Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | November 5, 2011

Podcast #44: Amends

Here’s the podcast for Season 3, Episode 10 – Amends

Snow in Sunnydale?

Snow in Sunnydale?

Download: Amends

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The next podcast will appear on Monday 14th November 2011 for episode eleven of Season Three: “Gingerbread.” That’s the one where Joyce decides to try and rid Sunnydale of the Occult.

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  1. I wish I could really like “Gingerbread” and their moments that I really enjoy but the negatives detract from the positives of the episode. The biggest disappointment of “Gingerbread” is that it is a return to the monster of week episodes where by the end of the episode there has been no real impact (that we have seen) on the characters. Lover’s walk, The Wish and Amends (partially) were all monsters of the weeks but there was some motion in the plot, character development or in the case of The Wish, interesting way of looking at the series, but “Gingerbread” is more like a season one or two monster of the week. It starts out really strong but the third act just negatively impacts the whole episode.

    The Good Stuff: One of the positives of the episode is introduction of Sheila Rosenberg, Willow’s mother. It was mentioned in “Amends” that Xander’s family have issues with alcohol and now we have Willow’s parents or at least her mother, as people so involved in their work that they connect to their daughter. I appreciate that the show is giving reason to why Xander and Willow’s parents at as involved as Joyce, instead of just never explaining it. It makes complete sense that Willow’s parents would be complete geniuses and that their relationship with Willow be strained given what we have seen of who Willow is as a person. The show does a good job of establishing and showing the relationship in this episode even though we have never before seen Willow’s mother, though the show puts in a lot of exposition rather sloppily with Willow talking about her mother a lot in the first half of the episode, something she rarely if ever has done previously.

    Given the fact that Cordelia was regulated to the sidelines last week, I am happy that they found a way to integrate her into the main plot and making it seem in character given recent events. Cordelia wouldn’t be helping the Scoobies for the same reason as before, given recent events, so it makes sense that she would help only when whatever is going on directly affects her. The interesting thing to be is if they are able to still have solid reasons for Cordelia being involved throughout the season. My hope is that they do find some ways because she has some of the best lines of the episode, I especially love the moment after she takes to Buffy after she stands up to the bullies at school, “That was a pointed comment about me hanging with you guys” is a perfect Cordelia moment. But more than that all the Cordelia and Giles scenes are my favorite parts of the episode because not only does it provide some of the best lines of the episodes, especially the exchange after Cordelia wakes Giles up, but it is a pairing that we haven’t really seen before and they play off each other very well.
    Because I am such a fan of “Amends” of course I love the scene between Angel and Buffy in the park which has a direct link to the hilltop scene in “Amends”. It is a good use of Angel in the story as opposed to early episodes in the season where he appeared in scenes and there seemed to be no other reason for him to be there other than to just be there. We not only get a reminder of why Buffy and Angel work together so well as a couple (I think we can assume from the events of “Amends” and the way they greet each other in this scene that they are now in some form of a relationship) but it also serves the main plot of the episode, which brings me to….

    The Bad Stuff: The main problem I have with the episode and it is the fact that when we find out that all the parents are under a spell not only is everything that follows a complete departure in the tone for the episode, it also calls into question the strong events prior to it because we don’t know how much of the actions of the parents specifically Joyce is the result of the spell and not herself. Without the spell Joyce’s speech at the vigil would have been my favorite moment of the episode because it addresses some of the nagging questions the show that have been raised since the first season. Why do people still live in Sunnydale? Why does no one speak up? How come these tragedies and deaths happen almost weekly and no one cares? If that is all the result of the enchantment that she is under the speech loses impact for me.

    Before we find out about Hansel and Gretel the episode is pretty dark and dramatic but once the reveal everything gets silly. I loved with the Giles and Cordelia stuff, but I felt like it should have been juxtaposed with some tense dramatic moments when Buffy and Willow were in danger of getting burned alive! I never felt that Buffy, Willow or even Amy were in any kind of danger or that show was going to kill them off but I still feel like this scene should feel dangerous. Two of the main characters about to be burned alive by their parents and every other line it is jokey, Amy’s big impressive spell ends in punchline. It’s not the humor in this moment isn’t funny, Joyce and Shelia calmly talking about how they should stay in touch after this is all over and Buffy anti-climatically killing the demon both got chuckles out of me but it just feels out of place and there is far too much humor in tense and climatic moment.

    The problems don’t end at the climax it continues in the conclusion. We learn that Willow’s mom is choosing not to remember things but that means that the adults of Sunnydale whether they choose to remember or not DO remember trying to burn three teenage girls alive and one of them turned into a rat. This should be a pretty big issue even a town like Sunnydale where the whole community seems to have selective memory, even if they choose to forgot the witch burning they should remember Joyce’s rousing speech and there should be some reaction to that. The episode would work better if they just said none of the adults remember what happened. Yes the whole adult population turned into teenagers for a night but most adults didn’t know that their actions would need to something terrible happening and in this situation their actions are the terrible thing happening.

    It is also disappointing that we never get to see Joyce’s reaction to what happened and we only know learn how Sheila’s reaction. Joyce is a recurring character and is the leader of the whole movement we should see her reaction more than Shelia.

    This Week in Xander Harris is a Douche: After a week off everyone’s (all three of you) favorite section of my insufferably comments is back. This week Xander wasn’t as bad as he has been in previous weeks, but the only reason that he earns douche status in “Gingerbread” is it seems like Xander is taking a step back from last week. Xander was actually pretty mature and put his jealously aside last week and even though I have qualms about the lack of reasoning given I assumed it was his way of repenting for his previous douche sins but in “Gingerbread” he is back to whining about how everything being unfair. I also think that’s it double-douchey because Oz really doesn’t seem upset to me and in my opinion Xander was just whining for attention then actually thinking Oz is angry at him.

    I don’t have a problem with him being concerned that the cops would find his Playboys when Willow might be about to get arrested because as a former teenage boy that would be legitimate concern, I just find it douchey that he keeps them at school, because really?

  2. Having just finished the podcast for “Amends” and lapse in logic bother me a lot when watching episodes of TV as well (it’s one of the main reasons Glee makes me want to punch the writers of the show in the face week to week) and I consider myself highly logical and critical when watching TV I have to defend Amends.

    I think that we are meant to draw by the suddenness and unprecedented nature of this storm that it is a supernatural event. It’s not pure speculation to say that I think the show is telling us that this is a higher being’s response to the First Evil. The fact that it is only happening in Sunnydale and it is has never happened are these hints that it is because of some higher being. I won’t deny that the snow itself is cheesy but I think it is pretty well explained that this a supernatural event and it works better than if they spelled it out. If Giles had discovered a First Good or it was just overcast and Buffy said there has to be a reason that would have been bad in my opinion because the First Good is too cliche and the Buffy thing is too cheesy. I like that it is left up to interpretation of what exactly that good force is because if it got specific I feel like the episode would take a religious stance and that would just anger a whole lot of people.

    I also don’t think the First Evil just disappears for no reason it knows it can’t fight Buffy because it isn’t corporeal and I think its mission was to get Angel to kill himself and it would have succeeded in that mission if it weren’t for the interference of the storm (another reason I think its relatively clear that a supernatural good force is behind the storm). I don’t think the First Evil was tormenting Angel over all the deaths he had caused but just tormenting him over Jenny and when he turned into Angelus. Angel really hasn’t dealt with those feelings yet so I think that is why he is being particularly tortured by the First. I agree if the first appeared as Drusilla as well it would have been more powerful but I think the random victims are just an effort by the First to make Angel think he is going insane being literally haunted by these victims who weren’t even his most heinous crimes.

    Lastly the hilltop scene it may be that the writing isn’t the strongest but the reason I love that scene is because I think the depth of Buffy and Angel’s love is palpable and what that scene represents is what is emotional about it. I think that’s all on Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz, I think it has every opportunity to be incredibly sappy but they make be believe it and it doesn’t take me out of the scene or make me feel like its ridiculous and stupid. I also pretty much understood right away that Buffy and Angel can’t be together and I think the show did such a good job of making them a couple that you want to be together that now that they logically can’t be together makes me as a viewer want them to find whatever form of happiness they can and it’s another reason I like the storm, they are given a moment to be alone and walk in a place that is so unbelievable and unreal.

    Nothing excuses Xander’s jump or Oz’s perfectness, that’s just crazy stupid.

    I’m really sorry you guys got to put up with trimming my long windedness down week to week.

  3. “In that case, he should definitely try to whack her!” That had me laughing so hard! Nice job on “Amends”. I also agree that Robia La Morte played Jenny/The First very well, and that her wearing the outfit she died in was a nice touch.

    “Gingerbread” was an okay episode, but I found the highlight to be getting to see Willow’s mother for the first time. It was also nice to see Joyce trying to help out Buffy with her slaying. Seeing that some of the residents of Sunnydale are aware that something is going on in their town was good, too. I wonder if something like this would have happened eventually without the demon’s infulence, but maybe in a less violent way.

  4. Thanks for your podcast on “Amends”. I never really liked this episode but couldn’t explain why. Now I know 😉 Although I like the Giles/Angel an Willow/Oz stuff. Just one side note: The Grrr Argh monster at the end wears a santa claus costume 😉

    Gingerbread: I watched the episode several times by now but I’m still not sure wether I like it or not. I remember when I first watched it I never had a clue that Joye was under a spell or something like that until the moment when both children appear in Joyces room and they talk with her.

    In one scene Joyce asks “Do you even make a difference?” –) a reference to “The Wish”

    Giles talking German sounds funny (as you maybe remember I am from Germany). First watching I hardly recognized it as German and I had to put on subtitles 😉 (In the German version of this episode the spell and everything he says in German is Latin)

  5. Hey guys, on a completely unrelated note: what do you think of the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer set to come out in 2012? I’m not sure if they excluded Joss Whedon or he wouldn’t be a part of it but they’re making one without him or anyone else from the TV show (to my knowledge). Just wanted to see what you guys thought about it.

  6. I know you’ve already moved on from this episode, but I just wanted to comment on your hatred of the ending. Yes, it’s cheesy and ridiculous, but I think that if you watched it around Christmas time you might see it a little differently. Have you ever tried to watch a Christmas special any other time of the year? Even if you love it in December, it can seem really stupid in July. When there’s nothing but It’s a Wonderful Life and Rudolph on TV, you’re really in the Christmas spirit and maybe a random magical snowfall seems more plausible and more appealing. Just a theory, but I wanted to know what you thought about it. Keep up the great work, I look forward to each new episode! 🙂

  7. To eddie, I thought they cancelled that awful idea because Joss refused to be involved but I don’t know if you saw this but Sarah Michelle Gellar’s reaction is pretty funny

  8. Trying frantically to catch up, but still felt the need to comment on this episode after listening to “Amends”

    After second viewing I feel this episode comes across a lot better than I remembered. I do believe that you need future information to infer some of the reasoning that goes on in this episode. Angel’s reappearance never really gets explained as the series continues. Angel being brought back, whether for good/evil, feels like it probably deals with his role in the future apocalypses. I think that it isnt overstated (unlike most things in the episode) but I do feel there is a higher power at work here. Its just never explained (kind of like Whistler showing up). I do think this episode gets pretty cheesy/soap opera-ie at points, but for the most part I think the acting is great and it does propel some future story lines.

    Zander’s motives are a little out of character, but like with most of the episode my brain tries to justify all of this. His willingness to help I feel is him finally putting his feelings aside for one second purely on behalf of Buffy and her feelings. (and maybe just trying for a little bit of guilt for not relaying to Buffy about the resouling in Becoming Part 2…maybe thats a stretch)

    I’m continuing to catch up and hope I can get back in time to talk about Eliza Dushku in “This Years Girl.”

    Yall are still doing a great job! Keep up the good work.

    – William
    Fort Worth, TX


    I haven’t caught up and you may have already answered this, but are you planning to do an Angel podcast after? Or a looking back on the series as a whole once you get to the end? Also theres a pretty deep podcast about Buffy called Buffycast by Revelo that does a good job talking about over arcing themes and character developments. Alas it is on 12 episodes. Glad people are still freaking out about Joss Whedon’s work even today.

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