Can I still call ya Joss? We have been on a first name basis since season one, when My Year Of Buffy started, so I figured I would stake out that familiar territory of familiarity and keep it up. Does that make sense?
Anyway, just like season one, season two gets a Report Card as well, all part of my never ending mission of all things you, Joss.
So on we go Joss, with my SPOILER FILLED look at how the second season of our favourite Slayer went.
Good points and bad points hit this season, but you could tell that more things went right than wrong with this season. And I really think it helped the network gave you a full twenty-two episode commitment this time.
Now a very brave move you did here Joss was “flashbacking” to the terrible Buffy movie, not once, but twice this season. You showed the Pike character, now morphed into Billy in my mind, and mention parts of pre-Sunnydale Buffy. While that was awesome, showing even pre-Buffy’s first awareness of being a Slayer, was even more awesome. Recasting and rebuilding the movie into this new, better, universe.
But now that you managed to save the film slightly, lets move onto what Buffy is really all about. The characters we love. Well, mostly love. I still have voodoo dolls at hand for Xander and Cordelia.
Buffy Summers had an interesting year. The PTSD at the start of the year was understandable and basing the recovery on getting a little help from her friends was so BTVS Joss. But the big thing that really impacted Buffy was the massive Angel storyline this year. She falls in love, she makes love, she loses her love, she hates her love, she reconciles her love, she regains her love, and then she kills her love to save the world. No wonder she ends the season right back at the beginning with PTSD. Joss, you always mention that being a Slayer must suck, and you are so right. And the sex issue, with Buffy no longer being a virgin, is treated mostly as the emotional toll of loving someone and losing them, not so much the actual physical act.
Which bring us to Angel and Angelus. Two different people in one body. Angel is a fan favourite with a huge ship following and I always loved him and Buffy together. He makes a great hero, boyfriend, and friend. And then because of a vengeful curse he has no control over, he twists into a full Vampire and emerges as EVIL beyond EVIL. And the heartbreak of Angel returning, with no memory of his heinous crimes, being sacrificed by Buffy? Thanks Joss for tearing our heart out again. Sad face for Angel.
Now one of my absolute favs is still Willow. Seeing her build her backbone and take an increasing role of leading the Scoobies was amazing. Willow became a teacher, a potential Watcher, and a student witch, which just shows off so many of her versatile talents. Her intelligence and caring side makes her the natural leader of the Scoobies, and I am waiting for Giles to notice to bring her into the fold more. Honestly Joss, she is way to good for Xander, and just right for Oz.
Oz. Oz. Oz. The dude is the man. Seriously love how cool he is, and I totally ship him and Willow forever. Always supportive, always protecting, always Willow’s Oz. And the fact he is now a werewolf just feels like a slight bump in the road of life. Only you Joss could make Lycanthropy into a minor setback.
Xander is someone I still just tolerate at best. He can be mouthy, a jerk, selfish, and full of very very bad ideas. I mean really Joss, dabbling in magic with love spells for petty revenge? And no one decked him for that idiot behaviour? And wait till Buffy and Willow find out he lied in the season finale! His list of bad things is nasty and unfreind like, and wouldn’t his military training he absorbed prevent some of these decisions Joss?
But one good decision Xander did make was to date, secretly at first, Cordelia. This move has made Cordelai and Xander more palatable individually and together. But one thing Joss, I thought these two had sex, albeit offscreen, but Cordelia was surprised by Xander’s physique in the Go Fish episode.
Interestingly, Cordelia has grown on me. Her sarcasm seems to have more of a point now, and contains truths both hurtful and unhurtful. Which means I have slowly moved off of my position Joss, of having Cordelia die painfully and multiple times. She can live, for now, and we shall see in season three where she goes.
Giles being revealed as a former wanker and punker and jackass gave me no thrill at all. Like seriously Joss, really did not care. I know I asked for more of Giles past, but this stuff bores me. Sorry Joss.
Now for an older dude, Giles is certainly a player.
Jenny Calendar, the Technopagan was awesome and cool and invaluable. But then, like some Shakespearean tragedy, she betrays them all in a twist that snapped my brain cells Joss. And now she is dead. Because you are heartless Joss and hate romance and happy endings and rainbows.
But I do call Giles’s next lovely lady. Giles and Joyce is so obvious and would make Buffy squirm wonderfully.
And the thing is, Joyce needs this. I really did not like her in season one, and in season two you finally made her slightly compassionate and caring towards Buffy. For awhile anyway. When she lied to the police for Buffy in Ted, I cheered her on. But later she snaps back to form and grounds Buffy just for the heck of it. And her finally finding out that Buffy is a Slayer was great, with Joyce being shown for the fool she is. Maybe some Giles time with help take the nasty out of her.
Spike is someone that I love to hate. Brutal and sarcastic and impulsive and funny, Spike makes so much of a being a Vampire seem almost fun. And his love for Drusilla is immense, with him being willing to sacrifice so much for her. While my hatred of love triangles is legendary, the Angelus/Spike/Drusilla one made me a believer. These three are one sick twisted weirdness of epic proportions. Congrats on that Joss!
Which brings up Drusilla. At first my funny bone was tickled by her strange mutterings, and then I realized how wrong I was to do this. She is a very damaged person, plagued by visions she did not understand, and driven mad by Angelus’s mental torture. Even for a Vampire, I feel sympathy for Drusilla and wish her some solace in her future.
Funny thing you might notice Joss, I viewed this season mainly through the lens of the couples. Love can bind some many things together, even arcs of a classic television show.
Now before we move onto the villains, lets take a moment Joss to pay respect to Kendra, the Slayer we barely knew. She showed Buffy a different way, and learned from our favourite Slayer as well. And now she is gone. RIP Kendra.
So about the villains Joss. Principal Snyder is one of the biggest and I will pay good money to have Superman snap his neck. The misses this season for me include Frankenstein, Inca Mummy Girl, Reptile Demon with the frat boys, the Cowboy Vampire brothers, and the fishy swim team. The hits for me are Spike’s first appearance, Colin the Anointed One whom I still dearly miss, and Maggot Man. But special mentions have to go to Ted who brought home domestic abuse, Der Kindestod which was scary with the sexual implications, and Grace and James in the 1950’s love story with the ghostly possessions.
Slamming the villains into social issues is your trademark Joss, that is well known. I noticed a constant theme on BTVS is the threat of rape, with the frat boys and swimjerk both attempting the vile crime. A related nastiness is obsession, but Xander entering that dark path turned into a lame farce. I was hoping for better here Joss. One area you knocked it out of the park was the Halloween episode, where identity issues came up in a very fascinating way.
Some small bits to finish off with Joss. Where was Amy the witch when Willow was casting the spell in the finale? Where are everyone’s parents? How far does the conspiracy in Sunnydale government go into covering up the Hellmouth? How exactly do you define Vampires on Buffy since they seem to be able to feel pain and be wounded and such? How many Slayers exist and are they all Chosen Ones?
Loved the first season Joss, and I love this one even more. I can feel the characters and drama and mythology building into something huge and amazing.
…is currently reading all the wonderful comics I got at Free Comic Book Day!