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24 May 2009 @ 05:42 pm
WATCHERS review  


Watchers: The Virtual Series

S1, Ep. 23, Another Day


 




Story by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Written by CN Winters
Directed by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Produced by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Edited by Kate and Amazonchyck
Sound by Steff
Art Direction by Chris Cook
Artists - Chris Cook, David Zahir, Sarah, Libbi, Chantal, CN Winters


Guest Stars
: Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers, Lindsay Felton as Skye,

Elijah Wood as Jeffrey Lindquist, Carly Schroeder as Marsha, Stephanie March as Bonnie, Thora Birch as Tracey, Felicia Day as Vi, Indigo as Rona, Norika Fujiwara as Mia and

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers.



Teaser: First, a little refresher: Last episode, Bonnie stirred up a mess o’trouble for our heroes by inciting the religious community against the pagan ritual set to take place on ‘May Day’ at the Council. In order to ‘save the children’, of course. At the end of that episode, the mob that had gathered had a spell they were under broken and began to drift away confused (and horny). Then Buffy Summers showed up at the Council announcing that she wouldn’t miss the coming apocalypse.


Now, we find out that Giles had spoken to Buffy earlier to warn her about the Presidium and to ask her to send any Slayers she knew of to Cleveland to help out. He wasn’t expecting her to come herself, as she had given up the Slayer-life to explore a more normal existence. Buffy came anyway, a fact which Faith is so unhappy about.



Faith and Buffy just stared at each other for a moment and no one in the room spoke.


"I thought I'd lend a hand,"
Buffy told her.
"Looks like you guys could use it judging by the angry mob that's leaving a bit dazed and confused."


"We got it under control,"
Faith told her, "but thanks, B, for taking time out of your globe trottin' to ride in on your white horse at the last minute. Can't tell you how much I appreciate that."


"Faith,"
Willow began.


Giles gently tugged Willow's sleeve and shook his head, silently requesting that she stay out of it. Faith walked closer to Buffy, totally ignoring the witch as the blonde Slayer closed the distance between them.


"I knew you'd have a problem,"
Buffy sighed.


"Got that right. I've been busting my ass here for months and suddenly you just pop in to save the day. All the glory but none of the work. Is that it?"


Buffy shook her head.
"That's not why I'm here. You've got something big going down and –."


"You don't have to tell me what we have, B. Believe me, I know. But it's what WE have, not you. You can go back to your merry life and we'll handle things."


"That's not gonna happen,"
Buffy replied soundly.



As you tell, Faith still feels inadequate whenever Buffy makes an appearance and she’s still holding a grudge that her rival didn’t bother hanging around after the battle with the First Evil
(see Episode 1 – Something Ventured, Something Gained).


With Faith storming off to work out and “hit something really hard”, Buffy takes care of her hello-s with the gang. We also find out that Dawn refused not to accompany her to help out as well, and the Clevelanders get to meet Dawn’s girlfriend, Skye.


Elsewhere, Bonnie plots with Larmin, the Presidium ‘Engineer’. They are ready to put the first phase of their master plan in motion… because it’s the end of the season ;-)



Act One:
The next morning in the Council library, Willow and Buffy chat amiably. The topic of conversation is Rowena, of course. Willow complains that Ro has been acting like she’s interested and then pulling away, making Willow wonder if she saw what she thought she saw in the first place. Buffy is playing the encouraging friend… Will needs to grab what she wants and let the chips fall where they may.


Elsewhere, Ro is taking her daily walk by the lake and comes across trouble in the form of two adults and a child… completely skinned. Charming.


In the Council kitchen, Jeff meets Skye Tallisker and is disappointed that Dawn has a girlfriend-girlfriend. Xander is there to commiserate.


Just a bit later and Faith has arrived at Ro’s location with nine other Slayers in tow. One of these is Kennedy and the other is
(yea!) Mia. As Faith has her team spread out to look for clues as to the attackers (theorizing it may be some Gnarls), the group finds themselves under attack… a mass attack!


Nearly a hundred demons swarm the area, targeting our Slayers. Any bets that this ties into Bonnie and the Presidium?


At that moment, in Giles’ apartment, he and Becca are having breakfast. Rupert is trying to convince Becca to leave Cleveland until they have the Presidium situation sorted out. Becca is both brave and foolishly stubborn, however, and tells him that if the world is at its end, she plans on his face being the last one she sees… awwww.


While Giles and Becca cement their place as Council’s Cutest Couple, the Slayers are finding it difficult to fight off the massive demon assault. Fortunately for them, the Presidium agents are far more interested in abducting a particular Slayer rather than causing mass death… Faith gets nabbed and carted away in a van, but not before Kennedy grabs the vehicle’s driver and yanks her through the driver’s side window….


The Presidium has Faith, but the Council gets Bonnie!



Act Two:
Giles and Buffy have a quick ‘talk’, which both of them already know what each will say. Buffy wants him to take care of Dawn if she doesn’t make it out of this one, he assures her that she’ll be fine and have many years left.


It’s a nice little scene, reflecting the years that Buffy and Giles have known one another and their obvious mutual affection.


Back at the site of the battle, Mia and Kennedy do a bit of light flirting but there are serious things afoot. Faith is missing, Slayers are injured or dead and Ro is unconscious with only a weak pulse.

Kennedy radios in to Robin for a medical team, but doesn’t know what to tell him when he asks about Faith.


Elsewhere, Faith comes to consciousness to find herself in a cavern surrounded by Presidium demons. Larmin and her exchange words and his dialog indicates that the Slayer was abducted to act as bait. As we know from earlier episodes, his real target it Willow and it has something to do with the Sphere of Magic Sucking Evil. It’s also my belief that the Sphere is to open a portal for an invading force
(from future-episodes me; this turns out to be correct).


With Lori following the Presidium’s van in one from the Council, Kennedy accompanies the injured back to base to inform them of what has happened. It takes little thought to realize that the Presidium is making their move. Willow rushes off to Medical to check on Ro’s status, while Kenn informs Andrew that the demons really beat the Slayers badly… many of them are seriously injured.


On the good side, Ro is awake and her injuries turn out not as serious as they appeared in the field. And, they have Bonnie the Evil Real Estate Woman restrained in the library for questioning… except, of course, we know that it may not be a good thing. The Presidium wants the Council to find them and are using Faith as the incentive to get them where they want ‘em.


We have a good scene next between Willow and Kennedy that references their break up without either coming across as bitter about it. Kenn has noticed the obvious sparks between Will and Ro, but Willow has noted the same thing re: Kenn and Mia. It’s nice to see them both acting like adults about it and it’s equally nice that Kennedy isn’t holding any negative feelings about Willow, considering her behavior right after their break-up.


In the library, things are far more disturbing. I realize that Bonnie is evil and all, but nevertheless, I’m not a fan of torture. However, with Faith missing both Robin and Giles are showing little patience with Bonnie’s refusal to answer their questions. And, well, Giles has experience in being ‘convincing’….



Act Three:
Things get even more intense between Giles and Bonnie. In the heat of the moment, Giles informs Bonnie that he’s killed for a Slayer before and isn’t above doing it again.


Though Bonnie goes with “you’re bluffing”, Xander, Buffy and Dawn are present at the interrogation and this is news to them. We realize that Giles is referring to Ben, but this never came out during BTVS’ run.


Later, after we check in on Willow and Ro, Buffy confronts Giles about his having killed people. He fills her in on the Ben-smothering thing. This leaves Buffy shaken and unfortunately Giles is too busy being Ripper-ish in his single-minded pursuit to get Faith back to discuss it at length. He tells her that if Bonnie forces him to kill her in order to find out where Faith is and get her back… or killing any ‘evil’ human to protect a Slayer under his charge, he’ll do the same thing.


Buffy clearly isn’t comfortable with this thought.


The threats have the desired effect, however, as Bonnie points out on an almanac where the Presidium’s cave-base is located. Giles lets her know that if Faith is indeed dead, she won’t have to worry about reprisals from the Presidium for her squealing.


In the Presidium cavern, Faith is secured to a wall by her wrists and ankles. The demons have set up a trap in order to “thin the herd of Slayers”. In other words, there are traps set to kill the girls when they rush the place to rescue Faith. And with her bound and now gagged, she’ll have a front row seat to watching them wiped out.


She starts working against her restraints.


As Ro and Willow work on identifying the types of demons that had attacked the Slayers earlier, Kennedy readies a troop of Slayers plus Buffy and Robin to go in after Faith.


They find her – but Kenn realizes that she’s a trap. Unfortunately, one of the Slayer’s we know doesn’t realize it until it’s too late.


Rona is almost instantly killed when a bucket of liquid falls on her head. She immediately bursts into flames.



Act Four:
Act four deals with a few things… all of which is really excellently written, I have to say. Robin, Kenn and Buffy have to work to save Faith from her booby-trapped room. Ro and Willow work on narrowing down where the Presidium is from so they can look for weaknesses and contingency plans in case Faith’s rescue attempt fails.


Giles gathers more Slayer troops to back up the squads sent in after Faith.


Vi is crushed by Rona’s sudden death. Kenn orders the other Slayers to leave the immediate area around Faith so that none by her and Buffy will be at risk if their attempts to reach Faith go drastically wrong. Robin is ordered to stand by in case they get Faith out, but she’s too injured to leave under own power and Kenn & Buffy are killed in the attempt to get her.


Wow, this stuff is written really well. Anyway, in the Cavern of Doom, Buffy and Kenn manage to rescue Faith – sort of. They quickly find out that a mystic shield has locked them into the ‘prison cavern’. And, some sort of demonic bats are released from the ceiling to attack!


A bit later and they manage to escape – with some magical help – but when they leave the cave, they find a host of Presidium demons ready to set on them again. The battle intensifies.


And, things get worse from there!



(to be continued in next episode!)



The Good:
The story, the plot, the writing, the character interactions… this one has it all and it’s all really well done. The Presidium’s plans to cut down the Slayer population really, for the first time since Jeff’s abduction, makes them a serious threat to the council. Bonnie is still a bitch, but it’s nice to see her get knocked down a few pegs and actually frightened for a change.


Buffy’s inclusion is handled fantastically… which I’m pleasantly surprised about. It would be easy to either push her into the background because WATCHERS isn’t Buffy’s show, or have her overpower the others but that doesn’t happen. She’s given a lot to do, but its always in relation to Faith, Giles, Willow or Kennedy – they remain the ‘stars of the show’.


All of the acts are well done, but Act Three and Four kicks ass. Exciting, diabolical, tense… loved it.

We also get the added seriousness of a face we know from BTVS and WATCHERS getting a sudden and ugly exit from the show.


The writing for the Giles/Becca scenes just make you love them as a couple. So well done – and Robin’s scenes after Faith’s abduction are great. He’s shows he’s tough, but still very human in his worry and fear over what may have happened to her.


The artwork is some of the best to come along since I lauded the same in ‘Restoration’, and in fact, I think it’s better!



The Bad:
Well, there is just one itty, bitty thing: There’s some plot confusion involving the Presidium’s luring the Slayers into their trap. On the one hand, they keep talking like they want to be found, on the other – the Engineer tells a toady-vampire that Bonnie would never betraying them by ratting out their location… wouldn’t they want her to squeal where Faith is at?


I thought maybe they were concerned that Bonnie might reveal where they’re originating from and their over all plans, but it just doesn’t read that way – it sounds very much more like they don’t want Bonnie to rat out their secret cave – even though they want the Council to locate Faith… yeah, it’s a bit muddled. Maybe a writer will leave a comment explaining this?


Buffy, meet Rowena Allister.


Jeff finds out Dawn is 'unavailable', Xander can relate.


Faith unwillingly plays 'bait'.

Impetuous and impulsive to the end. R.I.P. Rona.

Bats are more deadly with razor-wings!




The Score: 4.75 out of 5… and that’s only because of the muddled Presidium POV on whether they want to be found or not because its such a major plot point for this two-episode arc. This is some great stuff.

 
 
Current Mood: LJ can be so frustrating!