Reptile Boy

Perri's Review | Chris's Review

Perri's Review

Wheee! Silly monster with deeply scary humans, plus Angel/Buffy angst. What more can we ask? Nice, solid ep with only a few weak moments.

It's been a slow couple of weeks on the Hellmouth and Buffy is getting a little complacent. Things aren't so easy for another girl, Callie, who tries to escape from a frat house and is caught by a group of robed boys. Giles is also less than happy with life, trying to force Buffy to take her Slaying seriously. Cordelia has a new boyfriend, Rich, who's a frat boy, and one of his friends, Tom, has an eye for Buffy.

On patrol, Buffy finds a broken ID bracelet. Angel tells her there's blood on the bracelet, and they have another relationship discussion which leads to the usual fight. As a result, when Cordelia tries to get Buffy to go to a frat party with her, Buffy gives in. Meanwhile, the frat guys initiate another boy into their cult, as Callie looks on from where she is chained to a wall.

Buffy lies to Giles so she can go to the frat party, Cordie gives Buffy 'tips' on how to behave which are less then helpful, and the two of them head for the party as Xander makes plans to crash it. Buffy is rescued from a drunk by Tom, and they dance, as crasher Xander gets caught. Outside, Buffy finds glass from the window the girl shattered in her escape attempt, but forgets it in favor of being immature and downing a drink. A few minutes later, as Xander is being publically humilated, she staggers upstairs and collapses unconcious, a few feet away from Cordelia.

Meanwhile, Willow and Giles discover that the bracelet belonged to Callie Anderson, who disappeared recently from a girl's prep school -- on the anniversary of the disappearances of other girls, stretching back for years. Willow talks Giles out of calling Buffy, and they wind up calling Angel instead to find out where they found the bracelet. Xander gets kicked out of the party as the ritual begins, with Buffy, Cordelia and Callie as the main event.

Giles, Willow and Angel conclude that the frat guys are involved in the disappearances, and Willow fesses up to Buffy's attendence. Giles and Angel both wig, and Willow winds up yelling at both of them for their behavior towards Buffy. Dumbstruck, they follow her off to rescue Buffy.

The girls are (big surprise) to be sacrifices to Machida, the demon the frat guys worship, who makes an appearance. As Buffy struggles to escape, the trio runs into a robed Xander, skulking around outside; he's seen the guys head for the basement. Angel fangs out and they head inside to the rescue, but Buffy has already freed herself and is fighting both the demon and the frat guys. She stabs the demon, killing him. Buffy and Giles make peace, and Angel shows up at the Bronze to ask Buffy to have a cup of coffee with him.

Pretty much just relationship stuff; another stand-alone episode.

Angel and Buffy are staying interesting, at least. And good thing Angel's remembering the whole "one major lip lock and you're taking the big dirt nap" thing. Buffy, meanwhile, is being a typical 16-year-old in love, combined with the intensity and maturity of the Slayer; hope Angel's willpower is in good working order.

Buffy, Buffy, Buffy... Every once in a while, she just has enough and rebels, which is completely understandable, if only she wouldn't choose such damn dangerous ways to rebel. (Although Tom was a pretty cute way... too bad he was a psychopath.) She and Angel are going to have to sit down and have a serious talk that doesn't involve arguing and one of them walking away, though. She knows what she wants and can handle (or thinks she does; I'm actually with Angel on this one, sixteen-year-olds have a notable tendancy to get a little overly where love is concerned, and Buffy hasn't shown herself to be an exception); if she does know what she's getting into, she'd better be prepared to convince Angel of that. Without statements like "When you kiss me, I want to die" which are guaranteed to send him running in the opposite direction for both their own goods.

Poor Angel. He's really, desperately trying to do the right thing; he knows how dangerous a relationship with Buffy is and he's fighting it for all he's worth. He's walking a really fine line and not doing too good a job of it, although he's catching a clue (thank you, Willow!). He's also learning how much she means to him, I think -- the way he vamped out the second he knew she was in danger.... wow. Scary. Yeah, they'd better be really careful, or things are going to get more intense then they can handle, if they haven't already.

His relationships with the Slayerettes continue to get interesting. *g* Xander is hassling him more or less to his face, and doesn't even blink at his presence any more, and Willow actually yelled at him! The look on his face was so cute, like a wolf being spit at by a kitten and having no clue what to do about it. I think he's in too deep from that direction, as well.... Wonder if he'll wig when he realizes it.

Xander's so adorable. He's so determined to protect Buffy and Willow, even when Buffy in particular doesn't want to be protected. (Okay, yes, part of that is just Xander being possessive of Buffy, but it's still cute.) And Cordelia's starting to fall under his protected list -- he was looking for Buffy and Cordy at the party. And he doesn't do too badly; he sticks with the party even when it turns into abject humiliation for him, and he's still looking for a way back in (and finds one, I might add) when the cavalry shows up. He really has to learn not to hit people with his fists, though; this is the second time he's gotten hurt that way.

The other interesting Xander thing is his reaction to the frat guys -- resentment when Buffy goes off with them instead of hanging with him and Willow, worry on Buffy's behalf and a lot of resentment on his own behalf. Poor Xander -- he hasn't had an easy 16-and-a-half years of it, and I somehow doubt Cordelia was the only one picking on him.

You go, Willow! We haven't been getting as much of her as I'd like, but when she cuts loose.... I love her relationship with Angel and I'm deeply glad we finally got a scene with them, such as it was, since they were still just talking at each other. I repeat, who ever thought that girl was shy and sweet? When she gets rolling, she's got more guts than Buffy, and is considerably better at verbal blows. I want to see more of this Willow. Specifically, I want to see it directed at Xander.

Cordelia, having apparently made her way through the high school population (Dev is nowhere to be seen) has moved onto college guys, and is totally insecure about it. That phony laugh, her utter inability to be her snobby, high-maintenance self... I never thought I'd say this, but I like the real Cordelia much better. Although she'd still better keep her mitts off Angel!

Giles was mental. As usual, he's scared to death for Buffy, and has reverted to pushing her 'for her own good'. Boy, that phrase keeps turning up a lot. He and Angel have more in common than either of them want to admit. Anyone want to bet how long he keeps his promise not to push so hard?

Lovely guest characters, this time. Callie was deeply cool -- went through a window and kept going, never lost her ability to talk coherently (and sarcastically), never broke down and screamed. Very cool. And Tom... Wow. A certain Owenosity about him (Buffy is attracted to two types of men apparently -- Angel, and Angel's exact opposites), quite cute and coherent. Too bad he was a psycho. But when he slipped into psycho mode... Wow. Deeply scary. I love it when the humans are scarier than the monsters. (Of course, most frat guys are scarier tha... sorry, college flashback.)

Best Moments:
Buffy and Xander playing with Willow's hair at the beginning . Cuteness. *g*

Buffy pouting at Giles. He is such a sucker.

Willow and Xander trading food again in the break room. It's so automatic, they're so cute.

Buffy's "someone's not seeing me." She's so very sixteen during the entire party, then she becomes an adult again with this line. Really nice job from Sarah.

Rich finding Buffy unconcious. This was the scariest scene in the episode, bar none.

Willow's fascination with the lack of Angel's reflection, and his faintly amused response. Such a lovely dynamic between those two.

Willow yelling at Giles and Angel. You go, girl!

Angel's fanging out at the realiziation that Buffy is in danger. He exudes menace.

The entire 'rescuing Buffy' fight. From Xander's entrance and hilarious punch, to Angel's rampage, to Giles actually decking someone, to Willow trying desperately to keep all of this testosterone on track.

Giles and Buffy's last scene. He helps her up the stairs as they're leaving -- it's quite nice.

The final scene at the Bronze. Some beautiful bits of business, especially Xander and Angel's exchange to Angel finally asking Buffy out. Some very nice, subtle expressions happening there.

Questions and Comments:
So, who licked the red off Giles' candy? He goes from being relatively unstressed for four episodes to going berserk on the honing thing. Must've had a fight with Ms. Calendar.

Speaking of which, what idiot fight choreographer gave Giles both a quarterstaff and a knife? Quarterstaff is a two-handed weapon, guys....

The 'Buffy beating up Giles' bit is getting old.

Boy that was a fast trial and sentancing....

Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of five. A bit slow getting started, but really picks up, with some outstanding character moments and wonderful performances all around.

Chris's Review

First Impressions:

This episode gave me the wig. Really.

I liked it a lot, both for the A & B plots of our Demon Snake Frat Boys, and Buffy trying to cope with wanting to date or have coffee with Angel when he's one of the people she's supposed to be staking. However... I must have buried issues with the whole frat-boy kidnapping set-up. Or not-so-buried; granted, nothing beyond being drugged, scared, and chained up happened to any of the girls we saw in the episode, but the subtext was pretty freaky. Eeek. More on that later.

Great bits I loved:

The Hindi soap opera they were watching at the beginning, with Buffy braiding Willow's hair and Xander unravelling it. *G* It was just so normal, so good-buddies-sitting-around-almost-bored, and we don't get to see enough of that. Plus, the soap opera and the dialogue around it was hysterical ("So, where does the water buffalo fit in?").

AWESOME, breathtaking scene in the graveyard with Angel & Buffy. Wow. I mean, I don't usually have trouble communicating through these bits, but wow. "Gulp" about covers it. Things are very intense here....

Xander & Willow exchanging food without even asking in the break room again, chatting and talking about Buffy's upcoming date. Dianne and I realized that Xander's bizarre vocabulary, and odd vocabulary gaps, comes from the fact that he's bright but doesn't read---and so he picks up all his big words from Willow. *G* Watch for him to use "askew" in a sentence some time in the future.

Buffy pouting at Giles, who was having a hard time resisting, even though he knew she was blatantly manipulating him.

Giles with the sword, Giles getting beat up, Giles worried about Buffy's mom--he's so sweet. Deeply clueless, but sweet. But I'm convinced that Jenny was out of town or they just had a HUGE fight right before this episode. He hasn't been this uptight about Buffy's extracurricular activities for several episodes, so it had to be boredom and badly directed frustration making him get on Buffy's case so much here. :) I loved the end bit though, where he promised to try not to do anything more than "severely nudge" her, with that great smile (siiiiiiighhh.... okay, I'm back).

He also got to hit somebody, yay, a first! And he didn't get knocked out at all!

Willow! Wonderful job of laying into Giles and Angel---just when Angel thought he was off the hook, she turned back on him, telling him more stuff that was on her mind ("You're going to live forever, and you can't ask her out for a cup of coffee?"), then announcing she didn't feel better and they still had to rescue Buffy. :) Not only has she grown a spine, but she knows how to express it. Also the only one who stayed focused during the fight scene: "Guys! Buffy! Snake! Basement! Now!" //ROTFL!!!//

Angel going all "Grrrr!" when he realized how much trouble Buffy was in. Cooooool. :)

Really cheesy monster in full body shots, but the face was scary. Eeeek!

The last scene at the Bronze, with Xander mouthing off ("Angel, Angel, Angel... does every conversation have to revolve around that freak?... Hey man, how'ya doing?") and Buffy walking away from Angel with a secretive, happy smile. I hope things get better in that area soon. Well, not too much better, and not too soon...

More complex thoughts:

Xander doesn't seem to be really hung up on Buffy any more, but more reflexive in his efforts to talk down other guys (although his instincts about the Frat Boys are on the money). If Willow were dating anyone, he'd probably act the same way (only hopefully a little more jealous). I think he's pretty much "over" Buffy by now, which is a good thing, since that's neeeeeever gonna happen. *G* And what is it with him and food? Does he know of no other way to impress women? Maybe Cordelia's right and he'll end up working for Domino's---hey, if he's at least assistant manager or something, that's not too bad. :)

I'm sorry we didn't get to see Oz, or anything about him and Willow this episode, but as long as we see him again and he's being nice to her I can wait.

Cordelia was deeply irritating throughout this episode. Both because she wasn't being her usual Queen Bit-ka self, and because all of her rationalizing behavior made me want to smack her. She was still funny in parts (the continued hair comments to Buffy were great!) but I was relieved to see her back in control by the end of the ep, being high-maintenance and unreasonable instead of fawning and sucking up. Grrr.

Much More Complex Thoughts:

It's been mentioned before that Joss & Co. do a good job of maintaining a scary subtext on stuff that isn't explicit. "Nightmares" and Billy getting beat up is a good example; that could have been his dad in a first draft of the script, not a Little League coach. Anyway. The subtext here is really, really disturbing, and I think it's meant to be.

The odds of getting fed to a giant demon snake may be pretty incredibly low, but lots of girls walk into the same situation every year and end up getting hurt. Seeing Buffy of all people in this sitch was enough to make me very unhappy. Joss played fair through the ep---Callie had on decent running shoes, she never quit running, and she would have gotten away at the beginning if she hadn't been ambushed. Buffy had half saved herself (although I would have liked to see her start working on those chains a little faster) by the time the cavalry arrived, and she definitely was the one to save Cordelia. Even so, it wasn't enough to keep me from getting wigged. I don't like my villains to be this close to reality. I start wishing I carried a gun, or something.

And though it was more realistic, I was sorry we didn't get to see Tom and Richard fed to the Demon Snake. I was really hoping to see that. Jail's too good for them, even consecutive life sentences. I don't think Buffy beat up on Tom nearly enough, and I was really hoping to see someone bash Richard's face in. Xander and Angel and Giles did a good job in the fight scene, but I could have dealt with more of the acolyte types getting hurt.

Great ep overall, and the wig factor goes down on second viewing. Especially if you MUTE Tom the Psycho's dialogue with Buffy. :)

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