Buffy 2×10: What’s My Line? Pt. 2

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Marti Noxon | Director: David Semel | Aired: 11/24/1997]

“What’s My Line Pt. 2” shares nearly all of the same strengths and weaknesses of “What’s My Line? Pt. 1” [2×09]. It’s quite literally the second half of the same episode. Although this may imply they cover the same ground, that’s not quite entirely true. Part 1 sets up the adolescent roadblocks Buffy will be facing in the near future while Part 2 offers hints that can be a guide to her ultimate destination: adulthood. The reveal of Kendra as another vampire slayer is used wonderfully here as a springboard for a broad discussion about passion, work, and identity.

Getting a second slayer introduced to the show is really fun, which was caused by the neat wrinkle of Buffy’s death in “Prophecy Girl” [1×12]. One slayer dies, another is called, right? Now, Kendra doesn’t exactly have the most exciting personality (or accent), which certainly tempers some of the fun, but she does provide a nice contrast and a sense of impartiality towards Buffy’s mindset and relationships.

“What’s My Line Pt. 2” presents Kendra as the opposite of Buffy in both fighting style and personality. Kendra tends to see the world in a very Watchers’ Council, black and white, way — i.e. all vampires are evil creatures that must be destroyed. Soul or no soul, it doesn’t really matter to Kendra. This kind of clarity can be very freeing, but it’s also very narrow and doesn’t reflect the world in which we (or they) live in. Kendra may be too binary in her assessment of Angel, but that doesn’t mean Buffy can’t learn something from it.

Angel, with a soul, obviously isn’t the horrible, murderous creature that Kendra was quick to paint him as. No, he’s far more conflicted than that. But he’s not entirely stable or safe to be around either. Kendra is right to warn Buffy that Angel clouds her judgment, because it’s the absolute truth, even if Buffy won’t hear of it. Notice how quick Kendra is to call Willy “dirty”? Like Angel, Willy’s not at all evil, but he’s certainly not clean either. Willy is a great parallel to Angel as someone that’s morally ambiguous and ends up playing both sides. So while Kendra may be too quick to pass final judgment, she’s not at all wrong to encourage caution and rationality with these morally ambiguous individuals.

Kendra’s binary world view isn’t just about how she judges others; it stands as a reflection of how she slays and lives. It isn’t a huge surprise when we learn Kendra does things completely by the book — the rules — that have been handed down to her by the Watchers’ Council. This not only means a more mechanical, and predictable, fighting style, but it extends to her personal life as well.

In a conversation with Buffy, Kendra mentions that things like school, friends, and even family are distractions from her calling. Buffy obviously feels the opposite of this, pointing out that, while mentally balanced, Kendra lacks spontaneity and imagination in her fighting, which may have allowed Buffy to beat her if their earlier fight had continued. Kendra’s technique was superior to Buffy’s, but the chaos of the world has a way of throwing a wrench into one’s best laid plans. Sometimes plans need to be adjusted; sometimes assistance is required to succeed.

These different approaches do bring up the question of which is better, and whether the episode is championing one over the other. I see evidence to support aspects of both having merit. Buffy’s got the improvisation and fire that Kendra lacks, whereas Kendra has the rationality and clear focus that Buffy lacks. In the end I think what’s being communicated is that a blend of both approaches — a balance — is the strongest method of ultimate success. In the near term, they both suffer the consequences of their respective imbalances, with Buffy metaphorically killing Angel (“Surprise” [2×13]) and Kendra being vulnerable to Drusilla’s innate mojo (“Becoming Pt. 1” [2×21]).

I can’t help but think of Faith right now. It’s interesting how Faith is to Buffy what Buffy is to Kendra. Kendra and Faith represent two opposite extremes in temperament/fighting style: formal/rigid and wild/reckless. In the here and now, Buffy stands in for the wild/reckless one in contrast to Kendra, but Buffy doesn’t completely forgo technique and strategy like Faith will — she just doesn’t solely rely on it and can improvise when needed, hence being closer to that nice balance.

This improvisation and fire in personality is part of what Spike shares in (“it’s time for a little less ritual, and a little more fun around here!”) and finds so appealing about Buffy. Remember in “Halloween” [2×06] when he was watching a recording of Buffy killing a vampire in a pumpkin patch? Spike says, “She’s tricky. Baby likes to play. You see that? The way she stakes him with that thing? That’s what’s called resourceful.” This resourcefulness is precisely why Buffy utilizes her family and friends for help and moral support, to the astonishment of both Spike and Kendra, and why it’s of no surprise when Giles reveals that the Slayer Handbook would be of no use in Buffy’s case.

This is both a criticism and a compliment, I think, and ultimately reflects why Buffy is such a complex, fascinating character. It’s also a huge hint at the many times in which Buffy will eventually break the rules people and organizations have placed on her. The fact there are two slayers around now is further proof of this. Going forward, especially beyond this season, Buffy will step-by-step start to take control of her life. This will be accomplished by becoming increasingly self-aware and recognizing that there are rules in the outside world that must be tested and, in some cases, broken.

All of this talk about improvisation and resourcefulness ties together nicely with the whole Career Day event and Buffy’s repeated comments about slaying being her “job”. After fighting along-side Buffy and getting to know her a bit better, Kendra can clearly see that Buffy has developed a passion for fighting the forces of evil and that being the Slayer isn’t just a job, but a reflection of who she is. This is a sentiment which will eventually be taken to heart by Buffy and one she is better off for.

That final scene between the two of them is quite sweet, with Kendra providing Buffy a bit of comfort that she isn’t the only slayer anymore, even if it may feel that way sometimes. I think Buffy’s relationship with Kendra plays a large role into how she will eventually want to build a friendship with Faith next season, and why it will hurt so much when Faith repeatedly rebukes that olive branch. But that, my friends, is a discussion for another season.

In addition to being a great group of scenes, there are some interesting subtleties involving Angel’s brief stint in captivity by Spike and Drusilla. At one point Drusilla asks Spike to allow her to “have” Angel. Check out Spike’s expression during this moment: it’s a measured bit of concern and insecurity. A little later Angel tries to capitalize on this by telling Spike how much he intimately knows about Drusilla’s desires in an attempt to get Spike to kill him, thus preventing the ritual to restore Drusilla from succeeding. The interaction between these three is fascinating. It not only sets up the dynamic when Angelus is loose later in the season, but it also builds on the history these vampires share (which we learn a lot about in the Angel Season 5 episode “Destiny” ). The characterization here is so consistent that it transforms into being thrilling! (Yes, I’m geeking out right now.)

An Angel/Drusilla “relationship” is hinted at, but “What’s My Line Pt. 2” also shows us the beginning of two brand new relationships: Xander/Cordelia and Willow/Oz. The Xander/Cordelia pairing most closely resembles that of the Buffy/Angel relationship in that they’re drawn together by dangerous situations and allow themselves to fall into blind passion with no thought given to their underlying compatibility or future. The Willow/Oz pairing, on the other hand, offers a different path that showcases this wacky notion of actually getting to know each other before jumping right to the kissing — it’s a more logical start to a relationship. Xander and Cordelia’s “romantic” moments mask their underlying dislike for each other while Willow and Oz’s conversations only increase their appreciation for the other. Buffy should take note! It’s also interesting how the two pairings parallel some of the differences between Buffy and Kendra.

“What’s My Line Pt. 2”, as odd as it sounds, has a lot of depth in its breadth of topics — i.e. it covers a lot of topics, but doesn’t have the time to really dive into any one of them. It’s reasonably entertaining and overall quite solid, although it suffers from some of the same issues that Part 1 did in regard to music, presentation, and villains. The final action climax is fairly clunky as well. It’s definitely an intriguing episode for Buffy as it showcases her options going forward and is lined with plenty of subtle warnings of where her relationship with Angel is headed. Critical mass is about to be reached for those two, and it won’t be as beautiful as Buffy imagines it to be.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ When Spike says, regarding Angel, that they’re going to have “dinner and a movie. I don’t want to rush into anything. I’ve been hurt,” it’s not only funny, but it also speaks to their past together in which he really has been hurt by Angelus.
+ Buffy thinking that maybe Kendra can become the town’s primary slayer, thus allowing her to go live that normal life. Oh Buffy, so naรฏve. “Becoming Pt. 2” [2×22] ends that notion for good.
+ Worm guy is both extremely cheesy and kind of creepy at the same time. I don’t know what to make of him. He doesn’t really accomplish anything though.
+ The burst of music, right on cue, when Xander and Cordelia kiss. It’s so self-aware that I can’t help but love it.
+ Xander continuing to spray Cordelia after she removed her shirt. It’s so very ‘Xander’.
+ Buffy pointing out that it’s odd how bugs keep finding Xander. Haha.
+ Oz and his monkey pants speech. Pure awesome. ๐Ÿ˜€
+ Unbelievably haunting final scene, seeing as Drusilla’s now the strong one pulling Spike out of the wreckage — yet another transition (Janus!) we’re witnessing this season.

–ย The large pause in the fighting that allows Kendra to make her little shirt joke. What could have been a bit funny instead comes across as incredibly silly.


Foreshadowing

* Angel’s purposeful flirtation with Drusilla here to goad Spike will be amplified when Angelus arrives.


[Score]

83/100

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43 thoughts on “Buffy 2×10: What’s My Line? Pt. 2”

  1. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on October 13, 2007.]

    I like this episode better than the previous one, but I too get the impression that this could have been much better. I don´t like Kendra here, she annoys me a little and her accent is bad. But we have Oz, so major upside. And I love him with Willow, it´s so great.

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  2. [Note: Plain Simple posted this comment on November 12, 2007.]

    This could be a bit far fetched, but here we go: I once read that Whedon’s original plan didn’t have Oz leave in season 4 (that was done only because Seth Green got into movies), but it had Oz shot, like eventually Tara ended up being. So could Oz being shot in this episode have been meant as foreshadowing of his eventual demise, sort of book ending his life on the show by two shooting incidents?

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  3. [Note: Woohoo1729 posted this comment on December 10, 2007.]

    That does sound a little far-fetched, though of course not completely dismissible. I think at the time Oz’s getting shot was just a way to have one of the main characters become a casualty of the Order. Although that is interesting…what if Oz had stayed and got shot and drove Willow to the Dark Arts? hmm…

    I personally LOVED Kendra’s character, including her accent. I’m pretty sure that since Prophecy Girl, upon original airing, this was the first episode that provided a real WOAH! moment. I was 12 at the time, and after the cliffhanger moment from the last episode, I went to class the next day and could not stop talking about the possibility of a second slayer with my fellow Buffy-fanatic friend. Ah, the memories…

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  4. [Note: spateswife posted this comment on August 19, 2008.]

    Did ANYBODY notice that at the end when Angel and Drusilla are separated (they were joined by being stabbed through the hands)that Angel had no hole/stab wound in his hand? Big goof there.

    Also what I find amusing is that in my hometown of Bay City, TX there are also 43+ churches in town!!!

    I always knew there was a hell mouth there. That town is nothing but EVIL!!!

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  5. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on February 12, 2009.]

    @spateswife:

    Nah, that’s just part of being in the South. haha I know, I’m from the Coast in Mississippi. There is a damned church on every freaking block, pretty much. And the Coast is on the outskirts of the Bible Belt. It’s much worse when you get deeper into the Bible Belt a little more north, like around Hattiesburg, etc.

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  6. [Note: Emily posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    It’s known that Kendra is the opposite of Buffy in every way, but it’s interesting to note that Buffy came to Sunnydale to get away from her destiny, from what happened in LA. And when in Angel tells her he knows she wants to “kill them all,” she responds with, basically, a NO. And Kendra, as the opposite of Buffy, says the following: “To do my duty- I am here to kill vampires.”

    It’s incredibly ironic that Spike has so much money here, as opposed to the later seasons where he’ll do anything for a quick buck.

    Do the effects of the sun make a vampire weak? Like if they were indirectly exposed to it, like Angel was here. I don’t remember that ever happening before or after in Buffy. Or was it because he hadn’t had any blood in a while?

    I think that when Kendra tells Buffy, “It’s not a job- it’s who you are,” Buffy actually does internalize that. I think we see- not right away, of course, it’s more gradual- but we see Buffy actually become the slayer, as opposed to just doing the job of a slayer. And I think that also partly has to do with Angel becoming Angelus, and her subsequent growing-upness.

    If Buffy has equal or greater power than vampires, shouldn’t she have been able to pick up Angel by herself, without Kendra’s help, like Dru picked up Angel? Or were the writers trying to show Kendra’s acceptance of Angel as a good guy?

    I love the beginning of Oz and Willow’s relationship. I love Tara, don’t get me wrong, but Oz is the be-all and end-all of sweet, fun-sized boyfriends.

    Mike, maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t understand why Kendra wasn’t able to replace Buffy in the end. Obviously, to keep the show going, but I don’t think the writers even mentioned it at all when Buffy was seeing Kendra off.

    Personally, I don’t understand how anyone could like Buffy with anyone but Angel after that scene in the church when she kneels down next to him. The Scoobies just stare in awe at the beauty of that scene- how could you ever dismiss something like that? For Scott? Ewwwww. For Riley? Ewwwwww. For Spike? I could see where you’re going with that, but not really. No one’s ever gonna be Angel. (And there’s my episodic Bangel rant lol.)

    All in all, I love this episode. I understand why you would give it a B, but I would give it at least an A-.

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  7. [Note: Sunburn posted this comment on September 18, 2009.]

    I love Kendra’s accent! We were discussing it last night… it’s a hilarious combination of Jamaican, American and, for some reason, Irish. LOL.

    Kendra fits with the idea of the lone assassin, without any vulnerabilities which could be used to hurt or blackmail her. For some reason, it made me think of the prohibition on gays in the military; the argument against, I thought, was that it would affect battlefield performance negatively, but for me, it’s always seemed that if it had any effect at all it would more likely provoke acts of heroism. In my head, that connects with the heroism of all the Scoobies at times, and of Buffy’s in protecting them, but I understand that my connection might seem like bollocks to everyone else. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Emily:

    “Personally, I don’t understand how anyone could like Buffy with anyone but Angel after that scene in the church when she kneels down next to him. […] Spike? I could see where you’re going with that, but not really. No one’s ever gonna be Angel.”

    Can’t help but bite on this one! OK, for me, that scene was adorable, and when I first watched the series, I was very sad when Angel left at the end of season 3.

    But Spuffy had the potential for something more, IMO. I wish the AR hadn’t happened, because it kind of made a relationship between them impossible. But if we’re talking moments between them, the trusting moments in season 7 went far beyond this one with Angel because of everything they’d been through together.

    And for me, the snarky, funny, down-to-earth Spike would be endlessly better fun than the tediously brooding Angel. So much has been made of Spike being ‘love’s bitch’; even the terminology is demeaning, hence the horror with which everyone regards it. I personally think that as people, relationships are the most important things in our lives, and since Spike, as a vampire, had a lot less to worry about in terms of careers, children and settling down, prioritising love over everything else was not just what made him happy but actually sensible and logical too.

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  8. [Note: Zaphe posted this comment on November 14, 2009.]

    I totally agree with Sunburn, the thing I admire in Spuffy is that Spike had went through the trouble to obtain a soul for her, he went through the pain and torture to break down the barrier between him and Buffy where Angel just accepted the situation. All through Buffy and Angel episodes, it never showed he actively try to seek a solution to the impossible situation between him and Buffy. If Buffy is his only love for 200 years, doesn’t it worth his while to try. Perhaps he can go and try to seek the legend and earn his soul so that he would not be a human and cant help Buffy fight like he claimed in Angel series “I will rememeber you”.

    The fact that Spike fought for his soul to be worthy of Buffy, allows that he can fight by her side and rooms for a relationship. It’s been shown all through Season 7 how much they trusted and relied on each other and formed such a strong team. I believe that if he hadn’t died in then end, Spuffy will get together again.

    As to AR, I think Buffy got over it by sleeping with him for 3 nights (though no sex) and I think deep down she knows that Spike is not a rapist and that happened before he had a soul and lack of moral compass.

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  9. [Note: AJD posted this comment on February 12, 2010.]

    Just re-watched these episodes. Kendra’s accent is DREADFUL and distracting! If the character really, really had to be Jamaican then why not either a) hire a Jamaican actress to play the part, or b) hire an actress who can do a Jamaican accent properly! Or simply make Kendra American and let the poor girl speak normally! I kept expecting her to tuck into a pint of Guinness…

    That’s my only gripe. I bet Bianca cringes when she looks back!

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  10. [Note: Nix posted this comment on April 9, 2010.]

    It’s interesting that Kendra was taught that emotions detract from the Slayer calling. Now it’s probable that Joss simply hadn’t thought through the mythology yet, but if we view the world from within itself, it’s notable that the First Slayer says the exact opposite three years later, in _Intervention_: ‘Love is pain, and the Slayer forges strength from pain’.

    I interpret this as saying that emotion (well, at least painful emotion, and nobody can say love isn’t painful a lot of the time) makes Slayers *stronger*, and this is not a property of Buffy alone, but a property of *all* Slayers.

    So either the Watcher’s Council simply didn’t know this (quite unlikely, given how much experience they’ve got), or they wanted to keep the Slayer down; keep her a good bit weaker so she could be controlled (and an emotionless Slayer is a lot easier to control than a pissed-off one). We have extensive evidence that the Watcher’s Council is very interested in keeping the Slayer down; this, perhaps, is a little more.

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  11. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on May 13, 2010.]

    Nix, I totally agree with your analysis of Kendra & the Watcher’s Council. I think her character foreshadows how patriarchal the council is. After all, Kendra is all about following the orders of her “superiors” and being “of service.”

    Also, don’t folks think Buffy succeeds as a slayer BOTH because of her friends and because she doesn’t play by the rules? The former in fact is an example of the latter.

    Marti Noxon says on the commentary that Kendra’s accent was a last-minute decision, and the accent coach gave her an (authentic) accent from a remote part of Jamaica, rather than a more recognizable Kingston accent. Obviously this was a mistake and they should’ve just scrapped the accent as soon as they heard it, since it just sounds like a bad accent to the majority of viewers!

    BTW, does anybody else find the way that Buffy treats Kendra (at times) be be incredibly offensive and racist? She repeatedly acts as though Kendra’s native language is Spanish (e.g., “no kicko, no fighto”). Evidently all brown people with an accent are Spanish speakers in 16 year-old Buffy’s eyes. Perhaps this was meant to show a character flaw on Buffy’s part but to me it mostly comes off as racist humor on the part of the show. (And they way Buffy talks to Kendra at those moments would be messed up even if Kendra WAS from a Spanish-speaking country.)

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  12. [Note: Nix posted this comment on May 31, 2010.]

    To me, sitting in the UK far from Hispanic shores, Buffy’s attitude to Kendra didn’t come across as racist: it came across as *condescending*. Possibly rightly so: from Buffy’s viewpoint, this is someone who just attacked a Slayer in the belief she was a vampire. Obviously not someone best treated as a competent person… she was wrong, but her mistake was understandable.

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  13. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on September 21, 2010.]

    An ultimately silly episode. Which I don’t mean in a bad way, I quite enjoyed it.

    Kendra is ridiculous but useful for illustrating — both to us and to Buffy — how fortunate Buffy is to lead such a mainstream life, and to have such a tolerant Watcher. By-the-book cop partnered with the one who makes stuff up, black and white, oh yeah we’ve been there before. But as often with BtVS, the cliches are toyed with and subverted enough to be entertaining.

    Spike, Dru, and Angel make a cozy trio. Too bad I’m not gay, I would have been totally into the Angel topless scene. Over the top but way fun. Once again, Buffy is stupid for blindly charging in solo, but first Kendra and then Scoobies bail her hasty tail out. She’s gotta get a bit smarter, I’m tired of her being saved. And oh guys, you couldn’t hang around and make sure that Spike/Dru were actually killed off? No, I guess you couldn’t. Dumbos.

    Oz is megacool, once again I’m thinking about being gay.

    I interpreted Kendra’s accent as some type of African thing. It was so bad it was good. A fitting statement for the episode.

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  14. [Note: Michael Carruthers posted this comment on September 21, 2010.]

    WHY do the Tarakan assassins stop coming is my question? Remember Giles’ overly dramatic speech in part 1 about how they’ll never stop until they’ve killed their target, one will come in place of another, etc.? Buffy and the gang just kill these guys and its forgotten.

    I really don’t like this episode all that much. Kendra is annoying, and the majority of the episode’s comedy failed and was totally unfunny (Kendra’s “only shirt”, Willy’s scene) with only the Xander/Cordelia interaction being mildly amusing. The action finale was crappy, and they could’ve done a lot more with the Dru/Angel scenes. All she did was rant on about how Angel killed her family. We know this already. Could’ve been an interesting opportunity to foreshadow the events later in the season.

    I actually think part 1 was better than part 2. By quite a bit.

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  15. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on February 18, 2011.]

    There are some inconsistencies with Kendra and she isn’t the best character on the show but she did serve some important purposes:

    1. She gave Buffy a ray of hope that perhaps she could have a normal life with a job and a future. Of course, this is not to be (at least not until Chosen) and it kind of makes your heart break for Buffy. On the other hand, it is pretty obvious that even if there were another slayer (Faith later on), Buffy wouldn’t be able to not save the world.

    2. Through Kendra we realize just how unique Buffy is as a slayer. Her relationship with her watcher is unusual, she doesn’t study the books, her training is weird, her fight plans are creative and odd, she dates a vampire, and she actually goes to school and has friends, who know who she is and help her fight demons, no less! We knew that Buffy wasn’t typical but we really see how weird her slayerness is through the eyes of Kendra.

    3. When Kendra dies, we get Faith! Oh how I love Faith so thanks for dying Kendra! ๐Ÿ˜›

    And, of course, this episode brings the first kiss in the Cordelina/Xander romance. I loved them together. Not as much as I love him and Anya but it is a great first non-demon relationship for Xander.

    And I love the recurring character of Jonathan even though he only really says one line an episode until Earshot and, of course, S6. What other show has characters that have a major impact on the show later on have such bit parts for many episodes early in the series. Just great.

    Michael Carruthers — I agree with you that the fact that the Order just stopped coming made no sense. I said in the last episode that I liked the concept of assassins that just kept coming until the deed was done…if this was true, these would be good villains, indeed, even if some of them were lame. Knowing another one would just keep coming would be tiring and frustrating and it would have been interesting to see this explored. If they had managed to work in a plausible way of stopping it, this two parter could have had more bite.

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  16. [Note: huhahuha posted this comment on May 19, 2011.]

    Emily:

    “Personally, I don’t understand how anyone could like Buffy with anyone but Angel after that scene in the church when she kneels down next to him. The Scoobies just stare in awe at the beauty of that scene- how could you ever dismiss something like that? […] Spike? I could see where you’re going with that, but not really. No one’s ever gonna be Angel.”

    Thank you very much. I felt exactly the same way after seeing this scene. It was short, only a few seconds. But I was totally blown away by the sheer beauty of it. I actually rewound my DVD player 3-4 times to watch it again to fully absorb the visual impact and awe of this scene. It was almost like a classic oil painting from the Renaissance. The kiss on ice scene in the previous episode also felt quite beautiful.

    I am a Bangel fan. But I guess I understand the Spuffy fans. There are beautiful and intriguing moments from both relationships. But they will resonate differently with different people because of different backgrounds and experiences.

    For me, the pure, innocent, classic style, almost fairy tale like Buffy/Angel romance resonates very strongly with me. Whenever Buffy and Angel are on screen together, the chemistry and passion between them always touches me. In contrast, I found Spike’s obsession and stalking in S5 and Buffy’s abusive relationship with him in S6 deeply disturbing.

    But again, that is just me. I know a lot of people view the show differently and I totally respect that. I am a sucker for classic stories and this review kinda makes me want to revisit some of the classic romances, like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

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  17. [Note: Dave posted this comment on August 17, 2011.]

    Angel was too broody, their love was a teenage fantasy and not at all mature, despite the circumstances. This is why Spike and Buffy’s growing relationship was so interesting, as it was dark, heavy and very, very mature.

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  18. [Note: Erin posted this comment on August 31, 2011.]

    I loved Oz in this episode. I really like the way Oz was introduced this season – kind of slowly; bit by bit. The Willow/Oz scene near the end was cute, especially Oz telling Willow she has the sweetest smile he has ever seen ๐Ÿ™‚

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  19. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 14, 2011.]

    What is apparent from early on is that Buffy may not be able to overcome some demons. In fact Prophecy Girl could have been her final stand, fortunately for Buffy she has friends, things that tie her to the world as Spike points out in Fool for Love. Kendra; is a great introduction to solidify the slayer myth and as a reflection of the way Buffy handles her calling. Kendra is Buffy’s polar opposite. Book worm and afraid of Boys. Or the she-giles as Buffy points out. This is made palpable from the start but made more so when Kendra and Buffy share a somewhat touching moment.

    Buffy points out that her emotions give her power, give her strength and imagination. She tricks Kendra into feeling anger to demonstrate her point, something which Kendra doesn’t deny. The differences and moments between them make for great viewing. Kendra for me though is a little deficient in the i need to route for her notion. I love when Buffy derides her by mimicking her accent, something totally missed by the ‘super slayer’. I continue to ponder whether Kendra’s death could have been prevented had she been like Buffy and let her feelings affect her slaying. Its odd to think this could have been Buffy, as i noted above without her influx of friends and worldly ties Spike may have succeeded in over powering her.

    The beginning of Xander’s and Cordelia’s relationship start here, which allows for both characters to receive some development. Xander will be forever endeavouring to live up to Cordelia’s escalating standards until she grows and manages to ditch the sheep she hangs with.

    The final scenes, for me, fell a little flat, the fact that Dru was restored without Angel actually being killed subverted the threat that was hanging over him. The fact that Dru and Spike have switched places is intriguing but doesn’t escalate the plot so much. It would have been more interesting had both Dru and Spike been at full strength.

    The fighting between Kendra and Buffy; the tag team display was fun and showed great development in this side of the show, i have to confess that the shared attacking of Spike and the other vamps foreshadowed the shared battles fought with Buffy and Faith – as well as the ending of WML pt 1 it foreshadowed the fights between Buffy and Faith, which there many. I think that Buffy could have subverted Kendra like she does Faith. – Always pro Buffy!

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  20. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on June 27, 2012.]

    If I may copy/paste directly from a discussion board:

    “I also thought she[Kendra] was too flat at first, but it occurred to me that she really was that flat on purpose. She wasn’t raised as a human being, she was raised as a thing to be pointed at something to kill it, and it didn’t matter whether she was killed because there would be someone else allegedly exactly like her. Her mechanical way of speaking was because nobody talked to her, they talked at her, so she couldn’t practice talking to them. Her (lack of) character development was based on how thoroughly the Council had broken her.

    Even the tiny moment of her naming her stake Mr Pointy just accentuated that by showing that however hard you try to cut somebody off from the world, to treat them as a nothing, make them think they are nothing, they will still want to be human and will still be human (even if they don’t consciously realize it), and however close you come to breaking them it will never be complete (although, on the flip side, it can also be irreparably close).”

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  21. [Note: Craig posted this comment on November 2, 2012.]

    Kendra is right up there with Forest and the most annoying of the Potentials as one of my least favorite recurring characters on Buffy. She’s the worst. I cringe every time she’s on screen and I would like this episode a lot better if there were a better actress, with a better accent, playing her. I agree with the review, that her character is interesting in concept due to the contrast it draws to Buffy, but the execution is just horrendous.

    Like

  22. [Note: Summer posted this comment on December 16, 2012.]

    I enjoyed Kendra. That’s one of my fave names now thanks to the show. Her accent is a little harsh. I really like how she highlights the difference between Buffy and other more traditional slayers. We always knew she was different but in this episode we really understand HOW different. Love the Bangel vs Spuffy debate in the comments but for me is all about Xander/Cordelia and Willow/Oz. When Oz says that Willow has the sweetest smile is sooooooooo sweet I wanna die. And Xander and Cordelia’s sexual tension has been building for episodes. It’s stupid but fun. I love Xander staring at her as he’s hosing her down. Don’t know why Cordelia didn’t just ditch that jacket and keep running. Maybe it was Prada or something.Also another one of my favorite lines:Buffy: It’s your lucky dayKendra: Two SlayersBuffy: No waiting

    Like

  23. [Note: Summer posted this comment on December 16, 2012.]

    Also I read somewhere that Biana Lawson was supposed to be Cordelia but turned it down? How cool would that be? Although I love Charisma, of course

    Like

  24. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on December 16, 2012.]

    No, that was Sarah. And Charisma was supposed to be Buffy :)Although if you’ve read something that I haven’t and BOTH Slayers were originally supposed to be Cordy, than that just became even more supremely awesome!

    Like

  25. [Note: Seele posted this comment on January 30, 2013.]

    Is it also possible that Spike just wanted to “dance” again? He
    was famously disappointed that he and Buffy didn’t finish in School Hard.

    Maybe he just hired the assassins so that she wouldn’t be able to stop him from
    curing Dru now that the deadline was finally coming up, and when Dru was taken
    care of they called off the assassins so that Spike could try again when he wasn’t hurt either?

    Like

  26. [Note: Laura posted this comment on May 29, 2013.]

    The order of tarraka are not assassins but bounty hunters when willy delivers buffy to the 3 members and they bring her to spike he says why did you bring her here and why is she alive? And willy says that the order was to bring Buffy in dead or alive and that’s what they did so they stopped coming

    Like

  27. [Note: Sarah M posted this comment on September 8, 2013.]

    I like Kendra, though I wish Bianca Lawson had just been allowed to speak in her regular accent. I get the impulse to stress that the Slayer is an international thing but…man oh man. Apart from that, I feel like these episodes are pretty solid, and they set up some of the Angelus stuff more in retrospect than they seemed to at the time.

    Like

  28. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on December 5, 2013.]

    ADMIN NOTE: This episode review has been completely rewritten. In light of this, references to the old review have been edited out of the the above comments.

    Like

  29. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on May 4, 2014.]

    I just have one question that I never seemed to understand. Why did Spike become ‘weak’ just after falling under a pile of rubble? It doesn’t make sense, a vampire in a WHEELCHAIR? I don’t get it. Have we ever seen a crippled vampire on the show before? (excluding Spike, of course). I mean don’t vampires heal really fast? And there’s also a huge plothole here, so make that two questions. How on earth did Drusilla get her full strength restored WITHOUT killing her sire? Another mystery.

    I was reading the Spuffy vs Angel debate and those are foreign waters, I avoid ship wars all the time but I gotta side with Spuffy. Spike gives it his all when he devotes to someone i.e someone, and that’s why the term ‘fool for love’ is so accurate for him. Even though this is a little bit of a flaw, it’s also a strength in many ways. Also, there relationship in Season 7 is just remarkable. His ‘You’re the one, Buffy’ speech in Touched is so awesome that I add it to my list of the most romantic and beautiful onscreen coupling in TV history. (Maybe that’s a little far-fetched but I’m a sucker for Spuffy xD). Also, Angel, as Spike says very accurately in this episode, is the throws himself to the lions kind of a guy. Spike’s all about fighting for what he loves, and he even gets a kick out of it all. Angel, on the other hand is all about sacrifice and self-loathing. For Angel, all of this is a curse…Something he has to live with. He doesn’t “enjoy” the fight, like Spike does. This is what makes their frenemy-ship (lol idk what that means) so intriguing in aTs season 5, because they are both vampires with souls but so different from each other. Also, Buffy mirrors Spike in a lot of ways, her darker side and her slayer side. She also enjoys the fight and gets turned on by the kill (even if she doesn’t admit it), all the mirroring is foreshadowed right from the episode ‘School Hard’, like Mike mentioned in his reviews. I’m not letting my love for the couple cloud my judgement, it’s just my viewpoint.

    Anyway, LOVE this episode for 2 reasons: OZ/WILLOW AND XANDER/CORDELIA. YAYYYY!
    Despite my love for both Anya and Tara, it kinda sucks both these relationships ended the way they did. *sigh*

    Like

  30. [Note: Seele posted this comment on May 5, 2014.]

    1) Maybe Spike would’ve been in the wheelchair even longer if he didn’t have super-vampire healing, and 2) Maybe Angel not dying meant that Dru was only at almost full power, and she is supposed to be so powerful that she can kill a Slayer like Kendra even on just an “almost” day?

    Like

  31. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on May 5, 2014.]

    Yeah, but I guess the answers to those questions are very debatable. And probably vary from opinion to opinion. As you say these are “maybe” the reasons. It isn’t a big flaw, but I would’ve liked a little explanation on both those things or at least a casual reason.

    Like

  32. [Note: Nix posted this comment on June 13, 2014.]

    I can’t help but note that, yes, Buffy is a weird slayer, but Giles is definitely supportive of that. This is not surprising given that Giles himself is quasi-outcast from the Watcher’s Council (never been invited to their retreats) and as we just learned was a definite tearaway when younger.

    Set a rebel to teach a rebel and what do you get? A distinctly unorthodox Slayer, is what. (Though Buffy was unorthodox before she ever met him. One also wonders how Watchers are assigned to Slayers, and how someone like Giles ever got the job. I guess he appeared to be thoroughly over his tearaway phase, and quite conventional…)

    Like

  33. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on July 2, 2014.]

    It is a lot of fun to have another Slayer pop up unexpectedly, but it is sort of ridiculous for it to be a surprise. The Watchers Council may be incompetent, but so incompetent as not to know of the new Slayer? And so incompetent as not to inform Giles? Or if Kendra is the new Slayer, why would they continue to pay Giles?

    Like

  34. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on March 22, 2015.]

    Spike’s contrived non-death. And… umm… yeah everything else is pretty much a blank. Oh… Angel needs to save Drusilla after being the one to kill her. I suppose that’s a bit of dramatic irony that doesn’t escape me. Decent symbolism, but nothing all that substantial.

    But more about Spike. So was this really how he was supposed to die? I highly doubt that. Speaking of which, why would the highly knowledgeable Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (actually, “a” vampire slayer is more accurate. Kendra, and later Faith, is “the” Vampire Slayer. It’s something that bothered me about the series and how they treat her as the “true” slayer) believe Spike died after being crushed? He’d be seriously wounded, maybe permanently incapacitated sure, but not dead. Such an obvious oversight makes the characters seem much more gullible then they are, which equates to inconsistent characterization and nothing bugs me more then that, especially in a series that is otherwise mostly consistent with its characters’ development.

    Like

  35. [Note: Random posted this comment on April 3, 2015.]

    One assumes that if you inflict enough trauma on a vampiric body, that can result in a ‘fatal’ wound. We’ve never seen a vampire come back from truly horrific damage, like, say, the head — and therefore the brain — being crushed to a pulp by a collapsing organ. Since decapitation works, perhaps the theory is that any damage to the brainstem/spine capable of killing or crippling a human would do the same to a vampire…as evidenced by Spike’s sudden attack of paraplegia. The primary difference would be that vampires are much more resistant to damage, and that they can actually recover completely, given enough time (Though it’s still not clear why vampires like Kakistos remained maimed for an extended period, or why Spike’s eyebrow scar never healed. Perhaps there’s a connection between the damage being inflicted by a Slayer and the ability of the vampire to recover from it.) Since staking, sunlight, and beheading are all far more accessible ways of fighting than finding a way to drop a couple tons of metal and wood on a vampire, we just don’t see that particular manner of slaying very often.

    At least that’s my hypothesis. But I completely agree it was sloppy not to confirm his ‘demise.’ Granted, S2 Spike was by far my favorite iteration of Spike and one of my favorite villains overall, but I’m a bit befuddled at the lengths the gang will go to not to kill the guy and make sure he stays dead. Between Buffy and Kendra, they probably could have moved the remnants of the organ in fairly short order to make sure Spike wasn’t still alive. Or, more precisely, extant.

    Like

  36. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on April 3, 2015.]

    The mythological oversights are intentional. I don’t think there is any other reason then that it was not a point of emphasis for Joss and his writing staff. Most of the time I’m fine with this, because it is intentional and is mostly done to service the characters and themes. However, with something as obvious and silly as this, I can’t let it go. It just makes absolutely no sense whatsoever that they would:

    1) Assume he’s dead. Some pretty specific wounds would have to be inflicted for that to be the case.

    2) Not make certain he’s been turned to dust.

    It comes across as a last minute rewrite because at this point, unlike what was originally intended, they had intended to kill off Spike until the fans and Joss alike took a heavy liking to the character (understandable yes, since I too love Spike and what he brings to the series, but still sloppily handled).

    Like

  37. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on April 3, 2015.]

    I most definitely was redundant in that last sentence. I really should learn to proof read myself before submitting.

    Like

  38. [Note: guttersnipe posted this comment on April 3, 2015.]

    I should imagine that Spike’s scar and whatever caused Kakistos’ disfigurement were actually caused by enchanted weapons, like the swords in “Becoming”. I think that’s more likely than the circumstances of their wielder. The show doesn’t dip its toes into Chinese mythology, but it would stand to reason that a mythological Chinese sword would be in the hands of its Slayer.

    I agree that severing the spinal cord should dust a vamp as it essentially constitutes decapitation. I think Connor cracks a vamp’s neck in “Shiny Happy People”, but I can’t remember if it explodes into dust or not.

    Though it’s clearly a stall, fires break out preventing the Scoobies from picking through the wreckage to confirm Spike and Drusilla’s demise.

    Like

  39. [Note: Jen posted this comment on February 8, 2017.]

    I’m rewatching Buffy again. I’ve seen this episode a million times, but not in several years. Kendra’s accent used to bother me, but now I don’t think it’s so bad. It’s pretty consistent. I like it now.

    Buffy’s antagonism and petulance, on the other hand, really irk me. I miss the older Buffy I know from later seasons and the comics. That said, her frustration is understandable. She had her future taken away by the Slaying, and now she probably feels like Snyder is taking it away again by labeling her as a hopeless thug. But really, why didn’t Buffy consider law enforcement? She would have been good at it. She didn’t even investigate it.

    The other thing I don’t understand is why the school told Xander he’d be good as a prison guard. Was it supposed to be a throw-away joke on the part of the writers or do we really see traits in Xander that would make him an ideal corrections officer. What is the stereotypical corrections officer supposed to be like? A sadist or a lazy do nothing? Or an insecure person who beats up on others?

    Like

  40. [Note: Stewball posted this comment on February 8, 2017.]

    I think that the typical (if not stereotypical) corrections officer is someone whose job requires him to try to keep order among the dregs of society in prisons. I rather doubt that Xander would be up to the task. Buffy, on the other hand, would probably be quite good at it.

    Like

  41. [Note: Random posted this comment on February 25, 2017.]

    Re-watching this and the previous episode, I’m once again marveling at how heavy-handed the themes, ideas, and relevant dialogue are. Whoever wrote this comes across with all the subtlety of a 14 year old trying to check off the literary boxes — “Did I introduce a theme? Did I make sure the audience was whacked across the face with my ‘clever’ intertwining dialogue with ideas? Did I fire Chekhov’s machine gun enough times that nobody could miss the point?” The “emotions make you a better fighter” discussion, for instance, segues into Kendra getting mad about her shirt and immediately taking down the same Patrice that was holding her own against both of the Slayers in turn. So. Very. Very. Clumsy. And. Trite. Kendra’s line about how being a Slayer is who you are would have been fine…if she hadn’t made the comment that Buffy “always” says otherwise (really? in 24 hours you’ve learned what she “always” does?) and, even worse, Kendra tries to sell it as some life lesson she learned from Buffy herself (really? at some point in the 20 total minutes you two weren’t at each others’ throats, you learned that? it certainly didn’t happen on-screen.) And at what point did Kendra decide that the truths of the first 15 years of her life were suddenly just inconvenient misunderstandings and Angel was cute enough that he didn’t deserve to die? And maybe I’m alone, but the whole “opposites come together for a kiss during an insult-laden exchange” is beyond cliched and ludicrous. I’m not sure Hollywood writers actually understand how humans work.

    Strangely enough, I did like these episodes. I guess I just have a lot of tough love to offer.

    Like

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