Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | February 4, 2014

Podcast #142: First Date

Here’s the podcast for Season 7, Episode 14 – First Date

Just another date for Xander

Just another date for Xander

Download: First Date

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The next podcast will appear on Monday 10th February 2014  for episode fifteen of Season Seven: “Get it Done.” Buffy learns more about her power.

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  1. For First Date:

    I hated, hated, hated Giles’ speech at the end! Most of the episode felt like classic Buffy – threats and fights combined with some levity and self-deprecating humor. And then comes Giles to tell them to go back to being overly-serious about the threat they’re facing. That would be fine if they had shown more about the First. But what has it done and we as an audience should care about? Its followers killed some girls we had never met and threatened some other girls who we don’t know and are never really established. It’s hard for me to care when I still have refer to the potentials as “Felicia Day’s character” or “that chick from Lizzie McGuire” or “Willow’s really obnoxious girlfriend.” At least when Glory was piddling around most of season 5, she was threatening Dawn, a single character who was given a couple of episodes of her own and who felt (mostly) like a real person. Giles can say all he wants that this is a huge threat, but if we never really see it…. This is the problem with movies and shows having the villain be some form of the devil. In most mythologies, the Ultimate Evil is the thing that influences mortals into doing evil deeds. It can’t really be defeated and have the story stay even remotely believable.

    Get it Done:

    I actually really liked this one. We’ve seen in the past that Council has constantly tried to exert control over the most powerful woman in the world, especially with the Cruciamentam (sorry, can’t spell). Now we see that this was the way it had always been. The Slayer was created because a bunch of old men were too cowardly to fight the evil creatures, so they gave a single woman the power to do so, knowing that she’d eventually be killed in the process and, therefore, never be much of a threat to them. Otherwise, it would make sense to have imparted that power to many women and send them all over the world to eradicate the monsters. Station at least one at each hellmouth to guard it, maybe.

    • That’s interesting, Erica – a lot of the conclusion we draw depends on what we think was possible for the shadow men. If they could have given themselves the power, then I agree it was cowardly not to, but my stereotype of men is that if they could have given the slayer power to a man, they would have. Similarly, I’m not sure if they had the option to give the power to more than one person back then – since this is the first we’ve heard of them, it’s hard to say.

  2. I didn’t like “Get It Done” but I couldn’t tell you exactly why, I think its centers around Buffy’s speechifying halfway through the episode. At first I’m kind of alright with Buffy getting emotional over the disappearing slayer Chloe’s suicide and she’s going to toughen the potentials. Probably not my preferred motivation but at least it’s something. Then Kennedy stands up and manages to outdo her horrible impression of a drill instructor by being indignant that Buffy is talking down to Willow. Here’s where the scene begins to lose me. I thought Buffy was yelling at the potentials for not being good enough because she has hardly trained them but now she’s yelling at her friends plus Anya. At first I wrote it off as typical Kennedy awfulness but then Buffy does start yelling at everyone in the room. Yelling at the potentials is a bit more excusable theyre young, Buffy’s their leader and yelling at them could scare them into doing something productive. Yelling at her friends does nothing but make Buffy look rude, pretentious and a huge jerk.

    It has always bothered me that Buffy and Willow haven’t treated Anya as a friend. It makes Anya seem isolated then she already is, they even treated Cordelia who was far more hostile with more kindness then they treated Anya. So I’m not a fan that they call out Anya and Buffy’s non relationship and that Anya serves no useful purpose on the show. Even worse is Buffy calling out Spike on not being evil enough. I’m pretty sure the show is all but going to drop Spike’s trigger or at least we will never see them fix it but telling Spike who has been reasonably holding back that he needs to unleash the beast is more irresponsible then Buffy telling him to stay because she needs him around.

  3. I feel very confused about this episode. It just feels odd. Buffy suddenly going all angry and shouting just seemed out of character. Perhaps suggesting that the First have really scared her but didn’t really believe it.

    The idea that the First is able to get under people’s skin is good but loses power when we don’t actually see it doing it.

    Poor Spike’s problems continue. Now he’s berated for being inadequately aggressive – weird thing to tell say to someone who previously attempted to rape you. And getting the coat back is all well and good but as he swirled it around him I just thought – oh look Joss has always wanted to do a superhero movie.

    The shadow puppets were beautiful and spooky. I also loved how it discussed the origins of the slayer. I never really understood what Buffy was trying to do though. Odd that she rejects further power from them as it would come from a demon and yet doesn’t have any discussion about how her present power is from a demon anyway.

  4. First Date podcast comments:

    – I agree with Robin that it sounds selfish for Buffy to tell Spike “I’m not ready for you to leave yet.” If she’s keeping him around for emotional support, that’s using him just like sleeping with him was. It’s a realistic thing for a 20 year old to do, though.

    – I did not have much reaction to Giles’ speech. I appreciate that from his perspective, the First has just killed scores of people, but from my perspective, it’s just another big bad, and kind of an annoying pathetic one at that. What makes it any worse than the Judge or Acathla or Glory or Willow or that thing from the Zeppo for that matter? I was tired of the show trying to convince me that THIS TIME IT’S SERIOUS when it was Glory, and I’m less impressed by the First.

    – Nice work, Cordia, on figuring out the text message timing. I was completely confused, but your explanation makes perfect sense.

  5. I think Buffy’s speech midway through the episode was way more effective at showing the seriousness of the situation than Giles’s at the end of last episode. Seeing Chloe’s body really spurred her fear and I think that’s why she’s so aggressive with the potentials and the other Scoobies. I think she did need to call out Anya, Spike, and Willow here. They need to fight at 110%. And ugh, Kennedy. She definitely needed to be taken down a few pegs, and it took getting zapped by Willow to get there. Maybe now she will be less of a brat.

    Principal Wood’s mustache twirly-ness here was so much better than the other times, because now we know why and it makes sense. Even if we didn’t know about Spike killing his mother, it would make sense. That whole business with him having bloody knives and burying Jonathan’s body was just misdirection for the sake of it.

    Did anyone else feel really uncomfortable in the scene with the shadow men, Buffy and the demon? It felt kind of like a rape scene to me, and even more so when Buffy refers to it as being “knocked up”. It really makes the concept of the slayer seem so disgusting, but I guess maybe that was what Joss was going for?

  6. I also felt like the scene in the cave looked very much like a rape scene, further underscored by Buffy’s comment that the shadow men “violated” that first girl. I think it’s an interesting concept and one I definitely did not see coming, to take the slayer mythology that, at it’s core, has always been about female empowerment, the girl in the horror movie who fights back, and have that be rooted in this act of rape, violation, whatever you want to call it.

    Did they mention where Giles is? After last week’s “you need to get serious” speech I’m sure he would have something to say about the current situation in the house and Chloe’s death.

  7. The Shadow Men are…. a problem. Since they are part of the Slayer mythology I assume they must have been created personally by Joss Wheedon. So Buffy’s comments about the them probably also come directly from Wheedon. And, unfortunately, Buffy’s opinion of these first Watchers is completely hypocritical.

    Buffy *likes* the power given to the Slayers. The power is good. It saves lives. It helps her prevent demonic apocalypse on a semi-yearly basis. It lets her move boxes and furniture much more easily. All good stuff.

    However Buffy *also* thinks it was very, very wrong of the Shadow Men to force this power on the First Slayer, because they are big, dumb, scaredy cat MEN. Who are meanies and smell bad. And they should never force anything on any woman without her express written permission, not even if what they are forcing on her is great physical power, the ability to heal rapidly and the ability to save herself and the entire world from vampires and demons.

    No. That was wrong of them. Bad, bad Shadow Men. How dare they? How dare they! And what a bunch of cowards, afraid of mere vampires, demons and world-ending hell dimensions.

    Calling them cowards does, perhaps seem a bit of a cheap shot coming from Buffy, a super-powered Slayer, who still manages to cry and say how frightened she is before each apocalypse. But let’s not get sidetracked here. The Shadow Men are the baddies. Because they are MEN.

    Now, if the Slayer power had been forced on the First Slayer by women, that would have been fine. Women understand these things. Plus they are nice and always right.

    • The Shadow Men WERE very wrong. And no, you SHOULDN’T ever force anything on a woman without her permission! They were afraid of the threats facing the world and knew that, even with the powers, a human wouldn’t be likely to last very long. So they gave them to a woman so she could fight their battles for a few years, get killed, and then have it start all over again. Again, without consulting her or asking her. If they thought the powers were so great and the honor of saving the world was so great, why did they have to kidnap a woman and tie her up to give her these powers? Why would they not fight among themselves for the honor and power? You’re upset that the show mocks them for being afraid of vampire, demons, and the forces of darkness, but I think it more mocks their cowardice. Buffy and co. routinely anguish over the threats and big bads and they are certainly afraid, but they always step up to do what needs to be done. These guys just passed it on to someone else.

      • I think it be wrong to say that Buffy likes the power. Not in the sense that she’d give it up but I think if you could wipe Buffy’s memories of the past seven years and she’d have lived a normal slayerless life then she’d gladly have done it. The Shadow Men force onto all slayers this life of constantly being hunted and having to hunt demons.

      • I think Derek is right – Buffy would sort of prefer that someone else get called to be the Slayer so that she could be normal, but given that there are monsters and no one else does a good job being the Slayer, Buffy’s stuck with the job. (As an example, Buffy was pretty excited to learn about Faith, because that implied she didn’t have to be the Slayer full time, but not that jazzed when she thought she had lost her powers before the Cruciamentum).

        Given that, of course, why doesn’t Buffy want to be a super-duper-slayer?

  8. Get It Done

    I mostly liked this episode. I’m a sucker for anything that expands the mythology, and the shadowbox effect was spooky and cool.

    Buffy’s speech: I thought this fit the character’s known flaws. First, she lets the burden of being the slayer isolate her from other people, and second, she’s a very bad guidance counsellor. Both of those showed here, where she took out her frustration at letting what’s her name die by yelling at everyone.

    The shadowmen: Even on rewatch, I’m still not clear why Buffy turns down the power-up. Now that we’ve learned that the first slayer was unwilling, that was obviously wrong, but I’ve never seen anything to suggest that Buffy would give up her power if she could. She’s rather be a normal girl in a world with no monsters, but given that there ARE monsters, I think she prefers to have the superpowers. If things are as bad as she thinks they are, why not take more superpowers? She’ll sacrifice her actual life to save the people she loves, but not her pride? I mean, if she really doesn’t like being the slayer, Giles has a shot for that.

    Spike: I wasn’t sure what to feel about Spike. He went through kind of a bad-ass mini-arc on this episode, but I felt like I was watching a different show for his scenes. The conflict between him and Robin is setting up nicely, though, and “New York” was a great line.

  9. Hey guys, if any of you were fans of Dollhouse there’s a little cute indie film that I saw on demand called Lust for Love that has Dollhouse actors a plenty. Here’s a trailer if this sort of movie interests you.

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