Lorraine: WHAT UP BONUS CONTENT. (One day, someone is going to take away my caps lock key.) (S: NEVER!)
Anyhow, I figured it would be fun to rank the episodes. I foresee us eventually ranking our favorite and least favorite episodes of all time (you know. When we finish the series in a million years.) and this will help us then. Plus, it’ll be cool for you all to list your favorites in the comments and compare.
Overall, season 2 was a big improvement over season 1. Season 1 had a a few standout episodes and an amazingly kick ass finale, but I feel like 2 had fewer outliers. It was all reasonably good.
Here’s what I worked out:
- Innocence – Whether or not you like Angel, this episode is well executed. Beyond just the Buffy feels, there are Willow feels, Jenny revelations Buffy being a BAMF, and a perfect Giles and Buffy moment to end the episode. Brilliant.
- Passion – Two things: Buffy slamming the door in Angels face and Giles finding Mrs. Calendar. Gah.
- Surprise – Magic Vagina is magic.
- Halloween – Amusing from start to finish and Ripper!
- Becoming (Part 2) – A lovely balance of Spike and Angel and Dru getting punched in the face.
- School Hard – And Spike kills the Annointed Onsie. Hooray forever.
- When She Was Bad – I’m a sucker for the demon of the week being B’s inner demons.
- The Dark Age – I loved filling in Giles’ back story. I mean, sure, those special effects were terrible, but Giles being a badass!
- I Only Have Eyes For You – Not even sorry that it’s mostly for the Buffy/Angel scene.
- Phases – Oz was the biggest surprise for me this season. Love him, though this wasn’t even my favorite him moment.
- What’s My Line (Part 2) – Nobody messes with my boyfriend!
- Lie to Me – I like when the big issues are taken on.
- What’s My Line (Part 1) – I’m apparently not a big fan of these first part set-up episodes. But at least we got, “KENDRA. DA VAMPIRE SLAYAH.”
- Becoming (Part 1) – See above. Also: terrible flash backs. Terrible.
- Ted – Mostly saved by Buffy dealing with murder.
- Reptile Boy – We’re entering the bottom tier of episodes now. This is the best of the worst for me, with lots of good Cordy lines and Angel defensively vamping out for his girl.
- Bad Eggs – Campy tentacle fun.
- Killed By Death – The freak of the week was freaky but the episode felt out of place.
- Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered – Xander.
- Go Fish – Giant fish. And Xander.
- Inca Mummy Girl – More Xander. I’m noticing a theme.
- Some Assembly Required – I still don’t know what happened in this episode.
I tried to break it down by “top half” and “bottom half” and found that it was like “awesome four-fifths” and “meh one-fifth.” I love most of these episodes, and I feel like many of these are several-way ties. This list also shouldn’t be hugely surprising. I share in Lor’s abuse of the capslock key and am generally a fan of the episodes that contain ALL THE FEELS. Watching this with a 17 year old and thinking about how I would have watched/connected/whatevered at 17 gives me boundless appreciation for angsty Buffy.
I rearranged this list like six times. The original version translated as “Angst! Brood! FEELS!” Then I tried to insert the occasional LOL. And then, I just got confused and started dragging things up and down the list and now I’m not even sure what this even is, except a numbered list containing all the episodes, which is what I was supposed to do, right? Right.
- Innocence – BECAUSE I AM TEAM FEELS FOREVER.
- Passion – See above. Also: Angel.
- Becoming (Part 2) – I think part of why this is #3 and not #1 or #2 is to make sure this finale knows it’s not as good as the S1 finale, but I love this episode SFM regardless.
- Halloween – LOOK, LOL MOMENT! This episode is just ridiculously fun.
- Surprise – FEELS.
- School Hard – Super fun, and basically the reason I didn’t drown in feels this season. FYI: I advocated adding these one sentence explanations to our rankings because I felt sad for the episodes in the 5-15 range, because they’re all wonderful too.
- I Only Have Eyes For You – I’M SORRY I’M NOT SORRY FOR BEING TEAM FEELS. I generally love when the demon of the week is poignantly relevant to B’s angsty existence.
- Phases – OZ. I’m sorry you’re all the way down at #8, but I do love you.
- What’s My Line (Part 2) – Kendra, in spite of being ridiculous, is kind of fantastic. This episode has lots of things I love.
- When She Was Bad – I think I’m the only one that didn’t deeply hate Bitchy Buffy, because while the Scoobies were justified in being mad at her, I also get where she was coming from. She could have handled it better, but I like that she fucked up and was her honest, flawed self.
- What’s My Line (Part 1) – I enjoy all of Buffy’s complicated struggles with what being the slayer means for her and her future.
- Lie To Me – I originally had this episode much higher, but it got bumped down by other things. I love that it’s kind of campy and silly, while still having this wonderfully poignant ending.
- Becoming (Part 1) – The flashbacks aren’t good moments for David Boreanaz, but I love almost everything else about this episode. Even those, actually, for their contributions to the story. And the laughter.
- The Dark Age – RIPPER. THAT IS ALL.
- Killed By Death – Another one that I tried to place higher but couldn’t; this episode has contrivancey problems, but I love the premise and most of how it was executed.
- Ted – I want to defend this episode because of John Ritter, and B’s struggle-bus moment with having killed a human (or so she thought), but the episode was pretty “meh” on the whole. Stupid plot.
- Reptile Boy – This episode is a rare example of me finding Buffy Angst a little annoying. The whole episode just felt pointless and forgettable.
- Bad Eggs – From here on down, these episodes were doomed from the start for having shitty demons-of-the-week. This wasn’t as bad as the ones below, but it was pretty crap.
- Go Fish – SO. MANY. PROBLEMS. Never mind the awkwardness of speedo-wearing Xander, but this plot is a giant pile of WTF.
- Inca Mummy Girl – Cute Oz/Willow moments were the only decent things happening here; I hated this premise.
- Some Assembly Required – This episode had redeeming moments, but the plot was just too stupid for words.
- Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered – No. Just no.
First of all, the OCD part of my brain feels like we need to go back and rank season 1 as well, on account of EVERYTHING NEEDS TO MATCH NICELY. Secondly, my rankings are going to be rather different to Lor and Sweeney’s, because I’m a weirdo who prefers stand alone episodes to ones that support the overarching plot line. (I’m EXACTLY the same with Doctor Who. The only episode of season 5 that I enjoyed enough to watch multiple times was Vincent and the Doctor) My rankings are also impacted by whether or not they contain my favourite characters, and whether or not they include archaeology/museums/library nerdiness. So…yeah.
(Random segue: the OCD part of my brain is now happy because this draft just autosaved at 1:23:45am. And no, I’m not blogging at 1:23am. It’s 6:23pm in Australia)
- Phases – because OZ!!! Also, an introduction to the hilarity that is werewolves in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- School Hard – SPIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, Joyce hitting Spike with an axe. Also also, Angel pretending to eat Xander.
- Halloween – Mostly because of the scene where Willow walks through the wall and Giles drops a whole lot of catalogue cards.
- Inca Mummy Girl – Because a) I have an archaeology degree, so YAY HISTORY, and b) Xander nearly gets eaten. Also, Willow’s costume at the school dance.
- What’s My Line (Part 1) – Oz and Willow finally meeting!! Also, Cordy has some fantastic lines.
- Lie To Me – I honestly can’t believe it took them this long to do a “Someone from Buffy’s life in LA shows up” thing.
- Becoming (Part 2) – Almost entirely because of the scene where Buffy grabs the sword. It’s made of win.
- What’s My Line (Part 2) – Because despite her craptastic accent, I have a soft spot for Kendra. Also because of Oz’s line about how the monkey in the box of Animal Crackers is French and likes to mock the other animals.
- Becoming (Part 1) – YAY, BACKSTORY!! As much of a trainwreck at David Boreanaz’s Irish accent is, it’s good to finally see more of the “How Angel came to be a brooding snorefest” story.
- Passion – Phenomenally creepy. I love Giles trying to get revenge.
- Innocence – Yeah, yeah. I’m Team Heartless Cow, does it really surprise you that I’m kind of ambivalent about this episode? The only reason it’s this high up the list is because of that Slayer knee to the groin at the end.
- Reptile Boy – Meh. Whedon does public service announcements – “don’t drink alcohol, kids. You’ll get fed to a snake demon.”
- When She Was Bad – No one needed to see Buffy causing an #awkwardXanderboner. Also, because UGH THE ANNOINTED ONESIE.
- Surprise – This episode does nothing for me. Too much moping, not enough fun times.
- The Dark Age – Yay for Giles backstory, boo for the terrible special effects.
- Killed By Death – Der Kindestod is creepy as fuck with the popping out eyeballs, but Buffy being hospitalised for the flu is lame.
- I Only Have Eyes For You – On the whole, I find this episode pretty dull. Too much everyone-caught-up-in-their-own-shit.
- Some Assembly Required – Much as Dean Winchester says in season 1 of Supernatural, “Demons I get. People are CRAZY.”
- Ted – Buffy + Robots = NOPE.
- Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered – It tries to be lighthearted and fails miserably for me. Proof that Xander shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions.
- Bad Eggs – I have an irrational loathing for this episode.
- Go Fish – Xander in budgie smugglers. Nothing more needs to be said.
Lorraine: So, there you have it! If you follow us on Facebook, you know that this was supposed to be a side post, but was pushed back until today on account of Sweeney being a real person and writing a thesis or something like that. Long story even longer: we’ll be back with our season three premier on Thursday.
We so excited.