Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Buffy: Halloween (2.6)

The idea of costumes and masks rattles through all of Halloween. Buffy is distracted by the idea that she isn't Angel's idea of an attractive woman. He's hundreds of years old, surely he's really into hoity-toity ball-gown ladies, not snarky, casually-dressed '90s women? So she puts on a mask in an attempt to rectify that. Similarly, Willow is so uncomfortable in her own skin that she quickly abandons her plan to wear a revealing outfit for Halloween, and instead dresses up in a ghost costume which covers her head-to-toe. Only when magic intervenes and she is forced to ditch her mask does she actually become the confident girl she's desperate to be.

Also intertwined with that theme is Giles, a character who has (up to this point) been pretty cut-and-dry. He's stuffy, he's middle-aged, he's majorly inadequate when it comes to anything resembling dating or computers or fun in general, etc etc etc. But Buffy was never a show where characters remained one-dimensional for too long. It's so interesting to see the series from a point of knowing exactly where everybody ends up. Characters like Willow and Cordelia are almost unrecognizable here compared to who they are when Buffy and Angel end. Giles gets his first spot of true development here, the show blessing him with a relentless dark quality. He casually beats the hell out of Ethan Rayne for the answers he requires, and is given the suitably sinister nickname of 'Ripper'. The story will be evolved on further in a couple of episodes time, but it's a turn of events that is so out of left field but in a undeniably positive way. He's suddenly a bad-ass!

Speaking of evolution, Willow continues her upward trajectory. She's extremely resourceful here, pulling the troops into action when most of them are left without their old personalities, cracking jokes, helping save the day, and discovering a newfound confidence and general hotness. Alyson Hannigan is working wonders lately.

Halloween as an episode is pretty much perfection. The idea of characters turning into their Halloween costumes is a little sitcom-y, but the writers use it not only as an excuse to have some fun and shake things up, but also to explore the characters in a way that hasn't been done in a while. Spike's presence isn't totally necessary but still works, while Cordelia's "When it comes to dating, I'm the Slayer" speech is a classic. God, I love her. A+

Guest stars Seth Green (Oz); James Marsters (Spike); Robin Sachs (Ethan Rayne); Juliet Landau (Drusilla); Armin Shimerman (Principal Snyder)
Writer Carl Ellsworth Director Bruce Seth Green


  1. Fave moment by far is Buffy's, 'hi honey, I'm home'. No matter how much she may think she doesn't want to be the slayer, she always seems so pleased to get her old self back

  2. Your comment went straight to my spam folder, which was weird -- in case you got confused because it wasn't posting?

    Anyway, agreed that that's a great scene. Love how she owns it.