harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

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Buffy Review, "Reptile Boy"

BTVS: Season 2's

"Reptile Boy"

Written by: David Greenwalt

DIR: David Greenwalt

Blurb: When Buffy and Cordelia attend a frat party, they find themselves being offered up to a reptile-like creature as human sacrifices.

Scene 01: Our story (once the "In every generation...." speech is over, which has at least been shortened and is delivered by Giles. Still I can't wait for them to stop repeating that before every story) begins on a shot of Buffy's house at night. From inside we hear a caterwauling.

Scene 02: This is coming from Buffy's room, where she, Willow and Xander are watching a Hindi movie and trying to decipher the plot. Xan mildly sarcastically says that they thought the evening would be dull without any money and no place to go. Buffy though is enjoying herself. The demon population has been quiet lately.

Scene 03: In another part of Sunnydale, we track in on a much larger home. Suddenly, there is a crash as a girl comes running through a plate glass window onto a balcony. She looks back fearfully... or possibly in shock that she wasn't just cut to ribbons....

Showing more survival skill then many of her horror-sisters, she doesn't hesitate to go over the balcony and drop to the ground below. On the balcony we see a guy in monk robes has chased her out and sees that she has escaped.

She takes off running, but more brown robes are on her track. Like so many of her horror-sisters, she falls over her own feet.
But, at least she gets up immediately, goes up a tree to help her get over a wall and keeps going rather than laying there screaming and waiting.

Over the wall is a cemetery. She runs through it being pursued by the brownrobes.

Commentary: I thought that she'd give 'em the slip, then get caught by Spike, but no. Spike, alas, is not featured in this one.

So, our fleeing girl runs right into the arms of another brownrobe who had gotten in front of her and cut off her escape route. She give a brief sorrowful scream, but the brownrobes are not moved. Our girl's name is Callie and she's hauled away by the brownrobes back to the house of doom (which we'll discover is a fraternity).

Credits and Kickass Theme

Scene 04:  The following day, the gang is at school. Cordy is following some horrible advice about listening to everything a man says and laughing a lot... she fake laughs hideously as example.

Elsewhere coming out of the school are Willow with Buffy. Buffy and Willow are discussing the amount of time that Angel is taking up in Buffy's thoughts. {And since we all know how this all ends, it is so painful... especially Willow's "you're so right for each other", which she will change her mind about by the end of S3.}

Commentary: HOW. How did Buffy dare come to school dressed like that? Giraffe-pants? Dark bra under white top? I'm appalled.

Buffy laments not being able to have a relationship with Angel, what with the whole "he's an animated dead guy" thing and all. Willow suggests coffee some night, as she has always been so supportive of Buffy's disastrous mistakes-in-motion.

Scene 05: Xander has joined them, but stops off to spar with Cordelia. We'll not speak of it much, because his attempt at insult over Cordy dating a college guy is really lame. Her comeback about his going to college as just some of the interesting places he'll see as a pizza delivery man is funny, though (well, until S4).

Scene 06: (Kill this outfit. Kill it now.)

Back at the lockers, Xan is feeling bested by the Cordy-beast (rightfully). Buffy tells the gang she has to rush to the library for a session with Giles as she's running late. She's blows this off as the paranormal having been so quiet lately, anyway.

Scene 07: In the library, Giles is not in a blow-it-off mood though. He berates Buffy for getting lazy in her training routine lately just because the Hellmouth area has been quiet of late. Buffy throws it back to him that she wants to have a social life, too, and he complains that she should be relieved that she has a clear purpose. He orders to come in for homework and a training session directly after class that afternoon. She pouts. He steadfastly tells her that her pouting will have no effect on him.

Scene 08: So, after school Buffy is not in the library, but is dawdling outside waiting for Xan and Willow to get caught up with their day. Cordy comes rushing out, bumping into Willow and completely not even apologizing. She watches excitedly as a boy with a car pulls up to the curb.

We find this is Richard, who we recognize telling Callie that she wasn't going anywhere while dressed in a brown robe. With him is a blandly handsome guy. He immediately zeroes google-eyes on Buffy laughing in the sunshine and flipping her hair. Second-banana guy has a certain Owenosity to him, making me fear that Buffy is going to latch onto a bore in order to cope with her Angel-wuzzies.

Richard invites Cordelia to 'the House' that night for a college-type-party. He gives the "it's going to be a really special evening" with an snarky attitude that should raise an alarm bell, but doesn't. Rather, Cordelia practices her fake-laugh, which is hideously fake and ridiculously not appropriate to anything he said, causing the two frats to give her a weird look.

Commentary: Charisma can be pretty funny when she's so desperately clueless and her overacting during her "laugh at everything a man says" lesson put into practice.

With Richard's friend so into Buffy-at-first-sight, Cordelia's trying to tell the guys that Buffy wouldn't be a friend of hers if Hell froze over suddenly turns into a "she's more like a sister, we're that close". Well this has Richard wanting to be introduced to her, with Cordy says fine too, but clearly with extreme discomfort.

Scene 09: Xander is planning on another evening of Indian TV Movies, but Cordy interrupts to drag Buffy off by her arm to meet Richard and his fraternity bro. Buffy complains that she doesn't want to meet any frat boys.

"And, if there was a God, don't you think he'd keep it that way," Cordelia sighs.

Commentary: I chuckle. With this episode, that has to be enough. This one is a bit of a slow slog again, as it isn't wonderfully good (like, oh, the second half of this very season), but not hideously cheezy to rag on either (like, oh, Preying Mantis Puppet teacher). It's just kinda there, telling its tale.

Xan is snotty at Cordy for interrupting the 'dawdling'... but honestly, anything that gets us away from his shirt and green plaid pants, I take as a welcome.

Back with Fraternity Bros, Richard comes on much too strong to Buffy who tries to run away, but Cordy again grabs her arm. Richard is showing how secure he is in his manhood by wearing all yellow - including a preppy, Cuddly-soft sweater. {Oh, for pity's sake - COSTUMER!!!}

Tom Warner steps in, playing the suave, kind, decent boy to Richard's ladykiller. Alas, Buffy looks to be all too quickly falling into the ploy, to both Xander and my annoyance.

Ack. It goes on. Tom tells Buffy that Richard invited Cordy to a party that weekend, as Cordy is doing her fakiest-laugh the way the magazines told her to. He invites Buffy to come along.

Please go away frat-boys.


Scene 10: In the library, Giles is in a snit over Buffy's being late for her training session. He warns her that he's going to attack her with a sword and staff and he won't be pulling any punches.

This ends about how you'd expect, with Giles looking utterly ineffectual.

He tells her she's on patrol that evening and he'll see her in the morning, while Buffy is sharing pissy face with him.

Commentary: They really overdid the bumbling mentor routine with Giles in S1 and it continues here. Again, his character also is given growth once Buffy has to deal with the trauma of Angel/Angelus. Of course, then they backslide with Wes, until they send him over to AtS..., but anyway, it is hard to see how Giles is training Buffy in anything with the way he can barely stand up straight on his own in S1 and early S2.

Scene 11: That night, Buffy is in her usual haunts, looking for vampires and demons. She manages to walk right by Angel (the camera passes him standing stock still - and I won't make any comments about his cardboard-ness) without noticing him at all. She does find a broken bracelet on the ground.

Angel makes his presence known by telling her there is blood on it, startling her. He tells Buffy that he can smell it.

Buffy wonders what it might be like to see Angel where blood isn't involved in some way, and he takes this for her wanting to go on a date, which she denies. He seems mildly disappointed that she isn't thinking about a date, putting her a bit on the defensive and making her flustered, the way Angel often makes her flustered.

Commentary: And, what color is Angel's sweater-top... or is it more a jacket? I can't tell. I know that the sooner Angel goes to his obsession with black, the better off we'll all be. The color of his sweater/top-thing is just wrong... as is the general style... COSTUMER!!!

Angel complains that he knew this would happen, and Buffy tries to pretend she doesn't know what he means. He points out that she's a 16-year old girl (making Tom skeezy for even being at the high school, let alone chatting her up -- COLLEGE SENIOR --) while Angel is 240-mumble-mumble (really, don't hold onto this number either or it'll make things more complicated later).

Commentary: This is all well and good, but it is sort of bothersome in a retroactive way when Angel admits he loved Buffy from the first time he saw her in L.A., which sort of makes me wonder if he was so worried about his feelings and her feelings, he didn't think enough about how wrong it was to effing leave after The Master was defeated. Now, it could have been one of those prophecy things, where they just couldn't avoid what is coming, but that would also feel like a retro-fit. I don't know, I love the mid-season "this changes everything" twist, so I'm forgiving of the Angel/Buffy schmoop, but really, I have to admit that objectively Angel doesn't come off in a good light at all for not nipping this in the bud right here and right now by leaving for Buffy's own good ... and because he's being a 240-mumble-mumble year old perv [I let this slide, because of his whole vampire thing, but he's still looking more Tom's age than Buffy's, which means he's still too old to be getting entangled with a 16 year old]. Funny, how I didn't really note this too much until I started to read others' journals on LJ... the fans are ruining my doomed romance storyline! *grin*

They discuss the situation with Buffy getting more angry over Angel's attitude about a possible-them. He suddenly grabs her, startling her again, and tries to warn her that when he kisses her, she doesn't wake up from a deep sleep and live happily ever after. She responds with (oh, geez... this line), that when he kisses her she wants to die...

Commentary: ... Ack. SMG tries her heart out, but that line is bad. It's like 'secret journal' bad: Sure you can write it and dramatically sigh over it and think it is the most romantic thought you ever had, but you don't say it out loud! The moment you do, you realize how just awesomely bad and overwrought it is. Alas, Buffy said it out loud... and to another person whose not her sappy best friend.

As to Angel, though, I so love his warning specifically because of what is coming up. I don't know if it is deliberate at this point (I think the general outlines of the season were set already, weren't they?), but I really like how Joss is really speaking to the audience through Angel that this romantic tug isn't 'romantic', but is very dangerous for our heroine. He continues to drop hints that neither we (at least those of us who liked Angel/Buffy) and Buffy don't listen to....

Anyway, so Angel looks like he's struggling not to kiss her and she finally runs off and he looks all soulfully after her....

Scene 12: The next day at school, Buffy is feeling morose about the less than stellar meeting with Angel in the graveyard. Cordelia comes in, all complimentary... or she tries anyway, but can't get over Buffy's bad hair day... so she obviously wants something.

Commentary: I love Cordy, sometimes. There were a few times when the writer's went too far with her really making her much too spiteful but there are other times where you know you shouldn't laugh at her casual meanness, but you kind of can't help it.

Anyway, Cordy's here to tell Buffy she has to come to the frat party that she had turned down already for some lame reason about a boy/girl balance at the party.

Commentary: In a nice bit, they have Cordelia explain that she was so busy "really listening" the way the magazines explained she should, that she didn't really hear much of the actual explanation for this bizarre requirement of the party. I mean, the only way I can imagine that there has to be a balance, is if they're planning on some sort of orgy - and even then a little imagination can work around that pretty easily - Wow, I went right to the porn-thoughts didn't I?

Anyway, I like the writer's not even trying to make Cordy make sense of this whole weird 'balance' thing at the party.

So, Cordy explains that she needs Buffy to go or she can't. Buffy listens to Cordy's witless explanations for why she just must go be around the rich Richard Anderson, but isn't being shallow with one ear. Her mind is on the Angel-drama, so she finally just says she'll go. Cordelia is so greatful, that she casually tosses out another insult to Buffy's hair.

Scene 13: Back at the frat house, the boys are in their brown robes of demon worship initiating in some brothers to their Cult of Phallic Shaped Reptile Boy Worship.

Commentary: Which makes the brown robe look sort of odd for this scene actually.... These guys are all about using their sexual, pretty-guy attractiveness to draw young girls into their web and they worship a Penis Stand-In. Now unless you really are a monk, I think it is pretty clear that men do love Nature's First Pull Toy, and since this episode is all about sexual tension, it seems to me that the robes should have been red..., perhaps with a purplish hood. Or since their probably focusing on girls who are likely virgins, perhaps a deep crimson color would have been appropriate. The plain, ugly, brown potato sacks just don't really match what the subtext is for this episode. COSTUMER!!!

The ceremony is pretty low key and simple actually and lacks any imagination, so let's skip it.

Commentary: I did think it was cute that after the ceremony, it's "brewski time".

So, beers are tossed out. Our bad guy taunts girl from opener (I think she's Cassie, right?) with some really lame dialog, so let's just move on.

Scene 14: Later at school, Buffy is admitting that she agreed to go to a party with Cordelia of all people. Willow is shocked. Xander is relieved it isn't with Angel. Buffy's bra is still very clearly highlighted through her top.

Buffy complains that she's sick of Angel's standoffish-ness. Xander continues to encourage her anti-Angel feelings in the guise of being support-o-friend.

Commentary: I might dislike Xander here if Buffy was taking any of his opinions to heart, but it is obvious that everything he is saying in this scene is going right around her. Plus, she knows how he feels from 'Prophecy Girl', so she already knows what he's up to and why [or she should, anyway].

Of course, Xan is less supportive, when Buffy appears to be trading in Angel the Vampire for Tom the Frat Guy.

Scene 15: In the library, Giles comes out with a sword hidden behind his back in an apparent attempt to sneak attack Buffy to see if she's ready. She isn't there, yet, and he looks mildly put out over it. He begins to practice his sword play (in this episode that really sounds like a euphamism, but I'm going to steadfastly refuse that interpretation) when the gang walk in and he's left looking and feeling a little silly [As well he should. That could have just as easily been Snyder or random student, but that gets into the whole 'why do they do all their Slayer business in the library' thing, so we'll just skip over that].

Buffy turns over the half a bracelet she found and explains Angel's smelling of the blood.

Xan takes control of the conversation, suggesting that Buffy must patrol that evening (to stop her going to the frat party - you're an ass, Xander), which Giles immediately agrees to, as they research the bracelet to see if they can determine what the missing letters might have spelled out.

Buffy strenuously objects to Giles and Xander making plans for her. She doesn't mention the party, but lies about her mom not feeling well and her thinking she may be coming down with whatever it is. Xan wisely keeps his trap shut. Willow best-friend-ly keeps her trap shut. Giles agrees that she, of course, must see to her mother if she's unwell.

Scene 16: In the hallway, Buffy expects Xander to call her out over her lying ways, but it is Willow who does so. She does so in a shocked way, though, not in the accusatory way that Xander clearly would have.

Buffy tells her friends that 7 days a week she's saving the world and once in a great while she intends to have some actual fun...

Scene 17: ... which leads directly to Cordelia warning Buffy that tonight isn't about fun. Cordy tells Buffy that tonight is about her duty to help Cordy acheive permanent prosperity.

Cordelia gives Buffy a list of do's and don't's to follow. She again slams Buffy's looks, making Buffy realize what a mistake going anywhere with Cordelia is going to be.

Scene 18: Sitting on one of the sofas a bit away, Willow is still reeling from Buffy lying to Giles. Xander tells Wills that he's sneaking into the frat party to keep an eye on Buffy.

Willow sees through his excuse and he admits it's also about showing that he's just as good as the rich, good looking, older guys at the frat. And to maybe catch an orgy.

Scene 19: That night, we're at the frat party in full swing.

Cordy pulls in, slamming on her breaks and bumping the car in front of her, then cheerily complaining about them parking too close to you. She asks Buffy if she's ready and Buffy expresses doubts about going in, but Cordy just excitedly answers, "Me, too! Let's go!" completely not listening.

Commentary: I also like how Buffy completely ignored Cordelia's stricture against wearing black, but it isn't commented on.

Scene 20: Richard greets Cordy and Buffy at the door and his immediate first act is to pass them alcohol, which Buffy declines. He tells her that is alright before making her feel immature by pointing out that at her age, he wasn't into grown up things yet, either. He goes off with Cordy, who immediately snubs Buffy's company now that she's in, adding to Buffy's feeling of isolation.

Scene 21: In the meanwhile, Xander - ever the suave, sophisticated hero (I kid) - falls into a window as he sneaks into the party. Also at the party are pledges that assuredly are pledging the frat and not the Penis-Shaped Demon Cult. Not only is the poor young man dressed in drag that he looks embarrassed about, but he deserves to feel embarrassed. That outfit does nothing for him at all ... COSTUMER!!

Now, Xander is wandering through the party to 'watch over' Buffy, but he's distracted by the tray of food and so just misses her.

Buffy meanwhile is probably wondering just what she was thinking with this whole idea. Of course, since we know there are Penis-Shaped Demons here, well, obviously somebody out there wanted the Slayer to roust this evil plot, so here she is, feeling even more out of place than is usual.

See Buffy watching the beautiful people dance... sad, outsider-Buffy.

Buffy's gaze passes over two leering guys, one of which is clearly drunk, but then she spots someone who looks relatively decent. She picks up that drink that she was given and toasts him, but it's drunkard who staggers over to harass her, alas.

Tom appears to yank her away just before drunkard careens right into her as if he was a, uh - whichever one of those American football positions is that tries to tackle the quarterback.

Scene 22: Buffy and Tom dance and she thanks him for pulling her away from the drunkard, since she was basically standing there looking like deer in headlights.

As Tom and Buffy dance, he picks up on the fact that she isn't exactly happy to be there. She tells him it's not that she doesn't want to be, it's just that she shouldn't be. He asks why....

(Yeah. No, her age isn't brought up at all.) She brings up her obligations vaguely, clearly feeling badly about lying to Giles earlier despite the fact that he was being a jerk about monopolizing her time (and this won't be the last time this happens, or the only time she ends up lying to him).

Tom is self-effacing and sweet and charming and handsome and all of those things that appear perfect in a potential boyfriend. Of course, he must be evil or he must die. Or both. But for now, Buffy is sweeting on him and they're dancing and it's all very nice. Boring. But nice.

Scene 23: Meanwhile, in another room, Xander is playing Godzilla with crab claws to the amusement of two young ladies. He's being watched though by Cassie-tormentor, who is getting the sneaking suspicion that Xander is not an invitee to their bash. He comes over to Xan with drunken linebacker (Hah! I remembered! I think... it is linebacker, right?) and drunken lout of a friend. Neither one of them seem all that drunk suddenly though.

Xander is hauled away as a 'new pledge' to his confused and slightly scared glance around the room....

Scene 24: While everyone else is chanting 'new pledge', Buffy has strolled out onto the veranda. She steps on broken glass and glances up to see a boarded window at the frat house.

Tom finds her there. Richard soon joins them with a pair of drinks. Buffy "what the hell's" her drink down, muttering she's tired of being mature (y'know, over that whole Slayer raw deal). Tom and Richard exchange a shifty glance.

Scene 25: In the library, Willow is working on the computer looking up word combinations that could be consistent with the partial bracelet Buffy handed to Giles. Willow stumbles on the word 'Kent' and rather than immediately thinking 'Clark', her mind goes to Kent Prepatory School, where she knows she's seen bracelets like the one in her hand. She pulls up their newsletter, and sure enough, there is Callie - reported missing.

Scene 26: In the meantime, the frats are dolling Xander up to his horror with smudgey lipstick. He's decked out in a huge bra (stuffed) and forced to dance for the party guests. They complete his new look with a blonde wig. "Dance, Xander, Dance!"

Scene 27: Buffy meanwhile, is stumbling around badly. We're wondering just how much she's had to drink, but of course 'roofie' is the answer.

As Buffy stumbles upstairs to find a place to rest, Xander's silver-skirt bedecked ass is being paddled as he is encouraged to keep dancing and prancing.

Scene 28: Buffy finds a bed on the second floor, complaining the room won't stop spinning and quickly passes out... where Richard finds her. Richard comes in after her and there is that really uncomfortable moment when he's rubbing his fingers over her upper chest and it is not pleasant. Thankfully, Tom intervenes and tells him to get his paws off of her.

Unshockingly, since he didn't die, Tom turns out not to be such a nice guy after all. He reminds Richard that Buffy is for the one they serve, proving himself to be a devotee of the Reptile Demon... why you could even say he's a Reptile Boy (See what I did there? Wow, tough crowd... moving on...).

He tells Richard that the same goes for the other one, which unsurprisingly is the long missing (in episode terms) Cordelia Chase, already passed out on the floor.

Scene 29: Giles prints out Willow's located information on the week-missing Callie, while she frets. Giles goes to call Buffy at home, but Willow blurts out a big 'No!', which she quickly covers by reminding him of the Summers' "illness". Giles agrees that it may be premature to get the Slayer involved, but then Willow reports about a series of missing girls from local schools. In fact, they seem to disappear every year around the same date. Thank God for computer nerds, as the police have apparently not found this out on their own...

Okay, I guess the force could just be owned - these are kids with rich and powerful fathers....

Well, with this new information, Giles again goes to call Buffy to find out where, exactly, she found the bracelet so the rest of them can start a search around that area.

Willow again intercedes to cover for Buffy's deception by telling Giles he should call Angel, since he was there and they'll need all the help they can get....

Scene 30: Back at the frat house, the party is breaking up. Xander is thrown out without finding Buffy, or his dignity.

Mmmmm... shirtless Nicky....

Scene 31: Back in the basement of Penis-Worship, the swords are being hauled out (See what I'm doing there... oh, c'mon, that was humorous - if obvious, like this script).

Anyway, we're obviously talking about metal weaponry, not trouser-swords.Tom is being carved up on his back, and we see that there are already three diamond shapes on his chest (this was a nice touch - we already know he's a senior, and we now know that there have been missing girls every year... do the math). In fact, Tom is marked up all over (because he's the ring leader, or one diamond for each girl he's sacrificed ... dull if the former, but clever if the latter since it isn't mentioned specifically - alas we won't know).

Buffy and Cordy remark on their situation, while Callie tells them none of them are getting out of there.

Tom chooses Buffy to be last, leering at her (Again, this may be clever in that Tom may actually like Buffy genuinely. He would see her, then, as his personal sacrifice to Machida - that would be penis-shaped reptile demon - and ergo something of his personal tribute to the demon. It could also just be that she's the hero, so she gets singled out. Again, this isn't explained, so I don't know if it is a clever tip of the hat to his character, or just the obvious script decision... I suspect probably the latter, though).

It becomes obvious that they're about to meet a sticky end (oh, maybe that was a bad choice of words for this ep), and Buffy tells Cordy to calm down, that she'll get them out of this. Cordy immediately asks why she let Buffy talk her into coming there in the first place, getting a look of astonishment from Buffy.

Scene 32: In the library, Willow is getting more and more worried as Angel explains where the bracelet was found. Willow is momentarily distracted by Angel's lack of reflection and asks him how he shaves... it's the small amusements in this episode.

Willow puts it together that the cemetery where the bracelet was found is near the same frat house that Buffy was due to be partying at. She cracks and spills that Buffy and Cordy are at the frat house at a party.

Giles is shocked he was lied to. Angel is grumpy that she had a date.

And, Willow gets her rant on. And since it really is the scene to save this episode from utterly dire boredom, I will quote:

"Why do you think she went to that party?! Because, you gave her the brush off! And you never let her do anything, except work and patrol! And, I know she's the Chosen One but, you're killing her with the pressure a-and she's 16, going on 40! And, you! I mean you're gonna live forever, you don't have time for a cup of coffee?! Okay *breath* I don't feel better now, and we've gotta help Buffy...," marches out of library, leaving Giles and Angel abashed.

Commentary: So, here it finally is. The only scene that has energy and drive and gives you that 'Yes!' feeling.

Scene 33: Xander is dejectedly walking down the frat's driveway, muttering to himself that someday he'll have wealth and prestige and power... still dressed in his skirt and topless.

Commentary: Okay, so this one isn't a bad scene, either, but that's because of Nicky's treasure trail. And his nipples.

Xan spots Cordy's car, and realizes that she never left the frat house.

Scene 34: In the basement, Tom is chanting for Machida. He offers them the girls chained to the wall.

Commentary: Anytime you want to start breaking free, Buffy....

I do like Callie's attitude toward Cordelia, though....

Summon, summon, blah blah.

Machida finally comes up from the well in the ground as we make a dramatic close-in shot of the well....

Scene 35: So, Machida is lording over everyone in the underground chamber. The frat boys continue their supplication, in which we're led to believe that the demon has been granting them the ability to be so wealthy and powerful. Since Tom, specifically, mentioned that his grandfather and father were members of the frat, we can presume that they too were in the Machida Cult and that is how they got rich/maintained their wealth and influence. So, really, Tom is just following in the family tradition... the poor guy is just a victim! Okay, maybe not.

Buffy struggles to break the chains holding her arms, while Callie seems pretty stoic to her fate after being in captivity for a week and Cordy does that whining-not-quite-screaming that she does whenever she runs into yet another "I've been kidnapped, again?!" situation.

Scene 36: Tom continues to blah-blah as Machida looks over the offerings presented to him.

Commentary: I suppose we can speak about Machida here. It's not really a secret that this man-in-makeup/creature effect was considered a big disappointment on the set. He wasn't able to have the range of movement that the crew wanted, so there wasn't anything they could actually do with him. I don't consider him a bad creation, per se. I mean, he looks far better than both Moloch-robot and Mantis-Woman. He is a bit immobile, so I'd agree with that assessment and he isn't interesting enough to really bother leaving alive, but I don't think he's as bad as he was made out to be after the fact. In fact, I'd still prefer this creature to any of the CGI snakes or that hideous Sobek-puppet-head that they're going to lay on us in future, including the rather sad looking Mayor-demon. At least this thing looks like it costs more than the whole special effects budget of a SyFy Original Movie. So, on the creature effects, I'd say Machida is better than average at 3.25 - there a little defense of the episode. Now back to the general bore....

Scene 37: As Buffy is continuing to struggle to break free before Cordy and Callie are eaten, Angel, Giles and Willow are stalking their slow-assed way to the frat house of doom.

They meet up with Xander, now out of his girl-wear and in a dark robe. He reports that he saw the frats head to the basement wearing their robes. For some reason, they had one in the trash....

So Giles and Willow report that they may be up to a ritual involving the missing girls. And Angel turns with a growl of determination and a pissed off expression and adds they may be performing a ritual with Buffy... and he's just a might pissed at that thought. Not enough to do more than stand there menacingly, but it's the thought that counts.

Scene 38: In the basement, Cordy gets menaced. Buffy calls out "Hey, Reptile Boy" in order to distract his attention away from Cordelia. Tom warns her that no woman speaks to him, but we never learn if Machida has a special hate on for women, or if it's just an evil frat-guy rule.

Buffy, 'natch, doesn't care either way. She's still going to speak her mind. She tells Machida that it wants her, not 'skin and bones Cordy'. Tom doesn't take kindly to Buffy ignoring his command not to speak to the demon. He back hands her hard and well... you just want Buffy to kick the ever livin' shit outta him, don't you? I wish I could tell you she starts breaking his bones....

Commentary: I do like this shot, though, because it puts Machida behind Tom and gives him some scale as far as why anyone might be menaced by him, despite his mobility issues. In fact, now that I think about it, it's a litte bit of a shame that they didn't bring Machida back for one more appearance. He should have been the demon in 'Band Candy' that the mayor was going to make baby sacrifices for... Sure, sure, there would have been a bit of tweaking as far as the tribute, but there isn't anything in the episode demanding that the three girls are the only sacrifice Machida accepts. And, with the Mayor's big plans, it would make sense for his tribute to be a little more substantial than these putzes' wishing for more wealth. And, it would have given us one less CGI snake... yeah, that would've been good.

Tom tells Buffy that if she speaks again, he'll cut her throat. Buffy looks temporarily cowed by this, rather than giving him a Slayer-kick to the cajones.

Scene 39: Upstairs, Xander knocks on the door and gets let in under cover of his brown robes. Apparently, even those who aren't actively involved in the ritual downstairs are at least aware of what is going on (or football guy and his drunk and leering friend are, anyway). Xander punches out football player, but finds that it isn't like in the movies - or on TV - as he immediately starts holding his hand in pain. Angel, being a vampire, has no such problem after punching out drunk and leering friend.

Scene 40: In the basement cavern (every frat should have one), they hear the commotion from upstairs. Tom sends some flunkies up there to find out what is going on. Machida still hovers there... not doing anything... letting his three tributes just go on trying to break free... waiting and waiting and waiting....

Finally... finally... Machida moves in as a brown robe holds Cordy still, though why I have no idea since she's chained at the wrists and can't go anywhere. Buffy finally pulls her chains free though and punches the demon in the head. Two brown robes get kung-fu kicked. Tom tries the sword, but you know Buffy isn't about to be struck by that thing... (you know every sentence could so be taken the wrong way considering this episode's focus).

Scene 41: Upstairs, the brown robes attack our gang, but are quickly reduced to punching bags... even Giles gets in a good back fist to one's face.

Our gang rushes to the basement stairs, where Willow has found Buffy and reported to them her predicament... which isn't much of one since y'know Machida's reach is rather limited.

Tom is threatening with his sword still, but HAH! Please.

Buffy makes quick work of him, but alas, there is no snapping of bone involved (and yes, I do mean the double entendre on that one). Machida though has made another half-hearted lunge at Cordy and tries to drag her with him into the pit.

Buffy uses Tom's purloined sword to cut Machida in half and the demon vanishes with a screech.

Cordelia says in gratefulness how everyone was saved, before completely ignoring Buffy and wrapping her octopus-like grip around Angel, again.

Scene 42: With everyone escorted back upstairs, Buffy is left to confront an angry Giles:

"I told one lie; I had one drink," she sheepishly says.

"Yes. And you, uh, were very nearly devoured by a giant demon snake. Words 'let that be a lesson' are a tad redundant."

Buffy apologizes for misleading him. He apologizes for pushing her too hard, but tells her it is because he knows what she has to face.

Scene 43: At the Bronze sometime later, Cordelia is expressing the benefits of High School guys... starting with Jonathon whom has managed to score a date with her. One date.

In the meantime, Xander is reading the paper and reports that the frat boys were instantly found guilty and sentenced to the rest of their lives in prison. In addition, an unusual number of former frats have suddenly lost their fortunes, had their businesses raided by the IRS and have committed suicides in the boardroom as Machida's suddenly not providing the mystical wealth and influence any longer.

Willow is more interested in Buffy/Angel, though. Angel invites Buffy to coffee sometime, but she's too shocked at seeing him in his pink lip gloss to immediately respond. She finally tells him 'some time' and walks away with a little smile on her face....

The Good: I'll put many of Cordelia's interaction with the gang into this category, including her insults to Xander and Buffy.

We get Nicky shirtless... that's nice.

Willow's rant at Giles and Angel is the highlight.

The Bad: There is something... missing from this episode. It's... lazy? Lackluster? Something.

Jeezus... the costumer's choices. Oh... oh, god... why do they keep assaulting mine eyes?! WHY?!

Other Thoughts: There isn't anything wrong with the episode, except that it just sits there unmoving. Things happen, a monster shows up, Buffy beats it, the bad guys lose.

The Score: There just isn't enough to love or hate about this episode... it's just so... pedestrian. Buffy can be so much better than this, but it also isn't a bad episode at all. It's mostly just... inert. I'm afraid boring is a capitol sin around here though, so we have to score this a bit below average for that:

2.75 out of 5

Tags: buffy season 2 reviews

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