Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Shadow   Rewatch 
November 4, 2015 8:59 PM - Season 5, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Joyce's medical prognosis seems grim, and Buffy strains against the fact there's nothing mystical she can do about it. Glory attempts to locate the Key, using supplies purchased from Giles. Riley continues to engage in risk seeking behaviour.
posted by yellowbinder (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Season 5 is grim. I think it's easy to forget that when 6 looms over it, but tonally they share a lot of the same feel. 5 is not light and merry for the most part, this is a season where life will conspire to beat Buffy down. Her romantic, family and work life are all going wrong for various reasons, and we're going to have to deal with it. Here, the tumor finally rears it's ugly head, making what were implications of illness into a serious problem. There isn't a great deal of plot to this episode, mostly everyone dealing with the problem badly, with Buffy again searching for a supernatural cure for a natural problem.

Meanwhile, Glory finally decides to take the initiative and summon a homing snake, which Buffy has to catch and destroy in a fairly thrilling segment. It's a shame that the snake looks super goofy, but cgi is gonna do that to you sometimes. Still, the emotional carthasis of beating the hell out of a demon when you can't attack your mother's cancer is something to hold onto.

Finally, we have Riley, who finally starts doing vampy times. I... just have no time for this. I guess Riley feels like he can't talk to Buffy about his dissatisfaction with his relationship, but it's cowardly, and pathetic. He claims to love Buffy, but she clearly needs him right now, just not in the way he wants to be needed. He wants her to lean on him, but she feels that she has to be strong. This is surely a mistake on her part, but I'm not convinced going and getting sucked on by vampires is the best solution

-Anya points out that Giles sold evil spell ingredients. "If it's any compensation, I may have overcharged her."
"Your creamy coolness. Your silk smoothness. Your extremeness. Perturbed yet ultimately merciful one. Your most fresh and cleanness" I love the minions.
-Buffy tries to keep Dawn ignorant of the facts, but she's no dummy, and can tell that something is wrong.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:24 AM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Anya points out that Giles sold evil spell ingredients. "If it's any compensation, I may have overcharged her."

Too bad neither Giles nor the writers took this as an opportunity to consider the ethical implications of Giles selling magic ingredients to the general public, who may not be using them for the purest, most ethical purposes.

Or whether there's a conflict between Giles's role as owner of the Magic Box and Giles's role as Buffy's Watcher. Buffy had to endanger herself chasing down a giant snake because of ingredients Giles sold. If she'd failed to catch/stop the snake, the world could have ended because of ingredients Giles sold.

But the show and Giles are just like, "Oh, well, nothing to see here, move on." Sigh.
posted by creepygirl at 7:31 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'm guessing there is some kind of rationalization that happens offscreen:

"No matter how many of the owners get slaughtered, this place just keeps reopening. Might as well run it ourselves and probably be at least a little more ethical and knowledgeable about what we're selling than some other asshole."

That and they're fairly cavalier about the times their screwups make something worse. Casualties of war, I reckon.
posted by elr at 11:59 PM on November 5, 2015

Dawn has the same problem that basically every kid in Star Trek has - that the writers seem to think that there's no difference between 14 years old and 8 years old and can just pop between the two as need be. That said, her monologue about her birthday at the carousel goes a long way towards almost making the character work.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:02 PM on September 23, 2018

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