harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

Buffy Episode Review - The Witch

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
season 1
The Witch

Blurbage: In an effort to inject some normalcy into her life Buffy tries out for the cheerleading squad - only to discover
the competition wants her dead.

Scene 01: We open another beautiful day at the highschool, watching day players walk around as we hear Giles say "this is...."

Scene 02: Abrupt jump, and we're looking at Giles' back, "...madness."

He is upset at someone (unseen to us yet) as he continues, "What could you have been thinking?"

Giles is still addressing us, but it's Buffy who had earned his ire. "You are the Slayer. Lives depend on you."

Giles complains that he's trying to make allowances for her youth, but she has gone and gotten involved in a cult!

The camera switches to a shot of Buffy in cheer-wear, "You don't like the color?"

Commentary: Okay, it's cuter then it has any right to be. But the main point of the scene is that Giles and Buffy are
still negotiating who has the power between them. Buffy plans on being a normal teen who happens to slay demons. Giles is still clinging to the whole Watcher/Slayer paradigm where she is supposed to be there to follow orders and there just isn't time for her to have normal-girly-things.

Giles tries to forbid her, but she gives him a "And you'll be stopping me, how?" that he finds hard to actually argue with. Buffy assures him that she'll still be fighting the forces of darkness, but she justs needs to have one thing going on that is normal and safe.

Scene 03: Normal and safe... right. We cut to a dark hall and following it into a dimly lit room. It's full of herbs and
dolls hanging upside down from the rafters. Dominating the floor space is a huge, black cauldrom with some sort of bubbly pea-green stuff (which looks suspiciously like latex paint).

A shadowy figure crosses our eyeline. Whoever it is, she waves an amulet over the bubbly-green spew and then violently snatches a plastic doll from the chain it was hanging on. We get no dialogue, but black magic is clearly indicated.

Scene 04: Peppy music and a gymnasium greets us. Girls are milling about in cheer-wear. We get a pass by a whiteboard that clues us in that this would be cheerleader tryouts for 1996 (which would have been fine if Buffy hadn't been picked up for mid-season 1997, instead. Oop.)

Anyway, the girls are all limbering up and suchlike. From a door, we get our Scoobies. Willow is commiserating about the Giles anti-approval, while Xan is too intrigued with the displays of mini-skirted goddesses to not get geeky. We get a little bit of amusing banter - but the main point here is Xander's giving Buffy a charm bracelet, in keeping with his
insta-crush he developed for her during the first two episodes. We also get a hint here that Willow doesn't like the fact
that Xander is liking Buffy so much.

  Xander is easily distracted.

Cordelia wanders up - she complains about another tryout - Amber, thinking she's the hot-stuff. The girl in charge of the tryouts is ready to begin, and she wants to start with shoe-in Amber Grove.

As everyone is milling about, we're introduced to Willow's friend, Amy Madison.

Scene 05: As Amber is going through a routine, Amy mentions to Buffy that she works with a coach, which surprises Buffy. She didn't even know there were coaches for high school cheerleading. Amy mentions here she practices 6 hours a day (!!) with her mother. We'll find out more about Amy's mother a bit later. But, practicing SIX HOURS A DAY to cheerlead - that should be a clue that something is off in Amy's homelife.

Cordelia amusingly gives a bitchy "hmm" and turns her back on Amber's performance. As everyone else is glued to Ms. Grove's routine, we start seeing them giving "huh?" faces, as Amber begins emitting smoke!

Willow exclaims, "That girl's on fire!"

Cordelia just gives her a disgusted look, "Enough with the hyperbole."

But, it's not... I mean 'just hyperbole'. Amber's hands really do combust.

As everyone screams, and Amber waves her engulfed arms around, Buffy reacts. With the use of a school banner, she's able to smother the flames before Amber turns into a flambe.

Cue rock music and credits.

Scene 06: In the (otherwise empty, 'natch) library, Buffy and the gang confront Giles' with that day's turn of events. All
agree that a)this isn't a vampire problem, b)this is nevertheless not of the norm and c)Giles sees the glass half full when it comes to disturbing unnatural activity.

After some exposition, Buffy decides to investigate Amber more to see if anything weird had ever occurred in her vicinity before this. Willow and Xander are quick to volunteer their efforts (she hacking into school records, he doing the canvassing). Buffy warns them she doesn't want them in danger, but they both insist that they're a team.

Commentary: Here we get the first verbalization that Buffy/Willow/Xander/Giles are going to fight Sunnydale's hell-related problems together as a unit. Here, Willow calls them the 'Slayerettes', but I think we all know they are the Scooby Gang.


Scene 07: Joyce is in the Summers kitchen, struggling to open crates with tribal art destined for the gallery. I don't
know why she would have had all of these boxes delivered to the gallery instead; stop asking questions.

Buffy tries to get Joyce interested in the cheerleading tryouts, but Joyce's mind is on her own thing and she throws out a bunch of platitudes until Buffy points out she doesn't even know what they're discussing. Joyce apologizes, but also points out that her gallery's first major show is coming up and she really needs it to go well.

Joyce gives up on struggling with a crate-n-crowbar and whines that it probably wouldn't kill her daughter to give her a
hand. While she's going over a shipper's manifest, Buffy easily opens the crate top that Joyce had struggled with, but it goes unnoticed by her.

The meat of this scene is that Joyce is still worrying over Buffy's troubles from L.A. while Buffy is resenting that her
mother can't just get over it. Let's look at the quotage:

Joyce: "Oh good! I'm glad you're taking that up again (cheering). It'll keep you out of trouble."
Buffy: "I'm not in trouble."
Joyce: "No, not yet." (She says this so casually, not entirely aware of the conversation)

Buffy looks down, kind of hurt.

Commentary: It's these little reactions that make scenes like this worth watching in Buffy. SMG is very good at giving Buffy emotional resonance that doesn't go out of its way to call attention to itself. And Joyce, though not the worst mother ever, really kind of sucks here. But, she's also well aware of it herself a heartbeat later when she clarifies that she only met that Buffy had stopped cheerleading just before she got into the troubles at her other school. She sees it as a positive development that things are going to work out here (which she verbalized throughout the first two episodes).

Buffy mentions to Joyce (leadingly) that Amy spends hours a day with her mom practicing, but Joyce off-handedly says that it sounds like Amy's mom doesn't have a lot to do.

Scene 08: We're back to tryouts and Amy shows that despite her hours of training, she is uncoordinated and clumsy. And, she manages to knock into Cordy, so now she's made an enemy of Queen C.

It's a bad day for Amy.

Scene 09: Later in the hallway, Amy is gazing at her mother's triumph. Catherine Madison was Ms. Super-Cheer-Queen back in the day. We also get some tidbits of Amy's history here, that gives us the flavor of what she's dealing with at home. Basically: Parents were Homecoming Royalty, got married right after graduation, real life hit, he took off with 'Ms. Trailer Trash', Ms. Madison put herself through school. But, as we're going to find out, that isn't all of Catherine's history.

Commentary: This is another scene that doesn't seem to say much on the surface, but its actually full of clues as to how the episode is going to proceed, as well as Willow giving Buffy a very subtle clue in how she'll figure out the mystery twist later on. This episode is really written in the same way overall - in a scene by scene commentary there's so little to comment on really, but the overall tapestry of the episode is well put together.

Anyway, back in scene, Willow let's Buffy know that there's been nothing unusual that pops out regarding flaming-Amber-Grove. Buffy, poor deluded Buffy, wonders if maybe it was a one-off and nothing more will happen.

Scene 10: We get a creepy, wondering camera through a shower room and into a locker room. It's shot in the way that would imply creepiness, possibly monster-vision.

Faux-POV cam focuses in on Amy at her gym locker. Amy hears a locker bang from off in the distance and you can tell she has a sudden heebie-jeebie. She quickly shuts her locker and turns to leave...

... running right into Cordelia Chase. And, she is pissed:

Cordy: "I have a dream. It's me on the cheerleading squad, adored by every varsity male for as far as the eye can see. We have to achieve our dreams Amy, otherwise, we whither and die."

Amy: "Look, I'm sorry abou-...."

Cordy: "Shhhh. If your supreme clutziness out there today takes me out of the running, you're going to be so very beyond sorry. Have a nice day."

Commentary: I love Charisma's acting here. Not only is she so menacing over something that, let's face it, isn't going to make a heckuva lot of difference to her life in the long run, but that smile during her 'have a nice day' delivery was awesome.

Scene 11: Willow and Xander are conferring regarding Amber Grove (and the fact that they just don't have anything more to investigate). But Xan's mind is all on Buffy wearing his bracelet.

X: "It's like we're going out!"

W: "Except for the hugging or the kissing or her knowing about it."

As they're talking, he puts another dagger in Willow's heart by mentioning that he finds her so cool because she's like a guy to him. She's a guy that knows all about girl stuff. Poor Willow.

We also get the important cheerleading list put up. Cordy's in, of course. Buffy is alternate and so is Amy - a state of
affairs a lot harder on Amy than Buffy (to add salt to the wound, Amy is THIRD alternate - that's a lot of girls to get
out of the way before she'll be able to cheer).

She's distraught... "This would never have happened to my mother. Never."

Well, Amy dear, You're NOT YOUR MOTHER. Which is the point of this episode - it's the Hellmouth twist on the stagemom.  Women whose lives kind of went into the toilet somewhere along the line and so now they spend their whole existence trying to live through their children.

Scene 12: Back in a creepy attic (where the boiling latex paint is), a witch is calling upon the powers of the dark. Her target: Cordelia Chase.

Scene 13: Next morning, Buffy is tottering around in the Summers kitchen. Joyce comes in with her own yearbook. She shows it to Buffy (leading up to something). Buffy takes one look at her yearbook photo and gives her this:

Buffy: "Mom, I've accepted that you've had sex. I am not ready to know that you had Farrah-hair."
Mom: "This is Gidget hair. Don't they teach you anything in history?"

Alas, this sudden inspiration to share high school memories has a point. Joyce wants to find something for Buffy to do that will replace the cheerleading thing since that didn't pan out.

Commentary: This scene really works because of Kristine and Sarah's peformance of it. Joyce is so nerdy-cute here. Unfortunately things quickly go downhill, starting with Buffy's insulting the yearbook staff as kids who the nerds pick on.

Joyce tells her some of the happiest times she had in highschool were working on the yearbook staff (sad, really). But
the conversation crashed right about here:

Buffy: "Well, this just in... I'm not you. I'm into my own thing."
Joyce: "'Your own thing', whatever it is, got you kicked out of school and we had to move here to find a decent school
that would take you!

Buffy gives her a "that was really nice" look and storms out, while at least Joyce has the decency to know she pushed too far and took a cheap shot. In direct opposition to Catherine Madison, who's a selfish, controlling bitch as we'll come to know when we finally meet her.

Commentary: You know, it hits me here, that despite this episode really revolving around Catherine and her choices, she really doesn't have much screen time, at all.

Scene 14: Back at the school a bit later, Cordelia wanders by Xander and Willow without her usual insult. Xan feels hurt. He and Willow discuss the suckiness of being invisible. Xan wants Buffy to notice him, while it should be noted, he is also not noticing Willow 'in that way'.

When Buffy does make the scene, Xander is clumsily trying to ask her out. But her Slayer-sense has gone off because Cord is acting spacey and trying to open a locker that doesn't even belong to her. She quickly leaves the hemming and hawwing Xan to follow Cordy instead.

Scene 15: Outside, Cordelia is wandering dazed out as Buffy follows. Cordelia has driver's ed (which we learn she's flunked twice already) and tries to tell the instructor she doesn't want to drive today, but he doesn't notice that she's looking' really funny and insists it's her turn.

This doesn't go well.

Cordelia goes out of control, ending up with the car on a side street. After the instructor orders everyone out of the car, she nearly gets clobbered by a UPS-type truck. Only Buffy's intervention keeps her from ending up road pizza. But, her troubles are only starting as she complains that she can't see!

Commentary: Okay, there are SO many problems with this scene that it really distracts from the point (Cordelia taken out of action, Buffy as first alternate replacing her to be targeted next). First, we see before Cordelia puts the car in drive that her vision is seriously blurred - why wouldn't she tell the instructor there was a serious problem with her vision? Two - in my driver's ed, the cars come equipped with a passenger side brake for just this emergency - it doesn't make sense for regular cars to be used in this setting. Three- the instructor is yelling for Cordy to hit the brake, but she doesn't (which may be panic, but I'm not buying it). Four - As the car rushes for the fence, the instructor doesn't reach out and grab the wheel from her, even though you'd think that would be the natural reaction. Five - the worst is that the UPS truck doesn't hit his brake when he sees a disabled car in the road, doesn't hit his brake when he see Cordy standing in the way, and doesn't stop after ripping the door off of the driver's ed car and nearly running down Queen C. Even by Buffy standards, this whole chain of events is preposterous and ill-blocked out.

Scene 16: Back to the library, where Giles decides that what they're dealing with is a witch. Willow has a great line in
this scene:

Giles: "Why should someone want to harm Cordelia?"

Willow: "Maybe because they met her? ... Did I say that?"

Buffy puts together that the link between their two victims so far, Cordelia and Amber, is the cheerleading. Which leads right to Amy... she's so desperate to get on the team, it seems like she'd be the witch if these spells are targeting the cheer team.

Giles wants to be sure she's the spellcaster before they act, however. He discovers a potion that will react if Amy has
cast any sort of spell in the last few days.

Scene 17: Buffy puts her master plan into motion to contrive to steal a bit of Amy's hair and then to pour a bit of
potion on her. And, it's entirely lame and obvious.

Commentary: I thought at first that this was just a hideously badly done scene, but it turns out that it filmed deliberately this way. While the Scoobies are trying to be clever, we'll find out that Amy was already onto them and is ready for them. We also get to see Dr. Gregory leading the science class and we'll see him again next episode. Unfortunately, this scene is kinda boring and really, it's about here that I just wish they'd get to the wrap up of 'The Witch'. There's a nice twist coming and a few more cute scenes, but this episode tends to be a slow-go to get through it....

So, anyway, Buffy pours the potion as an "accidental spill" and a spot on Amy's arm turns blue, pointing to spell usage. But Buffy isn't sure that Amy is aware of what she's doing because another cheer-er has a spell take affect in the classroom, and this one loses her mouth - Amy acts utterly shocked with the rest of them.

Scene 18: Buffy's wrong. Amy knows exactly what she was doing, because we cut here to her coming home and her facade of innocence completely drops away. She orders her mother to write up her history report homework. We also see that she has managed to snag the bracelet that Xan gave to Buffy. She heads upstairs for some more spellworks.

Scene 19: The following morning, Buffy awakens in a chipper mood. Not just in a 'good mood'... more of a 'psychotic 5 year old on a sugar high while doing speed' cheery mood.

Buffy's on the squad team now and puts this down to her new mood when Joyce comments on it. Joyce tries to apologize for the scene prior with the whole "your thing got us into this trouble", but Buffy tells her that there are just things about being a vampire slayer she'll never get.

WHOA! Hold up, a sec!

The moment though is very quickly brushed past, and we don't see Joyce ever bring up this outrageous claim later. Instead with get Buffy talking a mile a minute and distracting attention from her claims of vampire slayerhood.

Commentary: I can't decide if this was meant to show more of Sunnydale's effects on people and how they can just explain away the bizarre (see The Harvest) or if it was just bad writing in introducing having to deal with Joyce knowing there is something different about her daughter, only to drop it for the jokey-joke. Either way, I kind of really wish they just hadn't brought this up here since they're not really seriously ready to deal with it (and won't until the end of S2 -
which really shouldn't have taken that long).

Buffy goes off to school, peppily singing 'Macho Man' to herself while Joyce looks like she's trying to decide if she
should be amused or worried.

Scene 20: Cheerleading practice with Buffy now participating. The routine is energetic, but nearly as much as Buffy herself is. Things are going alright, until Buffy pisses off the cheerleader leader by stepping on her foot. But, it's really only going to go (comically) downhill.

The routine practice continues and Buffy's enhanced Slayer strength accidentally sends a cheer-er flying across the room.

Xander and Willow have arrived already to check on her and can tell she's acting a bit 'looped'. They take the opportunity here to rush her to Giles. But, first Buffy is informed that she is off the team, which leaves Amy to take over.

Scene 21: The hallway scene. I love this scene. Buffy tells Xander that she loves him and asks him if he knows why... she tells him it's because he's not like the other boys at all. He's like one of the girls! She's that comfy with him.

And, watch Allyson during this part because she breaks out in a huge grin when Buffy says this. Clearly Willow is enjoying this moment as Xan gets a little of the medicine he dispensed in Scene 11, when she got to be told by him that "she's a guy that knows girl stuff".

Unfortunately the little levity here is spoiled when Buffy basically collapses.

Scene 22: In the library again, Willow wants to rush Buffy to a hospital, but Giles tells her they can't help her against
a vengeance spell. Buffy's immune system is being decimated. They find out Buffy has about three hours to live if they
can't reverse the spell. Giles tells them he's been researching and he believes he can break it and undo everything that the witch has done.

Buffy and Giles head for Amy's home to find her spellbook, required for the spell breakage unless they want to cut off
Amy's head instead. Xan seems ready for that, but Buffy points out it isn't Amy's fault... she's trying to survive her

Scene 23: At Amy's, Catherine is chowing down on brownies when they arrive (CLUE!). Giles and Buffy confront Catherine about her daughter's witchcraft, but Catherine acts completely different from what one would think, considering all of the stories we've heard about her up until this point. In fact, she acts more afraid of her daughter than as the old 'mommy dearest' we've heard tale of.

The huge clue (other than the brownies) is when Catherine exclaims about how much she DOESN'T care about cheerleading. She also tries to tell Giles that it isn't her fault that her daughter is throwing around hexes.

This is when Buffy notes the plate of brownies... Amy's comfort food according to Willow, and makes the deductive leap that may also be part of her Slayer heritage (we'll see in many episodes where Buffy seems to put things together faster than Giles or the others).

The Catherine that Giles is impatiently berating isn't Catherine at all... it's Amy! Her mother, using magic, has done a
whole body-switch, so that she could go back and relive her high-school cheer-queen days. Talk about selfish parenting!!

Scene 24: Amy in Catherine gives us the sordid tale of life in her house and her suddenly finding mind in the wrong body. In the meantime, Buffy is looking worse and worse for wear and she continues to weaken.

Commentary: This episode is really well put together until this scene... and it all comes down to one clumsy line, dammit.

Here, Amy claims that a "few months ago" she woke up in the wrong body... this isn't possible. It really, really isn't.
The personalities of Amy in the first half of the episode and the Amy-body personality we see later is very clearly
different... much too different and without any sense of 'oddness' for it to have been Catherine trying to fit into her
daughter's life (especially the try-outs which Amy blew so badly, taking the threats by Cordelia, complaining that she can't get her body to move like her mother's no matter how many hours a day she practices....). This line could have been easily changed to "a few days ago" and it would have worked - why didn't anyone catch this?! My guess on the timeline here is that the switch actually happened somewhere around Scene 12 or 13. Catherine has been sabotaging the cheerers before then in an attempt to help her daughter live out Catherine's dream, but after her extreme clutziness fails to do the job (I can see her coming in as 3RD alternate being the last straw), Catherine pulls the switch in a "if you want something done right" moment, and plus Amy is just "wasting" her youthful body anyway with all of that brownie sneaking.

But, give it up for Robin Riker who does some nice work here as Amy-in-Catherine.

Scene 25: With the truth out to our heroes, Giles breaks into the Madison attic to locate the needed spellbook.

Commentary: And, we get a another cliche... first it was the black kettle of boiling trouble, now we'll see a spring-loaded cat ready to attack... uh... to startle any intruders before dashing away.You'd probably dash away too, if you'd been locked in a trunk to wait for an unauthorized somebody to get around to opening it... cheezy, stupid bit.

Gathering up the spellbook and paraphrenalia, they rush back to the Chem lab at school. By this time, Buffy looks like death warmed over and she can't even walk on her own, anymore.

Scene 26: At a basketball game in the Sunnydale High gym, the cheerleaders take the field, a beamingly happy Amy among them... except of course, we now know it is actually a beamingly and really pathetically happy Catherine.

The music is pretty kick-ass for cheering, too.

Scene 27: Giles carries Buffy into the Chem lab and lays her out on one of the tables. As Giles is preparing to undo all of Catherine's spells, she is busy cheering her little heart out. Xan and Willow are in attendance to keep any eye on her.

Commentary: Giles' reversing spells raises some minor questions... if he reverses Amber's flambe, does that mean that her hands are instantly cured? Or was the firey hands the spell (which is already over) so the injuries are still with her? Naturally, we never hear or see Amber Grove again, so we'll never know. In addition, we'll never hear of any 'logical explanations' from Cordelia explaining how the doctor's explained away her sudden appearing/vanishing white-eyed blindness or that cute girls sudden mouthlessness and the spontaneous regeneration of her lips once the spell is broken. Things to make you go hmmmm.

Scene 28: Giles does the 'take away the spells that psycho-mom cast' ritual in the science lab. Meanwhile, Catherine gets the gist that somebody is taking her dream away when she starts getting flashes of what her real body's eyes are seeing.

When one of the cheers goes awry because she becomes disoriented, she sees enough to know where the interlopers are and heads for them.

Commentary: Elizabeth Anne Allen did some really nice work as Amy in this episode, but its as Catherine-in-Amy where I find her really fun.

Scene 29: In a hallway, Catherine-in-Amy is waylaid by Willow, who tries to distract her by asking her if she really rides a broom in the cutest way possible, the way that only Aly Hannigan could have delivered that line. Meanwhile, Xan is sneaking up on her from behind - but she senses the trap and turns spins around with her hand outstretched and an angry hiss.

Xander immediately collapses, unable to breathe with Willow calling out in alarm. Catherine spins back around and levels Willow with a mighty fine looking right cross and continues on her way toward the science room.

Scene 30: Quick cut to inside the Chem lab, where Giles is wrapping up his painful-looking anti-spell.

Scene 31: Quick cut back to the hallway, where Amy bursts through a door, stopping only long enough to grab a fire axe.

"RELEASE" he yells, just as Catherine-in-Amy is about to swing an axe right into the prone Buffy.

There's a bright flash of light and Amy stumbles away before completing the downward swing.

There's a happy moment where Buffy gets up and she and Amy relievedly realize that Amy is back in her own body... and then Catherine tackles Buffy to the floor.

When Giles tries to intervene, a little telekinesis throws a table into him and sends the back of his head into a wall,
knocking him out.

But Catherine isn't really interested all that much in Buffy or Giles. It's her own daughter she is really pissed at and
she intends to see to it she pays the price for her disobedience.

But Buffy punches Catherine across a desk to interrupt whatever she was going to do to Amy. She didn't hit her hard enough.

Catherine: "That body was mine!"
Buffy: "Oh, grow up!"

Cath's response it to slam Buffy across the room with more telekenisis, bouncing her off of a wall. Catherine taps into
some dark, dark magic - winding up a spell to give Buffy's "soul to the dark place" whatever that's supposed to mean.

Thankfully, there's a mirror hanging from the ceiling of the science lab (it's one of those ways that teachers can keep
an eye on what students are up to behind their backs) and Buffy is able to use it to deflect the spell energy back on
its caster.

We're getting to wrap up now, and the interesting thing here is Giles' either white-lie or continuity mistake. He states
to Amy and Buffy that this is his first spell casting, but we're going to find out in S2 that that is so far from the truth.

Xander and Willow rush in to save Buffy belatedly....

Scene 32: Later, back in Buffy's bedroom (next morning?), she and Joyce have another chat. Joyce comes to the conclusion that she's just going to have trouble relating to where Buffy is coming from because she isn't 16 anymore. When Buffy asks her mom if she'd like to be 16 again (in obvious reference to Catherine's obsession), Joyce just says that would be a scary thought. And, as we know this is a major foreshadowing to a S3 episode in which she'll behave sixteen.

For now, it's just another nice, quiet well acted domestic scene.

Scene 33: Back in school - uh, later that same morning? (the timeline gets really shifty here) Amy is complaining to Buffy that now that her dad is back in her life, and feeling guilty about leaving her with her mom, he's being totally smothering and always want to keep spending all of their time together. But Buffy smiles and tells her she's loving it and she grins back with an "every minute of it".

Cordy pops up to let us know that her brush with blindness had absolutely no affect on her being bitchy to others.

Amy and Buffy stop by the trophy case and we find out here that Catherine hasn't been seen nor heard of since she vanished in the mystical lightstorm back in the Chem lab. As the two girls walk away, we get a close up of 'Catherine the Great's' cheer-trophy from back in the day, and we see a pair of brown eyes and hear a muffled cry for help!

The Good: The episode starts off well with the banter between Giles and Buffy, nicely shaping up their relationship.

I find the whole plot both hilarious (all this over CHEERLEADING, let's not forgot) and extremely disturbing (stage-momming, forcing kids to be clones of their parents, taking out life's disappointments on your children) which is something BtVS was always good at.

I like the scenes between Kristine and Sarah... though not much happens in them, they're always filled with warmth and both actresses really klik with each other.

The twist was fun - Amy wasn't the problem, after all! (Unfortunately, she doesn't stay likable)

Catherine's fate is delicious and deserved.

I like the compare and constrasting that happens between Joyce's parenting, in which she's not perfect but is really trying and Catherine, who isn't trying at all and is selfish to extremes.

The Bad: The timeline is wonky, which is a bit of a pet peeve with me. Especially annoying is one line of dialog that
messes this up unnecessarily.

Scene 15 - see the commentary entry; there is some serious stupidity going on in this scene.

I don't like how Buffy's 'vampire slayer slippage' is never referred to again - even a lame, jokey, Buffy gets out of it
as just teasing explanation would have worked for me.

Scoring: The Witch is not a great episode, but it tries to say something about the pressure that parents can unfairly
place on their kids instead of letting them find out who they are. There were some nice effects (the black eyes, Buffy
being thrown across the room and the final spellworks) and a few grin-worthy jokes, but this was mostly an average, nothing really stands out episode.

3.25 out of 5
Tags: buffy season 1 reviews

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