Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | April 18, 2011

Cordia’s Review: S2, E09 – What’s My Line? (Part 1)

Cordia’s Second Look
What’s My Line? – Part 1
Season 2, Episode 9
Original airing: November 17, 1997

My Rating: 72

The Good: Willow and Oz finally meet face to face! With no costumes! This is a small moment in the episode, but the show has been teasing it since Inca Mummy Girl (204), so I was very excited to finally see it happen.

The show feels like it’s moving forward with an overarching plot line other than Willow and Oz, too. The book which was stolen in Lie to Me (207) resurfaces, promising a cure for Drusilla’s weakness. The implications for a healthy Spike and Drusilla running rampant in Sunnydale are huge! It’s exciting to see this happening and I found myself rooting for them to figure it out. But I was also a bit disappointed that Spike has decided to outsource Buffy’s death. It felt a bit out of character when he’s so proud of the fact that he’s killed two other Slayers. But even though he was sending them to kill Buffy, maybe he secretly knows what the audience knows. They won’t win against the Buffster.

But distracting Buffy with the assassin bounty hunters worked well for the episode. It was a super clever misdirection for the introduction of Kendra’s character. Her announcement at the end of the episode that she’s the Vampire Slayer is completely out of left field and very well done. The way she enters the show sets her up as one of the assassins. And her treatment of Angel and Buffy argues the same. It’s an excellent cliffhanger for the episode.

The episode also ends with Angel in real peril, which is extremely interesting. Angel tends to swoop in and out of the stories, but he’s never really in danger. Now, he’s trapped in a cage with an eastern facing window and sunrise quickly approaching. The only person who knows he’s there, Willy the bar owner, has no reason to be nice to him. Just before being locked into the cage, Angel was smashing Willy’s head into the bar. The end of the episode shows Angel struggling to get out of the cage as the first rays of daylight creep into the room. David Boreanaz plays the desperation of the moment extremely well.

Another couple in potential peril are Xander and Cordelia. They are looking for Buffy at her home and Cordelia makes the classic horror movie mistake of letting a stranger into the house. Norman the cosmetics samples man, secret assassin, seems to have a strong affinity for bugs and has already killed Buffy’s neighbor. I like that all the assassins are working alone because it allows the writers to have multiple threatening situations happening at the same time. All the threats looming at the end of the episode really make me want to watch Part 2 immediately. And that’s what a good setup episode should do.

The Bad: The rest of the surrounding story of the episode is a bit of a rehash, but nothing terrible. Buffy is realizing again that she got a bit of a bum rap in life because she’ll most likely die young and never get to have a real life or job. Giles is pressuring her, again, to take her Slaying seriously. And Buffy mentions again that there can be only one Slayer, so she’s stuck with her lot in life until she dies. This is all setup, obviously, for Kendra’s startling declaration at the end of the episode. So it fits in fine, but it feels like arguments I’ve heard before and it’s getting a little boring.

The only part of the episode I really disliked was the presentation of Kendra’s character. Her accent is ridiculous, forced, and distracting. But her outfit is almost worse. Who climbs into the cargo bay of an airplane for a presumably over seas flight then jumps off to battle what she probably thinks are two vampires in silk pants and a midriff shirt? I mean, really! Terrible.

Favorite Moment: As I mentioned above, Willow and Oz finally meet for real. The look on Oz’s face when he glances over and realizes the girl he’s been obsessed with for weeks (months?) is sitting next to him in a private room is priceless and incredibly sweet.

The Bottom Line: Very enjoyable, especially considering this is part one of two and a lot of it is setup. We don’t know exactly what Spike and Drusilla are up to, but we know they are close to succeeding. Buffy is being stalked by strong, scary assassins and a girl claiming to be the Vampire Slayer. Angel is trapped in a soon-to-be bathed in sunlight cage. And Xander and Cordelia are in Buffy’s house with a man who really likes bugs. The question is, where will it all go now?


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