My Buffyholism is Showing poll for "Helpless" ...
Although Angel and Buffy are engaging in some sexy sparring, Angel assumes that Buffy's going on a date with someone else for her birthday. Are Angel and Buffy back together at this point?
I had to go with "Don't know what they're doing" (paraphrased) because really, a book of romantic poetry, Angel? As a gift to your now supposed to be ex that you're really 'trying' to be just friends with? Really?
I'm seeing passive-aggressive romantic mixed messages here. Of course, Buffy isn't any better, either - for someone who isn't romantically interested in Angel anymore, she sure does spend a lot of time alone with him and nearly kissing, doesn't she?
I'll still say they're not together, but they continue to flirt with the idea of being so, even if they keep telling themselves that they're not. Which leads right back to my "What the hell are you two doing" choice.
Some fans have speculated that the purpose of the Cruciamentum is to kill the Slayer at age 18 before she develops to be too independent to control. Does this work for you?
This doesn't really work for me. The Council are arrogant control freaks who devalue the Slayer as a person, but they're not actively evil. I don't think they'd set out to deliberately kill their Slayer, or why bother setting up this test? Why not just strip her of her power and put a bullet through her head?
Nah. I'd say the reasons behind the test are as presented - it's just a spectacularly inhuman thing to do to her. I can almost justify it though, if I get over my revulsion enough to think about it. There was probably an observation or perhaps a fear way back whenever this tradition started that the Slayer was being defeated because she'd inevitably turn into an unthinking brawler, relying on her fighting ability and healing factor to save her. The early Council - back before they started to do things entirely because of tradition without understanding context - probably sprung this on the Slayers to remind them that their super-powers aren't the point. Being strong and able to absorb body blows won't be enough to save their life and the lives they've a duty to protect. They need the Slayer to be observant and thinking and stategizing while they're fighting in order to be effective.
Over the centuries, as this was repeated into being a mindless tradition the Council does because that's what they do, they've forgotten the lesson it was originally meant to impart to the young lady (see Quentin's entire attitude). I could also see it as a subtle threat to the Slayer by this point, as well:
'Just remember, we can strip you of your powers at any time, young lady. Remember who holds the real authority.'
Kralik is played by Jeff Kober, who will later play Rack in S6. Which role do you like him better in?
Kralik. I really have nothing to add to this.
Kralik is apparently dependent on medication even after being vamped. This seems at odds with the general mythology that become a vampire cures one's ailments (Such as when William vamps his mother to save her from tuberculosis). What's up?
I'm going with two answers here: I believe that Drusilla establishes the fact that mental illness isn't cured during the vamping process. You start off with a mental disorder, then it stays with you after the vampire has moved in. But, I also believe that Kralik's reactions to not receiving his meds when he thinks he should have them was too extreme to be caused by the lack of medication. What I'm saying is that it was like a light switch ... "time for my meds *Howl*", so I'd say he had a very powerful addiction as well. Perhaps not to the medication, per se, but to having to take them at a set schedule, or suffer psychosomatic symptoms.
Did he need the medication? Was it even still effective? I'm not sure. Logically, of course, the medicine shouldn't help a heck of a lot, since he doesn't have a circulatory system - but in the Buffyverse, a lot of things affect vampires that really shouldn't, so logical sense doesn't really matter.
I'd say that the medication probably was needed to keep him from truly spinning into a psychosis. Which means, yes it was effective. But I also think the immediate effects we see of him not receiving his medicine promptly when he demanded it was time was psychosomatically induced and not an actual physical result of his getting his meds late (or being temporarily denied them).
The poll only allows one choice, so there I go with the Dru explanation - mental illness survives the demonic transformation.
Angel gets Buffy a collection of love poems for her birthday. Is this a Buffy-type gift?
I'm not sure of this one. Does Buffy regularly sit down with a book of poetry? Probably not. But when she does crack a book of poetry, does she find herself actually liking it... probably.
At the end, Giles is fired because he has "a father's love" for Buffy. This appears to affect Buffy's evaluation of Giles as she'd previously lost trust in him. Is all healed by the time the credits roll or do you think Buffy has a lingering distrust for Giles after this?
Oh, that distrust is still there. This may provide a way to avoid her resentment toward him, but I just can't see how you'd just forget about something this traumatic. Especially, even though that wasn't directly his fault, since her mother was directly threatened because she didn't have her powers to rescue her easily when she needed them. It wouldn't have mattered how much "father type love" Quentin talked about if Joyce had actually been killed because Buffy couldn't just break down the door and stake Kralik in 5 seconds. It wouldn't make emotional sense for her to not hold onto that in the back of her mind.
If Faith had been given the same Cruciamentum that Buffy was presented with, would she have passed?
Once again, I must take the wimpy way out and say 'not sure'. I think Faith was a brawler before her powers activated, so she'd certainly be able to fight for a short time, and maybe she would have killed the vampire, or maybe not (Gunn doesn't seem to have a problem). Would she have come up with the holy water idea? No. In fact, she probably wouldn't have even thought of taking holy water with her (In fact, has Faith ever used holy water? I can't remember her doing so off the top of my head).
But I think she'd fall back on her street fighting in this case and may have been able to take him through a combination of luck, street savvy and brawling skill.
Buffy appears upset that her powers are gone in this episode. Let's get completely hypothetical (So putting aside the hows or whys). What if Buffy were given a choice in this episode: get her powers back or get rid of them forever. Which would she choose?
She'd choose her powers by this point. As she tells (Angel?), she can't not have her superpowers, knowing the things she knows about what is out there. By this point the "I just want to be normal" has already been replaced by "I wan't normal aspects of my life, but I'm also glad I can beat back the monsters".
I like this episode, and it may end up being a 4... but I think it'll be a bit less than that. I'm going with three stars.