Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Triangle   Rewatch 
November 18, 2015 10:56 PM - Season 5, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Willow and Anya can't get along, and when the gang leaves them alone to sort it out they end up summoning a troll. A rampaging, baby eating troll who happens to be Anya's ex and the first subject of her vengeance.
posted by yellowbinder (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I loved Abraham Benrubi's performance, because it's so obvious he's having an absolute blast playing a troll. (And a as a fan of Parker Lewis Can't Lose, it's always great to see Kubiac show up in something else.)

Unpopular-opinion-about-a-minor-side-issue time:

If Giles actually expects Willow to pay him for magic ingredients she uses for spells for demon-hunting, that is a massively jerkish expectation. (It is not clear from the show whether Giles actually expects that, or Anya just thinks he does).

Willow could have made shitloads of money as a programmer (Microsoft was recruiting her before she graduated high school). She could have gone to a top-notch university and learned magic in relative safety compared to Sunnyvale. Instead she remains in Sunnydale, and helps Giles and Buffy with research, magic (often at Giles’ specific request for a spell), and computer skills including hacking (for which she could face jail time for if caught), all for free. Unlike Giles and Buffy, she has no sacred destiny that demands that she does those things.

If the value system is that the demon-hunting cause should require teamwork and personal sacrifice, and trump capitalism, and that’s why Willow shouldn’t be paid for her labor, then Giles should cough up a few magic ingredients for free as well.

If the value system is that capitalism and the free flow of money should always prevail, even amongst a team of demon-hunters, and that’s why Willow should pay Giles for magic ingredients, then Giles should pay Willow for her research, magical, and computer-related labor. At the current market rate for a programmer or a witch or a researcher at Willow’s level. (cough) Retroactively.

If the value system is neither of those, but that for some unspecified reason capitalism should prevail only when the money flows in the direction of the dude so wealthy that he bought a BMW convertible after a year of unemployment, that’s Insane Troll Logic to me.

For the record, my personal headcanon is that Giles does not expect/require Willow to pay for magic ingredients. Occasional ineffective “that’s a really advanced spell,” hand-wringing aside, Giles takes a pretty much realpolitik attitude towards Willow’s magic. It makes his job and Buffy’s job easier, so for the most part, he encourages it. That kind of help is worth more to him than some magic ingredients here and there, and I don't see him as avaricious enough to demand money from a college student that's helping him fight the good fight.

(I don’t fault Anya for being protective of the ingredients. Capitalism and the job are both new to Anya, and she doesn’t really grok altruism for a higher cause until arguably the end of Season 7. And she has good reason to dislike Willow and not give her the benefit of the doubt. )
posted by creepygirl at 11:04 PM on November 18, 2015 [9 favorites]

I really enjoy that rant creepygirl, even though I'm certain that Giles doesn't make Willow pay for ingredients, and it was just Anya being Anya.

This is a fun episode, but to do that it does sacrifice tone somewhat. This is a broad episode, and Buffy's behaviour is persistently cartoonish, from the opening gag of her at a convent to her over dramatic crying and "THEIR LOVE IS ETERNAL!" But hey, as I say this season is pretty grim so I'm happy to give it a pass to generate a fun silly episode that nonetheless explores a little conflict that has been simmering in the background. I like that Willow is hostile to Anya, because there's probably still a bit of jealously sitting in the background there ("gay now!" protestations aside). It's a simple episode, and rather nicely it doesn't actually have a pat answer for the conflict between Willow and Anya. They'll continue to coexist, but they haven't become friends by the conclusion of the episode.

-Tara's really fun in this episode too! "A trip to England sounds so exotic! .... Unless you're English."
"There's a world without shrimp? I'm, allergic."
-Anya explaining alternate universes is great
-Later in this show, this hammer will be a weapon of the gods. I guess Olaf pulled his punches when he attacked Xander?
-"Rich, succulent babies!"
-The onion thing gets mentioned
-Dawn and Buffy have a genuine conversation, which is really nice
-"I have finesse coming out of my bottom."
-"Not so huge? I just said it's the end of the world!"
-Joyce is out of the bathrobe... everything Joyce related in these episodes makes me sas :(.
-Buffy and Tara hanging out on the way to art class is just lovely.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:52 AM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

This one is definitely a touch too broad for me, although lots of the jokes land well. I especially love Spike wanting credit for not feeding on the injured at the Bronze.

The part that bugs me is Anya not knowing how to drive. I know it was mentioned in Restless - I've figured out how to steer by gesturing emphatically! - but she knew how to drive in Season 3 so...
posted by yellowbinder at 8:06 AM on November 19, 2015

(And a as a fan of Parker Lewis Can't Lose, it's always great to see Kubiac show up in something else.)

I wish they'd lured him off at one point with a big sack lunch.

that’s Insane Troll Logic

My favorite hip-hop electronica band.
posted by phearlez at 7:27 PM on November 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

It always seemed to me Anya's love of unfettered capitalism is played for comedy and is being used as a critique. It's just one more of her inappropriate and inhuman ways.
posted by Coaticass at 2:29 PM on November 21, 2015

Yeah, I think Anya is just getting carried away with her capitalistic instincts. Money is a weird thing, it pretty much only comes up as a funny thing or, very occasionally, as a dramatic plot point. The characters generally seem in the enviable position of having enough for what they need, including their stylish-yet-affordable boots.

Previously I found this episode funny. This time round... I don't know, the emphasis on eating babies. The troll's constant references to good-looking women, preferably virgins. I know he's a troll, and Anya certainly visited a lot of vengeance on guys, but it's just not the kind of humour that sits well with me these days. Kind of like Buffy hamming it up with "their love is ETERNAL". Honestly.

Meanwhile, the troll hammer joins the Dagon Sphere as a Really Useful Artifact that might actually have been able to help them out if only they thought a bit laterally. I know they eventually cotton on, but it is frustrating that they just leave it sitting there (apart from a couple of episodes from now, when Spike comments on the cool troll hammer).

Finally, I just have to say something about the blooming onion. Such a thing is not a feature of Australian cuisine, despite its appearance on the menus of many USian institutions claiming to be "outback style".
posted by Athanassiel at 2:05 AM on December 6, 2015

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