Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | May 6, 2012

Robin’s Review: S4, E09 – Something Blue

Synopsis: Willow’s struggles to get over Oz are exacerbated when he sends for his stuff. To deal with the pain Willow casts a spell to have her will come true. She can’t take away her pain but inadvertently begins to affect people around her. She makes Giles go blind, inspires Buffy and Spike to get engaged and makes Xander into a magnet for demons. As chaos reigns Anya’s old boss D’Hoffryn summons Willow and invites her to become a vengeance demon.

The Good: What an odd episode! It was hilarious and memorable but I’m not sure it really achieved what it set out to.

Of course what viewers will remember is Spike and Buffy madly in love. It was a naturally funny idea but executed to perfection. We’ve seen Spike do comedy well for a long time so this was no stretch for him. In fact this is his third romantic entanglement and each has been gold. But for Buffy this was something new. Sarah Michelle Gellar has more than proven her range during the first three seasons of the show but here she added yet another feather to her cap. Her performance as the love sick fiancée was tremendous and completely convincing. The final ingredient was Giles as the horrified audience to this spectacle.

The results were spectacular. The newly betrothed couple were instantly acting as if they had been together for ages, kissing and cuddling without any awareness of why this would seem odd to their friends. Giles’ disgusted reactions were priceless and the writers just kept finding new ways to make the joke work. The discussion of Drusilla and Angel felt entirely plausible as did Spike arguing against church or daytime weddings and suggesting Buffy should give up her calling so she could stop killing all his friends.

One jump cut to Giles’ apartment was about as wonderful as comedy gets. We come straight in on wedding cake figurines that Buffy is walking up Spike’s arm while singing Mendelssohn’s wedding march (“Dum dum dadum”). Giles, reaching a boiling point of frustration, asks “So the plan is to cure my total incapacitating blindness…tomorrow is it?” Buffy just continues to be beautifully calm and sure about it all even as she confides to the utterly confused Riley that no one, not even she, actually likes Spike.

For better or worse the Buffy-Spike dynamic has been permanently pushed toward comedy rather than drama. The results either side of the spell were pretty good too. Pre-spell she enjoyed teasing him while he cried for some “telly” and post-spell he reveals that she wanted “Wind Beneath My Wings” as their first dance. It was all thoroughly enjoyable and I suppose his neutering does come across as a serious enough issue to keep him alive until the scoobies can find out about the Initiative.

The Willow story took a backseat to all these shenanigans. I like that we saw her dealing with the serious emotional repercussions of Oz’ departure. His stuff being collected was a good development to push her further into pain. This episode did of course demonstrate to us her growing knowledge of magic.

The Bad: But wasn’t this episode supposed to be about her and not Spike and Buffy? It felt odd that she was shunted to the background the way she was. There was no real resolution to either her grief over Oz or her dangerous use of magic. The way D’Hoffryn backed down so easily and gave her his talisman (card) and told her to chant (call) if she changed her mind was a bit glib.

The Unknown: The rest of her will coming true felt a bit flimsy. The conversations she had with Giles and Xander felt manufactured to set up each of her pronouncements. Most of which came true instantly and yet Giles only went blind gradually. It also seemed very odd that when her spell was lifted the demons that had been attacking Xander just disappeared. I thought he was a demon magnet? Those demons were attracted to him, they weren’t conjured out of thin air. The idea of demons being attracted to Xander was a pretty shameless excuse to set up action scenes to give the plot some urgency. The group confusion at Giles’ apartment also felt a bit too similar to the previous episode, “Pangs”, something Buffy has been good at avoiding so far.

Riley remains an odd guy. His weird driving\sex metaphor, his belief that he had already asked Buffy out on a picnic when he hadn’t and then his decision to grip her face and not kiss her all seemed weird. He then says “You’re gonna teach me” when Buffy says he has a lot to learn about women. It’s all pretty awkward, though after her attempt to pass off her engagement as a joke I give him credit for calling her insane.

Best Moment: As Giles loses his sight he keeps rolling his eyes at Buffy and Spike, clearly not themselves, getting ever more loved up. Buffy leaves Spike’s lap momentarily and asks Giles if he will give her away at the wedding. He is deeply touched and responds with heartfelt warmth before realising the insanity of the situation. A great little moment.

The Bottom Line: I imagine the writers realised half way through putting this together just how much fun the Spike-Buffy dynamic would be and decided to steer into it. In a sense they were right because it’s a magnificent comic creation. One I would be more than happy to watch a sit com about. However the rest of the episode suffered a bit from its dominance. Perhaps Oz’ unexpected departure had more of an effect on the writers plans than we realise.

68/100

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Responses

  1. Personally, I think this is one of the funniest episodes of the entire series. The Spike/Buffy engagement part of the episode my favorites, and the reactions from Giles and Riley are absolutely priceless.

    My choice for the funniest episode of Buffy is a certain episode in season 6,, but this might very well be the second funniest episode (this or Band Candy or The Zeppo).

    I guess Robin doesn’t agree, but I think Pangs, Something Blue, and Hush is quite possibly the best 3-episode streak of Buffy to this point.


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