Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | June 3, 2012

Cordia’s Review: S4, E13 – The I in Team

The I in Team
Season 4, Episode 13
Original airing: 2/8/2000

My Rating: 55

The Good: We continue to get excellent Buffy and Riley development this week. Their relationship seems very real now that it has a bit of physicality to it. It’s completely changed how they interact with each other and made Riley seem much less awkward and stiff. I was particularly impressed with how they handled the sex scene (see Favorite Moment).

I also like how Willow and Tara’s relationship is developing, although I still find Tara painful to watch (see The Bad). I do like how Willow seems slightly confused, but excited, and how she’s hiding the relationship from Buffy, even though it’s ostensibly only a friendship.

Finally, I really appreciate that the show finally addressed the Spike situation – mostly. It was stated that Spike’s not planning to leave town and that he still doesn’t like the Scoobies, but no one talked about why they didn’t just stake him in the first place. Still, it was an overdue conversation and a clever point that when he’s in trouble, he runs right back to the do-gooders.

The Bad: This entire episode suddenly put a weird twist on Professor Walsh’s character. We’ve had nothing but good from her so far, although she’s come across as painfully strict. Then we suddenly learn that she’s part of a project to create a human/demon hybrid. She also has little to no remorse about assassinating Buffy and lying to Riley about it. We also see her watching Riley and Buffy having sex with absolutely no reaction.

It’s difficult to tell what we’re supposed to think about her. Was she insane? Was she in love with Riley? Were her behaviors and decisions sanctioned by the government agency she works for or was she going rogue? Unfortunately, we’ll most likely never learn the answers to a lot of these questions because Adam literally stabbed her in the back. Apparently, he’s going to be the actual bad guy. I’m fine with that, but the show still has some explaining to do.

We also saw some serious incompetence from the Initiative thanks to the tracer B plot. They hit Spike and then spend the entire night unable to catch him. After he lands at Giles (presumably for an hour or more), they still can’t track him down. Assuming they hit him with the tracer around midnight, that’s at least 8 hours of failing to find Spike in a relatively small town. That seems pretty absurd to me. It’s this kind of lazy writing that makes the Initiative seem like a joke instead of a threat.

And finally, I’m still not a fan of Tara. Aside from my personal feelings about her appearance (I think her body size and everything is great, but I just find her face to be annoying), her portrayal is just too over the top. I know that there are lots of people who struggle with crippling social anxiety and painful shyness, but I don’t think it works here as part of her character. The problem it creates for me is that I just can’t understand why Willow is attracted to her. If I’m supposed to buy them as a couple, I need to see some sparks please.

Favorite Moment: This episode did an amazing job of showcasing Buffy and Riley’s first sexual experience together. The interplay of the sensual undressing with the slow-motion demon beating was a prefect depiction of the comments Buffy made in Something Blue (S4E9) – for her passion goes hand in hand with fighting.

The Bottom Line: This episode spent too much time attempting to build up Walsh so her death would be shocking. Unfortunately, it was awkward, generic, and confusing. So her death is just a blip on the radar instead of a Big Deal. The rest of the episode was fine, but nothing too amazing.

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