Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | April 16, 2012

Podcast #62: Wild at Heart

Here’s the podcast for Season 4, Episode 6 – Wild at Heart

Veruca and Oz begin to turn

Veruca and Oz begin to turn

Download: Wild at Heart

RSS Feed: The Buffy Rewatch

The next podcast will appear on Monday 23rd April 2012 for episode seven of Season Four: “The Initiative.” That’s the one where Spike wakes up incarcerated by the army guys.

Comment on this post to get your views on the podcast.

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Responses

  1. THE INITIATIVE:

    What to say about this episode…

    It was fun, from what I remember.
    I had been watching Buffy when it originally
    aired, and I remember the reactions this
    episode got out of me.

    I remember being genuinely surprised when
    it was revealed that Riley and Professor Walsh
    were part of the Initiative. Looking back now,
    I’m not sure why I didn’t suspect it then, but I’ll
    blame it on being because i was 16 and naive.
    =)

    Another scene that got a strong reaction out of
    me was when Spike violently attacks Willow in her
    dorm. This is very brutal and feels very much like
    a rape scene. I remember how uncomfortable it
    was to watch, and how worried I was that Spike
    was actually going to kill Willow.

    After the break, though, we see that Spike can’t bite
    her. A brutal scene now turns into an impotence
    parody and the two of them pull it off hilariously.

    I like what they did with Spike here. He now has the
    chip in his head and begins the process of learning
    what that means for him. The chip comes off as
    pretty inconsistent in this episode though.

    He’s able to lay several blows on various people
    without his head exploding in pain? The only time
    we outright see him have problems is when he tries
    to bite people. Glad that was changed in the following
    episodes.

    Anyway, this was a really smart move by the writers.
    This gives him an excuse to be a regular on the show
    and allows his character to be developed in new areas.

  2. Score: 67

    This was a good episode, nothing bad happened nothing particular great occurred either. A lot of what I think makes this episode just good though is the storylines that are introduced in this episode, I remember not being big fans of them. I can’t say too much because this is spoiler-y, so this very short comment might be even shorter on the podcast. I don’t think giving Spike this chip that makes unable to bite humans is particularly clever, but that’s mostly because I don’t think making Spike a regular is a smart move, in fact I think it’s a very big mistake (more on that later in the season/series). Riley was interesting though, even I’m not a Riley fan. Earlier in the season he came off as stilted and awkward in his acting, now the writers seems to have decided to make that part of the character. I think this a good move it makes Riley more endearing and made me enjoy his scenes with Buffy in this episode. Now it could just easily be that Willow is really carrying in the scene and that’s the only reason I was enjoying them but let’s give Riley some benefit of the doubt (even if he did use the word courting seriously). I think it’s good idea to pair Buffy up with someone who is equally bad at talking to girls as she is talking to boys.

  3. Overall, this isn’t a bad episode. It has some great moments, but there are enough sticking points along the way that I can’t say it is a good episode, either.

    The Good
    Spike’s time in the Initiate was great. The set was perfect, from the clinical white sets to the feeding mechanism. I noticed that Spike looked incredibly pale in the industrial lighting, which we don’t see him under very often. His lips looked parched, which would make sense if he was captured a few days ago and is just now waking up.

    Spike’s attack on Willow was just brutal. Willow’s attempt to escape, Spike pinning her to the bed, the cranked-up music, and pan into an unsuspecting hallway was a perfect demonstration of the rape subtext behind the typical vampire mythos (i.e., not Twilight vamps). Vamps are evil creatures, and Spike never fails to show us that he isn’t whipped like mopey-puppy Angel. The attack on Willow was successful because they took the time to evoke an emotional response from the audience and were brave enough to leave the audience thinking Willow became Spike’s first meal as a free vampire. Of course, this setup just made the next scene with the two of them that much better.

    The final fight was great. The set-up reveals how normal men use equipment, training, and control of the campus to get the drop on the vamps without the students suspecting. The fight itself was a great balance of fast-paced action that could be followed by the audience but not by the participants. It convinced me that Spike could escape, despite the fact that he was cornered and outnumbered. The use of the fire extinguisher and flare gun was also a believable way to protect Buffy’s identity from someone who should have been able to recognize her.

    The Neutral
    I originally put Xander’s sudden incompetence with all things military in the “bad” column, but I moved it to “neutral” the more I thought about it. I think it is just a set up for the sissy fight later in the episode, but it could be a retcon (retroactive continuity) to take Xander further down the path of incompetence this season. However, if Xander has been gradually losing his memory of Military Guy, then his offer to “Rocket Launcher” the Mayor at the end of last season has to be called into question.

    I feel like Riley punching out Parker was fan-service. The audience wanted to see it, and it helps Riley understand his feelings for Buffy, but I think it does a disservice to Parker. Before now, I felt like he was a realistic “player” who moves from one conquest to another, not someone who has to tell crude jokes to look macho in front of other guys. Instead of a character with different morals than Buffy and the Scoobies, we are left with a misogynistic straw-man who we’re allowed to punch (or hit with a stick) whenever we feel like it.

    Bad
    Why is Buffy such a klutz during the opening scene? It isn’t funny to me, and it also feels out of character for her. I felt the same way watching the Buffy/Riley scene on the bench. The humor didn’t work for me, and Buffy has lost all of maturity she displayed during her relationship with Angel.

    While the Initiate’s holding cells were perfect, I was very disappointed in the hanger/briefing room/operating room that we see later. It looked more like an empty sound stage than a military base. Why is the director’s desk in the same place where the troops gear up and get briefed? I liked how the operating area is sunken into the floor, but why would you put it in the same area you have trucks driving around? “Doctor, the placement of the experimental chip looks great, but I think we should suck out the brake dust before closing the incision.”

    Favorite Moment
    The sissy fight between Harmony and Xander started off a little campy, but it became superb self-satire when they turned on the slow-motion. It could have won “Best Moment” in a different episode, but it pales in comparison to Willow and Spike’s conversation after the aborted meal. Their entire conversation was a double entendre for the talk about “stage fright” and I love that Willow offers herself again. Their debate about whose fault it was and Spike’s multiple attempts to try again were perfect. Using such a vicious attack to set up this payoff is a textbook Wheadon twist, but the multiple layers of humor and using it all to advance the plot wins my Favorite Moment in this episode.

  4. I thought The Initiative was a lackluster episode but I felt like it did move along the season arc. The thing that really bothered me was when Spike tries to “bite” Willow. I DON’T like the rape analogy and when the next scene is supposed to be a joke I wasn’t laughing. It was very menacing but I don’t like having any character in that situation. I get that when vampires bite there is some sexual analogy to it but the rape analogy came through so strong and it made me extremely uncomfortable. Maybe because it was Willow. I wish they could’ve come up with a different way to prove that Spike couldn’t bite anyone, maybe if it had been a random bystander who he tries to bite. That scene always bothers me and its one of the main reasons I am not a fan of Spike (Sorry Cordia) and the only redeeming quality I see in him now is his great references. Other than that, right now I could do without him. We’ll see if he can redeem himself. Also, Harmony is really hit and miss with her scenes but one thing is consistant with all of her scenes: she is extremely annoying.


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