Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | February 27, 2011

Cordia’s Review: S2, E02 – Some Assembly Required

Some Assembly Required
Season 2, Episode 2
Original airing: September 22, 1997

My Rating: 66

The Good: I love that some of the effects of When She Was Bad (201) is seen in this episode. Angel is angry with Buffy and jealous of Xander. And Willow lets Buffy know that she will forever be The Girl Who Mated With Xander Harris on the Dance Floor. And Buffy has to live with these things going forward, as well as Cordelia’s new-found attraction to Angel. Xander’s also continuing to display his dislike of Angel, which is all good long-term character development.

It’s also wonderful to see Giles acting on his feelings for Jenny. He is truly the definition of adorable in his fumbling attempts to ask her out and his unalloyed joy when she’s into him as well and wants a second date. This match makes sense and I applaud the show for taking time to develop it slowly.

Chris is a reasonably well-developed secondary character, especially in comparison to Darryl and Eric (see The Bad). His life has been strongly affected by his brother’s death. Not only has he lost a sibling, but his mother as well as she sinks into a complete depression. His desire to resurrect his brother is understandable, although a bit far-fetched in the technology department. But that detail aside, his motivations for what he does are understandable. He feels responsible for helping his brother be happy now and is willing to use already dead people to build a body. But he does draw the line at killing someone to complete it. While he first is compelled to it by Darryl, he quickly turns to helping Buffy. He’s generally a good guy who’s stumbled too far down a path he doesn’t understand. His devotion to his brother and the heart of all his decisions is clear as Buffy has to hold Chris back from the fire at the end of the episode. A lovely and strong commentary on sibling love from the show.

The Bad: This is another Monster of the Week episode, which is a bit disappointing after the strong season opener which carried through the themes from the death of the Master. Darryl was a confusing villain as he was always described as likable, handsome and kind in life. Chris even says Darryl didn’t want to be a zombie and that it was a mistake. Then Darryl reaches a point where he’s willing to kidnap and behead Cordelia (apparently without anesthetic, even). We as the audience don’t get to see the change Darryl goes through to reach this point, we just know he’s lonely.

Darryl is egged on by Eric, a character suffering from a Season One lack of development. Whereas Darryl has some reasoning behind his behavior, Eric is apparently just evil. There’s no reason given for his participation in the building of a zombie girl. Perhaps he derives pleasure from the feeling of power over women, a group who seems to wholly ignore him for being creepy. Regardless, as a viewer I shouldn’t have to speculate over his basic motivations.

Favorite Moment: The second scene of the episode puts the show’s trademark humor front and center. It begins with Giles’ charming attempts to rehearse asking Jenny to dinner. Practice he later uses in the episode during his failed attempt to actually ask Jenny out. He’s interrupted by Xander and Buffy who give him some advice about Things and Storks. The trio continues to be humorous during their discussion of graverobbing and dead girls. The fact that there can be a funny discussion about graverobbing and dead girls at all is what makes Buffy the Vampire Slayer the show that it is – wonderful.

The Bottom Line: Another clichéd storyline with subpar, underdeveloped villains, but done this time with some humor and heart.

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