harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

'Bad Blood' ... WATCHERS review


(S2, E12)

Story by Kye and CN Winters
Written by Kye (with additional writing by CN Winters)
Produced and Directed by Kye and CN Winters
Edited by DragonWriter17
Sound by CSR
Art Direction by Chris Cook
Artists – Chris Cook, Zahir al-Daoud, Rob, Sarah, Humaira and CN Winters

With Felicia Day as Vi, Norika Fujiwara as Mia, Lindsay Felton as Skye, Seth Green as Oz, Neve Campbell as Camille,
Michelle Rodriguez as Kadin, and Hugh Jackman as Kadin’s Father.

The Short of It: Oz and his wife, Camille, have come to the WATCHERS COUNCIL in order to try a ritual that is supposed to drive the werewolf out of them. However, the flower they needed for the ritual was stolen by another vampire, Cassandra. Cassandra desired the flower because she had plans for her and her boyfriend, Troy - who is a werewolf. The Council believes that Cassandra is trying to combine the best of both vampire and werewolf strengths into a super-creature. However, when they're captured and forced to perform the magical ritual Cassandra demands, they find that she has used the flower to strip Troy of his curse, by actually removing his humanity, instead. But, that isn't all, she has also removed both her own demonic nature and Troy's supernatural wolf aspects... she chose to be with Troy stripped of the human consciousness that makes day to day life so difficult. Troy and Cassandra have become garden-variety wolves and will be relocated, together, to a zoo to live out the rest of their days as a mated pair.

But, that still leaves Oz and Camille with their wolf problem. As the gang cleanup following their adventure against Cassandra and Troy, a mysterious woman has snuck up into the rafters of the old smelting building the gang is at. This woman, whoever she is, seems to have an interest in Camille....

Scene 01: As the gang, with the unconscious Camille, start to head out, they're suddenly confronted by the woman in the raftors. This woman demands that Camille be turned over to her, something that the Slayers obviously won't allow. The odd huntress gets into a brief battle of wills with the group, but when she goes on the offensive, she finds that Faith is able to stand toe to toe with her. She spats out that the Slayers and New Council have become a bunch of 'beast-lovers'.

Attempts to stop her from fleeing the scene fail, and she takes off into the night on her motorcycle leaving the Council to confront another problem facing their werewolf guests....

Commentary: I'll just tell you here that her name is Kadin. She'll have a semi-major, semi-regular role in the Council until her past starts to get in the way. I'll also tell you that Kadin will have a profound impact on Kennedy and Mia. The rest of her history will need to wait for a bit. I have mixed feelings on Kadin, never having really embraced her in the way I did Rowena or Mia. On the other hand, I don't find myself really disliking her either in the way I do Jeff or an upcoming Slayer, Lorinda. Overall, I think Kadin was written deliberately to be a poor fit for the Council, which I appreciate, but at the same time, she gets a lot of story focus, too. If you're really into her character, you'll enjoy all of the twisty-turns that her history presents - since I never grew warm toward her, I can take or leave her developments. So, this is my wordy way of saying that Kadin isn't just a one episode 'bad-guy' and so you should pay special attention to her character.

Scene 02: Back at the Council, Rowena hangs up with Willow. She's slightly embarassed at being noticed giving Willow a clear "I love you" to Wills, but Giles doesn't barely notice these things anymore. After all of Willow/Tara, Buffy/Angel, Buffy/Riley, Xander/Cordelia, Xander/Anya, Buffy/Spike, Andrew wandering around the Summers home being obviously in crush with Spike, and Kenn's clear and out there lesbian relationships, the little love talk between girlfriends just doesn't rate on the "OHHHHHH" meter.

Anyway, Ro tells Giles about Kadin, whom Willow has identified as another psycho-Slayer.

Commentary: Dana? Dana, do we get a shout out as to what is going on with you? No.

Scene 03: In a Council van, Faith notes Kennedy's distracted, far away gaze. She asks after her, but it doesn't amount to any information. Although Kennedy's attitude-problem comes through clearly.

Commentary: There is a big problem sitting between Mia and Kenn, causing Kenn to be a bit prickly about what is bothering her. I love Mia. I love Kenn (as presented in WATCHERS, anyway). I think they'd be great together, but Mia's joining the Black Operations group within the Slayer ranks has really bothered Kennedy a lot. She doesn't like their guns. She doesn't like their tactics. And, she doesn't like what she sees as Mia's "coldness" or detachment about lethal force. This will continue to be an issue sitting under their relationship that will bubble up to the surface at times.

Scene 04: Also in the Council van, Oz comforts the in-and-out Camille. She's scared of Kadin, hinting that there may be a prior meeting there. Mia promises Oz that his wife has protection.

Scene 05: When the gang get back, everyone is dismissed but the senior-7, which retire to the 'war room' to debrief on what happened with Cassandra, Troy and the new 'psycho-Slayer'. Camille is taken to the infirmary by Mia, accompanied by Oz.

Commentary: If I'm not mistaken, there is a continuity issue here. I believe that the Infirmary was always located in the basement of the Council - here, they make reference to Camille being take "up to the infirmary" and being carried "up the stairs"....

Comment from the staff? Have I confused the layout of the Council building? Also, if there is a diagram of the Council interior, I'd love to include a linkage....

But, back to our program - So, in the war room, there is consternation and embarassment regarding the woman stalking the Council (though, it isn't them she's after, actually). Kadin was able to drop from the rafters with none of the Slayers or the support staff sensing she was there until she was already in their midst.

Scene 06: In the infirmary, Oz talks to the recovering Camille. After assuring her that she didn't hurt anyone, he confirms to her that there was another woman there. Camille recognizes it was Kadin, and when Oz hears the name, he is also shooken up.

Commentary: They use the word 'fearful' here, which I'd rather they not use to describe Oz. I get the sense of the scene, but Oz and fearful don't go together well. It would have been more in character to describe Oz as fearful inside, but on his face he showed only mild consternation, or some such (hey, it's just off the top of my head!). That would have comported both with our previous experience of Oz rarely showing any sort of strong reaction, and made a small joke inside a tense scene at the same time. It would have been a better moment, I think.

Scene 07: In the Council library, Willow is getting frustrated because they can't seem to find anything on a Slayer that has it out for werewolves, specifically. Oz comes in having caught part of the rant and calmly (there's our Oz!) tells her that they're looking in the wrong place. He pulls out the fictional account of 'Dracula' by Bram and then shares that Van Helsing was real, that he did chase Dracula throughout Europe and implies that Kadin is somehow related to the much earlier tale.

Meanwhile, we've seen Mia in her room staring out of her window with misty-eyes....

Commentary: Of course, Rowena's reaction here doesn't make complete sense. This may be a nitpick, though, I'll freely admit. See, she acts like Kadin the Slayer should be in the Council's books already - but the Old Council was destroyed prior to Kadin being called, since they're under the impression right now that she is a Slayer. So... who exactly would be keeping notes on this woman's crusade? And, does she really think that the Council would have information on every single monster fighter in the world? It just struck me as odd and arrogant to assume that they'd have Kadin's bio on file (especially since they don't know her name or anything about her as of yet) if she's assumed to be a newly-called Slayer. And, also nonsensical.

Scene 08: In the infirmary, Mia drops by to visit with Camille 'on guard duty, but we can talk if you feel like it'. They've formed a fast bond and Mia admits to her that she's having problems at the Council. And, not just with her co-workers, but with the things that she's done so far (Mia killed people rescuing Rowena in Real World, including fellow 'street Slayer', Julia). She admits to feeling like she might not be a very good person.

Camille tells her that her own history isn't very nice either - she gets ready to share....

Scene 09: We cut back to Oz in the library telling the Council that Van Helsing had family... descendants.

Scene 10: Camille's story involves Van Helsing having a bastard son that he didn't know. It was assumed that the Van Helsing line ended when Abraham and his family were wiped out, because that was what was destined to happen. Since there were the Watchers and the Slayers on call, Van Helsing was seen as unnecessary and so his blood line was destined to end. Kadin's whole existence is really a quirk of fate.

Commentary: I hasten to add, however, that we don't know how Camille comes by this "history" and it is possible she isn't completely right. I mention it here because for Kadin not really supposed to be existing, she has an awful lot of stuff that happens to her tied directly to her blood line.

Scene 11: In the meantime, Kadin herself is expending some frustrated energy vampire hunting. She has an awesome stake that combines the wood for the bloodsuckers and silver overlays for the wolves.

Commentary: The reason, however, I hadn't been able to warm to her character is because she looks, acts, and dialogs like she's a character in a movie (or horror/fantasy TV show) rather than like a person. Her black leather, tough girl poses, quippy bon-mots (that actually aren't clever) and general air is like a stereotyped GRRRL-POWER character. I stress that the staff really expands on the character later to give her more shading, but here she's just more cartoon poses and action figure moves than being a person you could see operating in a real environment. It leaves me wanting to tell her to pick up a few books instead of depending on cliched movies for her personality-traits.

Uh, that was a bit harsh, wasn't it? Well, I'm letting it stand and I'll take my lumps from the writers.

Scene 12: In the library, both Giles and Rowena are expressing skepticism over Oz's assertions. It seems that the Council itself has no record of Van Helsing being anything more than a literary character. Although Dracula was too, he was also based on an actual person and the Council had acknowledged his existence (and that was before Buffy ever met him). With Van Helsing? Not so much.

Scene 13: Oz tells them that Camille is the one who told him about Kadin, which makes Kennedy even more doubtful about this revelation. After all, she echoes my sentiments, how would she know?

Oz informs Kennedy and me that Camille just told him minutes before that she had already faced one Van Helsing. He starts to tell Camille's back story.

Scene 14: Van Helsing's descendant and Kadin's father (dragging his daughter around with him in a dual-killing team apparently) had attacked a pack of werewolves in a Liverpool, England. During the assault, Kadin's father lost his crossbow and Camille, taking a knife wound, was able to rip his throat out before dashing off into the night. Kadin saw her father killed, she swears vengeance and she's been tracking down werewolves looking for Camille ever since.

Commentary: This was a very pleasant surprise in Camille's history. I didn't think that they would actually make Camille responsible (as much as you can hold the werewolf responsible for anything) for a brutal death. I still don't like her, but at least it explains why she's teary all of the time. I suppose this would be an awful lot to carry on the shoulders, especially if you consider that if she killed one man, she likely killed others during the full moon as well. I won't mention that the screen cap comes from that CGI-Travesty-fest Jackman movie as I'd prefer to pretend it has been excised from the space/time continuum (Doctor? A little time-manipulating assistance, please?).

Scene 15: With everyone stunned at this latest revelation (and really, do you think the Councilmembers ever think, "Not another convoluted history we have to remember!"), Oz insists that Camille was different back then. Thanks to the power of Oz-penis, Camille has completely changed (Okay, he doesn't put it like that, but I like to think there is nothing that Oz-sex can't fix).

The gathered Council members assure him that they get it. With the past of half of the Council, they really don't have a lot of room to judge anyone else's histories.

Scene 16: Back in the infirmary, Camille wraps up the same story Oz just told. Mia expresses that she feels torn in two by what she's done for the greater good and Camille assures her she knows exactly what she means.

Scene 17: Camille joins Oz in the library to take the heat for her history, but the gang doesn't give it to her. Instead, they offer their unconditional support in dealing with Kadin. Willow makes the point that she knows where revenge leads, and it never fixes anything (You could easily say Faith knows this too, weren't her actions basically trying to revenge herself on Buffy for getting all of 'her' attention?).

Faith and Kennedy head out to see if they can track down and bring in Kadin Van Helsing for a meeting of the minds. Camille remains skeptical. Of course, she also waits for them to have left before mentioning that Kadin has already hurt one Slayer....

Commentary: I've figured out why I don't like Camille - she's weak. Especially for being a damned werewolf - she spends the entire two episodes falling limply into Oz' arms and being teary-eyed. I know, that's harsh too, but I can't help it. She's a supernatural beast who killed an experienced monster fighter - why is she acting like she's on the verge of fainting every three minutes? Plus her not stating the obvious warning as Faith and Kenn are leaving to confront Kadin two-on-one is just... infuriating... but that's probably because I'm already annoyed with her character's treacly personality.

Scene 18: We get two (pointless) scenes: Mia being uninterested in the television she's watching (having left Camille to the meeting in the library) and Dawn and Skye having a domestic scene.

Scene 19: Out on the search for Kadin, Faith tries to make small talk and gets her head bitten off by Kenn (metaphorically speaking, of course). Kennedy admits that things are going badly with Mia.

Scene 20: Back in the library, Xander makes an excellent point about a) whether the Council can win this one, since Kadin can't just be "capped" by them and b) [to Willow's suggesting that they appeal to Kadin's rational side] that sending out the two most hotheaded, impulsive Slayers to find Kadin probably wasn't the best plan if they wanted to use words and not fists.

Scene 21: Back in the graveyard where the Slayers are randomly looking for Kadin (I'm going to be generous and say they're depending on their Slayer instinct to know where to look for the hunter), Kennedy is telling Faith that for Christmas, Mia got her the wrong sized boots. Faith thinks it is awfully trivial, but Kenn points out that Faith knows Robin's size and Kenn still knows Willow's. The 'she doesn't know what size footwear I'm wearing' is symptomatic of how they're just not connecting the way they should. The discussion is interrupted by vampire attack.

Commentary: And, I frown at Kennedy and bite back my comment that maybe if she talked to her girlfriend once in a while, this may be an issue they could work out. I also am forced to point out to Kennedy that some people just don't retain that sort of information - I'm not completely sure what Tom's size is either, even though I know he's told me - it isn't that important a data point. I also can't seem to remember the dates of my parent's birthday, Tom's (I know it's in August but I just can't remember the exact date - despite his telling me several times), Mother's and Father's day or which comes first Memorial or Labor Day. Some people just don't retain numbers well - get over it. Instead, I just try to be supportive of Kennedy - even though I happen to like Mia, sometimes more than her.

Scene 22: As Mia is turning in to bed, feeling lonely, in the library Rowena has located something or other that makes Willow and her happy.

Scene 23: The vampire attack in the cemetery is interrupted by the vamps getting a panicked look on their faces and taking off - and it isn't because they're faced with Slayers. From the darkness, Kadin's crossbow shoots both vampires in the backs, dusting them, to Kennedy and Faith's annoyance.

They confront the hunter, but she doesn't stick around. Faith starts to go after her, but Kennedy stops her. She tells her to head back to the Council and she'll go talk some sense into the huntress....

Commentary: I can see where this going - Kadin mentions poolsharking, Kennedy's going to challenge her to a wager regarding Camille over a pool game - I get it (except I'm totally wrong - they don't play any pool). But, I have real problems with Faith just agreeing to leave it to Kennedy, just like that. If they'd have had Faith injured in some way that required her to stay behind and wait for a medical team or if the vampires had escaped and Kennedy played on her guilt over who they may hurt, sending her off after them then fine. At least I could justify the decision to leave Kadin to Kennedy, but the way it's playing out, this just isn't in character for even the new Faith.

Scene 24: Pointless Dawn interlude.

Scene 25: In the library, Willow is discussing a spell that I'll assume is what Rowena found. She's suddenly unsure though that she can pull it off because of her recent magical developments with her powers being drastically reduced. Shortly after Faith arrives to tell the gang that Kennedy is following Kadin to bond with her over pool and get her to call of the revenge thing. Everyone is doubtful about Kenn's ability to just talk things out, while Giles is hoping that she knows what she's doing.

Commentary: This scene has a few minor problems, too. I like the Xander foot-in-mouth and Willow's hurt reaction to her problems with her magic casting. Both of these are very in character. Xander can say dumb things off the cuff when he's worried or upset, Willow is so tied to her identity as witch that anything that suggests her magicks aren't up to a task leaves her feeling inadequate and pained. All very good.

But, Rowena tells Willow that she can do this spell because she's already made two wolves tonight with Cassandra's ritual earlier in the evening - being supportive of Willow, which is nice. But, Willow is focused on the spell she'd tried in an earlier casting that blew up - instead of making the really obvious point that she DID just complete an energy intensive ritual which is WHY she's so worried about not being able to follow it up with this big spell. I know, I know! It's so minor, but writing wise it seemed like such an obvious argument for Willow to jump on, instead of referencing something that happened a week ago.

My real problem though with this scene is Faith's leaving Kennedy to face Kadin from Scene 23, but here that error is compounded by NO ONE asking her why she didn't think that was a bad idea. They know that Kadin is obvious volitile, they also know that Kennedy is as well. This would be the perfect place for somebody to mention how Faith's decision seemed really dumb and for her to be defensive and voice support that Kennedy isn't unthinking and that she chose to have faith in her that she could keep her cool, as her second in command (And, I could practically hear the dialog, with Xander as the antagonist). That scenario would seem to be far more in character for these people (assuming we can move past the fact Faith shrugged her shoulders and left back for the Council in the first place).

But, then it gets worse... Giles! No, no, no. His response is a, "Well then, I guess all we can do now is pray that Kennedy’s able to get through to her," Giles said, looking around at everyone. "For all our sakes."

Excuse me? Not a "Well, do you know where they've gone? Rowena, we should check the local maps for taverns in case we're needed? Willow, do you think the coven could do a locator spell, we should have someone at least staking out the outside of the location in case things get out of hand."

Nothing. Giles just shrugs his shoulders at the idea of one of his valued Slayers being left to her own with someone who has already proven to be a highly capable foe and has already harmed a Slayer in the past....

Scene 26: In the bar, Kadin has just beaten a woman at pool. Kennedy and her have words and Kadin offers to buy Kennedy a drink to 'talk'.

Scene 27: At about the same time, more or less, Willow and Ro have retired to Will's room to wait on Kennedy and Kadin's results. Willow is complaining about her not being 'special' anymore because her powers have been so diminished. Rowena tells her to stop being stupid. They romance.

Scene 28: Commentary: Now, despite my complaints about how OOC it is for everyone to have so little concern about protecting their Slayer from a vengeance-crazed, supernatural blood lined hunter, I do like this wonderful scene between Kennedy and Kadin.

What makes this scene work so well, is that the writers completely undercut Kenn's attempts to get Kadin to sympathize with her over her mother's death (remember, Jenny Calendar was Kenn's mom) by making Kadin so sarcastic over the 'bonding moment'. I also like the whole feeling of this meeting on neutral ground but coming to no resolution thing.

We also find out there that Kennedy finds Kadin very magnetic, and that Kadin is also very possibly lesbian (they're in a bar Kenn knows well - The Alcove - which we've seen before) as Kadin doesn't so much as comment on the fact that they're in a gay bar or that Kennedy knows it so well. I'm also making this assumption because it seems like they're setting up a sexual tension that isn't entirely one sided between Kenn and Kadin (plus, I know already that this is what they're doing).

But what really makes this scene is Kennedy's assumption that "some vampire" killed the birth mother she never knew and that "he's dust now". This reminds us that Giles and Willow are basically lying to Kennedy through omission of a crucial bit of history when they didn't want to get into the whole Angel/Angelus thing

Commentary: It does bring up minor questions about the Watcher's journals in the library. One would assume that Giles wrote these facts down once the pain had subsided and that the Council would have been updated since he was still a Watcher at the time for them. It's a casual mention here, but I at least immediately felt the tension of anticipation regarding when and how the full truth is going to come out.

Anyway, Kennedy and Kadin's little tete a tete breaks up with nothing resolved and the promise of a confrontation over Camille's fate looming.

Scene 29: After Kenn comes back to her Council apartment, Mia smells the alcohol on her breath and immediately assumes the worst. Kennedy, instead of explaining her meeting with Kadin and trying to convince the hunter not to go after Camille, just tells her girlfriend she went out. Mia starts crying. Kennedy tells her it isn't what she thinks, but let's her go on thinking that it was personal and not business that carried her to the bar.

Commentary: I can't decide if this is good writing - i.e. Kennedy is sabotaging her relationship unconsciously because she knows it isn't working, or bad writing - i.e. let's increase the domestic discord between Mia and Kennedy by having her do something really dumb like not telling Mia about her mission to try to convince Kadin not to slaughter Camille.

My feelings are really conflicted about this scene because I'm just not clear on how to approach it. But remember when I mentioned above that sometimes I like Mia more than Kennedy - yea, right here.

Scene 30: Domestic scene with Giles and Becca. I don't have any pithy commentary on it. Becca is still pregnant, they're still my cutest couple vote and Giles presents the perfect Christmas gift for Becca to open.

Scene 31: The next morning, Faith meets Kennedy at the breakfast table to find out what happened with Kadin. Kennedy reports her strike out (and boy, doesn't that have more than one connetation), but also reports she has been thinking about it and has a clever plan, which we won't hear yet.

Commentary: I included this picture cap just because I find Eliza looking particularly adorable here. I do have more story problems though. I find it difficult to believe there isn't one Council member that Kennedy would have reported to the night before that they're going to have to gear up for a possible physical altercation with the hunter - or keep Camille sequestered for the rest of her life in her room.

Scene 32: Faith joins Willow in Ro in the witch's apartment, where she spills the plan that Kenn came up with. We aren't privy to it, yet.

Scene 33: In the gym, Kennedy is intensely working out. Dawn and Skye are watching her. Jeff comes in to ask Dawn for help with some spells he's researching and Skye invites herself along even though it's been hinted at that Skye may have the magical ability of a doily (I love that Giles line, I want to use it everywhere even where it doesn't apply). Jeff glares at Skye's back with resentment. Dawn is nervous around Jeff. Skye plays everything like she doesn't notice the tension between her girlfriend and the boy wizard, while at the same time taking every opportunity to possessively put her arms around Dawn, or kiss her or call her by terms of affection.

Commentary: This is where I kind of warm up to Skye, but it's mostly because I like anything that insults Jeff but I can't explain why. He/Elijah just bugs me.

Scene 34: Faith joins Kennedy in the gym and summons her for a meeting of the Council's decision makers. Kennedy seems a bit distracted, and I believe the idea is that she's still disturbed by her reaction to Kadin's eyes the night before.

Scene 35: In Jeff's room, the threesome (not like that!) are researching whatever Jeff is interested in. Skye realizes he's missing an ingredient and sends Jeff and Dawn off to fetch it while she waits.

Commentary: I don't know why, though. I find this confusing because I can't decide if she is playing games, trying to subtly tell Dawn she trusts her, or suddenly has forgotten that she's jealous of Jeff's obvious attraction (and I do mean OBVIOUS - there is no way Skye has missed the signs) to her girlfriend. Again, we have a scene that I don't know how to interpret.

Scene 36: The team has been briefed on Kennedy's plan. Giles agrees to it, though he's worried about Kenn facing Kadin alone.

Scene 37: In the spell ingredient room, Jeff tries to kiss Dawn, who almost allows it before coming to her senses. She admits to Jeff that she is attracted to him, but she's in love with Skye and won't act on these other feelings. Jeff broaches the subject of not making Dawn choose either/or, but drops it suddenly with discomfort.

Scene 38: That evening, Kennedy is out looking for Kadin when she hears a scream. As she responds to a random victim in distress being menaced by a vampire, she finds Kadin who saves the woman. After some flirtatious banter, the two are menaced by a gang of vampires. Neither seems especially worried as they both pull their weapons to engage the common enemy.

Commentary: I do have to ask, not that it affects the scoring or the story or anything important... why is Kennedy wearing an outfit that I'd expect on BTVS, S1 Willow?

  Seriously Kennedy, what the hell are you wearing?

Scene 39: At the Council, Camille and Oz have been chained in the expansive yard of the compound as the moon rises. At the same time, Kennedy and Kadin are fighting off the vampires.

When they're done, Kadin grabs Kennedy and gets in her face regarding where they've stashed Camille. Kennedy hits her in the face and takes off back toward the HQ, drawing Kadin after her.

Scene 40: When Kennedy leads Kadin back to the Council HQ, she finds Oz and Camille still chained to the ground, the moon high in the sky, but no changing going on. Both Oz and his wife remain quite human. Kennedy asks Kadin if she can kill a human being in cold blood. At first, Kadin suspects some sort of illusion, but she's convinced that the magic was Willow splitting the beast from the human and that Camille is now just a woman.

After another tense minute, Kadin puts the safety back on the trigger of the crossbow she'd been pointing at Camille. She's a bit pissed, but admits she can't kill her while she's strictly human. This in no way means the woman is forgiven, however. Kadin gets in Camille's face and tells her that they'll always have 'Bad Blood' -- title shout out!

Scene 41: A bit later and Kennedy is meeting with Kadin again. She's packing up to head out after other monsters that are still monsters. But, her and Kennedy have a sexually charged good-bye before she's on her way.

Scene 42: Later, Kennedy returns to her room to find Mia there, waiting. She tells Mia that she's sorry about judging her before. Meeting Kadin has made her realize the difference between having a choice and not. Mia had no choice when she shot Volano's goon, Julia or when she killed a fellow Slayer in the Presidium Arena. If she hadn't acted, she would have been dead - probably with Rowena, though she doesn't mention that specifically.

She also realizes that Mia not knowing her shoe size was at least partially her fault, because they've never just sat all night talking. Kennedy realizes she doesn't really know a lot about Mia either. She resolves for them to go to bed and just spend the rest of the night telling each other everything... except about the effect of Kadin's gaze, presumably.

Scene 43: Commentary: And this is where the entire episode goes off of the rails and crashes... the last scene and it doesn't work for reasons I'll explain. Boy, I'm really going to hate posting this review and facing the flack, but... well, first let's just look at what happens before I point out the problem - the Very. Huge. Problem.

The episode ends with Oz and his wife, Camille, in the lobby of the Council saying their good byes. Oz and Willow wish each other happiness with their respective loves. It's all very sweet and nicely ends Oz's tale by giving him his happy ending. He and Camille are free of their werewolves and without Kadin hunting them, they can get on with living a normal life together.

We get a bit of Rollow, too, reinforcing that Rowena has established a comfort with her sexuality and her deepening relationship with Willow - all wonderful.

Commentary: Except, *sigh*, the Oz/Camille happy ending is entirely wrong because THEY WERE NEVER CURED. Let me explain, because I could fan-wank this to work by stating that Willow found an alternate spell (the scene
between her and Ro in the library - which, who knows, was maybe what was intended but never clarified in the explanations post Kadin confrontation - which Willow cast earlier before setting up the final Kadin encounter.
Then when Kadin confronts everyone, in order to make things simpler, Willow reports that the ritual Cassandra had her perform in Blue Moon worked on Oz and Camille as well.

The problem comes with the presentation of the denoument. Willow speaks to Kadin as if Cassandra's ritual actually DID WORK on Oz and Camille. I mentioned in Blue Moon's review how we didn't really have an explanation (see Other Thoughts, where it is mentioned) for why Oz and Camille weren't turned into regular-wolves along with Cassandra and Troy. This... magical quirk... remains unexplained.

But it's worse than that: Because it is never mentioned that this original spell didn't work, and offering the 'real explanation', it is left as a fact that the ritual stripped Oz and Camille of their werewolf powers. This is not a problem with Oz because he's already been shown to have the self control to resist changing. He didn't transform in the ritual room and didn't realize at that time that he'd been stripped of his persona.

Perfect. But, then we come to Camille - she is shown, 'on screen' mind you, to be a WEREWOLF following the ritual. She menaces Willow. Kennedy and Mia fire a double dose of tranquilizer into her, she collapses. Oz rushes to her unconscious side. Oz holds her as SHE TRANSFORMS TO HUMAN, AGAIN... on screen in front of us.

Willow and the others look desperately for Troy and Cassandra, expecting an attack by some combined-powers creatures... they see TWO WOLVES. They're in a blast room - there is no way to hide or mislead on how many wolves are present - there are TWO... not FOUR (and Camille was clearly still a werewolf, anyway, even if Oz was stripped of his powers).

So, what happened? I can speculate but that is all it is. I think that the episode with Oz was meant to be only one episode long. This is borne out by the fact that after the Fourth Act of Blue Moon, we see the following words, "End of Bad Blood" and "Where to?" and then the links... only we're not in the episode Bad Blood, we've just been reading "Blue Moon". Oops.

I think that Oz and Camille were originally going to be cured by Cassandra's ritual, while her story basically remained the same. She and Troy also get their cure, being turned into wolves... perhaps Oz and Camille were supposed to have their powers drawn into Cassandra and Troy somehow leaving a pair of humans and a pair of wolves left behind. In fact in re-reading Willow's explanation, that is exactly what was supposed to have happened. Two wolves, Two humans left behind at the end of the ritual. - except for the Camille as werewolf problem!

I think that then, probably at the last minute, someone decided they could/should have Oz spend another episode at the Council, since they reintroduced him after all. So, Kadin was created in order to put Camille in danger and allow Oz to stay for another episode. However, the original story wasn't carefully enough checked to make sure that the two parts wouldn't contradict each other's storylines. Maybe because Oz and Camille were never the focus of Blue Moon, which is why someone decided that Oz had to have a story more focused on his life before he left the Council for parts unknown?

Cut to the writing of Bad Blood in which they reached Act 4 and needed to wrap up Kadin/Camille/Oz's story. They decide that here would be where the original ending of Blue Moon would occur, where we find out that Oz and Camille are cured of their affliction and ride off into the sunset together.

But, they forgot that in Part I, they had Camille not be cured so that they could string out Oz' arc for another episode by not having the couple cured of their lycanthropy quite yet. So, they offered the explanation they had originally come up with to finish Oz' tale.

Which would have worked completely if they hadn't already unambiguously shown that Camille had not been cured back in that blast room, post ritual and that they had hinted that Willow/Ro had found an alternate means to cure them and they'd have to write an explanation of it so that we would see that in the last act of Bad Blood, Kadin was targeting a very human Camille since the end of Blue Moon and the audience had been misdirected.

Now, I checked the next few episodes to see if the clarification comes in some sort of side conversation, but Oz isn't mentioned again... and frankly, I couldn't check every single episode, so if I missed this clarification somewhere, fine, I was wrong - but I don't think I am.

So basically what we have is that Bad Blood was written to suggest that we had a mistaken assumption that Oz and Camille weren't cured in the blast room, but they actually had been. This is why Oz looks at his human hand in Act 4 with surprise and why Camille never changes under the full moon, here. Because their wolves were drawn out of them and placed in Cassandra and Troy when they became regular old wolves.

BUT - Camille's scene in Blue Moon where she transforms from werewolf to human after being tranquilized ruins that entire plot point without some explanation (like a delayed effect - but don't use that because it is lame and it doesn't explain how Camille and Oz didn't become wolves, or consequently, how Troy or Cassandra did become a wolf if the beast wasn't yet removed from Camille).

Ow, ow, ow. My head hurts.

The Good: Both Camille and Kadin's histories are interesting and I like we were given a definite reason for Kadin being hung up on getting Oz' wife.

I like the tensions between Xander and Willow (on her end, Xan didn't mean what it came across as) regarding Willow's decreased magical ability. I also like Willow's feeling of inadequacy when it comes to her new level of magic, as well (but I have a caveat in Other Thoughts).

I like the idea of Dawn struggling with her bisexual attractions, probably when she thought that she was totally satisfied with Skye only (if only it wasn't Jeff).

Giles and Becca's scene is wonderful.

Even though I love Mia/Kennedy, I also really like the tensions that are being raised by the whole Black Operations thing between them. I even like that the writers acknowledge that Kenn/Mia sort of just happened out of nowhere by having them realize they don't know each other very well at all in this episode.

I like the idea of Kadin, her being a Van Helsing and the sexual tension with Kennedy - along with the clear indication that we're going to pick up this story on a later visit.

The Bad: Uh - look at commentary, there is plenty of plot problems. Some of these could just be me being dense, but the ending is just.... I'm only coming up with one snarky phrase and will avoid putting it here. Let us just say that I don't like the contradictory plot mechanics between Blue Moon and Bad Blood.

Bad character choices that seem out of character as well... again, see the commentary.

The fact that I have to critique this so harshly because of the lack of proof reading to make sure Blue Moon and Bad Blood don't directly contradict one another in regards to the Osbourne's fates. It really feels embarrassing to post this review at all, since I know the creators actually read these... but... it is what it is.

Other Thoughts: That caveat about Willow - I don't like her turning her lack of uber-witchery into a reason to try to convince Rowena to leave her. I really don't get what one thing has to do with the other. I think we're meant to see Willow as pushing Ro away briefly because of her own feelings of inadequacy due to her decreased ability. I think the intention is clear enough, but it is so very quickly resolved as to have been superfluous.

Also, the scenes cutting to Dawn and Skye watching television and in bed together were superfluous - they're a couple... this isn't new information and since Skye was sleeping in the bedroom scene, there was no dialog and no actual dramatic action, so it was a bizarre cut away to them. I think I would have had Jeff call Dawn 'just to talk' to reinforce that Dawn was struggling with feelings toward him and stuck between trying to stay just friends with him and not wanting to deal with him at all because it was getting so uncomfortable and complicated... maybe by having her harshly whispering while looking at sky with panic-expression on her face. I'd then do something like having her leave Skye following the phone call and going into the bathroom or stare out a window in thought... something like that to make the cut more relevant to the arc playing out between these three characters.

The Score: As you can tell, I didn't like this episode. I was cool with it, even ready to mark it slightly over average until the whole thing came crashing and burning at the end. Now, I'm fully ready to add notes admitting I'm wrong and re-score it if somebody can explain why I'm way off base and where the whole thing made sense, but as far as I can tell, the major Oz/Camille arc is one giant mess.

2.0 out of 5


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