Thursday, October 20, 2011

We’re having a talk with vampires in it


… And speaking of said vampires, they seem pretty ritualistic and traditional, don’t they? Vaguely… churchy? When you get that and Giles’ amusing speech about this world not being exactly the way you’ve been told, well… You realize this means we don’t truck with that religious thing here.

Now, I’m not saying Buffy as a show is hostile to religion, more… well. Let’s just say this isn’t a show about preserving the status quo. This status has ceased to quo, is what I’m saying.

The genius about these villains, and The Master in particular, is that they’re in at least one way, human. They have rites, they have scriptures, they have a… culture, and some of them are even funny. Sure, there are some cartoony elements, but the only truly flat characters are the minions. And they’re always flat, so who gives a shit, right?

The good news is that The Master is the flattest of these not-flat villains (with one exception, but we’ll get to that). So you hopefully won’t be so put off by the flaws that The Master does have that you won’t get to the real good ones later on.

Oops, almost forgot to talk about Jesse. You wouldn’t think so, but Jesse is an interesting specimen. Now, if you were paying attention there near the end, you notice Giles tell Xander that Vampire Jesse is not Jesse, but the thing that killed him. Giles is right… sort of. Just don’t believe everything you hear, and try to pay attention with the things people do (also good life advice. One good deed for the day: check!). There will be more on this later, when the series gets a whole lot more specific re:the fundamental difference between humans and vampires.

It’s all about establishing identity. These two episodes are brimming with questions of identity—emphasis on becoming ( Winking smile), and on “ripening.” Hence, the title. It doesn’t only talk about the vampire smörgåsbord dealt with in this episode. It kinda also has to deal with Buffy (and not to be so exclusive, everyone else, too).

As we’ve already established, Buffy’s a young woman. A teenager, actually, right on the cusp of womanhood. Commonly referred to as blossoming or ripening, which is what things do before they’re harvested, traditionally. Notice that Luke’s not able to “harvest” Buffy—either time. She’s not ready. But she will be. Bad news for Luke. Sorry, Luke.

Like Giles said in Welcome to the Hellmouth, Buffy has so much she doesn’t know about her powers: Slayer and womanly. But with these two episodes she sets out to hopefully learn all she can. And along the way, maybe she can teach Giles just as surely as he’s teaching her (implied by how quickly she identified the vamp at the Bronze without honing). So… let’s get ripening.


Stray observations:

  • On why Buffy and Giles don’t call the cops: “They’d only come with guns.” Guns on this show? Mostly useless.
  • Much as I love Principal Flutie, he broke the law. Padlocking a point of egress while school’s in session? Tsk.
  • Angel as a character is pretty depth-less for S1, but he has a pretty amazing moment of melancholy when Buffy asks about friends.
  • Haha, fools rush in where Angel fears to tread…. I make my own fun.
  • Poor Cordy ends up as a victim, but thank all the demons in Sunnydale she survives. Some people are just too awesome to die.
  • And actually, Giles, roughly translated, it’s “mouth of hell,” but who’s being pedantic?
  • Can someone please tell Xander where the heart is?
  • Buffy’s hope chest is one of the best visual representations of the duality in Buffy’s character: soft and girly on top, tough and weapon-y below.
  • “Nothing’s ever gonna be the same.” Cut to—everything’s the same.
  • “The Earth is doomed.”


  1. OK, you're just trying to make me look bad. There are at least five words I never would've thought of using in a blog post.

    (So far I think I've used the word "persevere" in about five different contexts. I need to bookmark Thesaurus. :P)

  2. Try using "quintessence." I don't think I've had a chance to use that one yet.