Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | March 16, 2014

Robin’s Review – S7, E19 – Empty Places

Synopsis: The residents of Sunnydale begin to flee. Xander recovers in hospital. Caleb meets Buffy at the school and punches her through a wall. Spike and Andrew head off to a church Caleb visited and discover an ancient inscription. Faith takes the Potentials to the Bronze and has a run in with the police. Buffy declares that they will again attack the Vineyard but everyone refuses.

The Good: To see people fleeing town is a logical way to demonstrate how serious the coming apocalypse is, especially given what these people have lived through so far.

Xander and Willow trying to indulge in gallows humour but getting emotional was well performed by both.

The Bad: Buffy being exiled by the Scoobies and Potentials was unconvincing. Yes, she led them on an unsuccesful assault that cost Xander his eye. But frankly they’ve all been hugely fortunate to suffer only a couple of broken bones in six years on the hellmouth. I can definitely see from that incident why the Potentials would vote for Faith to take charge. And perhaps given the recent friction Giles would also want a coup d’etat. But I don’t buy Willow or Dawn suggesting that not only is Buffy unfit to lead but also needs to leave her own home. And quite where Anya finds the nerve to accuse Buffy, self sacrificing Buffy, of just being lucky I don’t know. It felt contrived and emotionally false.

Given this season’s shaky narrative it seems like this is just a phase on Buffy’s leadership journey. It can’t be anyone else who leads the troops into battle on the hellmouth so surely this is just a temporary rejection where she will learn an important lesson.

I wish someone had told Principal Wood to mind his own business. He really got stuck into Buffy’s leadership when he wasn’t even around for the last two episodes. He and Faith shared no chemistry in their slightly odd, I know what you did last summer, conversation.

Why do the monsters employed by the First just beat Buffy up and leave? In previous seasons Buffy has been the key to beginning the apocalypse so I suppose it could be that again. It always feels a bit contrived and this season it feels positively irritating.

Would anyone have noticed if Andrew wasn’t in this episode? He was like a fly here, buzzing around contributing nothing. And why did we need yet another recap on the Turok-Han from Anya?

The Unknown: The idea that police officers sent to track Faith down would try to kill her was interesting. Under the hellmouths influence and the stress of the town exodus they decide to enact some harsh justice with their guns. Ok. Then Faith and the Potentials beat them up. Ok. Then Buffy arrives and doesn’t ask what Faith was doing wailing on the boys in blue. She doesn’t seem to care. It was a bizarre omission that would have taken a second to clear up.

What did the inscription that Spike found mean? What will she wield? Is the she Buffy? Does he read Latin? Did we know that? Was it in Latin?

Best Moment: Xander and Willow try not to cry.

The Bottom Line: Not only was this poor but the Caleb story feels like a rehash of the Turok-Han plot. Buffy gets beaten up, everyone doubts her, she overcomes it. Why would we think it will be any different this time?



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