Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | May 2, 2011

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

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – 210 – What’s My Line (2)

Synopsis: Buffy and Kendra go to see Giles and establish that when Buffy died (112) a new slayer was called. Kendra is obedient and well studied in a way Buffy isn’t. They head to save Angel and realise that Spike took him to restore Drusilla’s strength. At Buffy’s house Cordelia and Xander hide in the basement and argue until they kiss. Buffy gets Willy to take her to where Spike is and he hands her over to the Order of Taraka. But Kendra and the Scoobies are hot on their heels and help her save the day.

The Good: The rise of a new Slayer is a clever use of the show’s mythology. It also makes Buffy’s death (112) seem more significant and not just unconsciousness. The arrival of bookworm and boy-fearing Kendra also shines a light on Buffy’s calling and how well she handles it. Without her friends she wouldn’t have been able to overcome the Order and Spike.

Xander and Cordelia hooking up was a lot of fun and flowed fairly naturally from their relentless antagonism. I smiled at the shot of Cordelia’s number plate which read “Queen C.” Similarly Oz seems like the ideal boyfriend for Willow and their banter manages to be gooey and sweet without being sickening. You can’t beat two characters who can pull off this exchange and make it seem normal:

W: “Your hair…is brown.”
O: “Yeah Sometimes.”

The Bad: Although much of the action and developments were decent this was actually a big anti-climax. Kendra’s arrival actually put the brakes on the narrative which was going at a great pace in part one. Suddenly we had to deal with her existence and sit through Buffy feeling jealous and superior, rather ignoring the dire threat she seemed to be in before. Kendra’s accent and general demeanour remained problematic too. The writing seemed to be mocking her by the end with Buffy mimicking her voice and her cry of “Dis is me only shirt!”

The final confrontation fell flat for several reasons. First because Drusilla’s health was restored without killing Angel, which rather cheated the threat hanging over him. Then the final shot established that she and Spike have simply swapped places (one ill, one well) which made this whole two-parter feel like a big act of musical chairs rather than a significant storyline development.

The Order of Taraka were dispatched with far too much ease as well. I wasn’t pleased to see Giles and Willow able to dispatch a vampire on their own. That seemed to weaken the stature of vampires too much, especially considering they were fighting for several minutes while the camera focussed on Buffy and Kendra. Similarly the terrible looming threat of the bug man was dealt with by Cordelia and Xander with a few stamps of their feet. Worse than that though is that the threat of the Order was predicated on them never stopping until Buffy was dead. Yet it’s pretty obvious that they won’t be back next episode. In the end they seemed as transitory as any of the show’s “monsters of the week.”

The Unknown: Once more the questions surrounding the emotions of vampires was intriguingly presented. Drusilla tortures Angel and reminds him of each family member (of hers) who he killed. It was interesting to see her hold him responsible for those acts, even though it would be fair to assume that the demon in her would have done the same. It also seems like she and Angel used to be a couple so her decision to torture him for those acts seems more related to his current humanity. Spike was stirred fairly quickly into jealousy over the suggestion that Drusilla might view him in any way as inadequate. There’s clearly still a huge amount more to explore with these three and vampires in general.

The more you think about Kendra’s calling the more you have to question the organisation of Watchers and Slayers. Giles claims that he knows of her Watcher and that he is “very well respected. That implies there is some wider organisation going on yet no one bothered to tell Giles about this new slayer? Do Watchers not stay in touch with one another? Is no one keeping an eye on Buffy’s progress? You know, in case the world comes to an end or something like that?

Best Moment: Upon meeting Xander, Kendra goes all quiet. Not to be stopped though Xander is ready to meet the new girl with quips. First he taunts Buffy by saying “I knew this ‘I’m the only one, I’m the only’ was just an attention-getter.” With Kendra unresponsive he says “So you’re a Slayer huh? I like that in a woman” which was pretty hilarious.

The Bottom Line: A disappointing conclusion, especially after a strong part one. No real damage was done, the chess pieces all moved round the board a bit and we do have two fun new relationships to play with.

54/100

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Responses

  1. So I was re watching this episode and I noticed that during the fight scene in the church, Williw stakes her first vampire, it’s mostly off screen but you can see Willow holding a stake with dust exploding between her and Giles


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