Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | January 5, 2013

Cordia’s Review: S5, E15 – I Was Made to Love You

 

I Was Made To Love You
Season 5, Episode 15
Original airing: 2/20/2001

My Rating: 69

The Good: I really enjoyed a lot of this episode. I thought April’s story was heartbreaking, and the reflections on Buffy were perfect. I also really enjoyed the integration of Warren as a character. And I thought Xander, Giles, and Spike all had great moments.

The concept of April’s story is heartbreaking to me. It’s a classic tale of one-sided love. April would literally do anything for Warren, she was made that way, but he doesn’t want her. Her single-minded searching is part of her programming and she’d go to the ends of the earth to find him. If she was anything but a robot, this would be super creepy behavior. As it is, April comes off as the wronged party. The actress playing April did a phenomenal job of portraying a robot with human programming. Her mannerisms and speech patterns had a veneer of humanity, but were just a bit off. I was really impressed.

But April’s true purpose is to be a foil to our beloved Buffy. The beginning of the episode opens with Buffy questioning why she loses the good guys and seems to attract the bad. Then she pursues a date with Ben, despite the extreme awkwardness of their interactions (see The Bad). But in the end, she realizes that she’s more than her romantic relationships. It’s mentioned by Warren that April’s batteries should have run down several days ago. But they don’t until the end of the episode when Warren has told April he doesn’t love her. My presumption is that “love” was keeping April going. So her “death” is literally showing her lack of purpose without Warren.

Buffy is so much more than that. She even says the cliché at the end that she needs to be comfortable just being alone. It’s a cliché, but it’s true as well. The idea that you can only truly be happy in a relationship when you are happy with yourself is one I highly support and have personal experience with. I liked that this is where the episode ended Buffy’s relationship arc for the moment.

I liked Warren as a character too. He’s another one that feels like a pervasive part of the universe before we even see him. His high school experience lets him know who Buffy is right away. And I liked that he instantly understood the situation and danger about April and fessed up to what he did. But mostly I appreciated his complexity as a human. Yes, he created a robot girlfriend. But he did it out of loneliness, which is an incredibly human trait. He exposes his cowardice by just abandoning April, but at the same time, there was something about him that attracted Katrina. And he goes with Buffy to find April. I can’t just dismiss him as a creep. He’s not portrayed as a great guy, but he’s definitely got layers.

I really enjoyed Xander in this episode. The show is doing a great job of presenting his more mature attitudes. His conversation with Buffy at the beginning has some humor, but also expresses his earnest beliefs that she’s a wonderful person. But it’s also plain that he’s not saying that to attract her, he’s saying it as her friend. And I love his scene at the end where he’s quietly proud of knowing how to fix the window. He’s gained some confidence from his work and his ability to translate it to usefulness in the Scooby world.

Giles has a wonderful shinning Ripper moment when he slams Spike into a bookcase and kicks him out of the Magic Box. And that came in the middle of more excellent Spike development. I like Spike telling Buffy he’s not leaving town. And then his utter failure to get the Scoobies on his side is awesome. But the capper is definitely when he collects all his Buffy paraphernalia and takes it to Warren. It’s a real reflection of Spike’s obsessive love for Buffy. If she won’t have him, he’ll get her another way.

Finally, the episode ended with a completely overshadowing moment. I forgot everything that had come before with April, Buffy, Spike, and the rest as soon as I saw Joyce’s body on the couch. The lead up of her date and perky attitude make it feel so stark to see her sprawled with her eyes open. And Buffy’s inability to do anything but call her is heart-breaking.

The Bad: While I enjoyed the connections between Buffy and April, I was distracted by how they stuck out of the story. The writing made it very clear what we were supposed to be taking from the episode and I found that very distracting.

The only parts of the episode I really truly disliked, however, were April’s combat mode and Ben’s awkwardness. Ben is so awkward!

The combat mode just made no sense and was way too silly for an ending to the story. She wants to attack Buffy? Great. But do we need to actually know it’s because she has a combat mode?? Why would she have that?

But I found Ben the most annoying. I can’t understand why they would want to spend time together when every interaction Ben and Buffy have is incredibly uncomfortable. I just do not find him appealing.

Favorite Moment: April’s passing was very sweet and poignant, and incredibly sad. She questions her purpose if not to be with Warren, then decides to just wait for him to come back. There’s a strong analogy that she just can’t exist without Warren. It makes Buffy really look at why she’s so concerned with having a boyfriend. And the actress does an excellent job of portraying April’s batteries dying.

The Bottom Line: The writing was a little too on the nose for me to get fully immersed in the episode, but I thought the concept and acting was really good. I definitely enjoyed each story and sub-story here, right up to the gut punch at the end.

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