Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | August 6, 2012

Podcast #75: New Moon Rising

Here’s the podcast for Season 4, Episode 19 – New Moon Rising

Oz sniffs out the truth

Oz sniffs out the truth

Download: New Moon Rising

RSS Feed: The Buffy Rewatch

The next podcast will appear on Monday 13th August 2012 for episode twenty of Season Four: “The Yoko Factor.” That’s the one where Spike sows discord on Adam’s behalf.

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

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Responses

  1. THE YOKO FACTOR:

    All season long, the Scoobies have been slowly
    separating from each other, now all the problems
    everyone’s had with each other explodes out into
    the open with just a nudge from Spike, who’s been
    silently observing these conflicts all along.

    Spike has often been concious of the subtleties of
    human nature and behavior, of things other people
    miss, and after spending so much time with the
    Scoobies over the course of this season, he must
    have been quite aware of the rifts that have
    appeared among them. When those kind of rifts
    already exist, it’s not difficult to make them worse.

    Spike didn’t need to use force or violence for the
    Scoobies to finally implode.

    The big argument scene at the end is well acted
    by all and uncomfortable to watch. Giles’ and
    Xander’s reaction to finding out about Willow and
    Tara were pretty spot on and quite humorous.

    It was nice to see Angel again, contributing to
    quite possibly the best scene in Buffy history..
    He beats the holy living hell out of Riley!
    BEST. SCENE. EVER.

    Second best scene? No more whiny Forrest!
    Adam got him good!

    P.S. Listening to your opinions about Marc Blucas’
    acting abilities (or lack of) reminded me of an
    interview I saw not too long ago. It was a cast
    interview for SMG’s new show, RINGER.

    A supporting actor, Kristopher Polaha, revealed
    that his first acting audition was for the role of Riley.
    Why the role went to Marc Blucas, baffles me.

    Maybe the character of Riley wouldn’t have been
    so damn bad if another actor would have portrayed
    him.

    • I absolutely agree that the problems with the character of Riley are Marc Blucas’ fault. Some of the comedy written for him is actually quite funny (and SOME of the drama is well-written too), but Blucas is simply not up to the task of delivering the material.

      It’s interesting to note that Marc Blucas is currently married to journalist Ryan Haddon. Maybe Blucas did not have enough acting ability to make his relationship with Buffy believable because he was homosexual. Buffy has stretched Alyson Hannigan (Willow) and Amber Benson (Tara) to play lesbian characters, and I would confidently say that Willow and Tara have much more chemistry than Buffy and Riley. Maybe the reason that Angel and Buffy have so much chemistry in their scenes in “The Yoko Factor” is because both actors (Sarah and David) are heterosexual. However, Matt Bomer and Neil Patrick Harris have shown that gay actors in Hollywood can be just as believable as heterosexual characters as straight actors can. I’m tempted to just blame the lack of chemistry between Sarah and Marc on simply Marc’s shortcomings as an actor.

      • Sorry for the mistake about Marc Blucas’ sexuality. I had heard from other Buffy watchers that he was gay, but I guess they were probably making the same mistake as I did. I guess it’s really just Blucas’ lack of acting ability.

  2. Let me preview this by saying that, although I was only seven when the episode came out, people seem to have had a pretty primitive understanding of homosexual relationships. It seemed that Joss Whedon may have brought back Oz as a way to show that Willow’s relationship was not out of convenience, as some could have possibly claimed that Willow viewed Tara as a rebound from Oz, considering their break up was so sudden. If Oz had stayed, some might have claimed, Willow would never have “turned” lesbian (as stupid as that is). Having Willow sort of choose Tara over Oz makes their relationship real and authentic, even if Willow had considered herself to be heterosexual. In other words, it gives a clear answer to any question of Willow’s sexuality. I think this whole episode exemplifies Joss Whedon’s overall strong and independent female characters throughout his series, as well as his penchant for defying contemporary television conventions.

    It may just be me, but it seems like Alyson Hannigan makes an awful lot of jokes about being attracted to women on “How I Met Your Mother,” so maybe the writers were picking up on something…

  3. I think the title of this episode may be better than the episode its self….

  4. The homosexual relationship between Willow and Tara honestly expresses the sentiment that “it’s not what you like (guys or girls), it’s WHO you like.” Willow loves both Oz and Tara (essentially making her bisexual), but she eventually chooses Tara because of the deeper emotional connection that they share. A part of Willow will always love Oz, just as a part of Buffy will always love Angel and Riley. The return of Oz was necessary for the audience to accept Willow and Tara’s relationship. Otherwise, viewers could claim that Tara was responsible for the relationship, and Willow would choose Oz if he ever returned. This episode solidified a positive view of Oz for the viewers, while showing that Willow has moved on.

    The theme that love isn’t governed by rule or logic seems to be a significant one in Buffy. We have already seen Buffy fall in love and have a relationship with Angel even after realizing he’s a vampire. Later, we saw her begin to date Riley, the “perfect human male” (in Buffy’s eyes, NOT in acting ability). Buffy has had long-term relationships with two guys on opposite ends of the spectrum (one supernatural and one overly natural/macho). However, no one doubts their attraction because love does not follow what conventional wisdom dictates.

    Anya realizes the complex nature of attraction in “The Harsh Light of Day” (4×05):

    Xander: “So… the crux of this plan is…”
    Anya: “Sexual intercourse. I’ve said it, like, a dozen times.”
    Xander: “Uh-huh. Just working through a little hysterical deafness here.”
    Anya: “I think it’s the secret to getting you out of my mind…”

    She can’t seem to fathom why she is attracted to him and clearly wants to rid herself of this longing. On last week’s podcast, you asked why Anya would be attracted to Xander. If she’d been a demon for so long, you would think she would choose differently. However, this only serves to prove the point that love is destined. Our DNA determines who (and what features) we find attractive.

    Xander has dated the popular, preppy Cordelia and the newly-human Anya. He had deep, meaningful relationships with both (and is still having with Anya), but the complaints are less on this topic because both relationships are heterosexual.

    Faith and Parker (the minor character who slept with Buffy in “The Harsh Light of Day”) view attraction differently than the other characters we have seen thus far. Faith struggled with the love Riley heaped on her (as Fuffy in “Who Are You”) and needed to separate love and sex to make sense of the world. The only true relationship we’ve seen her have was with the mayor in Season 3. The love that they shared (as essentially father and daughter) was important for Faith’s development throughout Season 3. Her refusal to trust anyone harmed her. On the other hand, Parker was simply looking for a good time. He enjoyed having sex with various women, and although his lifestyle was uncommon, he never set out to hurt anyone. His philosophy on love was an interesting conclusion in an interesting season.

    In conclusion, the Tara-Willow relationship is a proper extension of the exploration BtVS has done of the mystery of love throughout Season 4. Sometimes the spark is there, sometimes it isn’t. I’m happy to see that Tara and Willow have chosen to take a chance on their relationship. Hopefully, Oz will find love on his own.

  5. New Moon Rising

    This episode resonated with me for a lot of reasons. Mostly, as a lesbian I identified with both Willow and Tara in this episode. I appreciated the way the writers realistically portrayed Willow’s confusion at Oz’s return, her somewhat awkward coming out to Buffy (telling her without actually saying the words) and Buffy’s initial reaction to the news. Of course, because it is only an hour show Willow works through her feelings of confusion relatively quickly, but realistically nonetheless. Her confusion and desire not to hurt neither Oz nor Tara is well portrayed.

    I have been in Tara’s position before where the unknowing ex-boyfriend makes a play to get his girlfriend back and because no one knows about your relationship with said girlfriend you can’t really say anything. It completely sucks and is really uncomfortable. I know Tara has been portrayed as not terribly self-confident, but I can say from experience that it doesn’t matter how confident you are in yourself, that situation will make you doubt everything – especially if you are the first girlfriend your girlfriend has ever had. All you can do is wait for the woman you love to figure things out and hope it goes your way. I totally felt Tara’s pain throughout this episode and thought Amber Benson did a good job of expressing it without being overly dramatic.

    I do wonder, however, if anyone asked Amber Benson if she ran track in high school before offering her the part. Look! Tara is chased by a demon! Ok, so it’s Oz this time as a werewolf, but still…

    The goodbye between Willow and Oz was heartbreaking. They still love each other so much, but their time is over. A fitting sendoff for Oz and a graceful conclusion to their storyline.

    This is one of those rare times for me that I have such an emotional connection with a particular story in a show that the rest of the plots just seem like white noise to me. Even Riley and Forrest being tools didn’t irritate me as much as they usually do. Grahm is still the only member of the Initiative I like.

    I think that’s why I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer so much – yes, it’s a show about vampires and demons, but it is also about so much more. We are invested in the characters and care about what happens to them and how they feel. It’s not just a demon-of-the-week thing anymore. We feel the happiness and the pain the characters go through – a sign of great writing and great acting.

    Favorite moment – when Willow comes to Tara at the end to tell her she choose her. Just because it makes me happy.

    • Wow. Grammar check much? That should be “Willow’s desire to hurt neither Oz nor Tara”

  6. The Buffy Rewatch

    I do have a quick question. I just bought a USB mic and was wondering if there is a particular format I should use if I were to e-mail the show as opposed to just writing through the forum.

    “The Yoko Factor”

    Adam is a crappy “Big Bad,” I know let’s get Spike to do it!

    The Yoko Factor has a lot of things to enjoy going on, but a lot of the problems I have with it just stem from how the season has been laid out thus far. The season’s arc hasn’t really been building enough and it seems like they’ve had to cram a lot into these last few episodes (And the season finale isn’t going to deal with the actual arc!)

    Adam is just not a real enough threat. We haven’t visibly seen him do anything to put forth any nefarious plan. So having us finally get some insight through Spike is a welcome change. Also I shouldn’t be this happy about a character death, but Adam killing Forrest was great. (Even though…)

    Seeing Spike in his element with his bad boy swagger is a treat. James Marsters looks like he’s having a blast being able to play evil again. While manipulating the Scoobies, he comes across as both interesting and fun. I love all of the nuances he gets to play around with, reacting to subtle body language, pumping himself up to act as if he’d just run away from the initiative, or just the way he turns a phrase to apply the most damage.

    Having Angel back was is also great. He’s just such an interesting and engaging character(guess that’s why he gets his own show). Most of my enjoyment from this episode comes from his interaction with some of our characters. The macho standoff between Angel and Riley was great. I love the fight between the two of them. They have some great banter and great physicality. And of course Riley would get his ass kicked because he’s only human.

    I thought there was a lot of great character interaction in this episode. Seeing Xander and Riley interact for one of the first times was particularly a fun dynamic that I wish they would have played with sooner. It makes Riley more interesting if we see him as more than just Buffy’s boyfriend.

    I also enjoyed Willow and Tara’s interactions better than the previous episode. I think it was literally the regression of Tara being back to stammering and stuttering girl last episode that was bothering me. Seeing them as an actual couple in this episode is completely believable and comes across quite well.

    It’s always great hearing Anthony Steward Head sing and drunken Giles is also hilarious! Bloody hell!

    Just something else I think goes unnoticed most of the time is Christophe Beck’s score. The use of relationship themes has always been one of his strengths in my opinion. And the Riley/Buffy theme being played just stood out to me in this episode.

    I only have a few gripes. I know bad mouthing the Initiative is getting old, but seriously they are a terrible organization. Why does the government want Riley back so bad? They act like he’s some sort of super solider or that he possess some extra skill that I don’t know about. I literally laughed out loud at the absurdity of Riley saying “I’m the sneakiest.” Also Forrest plan of action to fight Adam is to run straight at the pointy thing that gets him killed? And apparently Angel has better sources at keeping tabs than the US government.

    Favorite Moment

    My favorite moment is the Buffy/Angel/Riley bedroom scene. Having the two love interests act completely childish was hilarious to me. Also we get to see Buffy is the one wearing the pants in the relationship. I find Angel being petty to be thoroughly enjoying as well as a lot of fun. And as always David and Sarah have great chemistry and just seeing them interact together again, even if it’s a small scene, really shines through.

    Bottom Line

    I think this episode has a lot of fun and interesting moments for me. Seeing Spike back to his evil form, Angel showing up to beat up some lackeys, Forrest dying(seriously I hate that guy!), the Scoobies breaking up, and we even get the “Dun Dun Dunnnn” ending with Riley showing up with Adam. My problems have just been that this season has been kind of directionless or maybe just rushed. The writers have had to breeze through a lot of big events because of how much they’ve had to introduce and all the changes going on with our characters. There just isn’t that same sense of magnitude at the end of this season compared to earlier seasons. And most of that probably stems from a boring bad guy. But in any case I’m just ready for the next episode. I’m interested in finally seeing what Adam is going to do and for there to be some real weight to the end of the season.


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