Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | May 2, 2011

Cordia’s Review: S2, E10 – What’s My Line? (Part 2)

What’s My Line? – Part 2
Season 2, Episode 10
Original airing: 11/24/97

My Rating: 67

The Good: The characters saved this episode. Buffy, Xander, Cordelia, Willow, Oz, Drusilla, and Spike were all in top form. If they hadn’t been, this episode would have been an unbearable let down from the setup of Part 1 (see The Bad).

Buffy gets to once again examine her commitment to her calling. With Kendra around, she recognizes that she could potentially pass on the mantle of the Slayer and live a more normal life. This is starting to feel a bit repetitive, but it also makes sense and is very human. People tend to reconsider and reanalyze the things in their life which are the most important, and this definitely applies to Buffy. In the end, of course, Kendra helps Buffy realize that Slaying isn’t a job, it’s who she is. And neither of them can change that.

Xander and Cordelia kiss in this episode – twice. Both times are apparently spontaneous and mutual and the potential for this dynamic is huge. The writers of the show could take this anywhere and it’s bound to be entertaining.

Willow and Oz are also bonding, but in a much more subtle manner. Despite the relative slowness of their budding relationship, Oz takes a bullet for Willow during the assassination attempt on Buffy during the Career Fair. That’s pretty serious. But he’s also very humble about it when Willow tries to thank him later (see Best Moment).

And, as always, Spike and Drusilla are killer. Their powerful personalities always take over when they’re on screen and it’s wonderfully done. Drusilla is weaker, but still strong enough to take a little revenge on Angel for murdering her family hundreds of years ago. And Spike is just as volatile as always, bouncing between kissing Drusilla and wanting to stab Angel with a piece of Drusilla’s bed. It’s always exciting to have them on screen and this episode is no exception.

The Bad: Kendra is even more annoying in this episode than the last. Her atrocious accent and ridiculous clothing are nothing but distracting. On top of all that, the narrative of the story comes to a screeching halt for several minutes while she meets all the Scoobies and her origin is explained. While it’s nice the show is recognizing the continuing consequences of Buffy’s death in Prophecy Girl (S1E12), I wish they had made some different character decisions so it wasn’t quite as jarring.

But it’s not all Kendra’s fault that the narrative took a turn for the worse in this episode. In order to keep all the interesting characters alive, the show suffered for drama and climax.

The assassins were beaten quite easily at the end of the episode, despite their setup as powerful foes in the prior episode (S2E9). Even though it was obvious during their introduction that they wouldn’t be able to kill Buffy, they still came across as menacing and dangerous. At the end of this episode, they were beaten down, crushed in to goo and basically ignored.

But the main let down was the ceremony to revive Drusilla. Spike and Drusilla make a big deal about how the ritual will kill Angel and that’s the only way Drusilla will be revived to full health. This is so important that Angel tries to trick Spike into killing him early to prevent the ritual from taking place. But in the end, it turns out they just needed Angel for a few minutes of draining. Buffy saves Angel and Drusilla rises from the wreckage of the church vamped out and apparently very strong as she lifts a now-injured Spike with ease.

In the end, the episode didn’t quite live up to the threat it had developed in Part 1.

Favorite Moment: Oz and Willow are bonding over animal crackers as Willow tries to thank Oz for saving her life. This couple is incredibly cute here at the beginning of their relationship. They are both off beat, but keep up with each other well in conversation. It’s exemplified in this conversation about monkey pants and jealous hippos.

The Bottom Line: The story suffered here due to the show’s unwillingness to follow through on its setup. The assassins were supposed to keep coming until one them managed to kill Buffy, but after a brief struggle, it seems unlikely we’ll see them again. Spike set up the ritual as only being successful if Angel died, but Drusilla seems completely healed while Angel is still alive. So in the end, things were pretty anti-climactic. But the characterizations were very strong and kept the show entertaining and engaging.

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Responses

  1. How weird is this. I’ve also started a rewatch, and just finished this ep!
    Loved this double episode, all the characters were brilliant. Oz/Willow are great and I like how early Jonathan is introduced, which I didn’t realise the first time around.
    But about Angel not dying – I gathered that Dru would be revitalised by draining Angel’s lifeforce, which would end up killing him (in about 5 minutes, as Spike says). Buffy interrupts it before all of Angel’s life is drained, and when Spike carries Dru off, he says to her, “I hope that was enough”. She got alot of lifeforce back, not 100%, but enough to pump her up plenty while Angel manages to not quite die. Works for me.
    But the Order just stopping attacking her is a bit of a cop-out. Would have been nice to see a better resolution to that.
    Anyway, loving this rewatch!


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