Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | January 27, 2014

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

Synopsis: Giles takes the Potentials on the desert retreat where Buffy first met the First Slayer. A call from London has them worried that he might be the First. Kennedy fakes illness to get out of the trip so she can take Willow on a date. When they kiss Willow transforms into Warren’s physical form. She is freaked out and seeks out the help of her college wicca group. Meanwhile Spike’s chip is malfunctioning and giving him splitting headaches. So he and Buffy break into the abandoned Initiative to look for help.

The Good: Buffy and Spike visiting the Initiative made good use of the show’s backstory and the haunted house fight sequence was something different. I had to smile at their Ghostbusters banter and Riley asking his subordinates to call Spike “ass face.” I also liked the sensible precaution of chaining Spike up when Buffy’s not around and enjoyed seeing them stand back to back when searching for demons in the dark. Why wouldn’t you do that?

To build a story around Willow getting over Tara makes a lot of sense and Alyson Hannigan did fine with the emotional scenes.

The Bad: However for various reasons it never clicked.

I think we should start with Kennedy who is not a bad actress but is a bland one. I always look to blame the writers before the actor and they didn’t help her with a character sketch of four words: Potential rich gay girl. As usual within the Buffyverse she was given dialogue that marked her out as someone with confidence and style as she flirted with Willow and descriped how her gaydar worked. But it never felt entirely convincing. It felt slightly odd that we were seeing such a long flirtatious evening between two characters. Perhaps because of the one-way nature of the conversation. Kennedy talked about how much she liked Willow and said nothing about herself.

The transformation into Warren and the reapperence of Amy rather underlined my impression of Iyari Limon (Kennedy) as a weak link. Both Warren and Amy conveyed their personality clearly with far less screen time. The change into Warren was an interesting idea but we didn’t spend enough time with Willow to buy that her transformation was really happening. Yelling misogynistic things is not the same as convincing the audience of fundamental change. The decision to restage the scene of Tara’s murder felt more than a little awkward. Again it felt less like a genuine result of Willow and Warren blending together and more like an absence of subtlety in driving home the point that Kennedy’s magic lips had made Willow momentarily let go of Tara’s memory. Had the moment been earned the fairtytale kiss might have worked nicely but as it was it felt convenient.

I think the story probably would have functioned better without Amy’s involvement. We’ve established that Willow struggles to keep her power under control and so a guilt-induced glamour would have made sense. To throw in some exposition about Amy being jealous was a waste of time. Will Buffy go hunt her down next week? I doubt it.

One of the reasons more time wasn’t spent on Willow was because the rest of the Scoobies were contractually obliged to get their own plot. This season misdirection has become an annoying crutch that rarely pays off. Apparently Giles’ amazing escape from decapitation was designed to get us to a moment where we might believe he was the First. At no point did that seem believable. Are you telling me that since he returned Giles hasn’t sat in a chair, opened a door, made a cup of tea or eaten a meal with anyone? Didn’t he turn up carrying papers from the Watcher’s Council? The idea that he hugged no one on arrival is beyond ludicrous.

The Unknown: Presumably Buffy will choose to have Spike’s chip removed. It wouldn’t make narrative sense to go through the dark tunnels of the Initiative only to repair it. It might malfunction again and he already killed people with it in so she has her arguments ready when Xander objects. I’m not sure why this was necessary though. Hopefully it will be followed up on.

Did Buffy mention the First to the Government guys? You’d think it would be worth mentioning.

Best Moment: Buffy: “Not a  book thing. It’s a phone thing.”
Spike: “Who you gonna call? (They exchange looks) God, that phrase is never gonna be usable again is it?”

The Bottom Line: A very flawed attempt to do something interesting.

47/100

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