Mon
Dec 17 2012 1:00pm

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: A Farewell To Oz

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch on Tor.com: New Moon Rising

The adorable girl bonding that some of you love (some of you, I know, not so much) continues as WillTara ponder the next step in their relationship: animal adoption. I can’t help remembering that last week Tara floated some horse-related gambit past Willow and got reluctance and fear in response. She has scaled down her pitch considerably now, by suggesting they might merely get a cat.

This reflects Tara’s general optimism about how things are going and her growing importance in the world of Willow, chief evidence of which is the fact that she’s going to her first Scooby meeting. She helped defeat evil at Riley’s house last week, see, and now she’s invited to the clubhouse. Take note, Jonathan, because that could have been you!

The meeting itself is high on business, low on drama. Buffy’s not catching much in the way of monsterage, while the Initiative is up to their orifices in demonkind. Anya and Giles snipe at each other about whether this is meaningful or boring (I’d say some things can probably be both).

Then Oz walks in, offering up one of his typical Shakespeare-length monologues by way of greeting: “Lo, for though I have traveled far and wide, and also to Tibet, the better to bring you all prayer flags and inner peace, I, Oz, former denizen of Sunnydale and the race of manwolves....”

I know you’ve all been quoting it since ere the thing aired, so I’ll stop.

Is anyone surprised that it’s Xander who breaks the ice, reaches out, shakes his hand and thereby welcomes Oz into their space? Me neither!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch on Tor.com: New Moon Rising

Oz is very sweet about asking Willow if he can see her later, without making any big assumptions. Tara bails in a fluster, her preferred mode of transportation. Anya sums it all up when she says: “Everyone’s uncomfortable now.”

That would be everyone except Riley, who is out of the loop once more.

But discomfort is on the way, Iowa, so don’t feel left out! Buffy’s attempt to bring him up to speed spawns an argument neither of them is expecting: she tells him Oz is a werewolf, Riley throws her a “Willow is into dangerous guys, whoa, that’s so dark!” riff. And without knowing it—because guess who still hasn’t told him about Angel?—he kicks up all her issues about her original one true love and his general state of undeadness.

If Riley spent more time with Xander, he’d have gotten an earful about this by now.

It hurts a little to watch Oz light up at the mere sight of Willow. He pretty much glows in her presence. There’s no doubt he’s done nothing but work toward getting her back. He invites her out for a pleasant moonlit stroll (and I feel I must mention she goes in what may be the cutest coat ever sewn) and we get the big reveal: the moon’s full, yet Oz doesn’t turn into a werewolf.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch on Tor.com: New Moon Rising

“I can be what you need now,” he tells her. “I’m a different person.”

Oh, ouch. Because what she needs may indeed be a different person.

Oz’s monologue—and this time it actually is one—is pretty intriguing. He acknowledges the pain he caused Willow, without explicitly apologizing. He’s willing to hang around, not push, be available and hope to win back her heart through good behavior and lots of charm. And, again, he hasn’t made assumptions: he actually asked Xander if she had a new guy.

One of the things we have to love about Oz, I think, is he’s always extremely clear about what he needs.

Last week when I was writing about Anya’s burst of sexual insecurity, I got to thinking about which Scooby would make the best life partner. The total bluntness of Anya is something I find endearing in a “you always know where you stand” kind of way. But the Oz version of total disclosure has its appeal, too, and it’s overall more pleasant.

This in turn made me remember that wow, in the long-ago days when this stuff was airing, it was so very common for twelve BtVS fans a day to write up their own “Which Scooby Are You?” and “Which Buffy monster ate your homework?” and, yes, “Which Buffy Boy is your Dream Date?” memes and put them on sites like Quizilla, so that eight kazillion other fans would do the quiz—choosing the answers that would obviously lead the software to pick their fave—and cross-post the results to whatever they were using to blog.

Livejournal was lousy with these things:

“You picked Giles! What you want in a man is a dark past and a big collection of ancient texts whose contents can destroy this plane of existence.”

“Your soulmate is Faith. Seek help.”

Remember that? Doesn’t that seem like it was... decades ago?

Back to the rewatch! As WillOz commence talking the night away and BuffRiley descend into a world of snark, Graham and some other minor Initiators are attacked by inconveniently hairy demons.

Oz catches Willow up on his not-quite-cure and his travels. She tells him about her continuing pursuit of magical pwnage. In the morning, Tara comes by while Willow’s in the bathroom. She sees Oz is there, stammers a lot and flees. Thinking: did they, you know, reconcile? Is it even worth getting a cat now? Darn that Willow and the way she’s obviously just hopped back into the hairy arms of her first love!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch on Tor.com: New Moon Rising

It is legitimately, horribly upsetting and she cannot deal.

Oz, naturally, doesn’t give her appearance or departure much thought. There’s a single moment of disquiet and then, I dunno, maybe he thinks “Squirrel!”

As BuffRiley wake up together, our Slayer’s still steaming about the dangerous guys remark. The two of them get into it about whether it’s possible for demons to only be semi-horrific beings. Forrest, who’s been listening at the door as usual, realizes this is the perfect time to burst in and tell them that Graham is injured. This offers Riley the moral high ground, which is lurking offstage next to a tasty parting line, and so he storms off to get revenge on all things hairy and paranormal.

When Buffy gets home to the dorm, Willow is on the bed, pretty much in the same emo-hunker pose she adopted when Oz first left her. Buffy switches into supportive bestie mode, asking the obvious: why isn’t Willow kicking up her heels and singing “My boyfriend’s back and he’s gonna be less trouble!” or some similarly-themed expression of musical joy?

(Yes, I know. Alyson Hannigan prefers to not sing.)

Because of Tara, Willow says. It’s complicated, she says, which leads me to remark that if this had happened in the Facebook now rather than the Which Buffy Character Do you Dress Like? past, Oz would already have seen the change in Willow’s relationship status and the whole thing would have played out differently.

Buffy doesn’t get what she’s saying, at first, about Tara. Then she gets it. Then she has a mini-freak out. Finally she shakes off the fleeting attack of OMG you like girls now? and tries to help. There’s limited help to be offered: no monsters to bash, anyway. The uncomfortable reality is that no matter what, somebody’s gonna get hurt.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch on Tor.com: New Moon Rising

And on that bummery note, we look in on Adam, who has come looking for Spike. He’s a recruiter at heart, that young man, and he offers to help everyone’s favorite fanged blondie bear with his chip-related potency problems.

Willow hustles over to Tara’s Willow-Friendly Love Shack to make sure it’s clear she didn’t bang Oz the night before. It’s an emotional scene: Tara wants to be sure Willow knows they’ll still be friends, whatever happens. Willow tells her, honestly, “I don’t know what to do.”

“Do what makes you happy.” It just about kills Tara to say it, poor thing. But she knows it’s not her choice and she’s trying to make it as easy on Willow as she can. What this gets her is a weeping Willow and limited comfort on her own behalf. It’s all very lovely and patient of her.

The nobility is all well and good right up until thirty seconds later, though when she runs into Oz on campus and he smells Willow, as he puts it, “all over her.” And with that, suddenly, Oz’s lycanthropy is not so much under control. He manages to tell Tara to run before beginning to change.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch on Tor.com: New Moon Rising

Soon, and yet again, Tara’s fleeing for her life with a slavering monster hot on her heels. Really, just getting briefly possessed last week by homophobic poltergasms must have been so restful!

And since I made a fashion comment about Willow’s coat, above, I will also say that Oz’s bad werewolf costume remains pretty damned bad.

I know Seth Green was just returning for one last episode. I know the BtVS powers that be had decided that the point of “New Moon Rising” was for all of us and the Scoobies to wave one last goodbye. But Oz’s wolfing out makes Willow’s dilemma a lot simpler, doesn’t it? The fact is, Oz has not changed and he is still a danger. If he’ll eat Tara, he’ll definitely get down with Veruca’s younger sister when she comes sashaying onto campus next fall.

It all rather lets Willow off the hook, is what I’m saying, when it initially looked as though she might have to make an excruciating choice.

This is academic, though, because the Initiative gets Oz and the Scooby gang has to go into rescue mode before something really bad can happen. You know, like Riley shooting him. Or scientists playing power surge with his nervous system.

While Oz is getting captured and Willow’s love life is on high churn, Adam and Spike have been bonding over uranium mochas and a Weetabix blood shake over at the Sunnydale Art Gallery’s new Dismemberment and Disassociation in Modernist Culture exhibit. (I’m sure you all remember that Ancient Things that Raise Unspeakable Evil had closed down the month before.) Adam is all fulla armies and parts and battle and carnage—clearly he’s got himself a master plan, now. Spike counters with talk of Buffy’s tendency to pick battles and then, annoyingly, win them.

“Guess you better play for her team, then,” Adam says, so Spike promptly heads off to cement his tenuous Scooby position by helping them all with the wererescue. Even he gets it, Jonathan!

Oz has spent his afternoon getting drugged and then tasered on a gurney, an experiment whose chief result is convincing Riley that maybe there is a little wiggle room between the poles of human-good, monster-bad.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch on Tor.com: New Moon Rising

Iowa is decisive, give him that. Once he’s on board, he makes an immediate, if unimpressive, attempt at a rescue and gets himself arrested. He’s accused of disloyalty, abuse of command, and releasing a lethal HST. Possibly also forgetting Forrest’s birthday.

The Scoobies, of course, know none of this. Willow refuses to back up the rescue attempt from afar. Oz is in danger! She must be present at the jailbreak, rather than merely hacking from the sidelines! Adam, therefore, opens his weird-cyber headplate and secretly helps Anya and Giles hack into the power grid to cause a convenient blackout centered on the UC Sunnydale campus. This is useful to the rescue effort and cements the whole Spike is helping cover.

What is also useful is that nobody has shown the entire Initiative Buffy’s photograph. She and Xander and Spike and Willow traipse through the base unopposed, tra-la-la, and get into Colonel MacNamara’s boudoir without any trouble at all. He and Buffy have a ritual exchange of snarls, during which he lets drop that Riley’s all disgraced and arrested and in need of rescue himself.

The gang liberates Riley and Oz. Oz can’t really face Willow without getting wolfy. On their way out (They take the elevator that kills! Hello, don’t go in there!) the Colonel threatens Riley and gets himself socked in the jaw. Disloyalty and abuse of command are such piddly charges, after all. If they’re gonna convene a court-martial anyway, Riley figures, he should at least have assaulted a superior officer.

So now that’s done. Riley is hypothetically Initiative-free, and a fugitive, and he admits to Buffy he was wrong about Oz. Buffy, in turn, decides she trusts him enough to tell him about Angel.

And then Oz and Willow break up. For sure. In the van. Again.

Oz thought he had changed. Of course nothing in life is that easy—you can leave out the werewolf part of this equation and the story still rings true. Despite the identical staging of the two good-bye scenes, though, things have changed. Willow is far from shattered. And Oz, like Tara, cares more that she’s happy than for himself.

What Willow tells him, as she says goodbye, rates in my memory as one of the most moving and memorable of the Scooby speeches. It has always stuck with me: “I feel like some part of me will always be waiting for you.” It chokes me up.

But, as the wolfman says, now is not their time. It’s sad, but I do find myself content to wave Oz goodbye, and I’m happy when Willow goes directly to Tara and tells her, finally, that it’s her—it’s her time. Or, rather, theirs.

And then there’s some slightly disappointing business with a candle, wherein we’re encouraged to imagine them getting extremely frisky with each other but no visual teaching aids are supplied.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch on Tor.com: New Moon Rising

 

Next: Yoko Yoko Yoko


A.M. Dellamonica has so much fiction up here on Tor.com! Her “baby werewolf has two mommies,” story, “The Cage,” made the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2010. There’s also “Among the Silvering Herd,” the first of a series of stories called The Gales.

Now you can read her novelette, “Wild Things,” that ties into the world of her award winning novel Indigo Springs and its sequel, Blue Magic.

30 comments
Sun Dog
1. Sun Dog
This episode also marks the start of one of the series more curious subplots: Buffy's short-lived foray into homophobia. For the rest of the season she acts pretty uncomfortable around Willow whenever the subject of her and Tara pops up, but it seems to disappear by Season 5.
Alyx Dellamonica
2. AMDellamonica
I think things were awkward between Buffy and Willow anyway, and Tara being female added another wrinkle. As did Willow's concealment of their blossoming relationship.

Though I agree there's homophobia laced in there, I guess what I'm saying is there's always an adjustment when a close friend gets a new partner.
Sun Dog
3. Palpatim
...there's always an adjustment when a close friend gets a new partner.
@AMDellamonica Not to mention when that new partner happens to be of a gender previously unrepresented in the friend's crush list. I always found Buffy's confusion to be a fairly genuine reaction to a sudden surprise (my best friend whom I thought I knew so well likes girls and I didn't even know and what kind of friend does that make me and oh, wait *I'm* a girl does that means she likes me and how do I feel about this?), even if it plays oddly nowadays, when acceptance is easier to come by (although by no means guaranteed).

But I also agree: things were way awkward on the Buffy/Willow front for most of this season.
Fredrik Coulter
4. fcoulter
I liked the Buffy homophobia. First, it is too easy to make your hero too perfect. Everyone has flaws, and Buffy shouldn't be an exception. Second, it gave Buffy room to grow as a person. If she starts off all accepting, etc., then where's the room for growth.

People, even slayers, are complex. They have big flaws and little flaws; big strengths and little strengths. New ones show up at the damndest times. Just when you thought she was ready to be fitted with a halo...

Finally, Buffy's growth from her (mild) homophobia in many ways mirrors the entire Demons bad to complex trajectory that both Buffy and Angel went through, just in a compressed fashion.
Sun Dog
5. Dianthus
It is funny that Buffy had no problem with Willow dating a werewolf, but did with her dating another girl. Just goes to show you never can tell.
The kicker in this ep, for me, is that this is the only time we ever got any interaction btwn Spike and Oz, and they didn't even have any lines together. I would've loved to see more with these two, the one who barely speaks and the other who can barely shut up.
In my fantasy, Spike, Lorne, and Oz are all sitting around in a bar (Lorne's place, maybe) talking music.
Spike is helping rescue Oz with an ulterior motive here, but it won't be the only time he helps Willow out when she's about to lose someone she loves. Maybe it's his way of making up for past threats? Maybe it's b/c he understands that sort of pain? He might not be able to apply that understanding more broadly (vampire), but maybe on some smaller, more personal level?
Jack Flynn
6. JackofMidworld
Dianthus, have to admit that Edward the Bloody/Spike's nothing if not a romantic. Ensouled or not, that never really changes (just how he shows it, and all I can picture right this second is him at the "biker bar" in the Angel finale).
Sun Dog
7. Gardner Dozois
You're right, of course, that Oz losing control of himself and turning into a werewolf again made Willow's choice much easier than it might have been--but since they knew that it was going to be Oz's last episode, they probably felt that they had to give some decisive reason for him not hanging hopefully around, as he almost certainly would have, trying to get Willow to change her mind, if he hadn't been leaving the show.

You missed the point that Willow and Tara clearly made love at the end of that scene--which is why Tara had Willow's "scent all over her," one of the show's more suggestive lines, actually.

I find it amusing that Buffy STILL didn't realize that Willow had gone gay, after all this time, when Faith-as-Buffy realized that immediately on seeing Willow and Tara together for the first time, in two-tenths of a second. In some ways, Buffy still sees the world through the eyes of the shallow, rather naive, mall-loving Valley Girl she'd once been; it never even OCCURS to her that Willow might like girls, and I think her faintly disapproving-but-trying-to-disguise-it reaction is pretty realistic, and does give her room to grow out of it--although she is rather awkward with Willow for the rest of the season.
Chris Nelly
8. Aeryl
I disagree with you that a rejected Oz would stick around. He always seemed like the guy who respected a woman's agency, especially as he often demands that his own agency be respected, like when he and Willow first kissed and she threw herself at him in Amends.

If she had honestly and openly chose Tara over Oz, without the wolf provocation, I think he would have left. But in many ways the show does rob the audience of the authenticity of the decision, by having Oz wolf out, unless you feel that wolfing out would have been inevitable, then take advantage of the actor's sole return appearance.
Leslie Arai
9. creepygirl
I don't know that the wolfing out really lets Willow off the hook for her decision. She wanted him to stay at the end of Wild at Heart, when he'd nearly killed her, and she had no guarantees then that another Veruca incident wouldn't happen. She could have asked him to stay again at the end of NMR, but she doesn't, and her relationship with Tara is the reason why.

And I also kind of like that Buffy's completely fine with Willow dating a werewolf but a little wigged about her dating a girl. I think that Riley might be perfectly ok with Willow dating a girl (there's the scene in Something Blue where he's helping put up the Gay and Lesbian Alliance banner) but kind of freaked about her dating a werewolf.
Sun Dog
10. Dianthus
OK, I need to come clean...I actually took one of those quizes AM mentioned above, and got Oz best out of three. You'll never guess who the other guy was.
Sun Dog
13. Gardner Dozois
If Oz hadn't wolfed out, at least we wouldn't have had to see that cheesy werewolf costume again.

Even thought I know it was inevitable, since Seth Green was leaving/had left, I feel kind of bad for Oz in this episode. He had voluntarialy set off on a long and difficult journey, both to keep his girlfriend safe from him and to try to fix what was standing between them, and I think he can be excused for having a reasonable expectation that she'd be waiting for him when he theoretically solved the problem and came back. Instead, when he comes back, after what couldn't have been more than a few months, he finds that his girlfriend has already moved on and taken another lover. He'd probably have been pissed and wolfed out even if Willow's new lover had been another guy.

Of course, he didn't actually ASK Willow to wait for him, so his taciturness served him ill here; if instead of disappearing without a word about if he was hoping to come back, he'd asked her to wait for him, things might have turned out differently. Still, I get the feeling that if things had been reversed, Oz would have waited for Willow forever. Certainly at least for longer than a few months. Since the college years are a period of sexual adventure and experimentation for most, I suppose you can't blame Willow for not waiting, surrounded as she would be by a smorgasboard of potential sexual partners. Still, it's too bad. Wonder how things would have worked out if Seth Green WASN'T leaving the show?
Emma Rosloff
15. emmarosloff
As someone who didn't watch Buffy in realtime, I wasn't bothered when Oz was phased out. I was moving through the show pretty quickly. I knew it was coming -- don't get me wrong... I love Seth Green, but I'd say Oz's arc was pretty much complete. Sometimes we love the actor, but the character has nowhere else to go.

Personally, I loved how organically Willow got over Oz and got into Tara. It felt very realistic -- after what happened with Veruka, Oz had to leave... and he couldn't ask Willow to wait for him, because he couldn't know when, if ever, he would come back. It was actually kind of noble of him, even though it was shitty for both of them at the time.

Willow was heartbroken, naturally, but she healed... the way you do when life moves on and you don't really have another choice. She didn't want to get over Oz, it's just sorta what happened.

The relationship with Tara snuck up on her after many months of justified wallowing. And even when it did, Willow didn't dive in head first. I always thought her and Tara coming together was kind of beautiful in how natural it felt, and I never doubted that Willow would choose her in the end (Oz wolfing out aside). It wasn't going to be an easy choice, but the groundwork had been laid. Willow wasn't the same person anymore.

The wolfing out almost felt contrived to amp up the drama, although at least it was consistent with Oz's previous behavior -- it was Oz's werewolf side that drove him to Veruka, a very animal act, and this too, triggered his more primitive nature... Tara covered in Willow's scent (even if it meant taking that terrible cosutme for a spin one last time).

In the end, Oz's actions made the choice easier, but it was made from the start in my mind... Willow just needed to come around to it. That's what made the episode so hard (and yet compelling) to watch. People are complicated -- a part of Willow will always be waiting for Oz, like she said. It was more than a choice, it was a sacrifice.

Buffy's reaction felt pleasantly real, too. She never struck me as homophobic, just a little sheltered and oblivious at times. Let's face it, she's the center of her universe... the Chosen One, and that keeps her mighty preoccupied, particularly the heavier things get, later in the show. Willow did a good job keeping it under wraps, but Buffy wasn't looking at it too closely, either. Her surprise is twofold -- it's not just that Willow's into girls, it's that Willow's into girls and she didn't even notice.

This sort of underscores a change in their relationship that carries throughout -- the more hardship Buffy endures (Dawn, her mother, coming back from death) the less she's able to be there for her friends and the less she feels she can confide in them.

Season 4 on the whole feels like a turning point in how all the Scoobies relate to each other (with Spike and Anya starting to enter their dynamic), which makes sense, given were right in the middle. Pretty impressive, despite the fact that the overall season plot arc kind of bombed.
Sun Dog
16. NullNix
I'd just like to nominate "Adam and Spike have been bonding over uranium mochas and a Weetabix blood shake over at the Sunnydale Art Gallery’s new Dismemberment and Disassociation in Modernist Culture exhibit" as the best line in any review ever. :)

This episode was generally good, if predictable, with some lovely acting performances (the already cited line "she's all over you" was just superb) -- but it has a couple of dire ones. In particular, the lines spoken by the scientists tormenting Oz are both utterly implausible and spoken in a fashion somehow simultaneously leaden *and* wooden. Whedon and Noxon may be transgressive inverters of stereotypes and all, but they're still very much on the arts side of the Two Cultures divide; even the US has it to some degree, and here it shows, I think. They clearly don't know how scientists actually speak, even scientists in thrall to an eeevil government demon-transfiguration program.
Sun Dog
17. nverbeck
emmarosloff, I think you're totally right that the wolfing out was just to amp up the drama. It clearly served the narrative purpose of moving forward Riley's personal development, by opening his eyes to the shades of gray of the demonverse. This is an important episode for Buffy and Riley's relationship, too (although Oz and Willow obviously take center stage). At this point, Buffy and Riley have been seeing each other for months and she STILL hasn't told him the story of her (personal and actual) world-shattering last relationship. By having Oz wolf out, the authors were able to move Riley through that realization and into actively trying to help Oz escape, which in turns makes Buffy realize that Riley will (mostly) understand when she tells him about her undead honey. And just in time, too, given some soon-to-come events over on Angel, Season 1.


Speaking of, AMDellamonica, have you ever considered doing reviews of the crossover Angel episodes from this season? Or at least of doing the upcoming "Five by Five" and "Sanctuary"? Those two are really just parts 3 and 4 of "This Year's Girl" and "Who Are You". And Buffy plays a pretty significant role in Sanctuary, the reverberations of which are then felt strongly in "The Yoko Factor." Plus, I love your reviews and I'd love to hear what you think about our girl Faith's four-episode miniseries :)
Sun Dog
18. Gardner Dozois
In the ANGEL episode where she goes to Los Angeles, one of them, anyway, perhaps before the BUFFY Thanksgiving episode, she gets to sleep with Angel again, although it turns out that it's in an alternate reality that nobody remembers later in our reality except Angel (and from then on, when he's dealing with Buffy, it's instructive to think that HE remembers that reality as something he's lived through, even though she doesn't remember it; it must inevitably color the way he feels about her). It's interesting for Buffy fans because it gives us a glimpse of what their relationship might have been like if Buffy and Angel had been able to be boyfriend and girlfriend in real life.

Later on in the ANGEL continuity, Willow makes a guest appearance. And, of course, in the last season of ANGEL, Spike is resurrected there.
Alyx Dellamonica
19. AMDellamonica
@Nvrbeck, I've essentially decided to leave Angel alone for now. It's not a perfect decision, but it's what's working for me at the moment. And yeah, it is an important Riley development that Oz facilitates.

Yeah, @Nullnix. This season does not give good science geek.

Gardner, I'd love to see how it would have played out if Seth Green hadn't been leaving. Willow being wooed by two serious contenders... pretty interesting possiblities there!

@fcoulter, I'm with you on people being complex. I bought the awkwardness too.
Leslie Arai
20. creepygirl
Joss said in an interview that if Seth had stuck around, the plan was to have the Oz/Veruca/Willow triangle stretch out for most of season 4. Which sounds awful to me.

It would be one thing if Veruca were something close to a nuanced character, but she was so transparently awful to Willow, I would lose all respect for Oz if he put up with that for months. And I'd be pretty frustrated with Willow for putting up with that kind of behavior from Oz as well.
Sun Dog
21. Gardner Dozois
I wouldn't have been interested in an Oz/Veruca/Willow triangle; they pretty much ran through the possibilites of that in a couple of episodes. An Oz/Tara/Willow triangle would have been more interesting.
Emma Rosloff
22. emmarosloff
@nverbeck -- As someone who watched Buffy and Angel only recently on Netflix, I made the conscious choice to watch one at a time, even if it was occasionally jarring when crossovers would happen. While I know they aired live back to back, I preferred the continuity of sticking with one show's timeline and then backing up and moving onto the next. I think that'd be preferable in this medium as well.

I guess the real question is... does Angel rate for a rewatch? There'd be a lot of multi-episdode posts, I wager, given how crappy the show got there for awhile (when Joss was busy wrapping up Buffy and starting Firefly). And it might only appeal to those of us following the Buffy rewatch. That being said, I'd be down. It's definitely another window into the Buffyverse.
Jack Flynn
23. JackofMidworld
My two cents regarding Buffy v Angel (which has nothing at all to do with a rewatch or not, which I'd absolutely read, but just to the point of babbling for a bit). No disprespect to the Scoobies, who I adore (even Anya), but while Buffy, Willow, Xander, and the rest grew up and became their own people, Angel's crew started off as adults, fundamentally flawed ones. Could be because I started watching them as a (fundamentally flawed) adult, myself, but I connected more with them than I did with the teenage versions of the Scoobies.
Sun Dog
24. Gardner Dozois
ANGEL was all over the place in tone, with at least two major--and sometimes ill-advised--changes of direction. The best of it was as good as all but the best of BUFFY; the worst was generally worse than most BUFFY, with a few noteable exceptions. By the end, I liked ANGEL's last season better than I liked BUFFY's last season, but neither season of either show was as good as some of the best seasons of either.

A few of the ANGEL crossovers had a definite effect on the BUFFY continuity, though--most noteably the episode where Angel and Buffy get to be lovers again (even though she forgets it happened, HE does not, and it must certainly color the way he subsequently reacts to her) and the episodes where Faith is rehabilitated, and switches back to fighting for the Good Guys again. The rehabilitated Faith later comes back on to BUFFY itself as a series regular, for the last season.
Chris Nelly
25. Aeryl
I enjoy Angel as a show, but I really can't get over the fact that EVERY major woman character dies in f*d up childbirth.

I try to wank it as commentary on motherhood and the expectations of women in regards to that, but I just can't.
Emma Rosloff
26. emmarosloff
@Aeryl -- I know we're getting sidetracked, but I agree with you. I pretty much hated everything to do with Connor -- Darla and Angel having a child when it made absolutely no sense, Cordelia's almost incestuous relationship with Connor after the fact (and how they botched her relationship with Angel, a choice that was as bad as the abrupt killing of Jonathon on Buffy, imo), and her whole pregnancy, including how it ended.

All of that was terrible, and the actor who played Connor was as bad as Michelle Trackenberg; he was basically Angel's "Dawn". Petulant teenager quota filled. I will admit that I was impressed with how Alexis Denisof handled Wesley's 180 though, after he lost the child. I mean, all that drama was pretty ridiculous, but the actor did a good job with it.

Season 5 saved it for me, and only because I love Spike to death (...no pun intended?) and his dynamic with Angel was really fun to watch. Also enjoyed Illyria near the end there and that sudden turn of events, although I suppose that's another woman character dieing in what could be conceived as "f*d up birth" *facepalm*.

Like I said, I think Joss was so wrapped up in his other shows at that point that he wasn't able to keep up with Angel, so they took it in several directions he didn't ultimate approve of (and he had to swoop in at the end to save it). My boyfriend claims he was even annoyed with Charisma Carpenter for how she let them do that to Cordelia, and it's part of the reason he let her end the way she did, although I don't know how much power she had in that situation.

Still, it's a shame because I always thought she was a really good actress, and would've loved it if (like Jonathon) all that groundwork laid in Buffy had paid off and we got to see her arc to a satisfying conclusion. She definitely grew a lot in her time on Angel, but it really didn't end well for her.
Chris Nelly
27. Aeryl
The thing that sucks about the stories, is that they are enjoyable. I like the change in the story when Connor was born, and the attendant drama in S3 well enough, S4 would have been better had Carpenter gotten to play out the entire arc, IMO.

I love Illyria too. And I don't know that you could have gotten those stories without these stories, so it's just a balance you have to accept(kinda like Buffy S8)
Sun Dog
28. Gardner Dozois
They kept saying that they were going to explain the significance of two vampires having a child, and how it was possible, and what it meant, but they never really did.

I agree that the actor who played Connor sucked; I disliked him far more than Dawn. This was particularly bad because they built him up as this figure that even all the demons were afraid of, "The Destroyer," and somebody with gravitas could have done something with that; as it was, The Destroyer turned out to be just a sulky teenager who couldn't act.

I've heard rumors that the reason that Cordelia's arc turned out the way it did was that they were having big problems with the actress behind the scenes, and more or less wrote her out as much as they could, eventually putting her in the ever-reliable coma.

Yes, the actor who played Wesley did a good job of turning him from an amible but totally incompent, rather cowardly fool, spectacularly inept at fighting, into the grim, formidible figure of the last couple of seasons. The saddest outcome of the last season, particularly Whedonesque, was Fred being snatched away from Wesley JUST as they were about to find each other. The way he formed a bizarre relationship with Illyria, the creature who had killed his love by taking over her body and who pretty much looked just like her, afterward was fascinating, although painful to watch.
Emma Rosloff
29. emmarosloff
@Gardner -- Ugh, that whole bit between Fred and Wesley was heartwrenching. And her death scene... those final words... "Why can't I stay?" Didn't that all happen in the course of one episode? Her exposure to Illyria's tomb, which seemed so harmless in the beginning, and the snowball affect it had until Wesley took her home where she died in his arms?

Loved everything between Illyria and Wesley. In particular when she offers to "take Fred's form" on the night before their final battle and he refuses... it's only when he's dieing that he asks her to show him Fred again. It's a lie, but a comforting one. Apparently Joss gave Denisof the choice, for Wesley to live or to die. At that point there was no guarantee of further comics, so I'm sure he figured, why not? It's all ending anyway.
Jack Flynn
30. JackofMidworld
(random post of the day: saw this on my FB this morning, thought of the rewatch & had to pass it along; just hope the link stays working)

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=499008853455390&set=pb.150449924977953.-2207520000.1356176357&type=3&theater
Alyx Dellamonica
31. AMDellamonica
The varying tone of Angel was something I found tough: when it was airing, I skipped great swaths of it, and I'm with you all on the death-pregnancies, Conor, the randomness of Cordelia's arc, etc. They're many of the reasons I'm not watching the crossover episodes. That and I like to watch whole seasons, rather than bits.
Sun Dog
32. Gardner Dozois
It's hard to understand how a reformed Faith can suddenly pop up on the last season of BUFFY, though, unless you've seen the--very good--sequence of ANGEL episodes in which she's gradually rehabilitated.

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