Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | March 20, 2011

Robin’s Review: S2, E05 – Reptile Boy

Synopsis: Cordelia is dating a guy from a local Fraternity. His friend Tom takes a shine to Buffy and invites her to their party. Buffy would rather spend time with Angel. After he tells her that they can’t really date she decides to go to the Frat party. She lies to Giles about her whereabouts and Xander follows her there. Giles and Willow discover that a girl has gone missing and with help from Angel track her to the Frat house.

The Good: Again I enjoyed some of the interaction between the Slayerettes in an episode where the main story failed to fire.

I particularly liked Angel trying to lecture Buffy at the same time he can’t stay away from her. I thought his conflict was well written because he seemed like he was admitting he wasn’t strong enough to take his own advice. If he really believed that no good would come from their relationship then he would leave town or stop wandering the graveyards hoping to bump into her. But he wants her so much that all he can do is repeat the warnings that he knows are true in the hopes that she will make the decision for him. She clearly isn’t going to turn him away and so their relationship goes forward.

I also enjoyed Willow standing up to Giles and Angel in defending Buffy’s decision to go to the Frat house. I thought her acting was terrific as she balanced being scared and defiant and played the scene both seriously and for laughs. That was no mean feat. I thought Giles had a good line too when he was once more drawing Buffy’s attention to the need to be vigilant. He pointed out that being the Slayer meant she was one of the few teenagers who already had a purpose and vocation in their lives. It may be of little comfort to her but it was nice to see him trying to put a positive spin on the job of Slayer.

I thought that Tom’s initial charm offensive on Buffy was pretty good and was definitely needed to convince her to go to the party. It was also a nice touch to show Buffy’s conflicted attitude to alcohol. Seeing as how she fights demons by night you wouldn’t think anything could make her seem so unsure of herself.

The Bad: Otherwise though there was something missing from this episode. The Frat guys were presented as a serious threat and yet the episode lacked any real tension. There was no misdirection or character development either. We learnt very early in the episode what they were up to and so then it was just a long wait to see them get their comeuppance.

The comedy too largely failed. Cordelia was asked to stretch too far throughout. Her fake laugh was just too fake. And when she yelled at Buffy “Why’d I ever let you talk me into coming here?” it just felt unconvincing and stupid. Similarly Xander being given the full Pledge humiliation never felt very real. Between him dressed as a woman and Giles flying over a table (when training Buffy) the slapstick all felt too forced. After last week’s growth in Xander’s relationship with Buffy it seemed odd that he was back to trying to keep all other men away from her.

I also wasn’t sure about Giles’ concluding thought that from now on he would lecture Buffy less. The idea that he was working her too hard was introduced only for this episode (and so lacked conviction) and by the end I felt his point had been proven rather than undermined.

The Unknown: Angel makes a good point right? What future does their relationship have? Willow brings up another point, do vampires shave?

Best Moment: The one line I did think was funny was Xander walking away from the Frat house saying “One day I’ll have money, prestige, power. And on that day they’ll still have more.”

The Bottom Line: A miss on several levels.

52/100

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