Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | March 26, 2011

Cordia’s Review: S2, E06 – Halloween

Season 2, Episode 6
Original airing: October 27, 1997

My Rating: 66

The Good: This episode explicitly states its message: Be careful what you wish for. Buffy wants to be like the girls Angel knew when he was human, so she turns into a helpless and annoying noblewoman from 1775. Willow wants to hide so she becomes a ghost. And Xander wants to feel manly, so he turns into a soldier with a big gun. The metaphors aren’t exactly complicated, but they are solid and they allowed for some nice humor. Willow gets to be snarky as the only one who realizes what’s going on. She has several cute one-liners showing her exasperation with Xander and Buffy. And Xander finally gets to be the big man on campus with Buffy doing all the screaming and fainting. Role reversal is fun, but I’m glad it all went back to normal at the end.

We get a small introduction to Angel’s pre-vampire days. We learn he didn’t like his social class and was always hoping to meet an interesting girl. It took 200 years, but he finally got his wish.

We also get some lovely tidbits about Giles’ history. Apparently, he wasn’t always a bookworm with an affinity for tea and tweed. The scene where he’s beating information out of Ethan is almost disturbing, as Giles is so calm and collected. He viciously kicks Ethan in the stomach while wiping blood of his hand with his kerchief. It’s creepy. But a fascinating hook about Giles. We know nothing about his past except that he was slated to become a Watcher from the time he was ten years old. It seems that for a while at least, he deviated from this destiny and went by the name Ripper.

It was nice to see Spike back, even though he didn’t have much to do. I loved how this episode displayed his opportunistic side. Children are turning into demons and the Slayer thinks she’s a weak noblewoman? Alright! Let’s kill her! Totally Spike. He just needs to learn what all villains need to learn: brag less and just kill her.

The Bad: Sarah Michelle Gellar’s turn as a 1775 noblewoman was pretty poor. Perhaps she was written that way, but the part that distracted me was her terrible accent, which just sounded really fake. She didn’t sound like a new person, she sounded like Buffy pretending to be someone else.

Ethan was a bit annoying as well. He’s a lovely hook to Giles, but we never learn why he choose to come to Sunnydale and turn everyone into Halloween monsters. It’s difficult to tell if he’s surprised to see Giles or knew Giles was there. So it’s hard to know if he did it to annoy Giles or for some other reason.

Rounding out the trio of disappointing characters was Oz. He has two scenes in this episode and one of them involves his favorite phrase, “Who is that girl?” Perhaps he was included to remind the viewers he exists, but he felt like a repeat. New material, please.

The Not Really Bad, But It Should Be Mentioned: On the episode as a whole, it suffered a bit from its reliance on the viewer being a fan. So much of the humor and drama of this episode is dependent on the audience being familiar with how these characters normally behave. The fact that everyone is acting abnormally is what creates the fun in seeing Buffy being helpless, Xander being tough, Willow taking control, and Giles being cruel. The episode is still enjoyable on its own, but it’s only fully understandable by a fan.

This is a one-shot story with the potential for connections. At the end, nothing much has really changed because no one was there to hear Ethan’s comments about Giles. So Giles is the only know who knows the connection exists, but he already knew. So the story easily exists by itself as fan-service without affecting the overall show.

Favorite Moment: As I mentioned in The Good, seeing Giles brutally and coolly beating Ethan was disturbing and creepy, but oh so interesting. I can’t wait for this backstory to develop.

The Bottom Line: A very fun and funny episode which allowed the actors to play with their established characters. We had an intriguing introduction to some new information about Giles and a little snippet on Angel as well. And the reappearance of Spike will always be cause for celebration in my book.


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