Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | May 30, 2011

Cordia’s Review: S2, E14 – Innocence (2)

Season 2, Episode 14
Original airing: 1/20/1998

My Rating: 99

The Good: The entire cast gets to put their talents on display in this episode with a brilliant script and fantastic writing to support them.

David Boreanaz is an amazing actor. Throughout the show, we’ve heard tantalizing bits of stories about Angelus and just how cruel he was before having his soul restored. Now, David gets to run with the character and he succeeds masterfully. Angelus feels like a wholly different person from Angel and, boy, is he cruel. His extremely cruel taunts to Buffy are only the tip of the iceberg as he threatens to kill all her friends and takes out the one person who might have helped – Jenny’s uncle.

He also fits right in with Spike and Drusilla. Even though the audience hasn’t seen it, there is real history and kinship there. Spike and Drusilla are thrilled at Angelus’ return and the weight of their years together before he became Angel is heady and real. Brilliant acting by them all.

Sarah Michelle Gellar was not to be outshone, though. Her portrayal of Buffy’s fear and pain is so heartfelt and gut-wrenching it almost makes me cry even after multiple viewings.

Also in the tortured-emotional-pain-world are Willow and Xander. When Willow discovers Xander has been pseudo-dating Cordelia, she’s incredibly hurt. She even tries to use Oz to help her get back at Xander, but he’s having none of that. Instead, Oz again says the perfect sweet thing to remind Willow that there’s a guy for her and it’s not Xander.

To round out the crew, Jenny is ostracized by Giles and Buffy when Buffy realizes she wasn’t telling them the whole truth. Jenny and Giles’ relationship has been almost as tumultuous as Buffy and Angel’s. Seeing Giles stand with Buffy against Jenny is painful and powerful. Giles and Jenny’s relationship would appear to be off the track again having only recently reconciled.

Finally, the wrap up of the Judge’s story was silly, but amusing and clever. Xander’s military knowledge from Halloween was a clever way to explain how Buffy was going to beat the Judge. He was built up as a very powerful demon, so this work around was unexpected and fun. Yes, it’s silly and raises the eternal question of how do the common people explain a large blue man with horns being blown up with a rocket launcher in the middle of a mall, but this one time, I’m willing to forgive it. Just because we get to see Buffy launch a rocket. Fun.

The Bad: Nope.

Favorite Moment: At the end of the episode, Buffy’s blissfully ignorant mother encourages Buffy to blow out her birthday candle. Buffy chooses instead to let it burn on and turns to her mother for a comforting hug. At only 17, Buffy knows true heartbreak and that it can’t be wished away.

The Bottom Line: This was a fantastic episode. All of the characters were bold, involved and developed while the story helped to push everything forward. Humor and drama were both spot on.


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