Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | January 27, 2014

Cordia’s Review – S7, E13 – The Killer in Me

The Killer In Me
Season 7, Episode 13
Original airing: 2/4/2003

My Rating: 52

The Good: This episode had a very interesting premise that fell flat, but it was bolstered by the B story of Buffy and Spike.

Willow turning into Warren as a concept is super cool. I think dealing with her guilt over the murder and Tara’s death are things that need to be done. We’ve also seen Willow’s magic run rampant before, so this would have fit perfectly in line with that history. Unfortunately, the time isn’t spent with Willow to develop the transformation and make her decision to buy a gun and shoot Kennedy remotely believable.

Buffy and Spike are the best part of the episode. I found myself impressed that I never felt James Marsters’ headache acting was over the top. And it was nice to see our characters making reasonable, logical decisions. I feel like that has been missing here. But the attempt to contact Riley followed by the trepidatious fieldtrip to the Initiative site were very well done. It also led to the excellent callback to the flower shop phone call when the Initiative guys did show up.

The chip story needed to be handled and this leads to a perfect reason to remove it and the complications inherent in its existence. Its erratic use over the course of several seasons has made it seem quite worthless anyway, so let’s chuck that thing.

Finally, while I didn’t buy the Giles story (see the Bad), I did really like how Xander, Anya, and Dawn handled the situation. They are obviously on the same wavelength about the potential problems here and the seriousness of the situation. And it was cute to see them all tackle Giles.

The Bad: The problem with the Giles story is that it’s completely unbelievable that he had been in the house for several episodes (most likely weeks) without eating, touching, or physically interacting with anything in anyway. Plus, we saw him sit on the coffee table in the first scene. If this was supposed to be a clue that he isn’t the First, then why the obvious reminder from Andrew that the First can’t touch things? The misdirection wouldn’t work and the drama the show was attempting to create would have fallen flat.

But even without that goof, it was a ludicrous idea concerning the length of time. If this had happened a few hours after Giles first appearance, it would have been much more convincing.

But the thing that kept this episode from shinning was the main plot. Kennedy is such a large fixture in the story and she is just incredibly flat and boring. Adding to her strange overbearing self-confidence is the hint from prior episodes that she, like the rest of the girls, is only about 15. So her pursuit of 23 year old Willow is a bit creepy. Plus, she apparently lies all the time. Lied about being sick, lied about why they were going out, etc. She also apparently worships Willow without knowing much about her. All in all, it doesn’t feel real.

That being said, if the change had truly been caused by Kennedy’s kiss and Willow’s guilty feelings, I think it would have been a better story. Having Amy appear as the classic, cackling villain full of jealousy and rage was a huge crutch. We haven’t seen her since last season and it feels like they just wanted to pull in a familiar face so this wouldn’t all be Willow’s fault. And after introducing the concept that this is a hex from Amy, it is inexplicably broken by a fairytale kiss. Amy never mentions the end of the spell or how it could come about, but this just made me roll my eyes in disdain. From the moment of Amy’s reveal, everything about the story felt extremely generic and not very Buffy.

Favorite Moment: Buffy and Spike’s first scene in the basement is quite sweet. Nothing overt is said and no physical contact is exchanged, but it’s easy to see they care about each other and their respective situations.

The Bottom Line: This episode had a very cool concept and dealt with a story that needed to be told regarding Willow moving on from Tara’s death. Unfortunately, it did it in a very basic and essentially pointless manner. It was bolstered by the well thought out Spike and Buffy story, but was pulled down yet again by the inconceivably terrible presentation of the idea that Giles might be evil. That just didn’t work. Overall, I felt this rollercoaster episode evened itself out and was just ok.

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