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Buffy the Vampire Slayer S02 Wrap Up

and on December 10, 2012 · 10 comments in Buffy the Vampire Slayer,Season 2

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:

 

  1. 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.
  2. Passion  – Two things: Buffy slamming the door in Angels face and Giles finding Mrs. Calendar. Gah.
  3. Surprise  – Magic Vagina is magic.
  4. Halloween – Amusing from start to finish and Ripper!
  5. Becoming (Part 2)  - A lovely balance of Spike and Angel and Dru getting punched in the face.
  6. School Hard – And Spike kills the Annointed Onsie. Hooray forever.
  7. When She Was Bad – I’m a sucker for the demon of the week being B’s inner demons.
  8. The Dark Age – I loved filling in Giles’ back story. I mean, sure, those special effects were terrible, but Giles being a badass!
  9. I Only Have Eyes For You – Not even sorry that it’s mostly for the Buffy/Angel scene.
  10. Phases – Oz was the biggest surprise for me this season. Love him, though this wasn’t even my favorite him moment.
  11.  What’s My Line (Part 2) – Nobody messes with my boyfriend!
  12. Lie to Me – I like when the big issues are taken on.
  13. 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.”
  14. Becoming (Part 1) – See above. Also: terrible flash backs. Terrible.
  15. Ted – Mostly saved by Buffy dealing with murder.
  16. 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.
  17. Bad Eggs – Campy tentacle fun.
  18. Killed By Death – The freak of the week was freaky but the episode felt out of place.
  19. Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered – Xander.
  20. Go Fish – Giant fish. And Xander.
  21. Inca Mummy Girl – More Xander. I’m noticing a theme.
  22. Some Assembly Required – I still don’t know what happened in this episode.

 

Sweeney

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.

  1. Innocence – BECAUSE I AM TEAM FEELS FOREVER.
  2. Passion – See above. Also: Angel.
  3. 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.
  4. Halloween – LOOK, LOL MOMENT! This episode is just ridiculously fun.
  5. Surprise – FEELS.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Phases – OZ. I’m sorry you’re all the way down at #8, but I do love you.
  9. What’s My Line (Part 2) – Kendra, in spite of being ridiculous, is kind of fantastic. This episode has lots of things I love.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. The Dark Age – RIPPER. THAT IS ALL.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Reptile Boy – This episode is a rare example of me finding Buffy Angst a little annoying. The whole episode just felt pointless and forgettable.
  18. 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.
  19. Go Fish – SO. MANY. PROBLEMS. Never mind the awkwardness of speedo-wearing Xander, but this plot is a giant pile of WTF.
  20. Inca Mummy Girl – Cute Oz/Willow moments were the only decent things happening here; I hated this premise.
  21. Some Assembly Required – This episode had redeeming moments, but the plot was just too stupid for words.
  22. Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered – No. Just no.

 

Kirsti

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)

ANYWAY. Rankings:

  1. Phases – because OZ!!! Also, an introduction to the hilarity that is werewolves in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  2. School Hard – SPIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, Joyce hitting Spike with an axe. Also also, Angel pretending to eat Xander.
  3. Halloween – Mostly because of the scene where Willow walks through the wall and Giles drops a whole lot of catalogue cards.
  4. 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.
  5. What’s My Line (Part 1) – Oz and Willow finally meeting!! Also, Cordy has some fantastic lines.
  6. 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.
  7. Becoming (Part 2) – Almost entirely because of the scene where Buffy grabs the sword. It’s made of win.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Passion – Phenomenally creepy. I love Giles trying to get revenge.
  11. 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.
  12. Reptile Boy – Meh. Whedon does public service announcements – “don’t drink alcohol, kids. You’ll get fed to a snake demon.”
  13. When She Was Bad – No one needed to see Buffy causing an #awkwardXanderboner. Also, because UGH THE ANNOINTED ONESIE.
  14. Surprise – This episode does nothing for me. Too much moping, not enough fun times.
  15. The Dark Age – Yay for Giles backstory, boo for the terrible special effects.
  16. Killed By Death – Der Kindestod is creepy as fuck with the popping out eyeballs, but Buffy being hospitalised for the flu is lame.
  17. I Only Have Eyes For You – On the whole, I find this episode pretty dull. Too much everyone-caught-up-in-their-own-shit.
  18. Some Assembly Required – Much as Dean Winchester says in season 1 of Supernatural, “Demons I get. People are CRAZY.”
  19. Ted – Buffy + Robots = NOPE.
  20. Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered – It tries to be lighthearted and fails miserably for me. Proof that Xander shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions.
  21. Bad Eggs – I have an irrational loathing for this episode.
  22. 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.

 

Lorraine (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.





Sweeney (all posts)

I collect elaborate false eyelashes, panda gifs, and passport stamps. I earned my MA in Global Communications and watching too many YouTube videos. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle.





Kirsti (all posts)

I'm a 30-something under-employed librarian and I still live with my parents because I'm super broke. Leader of Team Heartless Cow. I have an inexplicable love for 90s television, eat too much chocolate, and tweet about the random crap that happens to me on public transport more than I should.





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  • http://twitter.com/democracydiva Democracy Diva

    I’m about midway through my re-watch of Season 2, so only about half of these are uber-fresh in my mind, but Passion is probably at the top of my list (Angel himself may be a dud, but I still have allll the feelings because I haz sadz when Buffy haz sadz. But GILES SADZ ARE THE MOST FEEELINGSY SADZ.) Followed closely by Innocence, Phases (OZOZOZOZOZFOREVER), and School Hard (SPIKE EVEN MORE FOREVER THAN OZ). Bottom of the barrel? Bad Eggs and Ted, which is an episode I find fucking impossible to get through.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      Giles sadz are soul-crushing. I HURT SO MUCH FOR GILES SADZ. Ted is awful. The only reasons it’s not lower on my list is (1) I just really love John Ritter. I can’t help it. -and- (2) Buffy’s feels over the murder thing were well-handled for that hot second of the episode before it was forgotten and we moved back to the general crap of that episode. The whole rest of the episode is pretty terrible.

  • JEL

    With respect to Lorraine’s comment: “Killed By Death – The freak of the week was freaky but the episode felt out of place.”: According to buffy.wiki.com “This script was originally planned as a first season episode, and then an episode before Angel became evil, it evolved into its aired form.” It seems your feeling that it was out of place was very perceptive!

    And a totally random comment: I’ve been amused by the several comments about Buffy not feeling the cold as much as other people. And then I recently watched an episode in season 4 where Buffy not feeling as cold as someone else is a very (very) minor part of the plot and I burst out laughing because of what I had read here.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      That’s interesting, and yeah, it totally shows! It’s frustrating because the episode had potential. I get why they were attached to that demon of the week and wanted to find a way to use it, but it was super clunky and out of place.

      I don’t remember this moment, but now I’m excited to see it again :D

      (I mean, I’m really not excited about season 4, but this will be something…)

  • http://www.rakaskesa.com/ Ley

    I couldn’t handle Inca Mummy Girl when it aired as a new episode, and I still can’t watch it now. So unbelievably bad, even if Xander does almost get eaten. I’m excited for season three, that’s when so much of everything really takes off!

    Sort of unrelated comment (Kirsti started it!): SQUEE VINCENT AND THE DOCTOR!!!!!! When/if Doctor Who becomes a Thing here, I VOLUNTEER.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      YAY SEASON THREE. We are working on that post now and I am so incredibly happy. I JUST WANT SEASON THREE TO LAST FOREVER AND NO SEASON FOUR, PLEASE.

      • Eden Robinson

        PLEASE TELL ME DOCTOR WHO WILL BECOME A THING HERE!!! Or, at the very least, that Torchood will because OMG SPIKE!!!

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  • Meagan Malachite

    OK so I am on a pretty different page from most of these blog posts. Not only do I love Xander, I love Buffy/Angel, like Ms. Calendar most of the time, and don’t have a problem with Buffy’s hair or Willow’s sweet girl-next-door outfits. So mine is pretty different from all of yours probably.

    1. Halloween – This episode had me CRACKING UP LAUGHING! It was so well done. And we got to see sexy!Willow. Looking forward to more of that. Will Buffy make me laugh this hard again? I love fun magical chaos.

    2. I Only Have Eyes For You – I thought this episode was amazing. What a great way to deal with the guilt Buffy must have been repressing for half a season about indirectly killing her boyfriend. Until this point they were all acting as if it was Angel’s fault he lost his soul again. While it wasn’t Buffy’s fault either (I blame tunnel-visioned Gypsy-uncle and his team), it seems normal for her to blame herself, and it brought some closure to their relationship (which I love) for me. The sequence where it flashes between the ghosts and A/B…perfection, IMO.

    3. Phases – I love Oz, and I love even more that he’s a werewolf. I was disconcerted that after he and Will officially hook up, he then mysteriously disappears for about 5 episodes :=(. That equal sign was supposed to be a dash, but that looks pretty awesome, so I’m leaving it.

    4. Lie to Me – I loved the “moral” of the story, which I took as “Life’s complicated and hard.” The Vampire Fan Club was interesting as well, and helped develop the verse more for me.

    5. Becoming (Part 2) – The alliance was cool; I actually liked Spike for the first time when he talked about liking the world. This is where it gets complicated cuz vampires start showing some humanity, huh? Tragic, tragic, tragic at the end–I was confused til the last moment too, because I thought that just Angel’s blood had to go in the mouth, and that would stop it. Why not turn him around and grab his hand to wipe on that vortex thing? Or did I miss something?

    6. Passion – Tragedy. I hate you, but I must admit you are artistic. Giles at least should have had a chance to get laid before his love died. Even Buffy got that. :( At least the disc didn’t get destroyed!

    7. Innocence – This is lower down because it makes me so sad :( No time to enjoy their newly developed sexual relationship. No time for cute Buffy-reporting-to-Willow conversation :-(. I do like Giles comment about blind panic being the best course of action.

    8. School Hard – Ditto to being glad TAO is gone. Also enjoyed seeing the vamps straight up reveal themselves to “straights” and seeing the excuses people come up with. Wish Joyce’s whole “respect for her daughter” thing lasted longer.

    9. Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered – Loved this episode, it gives me the same type of amusement as Halloween, only not as strong. it was nice to get a break from Buffy being the center of everything (will that ever happen again, or is it just when she hosts SNL?). Love Cordy’s speech to her friends at the end. “You’re a sheep!” <<<Yes!

    10. Becoming (Part 1) – I like back-story, not for fun, but for well-roundedness.

    11. What’s My Line (Part 2)

    12. What’s My Line (Part 1)

    13. Surprise – The judge was pretty boring actually, and cheapened by Acathla later on, who was too similar. I'm kinda over the, "OMG This is the worst demon ever. No srsly" routine every few episodes.

    14. The Dark Age – At the time I liked it, looking back, it's nothing memorable. The whole Giles/Jenny on-again/off-again thing seems really contrived and unnecessary too.

    15. When She Was Bad –Meh. I liked the sexy Xander dance. (Though I hated the interruption of the Willow kiss at the beginning. Torture. I root for girl-next-door love.) I thought she was overreacting about dying, or that a more realistic reaction would be different.

    16. Go Fish – I love naked Xander! And I love committed Cordy!

    17. Killed By Death – Cool special effects :)

    18. Ted – This episode is actually somewhat-not cheesy, but it gives me the heebie-jeebies; it brings up real childhood trauma about parents not believing children about abuse happening. Sick. And it's never resolved, Joyce never apologizes for her HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE mistake.

    19. Inca Mummy Girl – I kinda liked the mummy girl, and felt bad for her. I wish she had been more fair (i.e. not killing people) and they could have saved her or something. But plot holes!!!

    20/21.Reptile Boy / Bad Eggs – Equally cheesy. Maybe Bad Eggs was a little better.

    22. Some Assembly Required – This episode was ridiculously unrealistic. What about living on a Hellmouth gives science nerds the capacity to do the scientifically impossible? Oh yeah….

    This took me quite a while and I'm still not sure about some of those middle ones. I've been following this blog as I watch Buffy for the first time straight through by the way, and this is my first comment!

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