The Best of/Worst of ...
A post where we explore the times when our protoganists shine and when they fall far short of what we expect from them:
Today, we're exploring four different series that I'm reviewing in this site & as we always do, we'll start with BTVS.
We're still in S1 of this list, so we'll be taking a look at our characters in the episode,
"I Robot, You Jane"
The Best of Our Characters:
Buffy: Let's be honest up front about "I Robot, You Jane"... this episode was not a good one. In fact, I mentioned it would have been below average, if we hadn't of gotten the Giles/Jenny scenes. The script especially ill-serves Buffy, herself. She's really borderline incompetent... kind of like Buffy that would have been if we'd followed the beginning of her Slayer 'career' in L.A.
That makes finding a solid character moment for her tough. I'm going to go with her using her observational skills and tactical ability to find a way to stop Moloch, when he had her clearly overpowered.
Xander: He's also ill-served by this script, most of his scenes revolving around being jealous and/or possessive of Willow's attention, even though he doesn't think of her in romantic terms. Buffy calls it, he's used to being the "belle of the ball" for Willow.
Xander does get a 'hero moment' when he punches out a lab thrall. I'll give his heroic moment a nod.
Willow: I think Will's shining moment is pretty easy; she grabs up a fire extinguisher to bash Moloch... making a quip along the way.
Giles: Rupert and Jenny are able to drive Moloch from the internet, before he manages to get some ambition and really destroys the world.
Angel: Our hero-vampire doesn't appear in this episode. That would be a shining moment for anyone.
Cordelia: Cordy also didn't appear in this one; she was rather missed, but it is still a good character moment that she avoided the episode.
Our Characters Sucked:
Buffy: Remember how observant Buffy was in that fight with Moloch in order to defeat him? Well, she also manages to walk into dark rooms and miss bodies hanging right next to her. I can only think she's suffering some sort of eye problem with her night vision.
Xander: Xander's not very supportive of Willow's efforts to find a little bit of love. This is even before the gang has a reason to suspect something wrong. He's selfish.
Willow: Willow has only a few weak character moments, none of which are awful (oh, cute Willow... how I'll miss you in S6). I think her worse moment is really just skipping classes and lying to Buffy clumsily as to why she missed her morning courses.
Giles: Rupert's territoriality over the library causes him to be distracted when Buffy is trying to tell him that her Slayer instincts are warning her that Willow is in trouble with this Malcolm stranger. He tends to be focused on protecting his turf from Ms. Calendar's computer invasion, which may have delayed the gang's ability to figure out what was really going on.
Angel: No character moments, means nothing bad.
Cordelia: No character moments, means - well actually - this episode really needed some Cordy-snark.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (Vegas in Space)
Buck- Buck gets into several scrapes in this episode, and naturally enough win 'em all. Still, I'll say his shining character moment in this one was being willing to rescue a girl who was not part of his mission. He could have just stunned Tandie and dragged her into a closet, but he chose to give her a means of escape.
Wilma- Colonel Deering didn't have much screen time in this episode, so there wasn't any moments that stood out.
Dr. Huer- I liked Doctor Huer's negotiating skills in this one. He was able to get far more from the bad guy in exchange for the Directorate's help by playing hardball than we might expect from this show.
Dr. Theopolous - He was the designer of the gadgets for Buck.
Twiki: Minimal cutesy-robot, and no outstanding moments for him.
Worst of Our Characters:
Buck- I have to say, Buck's attempt at subtle is appalling. If the script wasn't protecting him, he surely would have been caught slipping those camouflaged explosives into place.
Wilma- Although the Colonel wasn't in the episode much, I did find her resistance to expanding her pilot's abilities to move beyond depending so heavily on the computer to be stubborn for little gain.
Dr. Huer- I didn't find the good doctor having any weak moments in character. One could argue that his initial refusal to rescue an innocent girl was a character weakness, but considering the amount of risk it would have required to the people under his care just to protect the operations of a criminal... well... I don't see it as a weak moment for him to refuse, just practical.
Dr. Theo: The computer AI had no weak moments.
Twiki: Our ambuquad wasn't in the episode enough to annoy.
So... for character moments, we need to establish first who we're going to include. Really, Sam and Dean are our only main characters. But, there are secondary characters who make an big enough impact that we could also include them as well. For Season One, I've decided that I'm going to include John Winchester, although I suspect that there will be several "John doesn't do much, no best of/worst of" for him. Everything Dean and Sam are, however, comes back to John - we have to include him. I also considered including Mary Winchester, but I think she's just bordering on the other side of 'major character' for this posting.
In later Seasons, we'll also be including Bobby Singer and Castiel.
Best of Our Characters:
Dean Winchester - All of Dean's best moments are related directly to saving Sam. Of the best though, I'll give it to his rescue of Sam from the burning apartment bedroom. Sam was clearly too tramautized to save himself.
Sam Winchester - Sam's realization that the way to stop the Woman in White, was to actually take her home ... quite literally dragging her into the house with the Impala.
John Winchester - Despite John's horror at Mary on the ceiling, he has the presence of mind to grab his infant son and get him out of the house, before going back for Mary (Hey, it isn't like he has a lot going on in this episode, the pickings are slim).
Worst of Moments:
Dean - I thought breaking into Sam's apartment in the middle of the night was jerkish... but then he tops himself by making sleazy innuendos at Jessica during their first meet. Really, Dean... nice.
Sam Winchester - Sam's rather clumsily yelling to his brother about using fake credit cards to pay for his purchases. The only reason they didn't get a call to the police by a suspicious store clerk or bystander is because of script-protection. And, this is from a guy who grew up in this lifestyle?
John Winchester - John is pretty difficult to judge acurately, because having watched the series we learn so much more about him and the impact of his decisions on his children. We also learn a lot more about how he became a hunter and where the faults lie in being involved in the monster hunting gig in the first place. But, for this little series, I am sticking to what we know as we see it -- So, I have to put John's major character weakness in judging Sam so harshly for wanting to go to college and exit the life. Why is being such a prick about this? What a jerk.
Like with SPN, there are really only two major characters: Scully and Mulder. But, there are also secondary characters that appear enough, that you may be tempted to include them on a listing like this, as well. I have conflicted feelings about including characters such as Cigarette Smoking Man and Skinner ... I haven't decided yet. For S1 though, we're only going to include our two FBI agents. I did briefly consider Deep Throat for this list, but I think he's too much exposition-guy, in the end.
Best Character Moment:
Fox Mulder: Huh. I've looked through my review for all mentions of 'Mulder' and 'Fox' and in none of his scenes do I find anything of great character. Isn't that odd? Throughout this pilot, Fox tends to come across as paranoid, unscientific, irrational, the sort to jump to wild conclusions and guesswork, odd, insensitive ... I could mention personality traits that may be admirable under other circumstances, like his drive and focus, but in this episode? I don't think I can give him any outstanding moments.
Dana Scully: Dana's best character moment is at the end, in her refusal to debunk Mulder's work, despite her being aware that this is the whole point of her being assigned to the X-Files. The implication of what she was there to do was clear, even though officially her boss denied she was there to do anything but 'evaluate, based on your scientific background'. She shows a lot of integrity in not allowing herself to be railroaded into agreeing that the X-Files are a waste of time and resources.
Worst Character Moment:
Fox Mulder: Fox actually has a lot of character problems, simply because of his utter and complete belief in the phenomena he's investigating. He's got all of those traits mentioned above, that made it impossible to find an outstanding, good character moment for him. The worst though, is how insensitive he comes across when the coffin goes tumbling down the hill and those very odd remains are seen.
Dana Scully: Dana's worst moment was the stereotypical behavior she evinced, in utter disregard for her FBI training, when she was investigating the weird noises in the dark. Calling out for her partner repeatedly, under circumstances where he either wouldn't be, or would have answered her if it was him, was just stupid. This may have been sensible if Dana was new to the FBI, but in her introduction scenes, she's been an agent already, which means she's been through the training. Plus, under her circumstances, it seems reasonable that no one in the real world would have kept yelling to somebody who wasn't answering and drawing attention to themselves.
Oh, and also ... thank you Kroger for having 'buy one, get one free' on Russell Stover chocolate truffles ... you totally made my week by feeding my chocolate addiction on the cheap.