Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | July 3, 2013

Cordia’s Review: S6, E12 – Doublemeat Palace

Doublemeat Palace
Season 6, Episode 12
Original airing: 1/29/2002

My Rating: 62

The Good: I liked the presentation of this episode and I think it did a great job of emphasizing the theme of the entire season – It sucks to be Buffy. Dawn hits it over the head with her conversation with Xander. This is basically it for Buffy. She doesn’t have time or money to devote to a better career. She’s going to be stuck in minimum wage jobs for the rest of her (potentially short) life.

The sound effects were awesome in this episode to really showcase the awfulness of Buffy’s job. And it made it a really sad moment at the end when she asked for her terrible job back.

I liked Willow’s story as well. Having her hit with some magic from Amy in the midst of her cold turkey recovery made her decisions at the end very powerful. I liked that she ended up telling Buffy about it, despite hiding it from everyone earlier. And I really liked that she made a firm decision that it was bad for her. She avoided relapse and took time to get Amy (a bad influence) out of her life. It felt very appropriate.

Finally, I’m a fan of Halfrek’s introduction to the story. Her two conversations with Anya were great for bringing the struggling Anya/Xander relationship back to the forefront of the show. And it made me look at the relationship in a different light as well. Halfrek does a great job of pointing out that Xander is, and has always, attempted to mold Anya into what he thinks a human woman should act like. Sure, she has some quirks most people would consider unseemly, but in the end, she’s really a fine person. Anya doesn’t need to be fixed in that manner and that kind of controlling behavior is a hallmark of dysfunctional and abusive relationships.

The Bad: The unfortunate part of this episode was the ending. The entire time the show is building up this red herring about human burgers and then suddenly it’s just veggie burgers and the real baddie is an old woman with a snake demon in her head. It’s a pretty poorly done bait and switch and left me feeling sour about the episode.

On top of that, I was really annoyed by the use of Willow running around, coming in at just the right moment, being able to find something to cut through the snake in one swing… it all was a little too fast and way too silly.

One other thing that didn’t work for me in the episode was the extreme robotic nature of the other employees and the hyper vigilance of Manny the Manager. There’s no explanation given for the behavior of the employees except that they work in a dead end job. But they act so incredibly brainwashed, it’s just too unbelievable. And Manny is pretty darn determined to protect the secret of the veggie burgers. He’s not even phased to see the human finger Buffy finds under the meat grinder.

Favorite Moment: As a continuing fan of Spike and Buffy’s situation, I really love the moment in the restaurant where Spike tries to convince Buffy to quit. Despite his evil nature, it adds such a dimension to his character to see that he does genuinely care for Buffy’s happiness.

The Bottom Line: I enjoyed an awful lot of this episode, much more than I expected to on rewatch. The poor bait and switch and unexplainable behavior of the employees did keep it from being awesome, though.

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