Thursday, September 27, 2012

Buffy in Review- The Harvest

As a note to anyone reading this, the below review is written as a “re-watch” review and is chock full of spoilers from throughout the entire series.   I want to take a look at the beginning with the end in mind, so reader should be aware.   This is the conclusion of the two-part premiere, so click here to read the review of Welcome to the Hellmouth.

Picking up where we left off last week, I hear the voice overview explaining the Chosen One.  I’ve always known that the first season that is done by someone other than Giles.    I inexplicably want to know whose voice that is.  Light research did not produce an answer.  Eventually I may take the time to figure this one out.  

Within seconds the danger from Luke is over.  He burns his hand on the cross, demonstrating a specific way to defend against a vampire.  I love that Buffy is wearing the necklace she got earlier in the evening from Angel. It’s kind of like the first time Angel helps with a rescue.  (I don’t like the idea of Angel being Buffy’s rescuer in any physical sense, but he can “help.”) 

Outside of the crypt, Buffy steps in to save Willow and manages to help out Xander as well.   Jesse is lost to them at this point.  Panic does not seem to set in enough for them here. If my best friend were taken by demons I would be seriously screaming in panic.  I suppose this is why Willow & Xander get to be scoobies, and not me.  I’ll work on it, I promise! 

Giles & His Globe
Giles and his globe.  This is back-story that establishes the lore of the show.  “The old ones” roamed the earth.  The last demon to leave our reality fed off a human, and the human was infected with the demon’s soul.  The soul of a demon inhabits a vampire, not the human soul.  Everyone watching knows that this is a major part of Buffy mythology, but I’ve never paid such close attention to the soul reference before.  I love how Joss establishes everything so early on!  

I like how we go straight into the Master at this point.  Info gets thrown in very smoothly here, in a different, elevated dialogue.  The dialogue of the vampires definitely creates that contrast between them and the teenagers.  Joss uses language so deliberately throughout his story telling, and this is case in point.  The Master says that he’s been waiting three score years.  That would be sixty years. (Thank you Lincoln for assuring that I know how much a “score” actually is.)  He doesn’t just come right out and say sixty, that’s too easy.  Also, he doesn’t say ‘church,’ he says “house of worship.”  He reads as old and dry as he looks.   The Master keeps mentioning his ascension, and I keep imagining him as a giant snake…

Willow does demonstrate a bit of panic here, which I approve of.  She then gets over it and demonstrates her tech geek awesomeness.  Giles takes a moment to be “a bit British,” and refers to the computer as a “dread machine.”  I’m thinking this is a "grown-up" librarian thing, not a British thing.  I happen to be a fan of a very scientifically advanced British show.

Xander has his first moment of feeling at a loss when Willow gets her research list, Buffy’s off hunting Jesse, and he is left “standing.”  Buffy ventures back to the tomb of attack now that it’s daylight, and Angel steps out of the shadows. It’s a little strange to see him moving around in the light of day.  It’s not until later in the season where vamps start being around a lot during the day.  Again, I’m wondering what people thought of him before he was “out” as a vamp.  He just embodies the talk, dark, and handsome vampire to me.  Anyway, I very much enjoy their exchange here.  He admits to being afraid and encourages Buffy not to go into the tunnels.  It’s like he wants to help and hasn’t figured out how yet, which works so well with what we find out about how he ended up in Sunnydale in the first place.

Meet Harmony
My favorite part of the computer scene is getting to see Harmony.  I didn’t realize she was there that early on.  We also get reminded of how horrid a human being Cordelia is, then have a happy moment when Willow makes her life a bit worse before cutting back to the sewers.  Xander follows Buffy down into the abyss and introduces her to Jesse with the awesome like “It’s okay, Buffy’s a superhero.”  Thank you Joss for that.  The term ‘superhero’ makes you think of these amazing classic heroes like Batman and Superman, and Buffy is equally as awesome.  Also, at the end of their little adventure Xander pulls Buffy out, so he proves helpful, just as he always does.

The Master has his creepy moment with his minions, then we move to the Scooby Gang and hear the “Hellmouth” referred to for the first time.  After their pow-wow moment, they have the iconic exit move from the library.  It’s fun to see it in context.

Exiting the library.
Entering a cult obsession.
These scenes with Buffy’s mom are so much more interesting in retrospect.  I see Whedon spelling out the parellels to real life as Joyce tells Buffy that she knows the world will end if Buffy can’t go out with her friends.  “Everything feels like life or death when you’re a sixteen year old girl.” We all can relate to Buffy, because even though we’re not saving the world when we’re solving a crisis in our own lives, we feel like we are.  Buffy lives out the horror and the chaos in life through physical demons, and it’s cathartic for me to watch.

The Bronze is under attack!  What a shock! Why do people keep coming to the Bronze?  Surely they understand it’s a death trap.  I do like that this scene brings the serious bad out of the underground and ancient crypts, and into the contemporary “real” life.  Buffy escapes from her house to save the world and steps in just in time to save Cordelia and show off her amazingness to the entire Bronze.  You’d think that afterward people would remember that they had a superhero in their midst.  Xander (almost accidently) takes out Jesse, which I really feel should be a lot more traumatizing than it is. 

Not Angel at his most useful.
Who do you think this is warning?
Angel steps out of the shadows as the last vamp leaves, with the comment, “She did it.  I’ll be damned.”  Where was he during this fight?  Seriously, he can’t lend a hand? Thank goodness he helped her out with the necklace, but honestly it's his only redeeming quality this episode, and I don't remember him existing in the next two.  He might, but I don't really remember him.  Anyway, I do love that as he moves away from the door we see behind him the sign “WATCH YOUR STEP.”  Ah, foreshadowing.  But who do we think it’s warning?

The world is doomed.
The ending of the episode is one of my favorite moments in the hour.  Xander’s last line at the Bronze was the phrase “Nothing’s going to be same,”  before cutting straight to a completely normal looking school day.  Giles points out that the trio may be up against other things than just vampires, which Buffy, Xander, & Willow take very seriously.  Or not. They just sort of blow off before wandering away with pointless banter.  I can see the series finale right in front of me as Giles admits that “The Earth is doomed.”  It’s an awesome moment and I can’t believe that I haven’t watched it in so long.  If you can’t imagine it this moment, go to hulu or netflix and watch it now, because it’s just great. (I did a quick look on Youtube for a clip, but I wasn't successful.)

Coming soon- I’ll be reviewing Witch next week.  It may not be a landmark episode on the Buffy timeline, but it was an episode that I always remembered.  I’m pretty excited about rewatching it, so it ought to fun.

Stay Shiny!

No comments:

Post a Comment