Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | December 10, 2012

Cordia’s Review: S5, E12 – Checkpoint

Cordia’s Second Look
Checkpoint
Season 5, Episode 12
Original airing: 1/23/2001

My Rating: 68

The Good: I must say, it is nice to see Buffy taking back some of her power and emotional strength. As Spike points out, she’s been struggling lately with the pressures from Glory, her mother, and Riley leaving. Finally, she remembers who she is – a strong, independent woman. The speech at the end of this episode is an absolute encompassment of the show. Buffy has the power; Buffy wields the power. But Buffy doesn’t abuse the power.  It’s good stuff.

I really liked Buffy going to Spike for help as well. When confronted with Glory in her home, she takes her family to the one person she knows with the kind of strength she needs. I thought their quiet exchange felt very intimate and personal and very real.

The reveal about Glory is particularly well-done. I love the look on Buffy’s face as she takes in the fact that Glory is well above and beyond anything she’s ever dealt with before. But she still knows there must be a way to stop her, if Glory is willing to let her live for the moment. A god in need is still someone with a weakness. It’s also interesting that the episode showed us how fragile Glory actually is at the moment. She indicates that the mailman was brought to her just in time, which might mean she could effectively starve to death. It’s an interesting weakness and one that I hope to see the show explore more as Buffy comes to discover it.

I thought the appearance of the council members was quite well done. They really swept in and took over in the beginning, playing the game they wanted to play with deftness and experience. But they also exhibit pretty immediate acceptance when Buffy turns the tables. They know she has the power. Quentin Travers was a nice return since we’ve seen him betray Buffy before in “Helpless” (S3E12). Apparently, he hasn’t changed much in the last few years.

The Bad: The one part of the episode I really disliked was Buffy’s confrontation with her professor. It felt very strange and out of nowhere for him to berate her like that. Plus the idea that Buffy would be using her knowledge of demons to question the origins of historical figures is ludicrous. Buffy is definitely smart enough to not act like this is all commonly accepted knowledge to the point of bringing it up in a college classroom.

The Unknown: The episode introduced a new faction – the Knights of Byzantium. All we know about them is that they still fight in armor and with medieval weapons and they are dedicated to the destruction of the Key. It seems like they could be allies if they are willing to join Buffy’s fight against Glory. They’d have the same effect of stopping the Key from being used or discovered. For now, they seem a bit silly in their outfits. But the idea that they could summon thousands of soldiers is quite threatening.

Favorite Moment: My favorite moment is Spike and Buffy’s quiet conversation in the crypt. It makes sense logically for her to take her family to Spike if she needs someone strong and close by to protect them. But what I really liked was how she asked him to do it and he agreed. She doesn’t pay him or really threaten him. He finally does something truly decent.

The Bottom Line: This was a good, well-constructed episode. Something I haven’t seen in a while on Buffy. I thought this little journey back to complete self-awareness and control was a powerful moment and ended with a really good speech. However, it wasn’t that next level that takes it to very good or amazing.

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