Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | September 17, 2012

Cordia’s Review: S5, E02 – Real Me

Real Me
Season 5, Episode 2
Original airing: 10/3/2000

My Rating: 62

The Good: This episode absolutely had to focus on Dawn. After her incredibly short, surprise introduction in Buffy vs. Dracula (S5E1), it would have been cruel to do anything else. Happily, the episode fully lived up to integrating Dawn into the show. Using her journal entries and internal monologue allowed the viewer to see the Buffyverse through Dawn’s eyes, which was pretty fun. Her interpretations of each character poked a bit of fun at the show, but also did a good job of reintroducing everyone.

I also enjoyed the hints during the episode that Dawn is not what she seems. Of course, the viewers know that. She literally came out of nowhere, but it’s fun to wonder where she came from. And it’s obvious the show has a purpose for her and she’s not some random character they are actually trying to pretend DID exist from the beginning. Her conversation with the old man hints at Buffy’s dream interactions with Faith in Graduation Day, Part Two (S3E22) and This Year’s Girl (S4E15). He also explicitly tells her “You don’t belong here.”

The episode gives another hint which could be Joss Whedon toying with the audience or could be a hint that Dawn herself knows what’s going on. At the end, she writes in her journal that Buffy will be surprised to learn who Dawn really is. This could be teenage angst and desire to be seen as a person and not a ‘kid’ or it could be that she knows where she came from. Fascinating stuff.

I really enjoyed Harmony as a background to this episode. It felt a bit like the writers decided they needed a villain for this to be a real episode, even though I think this episode would have held up strongly as just a Dawn-introduction. But Harmony was a good choice. Since the show has a history with her, she got to be campy and funny, which was done really well. I particularly enjoyed her chat with Spike.

The Bad: I actually don’t feel like there’s anything bad in the episode, except perhaps the lack of an explanation for how unemployed Giles manages to buy a flash sports car AND a business within days of each other. Otherwise, I thought this episode did what it needed to do very well.

Favorite Moment: I really enjoyed Dawn’s reintroductions of each character. It was fun seeing them through fresh eyes after four years. If I were to pick one, I’d say the best was the breakfast scene with Buffy. The show did such a good job of integrating Dawn into the morning routine of the Summers’ household. And her description of Buffy really felt like something that would come from a younger sibling.

The Bottom Line: This episode was designed to introduce Dawn and start the audience asking questions about her. It did that exceptionally well. But it wasn’t emotive, intense, or dramatic. I certainly wasn’t on the edge of my seat at any time. So I don’t feel it’s proper to give it a higher score. That certainly doesn’t detract from what it succeeded in doing – confusing us even more about Dawn.

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