Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | September 3, 2011

Cordia’s Review: S3, E1 – Anne

Anne
Season 3, Episode 1
Original airing: 9/28/98

My Rating: 68

The Good: This episode does an excellent job of opening the season. It gives a lot of attention to Buffy’s confused emotional state after having killed Angel and run away from home. There’s a lot of focus on her desire to disappear and forget about her destiny. But, as always, she is drawn in by someone needing her help. The episode builds very nicely to the point where she says “I’m Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and you are?” to a demon wielding a big stick. Her triumphant return to her calling sees her fending off a horde of demons single-handedly and makes for great action on the screen.

The catalyst to this forced change is a nice continuation of a character from a previous episode: “Lie to Me” (S2E7). Chanterelle, one of the girls in the vampire cult, is reintroduced as Lily. Her character is expounded upon as someone searching for safety and an identity and it flows very nicely from her previous performance into this episode. She’s a bit on the extreme side with of pathetic here, but she’s still a good example of why Buffy will never actually be able to stop being the Slayer.

We also have a nice glimpse of the gang back in Sunnydale as they more or less confidently wait for Buffy’s return. They’ve been doing the best they can to fill her shoes while Giles follows lead after lead on Buffy’s potential whereabouts. The best, though, is definitely Joyce’s vigil as she admits she can barely leave the house for fear of missing a phone call from Buffy. Her relatively simple understanding of the Giles’ role in Buffy’s life leads to an excellent scene where she blames Giles for basically everything that’s happened to Buffy in the last two years. It also sets up the last scene where she finds Buffy on the door step and they wordlessly hug.

The Bad: The story in the big city of homeless people being taken to work in a demon dimension until they die is a bit thin. The main villain of it all, Ken, is a little too dramatic as he repeats the words “hope” and “despair” over and over, but since it’s all a setup for Buffy’s personal realization, it’s not too bad. And the scene is definitely well-shot and constructed with the dimension looking quite sizeable and like a terrible place to spend the next 100 years of your life.

Favorite Moment: The episode takes a moment to reintroduce the school by following Willow from the library with Giles into the hallway with Cordelia, Oz and Xander to the hangout area where Cordelia and Xander share the most awkward moment of their relationship. During this long pan, Larry the football player pops up convinced that this is Sunnydale’s year as long as the team can “focus, stay disciplined and not have quite as many mysterious deaths”.

The Bottom Line: This was a very good episode with a lot of excellent emotional content. As with the opener for season 2, “When She Was Bad”, we get a lot of great focus on Buffy’s emotional journey. The things she’s forced to endure don’t just wash off her. They deeply and profoundly affect her and we get to see it. From her own death to her causing the death of a loved one, these things have changed her and it’s nice to see it all happening.

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