First some questions to all the fen out there:
1. Where did the term "squee" come from?
2. Why does everyone misspell "whining" as "whinging"?
Spoilers for episodes up to "Touched."
Aside from my sense of excitement at recognizing what most people are calling the Scythe (it's actually more of an axe...) from Joss Whedon's Fray
comic series for Dark Horse Comics, my other reaction to the episode is one of general dissatisfaction.
Others have written that the episode "read" like bad fanfic--not having read a great deal of fanfic, I can't really speak to that assertion, but I suspect what they mean is
- Lack of consistent characterization, and
- Pairing characters for no good (or even bad) reasons.
Of the former, I think the episode really speaks for itself.
Of the latter, I can say that I didn't feel any of the sexual tension between Faith and Principal Wood--a tension that was so palpable in "Empty Places." Sure, their discussion of how the First manipulated both of them was, in a way, breaking new ground between the both of them, and in the past, Faith has shown sexual recklessness, but nothing about the scene preceding their coupling said, "and now I want to jump your bones." The sex just seemed tacked on the end of their dialogue, with a feeling of "I'm bored, let's have sex."
Willow and Kennedy. Some others have posted some pretty winded diatribes on this pairing, some for, but mostly against, and while I'm not particularly wishing for Kennedy's head on a stick, I don't feel like Willow and Kennedy have any reason being together other than that the both of them are lesbians. In my more cynical moments, I rather feel like Kennedy's increased presence in the Scoobies is just a role thrown in to placate the lesbian fans. In a comment to musesfool
, I wrote that Willow had more chemistry in the hospital scene with Xander in "Empty Places" than in this scene--or really, any scene all season--with Kennedy.
And we really don't need to hear
about your first kiss turning you into Warren, Willow. Kennedy was there. Unless she's frighteningly stupid, she remembers.
Of the sex itself, I find it interesting that (speaking as your typical, "girl-on-girl action"-loving, red-blooded American male) the tongue-with-piercing-neck-licking/feigne
d-moaning had really no appeal, and, as a matter of fact, was a bit of a turn-off. Maybe this is the director's fault, given that, even without a sensible reason for sex, Faith and Wood's scene (as well as Anya/Xander) had more sex appeal.
Of the three pair-offs, Xander and Anya's seemed the most natural, maybe because we're rather used
to their having sex. In light of Xander's most recent trauma, however, using him and Anya like comic-sex fodder just irks me a bit.
The entire eleventh-hour-desperation-sex read like a high school Creative Writing class exercise in writing parallelism.
Because of these failures, the Buffy/Spike scene actually shines better for me within the context of the episode, which is a bit startling because I've never been one for Spuffy. But their scenes, at times despite the dialogue (Spike, how did you know Buffy wanted to rush the Vineyard when all you did was walk in to the Summers house, find out they kicked Buffy out, beat on Faith, and leave?), show a tenderness which I've seldom seen in their interactions--about the only other time I recall seeing it is Spike's "I know you'll never love me" speech in the Season 5 finale.
ETA: even without a sensible reason for sex
Umm, who needs a "sensible" reason for sex? Replace "sensible" with "compelling."