harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

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WaTchers Review #10

Dark Force Rising


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, CN Winters, Cynthia Taz, David Zahir, Chantal, Mytryk

Teaser: Beginning only moments after episode 9 - Love Hurts - the Council lobby is in a state of controlled chaos. Faith kneels on the floor, cradling the fallen Slayer, Rachel. Andrew is also on the floor, cradling the fallen companion-demon, Mora. Jeff is missing, having been abducted by the attacking Vutch demon for reasons unknown.

Faith cradles the body of Slayer, Rachel.

While Faith is busy venting, Robin is busy organizing and dealing with Jeff's frantic mother, Lily Lindquist(Katey Sagal). The bad news keeps coming however... in another part of the lobby, Ro, Willow and Giles discover that Kenn, still lying in a heap is unable to feel anything from her legs! In an effort to keep Kenn calm and still, Giles administers a sedative to the scared Slayer and while drugged she dreams of Tara. Is this a Slayer dream? Is Tara really there?

Act One: A bit later and Willow visits Lily at her apartment, looking for something personal of Jeff's so she can attempt a locator spell. She gets what she needs, but for some reason, her locator spell fails. When she tries to "locate" Giles, the spell also reveals nothing. It's not the spell failing, it's her....
Elsewhere, Andrew is puttering in the kitchen with Giles and is wracked with guilt for summoning Mora just to get her killed in the attack by the Vutch. While Giles is trying to comfort Andrew, Willow comes into the kitchen. They decide they have to see Ro about Willow's magic being blocked by something the Vutch did. Andrew is left quietly weeping in the kitchen.
As it becomes obvious that Giles, too, cannot perform any magic, he finds he has to calm someone else. This time Willow needs his care as she becomes increasingly angry at herself for being blocked from accessing her magic and full of fear for what may be happening to Jeff, while she remains unable to help him.
About the same time, Robin finds Faith cleaning up the mess she's created in the training room. He tries to tell her that she isn't responsible for Rachel's death, but Faith is taking it personally... she had promised her father that she would look after the young woman, and now she's dead. She decides that she'll be the one to call him and inform him of his daughter's death.
In the infirmary, the Council doctor gives a rundown to Willow of Kennedy's injuries. She's broken her back, but whether her paralysis is permanent, he can't say for sure. In the meantime, Kenn continues her dream... speaking with the image of Tara. 

Tara has some information about Willow's blockage to share with Kennedy.

Kennedy is less than thrilled with a visit from "St. Tara", as she calls her. She already feels that Tara's shadow haunts her and Willow's relationship, now she has to see her in her dreams, too? But Tara has important things to say and informs her that the answer to restore Will's magic is in a bookstore in Cleveland, not at the Council. Hmmm... "Becca's Books" in point of fact. Now would this be the same Becca that was at the bar the vampire's attacked previously? Well... yes, I think it is. 

Act Two: Giles arrives at the bookstore looking for the tome the Watchers need to reverse what the Vutch did at the Council. He meets Rebecca Montague (yeah, Becca! I love her!). During their cute meet we learn that Becca loves books, of course (just like Giles!) and she's less than enamoured with computers (just like Giles!)... and can we see where this is going? Oh, and hey... we learned before that Becca plays the guitar in a band (and Giles plays a guitar, too!). It's enough to make you sacharrine ill, really, except that Becca is such a great character that I can forgive the cuteness pretty easily in this circumstance.
"Would it be too forward to ask you to marry me?" [Giles] blurted out.  Yes, the sparks fly fast and furious between these two, and although Becca laughs off the marriage proposal, she's taken enough with Giles' clumsy flirting to agree to dinner.
Unfortunately for Becca, the Engineer of the Presidium knows all about Tara's visit and about the book that will allow the Council to locate Jeff before they're done "testing". He sends Gretz and his vampires to get ahold of that book (the very book that the Council already has).

  The mysterious Engineer.

Act Three: The following morning, Willow reads in the paper about a book shop vandalized and Giles realizes that he has placed Becca in danger. When he arrives, he finds her injured but alive. Her bookstore has been thoroughly trashed, however, and she is not at all happy to see him.
Giles isn't the only one to be yelled out, however. At the Council, Rachel's dad comes to claim her things and her remains. He obviously and pointedly blames Faith for his daughter's death.
While Robin is leading Rachel's father to the Slayer Dorm, Giles arranges with Andrew to take a contigent of Slayers, including little Marsha, to Becca's Books. Despite her insistence she wants nothing to do with Giles, now, he is insistant on making it right by using Slayer muscle to get the shop back into shape. Well, after Becca sees the girls doing things that there is no way they should be able to do, Giles has no choice but to spill everything about the Council and the Slayers.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey's torment continues as the Engineer continues working on his 'project'. Whatever it is, clearly, he's not torturing Jeff for the hell of it. Bonnie again shows up to let him know that the Council already has the book. He doesn't react much to the news... except for being displeased with the vampires.
Back at the Council, Faith and Willow have tense words and Andrew geeks out. Giles quickly cuts through the tension, however, to get everyone back on the tasks at hand with this:
"Now Willow, you know Faith didn't mean what she said, so don't get upset over trivialities," Giles continued. "And Andrew, please refrain from expressing your unfounded fears that Willow will slip into the dark arts and destroy mankind." Giles smirked playfully and turned to Willow. "But in the unlikely chance you do, please start with Andrew."  

Act Four: In the hidden lair of the Engineer, Gretz comes to his end. In the meanwhile, Jeff is to be released?? Hmm. However, Becca isn't so lucky. Bonnie (one assumes under the direction of the Presidium) orders the vampire lackeys to get rid of the book store owner. The penalty for failure this time is to follow Gertz. We get just an inkliing of what this test that was being run on Jeff revolves around. As the Engineer tells Bonnie, "The doors will be opened." Again, hmm. But why let Jeff live? Hmm, and double hmm.
In the meantime, Willow has been able to reverse what was done to her. She casts the locator spell for Jeff and finds him in transit across Cleveland. Ro dials up Vi and Rona on her cell and instructs them where to go.

Becca's about to meet a pointy-toothed end!

While Vi and Rona are discovering the dumped and injured Jeff, Giles is on his way to Becca's Books. He's very displeased with her not accepting a Slayer guard at her store and even though he doesn't want her to think of him as her stalker, he doesn't feel right leaving her unprotected until he's sure that the vampires won't be making a return visit to her. It's a good thing he did, too! Not only is he able to save her life, but he's also able to save his reputation with her.
Back at the Council, Jeff has been placed in a clinic bed. Willow tells Lily (and therefore, the audience) what has happened to Jeff. Apparently, whatever that machine was about, it wasn't just torturing Jeff. It was actually draining his magical energy from him... Will is impressed that he was able to survive it. Lily tells Willow that she's quitting the Council and taking Jeff with her, but she's able to convince the woman to give it some serious thought, first.
In addition to getting Jeff back, Kennedy also is feeling better. Better enough to get frisky when Will visits her in the clinic. And we close on another encounter between Kennedy and Tara....

The Good: The plot and story were exciting and a very good follow up to the exciting Act 4 of last episode. The Engineer's plans and the mysterious device he's working on makes for an engrossing mystery and the arc continues. Faith has some great scenes with her being uncharacteristically vulnerable in the aftermath of Rachel's death. The scenes with Kennedy and Tara were nicely written and Tara's explanations of why she'd come to the Slayer rather than to Willow or Giles made sense. Becca is instantly a character we want to see more of and the romance in the air with Giles is something we'd like to see advance. We also get a few scenes (including dialog!) with Vi, Rona and Marsha.

The Bad: Why let Jeff (a bonafide Council member) live, but take the time to go back and kill Becca (book store owner and basically by-stander)? It doesn't make much sense and smacks of IITS syndome (
It's In The Script). 

The Verdict: The obvious seasonal arc of the Presidium continues building on the mystery of what they want and what the Engineer's device is doing. We gain a new and wonderful character in Becca and there's some powerful dialog throughout. I give this episode of Watchers a 4.0 out of 5 stars.



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