Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | August 21, 2012

Cordia’s Review: S4, E21 – Primeval

Season 4, Episode 21
Original airing: 5/16/2000

My Rating: 63

The Good: I liked the character interactions in this episode. I thought they did a good job of showing how upset everyone was by the fight. They also did a good job of resolving the fight. I appreciated that this happened in two stages. Buffy figures out that Spike knew about the fight when he shouldn’t have and she uses that information to deduce that he caused it. When she gathers everyone together and puts that out there, they all acknowledge it, but it doesn’t fix everything. They’re still hurt by what was said.

Later, Buffy and Willow finally have a heart to heart about their relationship in the elevator shaft. This is what leads to them re-bonding and forgiving each other. It was a little silly that they included Xander and he apparently just forgot all his own issues and was happy. But he was being hugged by two girls, so I guess one could argue he was distracted.

I also really like the characterization of Colonel McNamara. It seemed very true to character to have him doubt Buffy, even when he knows of the existence of demons. He’s convinced she’s just a silly girl and the army will be able to handle things. I think this underlines the message that Buffy is The Chosen One. She can take down things that 50 army guys with guns can’t take on. That’s a big deal.

I enjoyed Spike’s characterization as well, mostly. I didn’t like his little trick at the end (see The Bad), but I thought his selfishness came out well here. He’s doing everything he’s doing purely so Adam will remove the chip from his head. And he reminds Adam of this every chance he can get.

Finally, I liked the spell. I thought it was presented reasonably well, even though it did come together very quickly. But it was realistic to me that Xander would make a joke about combing everyone and it would trigger a memory in Giles about a spell that could do just that. Giles has been learning to be a Watcher for most of his life, so I’m sure he’s forgotten about more spells than he can count. Sometimes it takes just the right moment or word to call up a memory.

I also thought this seemed like a good way to underline and reinforce the reconnection of the Scoobies after their fight. Buffy has also been stronger as a Slayer because of the support of her friends. And here she needs them to help take down a bad guy who’s just too strong for her physically.

The Bad: What I didn’t like about the spell was how Buffy seemed to become god-like. She could do basically anything, including stopping moving objects, changing things into other things, and gaining super-super strength. The strength part bothered me the least, because it was already a part of Buffy. And I know Willow is a witch, but we’ve never really seen her do anything like turning a missile into a bird. It just seemed too powerful to me.

I also didn’t like Spike’s “return” at the end to the Scoobies. He’s been helping Adam break them apart so Adam can kill a bunch of humans and demons to create a hybrid race and wipe out the world. Yet, when he saves Giles and crew from one demon, they all shrug their shoulders and basically say “It’s ok. No big deal.” It’s the worst example we’ve seen yet of the writers manipulating the characters to keep Spike around. I love Spike, but I wish his reason to stay on the show made more sense.

Finally, I HATED the end of the story where Riley performed surgery on himself with a piece of broken glass while he was under mind control and then proceeded to beat up and blow up Forrest after Buffy barely got away from the guy. Ummmm…. What? Excuse me? Ridiculous from start to finish.

Favorite Moment: I really liked the scene with Anya and Xander. She treats him with her usual lack of understanding, until she’s drawn to offer him some comfort. She cuddles him and baldly states that he’s a good guy and she loves him. It still felt in character for her because she just comes out and says what she’s feeling.

But the main draw of this scene was Xander. We very rarely get to see Xander truly being honest with his emotions. He almost always makes jokes to ease the moment. Here, he’s still and quiet. It felt like we were getting to see the real Xander and the good person that Anya says he is inside. It reminded me a lot of the end of The Zeppo (S3E13) where Xander is prepared to die from the bomb explosion. He becomes quiet and still and watchful. I kind of wish we could see more of this Xander, but I also appreciate how powerful it comes across because it’s so rare.

The Bottom Line: Some parts good and some parts bad. I really did like how the story brought the Scoobies back together and dealt with most of their issues.


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