Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | February 27, 2011

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

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – 202 – Some Assembly Required

Synopsis: Buffy is out slaying when she comes across a grave that has been recently dug up. The gang find out that the grave belonged to a girl who died in a recent car crash. They investigate and find that the bodies of two other girls who died with her are also missing. When Angel and Cordelia find pieces of the girls in a dumpster at the school suspicion falls on Willow’s friend Chris. Meanwhile Angel admits to being jealous of Xander and Giles asks Ms Calendar out on a date.

The Good: A lot of what went on here was good. Xander was in good form making jokes throughout and Cordelia now seems naturally blended into the world of the Slayerettes. There was also plenty of fun to be had with Giles as he awkwardly asked out Jenny and then continued to be very English throughout their date. Angel and Buffy finally reach a point where you can imagine them dating and spending more time together.

The actual reanimation story was definitely creepy. I thought the reactions of the characters to the prospect of dead bodies being chopped up was played well. Vampires and demons are inhuman and therefore removed from everyday experience. Whereas the idea that a fellow human was messing around with the dead did seem more relatably disturbing. The writers provided a thorough back-story as we saw the effect Daryl’s death had had on his family. Neglected by his broken mother and encouraged by creepy Eric, it was clear why Chris had tried to bring his brother back.

The Bad: However despite the effort put in the story never quite felt right. There was almost too much going on in the story for it to hit the right emotional note. It wasn’t clear if Daryl was meant to be a sympathetic figure or if he had come back from the dead warped and changed. He certainly had superhuman strength given that he almost kills Buffy. It also wasn’t clear why Eric was such a filthy creep. The fact that we didn’t see what happened to him or Chris didn’t help. It’s a tricky balance for the show to keep because how could either boy be put on trial for attempted murder without disclosing details that would change the world forever. “Boy reanimates the Dead” is not a headline the world could ignore. But even if Buffy forgave Chris, how could they leave Eric unpunished?

Even if you ignore those difficult questions there was something cheesy about the final moments of Daryl’s life as he lumbered back to his burning “girlfriend” as if he were Frankenstein’s monster. Again it hit on the problem of whether we were meant to think of him as Daryl or as a weird zombie creation. We also saw no excuses being given to the authorities about how the fire got started. Considering Buffy burnt down her old school you would think Snyder would be all over this. It also felt a bit awkward that Cordelia had to be captured twice. I can believe that her ego would drive her out to lead cheers despite a near kidnap attempt but couldn’t the story have been written to not have to go this route?

There were a couple of moments that seemed too “on the nose.” Xander explains that people don’t fall in love with what’s in front of them, they look for the unattainable. It didn’t seem especially apt in relation to Chris and Eric, yet it neatly summed up his feelings for Buffy and perhaps hers for Angel. Then we had Eric cutting Cordelia’s head off of her photo which was done only for the creepy visual and no real practical reason.

The Unknown: The shovel Buffy used to kill the vampire disappeared when the vampire died. Does that normally happen or was that just an effects mistake?

Best Moment: Xander and Buffy walk in on Giles practicing his pick up lines on a chair. Cue a bunch of really funny lines from Xander when he figures out that he will be asking out Miss Calendar including “She already knows that you’re a school librarian, so you don’t have to worry about how to break that embarrassing news to her.” And “Now is it time to have a talk about the facts of life?…coz you know that whole stork thing is a smokescreen.”

The Bottom Line: This wasn’t bad but it never quite found the right tone.

55/100

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