Best of / Worst of Character Moments
Welcome to another installment of something I should have been doing at the same time I was reviewing....
Today, we're going to be taking a look at our characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, S2's "School Hard", mostly because I don't quite have the X-Files done... but I do intend to post that review today. After which, we'll have two movie reviews which follow the 'teen Slasher' mode: the nature-run-amok JAWS2 (yes, they were too lazy to use a space) and the supernatural horror from south of the border, Ladrones De Tumbas (a.k.a. Grave Robbers).
After these two movie reviews, we'll be returning to Buffy Season 8 for six issues. We'll be starting with "Riley: Commitment through Distance, Virtue through Sin", the one-shot. And then... and then... "Last Gleaming" to tie up the S8 run.
But before those horrors, we have the fun episode that introduced us to Spike and Drusilla.
Our Main Characters are Gleaming:
Buffy: Our Slayer gets many good moments throughout this episode, but I'm going to go with something a bit more generalized on this one. I love the way that Buffy takes charge of the resistance to Spike's plans for the school (and her). This is so important for her character, because it shows that the Slayer is naturally gifted in tactics and leadership and isn't just the muscle -- despite the Council's treating her like a weapon. Her 'take charge' attitude is great.
Xander: Xan has a few moments, but for his best, I'll say his managing to get out of the school to retrieve Angel for reinforcements despite the alleged blockade by Spike's men as his shining moment. He must have been clever, quick and brave to pull it off.
Willow: Willow saves Cordelia's life in this episode... with a bust in the school hallway!
Giles: Hmm. Well, he did shout out a warning to Buffy in time to save her from Sheila. Yeah, shouting a warning isn't much of a 'best moment' is it. I'm afraid he only gets a half of a kudo from me.
Cordelia: Cordy gets a three-quarters kudo for giving up a Saturday in order to help Buffy prepare for Spike's assault. Yeah, it also isn't much... and she complains about it the entire time... and stops stake whittling after 3 minutes... and insults Buffy's complexion. Huh. She showed up, at least.
Angel: Hmm. Angel did save Xander from a choking. He'll get a weak kudo for that one, even though it wasn't all that cool and I'd expect him to save a Scooby as standard.
Joyce: Buffy's mother definitely gets a Bonus Star Of Awesome for clobbering Spike in the back of the head with an axe. Go Mama Bear!
Did I Say Gleaming, I Meant Our Characters Are Dullards:
Buffy: Oh, Buffy! HONE! You're not honing! I must call our Slayer out on not detecting Sheila-vampire even with her exchanging dialog with our hero and following along right behind her. And Buffy was in full-on slay mode at this point! I hope Giles brought this up in the post-battle discussions.
Xander: So, Xan? Were you just going to stand there and let Spike bite your neck? I mean, you still had a knee and your hands free... some token resistance is better than none.
Willow: Wills gets to glide by for me without any marks against her in this episode. Good Going, Willow!
Giles: The only thing that continues to bug me about Giles is his insistence that Joyce be kept ignorant of the risks to her "for her own good". Because walking around Sunnydale completely unprepared will... uh... make her... safer? No, you're just be obstinant.
Cordelia: Ms. Chase also gets to coast on by without any marks against her. Sure, she has her usual snark, but it isn't especially mean spirited and her helping Buffy more than makes up for the occasional insult. Nice, Miss Chase!
Angel: The vampire gets the biggest mark against him. Putting Xander at risk in his ploy with Spike was simply and totally wrong of him. It was too dicey a situation and with Xan having no idea about what was going on, it just put him at immediate risk of accidental injury and death. Big boo-hiss to you, 'hero'.