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17 May 2008 @ 03:06 pm
WaTchers Review  
Season One, Episode 15 -

About Last Night 




Story by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Written by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Directed by: CN Winters and Susan Carr
Produced by: CN Winters and Susan Carr
Edited by: Kate
Sound Department: Steff
Art Director: Chris Cook
Artists: Chris Cook, David Zahir, Chantal, CN Winters
Guest Starring:
Jordan Baker as Sheila Rosenberg, Sam Waterston as Ira Rosenberg, Thora Birch as Tracey, Lexa Droig as Greet and Brent Spiner as Tram.

Where We Are: In the last episode, the Council was hosting a gaggle of visitors seeking shelter from the blizzard that was socking Cleveland. Among these are Tracey, Andrew's helper/kitchen staff who doesn't know what the "school" really does. There's also Brell and his relatives, demons who are not of the 'crush-kill-destroy' kind. The Council counts Brell as an ally. Becca Montague is there as a special guest of Rupert's and the two of them are dating. She knows about the demon's haunting the world after a gang of vampires nearly killed her and she witnessed the young Slayers lifting weights they shouldn't have been able to. Bonnie, the real estate agent is also seeking shelter from the storm. She's the one that showed off the building to the Council that they now inhabit. But she's also more; she is in league with an extra-dimensional demonic group known as The Presidium, who is apparently invading other demon realms and obviously have their sights set on Earth. The Council has no idea they have a viper in their midst. Finally, Willow's folks are sheltering at the Council. They also have no idea of the reality of what their daughter faces daily. In addition, her father, Ira, is extremely unhappy with what her daughter is doing with her life. He wanted her to go to an ivy league school and "make something of herself". In the meanwhile, her dopey mother is trying to push her toward a romantic relationship, now that her and Kennedy have broken up.

Teaser: We start in the guest room of Ira and Sheila where he is expressing his disappointment with Willow, again, while Sheila is trying to make him see that she's happy with what she's doing. There an interesting bit of family history here, as Ira shares a bit of what's going on in his mind with this:

(Ira to Sheila Rosenberg): "Coincidence," Ira grumbled, looking back out the window. "And a damn shame because it only perpetuates this myth she's created in her mind. This wasn't the life I wanted for her. And what if the press gets wind of it? I can just see the headlines now…Family of Notorious Spy Accused of Witchcraft. We've done everything we could to shield her from that, Sheila. We moved to a small town and we've lived fairly obscure lives just to keep the press off our backs. Willow deserves better. Everything was for her."

Hmmm. Elsewhere, Xander is in the kitchen near dawn, but he's not there alone. It seems that Ro is also in the habit of sneaking down to the kitchen before the rest of the Council wakes. Xan tells her about the new multi-shot crossbow idea he wants to develop as his first contribution as the Council's new 'Weapons Master'.

Still elsewhere, Becca wakes up on Willow's sofa later that morning to find that Will isn't there. She calls Giles to check in with him. Willow, meantime is also waking up in Kennedy's bed, where she ended up naked with her the night before. Except, that they're supposed to be broken up, now. I think Will's face says it all:

 
Ooops!


Act One: Willow and Kennedy deal with the morning after and though they've agreed before hand that this was going to be a "one last time" deal, Willow is still regretting it, it appears. Kenn seems far more blase about it.

Elsewhere in the Slayer dorms, Bonnie is on her cell phone and reporting to the Presidium that Brell's family (who are running from the invasion of their home dimension) are in fact present at the Council. It's briefly discussed if she should kill the demons, but it's decided that her role as spy works better for the moment.

At that moment in the kitchen of the Council, Willow and Kenn's togetherness the night previously has been the gossip and everyone is waiting to see what this means. Ro is very displeased, being Kennedy's Watcher, and engages in a private exchange with Willow over her "flip-flopping" and the effect it could have on Kenn in the field. But the conversation takes a more serious turn when Ro finds out that Willow and Giles talked to Kennedy about the identitiy of her mother, without her official Watcher knowing anything about it. She's really not happy now, and Giles gets called into the hallway, to Faith's amusement.

Ro confronts Giles and Willow on discussing such important information with her Slayer without consulting with her. While Giles feels the Jenny-matter wasn't Council business, Ro feels that anything that could emotionally or mentally handicap Kenn's performance of her duties is so her business. She's also less than happy with Willow's admitting that they didn't get into the details of Angel's involvment in the death of Jenny and how Kenn will take it if she finds out they didn't reveal the whole story to her. She storms away.

Kennedy tracks down Ro in the practice room in order to clear the air about what happened the night before with Willow. She, of course, doesn't realize that this isn't the major thing that Ro is upset about, though it partly is. Ro doesn't want Kennedy upset by Willow anymore, considering how badly she handled the initial breakup
(remember that matter of letting a vamp feed from her?) but Kenn explains things to her:

(Kenn to Ro, re: Willow): "Willow does love me," Kennedy answered with a sad grin, "but she loves the memory of Tara more. And as much as one part of my brain thinks I should be angry, the other part…it really feels for Willow. I thought if I showered her with attention and affection I could make it all go away but, I was wrong and this is something she has to do on her own. But last night…it was like she really let me in for the first time and by doing that I could let go. That doesn't make any sense, does it?"

The bonding between Ro and Kenn here is a good thing. There's been too much tension with the new Watcher from everyone. They talk a bit about Jenny (but not the missing Angel information) and about Kennedy's former Watcher. We find out that Kenn had been one of the Potentials discovered when she was still a child and had been training with a crossbow since at least the age of 9.

The scene ends with the discovery of Tram and the family Blue by Sheila, Ira, Tracey and Bonnie. There's screams all around (except by Bonnie - but Tram's children scream because of seeing her).

Act Two: Act Two opens with Ro and Kennedy meeting an upset Sheila and Ira in the hallway. While Kenn goes to check on Andrew, Tram and his family, Ro leads Willow's parents to her and Giles in the library. 

While Willow and Giles prepare to reveal what she really does to Ira and Sheila, Kennedy is dealing with Tram's family, who reveals that the "woman who sent the other demons after them" is in the building... i.e. Bonnie, the fake real estate agent. Kenn immediately calls for Faith, Vi and Rona. In another hallway, Andrew has to explain the real situation to Tracey.

The 'discussion' doesn't go well for Willow. Ira is convinced she's crazy and Sheila wants Willow to "compromise" to give Ira a chance to adjust to what she's been saying. Willow won't budge - she knows who she is and that this is what she supposed to be doing.

Ira storms out, while Sheila follows him with a sigh.

The explanations that Andrew gives to Tracey goes a lot better, as he explains about the Slayers, the demons, and the Watchers. Tracey asks him what his role is in this, and this is Andrew's view of himself:

(Andrew to Tracey, re: his Council role): "I'm their cook," he said in a low voice. "I keep the kitchens organized, and I direct the housekeeping crew and basically I just help out where I'm needed. You see…not too long ago I did some really evil things. Things I'm not very proud of. So this is what I do. As the Vulcans say, 'we're here to serve'. And I serve the Council. Whatever Mr. Giles or Willow or any one else needs, I do. They recently sent me to L.A. to act as a liaison to one of our associates and I got into my role a little too much and…well actually that's not important. The point is, I'll do anything for them…even if it's to give my life. They gave me a home and a purpose even when I didn't deserve it. And that's my role, Tracey. To serve."

And that, my friends, is why Andrew is at the Council... and more to the point, why he belongs there.

 
Andrew Wells - just another guy struggling toward redemption.


Tracey takes things better than Ira Rosenberg and when Andrew gives her the option of leaving, she chooses to stay on. 

In the Rec Room, Xander and Becca talk a little bit about Willow and magic and his former loss of an eye. We find out here though that there's been an unexpected side effect of the magic that healed his eye: he sees Becca being hurt a moment before it happens... after he intervenes, he admits that while he was traveling after the mojo, he found that he could sometimes see things about a minute before they happen. Xander imposes secrecy on Becca, at least until Willow has her own problems straightened out.

Elsewhere, Faith is escorting Tram's family to safety in a Council vehicle when it's slammed in the side, causing an accident. Inside the van, Rona points out the four demons waiting for them.

Act Three: Vi and Faith engage in fisticuffs (only with swords and axes) but find they can't get any tread on the icy ground... a problem that the clawed demons are not having. In the meantime, Rona and Tram's family are attacked within the Council van as a demon breaks out a back window and attempts to grab the kids. Her attempts to throw the van into reverse and mash the thug fail miserably as the wheels just spin in the icy snow.

During the demon scuffle, Faith is injured by an axe and though Vi defeats their attackers quite handily, she has Rona return everyone to the Council. 

Willow blows off another go-round with Ira in order to focus on getting Faith to the infirmary and getting the doctor on his way to the Council.

As Willow is taking care of Faith, her parents are witness to the danger that their daughter has been putting her self in. Instead of being proud of her, of course, Ira is even more critical of her choices:

(Ira to Willow): "I was concerned for your well-being before," Ira told Willow. "But now…" "Now I'm terrified for you," he told her sternly. "And I'm going to find a way to get you out of here come hell or high water."

_Sigh_

Act Four: Bonnie is still acting the innocent with Kenn playing along, stating that Tram and his family have a rare genetic condition that makes them 'freaks'. Bonnie knows the truth, of course, but she plays along. What's not clear here is whether Kenn is really still buying her act or not. I think not.

With Ira being so obstinate, Willow has finally had enough and confronts both him and more importantly, Sheila, on what they should already have figured out already
(with shades of Buffy's confronting Joyce's 'dome of ignorance' in "Becoming Part II), even reminding Sheila that she tried to burn her alive while under a spell ("Gingerbread")

(Willow to her parents): "Let me refresh them (the details) for you Mom. You and a bunch of Sunnydale radicals tied me, Buffy and Amy to stakes. Then you tried to torch us using Giles's library as tinder. A-and not to mention it took me three years to de-rat Amy who really was, it turns out, a witch and not a good witch like me a-and now I'm getting off topic." Willow shook her head to refocus. "The point is you've known all along that this wasn't some figment of my overactive imagination. What I do is important and it's very real."

 
Willow confronts her parents the same way that Buffy confronted Joyce's ignorance.


With Ira storming out again, this time in part due to his wife having hiddens things from him as well as Willow's demands that she live her own life, Will goes to the infirmary to check on Faith. She's healing well, but is a poor patient. In the meantime, Kenn inherits her escort duty of Tram's family. She also clues the gang into the fact that Bonnie is up to something, just like the demon spawn stated. 

While she's taking care of that, Willow is having trouble letting go of the 'night before' and talks to Robin about it. She's concerned because she feels like maybe she might want Kennedy after all, and at the same time, she knows that she's doing the right thing by breaking if off in the first place. The truth is, she still hasn't ever let go of Tara and she feels like a bad person for it. Robin is all sympathy, but he also gives her some 'hard love' advice.

Elsewhere, Bonnie is chatting with the Engineer of the Presidium. She believes that the Council doesn't suspect anything is up with her, but she does admit they are suspicious (but she thinks that's just a side effect of their jobs). The Engineer states that Phase One of whatever the device is their working on will be ready within the week. It's connected (or the same?) device that they had strapped Jeff into. We still don't know what it means, but it must have something to do with a magic-user.

 
Bonnie, betrayer of Humanity along with the Engineer and Presidium members in the background.


We still get no indication of what Bonnie is getting out of this deal with these conquerers. But obviously they intend an invasion of Earth, which makes me think they're preparing to open a portal for their armies (the Cleveland Hellmouth?). Stay tuned.

With the blue demons being escorted to safety and the airport open again, all of the Council's visitors get ready to leave, including Willow's parents. There's some Willow/Xan/Andrew humor/bonding, but things don't end completely copacetic for Willow's relationship with her parents....

 
Ira Rosenberg - not exactly a happy man in the end.


As Willow is feeling a bit sorry for herself and the gang try to make her see that she's truly done so much good, despite her parent's (and especially father's) opinion, she gets a call from L.A. 

(Willow after she disconnects from L.A.): Willow pursed her lips and shook her head, holding back her tears. "Angel said the hospital called. Cordy never woke up from her coma. She…she died at the hospital."

The Good: Character work was excellent as usual. This was really Willow's story and it was handled nicely. Ira, particularly, is handled well, even if he's not exactly likable. The involvment of the Presidium and Bonnie was much better handled than in the last few episodes. Vi and Rona get more exposure and we hear much more about Willow's work as a Watcher. Ro and her conflicts with Willow and Giles and her concern for Kennedy were well played. The way everyone was informed about the Council's true purpose was nicely done. Willow and Kennedy's relationship was sensitively handled and realistically messy and complicated and the mentioning of Tara in all of this was great. Also Good: The WaTchers staff remains mindful of Angel's show and though there isn't any blatant crossover of characters, they do at least keep our heroes up to date on the important stuff happening in L.A. (i.e. Cordelia's coma and death).

The Bad: The photo work in Act One between Ro/Kenn weren't so good and shouldn't have been included (Kenn's picture quality is different than Ro's leading her to look scratchy and they don't fit well side by side). Tram and his family never grabbed my attention and just weren't very interesting or emotionally involving. Perhaps because the episode was really about Willow and her family, instead. The scenes with Andrew/Tracey/Xander and the Slayer's getting gas/going to a comic shop felt filler-y.

Verdict: A lot of little things going on in this one, with most of it being relationship work. I wish that something more substantial than Tram's kids pointing to something off about Bonnie had occurred since they were in the episode so much. Tracey is added as one of the Council's "in the know" allies, which I think is a good. Still, something about this one had less emotional impact than its predecessor, so I give this one a 3.25 out of 5 -- a hair above average episode.


 
 
 
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