Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | December 11, 2012

Podcast #91: Checkpoint

Here’s the podcast for Season 5, Episode 12 – Checkpoint

Giles warns Quentin

Giles warns Quentin

Download: Checkpoint

RSS Feed: The Buffy Rewatch

The next podcast will appear on Monday 17th December 2012 for episode twelve of Season Five: “Blood Ties.” Where there will be more Dawn and Glory stuff (I can’t say more without being spoilery!)

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

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  1. Oh my goodness this got long… feel free to cut away when putting on the podcast.

    First off, I want to say thanks. For taking the time to consider EVERY point of view that comes onto the show and taking the time to comment each one. It’s one of the reasons your show has quickly become my favorite podcast that I listen too. I always eagerly find myself awaiting your show on Mondays.

    More often than not my opinion on Buffy the Vampire Slayer stand alone in my group of friends, so I expect some disagreement with what I like and dislike about the show. I hope that I can at least make good arguments as to why I feel the way I do. So yes, I can take some plenty of disagreement, bring it on! (I’ve also been told that I can come across kind of harsh on my film and TV criticism; so, hopefully not too harsh for a show I quite adore). Also, I enjoy finding those moments where you guys (or the other awesome commenters) actually agree with me. No matter how few and far between those moments might be.

    (Into The Woods) On the last pod you guys asked me my thoughts on the question that I posed to you about if Giles and Willow haven fallen to the same fate of Xander. I’ll briefly respond by saying; no I don’t feel Willow or Giles have had a lessened role in the show and agree with the statements you made on last week podcast. But I also don’t feel that Xander’s role has fallen into the background either; thinking for a while on why that may be and I’ve come to this conclusion. Xander is my favorite character, has been since very early in the first season the first time I watched the show, so I think I follow his story more carefully then some of the other characters. His story of trying find himself in season 4, being directionless and eventually discovering where he fits in the scoobies and when we get to season 5 we are seeing Xander starting grow up, mature and become a more dependable friend and boyfriend, also the Xander story has become the Xander and Anya story. But again, I think I followed it for more closely cause of my love and connection to that specific character. On top of that, being a guy in a group of all girl friends I think I relate to where Xander comes from more often than not. Needless to say back in season 2 when the “Xander’s a douche” club was formed I was very saddened but secretly formed the “Xander is awesome” club, we are now taking members.

    (Checkpoint) Cordy, it was so fun to listen to you chopping at the bit to “rip into” my comments as you put it. As for my statement, of questioning Buffy regaining her lost confidence; Cordy you have won me over… to a point. In terms of the entire season I agree with you, she’s dealing with so much and it would be easy to have a lack of confidence in one’s self. However I think Robin put it best when he stated that I didn’t enjoy the journey of this specific episode and that’s where I feel that it fell flat for me. Buffy never came off as someone who was lacking confidence, her character is always so strong (and recovers quickly from weak moments) that I never thought of her as lacking confidence. Even in the episode where she is supposed to be the most unconfident she stands her ground against Glory and The Counsel (specially I’m think in the training sequence where she eventually just does things her way and “wins” the fight) and, even in a more joking sense, she stands up for point of view in history class even if she gets mocked for it. It just comes down to the fact that even in weakness Buffy shows strength, at least to me. By the way when Cordy said “Alright before I rip into that” and Robin responded “Easy” after the reading of my comments I couldn’t have smiled more.

    Well… four paragraphs later let’s talk about Blood Ties… oh no a Buffy birthday episode! Nothing good ever happens on Buffy’s birthday. Speaking of Buffy’s Birthday a quick fun Buffy fact, starting in season two each season contains a Buffy birthday episode roughly aring around the same date. Joss wanted to create a sense of time with in his universe and marked it with Buffy’s birthday. Surprise (S2, Jan 19 ’98 Buffy’s 17th Bday) Helpless (S3, Jan 19 ’99 Buffy’s 18th Bday) A New Man (S4, Jan 25 ’00 Buffy’s 19th Bday) Blood Ties (S5, Feb 6 ’01 Buffy’s 20th Bday)

    This episode really sucked me in, everyone finally finds out that Dawn is the key and every characters reaction was on point and hit all the right notes. Willow’s look of betrayal was simply heartbreaking. I liked that all the stories told in Blood Ties end up converging in one final scene, this is the second episode in a row where all the roads lead to the same destination and are serving the same purposes; I really hope this is a trend that continues.

    After every one finds out about the key we get a small story of Dawn coming home from school, Buffy’s birthday party (Really poignant scene with Dawn and giving the picture to Buffy), then the moment where Dawn finds out and it quickly snowballs from there into a massive search, a major reveal and another fight the seasons big bad. But at the heart of it is a very simple story of teenager finding out where she belongs within her family and searching for her place in world. This is another example of Buffy taking a common teenage story (where do I fit in this world) and slightly turning it on its head to great success.

    The scene with Dawn coming in after cutting herself was so strong, such a strong performance by Michelle Trachtenberg; I think in lesser hands Dawn could have been a complete misstep. This moment stood out to me as a highlight of many strong moments in this episode, I couldn’t go through my entire review without mentioning it.

    Nibblet is my favorite nick name Spike gives anyone in the show. Spike giving away that Dawn is the Key is played nearly perfectly, really enjoyed watching Dawn piece everything together and Spike’s reaction was great. Can my favorite moment of this episode just be every time Spike is on screen? So great, such perfect dialogue the writers and James Marsters really understand the character and it shows in every moment of this episode.

    The only real misstep in Blood Ties is Buffy’s line “She’s not real; she’s not our family, we don’t even know who she is.” I know that Buffy justifies the line by saying she thought it was what Dawn would be thinking. But I have a hard time that Buffy would say that Dawn is not a part of her family. She makes it very clear from the moment she finds out the truth about Dawn that Dawn is her family and that’s all that matters. It just seems to be one of those common TV moments where someone overhears something out of context and it causes a huge misunderstanding. It feels cliché in this episode that is anything but, what follows this moment is so good that I can forgive it, but I still have my issues.

    So Ben and Glory share a body and they are “family”. Prior to Blood Ties I remembered part of that information (the fact that they share a body) but the other half is not in my brain. I’ll be interested to see where that goes.

    The stuff with Ben and Glory and the Glory fight was good but nowhere near as good and entertaining as the scenes with Buffy, her family and the scoobies. By the end we finally have answers to what the Key is and Dawn has been cemented into the group. Another step in right direction for season 5, again an above average episode that is not great or amazing but strong in every aspect.

  2. Hi again! Yes, this is my first time ever watching Buffy, and I have to hand it to you guys, you have made it incredibly spoiler-free. Kudos! (You also did an awesome job pronouncing my name!) I’m also watching Angel in between Buffy episodes, trying to get the “right” order. Helps a lot with context when they cross over. (Speaking of which, Angel has a cell phone in either season 1 or 2 (or both), so they do exist in the Buffyverse!)

    Unfortunately, since this show is over a decade old, I definitely have not made it without loads of spoilers, so I know a lot of major plot points (like, I knew Dawn was some mystical force, and how this season ends, for example). One of the big things I was “spoiled” on was that I was supposed to hate Dawn’s character, but the episode “Blood Ties” threw that notion out the window for me. I loved her scenes in this episode because they are so raw and real. I definitely feel her as part of the Summers family by this episode, and that her story adds to the series. It seems unfair that the general idea about Dawn is that her story is bad and possibly where the show “jumped the shark”. Maybe that was just the general opinion that I heard, and not widely held, but I was surprised when I actually got to the Dawn story line and found it compelling.

    I did feel like the teleportation spell was a bit of a cop out, but I guess the writers need to prolong the final showdown between the Scoobies and Glory a little longer? Showing that it physically affected Willow means that it can’t be their “get out of trouble free” card, but it still seemed like lazy writing, played for a quick joke.

  3. Blood Ties
    I really feel for Dawn in this episode. I think her performance is just heartbreaking. That scene where she asks if she is real, and Joyce hugs her. Sad.
    I mostly like this episode. I like Buffy’s season 5 fighting style, and I like the fight scene in the hospital a lot. I like a lot of the fashion. Dawn’s notorious “get out get out get out” makes it’s first appearance.

    Does anyone else find it interesting that Buffy’s little sister has a name that means sunrise? Just wondering…

    The bad: I hate. HATE that Buffy tells Giles “it’s a family thing.” Seriously Buffy? Aside from the obvious slaynerness of this thing, and aside from Giles being the best person to explain the whole thing to Dawn, I hate it because with one line Buffy takes away the special thing about her relationship with Giles. Yet again Dawn’s new existence has shifted a character relationship that is so important to me.
    Giles has been at all of Buffy’s birthdays (unlike Joyce), he is the one who offered her ice cream when Angel broke up with her, he is the one who gave her the supportive parent talk when Angel turned evil. Giles is the one who lost his job with the council because he loved her like a daughter, and he is the one the council used as leverage to keep Buffy compliant in Checkpoint. He has worked as a co parent to Buffy with Joyce when Slayer duties overlap with life, life in Band Candy and Anne, and he has been onvolved with this Dawn issue with both Buffy and Joyce, and now suddenly “it’s a family thing,” and Giles isn’t family?
    Any other wording would have worked. Remember when he wanted to intercede on Buffy’s behalf when Joyce found out Buffy slept with Angel? Willow was like “sure, and say what?” I didn’t have a problem with that.

  4. Hey!
    I’ve just got 2 questions regarding Graduation Day (Long time ago- I know!) and Fear Itself (Which I just saw today- terrific episode).
    1. In Graduation Day, Xander says to Buffy “I don’t wanna lose you” and then later, Buffy’s seen washing her face and on the mirror there’s a sticker saying ‘Lost’ on it- Do you guys think it was coincidence or not?
    2. And then in Fear Itself, the Broken-Neck Frat guy says to Buffy ‘You’re not alone’ and then the dead hands grab her, do you think it means that even if her friends abandon her she’ll always be with the dead (or undead for that matter)?
    Thanks a bunch!

  5. Hey Robin and Cordia!
    It’s been a while, a season and a half since I commented on The Freshman. I’ve been listening every week I just haven’t had the time to comment because this was a tough and long semester. Thankfully it’s over!
    I have been anxiously waiting for you guys to get to this point of the series. I started laughing when you said that it was hard to imagine someone who would pick Dawn as their favorite character. Well I am one of them.
    Here is my reason, Buffy and Dawn’s relationship resembles the relationship I have with my own sister. I am three years older than she is. Dawn helped me see my sister differently. My sister lived with her dad and I lived with our mom so our relationship wasn’t the greatest. We actually started bonding over watching Buffy and Angel together but mostly Buffy. It brought us closer and when Dawn came on the show, it made it even easier to relate to the Summers Family. Dawn is very much like my sister minus the running away and getting captured and being a mystical key. Also I was a Michelle Trachtenberg fan before this (Harriet the Spy and The Adventures of Pete & Pete) so I think that was another reason I liked her so much even from the beginning.

    My favorite moment of the episode is the scene with Buffy and Dawn towards the end when Buffy reassures Dawn that she is her sister and that they are Blood. I just love how strong Buffy feels for her when she says “It doesn’t matter where you came from or how you got here you are my sister.” It’s a really sweet moment.

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