Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bargaining, Part I

Episode Report Card
Ace: C | 1 USERS: C
What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

Back at Buffy's grave, the masses under Willow's skin begin crawling up her throat. She gasps and clutches her neck, then begins gagging and coughing. She leans over, opens her mouth and! And! Vomits up a big snake. Gross.

Ace: Ugh. Just watching that made me retch. I have a terrible gag reflex.
Sep: Really? Thanks to all those years of training as a circus freak, I don't have any gag reflex. "Beat." And yet I'm still single.
Ace: Dude, I had just decided not to make that joke, but since you did, can I use it in the recap?
Sep: Sure. I'll take one for the team.
Ace: Um, you may want to think about rephrasing that.
Sep: Snerk. When you put this in the recap you'd better give me a clever retort here.
Ace: Something about you always having to have the last word, perhaps?

That's it for me, folks. Sep will take the next half with all the running, fighting, running, fighting, fighting, and running. I'm not sure whether to envy or feel sorry for her. Before I go, I just want to talk about the premiere, both hours. Basically, this episode depressed me. You're going to think I'm crazy, but this week I felt myself wishing I was recapping something like Special Unit 2. Sure, it's dumb, cheesy, and exploitative, but it knows it's dumb, cheesy, and exploitative. I have no investment in the main characters, and I know events that happen this week won't matter next week. It's the kind of show where you can check your brain at the door and then climb into bed with no distinct memory of what you just watched. Buffy has become the kind of show that keeps me up at night. Tedium and filler aside, this episode was full of some truly disturbing comments and imagery. At this point, my heart is breaking for Buffy and the rest of the gang (except Spike; he needs more suffering). Last season put them through such misery with Buffy's strange alienated attitude, the illness of her mother, the distress of her sister, the death of her mother, the brain-sucking of Tara, and finally her own death. I just want some happiness and lightness for these characters I care about, and instead this episode was a walk through Hell barefoot. I had no desire to see Buffy's rotten corpse; it felt disrespectful. And when I saw how she came back, so damaged and confused, I wished they'd just left her dead. This is not entertainment anymore -- it's torture. Especially in comparison to the season-one episodes currently airing on F/X. What a different tone the show had then -- sure, the threats were scary and our gang encountered danger, but overall the mood was lighthearted and playful. I smiled more than I wept. I realize that their world is a tough one and it's unrealistic of me to hope they could face such dangers and stay unaffected, but I fail to see the entertainment value in putting beloved characters through years of unrelieved misery. And yet. And yet, I'm still excited for this week's episode. Check my head, please.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer




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