Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | October 16, 2011

Robin’s Review: S3, E7 – Revelations

Synopsis: Faith’s new watcher Gwendolyn Post arrives and looks down her nose at Giles’ setup. She warns that a demon, Lagos, is on his way to Sunnydale to find the Glove of Myneghon which will give him great power. Xander stumbles upon Buffy kissing Angel and tells the whole group. He and Willow continue to keep their own secret. Faith decides she should slay Angel just as Giles discovers how to destroy the Glove.

The Good: This was solid but not spectacular. There was a lot of good stuff in the episode but it never quite coalesced into something more.

The Gwendolyn Post story was good and she played her part particularly well. On network drama shows this is a very common plot as the outsider arrives pretending to be one thing but turns out to be another. What made this work so well is that there was never a hint that she was anything but what she said she was. Instead of behaving suspiciously she acted pretty much exactly how you would imagine a new Watcher might. More than just the prim and proper behaviour or the training focussed attitude it was her sincerity and grasp of reality that made her seem real. She told both Giles and Faith that she understood that they wouldn’t like her. We saw her be tired, kind and apparently honest before she finally revealed what she was really up to.

The affect this all had on Faith was interesting. It’s clear that Faith has had some damage in her past beyond just the run in with Kakistos. She extends her mistrust of men to all people by episodes end. When Gwendolyn gave her a (convincing) pep talk she seemed to respond well. You get the impression Faith needs some parenting and to fall out with Buffy, the only friend she has, hurt her too. Once more it drew a nice contrast with Buffy whose circle of friends keep her motivated to keep fighting and stay positive.

Willow’s new understanding for Buffy’s situation was solid storytelling. The way she keeps giving in to the temptation of Xander was well portrayed. Xander’s angry reaction to Angel’s return was entirely expected as was the rest of the groups. Giles’ reaction was fantastic (see Best Moment) and had real emotional weight.

Learning that Sunnydale has twelve cemeteries was a believable and amusing revelation. The question that remains is why people keep moving there.

The Bad: Sorry to repeat myself but again this didn’t come together as a good episode of television because too much was going on. The episode ended on a very long scene trying to draw out emotions in the Buffy-Faith relationship. But that wasn’t the focus of most of the episode. Really the Angel revelation ought to have been the major focus. For a start I wanted someone to ask how he had come back. I know on a hellmouth it might sound like a foolish question but considering the role resurrection plays in our culture I think it’s a question someone should have asked.

More than that though there has been something missing all along with Angel’s return. The trouble is there probably isn’t an appropriate way for any character to respond to something so ridiculous as a vampire with a soul returning from a hell dimension. Giles’ response is the closest we have had to the kind of reactions that are needed to seem convincing. It would be nice to hear more from Angel. It was implied that he was tortured by the memories of those he has hurt. Yet so far we haven’t heard much from him on how he feels about the last year of his time on Earth.

The Gwendolyn Post story, the role of Lagos and the Faith-Buffy fight all lacked a sense of jeopardy. We didn’t hear enough about what the Glove of Myneghon would allow its wearer to do to create tension when Gwendolyn made her move. Then we had Lagos, who looked so impressive against Faith, being dispatched instantly once Buffy fought him. Willow’s facial expressions during the fight gave away instantly that nothing serious was happening. Finally Buffy and Faith coming to blows didn’t feel like a big moment. We have seen Buffy and Kendra fight before which took a little away from it but again there was a lack of clear conflict or consequence to it.

The Unknown: What is Faith’s back-story and why is she so untrusting?

Good thing all this happened before Skype isn’t it? It’s becoming something of a bad joke how disorganised the Watcher’s Council are.

Best Moment: After the gang confront Buffy about Angel she goes to talk to Giles in his office. Anthony Head is such a good actor and plays Giles with such a light tone for most of the time that when he switches up to serious you take notice. To be fair to Xander he did raise good points about Angel, the serial killer, being a danger to those around him. However it’s Giles who finally says all the things that Buffy needs to hear: he reminds her of the danger she has put everyone in and then says “I must remind you that Angel tortured me for hours, for pleasure. You should have told me he was alive – you didn’t. You have no respect for me or the job I perform.” It was a particularly effective speech coming on the heels of the dressing down Gwendolyn had given him about his methods. Suddenly he realised that the freedom he allows Buffy had actually been more than was good for their work. It was a terrific moment and in an episode focussed just on Angel could have led to something more.

The Bottom Line: This was good and lots of good things happened. But again it could have been a better episode with more focussed conflict.

67/100

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Responses

  1. Just a few thoughts about Giles and why the watcher’s council maybe dosen’t care too much about him (i.e. him not being invited to the retreatment):
    Maybe the council felt like any watcher assigned to Buffy would have problems with her character and her way to make her own descision. So perhaps Giles was send to Sunnydale to be Buffy’s watcher because he was somewhat unpopular amongst the other watchers (maybe also because of his rebellious past as Ripper) or they thought it would be a good chance for him to prove himself (which comes up in a later episode).


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