a bit more helpless than Buffy. I guess the implication is that it probably won't work in the long term, but might buy him some time. Who knows? The solution is also quite clever, with Angel's demon killing off the invader.

-Why isn't Giles paying for Buffy's tattoo removal?
-I feel like someone read A Secret History before this episode
-Buffy: "I don't care from private" That's some Firefly banter right there.
-The blood delivery is something that Buffy has apparently only attended this once. Surely she should be there every time it comes?
-Buffy actually gets someone killed via the medium of having the music too loud
-First mention of Xander's uncle Rory
-Demon Jenny is a lot of fun
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:21 AM on March 19, 2015


Coming after "Lie to Me", this works beautifully. Giles all grown-up in the last scene of the last episode and in this one so messed-up that Buffy and the other kids have to take over and be the grown-ups. Builds nicely on the whole it's a lot more complicated than that theme.

First time we see Giles's digs! I always liked his place. Willow's tanty, calling it her library, is just gorgeous. Angel throttling Jenny to drive the demon out was a nice bit of foreshadowing. And the last scene between Giles and Jenny is really poignant, especially her flinch and retreat when he tries to touch her arm. Though she should have had some serious bruising (at a minimum) from fighting Buffy twice, jumping through Giles's window and being half-strangled by Angel. Guess she heals fast.
posted by Athanassiel at 6:19 AM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


if all he needed to do to avoid demon attack was switch tatoos, why not just pick someone a bit more helpless than Buffy.
My read on that was that mostly she was convenient, but he was kind of hoping Buffy would kill the demon so that he would never have to deal with it again.

I also love Giles' house. Hideous flashback/dream sequence aside, the man has great taste. Jenny giving him "good squirm" with her tales of dog-earing and underlining his first edition always makes me smile. (My maid of honour's speech at my wedding may have included referring to my husband as "kind of a sexy fuddy duddy" - which is 100% true...)

"Have I ever let you down?" Foreshadowing for every relationship in this show ever.

This show loves to demonstrate, time and time again, that trying to do something by yourself and shutting everyone else out is a terrible, terrible plan.

Ethan getting beaten up never gets old. ...he gets taken down for Cordelia pushing him over...To be fair, she does kick him.

So, did Giles ever finish at Oxford? And yes, he should 100% be paying for Buffy's tattoo removal, and probably buying her a car, as well. I'm really hoping she was just being flip.

Willow again proves the power of her yelling at people.

"It'll be all right." "Promise?" "Promise." "I believe you." Nice sort of echo from the previous episode, and, as there, liar. Also, Buffy and Giles at the end basically doing a reprise/reverse of the "growing up is hard/life is murky/we're all people" of the previous episode's ending is really nice, with her trying to comfort him. <3
posted by ilana at 10:47 AM on March 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I forgot that Ethan Rayne pops up again just two episodes after "Halloween". I'm kind of glad that the thread of Giles' punk-occultist phase is really only alluded to in dribs and drabs as needed throughout the series; I always felt that his transformation from hedonic mage to tweedy academic was something better left to the imagination, sort of like James T. Kirk's canonical offscreen change from a "stack of book with legs" to a passionate man of action. The little peeks behind the mask are good enough for me.

On the whole though, this episode feels a bit perfunctory to me. The actual interactions between Giles and Eyghon-Jenny feel a bit underwritten, like some of the actual relationship angst tied up in the characters didn't quite make it into the finished script. And having Eyghon basically blunder into Angel at the end feels like a writers' room compromise to keep the episode either under budget or under 45 minutes. Still, there's some nice character work by both Head and LaMorte here, so I don't want to seem like I'm totally down on the episode, but I think there's a few ways the episode could have been better.

Hey, next week we've got the "What's My Line?" two-parter! Things are movin' right along!
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:22 PM on March 19, 2015


Yeah, the next few months are going to be a lot of fun! Not too many stinkers on the horizon.

I remember not being affected very much by this when I was younger. Maybe it's maturity, or maybe it's watching everything in order after not really watching much Buffy in the last few years. Even on original airing watch coming in near the end of this season I would have seen a lot before seeing this, so Giles acting out of stuffy character would not have been as affecting.

But on this watch, Giles blowing off the guard duty and shutting Buffy out while obviously impaired was shocking and disturbing. He's been a good guy, stalwart and true, and not being able to depend on that is scary.

Eygon is great in Jenny. That scene works really well. Wonderfully supportive, then traumatized sexy, then finally revealing the possession. The first two stages, normal human responses, make the slow burn of the scene that much more effective.

Ethan is also fantastic. Every line reading makes me giggle, especially "You did. I didn't." and his assurances to Buffy that she really should be honoured to be serving the greater good. It really is shocking to me that he only makes four in show appearances and we've already passed two of them. He really looms larger in my perception of the series, maybe because his plots are always fun and usually aimed at destabilizing Giles.

As a meta note for next week - I'll only be making one post for two parters to simplify discussion, whether they are explicitly named Part 1/Part 2 or not. So Surprise/Innocence will be one post as well. Basically whenever there's an on screen "To Be Continued," although there might be a run of those near the end of Season 5? Not sure. Luckily all clear two parters match up well with our schedule with the exception of the climax of S4 but I guess we'll just cover that on separate weeks.
posted by yellowbinder at 12:58 PM on March 20, 2015


And as a separate note, if you're interested in knowing how the sausage is made, there's a great Mutant Enemy writers reunion on the Nerdist Writers Panel podcast this week, featuring Marti Noxon, David Fury, David Greenwalt, Jane Espenson, Tracey Forbes, Steven DeKnight, Drew Greenburg, Drew Goddard, and Elizabeth Craft.
posted by yellowbinder at 1:04 PM on March 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


This show loves to demonstrate, time and time again, that trying to do something by yourself and shutting everyone else out is a terrible, terrible plan.

Huh. That's a theme I'd noticed in other episodes, but for some reason I hadn't connected it to this episode.

The destruction of Eyghon is interesting when seen through that lens:

Giles: He's killing her!

Willow: No! Trust me! This is gonna work!

Jenny survives (for the moment) and Eyghon is finally killed because Giles goes along with a plan devised by a 16-year-old girl with no Slayer instincts or Watcher Council training.
posted by creepygirl at 9:22 PM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Jenny survives (for the moment) and Eyghon is finally killed because Giles goes along with a plan devised by a 16-year-old girl with no Slayer instincts or Watcher Council training.
Well, to be fair, Giles and his mates were probably only a couple/three years older than Willow when they raised Eyghon in the first place. Some things I reckon you just have to be young and not risk-averse in order to accomplish.

This show loves to demonstrate, time and time again, that trying to do something by yourself and shutting everyone else out is a terrible, terrible plan.
But that's my life strategy! Good thing we don't live in the Buffyverse... But yes, that is definitely a theme which I hadn't ever articulated before and will be watching for now that it's been pointed out. I can think of about a zillion examples, but it's nice to watch with some meta-faculties in place.
posted by Athanassiel at 11:04 PM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Early on, as the scoobies watch Giles and Jenny Calendar walking down the hall.

Buffy: Look at them.
Xander: A twosome of cuteness.
Willow: Can't you just imagine them getting together?

Scoobies all smile, then slowly smiles change to looks of ickiness and they hurriedly leave.
posted by bunderful at 4:27 PM on January 3, 2016


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